Art and Night 4/8

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I have been painting a lot lately. It started when I was trying to find something to do with my kids. After a while I just did it for myself and my kids join in when they feel like it. Here is a painting I did last week. 18×14 acrylic on newsprint.

It’s abstract.

Proust said: ““Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, whether it is called Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance.”

When I am creating are my goal is to align with my highest self and to express that.

Anyway I am writing about a painting of night: Starlit night by Georgia O’Keeffe:

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1917

Night is the substance and light is the space. There are different nights, nights with stars and nights without. These stars have no constellations but they have shapes. They are equally in relation but individually different. They are cut out of night, tears in the fabric of night. Night is first and can paint over the stars.

The Weight

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There is this weird thing that happens when everyone is treated as a commodity. We forget that people are different. People have different desires, strengths, roles, experiences etc. There is reason why someone with 1 year of programming experience is probably not going to make as good a lead engineer as some one with more experience. In integral studies this is related to a notion of levels, which smacks of hierarchy. And there is the danger of thinking this way that leads to atrocities like fascism and dictatorships. However I think this is an important concept to think about and one of the most useful ways to think about this comes from family contellations.

Family constellations is a alternative therapy method that looks at the underlying dynamics in a system to heal it. It also honors ancestors… It is a bit woo. Hanzi actually calls out Family Constellations in this Jim Rutt podcast and places it with UFOs and conspiracy theories… But I think there is something interesting going on here.

In any case, in Family Constellations, there is this notion of weight. Certain people have more weight than others. This does not make them better – it is just a fact. And it is important to honor this weight. If a system does not honor this weight the system is off kilter. An example of this is that your grandfather has more weight than your child. Now your grandfather may be an a**hole. But he has been on the earth longer and has accumulated more weight. Your child may be the buddha reincarnated but your child has less weight.

In some systems we are deciding things based on weight when maybe we should use other decision metrics and this is because we are not honoring the value of weight. Once we make this public we can focus easier on how we need to make decisions in general.

Night 3/7 or 8 Collectors and my unfinished documentary

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Today I was going to talk about a figure of the shadows: The thief, the prostitute, the nightwatch man. All noirs take place at night -unless it is the film chinatown. Who are the people that are creatures of the night? What are the archetypes? someone said a collector. I really do not necessarily think a collector is a creature of the night. Unless it is a spider collecting pray like the Shelob the demon spider in LOTR. Or perhaps rats, rats collect things in the dark, probably at night. Kids collect baseball cards on the school bus, back when kids went to school and took school buses, and probably baseball cards are not NFTs on the blockchain. It sounds like a COVID vector to me.

But as some of you may or may not know, I was in the middle of making a documentary on Collectors during my first midlife crisis with Paul. That midlife crisis was much less fun than my current midlife crisis. And the take away from that is, don’t rush your midlife crisis – it wont taste so good and you may need to put it back in the barrel to age it.

But the documentary on collectors… we have like 100 hours of footage, we (me and Paul V) were collecting collectors. Were we creatures of the night? Perhaps. We did stay in many grungy motels which I do associate with night.

What about collecting is night related? Perhaps there is no logic? Collecting is not Apollonic, nor is it Dionysian (I mean the way I collect s dionysian, but I am special like that). No Collecting is Plutonic -related to pluto or hades – the god of the dead. The god collecting the dead he also collected other things like gems perhaps. Plutos means wealth. Here is a great resource on pluto and other mythology.

Collecting is illogical, but also the collector becomes less rational or becomes beholden to the reason of the collection. To complete the collection for example is an organizing principle of collecting. The collector is musty wearing strange devices to help him better understand his collection. The collector becomes his instruments phenomenologically. What is a collector without his instruments??? A collector’s body is the collection. It is distributed like a bee hive or ant colony. The body of the collection of the body of the collector. It is amorphous like the night and to an outsider the uninitiated undifferentiated from the night.

The somatic turn

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I was talking with someone yesterday about Integral theory and I said something about “the somatic turn.” I thought I had just been very clever and made up a new philosophical movementI thought I came up with this phrase and was very excited. And then I went on google and realized I was wrong. Ah well. What is the somatic turn. It what is going on know with Integral (Ken Wilbur, Tom Murray, Gebser), the NLP people, all the feldenkrais/rolphing/body work people, gender theory, queer theory, embodiment orientation etc…

it is the move towards meaning that comes from the body. The language turn in philosophy was turning all philosophical problems into problems of language. The ontological turn – all problems in philosophy are problems of being, the speculative turn – all problems of philosophy are problems of correlationism/anthropocentrism.

Is this related to phenomenology. If we can all agree on a definition of phenomenology – still no. Phenomenology has to do with a structure of experience. When I think of phenomenology I think of Hal from 2001 and space odyssey. The reduction of something to a body part that senses. The somatic turn is first person, how something feels, the orientation towards something. Thats all I got tonight – I just wrote a computer program to help one of my kids practice arithmetic so – #momwinning.

Treasure Continued

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Today I continued my deep dive into Ancient Egypt. I read that the last king of the 11th Dynasty, Mentuhotep IV’s principal accomplishment of his reign was to bring back a block of stone from an expedition for his royal sarcophagus. (ie his coffin)

Mentuhotep IV - EcuRed
via ecured.cu

This struck me. The result of the reign was some luxury product from a foreign land. Some rare and precious thing that was then sculpted into a funerary object. It made me think both of trade and of funerals. We normally associate the first humans (the first hominids) with reverence for the dead (funerary objects). What if in 2001 space Odyssey the monolith resulted in the first Ochre death shroud, or even the attempt to trade with the rival group. Is technology and war technology at that the foundation of humanity?

We could call funerary objects, like Ushabtis – little dolls that will be your servants in the afterlife – or even pyramids as tech. People do. But is this tech?

I am thinking about of the relationship between the symbolic world and the material world.

For example I meditate (right now I ‘m doing Trataka) in the morning and this has an effect on my ability to act calmly during stressful situations. Now some people may say that meditation is actually physical. I am changing my breathing and perhaps my neurochemistry by focusing. But what about something like I wake up and I have a dream about getting into a fight with my mother and then I am sort of irritated at my mother for something that has happened in the symbolic realm of my unconscious. This now has a material impact.

It is the relationship between prayer and ritual and acting in the world. It is the freudian notion that what happens in fantasy is as impactful as what has happened in real life. Now we may find out that there really is no distinction between the symbolic realm and the material realm. That the symbolic realm creates physiological changes that really makes it another type of material realm.

But for now lets say there is a difference -for arguments sake.

The funerary objects operate in the symbolic realm. As technology they are symbolic technology.

A waterwheel operates in the material realm. Or even yoga operates in the material realm on our posture and breathing and perhaps the construction of our ability to create a symbolic realm. As a technology this is material technology.

What is technology – etymologically – the logic of craft. Craft is how you make something, or the notion that you are involved in something where someone can become an expert.

Are all realms of life subject to the possibility of mastery (of becoming an expert)?

The becoming of an expert is aided in technology, an expert is perhaps even an expert at using a technology., That could perhaps be the definition of being an expert.

Night 2/7 or 8

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So Meditating on night again….

This is the shape of the mountain by Etal Adnan, who also wrote a collection of poetry / meditations called… NIGHT.

I probably have already written about it.

Some favorite pieces:

Standing trees sleep in this forest that created the night when the moon was looking elsewhere. Gone the sailboats, the sea, in this obscurity that’s keeping no promise

Night is a subtle rain, wetting body and soul.

The night was clear, and the depth of the mountain’s slopes awesome: rivers were growling down into the valleys. The moon was there, oh yes, speaking her language. My neck was hurting following her journey. On a cliff made of translucent marble, voices had stopped. Then the season showed a pervasive fear within Being’s texture.

I’m asking you to see me lie on the traces that your body has left on the bed, but the heat belongs to you within our souls.

At 20 I was living at the door of reality, but I did not enter. There was no one to enter with, either. By the time I decided to go in, rivers had flowed, trees had grown, the seasons had aged. Soon later, I have had the chance to die, and I let it go; reality had no more reason to be. Like a ship, you can shipwreck against the night.

So many things to say about night. But night is the ineffable so we really cannot say anything about it. Instead we must write poetry or play music, or dance, or do all those things that are the activities of the night.

If I wrote an O’Reilly book what would it be?

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A co-worker is writing an O’Reilly book on k8. Today I was interviewing someone and he asked me if I was would write a book what book would I write about. I did have an idea for a book this summer – I think it was about gitops or something. But today I thought for a moment and I started waxing poetically on GPUs. I have been into GPUs for a long time. Mainly because of shaders…

There are parts of development I like but they have already been covered … who needs another book on docker. But I was thinking it would be interesting to write a book on different machine types for different software solutions. Combine hardware with software. For what software recipe would select a c4 instance vs an m4 (in the aws world, but there are similar variants in the google world) how do we optimize software for hardware now that we have access to so many different types of cpus. We can look at various metrics when we run a particular program on different cpus and what sorts of tweaks we can make to change this performance.

This would be a fascinating book.

It would be a lot of work to write.

Does this book already exist?