Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mental Shifts 2.5

In MS1 I started with how surprising it is when an aspect of consciousness changes. The experience current to me is education - bringing new ideas into my awareness - causing me to experience amazement and wonder at connections between symbols and levels of meaning. The perceptual shift leads me to wonder about what exactly are the parts of the mind and how do they operate.

In MS2 I systematically describe the mind.

Memory, senses, thought/imagination correspond to past, present, and future respectively. This is all we have in our heads to work with.

The mind resides in the physical brain, which is biological and chemical, so health and drugs directly affect the mental state.

The metaphor of ‘Mental Space’ is useful to think about thinking. What is being attempted with this writing it to build a model of the mind in words, so that our minds can ‘see’ itself. Because the mind is intangible, and it’s only easy to talk of things as physical, physical-sensing metaphors and language get used.

The whole point of [write/talk]ing about this is to put our thinking quality, which is insensible, in terms that can be sensed (and traded) and thought about. This is so funny that we don’t know how our minds work, so we have to sketch its function in spatial words, then feed that back into the mind to process.

Lastly, if consciousness is ‘space’ then ideas are ‘structures’ within it. Those ideas can be concerning physical objects we sense, or abstract concepts invented by our self, or invented by others and communicated to our mind through symbolic communication. These idea structures get valuation that can be inaccurate and can change.


Now for some clarification.

When we think, we don’t have awareness of our thoughts, we don’t feel them the way we feel a cold swallow of water sliding down the throat (as apposed to a bitter pill which, being broken in half, is also jagged), the mind has no physical senses within it. What it does have is emotion, which is somewhat attached to thought, but thought is also disattached from emotion in that we can think on sad things when we are happy, and remember annoying work to be done when we are feeling relaxed. Emotions only suggest, they do not force the mind into particular thoughts. (This is one reason against recreational drug use which induces overwhelming emotions artificially to the point of impairing judgment.) So while we do not normally think about the mind we are thinking with, if we want to think about how it works, some symbolic model is needed for it to exist and be operated on ‘within mental space’. All we see and sense physically is in this mental space, along with our thoughts. This aspect of everything you experience being ‘in your head’ has a lot of preexisting ideas attached to it, mainly:

‘how do we know anything is real’


‘how can any absolute truth exist or be known if everything we know or can know comes to us in the form of thought and sense impressions, which are variable and untrustworthy?’

These two questions are answerable, but I’d rather ignore them for now. Some may see them as necessary to be answered first before going on, but I would rather not question my own “perception of internal accuracy & validity” for now, later these can be addressed.

My model may be inaccurate, and what I’m proposing is definitely disagreed with by other theories, specifically Freudian Psychoanalysis, which has its own special words for things and says the mind contains unconscious thinking elements. I am no longer convinced of this, but such a discussion will have to be for a later time. Despite possible failings with my model, theoretical discussion is the only way to think about this sort of issue. It is not telling you what is, but conversing about a topic. Essentially, I am writing to see what I think, holding little attachment to it. So if you have additions, corrections and comments, please write.

The last element to be addressed in the mind’s parts is spirit. Physical brain matter and its construction is accurately (to a point) learned about through the scientific method. Logical reasoning, physics and chemistry let us know solid facts about the brain, but many problems arise from ‘Science’ as a cultural institution not telling where fact end and theory begins. That boundary is present for those who look for it, it’s just not spoken in any of the popular sources most people get their science info from. So the spirit is not ‘findable’ and testable using the scientific method. There almost seems to be a limit to logic, and spirituality is somewhat beyond that. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that spirituality is fundamentally not logical, and a different system must be switched to as some point in understanding that which cannot be observed and evaluated physically.

At any rate, we can say that a moral concept is not a physical object.

So at this point, we have to define the anatomy of an abstract mental concept, one type of those concepts being moral truths.

There are several major current beliefs about the nature of such concepts.

These beliefs can be wrong, having a understandable shape in mental space, but no truth or function in reality.

What is the field in which these things interact?

Physical reality

Spiritual reality

Within mental space we are working with concepts which make claims about how elements of reality relate to each other or other concepts.

One belief system says concepts have some absolute valuation based on how well they describe/explain the operation of reality.

An opposing belief is that any concept exists only in mental space, and can’t be tied to reality.

So concepts are either: true, untrue, partly true, or that no truth exists, all is a personal preference.

But, science provides a method for proving the truth of certain kinds of concepts within a specific framework. Math is the easiest to do this with. Pure concepts that operate reliably in interacting with the physical world. Such tidy examples are rare with other fields.

Can there be a science of moral truth? Not so much. It’s a realm that does not correspond the same way in terms of data collection, data verification, theory validation, experimental reliability, and algorithmic synthesis. This brings up the degree to which scientific principles are engrained and believed in our society. Is morality just too complex to figure out for us, but if we could would it operate on a basis that would fit a scientific framework of equations and repeatable processes? I don’t think so. Physical operations are in relation to physics, chemistry, and mathematical logic. Moral concepts are in relation to God, and or other humans – personally and as institutional groupings. If God or humanity where a force that always acted the same in any identical situation, then a science could be devised, but interaction between us and God is not of formula but as thinking entities interacting according to the attitudes and actions of each other. For us, there is the element of communication, which by the limitations of our physical frame, is inaccurate. Now if God exists, than absolute truth must exist. I’m going to work off that is a given, because I haven’t the capability to prove it at the moment.

So for next time (That being Mental Shifts 3, which may/maynot be tomorrow) the anatomy of a concept and how that relates to our knowledge of morality.

Grady Houger ~ word count: 1271 :-p

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nowadays, many published authors have blogs. It keeps them in touch with fans, and provides place to say things more wide ranging, casual, and frequently than in novels and book introductions. Blogs can also function as a community meeting place, like a conversation in the corner of a church lobby.

The one author blog I read commented on the release of Anne Rice's new book The Road to Cana, and mentioned how Rice plans to write a new vampire Lestat novel.
There was lots of interesting issues in this blog post in regards to how Anne Rice is practicing her faith, interpreting theology, and how the media reacts to her, but my reaction was to think how kewl it was that Anne Rice may write a vampire story from a Christian prospective. Her historical fiction portraying the life of Christ is interesting, but I don't read those sorts of books.

Now, when I first read and thought the above paragraph, I was going to post a response on that author’s blog, but didn't have time before class. Six hours later, I return to find Anne Rice herself had commented on that blog! Suddenly, I didn't have anything to say. How could my comment about what I think of Anne Rice's work have any sort of place in a forum where the author herself is active? It struck me in that moment what fabulous roles I was giving to authors as a social entity. The blog I was reading is Forensics and Faith By Brandilyn Collins, a successful pro Christian suspense writer. I've posted on her blog for years, fearlessly offering my comments without much thought of my status in the writing community. But status is exactly the issue here. Being in the same 'room' online with Anne Rice is like accidentally finding myself standing in a hallway conversation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What would you say to the most powerful persons in the US government? Would you feel comfortable commenting on national security or the Iraq war?

That may be a unrealistic depiction of the fame of Anne Rice, but that's how I perceived it. Yet she is as mortal as anyone else, and apparently follows mentions of herself within the writing community. What is fame anyway? Anne Rice has it, I know about her through news articles and pop culture references to her books and I felt I knew enough about her to decide I didn't want to read any of her books and haven't yet. In reality I know nothing about 'her' as a human being, and I don't know anything about the literary qualities of her books. All I know is 'her' as a social entity, a brand. I can't talk to a brand name, I don't have that status. If I was a well known superstar novelist what would be the actual difference in me?

I'm not trying to suggest that all people are equal although they are as human beings. The lesson in my mind is to remember the humanity of people and not just their social image, but also be circumspect about what I blather about on the internet. This isn't a meaningless place where adolescents find new combinations of obscene words to label each other. The internet is our social visibility, as real as any conversation in physical space. I don't want to be the 88th youtube comment saying 'cool vid!!!!1!' The people around us, online and in shoes are our colleagues, friends, neighbors. Wouldn't it be good to talk with care and insight, depth of thought, educated concern? Seeing someone famous shouldn't have to remind me not act like an idiot.

Grady Houger

Friday, February 22, 2008

not cloudy today

I’m working on Mental Shifts part 3, which looks like it need a part 4. But the topic of human consciousness is complex, and I’m thinking up new considerations I hadn’t thought of before. They are all out of order, and are taking a lot of work to connect properly, and fill in the holes. But I am working on it every day, thanks to Kjell’s Facebook response to it. That’s all it takes to get me working, just show some interest and pose a question. It’s just that quality writing takes a level of organization and refinement of argument that I’m not capable of writing in one shot. So daily revision is necessary.

What can be done in one shot is talking about what happened on the bus. I got in and there was a snappily dressed fellow playing a ukulele! It was quite cheery.

Grady Houger

Hi Mom! (and other potentially existant blog reader(s)! ) Remember you can click the word COMMENTS under the post there to leave your 2 cents. Actually, there's a new blogger feature where I an add a button for you to directly phone-call/voicemail me. I don't think I'll bother. I'm terribly inarticulate on the phone and I tend to expect other people to be as well. Writing should be good enought right?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

[insert musical riff here]

I want to get past these difficult times in life.
But what’s more valuable or important, having achievement or being in the experience that teaches us what’s necessary for that achievement?
Maybe this one or the other isn’t something to be decided between. I ask because how should we react in the difficult moments of life? Should we flee and try to remove ourselves from them, or try to understand and appreciate those moments?
The difference is sitting down and crying or climbing the elevator shaft with a broken hand.

Grady Houger ~ sunshine and frowning

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I see a woman collecting pages from the printer; she’s carrying a bag that says “I’m carrying the future in this bag”.
This is true, and interesting to look at the future potential in all our bags and other containers of information. Her bag does contain future thoughts, ideas and work she will produce, but no guarantee that it will be influential or even noticed by a larger population. Everyone here in this computer lab is working on something, and who knows what those individual results will amount to.

The thought of potential effect comes from our base belief about the word Future. The words ‘the future is what I carry and make’ has whatever connotation you give to it, positive or negative.

I see a woman collecting pages from the printer; she’s carrying a bag that says “I’m carrying the future in this bag”.
This is true, and interesting to look at the future potential in all our bags and other containers of information. Her bag does contain future thoughts, ideas and work she will produce, but no guarantee that it will be influential or even noticed by a larger population. Everyone here in this computer lab is working on something, and who knows what those individual results will amount to.

The thought of potential effect comes from our base belief about the word Future. The words ‘the future is what carry and make’ has whatever connotation you give to it, positive or negative.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

being a part

If I take action, I am participating in human society. If I just watch, I remain lonely outside that society. Short periods of rest are good (we all sleep), but prolonged lack of participation makes one irrelevant. People don’t reach outside their society. You could make a case for more inclusiveness, but it’s better to just enter the general community and learn to interact on its terms. There plenty of people will readily turn and talk to you.

Grady Houger ~ talking to myself

Friday, February 15, 2008


I was going to write a third part to the Mental Shifts discussion I’ve been doing, but reading through the past two was too boring. I’ll have to continue that some time later when I’ve got more interest.
What is interesting to people in general are stories. At a simplified level the most compelling stories are about characters (the more well made the better) in conflict of some kind. It can be people against each other, against ideas, against nature, against monsters. There are many lists of these sorts of things; one of the classic ones is the 36 Dramatic Situations. If a teaching of moral philosophy or description of the mind is put into a story that necessitates that information, it will be far more engaging than an essay on the same topic; at least for most readers. I need to learn how to write those. Anyway, today is dancing robots.
First, watch this video:

Then read this comic (be sure to come back, there’s lots of interesting stuff there!):

We will have useful humanlike robots within the next 25 years. Possibly even within the next 10 years.
We need to be ready. This development will probably be a bigger deal than anyone expects. Because we are going to like them. A robot with the same coordination and range of movement as a human will be able to do certain jobs humans had done. Basically, we’ll have expensive, obedient slaves. The other important aspect is bonding. People already like their pets, stuffed animals and cars. Robot integration into society as a servant class is going to be a big deal to the first generation, and once a generation of kids grows up with robots, there will be even more strangeness compared to now. Don’t you like dancing robots? If you had a robot right now, what would you want it to run and get you?
Currently, many people deny a the existence of soul. If a robot can mimic humanity well enough, a portion of people will accept them as equals. On the other hand, they won’t be as mentally capable as humans, I don’t see advances yet in useful artificial intelligence. So these social considerations likely won’t develop into a problem with interaction with another creature, but one of how we will view each other in relating to a new and powerful machine. It is like our views on the treatment of animals. Cruelty is illegal, eating certain animals is not, and many people treat their pets just like people, and project onto their pets emotions and thoughts the pet does not have. The same thing will happen with robots. The technology is currently available to make robots look exactly like humans. Now, pets don’t do much economically. There are some working dogs, and some breeding trade. But for robots, they will be economically valuable, cleaning, picking up trash, functioning as security guards, solders, working in nursing homes, stealing things, selling drugs, and being waitresses.
This is all theoretical now, but you should start thinking about how we will treat robots and more importantly, how we will treat other humans who have different ideas about how to treat robots.

Grady Houger ~ I want one & will be disturbed by it

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mental shifts 2

Of the past we have only memories.
Memories fade, and are modified by later memories and concepts/considerations put upon them. Memories have status, in relation to how often we dwell on them. Memories are linked together by association, and/or chronology. Memories are primarily, so far as we know, stored physically/chemically in your meat brain in patterns or arrangements of according various theoretical structures.

Of the present –which is a most narrow slice of always fleeing awareness – the now instant, for this we only have our senses. Sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, and the sixth which is a variable, debated, denied sort of intuition or spiritual awareness.

Of the future, our minds can only guess, which is done by an internal function of extrapolation/imagination, which also does many other things. Our minds hold a mental conceptual space, not a physical space but a mental quality that can be described as a space. This is where we actually ‘are’ where we do our thinking, although the actual processing is done by your meat brain. But you don’t have any physical sensation of your meat brain. Blood flow cannot be felt, chemical balances have no dials and readouts, none of the physical aspects of the physical brain are directly sensed by us. The brain has none of the nerves that let the skin sense touch, heat, pain etc. So the thinking operations of the mind are in what we call consciousness, and I use the idea of an imagined space to describe it, but other non-real but metaphorically accurate systems of description can be invented.

So this mental conceptual space is larger and less limited than our senses. We receive sense data, not like computers receive data, but as living creatures receive it, seamlessly jumbled imprecise input. We then project 'out' onto the reality around us our world awareness concept. All we experience is really in our heads. I might see someone next to me shopping for a TV at the bestbuy website, but that image is being processed and made in my brain. Have you ever seen someone sleep with their eyes open? Eyes don’t stop seeing, but when asleep the brain stops processing images, and instead displays dream images it mysteriously creates. Hearing doesn’t stop when we’re asleep. All that info still comes in, but we only wake up when it becomes too loud or certain words are said. One of the evidences of our consciousness of the world being an internal representation is in how easily it can be disrupted chemically. Drugs affect the body, and the mind is a function of the body. All the drugs classified as psychotropic are the ones that strongly affect the mind, causing hallucinations that can be visual, audible, kinesthetic etc. Even getting sick with a bad cold can make a person ‘loopy’ and confuse the senses. Depression, and more severe things such as manic states are not just physical but mental. Even a healthy person within the bounds of ‘normal’ finds their mind affected by the chemical process of emotions. Tired, angry, happy, physically struggling with something, think about how your thought processes are in those states.

When we learn something, those concepts are forming neuron pathways in our brains. (at least that is a main theory believed to be true.) This is the physical connection with concepts, thoughts and the physical body. We understand mentally what has formed there physically, from repeated exposure. But the brain is very plastic, it forgets, and deforms ideas. It can also generate similar structures (if consciousness is a ‘space’ then ideas are ‘structures’) by imagination. This thought creation, synthesis process can be freeform, playful, creating dreams. It can be logical, procedural and also create dreams. Given the forgetfulness factor, repeated constant exposure needed to maintain and fix concepts. The mind ‘space’ we think from can be a blank slate, but usually isn’t, being fulled with immediate concerns and thoughts of what we are about to do.

All that to say that when changes happen, that is when new thoughts and concepts form in your mind through the instruction of others or your own recombination of knowledge, such change is interesting. Positively it is enjoyable, or it could be distressing, but that change is in the consciousness, the virtual workspace of your mind. That’s why people use sayings like ‘expand your mind.’ Society has discovered drugs didn’t work for that; instead drugs encouraged crime, homelessness and mental breakdown. Education is a more traditional and consistent way. The feelings of wonder and seeing everything around in a new way like I described yesterday is the result of a shifting/ destabilization/ enlarging of mental space. Because, those things I see and sense around me are really all in my head, in the mental space where I have concepts and values attached to objects that really have no capacity for emotion. Saying ‘that’s an ugly poster’ is about your valuation of what you perceive as the poster, not the physical object itself. “There is a pretty girl” is a mental concept you may revise depending on what you observe, the change may be in her actions or in your perception, but the place it happens is in your head.

This is an incomplete contemplation. There is still the element of spirit to consider, and a deeper look at how understanding this system of mental makeup affects how we understand reality and our awareness of it. But that will have to be for another day.

Grady Houger ~ Will interest outweigh the boring essay format?

only 924 words!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mental shifts part 1

Eww~! I just saw a guy with his hands in his mouth, then he types on the keyboard. This isn’t his keyboard; it’s in the computer lab. These keyboards are filthy. Any amount of typing makes your fingertips feel GRIMEY. That was the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long time. I usually wash my hands after being here, now I always will. And never touch my eyes. Ack.

I have some thoughts; but instead of putting them out as a loose conglomeration of ideas I’ll save them for tomorrow, hopefully I’ll be able to put them in good order.

Today I’m feeling the effects of having learned a bunch of difficult theoretical concepts about how to interpret literature. In general there have been a lot of these moments in the last few days, plus I got a new renter, so mentally life is just shaken up and perceptually shifted. This leaves me with a phenomenon that can be called ‘tripped on knowledge’. It goes like this:
“Woah there’s paint on the walls! Paint is thin! The walls aren’t flat! I’m writing words! Words are symbols! Symbols signify meaning! Meanings of words are a cultural function! “Walls” can be a metaphor for boundaries! If walls are boundaries what is the paint? There’s dust on top of my computer! …” and so on. All the images we see are open to reinterpretation during a perceptual shift.

Such moments are one of the rewards of education, and can contain for more important revelations than what I describe here. I’ve been thinking about changing my minor, and assessing what college really gives a person. You see, much of academic learning is oriented towards learning-as-an-end-in-itself. Knowledge for the sake of knowing about the world. As opposed to knowledge so I can be an expert at a particular job - knowledge to be used for a function. The functional application of knowledge is up to the student, much of academia tries to pretend and keep the image of learning to pursue an ideal wisdom. Learning to make money is opposed to that concept, or at least people feel they are incompatible.
Now, while I would like to sit and consider these lofty concepts, I can’t I need to hurry to run some errands around town before offices close. Conceptual knowledge must bow to necessary chores!

Grady Houger

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

why shoot fish in a barrel - barrel and fish are bigger than you

There is very little wonton, random malicious wrongdoing. Many settings contain a margin of trust that is not exploited except for personal benefit. The opportunity to do something damaging may be present, but it isn't done because it would either give no advantage or harm the setting.
The Example I noticed was here at college. Teachers have mail boxes and also bins on their doors. Many important papers pass through these. Stealing any number of them, either all or a few randomly, would cause stupendous havic for a lot of busy people. No one does this because those who know about it and have the most opportunity are sympathetic parties and wouldn't want the bother it would cause.

People who are truly at odds with the a cultural system and desire to do damage are rarely calm, subtle, and successful. The unhinged and do things like arson, school shootings and suicide. They don't just bend all the unused library bookends. There is a range of anti-social behaviors, with a wide gap between throwing trash on the ground and pipebombs.

Well, I’m not studying sociology so I don’t know what sort of conclusion can be made from this observation. If you have some ideas of where this line of thought can go, please speak up.

I’d like to say thanks to the friends who’ve left some comments recently. It warms the cockles of me heart it does! Thanks for reading!
Now, I got some denials to my statements that ‘I don’t really know what I’m talking about’ and ‘I’m not good writing’. To illustrate my points I’d like to point you to a blog I just found, There’s an ideal example of insightful commentary and clear, readable arguments! Stanly Fish is no beginner like me; he’s 70, and the most famous theorists of literary criticism still alive. I had a whole class build on one of his academic essays!

Grady Houger ~ I don’t have a cool name like Fish, but hopefully I can make something of mine.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Stream of Consciousness

The possessing of items is enjoyable. This is the same for physical objects, like a coin, or mental objects like this idea.

I was looking at a hi-rez, pdf map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I was struck by a feeling of confusion; this place is almost as real as any in physical space. That's disturbing. I know the geography of Middle Earth better than many places on my earth. It's hard not to say that Middle Earth is real.

Plenty of stories use the idea that our perception of reality isn't reality. That perception is groomed and spun, that anyone with power and true info transmits the messages they want people to believe, not what they believe or what reality really is.
Does this happen, is this true, is this possible?
Do we have any accurate data on a successful conspiracy? Any data on successful public deception?
People may try to lie, cover and market, but the resolution of public perception is too fine grained to wholly believe the screen is a window.
Of course I am ignoring those people who I see in the computer labs, I read over their shoulders, observing them look up articles on Brittney Speers latest news, and equally vapid other media-sluts with less valuable names. These people are the unthinking cannon fodder of our information age.

On related note, I'd like to admit I struggle with feelings of superiority. Really, I'm very interested in reading about celebs, and I like listening to the latest pop music. It’s just that I don't like liking popular things; I haven't given up fighting against my interest.
Hip-hop-pop sounds good. That doesn't make it good. It may vary well be, that is I'm operating on the assumption, that it is candy poison.
Interesting that appealing style is separated experientially from moral content.
I may believe in certain principles, but they are not a strict action protocol. I am not compelled to act what I believe, there are other appealing forces demanding to be participated in; like a mashup tune of Daft Punk and techno, the one with the Nietzsche slogan in it.

Then I just heard these guys:
"we're not sayn were better than anybody, we're just iller. there’s a difference." - Iller Than Theirs

Isn't that what most of us believe about ourselves? Grady's not better than you, He's just totally cooler. I don't believe this. But I feel it occasionally.

Grady Houger

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I've heard tell thar's actually some people readin' me blog.
Hopefully it's apparent that I don't know much, but in case you are reading a different interpretation into these texts, let me tell you: I barely know what I’m talking about, most of the time I just make something up as I go along. The rest of the time, I have I idea to communicate, and mumble through it poorly. So if you have any comments, corrections and disagreements I’d like to hear it! Saying something would also let me know someone’s actually there; I run this blog on Facebook and Blogger, and neither of them tells you traffic data. Some day I may move this blog to my personal website for statistics and advertizing, but that would be when I get closer to economic popularity.

A lot of blogs are written with reader awareness in mind; they talk to the reader and are open to interaction. I’ve been writing this without any of that. I didn’t want to sound like all the other chatty bloggers talking about what they’ve been doing. I especially didn’t want to be saying ‘hi folks! Well today…’ if there wasn’t anyone there. That would be pathetic. Like a live TV show but nobodies watching. Well, TV doesn’t allow viewers to respond, that’s why the internets better. So if what I say makes you think of something, don’t be afraid to say it!

Writing this is fun, even though I disappoint myself with poor English composition and hazy arguments. I have the basic ability to think up ideas, and the desire to write about them, but the quality aspect is what writers call ‘the craft’. I’ve never liked that term much, mainly since Wiccans call their magic ‘the craft.’ Writing isn’t magic. The quality aspect is mainly in the mechanics of grammar, structure, and description. Anyway, that stuff is boring and to be avoided by most people.
At any rate, I plan on saying something provocative tomorrow, so I’ll go work on that and hopefully you can comment on it.

Grady Houger ~ needs to earn his fans

Thursday, February 07, 2008

its not enough to like stuff

It’s not enough to like stuff. Stuff doesn't do anything. It’s just a starting point, what you like seeps in to you, and has to come out. Feeding aptitudes isn’t enough. More has to come of it. Make things. Being a fan is no good. Participate!

There are so many interests that prove this false. But not really. You can enjoy reading about mountain climbing and enjoy the stories without ever climbing maintains. True. But you are not mountain climbing, your a reader. that’s what you’re doing.

I like unpopular music. I need to make it. I like reading. I need to write. What I realized is how lousy I'm doing as a writer. I'm not committed, I’m learning how to write, and it takes ALL a persons effort. Doing well at something usually means devoting yourself to it, letting it consume you. I can't be a vapid consumer of interesting things. I have to give up stuff in order to make something. If I be a writer, I won't be something else. By being something you give up the other things you could be.

Grady ~ isn't anything at the now

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

draft on coping

A theme in science philosophy and science fiction is a humans inability to fully comprihend reality; particularilty the vastness of space, the enormity of humanities frailness and limitations. Now, scientific thinkers discount religion fo various -sometimes fair- reasons, but authentic Christianity is what I believe enables a person to face those enormous concepts without going mad. The scientific consept that we are insignifigant, small, fragile creatures in a vast and pearilous universe is not herisy. I can honestly say I am a weak and inconsiquential individual who does not matter. All sorts of statements can be true, it just depends on what your solving the equasion for. purpose and meaning in life is going to be a bit bleak in a humanist system. Scripture definately teaches human frailty and how vast other forces are, most particularily God. Its alright though. Instead of being small and weak in a system of nature that is unthinking, uncareing, and ready to destroy you; a Christian can be weak and small in a world overseen by a supreme power who personally cares. God doesnt remove problems, He redefines them into understandible processes. A person is insignifigant only in relation to what a person considers important. If thats fame, power and such, its easy to not matter. I believe purpose can be something more attainable, like knowing God and obeying him.

Grady Houger

Monday, February 04, 2008

refining thoughts about capitalism

Been thinking more about post-capitalism. The fact is, I know very little about the elements of capitalism, and less about systems that may come after.
I think what I am really wondering about is not all of capitalism and other economic systems (though I want to know more, if I can make the time to read such.) it’s the issue of purpose in economic pursuit.
Capitalism does include concepts of private ownership, trade between private parties without restriction, non-regulated supply and demand. I like these ideas.
What I don't like is the idea of earning money for its own sake, becoming wealthy just to enjoy an expensive lifestyle. Also, the idea of a corporation being its own self serving entity, who’s only object is growth is -in my opinion- a dangerous creature; there needs to be humans with a moral agenda in control of a corporation. If it is guided only by appetite, it will be a monster, not a beneficial organism.
Likewise an individual (myself) should have objectives beyond earning and enjoyment.

With this in mind, there are many interesting corporate and personal goals that to consider beyond escalating consumption. Without profit as an objective, consider a company that spent its earnings on its employees. Improved health and benefits packages, nicer offices and perks such as a free employee restaurant.
Or a company with a finite lifespan, designed and chartered to close in 40 years. At that point all assets would be liquidated, the value divided between the influential employees. They would have an interest in providing continued service for customers, and would likely reform immediately, and that would be the point. Revised leadership and rules. Like the idea that if an individual moves every few years, they become efficient at packing and don't own extraneous stuff. A company that had to die an be reborn every ten years would likely have lively and competent office management skills. (A little like term limits for politicians. It would be wishful thinking to imagine such a system for bureaucratic offices.)

I do think there will be more to say about this!

Grady Houger ~ purpose beyond money