Kickstarter Launch!

consciousness

Jesse and I had a creative residency at kickstarter last spring. Mainly so I could hang out on the roof deck, drink kombucha, and eat avocados.

We made a mental health card game based around Jesse’s phd work in psychology and DBT. My personal interest is in depth psychology particularly the work of Carl Jung and James Hillman. And I do love love Wilhelm Reich – he is sort of a behavioralist. But in these times I just say – whatever works.

We did not think this would be launching in the midst of a world wide pandemic – and we are offering the first reward for free (download the cards & perhaps print them & play ) You can check it out here.

 

Cognitive Load

consciousness

These days I am sleeping more than normal, moving slower than normal, I need more down time, more inner space time. I am not sick with covid (I hope) – but there is an additional cognitive load of living in the midst of this. I am sure the cognitive load would be much much higher if I were sick, or if a family member were sick. I do have two school age kids running around wrestling on the floor, but it could be worse, I could have 5 kids or infant triplets.  But that is the deal, we all have more of a cognitive load so this is going to reflect in how we work, how we spend our time, what sort of energy we have and what we do.

But it taking all this down time I have notices more things. I have had more conversations (maybe too many zooms). I have had more vivid dreams. I have meditated more and practiced stillness – mainly because I lack the energy to be more active (and we really cannot be more active during this period of social distancing).

I’ve noticed often when I commit to a project and then there is an inner chorus of voices playing out various scenarios of success or failure in my head. I spend more time weaving narratives about my work than actually working.

When I commit to a relationship, for example, or even a course of study, I do NOT experience this same inner dialogue. I commit to what ever it is I desire or plan and I move on. My goal is to experience this with projects I work on too. Often the narrative that I spin about projects are a) that I will not finish the project in time or b) I lack some sort of resource to finish the project (in time). These things may or may not be the case, but often it is impossible predict these before hand, to reason them out in my mind before letting the work work itself out.

OOF - Behar

Object Oriented Feminism – Objects and Subjects

philosophy

About 10 years ago Object Oriented Ontology and Speculative Realism exploded on to the philosophy scene. At a high level this thought machine is about removing the anthropocentric bias in post kantian philosophy (perhaps all philosophy) and treating all things as objects. Then there are a bunch of questions like how do objects relate to one another, how do objects learn about other objects and so forth.

Behar responded to this with Object Oriented Feminism, a queering of this mode of thought. When I think about subjects and objects and feminism I think of Simone de Beauvoir, and the idea that historically woman is defined in relation to man. Man is normative and everything not man, including woman is not normative. Man is the subject and woman is the object.

Men are, and have always been subjects in the kantian/post-kantian (and prior) thought. Women are objects. Perhaps it is radical for a man to say that he is an object like everyone else, but that is not the same for a woman. To be an object is a degradation in this context let’s all be subjects! A subject oriented ontology, or subject oriented feminism. Perhaps it is not catchy enough.

There is a portion of Behar’s introduction of OOF that responds to the stylistic quality of OOF.   This is the picture at the top of the blog post. And indeed SR and OOO has a style -theory fiction, the blog-o-sphere, and urbanomic.  There is a marketing or designed aspect to OOO and OOF.  Aesthetics matter – they are a consideration of how to connect with a possible audience.

Is Behar making fun of the white maleness behind OOO, she says no, but perhaps the design says yes. Would it be so bad to do? OOF is a reaction to OOO. Like oof- I cant believe you did that. The presentation problem of OOO is from one perspective the homogeneity of its proponents. But from another perspective it is about the rejection of the political dimension. 

OOO is the philosophy of people who have the luxury of metaphysical speculation. Objects do not have that luxury. They first need to become subjects, or as OOF wold say everything should be considered as an object. The F in OOF is a political dimension. It notices that there is a power displacement or reorganization in making all things equal (objects or subjects). We could call it OOP (object oriented politics) or perhaps OOE (object oriented ethics).

But OOF is not just political, it is also gendered and embodied. Perhaps we could call this aesthetic, that objects have bodies and that bodies have genders. Behar references Sarah Ahmed and Queer Phenomenology.  Objects have orientations,  that is the embodied part – we can only call something left or right if we are isomorphic.  Is ontology primary to bodies? Does beings come before bodies?  OOF puts action and physicality at the center of orientation rather than pure beings. Objects just dont exist – they exist as political objects in reaching for power to become other than objects – perhaps subjects. 

Reading and Writing Experiment

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A few weeks ago I was talking about how impressed I was when people would take a book or reading and then quickly summarize it and use it as a jumping off point for their own thoughts and imaginations.  This is beyond interpretation, or what I would call hermeneutics.  It is about a jumping off point for new ideas. 

We all have a more time to read these days with physical distancing and what not.  I have 

Thomas from a creative community I participate  finally can participate again in my art theory reading group – because it is remote! We are tackling Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit – in part to then read Brandom’s critique of PoS. I am going to do an experiment now where I attempt to summarize a text and use it as a jumping off point for my own thoughts. I am going to talk about the Preface, the intro and the first section – on Consciousness!

 

Method Or How to do philosophy

The preface discusses philosophical methodology. What does it mean to successfully prove a philosophical position or a philosophical system?  This is different than say proving the validity of a possible law of physics. Does it have to exist in context or dialogue with other philosophical systems (No)? Hegel talks about the difficulty of talking about a moment when you want to capture the entire process. I imagine a mathematical function and trying to describe the function rather than a point rendered by the function.

The discussion about how to write about this reminded me of theory fiction, and contemporary experiments in writing about ideas. How do you talk about something new? How do you talk about a complex process? How do you ignite interest in the reader so they undergo a transformation? All of this necessitates a change in style. In presentation. There is no binary form/content.  It is not that the medium is the message but the medium is the interface and I can only understand to the extend that the medium structures a story in a particular way. 

Truth 

But what if you want is truth? If you want philosophy to become a science (since in modern times science has become the domain of truth)? For me this is a false aim and a false distinction. There are all sorts of movements these days to reject binary in terms of what people call the spectral, or differential. This is not to sink into relativism, but it is to A) remove t/f as the standard for the highest form of discourse b)acknowledge that the world exists on a multiplicity of levels and perspectives. We should take a note from Aristotelean ethics, where what is right depends acting as the situation (and individual) calls for. the proper action depending on the circumstances and the individual.

I asked in my group – is it important that we even talk about Truth. Yes! Hunter Replied! This the most important thing. But everything is Truth. Truth is where everything converges. Here again we go through the interface of language, or words, where we all have different interpretations of the same word.  I am not sure I share this definition of Truth.  But what ever that () is the convergence of all in the highest possible expression of all things in all dimensions (whatever highest is, or dimensions are) – I support. 

 

Time and Duration

Uncategorized

The future is not going to be like the last.

I had my weekly poetry group tonight. Now we are meeting remote – on google groups not discord (my favorite).

One of the books I have with me in physical isolation is The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. It is amazing. I highly recommend it. There are different forms of a sonnet – if you get the book (or google) you can learn more.

I have been working with a shakespearean sonnet which has 4 4line stanzas (of particular rhythm and rhyme) ie quatrains and then two lines ie a heroic couplet.

The shakespearean sonnet according to meredith:

This happens
Then this happens
But then something changes
And this is what it is now

I wrote a sonnet – like all my poetry it is channelling my inner sixteen year old.
My sonnet sucked. I read all the sonnets in the beautiful penguin book of poetry with amazing imagery and great depth and I felt so shallow and observational.

But hey. -I am going to write more sonnets -they are bound to get better.
A friend read a poem by C.D. Wright. It was about pee. I loved the repetition, the
use of simple words. It was a poem that could only be written after Gertrude Stein.

One of the things that I am reflecting on during this pandemic is time (and Bergson).
I always felt like I knew what the future held, in some vague way. I mean you never know, but in the clock ticks, and the schedules, and the calendars the past and the future seemed similar.

The last weekend before the pandemic I sat with a friend at an emptyish restaurant in Brooklyn. I spoke how I could not imagine what the next week would look like, but that we would not probably be eating in a restaurant in Brooklyn (I was right about that).

The future has no measurement for me now

What I am doing during the Pandemic

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In the first few days of the pandemic I found myself engaged in lots of virtual activity. I did not want to be alone and isolated. I got back on Fb on twitter etc. It was a lot of action without a lot of deep reflection.

I found myself in a whirlwind of activity without much good work or deep reflection. I’m going to pull back from that. In part because I feel like I am not accomplishing anything, and also because I feel a bit low energy.

Now I want to pull back, to do things i love doing, reading, writing, playing guitar, playing games with my kids, star gazing, nature bathing, watching movie with friends on discord, maybe writing some code…

I still have my job and my teaching responsibilities so there is a lot of work figuring out how to do these things in a new way. I was thinking oh I am going to do an online free coding class, or start 5 newsletters or whatever. But really I am going to use this time mostly to hunker down and go within myself.

Technology and Technique

philosophy

I am taking a break from reading about the corona virus, taking my temperature, checking on friends and what not to write this meditation on technology and technique that arose last week after a discussion with a bunch of Marxists on why we are are talking about technology NOW. Or why technology is something people only started really thinking about 150 years ago (I am not even sure if this assumption is correct, but I am going to go with it). 

Last week I taught a workshop on modern development tools and modern development practices. I think about this workshop in terms of modules. There is the technology modules: Docker, Git, K8, CI/CD (Gitlab CI/CD), even GitLab the platform. Then there are the technique modules: Modern Ways of Working (Agile), Instrumentation (metrics such as cycle time), Value Stream Mapping, User Story Generation.  It is to use something from the history of economics and technology the marriage between the Ford production line (technique) and modern machinery / the engine (technology).

The Interface Fallacy 

In Capital Vol 1, there is a great quote that I am not going to look for now, that talks about how the worker is transformed by technology, just as technology is transformed by the worker.   I always read this in terms of alienation, or modification. That in being forced to conform to the interface of technology. This is sort of my experience today when I fill out a linked in profile and all of a sudden I am turned into a sort of linked in commodity the same as everyone else, with a list of experience, education, certifications, recommendations. It is what happens when everything becomes input (an interface) for a database. (Read Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals).  

This is one aspect of how a worker is transformed by a technology. It has to conform to the interface of the technology. How the technology works, how fast the technology works, how the technology integrates with other technology, how to fix the technology, and so forth.  And I do teach that, when I do a module on how to use a particular platform, what buttons to press, how to format a yaml file and so forth.  This however is an intra-personal skill. The worker changes her self in order to work with a technology.  However, there is a second aspect of worker transformation that I am focused on here: technique. 

Technique and the Reorganization of Society

Technique takes place on the network level, on the interpersonal or person-machine level. Lewis Mumford interprets this as a group of people becoming a ‘megamachine’  And this is it is possible to build things like the pyramids. I will discuss this later in  more detail. But I think it is more accurate to think of the interpersonal or person-machine, or organization of society as not a machine, but something you do in order to optimize the use of technology.   Ford’s assembly line is a technique. Agile or Kanban, is a technique.   How you merging Pull Requests on GitHub us a technique.

Optimization

You can have technology without technique and technique without technology. The marriage of both is in service of optimization.  Optimization is a relatively new concept. According to Manuel Delanda in the Age of Intelligent Machines it started with Napoleon and logistics and morphed  into academic discipline Operations Research. Where you look at particular operations and trying to improve some sort of metrics. 

Optimization Epistemology

Here we have a new sort of epistemology.  There is no longer the subject-object distinction of transcendental philosophy, or form-content of Aristotelian hylomorphism, but function-metric (perhaps this will change). You are optimizing a process in response to a particular variable. 

Optative Epistemology

The optative is an ancient Greek verb mood – like the subjunctive. The subjunctive: I would like to go to the park today.  The optative is for things that don’t exist, sometimes this is interpreted as a wish but I like to interpret it as a counterfactual. Like: I would like to go to ride a unicorn today, but unicorns don’t exist, so we cant. We can then expand this to Matrix Epistemology or Machine Learning Epistemology, where we optimize an entire process in response to a number of variables, according to a set of historical or prepared data rather than real world experience. But I digress.

Intermission

This is really just an introduction to these ideas I have been thinking about. I should probably call these things metaphysics instead of epistemologies. Since epistemology is more about how we know things, not what is knowable in the first place. 

But let me tie this back to COV19 – because its really on my mind.  We could perhaps think of the virus as technology, or purel as technology, an social distancing as  technique, for our goal (optimization function) – to flatten the curve. 

 

Poetry and Movement

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This past week a friend of mine invited me to a poetry project / dance workshop with Yoshiko Chuma.  It was amazing, we danced, we wrote, we choreographed – everything felt very natural and spontaneous and an expression of each of our individual damons.

I have never been a dancer or particularly interested in dance. I remember as a young girl thinking that the other girls who were interested in dance were not very serious. (This was probably an accurate assessment).  This was also my issue with theater, and to a lesser extent, singing.

In the past few years I have been very interested in dance. It originally started around 20 years ago when I started to practice yoga.   I started to focus on how my body moved and become more deliberate.  I practiced different kinds of yoga, and then kung fu.

I  had self diagnosed myself with workout ADD (I have since thankfully recovered). But workout ADD manifests itself as boredom in the repetitive movements of the workout. I was able to recover in finding nuance in the movements themselves, and also getting lost in the repetition (the repetition becoming a mantra or meditative in their repetition).

However during my period of workout ADD I started Kung Fu. Kung Fu was fantastic because you were always working on new forms.  Most of the other kung fu practitioners were dancers. What struct me about them was their ability to remember moves and their ability to touch other bodies.

I do feel like my kinetic knowledge (or somatic knowledge), is the least developed of all my knowledge systems. Although like any area of knowledge, I do believe it is possible to improve on this and I think I have improved especially through my work in Yoga, and then Kung Fu, Tai chi, Ba Gua, and other athletics (kickboxing etc). I was always athletic and in many respects there is overlap between athletics and dance when you remove the competitive aspect. The motivation is perhaps what changes. It becomes less about winning and more about the practice, about the action and the ritual.

I have become in recent years more interested in dance and movement, as I mentioned before. Not just “dance” – like fine art dance, but dancing party dancing or just dancing around the apartment with my kids.  I think the seed was planted when I read Gurdjieff in my early twenties – but i dont remember why or how or what Gurdjieff even talked about with relation to dance – maybe something about whirling dervishes.

This workshop was beautiful and fascinating in that we were all creating our own language. Dance is a language.  Gesture is a language.  I think I have written about this before.  There are, of course, unconscious aspects to this language – movements that we make automatically or unthinkingly -and then there are conscious movements.

Our movements carry signatures of ourselves. It is in many respects the most unique and personal of all languages. In this workshop everyone came up with their own dances based on the same prompts and everyone had both their own unique way of moving but also their own unique way of perceiving the original prompt and drawing meaning (creating a translation) from it.

I could connect this to sensors, translation, transduction, somatics, meaning making … But I’m just going to leave it as is.

Also I have a new newsletter – It is about the relationship between computation and our perception of our inner life (the psyche) and how this relationship expresses itself in every day life.

It launches tomorrow.

 

 

Meditations on CI/CD and GitLab

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I have been doing these CI/CD and GitLab workshops and today I am writing a book proposal. I could use some feedback. I have a bunch of thoughts on this area and then Iw will propose some titles. But first thoughts

– Gitlab does for dev ops what git did for code. Configuration as code is nothing new – or even config files in repos. I can build off other repos that have ansible configs or jenkins configs. But having all these configs in one file like gitlab that is automatically integrated into the platform is an leap forward. For example, I forked the conference software yakbak and the fork came complete with the gitlab-ci deployment template. I could have deployed in the same way or modified (which I did) to deploy on heroku. In the past, the most automagic you get is a build or install script.

– Modern development tools:
These are things that gitlab or CI/CD depend on: git, docker, I a unix based editor, orms, testing frameworks etc.
These are also things that are integrated as jobs into your pipelne – such as linting, security (sonarqube)

– Modern development philosophy
Why CI/CD, the movement away from cost reduction to time reduction (speed/lyotard). Metrics, ways of working (git branching, artifact creation).

– And finally GitLab CI/CD itself. This would be a section would walk through how to use GitLab CI/CD, jobs, pipelines, artifacts,

Title possibilities:
Modern Software Development with GitLab CI/CD
CI/CD from first principles to implementation: A GitLab Approach
Down the stack

Coffee Philosopher

life

Today my old friend Paul (Paul P not Paul V) invited me to visit him at a new coffee place – Drip – at 12 Belvidere St, in Bushwick.

The place is perfectly appointed and the pour over coffee is delicious. We discussed coffee tasting with the proprietor. He said that some roasters have the same beans but the coffee tastes different because they way it is roasted. Also he said that drinking coffee should not be like taking a calculus test. If you taste something different, you take your time, taste the nuance, then you are doing it right. That is coffee philosophy. I love social interaction via shop keepers. That no longer really exists.

I am completely exhausted right now. I am doing an amazing 3 day dance workshop that I was going to attend with a friend before she got sick (not corona). It is amazing. I am now feeling my body. I am also feeling exhausted. I wrote 5 lines.

At the beginning of the workshop everyone mentioned things they are thinking of:
I mentioned the unconscious, computation and baths. I do love baths.

Things i like: quesadillas, baths, salt, daisies, cacti, linen, blue enamelled tile.