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

December 04, 2013 - 2:57 p.m.

There Is No Spoon,

I'm going to try something different, no cute introduction, no minutiae of day, no talking about my commute. I have ideas I want to write about and music I need to share and I'll stick to that. Well and food, because it's food and food likes me.

Wow this is hard. I really want to write about my day. But no, I don't have time. But I guess this counts as a cute introduction. The best laid schemes of mice o men

Last night I went to see the incredible Kristin Andreassen (her website is down as I'm writing this) at Rockwood Music Hall. For dinner I did something I haven't done in a while. I went to Links. They seem to have finally worked out how to run a business. I had a kielbasa which was as good as it ever was. But now they have fries! And best of all I didn't have to wait 20 minutes for the food. I didn't have that much time and took it to Rockwood.

The show was part of what I thought was the Communism thingamabob. It was actually the Communion thingamabob. I'm not a Communist nor a Catholic so it's all the same to me. There was a organizational problem. This was all arranged by the Communion people who apparently didn't communicate well with the Rockwood people. The website had all the same people at each of the three stages. Even out front the sign didn't tell who was playing where. I asked and went into Rockwood 2. I ordered a drink and ate it in what I think of as the phone booth. It's the seat in the corner with a little shelf. Then my usual seat opened up and I moved to the Statler and Waldorf seats. I didn't see Kristin. Then a band started setting up. It wasn't Kristin's band. I was in the wrong place. Somebody told me she was in Rockwood 3. I didn't believe them. I found a list on the wall that was very hard to read but it said Rockwood 1. I went there. I didn't see Kristin. I asked and somebody else was there to see her but wasn't sure it was the right place. But then I saw a bass clarinet sitting on the piano and knew she was going to be accompanied by one so I was in the right place.

I have known Kristin for years, I love her as a musician and a person. I have one huge gripe. She hardly ever plays. I can't remember the last time I saw her solo. And that's a shame because not only is she great she is like no one else. There's nobody similar I can get the same thing from. She is weird in a weird way. On the surface her songs don't sound weird. Well there are a few exceptions. But they are weird. They aren't personal singer/songwriter songs and they aren't story songs, they are "here is Kristin's unique view of the world" songs. She's been exercising her songwriting muscles by doing speed writing challenges. One involved writing 20 songs in one day. She came up short but it was worth it for song 13. It is a song about 13 wolverines. They eat donuts. They eat maple logs (is that the right word?), they fly in planes. She sings it in a cartoon bear voice. It's exactly the kind of thing Carey and I write and simply call, "the greatest song every written." She clearly wrote the song for us and the rest of you are just lucky enough to hear it too. She also channeled Dan Bern on one song about god. I don't think people would associate Kristin with Dan. There's a lot of sides to Kristin. She does body percussion. She gets amazing sound from just hitting her body. It looks like she's playing the spoon but there is no spoon. She also clogged. I wish I had time to post the pics now but I don't. The point is that you want to see Kristin perform. You need to tell her to perform more often.

I would have loved to have been able to stay for the next act. I don't know him but Kristin loves him and one of his special guests was Jordan Tice. I know Jordan from his playing with Brittany Haas. I know Brittany from her being in Crooked still with Aoife O'Donvan. I knew Kristin from Sometymes Why, a band she is in with Aoife. It's a small incestuous world But the point is I love Jordan. He plays guitar and writes music like Orpheus. But I knew I had to get home and get to bed so I could teach today. I was happy that as I was leaving, not an easy thing as the room was packed, I heard somebody call my name and it was Jordan. So I got to say hi.

I also ran into Kevin who sat next to me and I was so absorbed that I didn't realize it till he tapped on my shoulder halfway through the show. He is my friend that was most likely to be there. Kristin's crowd is where our tastes most closely overlap.

OK now on to shower thoughts. That is not thoughts about showers but thoughts I had in the shower. That's where I do my best thinking. It's part of why I can't take a quick shower.

In a sense we all exist in world of virtual reality. What am I? The entity that is writing this. It isn't the physical body. After I'm dead the body will still be here but won't be having thoughts or blogging. OK let's say if I die. I have no plans on dying. I won't do it just because everybody else does. But the fact that a person can die shows that the person isn't the physical body. It isn't even the brain. I am not my brain but a program running in that brain. We can't do it but we can imagine an technology that would allow the program to run on an inorganic computer. That would still be me. The fact that the computer is running it is made of jelly and membranes doesn't alter the basic nature. And this computer is not isolated. It's part of a network. It's the same network that your program running in your jelly and membranes is on. It's not a very efficient network. The connections are very much not high speed. For most of history the signals were carried by sound waves. Now we are using high speed networks to augment our network but we are still limited by our slow interfaces, reading and writing.

That virtual world is the only one we actually experience. It isn't even that everything gets filtered through our sense organs, before the main program that is the person gets to it the signal is processed automatically by other program running in the jelly and membrane. The we interpret it all based on what we have gleaned from the rest of the network. Now I dislike the movie but it makes a good metaphor you'll all get. But it is idiotic and a ripoff of the Doctor Who serial, "The Deadly Assassin." The computer in that was even called the Matrix. We live in the matrix. And much of what we think of as real isn't. Look at the top of the page to my last quote. It's my favorite quote in the universe, and what it really says is, "There is no spoon." The reason we can awaken from the dragging nightmare and rejoice in the exquisite wonderfulness is that these things only exist in the matrix and are under our control, with great effort. This is one of my recurring themes. It's about deciding to be happy. It's about having a choice of how we perceive things.

But the thing is that it isn't that simple. There is a reality that that jelly and membrane exist in. Even with all the barriers for sensing things as they are there are common elements that are based on things that are real. And all the spoon bending in the world can't fight the reality. Think of poor Schrdinger his beloved cat stuck in the box. Now he can think positive. He might even know the odds are that the cat will live. He can get on with his life and not obsess on the cat's fate. He can play all sorts of mental games. But none of them will measure up to opening the box, the wave collapsing, and discovering that the cat is alive. I'm pretty good at those games. I am as I always say a cheerful hobbit but when things go bad sometimes all that really helps is the cat being alive.

Everything isn't a illusion. Some of the spoons are real. Some are virtual. So much of wisdom is distinguishing which is which. So much of the politics that bothers me the most is based on getting it wrong. You can't just decide that evolution isn't real. The gold standard is in the matrix, not reality. Marriage only exists in the matrix. There is no reality it has to match.

We have to decide those things in our personal lives too. It's pretty much what anxiety is all about. This is close to home. And it's time I'm leaving. I could write thousands of more words on this and I will revisit it.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile December 04, 2013
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