Left Hand of Darkness – Chapter 6

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I must say I had writers block when sitting down to write this. I loved chapter 6 it was a book in a chapter a tale of escape, reversal of fortune, love rejected, and then little snippets, little clues, little breadcrumbs.

Aya wrote her summary first, and I was not going to read it until I read mine but we ARE in dialogue.

But before I dialogue let me summarize. Now we are leaving Karthide, this time with Estraven. Estraven adventures to a port city, he escapes, nearly doesn’t escape, finally escape lands in a new country as an “illegal alien”, becomes invisible and finally claiming a position in accordance his old position – and communicating the news about the Envoy. This is a fairy tale, maybe many fairy tales, the pauper and the prince comes to mind.

Aya fan girls Le Guin, and this chapter is fan girl worthy. She says “Estraven-skeptic to an Estraven believer. the subtle changes in language, cadence, and diction separate us from the narrative voice of Genly Ai.” This chapter is about language. It is language that we are becoming accustom to thorough its use in the book, kemmer and foretelling and schiftgregor (which I mispelled and am too lazy to reference). Are we, the aliens, becoming locals.

Aya references the banter and the storytelling. This is the way we pass on news, truths, teach new truths.

For me I wonder, why did LeGuin bring in Estaven’s old lover? A foreteller no less! I wonder what are the somatic practices or esoteric practices of this world? I wonder what is up with these bodies that change from male to female, that can repel stun blasts, and so forth. I wonder how did LeGuin create a bunch of words and trick me that it represented a world with answers to these questions? And that I should care about it !

Plants and Humans

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I have been meditating with plants, not like ayahuasa or san pedro, but like mugwort and tulsi.

I sit with the plants. I listen I breath … what do they have to tell me what do I… How can we just be together?

There is this common discussion among plant people, that I may have posted before, but I will post now. How did we come to discover all the uses of various plants, from things like willow bark to wine making.

How was it, for example, that people learned willow bark was good for a headache (aspirin)?

Did ancient peoples apply the scientific method? This seems sort of impossible with the amount of knowledge we have and the time necessary to proceed by trial and error (not to mention human casulties).

So there must have been some other way. One thing people talk about is that the plants communicated to the humans directly. Now this could be interpreted as very woo woo. But we can also imagine it as someone who is highly sensitive, just like when you are cooking and you smell your bouillabaisse and it does not smell quite right, or it smells right, or you know to add a pinch of this or that.

Just just accompany me on this epistemological bracketing – that we learn things directly from plants – if we can slow down enough if we can focus enough if we can still ourselves enough we can perceive differently.

Spoiler Alert – I have not been given any secret knowledge from the plants – however it has influenced my poetry and painting on a subconscious level – and even my fiction writing – and who knows what else – maybe my technical consulting work. These poems inspired by the plants are beautiful, one I think is appearing in a forth coming anthology, and another I have been performing in a series of VR salons. Truly they should be compiled into a book called plant pornography – maybe Isabella Rossellini and I could go on tour together with her Green Porno series. My plant poetry is – em – a bit erotic. When I used to first meditate with a new plant I would often take a bath with it. I have a very extensive bathing practice, and this is one of my core competencies. along with change management and value stream mapping. One particular plant, I felt, did not want to take a bath with me – (shocking) – to which someone said – you have to get to know the plant before you take a bath with them. Umm ok – I now take my plants to dinner first.

But I digress, I was walking along meditating on plants and how plants are different even in different locations even if they are the same species (we could say perhaps they have the same plant spirit, or in some Platonic metaphysics they participate in the same form of a certain plan)… they have different things to communicate. Plants do individuate even if it is less, even if Jung says they don’t – not all roses are the same.

I thought how sad it is that there are not enough people to communicate with all the different plants. And then I thought, ahh, this is what humans are supposed… to do communicate with their local plants -this is one of the purposes of being human. This does sound a bit insane, but what a beautiful thought, and how delicious and meaningful, and how more rich this makes the meaning of the person “human.” We are here to talk to the plants – maybe take a bath with them too.

Deep Thoughts on NFTs

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I was talking to my friend Stephen today about Autoglyphs. Autoglyphs are a series of NFTs where the code for the image for the NFT is generated by the smart contract itself. Here is the smart contract. There are english instructions that explain how to draw different symbols.

This was inspired by Sol Lewitt, and to me that is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at this work.

We can then render these instructions however we want. On the Autoglyphs website there is an example of these being rendered by a plotter on paper. There are also examples of these being rendered as ascii art. Each autoglyph has a different set of symbols that it uses to draw. – this is very clever. For example the symbol for this autoglyph is

I am interested in the rendering engine. It would be cool if blockchain had a rendering layer. In the web this was separated into the browser/application layer. We could generate a image in the smart contract – or the binary for an image.

It would be cool if the smart contract could represent itself. This separation between form and content is so 18century.

Anyway – I do think this is cool – to store generate art in this way. I am thinking about this in many different ways. More to come

Left Hand of Darkness – Chapter 5

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This is going to be a short and sweet comment on Chapter 5 left hand of darkness.

It begins with a story, a personal story of Genry, and his conversation with is landlord.

At first I had no idea what was happening and then I realized oh Genry is telling a story.

It foreshadows some developments about religion that we learn about later in the chapter.

Genry is travelling. He is going to gather information on foretelling. The ekumen know many things, they can communicate with their minds, but they cannot tell the future. However here we learn how foretelling works. It appears to be powered by sex and insanity. People who are celibate are seated next to people that are called ‘perverts’ – they have one gender. This exacerbates the sexual tension. There is electricity in the air, brains are broken, an answer is found to the question.

Gendry asks – why do are you a Foreteller to the foreteller (foreteller is someone that reads into the future)…

It is to learn what are the meaningless questions.