Friday, November 07, 2014

Rule of Life #16

Rule #16: Freedom is a paradox.

The assumption of freedom is that a person has at least two substantive[1] options from which they can choose.

The thing is that even if you have ten options, you still choose only one. Even if you can synthesize a “both or more” option, priorities have to be set and you can't ever choose all options.

The paths not taken expose the oppresive paradox of linear time; yes, freedom and choice, but only one. Even the wisest of us can't know the eventual consequences of our every choice. I've had too many chance encounters to believe otherwise.

So obsessed are we that our fiction has desperately spawned the idea of multiple universes, which allow us to justify or bemoan our exercise of feedom up to this point. Fighting with our alternate selves tends to justify our decisions, because in the end there's nothing else we can do but accept them. Also, Home Universe Bias should totally be a thing.

Anyway, I'm just bitching because the broad vistas of all our futures have to be fed through the eye of the present's needle and I'm the sort of guy who always wants more.

[1] "Substantive" because being beaten with black versus white billy clubs doesn't ring as "freedom," really.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Rule of Life #15

Rule #15: We only know through perception.

Cogito ergo sum is a bit of a no-brainer to include when describing paradigms of human existence, but its a good one. Even deduced information is drawn from data gathered through ordinary perception.

If Rule 14 is the “what you see is what you get; deal with it,” of existence, Rule 15 is the rider that says, “yeah, but you might just be a brain in a jar.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rules of Life #14

Rule #14: Illusion uninterrupted is no illusion.

Sometimes, people ask whether or not we exist in a simulation. It's a valid academic question, but I consider taking the questions raised by a mission to Mars or a survey of Io to be more important. Look, quantum computers and the limitations of the Universe's computational abilities are critical areas of knowledge, but...The Matrix isn't shutting down anytime soon.

Debating the nature of reality over a glass of Delightful Buzz Red might be a fine excuse, but it's not going to peel back the curtain.

Maybe it is all fake. Cool. Now bring back hard evidence, or else it just doesn't impact my life the way that fish-eating spiders do. The same largely applies to aliens, government conspiracies, and religion. They're all fine theories and I enjoy learning about them, but I don't take them any more seriously than this season of Doctor Who.

Okay, slightly less seriously than this season of Doctor Who.

So long as an illusion lacks any seams[1], it isn't any less real than...reality[2]. 

People work much the same way. Someone who is perfectly compassionate and empathetic, but always acts like a jerk is actually a jerk. Someone who's an asshole on the inside, but who is always kind, understanding, and helpful towards others is not an asshole. They're a person with asshole tendencies that rises above them every day. It's--y'know--


[1] Any. At all. None. Zero. Zip. The Matrix's dejavous? Interrupted. Total illusion.

[2] For non-illusory universe. These non-illusory definitions get recursive real quickly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rules of Life #13

Rule #13: Change is death.
Change, like death, is inevitable. What is will not endure and whether what is to come is better or worse depends in some part on your actions.

It will probably be worse if you don't work to make it better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Klickstein, Phil Robertson, and the PC Police

So, last week Nickelodeon alum Mathew Klickstein had an interview with Flavorwire. In it, he talks about how Pete & Pete was the best show in Nickelodeon because it was a white, male cast, how Clarissa Explains it All was only successful in hindsight because of Melissa Joan Hart and "feminist bloggers," and how Sanjay and Craig's Indian lead is unnecessary and equivalent to blackface.

I don't know much about Pete & Pete, but Clarissa Explains it All was an objective success, and there's no need to justify a non-white character created by a multicultural staff in a multicultural country. Reasonably, folks have been angry at him. The result is that the event he was promoting, "Nite of Nickelodeon Nostalgic Nonsense!" was scuttled. The rest of the attendees scheduled a new event without Klickstein. He cited "PC Police" in his cancellation notice. But is there such a thing as the PC Police?