Dostoevsky, Aaron Swartz & the Broken Butterfly of Tomorrow - Part 1/4

Yours truly» I am thinking of a book. Try to guess the name of the novel I have in mind.

I will give you a hint. My hint is an excerpt extracted from the Wikipedia entry for this title. So see if this next sentence rings a bell »

"Acclaimed the world over .. by intellectuals as diverse as .. Freud, Einstein, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut .. as one of the supreme achievements in literature."

Supreme achievement? Uh, do you mean as in » 'EV-vuh'? As in » the-history-of-the-planet? Homo sapiens ultimo maximus?

Like » near or at the top of what our species has been able to accomplish in literature? .. a species whose trajectory-of-civilization has been defined by centuries of intellectual development.

The only species capable of inventing symbolic written language and using it to communicate among themselves. "Bonjour."

Such big words. My goodness. Any ideas? Care to venture a guess? Give up?

The KEY word in that excerpt, I think » diverse. There you have writers, yes, of course, but also very prominent philosophers, plus a psychologist [ » thee Psychologist of our most recently completed century ] ..

.. and even a physicist. Not just any physicist. No, sir. Rather thee physicist .. of the 20th century ..

Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer | Father of the Atomic Bomb (1904-1967)[ I say that with all due respect to Oppenheimer, who I hear was also a big fan of my mystery author ..

.. and who gave away copies of this other title (by the same author) to friends as a birthday present ..

.. a title, which, I hear, is "the best book ever written" on the subject of Revolutionary Conspiracy.

"Here's a little something I think you might enjoy. Happy birthday, dawg. How about another martini?" ]

.. not to mention that Einstein was declared Time magazine's » Person-of-the-Century.

You must admit .. that would be an impressive collection of signatories .. adding their John Hancocks to your already towering bona fides ..

.. seeing we could easily add to the list luminaries such as » Hemingway, Chekhov, Joyce, Sartre, Virginia Woolf, and EM Forester. More big names.

Regarding the original six, I could not, for example, have more respect for Cormac McCarthy (.. as a writer, as an author, and as a brave man). For me, Cormac is like Elijah-the-prophet .. in that he » turns the heart of the fathers to the children.

 » Harold Bloom Chokes Twice on Blood Meridian Before Speaking

Speaking of Cormac McCarthy .. the inside-flap of my Modern Library copy of Blood Meridan [thanks to Paula, who gave me her new copy, which she could not read] says »

"Widely considered one of the finest novels by a living writer, Blood Meridan is an epic tale of the violence and corruption that attended America's westward expansion .. I venture that no other living American novelist, not even Pynchon, has given us a book as strong and memorable."

America's most celebrated literary critic, Harold Bloom calls Blood Meridan "the greatest single book since Faulkner's As I Lay Dying" [which was published back in 1930, 83 years ago]. There's an eyebrow-raising statement, no?

Cormac McCarthy (1933- ) | The Real DealBlood Meridian is not an easy novel to read. Even the celebrated Bloom himself choked on it during his first attempt. His first *two* attempts, actually.

Here are Harold's own words (taken straight from the novel's 8-page Introduction):

"I will begin by confessing that my first two attempts to read through Blood Meridian failed, because I flinched from the overwhelming carnage that McCarthy portrays.

The violence begins on the second page, when the fifteen-year-old-kid is shot in the back and continues almost with no respite until the end, thirty years later, when Judge Holden, the most frightening figure in all of American literature [.. sentence trucated due to spoiler]."

You have to steel yourself before cracking open a McCarthy novel (.. or you will choke) .. for the same reason that you don't set a t-bone steak before an infant.

It's like you have to go into training before taking on Cormac. Good luck. He has no mercy on your soul.

Only the courageous dare to attempt one of McCarthy's darker novels .. and even then at their own peril. The literary gods will gladly administer last rites to those determined to assimilate one of those. America's most celebrated Literary Critic himself twice required resusitation.

But what about some of those other names we find referenced there in my Wikpedia excerpt?

» Einstein Peels Back the Skin of Reality Itself

Einstein is almost certainly the greatest mind of the twentieth century, no? E=mc2. Relativity. Wave/particle duality. Quantum mechanics. The illusion of time. Truly mind-bending shit. Major cranial torqueage.

[ I can almost see Uncle Fester with his bald head jammed in a vice .. saying to Einstein, "Hey Albert, be a sport and give it another turn, will ya?"

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)E=mc2 is the reason I wanted to learn about reactors. "Show me how you boys make that E out of the m using the c-squared thingie."

Like magic, a nuclear reactor turns matter (mass) into energy. A very little mass (.. known technically as the mass defect) .. into energy. Very MUCH energy.

Notice that the c-squared is over on the mass-side of the equals sign, helping it to make LOTS of energy.

Yes, it's true that real matter actually disappears. No mas. Adios matter. Hello energy.

That, my friend, is what you call » power (turning matter into energy) .. a truly remarkable thing to behold .. especially when done on an industrial scale .. and in a highly controlled fashion.

And even more remarkable when the fashion is less controlled. ]

The way that Einstein was able to peel-back the very skin itself of (perceived) reality and say, "Dude, check this out! You won't believe what I found. Lookie here. Aint that some shit." .. is the reason why he is generally considered thee Baddest Dude of the entire 20th century.

And here's the kicker » Einstein did this shit IN HIS HEAD! (As if he werent already intellectually impressive enough.) His mind was like a super-collider. (Powerful enough to destroy centuries of well-entrenched classical ideas.)

<ignore this intentional body-text marker>

••• today's entry continues here below •••

It might have taken a while .. but eventually the guys who conducted tediously precise experiments in the physics laboratories around the world began to validate the theories that came out of Einstein's head ..

(.. May 29, 1919 as gravitational fields warp space-time or on Nov 6, 1919 when everybody learned about what happened on May 29th) » "Hey, look at this! That Einstein dude was right!" 

And truth be told, Einstein's most muscular throw-down came in 1905 (.. which included both E=mc2 & Special Relativity) .. so really, he came very close to performing his most ass-kicking-feat-of-the-century back in the 19th century (.. which he did, by the way, IN HIS SPARE TIME .. while working as 3rd-grade patent clerk).

You could easily argue that Einstein's most muscular throw-down came a decade later in 1915, with General Relativity. My point however, is that he was so far ahead of his time .. that it took the boys at Nobel 16 years to figure out that he deserved the prize.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) Austrian-British philosopher» Wittgenstein (1889-1951)

Wittgenstein is another name we find referenced there in my Wikipedia excerpt.

Wittgenstein has been called » "perhaps the greatest philosopher of the 20th century."

Wittgenstein's philosophy is the source from which I derived the caption » Horror unspeakable ..

.. to describe that Newton boy .. who was photographed covering his mouth and his nose .. with his elementary little hands ..

.. last month, on December 14th. (Taken exactly one week before the much-hyped Mayan Doomsday.) Remarkable photo, no?

<begin newtown retro seismic sidebar>

That thing in Newtown shook me up. It messed with many an adult head ..

.. the idea that somebody (anybody) could shoot up a classroom full of first graders ..

.. with a military-style weapon .. like fish in a barrel. Leaves people speechless.

The principal at the Bug's school, for example, looked me deep in the eye when he said, "Worst two weeks of my life."

You already know that Obama called it the » "Worst day of my presidency."

So I'm still a little shaken .. this being my first entry/post since discussing the shooting. Family back there are still crying for those kids. (A topic still covered on local news channels.)

And here I have embarked on a quest to plumb the depths of Dostoevsky's soul. So the shooting, for me, seems to have been » seismic. Certainly disorienting.

The Newtown shooting caused people everywhere to question how such a thing could be, and sent many parents into deep soul-searching.

Perhaps Dostoevsky has some answers, some perspectives. Perhaps he has left some insights .. that can help us make sense of the insanity.

Twenty Kindergartens in classWe will see what the 19th century sage has to say. So let us begin our ascent .. to his mountain top abode. To his panoramic perch.

I hear the air gets pretty thin up there, so you might wanna bring along a bottle of oxygen .. just in case. (I'm bringing two.)

</end newtown retro seismic sidebar>

The famous quote (idea, insight) from Wittgenstein is » "That which we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

Wittgenstein and the Ineffable

It is always a cool thing, is it not? .. when the obvious enters into the spotlight of our consciousness? The epiphany effect. Is it not strange? » that we must sometimes travel to distant intellectual galaxies ..

.. in order to become conscious of the obvious? The self-evident. Things that have always been right in front of our faces .. but, for some reason or other, we just couldnt recognize.

As tho these things were hidden in plain sight .. as tho we somehow had a blind spot. "How could I have missed that?"

Almost as if your surprising conscious recognition were actually an accident .. something you werent really supposed to see.

[ If you were playing the part of an extra in the movie Men in Black, Tommy Lee Jones would walk up and flash a bright light in your eyes. =) ]

» Ludwig Gives Away His Inheritance

To be honest, I am far more impressed with the fact that Wittgenstein GAVE AWAY his (vast) inherited wealth .. and took a job teaching school kids in remote villages in Austria. (And I am most certainly interested in the factors which led to that particular decision.)

Horror unspeakableHis father, a steel magnate, was one of the wealthiest men ever. ("EV-vuh.")

Tho it seems that Ludwig also taught at Cambridge from '39 to '47 as a professor of Philosophy.

Three (3) of his brothers committed suicide. "Wow." That must be some kind of Guinness record for the Macabre.

And don't think that Ludwig himself didnt wrestle with the exit door option. "To be or not to be" .. clearly that was the question before him.

So Ludwig, I would imagine, knows a thing or two regarding » THAT-about-which-we-cannot-SPEAK. In other words » exceedingly horrible shit. The ineffable .. for all the wrong reasons. Newtownesque.

» Stealing Fire from the Gods

You gotta be a bad mo-fo .. to go get the ineffable .. and bring it back home with you .. to the Land of the Effable. Like stealing fire from the gods.

Cuz the ineffable doesnt come easy. So it goes "without saying" that » there will be a price to pay.

[ The Apostle Paul wrote <rad_paraphrase_on> » "Because of all these super-cool revelations .. a messenger of Satan was sent to kick my ass .. to keep me from getting the big head." </paraphrase>

A revelation, as I understand it, is when God Himself shows you something .. who brings some bit of knowledge or understanding to your conscious mind. No? Divine illumination.

The lightbulb effect. Epiphany. "Grokking," in geek terms. "Eureka!" ]

And if the Apostle Paul got his ass kicked, I doubt Wittgenstein got a free ride.

[ As a side note, scripture seems to suggest that the man who gets his ass kicked for doing what is right .. also gets the grace necessary to handle it.

Don't worry, be happy. (Grace, as I understand it, is simply the FAVOR of God. Unmerited favor.) ]

» Detour Down Wittgenstein Way

Hmm. This is interesting. I did not plan on discussing Wittgenstein today. Actually, I did not plan on talking about Wittgenstein ever. [ Vitt .. the W is pronounced as a V. ]

Today I planned on going after Dostoevsky. After his soul. Or at least, close enough to spy an accurate image .. to steal away with an honest glimpse.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)I am trying to set aside my obvious reverence for the Russian .. in order to adopt a posture or find a perspective that is more conducive to clarity-of-vision.

But when you see the likes of Einstein & Hemingway & Freud .. all on their knees .. it's not so easy to be objective. =)

Is not 'Wittgenstein' a cool name? You gotta get that slushy German 'sht' sound in the middle there.

I'm not very good at it, but I love to hear a real German say the name. (I dont see how they can say it without spitting on you.)

I once had a German Jewish professor .. who said the name so beautifully .. that it actually made me feel smarter just to hear him say it. =)

Speaking of accolades ultimo .. the single most remarkable comment .. I ever heard one writer make about another ..

.. came from Hemingway [ on page 102 of this book ] .. when he said of Dostoevsky's writing .. that it contained things that were » "so true that they changed you as you read them..."

Wow. So true that they CHANGED you .. not later, as you pondered the story in private, but rather » as you read.

I could write a whole 'nuther entry on that single subject, on that one topic. Perhaps another time. Let's try to minimize the detours today .. in order to conserve energy for our assault on the summit (» Mt. Dostoevsky).

» Today's Writing Definitely Feels Different | Destination Unknown

Perhaps I should note .. that today's writing feels 'different'. I am not sure how to describe it, but it definitely has a different feel.

I was thinking that, maybe Newtown freaked me out so badly .. that I am still 'freaked'. I dunno. I only know that today's writing feels different.

Big Sur Bridge Foggy SunsetI like it, alright .. that feeling of riding the bobsled of creativity ..

.. except for the scary part .. the feeling like you're headed into uncharted territory.

Whatever the case, it is clear that the Writing seems to know (.. more strongly than usual) where it wants to go.

So who knows where we might end up? And yes, I can feel myself freaking out a little .. in a fear-of-the-unknown sort of way.

Because I am now ready to discuss Dostoevsky and suffering (.. uh, not exactly my most favorite subject). I now have insight. (The good stuff!)

And the writer needs to GO THERE .. in order to write about anything with authenticity. In other words, he needs to feel the feelings and (re)experience the experiences. Hence my apprehension. The freak-out vibes I am sensing.

[ It is a different topic entirely, but, in a nutshell, this suffering deal involves the notion of "doing what is right" .. something that Peter (in Acts) calls "working righteousness".

Tis strange indeed .. to feel you have become somewhat versed .. in a subject as least-sought-after as suffering.

"What do you wanna be when YOU grow up, Billy?"

Me: "God, dont you have somebody else who might be a bit more qualified to handle this?" =)

Much as I hate to admit it, you can learn things from suffering. But these things are very different from the ones you might ordinarily expect.

Few professing christians seem very interested in "filling up" what is lacking .. understandable as it may be .. seeing how affliction & suffering can suketh exceedingly. Better to let the innocent suffer alone, no?

Post-apocalyptic flowerOn a related note, I have trouble seeing, to be honest, how the man who genuinely strives to do the right thing

.. and not just his own little thing ..

.. I don't see how that man can avoid scraping-up-against a corrupt system. Can you?

Perhaps noteworthy .. because it is related .. and because compassion is the main thin you learn from suffering ..

.. would be to mention that the greek word translated 'compassion' (sumpathes) .. means » to suffer with another.

Compassion is the very first word that God uses to describe Himself to Moses. " First thing you need to know about me, dawg .. is that I SUFFER WITH OTHERS."

This oft-repeated sentiment is something I might want to know .. were it my job or goal .. to inflict suffering on others.

The connection may seem obscure, but I cannot resist the perfect opportunity to mention and share the intro to The Plague (1947) by the dashing French Nobelist Albert Camus. See here:

In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents, unheeded by the people. It gradually becomes a omnipresent reality, obliterating all traces of the past and driving its victims to almost unearthly extremes of suffering, madness, and compassion.

Notice the joining of suffering & compassion (.. along with insanity).

On a different tack .. do you think it possible a person could be incapable .. of empathy? I mean » not able, even if they try .. like, as tho their empathizer were somehow broken. Beyond repair.

If your goal was to break a person's empathizer .. could you do it? If it were your job? Your only job. How would you go about it?

But we will leave that discussion for another day. ]

Mushroom cloudI normally like to know where I am going .. before I go. Dont you?

How would you feel if .. you climbed into a car and asked the driver where you were going ..

.. and he looked over and said, "You'll find out." ?

Much would depend, I suppose, on who is driving.

The reason I say that the writing in today's entry "feels different" .. is because I am familiar with both creativity and the imagination it typically employs.

In other words, something seems to be preempting my creative imagination. Before I can even turn back toward the conveyor belt of creativity, there is another idea (already) waiting for me.

"Oh, that's interesting!" Like another piece of the puzzle.

Hard to describe, but easy to perceive. Like riding a bobsled. Fast. Very fast. Many blind twists and turns. Exhilarating and even a bit scary. Doing my best to hang on .. while remaining curious, very curious, about where we might end up.

Hemingway makes a comment in the first chapter of Moveable Feast, titled » A Good Cafe on the Place St.-Michel ..

.. where he says » "The story was writing itself now and I was having a hard time keeping up with it."

I guess you could say it that way. Cuz that is definitely the feeling.

In other words, you are not trying to write (.. a leisurely actiivity). Rather you are trying to keep up. A gallop. Just trying to stay on the horse-of-inspiration. And hope it gets tired before I do. I wouldnt call it 'pretty.' No.

» The Human Condition Here in the 21st Century

Dostoevsky says things about the human condition. Indeed, the inside flap of my mystery novel that today's entry references reads » "Told with a feeling for the human condition unsurpassed in world literature."

The word » unsurpassed seems rather telling. [ I have a copy of the hard-cover sitting here beside me. ]

Specifically Dostoevsky speaks to those of us who live here in the 'modern' world, in the modern age, in this modern era, with our modern ideas.

He speaks to those of us who happen to live under the contemporary stress of uncertain times .. to those of us who are constantly fighting against those nasty creeping neuroses. "Shoo! Shoo you bad neuroses! Scat!"

Welcome to the Twenty-first century, dawg. (And you said we'd never make it.)

Hiroshima (left) & Nagasaki( right) Bomb BlastsBut I do however, feel that the invention of the bomb, of nuclear weapons (and their subsequent proliferation) changes things dramatically for us ..

.. compared to those who lived back in Dostoevsky's day. Few sick souls would consider this development positive.

So far, the United States is the only nation to have dropped one of these bombs in anger (in full stereo, no less).

Certainly denial plays a part, an important part, I would imagine. But still, there is something unsettling and even a little unnerving about living in the shadow of nuclear weapons.

Under their threat. Their not-so-clear, but ever-present danger. No?

I am talking about those-of-us who live here-in-a-world where things seem to be growing perceptibly more precarious.

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the clicking of the world's nuclear rachet .. coming from countries led by men who do not seem to give much of a fuck.

I also feel that digital technology has propelled us beyond merely 'modern' .. to whatever label you'd like to use here » Post-modern. Post Post-modern. The catchy "Doomsday Ready." The Information Age. Or my favorite » the Digital Age ..

.. where all information can be broken down .. to either one-or-the-other .. at its root .. to a 0 (zero) or a 1 (one). On/off. True/false. Yes/no. Clarity. Seems like much philosophical food for thought .. but we won't go there. We have bigger fish to fry.


After taking a wrecking ball to the beauty of, and demolishing Classical (Newtonian) physics, Einstein spent his last 30 years trying to stitch the pieces back together.

The physical world is uncertainCuz the implications spooked his ass.

He never did. He died with a pad and pencil by his bed .. notes scribbled there on some 'Open Sesame' unifying field ..

.. to try and restore the old cozy certainties about Maths and the Universe ..

.. that he and his home-boys grew up with (Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, et al).

He never was able to put the ugly Quantum genie back into the beautiful Classical bottle. And before he died, Einstein watched his future boss blow up the bottle ..

.. in a patch of the New Mexican desert named by the uneducated local peasants » Jornada del Muerto, which translates » Journey of Death.

The most ironic thing, perhaps, is that .. Einstein and his impressive theoretical posse were actually on a Quest .. to find the Ultimate Certainty (.. the UC, or "You-See").

"Oops, we didnt expect to find THAT. What do we do now? We should probably put it back and try to forget about it. This uncertainly looks like it could spell trouble."

Because now, all that the physical world has is » probabilities. No more certainty. No more strict causality. "Wave bye-bye to grandpa." And I've never heard anybody call Quantum mechanics 'beautiful'.

"Crazy," yes. "Beautiful," no.

What you and I perceive as the physical world is merely a particular manifestation of energy (.. a LOT of energy) .. as defined by its deceptively simple relationship to light. In other words » reality is merely an illusion. Our perception of the physical world, as created in and by the brain.


This seems like an opportune place to mention that .. as impressive as Oppenheimer was » Einstein was superior.

In at least one way. In the most important way, in my opinion. Even tho, later, Oppenheimer technically became Einstein's 'boss'.

Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer | Father of the Atomic Bomb (1904-1967)I am referring to the brief-but-telling (1954) conversation that Oppenheimer had with Einstein there on the sidewalk at Princeton ..

.. in what you might call a meeting-of-the-minds ..

.. where Oppie told Albert about how the government was trying to revoke his security clearance .. to which Einstein replied <rad_paraphrase_on>

"Dude, after all you've done for this country, if that's how they want to treat you, then fuck 'em. You owe them nothing." </paraphrase>

History would confirm the wisdom of Einstein's advice, and the foolishness of Oppenheimer's position (.. to fight the powers-that-be in order to try to retain his security clearance).

Following this conversation, Einstein remarked, "There goes a narr." [ Yiddish for 'fool' ] Tho I should probably note that Einstein (born 1879) was 25 years older than Oppenheimer (born 1904).

[ 1954 .. is the year before Einstein died. Einstein was barely a toddler of 2 when Dostoevsky died in early 1881. ]

But clearly, for years prior to this sidewalk conversation [ held around 5PM, if memory serves me correctly ] Oppenheimer had bested Einstein (.. no mean feat). And in a big way, too.

I am referring to the brand new battlefield of » Quantum physics, with all its gnarly/scary implications.

Which seems somewhat ironic .. because it was Einstein himself who, more than anyone else, discovered the strange and mysterious box of Quantum secrets.

After Einstein had the initial quantum insight, it seemed as tho he were somehow handicapped from actually working with its mind-blowing secrets.

As tho Einstein's gifts were for finding .. and not for applying. Perhaps this is due to his preference for Theorectical physics over Applied physics. Einstein always preferred the Theorectical approach. As demonstrated by his famous "thought experiments".

[ By contrast, Ernest Lawrence is somebody who was very much a research / applied physicist. ]

It was as tho Einstein chided the Quantum Gang, saying, "There is something about what we found in that box that I don't like. Something there isnt right. I will figure it out and let you boys know."

American Prometheus | The Triumph & Tragedy of J Robert OppenheimerMeanwhile, Oppenheimer picked up the Quantum box and ran with it, using its secrets to design a bomb .. not just any bomb, no. But rather » thee bomb ..

.. that would change the world forever (.. with its permanent and continually escalating threat of catastrophic consequences) ..

.. while Uncle Sam gladly gave him all the money he needed. Blank check.

After the bomb was built, tested and deployed, the Military quickly convinced Uncle Sam to say, "Fuck off, Robert. This is OUR bomb now. Here's a copy of the invoice. We rule the world with this thing. So get lost, you commie-pinko."


Here is where we were .. prior to falling into that einstein vs oppenheimer sub.sidebar (copy-n-paste from up above):

»» What you and I perceive as the physical world is merely a particular manifestation of energy (.. a LOT of energy) .. as defined by its deceptively simple relationship to light. In other words » reality is merely an illusion.

The more closely one examines the 'interface' .. between certainty and uncertainty, the closer to insanity one approaches. This is the result of my own little backyard thought-experiments. This is what my armchair logic seems to suggest.

[ I imagine this interface to be very close to the place where the spotlight-of-consciousness meets the dark subconscious .. and where the Effable meets the Ineffable .. and maybe even where the soul itself meets the spirit.

Which can't be very far from the place where time itself meets eternity. The infinite. Timelessness.

On a tangential note, I find it interesting that Edwin Muir wrote » "Dostoyevsky wrote of the unconscious as if it were conscious; that is in reality the reason why his characters seem 'pathological', while they are only visualized more clearly than any other figures in imaginative literature." ]

The curious part of me wants to walk up to this 'interface' (.. where Certainty meets Uncertainty) .. and stick the tip of finger in it. Just to see what happens. The inquisitive part. The geeky part.

You may have noticed .. that many entries here are simply the RESULTS of inquiries I have had over the years. "Hey, check out this interesting result." Some overtly, others more subtle.

Bob Dylan"Dude, you just blew up the universe."

"Oops. Where is the Undo button?"

My intuition suggests that this place, where certainty meets uncertainty, is what you might call an » inversion-point.

An inflection point .. where white appears black, and black appears white.

Dylan put it more poetically when he said » "The first one now will later be last."

[ I think Bob got that from Mark, at the point where he wraps the story about the » Rich Young Ruler. ]

The gist of this model/paradigm seems to suggest that what-we-perceive as reality is actually uncertain .. while what we perceive as unreal .. is really certain.

Kind of a mind-blowing concept. Have to look at it from the side, parallaxing the 3-D picture so that it breaks into 4-D. Have to approach from different angles .. using various logic ladders .. to both ascend above and descend below .. in order to see more clearly how the paradoxes play off each other.

Cuz it's really just an illusion .. created by the mind. A fantastic illusion. Beyond anything Hollywood can create. Far beyond. (There is really / actually a lot of empty space in a lead-brick, despite it heft.)

An electro-chemical thing. Nerve cells firing, which cause neurotransmitters to floating across your synapses.

You can create pretty much any kind of model you like. I know some people who made one that says » "I'm rich, you're not."

It cost them a pretty penny, from what I hear, but their model seems to be working amazingly well. Like a well-oiled machine.


Tim Berners-Lee | Father of the WebOkay, the following indented blockquote is where we were before we fell into that sidebar, which contained a sub.sidebar (copy-n-paste from up above):

»» I also feel that digital technology has propelled us beyond merely 'modern' .. to whatever label you'd like to use here » Post-modern. Post Post-modern. The catchy "Doomsday Ready." The Information Age. Or my favorite » the Digital Age ..

.. where all information can be broken down .. to either one-or-the-other .. at its root .. to a 0 (zero) or a 1 (one). On/off. True/false. Yes/no. Clarity. Seems like much philosophical food for thought .. but we won't go there. We have bigger fish to fry.

It all kinda flows together, anyway .. so no big deal on the (Newtown-induced) disorienting structural organization of ideas. One thing is certain, however » shit is moving faster. (And our leaders don't seem to be getting any smarter.)

The advent of the Internet, the Web, digital technology and cellular communications have conspired to speed things up.

I mean, consider the Renaissance [ "rebirth" ]. The thing that made the Renaissance the Renaissance .. the main thing .. was the » "availability of paper and the invention of metal Movable Type .. which sped the DISSEMINATION OF IDEAS." [ 1st paragraph ]

Then think about the Internet. The Web. Similarties? Scale? Speed? (Instantaneous) Effect?

So my question » is this acceleration merely a continuation of Dostoevsky's vision .. or is this something entirely new?

Intuitively I would say the latter .. cuz of the magnitude of the impact of digital technology and cellular communications on humanity. No?

But the argument could easily be made that one industry of a particular technology is kin to another industry-of-technology.

Either way, whatever label you might have selected .. to describe the time in which we live .. Dostoevsky has some things to say .. about our modern condition. Things that can be hard to hear.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)I also noticed that Freud was listed there in my Wikipedia excerpt. He claimed that my mystery book was » "the most magnificent novel ever written".

But what more can we say about Sigmund .. without getting either obsessive/compulsive or anal retentive? =)

To be honest, I do not know very much about Wittgenstein .. beyond the reputation that precedes him .. regarding language » "Don't be seduced," and his connection to the Golden Bough. (This is why I wasnt planning to discuss him today.)

But in investigating him further (for today's entry) I see that he has written a book titled » On Certainty ..

.. published just before his death (in 1951).. a subject which has captured my own imagination .. and a topic to which I find myself repeatedly returning.

A closer look into Wittgenstein reveals that he focused on the following areas / topics:

Logic, the mind, math & language .. all stuff that is right up my alley. But our detour down Wittgenstein Way has come to an end, as this is a conversation for another day. So let us turn back onto Dostoevsky Blvd.

Nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine | FBM» The First Time

I still remember the first time I heard the name Dostoevsky. I was 21, standing in missile-compartment-middle-level ..

.. stationed aboard a United States nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine [ FBM = Fleet Ballistic Missile ] ..

.. underway somewhere. [ They never told us where .. that was literally 'top secret' info. Location + time = pin-pointability. And you always knew what time it was. ]

I was talking to a nuclear officer and another enlisted reactor plant operator like myself .. from the off-going watch section [ 6-on / 12-off watch station rotation ].

These officers were all very smart. They had [ unlike us lowly enlisted folk ] all been to college and they knew an endless amount of cool, head-torquing stuff. Plus they were a few years older than us (.. allowing time to graduate from college). More mature, too, in most cases.

Some of these officers had been to Annapolis. The guys who had been to Annapolis were clearly a cut above the other officers .. and surprisingly, less 'military' in their mind set.

The regular "college boys" (as we called them) were the ones who seemed to trip on the power that came with their commission. "You are all worthless and weak. Now drop and give me twenty."

Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarineI forget what we were talking about there in missile compartment middle level (.. right next to the stationary bicycle mounted outside the nucleonics laboratory) ..

.. but I remember the name Dostoevsky came up very tangentially .. as part of a completely different conversation.

But something about that name .. caught my attention. I mean, there are four syllables, so you're not going to miss it. "Who?"

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 11, 2013 1:11 AM.

Shooting First Graders? Like Fish in a Barrel? What the Fuck? - Part 2/2 was the previous entry in this blog.

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