Monday, 21 April 2014

Faith, the Intellect

I said in the last post I'd go into the issue of faith and so . . .
To use a language, mathematical most obviously, is to accept that language's intrinsic meaningfulness. Identically with the language of words. Talking about language's formation, evolution, etc as if this is a negating counter-point is as absurd as imagining talking about historical discoveries of things like Pi undermine the purity of the langauge of mathematics - as if these are historical truths rather than language truths, whereas such a truth, regarding say the circumference of a circle, is so regardless of one's position within the field of time. To use language is to inescapably accept that language's intrinsic cohesion, truth or meaningfulness is a given. It is impossible to dispute this since as obviously enough the very act of trying to argue otherwise is itself an intellectual exercise or operating under the same umbrella of language's meaningfulness. So we are bound up inescapably here in an act of faith, though there generally seems to be a faulty idea of what faith involves or is.

A mathematician has faith in mathematics but there is no gap between himself and what he has faith in. There is no justifiable  dubiousness regarding to mathematics' intrinsic meaningfulness, and the same with 'ordinary' language. It is a given. Faith is an absolute given in language and life, but even naming it is a symptom of disease. Lack of faith, intellectually or/and with regard to life is an artificial self-contrived state that is absurd and meaningless at every level. How can a being inseparable from life be in any sense distinct from life in order to have a lack of faith in it? Such a state is simply delusional, a hallucinatory inner reality created by faulty language.  We are not agreeing to pretend language and life are 'true' out of necessity; it is simply an intellectual impossibility to act otherwise. There is no leap of faith, implying a rational field of doubt over which one takes a hopeful jump, setting aside one's reason in order to achieve a dubious certainty regarding one's relationship with life at an absolute level. At risk of labouring the point, another relevant extract from elsewhere with regard to this Doubt as a permitted intellectual position over which faith supposely leaps:

To say anything is to involve oneself necessarily in an acceptance that the language one is using is real and imbued with meaning; that the words one is using- if used correctly, i.e. meaningfully- are meaningful. This is the necessary ground from which one can say anything. So to ask the very question- how can I trust in the reality of the 'real'- is to begin with the foundation that language is real and that one is engaging in a meaningful and real act. To accept the reality of anything- in this case, language- is necessarily to accept the reality of reality. Reality cannot exist within unreality.

The position of Doubt is contrarily a nihilistic intellectual proposition in the true sense, within the framework of which one cannot grant oneself the liberty of believing language to be real and intrinsically meaningful. And so, within this framework of doubt the question of doubt cannot be asked, as to ask the question requires an acceptance of the very reality or meaningfulness of language which doubt if true to itself must doubt. And so, since the question of doubt cannot be formed, then doubt cannot exist, as doubt requires a mind utilising language so as to doubt. 

Doubt is an intellectual activity, and all intellectual activity necessarily involves a faith in the reality of the language one is using, be it mathematical, linguistic or otherwise. This is the necessary ground. 
All in all, the sceptical position is self-contradictory, and should be destroyed as a sensible proposition immediately at source.

To sum up: To ask the question of Doubt is to accept the reality of the language used in the asking, which is to refute the question. 

So onto science and it is perfectly obvious that the same faith seamlessly extends.  The scientist proceeds from, operates under, faith in the cohesiveness of what he observes in the world, and the meaningfulness of the language he is using, though again it would be wholly artificial for him  to even mention this faith as though it were a concept. And so the  related and vital point that what science, or true science, consists of is true language statements, and so the first principle of science is the innate and intrinsic meaningfulness of correct language; and science in all its applications also demonstrably shows the intrinsic truth and power of correct language, while also emphasising the absolute necessity of the language's correctness and precision.

Summing up, faith is an unquestionable given regarding life while the real anomaly and contradiction in intellectual terms is lack of faith and its attempt to impose a negative value judgement on life - all of which amounts to nothing other than a weird, delinquent immaturity.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Question Of The Existence of God

I'm going to write a bit here about the existence of God as an intellectual matter; that is where God, or the notion of God, stands within the proper and hence true use of language; and all this is more or less in reference to a post I previously wrote titled 'Life and Meaning', and also its offshoot, the brilliantly titled Life and Meaning Again. The issue of God's existence is actually contained more or less wholly within those pieces, though perhaps seemingly only inferentially, and so hopefully this will clarify things.

Within the first piece mentioned above I wrote [editing a little the extract] :

When using language as an intellectual truth-tool, if that language is to produce the correct results, then it must be used properly, not in a self-contradictory manner. And so it makes no sense to introduce within intellectual discourse elements that are alleged to be external to life. Life is all that is, and if God is, then the two flow inseparably into one another, cannot be separated into distinct realms. To say that life and God are distinct is to necessarily infer that life is less than the totality of all that is, which is obviously linguistic nonsense. And to say that God is external to life and what is is to say that God, being not part of what is, is not, and so does not exist. If something isn't part of what is, then it is part of what isn't! which is to say there is no 'it' to speak of.

To treat God as an object of intellectual discourse is necessarily to falsify an absolute. Firstly as shown above, God cannot be treated as external to what is, and secondly, God cannot be treated as an element within life - this is the attempt to turn an absolute into a relative, where God has somehow become submerged within God's creation, and so is another object of creation and a lesser being than life. 

So it is clear that God cannot be discussed in this sense of intellectual argument without necessarily falsifying God, and so the question "Does God exist?" is clearly an impermissible and absurd use of language. This however may seem very unsatisfactory, almost a cop-out, even if reluctantly admitted to be the strictly intellectually correct position. This frustration would however be little but a misinterpretation of the above, and thankfully a correct equivalent question can be asked, and that question is: "Is life intrinsically significant or accidentally so?"

So to clarify: the question does God exist is an illegitimate use of language where God is necessarily falsified by the naming and hence particularising process - 'God' being necessarily reduced to an element of, within and inferior to life. Even to say for example, "God is the totality of life" fails as a totality is necessarily something limited and finite. A totality has limits, whereas infinity endlessly spills beyond imaginary limits.

A directly equivalent question as to God's existence or not can however be properly asked - this being whether life is intrinsically significant or accidentally so - and it is essential to realise that this is not in any sense a diluted, lukewarm version of "Does God exist?" And it is not a humanistic variation where we are seeking to ascribe meaning to life out of necessity or convenience, i.e. that the human need for significance justifies and even necesitates us to pretend relative humanly created values are actually absolutes because otherwise, in the vacuum of their accepted absence, a resultant intellectual and ethical chaos would ensue.

No, this question as to whether life is intrinsically significant or accidentally so is in truth precisely what is meant by the God question but properly asked. And here it is quite obvious that the atheism side of things has sought to argue along the lines of life's accidental significance - that the structures of life have organised themselves in cohesive forms through variations of the random fluctuations of matter within a temporal environment; that certain 'operating programs' within life develop that render the likelihood of such cohesions more likely, and so on. I have in those two linked pieces examined the sustainability of the Accidental Significance position, and so for example:

. . . the attempt to posit the intrinsic intelligence of life as accidental, that things were senseless and unintelligent, and through chance and time eventually structures of accidental intelligence ensued, and so while offering the impression of being 'meaningful' these structures are only accidentally so.

With the evolution argument, and other 'scientific' stances is the attempt to posit the intrinsic intelligence of life as accidental, that things were senseless and unintelligent, and through chance and time eventually structures of accidental intelligence ensued, and so while offering the impression of being 'meaningful' these structures are only accidentally so.

But as written earlier: "Every structure that exists is intrinsically of an intelligent order; if it weren't internally intelligent it wouldn't cohere as a living/real structure. The fact of its existence, be it an atom, a stone, a bird, insect, human, etc. is absolutely dependent on its being intelligent and in itself meaningful." 

There is no point within existence where this intrinsic intelligence of life's or reality's structures is flouted. The existence of every millisecond of being and the existence of everything that exists within every millisecond is inseparable and absolutely intwertwined with and dependent on this intrinsic intelligence. This intrinsic intelligence doesn't enter the equation of reality accidentally somewhere down the line of existence. Every atom, every gas, everything that can explode leading to further refinements of structure, an explosion itself, time and existence itself are and can only be because of their being of an intelligent order.

That this intrinsic intelligence is unarguable and present at every point is perhaps best illustrated when we consider what the ground of intellectual analysis or penetration of any 'structure' is based on. In this sense of intellectual penetration of structure I am including phenomena from atomic particles to phenomena like gravity, light, sound, etc. And what this ground is from which intellectual vision proceeds is that the structure observed and analysed is of an intelligent order. If it were not intrinsically intelligent then the discoursing intellect could produce no results.

And so again is shown the falseness of the notion of accidental meaningfulness; there is no point where an observing intellect can declare that this meaningfulness is accidentally introduced into the system of life as there is not and cannot be any point at which the meaningfulness can be said to be absent. The entire basis of the intellect being able to state anything about any system is that of the system's being of an intelligent order; thus it can meaningfully yield meaningful statements. If a system were declared devoid of intelligence, well then it could not be a system in the first place and so the statement self-contradictory.

And so in the unfortunately lengthy enough extract above is shown how false is the imagined position of, famously at present, figures like Richard Dawkins, where science is supposed to defend an atheistic philosophical worldview of Accidental Significance. Science by total contrast to this imagined 'rational' position actually exists wholly within the framework of life's unquestionable, intrinsic significance. That life's structures are intrinsically meaningful, yielding intelligent results when perceived by an intrinsically intelligent mind is an absolute given, just as the intrinsic significance of the world of mathematics is an unquestionable given within that field. We don't have to for instance torture ourselves in conceiving how the 'structures' of gravity and electricity are accidentally intelligent; their intrinsic intelligence is a given. Similarly it is senseless to try to construct theories to place vision, memories, dreams, etc within a philosophical system that explains how they accidentally can exist. Instead again their intrinsic, intelligent 'isness' is a given. Or we don't have to do the same to explain how the plants that grow by some miraculous but accidental piece of good fortune contain minerals, vitamins, etc and that we can do this thing called eating of these entities and derive strength and health from them. No, again this intrinsic meaningfulness of life and its diversities is a complete given. And it is very important not to imagine this intrinsic meaningfulness of life being a given is a kind of cop-out, that this is a facile "That's just the way things are" statement, just as there is nothing facile about mathematics being intrinsically meaningful and consistent.

I might go into the question of Faith as it relates to all the above subsequently.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tree falls, Perception, Language

I wrote before about Schrodinger's Cat and the meaninglessness in a pure intellectual sense of talking about the state of phenomena one is not in a position to perceive. And also the contradiction of Bertrand Russell's line of "There is a house which no one perceives." That written about here. To say with such certainty of something's factual existence is to necessarily do so from a vantage point of certainty attained through perception - and so this is a senseless use of language. Just because words combined may make what appears a proper sentence doesn't mean the structure is a legitimate one, i.e. language isn't simply a matter of structure but of course meaning also, and here the meaning is absent. It is a self-contradictory piece of language.

Why I bring this up again here is in relation to one of the famous thoughts, or thought-defeating questions in philosophy . . .  jumping to Wikipedia:
Philosopher George Berkeley, in his work, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), proposes, "But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park [...] and nobody by to perceive them.[1] [...] "The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden [...] no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them."[2] 
Albert Einstein is reported to have asked his fellow physicist and friend Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, whether he realistically believed that 'the moon does not exist if nobody is looking at it.' To this Bohr replied that however hard he (Einstein) may try, he would not be able to prove that it does, thus giving the entire riddle the status of a kind of an infallible conjecture—one that cannot be either proved or disproved.
Going back to Berkeley, his mistake is saying the objects cease to exist when unperceived, or that they only exist when perceived. The correct thing to say here is that one cannot say anything about unperceived objects, whether they exist or not, what state they are in. One simply has to accept that by depriving oneself of perception, one is not in a position to make statements of true intellectual value. And so the worthlessness of talking about what may or may not be going on in Schrodinger's box, and also the falseness of attempting to say an unperceived object does not exist, as Berkeley does, or that it does exist as Russell imagined he could say. Nothing should be said about an unperceived object if we are being true to language. It's as useless as blind men talking about the nature of a silent film that may or may not be playing on a screen in front of them; all they could say is just empty conjecture.

So to look at the falling tree but more usefully altering it to Can a tree be said to fall if no one perceives it - rather than bringing in the somewhat diverting and more scientific related issue of sound and hearing. The question as to if a tree falls if no one is there to perceive its falling should be seen to be a meaningless, absurd use of language. If no one is there to perceive its falling then how do we know it falls so as to ask the question? It's an empty question, attempting to simultaneously occupy the contradictory camps of being in a position to perceive and not be in a position to perceive. So just as above, "Just because words combined may make what appears a proper sentence doesn't mean the structure is a legitimate one, i.e. language isn't simply a matter of structure but of course meaning also, and here the meaning is absent. It is a self-contradictory piece of language."

We could see that a tree is lying on the ground and that therefore it evidently fell, in whatever manner, but of course we are back here in the world of perceived objects. In terms of everyday usage, yes of course it is reasonable to deduce the tree fell in the interval between perceptions of it standing and lying on the ground, but that doesn't change the fact that that twilight zone of non-perception, to be true to language as an absolute truth-tool, must simply remain a blank field.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Cantor, Mathematics, Sets, Infinity Again

Reading the very interesting 'The German Genius' by Peter Watson and coincidentally the issue of the last post here re infinity, sets and mathematics has surfaced, and so this is really little more than a reiteration of what was already said there. In the mentioned book is told, "Georg Cantor created the theory of sets and the arithmetic of infinite numbers. . . .  Cantor made the concept of "set" one of the most interesting terms in both mathematics and philosophy. But it was his next step that took mathematics by surprise(though in truth it was a surprise that no one had noticed this before).The series, 1, 2, 3 . . . n, was an infinite set and so was 2, 4, 6 . . . n. But it followed from this that some infinite sets were larger than others - there are more integers in the infinite series, 1, 2 , 3, . . . n than in 2, 4, 6 . . . n."

That this is nonsense is merely the repetition of the previous post, but here goes again anyway. There can be no number bigger than an infinite set of numbers since an infinite series is by definition unfinished, never reaches a conclusion, and one thing - here a set of numbers - can only be bigger than another thing if both are complete entities. And so if the series 1, 2, 3 . . . climaxes at the number 175,987 and likewise 2, 4, 6 . . . does not go beyond the same figure, then of course the first set is far bigger than the second. However, obviously enough, we are now dealing here with a finite series of numbers, not an infinite one. There is no permitted climactic figure in the world of infinity, otherwise it is not infinite; and given this then there is no 'infinite' set that is bigger than another one. An infinite series cannot dwell within the finite boundaries necessary for one set to be bigger than another.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Mathematics, Infinity,

Looking up some mathematical issue regarding infinity I've come across the following page and I'll assume rightly or wrongly that it represents some kind of broader opinion, and to be honest I'm a bit shocked at the intellectual level at play. People should have a bit more humility when dealing supposedly with infinity, as it seems likely they'll end up otherwise blandly substituting it with something very finite and postulating confidently and ever more wrongly from there.

What is infinity? It is bigger than the biggest number, but it is not a number itself.

What is wrong here is blatantly enough the description of infinity being bigger than the biggest number, as of course within the realm of infinity there is no such thing as a biggest number. It is only within a finite realm that there is a biggest number.

If you could do arithmetic using infinity, then you would end up proving that 1 = 2, which is not a good idea! So you cannot do arithmetic using infinity. It's where the number system breaks down.

The only means by which you would prove 1=2 is if you have decided for the sake of some childish convenience to pretend infinity is something falsely other than itself, which intellectual gibberish in turn can justify and produce such resulting gibberish as 1=2.

Surely there are more rationals (fractions) than natural numbers. 

Again the same obvious criticism. How can there be more numbers than an infinite number? There can only be more than a finite number. So again something finite, humanly conceived and definite has replaced the endless world of infinity.

Countable sets
So how can we say anything about infinity at all? In fact, we can say more than you'd think. First, we can say that there are infinitely many natural numbers. Now we have a way of counting infinite sets of numbers. Wait a minute - how can we count something that's infinite? Surely it would take a infinite amount of time, even for a computer? 

What has a computer got to do with the, surely by any kind of meaningful definition, impossibility of counting a never-ending stream of numbers to a conclusion?

Are all infinite sets of numbers the same size? No. The set of irrationals and the set of reals are not countable. There is no way that you can lay them out so there is a one-to-one correspondence with the natural numbers. This means that there are different types of infinity. The countable sets of natural numbers and rationals are smaller than the sets of irrationals and reals.

Again no infinite set can be countable, because to be able to count all of the numbers within a set again necessitates a definite, limited and finite number. And so naturally in truth there is no such thing as a set containing infinity, as infinity cannot be contained within form. So a closer look at the notion of "all the numbers within infinity." Take one of these numbers within the infinity of numbers; this being Pi. Pi is itself infinite, and so one cannot speak of 'all the numbers of Pi'; 'all' being an inclusive term, whereas infinity spills endlessly beyond 'all'. You cannot write down all the numbers as all of something requires a completed totality, whereas infinity again reaches no conclusion . A totality is finite, while infinity cannot be circumscribed within a system or set, else it is certainly not infinity despite whatever claims.

Follow-up to this here.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Time & Vision

Consider a video recording of a football match. As the game was actually played the players have absolute freedom to act of their own volition. However, watching this later their actions obviously will not change, which is not to say that they were deprived of free will as they acted. Similarly we could talk of a kind of external observer of life existing free of our notion of time, knowing exactly what happens within our time, but this not contradicting the freedom within the moment of the actors of the drama.

I wrote the above previously and bring it up again because it relates to another idea-image that has gone out of its way to strike me. An external observer of life is self-contradictory since to be an observer means one exists and so is necessarily part of life or what is and not be external to it, and so presumably the 'kind of' that I qualified it by . . . but anyway to try to deal with this time omnipresence or omniscience regarding what happens within time - accepting that language is struggling here and not really within its natural bounds. But something else first previously written:

As I stand in a certain spot looking in a certain direction, I do not occupy a definitive point of perception which excludes the reality of all other possible points of perception. Instead I occupy a continuously shifting position within the visual field, which is comprised of an infinity of points of perception all existing simultaneously. Reality here is the totality of this field of vision as opposed to the distinct reality of the individual points.
The same can be said of time. We occupy a continuously shifting position within this field, again with all the individual points of time existing simultaneously. 

So the idea I'll try to express here is something of a bridge between the above two extracts.

The thought alluding to this I had was how this omniscient, omnipresence relates to 'ordinary' seeing. The normal or traditional religious-philosophical view of things here is I imagine of God as a purely external viewer of life and with the freedom to set his gaze at any aspect of the presented images - and so like the initial quoted piece is like someone watching an unfolding drama on a tv screen - an apparently wholly external, uninvolved observer. The falseness of the idea of an external observer, or God as such, has already been dealt with above, and so . . .

Think of someone seeing with one eye open and one closed. We could even add to this constraint by having that person as seated with his head fixed and with blinkers as with a racehorse. And so vision is constrained to something like one point of perspective within the infinite possible field of perception within reality as described in the first piece. There is all this potential seeing, behind, above, in general around this somewhat fixed perspective point but which is inaccessible to this seer. Now, lazily using Wikipedia here, think of creatures with binocular vision such as ourselves, and more usefully within the analogical sense I am employing, some prey animals: "Some animals, usually, but not always, prey animals, have their two eyes positioned on opposite sides of their heads to give the widest possible field of view. In such animals, the eyes often move independently to increase the field of view. Even without moving their eyes, some birds have a 360-degree field of view."

Each of the organs of vision, eyes, could exist wholly independently of the other, as in with the other closed still a true visual presentation is offered or exists. And if the closed eye is opened and the opened closed, a somewhat different vista opens up. If the two are simultaneously open however what we experience is not a mind darting back and forth between the two perspectives but instead the 'two visions' coalescing as one visual whole. With us, the disparity of the two perspectives is not so dramatic, the eyes quite close together, but as with other creatures the field of vision could be comprised of essentially eyes at the front and back of the head, and yet the resulting visual field experienced as one organic film so to speak, rather than a materialistic construct of two distinct elements. And so with time and seeing.

Monday, 23 December 2013


[The season that's in it, the re-posting of what lies below.

. . . Actually come to think of it a few minutes later, not that I'm going to read what lies below, but as far as I remember I don't think it has anything to do with the season that's in it, but anyway, justification perhaps lacking, there it still lies, below:]

A universe, all of it, was encased in glass. However, those dwelling within a certain world within this universe did not know they were so encased for the glass was perfectly transparent and gave away at a distance nothing of itself. If they had been less unaware, who knows, they might have been blissfully so.

“In glass? Wonderful!”

But if over time, gathering dust and various wandering rubbish to itself, the glass becoming muddied and the universe within compelled to become dimmer, would the inhabitants begin to guess at all the glass? “The light is fading,” some wail. “We must be displeasing the gods!” Others: “We are polluting the atmosphere,” whilst others again, thoughtful, deduce the sun to be consuming itself, drawing low on its own reserves, and so this fading a precursor, in itself harmless, of the real disaster to come.

But it's much more likely I suppose that instead this dimming, if there was any dimming, would be both so slow and so faint as to go altogether unnoticed.

Something though that didn't go so unnoticed was the appearance of a crack in the glass. Why a crack? Because a stone had been thrown from somewhere effecting this crack. Thrown from inside or outside? Outside. The glass was of a scale that anything hitting it from the inside would have been far too weak to have caused a scratch, never mind a crack, and so it must be from the outside it came.

And so a stone was thrown, accidentally or malignantly, or maybe just unconsciously, that is inanimately, an unthinking movement of unthinking matter, and regardless, however, a great big crack appeared, clearly visible from all points within the glass, or at least visible whenever and wherever whoever was looking from was immersed in night and the crack above unobscured by clouds, and so, whatever the source, shafts of light could be seen striking the edges of the crack, creating an incredible, fearful, even mystical effect.

And with this immense, obscure appearance across the night sky, confusion, terror, people on their knees, floods of prayers sent into the void, and amongst whatever else, a great rush to interpret the appearance, but none in their interpreting proving inspired enough to surmise either glass or crack.

“My God! What is it?”
“Nothing to worry about. Something to do with the sky.”

One of the less impressive offerings. And so anyway, there it was, this wild, jagged line, unexplained across the heavens. “Heavens”, by the way, was enjoying a renaissance, and you could even, if you wished, make a case for now dividing people into two halves; one for those still using the prosaic “sky” when talking of such, and the other for those now saying “heavens” when talking of same - this use maybe natural or innocent at first, but pointedly soon enough after, autobiographical. There were also though a few of what you might call agnostics, who found themselves in the awkward position of not knowing what word to use, the use of either seeming to place you firmly within one of the two camps, and so they tried to intersperse both equally, but rather than being applauded for their delicacy, they ended up more or less just annoying everyone.

So the archaic style was back, portentous and poetical; in some hands serious, unforced; in others a fashion accessory; perhaps in others again sarcastic - even if this sarcasm might now seem a bit unsure of itself. Phrases like, “The starry vault has been sundered,” became almost a commonplace; things you might hear, never mind behind closed doors, out on the street in the middle of the day.

The likes of Nostradamus was poured over; lines produced, discussed, even thought about; perhaps the biggest fuss made over the following:

A jug spills, milk disappears.
A horseman descends, fearsome and hungry.

Whatever about the Frenchman's disappearing milk and descending horseman, that this was the kind of thing you could now mention in normal life without fear, or much of it, of being thought mad was, you could say, an emblem of the times, the times distilled.

And so now, on the cusp of these strange times, there they were, waiting.

But what happened in time with this waiting but more or less nothing - no Apocalypse, no dawning New Age, as said - nothing. And back out from the shadows began to emerge the sarcastic, slowly at first and looking about them, but then, growing more and more sure of themselves, in a surging rush. “Go on with your Apocalypse!” they jeered, and began, with an awful lot of noise, to enjoy themselves. Whether there was really any enjoyment at the other end of all the noise I can't really say, maybe just a lot of noise signifying enjoyment; but that's the theory anyway: In the absence of an apocalypse you enjoy yourself. There may have been some still waiting, but if they were, they were keeping their waiting to themselves.

So a return to something like normality; the crack becoming part of the furniture, no longer so novel, soon to be not novel at all; its prolonged existence proof of its banality. Relief, disappointment, a sense of futility and emptiness - all mingled. The coming time hadn't come, the great harbinger had foretold nothing, and the archaic style faded back away. You might still hear something like “The starry vault has been sundered,” but this time in a certain tone, followed by laughter.

Interpretations became more a matter of idle intellectual musing than apocalyptic sooth-saying; money still being poured into scientific alleyways, the crack had become, one was given to understand, the personal property of the learned, debated in smooth, antiseptic tones, and in a leisurely manner. It was, they might concede, yes, for now, genuinely quite interesting; a bit of an anomaly, but we had all the time in the world and there was nothing particularly at stake - or if you like there was something very particular at stake, the anomaly bit, but it would soon be an anomaly no more and no rush about it.

From those exalted and intellectual quarters, stern or amused looks arrowed themselves downwards now towards any remarks about the crack rising up from regions beneath. If someone from below had for instance insisted on the great thing across the sky's still being a deep mystery and was honoured enough to receive in response to these words other words coming back down rather than just a descending look, those words would probably go something like: “A mystery? Only because we don't yet know what it is.” If this someone beneath were stupid enough to persist with his mystery, not realising he'd been crushed, he would probably find himself enclosed in a silence hard to get out of.

And so, all in all, the crack in the distant glass still a riddle, but people a lot less concerned. Many disappointed, many not; tension eased but things a bit boring.

This relaxing of tension was dealt a very cruel blow though when another stone struck the outside of the glass, sending another, but this time far larger, crack scything across the surface. If in their observing our people had been anywhere near the glass, they would have experienced a sharp, very audible crack more or less simultaneous to the appearance of the visual one, but being so far away they didn't. Light informed them of the frightening event long before any revealing noise, but the noise didn't just lie down, and instead rumbled its immense way across space, gaining if anything it seemed rather than losing in mass, before finally rolling hugely over the humble world, flattening all other sound and terrifying everything upon it evolved enough to have got as far as experiences like terror. And, as if this weren't enough, as the huge roar slowly moved off on its way, fading at last to a low rumble, up struck across the continents a chorus of howling dogs, accompanied in places by howls more primal and awful again, human ones, pouring themselves out of abysses deeper than history - pardon the poetics.

When terror subsided enough to allow thought pour back in they tried to make sense of what had happened, to fit it into some conceivable map of existence; many even still in spite of all hoping this map could somehow be a reassuring one. Even the cynics though were shaken very deep.

“Now this is serious.”
“Yes, this time it really is serious.”
“I thought it was serious the first time.”
“But” — some other exchange — “you don't think it could have been some kind of thunder?”
“Thunder? That was no thunder.”

And so religion on the rise again, more floods of prayers, a sense of impending doom, some souls strangely exhilarated, more terrified, some few even trying to let on to be amused by it all - the cracks, the noise, the howls, the terror - but these efforts now all too obviously strained, and inclined more towards the hysterical in the mad sense than the humorous.

“Who knows what will happen next — the sun might explode.”
“Still, we might get a tan. Ha ha!”

And still they hadn't figured out they were encased in glass. But then another stone struck the outside of the glass, and this time the glass shattered outright; great shards descend upon the formerly enclosed spaces, sending everything - suns, moons, planets - that they smash into flying; and finally, the shards descending, the now horrifying, previously harmless truth of the universe's crystal encasement begins to dawn.

And . . . Apocalypse? But the strange truth is, no matter how doomed our planet appeared, however certain various collisions appeared, it defied perhaps all logic and escaped without a scratch. All shards and splinters passed it by.

And so, the danger passed, aware at last they had been encased in glass, they were encased no more.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Swinging Light

Oh no, another vision, a glimpse, of what, who knows, I better write it down . . .

A lamp swinging - from . . . for yes surely there must be a from, and so from a ceiling, and it is swinging, not gently but, though not quite wildly, well bordering perhaps on wildly, though not out of control . . . not yet out of control? Well for now anyway not yet, and so, despite all the swinging, always somehow or other and even almost casually so held in balance. And holding onto, suspended from this lampshade are people, very small, the size lets say of toy-soldiers - though I suppose yes it could be that I am belittling them and it is actually the lamp that is enormous - but anyway either way they wouldn't want presumably to fall off.

Sometimes in this room, for surely there's a room, the light, the light from this lamp, shines bright - a high wattage it must be - but sometimes not so bright and other times the light even murky and weak; and naturally there are between these gradations also intervals of darkness, the bulb having gone, given up in a flash, or is it rather the lack of a flash, and so they're all left there, swinging in the darkness. But soon enough of course the bulb is taken out and replaced, the old one thrown out or who knows, maybe kept in some box in an attic by an eccentric hoarder, and anyway on they swing, the lamp and those clinging on.

But why the swinging? Is it that the person who changes the bulb gives it a push or a pull to set it back in motion? - assuming naturally that there is a person. Well it's plausible, maybe probable. Though perhaps there's a window open and so a draft, a wind - we could be high up, though yes of course we could be low down. Or maybe it - the swinging - and the sustaining of the swinging have something to do with the people. the weight distribution, and as it swings gaining height in whatever direction, those atop and clinging on the other side of the lampshade are tugging against this lurch, and so momentum grows, back and forth and vice versa and so on. Though to be honest I'm out of my depth here - the dynamics of motion, Newton or someone else and all that . . .

But anyway as the light swings in the room there must be brightenings and darkenings, shadows rearing, the imagination seeing and conjuring all kinds of things, quickly forgetting them as something else rears into view. Regardless of the swinging some corners of the room remain always unseen, blocked. Maybe some people grow desperate, long to jump off, stare and try to calculate, is it possible to jump, where might they land, at what point in the arc of movement to let go, they leap to freedom, to calamity, they don't leap at all . . .

Anyway I think I've done my duty, to some degree at least. I wrote it down, fleshed it out a bit, it can look after itself now.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Light, Reason, Consciousness

This is really a coninuation of the last post, Flame and Reason & so I probably should just merge them, which for now I'm sure result in some clumsiness & repitition, but it'll have to do for now. . .

Life is often falsely declared rational, or that it should be judged as conforming to what is reasonable, i.e. what can rightly be deduced by reason.
To treat consciousness as a physical emanation, a rational product of the body, is akin to treating a flame as a product of a match, or perhaps more useful again in analogic terms, as light being produced by a light bulb. The most that can be said of the physical triggers such as the match or bulb is that they are occasional with the appearance of the phenomenon of light, but there is no rational connection between the two, i.e. the physical object of the light bulb in no way rationally concludes with the phenomenon of, light is an light entirely different order of being or manifestation of energy.

Where reason comes in is merely as a result of observance of the appearance of flame or light, and then realising or stating that after such and such triggers, flame appears. This is not in itself though a conclusion based on naked thought, but primarily a time or historically on observance. Flame is an entirely other phenomenon or nature of being to its triggers, just as water is entirely other to hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen and water do not rationally conclude in water. One could not deduce water's appearance from a prior position of ignocrance of the phenomenon of water, and its appearance is beyond reasoning.

Contrarily we could say that a house is a rational conclusion to all the elements such as blocks and bricks that comprise this final structure; there is no rational discrepancy or leap into some other energy form, instead the blocks, tiles, etc. combined in the right manner logically lead to house. Reason from a position prior to its construction could rationally envisage its final state.So in a pure existential state of unknowing, whereas the construct of the house can be rationally divined, the appearance of flame or water is, to use the terminology available to us, miraculous. One can analyse the triggers that are occasional with the appearance of for instance flame or water, but this shouldn't be confused with imagining the process is reasonable, i.e. in accord with what reason could nakedly deduce

All this does not suggest by the way that reason is flawed, but shows is life is not confined to conforming to laws of reason. Instead life's appearance is miraculous rather than rational. It is inclusive of rationality but simultaneously is far beyond it. One could go from here to showing the clunky erroroneousness of arguing about things like Intelligent Design. Such thinking is trapped within a false notion of life as being leaden-footedly rational, where rather than mysterious and truly divine, a Creator is introduced or argued or argued against on the basis of the rational need for such a creator.

To treat consciousness as a physcial emanation, a rational product of the body, the body being the cause and consciousness the effect, is akin to treating light as though it is created by the light bulb. We know, obviously enough, that this is not the case, that light as a phenomenon exists independent of light bulbs, and that light is not the rational conclusion of the physical entity of the bulb - instead it is of entirely distinct form of energy, whose appearance coincides with the trigger mechanisms of the bulb, but which still and always remains not a rational development but a mysterious one. Contrarily kicking a ball and the ball then moving is a clear case of cause and effect. The appearance of light having pressed a light switch or striking a match to a dulled mind might seem to be of the same class of events, but when one truly considers what happens, this should be understood to be not a rational event. We may realise the scientific technicalities in terms of a combination of elements resulting in light or water, but it is key to see that this is still not a rational outcome. It is not a logical development and could not be possibly foreseen, and the 'entities' of water, light or/and flame that appear are entirely other.

So similarly consciousness is an entirely  distinct form of energy to an animal body, and could not possibly be concluded   from the physical structures. Its appearance is co-existent with the physical structure but cannot be said to be a conclusion of that structure. To look closer at the light-bulb analogy or interrelation. Consider the dimmer apparatus or system - the light appears when the switch is put on, the nature and strength of the light which appears is determined and modified by the wattage of the bulb, and can be altered by turning the dimmer knob. In an enormously more complex but similar manner, consciousness is attuned to the physical apparatus of the body.

But as shown, the light phenomenon is simply co-existent in its appearance with the physical triggers but not created by them, its appearance is not a cause and effect relationship no matter how deeply we analyse and manipulate the trigger mechanisms involved. So of course there is a wholly entwined relationship between body and consciousness, with for example pain, pleasure, hunger, etc altering the experience of consciousness as the dimmer alter the light, but still light light cannot be said to be created by the bulb but simply coincident with its appearance. And similarly consciousness should not be considered to create consciousness but instead to be coincident with its appearance.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Flame, Reason . . .

Life is often falsely declared rational, or that it should be judged as conforming to what is reasonable, i.e. what can rightly be deduced by reason.
To treat consciousness as a physical emanation, a rational product of the body, is akin to treating a flame as a product of a match, or perhaps more useful again in analogic terms, as light being produced by a light bulb. The most that can be said of the physical triggers such as the match or bulb is that they are occasional with the appearance of the phenomenon of light, but there is no rational connection between the two, i.e. the physical object of the light bulb in no way rationally concludes with the phenomenon of, light is an light entirely different order of being or manifestation of energy.

Where reason comes in is merely as a result of observance of the appearance of flame or light, and then realising or stating that after such and such triggers, flame appears. This is not in itself though a conclusion based on naked thought, but primarily a time or historically on observance. Flame is an entirely other phenomenon or nature of being to its triggers, just as water is entirely other to hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen and water do not rationally conclude in water. One could not deduce water's appearance from a prior position of ignocrance of the phenomenon of water, and its appearance is beyond reasoning.

Contrarily we could say that a house is a rational conclusion to all the elements such as blocks and bricks that comprise this final structure; there is no rational discrepancy or leap into some other energy form, instead the blocks, tiles, etc. combined in the right manner logically lead to house. Reason from a position prior to its construction could rationally envisage its final state.So in a pure existential state of unknowing, whereas the construct of the house can be rationally divined, the appearance of flame or water is, to use the terminology available to us, miraculous. One can analyse the triggers that are occasional with the appearance of for instance flame or water, but this shouldn't be confused with imagining the process is reasonable, i.e. in accord with what reason could nakedly deduce

All this does not suggest by the way that reason is flawed, but shows is life is not confined to conforming to laws of reason. Instead life's appearance is miraculous rather than rational. It is inclusive of rationality but simultaneously is far beyond it. One could go from here to showing the clunky erroroneousness of arguing about things like Intelligent Design. Such thinking is trapped within a false notion of life as being leaden-footedly rational, where rather than mysterious and truly divine, a Creator is introduced or argued or argued against on the basis of the rational need for such a creator.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Scottish Pedestrian Songwriters

Quite a few moons ago the Scottish group The Proclaimers had a big hit with "I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)" where they with much conviction sang:

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

Roughly around the same time, Mike Scott, the main man of another Scottish band, the very fine Waterboys, was also willing to let his feet do the talking in his more impassioned and tortured song, "Too Close to Heaven", and towards the end of that, with great emotion and perhaps even a sense of martyrdom, he sang:

I walk a mile for you baby
I walk a mile for you baby
I walk a mile for you baby
so won't you smile for me baby?

To be honest I think Mike has an exaggerated idea of the scale of self-sacrifice involved in walking a mile, and frankly, compared to the distances his Proclaiming compatriots were willing to step out, it's a pathetic distance. I suppose, tenuous though it might be, you could argue that in singing that line three times Scott is stating his willingness to travel not one but three miles, but even still that's not all that impressive.
You might still though, if interested, enjoy his song here.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Jerusalem, War, Fun

Just a thought about Simon Sebag's Montefiore's Jerusalem, or a line within, where he writes:

Few soldiers, few novelists have captured the fun of war like Usmah. To read him is to ride in the skirmishes of Holy War in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He gloried in his battlefield anecdotes of derring-do, devil-may-care cavaliers, miraculous escapes, terrible deaths and . . . spurting blood.

I'm not sure how much firsthand experience of the fun of war Montefiore has had - a quick look seems to reveal his previous professional life outside of writing to consist of banking - but anyway, whatever his experiences, how refreshingly old school not to yield to the wilting and joyless sanctimonies of the present, and instead not just apologise for war as an occasionally necessary evil but actually celebrate the Boys Own fun of it all. Hurrah!

I wonder if in the bounteous remainder of the book that awaits me whether I will come across as similarly liberating an expression as:

Few men, few novelists have captured the fun of rape like - . . . 

Mass-rape being of course, along with the obvious thrills of things like dismemberments and less obvious ones like mass-starvation, always a pretty inevitable attendant to the great fun-filled wars that have comprised and lit up the great canons of that which we are pleased to call History. Not of course that I am in any way saying the generally incidental phenomena of rape should expect to be considered on any kind of par with the more historically relevant thrills and glories as hacking off of limbs and heads and the like.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Jerusalem, Montefiore, etc . .. injection

I recently bought 'Jerusalem The Biography' by Simon Sebag Montefiore, the back cover of which includes quotes by such political and, of course by natural extension, intellectual luminaries as Henry Kissinger - "Magnificent . . . a treasure trove", and Bill Clinton - "Spectacular . . . It's a wonderful book."
Humbled as I am to be in such company, I would add - "A tedious monotonous read which I am trying to force myself to wade through for the doubtful purposes of self-education."

. . . Ok, a bit unfair . . . or no, not that unfair, that does largely describe my experience of reading it. It's one of those books which I wish whose information could be ingested in the form of say an injection - a quick way of gathering its endless reams of  "This happened, then this happened, and then this, then this, and then this, and would you believe it, followed by this . . . " etc.

That the method of injection wouldn't be an entirely painless way of ingesting the book, and for some like myself a bit mentally uncomfortable, well this would add some measure of authenticity to the experience.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Sitting, Politeness

Are you sitting comfortably? Not that I care whether you are or not . . . not that is though that I wish you discomfort. I was just being polite.Well if that's my version of politeness, you might say . . .

Well no, this, that is the above, my explanation, my excusing of myself, so to speak, was really just laziness, lack of effort, some kind of shorthand for the sake of convenience - not that it's proving very convenient - and I suppose instead I better try to be more accurate, more a servant in the interest of truth - not that I'm looking to be such a servant. Can you imagine someone describing himself as such . . .  "I am a servant in the interest of truth" - the shamelessness of it . . . or perhaps the stupidity . . . or maybe both. It would be like coming out with a book called "The Audacity of Hope."

 Picture yourself standing there, in front of your publisher, your publisher to be:

"I've written a book."
"Right, right. What's it about?"
"It's about myself, my struggle."
"Your struggle. And have you a title?"
"'I have. It's called 'The Audacity of Hope.'"

Anyway, whatever about that kind of audacity, I was trying to explain myself, why I began as I began with the polite question about the sitting, only it wasn't politeness . . . but who cares what it was! It was a beginning, a gaining of momentum, a prelude . . .

But, and here's the sadness, when you come back to it maybe it really was politeness after all . . . only I couldn't carry it off and the waves of irony broke out. It didn't take them long. And so whatever this might have turned out to be, this is what it is instead. Not that it however could hardly be called a tragedy.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Stairs, Slippy

The stairs were slippy, not because something had spilt on them, but simply because that was the way they were - slippy. You had to be careful going down, or even up . . . or at least it was advisable that you be a bit careful, a bit aware of their slipperiness . . . though maybe that's going a bit too far, more than likely, aware or not, you'd be fine however you chose to come up or go down; but however there was yes the chance that if, lacking in all restraint, you were a bit flippant in the manner in which you attacked these stairs, then who knows what might happen . . . that is you might fall, and it might even be a bad fall, though of course on the other hand it mightn't be bad at all.

To be honest, I've forgotten why I brought up these stairs and their slipperiness. They must have been leading somewhere . . . but where and why though, if they were, I've no recollection. Though then again maybe they weren't ever leading anywhere, and that's all I had to say all along.

Friday, 19 April 2013


"What do you think of the State?"
"I suppose it's a bit, or maybe a lot, like Santa Claus - a piece of make-believe which functions because we behave as though it were real."


They built for themselves a precipice - how they did it I don't know, maybe they hacked it out of the rock -  only it turned out it seems there were too many of them there, and soon the pushing began.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Apparently Magnetic

A great and apparently magnetic substance appeared to which many were naturally drawn, and even if, as was the case, movement was subsequently somewhat restricted - and even greatly so - they seemed happy enough to have been drawn there. "Movement?! What need have we of movement?!" - someone might have said in response to questions as to their immobility. "And where would we go to anyway if not here?"

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Art, Autobiographical

You demand that all art or at least all writing be autobiographical, autobiographical in the purest sense, unfalsified, there lies truth and all that . . . and so I'll try my best, have a go, but rather than go into too many details I'll try to distill a bit, reduce, which is to say elevate all this autobiographicising, all this seamless and remorseless selfhood to something like its essence - and noone could ask more or much more of me than that.

I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I . . . me, me, me, me, me, me, me . . . 

There, it doesn't get much more distilled than that. You might argue it's a bit infantile, even all a bit monotonous when seen in such a light, but I'm sure it's just a question of the light.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


There is a great danger this sentence will not reach its conclusion. Though I don't know, perhaps I exaggerated - maybe there was no danger.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Who Was 'Beethoven'?

Beethoven was deaf and so of course must have had someone else write his music for him, but who that someone was we may sadly never know. I suspect though that it was Mozart, who presumably faked his own death to escape his creditors and possibly also the murderous intent, real or imagined, of Salieri.

This you might argue is all a bit speculative, where is my proof, etc. My ears are my proof, and Beethoven, lest us not forget, didn't have any any - ears that is, in the practical sense. That is of course yes naturally he did have ears, but they were not practical.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


There was a balloon which was full of air - for which the air was naturally grateful - but then the ballon burst and it turned out the air didn't need it after all.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

God's Non-Existence due to Manifestations of Evil within Time

One of the assumed arguments against the existence of what is referred to by God is an emotionally based one which cites the existence of evil or dreadful occurrences as said proofs - for instance the Nazi Holocaust or even some sinister phenomenon within the natural world. What 'God' stands for or signifies within this sphere of argument is an Ultimate Reality which is incarnate as absolute goodness, and because of its ultimate nature, its ultimate and undoubted triumph over evil.

The argument against God in this usage can go more or less that the level of evil in whatever instance used is so awful that ultimate truth, goodness, or God, cannot exist or else it would not have allowed such evil to prevail.

It is not to belittle the intensity of the pain that may lead to this philosophical reaction of God's absence but it should still be remembered that language must be examined in its own terms; the intellect must be true to itself and its forms; otherwise driven by these powerful even hysterical emotional needs and yearnings, intellect can be made to furnish and uphold very doubtful and dangerous ideas like virulent forms of state nationalism and its subsequent manifestations, from war to concentration camps.

And so back to the matter of this idea of the absence of the existence of absolute goodness and truth due to whatever temporal triumph of evil - and thankfully once true to language it can be resolved very quickly.

The very use of the word 'evil' and its usage is to inescapably accept that it exists within the framework or greater reality of 'Good.' Evil or some awful occurrence can be experienced as evil or awful only because of their being at odds with the goodness which the self feels and knows to be truth.

This all relates quite closely to a post Perversion as Truth, particuarly:

The very notion of perversion being 'true' is linguistically, and tautologically so, perverse, nonsensical. The idea of the language term "perversion" necessitates the idea of healthiness, truth, to which this perversion is contrary. It cannot exist autonomously without this standard to offset itself. It exists in relation to truth, which it is in defiance of, in perverse relation to.

And identically we can substitute evil for perversion. 'Evil' can only exist as a false domain within the framework of 'Goodness.' Something can only be wrong in the event of something else being right. For instance, 2+2=5 is wrong because of there being a right answer. If there was no right, there would be no wrong. And just so with the emotional or ethical sphere.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Capitalism and Capital

Poker is capitalism in something like its pure form - the only product being exchanged is money. And if a game of poker is indefinitely continued all the money will find its way progressively into fewer and fewer hands.

The idea of capital or money is that of a symbol that permits the flow of products of mutual benefit to peoples engaged in different, perhaps very different, activities, and inhabiting even very different parts of the planet. Originally the fundamental reality of money was of its being a precious metal, and the form or symbol into which it was moulded was a very secondary issue. And so one was in possession of something of intrinsic value, which for whatever reasons man commonly seems to regard as 'precious.' The individual within this system held a strong, stable position. Gold, for example, wasn't suddenly going to depreciate madly.

In time the secondary symbolic state of money has come to have prominence over the first - what it means more important than what it is - and now the existential reality or value of money is worthless, comprising paper or very unprecious metal, and the symbol is the fundamental truth - i.e. what the money means. So one is in possession of an ascribed value, rather than a thing in itself. Naturally this is an extremely powerful and potentially corruptible position for those in charge of the money at something like source, if inclined at all towards temptation, given the wholly symbolic nature of the money substance.

Another way of phrasing this is that if psychological realities like greed, love of power and dominion over others are indeed psychological realities, then we can expect pretty much as a matter of course the enormous temptation to corruption to find practical results. If however greed, love of power, etc are not psychological realities, then we have little to fear, and the possibility of the given scenarion little more than a conspiracy theory arising from an erroneous and cynical view of the landscape of human reality. However, most will agree such inner landscape is indeed real. And so, in the words of Josiah Charles Stamp, President of the Bank of England in the 1920's:

The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented. If you want to continue to be slaves of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit.

The utter defencelesness of the ordinary individual's position with modern money shown most spectacularly in Germany between the Great War and the rise of the Nazis, when inflation snowballed to the point where again the intrinsic worth became greater than the symbolic worth; ie the paper was worth more than the 'money'. The intrinsic unreality or worthlessness of the symbol became something close to absolute.

One might say money realised its own non-existence and so dissolved into nothingness, but at the expense of such elegance we probably have to rather consider the perennial activity of human manipulation, conscious and unconscious, intentional and error-strewn, where at the very least the Allied victors by their victory terms ensured the first German economic chaos.

Now in the comparatively cashless society the money relationship is even more abstract, where that which is symbolised doesn't even exist as a tangible symbol-object - i.e. cash - but almost purely as numbers on computer screens, and so the power dynamics in this system have become ever more centralised towards the bankers and creators of the money symbol.

And so is amply shown the danger of an economic system wholly in thrall to the fluctuations and manipulations of a symbol of no intrinsic substance. With today's crisis no crops are failing, plagues striking, etc. Just a purely mental substance depreciating in value in terms of itself, or/ and disappearing into unknown avenues. See poker analogy:

Poker is capitalism in something like its pure form - the only product being exchanged is money. And if a game of poker is indefinitely continued all the money will find its way progressively into fewer and fewer hands.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

David Bowie Tracks

'Some Are' and 'The Subterraneans' both off the 'Low' album, Some Are a bonus track; 'The Bewlay Brothers' below off 'Hunky Dory'; and Sons of the Silent Age off 'Heroes'.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The La's - Looking Glass, Tears in the Rain, Man I'm Only Human, Timeless Melody, Looking Glass Live

'Tears in the Rain' only a very roughly recorded rehearsal, as unfortunately the genius that is Lee Mavers has had deep and strange issues with releasing his songs.

Dead Can Dance - Cantara, The Host of Seraphim

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Perhaps the dominant ideology of the relatively modern era, its ambient background, is that of Progress, which could be described as the belief that the increased understanding and harnessing of matter automatically leads to a bettering of human life. That even though these immersions in matter would be ‘pure’ and unimpeded by ‘irrelevant’ ethical concerns - which interruptions would be alien to these scientific investigations - that life as a whole, including the ethical field, would also somehow benefit as a matter of course from the increased harnessing of matter. The manipulations of matter would be intrinsically ‘good’in their effect, even though unencumbered by concern with the good. As a consciously pronounced ideology the latter half of the nineteenth century was the apex of this doctrinal optimism, while as an applied ideology it has of course gained incrementally in the meantime, though as this consciously pronounced ideology it has tended to fade into the background, its relatively crude propaganda work done and now existing in the silent background and probably all the more powerful for that. Progress as a thought moved beyond a position of conscious faith towards that of an unspoken omniscience or omnipresence. Materialism became effectively deified, a new and more total paganism, where the elements of nature are revered as a religious absolute.

So all in all, optimistic rationalists of the nineteenth century believed man was progressing towards a new Eden – hence Progress - that the pathways of materialism would of themselves lead there, while man’s ethical nature would also progress as a matter of inevitable course in the wake of and in tandem with this scientific progress.

Things like medical advances and improvements in methods of transport might seem to add irrefutable weight to such notions of inevitable progress but, simultaneous to these developments, scientists could place in the hands of the political powers ever progressive militaristic tools, from sub machine guns to tanks, poison gases, biological and nuclear weapons, etc., and the scientists could do this with an easy conscience, without being seen, as might seem reasonable, as instruments of applied evil, the most useful of lackeys to the basest of people.

And why could the scientists go unmolested by these obvious accusations? Because matter in whatever form it is assembled must be good, since matter is unquestioningly good, and so such scientific work is at worst neutral - but even that is unfair, and instead the increasing understanding and harnessing of matter in whatever direction must be positively good, even though as said one could do one’s work without any considerations of the good. It is inferentially claimed that somehow the good infallibly introduces itself into the process of material investigation and manipulation without man having to concern himself at all with goodness. Goodness is intrinsic to matter and its manipulations, a kind of reverse Gnosticism.

Unsettlingly however, in the twentieth century this rational path to glory began to throw up some unexpected phenomena, such as World War One where, in western Europe, the very engine-room of modernity and Progress, instead of man’s rational perfecting of himself as had been optimistically envisaged, with the improved methods of transport obedient Western man was efficiently delivered in his millions to the desired destinations of organized slaughter, while the machine guns, poison gases, etc. did the efficient slaughtering of modern man in these millions.
The methods of transport naturally themselves evolved into ever more efficient militaristic tools as the immersion in matter progressed, from ships to planes, submarines, etc.

So, particularly after the first World War, this new god of progress with its supposed attendant rationalizing development of man must have begun to appear to some a slightly more dubious deity. One perhaps couldn’t, at least some might have felt, just abandon one’s conscience and expect Progress and its fruits to conveniently deliver up ever increasing measures of goodness as a natural by-product.

Unfortunately the scope of this piece has widened way beyond its initial intentions, but beyond the more violent and dramatic fields of applied science and war, Aldous Huxley in Brave New World had a look at where man in his uncritical surrender to the manipulations of matter might be heading, particularly in a future world of perfectly achieved social stability.

An important and obvious point made by Huxley was that these scientific manipulations are apt not to be so disinterested at all. In the emerging world of mass-production, in all its many forms, power would become ever more centrifugally focused on the mass-producers, and inevitably these ruling elites would direct the manipulations of matter in directions beneficial to the consolidation and expansion of their power; from the obvious militaristic fields to the fields of ‘public entertainment’ particularly stressed by Huxley, where man’s potentially free consciousness, a force correctly seen as inimical to the continued power of the ruling elites, would be harnessed and neutralised. By offering ‘mass-man’ a saturation diet of inane stress-relieving pleasures and false pictures of the world of reality, man would be a creature of delusion, inhabiting the simulated ‘reality’ served up to him; conditioned to love his own servitude – a servitude he would be entirely unaware of. This would be effected both consciously by the ruling elites but also by means of the inner logic of progress.

H.G. Wells for one felt betrayed and insulted by Huxley’s future vision, equating as it clearly did with a disbelief in the deity of Progress to whom, or rather which, Wells like the great majority bowed down - regardless of whether or not they were conscious of the bowing down.

[ Months, perhaps even a year or two later . . .  I obviously got fed up with this essay that snowballed beyond what I intended, and so never even got to the kernel of the piece that got me writing in the first place. And the initial kernel hopefully follows.]

 . . . That the error in believing in Inevitable Progress could be truthfully reduced to or described as a semantic error; that the word 'progress' when used in the ideological sense described above is simply being misused, and this misuse has aided and encouraged man to bow down to the childish notion of Inevitable Progress.

And so what is this misuse of the word 'progress'? Well, progress is a very simple notion and process, that is, one begins from some point and progresses from there. The word simply relates to movement. And so within the whole process of Progress in the modern sense from, lets simplify, the Industrial Revolution onwards, a process of was set in motion along whose tracks mankind has deigned to progress, i.e. to move; or as Webster's Dictionary describes 'progress': forward movement in time or place . However, so deeply ingrained has become the misuse of 'Progress' that automatically once it is mentioned in this sense a kind of mental lever is switched in the mind, and instead of progress simply inferring to movement along a certain course, it is universally implied that this movement includes inescapably an ever more unfolding utopia along the pathways of this movement. The word has been completely distorted to signify that rather than simply movement in a certain direction Progress also implies that this movement is to somewhere better than previously inhabited. 

This is all far more important a point than may superficially or at first appear. So to help practically illustrate the matter, someone might say “I am an ardent believer in Progress,” meaning that this person believes in the reality of the ever more unfolding Utopia as one continues along the path of Progress. Or someone else, a little proud perhaps of their independent thought and scepticism, might say, “I do not believe in Progress,” again accepting that Progress implies unfolding Utopia, but in this case disbelieving in its attendant existence. But this is just as ridiculous and perhaps more so than the former believer in Progress. For progress in its true semantic sense of course exists; in the area of manipulation of matter in a myriad of ways we have progressed, we have gone along that path. This is indisputable. In some or many ways this has unfolded what we could say is  a better world, with manifestations such as  better hygiene, less disease, better means of transport. However just as easily we could say it has unleashed a worse world - Chernobyl, biological warfare, technologically induced or utilised forms of  mass-hypnotism, etc.

The error being made is to distort and falsify the word Progress from its true directional meaning to being inclusive of what we can broadly say is the ethical or idealistic dimension. That this error may be wholly unintentional or unconscious does not make it any less an error, and in the the relative recent history of man a very important one. The helpful manipulating of matter should obviously be a tool of great benefit to mankind but not some idea turned god to bow down to, and to which we should strangely surrender the burden of genuine inner freedom.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Buck 65 - Roses and Bluejays

From his fine 'Talkin Honky Blues' album.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Social Media, Relevance, More So

An idea for a new social media site catering for the needs of today of those living in the times we live in now. The germ of the idea is that existing variants, such as Twitter, while culturally legitimate perhaps in relation to the time of their initial gestation, have become, in these accelerating times, obsolete due to the excessive verbosity within which they unashamedly wallow. My site, both more relevant and attuned, will be useful for keeping in touch with Celebrities and Friends but will also hope to foster and encourage debate and discussion of contemporary issues of relevance to the above as mentioned times we live in now.

The most relevant and revolutionary advancement on existing alluded to Social Media variants will be that User posts and responses to posts can be up to but no longer than one word in length. If what you have to say cannot be said in less than two words, then it isn't worth saying. Anything longer is pretentious.

In homage to Free Speech there will be no restrictions within the field of utilised language except that it will be vehemently and electronically moderated that, in the interests of democratic principles, the chosen employed single word be no longer than a single syllable. Users are asked to modify themselves accordingly.