“Arthur C Clarke – Fractals – The Colors Of Infinity”

Happened across this video last night:

Been amazed by fractals since my early teens. And that above was an old-school documentary on the subject.

My guyfriend requested today that I post up pretty pictures of fractals on here. Probably aiming to distract me from political discourse. Haha! That’s what friends are for. tongue_funny

fractal480

Mandelbrot_Set-12-DOUBLE_SPIRAL-large

Mandelbrot_Set-10-SATELLITE_VALLEY

mandelbrot_upclose

mandelbrot_set That particular design is known as the Mandelbrot set and is repeated throughout fractal formations.

“Charles Murray — The Bell Curve Revisited”

From the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard (March 14, 2014).

EXCELLENT talk! Loved how Dr. Murray outlined what the book actually stated and what can reasonably be inferred from it (and what yet cannot), as well as discussing the backlash his book received. Sad about his co-writer/co-contributor not making it to see the release and response of their research in their book. Fascinating topic with so many possible implications that we really do have to be reserved in our speculations, as Murray definitely is. It’s unfortunate that so many people chose not to actually read these men’s book yet still feel the need to trash their findings. I admit to not having read it yet, but I have watched a good many lectures/speeches from Dr. Murray, including part of this one before, and grasp his findings enough to appreciate the value of them, upsetting as they may appear to some folks.

The Truth is what what is, our opinions and desires be damned. That’s how Nature rolls. There comes a point where we have to come to grips with that, my fellow social sciences enthusiasts. Because some people’s assumptions proved wrong doesn’t mean it’s all over and that more interesting inquiries don’t exist on the horizon. And this right here points to the problems with the “social sciences” — inability or unwillingness to be flexible in light of new and substantiated data. Welcome to scientific inquiry! Learn to roll with it! Quit investing yourselves in particular outcomes. That’s called an ideology. Not true empirical Science. We have no choice but to accept that fact, lest we wind up on the wrong end of the Copernican controversy, as Dr. Murray mentioned. He’s right there. Absolutely is. See more and in-depth information on biology, physics and anatomy to start grasping the larger picture. It’s necessary for human development that we all learn to grapple with the information being presented to us and to not hide or simply dismiss it because it may not conform to our prior expectations.

Very important that we come to grips with this life lesson. Much as I love aspects of the field of Sociology, I still stand firmly on what I’ve stated here.

“The Truth About South Africa and Apartheid”

Very interesting. Worth paying close and careful attention to.

I feel here Stefan actually did a good job of being as objective and fair as he could.

“Alan Watts – Western Psychology vs. World Religions”

Something goes strange with the audio shortly before the 40-minute mark. But it’s still worth listening to.

Anonymous – The Hacker Wars (documentary)

Today’s documentary selection, “Anonymous — The Hacker Wars”:

Very interesting. Recommended viewing for others.

Nihilism, Luciferianism, Transhumanism (another modern life ramble)

“Nihilism Part 2: Luciferianism – MGTOW”:

Listened to this video this morning (after waking up at the crack of dawn yet again, still unable to sleep well, as is so common) after reading a bit yesterday on the concept of Luciferianism, something I’m not familiar with aside from hearing the term lobbed around occasionally. Nihilism, on the other hand, is a concept I am a bit more familiar with and have delved into trying to comprehend in recent years, including some of the works of Nietzsche. And I must admit that nihilism continues to perplex me.

Not interested in saying much on here today…that sort of thing just always gets me thinking, and worrying. I understand what the man there was saying toward the end about deep introspection being necessary to seek out justifiable meaning and values in one’s own life in order to basically resist this nihilistic slide (if we want to call it that), and I’ve been mired in that process for a couple years now at least. The “existential panic” I reference on here sometimes is a multi-headed beast springing out of revelations from life choices but also all that I read and and listen to and try to grasp, along with this general sense of growing apathy and despair that I never seem capable of shaking for more than a day or two anymore.

But the topic of Luciferianism came across the radar, so I went in search of more information and came up with several sources, that video included among them. He broke it down more clearly than most else I found on the subject. When he speaks of Transhumanism as being like a modern and advanced form of Luciferianism, that makes sense. Where I get troubled, perhaps because I am a stubborn Luddite, is with the notion that humans really think we can become equal to that which we call God (i.e., the “Godhead”). This continues to strike me as ludicrous, as not only foolish but so incredibly fatally so. No, whatever is produced by those driven toward “post-human” ambitions is not something my human mind, heart and soul wants any part in. Not simply out of fear of the unknown though…just extreme discomfort with the enormous and insatiable strivings of our egos.

While I reject adherence to any given religion and can very much appreciate the value of reasoning and skepticism, I try to always keep in mind just how fallible we can’t help but be, including what we’ve convinced ourselves is perfectly reasonable and rational. So much of this blows my mind with its inescapable paradoxes — everywhere you look.

So I keep asking myself when reaching these impasses, if not there then where? Where else might one turn for something that makes enough sense to be held on to, to become grounded in so far as that is possible? Yes, new information and ideas will float us on and on and I understand that one is probably better off remaining fairly flexible when it comes to examining this life. But we also seem to require some footing, lest we set adrift and get completely lost along the way. Which is kinda how I feel now most days. Never sure what to grab hold of, what with pretty much everything (if not absolutely everything) coming to appear illusory at its core. Social and moral constructs. But then again, who’s to say that some of our human-made constructs aren’t based on natural phenomena and rules that transcend our understanding of them — we’re just grasping in their general direction due to an intuitive comprehension of their significance, their realness within the patterns of life.

Then my mind gets full and I’m drawn down and back to tired. People like to tell me these issues are rather easy, or that it is me who complicates them, that it’s just a matter of selecting a worldview or moral code and sticking with it. Easy as that. I envy the relative ease they express. Isn’t proving easy for me for some reason, not when it comes to maintaining footing and feeling solid enough to not be troubled by what all is flowing around us. Sometimes I do worry that this rising stream of questions and claims and mind-fuckery will eventually blur and distort everything I ever thought I knew or cared about and that I will wind up permanently lost. Perhaps others worry about this at times too. And perhaps that too is an illusive concern to where maybe a person has to let go and get lost in order to find out what’s really real.

I don’t know. Won’t claim to know much. But I will turn my attention back to other philosophical teachings and Jungian analyses since those appear more fruitful than the nihilistic maze.

Public discourse and political pressures in our most-modern era

Increasingly I find myself at a loss in comprehending and dealing with people in general. Some days it acutely feels like a deficit on my end, and other days I’m convinced we’re all flat-out going mad.

We humans do love to judge everything under the sun, that is true. Along with that comes all the labeling and divvying up so as to try to make sense of this world as we’re perceiving it at any given time. We humans also adore control and power, that too is true. When we cannot or will not focus on controlling ourselves we’re extremely prone toward exerting control over one another. This becomes manifest in myriad ways.

We humans are an ordering species — it’s simply what we do. We build and create and construct and (re)design. Just in our genes to be this way. We crave certainty and fear losing control over our environment and nearly everything within it. We wish to breathe easily in knowing that what we are surrounded by is rendered predictable, understandable, reliable. There’s comfort in knowing where we stand and being able to have faith in the fruits of human ingenuity.

In this era of technological sophistication like the world has never known we’re capable of manipulating reality to suit our ambitions, desires, dreams, and whims in ways that the ancients undoubtedly would envy and be awe-struck by.

However, Nature has its own agenda that has very little to do with our own. Paradoxes abound everywhere we care to seek, opposing effects always arise (though not necessarily in equal measure), and the law of entropy remains an inescapable fact of life.

Life orders and creates while simultaneously eroding and destroying, ceaselessly seeking some new form of equilibrium.

Yet we humans remain terrified of chaos and disorder and thereby are forever aiming to concoct more intricate forms of ordered reality in hope of them proving resilient enough against natural forces so that we might finally arrive at the formation of some sort of great and lasting “heaven on earth” (or something secular to that effect) where our perception(s) of logic may rule the day, comforts can be regularly and easily attained by the masses, and a sense of widespread peace may be granted unto us. Or so goes the common narrative we keep telling ourselves and one another, year after year, generation after generation, particularly now when our technological prowess and its future potential appears so promising.

We like to think the sky is the limit, that perhaps we’re a species destined to god-like status in due time.

I tend to think we’re deluded, but…

Onward we rush with passionate fervor, having by now established massive nation-states and global economies along with extremely complex political/legal systems. We’ve also been blessed with escalating intellectual and technical resourcefulness, paving the way to increasingly labyrinthine conceptualizations and alienating abstract thought, that allowing the weaving of the most-modern economic/political, socio-psychological, and philosophical narratives better known to us today as ideologies. Evermore complicated and complicating, to be sure. All of which ensures new and fertile battlegrounds for exerting control and influence over one another.

Surely many mean well. This isn’t necessarily some sinister trick humans aim to play on one another. And yet the consequences progressively prove mind-numbing, stultifying, puzzling.

All can be rationalized in the name of Forward Progress and Advancement

Complexities everywhere we turn, to the point of absurdity. Reasoning and rationality give way to sophistry as we strive to convince ourselves and one another that we actually know what we’re doing here, that this or that ideal is proper and good and in need of being adopted unilaterally (because it will be best for us all!), that there must be Order and Law applied in all cases and to all areas (no stones left unturned! lest we open ourselves back up to confusion and chaos and disruptions). This Theory versus that Theory. This supposed Truth versus that one. Political camps locking horns as their adherents scramble to bully and berate others into accepting these “facts” and preferences versus those lesser values and supposed lies.

Up, up and out we build our kingdoms by way of legal sanctioning, formalized educational centers, feats of engineering and scientific innovations, catastrophic agents of war,  material wonders of mind-bending variety — all balanced precariously on our (seemingly) reasonable and rational intellectual scaffolding. Though we forever fight and feud over what’s of greatest importance and what else is being unfairly neglected, what changes ought to be made, what consequences are proving unbearable as a result, etc., etc.

The barks are endless: “Do something!” “Join our cause!” “See things as we do and accept our prescription for righting these (perceived) wrongs!” But it’s been our doings that have brought us to this point in the first place. Plus, there are a multitude of conflicting claims and prescribed courses of actions being proffered these days. For one course to be adopted, countless others will retort that they are being rejected and minimized, possibly even victimized as a result. Is there any “winning” in such a situation as this? Is there any way to truly please even a fraction of people when this is how the gameboard has been arranged?

More importantly, is this game, as it’s come to be ordered and its rules determined, even worth playing? Regardless of what some may allege and enjoy debating about, are there not alternatives likely to prove to be more productive, or at least less schizo, methods for approaching life and living?

One would like to think. Because, as it stands now, everywhere one turns there appear to be symbols of provocation positioned to grab our attention, to incite a sense of guilt and/or fear, before it then presses in with calls for us to alter our ways in accordance with this movement’s/group’s/party’s/ideology’s advocated worldview, or else be scorned and harassed and identified as their enemy. What middle ground or third way exists in circumnavigating or otherwise restructuring this irksome game people insist on playing?

Become a faithful adherent or else be deemed a cretin by other faithful adherents — what other option is available? Join and align with this or that cause and then wind up disdained as an adversary by those who ideologically oppose them and their presumed mission. And if you join none, you are considered by nearly all to be hopelessly confused and lost and only deserve to be taken up time with when one such faction or another periodically ramps up its recruiting efforts.

It’s all rather hilarious, if only the social fallout weren’t proving so disturbing. Yet so many toil on in these roles, imagining themselves righteous warriors in whatever cause they identify with at any given time, viewing all the rest to be obstructions along the way to what they regard as proper Progress. Matters not if one’s political ideology leans Left or Right or even claims to be Moderate, if it’s gender/sex-centric or race-specific, economically-motivated or defended as most politically expedient. Doesn’t matter at all — the strategies employed and long-term outlook remain similar, with the ill-conceived ends envisioned sharing in common means requiring enhanced conformity among the masses in order to operate effectively and efficiently in accordance with the supreme ideal. That conformity can either be brought about through education (er, propaganda) or by law and the threat posed by the foot soldiers paid to enforce the new directives or by good old-fashioned social pressure accompanied by fear of ostracism. Typically a combination thereof.

So, bend willingly or be bent by others — that is the message of this Age, perhaps no different than in any other Age that came before other than how now—possessing extraordinary capabilities through vast networks and public broadcasting across various mediums to proliferate such agendas as well as to monitor and tweak levels of acceptance within populations—the threat has expanded (and continues expanding) insidiously and ubiquitously.

Seems that that capability unto itself is the most unnerving hazard of modern life…regardless of what persons claim to believe or what is professed to ultimately be in the best interest of society.

And with that comes a sense of not being able to contend in this battle without losing. Because, for as rational as we humans like to think we are, the proof of our limitations, both in terms of deep insight as well as foresight, are historically legendary. Tragically so. Today can claim no exception, what with examples visible in all directions, high and low, ever-mounting in number and magnitude of (generally unforeseen) consequences.

It’s also a wonder of how might our own human natures react in the face of what we, whatever our intentions, are cobbling together in this latest millennium. Widespread sanity has never been guaranteed.

Fallible beings — may we never for a second forget that at the core this is what we are and what we will always be. Blame Nature if you must take issue with natural constraints.

Where are we dragging one another now? A reasonable question to ask. And one wonders how might Nature respond, as it cannot help but do in its own fantastic fashion.

Yet we plod along, believing ourselves to know what we are doing, believing our group/movement/ideology/etc. has the next best answer or the truest and clearest vision for a new and improved future. If only all others could get behind this or that conviction or prescribed course of action, then our dream of a utopian society would finally prove possible! It is those heathens to blame for keeping this wonderful (potential) reality from coming into being! Those dreaded enemies of ours and whosoever grants them any power, those despicable scoundrels undeserving of rights nor liberty so long as they keep on mucking up society as they always have! If they could be defeated, or eliminated altogether, our lives would be better off for it! So the rabbling goes…

Where it all ends? Nobody knows. Utopian fantasies are heralded as being on the horizon, but are they really? What is being asked of us in order to live this way? It appears that all idealistic schemes exact conformity as a (pre-)condition so as to be brought into existence. And does that not in some roundabout fashion promise to eventually cater to the lowest common denominator? Considering how not all are capable of being brought up to one universal standard of excellence, nor will all ever possess equal intellectual aptitude. Does this not elicit concern over who or what will eventually win out in calling the shots from on high and whether the rest of us will truly benefit from adapting to its new demands, assuming we’d even want to? And will such a choice even be granted?

Sounds like the same ol’ song and dance up through the ages, doesn’t it? Like no matter how much things change, some parts are determined to remain the same. And on and on go the gnashing of teeth and casting of blame and radiating feelings of tortured malcontentment, and so on and so forth…

What a tiring topic to feel the need to keep returning to. *sigh*

Wannabe gold-diggers and televised fantasies

In the mood today to observe and analyze my familial relations in writing this evening. In the interest of not seeming disloyal to my people, I’m not wishing to write any of this out of spite. More intended as retrospection and introspection for my own purposes. Will aim to keep it relatively vague to protect the identities of (some of) those involved.

For whatever reason, the last couple of generations of women I’m directly by blood related to seem bent toward gold-digging attitudes. Not that they’ve proven successful in their ventures, mind you, it’s just the mindset they bring to the table in discussions pertaining to male and female relations and the expectations they’ve expressed over the years. The family members in question came into existence either in the 1940s or 1960s, so I’m guessing it’s a cultural matter at the core in terms of the impressions they’ve adopted and taken to heart. Nevertheless, it’s a bit irritating to have come up with this bunch of disgruntled women, perpetually unhappy with darn-near anything a man has brought to their lives.

I bring this up due to conversations occurring this week, not that they are new or that I am naive to my family members’ positions before now. Just strikes me, as it long has, as wasteful and pointless. Listened to the elder female family member’s complaints, yet again, about her deceased husband and his shortcomings when it came to providing income for the family…and yet she’s never acknowledged in a fully responsible way how her own financial choices and behaviors have proven detrimental to their economic situation. And now that he’s dead and gone, it gets to feeling like the blame game will never cease.

Believe I’ve mentioned previously on my blog how my own mother was a wannabe gold-digger, and the most successful out of the bunch too, I might add. She married my stepdad for his “earning potential,” as she repeated numerous times throughout my upbringing. And that marriage eventually crashed and burned, namely because she was never content, even after he indeed did prove successful and provided them with a perfectly nice and comfortable home in the suburbs where she was not required to work to add to the family income (though she typically did work part-time between stints of returning to college in a succession of major changes that never resulted in a degree earned, all of which he financed). And he offered her great conditions during their divorce, the most I’ve yet to ever see a woman awarded whom I personally know. If I remember correctly, I believe he granted her about $30k on the value of the house (that she never made a payment on), she kept her car of course, plus half the furniture, plus $900/mo. child support for their one son, plus $1100/mo. alimony for about 4-5 years. She didn’t have to finagle that out of him either — he had his lawyer offer that settlement, which she eagerly agreed to at the time. And he’s since told me he offered her as much as he did because he wanted his son properly taken care of for the rest of the duration of his teens without some new man being brought into his life. Which was accomplished. My little brother was about 16 at the time of their 2nd divorce from one another (yes, they married, divorced, remarried one another, and divorced a second time). The kicker is that a year after their first divorce back around 1990 my mother actually moved back in with my stepdad and essentially lived as roommates until they remarried about 4-5 years later. So…

I grew up observing a good bit of that, and listening to her bitch and complain as though she were being tortured. He didn’t abuse her. He on special occasions bought her trinkets and nice jewelry. Provided everything she needed. Curbed her from putting them (further) in credit card debt by locking her cards up, which she resented deeply. Yet forever she bitched and complained that she wasn’t treated right, that he was a tightwad, that he was an asshole, that we’d be better off without him around, etc. As a kid, I was partial to her perspective since she was my mom, my only biological parent, so I took her side. Nowadays, as of more than a decade now, she and I have virtually no relationship and, by comparison, I’m actually on closer terms with my stepdad, who’s fairly recently remarried and now has a new baby boy as of this year. Mom, on the other hand, is still working crap jobs and living in an apartment (after the house she bought after the divorce was foreclosed on), last I knew still single and sporting a shitty attitude where she blames everybody but herself for her lack of success in this life.

She’s the worst of the bunch, the most extreme, but still…she learned the attitude somewhere.

A sibling of hers shares a similar attitude toward men and their utility.

Sadly, so does their mother.

Not that the other two proved successful in fulfilling their expectations at all, but the attitude persists to this day. I keep hearing about it, year after year, especially when I’m down here and in person. Not trying to call out my people or be a bitch here, but damn. Listened to one of my female family members recently, won’t say which in an effort to protect a bit of privacy for info I’m specially privy to, encourage me to request a guy friend of mine to set aside money for me in a savings account to be used in the event that I kick the bucket so that my body can be transported back to Mississippi for the funeral. A guy friend. Not my lover. Not my husband. A friend. And I laughed her out on that suggestion. Like, lady, you cannot be serious! That’s not what he’s there for. If I start hitting him up for everything under the sun, he’s not going to want to remain my friend, and why do someone like that, especially when he and I have known one another over a decade?  tongue_out  That’s rude as hell. Why try to drag him into my family financial matters where they do not concern him? Simply because she assumes he could afford it, and apparently that’s just what men are for, to her. Ticks me off. And I told her so.

And I’ve gotten the impression over time that these women in my life are a little peeved that I have access to men with decent incomes, yet at the same time they seem to wish for me to exploit them, while remaining a bit jealous about that prospect too. Geez…  You know how irritating that shit is?

Makes me want to turn to a couple of them and let it be known that it’s not my problem that they didn’t marry particularly well. Had they married for love instead of constantly worrying about what material possessions they don’t have, and had they figured out ways to save and perhaps build side business ventures to boost the family income, then maybe they wouldn’t remain so envious of others. But I cannot say all of that aloud. Will only cause massive family strife and problems. I speak out too much as is.

I can see where these attitudes impressed on me, especially when I was younger, and I’m also grateful for being the daughter of the worst in the bunch so as to learn better than zeroing in on all of that. It’s an ugly game. Made their husbands feel like shit, like failures, like never able to measure up to some outlandish expectations, when those men were in no better position starting out than these females were.

Personally, I blame a lot of this shit on television and the advertising and marketing that made a major impression on people, particularly back when that medium was relatively new on the scene. Not that it doesn’t have a major impact today as well, but I believe it may have been worse for the baby-boomer generation, generally speaking. They seemed to have internalized its “ideals” hook, line, and sinker. And that’s nutty, when you really stop and think about it.

Most especially when we’re talking about self-professed Christian people. I mean, damn — what are you really about then? Material acquisition? Wanting to keep up with the Joneses? Why? To what end? To prove what?

Tell me this has nothing to do with a sense of entitlement sowed into the population over time, giving people (particularly women) the impression that they deserve so much more than they’re receiving and that that is a travesty. Because? Because welcome to the modern age. So and so down the street can afford this or that. Those people enjoy modern comforts that we don’t. You spend money on this or that, so I’m ticked since I feel that’s to blame for us not having this. And on and on the divisiveness goes.

One thing I continue to appreciate my stepdad for was cutting off cable when I was still pretty young. Certainly didn’t hurt to go a few years without so much televised input, and I’ve opted to not subscribe to cable myself for the last 8 years solidly (and intermittently in years prior to that). Watch TV over at friends’ places enough as it is. Best to not subject oneself to all that fantasy shit. Gets your mind wandering and stimulates the tendency to compare yourself and your life (and your appearance, and whatever else) to that which is televised, none of which is fully and truly depicted. It’s not intended to reflect real life, yet it is intended to intrigue us into wanting shit we don’t need.

Repeat the same BS to people often and long enough and many start to believe it.

Strikes me as quite amazing how much people are willing to believe simply because it’s shown on television. Like our reasoning gets short-circuited. People love to assume that they’re terrific at separating reality from fiction, but the evidence doesn’t bear that out.

But is television alone to blame for these sort of attitudes? No, probably not. But it definitely helped in sowing those seeds to the masses, especially to the ignorant (whether willfully or otherwise), uneducated, and easily impressionable. Sorry folks, but it’s true.

Anyway, I probably received a worthwhile education in a weird, back-door kind of way there. Learned vicariously what life is not worth wasting time on, at the least. We all enjoy possessing some nice things and having enough money to get by and to take in worthwhile experiences in life rather than working like slaves, don’t get me wrong there. But isn’t it a question of how we choose to conduct ourselves and what we value most? I mean, there are worse things in life than not having a bunch of money. And so many who chase money and luxuries don’t seem all that happy in the end anyway.

“Aaron Swartz’s Top 10 Rules For Success”

Big fan of that young man. Very sad how it all ended for him, but am glad he existed and shared what he did with us.