Plants

Plants are cooly neutral fractal-like things that reproduce themselves across space and time– it is their raison d’etre. They neither enjoy it nor dislike it.

Botanical gardens are plant bureaucracies.

Farms are plant meta-factories.

Zen gardens are plants at a party awkwardly trying to act natural.

Id Est

(First serial rights belonged to theNewerYork Press).

Note to reader: This story is a rendition of an ancient Roman joke that is alleged to be the oldest joke in recorded history, though in this case the actions are set in Greece. 

{Set One}

  • A barber, a bald guy, and an absent-minded scholar go on a trip.
  • Three Greeks set out from Leuctra to Thebes. This is around the third century A.D.
  • Sometime during the early Common Era, someone who makes money by cutting hair, someone whose hair follicles have been undergoing an irreversible process of deterioration due to high amounts of dihydrotestosterone in his body, and a trained poet/historian/philosopher that nonetheless allegedly has certain cognitive impairments head north together for some reason.
  • If you’re looking for Eudemus, he isn’t here. He’s gone on a journey with Aelius and that moron Diodorus.
  • 7,318 tufts of ryegrass are trampled under the feet of three humans, who also startle twenty-three Eurasian red squirrels during their (the humans’) bout of northward travel.
  • Three terrestrial mammals engage in bipedal locomotion.
  • A homo sapien, a homo sapien, and a homo sapien move in roughly the same direction. This is on the planet earth.
  • Three composite objects change their location relative to a much larger object that they are gravitationally bound to.
  • Three objects move.
  • Three subjects verb. 

{Set Two}

  • A barber, a bald man, and a foolish scholar go on a trip and at night, they set up camp. The barber keeps first night watch. He becomes bored and shaves the sleeping scholar’s hair off to keep busy.
  • A foraging worker ant is buried under mounds of human hair.
  • The tonsor Eudemus betrays the trust of an innocent, sleeping moron for some minor amusement. He has always been a scoundrel. He impregnated his brother’s wife, they say. Why? Simple boredom. This is human nature.
  • Stars fill the sky. Cicadas jingle over the popping of a campfire. A bored great ape (which happens to be a barber though it isn’t a central part of its identity) pulls out a thin piece of bronze, sharpens it with a special stone, and shaves the head of another great ape (which prefers to think of itself as a soul). The head becomes bare and pale like a mountain peak.
  • Two men explore the dreamworld. One flies through the celestial spheres. The other slurps milk out of a belly button.
  • As rosy-fingered Dusk soaks finally into Night, the barber gnashes his teeth. “Why, Fate, dost thou even now wish to torture me, a mortal?” He cries, “One long doomed to an unremarkable death, a life in the tonstrinae or agora baths, trimming hair and nails? Is this where Fate finds purpose in life made meek? Do it, then; but I shall rebel in kind. As Dionysus let King Midas’ cup overflow, so I, Fate’s cup, shall overflow tonight.” At this, he pulls out his razor and begins to cut.
  • Crackle, click, snore, snip.
  • Wait for brainwave frequencies to fall between 0.5-4 hertz. The subject is now in a deep sleep. Sharp metal is then applied to the filamentous biomaterial like so. In so doing, about 110,000 fibrous strands of this material, each with an average radius of about fifty millionths of a meter, should be separated into two or more pieces.

{Set Three}

  • Later, the barber wakes up the absent minded scholar, for it is the scholar’s turn to keep watch. The scholar feels his own head and says, “That stupid barber. He awoke the bald man instead of myself.”
  • The true bald man remains sleeping, quietly sad that his only function in this story is to set up a punch line. He yearns, above all else, to matter.
  • The ultimately uninfluential philosopher Diodorus of Thebes, upon being awoken at an unusual hour with his hair missing, makes some fundamental metaphysical mistakes about his identity.
  • In a poorly thought out realm of formal abstraction, the universal property of baldness gobbles up another soul.
  • The sun, undisturbed, hovers around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • That stupid barber. He awoke the bald man instead of myself.

Harry Potter and the Pandering Social Enviornment

Hagrid: It sure is dark in here Harry.

Harry: Lumos

Hagrid: Ahhh, you did it, Harry! You’re magic! You’re the magic boy, Harry!

Ron: I am your peer, Harry. I envy you and am lesser. I am jealous of your skills and power and sexual appeal to females, but I nonetheless like and support you loyally.

Harry: Thanks, Ron.

McGonagall: Be careful, though, Harry. Not all of your peers are like Ron.

Hagrid: Haven’t you ever been bullied, Harry? Made to feel small? Encountered peers that you don’t get along with?

Harry: I have, in fact! How did you know?

Hagrid: They’re evil, Harry. Those ones are evil.

McGonagall: Now the most evil one is called Voldemort. He is evil evil evil. He is made of icky gross snakes and is bald and ugly. He smells like bad icky gross butt farts. And his favorite food is spiders.

Harry: But this is scary to me.

Hagrid: Don’t you worry there, Harry! Hahahaha. Don’t you know? You’re the special one!

McGonagall: That’s right, Harry. You’re the most special person in the world. You matter more than others. Your life is worth more.

Harry: But why do I matter the most?

Hagrid: Because your mother loves you, Harry! She died for for. Her love is perfect and selfless and unconditional, and you should never question it.

Dumbledore: You see, Harry, you never like most children had to encounter your mother as an alien subjectivity, a being separate from you, distinct, with her own private emotions, the occasional feigning headaches when you wanted to play and she wanted to be alone and so on. Your father, meanwhile, died before any power struggle could emerge in the family unit. Your replacement family could therefore be demonized without as traumatic implications: they are not your real family. Your family’s absence, therefore, in physical manifestation, protected you from their psychological or metaphysical absence. So you see.

Harry: That’s pretty dark, professor Dumbledore.

Hagrid: No, Harry! Don’t you worry! You’re powerful enough to deal with anything.

McGonnigal: Even death is not an obstacle for you. You are the center and core of the universe.

Dumbledore: Yes, Harry. Your sexual efficacy, symbolized by your particularly special “wand”, and all that this efficacy implies, is beyond question.

Harry: That’s great, I think.

Manufactured thoughts and needs

Rousseau seems basically right that when we leave the state of nature (whatever that may be), we are taught what to desire. Our wants, fears, emotions, things we think are natural desires and automatic and deeply private preferences are inculcated in us more often than we suppose. At least in developed, modernized societies, what we think we need to protect and fear on a day-to-day level is manufactured. We are in some sense automated. We form a thinking system with the things around us, as David Chalmers notes. Zizek talks about “thinking with objects”. That I stare so much at boxes in screens, at clocks and levers, certainly this influences my thinking. Even leaving ads aside, all of the tacit power dynamics in entertainment presented as sources of pleasure, this must affect what I think is pleasurable. The suppositions, the framings of debate, as Chomsky points out.

My more optimistic side comes from Buddhist philosophy and the notion that a certain way of looking at the world can give us distance from these false needs and automated thoughts. The term ‘mindfulness’ makes me wince, but I would at least say that a meditate state can do wonders here, as can time spent alone in nature.

Skeptics

It is good to have a person in the corner of the room who does not approve of or agree with you. It reminds you that there is more to see.

Likewise, the (epistemic) skeptic is in some sense the mouthpiece for mystery. They liberate reality from the confines of subjective appropriation via knowledge.

A few random thoughts about music

I can always choose my music, down to a moment of a song. The feeling I want to get when I click on a song, knowing that this feeling is slightly different than that of another song, and I can have this exact feeling. The illusion that I can control my feelings, my inner world. The song won’t die=my feelings are under my control=I can conjure feeling x when I so wish.

My music library presents a world of perfect instruments, never a cheap guitar, the broken piano at a cafe. A world of perfect musicians— never to be embarrassed, nor are we ever to be disappointed. Anti-folk (e.g. early Beck, Kimya Dawson) seeks to remedy this exclusion.

A diva vs a folk singer— the folk singer’s voice becomes part of the song, one with the song. A diva is always somehow trying to assert her own voice as the beautiful object, the song is incidental, treated as mere material. One cannot lose oneself in one of her songs simply because she doesn’t lose herself in the song.

Songs have different ranges of temporal attention focus. For an electronica song, it’s short: a few seconds. A song with a strong and elongated melody extends this range. Different ranges have different psychological effects.