Friday, November 25, 2016

Fake News makes faking Fake News easier

    In fake news today, the fake news media faked the news.  That may not be quite so easy to say, coming from a fake news source.  I mean, how could a fake news source make fake faking the fake news easy? Wouldn't pretending to produce fake news result in real news?  Or would it result in a parody of fake news, even faker than what we are accustomed to now--a farce, as it were?  A farce of fake news, produced by fake news media outlets trying to fake the fakeness of their own fake news--as if they were trying to out-FOX themselves.

    Beyond the jokes, let's be honest here for a moment, and try to make real news the news for a moment.  News produced with any intent of conforming to any notion of narrative is an act of propaganda. Also, any effort to produce anything but real news is also an act of propaganda, even when it is accidentally produced or results from ignorance.  Yes, I said that.  The act of journalism is a very narrowly constrained and objective reporting style which is corrupted by any attempt to mesh opinion or interpretation into its reportage.  Subjectivism of any type, even at the word level, should be kept separate fro the reportage--it's the reason there's always been an Editorial Section in newspapers.

    Journalists are allowed to express their opinions, just not in the same part of the paper where there reporting is being done.  It's not that problematic a notion.  It's the same thing as separation of Church and State--an idea that we all claim to pay lip-service to, but cannot fathom allowing to actually occur.  But it's the law!  We must keep our religious convictions out of our lawmaking.  It's also the same thing as keeping personal preferences out of the workplace.  Employers are all-too-eager to tell their employees not to put their personal choices into communications when they are working, and that eventually spills over into all actions taken by employees when they are working.  Every time you hear expressions which result in the assessment that employees represent their employers in their personal lives, you are being told that people are nothing more than their jobs.  You wouldn't want to know that your 401K portfolio was being managed by a punk rock fan who enjoys The Dead Kennedys as much as he does The Clash, would you?  Or a country bumpkin who likes Dixie Chicks as much as he likes Dolly Parton?  But, you might have noticed that I am favoring the male pronoun at the expense of the female portion of my reading market.  Sorry, it's because I'm a guy who cannot be permitted to represent the female portion of my audience because I would probably misrepresent them--Guys are inherently wrong. So, it is better to remain silent in order to prevent rampant offenses at the mere utterance of any off-color suggestion, right?  Amirite?  After all, it's the same thing as employees being told to do nothing more than represent their employers when they are acting as spokespersons for the company.

Comment with things that need to be added to this rant, but please try to remain civil.  Hateful and profane comments will be blocked, but their content will probably be added to future revisions of this text.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The EpiPen Edition of my Novella, This and That

    I have released a special hardback edition of my novella, This and That, at the alarming price of $798.00.  I have priced it that high so that if I ever need an EpiPen, I will be able to afford to buy one.  With logic like that, I should need to only sell one copy in order to fulfill my need.  However, in the effort of making a statement about the rampant greed in the pharmaceutical industry, I will need to report one additional detail about the corporation that prompted this effort.  The CEO of that corporation gave herself an $18 Million bonus.  I am just as frustrated as the rest of you, but nowhere near as frustrated as she is--clearly, she can afford to corner the market on frustration!  So, in order for my statement to be successful, I will need to sell almost 29,000 copies from the publisher's website (or almost 60,000 copies from Amazon.com--when I finally release it there), so that I can give my CEO (me) an $18 Million bonus.

  Let me offer a few statements that may encourage you or even further offend you.  Like Henry Ford, I believe that my employees should be able to afford to purchase the products they make.  Since I cannot afford to buy a copy of the book that I have produced, I need a raise.  That will happen when this book sells--Duh!

    Once I have earned enough to provide myself with the massive and unnecessary bonus that I so richly deserve (tongue-in-cheek), I will lobby Congress to pass laws which require that my book be placed in school libraries all over the country, because this is such an important book in the development of students' appreciation of literature.  (You know, I have to ask myself, did that corporation lobby Congress to pass laws in favor of placing EpiPens in schools all across the country before they acquired the rights to produce the product?  Did they care about it before they could make any money from the product's success?  I'm going to guess not.)

    However, if you actually want a copy of the book but can't afford the hardback edition, the paperback edition of This and That: A Novella (and other prose writings) is available (with the identical text inside) for a reasonable price of $19.99, because unlike the pharmaceutical companies, I won't prohibit the affordable edition from being sold to people who can't afford the hardback edition.  Maybe here would be a good place to tell you a bit about the book I am trying to convince you to buy.

   I wrote the first draft of This and That in the summer of 1988.  I knew that it would need to be rewritten, so I roughed it out to the end so that I could see where the plot would lead.  Once I finished it, I printed out copies and started handing them around to friends.  I didn't think about the concluding message of Chapter Four for several years.  But then in 2010, I published Mangled Doves primarily with the intent of making the novella available in a published book.  I realized that it was the novella's first publication--so I excised the narrative text of Chapter Four and included it in the Appendices at the end of the book.

    In this edition , I have restored the narrative text of Chapter Four to its proper place between Chapters Three and Five.  I have also restored a passage to Chapter Eight which I had excluded from the version which was published in Mangled Doves.  Two rather simple differences, I know.  An owner of Mangled Doves could easily jump to the Appendix after Chapter Three and read Chapter Four in its proper context instead of buying this horribly over-priced hardback.  But I have included a previously unpublished second draft of six chapters plus three ending chapters, extensive notes for developing the second draft with much more content and research, and an outline for a planned third draft--which was never fleshed out.

    After publishing Mangled Doves, I attempted to advertise the book's listing at Amazon.com in this blog, but eventually, the story I began to tell in the blog became a narrative on its own, so I completed and expanded that story, and published it as Appearing to Study Particle Physics.  This book is also available in a paperback edition.

    During the effort to arrange the complex plot of my next project, Captain of the Watch, I published a collection of my poetry, Verses for the Vixen (and other poems).  Not only does it contain all the best poems from Mangled Doves, it also contains the charming "Pumpkinification of Brash" verses from Appearing to Study Particle Physics, along with the drafted verses from the work-in-progress, The River of Silence.

    I made the cover of the poetry collection all-white, so the natural choice for the special edition of This and That was all-black.  But as a writer, it is now time to turn my attention back to Captain of the Watch and fulfill a few promises while renewing my faith in my ability to write something new and creative.

    But you didn't read this to hear about my other books and the efforts to write them, you wanted to see my justifications for jacking up the price of the hardback edition of my novella.  I have already mentioned the standard proposed by Henry Ford, that his employees should be able to afford to purchase the product they make, but I haven't truly stood behind it yet.  Clearly, this is not a universally-held opinion.  Most corporations will happily pay their employees as little as they can get away with, not concerning themselves with whether or not their employees can afford to purchase the products they make because there are a sufficient number of consumers out there who can afford to purchase they products made by these increasingly underpaid workers.  As I stated in Appearing to Study Particle Physics, that's all fine and dandy in specific jobs where the nature of the work requires contractual restrictions, but when such perspectives are boiler-plated across the board, horrible market changes are looming on the horizon.  When a corporation does not consider its own employees to deserve to live at least as well as its consumers, an ethical breach has taken place and nobody seems to think there's anything wrong with that.  So, in order to treat myself as well as I wish to treat you, I need to get paid as much as it takes to purchase my own product.  But this leads me to my other point.

    Passing on the cost is probably the primary complaint that will be leveled against this elevated price.  How dare an author who is not writing about any medical mystery base his price on the cost of a medicinal product he does not even have a need for!!  Perhaps its a way of reminding you that we as consumers have been asked to accept such treatment for as long as we can remember--in fact, we really don't know any different.  One of my chief gripes against University Fees is that the other campus-related fees often exceeded the amount of my tuition, and the fees for international students being charged to local students was exorbitant.  I had to pay parking lot fees when I was taking a bus to the campus, and dorm fees when I was not using one.  It is a very common practice in many fields.  Most doctors charge a nominal fee to cover their malpractice insurance, and the jokes about dentists who redesign their waiting rooms after looking in a patient's mouth is not entirely untrue.

       But when it all comes down to a simple justification, all I have to say is that J.P.Morgan once answered the question of how much he was willing to charge for a ticket on his trains, "As much as the market will bear."  In other words, a corporation will charge its consumers as much as they are willing to pay, just so long as enough of its consumers are paid well enough to afford the higher prices.  In the example of Henry Ford's employees, the Ford Model A was marketed as a working man's car, but most factory workers were not paid enough to afford the purchase of a car.  There's a vast difference between working class and working poor.  Henry Ford did not want his employees to be considered the be among the working poor.  It depends on which market sector you are addressing with your product.  Clearly most corporations do not consider their own employees to be in the market sector of their own products.

    Another criticism that can be leveled at my over-priced novella is that it is a shot-self-in-foot effort.  Nobody's going to buy a book (a recreational one at that) for a huge amount over its cost, they'll just ignore it and move on to the next, more reasonably priced, book.  That, however is not the case with products like EpiPen.  There is no other product like it on the market, so those who need it will have no choice but to pay the high price that is being charged for it.  Also, the corporation that produced it will likely be pushing legislation to keep competition out of its market, so that even if a choice were possible, the consumer can be prevented from having access to it.  An indie author doesn't have clout like that, so a political statement against the corporate price-gouging and industry-side greed will not be noticed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Still Unpublishable Content

    The Production Report Story has been published (without Copyright) at Lulu.com.  The "Unpublishable Content" and "About the Production Report Story" articles were merged together and have been published in Appearing to Study Particle Physics, with an appended prologue (to help mesh with the surrounding plot).

    The entirety of the "De-Constructing Quarks" article-series is also published there, as well as "Dissing Economics" in all its glory, with expanded text and four new chapters!

Summary of Appearing to Study Particle Physics

    Appearing to Study Particle Physics is a narrative, not a textbook.  The appeal of its resemblance to academic curriculum is in its refusal to take itself seriously while moderately presenting the academic content promised by its labels.  The first segment focuses on Physics but is largely not technical in nature, and entirely non-mathematical.  "De-constructing Quarks," tells the story of Dr. Jeremy Wraxtiorre trying to defend a sociology-based history of the development of the Quark theories while I (in the role of first-person narrator) was trying to read it--and constantly complaining about how much I didn't understand it.

"Dissing Economics" is a continuation of the narrative, following Dr. Jeremy Wraxtiorre as he attempts to explore another topic of academics.  The scenes play out as silly, unrelated and disrespectful for the first seven chapters, but the added chapters take place in a lecture hall actually discussing key points of several economic theories--as presented by a topless secretary who eventually reveals that she has ghost-written all the textbooks her boss has been praised for.

"Misguided Notions of Internet Journalism" is a mockery of Youtube video journalism--and by extension of TV photojournalism in general.  However, its academic content seems to focus more on theories of media presentation, more attuned to page layout and internet marketing strategies.  It also discusses the scattered writings from my Yahoo!Answers days, including the Stoic Cat and Cartoon Dog stories.  Story-wise, it portrays the beginning of the efforts to get St. Sixedog out of the hospital.

"Against Conspiracy Theorists" is also a mere continuation of the narrative, with much of the dialogue provided by research from an actual student of conspiracy theories.  He was a bit displeased with my portrayal, partly because of the embellishments which play up the madness of the conspiracy theorist's behaviors, but also partly because I portrayed conspiracy theory studies in a negative light.  My defense was that it would appeal to non-conspiracy theory readers, and yet present the content to those who wouldn't have approached conspiracy theory studies otherwise.

"Inappropriate Pictures in Hospital Walls" portrays the reunion of the Itinerant Philosopher with St. Sixedog, and presents the discussions of Descartes, Wittgenstein, and mysticism.  The second chapter needed to be revised for legal reasons--the pictures used in the blog to enhance the context were permitted in the non-profit environment of the blogosphere, but I could not justify the costs of licensing them for the publication of the book.  The revisions played up the fact that images were present in the text, but have been removed. (And no, I will not name-drop the source of the pictures.)

"Misguided Notions of Journalistic Intent" presents the proper closure of the storyline, pitting Dr. Wraxtiorre against his friends in a Reality TV show.  Meanwhile, the dynamics of Reality TV as a component of society are discussed in some detail, as well as the dynamics of society as a public sphere.

"Unrelated Content" is an arrangement of separate articles, essays, and poems, forming a coda for the story line.  The much-praised slap-in-the-face essay, "Hermagorus Forgotten" is here, as are the popular articles, "On the Winners of Wars," "De-Moralizing the Ego-Centric Optimist," and "Unpublishable Content."  The notorious Yahoo Answers text "Morsel Transcendentalism and the Challah Metophor" has been greatly expanded and rewritten but maintains its hostilely anti-transcendentalist tone.  The charming poems in "The Pumpkinification of Brash" are included, as well as the new "Poems Best Left Unwritten," and the controversial "Regressive Traits of Anal Hominids."

In The Appendix, I presented the complete text of "The Behemoth Saga," expanded from its original drafts and interpolated with the Street-date Announcements from this blog.  It is important to stress that The Behemoth Saga is the actual beginning of this book's story. The Stoic Cat and Cartoon Dog Stories from my Yahoo!Answers days are arranged in a sequence, along with several significant texts from Yahoo!Answers, and some of the blog-prefaces for these article-series when I had written them online--well, there's also an acknowledgements and a bibliography as well.

The beginning of the value of this book is the joke of being seen reading it in public, because it is clearly not about physics--so you really are only pretending to study particle physics.  Once you become comfortable with reading a book that is not really about physics, it is a delightfully silly romp, interlaced with some academic content, some philosophical discussion, and a bit of challenging complexity, but not much--until the end.  The book will become available at Amazon.com soon, but it is already available at Lulu.com!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Street-Date for Appearing to Study Particle Physics

Yes, the time is finally here!  I have decided to publish both a paperback and a hardcover edition at the same time, but it's mostly because I wanted to see this book in hardback--but freaked when I saw how much more expensive it would be.  So, you get to choose.  The hardback is $44.00, but it has a fancy dust jacket with the liner notes on the sleeves, so it looks really professional.  the paperback is $27.95, but the entire text is there--I didn't skimp on the content!  Check out the startup website for a teasing look at the cover picture!

October 18th, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New website for my book!

Check out the new website for my book!  It isn't complete yet, but it will contain all of the stories that you have come to know and love from this blog--and more!  So, go to ATSPP.Webs.com, check out the Resources page to see the books that I have read (or will read) while creating these articles, and check back to it throughout the summer to follow up on the progress of the publishing project, and its reception in the reader's market.

     Currently on the FAQ page is simply a recap of some of the questions that I had asked myself while writing some of the extended chapters which will appear in the text, but after publication when readers submit new questions to the website, I will post those up there in place of these.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Other Answers and Questions


Is the Speed of Light timelessness?

Now, we all know that Einstein said that Time slows down progressively for a traveler who is accelerating towards the speed of light. He also says that--theoretically-- time stops for a traveler who is traveling AT the speed of light, and--also theoretically--time travels in reverse for a traveler who is traveling faster than the speed of light. Unfortunately for Sci-Fi fans, he also said that no traveler can ever "cross the lightspeed barrier." Now, get this!

I always knew that Light travels at the speed of Light, and that time does not move for an object that is moving at the speed of light, but I also knew that it was impossible for any object to travel at exactly the speed of light (unless it was a photon, of course). But the light that we see--the REAL light that exists around us everywhere--actually does travel at the speed of light and therefore is always everywhere all at once because it does not take time to get there! If you have ever watched a Marching Band from Upper mezzanine across a stadium, you have seen the "time" it takes for sound to travel at the speed of sound. But how can one imagine that Light itself does not travel in that same sense--it essentially is already there, shining on whatever is in its path for infinity!

What are the implications of this? How does it affect your perspective of Reality?

Additional Details

The Michelson-Morley Experiment was intended to measure Ether-drift in Earth's rotation by comparing the relative speed of light on the forward-spinning side of earth and the backward-spinning side of Earth, but found no difference in the speed of light. In trying to prove the existence of the Ether, he accidentally proved that there isn't one.
3 years ago
No, really. It's a logical necessity:
1. Speed of Light equals non-time.
2. Non-time equals irrelevance of distance.
3. Non-time in distance means already there.

The speed of light is an arbitrary measurement, but time or non-time is a fact which imposes logical necessities on the existence of Light. Think it through!

 “Does the process of Creation really exist? How can nothing become something?”

     “Oboy!” The Cartoon Dog lumbered across the room and began to drag the desk away from the wall. “Is it time for my Famous Desk Test?”
     The Stoic Cat leaped in front of the the desk and pushed hard against it. “Calm down, you silly canine! This is another Hector question.”
     The Cartoon Dog looked up and waved politely. “Hello, Hector!”
     The Stoic Cat turned around and nodded respectfully.
     The Cartoon Dog read the question to himself, scratching himself behind the ear as he thought.
     The Stoic Cat chided the Cartoon Dog. “Heh! Who does he think he’s fooling? Creation isn’t a process, it’s an event!”
     The Cartoon Dog chuckled stupidly. “Yeah, and how can he not know that nothing becoming something is the definition of the event we call Creation?”
     The Stoic Cat stomped on the Cartoon Dog’s toe. “Aw, come on! Thales may have claimed that the one stuff of the universe is water because he understood the notion of process but couldn’t quite explain it! Our favorite whipping-post of philosophy Parmenides found the notion of process so inexplicable that he developed an insane philosophy just to deny its existence.”
     The Cartoon Dog rubbed its toe scornfully. “Hey, I thought Parmenides was funny!”
     The Stoic Cat sneered. “You try to define the notion of process, then.”
     The Cartoon Dog grabbed its stomach and grimaced. “Urf!”
     The Stoic Cat stepped away nervously. “Uh-oh! Are you having a Maalox moment? Can I get you a glass of milk?”
     The Cartoon Dog squirmed for a moment, then started to sniff the carpet anxiously.
     The Stoic Cat ran to the door. “Aw, poor puppy. Do you need to go outside?” 
     The Cartoon Dog grimaced, grunted, and growled. “Urf! Nope, I’m constipated.”
    “Maybe it would help if you ate some grass. Look, there’s dandelions growing out there!”
     The Cartoon Dog stood up again, a glazed stare betraying the cranial infarction that befuddled his senses. “Process is a series of events which causes some change to be imposed on some existing object or set of items. Notions of change are independent of the defining principles of process.” The Cartoon Dog up-chugged an unused box of Crayons. “Hey, where did those come from? I wonder if they taste like chicken?”
    The Stoic Cat slapped itself on the face. “Yep, complex notions are a real no-brainer to you. It’s mere existence that presents a learning curve, isn’t it?”
     The Cartoon Dog grinned. “Man, you just don’t know how much fun it is to chew on colored paraffin!”

“Is Order a prerequisite to Design, or is Design a prerequisite to Order?”

    “Oboy! Is it time for my famous Desk Test?” The Cartoon Dog excitedly began to drag the desk away from the wall, eagerly blowing dust clouds from its surface into the air.
    The Stoic Cat braced against the edge of the desk, shielding its eyes from the dust by raising its paws defensively. “Not this time, Bucko!” He pushed against the desk strongly. “This is a semantic trick!”
    The Cartoon Dog lapsed into convulsions and slumped on the floor, flapping spasmodically. “Urf!”
    The Stoic Cat grimaced scornfully. “He always has conniptions over his language skills.”
    The Cartoon Dog relaxed and lay on the floor, panting. When his breathing had calmed down enough to talk, he stood up awkwardly. “Whew! That was scary. It sounded like you said that word which triggers my Language Dysfunction.”
    The Stoic Cat twirled its whiskers in disinterest. “Oh, how Wittgensteinian.”
    The Cartoon Dog’s eyes glazed over and his voice became a sonorous drone. “Oh, witty master. You befuddle my senses with your multi-syllabic musings.”
    The Stoic Cat suddenly looked askance. “I think he’s ill. Do you feel feverish?”
    The Cartoon Dog raised its paw up to its brow, saluting rigidly. “I’m ready for my lesson, sire!”
    The Stoic Cat bent over chuckling furtively, then straightened up with a serious face. “The first part of the question is--”
    The Cartoon Dog began to flop-sweat.
    The Stoic Cat stepped forward suddenly. “The first part of the question is--Do your feet stink when you have strolled through street-puddles with Peanut-Butter-flavored PetroMalt on your paws on a rainy night?”
    The Cartoon Dog stammered, “B-b-b-b-but, sir. Don’t you think I’m too st-st-st-stoo-pid to stay in out of the rain?”
    The Stoic Cat grinned insidiously. “Hmmm, you do seem to lack the hydrophobic gene. How about this one? Is Order a prerequisite to Design?”
    The Cartoon Dog guffawed. “Har-har-har-har-harrrr! Har-de-har! Don’t you think that I could create a design in randomness by simply repeating its lack of order? If a pattern gets repeated, then design results, regardless of order.”
    The Stoic Cat scowled. “You sidestepped that one quite easily, but try it this way.”
    The Cartoon Dog braced itself eagerly.
    The Stoic Cat continued, “If you were pack-running with another dog, and he wanted to sniff a pole to identify its mark after you had already decided to mark it, would you--”
    The Cartoon Dog suddenly cupped both his paws over the Stoic Cat’s face. “Oooh, master. We’re not allowed to talk dirty here!”
    The Stoic Cat struggled to push the Cartoon Dog’s paws away from its mouth. After gasping for breath, the Stoic Cat retorted, “Fair enough. Howzabout this? Is Design a prerequisite to Order?”
    The Cartoon Dog scratched its temple and skewed its eyes. “Hmmm...lemmessee...” The Cartoon Dog weighed imaginary objects in its paws while mumbling incoherently.
     The Stoic Cat, taking advantage of the distraction, sprinted off to the closet and returned with a bowling ball. He placed the bowling ball on the center of the desk and then returned to stand in front of the Cartoon Dog.
     The Cartoon Dog looked down at the cat. “Hah! I’ve got it. Habit! Habit results in order without design.” He rested his paw on the desk and leaned his full body weight on it. “Not bad, eh?”
     The Stoic Cat grinned admiringly. “Nothing gets past you, big boy!”

 “What is the Meaning of Life?”

    The Cartoon Dog dragged the desk over the Stoic Cat’s slumbering head eagerly. “Oboy! Is it time for my famous Desk Test?”
     The Stoic Cat shrieked agonizingly. “This isn’t a Desk Test Question, you mangy mutt!” He sat up suddenly banging his head on the underside of the Desk. “Ye-ow! This is a Meaning of Life Question. Jesus, you’re an idiot!”
     Jesus looked down from the rafters scornfully. “I heard that!”
     The Stoic Cat looked out from underneath the Desk, rubbing his head gingerly. “Stay outta this!”
     The Cartoon Dog stood aside helplessly, shaking his head as though trying to clear a fog. “I don’t get it.”
     The Stoic Cat clambered out from under the Desk and swatted the Cartoon Dog’s nose. “This is about the Meaning of Life!”
     The Dog rubbed his nose diffidently. “42?” He turned around walking towards the door. “Never mind that. I’ve got work to do.”
     The Stoic Cat looked at the window. “What are you going to do? Eat your own vomit?”
     The Dog stopped, not turning around. “Why is that wrong? Just because I’m a dog doesn’t give you the right to make fun of me.”
     The Stoic Cat scowled, “That would be if you were a Cynic, but you’re a cartoon.” The Cat shifted its weight. “You moron! The old saying about a dog returning to its own vomit is because it doesn’t know any better than to follow its blind instincts about the food it ate moments ago, forgetting that it’s that very same food which made it vomit.”
    The Cartoon Dog silently listened, and thought about the Stoic Cat’s lecture.  After a long pause, he retorted, “Yeah, but at least it was warmer the second time!”

“The more we know, the less we understand.”

    “Oboy! Is it time for my famous Desk Test?” The Cartoon Dog began excitedly pushing the Desk away from the wall.
    “Nope!” The Stoic Cat darted in front of the Desk and pushed against it. “Yet again, this isn’t an Existence question. This time, it’s about knowledge.”
    The Cartoon Dog stood up irresolutely. “It’s the same thing. How do you KNOW is this desk exists?
    Well, if I smack your paw on it, and you feel pain from the impact, then you will KNOW that the Desk is really there.”
    The Stoic Cat stood up sharply. “When you chase cars, have you ever noticed that the faster you run down the street at them, the further away from you they get?”
    The Cartoon Dog gulped solidly, imagining a feigned terror. “Nope, but I do remember that feeling I get in my lower spine when I’ve reached the end of my leash.”
    “You’re such a delightful interlocutor.”
    The Cartoon Dog pshawed. “Aw, stop being so sophomoric. You know I’m a pushover when you talk like that.”
    The Stoic Cat leaned forward. “Have you ever studied Plato’s Allegory of the Cave?”
    The Cartoon Dog furrowed his brow. “What a moron! That guy wouldn’t know a hole in the ground from a hole in the ground!”
     The Stoic Cat glanced around furtively, and whispered, “You know, they use manacles in the cave.”
     The Cartoon Dog chuckled nervously. “I remember those days. Hee-Hee!”



"The Big Bang"....Pro or Con?

Prerequisite Statements:

1. Everything that is possible has therefore already occurred. This is my assessment of the Universe, given an Eternity of Time and a finite amount of matter. This reflects Nietzsche's Theory of Eternal Recurrence, and demonstrates the basis for familiarity-in-strangeness and deja vu.
2. Before the Big Bang, the known Universe would be a "Singularity," as Physicists like to call it. Basically, all Matter would be one object and the rest of Space would be empty void. Aside from the inevitable quip that "Nature abhors a vacuum," the Laws of Physics cannot function in a Universe populated by one object. (This also lends questionability to the notion of ACTUAL MOTION, eh?)

3. According to Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quark Chromodynamics, there is a preponderance of future-pointed Vibrations in the material Universe (i.e., When quarks emit vibrations into both directions of Time, the backwards-in-Time waves get canceled out by the receiving particle's response vibrations, leaving more vibrations freely flowing towards the future).
4. The true reality of existence is the Energy of the Universe, the waves of probabilities which exist as subatomic particles only because they choose to do so--in order to provide our existence with this magnificent Universe in which we live. It continues to be true that particles such as electron-positron pairs and photons can spring into existence out of seemingly nothing.
I hold the Big Bang as being a possible beginning, but I am not yet convinced. It is likely that since the Laws of Physics do not function at the Singularity, then the occurrence of a Singularity at the beginning of Time would require nothing more than that the Laws of Physics are created and defined by the Explosion of new Existence. The expansion of the Universe which Scientists cite as proof that the Big Bang was the event at the beginning of Time which created the Universe, participates comfortably with the preponderance of future-pointed vibrations in accordance with my theory.

The midpoint of SpaceTime will be the occurrence of an equilibrium between future-pointed vibrations and backward-pointed vibrations. The Universe will begin to shrink when the balance tips in favor of backward-pointed vibrations. After the Big Bang's explosion, Reality (the Energy of the Universe existing as physical matter) formed a big bubble of expanding Space-Time. Naturally, the concept of a Big-Bang expansion lends well to a closed Universe (i.e., finite scale) as well as the proclivity towards shrinkage during the second half of its lifespan. Obviously, the Universe will end with a huge collapse back into the Singularity from which it sprang and the Laws of Physics as we know them (All that Quantum weirdness) will cease to function again.

Now, all this sounds nicely conclusive, and confidently plausible . . . so why am I not sold on my own theory? It just sounds too circular and tidy. Of course, I do like the fact that this theory gives as much room for God as it does for Atheism. I prefer to think in terms of the bubble of physical matter formed by the Energy of the Universe as a chosen state of affairs enacted by the Energy, while God exists outside of our Reality, observing it. But I am not certain of the plausibility that God could be "outside" of the Universe and therefore excluded from all Reality.  It also negates the "Eternal Recurrence" Theory. I hope Nietzsche wasn't your hero!

This is Practical Philosophy (Now there's a contradiction in terms!)?

The Walrus strolled diffidently along the shoreline. "I wonder if there is a God. I wonder if I would know if there is a God." He stumbled distractedly over a pile of dried crab claws and lost his footing. "I wonder if God would know if there was a God?" He stopped suddenly, holding a flipper as though contemplating a significant point.

The Carpenter skipped along joyfully, kicking up sand with every footstep. "Don't look now, toothy-man! I know where the clams are!"
The Walrus spun around. "I doubt that!"
The Carpenter smiled. "Are you sure about that? Are you certain?"
"Oboy," the Walrus exclaimed. "I might be uncertain! Are we going to laugh about this later?"
The Carpenter snarled goofily. "I would like to laugh about this now, but I am too busy crying about the onions in my eyes."
The Walrus shrugged. "But what can I do about my uncertainty?"
The Carpenter tossed a handful of seaweed into the Walrus' face. "Have Faith, my friend! And follow this sage advice."
The Walrus looked down at the sand. "But I'm not cooking any chicken!"
The Carpenter waved off the remark and continued. "Death results in Certainty, so portion control is paramount in matters of spirituality!"
The Walrus blubbered incoherently.
The Carpenter continued, "Awareness of DOUBT is a confession of the banality of your existence, and defiles all sense of Atheism about you!"
The Walrus looked up. "Bless you!"
The Carpenter did a double-take. "What? huh?"
"I thought you sneezed."
The Carpenter flew into a rage. "Atheists don't say 'Bless you!' You're infected! You have been scrubbing your brain with one of those grilling steel-bristled brushes again, haven't you? I hope you remembered to use Murphy's Oil Soap this time!"
The Walrus dove into the water. Rising up for air, he exclaimed, "It's so liberating."
The Carpenter shouted towards the waves. "You might be on fire!"
The Walrus shrugged again. "How would I know that?"
The Man on the Brawny (a Paper Towel brand) packaging glanced over. "Stop looking at me like that!"
The Carpenter watched bemusedly for a moment, then looked out at the Asker. "Is he an Atheist, or an Agnostic?"

Can you pass the Obscurantist Challenge?

"Yippee!" The carpenter danced a happy little jig in inch-deep water along the shoreline. "Hoo-rah!"
The Governor walked up and kneeled on the sand, dispirited. "What are you celebrating for?" He began to dig diffidently with his fingertips.
The Carpenter chuckled and replied, "I have offended his finer sensibilities." He clapped his hands jovially and resumed his silly cavorting and splashing. "Not everybody can speak Twaddle!"
The Governor held his hand out. "Hey, now wait a minute! I speak fluent Twaddle. It's the language of the Geese. Here, watch." The Governor dropped his arm by his side and began to trot along, flapping his hands at this waist to emulate tiny wings. "Honk! Honk!"
The Carpenter guffawed and slapped his knee. "That's the silliest thing I ever saw! But that's not much of a Goose-step!"
The Governor stopped in his tracks and stood up straight. "But that's how the Geese twaddle! You didn't think I meant something about Fascism, did you? There are many different dialects of Twaddle. In Texas , it's called "Tawdle." In Boston , they call it "Twa'tle." In New York , they say. "Shut up!"
The Carpenter stepped forward. "What do they call it in German?"
The Governor thought for a moment and then answered matter-of-factly. "Utilitiarianism."
The Carpenter did a double-take and then counted the syllables on his fingers. After a moment of thinking, he shrugged. "But what about Logical Positivism?"
The Governor gasped. "Ugh, that's anathema to us Twaddlers! It's like a bunch of dreamy-eyed Optimists took our School of Thought and called it their own. And all because of some Nit-pickey little detail."
The Carpenter scoffed. "Ah, it's just like a Twaddler to nit-pick."
The Governor jerked in annoyance. "But what is there left to do? After Hegel spouted all his senseless drivel, wandering too close to Solipsism to care if he was making any sense! After Schopenhauer's litany of contempt, somebody had to wriggle a way out of the traps that even Plato's Socrates would be unable to outwit!"
The Carpenter put his hands on his hips in exasperation. "Well, that's because he didn't have the gift of baffle-gab!"

Is opposition a concept defined by that thing's mere absence?

In a rambling brainstorm to answer a really tricky question from my good friend Hector, I spat out this Kafkaesue diatribe about Existence (Purpose, Meaning, etc) and its Oppostion: "But it is appropriate to say that the opposite of something is Nothing, isn't it? Is the opposite of "Car" carlessness? Is the opposite of "Hamburger" hamburgerlessness? There is no diametric opposite to hamburgers. Pizza isn't an opposite to anything. Is the opposite of "Car" horse? Well, you can't say "Carriage," because that's a primordial "car." It just strikes me as wrong to say that opposition is equivalent to absence. Mathematically, then. Is the opposite of 5 zero? No, it cannot be, because then the opposite of every number would be zero, and that would result on a reality in which opposition is a variable trait. Opposition is diametrically relative to the numerical value of the existence which it negates? A true mathematician would say that the opposite of 5 is -5. So the opposite of existence is not absence! Wait, this IS a contradiction! Purpose cannot be equivalent to meaning, because a rock used as a doorjamb has a purpose, but lacks meaning. If you stop using it as a doorjamb, then it lacks purpose, but the status of its meaning has not changed. So, if you have something that has purpose AND meaning . . . An example would really help here, wouldn't it? The rock being used as a doorjamb 'means' that the door will not close on you as you walk through it, but that's not what we mean by 'meaning,' is it? Well, what else could we mean by it? I suppose that will have to suffice as a definition."

I think the part that I question the most is this statement: "It just strikes me as wrong to say that opposition is equivalent to absence."

What's the Difference between Non-Existent and Imaginary?

The Stoic Cat strolled along, singing an old America song: "You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name, It felt good to be out of the rain. In the desert you can remember your name, cause there ain't no one for to give you no..."
"There's no such thing as Unicorns!" The Cartoon Dog shouted. "Unicorns do not exist!"
The Stoic Cat jerked and almost choked on a hairball. "What? There are TOO Unicorns! I was gored by one several years ago. I spent weeks in the Veterinary Hospital recovering."
"Huh?" The Cartoon Dog gave a surprised look. "That's not very nice. Unicorns are supposed to represent Purity and Goodness."
The Stoic Cat did a double-take, then leaned forward to whisper, "You're not helping your argument with that."
The Cartoon Dog looked up, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "Oh! Uh, well. what did you do to provoke the Unicorn?"
The Stoic Cat snickered, but stifled himself and continued. "Nothing! I figured, I'm a mythical creature, you're a mythical creature, the Unicorn is a Mythical Creature, why can't we be mythical creatures together?"
The Cartoon Dog leaned forward in interest. "Then what happened?"
The Stoic Cat grimaced. "Apparently the Unicorn has a very different perspective of what it means to be 'together' in the same place."
The Cartoon Dog stood upright quickly. "Um, that still doesn't represent Purity and Goodness."
The Stoic Cat beckoned the Cartoon Dog closer. "And you're still not helping your argument about the Unicorn's non-existence."
The Cartoon Dog looked out of the screen. "What are you lookin' at? Didn't you have a stuffed Teddy Bear when you were a kid? What did you call it? Well, I do not know that name. But if Unicorns don't exist, then how do we ALL know what they are called?"

Does every piece of writing have a philosophy?

"Oboy, is it time for my Famous Desk Test?" The Cartoon Dog began to drag the desk away from the wall.
The Stoic Cat charged in front of the desk, blocking its further advance into the room. "Oh, no you don't! They're not going to fall for your shenanigans anymore, you silly mutt!"
The Cartoon Dog stood up, drooping its paws at its sides. "Aw, shucks! I was really looking forward to smacking your paw on this desk again."
The Stoic Cat grimaced. "What really disturbs me is your eagerness to strike me dead afterwards. I can't do this forever--I've only got four lives left. Why is this so important to you?"
"The look on your face is so worth it." The Cartoon Dog reminisced thoughtfully, grinning a silly grin and drooling slightly. "Ah, well. What's the question this time?"
The Stoic Cat looked up and did a double-take. "Yaish! We ARE the question!"
The Cartoon Dog wagged its tail excitedly, and shouted, "Yippee! Does this mean that we get to determine the question?"
The Stoic Cat blinked. "Well, I suppose we do. What would you like to ask?"
The Cartoon Dog struggled to think, contorting its ears and snout. "Durh, I've never been asked to provide a question. What is it supposed to feel like?"
The Stoic Cat raked its claws against the inside of the Dog's leg. "Nothing like this!"
The Cartoon Dog yelped, "Yeee-Aaaahh!" and began to wail loudly. After awhile, the wailing subsided into muffled sobs. "What's Wordsworth?"
The Stoic Cat leapt up excitedly. "Tennyson, anyone?"
The Cartoon Dog scowled, a low grumble escaping his throat timidly. "That's not funny, and you know it."
"Well, you are just a cartoon, after all. Besides, if I remember, you prefer Bacon."
The Cartoon Dog scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Well, he DID write all those essays in English, thereby avoiding the problem of meanings lost in translation. He's much more accessible than that Montaigne character--and tastier!"
The Stoic Cat looked over quizzically. "How strangely Anglo-centric that is for a canine! So, is it possible that all narratives contain philosophy? I mean, can a narrative successfully portray a philosophy, or be the product of one?"

Is Perception based on representation?

"Oboy!" The Cartoon Dog began to drag the desk away from the wall. "Is it time for my Famous Desk Test?"
The Stoic Cat rushed in front of the desk to block its further progress towards the center of the room. "Oh, no you don't! They're not going to fall for this anymore!"
The Cartoon Dog stood up irresolutely. "Aw, gee. Why does Solipsism get to win every time?"
The Stoic Cat did a double-take, "I'm not sure. Maybe it's because it has insufficient presentation?"
The Cartoon Dog scratched its ears thoughtfully. "Don't you mean RE-presentation?"
The Stoic Cat looked away, perplexed. "Have you reading Diderot again?"
"Nope, I'm illiterate." The Cartoon Dog shook its head decisively. "By the way, what's the question this time?"
The Stoic Cat looked up quizzically, reading the menu bar. "It says, 'File, Edit . . . ' I don't think that's much of a question."
The Cartoon Dog looked up with dish-pan eyes. "Yikes, you don't suppose that we are the question, do you?"
"Well, you are just a cartoon, after all."
The Cartoon Dog grinned proudly. "You see, I told you it was about representation!"
The Stoic Cat swiped the Cartoon Dog's nose. "You silly canine! That which is real is real, no matter how it is presented."
The Cartoon Dog looked out of the screen at the Answerer. "What do you think?"
The Stoic Cat grabbed the Cartoon Dog's snout aggressively. "Don't ask them! They don't know anything about being real!"
The Cartoon Dog leered at the Stoic Cat. "Duh, they're more real than we are." The Cartoon Dog pulled away and looked at the Answerer again. "He's not used to being an Asker, so I'll speak for him. Is perception based on presentation, or representation?"


Is Knowledge based on Awareness, or Memory?

"Oboy!" The Cartoon Dog began to drag the desk away from the wall. "Is it time for my Famous Desk Test?"
The Stoic Cat rushed in front of the desk to block its further progress towards the center of the room. "Oh, no not again! They're getting weary of your brainless prattle!"
The Cartoon Dog stood up irresolutely. "Does this have anything to do with what Socrates did to that boy in the street with a stick?"
The Stoic Cat did a double-take, "Didn't you even read Plato's Meno?"
The Cartoon Dog scratched its ears thoughtfully. "Nope, I'm illiterate. At least as far as I know I am"
The Stoic Cat looked away, perplexed. "Welcome to the world of semi-sentient beings!"
The Cartoon Dog nodded decisively. "Well, I am just a cartoon, after all."
The Stoic Cat looked up sharply. "Hey, that's my line. Ah, well. What do you know?"
The Cartoon Dog drooped slightly. "Well, I am conscious." The Cartoon Dog held an inviting paw out towards the Answerer and asked, "Does awareness constitute knowledge?"
"Nope, don't drag them into this!" The Stoic Cat held up its paws against the screen, blocking the Answerer's view of the question.
The Cartoon Dog sneered pridefully. "You Stoics are all the same with your belief in the primacy of education!"
The Stoic Cat swiped the Cartoon Dog's nose. "You silly mutt! That which is known is learned, no matter how it is derived."
The Cartoon Dog looked out of the screen at the Answerer. "I think he just defended MY side of the argument!"
The Stoic Cat grabbed the Cartoon Dog's snout aggressively. "No, I didn't! I want a recount!"
The Cartoon Dog leered at the Stoic Cat. "Math has nothing to do with it." The Cartoon Dog looked inquisitively out at the Answerer again. "Maybe you can help us resolve this argument. Does awareness constitute knowledge, and what is known is learned no matter how it is derived? Or is knowledge an experientially-developed set of memories which can be interpolated in different and unrelated situations?"
The Stoic Cat's jaw dropped cartoonishly. "Wow! That's a lotta words for a bunch of brainless prattle! What did you say?"
The Cartoon Dog gave a dumbfounded look. "Maybe I am saying that conscious awareness is a meat which tastes like chicken but is kinda bitter like a house which is not like a house?"
The Stoic Cat grinned. "Now, that's the ignoramus that I know and love!"

Can a Philosophy of Mind be compared to the thought that "Weather is not a product of Land"?

In the same way that "Weather" is not a product of "Land," the human mind is not a product of the brain, but rather a product of the synaptical transmissions of arcing electrical charges utilized in the processes of the brain's functioning. That might sound a bit contrived, but what I am considering is a unique "Philosophy of Mind" which will take some time for me to fully comprehend and perhaps even longer for me to figure out how to explain it properly.

As I have stated before (in other Questions), I believe that our "Self" is a relationship between the Body, the Soul, and the Mind. Do not confuse this with an interpretation of mixing or blending of the three entities in question, for these three elements are already coexistent in the "person" that is who we are. Our true "Self" is a direct result of the relationship of these three elements because they coexist in the same "person." I cannot reconcile the Buddhist claim that there is no self in the same way that I cannot reconcile my Quantum (and Berkeleyan) perspective that there is no physical reality with the evidence of the senses. The tactile experience which betrays the physical existence of Reality must be "married" to the notion that the physical Reality does not actually exist. There is something magical about the assessment of a friend being dependent of how one feels about that friend. When one is pleased with a friend, one's assessment of that friend's personhood is pleasant. When one is angry with a friend, one's assessment of that friend is negative and hostile. The "Mood" (as I will now call it) of the relationship between our Body and our Soul affects the "Self" in that same way. It is also true of the relationship between out Mind and our Body, our Soul and our Mind. And relationships in this coexistence are also two-way streets: There is a different relationship between Soul and Body, between Body and Mind, and between Mind and Soul. All six of these interactions affect the Self in different ways, and at least one of them is a by-product of the matter (Brain) and processes (synaptical transmissions) which result from that matter. Recall also that that our circulatory systems are not just the veins, vessel, arteries and heart, but the living, breathing ocean-like creature (multi-celled organism) called our blood. Yes, the blood itself is technically an organ, but is more accurately a population of one-celled organisms much like paramecium or amoebas (Dare I say it? "The Great Pond Within Us All"). But does this mean that all creatures with a synaptic-based nervous system have minds? I suppose it would, but I am having a bit of trouble swallowing the necessary conclusion that gastropods have Minds.

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HectorC said, What is the relationship between the land and the weather? I believe that they are some of the elements that make up the earth as an "entity"? Just like our souls (spirit,self) mind (consciousness), body (brain) all functioning to give us the identity and awareness of being a human being. It is my belief that the electrical waves in our brains is just a medium the is necessary in order to experience this physical universe. The "energy that is necessary in order to sustain our life and/or existence came from somewhere or existed in others forms. I believe that that the 'Ultimate Self" 'is a phenomena of infinite multiplicities that is manifested in infinite expression" Think of it as a little boy playing in a sand box by himself. In order to entertain/express himself he makes up friends and toys while playing. I believe that this "Ultimate Self" as done just that. It wants to experience the complete rang of misery and bliss and everything in between. Each of us is one of those infinite multiplicities. Going from one existence to another hopefully growing each time to a higher level of awareness. As far as I can remember the question I would ask: "How did God know that I could exist"? Everything that could have been , should have been, might have been, would have been exist! We are all in this together going through a mazes until we become "One" The reunion of Ultimate Self. Then the whole process begins all over again which is happening from infinity to infinity. I've stated these points before.Wraxtiorre I celebrate your conceptual thinking . Take care my friend, Hector
Hiram said, “Wow lots of stuff to refute there.  First the idea of the mind as software (which takes very little regard for the hardware of the brain) is Douglas Hofstadter's idea (although I doubt it originates with him either.) land DOES affect weather tremendously I might add. On the subject of the body/mind/soul nexus, let me contemplate for you the idea that the soul is a measure (like temperature) not an entity like the Gnostic pneuma. The mind is the "breath of god" (dare I say collective consciousness?) experiencing subjectivity "as" a body, not IN ONE. So two of your three parameters do not functionally exist and thereby there is no "nexus" unless you call time, the movie (reality) and God the parameters. A person is no more a person than Frodo or Bugs Bunny, and the same way Bugs Bunny is a figment of some cartoonist's imagination, I am a dream God is having. Quantum reality is that non-existence has effect,Buddhism strives for non-existence (Nirvana) and Berkeleyans believe that life is a communication from God (who is extra-mundane, i.e. more than just what exists.) Where is the conflict?

The reason physical reality concerns you so much is you haven't really fathomed Sartre's nausea, that reality collapses under careful examination. One of the reasons physical reality affects us so much is because we pick and choose what to "see" and what "not to see" (ala The Secret) and so the story we tell ourselves has it's own gravity. What is fascinating is how we need reality to be "deeper" than our understanding. If we create the world, why IS it nauseating? Why does it have levels of cells, molecules, atom and the like beyond ANY one person's understanding? What are we doing to ourselves?

Perhaps nausea is a proof of God, or at least a proof that we WANT A GOD very very badly.