Monday, July 6, 2009

Interal Monologue Externalized

Trying to organize some different thoughts and such that I've been having so this seems like the right place to put them down to work through. Maybe if you're extremely unlucky I'll actually follow through with working on some of this stuff on here. Anyhow, here's the stuff I've been thinking about.

1) Variant Realities/The Nature of the Real

One of the big projects that I've been expertly putting off is starting work on a novel. I've been putting a lot of thought into what sort of themes I'd want to work through and what kind of story I'd want to tell for quite a long time. The concept has gone through a number of different iterations based on the nature of what I'm interested in and what I've been thinking about. There are a few things that have remained constant about the project though, which I think will actually make it into the final cut. Whatever I write will explore the nature of the real, of the "experience of living", and of ways in which human experience and human thought connect directly to our perceptions (and the actual nature) of whatever reality is.

Needless to say I'm planning to write science fiction, but hopefully in a way that allows it to be considered serious literature. Any good story is about relationships, not only of the characters with one another, but with themselves and with their world. Truly brilliant writers can make the story about its relationship to the reader. I believe that this is accomplished through clever use of archetypal and mythological context (the "monomyth" or "metastory" concept if you will). The use of the comic also seems especially good for this purpose.

2) Light and Color

My continuing mission carries on. Currently I have taken two small side endeavors with respect to light and color. First, I'm reading Einstein's Relativity, because it's both readily available and generally related. While relativity is not specifically about light, it's clearly related and seems like a good way to slowly move toward quantum theories of light. Secondly, I'm reading Goethe's Metamorphosis of Plants. Plants are heavily nourished by sunlight, which I find to be fascinating. It seems valuable to investigate them further in that regard.

I'm thinking of starting a terrarium. Oooh.

3) Society, Ethics, and Education

I don't think I'm going far afield when I say that Americans are at best cynical of and at worst untrusting of the government. I think we all expect government officials to be corrupt, greedy, cheaters; that we are unfazed when they turn out to be such. When a politician or public figure does something good, we are surprised, but unmoved because it seems like so little when we consider the extent of the negative in our society. I can't understand why we are accepting of this and why there seems to be so little movement against it.

Greed and selfishness are becoming major problems in our society. The current economic crisis is the result of greed, along with a lack of knowledge on the part of investors and home-buyers. The whole Madoff thing comes from greed. The companies that were bailed out and used that money to pay bonuses and retreats for exectutives (23k in taxpayer spa treatments anyone?) are guilty of it too. What happens in democracy that it stops being about "us" and starts being about "me"? We all do it to some extent, but most people would say that they are not greedy and selfish. My dad looks to the good in people and tells me I'm too cynical about this sort of thing. Is he right? Is it just a few bad apples at the top that cause these problems?

Tell me this: why are we accepting our country's failing morality? I heard a bit ago that an alarming percentage of high school students admitted to cheating on a test at school. An even more alarming percentage of those students said that they felt their personal ethics we acceptable!

Deep in my heart I believe that education has to be the solution to these kinds of problems. I'm not talking about just moral education, but education on the whole. A better system of education could help kids to fulfill their potential, become better citizens, and find more satisfying lives. It has to start with how we teach our kids. Right?

4) Caboose

A while back I made a post about the "Caboose's Mindscape" gag from Red Vs. Blue. I have continued thinking about that and about the relationship between self-perception and the real world. A few weeks ago a buddy said to me that "perception is reality". While I know it's a common idiom, I've been wondering about how true it is, and especially about how it related to the RvB bit. I'm very tempted to hit Burnie up with the idea of doing some "Philosophy of RvB" segments. Not that I think a lot of people would be interested. Anyhow, it'd be a good investigation I think. I'd almost be interested in doing like a recorded roundtable group on it.

5) Growing Up

It's beginning to become troubling how I'm drifting apart from some of be closest friends. I don't really want that to happen. I've been considering the idea that a project of sorts (like what I mentioned above perhaps?) would be just the thing to give us a united purpose. We'll see.

Until All Are One.


P.Proteus1035 said...

It's my current opinion that Americans are "accepting" of political corruption through the sheer inability (or belief of inability) to have any impact what so ever on expunging said corruption. Frankly I can't blame them. Power corrupts and the personality required to propel someone to highest levels of Government require a certain level of "diplomacy" that I think most would classify as moral corruption at worst and loose morals at best. Our continued allowance of lobbying as it exists today is proof enough I'd say. That being said however I think there is a tangible element of revulsion at our Governmental Corruption that has directly played into the election of Barrack Obama. Regardless who Barrack is or isn't (see above about the "diplomacy" necessary for advancement) his support is bolstered by an image of moral purity and integrity that was unparalleled by his political rivals.

I've had plenty of educated discussions (read: arguments) that Perception ALONE is not Reality which is largely predicated by the concept that one man's thoughts fail to conjure enough reality for his fellows in the room to experience it as well thereby denying Perception as Reality. Certainly I'd be a fool to deny such logic instead I suggest that this speaks to the definition of Reality. To an Acid Tripper the ants crawling on his arm real regardless of my ability to perceive them. The ants are real enough in fact that, desperate to remove the offending insects, he peels the skin from his arms with a Bowie Knife. Here is where we have to ask: "Which real is Real?" Every day people hurt each other and themselves over their realities with little regard for anyone else's opinions.

In my opinion that violence is proof and evidence enough that our Perceptions are our Realities which directly drive our behavior and thereby effect the Realities of all those people with whom we interact in a ripple of cascading realities.

B said...

Ultimately we have to expect (or demand) better of our leaders and of our government. The expansion of weak and loosening morals (especially among leaders and aristocrats) was one of the major signs of the weakening and ultimate collapse of the Roman Empire, and we sure do seem to like their architecture. Even if there is a growing revulsion at government and corporate corruption I'm not sure how much that will change without a serious social change to go along with it. The growth of morals has to start somewhere. True, it's the responsibility of parents to raise their children to be well-adjusted adults, but isn't it the responsibility of society to raise well-adjusted citizens? Why can't morality be thought of as an extension of citizenship, rather than as some superficial peripheral of religious upbringing or parental decision-making?

I'm not sure I agree with you in terms of "the ants are real to him". There might be some kind of relationship of reality to the individual, but I find it challenging not to dissolve toward solipsism without some kind of shared reality that connects these individual realities. I'm a fan of the idea that reality is what remains when you stop believing in it. In that case, a hallucination is certainly not real because it can be overcome with medication. So that particular reality is "less real" than another reality in which the ants don't exist.

In addition, we are surrounded by peripheral realities generated by imagination and thought. Should we then accept those as fully real as well? Or do we then begin talking about independant layers of the real? That perception is reality leaves us to believe that our dreams are real, since I'm sure we've all had experiences of things that happened in a dream that we confuse with things that actually happened.

I'll have to think about the relationship between behaviors and reality. It doesn't seem to me like an experience qualifies as real simply because it drives behavior.

P.Proteus1035 said...

I can certainly believe that we are in a period of history repeating, though I'd liken it closer to October of 1929 than I would the Romans. We recovered from that and in the process demanded more from our Leaders and Corporations. If anything we've failed to act upon lessons we've already been taught. I couldn't agree more with a social obligation to demand better with an achievable goal coming from education and paradigm shifts. The sad truth however is that some where we let that slip away and now, short of a world war or major disaster, only small, slow steps will pull us back up out.

I think it's important to define Reality as it relates to the discussion. For me there can't be a better definition of a reality than that which drives our behavior. I comfortably recognize that definition introduces a certain temporal nature to reality such that what is real today is no longer real on medications. To me that fact that it isn't real tomorrow doesn't lessen its reality today. I would further suggest that it would be irresponsible and dangerous to simply disregard "treatable realities". As for dreams I think any artist worth their title would argue the validity of dreams as realities with their dying breath. When did Gene Roddenberry's dreams become real? When Star Trek was written? First aired? Or was it when the first working cell phone made the first working phone call?

If we define our reality as only that which we all agree is real and tangible then so be it but I think you would agree that definition is far too narrow.

The RvB gag is an excellent example of individual perceptions creating reality that I think we can all relate to. I think we've all experienced, at one time or another, a point where family or friends either directly or indirectly imposed upon us THEIR view of who WE are that we responded to. In that way the perceived realities of others influenced the creation of that reality. "If you treat me as a monster I will become one." How else can you define that ability to force an outcome if not that Perception is Reality?