Author Topic: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead  (Read 8030 times)


Local Maxima
« Reply #75 on: January 14, 2020, 05:09:16 am »
There's a comic about mountains that my brain filed for future reference, but it was stored with lossy compression long ago and re-encoded many times since then.

Maybe it's this one ( This ( might have gotten munged into it along the way. Or this ( This ( is nearby, but not it. I think the first one comes closest to what I had recalled, though I entirely misplaced its plaintive tone. It was like a cross between the first and this (, and had some witty quip that I've entirely misplaced due to being struck by the overarching theme of getting to what looked initially like the top in order to see what else is out there.

It's the algorithm of climbing the nearest local maximum in order to spot a better one. And I've been pacing around such a peak, and every time I pass a certain side I spot a behemoth of a next summit in the middle distance. And I've nigh-accidentally bumped into a trail that seems to be going the right way.

I'll likely need to step down into a certain amount of woo-woo bullshit before arising back out of it again. Some, even much, of the work might need to be done from some guises that look deeply incompatible with the relatively consistent-ish aspect of myself that I show here. In other words, I think I'm going to go do some things that are entirely explainable from this perspective, but to explain them while they're in progress would force me to touch them in fragile unformed places that stunt them -- you can slip an acupuncture needle into a child without doing any lasting damage, but to poke that same needle into the embryo would likely render it non-viable.

And there, I've answered my own question about Secrecy.

And a thing is just itself, regardless of what I name it, yet the naming somehow changes how it works for me or how I work with it -- and grabbing it by both aspects breaks both corners, even if it also spreads the load. A phenomenon or an observation is still itself, regardless of whether I name it as a portent or a pattern-match or nothing at all.

Perhaps I even might step far enough away to spot idiocies in my present systems that are invisible to me from here.

I, as I, am not really going anywhere -- Idgo is a lens, a filter, an aperture through which certain patterns of others' and my own take the opportunity to play with others'. Some of that filtering is pure common sense, insulation between the lightning of an electrical network and my squishy human body and the ground. Other filters are a lens of consistency; an insistence on only presenting a mutually exclusive viewpoint set if they're couched in safe packaging of excuses. The filters of consistency, placed out of habit, ultimately serve to build a certain credibility which reaps thought and answers in conversation and even a certain modicum of power to gently prod at others' beliefs and ideas.

It just feels like the ending of a book, right now. Have you ever read an excellent novel -- I find it happens particularly commonly in Stross -- where it feels like there's a satisfying conclusion to the story with all the loose ends that had been itching at you all sewn back in? And then you (or at least I) turn what I think was the last page, or feel the novel in my hands, and there's still a quarter inch or so of something else that the author ended up putting after the bits of the story that I wanted from it were finished. This feels like one of those endings, to me -- a local minimum of cliff-hanginess? (Certainly there are also the books, also often Stross, where the story feels truncated before its time when the pages run out... those are like an unexpected death).

I'll likely continue this here -- it's a nice place to write, and to argue, and to prod, and all -- but I just find it interesting to note that the arc-completion bit is happening in a way that's visible to me in its progress rather than only in retrospect, as arcs of my life and various accounts have been before. Can't tell if that's a lasting change or just a temporary one.

I think all that is just to say, it's an intentional set of experiments that are making me more likely than usual to sound particularly non-LHP, not that I've necessarily been all that LHP to begin with. I haven't necessarily ever been deeply into the handednesses, regarding both as mildly distasteful curatives against various brainwashings and dogmas. But LHP folks (at least those who stick with this particular forum) seem to more reliably display what I see as a certain capacity for independent thought, as it's generally prerequisite to joining a path that almost nobody is born into, so I appreciate the cameraderie as we all make our own strange attempts at getting where we think we want to be.


Re: Local Maxima
« Reply #76 on: January 14, 2020, 10:28:19 am »
It just feels like the ending of a book, right now. Have you ever read an excellent novel -- I find it happens particularly commonly in Stross -- where it feels like there's a satisfying conclusion to the story with all the loose ends that had been itching at you all sewn back in? And then you (or at least I) turn what I think was the last page, or feel the novel in my hands, and there's still a quarter inch or so of something else that the author ended up putting after the bits of the story that I wanted from it were finished.

I wonder if old age might sometimes feel like that.

I think all that is just to say, it's an intentional set of experiments that are making me more likely than usual to sound particularly non-LHP, not that I've necessarily been all that LHP to begin with. I haven't necessarily ever been deeply into the handednesses, regarding both as mildly distasteful curatives against various brainwashings and dogmas. But LHP folks (at least those who stick with this particular forum) seem to more reliably display what I see as a certain capacity for independent thought, as it's generally prerequisite to joining a path that almost nobody is born into, so I appreciate the cameraderie as we all make our own strange attempts at getting where we think we want to be.

I-am-my-own-God can sound overly grandiose a lot of the time, but I-am-my-own-Pope is always accurate for the non-poseur LH practitioner.


Re: Local Maxima
« Reply #77 on: January 14, 2020, 06:37:14 pm »
I wonder if old age might sometimes feel like that.

I had a grandfather who aged like that -- he left without unfinished business. But that's more from skill at aging -- in growth, the culmination of a project is impetus to start a larger one, but after a certain point, finishing one piece of business can be a recommendation to start a less-lengthy (though perhaps not lower-quality) one. I think youth has a certain urgency of "I must do this because no-one else can", but when you're ninety-something and surrounded by aging children and adult grandchildren and little great-grandchildren, each generation of which has an individual or two who show that your own special aptitudes have been passed along, I think the fear that comes with being the only one who could might have been whittled away to nothing by the decades of counter-examples.

I-am-my-own-God can sound overly grandiose a lot of the time, but I-am-my-own-Pope is always accurate for the non-poseur LH practitioner.

"Every man, woman, and child is a pope".

I think I might prefer the times when "child" was its own gender.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2020, 06:43:03 pm »
Back to journal things, though: I think I've figured out how to draw the sort of growth/learning thing as I imagine it.

As with any search/exploration, it tends to revisit approximate regions it's been to before, but upon each visit it hits parts of those spaces from a direction that wouldn't have been feasible without leaving them. In this image, the thing I was trying to describe yesterday is akin to noticing the color changing.

Also, I wonder if there's a better convention for inter-journal conversations than reply within the same thread. I wonder whether taking the whole quote block from the journal entry to be replied to, and pasting it into one's own journal, and writing the thoughts or reply there, would yield a more or less readable and useful thread both among ourselves and for future readers.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #79 on: January 23, 2020, 12:39:44 am »
I had a dream recently in which someone had tried to fashion a bow from 3 sticks attached together with rubber bands. One curved stick for the bow proper, 2 straight sticks fastened in the middle pretending to be the string. They were wondering why it wouldn't shoot as well as the bows that looked just like it that they'd seen in movies and cartoons... I think it's a take on the "solid bow, stretchy bowstring" trope.

I think there's something useful underneath that trope, around here somewhere. Something about how certain communications about a topic can accidentally omit facts that would be essential for a beginner to reconstruct the topic from first principles, because those facts seemed just too obvious to be worth mentioning. Or perhaps how things that look like sources of power, like bowstrings, are sometimes just conduits of force from elsewhere.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #80 on: February 11, 2020, 12:41:12 am »
As ponderously yet inevitably as a freighter reversing into its dock, my views on the ways in which ancient belief systems had things more completely figured out than modern ones are refining. I view many other ancient skills as usefully informing a complete understanding of their modern successors, so in a way it's surprising that it's taken me this long to gain a similar appreciation for the spiritual precursors to modern beliefs. The delay, I suspect, may stem from the way that I was right all along about how old beliefs do not translate directly into modern truth. They complement, like the mold and the tool cast in it.

In one way, the old beliefs are wrong. They don't map right, onto a world where so many of the phenomena that they classed indiscriminately as magics are understood and explained.

In another, though, they're the foodstuff that modern belief was raised upon, the source of every molecule that the current currents have digested into their structures. Just as studying the carcasses of those dead languages from which our live language scavenged sheds light on how she got these stains on her claws, so too the widths of the old gods' oxen's asses formed the ruts that formed the roads that formed the rails that dictated the dimensions of the spiritual space shuttle.

I went looking for a closet to neatly organize my knowledge in, and they seem to have delivered the wardrobe with Narnia in the back.

Or maybe I just finally discovered the one flavor of this intellectual snack that's made without my mind's allergens in it, and I'm suddenly so surprised to discover why nobody else thought any of them tasted like sudsy dishwater.

I'm back out of the region that preserves any fidelity when reported to my future self in straight turns of phrase, but that's alright by me. It's interesting to see myself spinning similar sayings to those etheogenically enhanced excursions before, but entirely unaltered by external assisstances. I guess I wandered out and set a couple beacons for where to head, before, and I've been following them since, despite or perhaps because of hanging up the metaphorical phone for the time being. I was gong into things without clear questions for awhile there, and so they stopped offering me good answers, and it's the experience of getting the good answers that I was after all along so there stopped being any point in asking at all.

I have an account that hangs out in the corners of the internet that have recently been in a bit of an aphantasia loop. https:// .com/watch?v=ewsGmhAjjjI, and in particular its reference, for your breadcrumbs. And it was in that video that I realized: My brain seems to lazy-evaluate imagery: I ask it for an apple, and there is no platonic ideal of an apple before my eyes. There's the usual visual input. There's a generic apple "inside" my head, "behind" my eyes, but it's not yet juxtaposed onto the foreground. I ask it for an apple in a change of lighting, or in a bowl, and it yanks the most recent apple I've contemplated. (that's a lovely wonky one from the backdrop of the kitchen in Midsommar, courtesy of https:// com/watch?v=_8iL5wueXDs) I ask it for that apple in the dark, and the easiest thing to do is to shut the windows of the ancient building that the apple's table was in, though I fill with the most recent ancient building I've spent time in because I didn't pay that much attention to the most-recent apple's actual set.

Almost every visual image I summon to vividity, I can trace to a memory that gave me some part of its form. I choose to continue to class this as "really imagining", since I do ultimately persuade the form to appear... but I don't categorize the imagined forms as being by any means new, since they're so easily attributable to their original sources. Gets me wondering whether people who involuntarily imagine visuals actually... like it? like, with a little work I can convene a flowy sort of state where my brain spins and storytells on its own, but the default of everyday consciousness is to invest in what "I" tell it to and not in what I don't. Seems like involuntary visuals might have quite the commonalities to intrusive thoughts, which incidentally those same areas have lately been all aflutter about.

And yet, what's "inspiration" but an intrusive thought with an invitation?

Edit: yikes, the forum expands youtube links to embeds in a way that I do not enjoy.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #81 on: March 19, 2020, 05:30:49 pm »
It's the end times. Old practices are collapsing into themselves more and more rapidly, leaving a temporary vacuum.

I'm reminded of a quote that starts a song: "We practice selective annihilation of mayors and government officials, for example, to create a vacuum, then we fill that vacuum. As popular war advances, peace is closer."

The easiest thing for the vacuum to do is to be filled, so eventually no matter how hard we've been trying to hold the door open to leave room for an old thing that isn't coming back, something else will come in or the door will shut in favor of one where something's ready to approach. And those of us who can step "outside" have a good bit of say in which alternative visitors we're inviting.

From my roots in chaos practice, I gotta say: The amount of pure raw unstructured POTENTIAL that's coalescing around the next few years is absolutely amazing. For individuals going into this with power, it's a glorious chance to sculpt the world into any chosen form. Sure, you've gotta pick a form with enough handholds around the edges for the populace to grab onto it and push, but the parts around your *self* get to be absolutely custom and nobody gives a damn.

Lots of conversations about the cores of thoughts instead of just their surfaces, with old friends and new, lately. There's space and time to ask bigger and more philosophical questions of folks, to ask the understanding-accelerators. There's the opportunity and shared interest to get brains closer together in the ways we usually do with bodies, those old ways leaving the brains so far apart.

It closes a loop on a lot of planning and preparation that I've done for a generic "what if something bad happens?". And tells me a lot of what I could get away without if something else bad happened in the future. It's time to kick lifestyle change plans into motion that I've been looking for an excuse for.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #82 on: March 24, 2020, 03:12:31 am »
On the one hand, I am physically entirely prepared. And I thought that I was mentally well prepared -- for projections in which circumstances were outside my control, I had run a lot of simulations and figured out the best ways to handle it.

However, I underestimated the importance of preparing friendships. Specifically, the meat suit is wired to get attached to the folks one invests time and energy in, and to react as if its own wellbeing is threatened when the other humans are threatened. My techniques for disabling this feature work great when there's nothing I can/should do about it, and great when there are things I obviously can/should do and thus do to intervene, but I'm discovering edge cases to which neither of those obvious extremes applies.

The trickiest such case so far is that of a valued friend relapsing into a substance abuse problem, presumably related to current isolation precautions. Philosophically, adults are adults and everyone has the right to choose to hasten their own death. But emotionally and morally? Damn complicated to try to figure out to which respecting individual liberty supersedes obligation or preference to assist.


Time passed, went for a drive, interacted with those institutions and establishments which are still safe and legal to interact with.

Realized: part of the problem is my prior attempts to suppress how damn good it feels, in certain ways, to be in such close proximity to death.

Because no matter what way you try to slice it, there are still ways in which nobody wins when everybody does. Maybe it's from meat suit wiring, but there's an undeniable force within that wishes everything were zero-sum. Because in that game, the win condition is continued existence. The realization that one *is*, in circumstances where just *being* ought to be impossible, is indistinguishable from its own neurochemical reward.


It's gone from a list of firsts and bests, to a list of lasts. So I watch it burn, knowing that I will choose which seeds to plant to someday flourish in the fertile ashes.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #83 on: April 18, 2020, 03:16:45 am »
This has gotta be one of the worst times in history to be a hedonic procrastinator.

You know, the people who find it virtuous to put off immediate gratification in favor of later wholesomeness.

Today I completed some yard work -- there's a trail on my property which was previously visible from a public road, and looked tempting to trespass on, so I modified its outlet to be still accessible yet no longer visible. One unexpected yet pleasant outcome of this modification is that it allows me to step out of sight at times when I might otherwise have been observed -- to effectively disappear at will. I examine my sense of satisfaction with this work, and I find in it a recognition of having completed part of one of myriad possible "ideal" habitats for myself. And having examined and observed this satisfaction, I can now find it in other aspects of my life as well, letting it flow back into prior accomplishments which still pay me their dividends.

I suppose one could call it the satisfaction of wealth well used. In the trail's case, a wealth of time; in other cases the ordinary cash sort. For instance, I own many appliances that make my life easier and more comfortable, from an electric kettle to a home massage chair. And the surplus of long-lasting consumables which I keep on hand, because my attempts to optimize against regret have sparked a fascination with predicting my own future emotions. I am pleased by the ways in which my past self accurately predicted my present and future selves' wants, and increased the probability that they would be fulfilled.

Because the myth of capitalist alchemy is now in part dispelled. The way in which the wealth of choice -- real tangible necessary goods -- excels beyond the virtues of the wealth of postponed choice (or indecision) -- that over-sought liquidity of monetary instruments -- is laid bare to all, making implausible all its prior denials. Hedonism is to hasten choice -- to declare that the certain benefits of what can be had NOW outweigh the hazy possibilities of some future MAYBE.

Often, of course, the hasty choice is cursed, as future events reveal that it was not the optimal one. Yet the answer is not to postpone choice, as all those "you-aren't-God"-hand paths try to insinuate... The answer is instead to adjust the probability that one will make the right choice quickly. Because that right choice -- the one that starts out as an ungraspably fine needle in the haystack of confusion before one learns the art and skill -- that right choice carries a special satisfaction.

Actually, the satisfaction isn't special. It is the same as that which comes from postponing choice, only to get more of whatever desired thing one wished to have the whole time. That's the same as the satisfaction that comes from hastening choice, and getting something just as good as could have been hoped from postponing it, and also getting to have and enjoy it the whole time.

Choosing to wait on something you could have NOW is brutal, mindless optimism. It's the hope that the probabilities will change, and it's symptomatic of several stacked cognitive biases to get one or two chance rewards from waiting and decide it's the Only Way, to the expense of other solutions (intermittent reinforcement, I think it's called, works better even than consistent rewards). Because the other solution is the soul of pessimism: to suppose that things will stay the same or get worse, and act accordingly.

So then, we're all gambling. Some gamblers get addicted, but some are mathematicians, and learn enough about some game to discover a way to consistently win. And what I'm working on is pointing that demeanor of mathematics toward the engine of the universe. So, I have a pair of options to pursue for the satisfaction of having what I want.

If I take the optimistic opinion, then to get a better position by "cheating" at the game requires bringing into existence some better-than-before possibility. The better the world has gotten, the less likely it'll be that there's some low-hanging fruit of a better-than-expected outcome that's easy to drag in. 500 years ago any wound was a likely death sentence; today even major amputations and total paralysis are usually expected to aspire toward ordinary life after a moderate convalescence. 500 years ago there were so many ways that small mundane things could be better... Today there are fewer; on the scale from best to worst the mundane is near the upper end of what we can collectively imagine. (does this suggest a truth, or a flaw in our capacity for imagining?)

Now, if I take the pessimistic perspective -- and I do -- I don't even have to start fiddling with probability to better my likely outcomes: All I have to do to make a better NOW-choice is know more about likely futures. And that's just education, so simple even children try to do it. But no reason to stop there -- if I can tug on the probabilities a little, I can tweak the game so the option I got is actually near the top of the heap of the options that were there (note, this line of reasoning omits the important observation that the best of several bad choices is less preferable than the worst of several good ones). Even without probability-tampering, we can just look: If the status quo is above the 50th percentile in the ranking of how good things could be, then on the whole the next thing to happen is kinda likely to make things worse. (assuming that we don't experience all moments in an order decided by some similar standard, which isn't out of the question....). So the nerd cheating at this hand of poker would bet pessimistic when things are good, and bet optimistic when things are bad.

But... does one have to time the metaphorical market? My present rewards come not from things I've done while things looked bad to everyone, but from things I did while everything looked good to others but potentially bad to me. Oh, that's the pessimism:  to "bet pessimistic" is to assume things are worse than everyone else thinks. To "bet optimistic" is to assume that instead everyone else is too deep in their pessimism.

This line of reasoning feels like I'm being walked through the process of drawing a line between two points and barely getting it... it's like a kid trying for the first time to draw a plane between 3 points in 2 dimensions. I think that's because I'm looking at "how to do magic" again, because I feel I may need to get back into the little, hands-on ones in addition to the broader, slower ones that I'm working all the time. In another way that's just an eddy in the current of an idea that takes up space-of-time, the little ones are a fractal arm of the big ones and can ooze and slide around causality like an octopus's suckers.

This crap is what I locked out, I think, by cutting out the "good"/"bad" gradient. I try so hard to reason without it, yet it represents a dimension of thought, and I can no more avoid the occasional hop through it than I could wire a PCB to do anything useful with its traces in only a single layer. To a Flatlander, a PCB looks like a textbook puzzle in multidimensional physics... but to a Roundworlder, the PCB is easy enough to consider as an electrical object because we've already stuffed so many more topologically difficult problems into our already topologically-difficult brains.

There's a world where everyone I want to talk to is sitting with me around a campfire this evening. I think it'd be a more useful place to spend some mental time, than here.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #84 on: April 19, 2020, 06:05:08 am »
Brain has gotten pretty into analyzing the nature of friendship lately. I'm wondering if it's like eyes adjusting to the dark... there's suddenly less light so you adapt to make do with what's still available. There's suddenly less human contact; am I scaling my response to it similarly?

I finally get what my brain was trying to tell me with its interest in that rick and morty episode with the hive mind, er i mean collective, Unity. I think the interest is because of the latent metaphor of assimilating individuals into the hivemind, or knowledge of others into one's perception of the world. Learning someone well enough that you know what they'd think and look and sound like under any circumstances brings an image of that person into one's skull; whether it's run sequentially or in parallel with the usual occupant is an implementation detail up to the hardware. Most are easy to learn/assimilate. However, every once in awhile one comes along which just sticks for some reason or another. I think it's the encyclopedia-traits that make many stick for me -- my character seems min-maxed favoring "rediscover/re-learn" over "recall". That and the effortlessness of social skills. I didn't really leave myself room to have a place to put those.

This assimilation metaphor would handily explain why the people I feel the greatest rapport(?) with tend to naturally hold at a certain distance. The parts of people that get closer to me (melt as icarus?) lose that luster of special interest. Why would any brain seek what it already has what it needs of for a sure thing?

And stuck like an ear of cast aluminium corn over the shop-vac of my curiosity, is this one. He seems to want to be used as an encyclopedia, but, no. That's not it. There's something I don't get, and I know there's something I don't get, and that temptation draws me forward as inexorably as the sweetness of rat poison. I could take anything that I know how to ask for, anything I have a preconceived notion to want, but it turns out what I'm really looking for is... Have you ever seen that BodyWorlds exhibit, where they froze human corpses (supposed to call these ones cadavers?) against the movement of time with a terrible lot of silicone, they show a brain sliced thin... but taking and taking like I could if I wanted to is taking slices, which works perfectly well in the naive case of wanting slices, but no number of slices will keep every interconnection if I want to hold the infinite lattice of the whole brain together in my hands. To hold the whole together, and to hold the whole, together. I want to... He seems a ship untied, right now, drifting at the mercy of the currents of his environment, but I am a component of that environment and thus I have some power to bias its direction as a whole.

There are plenty more un-assimilable ones, knowledge of whom carries a similar or even greater fascination because they feel like a puzzle yet un-solved. Very much like a math problem, really -- no amount of being told the answer will necessarily make it click why a formula works and how to apply it elsewhere. No amount of peers or teachers grasping it can perfectly predict when you, individually, will come to grasp it too. And a person being known is like a forumla being known -- I just happen to know which people, which equations, I personally will derive more new insight from working on.

But I've stumbled into a mess of subtle, delicate, powerful contradictions, like that dessert where they wrap rapidly-melting ice cream in a sheet of lightly flattened cotton candy and yet the outer insulates the inner and prevents its own demise and yet if you just chop into it to try to understand it you unbalance the whole system to the point where the thing you wanted to see is no longer there. Scared off like the rabbits who relax under my house's steps and bound away to safety when I set foot outside -- same stairs, no bunny.

And I'm learning that I don't actually meddle just to tamper or to fix. I seem to meddle when I intuit a useful direction to unlock more of a certain kind of power or knowledge or experience within myself.  I feel that I ought to be relieved that I'm not plagued by a flaw as shallow and nonsensical as tampering for its own sake? But there's always another level of detail to look at oneself, once one tracks a particular attribute down. Certainly, it's about me, because it'd be self-deceptive to pretend there's any experiment without its corresponding researcher. But discussing the ways in which it's about me often tends to give the wrong impression....

Ah yes, unroll back to the bit about, of so many delightful puzzles of apparent contradictions with proof that they oughtn't be, why do I address this one now? Well, it's the threat of having it taken away from me. The immediacy bias. This one, unimpeded, does not have great probabilities of still being around in time to be contemplated last. So it suits me both ways to interfere with that trajectory: if I want to do it last or never, I can, and also I do have the option to learn it further at any time as long as it's around and available.

And the reason to learn peoples' patterns is simple: Getting a new pattern I didn't have before gives me new things I can do. Sometimes obvious skills like operating a tv camera or riding a motorcycle; other times barely-describable skills like techniques for better human communication. And it is exactly by studying how the hell someone can do something I would personally find impossible... if I can fully understand how they did it, I can then do it myself, and if I can't repeat that performance then I don't well-enough see how it previously was done.

I wonder for a moment why it is not the case that everyone whose minds are of a form that perfectly fits against mine should all fit together similarly well. And then I recall that a tile on a plane has more edges than any other individual tile would touch. The ways in which one's own disparate groups of friends aren't friends with each other in the absence of one's individual influence -- that's one of the shadows of the shape of the person.

(ugh, "perfect fit"? what ABOUT perfect fit? If we had a fit it would be laughed off the show floor before anyone could consider crowning it the worst-of-breed. And yet differences breed assimilation difficulties, which in turn pique interest until resolved....)


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #85 on: May 11, 2020, 03:54:38 pm »
Current events have improved my understanding of the appeal and intimidation power of what I think of as "gratuitous civilization": the tendency to hold a higher standard of appearance, cleanliness, etc than is physically or even culturally necessary.

For simplicity of reasoning about contagion, I presently hold the policy that nobody outside my household is permitted to enter my house. I have enough outdoor space that it is no hardship for those who wish to pay social visits to choose good weather for them and interact from an appropriate distance outside, so the policy does me no harm in exchange for potentially great benefits. However, its institution brings to light the extent to which many of my decisions about what housekeeping to do when have historically been oriented around others. The head of that coin reads something about good hospitality and social graces; the tail of the coin reads something about exerting control over the thoughts which guests have about me; but the coin itself remains struck from the alloy of others' thoughts and emotions.

This removal of the overpowering force toward behaving a certain way has allowed me to step back and see the way in which one's general environmental conditions sit on a gradient, rather than a binary between above and below that particular line. As one would identify the ingredients to a beautifully layered cocktail, I now discern 3 divisions through the spectrum of how an environment can be kept, rather than just the one set by others' expectations:

* Adequacy for the animal. These conditions are hygiene in the absence of disease, cleanliness for the absence of gross contagion, and in cooking, the removal of any toxic properties of ingredients and addition of no new poisons.

* Adequacy for the expected onlooker. This standard varies wildly by time, place, and particular group of people. I find that it is often but not always above adequacy for the animal -- as an example of onlooker adequacy falling below animal adequacy, consider how a social gathering will likely not care or complain about a plate of hors d'oeuvre that was stored at unsafe temperatures for bacterial growth, so long as they visually appear appetizing and their seasonings mask any off flavors.

* Adequacy by the standards of the individual Will.

When society sets a higher standard than one's individual will is inclined to, the standard of will can become all but invisible. Finding it necessary for other reasons to work above and beyond any particular standard can render that surpassed standard all but invisible. However, when the standard of onlooker-adequacy is entirely removed, only the standards of what the body needs and what the mind needs remain, and their presence and differences become sharply obvious.

What seems to follow next is to examine the cases in which adequacy for the Will exceeds adequacy for the onlooker. Whether or not we've performed these cases ourselves, I suspect we have all witnessed them being performed by others. (There's a related phenomenon where, as an onlooker, we cannot necessarily tell whether someone's choice to exceed our own standard of adequacy is due to that person's higher individual standards, or anticipated higher standards by the other onlookers they expect to be witnessed by....)

When I look for these excesses of effort, these displays of conspicuous consumption in overcoming more of entropy than one "has to" in order to just get by, I find that they seem inexorably entwined with portrayals of power. I don't know how much of this is that they are one of the few universal external symptoms of power, versus how much is due to any underlying correlation, but the correlation and association and expectations that they go together can hold and be utilized regardless.

Seeing that all typed out, it looks quite obviously like discovering an applied case of the difference between Lesser and Greater magic(k)s. (once upon a time those terms would have tempted me into chromatic hair-splitting, but again, both sides of a coin are shapes in the same alloy).

I also think I begin to see where the rabbit hole on Mammon around here recently fits in. For those to whom wealth and currency are synonymous, Mammon is certainly the way. But to my own understanding, money is just one of many avenues to wealth and value, and far more a means than an end in itself.

A tangent: I have not done the Mammon rituals but I have recently had... events happen that if I claimed they were a result of such rituals, they might be upheld as a great success. Trying to figure out what to say or not to say about those events in this context offers me a new angle on the role of secrecy in this work, which I would gloss as the difficulty of properly citing sources. I can have personal "good luck" and just barely grasp the extent to which my own systems of luck-modification have influenced it, but if I can't quite fit the entire tree of attributions for the event into my head all at once, there's no way to realistically hope to summarize that system into words that would expand back out into anything like the original. And if I summarize it poorly and share those words, it's likely to expand into an idea that's actively misaligned from what I actually did when contemplated by another, and lead them to discuss it in ways that, if I see it, I'll have to step into the paradigm of a dangerously wrong interpretation in order to attempt to argue against it, and uploading a more-convenient but also more-wrong interpretation of events can cause my brain to use that instead of a better one, which in turn would likely harm my ability to build upon the learnings contained in the more-accurate model that only almost fits in my head at all and is generally far less convenient to work with.

Anyways, I read "wealth" as more akin to pure power, and it includes social capital (the desire of others to act in my best interests) along with fiscal reserves. Because there are so many edge cases where cash is hideously inefficient to transform into power, and a few in which it appears impossible entirely... there are absolutely problems which healthy finances can obviate, but pretending it fixes everything is as dangerous as alleging that it's applying water, rather than decreasing temperature and removing oxygen, which can put out any fire.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #86 on: May 13, 2020, 05:02:54 pm »
When considering how the above might be graphed in a visually communicative manner, it becomes clear that the ranges of Animal, Society, and probably Will imply upper bounds as well as lower ones:

* Excess for the animal precedes most modern ailments of over-indulgence

* Excess for society is harder to reach, but has gotten more than a few French heads chopped off

* I am less certain about excess-for-will just yet, because I have only begun examining the standard of sufficiency-for-will quite recently. However, I suspect there may be a calculus in play, a problem of related rates rather than pure quantities. I presently suspect that these rates may tie closely to some hedonic treadmill type effect, but for personal progress and motivation: in order to keep moving, one's aspirations must grow proportionately to one's accomplishments. Neither a little rabbit which is too far away, nor one which has already been captured, will goad a racing dog to vanish down the track.

Also, turns out that Will is consistently capitalized for ease of reading in addition to the usual pretenses, to which I'd previously fully attributed the phenomenon.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #87 on: May 19, 2020, 03:34:44 pm »
Thinking lately about how a belief system can be judged differently by the opposite of why it says the fortunate are fortunate, than it can by why it claims the unfortunate are unfortunate. It is not consistent to attribute agency or virtue to good fortune while claiming that misuse of that agency cannot lead to ill fortune. Similarly, if it is possible for a system to admit ill fortune for reasons outside a person's control, it opens to the possibility that good fortune may result from causes outside a person's control as well. I think that's near the root of one of my problems with every moralizing + "omnipotent external deity" system I've encountered -- they tend to paint themselves into awkward corners around those logical parts when pressed to explain how omnipotence, omniscience, benevolence, and willingness to meddle allegedly combine.


Brain threw me an interesting dream this morning, in that I woke from it while it was exercising the adrenal system, which doesn't often happen for me these days. And I'm alright with that -- manual cleanup after an adrenal self-test, while good practice, seems less efficient than automatic. Initially, I had gone to the home of a rather reserved acquaintance from long ago, and was doing the social things of exploration about whether they were interested in being friends rather than acquaintances. However, others in the house detested my presence there, so I would hide or leave when they arrived. After a few repetitions, I encountered them more directly, and they attacked and chased me. I maintained some steps ahead of them as I shifted to make the best use of undergrowth, of air, of water, but I did not get far enough ahead to lose them. So I shifted the scene into a map I'm extremely comfortable navigating, the land around my childhood home. I passed my parents as I traversed its entry, and they sort of saw that something was up but I had not arranged an appropriate code with them to convey the nuances of the situation. Despite my poor communication, my father managed to say something useful to briefly mislead those who followed me. By then my pursuers had picked up a comically large, all-terrain truck, which proved their undoing: I left conspicuous tracks along the road, hoping to double back to a particular tree and hide above where they would look till they grew bored. I left the same tempting tracks down a hill into a bog, sought a hiding spot, and realized that nothing there would fit my criterion of "doesn't look like a good spot to hide". I snuck uphill off the road, and was backtracking toward the tree I had in mind, when I heard the vehicle about to crest a hill and gain sight of me. Out of time, I concealed myself where I could: along a ledge beneath a cave-like overhang on the bank of the track. Anyone looking slowly and carefully at their surroundings would have spotted me in a heartbeat, but my pursuers did not: they followed the easily visible tracks down into the swamp, and I didn't see them again. Nothing on wheels gets out of there with the rain which was making the ground so readily show my footprints in that setting -- the layer of blue clay which that area holds instead of rocks below the topsoil will slide like a gritty personal lubricant once exposed.

There was another layer to the narrative, on which a really creepy sibling (tall, skinny, long red hair, tidy dress, death-tone skin) appeared, pointed me to the hiding spot, pointed the vehicle to my tracks into the bog, and when I came out to thank it after the vehicle was gone, revealed itself to be non-human? That was the part where I woke up.

Were it permissible to speak of time as being even less linear than we do, I would call that the backstory of why there was a defunct cab rotting in the bog, around where that truck landed in the dream, when i was very young... Instead, I can speak of my brain reconnecting disparate memories, drawing lines between widely dispersed points to see whether they intersect anything of value in those dark spaces between.


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #88 on: May 26, 2020, 04:24:41 am »
Imagine willpower as a finite resource for a particular point in one's development. One can spend some proportion of that reserve to increase the reserve size in the future, just like buying an upgrade for a character in a video game. I think one's will can be directed in any combination of a variety of possible directions, some of which yield visible results and others invisible. For instance, the act of refraining from some detrimental habit costs will without yielding any particular immediate return. Its returns are real and massive (for instance, extended lifespan), but due to their magnitude, those results are often very far away. Conversely, the act of undertaking some rewarded habit costs some willpower but most or all of that expense is almost immediately offset by the boost of the habit's reward. So it really does balance like a game strategy: expend time in the right ratio between the actions of immediate reward, which converts time into some currency of motivation, balance that with time spent converting the currency of motivation into the desired results.

But that's not Will I'm modeling; what does the desiring? Perhaps what "desires" is actually a computation within the domain of what I inelegantly glossed as "results". It feels like a mechanic blending traits of a Related Rates Problem sim game and an idle clicker that plays well with exponential growth. Perhaps this is what it feels like when a good mathematician looks for new hypotheses about numbers.... I am so frustrated by something I just noticed that I lost that train of thought. The nuisance: I have never learned to be a mathematician. I have only done the things with numbers that computers can also do. I was trained and drilled and tested on those tasks to no end, but I was never more than a sophisticated natural language and visual interface to a calculator, whether real or emulated. when a good programmer imagines a truly novel piece of code they're going to bring into creation from more distant non-existance than most common artistic pursuits scratch the surface of... oh right, the void, we call it. Staring into the void is the only place you're gonna see something that exists nowhere in reality, because the Void is by definition everything but reality.

Anyways, looking for Willpower: Consider that math is what keeps us apart from the wild. Logic is only necessary to create second-order facts -- first-order facts are observations, and observation ought to supersede higher-order inferences about a phenomenon in most cases. The reasoning mind deals necessarily in such inferences, so no wonder it paints itself in conflict with the mind that observes the emotions. Emotions are first-order, direct stimuli about the state of the world, so when reason is contradicted by emotion it's the same slap of tautologically undesirable negative feedback as when a theory about the world "this stone shall fall upwards when I release it" is contradicted by the slap of a sizeable rock falling into one's toe. Positive emotion is positive feedback into whatever system generated it, which is why so many chemicals can put addiction here. But if addiction is a chemical's entry into the core of the personal system, it's not really so wrong to claim "I am drugs"....

The way I got way out into that realm of thought, distant from the areas of what consistently makes sense to many different people, was finding an old page of writing in which my past self was attempting to figure out what its life goals were.

(oh, that's why I choose 'it' over 'they' for reflexive pronouns: "my self" is not "me", any more than "my computer" or "my hat" is "me" (and yet in a way they all are part of "me"...) -- they are `it`. Nobody goes around checking the undercarriage of an item like that to see if it's a "he" or a "she", any more than I find it reasonable to prod around and look for the bits of a "self" that exists in dimensions with nowhere to put bits at all. Sure, all selves with bodies are associated with bits by a sort of transitive property, a relation across a database... but the object with a reference to another in one field is not forced into the type of that to which it refers. )


Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« Reply #89 on: May 28, 2020, 05:00:09 am »
Had occasion, today, to observe the way that physical walls make walls within the brain. This morning, my house contained 2 closets: One held my clothes, and the other held bins of various completed material projects and ingredients for future ones.The closets backed onto the same wall, which today I confirmed was not load bearing, and removed. I walled over one of the former doorways in the newly contiguous space, arranged the entire former contents of both spaces along the ends, placed some curtains, and now have a comfortable little "storage space" or "meditation nook" in what started out as the middles of the two closets.

But the part of the experience I find worth noting here is the flips I watched my spatial reasoning turn when I first sledgehammered both sides of the drywall, and looked from the office out at the daylight through the bedroom window. If I was the type to explain things with energies, I'd describe the office-energy flowing into and mingling with the bedroom-energy in whatever the energetic equivalent is of an exothermic reaction. But I prefer the metaphor of pattern-matching, so I'd say instead that I watched my mind have many of its preconceptions and expectations about what it means for a space to be a bedroom or for a space to be a office get turned upon their heads. Watching my more automatic functions' response to something as simple as a change in lines of sight feels likely to make me pay far more attention to carefully curating what's in view from where -- I was already vaguely aware of the effects, but no more does that awareness reduce the novelty of observing the effects in practice than does having been previously aware that stingrays exist in the ocean reduce the novelty of the first time you get to handle one.

And after getting that project into an acceptable stable state (it has room for improvements, such as patching over the currently-visible drywall seam which the decorative wall previously covered, but none are urgent by my standards), I also had the opportunity to argue philosophy with a friend who seems to take morality as axiomatic. It's a terribly entertaining clash of perspectives, what with how I view morality as an emergent pattern in my hierarchy of personal preferences... I find it descriptive; he finds it prescriptive. I often have to request clarification of the terms he chooses several times, and by the time I finally understand what he was trying to communicate, he's spotted the internal inconsistencies revealed by pinning things down too tightly. My reaction to such inconsistencies is to shrug and blame the fundamental irreconcilability of language and continue on, but for someone who assumes that there is some objective Truth (and buys into the illusion that not only does such Truth exist but it can be captured and even communicated by existing languages) they're apparently more problematic.