hitting the Memory Wall. . .
Mnemosyne has become a machine!
"When I was there [at the Googleplex], just before the IPO, I thought the coziness to be almost overwhelming. Happy Golden Retrievers running in slow motion through water sprinklers on the lawn. People waving and smiling, toys everywhere. I immediately suspected that unimaginable evil was happening somewhere in the dark corners. If the devil would come to earth, what place would be better to hide?"~George Dyson
There is a fear currently, that as our culture makes the transition from the page to the screen, the depth of thinking, focus, and concentration--which was a product of the linear book--is vanishing. The fear is that culture without the book dwells in the shallows. My question here at the beginning of all things is, can one find depth in the shallows?
My position to this cultural revolution of thought is curious too. I find myself between these two worlds. I deal in words lately. I love them. I'd love to get paid for handling them. I enjoy reading them and hearing them. I experience them on screens and on pages. Although I have not given up books--like many have--I tend to read in a fragmented, nonlinear fashion, moving from book to book in a widening circle of interests and amusements.
There is no doubt that our thinking is changing. And to me this is both incredibly scary as well as completely exciting.
I too experience a discomfort being in the middle of this shift. I have an attachment to the idea of being a successful "writer", and this has a proven method looking back historically. The forms are solid: Novel, Poem, Essay, Play, Short Story. . . I have pieces in various stages of completion in these well established forms. To execute within these realms translates into a traditional writing career. This is not where I hear the music though. The action is in the shallows. And the forms flow and are all forms and no forms all at the same time.
I'm going to work on this piece for as long as it takes or until The NOW moves me off. That is, I'm asking nothing from it in return. The intention of this long form piece of sync is to bring you an experience of being alive, to find depth in the shallows, and to bring a divided family together. I've wanted to write about both my mother & my father in separate posts now for the better part of the summer. [ Obviously, this text was written some time ago, at summer's end ironically enough.]
Something I find is that when I create a situation that requires a binary solution, I usually experience discomfort. I need to remember to refuse questions of this type. Move into "And".
I guess this is a long way of saying that I ache because I don't work on the writing that I "want", and then the writing that flows is difficult to understand from a traditional literary background. What form is this?
The intention of this piece is to include everything. If the divorce of "mom & pop" is a cultural issue, then I should likely write about both at the same time bringing them together in unity under one "screen". So, this isn't something I'm going to bang out in one stretch. I want the depth of the shallows. I want to allay the fears of the literary community. The life of the mind isn't dying. It's changing. The depth is still there, but now instead of a bookish monotheistic paradigm, we have a net. Thesus must follow many of Ariadne's silken strands simultaneously instead of one linear thread to exit the labyrinth.
But what is the Labyrinth? Is it our mind? Is it the dream? Are technologies, like the book, a distraction from the truth of existence, or are they actually bringing us closer to "the point" of being? Should we fear Google, or pray to it? Obviously, human creatures create and tell stories. again, why? maybe we should talk about the point of stories. a little.
The brain needs integration. Experience occurs, but reality in the past was just too much to process all at once. Dreams create symbolic understanding of the experiences of a human life. They allow the avatar a removed space to view and watch the events unfold. Stories function as dreams. They give us the space for integration later for events that we are not present enough to handle. They tells us who we are, which is exactly what the literary community says of literature, and because of its sustained focus and concentration, the depth of thought is great.
Actors act for us. They experience our pain over and over and over. This is so we don't have to. They are doing tremendous work for us too. Did you know that to read one's mind you must look no further than their face? Really. I've been reading several books about science and the mind as of late. Blink details an unconscious cognition system of pattern recognition that processes what we "see" in microseconds. It is separate from our thinking brain, and doesn't speak directly to it. It speaks to the whole body. It warns all systems--some people think of this sensation as their esp. How did you know--see the thing is, that we all know before we know. Yes eventually our slow, thinking brain catches on to what is going on, but it is this undermind that is purely now. My wonder is if we could make this unconscious cognition system more conscious (similar to sync) Flowing in the now consciously. Recognizing the connections. Seeing more and more.
Birds of Prey can see more. [They would perceive our motion pictures as still frames] We think of it in terms of having good eyes, but how does one separate the eyes from the brain--which leads me back to my earlier thread. . . .One can read minds because the face is the "screen" of the mind. really! In that book I mentioned, Blink, two men studied the face/mind connection. People become adept at consciously hiding their emotions, but these two men became so good at reading faces, that no one could hide their thoughts from them--it was betrayed in their face.
Silvan Tomkins and Paul Ekman spent seven years understanding the language of the face through its muscularture, and they learned that making sad faces all day makes one literally sad. You can't separate the "screen" from the computer. It is all one thing--the medium is the message!
My point though is how we sacrifice actors in our collective dreams for our own ends. These people become our suffering so we don't have to. Heath Ledger comes to mind. Let' s try and understand the point that they are dying for, shalln't we?
What is The Information?
When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go. That is what I saw. It wasn't really you, what you were doing, I know that. But I saw you and it broke my heart. And I've never forgotten. — Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go
Albemuth. Our first home. We were wanderers, exiles, all of us, whether we knew it or not. Perhaps most of us wanted to forget. Memory - to be aware of our true condition, our identity - was too painful. We would make this place our home and we would recall nothing else. It was easier that way.
We paid it now. ~Philip K. Dick Radio Free Albemuth
Atreyu (never ending?)
Elliott (phone home)
run home Jack!
Who Lost What in Paradise?
Turns out, the Garden of Eden wan't really a garden at all. It was anything but a garden: jungle, forest, wild seashore, open savanna, windblown tundra. Adam and Eve weren't kicked out of a garden. they were kicked into one.
Think about it. What's a garden? Land under cultivation. Tended. Arranged. Organized. Intentional. Weeds are pulled or poisoned without mercy; seeds are selected and sown. There's nothing free or spontaneous about such a place. Accidents are unwelcome. But the story says that before their fall from grace, Adam and Eve lived carefree, naked, and innocent--lacking nothing. Their world provided what they needed: food, shelter, and companionship.
But after the Fall, the good times were over. Food, previously the gift of a generous world, now had to be earned through hard work. Women suffered in giving birth. And sexual pleasure--formerly guilt-free--became a source of humiliation and shame. Although the biblical story has it that the first humans were expelled from the garden, the narrative clearly got reversed somewhere along the line. The curse suffered by Adam and Eve centers around the exchange of the arguably low-stress, high-pleasure life of foragers (or bonobos) for the dawn-to-dusk toil of a farmer in his garden. Original sin represents the attempt to explain why on Earth our ancestors ever accepted such a raw deal.
The story of the Fall gives narrative structure to the traumatic transition from the take-it-where-you-find-it hunter-gatherer existence to the arduous struggle of agriculturalists. Contending with insects, rodents, weather, and the reluctant Earth itself, farmers were forced to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow rather than just finding the now-forbidden fruit and eating it hand to mouth, as their ancestors had done forever. No wonder foragers have almost never shown any interest in learning farming techniques from Europeans. As one forager put it, "Why should we plant, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world." ~Sex At Dawn
"Everything's going to be OK"?
Whose island is it anyway?
the blank spaces on the map are my favorite, where shadow dwells, where one can experience true dark, and where one can still know sacred solitude. . . .
|Monsters from the Id|
|Stating the obvious|
|db: David Jupiter Bo(w)ring|
Much of the plot of the book concerns David's attempt to obtain a woman whom he considers his feminine ideal, based largely on the characteristics of his first cousin, Pamela, with whom he shared some innocent adolescent kisses at a family summer retreat. Shortly after attending the funeral of a friend, David meets, dates, and is abandoned by Wanda, a woman whom he considers the perfect fulfillment of this ideal. After sinking into an all-consuming depression for weeks, David is shot in the head by an unknown attacker in front of his own home, but survives with only a small dent in his forehead.
David, his mother, their extended family, and David's roommate and friend Dot all end up stranded on a small island, Hulligan's Wharf, which the family owns and uses for vacations. David's great-uncle August shows up, proclaims that terrorist gas attacks have contaminated the mainland, and later dies.
|"At the bottom of the ocean she dwells..." ("Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down")|
[At the book's end,] The two escape to Hulligan's Wharf, where David finds his long-lost cousin Pamela and her baby. She fled to the island for her child's safety, and has several months of food supply, planning to start a vegetable garden so that they can survive indefinitely. David and Pamela begin an adult relationship.... David expresses the conviction that he is happy and thankful, and does not care how long he has to live. The question of whether the pair have days, weeks, months, or years of bliss is never answered.
"The Birthing Rock", Moab Utah
"Perhaps it's time to give birth to a new idea,"
On the morning following All Fools Day, a midwife friend of mine handed me a book entitled Red written by a woman named "Tempest". This midwife friend prompted me to read a story entitled "Labor" from this work about a storm and flood in the desert. This line in particular struck me at the time, "The wall of water hits." The other strange attraction I noticed that morning was the original publication date of the work: September 11, 2001-- hmmm. And today, this tempest winks once more at me:
"The Tempest premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 11, 2010 as the festival's closing film."~Wiki
Galápagos is the story of a small band of mismatched humans who get shipwrecked on the fictional island of Santa Rosalia in the Galápagos Islands after a global financial crisis has crippled the world's economy. Shortly thereafter, a disease renders all humans on Earth infertile, with the exception of the people on Santa Rosalia, making them the last specimens of humankind.... [Kurt Vonnegut] maintains that all the sorrows of humankind were caused by "the only true villain in my story: the oversized human brain".
|"The last word (human, all too human) is left to Penelope."|
"...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."
Have a heart, have a heart, have a heart
Sixteen, six, six, six and I know the part
You are the river flow
And we can never know
We're just a weatherman
You make the wind blow ...
We form a tarot pack
And I'm aware of that
But we could fist fight drunk like the parent trap
All Englishmen who were in their twenties in 1905 had at least one thing in common: They’d watched the world of their childhoods die. Just as they were coming of age, electricity replaced gaslight. Cars and buses replaced horses and bicycles. Urban populations were exploding, mass media and advertising were yammering, and mechanized warfare crouched in the wings, ready and waiting. The early twentieth century looked and sounded and smelled nothing like the late nineteenth. “In those days of the eighties and nineties of the nineteenth century the rhythm of London traffic which one listened to as one fell asleep in one’s nursery was the rhythm of horses’ hooves clopclopping down London streets in broughams, hansom cabs, and four-wheelers,” Woolf would write, toward the end of his life, in the unimaginable year of 1960. “And the rhythm, the tempo got into one’s blood and one’s brain, so that in a sense I have never become entirely reconciled in London to the rhythm and tempo of the whizzing and rushing cars.” Woolf felt displaced, like the hero of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine, exiled in the future. So did everybody else—Evelyn Waugh once remarked that if he ever got ahold of a time machine, he’d put it in reverse and go backward, into the past.
It’s no accident that both modernism and modern fantasy made their entrances at that moment, in that same displaced generation. It’s rarely remarked upon, but just as Virginia Woolf and Joyce and Hemingway were inventing the modernist novel, Hope Mirrlees and Lord Dunsany and Eric Rücker Eddison were writing the first modern fantasy novels, at least in the form most fans are familiar with. This happened for a reason. Modernism and fantasy were two very different responses to the same disaster: the arrival of the modern era and the death of Woolf’s beloved nursery-world. Though like siblings—or roommates—who are mortally embarrassed by each other, they’re not in the habit of acknowledging the connection. Like Woolf and Dutton, modernism and fantasy are each other’s uncanny double. ~"The Death of a Civil Servant""That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented." ~"The Information" (how the internet gets inside us)
But by the time we reach them, those green fields are always in decline. The spell never lasts. King Arthur is always dying, and the Elves are always shuffling off toward Valinor, where mortals cannot follow. Narnia falls into chaos, then drowns and freezes, and the survivors retreat into Aslan’s Land. We think of fantasy and modernism as worlds apart, but somehow they always end up in the same place. They are perfectly symmetrical. Fantasy is a prelude to the apocalypse. Modernism is the epilogue.~"The Death of a Civil Servant"
Hermione, stuck in the nineties, never did get her iPad, and will have to manage in the stacks. But perhaps the instrument of the new connected age was already in place in fantasy. For the Internet screen has always been like the palantír in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”—the “seeing stone” that lets the wizards see the entire world. Its gift is great; the wizard can see it all. Its risk is real: evil things will register more vividly than the great mass of dull good. The peril isn’t that users lose their knowledge of the world. It’s that they can lose all sense of proportion. You can come to think that the armies of Mordor are not just vast and scary, which they are, but limitless and undefeatable, which they aren’t. ~"The Information" (how the internet gets inside us)
Was Donne wrong?
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
|"... it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."|
- Number Two: That's why he'll break. He only needs one small thing. If he will answer one simple question, the rest will follow: why did he resign?
- Number Two: [after Number Six stumping the machine, causing it to self destruct] What was the question?
- Number Six: It's insoluble, to man or machine.
- Number Two: What was it?
- Number Six: W - H - Y - Question mark.
- Number Two: "Why?"
- Number Six: "Why?"
Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, 'Why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand. (Kurt Vonnegut)
"You are not just man or woman (duality) or a Human being (Monkey), YOU ARE NUMBER 1"
"I am Iraq, I am an Island"
"Help, I'm Iraq"
Just as every man or woman is a star, they are their own Island, they are their own Village, they are also A Rock or Iraq (Babylon). If "my body is my temple," then so too is my body the city around it.
I've had this post-it note on my desk for a few weeks now: