Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The weather is better but people are still pretty dumb.

Some are weatherwise and some are otherwise.
Ben Franklin 1706 - 1790

Necessity never made a good bargain.
There never was a good war or a bad peace.

Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.
Georges Louis Leclerc De Buffon 1707 - 1788

A decent provision for the poor is the truest test of a civilization.
Samuel Johnson 1709 - 1784

Depend on it sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

I wonder if this could be employed as a study aide some how? And last from Samuel:

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.

This world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.
Horace Walpole 1717 - 1797

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke 1729 - 1777

When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.
Thomas Paine 1743 - 1809

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Thomas Jefferson 1743 - 1829

Pretty good for a guy with the Sally Hemmings “problem”. I’ve said that context be damned; hypocracy is hypocracy and if you can't see it it’s probably because you’re a hypocrite.

To teach is to learn twice.
Ask the young: they know everything.
Joseph Joubert 1754 - 1824

Boy! If this little sarcasm isn’t one of the verities of life, I don’t know what is. Now, if it were only possible to realize the truth of this prior to middle age. But then of course it wouldn’t be true any more. It’s kind of like those puzzles about people on the island that always lie or always tell the truth. Reality flip flops because the a priori conditions affect the perceptions you need in order to solve the problem. A lot of time is spent trying to solve what we think is the right problem. But we often work on something only related to the problem.

RTP: Read The Problem.
Ralph Edmund Bolgiano

Good advice for me when I very impatiently jumped to all kinds of conclusions as to appropriate strategies. Hierarchical levels of organization are too much for most of us. We protest and resist the solution on one level because we like to jump a few levels and assail our debate opponent with, “Oh Yeah, but what about the price of eggs in China?” Many of the debates (arguements) I read in the news employ "Toddler Logic":

I didn't do it. It wasn't that bad. He did first.

Life can be understood backward; but must be lived forwards.


The time travel paradox is an example of a “eudox”: I understand that if you could go back in time and kill yourself (or your father), you couldn’t go back into time and kill anybody. And as much as I appreciate the advantages of logical “thought experiments” as Einstein called them. I have a little trouble with a system of thought being the only thing to stop a physical action (Yeah yeah, I know the Theory of relativity holds that approaching the speed of light makes you infinitely short and infinitely massive - but it starts with the premise that you can’t exceed the speed of light so the “proofs” are tautologies). So I guess I’m not as rational as I’d like think I am. It rankles a bit to go from Einstein’s cosmos all the way back to Aristotle for the stopper. Now if logical paradox of rational word usage can keep us from physically going back into time, in mathematics, why do irrational numbers (like pi) and imaginary numbers (square roots of negatives) have any utility? And if the Big Bang happened, there was a time before time (without space there can’t be the time it takes to cross it) when there were no rules (or least, rules that have no “Logical” reason to have any connection to the rules we’re using to think about this question). What was the question? That’s the problem with the thought experiment, rigorous logic gets confusing at the point at which you interject a “wild hair/hare”, one of those “just for the sake of argument” kind of assumptions. Most of us just can’t keep our thought processes straight in this world, much less in an altered or hypothetical universe. And this is a way of seeing where it’s all going? So it slips into mysticism. If you feel it’s true but can’t prove it, it’s either religion or mysticism. To quote John Stockton during his campaign for the vice-presidency: “ What am I doing here?” Which is a larger question that it seems; and the next guy thinks he has some answers.

William Blake 1757 - 1827

To see a World in a grain of Sand, and a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the Palm of you hand And Eternity in an Hour.

I fervently hope that everyone has had such a moment in their lives; more importantly, I hope that they remember it, and cherish it, and believe in it. I hope that they haven’t refused to remember the “dream truth” quality of those times that are outside of time (and therefore space), when we see things differently. Certainly sometimes they’re visions that have danger and can cause harm; I don’t engage the man talking to God in the street. But that doesn’t mean that he’s not experiencing a life far richer than those who can’t see anything but the dirt beneath their feet.

We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Moderation in all things.
Publius Terentius Afer 190 - 159 BC

The golden mean is great, but how do you know what moderation is if you’ve never seen excess? I guess that I’m advocating:

There is moderation even in excess.
Benjamin Disraeli 1804 - 1881

“Wisdom through excess.” My friend Jimmy used to say. At least in moderation.... By that I mean we don’t have to take the elevator all the way to the top or bottom, but we shouldn’t be afraid to at least peek into the basement and the top floor at least a time or two. So here we have the LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin experience. So many people (especially those who know nothing about it have made it their business to tell us about the drug experience. The Partnership for a Drug Free American is a great example. Listen to their ads:

When she read her first book she read it to me. When talk of the birds and the bees went around she came to me for advice. So why didn’t she come to me when someone offered her a joint?


Another group of poor souls addicted to “drug money”. And I refuse to subscribe to the cop-out of blaming the bad parts of a drug experience on the drug. It’s all inside you already. The exalted highs and the abysmal lows. It’s just a pill! The rest is in your head from the totality of your life. The Partnership folks want to blame all our troubles on the drug. I prefer the person who takes the drug. So for those that are shocked, I have to rely on another of the thoughts of Thomas Hobbes:

The secret thoughts of man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or blame.

I guess my definition of “sin” (and especially those things that deserve to be illegal) doesn’t include the “victimless” crimes, or “dirty thought” for that matter. I fail to feel guilty about dreams in which I commit adultery with Lamia, or engage in ... whatever. And I reserve the right to think about these things when not in the dream state. It is so much more reasonable to contemplate having seen the underlying microstructure of a leaf in its veins or the roots of a mountain in the texture of its hollows and trees, all with a little (50 micrograms!) help from LSD. Even if the "AH HA! I SEE!" moment doesn’t last after those 1000 or so molecules have been pissed away. I know that it was all possible within the 150 pounds of molecules which are ME. Back to Blake:

A Truth that’s told with bad intent, Beats all the lies you can invent.

Prisons are built of Stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.

Not only a visionary, but a cynic (I like that in a person) with a poet’s flair. Here is Friedrick Von Schiller again:

Whatever is not forbidden is permitted.

A very important principal. And one that has been ignored by tyrants thorough out history, and recently as well. I’m reminded of the case in the 1980’s were a US citizen constructed a hydroelectric power plant on his property (refurbished an old grist mill). The issue came up as to whether he should be allowed to tie into the power grid (selling his electricity at wholesale and buying it back at retail). An electrical power company executive opined that he didn’t think that it was LEGAL for private citizens to generate electricity! Fortunately, Judge Ito wasn’t presiding, and the obvious answer came back. “What?” The judge cleared that up for the power guy. As a matter of fact Virginia has some of the better regulations (and lack thereof) concerning home power generation. . I’m selling electricity to the Shenandoah Valley Electrical Coop right this minute. But as I understand it, there is a cap on the percentage of electricity in the grid that can be produced (and therefore purchased from) private citizens… Better get your PV panels while there's still time. You might have to GIVE your excess electricity away (or purposely waste it) if you’re too late. Let’s get that regulation changed; what do you say?

1 comment:

  1. I've read enough about the Theory of Relativity to know that its underpinnings are not a tautology. Maxwell's equations are a set of coupled partial differential equations that, together with the ... formulation (on spacetime rather than space and time separately) makes the compatibility of Maxwell's equations with special relativity manifest.