They threw me out, so I'm home again, just chomping at the bit to tell tales of nursing hoime abuse ( except I haven't got any- very nice folks at the facility).
Anyway, what better way to re-enter the bazaar tha by recaping what I think of as my best, and ongoing desire to discuss:
The Art of Reason – a “pro spectus”
“Chautauqua ( /ÊƒÉ™ËˆtÉ”Ëï¿½kwÉ™/ shÉ™-TAW-kwÉ™) was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America." H.L. Mencken used the word "chautauqua" (lower case) to refer more generally to a herd of clumsy writers: "When they essay to be jocose, the result is usually simply an elephantine whimsicality, by the chautauqua out of the Atlantic Monthly." [Vintage Mencken, p.96, ed. Alistair Cooke, 1955]”
I find that I'm reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance “ again. It's one of the books that periodically turns up and says “it's time to read me again”. Others that come to mind are “Godel, Escher, Bach” and the other Hofstadter books, and Dave Heiserman's books. And of course on the other side, (Fiction ?) any of the works of James Branch Cabell and Mark Twain.
Reading “ZAMM” ( as it's sometimes referred to ) is what brings the “Chautauqua” format to mind.
When I say a book “Turns up”, I don't mean in my stacks and piles and shelves of books-- I haven't been able to locate anything there since I moved in 2008. (still mostly boxed) What I mean is “Serendipity” - a “miracle” if you will. You don't experience miracles unless you believe in them. I find them fairly commonplace.
I've grown to expect “Guidance” - I've grown to expect “miracles”
I've grown to expect that books I've used as “Bibles” ( literally Greek Biblios “the book”) will just turn up when I need them. I found this copy of ZAMM at a library book sale in Worthington, Ohio, 2 weeks ago. Beside a copy of “Dancing Wu-Li Masters”.and "Rendevous with Rama". Someone getting my attention.
After you've experienced a few “miracles” you get a feel for them. I once took them for granted.
I remember that when I was in the 8th Grade, State Scholarship Tests were a “Big Deal” in our small Ohio town. We had a faculty in our schools that yearly produced top scorers in the State.
My father promised me that if I placed in the top ten, he would buy me a rifle that I had been lusting after. I had the same feeling as if he'd flat out promised me the prize. There was no doubt whatsoever that I would score that high. Took the test, scored 7th in the state, got my gun. Never doubted – no miracle at all.
As I got older, it got harder and harder to do things just by believing I could. By Architecture School at OSU (full ride National Merit Scholarship) I had my doubts. They taught the “Frank Lloyd Wright School” of design-- you design buildings to your personal glory and aesthetic taste and to hell with your client's needs or wants. I took a 4 year vacation from college and became a photographer. Childhood's end. I'd lost the expectation.
I no longer experienced “Miracles”- serendipity happened, chance- but no feeling of an “intersession” - no feeling of the “divine” I'd done my first reading of ZAMM, and was for practical purposes not so much “Zen Buddhist” as “taoist” ( I can't define it- that is the heart of the belief) -- but for the record I was still “Moreorlessa Methodist”
Time passed, any number of interesting, entertaining, agreeable and horrible events happened. The 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's. and 90's are currently memories in “Archive mode”. They are compactly packed away, and by times taken out for information or entertainment. But, when spread out they take up too much space, so they remain mostly packed away.
The next conscious experience of a “miracle” happened in 2010. In 2005, I'd broken my back and lost my job as a computer mechanic. My wife and I after that primarily took care of my parents. My father died in 2006, my mother in 2007. In 2008, we moved to our current home, to look for work. We survived from 2008 to 2010 on my “retirement” and help from our families.
In 2010 we started attending one of the local Methodist churches, my wife had made friends with a local teacher, who invited us to attend.
I found a tremendous feeling of Community and faith in this church. I am only nominally “Christian”- It's not that I don't believe, it's that I believe in a way that confuses my fellow parishioners, and is generally best left undiscussed.
I accept the Christian symbols, in much the way that my Hindu doctor celebrates Christmas
Dr. Rajput informs me that certainly Krishna incarnates from time to time, it is not wrong to celebrate one particular instance. I agree. With the understanding that “Krishna” incarnates each and every time a living creature is created from the “Stuff” of “Rama” My simplest explanation of my “Christian Religion” is that “God” is “Consciousness/Agape/love- The Community of Being”, the awareness that “all is part of All, and All is part of all”. The “Christ” is the symbol for your own personal relationship to “God” . All else is commentary.
No one questions my faith there, they have no need to- they feel it. And I feel theirs. - it feels like the agape love of the primitive Christians. It feels right.
Anyway, I became more attuned and thoughtful to the feelings of faith in the love of creation for its children, itself.
In March 2010, (? winter, snow) I'd gone to Columbus for some reason I've forgotten, and treated myself to a stop at Micro Center ( Computer Store) to drool over things I couldn't afford. I had $54 dollars and a half tank of gas to get home. I'd brought the $54 along just in case I needed it, but it was really money already spoken for to pay my gas bill.
As I went back to my car, I saw a woman hunched over, hugging herself, weeping.
It was as if I heard a voice asking “Why does your sister weep?”
The long story short is that she was in a whole lot more trouble than I was, and $50 would keep her gas on. She'd exhausted every other means she had of getting money, and had been begging in the parking lot. A cop had just driven off after telling her he would put her in jail if she continued.
The upshot is that I gave her my $50. The same voice assured me that this was a blessing both to her, and to me.
Recounting this was actually my first post on OS, that was anything other than political bantering.
So I went home wondering how I was going to pay for our gas bill.
I sold a gun and made a little extra.
About 2 weeks later, I was standing in the parking lot of the local big box store, and a $50 dollar bill blew across the ground, and up against my foot.
It's interesting work, being used as an apprentice angel.
You, of course, can say that you've never heard such utter bullshit. Unfortunately, I can't.
I was there. I felt what I felt.
Just as I've been there and felt firewalking, and other idiotic and breathlessly inexplicable adventures. Until recently, I was always too stupid to think about how dangerous doing anything was. I can't “proof” them to you. You have to have your own "proofs". You start to have your own by opening up your mind to the “Notion” of “Miracles”.
So what is a “Miracle”? In the '80s I programmed artificial intelligence experiments with the guy who brought you the “Roomba”. I programmed games for my own amusement.
When I was developing a game ( or any program) I would run segments of it, stop it in mid run, change a line or 2, restart, and continue to do that until it ran as I wanted, ( computers don't do what you want them to do, they do what you TELL them to do)
I make the “World of Warcraft” or 2nd Life analogy about “Miracles”.
“Miracles” can be represented as being a power to halt the execution of “the program” and allow you to change bad code before it executes. You then continue. You can go back and redo as often as you like. Your Avatar “knows” nothing of this. To you, it's just part of what you've built into the game for yourself.
Most “Avatars” in this particular M.U.D. (Multi User Dungeon) are either unaware or disbelieving that such “power nodes/objects” exist. Belief in such “Magic” is taken as a sign of insanity.
My problem is that I've “Been there, done that” too many times to deny that it happens, and it has happened to me when I most needed it. It even leaves a peculiar feeling, when it does happen. I know
You may or may not “Know”, chances are you don't believe in it, so you've never seen it, or set out to see it, and condemn it as fantasy.
It is most noticed by people who use their “intuition”. Temple Grandin would call it “Thinking in Pictures”. Robert Persig refers to it as “The Romantic”(as opposed to Classic) approach.The Dichotomy between these two ways of viewing the world is the center of “Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance” We all possess the facilities of Logic and Intuition in varying degrees. Most of us tend heavily to favor one or the other as the basis of “beliefs”.
Perhaps most people these days would say “Artistic” as opposed to “scientific”. It may be thought of as the german distinction between "Wissenschaft" and "Kennen Lernen", or the the old english "I Ken" vs "I Know" -It is the Latin distinction between "Scio" (I know)=Science and "Credo" (I believe)= Credible. More modernly , but with some prejudicial nuance, it may be thought of as "I Believe" vs "I Know" (That's the problem in our current US society- A "Magi" would tell you it is the difference between Knowlege and Wisdom- a prejudicial nuance to the other way.)
The point of the Chautauqua in ZAMM is to establish a basis for using both in harness. Persig declares this basis to be “Quality”. I cannot recommend highly enough that you read the book and ponder his meanings.
My Chautauqua is to be generally in the same range, human existence, with emphasis on how we interact with each other and with our physical world. In short, how we REASON.
I believe I'm going to attempt the outright theft of the term “REASON” for this Chautauqua.
Many people use “REASONABLE” interchangeably with “Logical” “Rational” or even “Scientific”.
Since we live in a community that emphasizes the supremacy of “Logic” over “intuition”, I feel that I need to steal the term “REASON” to include BOTH. My observation is that those people who are most logical or most intuitive are least reasonable. Lawyers and Scientists come to mind. As do religious zealots and some performance artists (e.g.- Rush Limbaugh and Chris Matthews? which one do you believe is defamed by being called "unreasonable? are you a lefty or a righty?). They often admit of no other “Truth” than what they “Logically” create or “Intuitively” feel . The term Reasonable to me has always carried the nuance of being not just an enforcer of “Law” (Be it logically derived or divinely revealed), but a person who can perceive the highter truth of “Harmony”-- Justice, not what is “lawful”, ( by the rules of logic or revelation) but what is also “Just” ( by the feelings of harmony and balance). My high school physics teacher used the term “Elegance” to describe the best hypotheses as opposed to the merely adequate. ZAMM is an exploration of this “elegance”- which Persig terms “Quality”, Reason must include the feelings. The intuition. The “thinking in pictures”, that we all do, yet mostly deny validity. I call this form of thought Analog Logic. (ALogic) It can be thought of as the feedback dampening of harmonics, the harmonies and discords that sound technicians musicians, etc. take for granted. Any martial artist will tell you it is the state of “No-Mind. Nike advises those who wear its athletic shoes to “Just Do It”.
I intend this Chautauqua to cover the Question of not only, The Art of Reason, but also, the feeling of “Justice (balance, harmony) and the relation of Justice to good government (NB- NOT POLITICS) And anything else that comes up and is interesting.
I intend for this discussion to take place in good Humor.
“Humor” is the slippage, the “grease” that allows the hard chunks of “Truth” to move in relation to each other without colliding or friction. Slippage and Movement, rather than Collision and becoming heated and seizing up.
That doesn't mean there won't be "Friction"
My view of “humor” is that it is the result of two incompatible “Truths” trying to occupy the same space at the same time. It can be the result of ambiguous logic. Or it can be the result of the derivation of different truths , one logical, the other intuitive. Logical “humor” is usually a “joke”- a setup situation. Alogic humor results from dissonance in the interpretation of meaning.
Humor is the "Lubricant" and "polish" that allows enough slippage to move, but enough friction to give "traction" and "smooth" the rough edges. ( I recall the comic book character brought to my attention by my college roommate- this character had super slippery shoes that allowed him to run incredibly fast- now think about why they put cleats on track shoes- we laughed about that for weeks)
I feel like giving some illustrations--
First, a “joke” based on inductive logic:
A woman went on a business trip for a week and left her husband to tend to her much beloved cat. On arriving at her destination and checking into her hotel, she calls her husband to check on her cat.
The husband answers the phone and says, “your cat's dead”
The woman is quite naturally shocked by his bluntness and after regaining control of herself, berates him:
“How could you be so cruel?” she asked, “ You should have prepared me for a shock like that- now all week I'm going to be in grief over my cat!”
“OK”,says the husband, “ What should I have said?”
“You should have built up to it- I'm going to be here for a week. You should have just told me that you saw the cat climb up on the roof and he hasn't come back down”
“Then tomorrow and the next few days you could have told me that you still hadn't seen the cat”
“Finally, just before I came home, you could have broken it to me that you got the ladder and climbed up on the roof, and my poor baby had died.”
“I have to go now, you've given me a terrible shock”
“OK, but Honey, before you go, I just wanted to mention that your mother climbed up on the roof”
“inductive” logic Makess a rule and that predicts that identical circumstances will produce an identical results. EG : “Cat on roof” = “Cat Died”, given: “Mother on roof”= ?
Here's one that turns on deductive reasoning:
Lone Ranger and Tonto are far out in the desert, the Lone Ranger goes behind a rock to relieve himself, and a rattlesnake bites him on the tip of his penis.
The Lone Ranger staggers back to Tonto and collapses.
Tonto kills and removes the reptile, and the Lone Ranger says,” Tonto, I'm weak and I can't ride, you've got to go get a doctor”
Tonto jumps on his horse and rides 20 mile into town and goes to the doctors office where the doctor is helping a woman in labor.
Tonto tells the Doctor what has happened to his “Kemo Sabe” and begs him to come and help.
The doctor informs Tonto that he can't go, this woman is likely to die in childbirth if he isn't there.
The doctor continues,”You really don't need me, you must go back and cut crosses on the fang marks and then suck the poison out with your mouth- than he should be OK, otherwise he'll die”
Tonto jumps back on his horse and rides like the wind back to where he left The Lone Ranger.
He jumps off his horse, as the Lone Ranger says,” Where's the Doctor?”
Tonto says, “Doctor no come”
The Lone Ranger asks”What did he say?”
Tonto replies “Doctor say you gonna die, Kemo Sabe”
Deductive logic takes the a rule that is given, and predicts a given outcome from a known set of circumstances e.g Doctor says if poison not sucked out, Kemo Sabe dies. Given the position of the fang marks, there is no hope Tonto is going to suck them. Ergo, Doctor said Kemo Sabe will die
Here's one that is both deductive and inductive:
Lone Ranger and Tonto are hunkered down behind a rock, surrounded by ten thousand angry Indians who are shooting at them. Lone Ranger turns to Tonto and says, “Well old friend, it looks like we've had it. “
Tonto says,”What you mean “WE”, white man?”
Lone Ranger inductively determines that 10,000 to 2= Death for the 2
Tonto deduces that 10,001 to 1 = better odds
A sidenote: Lone Ranger and Tonto seem to me to represent a stereotypical pairing of Western Enlightened Science" with "Native faithful "Childishness"- My rough latinish translation of "Kemo Sabe" is "He who knows", of "Tonto" is "Stupid" these "Jokes" illustrate the real meaning of "I'm with "Stupid", and who lives to tell the tale.
A-logic jokes range from simple nonsense phrases that sound “Funny” Hey lady, how'd you like me to flbberfly your nammerator? Through “simple” puns , up to quite contrived and unexpected “puns” The “humor” is the juxtaposition of a logically expected “Truth” with a completely unexpected “Alogic” “Truth”
For example of a simple “pun”, a joke told by a “Native American” stand up comedian that I stole from “South Park”:
Pony goes to Eagle and say,: “I want you to yell at Coyote for me, I am angry with him”
Eagle says,”Why do you not yell at him yourself?”
Pony says, “Because I am a little hoarse”
More complex Alogic humor can be quite complex and involved, and may have “unintentional” double entendre, for example. James Branch Cabell in his “pornographic” novel “Jurgen” uses references of great wit and length that describe the ways in which the hero uses his “Sword” and “Spear” to to both satisfy his duty to the ladies and overawe his foes. ( Remind me at some point to discuss the relationship of “Reality”, “Pornography” and “Burlesque”)
James Branch Cabell is the Master of the pun and the double entendre. I believe his works are about 23 in number , most of them in his “life of Dom Manuel, the redeemer” series- But he creates some of the most extravagant puns possible. To give one example, Jurgen, in his travels after his book is published and condemned as pornography, encounters a strange land of hypocrites, the Philistines. Cabbell goes on to describe their behaviors and beliefs, one of the beliefs is that the sky is really the seat of the sky gods blue trousers , which at night are spangled with stars. So the countrymen sing there homage and loyalty to “the Star Spangled Buttocks”
In another book, Dom Manuel has seen his beloved carried off by grandfather death, and he woulfd have her back. He consults a wizard who tells him that only misery is stronger than death, for death comes and goes, but misery is always with of. The wizard suggests Manuel go and provide himself as servant to misery, in fea to win back his love. Suffice to say, there are tremendous and mighty tasks demanded of Manuel, but more and more misery grows to like having Manuel around, and finally restores to Manuel the Fair Niafer. Misery was well pleased, for everyone knows misery loves company.
Of course, a certain common preconception is always necessary for the “Humor” to grind” against.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto jokes presume you know who they are. The “native American” stand up comedy joke is particularly perceptive ( as expected from “South Park” ) because it goes to the heart of both the perception that native Americans don't have a “sense of humor” (That's nonsense), and their Alogic perception of the world. I can't speak for “native Americans”, but having been raised a “crude” rural child, there is an analogy- puns and direct humor are too subtle for those who expect inductive/deductive “jokes”- The humor is in the perception of “dissonance” which the Alogic thinker is all too aware of, but which the Rational mind denies. Puns are the lowest form of humor, but often the highest form of wisdom.
Humor is a way of allowing the two world views to interact without the heat generated by the friction of debate. Reason between Logical and Intuitional modes takes a fine abrasive and a great deal of patience. In many cases “Humor” is the “jewelers rouge” of reason, the lubrication mixed with very fine abrasive, that grinds reason to a polish.
That is the method I intend to use in this Chautauqua. We will attempt to explain the “miracle” of human thought, human being, and human government. Of course we won't succeed, but the effort will presumably be educational and amusing,
I will probably take a month or so off, to try to get some other things done, and organize the Chautauqua. My intent is to hold the Chautauqua on OS, but the platform for the format is not ideal.
I will send out invitations by PM and post here when I have it ready, Any who wish to be invited, please make a comment to that effect in the comments.
I'll still be around, and I would like to have your comment on this post, concerning any thoughts you might have, either about what I've presented her, or about what you might suggest in termas of the Chautauqua.
Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, if you haven't- if you have, read it again. Also high on the reading list is “Godel, Escher, Bach” by Douglas Hofstadter ( and any of his other books) and James Branch Cabell. Mark Twain is also recommended.
So, what do you think?
PS: I just spent a half hour doing format editing between my finished piece in "word" and the format produced by OS upload word processor- only to have the upload crash and come to the notification that "os is not accepting new applications at this time" - This is why I'm looking for a different platform as well as a Identity-- Please forgive the formatting, I'll be back to correct it after I've renewed my fund of patiance.
My Chautauqua posts for ongoing discussion:
please feel free to jump in.