Saturday, April 19

Everything's Gone Black.

My doc he needed a psychiatrist
For all the things I come complainin' of
My shrink he neededed a therapist
When I told him all I done

An' me on my angry road to heaven
'most had to visit that great beyond.

Nothin' holds no fascination with her gone
Like a black light bring posters other lives
No, she filled my books an' hobbies with another light
Now I got nothin to do but set in my bed and remember

On this angry road to heaven I chose
An' pretend to forget til September.

But it's all gone numb in my mind
Can't sort out these days and weeks
Put these pieces in any kinda order
Can't think straight at all

Everything's gone black, now
The store is closed, the lights is out
The drawbridge got pulled shut real tight like
All the staffers, they done gone home for the evenin'.

Tuesday, April 15

Thursday, April 10

This goes out to the one and only Maalie:

click for an even more grandiose countenance of this wonderful wingéd beast

Ok, I'll make you all a deal. If I get a decent number of comments on all this stuff I've put out recently - at least my own stuff if not the music videos and such - I will post another Pub Quiz, to give everyone a chance to de-throne Rex or for Rex to repeat as champion and further cement his legacy. And there will be a new prize this time, which I won't reveal till the trophy ceremony. And the quiz will be as fair as I can make it considering the split between men and women, and Brits and Yanks. But none of it's happening until I get more feedback. Hmphh.

Wednesday, April 9

"The Fellas"

Tuesday, April 8

Painting the Existence.

I spent a good deal of time one night about a week ago not necessarily dreaming or awake or asleep, kind of a mix of all three. Usually that's bad, but this time when I woke up I had a really clear vision of how to encapsulate much of my daily questioning, those mental blocks that keep me from budging, into a series of topics, laid out in order on some kind of framework that is either linear or maybe ever-ascending (like an musical fugue that ends right where it began, but an octave higher), or else just plain circular—I don't know which yet, that's a metaproblem which is one of the impossibilities about writing about "everything"—the writing itself must be included in the system it describes, or else it's not complete (it's not "everything"), but for mathematical reasons it's been shown that nothing can fully describe everything including itself; that there always has to be a metalanguage used by a meta-author outside the system. Einstein called them hidden variables. Bohr shrugged and went on with the rest of it and didn't worry about what it meant. Philosophers run up against it and get knocked over no matter how good the plays they diagram on their whiteboards. Gödel proved it symbolically then committed suicide. There always has to be "a little more that remains undescribed." This is why most of the true math geniuses in history have gone mad and killed themselves, why the existence of God is both required but also leads to the paradox of endless regression, and why Buddhism says not to ask the question in the first place!

BUT, if that point could be overlooked, like putting on a record that skips for the first two seconds and putting the needle down at the third second, we could procede after a fashion, and the rest of the mental challenges that I find myself pondering so much of the time do lend themselves to being described in a rudimentary way, such that relationships can be established between disciplines, hierarchies shown even when tangled or topologically loopy or even impossible, boundaries put around what questions can be asked, what is really just the same thing in another guise, and so on. So you reduce the entire realm of things and experiences and all the rest of it into falsely-discrete topics but ones that flow from one to the next using Occam's Razor (a postulate and mere tool but clearly identified as such) and attempt to turn it into something that is not as overwhelming as it was before. The form such a work takes could be a series of blogs, guides, or chapters in a book. Ideally it would be a book, like some magnum opus that one would keep adding to (hopefully not the way Philip K. Dick did, though) until it felt finished, or maybe it just writes itself and is fairly taut and cohesive and voila!—One's managed to solve it all (within the allowances, again, of self-referential no-no's; not dividing by zero, avoiding the bathtub drain, the balloon knots and logical bootstrapping, the asymptotic infinities, the strange loops, the singularities where everything breaks down completely) or at least reduced it to very basic building blocks (doubtful), or maybe one goes insane in the process (but that could happen anyway). Who knows? But something like this occurred to me in that semi-conscious state, which I hurried to jot down:

Meta's Guide to Everything.
01. Getting here.
02. How to be? What to do?
03. The mind and imagination.
04. The reality of the world.
05. Religion, philosophy, history, mythology.
06. Drugs, disease, and perception.
07. The dreamtime of the Aborigines.
08. Is there any objective truth?
09. Is there only one truth?
10. Is physical law absolute or malleable?
11. Found or invented?
12. Logic, mathematics, topology.
13. Relativity and modern cosmology.
14. The limits of measurement.
15. Quantum physics and chance.
16. Uncertainy and infinite worlds.
17. A universal theory of gravity.
18. What does it mean to have boundaries?
19. What exactly is time?
20. The validity of science.
21. Natural selection everywhere.
22. Art, aesthetics, mysticism, transcendence.
23. A roll call of tangential phenomena.
24. The larger tale of humanity.
25. Circular or linear? Open or closed?
26. Dividing by zero, black holes, singularities.
27. Paradoxes and their relatives.
28. The curious problem of infinity.
29. Magnitudes of infinity.
30. Self-referential systems.
31. Analogical structure at all levels.
32. Reductionism, chaos, antichaos, complexity.
33. Emergence and holism.
34. Entropy re-examined.
35. Is life inevitable?
36. Is mind inevitable?
37. Intelligence and information.
38. What does it mean to ask why?
39. Anthropic principles.
40. Something from nothing?
41. Climbing toward the light.
42. The existence.

It has to be said these chapter titles are as plain and descriptive as I could make them rather than trying to get cute and mess up what is obviously a very ambitious thing already, and that there are bound to be things I left out but will think of later, or subjects that need rearranging in this scheme, and so forth. Also these are just headings. Although I've got it in my noodle what each is about and could write lengthy subtitles after each title or just plunge right in and write the chapters themselves (the goal, eventually), it's impossible to really glean whether there's anything but the delusions of a madperson here just by looking at the list of chapters. As an article of faith (heh) you'll just have to trust that I know what each will basically say and how it will lead into the next, even if the precise details remain to be hammered out.

Getting it out and not messing up the beautiful construction is the problem, like trying to get a beautiful baby out of a woman without cutting her open. Inevitably it's not quite as beautiful when it gets smushed and smashed and pushed out, though (with a good editor in the case of a book, or a nurse or simply time in the case of an infant) it can be reconstituted to what it once was. Right now there's a huge baby inside my mind and only the tiny apertures of language and time and the handicap of being able to only think of one aspect of this huge thing at a time and never grasp the whole on all levels (I said it was a BIG baby) that is the chief problem of getting it out and not losing what is a nearly perfect construct in my mind in the process. I suppose I've been put off by the enormity of such a thing for years (while also working on seeing how things are more and more clearly, making connections and simplifying as I age), but putting it into topics like this makes me feel good that I've made some kind of progress, even if it's just an organizational task that eases that weight a bit since I can always refer back to it when I begin to veer down one of the infinite side roads that threaten to make me lose my way.

I'm starting to work on Chapter 1; we'll see how long my inspiration lasts. It won't be an easy read if it's ever done but maybe it will hold together somehow. It's hard to know what level of detail to drop into. What about nonhuman biological systems? More about the humanities, like linguistics, economics, and other systems? Etc. All these will be blanket-covered but the book would have more and more value the more real world topics it pulled in, explained, related to other strands of the overall web, and in turn provided both weight to my arguments as well as further axioms to serve as a foundation for subsequent topics. It's this sort of "nothing is given, that's one thing to look at and here are the ramifications of that philosophically. If x, y, and z are given (say, that there is one objective reality, and that math and logic are axiomatic), then we get all these other things following from the most basic principles, and I go through each one. Harmonics, sociodynamics, physical sciences, music, the works - each builds upon the previous and provides a foundation for more topics, like a tech tree. But change the axioms and the picture could be very different; science may not be valid in its initial presumptions and we may live in a universe where esoteric knowledge and mysticism are possible, and how would that then work? What systems are possibilities that are still internally consistent? Is there any way to know what kind of reality we actually are in, or is that question itself meaningless, and if so, why?" That kind of initial setup could be a Volume 1 in itself, but I intend to discuss it, make some arbitrary but reasonable assumptions (as few as possible just to get off the ground), and then proceed, or else nothing would ever get written and what kind of magnum opus is that?

Obviously it'll be a long work though I intend to make the language as terse as possible, and not get poetic at all, and only use analogy when it's truly needed, and when it truly works. This will necessarily make it a very dense read. I mean, somebody is attempting to explain everything in some kind of framework that holds it all together. That's not bathroom reading. You'll have to put on your thinking cap and pay very close attention to each transitional step or you'll lose the thread. And where threads split and come back together in different ways (a tangled hierarchy), there will be a way to handle writing that but it's going to take effort on the part of the reader as well not to get lost. You can only make things so easy before you start cheating and leaving important bits out. Think about it—almost every time you really understood something and felt changed because of it, it was the result of honest hard thought and following tons of steps, each implying the next, until you had that Eureka moment and something about the world became understood to you in a fundamentally new way. Every chapter will have to be like that in a sense for this endeavor to have real value.

And who knows, maybe I'll make a bunch of money.

Monday, April 7

"Alternative history" and other esoteric fields.

Just a (sort of) simple question. What is your attitude toward esoteric beliefs, that is, beliefs that there are truths that either lie outside of science (the paranormal), or hidden knowledge from, say, prior advanced civilizations that is either consciously or more likely unknowingly kept from us due to great catastrophes or some cycle of human progress then regress which largely destroys/hides the wisdom of earlier golden ages?

I'm not asking because I believe or don't believe. I won't tell you that. What I am interested in is your belief or at least open-mindedness toward truths other that orthodox science. Or is the scientific method THE best philosophy and has rendered mysticism like religion and speculative history obsolete? Are mysteries like the age of the Sphinx and the purpose of the Pyramids at Giza, and similarities in myths (like a great flood) and technology across the ancient world mere coincidence, technological inevitabilities, or proof of something going on that we have yet to account for with our modern exploration techniques?

What about other mysteries like the fate of the Ark of the Covenant, King Solomon's treasure, the Knights Templar finding various objects in and beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the idea of Jesus surviving the crucifixion or at least impregnating Mary Magdalene so that one King Marovee could be born in France and found the Merovingian line of Kings? The Priory of Sion existing to keep that knowledge alive in the face of Catholic oppression? The Freemasons being up to various secret things, most of them no good? Illuminati, New World Orders, Rosicrucians, HAARP and Tesla-based WMDs, alien visitation, David Icke's reptilian world leaders, and so on? If you believe ANY of it (and I'm not passing judgment on whether you should), where do you draw the line?

Again, I ask only because I am curious. I will not reveal my opinions on such matters under any circumstance for the time being and just want to gauge the proportions of what some would call gullibility and some would call open-mindedness to all possibilities. What about astrology, tarot, i-ching, palmistry, phrenology, eneagrams, mystery schools passed down from the ancients concerning sacred geometry, zero-point energy, magic, genetics, even immortality? What about reincarnation? Transcendent meditation, acupuncture? The existence of a soul? How is belief in the paranormal different from claiming that quantum reality makes any rational sense?

State your beliefs, opinions, disbeliefs, or whatever you want in the comments section. I am only gathering data and will not ridicule or praise anyone.

you have draped me in your words, pictures,
common things that would pass
right by most people I daresay, but I have a nose
for these things
and I know what's going on in your mind even when
maybe you don't know it yourself

at the same time, my time here is theadbare
I feel i'm only renting time
I want you to save me so I can save you
but how does that sound when you really spell it out?
people tell you to grow up, you feel like feinting
though you're the toughest person on earth

I could be dead, I could be a corporate CEO
but I'd never find you in all these multitudes, it's true
dog packs to prowl, pigs rich and scowling, and sheep to prune
so I adopt a simple life, a safe life
by donning nothing at all
Jesus, you see, he was wearing almost nothing at all

but you, you are a mystery
that my mind wants to find intruiguing
I'm so tired of people steeped in arts, tired farts
who pretend their way through life
join me at the bridge, Charles or Charlemagne, what's in a name?
we'll spin the night away in a solid block of parades.

My Friend.

I have a friend who worries about "hurricanoes" attacking his town.
He tranposes his Bs and Vs like a Spaniard or a Mexican,
And most words that begin with the prefix re-, he changes to pre-,
Like "pretarded."

He also mixes up his Bs and Ds, hiding in the closet from "durglars"
And reading books about scary "binarysaurs." He likes T-Rex of course,
But he calls him "Dinosaurus Rex" for some reason, and he's terrified of "nushrooms."

I forgot, he also generally switches his Ms and Ns, if he "premembers" to.
He's my best friend ever, I think.


You still think you're right
You haven't changed at all
After all this
What's in my head might as well be a phantom
You're going ahead with your life
Damn the torpedoes

You never understood me
I don't think you wanted to
I don't even think you could
You treated me like a glass toy
Amusing but easy to break
Little mind that never could stretch to fit reality

People without sensitivity
Dismiss sensitive people
People who sense subtlety dismiss
Others who live blindly
We never made it work at all
Now I'm supposed to put it behind me

With our child's picture here to remind me.


Sunflowers lean like a dream in a field
A shield made by nature that greed never peeled
Like an onion whose fun is disrupted by steel

She was the white in the black of the light
For a plight I had suffered that cost me my life
If not for the way that she stayed to revive

Meteors fall and the spheres gear a call
To my head when I'm ready to clear all the walls
All-out sprint with the angriest pangs of them all

Sunflowers lean like a scheme that she made
This maiden of sunshine who laid by my grave
And made it the glory of lore ever played

Vlad Tepes

Sunday, April 6

by Roger Waters.

It was just before dawn
one miserable morning in black 'forty-four
when the forward commander was told to sit tight
when he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the generals gave thanks as the other ranks
held back the enemy tanks - for a while.
And the Anzio beachhead was held for the price
of a few hundred ordinary lives.

And kind old King George sent mother a note
when he heard that father was gone.
It was, I recall, in the form of a scroll
with gold leaf and all.
And I found it one day in a drawer of old
photographs hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed with his own rubber stamp.

It was dark all around
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free.
And no-one survived from the Royal Fusiliers Company C.
They were all left behind
Most of them dead
The rest of them dying.
And that's how the High Command took my Daddy from me.


top photo property of national park service; bottom two property of declan mccullagh

To put the touches on something beautiful
End it with a stroke unlike
The black innards of the earth that so many
Hopefuls and wishfuls howl
From the wounds on their faces
Day after day, to end it after all
With beauty, magical
Was my charge in this forsaken place

Now I'm at chemical oblivion
To end it at a stroke would be the crowning
Mark of failure of every ancestor who gave
Me her DNA. Life is unlivable
And it stays that way. Year after year,
We hope, we do what we can
But day after day we are crushed beneath
Our own two feet again.

Catching up on credits...

Last post: Two videos of songs by Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode, from his solo album Hourglass. The top video is the official video for the single "Kingdom." The second video is a an excellent fan-made video for the album track "Saw Something." Both songs were written by Dave Gahan.

Prior Post: Lyrics to the Depeche Mode song "Home," from their album Exciter. Lyrics penned by Martin L. Gore.

Prior Post: Two videos of live performances by Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode, who were touring in support of their album Playing The Angel. This is from their show in Milan. The performance at top is of the song "It Doesn't Matter Two" from the album Black Celebration. The second video is his performance from the same show of the "Sister of Night" from the album Ultra.

Prior Post: A portrait of and famous quote from the great Nez Perce leader Chief Joesph, who led a prolonged and intense resistance to American military forces, before, seeing the starvation and deprivation of his own people as a result of this continuous guerilla warfare which his nation ultimately had no hope of winning, sadly but proudly made his famous declaration after laying down arms in surrender. I find his action to be among the most dignified I've ever read about and, along with Lou Gehrig's famous last speech (a baseball player), Martin Luther King's most famous speech, Gandhi's fast in support of Indian independence, Kennedy's declaration that American would "land on the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard," Leonidas of Sparta's last stand at Thermopylae after ordering the bulk of his Greek allies to flee to safety, and a handful of other moments in human history, it sends shivers down my spine.

Prior post: A trio of Depeche Mode videos (notice the theme incongruously surrounding Chief Jospeh? - however not is all as it seems, as DM are ardently anti-Christian and often include motifs of organized monotheistic religion's destructive nature in their songs, something to which Native Americans would, at least in earlier years, I'm sure be keen to agree with). Top video is an ethereal fan-made video of the song "The Darkest Star" from the album Playing The Angel. The middle offering is a chilling USC school of film student video for the early 80s DM song "Blasphemous Rumours" from the album Speak And Spell. At bottom is the official video for the song "Barrel of a Gun" from the album Ultra.

Prior post is a poem of my own.

(NOTE: If the YouTube videos don't load properly or some do and some don't, try refreshing your browser.)

(Martin L Gore)

Here is a song from the wrong side of town
Where I'm bound to the ground by the loneliest sound
And it pounds from within and is pinning me down

Here is a page from the emptiest stage
A cage or the heaviest cross ever made
A gauge of the deadliest trap ever laid

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home
For seeing these tears
Finally I've found that I belong here

The heat and the sickliest sweet smelling sheets
That cling to the backs of my knees and my feet
Well I'm drowning in time to a desperate beat

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home
For seeing these tears
Finally I've found that I belong

Feels like home
I should have known
From my first breath

God send the only true friend I call mine
Pretend that I'll make amends the next time
Befriend the glorious end of the line

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home
For seeing these tears
Finally I've found that I belong here

[hear it! studio][hear it! live]

'From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever'

—Chief Joseph


They don't pay attention
Their lives are full and their minds are cold.

Goes faster all the time
I've not lived long enough to know if this is true

Or just the way I feel.

We seemed to be headed toward some singularity
That's real.

Don't listen to every word,
Every note, in headphones, in a blacked-out world.

Just once in awhile,
It would be nice.

I go to a concert where thousands sit enraptured
Hanging on every nuanced syllable
Feeling the beat and taking the power in,
Shutter doors fully open...

Or maybe not.
There's a woman to my left sneaking a peek at
Her mobile phone. There's a woman barrelling off
To the bathroom when the lights are down.
There's a man heckling and laughing and singing
To his buddy, missing every note.

There are people moving like snake-handlers in the aisles

Thinking they are really with it
And meanwhile,
I'm afloat.

And no one listens to what you say
What you write, what you sing,
What you want to really tell them anyway.

Ohhh, this mad world. Short lives
Think of the things we could get done.

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