Monthly Archives: February 2016


The puzzle always came up and faded out like a sizzle
to Nowhere, into nothing.
I sometimes told myself I’d think about it later.
Well later is now.

I once decided it was Undecidable.
Schools of thought unfairly better-informed
agreed to disagree, without me.

I knew, where knowledge grows, inside
that all of us had actually agreed
to be Wrong. We were sailors in a boat

who needed to think about things.
There could be no fourth dimension.
That water was never coming back,

at least not together, at least not soon,
at least not to the same river
but I couldn’t say why not.

Jealous maybe: we wanted to see it.
If we wouldn’t see it, we sent it away
even as we floated on it.

And more than an illusion or invention,
no more constructed than any other spittle.
We were really wet.

I went measuring with my teacup,
Measurement. It came back full of ticking.
That I couldn’t drink, but I held on to.

I sloshed it in my chest,
where it evaporated,
and then I was too afraid to look further.

My heart’s tiny cousin, little charge,
zapper–he marks out always everything,
prints page page page of atomic headline news:
i am, i am not, i am again.

When the teacher asked
I again dipped my ear–
the ticking is a clicking!

In each click a wave, broad answer
arriving all at once. Grows and shrinks me
by the same amount in Options as each crashes.

This is it then, this shifting of news from place to place.
Eternal placid revolution
from there to here.

I know you, Time:
you are Information gained,
irreversible, esteemed, and marked by nothing but yourself.

My little boat can see the shore now
where the sky and the ground are in balance
neither of them an enemy, as she lands.

Peace and Answers!
found in a ticking heartbomb,
with a 4D-graph that’s just this fact:
it has made every beat it’s made.

Stopping ADHD in the street

Excuse me, do you have a second for me to tell you about a new dimension? I think you’ll like it. Mostly I like to keep my dimensions to myself, but this one I wanted to share with you. It will only take a second. Ok? Ok.

You know what a dimension is, right? Picture a long straight line you can travel on. What dimensions do you know? Left, right. One. Forward, back. Two. Up and down. Three. Those are the three dimensions we know.

Could there be other dimensions? Time, that’s one. How about another one? No, not one that I’m making up. I mean a new dimension, that’s real, that noone has heard of. What do you think?

(At this point in the conversation, sit back and learn from the audience. What’s the point otherwise?)

Now what about your attention? (Tap forehead, right between the eyes, and look as kooky as possible.)

I can move my attention in space, watch. I just bend my head, I mean I bend my neck, like this. Whoa! There it went. Whoa! Now now attention’s over here! Now it’s on you! Hold on, here it comes (grab head with hands and turn it) now it’s on you!

I can move it up and down, and forward and back. (Go ahead and enjoy this part as much as you can. It gets even better. For now just keep jumping around and keep the eyes on you.)  My attention is right here in my head so it moves whenever my head moves.

But! Can you move your attention without moving your head?

I will hold up my hands here. See, I’ve painted a dot on one of my palms. Now focus on the other hand, that doesn’t have the dot. Can you see it? Forget about the other hand. What dot, right? There is no dot.*

Now, without moving your head, shift your attention–can you do it without moving your eyes?–to the dot. No moving! You there, I see your eyes moving! No moving. You don’t have to see it. There are lots of ways to do this. Just move your attention to it.

There, did you get it? Then you can go back, back to the plain hand. Back and forth, back and forth, you can do this, right? (Wait for nodding.)

Excellent. Now we should rest, because that was hard work.

(No matter how I try to act this out, I am always interrupted at this point and told No! That was really easy. Once a girl told me she was about to bend me in half with her mind. I talked her out of it.)

Ok, that was easy? You can move your attention without moving your body, and it’s easy. Ok. Then tell me this: where did you move you attention?

You were moving it, right? Then you had to be moving it somewhere. But it wasn’t left and right, it wasn’t up and down, or in and out–it wasn’t time.

I call that a new dimension! What do you think?

(Again, no matter how I try to act this out to get them not to, everyone always agrees with me at this point, including one boy who said ok, but he also wanted to check what current leading scientific thought had to say about the issue.)

See? Your attention is yours, and only yours. You are the one that moves it. You’re the one that controls this dimension.

(It becomes hard to keep the focus of the audience at this point, because a lot of heads will be darting around like little birds, focusing on this thing, then this other, and other heads will be staring very hard at their shoes, probably growing imaginary wings, and in a very great hurry now to get on and make imaginary bicycles to ride, and imaginary swimming pools to swim in, and turn their hands into flippers and things like that. Which is what I do all day, so I can’t blame them.)

(So I just stop here and giggle myself, for what feels like a long time, but actually isn’t ever anywhere near long enough–enjoying the group of attentions fluttering around, and the smiles from the parents, before I call them back to my dot so I can say good-bye.)

(It is always very wise to giggle, but especially at times like this. Yes, we are still giggling, aren’t we all, at what we can do? Because we can see that this is very fun for everyone, to move in a new dimension. No, it’s not my idea. I wish I had come up with it. And yes, I am still giggling too, a day later. Inside. I can’t wait to stop. You go ahead, giggle too, until you don’t want to anymore.)

Give me a hug, if you please, and go have a great life.

(And then I run away…)


*There was a dot.

Sunday Drive Gone Horribly Awry

Now listen up good again, this is some more really good stuff coming up here in a minute.

Point both your ears this way, please, and listen, as I say: GET OUT OF THE VAN.

Hurry. We don’t know where its going. We don’t trust the people driving; we don’t see why they have to change drivers every 10 seconds. It seems it can hardly stay on the road, and yet we’re driving past the same things over and over! And the air, the ride, it’s making us nauseous. It’s too warm, and we can’t roll the windows down to breathe. Drowsy-burning semi-paralysis, that’s what’s rocking in this van. And the way everyone’s heads bob in unison as we go over bumps! Of course we could get out whenever we want though.

Shh, listen–isn’t that what the hum of the tires is saying? “Just a little farther, you can get out whenever you want, just a little farther, we’ll stop soon…”

I am here to tell you that no one else is going to say “Far enough.” Except me. “Far enough.” Now YOU say it. Get out of the van.


I’d be waiting, right there on the shoulder of the road where you jump out, if I knew where you were. I’d have balloons for you, and maybe a few of your family and friends. But I don’t know where you are; I don’t know your family and friends. I don’t even know you, or you me. And anyway, don’t you want to be alone right now? Wouldn’t you like to listen to nothing but silence, feel nothing but air on your skin, right now?

So I promise no party. You can make yourself some pancakes or something. Recover a little. Or recover a lot.

Hey, did someone just say ‘whatever’? ‘Whatever’ to air on your skin, ‘whatever’ to nothing but silence, ‘whatever’ to pancakes?

That’s because they are still in the van! Do you need me to shriek it? GET OUT OF THE VAN! I’m shrieking. I am screaming HURRY! NOW! and MOVE! and Before we all die! This van is going up in flames! I can scream that too. Do you need me to tug at your arms and legs hysterically? Would it help if I tried acting, and crying? I won’t leave you here, I am pleading. If you stay, I’m staying too. Please. I am saying that. Just like in the movies.

Can you lure yourself out of the van? With the promise of pancakes maybe?

You don’t need any pancakes! You don’t need anything. Just stand up, stand up, stand up and get out.

(If it’s hard, check back. I’ll post some things to help you.)

Thought’s Next Frontier

(That means you can skip this part.)

Break your mind open: you’re a label maker.

Written language and formal logic are inextricably intertwined; verbal language is a pre-requisite for many types of mental reasoning, we can theorize; many people believe that we cannot think much or at all outside of language.

Regardless, it holds that language is thought, and some thought, at least, is language.

In the real world, using logic –that is, reasoning with fixed sets of rules–is primarily an exercise in labeling. In the real world, using language is completely an exercise in labeling. Language is very much a logic, and vice versa–and need I say again that both are labeling? No.

Now your mind is open to see that you are a label maker, in a community of label makers.

Now the world is open as you see that every boundary, the line between the end of the mug and the beginning of the hand, e.g, is arbitrary, unreal, and human-defined.

Now you can talk to me, and use words like ‘mughand.’

Shh, pass this secret on: sports are not just sports.

As the professor would say, all of this should be review.


One Frontier of Thought

Now we all stand on the same pageidea. I have a request/proposal. It will same, I mean seem, even more lame than what I just said, but is important.

Some things can have two labels. From you.

That explanation of why this is not asinine to say will take me the rest of this article.

By two labels, I don’t mean synonyms. We all already use many words for the same label, facilely, and various words for closely related labels. I’m not talking about words.

So I’m not talking about different languages like Portuguese and Danish; I don’t mean lying, like calling a penguin a horse; I don’t mean subsets or supersets, like calling your lamp a yellow lamp or a light-emitting device*; I don’t mean changing your mind about something, like deciding that a cellphone charger is not a cellphone charger after all, but a broken cellphone charger; I don’t mean any of these things. And of course I don’t mean labeling two different things, or breaking your cell phone charger so that its label no longer applies. What I’m talking about is rather rare. One thing, two labels.

And emphatically do I not mean holding two opinions about something and/or seeing both sides of an issue, like saying legalizing smiling is both right and wrong, for various conflicting reasons, or in various different situations. What I am very weakly and carefully attempting to describe are our labels for what a single thing actually is, objectively; our explanation of a thing, to ourselves; the chunks of logic we use to describe different parts of the world, when we think about them.

Are you working on a good label for ‘label’ as I try to explain?

Get a good hold of it, maybe on an index card, and now notice that it has two sides. Because every label also defines what it is not, and what is not it.

Imagine yourself with a deck of such cards, ready to and currently categorizing the world. (You thinker you!)

Now that we’re all metaphored-up, what I am requesting here, so lamely, is to try folding a card without tearing it. On one side, one label for a thing; on the same side, but turned away at an angle by the fold, completely different label for the same thing.

Now perch your folded card on the tabletop and flick it like a miniature football at whatever arguments you wish, pegging each one right in the eye.

Here are some examples. (I find it is easiest to give two labels to things that we don’t understand.**)

Dreams: meaningless subconscious churning or meaningful symbolic communication?

Too far of a reach? Do you feel one must be wrong? Try this:

The external world: objective physical reality or simply our perception?
I agree!

Easier? No? How about this one, that’s about actual events rather than our take on something:

Divine creation in 7 days via evolution?
Sorry I wasn’t there to see it happen!

Still no? Here, try a classic:

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Maybe? Or for those who like potential worlds:

The next President of the United States is right now many people.

Future paradox doesn’t bother us as much, does it? Even though only one person will be president, so this doesn’t make any more sense than the other examples.

If all this is still too rarefied, look back:

What do labels define?
Both what they are not, and what is not them.

Quite different things, but equally exactly one single thing that is always defined by labels. This example should convince you that I’m not just playing with words. Paradoxes are part of logic. Necessarily. There is no arguing with this. In fact, they’re a good healthy important part, that we can and should think and use, like all the rest of logic. Think and use paradox.

One more, sort of a beginners version:

Did I put my foot in the sock, or did I put the sock on my foot?
I did both at once!

Now you see how good you are at this game already, I hope. We all have room for growth until we’re dead. You can practice it until you think your blankets actually make you cold, or that your sandwich is eating you. At that point take a break.***

If I might switch metaphors, imagine your label is a figure skater going to spin. It turns slowly at first. Chicken. Could be. Egg. Could be. Chicken. Egg. Then, like the skater, it tightens its form and accelerates–chicken egg chicken egg–until it becomes a blur, that by certain standards of measurement could not be said to facing in any direction at all. A blur, that by certain standards of measurement could be said to be facing in all directions at once. When your mind can pirouette like this, you have achieved—chickenegg. It really is both.

Zen koans will now melt in your mind like cream cheese in a laser beam. I’m a little sorry to have ruined them for you, but this is what they were for. Quantum physics will no longer make more sense than regular physics except for the paradoxes: it will just make more sense than regular physics.

Again I want to assert that I am not just playing with words: the physical world at the tiniest and greatest levels even agrees with me, and that’s a pretty big endorsement. And its also a pretty big demand, and my reason for trudging through this banal discourse: we have reached the point, with some questions of scientific inquiry, where we cannot proceed without paradox. The only question is whether you want to come along, or throw up your hands, say “Undecidable!” and go to bed early. I like both approaches.

And isn’t this also selfish of me to suggest? Because when we argue next, you are sure to see my point of view.

Let me leave you with some evidence of a bight future: a little girl had this math problem on her homework: 78 x 43. What was her answer?

78 x 43 = 78 x 43
*which it is, and you can, I mean already do, usually with great benefits. But those are two different things you are labeling.

**If you want to try your mindhand at redefining some things you already understand, that’s for extra credit. Let me know how it goes.

***And I would not try folding a label more than once, only because down that path lie ideas like “My blankets are giraffes.”




(that means you can skip this part too)

I have written books about the limitations of thought, the nature of thought, the joy of thought, thought combat, types of thought, expanding thought, healthy and unhealthy thought, sources of thought, the meaning of thought, the mechanisms of thought, and of course, the application of thought. And several others I don’t want to list here. And now we come to the frontiers of thought, about one of which I have just written more. What will I do with all these books? I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it.

some words never change

-some words never change! hallelujah!
-takes a big man to eat that other particular word
-that word we send up like a firework
-that word we splash around in like a lake
-that word we wrap around us
-that word sends out a beam that comes with its own darkness around it
-that word is irresistibly fulfilling
-that word rends us, in a way that we feels unbelievably good
-that word is a plate of steel thrown up in front of us
-that word is the joyous person’s holding pattern
-that word flips when you see what’s behind it
-but THAT word is really really REALLY old and really really REALLY special
-but that one too
-that word is a history lesson with instantaneous tears
-that word tells you about all the words that came before it, and why
-ok, that word was eight pretty rare words at once–who is teasing me?
-that word does an important job, and makes it easy for us
-that word sounds like an order, but isn’t
-that word is a reminder that somehow adds to our understanding
-that word changes the meaning of defiant

Additive Literature Part 2

Some texts (potentially all of them?) are complete, or complete-in-themselves, as a German philosopher would say. It seems they become so as more readers love them; they cannot be extended, shortened, changed in any way; nor can we look for something in them and not find it.

And yet time passes, and we change. Our part of the text, its image/representation in our minds, as a German philosopher would say, therefore changes also, being the crop of the same seeds grown in a new earth.

This is the natural selection of ideas, that some should no longer grow, being no longer cultivatable; that others should flourish or grow anew.

But love is a mechanism in this process too; some texts we refuse to abandon, with or without reason, coddling them instead at great expense. To our sense.

Interpretation is the endless toil of these devoted, and not unrewarded, as we all stroll through the pastoral gardens they maintain. There is, however, an easier way.

This way we forgot, in desperate times; besieged by those who would destroy an idea, we were forced to protect it; when these crusaders receded, we did not recall that it was natural, strong, wise– to let it change.

To Forgive Divine

Dear Uncle Harris,

I’m writing to say that I can’t forgive you for cheating at checkers when we played last weekend. When I got up or more hot chocolate, I saw you hid two of my pieces in your pocket-thingy, and then later when my favorite commercial came on, I’m pretty sure you kinged a piece of yours when I wasn’t looking. It was nowhere near my side of the board, and it wasn’t even your turn.

When I asked you about it, you yelled at me and said I didn’t know how to play checkers right. Which I guess I should tell you I can’t forgive you for either. I guess you know how to shut people up when you don’t want to hear what they’re saying, huh. Worked on me.

But I’m still thinking about it. I want to forgive you, and not just because people say it is the right thing to do either. Because I like playing checkers with you, and I think you like it too. I just wish we could play and just be nice to each other again. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work? Since I’m littler than you and can’t make you stop, I should forgive you, and then we can keep playing.

But I can’t forgive you, because to forgive means to pull out some invisible log book where you keep track of everyone’s good and mis-deeds and cross some misdeed off

UNCLE HARRIS………………………………………………….. Cheated at checkers. At least  twice.

but I don’t have any invisible log books. Who does? How would anyone decide what to write down in it, and what just to leave out? It doesn’t make sense. Is there a special pen?

So I guess we’re not going to play checkers anymore, unless someone teaches you that it’s not a good idea to cheat. There probably are books about that, or there should be, if there aren’t. Everybody knows if you want someone to act better all you have to do is show them that acting better is a better idea. You shouted me down though.

So here goes, Uncle Harris: cheating at checkers is not a good idea!! Really not!!

Maybe someone else wants to play a different game with you called “See if you can catch Uncle Harris cheating.” I have played that type of game with littler kids and it’s fun for a minute or two. But not as fun as actual checkers.*

There’s one other thing that might help–if you want to talk to me about cheating, about you cheating, really. I don’t find cheating that interesting, it’s just that if you talk to me about it, it might change my expectations of you. Because until I feel like I can expect you not to cheat again, I don’t want to play with you.* So that might help.

If that happens, and I no longer think you are an abomindable-dirty-rat-fink-conniver, I guess someone else might say that I have forgiven you. But I won’t have, because I really don’t care about your good-deeds-minus-bad-deeds-score. I just want to have fun. And play checkers. With you. Maybe that means I forgave in advance. That would make sense, right? I mean, Jesus died for your sins already. I can’t forgive you again. But I still don’t want to play with you until you play right.




PS: I don’t need to say that this letter is fictional and has no relation at all, let alone any that are actual persons alive or dead because it is a LETTER.


*These two paragraphs are a perfect example of good education, right? I shouted at you, then tried to belittle you. Just like school.

**Maybe I am a logbook, even though I don’t have a logbook! Look out.





Hey, if you want to take 2000 years of bad logic apart, I say do it with a transexual!

Salah Hassan shares ethical lessons learned in Abu Ghraib


“…Al Jazeera journalist Salah Hassan about his torture by U.S. forces inside the facility. To date, no high-ranking U.S. official has been held accountable for the torture at Abu Ghraib, but Hassan and other former prisoners are attempting to sue one of the private companies, CACI International, that helped run the prison. ‘Throughout my detainment in the solitary cells, there was an interrogation every two or three days,’ Hassan says. ‘During these interrogations, we were subjected to many psychological and physical torture methods.’ –-Democracy Now

torture1Salah Hassan shares ethical lessons learned in Abu Ghraib. This is not a picture of Salah Hassan. You should know that.

*There is no God but the one, true God.

*Every master is a slave, to something greater than both master and slave. This he cannot see. It is like the constellation Americans call the Big Dipper, which ancient Egyptians saw differently, as a bull, into whose ass the head of a man is inserted, that man’s feet being held by a hippopotamus wearing a crocodile.

*Each man is wormscum, compared to every other man.

*A violent man is weakened by every blow he deals, while his target is strengthened. This he cannot see, but that’s ok, since it doesn’t matter anyway.

*Horrific events are not actually much worth discussing, once those perpetrating them are stopped. But until that time there is nothing else to do with life, except seek justice. And nor should there be: this is the mission evil gives us, and no matter what happens, this mission does not fail, only last too long.


This is also not a picture of Salah Hassan, which you should also know.

*A man can appear to make a decision when in fact he has not. True forgiveness, it turns out, is found in infinite pain. I pray God noone ever learns this ever again.

*Although we might not think so, safety is a concern few of us have in everyday life. The dictates it issues are unlike any other desire, or need. They resolve all other questions, instantly and permanently. When safety is a concern, there is no need for arguments, or consideration, or confusion–which one can learn to be very grateful for. In this way the search for safety is like a directional beam, a laser, etched into our physical selves by pain. It points always to whatever path will stop the pain, permanently.

*Every injury at the hand of another man is an opportunity to strengthen one’s ability not to hate. This does not require sympathy. Right and wrong are not feelings. The world has given us a nice line called “insanity”: we need only place those who would use a human being as a weapon against himself on the other side of it. We need look no closer, no further, than that. If we wanted to, we might see that those abusing us were supremely ignorant. What good is that, though? Since we can also put ourselves in their shoes, and see that we would have behaved much differently. Did we not ourselves tell them that they were wrong, many times?

*The true essence of a man is his survival. All else can be taken from him. His knowledge of his own existence, his morals, his will to his best effort even–all this can be taken from him, and still he will go on, himself somehow. In such situations, ‘giving up’ has no meaning.

*It is hard to comprehend the destructive power of lying until it has been used to destroy your mental reality. (Afterwards it is easy.)

*Every little drip of life–every soda pop, every walk down the sidewalk, every set of clean clothes–is a priceless treasure I hope no one else understands the amazing value of. This is hard to make anyone understand–that they shouldn’t. Meanwhile they think they understand already. Perhaps it is clearer to say that to stand in a crowd and stretch one’s arms above one’s head, alone in this gesture, and yawning: there can be no joy greater than this. All of God’s love and power is in it.


PS: Almost everything you’ve ever worried about is meaningless, or close to it. Sorry.



PS: Dear Mr. Hassan, obviously I’m not a journalist and never spoke with you. I don’t expect you are probably even half as religious as my version. Good luck with your trial!




now I get to have pudding!

The Cap of Human Kindness

You can’t see it, but it’s there.

Those people alive and walking around in the world who have had the experience of having their lives threatened by another human being, or been homeless, or tortured– those who have found themselves in a situation where there was no aid– remain for life markedly different from those they walk among.

The rest of us live in an illusion (many of them actually, and good God how I love them all!) of our fellow man’s protection. A warm knit cap made of assumptions about what people will and won’t do covers our eyes, and we’re better for it.

So comfortable is this cap that those who have had it torn off will conjure and wear its ghost. If you miss your cap, come find me, and we can have coffee and pretend you have one. Consider me, even from this distance, one funky piece of yarn laid right on your head and sticking diligently in your hair.

But removed by distance even as I am, I say to you, eyes closed, hands on your shoulders if necessary: that eyes in these cold heads will see things others can’t; that the other webbings of this world cannot snare the feet that they direct; that no obligation can limit one who has seen his own obligations all forfeited on; that nothing can ever again control him without his consent.

McGill, Ohio


I spent a few hours in McGill, Ohio yesterday talking to people about windmills. Regular people. Who just happen to live under windmills.

You know, not one of them could tell me how much electricity one of the towers they lived under produced? None of them had any idea. They knew that each blade was the size of a school bus.

They cause traffic, they kill birds, you can feel the hum of them–even indoors the air shimmers and flattens a little with it. Everyone was mostly happy with the money. They’re all owned by big foreign corporations, and that’s frustrating of course, big foreign corporations being nothing to tilt at.

BUT aren’t they beautiful! Like prayer wheels to aliens, who probably wonder what in the world besides religion they could possibly be for, spinning so ponderously as they do. With their brakes on, in the high wind.

Stand underneath of one and look up and watch it swing down towards you, they said. That is something, they said. They weren’t wrong.

I am not the last in the pack, but I’m definitely somewhere close to the back of the pack of people who would discourage an effort* to procur energy cleanly. On the other hand, I do like to be one of the first in the pack to point out dogs that don’t bark.

Two such dogs were clearly not in evidence [lol] under those windmills.

Dog1: If this is the technology that is going to save future generations, why isn’t anyone saying so? If I knew how to make a giant piece of steel was going to save the world from drowning, just by spinning there so gracefully with no help but my occasioning mowing around it, like I already do my crepe myrtle, I would never shut up about it. I would build an earthbound windmill out of 15,000 Rockettes and sweep the nation with it. Children would be born already knowing how much electricity my windmills produced.

But instead, no one knew. People who had signed papers with the electricity producers and host them in their backyards had no idea what the actual environmental impact was. I guess it just never came up?

Or, could it be . . . that . . . especially for the money . . . they don’t work that well?

(Ok, most people don’t host them in their actual backyards, but their discontiguous spare land, which was actually someone else’s backyard. Isn’t that a neat solution to a classic problem?)

Dog2: You’ve seen how people who are making money act, right? You know, that special intensity that appears in human behavior when there is serious money to be made? A sort of scrabbling greed, a lot of furious activity behind closed doors, kind of thing? They tore up the northeast with it, sucking gas out of the ground as fast as they could. Trucks in and out all day, combovers with blazing pens from here to the horizon. Because electricity is expensive and massively profitable, and you have to get it before someone else does, whether it’s bubbling slurry or land rights.

As far as I could tell, wind has none of this. I mean, a lot of those spinners are often OFF? Just as a quick comparison, do you know what happens when oil wells stop pumping? Haha, yes, we depose governments, very clever of you to say so, but I meant oil wells here in the States.

We drop men in frog suits out of helicopters into the freaking ocean to start those babies up again, that’s what we do! Because that oil well is making us money . . . not just by HAVING BEEN DRILLED THERE, but by making oil.

I mean, releasing it.

So I’m calling Monorail. On the whole giant windmill operation.

If it turns out that no one minds whether windmills are functioning or not because the people investing in wind energy are just . . . better people than anyone else who has ever tried to make money off of energy, with a disdain for worldly concerns and an extra-extra-long view, I will personally lead a solar-powered four-wheeler parade for them, right through McGill and around each and every stunningly elegant prayer wheel, off or on.

Wait, or maybe not–because in that case, aren’t their moral altitude and lack-of-concern-for-profit keeping clean power off the grid? In which case I guess the appropriate response would be a … I don’t know what. But I don’t much care for people with that much power whose disdain of worldly concerns extends so far as to include actually saving my planet.

A field of two hundred or so 328-foot towers is not an experiment fostering the growth of an industry. It’s a huge setback for clean energy, unless it works. If your technology isn’t good enough to even make you money, get the heck out of here with it. Make room for someone whose technology is, and leave me the birds and the bees.

OR, if the technology is that good, it had better hurry up, shed its inferiority complex, and start making that serious money. My Reese’s Peanut cups melted in the car yesterday, and I was in Ohio in February. (It sucked; I really wanted one.)

Meanwhile, the wind was tearing parts off of skyscrapers in nearby Chicago. Gusts in McGill were up to 50 mph. One almost knocked me down when I tried to get out of my car, to talk to these people.


Note: The Global Wind Energy Council says that an onshore wind turbine with a capacity of 2.5 MW can produce more than 6 million kWh in a year – enough to supply 1,500 average EU households with electricity. I was told that the windmills I saw had 1GW generators.

I think they have to be on though. Yes, the Council (I have no idea who these people are, so read carefully and enjoy: the page title was “Wind turbines are less efficient than other energy sources”) goes on to say that a modern wind turbine typically generates 15-30% (or more) of its theoretical maximum output over the course of a year.

Each of the windmills I saw, I read in the local paper, costs about $2 million and can supply enough energy to power 500 typical Ohio homes. Which means each maybe supplies maybe enough energy to maybe power 15% of maybe 500 “typical” Ohio homes. Is that good?


This little guy, by the way, besides being adorable, and Chinese, claims 87% efficiency. This is compared with 42%-60% efficiency numbers I saw for the giant turbines installed in McGill. He probably costs less than $2 million. I would put him in a cage though, so he can be closer to people without worrying about his blades coming of. This did happen, once, with a McGill turbine, but no one was injured.

He is very cute. I am going to name him Momo. Spin, Momo, spin! Make me money!


I hope you enjoyed this exercise in some different kinds of evidential reasoning as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now please go save the planet with your brains before we all die.


*Negation triple Salchow! Good for your mind.

Your Grass Actually is Greener, Actually

It used to be, in America, that money was not enough to buy things–that even if you had $2, or $5, there were some milkshakes you could not have. We took care of this problem with a little thing called the civil rights movement.

Are there yet still places in the world where money is not enough? Where even with sufficient funds, a non-citizen, for example, cannot purchase land, or credit? Here in America we know much better than to prevent anyone from buying anything, especially if they’re foreign. And tell the Economist about anyone else who doesn’t.

I imagine myself a country overrun by, or surrounded by countries full of, hungry people. Among them there are individuals, or groups, who either have, or can obtain from banks, sufficient funds to make investments. Aren’t I starving them if I prevent them from doing so within my borders?

And isn’t the expense of welfare the understandable reason good governments restrict immigration in the first place? Then what kind of end run around sense is it to instead fence these individuals in and bankrupt myself providing the same services I would if they were citizens? Give them some kind of status and send them to the bank!

Carrying Your Mug*

I’m carrying your mug with me
from West Virginia down to Tennessee
It was nice of you to lend it to me
I’m carrying your mug with me

It’s still yours–it’s not mine
But still I’m glad I didn’t leave it behind
I’ll bring it back clean too just wait and seee
I’m carrying your mug with me.

I’m carrying your mug with me
I’m not in West Virginia or Tennessee
I’ll be using it to drink coffee
I’m carrying your mug with me

I have a pile of them–there in the back
They roll around a lot but never crack
Sometimes one get lost under the seat
I’m carrying your mug with me.

If you want you can–stop by my house
Sneak in quiet as a welcome mouse
Take any mug you find there for freee
I’m carrying your mug with me.

I’ll be gripping it tight–in my hand
It makes the time away easier to stand
I’ll be home eventually
I’m carrying your mug with me.


shoutout to my dear friend who taught me about the Bernoullian motion of stuff

In the face of adversity


For some reason, the Grammy’s appear to have been broadcast live from hell this year. Wait, every year?


I have no idea how to put this in words, lol.

I told the lady at the McDonald’s drive-in about it, and she seemed to get it, but then she laughed.

I want to tell you that two things meet, and they do meet, I swear, but it’s difficult to say so, because I have no idea what they are.

Here! Let me grab this lifeline. Once I had a nice discussion with someone else anonymous about whether we are doomed to repeat everything endlessly. Does life go around in circles, he said. Are we a snail on a football field, he said that too.

Ok, there’s a good example someone of talking about something you-don’t-know-what-the-heck-it-is that we can all learn from. What goes around in a circle? Nothing, right? It’s a figure of speech.

He meant that events repeat, and we imagine time is a line, so if events repeat, the line would be a circle, if you stopped pretending the line was time and instead pretended the line was a timeline.

Makes sense to me.

So I’ll just carefully introduce another dimension onto said timeline, right here. And . . . not know at all what that dimension is. Consternation.

Going back to the snail man for help, I desperately notice that he said we would be forced to repeat everything, which implies that the entirety of this timeline, or at least enough of it to make a decent circle, somehow has something to do with us.

I can do this! I see it now!

SOO imagine his circle arranged vertically, like a … a . . . vertical circle . . . like the SUN in the sky–oh wow that is almost criminally misleading. Pretend you didn’t read that . . . like the frame of a round mirror on the wall. That’s not misleading at all, right? Rather informative on a metaphorical level, even.

We are an ant, walking the frame.

Sometimes we are at the top, sometimes the bottom then. You already know that. I can leave that out.

Oh noo, I’m not going to make it! Again I am foiled by earthly geometry!

Ok, I need a shape that goes from the middle down to the bottom, and then immediately to the top– yes, sure I already know what this is but I’m still typing about it! hold on– and then starts sliding down to the middle again. You’ve got it, right? Now connect the two middle points where it starts and ends. What do you call one of those?

I’m sorry, the rest of this entry has been censored. I don’t even know by whom.

(And I had to change the title, the metaphysics joke was not that good.)

The end or something. Aren’t you glad you read to here?

The Bubble Leading the Bubble (Measures of Impatience)

How fast can you measure the temperature of the glass of a window on the other side of the house?
What if you have only a fixed amount of time to do so, and I pick the time?

Forget the budget.

If I gave you an hour, you probably be accurate to one decimal place?
If I have you a week, four or more?
If I gave you minute, could you get there to point one of those laser guns at it in time?
If I gave you two seconds, would you just guess from here? I think you’d have to.

Perhaps, just perhaps? we should stop measuring a high school’s ability to educate by counting how many of its students are immediately accepted into a four-year school? Or their SAT scores? Or one of my favorites, how many lightbulbs per student are in the building? How about we wait ten years and see how many of them are employed, and how gainfully, vs. how many are incarcerated, by the state or by debt, and base some funding on that?

And I meant the outside of the glass.

Impatient measurement plagues most American institutions. Measurement, remember, used to be much more difficult than it is any more; what is rushing now is what used to be our best effort. I feel the pain of the same people I’m challenging– funny how large self-reinforcing systems always find it difficult to fund introspection. Or not funny. So resources are always limited, but we can still lean towards taking more time when making determinations about “what problems there are”: not spending the time ourselves, but waiting, for the outcomes actually to happen. In our attitudes and interpretations at least, we can do this, and this is where change starts. Spend the money; get it right.

Shoutout to my father for complaining about our focus on “money in the hand.”


It’s finally time for youth across America to join together and start wearing, listening to, and adopting African stuff because it is cool.

The import system between here and there is so desiccated that real/good African music/culture is actually HARD FOR US TO FIND. How many things can you say THAT about? Even if the music wasn’t enough to make you fall on your knees and weep, the very exclusivity should be enough to get the teenyboppers mobbing. You’d better bet mom and dad don’t understand!

Modern young person, are you obsessed (whether you know it or not) with how ideas disperse and what’s trending? Well, did you know that African culture is our own, reflected in an ancient, foreign, incredibly good-willed mirror? Imagine classic MTV shown on a tin-can telephone made of fruit cocktail. Lots for the mind to do there. (It used to take approximately ten years for an idea to make it from here to there and come out in the pop media. I think it still takes several years.)

Modern young person, have you been primed by your upbringing to desperately seek validation from all available sources? Well, how often have you come across a cultural reference to yourself made by someone who dances a lot better than you ever will? Could there be more wholesome font of positive reinforcement?

Modern young person, if all this gets complicated for you at times, don’t worry, because all of African pop culture is about one simple thing: AFRICA IS THE FREAKING BOMB. That’s it. Always there. And all of it agrees on this–how appealing is that? Don’t ask why!

I remember when I was twelve–I hope this trend was broad enough that I’m not dating myself–everyone who was anyone in the lunch room had to have a tie-dyed shirt and know the lyrics to CCR songs for some reason. This is the bar a fad among this age group has to jump, is all I’m saying.

(But it was good, because it taught us about the Beatles.)

Just on the slim chance that there are those among you in search of fashionable new ideas, have you recently pointed your focus group binoculars at that so overlooked….err, entire continent? Maybe there might be a few there. Their very names, I promise you, will be the freshest things you’ve ever heard.

And if you make money, even a ludicrous amount, don’t even worry it*. I mean, send me some if you want. But who cares? Because of what else will you be doing. Let’s not even speak of it because we’re so excited.

For the rest of us, best bet is to head down to your local ethnic music store.**

TEKE! Ok, I admit it, I’m not that young anymore. Does anyone still say TEKE?



**Starter kit:

Additive Literature


Artifact 1: Once upon a time there was a girl who had a little dog named Toto.

The time was uncertain. The girl we don’t know much about. The dog was definitely named Toto.
I think maybe the girl was probably black.
Her dog represents the importance of being small and hairy.
For a girl to have her own dog was unusual, in those days. This girl was probably shunned and spurned because of it.

Artifact 2, discovered later: There were three grown women too, along with the girl. All of them were more powerful than she. Two were dark, but one was not. There were also some strange men here and there.

The two dark grown women represent Doubt and Disliking Dogs.
The not-dark grown woman we can identify with, when we’re not identifying with the girl.
The women were more powerful than the girl because the girl was born a vile sinner.
Hey, girls, women and strange men can all get along, you know, if they are nice to each other.

Artifact 3, found by a magic search engine hidden in a cave that has subsequently disappeared: ALL OF THEM WERE ROBOTS EVEN THE DOG


Artifact 4: The girl was lost and couldn’t find her home. One of the women and some of the strange men helped her find it, with the aid of a hot air balloon.

See Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. Not sure why.

Artifact 5: The girl teleported home on the power of her ruby slippers, which have also disappeared.

Were the ruby slippers robots?

couldn’t resist: follow the yellow-brick road to the truth

PS: sorry i’m late; i was resting.

Much For Who(m)

The challenge of the modern thinker is not what to say, but where to say it. We have at our disposal in infinite number of digital outlets; a rampantly increasing number of human hearers; every possible medium DIY.

We can cherry-pick the audience; cherry-pick our degree of control over the audience; target our ideas to 358 carefully selected individuals dispersed around the globe, or shout across the grocery store at the top of our lungs; nail a poster on a telephone pole or hide out on some exclusive online porch.

We can insist on sense, or on nonsense; soothe or anger, or ignore; we can pretend any part of the world doesn’t exist, with our messages, and who is to say that it does? Someone else.

Communication and sorting are not the same thing, but so much of communication is sorting that it is hard to tell the difference. Wellsprings we are, unflinchingly beautiful; our ideas rise up like oil through a many-armed golden lamp. Some evaporate, unnoticed; others we watch burn; some of these we call to someone’s attention. Our primary mechanism for achieving any goal is choosing which rivulet to ignite–the wellspring being unquestionable, constant–which flame to shield with our hand, or hands; and which eyes, with what knowledge behind them, to send it flickering in.



*I apologize for both the word “rivulet” and the word “ignite,” and apologize again for using them so close together.


BabyFischerLeapEinsteinFirst Product Representative Demonstrates “Conversation”

It’s the neatest. Little ones love love love it! Don’t worry, no no, don’t worry about writing any of it down. They will definitely learn the alphabet eventually: there is no doubt about it! No no no no! N-O! Haha! You sweeties! No worrying!

Little ones need control, don’t they, moms and dads? They have to have their little control. But it’s ok! We can handle it! By physically removing ourselves from them–easy! And then we can be with adults, right? Who also need control, ha ha ha! But it’s BIG control, isn’t it. BIG.       little!    little.        BIG.

Ok little darlings, here’s the idea. Let’s write it down, so we can practice our letters:


Very very good! Again? What do you think? Should we say it again? No? Ok, then. Are you sure? I really like it. I’ll just write it again, but we won’t say it this time:


Thank you; that was fun for me. So is talking like this! I love to talk like this, because it makes me feel so close to everybody. Look, I can hug you with my voice while my hands are free, as I will now demonstrate. Watch, my little listening snuffle pumpkins, and feel my voice-hug, as I wash dishes, clothes, laundry, a dog, this car, this carseat, these carseat attachments, eight peanut butter jars, and all these superfluous transition animations out of Jim-my-marketing-firm-partner’s PowerPoint presentations.

Huh, I can’t hug you with my voice while cleaning up Jim’s slides! Isn’t that funny? That’s ok though! Isn’t it, you silly little geese? Who’s a golden little cornmuffin? And who’s a silly goose? I can’t even tell! Whee! Forget Jim. I’ll just leave the Jim part out next time.

Uh oh! My precious little son/daughter/hostage, who/that* I brought along with me has something to say. What is it, my miniscule mote of joy? You . . . you don’t want me to forget Jim? Really? Why . . . hold on, is that why you are now pouring your juice on my laptop? And getting ready to scream? Forgive me, sweetie, but that’s confusing to me. And don’t make Jim all sticky-wicky! I mean, that’s a laptop, not a Jim, dam-

Excuse me, I really don’t know why he/she/it always does this.

Ok! Listen, please honey drop! Stop sugar biscuit! I’ll admit it! FINE! Although Jim’s visual aid preferences run a gamut larger than my tastes allow, his approach targeting under-served markets impresses me with its sheer innovative power while delectably leading me to reconsider the conclusion that my career decisions were completely self-serving and devoid of positive ethical impact! Because he’s right, even in an economic and social climate that incentivizes the consumer to turn his or her back on disposable goods, there are still those in the lowest economic standings who need Kleenex but don’t know it yet. The moment we discovered that the R-factor of a standard box is higher than that of than any comparably priced insulation will remain indelibly etched in my memory until the heat-death of the universe, perhaps longer. And the square-foot pricing models speak for themselves!

Oh I am so sorry, my honey-pickles, forgot myself there for a second.

What? Wha-at?! You LIKED that, joy-mote? A lot? You liked that a lot? You like it when I talk grown-up somet . . . when I occasionally demonstrate adult speech? Well, that just makes perfect sense, doesn’t IT!?!?!?!

Ok! Thanks for coming. Show’s over. Joy-mote, half the time we’ll talk like you, half the time we’ll talk like me, from now on. I’m really sorry I didn’t understand how alarming it must have been for you to watch me speak so differently with adults than I speak with you SOONER. MUCH MUCH SOONER.


If you don’t have children in your life, this is still fun: when you meet one, pretend they are a Liberal Arts Studies professor from Rutgers, or MIT, and just drop the biggest, craziest-complicatediest idea you can on them. I call it “college-bombing” them, and I keep an arsenal on hand, for others people’s children especially, when they are misbehaving especially especially. They will adore you for this to the point of bezerking, and benefit from it for their entire lives. Appropriate for all ages.

And while you are at it, adults enjoy it too.




Why Fashion Runs to Extremes

The intrinsic value of an item is a combination of the expense of its physical creation (small) and the expense of its invention (large). This is a nice alternative to market demand, which seems to me lately just a measure of manipulation, but maybe I’m too cynical.

The expense of a box of Kleenex, for example, is part the ground-up trees, and part the intellectual property of the inventor of Kleenex, God bless him or her.

The fashion industry (I mean 5th Avenue) stands out as an economy that sells purely intellectual property. The cost of the production is insignificant compared to the price–anyway the clothes aren’t meant to be worn more than once. It is the idea of the designer that one buys (would buy), exclusively.

And so, not knowing what an excellent example they are for a lecture such as this, those who earn their living from fashion chase each other around, stab each other in the back, tackle each other in dressing rooms, send spies with great sunglasses around in taxi cabs, and glamorously rob, cheat, claw and steal for the best ideas however they can.

They have to be newest; they have to be correct; nothing else. Because their existence as an industry depends completely, passionately, expensively on other people wanting to be seen by still other people as having had the right idea. That is the market force. There is absolutely no reason to buy a second pair of $20,000 shoes otherwise.

Most industries, to some degree, have their own market of ideas, less visually appealing and dramatic, less essential, but still mimicking the fashionistas. This is ridiculous. My toothbrush need not reflect my personality; neither is it a work of art.

And re-inventing-for-obsolesence, the primary tool used by producers to navigate the idea market, is just psychological gauging.

You probably already know that the auto industry changes the shape of the cars on the market dramatically every 5-10 years, intentionally, colluding to make older cars look old in contrast. And you probably already know that most players in almost every other consumer industry do the same thing. There’s no other way for them to support the difference between the price we pay for things and the price it costs to produce and transport them. They extract that value from our minds.

(No, I will not consider for a moment that you really thought hair product technology was actually improving as we discovered new polymers originally intended to cure cancer or coat the space shuttle. But I agree that a razor with 7 blades at least makes some kind of sense.)

I met a young industrial designer who had some great ideas about what the next car should look like. I won’t tell you these ideas, because they are his. But my idea was that he design the Final Car, the last (type of) car anyone will ever buy, that they can simply buy another one of whenever the last one is worn out. I pleaded with him to do whatever he could to design the Final anything, actually.

Because what does an idea market do to the ideas? It runs with them until they become to ludicrous to support. Because it’s hard to come up with a something new and great over and over when you don’t need to; because when a new great idea isn’t available, the purveyor just makes the last idea more and calls that new. Millions of famous terrible ideas were arrived at for this reason.

When your pants are huge, you are embarassing. When your car is huge, you are hurting people. Greed in, greed out.

Guess what? People have good ideas when new ideas are needed. People have bad ideas when no ideas are needed.

Maybe we can start, as first-world people, to accept that as far as ‘things’ go, we are ok. The things we have are good enough. Because even if you don’t care about the design of things that other people buy, you have to care what the manipulation of your needs is doing to your psyche. People have nostalgia for retro candy bar wrappers, for chrissakes, and feel warm towards a jar of peanut butter or whatever, just because it hasn’t changed. Just because it’s not trying to trick them.

The Worst Idea of the Decade

Lady to man: You need to quit doing things that don’t need to be done!
Man to lady: No I don’t! Don’t you dare say dat!
Lady to man:
Man to lady:
Lady to man: You are making a ton of dough doing this pointless shit, aren’t you?
Man to lady: No, no, I’m saving the world.
Lady to man: From nothing, you twit.
Man to lady, menacing: You call this nothing?
Lady to man: That’s you, you idiot! You can’t save the world from yourself!

Man: I had to stop you, you were doing it wrong.
Lady: What?
Man: You’re not ready yet.
Lady: Could that maybe be because you’ve been stopping me?

Man: I give you challenge–can you not be infuriated by me? This is very important.
Lady: What? Of course I’m not infuriated.
Man: No, that is wrong. I am trying to infuriate you on purpose. So you won’t be. And that is important.
Lady: Please see above and start over. Repeat until you understand.


Never, ever let anyone insult you and tell you that it’s for your own good; this is the definition of psychological abuse, something that used to be rare outside of cults, but now can be considered a “parenting style.” Consider when it was that anyone last said to you, “Yes, but I really think you can do better.”

I knew a single mom of three girls who called them b****es, whenever they were b****y, and was proud to do so, because she wanted to be real with them, which she was. While this idea has a lot of appeal, not the least of which was this mom’s relationship with and definition the word b*****, and her devotion to said word inspired my admiration, this idea never sat well with me.


and cleverness wins



A Cautionary Tale

Once there was a man who told too many cautionary tales. He couldn’t help it, really. Life had made him too aware of what could go wrong in almost any situation.

This man died, eventually, with many gray hairs on his head. At his funeral, noone knew what to say about him, except that he seemed vaguely worried about something.

The end.


PS: Try yodeling. Out loud.



Life of Perpetual Bliss FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about your Life of Perpetual Bliss, along with their answers.


Q: What’s so great about joy, anyway?

A: Life has many goals. Most of them are means to an end. We do A so we can do B, so we can have C, so we can feel D. Joy is the end goal of every sequence such as this. It’s the goal of every goal. And there’s no goal beyond it!


Q: Why doesn’t everyone know that about joy?

A: The word joy has a bad reputation. People have been talking about joy forever, but in the context of a lot of things we don’t agree with. Over the years, many people decided joy was not for them.


Q: What are some joy do’s and don’ts?

A: Do: Enjoy it! Do: Share it. Don’t: Talk about it.


Q: What kind of shoes should I wear in my Life of Perpetual Bliss?

A: The biggest, heaviest boots you can walk in.


Q: What is joy, exactly? I have so much of it!

A: Joy is a chemical in your brain.


Q: What if my joy starts to flag?

A: Sit down and have a cup of coffee. Then figure out what you are doing wrong.


Q: Can I really feel like this all the time?

A: Yes!


clear and bright and bored

not carrying a weight that doesn’t need to be carried

looking and seeing

it makes us happy too


we are in the right place

not much is happening

there is nothing we need to do

nothing we I want right now


there are things around me but nothing special

just the usual things that should be there

the usual sounds


not everything is ok

somethings are not

that’s normal


Where did all my time go?

We all are tasked with many different kinds of work, not all of which we are paid for. Likewise we have many different resources, only one of which is money.

We live in a state of obligation, either self-created or illusory: self-importance demands we act as if we are needed, somewhere, at almost all times. Truly, others demand our time often, often enough that mental closure leads us to believe this is always the case.

With perspective and attention, however, we can unflinchingly see how little we are needed; against this backdrop those obligations we do have become clear, distinct, and joyful. We learn that in between them we are free to let the world bump us around as it will. We have a word for this feeling: we call it “vacation.”

And in those in-between times, almost all of the things that usually bother us cease to; the people around us find us a delight. The feeling is mutual. And over time we seek ways to expand these times. I try to group all my obligations together and fulfill them in one dutiful chunk.

It’s not to shirk, or disconnect, but to soak more thoroughly in that type of time, when we are practically unoffendable, and to solidify the thoughts of its perspective. There is, in responsibility–especially when it is rushed–a special brilliance, but no inspiration. Fulfilling obligations requires thinking more akin to that of physical combat than that of prayer; those of us who seek to be inventive on command must learn to shift our thinking away from such as that. I think brain scans would back me up on this.

Freedom, then, is the key to accomplishment, and fear the only thing that robs us of our time. Negotiating this freedom within the groups we are a part of is scary, because self-importance wasn’t wrong: we do matter to many of those around us largely because of the jobs we perform for them. With calm heads, however, we see that personal relationships that cannot persist without obligation are not very personal at all, and that those who are important to us benefit more from our best selves than our labors.

Because our vocations are many, the impact of most of them will always be unknown to us; utiliarianism though espoused is undone by our limited perspective. You are now perhaps most importantly the car waiting patiently as others turn left in front of you; you are now perhaps most importantly clocking in and clocking out; you are now perhaps most importantly considering nothing over a cup of tea, as no one else can; you are now perhaps most importantly demonstrating careful and respectful ways to free yourself from obligation. Loving ways even.

Or perhaps you are just typing up your conclusions for noone, pointlessly fearing they aren’t already known, tied in a knot over the idea that they will be lost with you.

PS: Updated Feb 7, 2016. You might notice that this daily blog skipped a post last night. Right?

(it’s what outside that counts)

a tangled pile of hair

contains at least as much information

as a printed copy of any short work of Shakespeare


philosophers of all stripes ask who am I? what am I? they reduce. some of them are upset.


i was going to define human being. i was afraid to do so; i felt i should not just give this away. apparently there are other animals who would get their feelings hurt. let me instead define identity, in a way that works for human beings, that answers the question “who am i?” for all of us.

to do so well requires i first explain functional definition. that’s fun in any case. functional definition is just a way to define something that doesn’t have a name. sure, you can use it to build sets like “all roads that lead to toronto,” but you can also just name sets. functional definitions are more interesting when you use them to define things that are nameless because we do not know what they are.

this way, functional definition allows arguments to happen (thought-arguments, not shouting-arguments) that otherwise would be impossible because there are no terms for the concepts required. “whatever it is that makes us think,” for example, could refer to a mechanism, and/or a stimulus, and/or some third thing-we-do-not-know-what-the-heck-it-is. yet we can name it this way. functional definitions are a powerful way to be correct when we do not know things.

a key attribute of functional definitions is that they are quite precise in terms of distinguishing one thing from another, because one can precisely define the things that the functional definition takes as arguments (input-arguments), for example what makes us think versus what makes you think versus what makes me think. they really are functions, as in math, applied to some things to form others, and they can be written down precisely and logicked-over, in ways that preserve identity and prove distinctness, etc. etc.

identity then, our identity, mine. i am exactly the the experiencer of everything that i have experienced. my material form you can swap out piece by piece without changing this (rather, adding to it); should my brain cease functioning, this will not change; neither will it if keanu reeves wakes me up to show me that i am a disembodied organ in a vat. further, my soul has no arguments against the idea. do you?


PS: the philosopher with the idea closest to this that i have found so far is baker, and she calls her idea “first-person perspective.” but i came up with this without her; it is born of my experience. as far as “first-person perspectives” go, i guess i don’t see why other animals shouldn’t have their too.




Driving Tips from the Cold War Era

Let me begin on the subway.


A man sits, his three children running amok, grabbing others’ bags, yelling, punching at each other. He makes no move to stop them or to apologize. A woman standing nearby calls out: “Your children!”

“Yes, I know,” he says. “Their mother just died. What am I going to do? I’m so sorry.”


Let me next remind you of trucks.


Trucks1: flash your headlights, or highbeams if your lights are already on, to let another know that they can safely move in front of you and that you promise to leave them enough space to do so, even should this require holding back oncoming traffic with your car.

Trucks2: flash your emergency lights just twice say thank you to someone who has let you go in front of them, especially if they flashed their headlights to pledge that they would safely help you do so.

Trucks3: roll down your window, extend your arm, and make an L-shape (or reversed L-shape, if you are on the passenger side for some reason), curl and pump up and down your fist, to hear the horn.


Next I’ll share my ideas for eliminating traffic.


Traffic is caused by people having too much choice. If you want an enormous group of people to move quickly through a limited amount of space, take away as many of their choices as possible.

For example in a merge lane, the cars should alternate, one from the left, one from the right, and so on. Every person who has to decide if it is their turn has also to decide what kind of person they feel like being that day, weighing the relative importance of their forward movement against that of everyone around them and this takes a lot of time, during which we could all be moving forward.


At this point I will approach hazards.


In most states, it is illegal to drive more than 20 miles an hour under the speed limit without your hazard lights flashing.

It most states, it is illegal to drive without your headlights on if it is raining.

When you see a police officer crouched with his radar gun pointed at traffic traveling the opposite direction from you, continue driving as if you did not notice him until you are out of his line of sight. Then flash your headlights as much as possible at oncoming traffic to warn them. This is also illegal.


Let me conclude with a few words about politely avoiding danger.


If you are to the left of a car that suddenly finds itself behind a third car traveling too slowly, you might both be at a loss as to what is best for moving forward. Should you accelerate so that the car to your right may move behind you? This can be dangerous. Should the car to your right dart out in front of you? This can also be dangerous. Avoid both by slowing down (yes, you, in the left lane, slow down), and pulling behind the car to your right. This will let him/her know that he can safely pass the car in the lane you just vacated, with you on his/her tail, and you will both be clear of the slowpoke with a minimum of time and danger.

If you find yourself on a single-lane road with a car obviously in a hurry behind you, pull over as soon as you can, SMILE BIG, and wave as he/she goes by. We all have places to be sometimes, and varying levels of urgency. The goal of driving is for all of us to get where we need to when we need to. It is a common goal. This means sometimes you will be the one passing, but more often you will be the one slowing down, allowing others to pass.

Noone understands you.

Noone understands you.


I’m so sorry. I guess this hurts. But that’s just the way it is. For you. Like you are trapped in a dark room all by yourself. I imagine it’s very painful. I understand…err, I can sortof see how…I mean, I suppose, that’s what I do, I suppose you wish very much to be understood. I assume? I can and will suppose this for you. Since you cannot be understood.

Supposing it, I wish someone did understand you. Too bad noone does.

Not one single person understands you at all!

Oh no, telling you this like this might make you upset. Are you upset now? I really don’t know, because you are impossible to understand. But if so, that’s terrible.

I’ll try telling you some other things to cheer you up!

1) Death is certain.
2) I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s unlikely that I will hurt you on purpose.
3) Most foods are not poisonous as far as we know.

4) Prunes.

Did any of those cheer you up? Wow, it is completely impossible to tell!


Let’s pretend you said something. Then I would say, “Wow, I totally understood that!”

But I can’t understand you. Is that confusing? For you? How would I know?

Here, pretend you are a baby. Go ahead. How’s that? That’s fun, right? I wish I could tell.


Anyway, now you are a baby. And you see me. What am I?


See, that’s how babies are. Now, when you were a baby, you were supposed to learn that other people are different from you, not in an embrace-multi-colored-individuals way, but in a you-are-not-me-and-vice-versa kind of way.

But then you grew up and forget this. You had so much stinking experience that sometimes you accidentally correctly predicted how people would behave.* You thought you came to believe slowly that you could guess what people think. I’m guessing. Or even what they will think, in advance! like a little meteorologist. With our armsfulls of data collected from everyone else. We believe this probably by the time we are ten.

Noone can guess where a drop of water on noone’s windshield is headed. But you think you can guess what another person thinks. (I’m guessing.)



Just think for a moment–if I were you, I’d take a good long one– about what a human mind is. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. So big. So complicated. Like a rich humming carbonara sauce made of supernovas. Deliciously fascinating and huge.


You have no chance. I’m sure of it.


Now let’s look at a sample interaction, as proof. Can you guess what I would think?

You: Gee, that pasta looks great.

Me: ———




You: Gee, that pasta looks great.
Me: It is! Would you like some?

No! Wrong wrong wrong! You can intend an understanding for me, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get any! My understanding is all mine. None for you! I get to decide what I think about what you said, and I will do so on a tangent on purpose because I don’t like your guesses! And for fun. Like this:

You: Gee, that pasta looks great.
Me: Yes. Do you often like to look at pasta?


This makes me stronger, because I have the option to play along, but don’t have to take it. Lasagna.


Ok. In my last attempt to cheer you up, I will now tell you again that I understand all of the things that you say. To me. Additionally, I understand that you have not said, to me, all the things that you have not said to me.

And that is all you are going to get. From anyone!

I wonder if that helped any. It’s so hard to tell.




PS: it’s seed-starting time for those people who do those kinds of things.

PPS: I have a lot more to say about this. This is the crux of the matter. For me. As far as I know. At this time. So consider yourself warned, because I can’t. At least not in a well-supported way.

*Not me, I don’t do that. And anyway, this is actually less of an accident than it is them being polite.

What is a body?

What is a body, or a sofa?

What is health, or quickness?

What does it need, that I can take away?

What do you?


Who departs, or hides?

Who touches, and how?

Where does a smile come from, or finish?

What’s inside that counts?

Does anyone know a synonym for ‘plant’?

The preacher, the new age healer, and those who smoke too much weed are strangely united in the psychotic belief that their thinking can have an effect on objective reality. They are as it happens correct, but as it also happens all too frequently with far out ideas, they stopped thinking this through short of making sense.

There are many parallels between a brain and a plant: both rooted in one spot, mute, controlled by the chemicals they are full of, liquidly signalling to themselves. The alchemy of the brain, which commutes its thoughts into objective reality, is the same as the alchemy of the plant–namely, photosynthesis.

Exposed to an idea, the brain absorbs it, uses it to carry out a series of tiny structural and chemical changes within itself, and grows.

Of course the physical body can affect objective reality in a variety of ways, but it seems best to distinguish between these two kinds of changes.