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.

On Mysticism or The TechnOccult – Modes of Thought

Yes recently the blog has been on what most people would call a jewish mysticism kick. I find as I get older I end up going through these periods where I think about things, then I think about how I think about things. What does the mirror see when it looks into itself? These rants are inspired by the format of The Whiskey Rant. It might not be right, but lets entertain the thought.

Eventually, we decide we need to understand the structure of how we think.

While I’ve played around quite a bit with philosophy, it’s lacking. There never has been any sort of thinking where man does not look at the universe and consider it’s parts. Eventually anyone who seriously puts any time into it comes to mysticism. I think it’s a travesty we don’t teach “The Mysteries” or even civics class. Somewhere, we ended up so politically correct that we couldn’t teach these things because of the fear of indoctrination. The worst part is, institutions of indoctrination (religious schools) don’t present things as mysteries anymore, they’re concerned with putting people onto the path of salvation or somesuch. Some people want the answers. Some people (me) want to learn modes of thinking to more clearly perceive things. This doesn’t say I’m right. This just means if you haven’t gone into any sort of classical thinking and ended up at occultism, give it a try.

People tend to take it too seriously, I think. The rabbis have been kibitzing about kabalah for literally ages and I think people have the right thinking for this problem: You can reduce the process of magical thinking down to “a very small shell script”. This is a particularly sticky wicket to the believer and a nail on the cross for people who would rather see spiritual thought written off entirely. The first google result will figure out any correlation you could possibly want. Want magic squares? We do that too! (Also CPAN whores – add internationalization to author names so you can credit this module).

But that’s not the point. We can literally rip out the values of entire languages in seconds now. In the case of that last CPAN module, we’re ripping out the values of languages which aren’t even formalized (Ethiopian). Why bother? It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the modes of thinking.

Modes of thinking? Yes. I recently read The Chicken Cabalah. It’s a typical DuQuette book where it’s written lightheartedly but more importantly the joke is occasionally on the reader. (Don’t worry, you’re let into the luls later). People talk about it being a useful introduction to cabalah. It’s not. What the book provides is a good introduction to the application of the modes of thought present in classical thinking. Specifically addressed are fundamental questions about identity. Identity? Identity is how we frame ourselves in reality. What is reality? Now we’re in the thick of it. (The dry, unentertaining version is the four worlds, but I suggest you read DuQuettes book for the humorous, playful version about reality being an armchair). They start out in a room full of chairs. They  move up and they end up in a factory cutting out parts for a chair. They move up and they have the IKEA plans for a chair. They move up and they find… nothing. What does the notion of something to sit on look like?

This is really a neat model of thought, or I think it is at least.

More importantly, we have another interesting idea we can apply here – the physical world is going away. What does that mean? We’re losing the strong identity of things and we’re moving into a space where things don’t physically exist. The movies we watch are delivered digitally, “filmed” digitally in a computer, we watch them on screens we don’t own, and billions are fought over “rights” and “distribution” of something which doesn’t exist in terms of 1s and 0s. I don’t mean this to be an anti-capitolism rant. I strongly feel that artists should get paid something for their work. On the other hand, owning things keeps becoming more and more of an abstract concept. At what point do we get issued a food replicator and a laptop at birth? Probably around the time when Apple decides it makes more money selling you “media” than it does selling you hardware. The future looks amazing. It will be glorious, we return to the godhead. It will be our undoing as we indulge our fetishes. “Kurt Cobain, shotgun mouthwash, daily at 3pm ONLY ON FOXNEWS”.

We are forever parodies of ourselves – the mirror looks into the mirror. Science has been “finding the resolution of reality” with the large hadron collider for how long now but we still can’t put a number on the resolution of the spirit.

What do we do now? Today? Our torah is a blog. Our kabalah is ascii. Our holy script is whatever our default font is for the paragraph tag. Mine is courier new, 10 point. It was transmitted to our prophets at 9600N81.

Of course, this got me thinking about math, and what’s our new math? Maybe we are ready for new math. The old hebrew was written right to left, in one long line, which is pretty much the reason why people have been doing crosswords on pie plate liners ever since. What would the old rabbi have done? Would they have assigned a value to right to left? Every punctuation mark? Every space? Well, if we think yes, we find some interesting places to look for inspiration.

We think about the famous first verse in the bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. Running this through our electric rabbi, we have some real insights! “Kept in balance by the wisdom”, “Jesus Christ the Groom, I am that I am”, “The biggest douche in the universe” (not kidding). Well if we convert to ascii, and add up all the numbers, letters, whitespace and punctuation, we get 4808. What is 4808? In Hebrew notation: “And He Opened His Mouth In Blasphemy Against God, To Blaspheme His Name, And His Tabernacle, And Them That Dwell In Heaven”.

And that folks, is why I only use EBCDIC.

 

The Internet is a Cellphone

The last post I wrote was a lament that the internet-as-a-cellphone wasn’t being fully explored from a technological standpoint.

Today we have the opposite problem: The internet-as-a-cellphone is being legislated as a cultural standpoint. Specifically, Domain Seizure has become the tool of choice to shut down “infringing content”. What is this content? Movies, games, pirated apps, etc.

How did we get here?

The old mode of piracy required a fair bit of infrastructure. A person would typically mail some money though the snailmail and they would typically get a stack of CDs or floppies in return with cracked apps and games on them. Things plunked along this way for a good while as the popularity of usenet declined due to AOL and eventually things went viral to the point where IRC was the mode of distribution. The IRC bots evolved to the point where if the bot didn’t have the software you were interested in, groups had agreed to cross referencing to other bots. The decline of USENET and the rise of IRC corresponded roughly from RadioShack and Circuit City not selling software or parts anymore to advertising software being pre-loaded on the pirated applications.

The movies thing I don’t think anyone saw coming. VHS piracy was as simple as going to blockbuster and renting whatever you wanted for $1 and then going home and wiring up the VCRs. As media moved into the digital realm, it meandered back to mail order DVDs (or the guy on the street corner selling questionable copies in strange languages), CD-Video (popular in asia, never here), MPEG copies on IRC, and the unfortunately named DivX video codec. DIVX players attempted to stem the tide with their dial-up DVD service but I would guess most of them ended up cracked.

Let me digress for a second and point out we forget who or what came before. The chinese looking to circumvent the firewall could learn oodles from the old US piracy market. How many books fit on a DVD? Actual text, I’m talking about, not ebooks. How many cameras come with an SD card now? Who checks all these things versus how much electronic stuff moves in and out of china? The great firewall doesn’t currently censor email as I recall, what about a wget service or a newsnet service with UUENCODED files? This is how the US used to do it and people wrote special mail handlers to reassemble these files, it would work in china. Its how it used to work. I had a DXR2. I bought it after my alpha died with which I used to rip DVDs. Nostalgia.

Somewhere along the way someone figured out the space requirements even for compressed, pirated materials (movies, games) was somewhere around 4GB.  Things plodded along at the 4GB limit for a bit and the movie industry responded by packing “HD Content” into 9GB DVDs with double layers, and finally the whole weird push to blu-ray and HD-DVD came around and blu-ray won because Sony’s pockets are deep enough to pay for a loss leader like that.

Suddenly, things came full circle. TV stalled. Gimmicks for TVs haven’t impressed consumers much because who cares about 3D content if it’s not on demand. Movies suffer the same problem. The issue is the world simply got busier. No-one has a two hour chunk of time to go to the theatre anymore. We don’t even have time to take books off the shelf. Why should we? We read books on our laptops, then the laptop became a tablet, than the table became an ebook reader, then the ebook reader stopped existing and became software on a cellphone. We scaled up the cellphone screen to a tablet again, but these new tablets had enough bandwidth and CPU to do something interesting – they could surf the web, and they could watch video. How big is the new HD AVATAR? 1.2GB. How big is the new HD INCEPTION? 1.4GB. This for full, 1080p content. Samsung said as much with it’s cellphones with the screen, but more importantly the line-out to your actual TV.

This is the other side of the convergence that the new internet is a cellphone.

Now we look at Megaupload and GMAIL and such and 8GB is the norm. 8GB used to be just under what it took to store a DVD. Now 8GB is just enough to store 7 full movies. What’s important is that it’s the norm. It’s an artefact from a time when things were bigger and they could be bigger because we weren’t trying to consume content down small pipes. The movie companies know this but how could they legislate how much storage a particular user has? YouTube doesn’t even care. GMAIL? Why should they make it smaller? MegaUpload? 200MB, but how hard is it to keep a list of 5 URLs to unpack a RAR of a movie? Therein lies the problem. This is basically a bandwidth problem versus a content control problem. Since they (the MPAA/RIAA) can’t control the bandwidth they’ll try to control the content. What’s the best way to do that? Take away their cellphone. One man’s ZIP is another man’s video-codec, what’s the difference between cat and zcat? Compression, but they work the same way. The MPAA/RIAA already subscribes to this new model where the internet is a cellphone, and so everyone crying FREE SPEECH over the whole seizure of URLs doesn’t get it.Taking away a sites URL is like taking away their cellphone. It doesn’t impinge on their free speech, it just takes away the radio tower. Get another cellphone, learn the IPs. Your OS has a hosts file for a reason. It’s no biggie.

Just for reference: I do believe the megaupload files were seized improperly. I think everyone who was using it as a legitimate document repository should sue. I just don’t think the URL seizure is illegal nor amoral and reveals a profound misunderstanding of how the internet works.

WikiLeaks

I’ve been following the live wikilinks thing with some detached amusement. Assange, if the allegations aren’t fabricated, committed at least one count of rape by US standards (having sex with someone unable to give consent due to intoxication). By Swisse standards, he’s up to six counts of rape, two of the first degree which is a mandatory four year sentence for each. He’s going to jail for four years at least, eight if he’s nailed on both the first degrees. Don’t ask me for the specifics of the justice system over there, I have no experience and I only know what I’ve read.

All the usual suspects came out, b-tards attacked paypal and various credit card processing gateways. Goons made MS-paint pictures. K5ers blew enough hot air to fly the Hindenburg back in time to Nazi Germany. The cries were all about the same which was “if you give into the US government we’ll do bad things over the internet”. This is why we don’t give kids guns and ask them to make moral judgements. Mastercard and Visa both had a point – Assange misrepresented where those donations were going. Paypal said he provided a false address. Both of those reasons are entirely valid and raise the important point that when you made a donation to wikileaks, you were actually simply sending Assange a buck or two. There’s no “wikileaks, LLC”.

The one I got the most lulz from was the people outraged that ICANN would can his domain. Protip – don’t use taxpayer developed resources and not expect THE INTERNET POLICE to come by. The roads too are public works funded by tax dollars, and the roads have police dedicated to policing them for things which are “wrong”. It doesn’t really matter that speeding is wrong and that it’s a victimless crime, the point is that someone in some government agency said speeding was wrong and so it’s wrong. I’m not here to particularly debate the morality of victimless crimes, but the point is that he kicked the governments puppy with spin and the government acted appropriately. Wikileaks offends me not because it brings transparency, but because it claimed to bring transparancy while adding Assanges own spin and politics.

What’s not appropriate has been the wikileaks side of this. Somehow it’s morally justified to release government documents about things which aren’t resolved yet (as though war in the middle east ever would be, but whatever) which includes commentary between soldiers and their families under the banner that it’s topical to the war, but when it comes to Assange himself and the coming trial he smokescreens the media and wikileaks themselves. Wikileaks should be asking themselves some really hard questions about personal rights when yours and my conversations might be republished just because they’re on a government desktop somewhere but when it comes to the topic of Assange raping two women and possibly more, he works to prevent a “media circus”. Is this not all that wikileaks is?

Regurgitating the Apple

This is absolutely worth a read. It’s a heritage.org aritcle about how liberals think.

The only thing that rubs me wrong is the invocation of Brokeback Mountain. Really it falls prey to itself here because Brokeback isn’t something used in line with the argument. In fact, the way it’s used is counter to the argument. The argument being made here is for self-determination and discrimination (or judgement). Brokeback is a movie about two cowboys who want to be gay on their ranch. Fine, great, it’s not my thing. If they had wanted to make the correct point, they should have pointed out towns where they have pride parades, etc. There’s no pride in being “straight” and they make the point with Desperate Housewives saying the message isn’t “you’ll make a great family” but that “your life will suck if you’re a housewife”. It’s the tyranny of standards argument being put forward. That being said, towns with pride parades do represent a form of tyranny. With no pride parade celebrating wanting to be straight, or (my favorite) the white heritage day, celebrating any other holiday is flat out wrong. While this argument itself plays into the problem raised in the article that we’re treating everything as mediocre, I believe this is the point. If there’s no discernible mediocrity, if there’s nothing which is obviously evil then we can coexist. But this requires judgement and this is the crux of the article. The Brokeback reference is used wrongly.

On the other hand I am sympathetic to the idea that we have no moral compass as a society. If one group is off murdering your group, then you probably should go over there and kill them before they get you. As pointed out in the article and that godawful song Imagine (which is another pet peeve of mine I happened to lol at when I saw it come up), Hitler started in a beer hall. He didn’t have his own nation. Germany didn’t wake up one day and say “well lets give this nazi thing a go and hand out microwaves! we’ll tell those jews that they’re hats!”. There is evil in the hearts of men and we should seek to stamp it out and lament the fact that doing so requires armed conflict. Another opportunity is missed here, but brought up under the guise of Abu Graib. Treating people badly to prevent or persuade them from evil should be preferable to killing them outright. This is what separates the west from the middle east. We don’t go around bombing their civilian centers. We do give them a trial. We treat them badly, but we don’t actually hurt them. Again, the point is lost in the articles writing but the point he wants to make is restraint is a virtue. You should own a gun. You should know how to use it, be comfortable with it, and pop off rounds every weekend. This doesn’t mean when there is conflict you immediately smoke the guy, but it means that you understand the zen of gun ownership. You’re willing to treat people badly (pointing a gun at them) to prevent further evil (shooting them). Of course when their potential for evil outweighs the actual cost in terms of real evil of keeping them alive, our heros should be perfectly willing to shoot them with confidence and sleep like babies at night.

Try putting that on TV. It will be made an action movie, rather than a movie about self doubt, moral exploration and finally confidence and sorrow at conflict.

Minor quibbles about framing aside, it’s a decent read. I said to my brother the other day that we had, as a society, fallen prey to the spiritual danger of not owning a farm. The topic was the LL Bean catalog. The version they sent us, supposedly the full catalog, didn’t include any of the hunting section. Well it turns out they do have a hunting section and it seems to have some nice stuff. But the point was that a lot of these places make up crap so we can play dress up. We own boots which don’t keep our feet warm, we buy camo jackets which only serve to make our corpses harder to find when we freeze to death, etc. When we do make value judgements on things, we don’t make them because they’re rational or just, we make them because we want to play dress up and this camo is more military than that camo, etc. I realize this flies in the face of the plea above saying that barring egregious offenses to the general morality of society (murder), we simply shouldn’t care.

As above, so below, or what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If we say that something is crap we should ensure that we ourselves can pass our own judgement. This is why I’m not huge on EMS or Cabelas either. There might be good stuff there, it might work as advertised, but it’s overpriced and therefor it is vanity. My favorite hunting jacket is still an M65 Field Jacket. It’s warm, it’s built correctly (who in gods name thought velcro was smart to put on tactical stuff?), it’s camo, it’s got pockets in the right places and the best part is that they’re $20 when they’re on sale. Can’t be beat. But this is a good example of the middle road. Traps are on each side of the line. It’s possible to be too permissive as it is to be too iron fisted. How do we maintain the middle ground? We examine ourselves and we judge.

New TLD

From: josh.knarr@gmail.com (12.150.11.25)
First Name: Joshua
Last Name: Knarr
Email Address: josh.knarr@gmail.com
Affiliation: Straight Male
Country of Current Residence: United States
Subject: New TLD

Message: Gentlemen,
I would like to propose a .gay domain. Think we could do this?
Thanks,
Josh


Dear Sir/Madam:
Currently there is no application process for new generic top-level domains.
Please monitor our website at www.ICANN.org for updates on when new applications for generic top-level domains will be accepted.
For information about the previous application period, please see the following:
<http://www.icann.org/tlds/>
Best regards,
IANA