Today I met Mickety Rooney in a lift,
Way before Google Docs was Google Docs it was called Writely. If you search this blog you will finjd many prasiworthy refrences to it. I was Zelous about it then.
I have been using Proporta PDA cases for years, their innovation and customer support is beyond compare. So they were the first choice - I went and got myself their new Ipod Touch dual skin case and a screen protector.
Today, for reasons unassociated with this moment, I was deconstructing Nick Berry's groundbreaking song, "Every looser Wins," and in it found a depth and poinancy I was genuinly not expecting. Is this a Threnody for the Victims of The Hegemony? I'll let you decide,
Every Looser Wins
Booootifully Stupid: let's Boycott Bernard Matthews Turkey products just because they must be stupid.
I have written three poems inspired by the new range of turkey products from Bernard Matthews. I have tried make each poem able to stand on its own thematically, whilst each offers the others stylistic support when they are read one after the other, as intended. I feel that "Drummers" should come first but I am sure a lot of the less buffy poetry slammers might want to try deconstructing it by flipping the order they are read, it's up to you. Incidentally, this paragraph is also a poem.
We have a new Ipod Touch 16 Gigs in the House. It is a thing again of beuty beyond compare. Those billions of you that read thesaltedsolution will know that I was one of the first prosumers to get the Ipod Touch in the UK and now, over a year down the line I still think its just so so so good and getting better.
You stupid humourless idiots,
Life is too short for your lameness
I think the pus of your festering pettiness,
Oozes from the fact you're not famous.
(In refrence to compaints against the BBC, Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross complaints)
Ten days ago I got one of the new Advent 4211 netbooks from PC World. Its a great little bit of tech, one that may have got me out of my ipod touch induced tech review writers block. Ive had a fair bit of tech through my hands since my Toch arrived, but none of it inspired.
But this tiny laptop is small and nifty. Its not tiny, I used to one of those tiny Sony Vaios that came out 6 years ago, and now, that would not be tiny. I would say it about half the size of the bible, or, If your a devil worshipper, a quarter necronomicaon. As you can see from this pic:
It runs windows XP, has a new spritely and mobile Atom processor, a gig of ram and 80 gigs of hard drive. For most people, it will do everything you ever want to do on a laptop.
I think it would be great for kids too, as if it gets crushed, lost its not too much of a disaster. Or if the cat does what my cats do, prompting the purchase of this very laptop, and thus this very review.
I had a look at a lot of these new format laptops both online and in PC World and online again, and The Advent 4211 is, IMHO, the best of the bunch so far and great great value at £269.
I have a pretty new laptop.
I just caught my cat Pissing on it.
Squatting there smack back on the QWERT side of the keyboard.
No, DO panic, what was I supposed to do?
I tried a little shake, but it was soon clear that the cats piss was all the way through.
I thought of options...
I unplugged it and took the battery out.
It was leeking this stinky, watery syrup. Horrible.
In the end, based just on the fact that I had washed a cheap keyboard and once dry that worked. I dismantled this tabula pissa.
I took out the hard drive and the case and took it to the bathtub
And showered it fully: the reasoning being that it would be better wet,
Than rancid with cat piss.
Will it live?
We shall see....
I have been to Disney 3 times in 2 days.
The third time was because, at pain of sanity, I had to bail and come back in the darkness. But there is a darkness, to me, even when the sun is high and bright in the Florida sky.
When I came to pick up my family at 11 last night, my daughters were so happy and excited and jumping and smiling as they recounted the highlights in the neon shadow of Space Mountain.
Disney is the Jerusalem of Consumption.
It is the Circus Maximus for we drones of the Western Hegemony.
The rides are fantastic. But those rides are instants in aeons of purchase and queue. Retinal jolts of excitement in a system designed to take as much of your money and time and focus as possible, whilst still making you feel that you are feeling happy.
Anyway, enough of my cynical hate crimes against Das Mouse und Der Kabal, let's see what the little folk think:
America is drowned in Jesus,
Like the seabed in the sea,
The facts of this immersion,
Come not from history.
The facts of this perversion,
Are the lies of centuries.
There is zero evidence for Jesus,
Not a jot, a dot, an iota.
And the weight of faith versus fact,
Infinity exceeds it's dismal quota.
Not one contemporary writing,
Mentions Christ, Son of Man,
The gospels manly fabricated,
By dishonest political hand.
Jesus did not exist,
The facts cannot be missed,
This is the epiphany of truth;
The flock are Judas kissed.
The road trip part of the holiday is now over.
We drove the eastern seaboard.
- New York: After London, she is still in the top two world cities. Bigger than London but Beefeaters trump Skyskrapers every time. (Including Trump Towers)
- Amish People: I saw these in a buggy, they seemed historical. I wanted to give them my Ipod touch but it might implode their reality
- Washington: Great city architecturally. Poetically, Mordor.
- Walking With Dinosaurs Live: Impressive, but they are just models, kids.
- Richmond: Pleasant, avoid Vietnamese Food due to it being the worst food inside the continent.
- Colonial Williamsburg: Hot and fairly interesting.
- Jamestown: Hot and pretty amazing.
- Charleston: Very pretty. The Slave Market was for buying and selling slaves, not for where plantation owners send their "staff" to get sprouts etc
- Savannah: Wonderful place in so many senses. I had the best oysters and Bloody Mary I have ever had, all in the same sitting. Bonanza!
- St Augustine: I dreamed I saw St Augustine... and it wasn't a dream, but real. Nice place, worth visiting, probably not worth selling up and shipping out to.
We are now in Florida.
Did you know that Columbus never set foot on the continent, that was another Spaniard called Juan Ponce de Leyon.
We have just got back from the worst statue based experience of my life. Imagine a prison camp full of Nazi Jobsworths, hours, literally, of queues and all for something that looks much more impressive from a distance. Up close she is a squat and unremarkable form, not twice as tall as the Gateshead Angel.
Avoid like the plaque.
Mind you, we are still having a great time!
I'm currently in the Big Apple, the American one, not Truro. The last time I was here I was 19, gosh that seems so long ago....
Its a family trip, with extended family, eight in all.
New York is great. Some observations so far.
- I'm shocked by the racial segregation here. There are the whites, who are served by the non-whites. Its economic/employment apartheid.
- Latina's have very big tatoos and are all very sexy. Everyone of them.
- It is possible to get a Coffee that has more calories than a burger.
- NYC is much bigger on foot than on the map.
- Jaywalking is illegal, but its fine to do.
- NYPD should go to the Gym more.
This is the second of my attempts to express Buddhist Concepts as completely and succinctly as possible. As with the first bulletpoints, this is my interpretation and it is incomplete.
I hope you like:)
- What Kamma is not:
- Kamma is not currency.
- It is not earned and spent and exchanged.
- In some Buddhist cultures Kamma as merit has emerged but this idea is not in the Core Dhamma.
- Kamma is not justice.
- It does not make judgments.
- There is no absolute morality with which Kamma could be somehow entwined.
- Kamma is not energy/matter/force
- There is no force of Kamma that flows through life effecting things.
- There is no wave of Kamma good or bad that can wash over you.
- Kamma is not the results of actions.
- It is not the fruit (vipaka)
- What Kamma is:
- All causes have effects
- Some causes are moral
- Some effects are moral
- Some moral causes have moral effects.
- All effects are causes
- Kamma is moral causation.
- Etiology with moral quantifications and conditionals.
- Mental events events can cause other mental events.
- Eg: If I see a sunrise, one mental event, that can cause a change of emotion, another mental event.
- Mental states and systems are variously balanced between progressive/productive states and regressive/disruptive states.
- Eg: Mental States can be "good" (happiness, mindfulness...) or "bad"...
- The term "balance" represents the manifold systems and aggregates of mind such that the realised product, the experience settles one macro-state.
- Its as if the experience of all the merging causes the experience of now as it is becoming and that experience becomes realised as one particular quality of experience.
- Just as the many and various tributaries of a river become that river.
- The kamma I create comes back to me in many ways, but it all becomes just the one experience of any given moment.
- If a Mental state B is an effect of a Mental state A then there will be a consistent and contiguous distribution of balance between A and B.
- This is saying that the mentality of an individual will not not have any random changes of balance between productive and disruptive states.
- The disposition/satisfaction/contentment of individuals flows continuous and connected.
- There are no gaps in the mental/moral/physical causal chains.
- Eg: If I am very happy today, sad tomorrow and quite happy the day after, then this transition will be a continuous and connected change in my mental states.
- Think of how a vista of clouds will change when watched. Each new state leads into the next but there are never points of discernible transition or sudden changes of kind.
- Disruptive states will most likely produce more disruptive/bad/unwanted states.
- Productive states will most likely produce more productive/good/desired states.
- The interconnected systems of individuals and groups has many paths for moral causation.
- This interconnected web of moral/other causation is the closest there is to a "force" of Kamma.
- Disruptive causes are more likely to have disruptive future effects.
- Positive causes are more likely to have positive future effects.
- We can think of decisions we make as having social feedback.
- Well intentioned decisions will have more positive social feedback than bad.
- This feedback may be extant and obvious
- Eg: Mary is a good person because she saved the orphans and this fact causes other people to be good to her and her to feel good about her self and other people to be good to others.....
- The feedback may be subtle
- Eg: The smile from a stranger causes you to.....
- Understanding the karmic relationship you have with others is essential to following Dharma.
- Good actions have more ways to benefit the doer than bad actions.
- Kamma is the motivation/intention.
- It is not the fruit (vipaka)
- Only the individual has awareness of the mental states they experience.
- Only the individual has potential causal control over their mental states.
- Mental states and decisions are causes.
- Only the individual can choose to cause a change in their mental states.
- Kamma emerges when there is a sufficient depth/complexity of interconnected systems with choice/morality/self-interest to allow for macroscopic changes in the mental states of individuals.
- EG: You may feel "glum" for no reason you can pinpoint but there will be antecedent reasons/decisions of immense complexity that entail this "glumness".
- Antecedent causes could be material (more selenium!), sensory (my back aches) or more directly to do with thought and consciousness (life is rubbish today!) and there is a compatibility between them.
- Kamma supervenes upon/emerges from mental-moral-social systems where decisions are the significant motivator.
I'm not a Buddhist scholar but I am a Buddhist and I like to think that I like to think.
Over the last seven years I have been pretty deeply involved in thinking about Dharma - the teachings of the Buddha, and trying to make this fit in with my personal attempts at understanding life and reality.
The Buddhism I have studied is the traditional teachings of the Buddha known as Therevadan Buddhism. I realised as soon as I started dipping my toes in this that it was much more level-headed and rational than I would have imagined; Dharma has evolved and taken up the effects of the cultures it took root in, this is never a bad thing, but, I believe, that it might make the core teachings less accessible to western rationalists, such as myself.
The following list of 3 Bulletpoints and their subs I believe captures the very core of Dharma; everything flows from the three doctrines of existence; Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha.
I have used the original Pali terms not to be pretentious but because, as an understanding will show, there simply are not the words or concepts in English to capture the essence of these complex, composite terms.
Please note that this is my interpretation and it is not complete.
Annica, Anatta and Dukka, The Three Marks of Existence
- Anicca: All causes have effects/All is impermanent
- Everything in existence changes over over time.
- All effects are causes.
- All causes have effects.
- Anatta: There is no soul/self/ego
- No Soul: The universe is self-contained and complete.
- There is no material beyond matter.
- No new ontological material or events are added to or connected with the universe it at any point in space-time.
- No Self: There is no thinker, only the thought.
- There is no central seat of experience;
- That idea is an illusion created as a by product of the fact that there are experiences.
- The totality of an individual is composed of an aggregate of the material and emergent mental sensations, experiences, thoughts and self awareness.
- Dukkha: Life is suffering
- This is the First Noble Truth, Dukka.
- Dukkha is unsatisfactoriness.
- Impermanence is Dukkha.
- Attachment to the idea of self is Dukkha
- The diminishing returns on excitement are Dukkha.
- Failed Expectations are Dukkha
- Angst and Pain are Dukkha
- Boredom is Dukkha
- Dukkha has a cause:
- This is the Second Noble Truth, Samudaya
- The precedent cause of Dukkha is the misvaluing of past and expected experience in an increasingly diminishing space of possible experiences.
- This creates a Tanha, a craving/thirst/want/attachment that necessarily has diminishing returns and cannot ever meet sustainable satisfaction criteria.
- Reducing Tanha reduces Dukkha:
- This is the Third Noble Truth, Nirodha
- All individuals have the capacity to manage their inner mental life and attempt to reduce Tanha.
- It may be possible to temporarily reduce the suffering of others but ultimately Dukkha can only be reduced from the inside.
- If Tanha is eradicated totally than Dukkha is eradicated totally (enlightenment).
- The Path to reduce suffering is The Noble Eightfold Path:
- This is the Forth Noble Truth, Magga.
- Magga divided into three domains, the Philosophical, the Moral, and the Mental
- Philosophical Development
- The Philosophical Aspect of Dharma is rich and challenging and consistent with contemporary science and philosophy.
- Right View
- To try to see the world as it really is.
- To understand Dharma and how the parts are connected.
- To be able to see Kammic Connections with increasing clarity internally and externally.
- Kamma is the complex mental/moral/physical causal web that covers human experience and interaction.
- To be able to understand becoming and the origination of becoming.
- Right Thought
- Renouncing the self to become selfless.
- Cultivating compassion and morality
- Moral Development
- The moral aspect of the path is not based on the idea of a moral absolute but rather the practical and pragmatic point that you cannot travel well on the path if you are poisoned by the kammic results and internal/external distractions of the prohibited acts.
- Right Speech
- To always speak the truth. Honesty is essential to Practice of Dharma. Lies have kammic consequences that can never be predicted and should be avoided even in cases where it is not in ones self interest (though this would not be without exception, of course)
- To speak without anger and abuse
- To speak with good intention
- Not to gossip
- Right Action
- Not to kill. The taking of life, most especially human life, is wrong.
- Not to steal
- Not to commit sexual misconduct
- Not to be intoxicated.
- Right Livelihood
- Do not partake in activities that could increase the suffering of others.
- Mental Development
- Buddhism treats the mind as a body organ that can be exercised and trained.
- Right Effort
- To analyse and eradicate disruptive mental states
- To understand and induce beneficial mental states
- Right Mindfulness
- To practice inner attentiveness.
- To be focused and aware of the sensations, perceptions and thoughts that constitute the mind
- Right Concentration
- Suppressing worry, distraction, doubt, restlessness
- One pointedness of mind
The live and better formatted version of this can be viewed in my google docs here:
The natural state of reality is systemless. It is disorder not order. It is less rather than more. It is simple rather than complex. It is low in value and information. The natural state of reality is devoid of complex and connected systems.
Persistence is existence into the future. Given the natural systemless state of reality the only systems that can persist are those that are able to defeat the collapse into the natural state.
Imagine a system at a point in time. If we accept the Law of Impermanence then it follows that this system must change at some point in it's future. This change can either increase the system's arcitechtonics (make the system more organised, structured, connected) or it can decrease it. The natural direction is for systems to decrease arcttechtonically.
All of everything is tending towards nothing and it is only the persistence of systems, you, me the galaxy, that holds this of.
The very root fundamental purpose of life, traceable through a linear and continuous, though vague, path down through the scaled of abstraction; Beneficial states persist.
The foundational fact of systems is that beneficial states persists. The beak of a finch, a job promotion, the distribution of matter in the universe, beneficial states persist.
The fittest survive. The beneficial persist. In many ways these are trivial and tautological, but in in understanding this tautology with the systems framework you can see why things are as they are. They are as they are because of enough impermanence (time and change and possibility) to allow increasingly more complex systems to emerge from more simple systems.
That is why we are here. The purpose of being here is to continue the persistence of systems. And the method of doing this is by increasing beneficial states within systems.
There is no fundamental meaning to life, in the way there is no fundamental meaning to a joke, but there is a fundamental purpose to life.
There was a point a few years ago when I really, really wanted to believe in the Buddhist concept of Rebirth; it was the one thing that was missing from me taking on The Dharma, in every aspect.
I have since realised that you don’t need the notion of Rebirth to understand the Four Noble Truths and the subsequent Dharma that stands on this. However, I did manage to reconcile rebirth with my understanding of science and cosmology and put my explanations here for your perusal.
Buddhists believe that individuals are the realisation, at any current point in time, of a changing aggregate of mental events and properties.
There is no thinker, only thoughts.
There is most certainly for Buddhism no concept of soul or self. No eternal non-physical substance. No Cartesian experiencer in our minds. This is the doctrine of anataman and it is key to Dharma.
But if there is no soul and no self... how then, can there be rebirth?
The unsatisfactory answer provided by Buddhist's (Though not, as far as I am aware, by the Buddha Himself) is that though here is no soul or ego, the aggregate of mentality, causally conditions the realisation of a new but related aggregate in a future reborn individual.
The metaphor often used is that its like a candle flame lighting the next candle, that this is the conditioning of rebirth to future lives.
Its an initially compelling metaphor but offers no explanation as to what is being conditioned in the future, or the mechanism of this conditioning.
Rebirth, I believe now, Isn't needed to understand and benefit greatly from Dharma. But a couple of years ago I did come up with a way that I could make sense of rebirth alongside a scientifically and ontologically consistent world view.
The Simulated Buddha
I conceived that it would be possible that this Universe was a simulation, an ancient idea in Philosophy and now modern thought. In this model the entire universe is simulated from the bing bang rather than the "brains in vats" or Matrix simulations.
Universal Simulation Features
- This simulation was initiated 15 billion years ago in "simulation time".
- The universe was started a set of initial conditions and laws and let to progress according to these laws and conditions.
- The universe is one of countless simulations.
- The fact that we are here to ask confirms it must be one of the successful simulations.
- The purpose of the simulation universes is to produce exceptional systems.
- Exceptional systems will be at least rare statically in the simulated universe and rare functionally.
- Emergent properties like compassion and being self aware are what I imagined would be the kind of properties the simulation was created to produce.
- In my model there is also this notion of understanding the nature of the reality of the simulation. Such that enlightenment is understanding and extinguishing the simulated reality.
- When a sufficiently exceptional system has emerged within the simulation it removed from the simulation and made real in whatever actuality the simulation is run in.
Assuming the Universe has these features I reasoned that when the Buddha reached enlightenment what happened was he passed a threshold within the simulation. His mind became detached from the other systems of the simulation, he saw the simulation as it was.
The creation of enlightened beings was the internal purpose of the simulation. We cannot make sense of the external purpose of the simulation.
Within the universal simulation context it was easier to make sense of rebirth:
The aggregate mental properties that are the information about me that is passed on
into the next life. But this information isn't identical with the me now, its just reusing sufficiently enough of this information to retain the progress I have made as a conscious potentially exceptional being. This fits well with the Buddhist idea that we all have this potential for enlightenment in us.
The motivation for rebirth from the simulation point of view was that if your simulation produces exceptional systems, like conscious humans, at the end of massive antecedent causal chains (Ie billions of simulation years) then it be beneficial to retain the essential components of these exceptional systems.
Rebirth then, in this universe, is the persistence across human systems of the aggregate mental properties that form my consciousness, morality and personality. The reason for rebirth is to preserve the progress of conscious systems towards transcending the simulated universe.
Do I believe the universe is a simulation?
I believed that Buddhist metaphysics, including rebirth and Nibbhana, could be made consistent with science and my understanding of ontology. In my mind I achieved this.
I don't however believe this is the case.
I don't believe in rebirth.
I do believe all is impermanent
I do believe there is no soul.
Madonna went from "St Madonna Of The Yummy"
With the ever flat tummy
To "The Crone you would Bone"
At exactly the point
That Lock Stock was DVDd
But her Hard Candy
is actually pretty good.
As a boy I loved The Who, for all the reasons people loved, and love, The Who.
But then came the 90's and The Who didn't really fit with the non-prescription pharmaceuticals of the Era, so I put them on hold in terms of my listening.
Then as the 90s came to an end I started to get very much back into them. Until....
Townsendpaedeogate in 2003.
Sex with children is fine if by "children" you mean "consenting adult humans who have parents".....
But the accusations against Pete Townsend where not implying that simple tertiary relationship. So, being a great follower of tabloid-herd mentality, I decided to throw away my MP3 Who Discography and place the The Who's corpus very much along side Jordi Chandler's police statement.
BBC4 on a Friday Night
But last night, my Wonderful Wife and I stumbled upon a BBC showing of a two hour documentary about The Who. From the first moment we were gripped. Golly-gosh what a rock and roll story like no other. What a band!
There were many moments where I felt like I was watching Napoleon commanding battle or Michaelangelo painting, such is the status of their product and magnificence.
Is he or isn't he?
In the documentary they mentioned Townsendpaedogate and everyone came out to say, "of course he isn't a kiddiefiddler, no way Jose." But you can't just follow what you hear unquestioningly like you are just part of a flock. So this morning, listening to The Who, I asked myself this simple question:
Is the evidence for Townsendpaedogate significant enough to outweigh the facts that everyone thinks he is innocent, including the English legal system and the fact that he is a musical genius.So in my head I visualized a 3 axis mind-graph, with the axes being Evidence (of paedophilia), Opinion (on evidence), Quality (of Music).
I did some samples based on past paedobrities and found a pattern, a planar continuum of separation within the bounds of the hyper-visualized mind-graph.
The line bisects the cube on the evidence/opinion plane increasing against an increase of 2.4/7.1. So it's quite steep in the opinion bias. (If you are having trouble visualising this you might want to pop into Mathematica and do it in a computer.)
I will call this bisecting plane the JK Discontinuity because Jonathan King sits very close to it in the positive side. Glitter, Jackson , et al are down in the bottom of the cube, below the JKD... but where was Peter Townsend? I visualised.....
Woooooot!!! He was in the top half of the graph!!! A few mind-centimeters from Bill Wyman, in fact!
I didn't need an explanation as to why Pete Townsend joined American Childsex sites, no sir. That question was now not needed. Neuroclustuer, locate. Neurocluster, delete.
I am happy, The remaining Who are happy, and the kids, almost certainly, are alright.