I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

January 03, 2018 - 11:51 a.m.

From Heartache to God

It's time to write but I haven't decided what I'm writing about. Sometimes when that happens I just ramble, sometimes I find a path and follow it. When this works, it only works if I don't over think it. I'll see where it leads. On the bright side if it leads nowhere I get to eat sooner; it's a win-win situation.

I didn't go out yesterday and have no plans till Friday. This is when I should be making plans with the people I have plans to make plans with. That's difficult for me; one of my anxiety triggers. I think back on the rejections, and the things that I took as rejections but were not. I think about Joe in Great Expectations making plans to make plans with Pip, plans that Pip always puts off. Joe's reaction, is to look forward to "What larks we'll have," while Pip has no intention of making the plans. There are many things from books I read in high school and college that never leave me.

Remembering times where I felt like Joe triggered a literal visceral reaction; one I felt in my viscera. I'm feeling it now as I write about it. I had a revelation, not about my emotions, or self-understanding, but about the language people use and the implied concepts behind them. I get that feeling the same place I feel anxiety, what I usually refer to as the pit of my stomach. It's under the sternum, where the vagus nerve is. It is a different feeling than anxiety, but I feel it in the same physical location, my gut. Thus, "gut feeling" and "visceral reaction." That's not the revelation. It's also where you feel heartburn. The feeling I was having is heartache. I never understood thinking of it as heartburn as it's not by the heart and has nothing to do with the heart. But it's close enough for people to identify it with the heart. They identified heartache with the heart too. You get a warm feeling there when you are in love. The revelation is that's why people identified the heart as the seat of love. I always thought it weird and just because the heart is one of the few internal moving parts of the body. It's the only place there's action other than the digestive system. Figuring out that our consciousness resides in our brain happened relatively recently. The only purpose Aristotle came up with for the brain was to cool the blood.

Aristotle has been making my way into my thoughts. There's no external reason for it. I haven't been reading or hearing about Aristotle. It's just that I have more of a classical education than most, and was exposed to Aristotle the same time I was to Dickens, the time when things got permanently affixed in my mind.

When I took physics in high school and again in college we started with a discussion of Aristotelian physics. I thought it was ridiculous as it is wrong about everything. The one thing that sticks with me is that he and everyone before Galileo felt that a constant force needed to be applied for an object to move. They came up with Rube Goldberg explanations as to an arrow can fly based on air pushing it from behind.

My favorite physics professor at SUNY Buffalo, Professor Reichert, emphasized that Aristotle was more intelligent than anyone you are ever likely to meet; and asked then how could he be so wrong? I see now that the answer to the that question is why Aristotelian physics was taught. It's because as smart as Aristotle was he didn't have the scientific method. He thought the way to the truth was to passively observe then think of possible explanations. That's all anyone had to go by until Galileo. Once Galileo and then Newton attacked the problems of physics with science they discovered that everything the ancients thought was wrong. It didn't make a difference how smart Aristotle was, his methods were not powerful enough to discover the truth.

Physics was the first science to emerge and there's a reason for it, it's the easiest. When we think "genius" we think Einstein, a physicist. The frontiers of physics are so abstruse that most people can't begin to understand them. I don't have enough mathematics to understand them. So, what do I mean by easy? The systems being explained are simple, that makes it easier to describe them mathematically. We don't understand something well until we can build a mathematical model for it.

The order of complexity of what's being studied in the sciences, or aspiring sciences, is physics-chemistry-biology-psychology-social sciences. As you move to the right the understanding decreases, the problems get too hard. These are all "universal" sciences, one that are not about specific objects. Geology, astronomy, arnithology, etc. are side branches and often interdisciplinary.

Aristotle was, and the ancients were all wrong about physics and chemistry, they did better on some specifics of biology, zoology and botany, which are for the most part descriptive.

Wherever science has worked out how things work, we see that the pre-scientific culture was wrong, completely wrong. There aren't four elements; arrows don't move because air is pushing on them. The planets don't move on crystal spheres. The heart is not the seat of love. Despite the miserable record on things that can be fact-checked people will still believe pre-scientific culture when it comes to metaphysics, religion, the afterlife, mysticism. That's why it took science so long to catch on, it involves unnatural ways of thinking. It doesn't let us think the world is the way we want it to be. The universe doesn't care about us and that hurts our egos. It's why there's the antagonism towards Copernicus and Darwin.

We have to remind ourselves that the fact-checkers find that the ancients are not to be trusted; when we can verify the truth, they were wrong. They don't gain credibility when we can't verify the truth.

This ended up going a few places, not just a ramble. Aristotle proved a good segue. I told you he was smart.

I didn't tell you, but I implied that I was hungry. I wrote over a thousand words and now I'm hungrier. I think I'm going for eggs Horvendile. I'm not sure if I told you the new heights of decadence it's reached. Eggs Horvendile is like eggs Benedict with Cheez-whiz substituted for Hollandaise sauce. Instead of having it on an English muffin I'm serving it on my last chocolate chip Eggo waffle. Do go, "eww" it's wonderful. Try it.


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Not Heidi, But Close - January 08, 2018
Subway Therapy - January 07, 2018
A Tale of Two Drivers - January 06, 2018
Let Me Explain - January 05, 2018
Shopping Cart of Shove - January 04, 2018



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