Jesu merde. This...barely even makes sense to me. Apologies in advance; some of this will be coming out in stream-of-consciousness / [emotional aggregates]. Fingers pointing clumsily at what may be the Moon (and may be its re-verse (1)).
Trying to construct a coherent narrative out of thoughts is not proving easy. My first reaction to that is to jump to something non-linear (riverrun, past resurrection silhouettes), but I wonder how well that would communicate. I'm not certain communication is my aim, either; perhaps part of this is just to get the ideas out of my head. Just so there's a record.
Something (likely playing Munchkin Cthulhu a week or so ago) has the character archetype of Investigator floating around my thoughts. And tracing the etymology of "investigation" proved interestingly self-referential...(you may, in fact, find a Mark there).
And it's amusing, perhaps only to me: I think drawing on the Cthulhu mythos...well, I fear that I may have chosen a framing device just a bit too thematically appropriate, in a sense. The sheer abyss-staring terror of "oh. well, I'm insane", proven to you beyond any reasonable doubt. Though, it's not like I wasn't told that I'd have to face what I most fear, or anything...
"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan
“That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." - P. C. Hodgell
Wait, getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
So, in my most recent November re-read of House of Leaves, I stumbled upon the notion of complimenting said re-ex-ploration (echo!) with Morrison's Invisibles. I tried this, with the goal in mind of
This, I would deem successful. Though (and I think here's where we hit the non-snag), I seem to have taken this thought process out of the Matrix / narrative and back into the Real. Which is not, I think, a bad thing (non-snag).
I'd already been interested in / reading up on the study of cognitive biases (2). I'd known of them, but staring at the fact that my cognitive process is essentially made of them...
I knew it, but I didn't know it. It wasn't intuitive, until the idea was reinforced, again and again and again. "You're not some perfect (or even imperfect, but still fundamentally rational) cognitive agent with a few flaws due to some spotty psychology / the influence of culture / being currently incarnate." "Ok, makes sense", I say, cerebrally accepting the notion and then behaving largely as before. "No, you're still not getting it".
You. Are. The. Meat. Thinking meat. You are one of the current mass-production models of billions of years of replicators getting better at replicating themselves, and your genes don't care about you.
Sure. Makes sense cerebrally (and one can get rather perplexed at the folks who don't seem to have parsed it even that much), but...it's realizing we're not wired to see ourselves like that, for lack of a better phrase, and noticing that something that says it's me still thinks it's ontologically basic (i.e. not, in fact, made of matter, entirely physical, entirely deterministic).
(The process of seeing this strikes me as rather like the opening chapter of Mostly Harmless with regard to the self-diagnostic process of the Grebulon ship).
What the precise hell do you do after accepting that? You wake up and matter itself feels stifling because you know you're made of it?
Honestly, it's less of a gut punch than the revelatory nonsense from last year's Dark Shit Therapy, but it feels almost as if it should be hitting me just as hard, if not harder. Then again, I did fix quite a bit of entirely unnecessary personal...let's call it inefficiency...in the intervening time.
Oddly enough, my thoughts from this time last year seem fairly on target again, actually.
It's just that...stuff like this breaks my head open a little. And sure, it hurts, but there's so much to see through the cracks (to get poetic for a bit). So much is informed, so much is freed by staring down reality and just accepting it. And there's so much more to know. So many better challenges for us out there (hell, even planetside). And I look at us, and we're still stuck on such trivial bullshit.
[I make my evasion check and deftly avoid launching into a sociopolitical diatribe; another place, another time]
And yet; it's not the Universe that's weird. These are the problems we have; what's weird is my conception that we should be beyond this. Counterfactual, that is. Unity of mind and body and oneness with the Universe...that's our motto, no? Calibrate to reality. The revision process just seems frightening, because there's so much invested in it. Why? What is it about a mind that makes us so personally attached to our maps, our abstractions? After all, it's only a model...
Gentleness controls strength. Go easy on yourself, I say. Biases work both ways; you also tend to discount all the accomplishments that got you this far. As above, so below. Go easy on your fellows as well, me; we're all in the same boat.
“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn.” -Sylvia Plath
The problem...my main problem...seems to be perplexity. I don't know how to go about accomplishing what I want to accomplish. For a long time, I didn't have the words (I still don't feel as if I do) to even express my state of mind. Badly-wired robots, to borrow RAW's term (though I'd choose inaccurately-calibrated, to avoid the value connotation). That's the task before me, then: what now(3)?
Work in progress.
Or, looking at the etymology, its re-turn. The literal Trope (without which, we have a-tropos). Finite and Infinite Games. Eros et Thanatos. Continue? (Y/N). Oh, my Fusion-powered heart.
For those interested in some in-depth reading, I can recommend both the Less Wrong sequences (which you may well be tired of hearing me recommend, by now) and the book Thinking, Fast and Slow
Lots of scraps / self-bookmarks / associated concept-space and mental imagery came up while writing this; in the spirit of completeness:
Justice / Themis is blind, after all. There's also imagery of blind Neo in the (mental) t00bs.
It's About Time. (Why does a proper notion of the operation (or absence thereof?) of time seem important?
The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (what a pun) Keep getting the same symbols, the same themes coming up.
Why do I keep saying the same thing?
Echo. Re-turn. Surely some revelation is at hand.