Multiple Divinities: Thinking about Thinking

I love everything Polyphanes writes. I was going to comment on this post on his blog but in typical fashion it turned into a much longer rant. I think we’re in the same headspace but I also don’t quite like how he crouched it (working up) when in my mind the flow is the opposite direction (emanating from or working down). It doesn’t mean we disagree. He is after all an all around awesome young guy.

My personal goal is to reconcile science and religion and through that I’ve fairly comfortably settled on hermetic thought, which is really classical philosophy. As above, so below is the axiom.

Because I believe we have a reductionist philosophy, it’s not OK to start at the bottom and work up, it’s much better to start at the top and go down. Things flow out, they expand, and they emanate and therefore to magic, we do have to climb the tree. On the other hand to grasp what the road looks like, it’s better to actually ride the road out. I think it’s also better to try to pick neutral names to explain these ideas.

The One Thing, which I label the Godhead, was everywhere and nowhere at once. This is impossibly hard to explain except that in a space where there is no-thing (nothing), that single little particle would be everything and everywhere. This idea is intentionally supposed to invoke the idea of the Big Bang. That original particle was the source of the big bang, but where did it come from? Kabbalists would point to the idea that to create, an infinite godhead first had to withdraw. The godhead decided that it wasn’t going to occupy all the space, and by doing this it created the difference between itself in density and itself in sparseness. It withdrew to the point and than exploded. Science minded readers will see allegories to the expansion of the universe – if the previous universe collapsed, then this universe exploded from that point.

Now because of the difference between sparseness and fixity, the universe expands outward. Remember what the first matter was – the godhead itself – so the godhead expands outwards. Also because of sparseness and density we have frequency and motion. Things can now be one place or another, and things can now be more or less dense. This primitive energy then has frequency, which at an extremely high pitch are things like radiation and light and at extremely low pitch condense into matter. The less abstract minded example is taking CO2, which is normally a gas, and condensing it into a liquid and eventually a solid. We get ahead of ourselves.

From fixity and sparseness, frequency and motion we come to actual matter. The universe at this point is made mostly from concepts and forms of energy (light, radiation, etc) and at some point the energy ends up in a state where two bits of it cannot occupy the same place at once. In the sparser parts of space this is OK, but back towards the middle things get compressed and therefore condensed and eventually fall out of being energy and end up in matter. This new plane has plenty of space and while it is adjacent to the previous plane including some crazy Higgs stuff going on, it’s a separate form of being.

The process repeats itself all over again. Matter can be one place, and not the other. Matter can vibrate like the string on a violin. Matter is never completely divorced from energy and has qualities we might know as hot and cold which, through the properties of sparseness and fixity, determine how warm or cold something is (how much energy it has compared to some baseline) and how that energy wants to flow (resistance and conduction).

A special hat tip to the Higgs Boson here. People call it the “God Particle”. It’s not. It might not even be the smallest unit of matter there is. If it is, then the Higgs Boson is the smallest unit of matter before pure energy. However, it’s not the God Particle, it’s just the smallest unit of condensed energy there is. The universe will remain a zero sum game until we figure out how to actually create energy. Once we do that, if we can figure out how to condense it into parts of atoms, then atoms, then molecules, then… CHOCOLATE – we will truly be free.

But wait, this was supposed to be about religious stuff! The mind! Philosophy! All you’ve done is link the big bang to making chocolate from scratch!

People familiar with Kabbalistic thought and LMD’s Chicken Qabalah will hopefully have enjoyed the post thus far. To go back up to the godhead, the most abstract thing, we can use the four worlds. You really should read the Chicken Qabala if you’re enjoying this so far. But to paraphrase the chapter as it applies to our big bang universe, things are things (chairs, apples, stars), unformed matter, energy, and then finally the big bang itself. In our philosophical four worlds universe, things are things (a specific chair), the plans to build the chair, the idea of a chair, and then needing a place to sit. As science acquires more and more control over the finer parts of matter the four worlds becomes more and more important.

This is really how we apply the process – how do we avoid grey goo of discarded stuff? We need to work, as a people, to identify our actual needs versus our actual wants. Everyone wants a Ferrari. Everyone needs a mode of transportation. In fact, a lot of people end up getting Ferraris and then don’t realize it needs and oil change every 1000 miles and there’s no drain bolt on the oil pan. People needed transportation, they wanted the flash, and they became trapped in a money abyss. Whether we’re designing software or we’re trying to assess what we need out of life, we have to go up (or down) through the four worlds and make sure we perceive each one clearly.

Why then does it matter by what name we call God(s)?  We’ve just put faces to emanations of the divine and it doesn’t matter if we call him Odin or Mercury or Granny Smith or Red Delicious. These things have common qualities they share through time and space and just as they are all selfsame with one another, they are all selfsame with the parts which comprise them.

Philosophical problems:

“You’re confusing the machine with the godhead.” Much in the same way people write crap software, their creation carries their own mind. A Picasso would not be confused with a Warhol and we shouldn’t embrace mediocrity or pictures of soup.

“You can’t prove any of this!” We don’t need to prove any of it. Science is merely flailing around in the darkness without inspiration. To run this process in reverse, we must seek to add to our knowledge and apprehend or reconcile each division of the whole. Where does inspiration come from?

“What did the philosopher order at the pizza shop?” Make me one with everything.

The Dark Knight Rises Review

Contains spoilers.

How do we kill the batman? With nuclear weapons!

The new batman is worth a see, in theatres. The worst of it’s sins is the voice acting. Bane is just dreadful and sounds like Alfred on Steroids. Seriously, he’s voiced by a genteel old man. Batman himself spends almost the entire movie in threatening mode and his voice also gets in the way of the dialogue.

The plot itself is tight (except for Bruce Wayne in the cave prison – how did he get there and how did he get back?). Bane gets hold of a nuclear bomb and threatens to destroy gotham with it. Recurring themes throughout the movie are that police officers are trapped underground, Bruce Wayne is trapped under ground, Bane is trapped under ground. See where this is going? Fox? Trapped underground! It would have been nicer to have this theme explored more but it doesn’t quite happen.

Thematic elements are tightly presented although the social analogy doesn’t quite go as deep as the other movies have previously. The theme is clearly socialism – Bane starts off the movie by claiming he will free Gotham for the people in an Abraham Lincolnesque speech as he blows the doors to the prison open wide. Inmates are given weapons. Predictably, instead of actually freeing Gotham, they invite a second holocaust.

First of course the government itself is disposed of through violence. People then commit theft to “the rich” and then when nothing is left, they start to commit wanton murder and destruction. People are executed. When they run out of political prisoners to execute (the rich) they turn on each other. It’s an obvious allegory to the holocaust and pretty much the rise of Nazi Germany. The parallel to America today is obvious but the movie manages not to be preachy about it.

That’s good, because emotional tension runs high. The acting is absolutely top notch except for Bale in the beginning of the movie and whoever plays Bane himself. The problem is the actor doesn’t know when he’s talking  with the mask on so he doesn’t know how to express himself with his eyes. The problem continues on in the movie where there’s parts where he’s talking under the mask but nothing is coming out. It’s not particularly jarring.

You figure out fairly soon on who Robin is going to be, but the writing is well enough done that the part is engaging right until the end. About the only part which is particularly campy is when catwoman uses the bat-o-cycle or whatever it’s called to blast out the police officers and there’s a charge directly out of braveheart between the police, armed with only sidearms, and Bane’s gang which has an array of G36s and light machine guns. In real life it would have been a wildly nice gesture which lasts 10 minutes as the police are cut to ribbons. For a movie which works hard on it’s technical merit with exotic EMP and upside-down bat-o-coptors, it’s a bit jarring to get there.

The twist at the end is absolutely fantastic but again, easy to see coming if you’re familiar with as much as the animated series which was popular in the 90s. The nice part is how it handles batman canon – although the movie will appease hardcore batman fans and people who have half a clue about socialism, the movie remains accessible to even the most unprepared fan in the audience. It includes graceful flashback moments to keep viewers engaged but reminded about what happened in previous films.  Catwoman is easy on the eyes, for instance, without being overtly sexualized which means you can take the wife and not have her be completely offended. Anne Hatheway, however, is really sexy in the catsuit and plays the role extremely well. She’s sexy when the role calls for it but manages to avoid it when the role does not.

Is it perfect? No, but it’s darn good, and worth a see on the big screen.

Snow White and the Huntsman

The one sentence review: Great movie killed by terrible cast and production.

I can’t remember the last time I was actually pissed off at the casting for a movie. Sam Spruell plays his part really well and carries the film. Charlize Theron does fairly well for herself but doesn’t get the room she needs to actually be a character. The wicked witch is indeed wicked right up until the end but I suspect a lot of the performance was robbed because of production, the first part of the movie actually seems like it occurred much later in the film and was cut and pasted in. Granted, that’s the visual effect I get, the plot itself makes better sense with it there but it feels like more of a flashback like something was missing. Kristen Stewart plays Snow White as though she has shoes filled with rocks. She can’t act. Chris Hemsworth puts up a valiant effort not to be Thor in this film and while it works, he has the same problem Charlize does where you know they can do better but something is really awkward about their performance. My take is he spends so much time watching Kirsten act terribly he’s consumed by a desire to punch her in the face repeatedly just to get a different expression out of her.

Frankly, the director (Rupert Sanders) probably ruined it.

Here’s why: The production is shit in this film. You can clearly tell ivy is just plastic ivy they threw onto the set pieces. There are elements missing from the screenplay including one scene where the dwarfs complain about “fairy music” and “put moss in your ears” and people are reacting to it but the music is conspicuously not playing. There are places where Kristen’s hair and wardrobe changes for no obvious reason early on in the movie. Furthermore they stole a lot of the visuals from Princess Mononoke and Lord of the Rings. It’s like they went out of their way to make sure that they got “that scene” from the movies. The party crossing the mountains in the rain is straight out of the Lord of the Rings. The Queens crown was borrowed directly from the Witch King in LotR. Thankfully they avoided lifting Rivendale for the fairy realm, but the fairy realm is the enchanted forest from Princess Mononoke complete with the fairies as domokun and the lord of the wood as an elk with wooden antlers.

You want the movie to work, but the director is so uninspired it feels laborious. This includes accents, they force everyone to talk in ye olden english and its obvious everyone thought it was stupid. It ends up getting in the way of the dialogue because people won’t pronounce the words the same way twice.

That being said, the writing is top notch. My suspicion is that John Lee Hancock carried most of that and the dialog is witty if you’re paying attention to it. Actually paying attention to it is sometimes hard because of the reasons above, but it’s there.

I almost wish someone re-directs it much later. Seeing a different cast and a director who actually has some inspiration would be a nice change and really redeem the movie. Particularly annoying is Kristen’s absolute fear of horses and how much time she spends on a horse. You would have thought they would have worked it out in preproduction with her.

That being said the set pieces were really good once they covered up the fake ivy. The castle is well done. The fairy realm, while borrowing heavily from Mononoke, looks great down to the turtles and snakes covered in moss. The mushrooms amused me greatly. The dark forest was fantastic and a neat twist was notion that monsters don’t live there, but hallucinogenic spores from mushrooms do. The magic mirror in particular shows insight from the writing, the spirit evoked from the mirror is only visible to the queen, which gives her the appearance of insanity to her brother.

Is it worth a view? Yes, but don’t expect it to be perfect.

Should you see it in theaters? Not really, there’s not enough grandiosity to warrant the big screen.

Copy DVDs in Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)

  1. Install XCode
  2. Install macports
  3. Install dvdbackup from macports
MAPPLE:Movies jknarr$ dvdbackup -M -o . -i /dev/rdisk1
libdvdread: Using libdvdcss version 1.2.11 for DVD access

libdvdread: Attempting to retrieve all CSS keys
libdvdread: This can take a _long_ time, please be patient

libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VIDEO_TS.VOB at 0x00000127
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_0.VOB at 0x000001a5
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_1.VOB at 0x00000295
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_0.VOB at 0x001d818d
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_1.VOB at 0x001d8191
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VTS_03_0.VOB at 0x001d86fe
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Get key for /VIDEO_TS/VTS_03_1.VOB at 0x001d8703
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
libdvdread: Found 3 VTS's
libdvdread: Elapsed time 0
MAPPLE:Movies jknarr$ ls
MAPPLE:Movies jknarr$ hdiutil makehybrid -udf-volume-name MAX_AND_RUBY_PARTY_TIME -o ~/Desktop/MAX_AND_RUBY_PARTY_TIME ./MAX_AND_RUBY_PARTY_TIME\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ /
Creating hybrid image...

MAPPLE:Movies jknarr$

Note that there is a bunch of spaces after the device name, use TAB in bash to autocomplete. This is how we keep movies from two year olds who fill our DVD players with cheese.

Obama Care Part Deuce

The American Thinker has up what he thinks will happen on the July 9th(?) vote – Republicans could repeal obamacare as a de-facto tax. If the argument is that it’s not a de-facto tax, then it’s subject to the Commerce Clause, which would make it unconstitutional. If it is a defacto tax, it’s subject to recall, which is simple majority.

Anyway that aside, what has my head scratching is what the heck Romney is waiting for. Obama has obamacare, which is a huge debacle. The original draft of the bill defrayed costs to health insurance companies by having them receive the “penalty money”. In fact, it’s worth discussing Romneycare, because it’s how this sort of thing is done correctly. Under Romneycare, both individuals and businesses had to pay a penalty for not having insurance. Individuals could receive an exemption to this for earning less than $50,000. That’s not a typo, that’s the number (this is roughly twice whats in Obamacare but the value depends on the federal poverty definition among other things). Businesses would pay the fine if they didn’t make “reasonable insurance” available if they had more than 10 employees. In every way, these make better talking points than Obama even has. Weirdly enough Huffington Post either is “pro Romneycare” when talking about Obama or anti-Romneycare when going back to 2006, speaking of talking points. If I were Romney I would be pointing all this out.

Where did all these fines go?

Romney set up a fund to expand medicare in his state. If you went to the ER without insurance, it paid the hospital. If you took the fine, it went into the slush fund. If you needed help affording insurance, it was a tax credit.

I know what you’re saying “But that IS Obamacare!”

No, it’s not. It required a mandate from the federal government to expand medicare which administered the plan. While I object to the expansion of the government, the one place the money wasn’t going was the insurance companies. The fine went into social programs, the money which left the social programs went to the hospitals. Medicare has price controls built in – when they’re involved, they dictate the price of what they’re paying for. This works really well. The higher the insurance companies jack up the prices, the more people end up on Medicare, the more they dictate the cost of what they’re paying for. The insurance companies either had to play ball or they had to withdrawal from the state.

What we’re critically missing from the Obamacare plan is the authority to regulate the insurance companies. The one line item requires insurance companies to spend 80% of their take on premiums, but now we have another interesting problem: With no authority from the commerce clause per the supreme court (which is why this is a tax and administered by the IRS in the first place), there’s really no defined oversight here. The argument I would make if I were Obama would be that health insurance companies pay 100% tax on everything they make over 80% of the premiums they put out, but the traditional stance taken by the government is that diversified companies pay only what their business units take in. LOLWUT?

Take Toll Brothers, which is vertically integrated. The company doesn’t pay logging fees based on profits from the entire company, nor does the land ownership division pay capital gains based on the value of land changing. They are governed by separate bodies of law. Similarly the business as a whole make or loses money, but it’s governed by individual laws for individual business functions. To put this in perspective, a commercial driver carries insurance for his own personal vehicle, but he also carries a bond and a professional insurance policy. My wife (a nurse) carries personal insurance for her life and injury, but we also carry professional insurance for malpractice along with malpractice insurance for the hospital at large.

Why is this important? The insurance companies already offer consulting services for things like minimizing workplace injury, passing OSHA exams, legal consulting, etc. If the insurance companies suddenly decide the take from premiums goes into the individual business units, it’s really not that hard to spend 100% (or more) of the funds which go into the “medical care” pot versus something like consulting which is obviously not a medical function and then not governed by the law. Remember, no commerce clause means this is virtually unenforceable and the IRS already exempts businesses which operate at a loss. The whole thing is hollywood accounting at it’s finest and the IRS has been giving it a pass for years in the movie and music industry. Why not the insurance industry now? Its one of the things that really pisses me off come tax time – people who are consultants and operate their own company (on paper) claim a loss on their taxes from a consulting company which doesn’t reimburse them for computers and such and taxpayers foot the itemized deductions.

All this being said, I don’t see there being a mass of insurance companies dumping people for two reasons: rescission has been illegal since 1996 in almost every state and without the expansion of medicare per romneycare, obamacare has nowhere to put people. I do see our healthcare generally going to shit – Europe has had a serious problem with complex, long term care like cancer and I expect the US going over to this sort of system will encourage this.