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gwilson

Anything You Want...

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Right or wrong, and quite apart from the fact that you don't share my narrow interests, we can't really expect to be mutually coherent given that difference.

Why should we let that stop us? Mine is chiefly a crisis of internal coherency. Drawing others in only exploits a kind of chaotic order, a formal logic with which to communicate universal senselessness.

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Why should we let that stop us? Mine is chiefly a crisis of internal coherency. Drawing others in only exploits a kind of chaotic order, a formal logic with which to communicate universal senselessness.

Was that last sentence a randomly generated string of words? It's amazing how close it comes to mimicking human speech.

It strikes me that you would have no conception, or markedly less, of the ultimate meaninglessness of your place in the cosmos if not for the work of others determined to penetrate to the meaning of it.

Truly you are standing on the shoulders of giants, but content with the view of your navel.

It was fine, in college, when my roommate and I concluded that there was no need to go to class because the sun was going to die -- we really liked the sound of that (and she, coincidentally, to listen to "God Damn the Sun" a lot that semester) -- only what started as something we said to be arch, became rather endemic with us; and she in particular failed a couple classes because she never learned the date of the finals; and she hung out at Halcyon House quite a bit and startled me by announcing she had begun using "horse."

Fortunately, toward the end of the year, the campus clinic put her on Prozac and she went on to become a well-regarded geneticist, with published papers and everything.

Oddly enough, I was the one who never found any motivation again, not that I had much to begin with.

The Niche, I'm not a co-ed anymore. I'm too old for a discussion of "universal senselessness," to which you continually default, even if facetiously. There's really not much there. At least, not for those of us not versed in cutting-edge physics (which it's now impossible for a layman to be). And even the physicists have been rather spinning their wheels the past forty years.

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Add, for myself, that the settled peoples of a 21st century Texas are tethered to a bleak decidedly American existence, to their debts, to the 'American Dream', to constructed material desires mistaken for fulfillment, to an insidious slavery, to a system of banking so tied to government that you cannot tell where the one ends and the other begins. It is as near to a sustainable form of communism as I could ever imagine being achieved in the history of human civilization. And so rather than that they work to live, they live to work. And they work. They needn't even ask why, or for whom. They work.

I have fled that, exchanged it for chaos, for unbridled capitalism (a form of which the most ardent Libertarian cannot fathom, and that they would shirk if they understood its implications), for swindlers and hustlers, for simple earthy pleasures, for excitement, for an occasional sampling of terror.

... the Texas that my father knew is long gone; ... the culture ... hemmed-in, safe, comfortable, blind, and docile.

I was born at the brink of the "Stalinization" of Texas. I think that the manifest insanity of the oil boom and the looming reality of an oil bust began to set in by about 1981 or 1982. You can hear it in ZZ Top records if you listen to them in a chronological sequence. And then, with the S&L bust, the hard money was gone and the soft money--the "American Dream" money--took hold. The people shall never again be free, not from the banks, and not from themselves. It is their desires, their greed, and a mechanism that fulfills it; that is what makes the American form of communism feasible is the peoples' implicit consent. We fought a revolution and then a civil war over something more straightforward and less ugly; but we will not do so again over what we have become. We don't even know what we are.

One of the lessons that has never been forgotten by the third world, which could never be extinguished by traditional communism, is that children are a more reliable form of social security than is any government. They will tend to one's social needs, but only if they are also responsible for one's fiscal needs. The latter begets an interest in the former.

I am only too happy to agree with your assessment of Libertarians' delusions, though I expect we would differ as to the lesson there.

The real estate in my head is limited; right now it's filled with Apsley Cherry-Garrard's "The Worst Journey in the World." (Brit obviously, but definitely not a "ninny.") That's his memoir of the Terra Nova Expedition, which includes an unsentimental but admiring portrait of Scott, though the journey referenced in the title is not the final one to the Pole but a side trip -- made in winter -- to the breeding grounds of the Emperor penguin. Perhaps you've read it.

Anyway, A.C-G is a gentleman, but there's an echo of your complaint about Americans' tameness when he uncharacteristically slings an insult at his countrymen in the final paragraph:

"For we are a nation of shopkeepers and no shopkeeper will look at research which does not promise him a financial return within a year. And so you will sledge nearly alone, but those with whom you sledge will not be shopkeepers: this is worth a good deal. If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long is all you want is a penguin’s egg."

I thought the market could be said to have succeeded if it raised up a "people of customers .. a nation of shopkeepers," not swindlers and hustlers and chaos. Aren't we supposed to be tame? And doesn't that make possible things like polar expeditions (and young men's wander-years)?

So we're in thrall to the banks-cum-federal government. I can't hope to understand any of that, it's all beyond me, and about ZZ Top: you lost me on the flip side there...

{I mean, to listen to ZZ Top I'd have to venture back in time into my parents' attic to retrieve my brother's record collection, and while I'm up there I'll get my Barbie Corvette down, 'cuz I think I can sell that; and set up the turntable on the cinder blocks and put on ZZ Top oh look! "Earth Wind and Fire" -- and you can set up his old pyramid of Copenhagen cans -- we don't recycle yet -- "Mother, where are the speakers?" ... oh, she gave them away. Well, that was a waste of time... But we can still make out if you want. Yeah, my parents are here, but it's 1980 -- they don't care.}

... but perhaps that's the natural evolution of the market, just enough socialism admixed to insulate it from revolution. "Sustainable form of communism" sounds like hyperbole, though, the sort of thing one would say only after there was some distance between you and the real thing. I'll admit: in this light, it might be seen to be provident, the coincident waning of traditional social structures in the US, among them the family, the church. It means that, as against your garden-variety Marxist-Leninism, there's no need to undermine civil society. That's where things got so ugly, apart from the issue of all the people that couldn't be fitted into the future and so had to die.

And there's no historical imperative -- I think we can all agree we're over that; don't be a stranger, Hegel -- so this new system can be somewhat flexible, with a thin veneer of democracy -- another bad idea, though not as bad as Communism -- to lend it legitimacy.

I don't care for it, but my reasons you would judge to be aesthetic ones and reject out of hand. Apart from your professional unhappiness of late... you've said the system is stable -- maybe it's as stable and efficient as it can be, given the complexity of the modern world; and keeps the largest number of people well-fed (rather appallingly well-fed) and best promotes your favored value (which seems to be, strictly material human welfare).

Or are you prepared to admit of other values? (Yes, that's where I was going all along...)

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It strikes me that you would have no conception, or markedly less, of the ultimate meaninglessness of your place in the cosmos if not for the work of others determined to penetrate to the meaning of it.

This is pretty much accurate. The search for meaning is a collaborative effort (and always petty). It is the development of language that allows one to infer and carefully sculpt a formal system of logic, and then also for zany barely-plausible abstractions. It doesn't have to be that way. However, the most extreme documented instances of neglected children seem to indicate to me that without an opportunity to develop that system of language and logic among humans; a child might go through the same process among a pack of dogs and howl at the moon, but does not thereby seem well-equipped to contemplate notions of philosophy.

It is easy, then, to say that a person enabled by language/logic to step outside their own culture and deconstruct its absurd barely-plausible abstractions (religion, political schemes, the 'American Dream', things that are supposed to make me happy). But can you ever totally leave the reservation behind? We are social animals, too easily programmed, difficult to re-write, impossible to reformat.

Do giants have navels? Perhaps, as with most human curvature, even the slightest distortion from the norm makes the whole ugly. And so it is best to look into the giant's navel and marvel at it. Even if that is all that can be seen--and especially if that is all that there is to see.

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And there's no historical imperative -- I think we can all agree we're over that; don't be a stranger, Hegel -- so this new system can be somewhat flexible, with a thin veneer of democracy -- another bad idea, though not as bad as Communism -- to lend it legitimacy.

I don't care for it, but my reasons you would judge to be aesthetic ones and reject out of hand. Apart from your professional unhappiness of late... you've said the system is stable -- maybe it's as stable and efficient as it can be, given the complexity of the modern world; and keeps the largest number of people well-fed (rather appallingly well-fed) and best promotes your favored value (which seems to be, strictly material human welfare).

Or are you prepared to admit of other values? (Yes, that's where I was going all along...)

All reason is aesthetic when you get right down to it. And there is your answer.

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It is easy, then, to say that a person enabled by language/logic to step outside their own culture and deconstruct its absurd barely-plausible abstractions (religion, political schemes, the 'American Dream', things that are supposed to make me happy). {sic - or was that clause ever going to have a predicate?}

Do giants have navels? Perhaps, as with most human curvature, even the slightest distortion from the norm makes the whole ugly. And so it is best to look into the giant's navel and marvel at it. Even if that is all that can be seen--and especially if that is all that there is to see.

Stop Making Sense, The Niche. Your recent posts are blowing my mind: it's like Tarski's undefinability theorem, and the barber who shaves all men, and only those, who do not shave themselves, and three chords and the truth, all rolled into one. I mean, you are really bringing it.

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I still read some HAIF threads and browse Swamplot, but I'm finding the issues that I once expounded on to be distant and petty. (Who really gives a crap about METRO or a new highrise? It just seems like people that lead fairly boring lives have a need to invent drama for themselves, a reason to squabble, a reason to complain, a reason to feel self-important. (It's not lost on me that my own comment, which points that out, is cut from the same cloth.)

Every now and then, I'll spot some otherwise reasonable person saying something that's really quite dumb. Where I'd have pounced on it before, now I feel like I should let it be and speak for itself, as a monument to its own nature. Its sort of like a park with statues of former communist leaders that is maintained with revenues from outdoor advertising for Axe body spray. Never mind the Pizza Hut delivery service bringing the teen skateboarders in the park their lunch, and never mind the local girl in the U.S. Army T-shirt and a miniskirt riding sideways on the back of that motorbike ahead of you. ...oh, well I suppose that it's okay to mind her just enough not to hit a pedestrian or the random sweater-wearing chihuahua in the street.

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, and never mind the local girl in the U.S. Army T-shirt and a miniskirt riding sideways on the back of that motorbike ahead of you. ...oh, well I suppose that it's okay to mind her just enough not to hit a pedestrian or the random sweater-wearing chihuahua in the street.

Personally I wouldn't mind the local girl in the mini skirt cause i wouldn't want the local girl in a mini skirt riding on the back of my scooter to notice me minding ;-)

Edited by samagon

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Well, I miss you guys. It's been great being back home in Baton Rouge but I definitely miss Houston and haif. I hope all is well. I'm in town at least 5 times a year, I'll try to keep up with all the good stuff going on there.

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Hey! Glad to see you still keep up with the ole HAIF. We still have drink-togethers, too.  I wonder what you would think of the Heights currently. It's so different just in a couple of years.

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Different already? I can't help but drive by our old house when I come in town, and other than them not trimming bushes at all, it's the same. I know they have made progress on I-10 ramps and such, haven't checked to see if the evil wal-mart went in. I might have time to explore next time I come. Or I can just scan the forums right now...

 

I haven't made beer since I did for that haify hour at niche's place. Need to do that. Gotta stop having kids though, they take up lots of time and such. 

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