Phenomenology Hermeneutics and Language

writing

Last night I lurked on a game called Dialectic.  I dont know what the game core mechanic is, I showed up late. But the core of the game play was this. 

A world exists that is different from our world (not really in post covid19 however).It has three aspects:

1/ Ubiquitous vocal infrastructure

2/ mundane (offline) vs fantastic (online) divide

3/ Plague Years (multiple rolling pandemic waves)

What new words are coined as a result of these aspects?

Well at first this is sort of a post-phenomenological instrumentation view. We have these new instruments such as infrastructure, online/offline, virus and how do we relate to them. But this is hermeneutics. We must interpret or relate to our situation through language. Language creates the world. 

What happens when we build a speculative scenaro or story and start with the language? What happens when we start with the new words around how our world is different?

Or what happens if we take our existing world and slice it and dice it in different ways and create new words. 

Is it more creatively generative to tell a story in german if I am an english speaker? Or do I need to create the new language, and thus the concepts in the language in order to tell the story – which is the story of the concepts and the language and the interactions of all these things to express the world?

hmmm

Systems Verse

poetry

The poetry as a system and the poetry as an experience  and poetry as milieu.

I have been reading a lot of poetry during this pandemic. A lot of sonnets to be precise. I have this book of sonnets with me in isolation and I have been reading it. It is wonderful to find my sentiments mirrored back to me in different language, or to find new sentiments and ways of experiencing.  I felt satiated for a moment, but not filled up and transformed.  It was like going to the museum of natural history and looking at the diorama of bison,

The structure of the sonnet reminds me of a game, and I am always delighted to see how different poets play the game. It creates in me a tension of suspense or a pulling toward something. A sonnet pulls you toward the end. This is perhaps what any structure does…

I tried my hand a a few sonnets – but it did not feel natural to me. This entire quarantine I am just sort of feeling myself, and answering home school questions like “is this a numerator or a denominator” or “how do you spell sock”. As I feel myself I think what is it that myself wants to be? What is the form of myself as expression?

Last Saturday I had this feeling, and I know I am not my feelings – this was another experience I had during quarantine – but I had this feeling, or perhaps intuition. The kind of sonnet I would write is a code. Not necessarily computer code, but code as an equation, as a genetic sequence, code as a recipe, code as something that is mediated and expanded through different interfaces, code as something that is reified through interaction with an other – a compiler, a ribosome, a chat group. I am calling this a system because it is not only a code.

I have another experience during quarantine of having poetic experiences outside of reading a particular poem by myself, or of writing a poem by myself. What are these experiences? They are experiences of inspiring essays, music, art related in a networked/rhizomatic way to a poem or poet, discussion of this constellation on discord chats and facebook groups, poetry as exercises, further creations by individuals that interact with this poetic system, and create further fractal poetic systems. What makes this poetry and not something else – like social networking, or another art form?   Fundamentally these interactions and interfaces are ‘read’. Whether they are read as text or read as a graphic. Whether they are read out loud (performed) or read in private, or read in a group – poetry is experiencing something as a language.

Sunday I ran across and reread Charles Olsen’s manifesto on projective (or OPEN) verse. This is in opposition to the sonnets I was reading – which are an example of closed verse. 

I’m just going to jot down a few things that spoke to me about this manifesto. That content produces form (that old saw hylomorphism again), that open verse preserves the process (I am all about process these days), and the energy of the process. The process is the poem. If there is a form to projective verse it is the breath.  There is a diagram Olsen writes – as a sentence. the head through the ear hears syllables, and the heart through the breath makes a line. This is the embodiment of poetry. There is an implicit somatics.  Olsen calls the poem the field.   That the lines, the syllables, these are one of many OBJECTS in a poem that interact kinetically. Perhaps what Olsen is talking about is really a systems verse but first we need to go through an open verse. 

There is a relationship between technology and the poetry. Just as we have certain meters and figures of speech from the oral tradition, and from time of quill and ink and typeset, the typewriter creates its own structure – right “the medium is the message” a little bit. Olsen says

“But what I want to emphasize here, by this emphasis on the typewriter as the personal and instantaneous recorder of the poet’s work, is the already projective nature of verse as the sons of Pound and Williams are practicing it.”

On the nature of what we are writing about

“It comes to this: the use of a man, by himself and thus by others, lies in how he conceives his relation to nature, that force to which he owes his somewhat small existence. If he sprawl, he shall find little to sing but himself, and shall sing, nature has such paradoxical ways, by way of artificial forms outside himself. But if he stays inside himself, if he is contained within his nature as he is participant in the larger force, he will be able to listen, and his hearing through himself will give him secrets objects share.”  

Our inner orientation, our inner life, creates what we want to express – our relation and perception of all things. The more contained we are the more we can interface – we can participate instead of merge.

So I read all this and was turned obviously toward a new type of poetry that I see emerging that is not the poetry that people think they are writing when they write a poem. Which is beautiful and moving but not as moving and beautiful as these other things which are yet to be called poetry. Things like the workshop, the discord chat, the reading group, the conversation, the exercise, the collaboration. 

What is the systems poem? Perhaps it is the facebook group that has grown up around Ariana Reines collaborative readings and writings around Rilke and Inanna. Reines’ creation of this process is itself systems verse – tying the moon and the zodiac to poems, poetic forms, and creation.   Systems verse is beyond the poem, beyond the anthology, the chapbook, and the collection. It is beyond in the individual.  Where open verse is the rhythm of the breath – of the individual, Systems verse is the rhythm of participation it is the rhythm of witness of speaking and listening.  

How do we ‘read’ systems verse? Perhaps we cannot – when we read systems verse it becomes another type of poetry. We participate in systems verse, like we listen to a homeric epic or a song.  How does systems verse reinvent language?  Because verse and poetry is about language? It is reinventing the language of witness. To participate, or to ‘read’ systems verse is to be in a dynamic with the system. It is not to contain the kinetic within the page but the experience the kinetic. Systems verse is the language of process, the language of being. 

What are people going to do when they write their System Verse poems – which are antithetical to the book? Well maybe you can capture it in a book, these things definitely will be since, the process of language is the process of capture and recording. So what is the rhythm that is captured?  It is the rhythm of phase transitions as the system moves from one state to another, as relationship begin grow expand die.

Do we edit this record? Yes and No. The systems verse is apprehended through an interface. What is an interface? An interface is a person reading a poem, an interface is a group reading a poem, an interface is a group writing a poem, an interface is a diagram or a book.  A systems verse can produce an infinity of books, an infinity of representations through an infinity of interfaces.  This is not the first time we have a redactor in the history of poetry. The bible had redactors – for example. Redaction is historically is in service of a dogma or a point of view. But what is redaction in favor of a system, in favor of a process? To recreate the process within ourselves, or within our community, poetry as personal alchemy. This is the redacted systems verse.

MOL gloves

Technology and Clothing

clothing, technology

I was leaving book, Tools: Extending our reach – which is a monograph of from an exhibition at Cooper Hewitt.

Above is a photo of the Gloves for Manned Orbiting Laboratory. The entry for this piece discusses the relationship between tools and clothing. That once we create tools we create other tools to allow us to maximize or use our tools.  Gloves in this case are protection, they are an interface or mediator between ourselves and the tool.  In what respects does clothing function in this way – as an interface – as the API to tools or the environment?  

In these gloves there is a translation mechanism that translates the touching sensation on the glove to the finger through the fingernail. So even within the clothing there is technology. 

Clothing can also be tools themselves, but they are perhaps a different order of tool. 

I love these gloves. Something about clothing with a lot of embellishment really excites me… all those strings! Even tools with lots of little tools – like a swiss army knife with 100 little tools. As I got older I began to appreciate single use tools – something well made to do one thing. But I get excited about multi-tools. It is really imaginatively potent for me. 

Reading Ihde’s Expanding Hermeneutics took a while

philosophy

But this is what I think…

First let me talk about technology and the body. I have been thinking a lot about technology, tools, and instruments. There is an analysis Ihde does around technology and the body. Analytic philosophers make the body flexible, but continental philosophers are more firm about embodiment.

This made me think about what is the relationship between technology and the body. There are two movements the first is (I+technology)-> world. The i is bound up with technology like a telescope – the body is expanded by technology. Then there is the I-> (technology+world) where the world is created by the technology – such as with digital imaging or computer modeling.

But what is technology and how does it become core to thinking to metaphysics and ontology? What has changed with technology?

So here is my thought for the day. Technology creates bodies. Exercise technology or cooking or yoga or eye glasses. This is not that bodies are cyborgs (that may or may not be the case), but technologies shape bodies. Bodies become embodied through technology. That is how technology is world building.

We have the original mythos of metamorphosis – that bodies change. However in mythologies of metamorphosis, bodies do not change through praxis. They change through luck or magic. The truth of this myth is that bodies change through technology which is not necessarily technological but praxis and methodological. This begs the question – what is technology – but another time.

So this is the world building function of technology.It builds the world because it builds the body. Depending on what technologies build the body we are able to then build and use other technologies. So technologies are conditions of the bodies, but bodies are conditions of technologies and it is this bodily constructed technologies that create worlds. Bodily constructed technologies do not so much create worlds as reframe worlds. They are tools of metaphysical (or perhaps ontological) transformation.

There is a discussion at the end of the book which touches upon one of my long standing interests: translation. Once we construct a new world, or reframe the existing world, how do we map our findings back on to another world? Can we even do this? Why do we want to do this? What are the world invariants? Are there world invariants? Is the job of yet another technology to create mapping (I have called this transductions) between technologically constructed worlds.

Then there is the concept of construction – which is less interesting to me – this is that we can study the models of science itself – to me this is akin to Barfield’s notion of idols. Rather than saving the appearances of a phenomena we are studying the results of the measurements of the phenomena. But what is the relationship between the worldviews built by technology and worlds (ie models) built by technologies. Are models worthy of investigation and phenomenology? I would say no – but I have to think about it.

Finally in a different section there is a discussion of calibration. This is perhaps the sister to translation (or what I call transduction), but it is also the starting stage of model building. What makes different iterations of a model different are its calibration, a way to change measurements or observations is to calibrate the instrument. Bound up with calibration is the notion of truth, that there is right starting point. How do we determine what this truth is? How does calibration fit into the world building of technology and tools.

A few weeks ago I sent a newsletter out about creation. A first draft privileged vision. But I rewrote it because I did not like this perspective. In reading Ihde’s book I understood why I privileged vision. That is was actually all of western science that has done this. That we turn everything into something that is read, for example our creation of charts and graphs. Vision is privileged. The way out of idol worshipping in the barfield sense, for Idhe (in my interpretation) is to honor all ways of sensing and create a more phenomenologically complete instruments.
privileged

Alternatives to Extraction Capital

capitalism

I learned a new term today A2D – alternatives to development. In the past – like 10 years ago – I used to think that everyone deserves their industrial revolution. This was without thinking about all the people that were subjugated by this, by the extraction, by the different lenses through which we can examine the effects of the industrial revolution beyond economics: familiar, ecological/environmental, cultural, etc. The way beyond is not the compensatory state that reinforces these networks, but something else that reframes the nodes on the network of extraction and provides alternative interfaces and perhaps funnels off from that structure. 


This is sort of a systems poetic interpretation. These are different systems through which we view contemporary industrial revolutions. 

There is also the idea that the industrial revolution is not localized. This is what I got from Planetary Mine. Rather than a sort of moving atomic monolith or something setting down in a country and causing “industrial revolution”, the industrial revolution is a process tightly coupled with capitalism and capital. It is like an octopus whose tentacles are moving to create new connections and networks – between sources of extraction and centers of commercial capitalism. 

How do we move beyond extraction which disrupts lives and lifeworlds (phenomenologically)?

We can have a plurality of parallel economies. I have been meditating on the oikos – the greek word for house. This is the original term for economics comes from this word- the House. The house is foundational in thought. The stars and planets have houses.  The house is the body to the soul – perhaps. There is Gaston Bachelard has a phenomenological analysis of the house – the inside, which I don’t really remember.  What is the inside to a nomad? To a wandering jew like myself? There is always an inside, an inner life or an inner sanctum, even if it is obscured for us… an occult house.  

We can use this and think about economies as the insides.  We can have inside economies and outside economies – right now we really have only outside economies. But these are not insides – these are not dwellings. The outside economies perhaps should be called something else – roads or streets. The economies used to take place in other insides – in the insides of markets like the agora or the NYSE.  But with network economies there are no more insides and outsides only skeletons. What is the inside of a skeleton – bone marrow? Blood is made on the inside of the skeleton – the house of the bone. The Blood is the transportation system of the body – the outside economy (if we call it an economy since it is an outside, but perhaps every outside is also an inside).  The blood is a transport, like the road. There is a door to houses, there is a path to the inner, that connects the outer world with the inner economy. 

Perhaps economies should be local parallel and plural. What we thought was the economy is actually something else, perhaps it is communication – like something fro Habermas. Perhaps there has been mass confusion?

 

 

Real People

pandemic

A friend of mine sent a text last night telling me that we could not hang out virtually (or I was de prioritized) because there were real people that she was hanging out with.

That means perhaps that I should hang out with other metaphysically questionable people who are not real – or perhaps who view me as more real.

Look at Dante and Beatrice, Dante saw Beatrice once and it was enough for him to write the divine comedy and la vita nuova. Real enough for you.

But I get it… My back hurts I dumped a bunch of cbd on it – and nothing happened.

“life is pain highness anyone who says otherwise is selling something” – the princess bride

Sin and Capital

art

I am in the midsts of the book Marx’s Inferno. It is dense af. But gives a fantastic overview of the milieu in which Marx operated and some important expansions of Marx’s thought (Lukas, Althusser, etc)

The premise of the book ostensibly is that the format of Das Capital mirrors that of The Inferno from Dante’s divine comedy. A secondary thesis is that Das Capital is a work of political theory and not social theory. But really, it is a wealth of information and I am learning a ton about the history of Marxism.

Sin originally means missing the mark. The inferno is all the ways that one can mis the mark and the consequences for that. Punishment in the inferno follow the logic of contrapasso. The punishment resembles the sin itself.

The book itself is a bizarre and idiosyncratic endeavor. But what it shows is the diffrent ways that the system of capitalism sins, or misses the mark. Some sins are ‘worse’ then others, they exist in a lower circle of hell. For example, there is the sin of akrasia – weakness of will. This is the desire that we all have within the capitalist system for more money – for example. But is this because of our personal agency or because of the structure of capitalism? How in control are we of our own will.

In the platonic dialogues, I remember reading about akrasia, weakness of will, as epistemological. That is it centered around knowledge. If only someone knew the right way to act, they would act thusly. If someone knows the correct way to act, why dont they act that way?

The last few years I thought Freud – ahh the unconscious. People have unconscious urges that make them act contrary to how they ought to act.

If you look at Nietzsche, then really the question is to act according to your will. The only akrasia is acting contrary to your will. There is no right and wrong, only will and the capacity to carry out one’s will.

But for Marx there is the struggle between the system and the individual. How much agency, or will, can an individual exercise within a system? Perhaps we act contrary to our will because we are embedded within a system that would prevent us from making proper decisions – from acting rationally. For surely if we acted rationally we would do “the right thing.” This is an epistemic approach – knowledge is about making decisions.

In Marx’s Inferno, the critique presented as Marx’s pov is that people are prevented from getting together with full knowledge of the supply chain and workings of capital and discussing and deciding for themselves what to do. It is not that their actions are hampered but their decision making process -via dialogue – is hampered.

The idea of focusing on thinking vs behavior is echoed in so many fields from psychology to business processes to interface design. I think of Thaler and Sunstein’s Nudge Theory and how to create behavioral systems that nudge people to act in a certain way while leaving a modicum of freedom to exercise choice. But perhaps the real goal should be to nudge people to make better decisions and to use dialogue, to self educate, etc rather than to restrict or guide action.

Back to akrasia… what kind of sin is this? What is the sin of acting within a structure, without full agency? It is a sin that exists in limbo not in hell. It is with the other sins of the weakness of will (akrasia).   

 

Back to my initial point. Within the system of capital there are multiple sins, with their own punishment and their own severity. The sin of limbo is akrasia, a sin of structure, or lack, or bad luck. The first sin of hell is the sin of exploitation, of surplus capital…  ie force and fraud.



Malleability of Time and Space

art

Peter Halley’s Paintings look like circuit diagrams at first and then migrate to graphs in theory of computation… or window air conditioning window units.

Reading notes on abstraction by Peter Halley – I have two take aways….

The first is that he makes great use of observation of daily life and then abstracts from that meditations or deeper realities about ‘art’. In this sense I imagine he is sort of like the precursor to the trend consultant or something. I have no interest in this sort of analysis of contemporary culture. I think contemporary culture is boring. I think that mass culture is boring. I am not terribly interested in why tiktok took off. I am sure it has to do with its interface and onboarding, and other things, but there is going to be another tiktok – tiktok’ that is similarly disruptive for similarly clever and unanticipated reasons.

And so it goes. Stuff is popular because of how it is designed, designed visually (semiotics), designed for use, designed to connect (social signalling/virtual signally), designed emotionally (so we feel good using it), designed somatically (so our bodies feel good using it). These are not the transcendental categories of cultural critique, but you add a few or take away a few and what do you really gain or lose? Not much.

The next are regarding the observations themselves which are worth thinking about.
Capital is static – but there is change. How is that?
I’ll take a stab because of the M-C-M circuit. The point of capital is that it flows through the economy. At every node i the circuit, when a state transition happens from M-C or C-M slippage is possible. That is the slack in the system that enables no only change of capital but cultural change and social change (as rare as it may be).

I think now of the blockchain, with capital on the blockchain there is no slippage. Capital on the block chain removes the M-C-M network, money as a microservice of capital and installs the capital monolith. There are no nodes in the system and no slippage. Not only is it the end of history but the end of culture and the end of society.

Some other thoughts. Real and hyperreal.. I too had these thoughts as a young child. Like what comes after the Museum of Modern Art. Well it turns out the Museum of Contemporary Art, or the New Museum. But then, you know what happens, you have museums named after various people and you have museums for different sub cultures. This is the breaking up of the cultural monolith. What comes after the hyperreality of postmodernism are the realities of the multiverse.

There are some other points about why New is important. Really I am not into the New… I think we are so interested in the New because were are no place -we are ungrounded,We are  prospectors trying to find gold at a 100 different sites. We are always looking in a NWE site because we have not struck gold yet. Art is constantly looking for something new because we are not actually talking about art — and none of this is art. 

Glamour vs power AND erotics vs everything. I really should not put these all together but what the heck I’m tired and I have other stuff to do. People want glamour they don’t want power. Folks -that is what POWER wants you to BELIEVE.  This is this whole essay a psyop. Erotics – erotic is love that does something – it makes you sweat. It is desire – but you feel it in your body. Is erotics historical? Well yea – anything can be desired. Does this mean that if the wrong thing is eroticized it is a fetish, well only if you have a Freudian fetish.  What is right and wrong any way – you look into the abyss and well i hope you know what happens. Otherwise you can google it. 

Why do people like to talk about erotics. What did Susan Sontag say – we need an erotics of interpretation … oh no I remember now… its an erotics of art. I guess that is how ‘erotic’ got into this essay by Peter Halley. We need an erotics of all things – but let’s talk about erotics of art. Maybe what we need is a somatics of art. Art we feel with the body. Do people mean somatics when they talk about erotics? Well let’s assume people actually mean erotics.  Erotics is like desire + somatics. It is a second order effect even though eros was the primordial god in Hesiod’s Works & Days.  Maybe eros gives birth to desire and somatics. Maybe the problem is that desire and the body has split and what we need is art to heal the fission.

Anyway the denouement comes at the end – it is that the history of art is the history of abstraction. That we lose specificity that food becomes ambiance (that is a quote), and space is replaced by amenities (another quote).  What really is this about? Because although there is abstraction it is differentiated. Dinner at Jean George is different than dinner at Mc Donalds although you cant sit down at either place now that we have Covid19.  Is it about surface – like curtain walls? I hope not -that is really f*in banal. What is it? I don’t think it is an impoverishment. But I think we have not fully realized what abstraction can do – to give it the same level of power as representational art.  There is something in abstraction about the system- about individual agents or daimons (or damons -my monad-nomad-damon movement).  The dining experience as the interaction of 1000 different damons, pleasure is this way too. The Mondrian painting exists with a conceptual and physical framework as well as a curtatorial and architectural (the gallery). And these can be multiplied …. these agents. I dont know this is just a stab. The agent theory of art. 

Why should you read this random ass stream of consciousness? You have already read this, so maybe this comes a bit late. But as a friend in my writing group asked about another piece of writing: What is the tldr in this? Well you have to read it. This is the journey it needs to happen in order to understand something. You need to go into the field and dig a bunch of holes not just look at the map. And even if you don’t find gold you do something to yourself -maybe you sweat or build muscles or get a callous.  Go take a nice bath with epsom salts now and soak those callous hands.  That is what I am going to do – and then record another episode of ovid in the bathtub.

 





eroticsm of the body vs

Monitoring and Observability

tech

I am talking at a meetup in a few weeks. My topic, Overcoming Metric Fatigue with Artificial Intelligence.  The meetup is about Software Observability and Continuous Updates. Now that I am preparing my talk I am taking a deep dive into Observability and Continuous Updates… What does that mean beyond buzz words.

Software Observability

So first off we are talking about software, not hardware, so we are talking about log statements (and logs), exceptions, stack traces, and events. 

But what is observability? Once we have observability we have the related concept of monitoring and instrumentation. Let’s split this up. 

Instrumentation is for business intelligence. The goal here is to understand how people use the system and how to extract additional information from this usage in order to either improve the software, create new products, or add new processes to the pipeline (like altering a sales pipeline).  This perhaps is a problem to be solved in the datawhare house or OLAP system, statistical methods, and visual displays. We want to capture as much information as possible and then run analysis on it.  

Monitoring is for understanding the health of a system.   Here the goal is to capture the most salient information in order for a human to act on it.  We imagine a one to one correlation between an alert in monitoring and something like pager duty alert.  Rather than logging an exception, monitoring is about looking for events and certain ranges and thresholds (like 10 events a minute, or an event with a certain value).  We can engage in whitebox monitoring – an alert triggered by monitoring the internals of a system, or blackbox monitoring -an alert triggered by monitoring the external interfaces of a system (such as user interaction or systems integrations).

How to determine what to monitor can be refined by instrumentation.

Observability 

Observability is related to understanding how a system is behaving internally.  

To reiterate, monitoring is about looking for threshold events and immediately actionable alerts, instrumentation is about logging information to help decisions (about product, pipelines, and monitoring), and observability is about understanding how the internal pieces of a system work together (or rather don’t work together as excepted). 

The idea is that if an event is triggered via our monitoring software, then we can use tools in the observability camp to track down, understand what is happening and fix it. Observability is the ability is to tie back a piece of data in instrumentation or monitoring to the software code itself.

Observability, is also about context. It is about examining the state of a system as it compared to its recent (or ancient) history. Where as monitoring is about an event or a thing, observability is about ranges. When observing a system, I want to see how the software is working within its historical context. When an alert is triggered via monitoring, we also want to observe what is happening within context (either in real time or in log files) in order to understand what is happening and to apply an appropriate fix later. 

Metrics and Monitoring

Where do metrics come in? Metrics are the things that we are building our alerts around.  What we are monitoring are metrics. Any time I see a systems diagram where ever I see I line I see an opportunity for a metric. These lines can increase more and more as we dive into the internals of a system. There is a great old blog post by etsy about measurement. It talks about how to measure everything. This is metric fatigue. 

For instrumentation we want to measure everything, for monitoring we only want to measure the most salient things, for observability we want to monitor things that a human brain can realistically comprehend. 

This is the subject of my talk – how we can separate out the different types of metrics. This is a notion of worlding or worldview, we can also call it phase transition or granularity. Just like we can examine a mountain by looking at it’s ranges, it’s individual rocks, or the atoms that make up the rocks, we can also look at instrumentation, observability, and monitoring as different world views of our systems.

There are all different ways of setting up observability in a system  – like in this detailed but probably out of date document from twitter.  Also all different ways to integrate as in this medium post.

My talk is about adding AI into the mix.  How to use AI to determine which metrics to observe. Once you do this tho, you need to add additional metrics and observation to gain intuition into how the AI algorithm is making its decisions. Its turtles all the way down.

Maybe next I’ll write about continuous updates. 

 

 

 

 

 

Process

consciousness

I am really not the best at process (or processing) – that was a joke – hahah.
Anyway.

Happy Sunday! I was talking with my writing group and they said that I should keep a record of my newsletter process so here it is sort of … the beginning.


Ancient History
Well I had a newsletter once before -it was about crypto. I started it maybe 6 years ago. I had a vague notion that through this newsletter I could connect with other people in crypto and become a crypto expert. And while, I did become a crypto expert, I did not have the sort of legitimacy one gets from having 1.5mm instagram followers like kim kardashian. No fancy conference invitations for me, I had to apply like everyone else…

Recent History
So last year I was at the recurse center. One of the things I wanted to explore was something called ‘conscious computation’ – the application of computational models to ideas of consciousness, and the application of consciousness to computation.
I really did not get very far on this concept. I was very impressed by the work of Vilem Flusser and the relationship between medium and conceptual frameworks. I wondered what would our dreams be like to dream in code or non-linear systems instead of images.

At the start of 2020 I started working with a group of creatives and we started keeping one another accountable to our creative projects. I hoped to maybe create a body of work or writing around this concept of conscious computation. I have a vague idea of who I wanted to connect with in order for this idea to have impact within the wider culture.

Covid19 came to the USA in early January. I was actually in Bothell on a project when someone was first diagnosed with covid in the USA (in Bothell I think). I started to lose interest in this project. In the past when I would often become despondent when embarking on projects and begin to think ‘who cares?’ Who cares about this? This lead to further feelings that I was self-indulgent and doing something with little utility.

In the past 18 months or so I have radically reframed this. I no longer ask this question. I ask am I interested? And that alone is enough. Since what is better than to spend one’s time doing what one is interested in. But even my conscious complexity project no longer interested myself… I had to start again.

I started thinking about what I was really interested in and it was, as it has always been since I was a young girl, the connection between different things, areas of thought, and mediums of expression. I was interested in learning about different systems, I was interested in creating in a variety of mediums, I was interested in the scaffolding the tools, structure, and milieu of all these things.

Prompted by Nitzan, I started calling my self a systems poet.This is a term that is evocative although meaningless in a way -since I am the only (or perhaps the first) systems poet.

Back to the newsletter. Why did I want to do a newsletter now? I no longer had a project – like conscious computation, but a method and a process… I wanted to look at the boundary lands between systems. The goal was no longer to become an expert – because there is no field to become an expert in, instead my goal now with the newsletter was to connect with people who would be interested in these explorations as well.

My first newsletter was all over the place, I went really deep really fast on a myriad of concepts. I still was clinging to consciousness and computation. I knew I wanted to bring in visual references and links that might provide some inspiration and sarendipity but that was it. The feedback on this first, aborted, newsletter was that it was complex and difficult to understand (perfect for a blog post).

I regrouped and a few weeks later, I wrote my first newsletter. I was very happy with it. I accomplished a high degree of precision and fidelity that I had been struggling my whole life to achieve. I felt I was on the threshold of a new higher quality of work. Sadly my call to action link was broken and because I am using the generally excellent square space mailing app, but otherwise I was happy. 

Now to write the next newsletter. This was not so easy. I would sit down to write some ideas for a few moments, and come back and feel the inspiration and momentum totally gone.  I would post something to this blog, or to twitter or slack and thing ahh the newsletter, but then I had no motivation to write it.  

One of the things I am also in the midst of doing, is learning to listen to myself and be in alignment with myself. This is a whole body process. So I would think, well if I dont feel like writing now, should I just honor that. My whole life has followed a few philosophical points – I have used a numbers game mentality, I have attempted to use force of will, and I thought better done than perfect. 

But in the past year this has totally changed for my. Rather than trying everything under the sun, I wanted to listen to myself and only do those things that I truly wanted to do. My litmus test was how I wanted to spent my time, not what would be ‘successful.’ Then I challenged the force of will. How can I feel like ideas, thoughts, feelings, creations, come from me, rather than from some sort of way to anticipate or meet another person (can we say co-dependance), or to push something through without focusing on how it feels.  Finally I am challenging the better done than perfect, and all the attendant ideology like MVP (minimum viable product). I have a desire to do things exquisitely. I have lived my life in broad strokes, and I now I am interested in the details (I still cannot spell however).

With this orientation, I was really mindful of how I was writing the newsletter, in addition to writing the newsletter. The second newsletter had trouble being birthed. 

I had a conversation with one of my writing partners, Thomas, that he recorded on zoom. He had a conversation methodology and it was amazing. It was one of the most generative and energizing experiences I had in a while. I might not be able to write a newsletter, but I can have good conversations. So I started doing that (please sign up for a 1:1 conversation 🙂 

There is no goal beyond this other than the sheer pleasure of it. I can see it becoming a collection of interviews or even an audio project or documentary. But for now, it just brings me pleasure. 

I started working on some personal coding projects and I realized that what I now loved to program with another person. I love to code and have a ton of knowledge, both technical and just process or what I call body knowledge or pattern matching.  I decided that going forward I would try and write with a partner as much as possible. 

A year or so ago, a friend put me in touch with a professional coach for software developers. I took a sample session, but did not proceed further, at the moment I did not have the need. The idea and tips she gave me though I still remember. And imagine that I would improve dramatically if I worked with her. And maybe I will now. The idea that programming, like everything else, can benefit from having a coach, was mind blowing. After these revelations I started doing 1:1 code coaching sessions. I do plan on charging for this one day, or doing work study (like we code on one of my personal projects), but for now, while I am figuring it out, they are totally free. Please try it out!

While not writing my newsletter, I was doing these other things that were more process oriented and directed at what I enjoyed doing. However I still wanted to put out the newsletter. I had (and still have) in my mind a list of 5-10 people who I imagine reading my newsletter, perhaps passing it to other people, of a feedback loop within the newsletter (which is why I have a Q/A at the end), and even a feedback loop among people who I interact with (who read the newsletter, who dialogue with me, who code with me etc). 

Today I scheduled my second newsletter. It comes almost a month after the first. I sat down this morning and wrote it like the first one, in one burst in google doc. I did then go back and edit it in the afternoon after comments from my writing group. I have the same good feeling I had with the last newsletter.  My goal is to hopefully turn this method into a rhythm. On sunday morning write, and sunday afternoon revise. 

I have goals for the newsletter, as I stated before. I want to connect with other people who are interested in these thoughts. I want those people to connect with me. I want them to connect with one another. It would be nice if these thoughts create actions either works or deeds. But internal changes are enough. If enough people undergo enough internal changes then the world will change. 

I don’t have a dogma or an agenda that I want to promote, I just want fellow travelers on my journey.