Sunday, April 2, 2017

Feelings

I am day drinking.  I might make Sundays the day for it, and swear off more than one or two anywhere else, but it is interesting and, I feel at the moment, productive.

Ponder for a moment the emotions latent within a single person interacting with the world at home via the internet, TV, and movies on DVD.  It is overwhelming, and it is small wonder that so many of us shrink our perceptual domains so much.  The world is large, and it is all in our rooms.

This morning, after taking my dog on a long walk, where I listened to and failed to find several woodpeckers, watched robins chasing squirrels, watched tall trees gently dancing in the wind, and felt how beautiful this world can be (bon mot: Beauty is fleeting, but eternally refreshed), I spent half an hour watching Alex Jones talking about pedophile rings after talking with an ex-Seal Team 6 member who is saying that based on information conveyed to him privately that most of what Alex has claimed to be true is in fact true.

Then I watched Sunset Boulevard, which had long been on my to-do list.

There is a feedback loop here, in that the plot of the movie revolves around a certain latent insanity in the movie business, but that it itself was a movie, one which talked about how so many of the makers of our popular culture are in some respects insane.

And I can only process, myself, so many emotions while drinking.

I say process: of course, anesthesia is coming short of a full reckoning, but in my own case my own feelings are so powerful that I need an intermediate or softening step.

Look at all of us, with our TV's, our news, our video games.  No one can possibly process the world.  We are not strong enough.  We are not evolved enough.  Everybody falls short, and goes into belief and abstraction.  We create filters.  We dissociate, then call the remaining sense of outrage profound.

One can never know--I can never know--if I speak for others.  We cannot read one anothers minds.  But I continue to believe William James basic insight that introspection must be one tool for figuring out what applies generally.  It is that, lab rats and white coats, and some combination of the two.  That is all we have.

We are not meant to care for the world.  The world is much too big.  I only recently memorized all the countries in Africa.  The NAMES.  That is all.

All order must of necessity be local.  There can be no other kind.

But I see, and feel, those who would make of information technology, of computers, of AI, something bigger than all of us, which CAN see and know and thus "feel" through distancing and analysis all of it.

We can build a perfect world, we are told implicitly, if we can just build monsters which CAN process all of this, which have no human limits.

And thus some of our best minds dedicate themselves to a world where humans really have no place, where souls are not a recognizable category, where "life" is merely an accidental machine which has yet to be fully analyzed.

Where, to be clear, their fears, and doubts, and confusions, disappear into an abyss of perfected matter.

Goethe said that nothing human was foreign to him.  I am no Goethe, but I understand why he would say this.  We all operate according to simple codes, which in cases of profound dysfunction proceed from an existential premise that none of us are loveable and life has no purpose.  This "premise" proceeds, in turn, from primitive realities, from truths such people cannot remember.

A perfected world is small.  Many, many people see this, without perhaps being able to articulate the reason.  This is the root of "Keep Austin weird".  Keep Portland Weird.

Local knowledge must be in the hand of local control.  This is the essence of Liberalism as I define and embrace it.

I see sometimes in my reveries screams from the future, saying "save us, save us". I am but one man, perhaps half a man, if you factor in all the ways I don't work properly, but I do what I can.  It is small, but all I can do.

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