“Every day I set less store on intellect. Every day I see more clearly that if the writer is to repossess himself of some part of his impressions, get to something personal, that is, and to the only material of art, he must put it aside. What intellect restores to us under the name of the past, is not the past. In reality, as soon as each hour of one’s life has died, it embodies itself in some material object, as do the souls of the dead in certain folk-stories, and hides there. There it remains captive, captive for ever, unless we should happen on the object, recognise what lies within, call it by its name, and so set it free.”—
Marcel Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve, trans. Sylvia Townsend Warner
(Reporting from a real life event- an almost verbatim transcription)
“Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.”
I met a person yesternight; she said that she does not recognize boundaries to her beingness.
She said that her agenda is: Unlimited freedom of being.
I asked her to explain.
This she said:
“I am a web without a spider, which is how I mind my body; I map myself upon the boundaries I perceive. It used to be that the multitude that constitutes the web that is ‘I’ seemed like a dead end, a street going nowhere, apparently a paradox. Until recently I was busy trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to conquer the differences between my dissimilar desires, between the push and pull of my complex emotions, this I do no more. I do not try anymore to describe the complex realities of my life in terms of comprehension, or realization, it made me tired, it made me stupid, I stopped. It is not so much that I had a new understanding as the simple fact that I have deep feelings for a variety of causes, events and persons, minds and circumstances, so many feelings in fact, different and diversified that I thought to myself: “trying to make sense of it all is an impossible task.” So.. Let it go.. The thing is, that being the web that I am, embedded in a web of trusted friends, I was not alone, my friends did not let me unravel the seed of my freedom into apparent apathy, which truth to tell, secretly I know to be laziness. I am smart, yes, and clever to boot, and I thought I was blocked; this did not make sense, not to me and not to my friends. They did not look at me as a woman, not even as a mother, in fact gender plays no dramatic role in our communications, emotions do, intelligence does, beauty indeed. In a very real sense then, I took it upon myself to connect the different dimensions of my life through a simple act of release, a kind of letting loose certain ideas about how things ‘should be’ and allowed a new description of my life to come forth. That is when the flow took over, and to be honest I am still in the process of understanding what exactly it is that I mean when I say that my agenda is: Unlimited freedom of being. I do not truly comprehend what it is that I am stating, but I have a sense of it, a glimpse if you like, it is a statement that kind of untangles the knots of my existence, it puts my child in perspective, it puts the insemination in a greater context, it in a way connects my past and my future into a moment of pleasure, the pleasure of being me, now. It is very clear to me now that I am storytelling my mind in the fashion that fits my existence best, I am learning the composition of narration and structure and the importance of being accurate in my reflections, but I do not rush, slowly I’ll weave this statement into a real life event. So, I am not sure I answered your question, but this is a process of unfoldment, it will take me some time, a few years I gather, to see the full implications of this web, but of one thing I am certain, there is no spider in the center of the web that is I. Btw, thank you for asking me this question, it somehow helps me clarify my present position, I’ll be sure to let you know how this story unfolds.”
A note: I need say that this person is a highly intelligent and gentle creature; she is a person that I consider to be a ‘progressive thinker’, an open minded person willing to undertake a great transformation both personally and socially, and I am deeply appreciative and respectful to her ambition and agenda.
Thank you. I decided to share publicly this conversation because it was inspiring and worthwhile thinking about, I’ll probably write a more extended post on the issue, sometime in the near future.
Slated for completion in 2015, PlanIT Valley won’t be a mere “smart city” — it will be a sentient city, with 100 million sensors embedded throughout, running on the same technology that’s in the Formula One cars, each sensor sending a stream of data through the city’s trademarked Urban Operating System (UOS), which will run the city with minimal human intervention.
Built-from-scratch cities have been popping up for years, but fully sentient ones are only in the prototype stage (PlanIT Valley will have just 150,000 residents). And their goal, as with all sentient beings, is to replicate. The percentage of global city dwellers will surge to 70 percent by 2050, and many of the fastest-growing cities are sprawling eco-disasters in the making. PlanIT Valley’s hyper-efficient model promises to be bright green. A white paper created by Living PlanIT, the company designing PlanIT Valley, details an techno-paradise of energy conservation. (Living PlanIT did not respond to requests for comment.) Cars are guided toward empty parking spaces, personal computers are engaged to run the UOS when they’re sitting idle, and rooms not only lower the air conditioning when you’ve left them (yes, the system will know when you’ve left them), but can even decide whether it’s worth it to do so based on how long you typically leave that room vacant.
But wait, there’s more! Leaky faucet? The UOS can detect it, and if it can’t do the repair remotely, will dispatch a plumber. Lose your child? Surveillance cameras might be swiveled to ascertain “the child’s current location and activity.” Apartment on fire? The UOS will alert the fire department, direct each resident to the safest exit, adjust the neighborhood’s traffic lights to clear a path for the incoming trucks, tell the firefighters which parts of the building are affected and the locations of anyone inside, automatically unlock doors and windows, increase pressure in that neighborhood’s water mains, and allocate patients in priority order when they arrive at the nearest hospital.
My obstinate rejection of time is now taking its revenge on me. Its passage never existed for me. I never felt it as a river that could dry up. It was all around me, inexhaustible, a sea. I drifted about in all directions; it seemed natural to go on this way. My time would never run out. Everything I undertook was for eternity, and eternities were at my disposal, even for the smallest projects.
I was in search of the old gods, wanted to reconcile them to myself. My intellectual ambitions were fulfilled in the studies of many peoples: this was how I atoned for the arrogance of my own forbears. I did not look to history for guidance. The smallest things, because they were on the verge of disappearing, meant more than the biggest. I could not accept ignoring a single life. Whatever this crowded world had no room for, I made a place for within myself. And so now I feel as broad as the world: I feel I touch it everywhere. Year by year the arrogance of those who live for themselves alone seems more and more alien to me. Today I know how little I am myself, how much of me is in the universal breath of the spirit.
But having attained this goal, I recognize my own futility. I have scorned time, and now it is running out on me.
“Most of the time our autobiographical memories and beliefs match up - we remember last week’s journey to a conference and believe that journey really took place. Other times, we believe an event happened - we know we travelled to that conference - but our memory for the event eludes us, perhaps because the trip was so boring or because we drank too much wine. Recently, psychologists have begun to examine the rarer reverse scenario, in which we have what feels like a memory for an event, but we know (or believe) that the event never happened - we recall the conference journey but know we couldn’t have made it. A recent survey (pdf) of over 1,500 undergrads found that nearly a quarter reported having a non-believed memory of this kind. Now Andrew Clark and his colleagues have gone further - for the first time actually provoking non-believed memories in the lab.”—BPS Research Digest: Psychologists create non-believed memories in the laboratory (via wildcat2030)
“A New Zealand company plans to implant pig cells in the human brain in a clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease and help improve movement and brain functions in patients. The clinical trials, planned for next year, would be the first using pig brain cells for potential treatment in humans. Living Cell Technologies Ltd said on Tuesday the treatment involves transplanting “support” cells from the brain of pigs that can help repair damaged nerve tissue in people with Parkinson’s.”—New Zealand firm to trial pig cells to treat Parkinson’s | Reuters (via wildcat2030)
“ “The internet makes dumb people dumber and smart people smarter. Just as globalization and de-unionization have been major drivers of the growth of income inequality over the past few decades, the internet is now a major driver of the growth of cognitive inequality.” ”—Kevin Drum, American political blogger and columnist, The Internet Is a Major Driver of the Growth of Cognitive Inequality, Mother Jones, Feb 17, 2012 (via amiquote)
Vergence Labs builds bioelectric human computer interfaces that enhance users’ mental and sensory abilities beyond the human norm. Put simply, we build bioelectric computerized superpowers. We are making 3D gesture, eye tracking and brain interfaces to create a natural 3D human interface with a wearable HMD computer. For our first years, we are focusing on augmenting human vision: sending information into the eyes that is “smart”; so your vision contains data that is more rich, interactive and informative than the raw world around you. Later, we have plans to interface with and control robotic devices and small remote robot servants with basic gesture and thought. Our software focus is on building HCI layers for modular extenisibility and integrating a platform over linux with interactive computer vision, 3D video segmentation, and generic mechanisms to increase the user’s ability to aquire knowledge with machine-learning-assisted visual and auditory stimulation. We’re also working on general solutions for using eye tracking and vergence for eliminating eye strain caused by stereo displays.
“… Henceforth alone and sorely mistrustful of myself, I thus, and not without a sullen wrathfulness, took sides against myself and for everything painful and difficult precisely for me: — thus I again found my way to that courageous pessimism that is the antithesis of all romantic mendacity, and also, as it seems to me today, the way to ‘myself’, to my task. That concealed and imperious something for which we for long have no name until it finally proves to be our task — this tyrant in us takes a terrible retribution for every attempt we make to avoid or elude it, for every premature decision, for every association on equal terms with those with whom we do not belong, for every activity, however respectable, if it distracts us from our chief undertaking, even indeed for every virtue that would like to shield us from the severity of our own most personal responsibility. Illness is the answer every time we begin to doubt our right to our task — every time we begin to make things easier for ourselves. Strange and at the same time terrible! It is our alleviations for which we have to atone the most! And if we afterwards want to return to health, we have no choice: we have to burden ourselves more heavily than we have ever been burdened before … .”—Friedrich Nietzsche. 4. Preface. Volume II. Human, All Too Human. (via seeyoulateraggregator)
“As particle physics revolutionizes the concepts of “something” (elementary particles and the forces that bind them) and “nothing” (the dynamics of empty space or even the absence of space), the famous question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is also revolutionized. Even the very laws of physics we depend on may be a cosmic accident, with different laws in different universes, which further alters how we might connect something with nothing. Asking why we live in a universe of something rather than nothing may be no more meaningful than asking why some flowers are red and others blue. Perhaps most remarkable of all, not only is it now plausible, in a scientific sense, that our universe came from nothing, if we ask what properties a universe created from nothing would have, it appears that these properties resemble precisely the universe we live in.
Imagining living in a universe without purpose may prepare us to better face reality head on. I cannot see that this is such a bad thing. Living in a strange and remarkable universe that is the way it is, independent of our desires and hopes, is far more satisfying for me than living in a fairy-tale universe invented to justify our existence.”—Pondering a universe without purpose - Page 2 - Los Angeles Times (via wildcat2030)