Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Tue Jun 8 18:39:14 2004
Fall of the Overweight Ninjas

The ninjas climbed around, like black blueberries on the wall, moving like ants.. and occasionally one of them would fall, an obese body clad in the clean, soft black outfit, overstarched. They would, in a special way, decompose rapidly, quickly becoming bone and fluid, the organs become strands, a soup in which their skeleton floated. I reached into the stream, it felt almost surreal, like it never could be solid, and I gently shaped it with my hand, moved my fingers through it, felt the distortions I made alter the flow. With careful craft, slowly it became something else, a strand of toothpaste, ninja toothpaste, and, its configuration set, I let it flow and walked on.

A strange disappointment, when the wolves in sheep clothing manage to lure each other away from the herd, and find that neither of them are as they seem. A strange, embarassed anger, the kind that does not judge, does not pose as judging because it cannot, but instead remains shaped as anger is always born, of frustrated desire.

Slashdot, always the asker of deep questions (heh heh), has an interesting question -- what keeps you off of Windows? In essense, this is "why Unix?". The main answer, which I've elaborated on in an essay some time ago (which is probably on my webpage somewhere), is that Unix shells are very powerful (in fact, pretty much guaranteed to be capable of changing anything on the system), it's possible to reach a shell interface remotely, and the system as a while is very open-form, with users able to tweak their environment as they see fit.

I got a Ph.D. in pain and a Masters in disaster, the mighty Stephen Hawking is a fucking QuakeMaster. -- M.C. Hawking, QuakeMaster

America as of late is taking some worrying steps, but so far they're only visible to foreigners. Not good. Of course, for a country where most people don't leave their home state, much less go overseas, people are unlikely to worry about things like this, and I can actually imagine people justifying strong controls on foreign journalists -- "why should we let these people from some other country come to a place we've worked so hard to build, America, and criticize it without having even lived here?" While arguments like that no doubt have a lot of emotional appeal, thrilling the little nationalist inside all of us, they have little else to talk for them. No country is perfect, and in fact, if one can remove the shroud of nationalism, one can see the less-spoken-of-but-undeniable facts behind any country. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, the country you're from has likely done some horrific things, and if you can't bear the sight of these things, you're not honest/open/responsible enough to have meaningful discourse on matters of state. Everytime people say "I come from the best country/people in the world", I respect them a little less. And another thing, don't misunderstand this as license to accuse people of the sins of the nation they happen to be from, or of their ethnicity, or the like. When you go far enough back, all people are related. All humans are brethren, and while ethnicities are real, their identity is just a matter of scale and historical accident. Na klar, a lot of religious folk, from the Klan to a number of tribal beliefs promote an ignorant view on these things, speaking of the original seperate identity of the ethnicities, and mystifying and worshipping accidental divisions. Whoever you are, fellow humans, if you're reading this, you're my relative, and you're just going to need to live with that. Just as the Arab-Hebrew conflict is often cast as a family squabble, so are all wars, conflict, and in fact all human affairs a family matter. One might ask, why do we decide to treat family, closer relatives more like ourselves, better than random people? Three observations: First, we notice that people often self-select to form similar in-out societies based on other factors. SFF, in Columbus, was in many ways like a family. Secondly, it probably has some kind of modern group-selection value. Thirdly, the benefits gained through such an arrangement are primarily gained because of mutual acceptance of the selection criteria, and the mutual support offered in such a circumstance. Any other system of grouping which offers mutual support and has sufficient assent of group members to a set of selection criteria will provide similar benefits to the family, ethnicity, or the like. We are taught to love our relatives, as they were taught to love theirs, to preserve that union. Being able to see this, both from outside and inside (for while I can see that I have been so brainwashed, it has a hold on me I cannot discard, as it's a natural part of me), is one of the many strange places Philosophy can get you.

Some people claim that Philosophy is about formal logic, or at least mark it as important to the 'field', and otherwise pose a number of ideas about what philosophy is that seem really unnatural to me. Instead, the tools of philosophy require that people learn a crude honesty that can skewer social 'truths', a mind that isn't scared of going into places discouraged by tradition, and the possession of a strong mental acid that digest any idea seriously put forth that isn't very well founded. This acid is often forged in a nihilist period in one's life, when one discards the ideas one is raised with. It should be very rare that philosophers keep the ideas they're raised with -- one's mind must be blasted apart, torn to shreds by the forces that form one's present philosophy. Like living the life of the artist, living the life of the philosopher is something that can be done with any career -- it's about what kind of person you are and what kind of commitments you make, not getting things into museums or print. I imagine the same could be said of athletes, but not being one (despite my moderate interest in reaching a moderate level of fitness, I'm not likely to ever be part of that type), I wouldn't deign to speak with authority on the topic.

Ahh, it's now 21:02, and I just spent the last hour or so talking to someone about religion, politics, and life. Recently, I've found that I can get a lot of pleasure just asking someone to explain their thoughts on life, and not injecting much myself into the conversation. It's fun to share, but often equally interesting just to listen, occasionally inserting a gentle touch to learn the interesting parts of someone's thoughts..