Friday, January 27, 2006

A Sudoku moment

Sudoku is like a viral that obsesses people without their ever really knowing why. I think it is trying to create some new pathways for the mind. Sudoku is ideally to be solved through pattern recognition rather than through what-if experimentation. The mind is seeking to find more efficient ways to negotiate the modern data overload, and that is the true explanation for this phenomenon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bluejay exegesis

The Beatles' song Blue Jay Way (written by George Harrison) starts out describing a "fog upon L.A." in which the singer's friends have gotten lost. "We'll be over soon they said / Now they've lost their way instead." The hypnotic refrain "Please don't be long," repeated over and over, seems to be making a simple point: the singer wants to see his friends and hopes they arrive soon, "or I may be asleep."

However, there is more (much more) to it than this (naturally). Because there is an alternate meaning embedded in the chorus: "Please don't belong." What could this mean? That we, who are the friends George is actually addressing, should not "belong" to the mass consciousness, but break out and join him and his comrades who are sitting in the rarefied regions above the fog. George mentions that probably we asked directions from a policeman on the street: "There's so many there to meet." No, we will not find our way to Blue Jay Way by asking the officer how to get there. We have to follow George's directions, which he says he gave us: "I told them where to go." (Could he be referring to his song Within You Without You on "Sgt. Pepper," in which he talked of realizing how one was really very small in the whole flow of life inside and outside of oneself?)

There's also the possibility that the line means don't be long in the sense of length. Perhaps seeking extension of our lives, our egos, our identities, is counterproductive. Perhaps the longer we stay out stumbling through the fog, the longer we extend our quest and our self-definition, the farther we get from that consummation. And it increases the sense of longing in our lives. George says he will soon be asleep. That was in 1967. Now he really is asleep. And are we any closer to Blue Jay Way? In fact, aren't we a lot farther away then we were?

Still, from the clouds, comes the ghostly refrain: "Please don't be long." We won't, George, we promise. We'll go sit down and get really small, about the size of an atom, then crawl through into one of those higher dimensions which the physicists say are curled up very, very tiny inside our oversized reality.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Free to be fried

With all the talk of freedom justifying any and all wars and depredations against perceived enemies of the state both outside our borders and inside as well (the latter case encompassing just about everybody these days), it is perhaps redundant as well as obvious to point out that freedom is not just a good idea, it's the law. One is now "forced to be free" (an idea Jean Jacques Rousseau thought was desirable, and which helped spawn the French Revolution). The Iraqis know what this feels like, and Americans are learning.

But leaving aside the political ramifications of the term for a moment, let us consider freedom as the law of the universe, whether one feels oneself free from relative entanglements in one's personal life or not. When he made us, God blew a bunch of bubbles and let them float off and each of us live inside one of them. We wave and signal to each other as we float through our days. Sometimes we have the illusion that we are actually communicating with each other. Then we float onwards and upwards. That is true freedom. Not a very enticing prospect: rather lonely and desperate. And yet, that is the condition of human existence. Lest this sound tiresomely existentialist, mustily redolent of yellowing paperbacks by Camus and Beckett, be assured that I have no intention of invoking the French (though I had to quote Rousseau in the last paragraph—seems that even when you try to get away from the French, you end up repeating their ideas—as when they renamed French fries "freedom fries.")

Those who are fried as we ensure their freedom may take consolation in their new status as the most appetizing of crispy critters in the eye of God.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Anti-entropic timeflow

Although time may generally move in the direction of greater entropy, as the second law of thermodynamics dictates, surely there is the possibility of antientropic eddies within that flow, in which a system will exhibit a growth in energy, coherence, and orderliness. Living systems seem to have this characteristic, and even after they have ceased to grow in the ordinary sense, they can be seen to be "growing" in terms of regenerating themselves as long as they are alive. This is because living systems are never closed; they are constantly exchanging energy with other entities in the environment, so they don't run down like a clock that someone has wound up and then put away in a drawer.

Therefore, if it is possible to pedal uphill against entropy, even if only in the short term, and if one can take a breath of fresh air and enjoy a moment of clarity even in the awareness that the doomed universe is headed for final extinction and heat death in billions of years, then it is clear that the landscape of time is marked by many, many mountains, valleys, crevasses, and other irregularities. And since time is relative to the observer, as we know from Einstein's special theory of relativity, there are inherently multitudinous points of view about how fast and in which direction time is moving. For you, it may be going south. For me it may be moving north by northwest and I don't know a hawk from a handsaw.

In which case I might just be crazy enough to stay alive awhile longer.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The inner frog

I find Rennie Davis's use of the term entity very useful and find it cognate with John Lentz's use of the term godbeing. In both cases we're talking about a divine presence that has objective reality. It is not merely a voice in the head. In fact it might never say anything at all. It is an implacable essence, not part of human nature, but something more akin to a mineral bed—or perhaps an animal. We think of the native people's totem animals and how they buffer one from the terrors of the Absolute. It is a bit like that with the entity/godbeing. It is not like one's inner self or higher self, but more like one's inner dog or hawk or fox (or in my case, inner frog).

When I have something to say

There is something in the back of my mind that says I should blog. If I go a day or a week without blogging, that voice reprimands me, as if I have some sort of social responsibility to keep the blogwords coming. But that is obviously silly if I have nothing to say.

Then there is the idea that if I say something, anything at all, it is better than nothing, because then I have kept the "creative current" flowing. That is also a fallacy. If the creative current is not there, no mere exercise of the typing fingers will conjure it up.

I'll blog when I have something to say, ok? Or, to be more precise, when there is something to say.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Primal blog

This is the primal blog of the year, meaning not that it is like the blogging equivalent of a primal scream; that would involve using a lot of uncool capital letters. No, I mean primal in the sense of first. This is the first 2006 post of the qubikuity blog, and as such it is setting a tone for the rest of the year. Thus its primal quality can simply be characterized as an initial imprinting for what will follow.

If this is true, and this post contains the rest of the year in seed form, and as an archetype it is a pattern which will be recapitulated each and every time I blog qubikuitously in 2006, then in a sense you have already received the complete transmission, in its pure state, that is trying to be conveyed here. You've got it. When you return to read the next installment, the same viral will simply be reimplanted.

I am listening to Karen Matheson singing "The Dreaming Sea":

'Til I feel as though I'll never sleep again
When I close my eyes I feel the whole world spin
'Til I don't know where you end, where I begin

Don't say anything. Set aside your objections. Know this as the truth. How does it feel, how does it feel, to be engulfed in the dreaming sea, but now dreaming with open eyes? Then you could really say, I don't know where you end and I begin. And mean it.

So may this truth be a truth that lives in you this year, and in me. And then we'll see where we're at, and where we've been, at year's end, at world's end.