Archive for August, 2015

Intelligent design

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

So, as my two readers know, I am a proponent of the idea of intelligent design, with the designers being *us* – it seems clear to me that since we have the ability to program, including at assembly language levels, that coding up DNA is not beyond us. People tend to counterargue that we can’t edit our own DNA, that our minds have no ability to change our DNA. Well, here’s another study discussing the idea that we can in fact do so..

Ashley Madison data leak

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

So, I’m of two minds about this.

On one paw, people shouldn’t really do this to each other (reveal information so private). I’m not really happy with the hackers who did this, and I feel like they’re just making the situation worse.

On the other paw, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all didn’t *have* to keep secrets from each other? If we could in fact accept each other the way we are? I mean, I know from personal experience that we can’t.. but wouldn’t learning how to be better than feeling like we have to sneak around behind each other’s backs and use web sites like this one?

I have never used Ashley Madison.. I have a policy against pay dating sites in general and sites that look like they have the potential to add to the collective unhappiness of the world in specific.

I am still against possessive and coercive relationships, and I still am in favor of polysexuality and potentially polyfidelity.

Somehow I thought I’d have more to say about this

How much does our insistence that everyone pay cost us?

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

You know, I’m really curious how much overhead our resource allocation system tracking some things adds. I’ve talked about how much cheaper it might be to run the city bus if we didn’t collect fares (and have to deal with keeping the collection system working, and taking the money to the bank, and counting it, and accounting..) but another, even more obvious example of how could this possibly make sense occured to me.

Why do we meter power?

How much does it add to the cost of running the power grid to have people doing disconnects? How much does a disconnect cost when it ruins resources (food), sometimes kills people (disconnects in the winter)? How much does the power meter itself cost? How about the collections department? Isn’t there something better these people can being with their time than having a job making other people’s lives worse?

We seem to have more or less agreed that most people in the USA (I’d say 95%) want large amounts of energy delivered via copper. Why not just make it a government service – no charge, it’s part of your taxes – and run it to be as efficient as possible? We’d still need to measure usage over large areas, and shut off people doing obnoxiously stupid things – but I’m fairly sure we’d save a lot of resources..

This is me.. ;-)

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Sandra And Woo: Grown Up

I just finished bingereading Sandra and Woo.. it was over way too soon..

Lucid dreaming

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

So, I seem to be making significant progress – last night I was able to control the music I was hearing, not perfectly, but I’d throw out a sequence of notes and some of them would be correct.. interestingly, it was *stereo* – I was seperately controlling the notes for my left and right virtual ears.. the thing I’ve changed most recently that I think might be making a difference is for years I kept my dream journal online, in a wordpress blog, and now I’m writing it with pencil and paper after reading of another lucid dreaming hopeful who did the same and found success. The other thing that I think might be affecting it is the new psych med that I’m on.

In response to Steve’s post..

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

So, the problem here is that by all indications my mind has some sort of intermittent fault. Despite my investment of (at a guess) $100,000-ish and a smaller but not insignificant investment by my parents into same, we have not found and fixed this fault. What we’ve mostly found out is that the state of our current health care system is awful.

Me, with everything working correctly, accepts $person’s decision. That’s who I want to be. I wish she didn’t want to not talk to me, but if that’s what she wants, it’s what she should have. I certainly wouldn’t want someone forcing their existence on me. However, from time to time, this intermittent fault arises. And, you have to remember also that until my most recent adventure the last time I had seen $person face to face she had been friendly and not been telling me to go away.

Well, when this intermittent fault arises, several things happen

1) Often, I have a period where from my perspective, I’m just not there at all. It looks to me like a blackout.
2) Once this ends, I have a time where I have a very hard time figuring out what is real and what isn’t. At times I’ve been convinced I’m a starship orbiting earth, for example. Now, I doubt if I’m going to have nearly as hard a time knowing that $person doesn’t want to see me now that I have memories of her talking about me in third person to a judge and enumerating all the reasons she doesn’t, but until this most recent adventure, all I had was email, and not a *lot* of email or a lot of detail in said email. For someone who has had the experience of hallucinating text without even being in a faulted state, this wasn’t that helpful.
3) A bunch of other people appear, from my perspective, to also be inhabiting my body. I can’t explain to you what this is like, but they appear to be having conversations with each other using my mouth. This is disorienting to say the least. I can often somewhat control their ability to do this, but not perfectly and I am often embarrassed, ashamed, and unhappy about what has transpired after I return to normal.

Now, this most recent fault occurred despite, as far as I know, 100% med compliance (i.e. taking Seroquel exactly as prescribed by my doctor) at the maximum dose I was permitted for the weeks leading up to it. I’m trying a new psych med now which *might* help, or might not.

Clearly, looking at #3, I can’t really blame people for finding my presence disorienting and/or disturbing. I don’t think I present any sort of danger of physical attack, but I’m definitely not *normal* in this state, and I and my stable of alters are likely to say things that normal people wouldn’t say. It is not nearly as simple as to say I am choosing this. Steve, I am guessing you are the sort of person who would think that we’re always deciding exactly what we’re doing, and I hope you never have to learn that this isn’t always the case by experiencing life as I do during one of these intermittent faults.

Another organized religion post

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Okay, so, I can’t help but think it significant that the first time I had a authentic spiritual experience in a church, *they were speaking another language*.

I just don’t think I’m cut out to be mainstream religious. I can’t make myself believe that if some sort of diety needed or wanted something from me, said diety wouldn’t just directly contact me. And a lot of mainstream religions have ideas that vary from “That sounds insane” to “I can’t believe that” when I hear them.

I *wanted* to be mainstream religious, when I was young, because it was obvious that that would please my parents. I think I would have been okay if I hadn’t been such a voracious reader. I read the bible. Big mistake.

But looking back on it, a lot of the ideas seem to be just plain nuts even if you don’t. Either that, or we have different definitions of things. For example, if you want someone to change, and only want good things for them if they fit your desires and expectations, that’s not love. It’s especially not unconditional love if you are going to torture them or allow them to be tortured if they don’t play along.

On the other paw, I’ve come to a understanding of the message of Christianity I can live with. The idea is that you put yourself in hell, by configuring your mind the wrong way – that given that we are all immortal creatures locked in a system that we can never exit from, complete freedom had to include all kinds of torturous and unfortunate experiences. And, of course, infinity is going to contain every possible experience you could have, from the very best to the very worst. Sometimes in the same week.

So, in general my experience of the Bible is the words of Jesus are the sanest in the book. I wish he’d gone a lot further than he did, but I think that his message is sound, empathetic, and good for the most part until he starts going on this whole ego trip of “No one comes to the father but through me”. However, we don’t really have any *clue* what Jesus might have said or not said. We’re dealing with text that’s been edited, translated, bent for political reasons, etc, time and time again. But we can still sort of see the *spirit* of what he meant shining through in the clearly warm, nonjudgemental, empathetic nature of his words.

Anyway, the assumption here is that if you emulate Jesus in your treatment of yourself and your neighbors and the like you can get yourself out of hell, if you have put yourself in hell through inadvisably configuring your mind. And of course Christians promote a lot of ideas that I also believe in, like that we are connected by things we can’t see as well as that we can and we are immortals. On the other hand, they also believe a lot of things that are just plain nuts. See elsewhere in this blog for my commentary on that, I’m not going to rehash old topics.

JL pointed out the idea that maybe we shouldn’t be shoving our beliefs down each other’s throats, and I’m going to second that. However, I am still wrestling with what I want to believe and when and why, so I still tend to write about all this in the hopes that through all the static, noise, and randomness some real signal will appear. I don’t think that attempting to believe CHristianity is what broke my mind (I think that had already happened by then) but I am certain it didn’t help the situation. However, had I not been so literal, and looked at the spirit in which the people who believe it gather, I’m not thinking it would have damaged me nearly so badly. I get too hung up on words a lot of the time, especially for someone who can hallucinate text, and I think often the message isn’t really in the words.

I also wonder, knowing that I can hallucinate text, if I have *any* clue what’s actually in the Bible or not. Just another of those unknowability things. However, God, if I have one and you’re taking requests, a lot more utopia, please?

The fear of love

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

We’re assured abortion stops a beating heart
By the same hand that insists God meant there to be nukes here from the start
By the same voices that assure us that the only way Christ didn’t die in vain
Is if we assume Siddartha and Mohammad were insane
When they tell me about the conditions on unconditional love
I have to ask..
Are you all buying this? Am I the only one who thinks it’s nuts?
Are you all onboard with the idea of money printed with “In God We Trust”?

We’re assured that big brother knows best
Even though he can’t decide if the enemy is the north, south, east, or west
But rest assured, there is a enemy! We promise! So keep your guns clean..
And make sure you’re just one more cog in our machine
But when they tell us about the next war
I have to ask..
Are you all buying this? Am I the only one convinced I’m stuck in hell?
When we measure our freedom by the number of guns we sell..

We’re assured that happiness is something you buy, not something you learn
By advertisers on every channel, by assaults on our senses at every turn
But most of what I want can’t even be bought or sold
And the assurances of retail therapy have really gotten old
So when I’m told a new car will solve all my problems
I have to ask..
Are you all buying this? Am I the only one who thinks we’re lost?
Am I the only one who even knows every object has a hidden cost?

We’re assured that we really need to live in fear
Even if you don’t see the monster under your bed, it really is here
Be afraid of everyone, trust no one, don’t ever let love in
It’s in the fear of love, not small minded ideas about sin, that the devil really wins.


By the way, $person, I’m well and clearly aware that I’m not going to have any sort of romantic entanglement with you this lifetime. If you’d listened to the mp3s I sent you, you’d hear me say that – as I observed, that train has sailed. I just wanted our friendship back, a lot a lot a lot. And I didn’t want to have to lie to you to get it. However, you put me in kind of a bad position when you told me not to write you. Because sane me won’t, and insane me has a major lack of internal filters on what he will or won’t say. He’s not *dangerous* – I’ve been around all sorts of people in manic episodes and nothing bad has happened to anyone – he’s just not the most contained person in the world.

10^13 neurons

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

So, I’ve talked about this a bunch of times, but I wanted to dedicate a post to it because (like my discussions of money vs. value) I repeatedly get the feeling that I’m talking about this, but only a few people are understanding what I’m saying. I find that frustrating, because the ideas involved in this are just not that complicated and I’m pretty sure that *our children* understand them – until that functionality is beaten out of them in the process of making them “productive citizens”

Now, a lot of this comes down to what you believe. I believe that western science is measuring something meaningful when they measure what happens inside the human mind. What this tells us is that our mind – the part of us that is, as best we know, having the conscious experience, being the observer, actually on the ride so to speak – is a collection of 100 billion individual nerve cells, or neurons. These cells are each fairly advanced little puppies – they have excite and inhibit inputs, they are electrochemical in nature and are affected by a whole host of neurotransmitters (30?).

One of the things I’ve done to try to demonstrate the amount of computing power involved is just compare neurons to transistors. Your very-high-end computer might have 5 or 6 billion transistors. And, as I’ve talked about, a transistor is a lot less powerful than a neuron – especially in the ways we use them in modern computers, where they always operate in saturated mode and are simple switches. We also tend to be rather wasteful with our silicon in computers, since we use programs to design computer chips that are more oriented in getting results than in using as few transistors as possible.

There are other points I might make too – like, in a CPU in a modern computer, only the transistors involved in, for example, the currently executing instruction are actually part of the circuit being used right now. Our brains are massively parallel, and everything is turned on at least a little.

What does it all add up to? Well, whatever else you would or wouldn’t find, you would find that our minds are a lot more computer than the machine you’re reading this on. They’re a lot of other things too – they are clearly NOT turing machines although they emulate them just fine. However, the point that I keep trying to make is that the computer you’re sitting in front of has no problem generating a credible 3D reality with credible, functional physical laws.. amongst many other things. And it represents a lot less computing power than you do.

So, as a result, I would argue that there’s a lot of things that are unknowable.. and whether or not your conscious experience has much to do with the inputs you’re wired to, whether there actually is a “real world” (also a point that the quantum people debate endlessly), and the like fall under the category of unknowables.

Now, I can’t rewire my conscious experience in any meaningful way that I’ve yet discovered. It occasionally rewires *itself* and I experience brief periods of realities other than the one I have come to think of as the default. I would *like* it if it did more of this, as I definitely enjoy a sense of magic in my life. I also have come to suspect (as in fact I was told a few years ago – but I’ve come to accept the potential truth therein) that the difference between the person in utopia and the person in hell is what software they’re running.

My assumption is that people who really solidly adhere to one religion or other either do so *because* they get this affect out of it (believing in their religion places them in a utopia), or because they’re one of those people who need very strong black-and-white rules to not feel like they’re adrift in what is, in essence, a sea of unknowability.

Of course, one problem..

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

One problem that I see is that people like me – empathic, aggressively nonviolent, etc – are inherently going to avoid power. I don’t want power over other people, because I don’t want to hurt other people and I’m afraid that I might inadvertently do so especially given how much trouble I have understanding people who are driven by other forces. Who is going to seek power? People who are running very different software from me. In many cases, people who don’t care how much they hurt the people they have power over, or possibly even people who enjoy hurting other people. This is kind of scary but does explain the bizarre brokenness that is Earth.