Sunday, September 20, 2020


There once was a bugger from Greece
Who believed that the world rests in peace
Until given a shove
By the One up above
Followed by a 2-part press release

Of course, now we understand that there's really not an absolute state of rest at all. Aristotle's unmoved stone was actually hurtling around the sun at the time, which itself was making its way around the Milky Way, etc, etc. One can only wonder what our universe is circling. Another proof for God's existence down the tubes.

So is there any place left for a Primary Mover, do you think? A lot of people believe the answer to that question might lie in 'free will', the supposed ability of human minds to make decisions and take action independent of the causal forces that move both universal history, as well as the myriad of substances that make up our being. And really, are any of us immune to this feeling that we are in some sense masters of our own fates, or at least in our ability to pick what margarine to buy?

Understandable. It's because we aren't privy to the mountain of influences that press down upon us in any given second. Each of us are sometimes able to step back a bit and recognize the deterministic aspects of the thoughts we think as well as the decisions we make, at least to some degree. But not always, and almost certainly never completely. And so a feeling of agency, a sense that on some fine level there's a bit of wiggle room within the grip of absolute necessity (what is, is), haunts us, but at the same time fills us with pride because we are not, after all, temporary dunes of shifting sands dotted along the beaches of eternity.

Balloon Belly!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Ghost World

There's a scene in the movie Interstellar (Pound for pound perhaps the worst film I've ever seen), where Anne Hathaway, apparently after experiencing some sort of spiritual epiphany, waxes on in a schmaltzy diatribe that reaches its crescendo with this line: "Love is the ONE thing that we're capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space." There's a lot of this kind of specious guru-babble throughout the film, along with a dumptruck load of pseudo-scientific hogwash that wouldn't pass muster in an 8th grade science class (is it a coincidence that Morgan Freeman is in 2 of my 4 least favorite movies of the century so far? Also Michael Caine is in 3 of them. :)).

Ugh, I could go on about this black hole of a movie (wink, wink...get it?), but I should move on to my point, I guess. Or perhaps we could say I need to zero in on my singularity (somebody stop me!). Anyway, what crybaby Annie has demonstrated in this scene is the tendency we have to take transient emotional signals and wrap them up in color-coded abstract language bindles. Love in this case, white as the sun and ultimately dominant over all the lesser impulses.

Oops! Because of course, they're not impulses anymore, are they? Love and hatred and values and all those other language infested 'objects' now occupy the world of the materially real. In fact, they dominate, no longer representational but actually more real than reality, sustaining the living world instead of emanating from it.

Thus we believe we 'discover' love, even though in reality 'love' is the abstract byproduct of a particular kind of brain activity. Several, actually, rising from a boiling stew of brain goop. Values work the same way. We like things a certain way, and we want other people to like the same things we do. But no, that's not enough. We want to make our set of likes the only acceptable set of likes, because, after all, our likes are obviously the best likes. No, in fact they're logically the only set of likes that anybody can reasonably like.

In this manner we have built a ghost world. It's a world that works from the outside in. From the POV of the ghost world, the physical world is merely an expression of something deeper, more profound, more important. The hand that shapes the clay, as it were.

Mostly the ghost world gives us something solid to hold onto. Love MUST overcome and ultimately stand alone in victory, or else what's the point? Values are writ in stone, above and beyond what each person merely prefers/desires. Otherwise, where's the authority? Soon, ducks will be in all the swimming pools! Obviously this sort of thinking is embedded in cultural indoctrination, and is probably just as obviously necessary for societies to develop.

Had a bit more, but I'm out of gas. THC is a harsh mistress. :) Laterz, Gatorz!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


If a person wanted to count out loud to one billion, he couldn't do it. Not even if he started on the day he was born and counted for eight hours a day for a hundred years. That's how big a billion is, which might surprise some people seeing how we throw that number around so nonchanlantly nowadays. Next, let's take a jump up to the number one trillion. That is one thousand billion, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200, 250 or so times the number of years making up the age of the known universe.

Now consider that the average person is made up of something like one hundred trillion cells, more or less. I'm not sure at this point that a number that big can even be plausably imagined, it's just so fucking HUGE! And yet the numbers get even bigger, for each cell can be composed of around one hundred trillion atoms each, bringing the sum total of atoms in a human body to a staggering ten octillion. That number is ten million times larger than the estimated number of all the stars in the observable universe.

Can the numbers get any bigger? Of course they can! For the atom itself is not an impenetrable, unbreakable unit, but is composed of even smaller units of measure, electrons and protons and neutrons all buzzing around at near the speed of light, gaining mass via the constant movement and subsequent kinetic energy of bound particles inside the nucleus.

Next,think about the incredible number of interactions going on between these miniscule particles that make up a human body. Why, in the brain alone there are tens of billions of neurons each connected to thousands of its brethren via synaptic pathways, sending signals outward at about 200 pulses per second. Meanwhile, the body proper sends eleven million bits of information about itself to the brain; again, per second.

Bottom line? Each of us is an entire universe unto ourselves, composed of stuff that is made up of uncountable tinier pieces of stuff, stuff that flies around incredibly fast and bumps into stuff zillions of times in the time it takes us to take a breath (that was a fun sentence to write:)). Tiny Legos, as it were...though certainly what's going on is really not a lot like Legos but it's probably not the worst analogy around, either...sometimes hooking up, sometimes not, building, destroying, and eventually, blindly, settling into some semblance of very temporary stability here and there, That's us. That's what we are, and indeed that's what everything is; at least according to the present scientific paradigm, more or less.

Not sure where I'm going with this, if anywhere. Stay tuned if you wish.

DISCLAIMER: All the math and number shit are convenient/hasty round ups and round downs on my part, but if I ever get around to writing more about this stuff that'll all seem rather inconsequential, especially when we get into infinities.