Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ctrl Alt Del - Wittgenstein

I've been telling people for a couple of years that my attention is shredded. Back in 2006 Google released a cloud based RSS reader and my datastream which was heavy anyway went up by let's say, around 10 times as much in volume. To compensate for this I naturally read faster, ditched stuff quicker, learned to scan read and get to the point where I can pick out the interesting sentences, the bits that fire off more endorphins with 2 or 3 screen swipes by my eyeballs per page scroll.

I don't advocate becoming so data intensive as there's always a quid pro quo and what I made up for in breadth was mugged by the reality of depth, though the complex caveat of that is I also covered a lot more breadth-of-depth. 

So that's all clear then isn't it? 

No? Whatever. It's complex but the road traffic accident victim (did you see this yesterday on Vimeo?) was my attention span for traditional deep reading. A sort of brain death if you can make it to the end of that video.

I used to inhale literature and then that waned to non fiction with post WWII U.S politics and then that distilled to just pure digital fact hunting; scanning at the speed of light ( though with admittedly low clock cycle CNS CPU) on the internet and suddenly I started to fail at reading books I'd have stuck it out with before. 

I failed on War on Peace and succeeded with Hamas. I stumbled on Don Quixote and lucked out on good manners, I tired over and over again with Moby Dick but uncovered it's roots in all three Abrahamic religions (it takes a wilful effort of dismissing the obvious on that point as I learned recently from experience. It will probably only linger for a few seconds at most, or if you're lucky you'll figure out why all three religions tell variations on the same stories). 

The list goes on and on, choose a topic, put my name next to it and see what the Google turns up. I've written more bollocks on other people's blogs than I have on my own and that's saying something.

But it's consistent bollocks. I know this even though I'm completely inconsistent in real life because when I comment it's coming from my heart and I get a chance to discretely retract a few unchoice words unlike in real life, like yesterday when I wanted to delete my mouth when I realised the business card I requested at the Emporiums "It's happened to be a closet" (sic) was denied because the poor girl thought I was asking for her personal business card. And so when I secured it off someone more senior I lost my temper...only to regret my aggression that pointedly articulated 'of course there's a business card for the establishment' in a voice a little louder than a gentleman uses. I wish I could have deleted the tonality of my words. They were bullying and unfair.

So no books of importance for so long. Well of course I still read, but most books look like shitty shinola compared to the outstanding contexutality and accessibility of the webz. 

But how adorable is analogue paper? It's a real chick puller these days to carry a book. Sometimes I take a walk with one just to look the part against you arseholes with your noses stroking your iPads and  your greasy fingers in your iPhones. Books are very sexy. They always will be and let's face it; tech just hit a design wall. Rectangles are the new black till we figure out 3D multi-colour morphing fractals and shape shifting tech devices. And then who knows? We might even be able to burp it up as language as well. True Visual language.

A little bit like this early monochromatic attempt:

And then out of nowhere. Like a bat out of fucking Honda....

....I was off the grid for a few days and rereading some of Taleb's Black Swan in between emailing him, as he's a bit of a gent in real life unlike his haughty character that comes leaping of the page. 

Then I hit solid fucking Gold. I pulled out my Ray Monk's Wittgenstein - The Duty of Genius and inhaled 600 pages in three sittings. I could FEEL my brain saying. "YES MY SON"..."You're still tasty" "Dammit you're so fucking hot" "This is FUN". "You are SO back". 

This is where it all started. Reading books. God I had such an amazing time those three days of utter undisturbed silence.

So much so that when I leaned back after the final page and realised the scope of Ludwig's attempt to reconcile his intellect with his life (a failure that he would be first to admit), as I pondered the maths and the logic needed to define it all as the illusion it really is. The abstraction and sheer effort required to line up all the ducks in one go and press a big banging button. I shed tears for the sacrifice involved in the venture we call history. I didn't undertand it all of course, many times I could only smell the scent of the effort around the edges. 

It was best described a few months ago in that video where the voice says: Nobody knows what the universe is for, but all agree that it is extremely expensive. 

I hope those cocks at CERN know EXACTLY what they are doing as they tamper with space and time.That they aren't taking risks without OUR permission or consultation. It's us who pay the price for science. NOT the team players on the Manhattan Project who all wrung their hands  in post war angst at the enormity of what they unleashed on the world.

So yeah. I nailed a book I'd loved once in the past and actually it sent me spiralling into space at times as I realised the conversion of Vicky (as he was privately known in one Swansea household) from that which can be articulated to that which merely exists. The word to the verb. The idea to the act. The doing of it all...the doing.

Thank you Ray Monk for bringing one of the most complex people alive. A man whose presence scared his closest friends into moderating how much time they could tolerate with his intellectual fierceness. Russell, Keynes, GE Moore. He broke all their backs and yet, was it really Feyerabend who finally had the courage to challenge him in a way that he appreciated. The same Feyerabend who briefly taught McKenna at Berkeley? Small world baby. Small fucking world.

I'll leave you with Wittgenstein on Science and to which I direct the researchers at CERN to consult the rest of the monkeys on the planet, if a hint of risk is present. You don't know  ANY more than we do. You're just monkeys in cotton underpants tinkering with dark matter.


'The truly apocalyptic view of the world' he wrote, 'is that things do not repeat themselves.' 

that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves, that things do not repeat themselves.......