The Last Part – The Left Hand of Darkness

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Aya writes: “it has been a long while since i was so devasted upon finishing a book.” I feel this too. For me the book is a love story. A classic love story where there is no actual consumation of love only longing….

Aya also writes: “i’m curious about the purpose of the place-inside-the-blizzard, that weird gray space that came upon the two doomed travelers as they crossed the ice field” The light and darkness is not balanced by gray but erased … there is no escaping polarity…

I have difficulty telling my left from my right. Handedness is called chirality and the universe is slightly left handed, that means there is a left handed directionality to the universe. In four dimensions there is no chirality – left handed and right handed only exists in three dimensions.

The light the dark the male the female the yin the yang … these are all polarities. Polarities are reflections of one another. In the book it says something like light is the left hand of darkness. Negation connects polarities. Male is not female. What about the third way or the multiplicity…

What is the gender of Genly to the gender of those on Winter? Winter is one of four seasons.

Numbers on winter have a meaning… Perhaps polarity makes us quantitative instead of qualitative.

GAN! – This is about the poetry project Aya and I are working on

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Transcreation –

What is translation

a) We upload an image

b) There is a classification ml engine that looks at the image and gives it a list of labels and weights

The is the first translation – as Aya says it is Aristotelian – how do we translate an image into language, well with machine learning we create labels with numerical weights that represent probability and or image percentage (like 20% is a dog)

For version 1 – we are just taking the highest ranking label and we are using it to generate 6 images, because it is easier at the moment. We are translating the python scripts into javascript so we can run it on the browser and it will be faster.

d) The project itself s a process of translation from the BigGAN white paper into mathematics linear algebra into python code and then we are translating that into javascript to use on the web.

Another version that involves more javascript ‘translation’ could use more labels and use these labels to generate a mix of images or combined images.

e) What is a GAN – a gan is a machine learning algorithm that trains a model based on a particular set of input data and then generates output data. BIGGan is faster and can manage larger datasets for example.

f) We are taking the label that we found from the image and using that to create 6 result images from the GAN. We are apply a noise function that makes each image that we generate slightly different.

We are doing a seed word from a seed image. (this is Aya now channeling) That in originally we have image based culture and then we have written culture – From images we get words – where do words come from.

Also in Yoga – there is this notion seed mantra – an example of the seed mantra is the Adi Mantra – and within that seed is all the teachings of yoga or everything unfolds from that seed.

Poetry with images

Aya and I are using GANs in an alternative way. It is like the shift from perspective or representation to abstraction. We are using lines but in a different way, not to represent the way something looks but we are using them as a line. Here we are using the machine learning engine not to generate an image of the way the world is but to generate an impression of what words and images together feel like.

Left hand of darkness Ch 10

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Aya and I are going to post this last chapter 10 post and then blog about the rest of the book in one post – I think that is half the book.

Anyway chapter 10. I read it two weeks ago and did not blog. I blame eclipse season.

The chapter is called conversations in Mishnory and that is what it was… it was hearing the way people spoke the language: “foilskin-wrapped packet of money’, ‘Ten are more trust worthy than one’, ‘Sarf.’

There is rumor. A friend of mine said last week that she read that the way to socialize talking again after COVID is to gossip. This chapter is sort of like gossip. It is not the free flow of conversation but the feeling out of conversation, conversation as a dangeous journey and what is the destination? Trust? Safety?

At the end of the Chapter Mr Ai our protagonist is still not sure … he has not ventured to the promised land of conversation’s end.

Mr. Ai says the people he met lacked some quality or dimension of being solid. They did not cast shadows. There is the connection of this with understanding someone’s moral core. Morality always has a shadow. There is no ethic of only always right action – there is only ethic of the balance / the edge of the shadow.

Gertrude Stein breaking words

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I have been binge reading Gertrude Stein and Gertrude Stein bios (and some Alice B. Toklas).

How do we break out of our dogmatic slumber? This was the question Socrates asked.

For Gertrude Stein language slumbered. She was awakening language from its dogmatic slumber.

“A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”

Perhaps when we speak when we let language sleep, we forget that language engages all the senses, not just our interpretive faculty.

This is the pendulum swinging from language as disenchanted and only symbolic or indexical, to language (also disenchanted) but as sounds and rhythms. There are things in this life that have no meaning beyond their use – money for example.

Language is not just an empty symbol it is just just sensation it is also a cluster of meanings that themselves evoke sensations. Language is an affect machine. Music is an affect machine. Painting is an affect machine. I listen to a Bach Cello Suite, I stand in the sistine chapel, I listen to four quartets and I feel something. Do we both feel the same thing? Not necessarily. That is what it means to have different taste.

What is feeling anyway? If I say that a piece of music makes me feel a certain way, I am overlaying an interpretation on my emotional state (my feeling). The feeling is just an energetic state. Emotion is just energy. There is no causal relationship between a piece of music and my emotions.

But there is an atmosphere. I imagine myself as an electron cloud walking through the world and coming into contact with electron clouds of people and art and machines and animals and plants and the air and the sunlight. When I experience a work of art it affects my atmosphere.

Our electron clouds interact with art, poetry, music, Gertrude Stein in different ways in part because our personal electron clouds are different. They are different because we have different bodies and different histories. My experiences of roses are different than yours. So a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.- but it is a also a rose and it is different from your rose. And if I create a string of words rich with meaning then they will create a different electron cloud in you and me that interacts with your history.

I think of the poetry that I write and I consider it splenic. In is splenic in that it contains the history of human evolution of human preservation. My immediate present – experienced in all its sensorial wonder – is a product of my history. So maybe a rose is scarlet a rose smells of geraniol my rose goes down easy with brie it is natural with some funk. How does its sediment land on your mountain of meaning? What is your archaeology?

Words are machines. Gertrude Stein takes the batteries out of words. She breaks the hammer and reveals its tool-being.

The Occult Dogon Egg of Arshile Gorky

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I just finished the “Arshile Gorky: The implications of Symbols” by Harry Rand… I love color and I love paint that is why I love modernism.

This book has a number of little gems like, Gorky taught a class on camouflage. He was a master of camouflage, hidding his personal symbols in his work, also perhaps hiding art from our depraved and vapid culture.

Gorky created his own personal symbolic language. For a long time this concept fascinated me. I had read a bio about the musician Joni Mitchell and in it, she said that she was in touch with the symbols of her unconscious. For years this was my goal, to be in touch with the symbols of my unconscious… However that has since shifted… I got in touch with those symbols – it was not that hard. Reid

For me, this is not what abstraction is about. Abstraction is not abstracting language or ideas. Abstraction is the body and experience. It is the expression of the body and how paint and canvas create an effect from the body and on the body. How is my body is affected by a painting, how is my body is affected by your body mediated through paint?

I want art to be free… I want to be free to express myself and I want you to be free to have a reaction. I do not want any glamour or trickery. Painting itself, the surface design, is glamour… and that alone is the trick.

Symbolic language comes from the mind not the body. There is something of manipulation here… of the occult science of Edward Bernays and advertising and pr. What do you want me to feel? what are you causing me to feel? Why are you hiding of your feelings? The unconscious is hidden afterall.

There is something fascinating about hiding art within art. There is a long history of hiding knowledge… of hidden knowledge… and people have different reasons for wanting to do this. It is my belief that contemporary literary theory is intentionally opaque in order to hide something. Perhaps that is a generous reading. And in the act of unpacking what is hidden, the act of interpretation, a transformation occurs. What is hidden art? What is art in the 12th house? But this seems all based in the mind, and art for me is about the body.

Looking at these paintings of Gorky I am reminded of the Dogon egg in ATP by D&G in the chapter “Body without Organs” BwO. With the BwO, we go beneath the surface to the vectors and intensities that lie beneath… There is no more surface.

Rand mentions that Gorky’s objects are like Cloisonné… a method of inlaying enamel and gems. They are also like the BwO. In Gorky’s works there are no surfaces only potentials and intensities… the shadows of the symbols hidden (occulted) in his work.

The Left Hand of Darkness – chapter 9

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I have to say since reading this book I see special days of the week everywhere and in my dreams. When I say special days I am harkening back to Chapter 4 – “The Nineteenth Day” and how it is called Odstreth (the 19th day of any month). I think of this as a non-fungible token… it is not quantity (a counting), but a quality (a symbolic meaning).

On to chapter 9 – Estraven the traitor. I am linking to Aya’s post. She talks about doubling and the divine. I love this part while listening to a podcast with Jorden Petersen ” Petersen speculates that the greatness of Dostoyevsky’s writing is at least in part due to his ability to access this divine.” For me the artistic process is connecting with source and removing the mind, removing strategy.

So I will tell you now my take away from this chapter. I am a hopeless romantic so I loved this story of love and passion in the middle of a snowy night with people of two rival countries followed by murder followed by an orphan raised that then makes peace between two waring countries. It is sort of a Romeo and juliet tale. Also the tale told in metropolis in a way or told in many of love stories. Of the healing of great rifts through the power of love.

What does it mean to be a traitor? Here Estraven the love child is a traitor because he makes peace with the enemy country. There is also a traitor estraven in the parent frame of this story and why is he a traitor. What does it mean to be a traitor. I think of the last temptation of christ by Nikos Kazantzakis and the idea that Judas’ treachory is necessary of there to be Jesus that his job is some how harder and involves more surrender than that of Jesus. The traitor the whistleblower the catalyst prometheus Uranus.

Transformation

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I have been optimizing for impact. For me that means measuring myself by the (positive) effect that I have rather than the tasks I complete or the hours I work. This sounds super click bate-y but it is really profound.

For years I could not tear myself away from a job as a coder, because what was I actually doing if not coding…. Now I feel like I frame the question, I create conditions for coding, I can reduce unnecessary work, I can make the work that we (I) do feel easier and yes… more impactful. There are many ways to have a ridged mindset. Like I need such and such a person to fill a job, or I need to run a project in such and such a way…. Do you ??? really??? Do you really even need to do that project in the first place… maybe you dont.

Anyway – if you have made it this far you now get the big event. I am going to launch a new experiment – the 30 min book group. If you want to why and what for – read about it here.

For you crypto curious I am considering combining this with a crypto currency experiment. (and yes the bookclub is free – I am not charging crypto or something)

No crypto knowledge is necessary but it may be a good opportunity to dip your feet in that pool – if I end up combining the two.

Much Love

Mer

The Left hand of Darkness -the chapter after the sex chapter

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I loved how Aya framed the last discussion around free will. That really had an impact on me. What is the relationship between sex and free will, desire and free will. Desire seems something beyond instinct. Anyway now onto the chapter after sex.

As I read this chapter I felt like I was walking up a large hill. The sun was on my back, sweat was streaming down my face mingling with dust and a putrid oder eminated from my sandles. And then I got to the top and there was a cool mountain lake that I jumped in – NAKED – and then jumped in a toboccan – yes it was there – and I slid down fast while snowflakes that tasted like candy cane flew into my mouth.

What did happen in this chapter? Well we met estravan again! (we also met his kemmer again). We also learn things obliquely … This is a queer book as in Sarah Ahmed.

Some woo today

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So a friend and I do a little astro study group together. Today we are meeting and discussing moon pahses.

According my chart – the moon was in its fourth quarter phase when I was born.

I am meditating on this – what happens in the fourth quarter.

I have often felt that I am not good at finishing things… do I poop out in the foruth quarter.

I remember when I ran track in high school (I was not good) – And at the fourth quarter we had to perhaps start pushing through – this is the time to really dig deep inside yourself to find the resources you did not know that you had and to finish.

Maybe if you had paced yourself the fourth quarter would feel like no big deal.

What is the fourth quarter of life? maybe it is like 65 or 70.

In my chart interestingly enough I have a 4 planets in the 4rd quarter of my chart.

I think it just mean that I am aging like a fine wine

The Left hand of Darkness – ch 7 – sex & Breaking the frame

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Chapter 7 is about SEX! On “Winter” the planet we are on – gender is not fixed. People become man or woman during a period of the month known as Kemmer and they dont know which they will be! It sort of reminds me of the book testo junkie. So this is fun – talking about the nature of gender. Apparently people on Winter (aka Karhide) always mate with someone of the opposite sex… which is a bit disappointing. But really what I find interesting is that this chapter breaks the frame. What do I mean?

Well we begin the left hand of darkness with one a narrative frame, the reporting of an envoy on his mission. That frames the narrative. Then we have another frame, the escape of the traitor, whose name escapes me, at this moment, but that narrative is within the frame of the envoy, it is just a different perspective of the story.

In this chapter thought we go one level up – and speculate on how Karhie gender was created and we learn that a long time ago planets were seeded with humans as an experiment! MIND BLOWN. You see our frame has been blown open. By asking why these people are the way they are we learn something about the wider world within which they are situated and it is not just a spacial world (one of 1000s planets), but a temporal world (there is a history), and this made me think the meaning of the story and the envoy’s mission was different.

There are other interesting points in this chapter. The impact of this gender on the construction of buildings, social relations, self understanding, presentation, desire. Also speculation on why people would want to make humans in this way: maybe to eliminate war. There is also the question of how important is the individual biology in the face of the environment – in this case the ice of winter. I think about this too in relation to our looming climate crisis. We all wander about reading books by Ursula leguin and swiping left and right – but really in the end – a lot will be determined by whether or not our cities are submerged under water, our plains dry up and other things that at the moment seem out of our control.

The narrator of this section is new as well – a woman from Chiffewar. Where the heck is she from an what is Chiffewar.