inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #126 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 5 May 16 03:54
    
I don't get the Singularity...except as another spiritual dodge,
like Dianetics, and that kind of stuff. As brother Bruce likes to
say, "we are analog, they are digital". If A.I.'s ever have a
consciousness I doubt it will be like ours.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #127 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 5 May 16 03:57
    
Re Vidal's Creation, no, he leaves East to be East and West to be
West...but he paints the histories and cultures so that you can feel
and taste them...Silk Roads are for traveling back and forth, not to
lead to Babel. And I use that metaphor because Babel is where I see
stuff like the Singularity, the search for the Master A.I. algorithm
all leading...nonsense.

I'll be camping out with my grandchildren around the fire pit,
making Smores and telling stories. That's my singularity. Pass it
on.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #128 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Thu 5 May 16 05:07
    
Ted:  HA!! Didn't you *invite* me here to trespass on some "hallowed
ground" . . . <g>

What Gore Vidal is talking about (fictionally) is what many call the
Axial Age -- a term coined by Karl Jaspers as he tried to maneuver
humanity into a post-WW II world he would find acceptable
(non-fictionally).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_Age

The idea was that somehow around 500BC -- no, Jaspers never explains
why/how this happened -- *all* of the world's "Great Religions" got
their beginning.  His choice of the Buddha (c.  563 or 480BC--483 or
400BC) and Confucius (c. 551--479BC) and Socrates (c. 470--399BC)
makes them (sorta) contemporaries, thus his device of a traveler who
met them all.  But is that really the story (and was that really the
campfire)?

What this leaves out, of course -- as Vidal would not surprisingly
avoid -- were the parallel events occurring in the Levant and
Babylon, which perhaps tell us even more about what happened.  The
"Babylonian Captivity" following the destruction of the "First
Temple" is usually dated starting around 600-580BC (the accepted
date for the destruction of Solomon's Temple is 587BC).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_captivity

The reason why this is important, which Jaspers (and many others
miss), is that what provoked our enduring relationships to the
BUDDHA and CONFUCIUS and SOCRATES is *literacy* and that's what also
happened to the Jews once they were deported to Babylon.  They had
to write it all down, since catastrophic events could come along and
threaten everything unless there was some way to remember . . . !!

Yes, what has been left out, not surprisingly, is TECHNOLOGY and,
indeed, how it *changes* us.  This was also what happened to Julian
Jaynes when he wrote his version all this, "The Origins of
Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" (1976).  I got
to know Julian and might have been the last person to speak with him
about all this before he died.  In those discussions, he told me
that if he had the chance to re-write that book, he would have
linked the development of *consciousness* to the ALPHABET (and
credited McLuhan in the process) instead of volcanoes etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Consciousness-Breakdown-Bicameral-Mind/dp/0618057
072/

Fortunately, someone else *did* put all this together -- linking
Jaspers, Jaynes and McLuhan -- and his 1992 "Origin of the Modern
Mind" is where I generally ask people to start reading up on all
this.  Merlin Donald, who is now retired, was a successful
evolutionary neuro-psychologist, so his approach doesn't require
much wide-ranging "pattern recognition."

http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Modern-Mind-Evolution-Cognition/dp/0674644840/

What is remarkable about the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates -- or
should have been for a writer like Vidal -- is that *none* of them
wrote a single word.  Each of them depended, as did Christ, on their
"followers" to write it down, so that it wouldn't be forgotten. 
This reminds us of Plato's concerns about *writing* and MEMORY,
citing Theuth as he does in the Phaedrus.

http://www.units.miamioh.edu/technologyandhumanities/plato.htm

Others who worked on this include Eric Havelock, who, like McLuhan,
did much of his work in Toronto, although they never met there and
only later had a chance to compare (written) notes.

http://www.amazon.com/Muse-Learns-Write-Reflections-Antiquity/dp/0300043821/

We are constantly being "made anew" by the technologies we
habitually use.  There are essentially two approaches to that topic.
#1 you could try to take advantage of that and "get good at" playing
God by trying to "design" a better human or #2 you could do your
best to grasp how this works so that the "original" humans can
understand what is being done to them.

The first approach is the one that accepts the Faustian Bargain that
has defined much of the history of the WEST.  Meet the DEVIL,
negotiate for *wizard* power by trading your soul.  The second was
the approach of Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener and, indeed, is the
approach of the Center for the Study of Digital Life . . . !!

http://www.amazon.com/Goethes-Faust-Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe/dp/0385031149/
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #129 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 5 May 16 09:05
    
One should always trespass on hallowed ground occassionally, if only
to be sure it is hallowed...and not just a graveyard for vanity.
You've been most welcome, I'm loving this conversation and hope
others are as well...to which, I will be quiet and let others join
in...
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #130 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 5 May 16 11:09
    
> We are constantly being "made anew" by the technologies we
> habitually use.  There are essentially two approaches to that topic.

The ability to make distinctions is important. It's basic to thought,
language and even survival ('red and yellow, kill a fellow, red and
black, venom lack'). But not all distinctions are made over a clearly
BINARY domain.

The discipline known as 'systems thinking' comes to mind here. In an
important sense, systems thinking is a (mental) technology aimed
(one might say) at addressing the 'deep-seated repugnance' that's been
mentioned here a couple of times now -- namely:

> "There is a deep-seated repugnance in the human breast against
> understanding the processes in which we are involved.  Such
> understanding involves far too much responsibility for our
> actions."

The inter-relationship between 'human' and 'technology' strikes me as
being the result of a very complex adaptive system. The systems thinking
approach (with it's historical ties to Cybernetics and Wiener) might
also be of value. In part, because it could help avoid the 'us vs them'
debates that binary distinctions sometimes generate.

And in suggesting this, I don't mean to argue against explorations based
on your 'two approaches' point of view. Rather, I'm suggesting that
there might be additional points of view that might also be worth
exploring.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #131 of 195: Paulina Borsook (loris) Thu 5 May 16 12:56
    
hmm, the digital center website appears to be down...
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #132 of 195: Paulina Borsook (loris) Thu 5 May 16 13:06
    
ah it finally loaded, took about five minutes to do so. strange...
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #133 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Thu 5 May 16 13:10
    
Craig:  Sure -- the more the merrier . . . <g>

That said, I've worked with many "systems thinkers" and read the
work of many more and, from my experience, those I have known have
pretty uniformly been oriented towards my #1 alternative.  Might you
want identify some who aren't?  

And, just to complicate things, we have to remember that HUMANS are,
in fact, *not* a "system" (or even a "system of systems").  This
makes "systems thinking" -- if that's all you do -- potentially yet
another attempt to "systematically" exclude actual *people* from the
analysis.

Or, to put an exclamation point on this, any "systems thinking" that
purports to explain astrophysics and human behavior has got to get
one or the other (or both) quite wrong -- which is to say, this is a
real problem with those approaches based on "complex adaptive
systems" . . . !!

Another way of putting this is to recall John Culkin's 1967 "We
shape our tools and, thereafter, they shape us."  It is very *easy*
to find people who "shape" tools (for whatever purposes they can
imagine) and, commonly enough, they claim to be "systems thinkers"
but it is nearly *impossible* to find people who focus on how *we*
(i.e. the humans, who are not systems) are shaped by the
technologies we use.  

I suspect that this is a result of the "repugnance" that McLuhan was
talking about.  Wiener drew a similar distinction between a
"fascination with gadgets" (shaping tools) as opposed to the
potentially more constraining "intellectual courage" he thought was
needed (understanding how we are being shaped by technology).

This is why McLuhan named his book UNDERSTANDING Media, not MAKING
Stuff with Media.  The inclination to try to use technology to
accomplish a task can, of course, be rewarding (maybe even make you
rich and famous) but can that "engineering" be done *responsibly* if
you don't know what "changes" you are making in the people who use
your inventions . . . ??
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #134 of 195: Paulina Borsook (loris) Thu 5 May 16 14:21
    

mark, obvious question: who wants to hear about potential negative impacts
of technology? there are few folks who still get book contracts to write
about potential adverse effects --- but generally, nah...certainly doesnt
benefit transnational corps or ppl hoping to benefit (as consultants?) from
whatever the latest thing (not sure what that is. IOT and big data are
perhaps getting too far into the hype cycle).

you may not be aware of something called 'nextgen', which is a decades-
late/way-cost-overrun digital upgrade to air traffic control. in the algo
uber alles thinking, idea was to concentrate flight paths in order to save
some gas and reduce some airport congestion. the brilliant engineering minds
who came up with this -totally- left out of their equations NOISE impacts
--- so formerly quiet residential neighborhoods and open space and rural
areas --- now have hundreds of low-flying planes concentrated overhead (one
friend who lives in a formerly quiet neighborhood says there are now 200
planes flying low overhead daily, as if living under a BART train). i
coincidentally ran into one of the NASA engineers who has designed these new
improved concentrated flight-paths --- and asked 'what about noise impacts?
the old flight paths were designed to minimize noise and route approaching
and departing planes away from places where the noise would have a
deleterious effect'. she just glared at me and said nothing. ty-pi-cal.
noise impacts werent in the design specs... pesky humans (and animals, too,
i suppose, if they could speak)! getting in the way of perfectly sensible
algos! (ppl can search for the controversy about nextgen --- everywhere it's
been implemented everyone hates it).

what is the 'cui bono' in your efforts? who are you hoping will want to hear
about the results of yr endeavors?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #135 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 5 May 16 15:10
    
Slippage...#133 Re: shaping tools...

It is my observation that as the Stacks require sheep (giving
@bruces all the credit there) the same thing has transpired on the
ground...with what I call 'sheeple'...as corporations moved to the
WEB and went Digital they all got into Branding...and branding is
the right word for what has occurred to the sheeple who make their
Faustian bargains, as you have mentioned, with their corporate
overlords.  

These corporations want their customers to all have the same
experience in every location, store, and interaction with employees
all across the corporate platforms...and so, the employee becomes a
sheeple...they must trade their soul to the Company Store and look
and perform exactly as their branded avatar...

You can see this taking place all across corporate America, and I
imagine the rest of the world for all those corporations that put
Brand over people...our tools are shaping us, indeed!
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #136 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 5 May 16 15:57
    
<slips)
I tend to think of 'system thinking' as a set of techniques for examining
the dynamic aspects of a given domain rather than as a method of re-
defining it (which I agree might well be limiting).

Mark, given that you've described your number #1 alternative as having
"defined much of the history of the WEST" perhaps it's not suprising
that the self-described "systems thinkers" you have known lean towards
that alternative. I think Wiener himself demonstrated complete command
of all the techniques in question, and then some. I don't think of
"systems thinking" as a profession, though maybe it has become one.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #137 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Fri 6 May 16 05:49
    
Paulina:  Indeed!  "What's in it for me, Al Franken . . . ??"

In a word, DISRUPTION (which then compels some people to try to
figure out what is happening to them and their grandchildren) . . .
!!

#1 We are not living a world dominated by MEMES anymore, since those
were an *effect* of television (although many haven't gotten the
memo yet), as the Presidential campaign clearly informs us (despite
Amy Goodman et al's self-serving "listen to me" protests), so what
people thought would work just doesn't anymore.

#2 The WEST is indeed in steep decline (just as Oswald Spengler
warned us) and the EAST is "eating our lunch" (as Trump might put
it) -- which leads to all sorts of re-evaluations, some of which is
starting in National Security precincts etc.

#3 The ROBOTS are taking over -- just as Norbert Wiener said they
would.  This leads to all sorts of interesting reactions.  Some
think that they can promote "Open AI" so that the *robots* will all
incorporate some version of "Asimov's Laws" and not kill us.  HA!!

#4 We are heading into a situation in which only 30% of the US
workforce will have a paying job.  Some think that "Basic Income"
will address this but, of course, it won't.  As a result, nothing
that is being said by any public official about economic "growth" is
even remotely possible (yes, including Trump).

#5 Some in the tech-world are beginning to figure out that they have
created the SORCERER'S APPRENTICE and that, like Mickey Mouse in
Fantasia, they are *all* about to drown.  No, it's not everyone by
any means but some are now contemplating what it means to actually
be a "wizard" with no idea what your magical *spells* are doing to
the world.

Yes, to be sure, there are those who still cannot *grok* what is
happening and blithely commit themselves to their new "overlords"
(or just *meme* their way through life) but, as you have correctly
surmised, they are not the audience for the Center . . . <g> 
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #138 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Fri 6 May 16 06:51
    
Craig:  Yes, CAUSALITY took a *big* hit in the 20th century . . . !!

Under PRINT conditions (roughly 1650-1850), EFFICIENT causality
(i.e. engineering) took center-stage.  The *linearity* of that
environment, coupled with the "Protestant Ethic" (i.e.
predestination and confidence in the 2nd Coming) got everyone pretty
much focused on X-causes-Y.  This is what McLuhan called the
"Gutenberg Galaxy."

http://www.amazon.com/Gutenberg-Galaxy-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/144261269X

But by the middle of the 19th century, all that was finished (but
for the shouting) and ELECTRICITY took over our lives.  Electricity
isn't "linear"; it is "holistic."  So, as a result of these new
technologies, much of what had seemed obvious under PRINT conditions
no longer made any sense.

As McLuhan put it, "We traded an eye for an ear."

Now, "God" was dead.  Now, Euclidean geometry no longer held.  Now,
painting using linear-perspective became "abstract." Now, people no
longer capitalized the  letters at the start of their sentences . .
. <g>

And, in the process, CAUSALITY (of the "print" variety) had to be
tossed out as well.  Quantum Physics figured out that the universe
was "complementary" and, since cause-and-effect became hard to
identify, *statistics* became mandatory (even though correlation is
not causality).  We were in a New Age -- causality speaking.

There are exactly FOUR causes, as Aristotle told us.  So, if
*efficient* won't carry our water for us, then how about the others
. . . ??

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_causes

How about FINAL cause?  That appealed to people who were inclined to
think in terms of the END-of-EVERYTHING (which was the mode for many
in the previous *print* era), so some really smart people took up
that cause (pun intended).  Like Charles Peirce, for example.

http://www.commens.org/encyclopedia/article/hulswit-menno-peirce-causality-and
-causation

Or, how about MATERIAL cause?  That appealed to people who were
inclined towards "Theories of Everything" (ToE), since it came from
*physics*, and who wouldn't want to get on that band-wagon?  So,
what you are calling "systems thinking" is the current version of
*material* cause uber-alles.  

"Complexity" (and "adaptive systems") is an approach that could be
applied to nearly anything, which is why it has been promoted as the
basis of BIG HISTORY -- purporting to use the same technique to
explain everything from the Big Bang to the Arab Spring.  However,
it doesn't really "explain" anything.

https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive

Or, last (and clearly least), you could look to Aristotle's FORMAL
cause.  That's the one that McLuhan went for and, indeed, so did
many others, often calling themselves "structuralists."  That's what
"The Medium is the Massage" was supposed to mean (yes, the original
was "Message" but *massage* was picked to sell more books and,
ultimately, to further obscure what McLuhan was trying to say).  

http://www.amazon.com/Medium-Massage-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/1584230703/

But, *formal* cause -- or what McLuhan calls GRAMMAR in his PhD
thesis -- gets in the way of trying to "engineer" a better world. 
So, particularly under *television* conditions, that had to be
tossed aside in favor of "deconstruction" and, of course,
"post-structuralism."  Yes, some LSD in the French water-supply
helped as well.

Given these circumstances, it is understandable for those who wish
to avoid getting into the troubles generated by FORMAL and FINAL
causes -- not the least of which is their association with the
Middle Ages (which was the last time they were widely used) -- that
MATERIAL cause would become the most "popular" and that it would
champion the cause (<g>) of COMPLEXITY in a world that just didn't
make much sense anymore.

However, that is not the *cause* of the Center for the Study of
Digital Life . . . !!  
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #139 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Sat 7 May 16 07:47
    
APOLLONIAN, MAGIAN and FAUSTIAN Souls (by Oswald Spengler)

[Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Volume 1, Chapter 11,
"Faustian and Apollonian Nature-Knowledge," 1918/22 (in German, 1926
in English), pp. 383-385and Volume 2, Chapter 7, "Problems of the
Arabian Culture: (B) The Magian Soul," 1926 (in English), p. 235]

[Volume 1]

In Alchemy there is a deep scientific doubt as to the plastic
actuality of things -- of the "somata" of Greek mathematicians,
physicists and poets -- and it dissolves and destroys the soma in
the hope of finding its essence.  It is an iconoclastic movement
just as truly as those of Islam [i.e. Sufis] and the Byzantine
Bogomils [i.e. Cathars] were so.  It reveals a deep disbelief in the
tangible figure of phenomenal Nature, the figure of her that to the
Greek was sancrosanct [deliberately ignoring the Eleusinian
Mysteries]. 

The conflict concerning the person of Christ which manifested itself
in all the early Councils and led to the Nestorian [prominent on the
Silk Road to China] and Monophysite [today known as Druze etc]
secessions is an *alchemistic problem* [all emphasis original].  It
would never have occurred to a Classical physicist to investigate
things while at the same time denying or annihilating their
perceivable form [as is now common in modern "high-energy" physics].
And for that very reason there was no Classical chemistry, any more
than there was any theorizing on the substance against the
manifestations of Apollo.

The rise of a chemical method of the Arabian style betokens a new
world-consciousness.  The discovery of it, which at one blow made an
end to Apollonian natural science, of mechanical statics, is linked
with the enigmatic name of Hermes Trimegistus [which was translated
at the Platonic Academy in Florence before Plato, on the
instructions of Cosimo de Medici], who is supposed to have lived in
Alexandria *at the same time as Plotinus [leading neo-Platonist] and
Diophantus [often called the "father of algebra"]* . . . By our
analysis and synthesis, Nature is not merely asked or persuaded but
forced.  The modern chemistry is a chapter of the modern physics of
the Deed [yes, Spengler was a Nietzschean].

What we call Statics, Chemistry and Dynamics -- words that as used
in modern science are merely traditional distinctions without deeper
meaning -- are really the *respective physical systems of the
Apollonian, Magician and Faustian [or what Nietzsche called
"Dionysian"] souls*, each of which grew up in its own Culture and
was limited as to validity to the same.  Corresponding to these
sciences, each to each, we have the mathematics of Euclidean
geometry [yes, I read the "Elements" in 7th-grade], Algebra and
Higher Analysis, and the arts of statue, arabesque and fugue. 

We many differentiate these three kinds of physics (bearing in mind
of course that other Cultures many and in fact do give rise to other
kinds [which is to say the East Sphere, which began with a different
writing technology]) by their standpoints towards the problems of
motion, and call them mechanical orderings of states, secret forces
and processes respectively . . .

[Volume 2]

Whereas the Faustian man is an "I" that in the last resort draws its
own conclusions about the Infinite; whereas the Apollonian man, as
one *soma* among many, represents only himself; the Magian man, with
his spiritual kind of being, is only a *part of a pneumatic* "We"
that, descending from above [via neo-Platonic "emanations"] is one
and the same in all believers [Islam means "submission"].  As body
and soul he belongs to himself alone, but something else, something
alien and higher, dwells in him, making him with all his glimpses
and convictions just a member of a consensus which, as the
emanations of of God, excludes error, but also excludes all
possibility of the self-asserting Ego [also reflected in the "magic"
effects of television]. 

Truth is for him something other than for us [the Faustian
Nietzscheans].  Our epistemological methods, resting upon the
individual judgement, are for him madness and infatuation, and its
scientific results a work of the Evil One, who has confused and
deceived the spirit at to its true dispositions and purposes. 
Herein lies the ultimate, for us unapproachable, secret of Magian
thought in its cavern-world -- the impossiblity of a thinking,
believing, and knowing Ego is the presupposition inherent in all the
fundamentals of all these religions.

While the Classical man stood before his gods as one body after
another; whereas the Faustian "I" in its wide world feels itself
confronted by deity, also Faustian, also willing, effective
everywhere [yes, the "homunculus" creating Mephistopheles of
Goethe's "Faust: Part 2"]; the Magian deity is the indefinite,
enigmatic Power on high that pours out its Wrath or its Grace,
descends itself into the dark or raises the soul to the light as it
sees fit . . . 

http://www.amazon.com/Decline-West-Vintage/dp/B00E5DQBLK/
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #140 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Sat 7 May 16 08:44
    
Will there be a kindle edition?   <emoji/>

One challenge is going to be demonstrating the value of this particular
approach. Wasn't it Marshall McLuhan that evolved the form of his
message so as to better its acceptance by the students of the day?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #141 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 8 May 16 01:20
    
From this week's New Yorker, by Evan Osnos,

" This fall, Harvard University Press will publish a new history,
“Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the
Making of Global China,” by Julian Gewirtz, a doctoral student at
Oxford. The book tells the little-known story of how Chinese
intellectuals and leaders, facing a ruined economy at the end of the
Cultural Revolution, sought the help of foreign economists to
rebuild. Between 1976 and 1993, in a series of exchanges,
conferences, and collaborations, Western intellectuals sought not to
change China but to help it change itself, and they made
indispensible contributions to China’s rise as a global economic
power. “China’s rulers were in charge of this process—they sought
out Western ideas and did not copy them indiscriminately. But they
were open to Western influence and were profoundly influenced,”
Gewirtz told me. “This history should not be forgotten. And, at a
moment when China’s economy and society may be teetering, a return
to this openness and partnership with the West—rather than the turn
toward intellectual isolation and international distrustfulness that
seems to be under way—is the best means of avoiding disaster.”"

Hmm, part of the Venn diagram overlap? Or something new?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #142 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 8 May 16 01:22
    
The New Yorker link:
http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-cost-of-the-cultural-revolutio
n-fifty-years-later?intcid=mod-most-popular
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #143 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 8 May 16 13:24
    
Let's go East for a while:

"Reality is free from all notions...It is our duty to transcend
words and concepts to be able to encounter reality." Thich Nhat Hahn

Whether we call it digital life or digital reality in all its
flavors - VR, AR,MR this still seems to apply.

From this perspective there is no difference in the negotionation
that takes place between our senses either within the  headspace of
digital and what we experience within what we call 'real life'.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #144 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Mon 9 May 16 04:49
    
Craig:  Hmmmm -- since "The Decline of the West" is perhaps the most
important history/sociology/philosophy book of the early 20th
century -- written by what Max Weber called an "ingenious
dilettante" -- then, yes, it *should* appear in a KINDLE edition
(for free, just as it does). . . <g>

https://www.amazon.com/decline-West-Oswald-Spengler-ebook/dp/B008I6GW28/

McLuhan's "style" is an interesting question.  As it turns out,
there are *many* books with his name on the cover that were NOT
actually written by him (although he often peaked over the author's
shoulders).  Most obviously "The Medium is the Massage," which is
the most popular "McLuhan" book (and the only one read by most who
only sorta, kinda, maybe know his name), for which the McLuhan
Estate gets *zero* royalties.

http://www.amazon.com/Medium-Massage-Inventory-Effects/dp/B0000CO31L

It was written by Jerome Agel and Quentin Fiore after McLuhan gave
them permission to rummage through his files and then walked away
from the project.  So, one man's McLuhan is likely to be another
man's Timothy Leary (which is possibly why Kevin Kelly was confused
enough to make him the WIRED Patron Saint, ya know, with the "Acid
Tests" and all) . . . !!

http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Information-Age-Book-Experimental/dp/1616890347

  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #145 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Mon 9 May 16 05:24
    
Ted: Very interesting links you have provided.  But they seem to be
more examples of the WEST trying to take "credit" for the EAST (i.e.
subsuming it withing its own "Venn Diagram").  Another of them is by
Ronald Coase (UofChicago Nobel Prizer) and Ning Wang (who, as it
turns out, is an advisor to the Center), called "How China Became
Capitalist" (which, I can assure you, it is not) . . . !!

http://www.amazon.com/How-China-Became-Capitalist-Coase/dp/1137351438/

Plus Thich Nhat Hahn is WEST, not EAST (as the Center uses those
terms based on fundamental linguistic technologies).  He is a
Vietnamese (Alphabetic) Buddhist (Alphabetic) monk who lives in the
South of France (Alphabetic).  So, since he's not a result of an
Ideo/pictographic civilization(aka one based on Chinese *writing*),
then he's not "East" (even if he does wear interesting clothes).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Nh%E1%BA%A5t_H%E1%BA%A1nh 

Yes, BUDDHISM can become "Eastern," however that requires a
significant shift away from its Alphabetic (i.e. Sanskrit) origins
in India as a "reform" movement in Hinduism.  Chan Buddhism isn't
Indian Buddhism, as I learned when I was an undergraduate with a
double-major  -- half of which was in Buddhist Theology (and the
other half was in "psychedelics," which is why I'm now the
"historian" of LSD <g>).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutra

When the Beatles boogied with the Maharishi (or when some Westerners
become Hare Krishas or ogry-down with the Bhagwhan Shri
Rajneesh/Osho), they aren't leaving the WEST -- that's just another
part of the WEST that they are "seeking" since, as Max Weber told us
the world (i.e. the Protestantism into which the Beatles were born)
has become "disenchanted."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_as_a_Vocation

The attraction in the WEST to this sort of *hallucinatory* imagining
-- which then leads to VR/AR/MR etc -- is an *effect* of having your
entire life dominated by TELEVISION, which was deliberately designed
to be a "hallucination machine."  All this, if you agree with me
that we are now *digital* (and no longer "electric"), is the
last-gasp of the Drug-Entertainment-Complex and will not become a
commercial success (which Brenda Laurel, who is better educated than
most, might even agree with me about).

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301891235_What_Is_Virtual_Reality

The *actual* EAST is something quite different from all this, which
is probably why some in this forum who have never experienced it
(i.e. traveled/worked/studied extensively in/about China) just don't
*grok* that it is a completely separate SPHERE (which, to be sure,
is an illusion that is supported by the electric *globalism* of the
"Whole Earth") . . . <g> 
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #146 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 9 May 16 06:55
    
Is there any way for us (WEST) to grok the EAST? How do we find
bridges, places to dialog, gain understanding of the EAST as you see
it?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #147 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Mon 9 May 16 07:51
    
Ted: Sure -- learn CHINESE (writing) . . . <g>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_characters

To be fair, that is *not* an easy task.  It will probably take you
2-3 years if you concentrate on it to reach a proficiency of 5000+
characters . . . !!

http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Writing-Chinese-Characters-Compounds/dp/08048429
9X/

Or, you could just try to imagine a world in which the SIGNS used
for communications actually *mean* something (i.e. are "logograms")
-- as opposed to our "system" in which they represent phonetic
sounds and have no particular meaning.  However, that would take
some pretty powerful imagining.

I do not know *any* Westerners who have accomplished this without
spending a LOT of time in the process.  I, for example, do *not* do
EAST (despite having read hundreds of books about it and traveling
there for the past 20 years) but my partner (and others) at the
Center do -- so I rely on them to help me out.

Even moving to Japan won't do it, since they are a *very*
Westernized version of the EAST -- considering that the Japanese
choose to *not* go through their version of the OPIUM WARS and,
unlike China, surrendered to the Black Ships.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Ships

Ultimately, that "Westernization" is why Japan was chosen as the
third leg of the TRILATERAL Commission, not China.  Btw, the Trilats
were the result of an attempt by David Rockefeller et al to expand
the "Atlantic Alliance" but were then rejected by the Bilderbergers
et al, with the European Union as the upshot (and which is now also
falling apart, since *television* no longer rules our lives).

www.trilateral.org

The first step to building BRIDGES is to understand that there are
actually *different* places which need to be "bridged" instead of
the illusion that they are just two "banks" of the same river.  They
aren't.  As long as we think in terms of *television-induced*
GLOBALISM (aka the "Family of Man" as described by Fred Turner in
his "Democratic Surround"), then we will be building "bridges to
nowhere" . . . <g>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_of_Man
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #148 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Mon 9 May 16 08:55
    
Thanks for the links. Calculating words per dollar for that edition of
"The Decline of the West" seems to be generating a local singularity
right here on my virtual desktop.

"When the term is appropriated, its meaning disintegrates."
                                  -- from the Laural link

Well, yes. See <73>. That's the price we pay for using a living
language. So 'virtual reality' is invited to join the ranks of all the
other terms whose meanings have shifted. This includes some greats
like 'analog' and 'digital' themselves.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #149 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Mon 9 May 16 12:04
    
Ted: Sure -- learn CHINESE (writing) . . . <g>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_characters

To be fair, that is *not* an easy task.  It will probably take you
2-3 years if you concentrate on it to reach a proficiency of 5000+
characters . . . !!

http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Writing-Chinese-Characters-Compounds/dp/08048429
9X/

Or, you could just try to imagine a world in which the SIGNS used
for communications actually *mean* something (i.e. are "logograms")
-- as opposed to our "system" in which they represent phonetic
sounds and have no particular meaning.  However, that would take
some pretty powerful imagining.

I do not know *any* Westerners who have accomplished this without
spending a LOT of time in the process.  I, for example, do *not* do
EAST (despite having read hundreds of books about it and traveling
there for the past 20 years) but my partner (and others) at the
Center do -- so I rely on them to help me out.

Even moving to Japan won't do it, since they are a *very*
Westernized version of the EAST -- considering that the Japanese
choose to *not* go through their version of the OPIUM WARS and,
unlike China, surrendered to the Black Ships.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Ships

Ultimately, that "Westernization" is why Japan was chosen as the
third leg of the TRILATERAL Commission, not China.  Btw, the Trilats
were the result of an attempt by David Rockefeller et al to expand
the "Atlantic Alliance" but were then rejected by the Bilderbergers
et al, with the European Union as the upshot (and which is now also
falling apart, since *television* no longer rules our lives).

www.trilateral.org

The first step to building BRIDGES is to understand that there are
actually *different* places which need to be "bridged" instead of
the illusion that they are just two "banks" of the same river.  They
aren't.  As long as we think in terms of *television-induced*
GLOBALISM (aka the "Family of Man" as described by Fred Turner in
his "Democratic Surround"), then we will be building "bridges to
nowhere" . . . <g>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_of_Man
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #150 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Mon 9 May 16 12:05
    
The MACHINE, the ENGINEER and SATAN (by Oswald Spengler)

[Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol 2, Chapter XIV, "The
Form-World of Economic Life: (B) The Machine," Section II,
"Entrepreneurs, workers, engineers," 1922 (in German, 1926 in
English), pp. 504-505]

Never save here has a microcosm [humans] felt itself superior to its
macrocosm [heaven], but here the little life-units have by the sheer
force of their intellect made the unliving dependent upon
themselves. It is a triumph, so far as we can see, unparalleled.
Only this our Culture [the West] has achieved it, and perhaps only
for a few centuries.

But for that very reason Faustian man has become the *slave of his
creation* [emphasis original]. His number, and the arrangement of
life as he lives it, have been driven by the machine on to a path
where there is no standing still and no turning back. The peasant,
the hand-worker, even the merchant, appear suddenly as inessential
in comparison with the *three great figures that the Machine has
bred and trained up in the cause of its development: the
entrepreneur, the engineer, and the factory-worker*. Out of a quite
small branch of manual work - namely, the preparation-economy -
there has grown up (*in this one Culture alone*) a mighty tree that
casts its shadow over all the other vocations - namely, *the economy
of the machine-industry*. (1)

It forces the entrepreneur not less than the workman to obedience.
*Both* become slaves, and not masters, of the machine, that now for
the first time develops its devilish and occult power. But although
the Socialistic theory of the present day has insisted upon looking
only at the latter's contribution and has claimed the word "work"
for him alone, it has all become possible only through the sovereign
and decisive achievement of the former [entrepreur]. The famous
phrase concerning the" strong arm" that bids every wheel cease from
running is a piece of wrong-headedness. To stop them - yes! but it
does not need a worker to do that. To keep them running - no!

The centre of this artificial and complicated realm of the Machine
is the organizer and manager. The mind, not the hand, holds it
together. But, for that very reason, to preserve the ever endangered
structure, one figure is even more important than all the energy of
enterprising master-men that make cities to grow out of the ground
and alter the picture of the landscape; it is a figure that is apt
to be forgotten in this conflict of politics - the *engineer*, the
priest of the machine, the man who knows it. Not merely the
importance, but the very existence of the industry depends upon the
existence of the hundred thousand talented, rigorously schooled
brains that command the technique and develop it onward and onward.
The quiet engineer it is who is the machine's master and destiny.
His thought is as possibility [potential] what the machine is as
actuality [action].

There have been fears, thoroughly materialistic fears, of the
exhaustion of the coal-fields. But so long as there are worthy
technical path-finders, dangers of this sort have no existence.
When, and only when, the crop of recruits for this army fails - this
army whose thought-work forms one inward unit with the work of the
machine - the industry must flicker out in spite of all that
managerial energy and the workers can do. Suppose that, in future
generations, the most gifted minds were to find their soul's health
more important than all the powers of this world; suppose that,
under the influence of the metaphysic and mysticism that is taking
the place of rationalism to-day, the very elite of intellect that is
now concerned with the machine comes to be overpowered by a growing
sense of its *Satanism* (it is the step from Roger Bacon [13th
century Franciscan experimenter] to Bernard of Clairvaux [12th
century Cistercian monk/mystic]) - then nothing can hinder the end
of this grand drama that has been a play of intellects
[entrepreneurs/engineers], with hands as mere auxiliaries
[factory-workers].

The Western industry has diverted the ancient traditions of the
other Cultures [and become global]. The streams of economic life
move towards the seats of King Coal and the great regions of raw
material. Nature becomes exhausted, the globe sacrificed to Faustian
thinking in energies [the Antropocene]. The *working* earth is the
Faustian aspect of her, the aspect contemplated by the Faust of Part
II [where Mephistopheles builds his A.I. "homunculus"], the supreme
transfiguration of enterprising work - and contemplating, he dies.
Nothing is so utterly antipodal to the motionless satiate being of
the Classical Empire [the Apollonian Soul]. It is the engineer who
is remotest from the Classical law-thought, and he will see to it
that his economy has its own law, wherein forces and efficiencies
will take the place of Person and Thing.

(1) Marx is quite right; it is one of the creations (and what is
more, the proudest creation) of the bourgeoisie. But, spellbound as
he is by the ancient-medieval-modern scheme, he has failed to note
that it is only the bourgeoisie of this one single Culture that is
master of the destiny of the Machine. So long as it dominates the
earth, every non-European tries and will try to fathom the secret of
this terrible weapon. Nevertheless, inwardly he abhors it, be he
Indian or Japanese, Russian or Arab. It is something fundamental in
the essence of the Magian soul that leads the Jew, as entrepreneur
and engineer, to stand aside from the creation proper of machines
and devote himself to the business side of their production. But so
also the Russian looks with fear and hatred at this tyranny of
wheels, cables, and rails, and if he adapts himself for to-day and
to-morrow to the inevitable, yet there will come a time when he will
*blot out the whole thing from his memory and his environment*, and
create about himself a wholly new world, in which nothing of this
Devil"s technique is left.

https://ia800304.us.archive.org/12/items/Decline-Of-The-West-Oswald-Spengler/D
ecline_Of_The_West.pdf
  

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