» Radiation tri-blade » Reality is a funny thing. [ « I've always wanted to begin an entry that way. =) ]

T. S. Eliot, who has been called "arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century" said » "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood."

I lied in my ad. I hate Wallace Stevens.Reality is a Funny Thing

Most would agree, I think. Certainly I have found this to be true, myself.

Heck, from a certain perspective, unconscious 'cognition' is the very essence of poetry. Certainly good poetry.

Thomas seems to suggest there is such a thing as 'ungenuine' poetry.

However, the more intriguing question here, is » HOW this is done. Or maybe even » how is this even possible? [ Geeks always wanna know HOW shit works. ] The poet's secret. Maybe they dont even know.

Have a gander, for example, at a little poem by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955 .. taken from Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, published 1942) .. which I found perfectly centered on a page at the beginning of a biographical novel about Tolstoy's last year (1910). See here:

There was muddy center before we breathed.
There was a myth before the myth began,
Venerable and articulate and complete.

From this the poem springs: that we live in a place
That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves
And hard it is in spite of blazoned days.

Wallace has also been known to say » "Reality is a product of the most august imagination." THAT is a big sentence .. which I happened to find [ NOT so perfectly centered ] at the beginning of a book titled » Proust was a Neuroscientist.

» Who is Wallace Stevens?

I have never heard of Wallace Stevens before (I dont think) .. and all of a sudden he's popping up (consecutively, no less) ..

.. as the author of words that convey concepts which have been specially selected by an author to foreshadow an entire text. Seems like such an unlikely coincidence.

Perhaps Wallace knows something that I need to learn. Cuz his poem seems to 'affect' me .. tho I'm not sure why.

Perhaps a better way to say this would be » it speaks to me. But what is it speaking?

Or maybe he is just a poet whose time has come. Maybe he was ahead of his time. Most poets are ahead of their time .. antennae of the race.

In the 'Proust' title I have found many head-bending concepts. And that is the point .. as referred to by Mr. Stevens .. about the Nature of Reality [NoR]. Our perception of reality, he implies, is based on us .. cuz we are the ones with » imagination .. and therefore a necessary condition / ingredient / component of observed events .. and therefore 'reality'.

So .. reality. It's a funny thing, dawg.

Just watch a Conservative Republican debate with a Liberal Democrat about the nature of 'reality' .. and you will see what I mean. Each one is CERTAIN the other is dishonest, evil or downright insane. How can that be?

I dont want to delve very far into the concepts presented in this title. But any time you start to consider consciousness and the nature-of-reality .. as experienced by we humans .. it becomes something of a mind-warp ..

.. seeing how/that a large part of consciousness [ ALL of it? ] is derived from and dependent upon (consists of) ELECTRICAL SIGNALS .. firing in different parts the brain at different times, in different sequences .. in virtually unlimited, but measurable ways (electrically speaking).

Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) | Father of the Atomic Bomb» Ears to Hear

In other words, the mind does the seeing. Not the eyes. The mind does the hearing, not the ears.

And it is VERY interesting to see what happens when you CONTRAST .. the results you get when considering the soul and human perception in the 'context' (in light of) of the findings of science/physics .. and vice versa ..

.. by which I mean .. considering the findings of Science in the context of the Soul .. we, us, humans .. what we see / perceive.

Talk about head bending. I have much to say about insights here, tho my thoughts arent yet clear enough. But it has to do with an interesting contrast. Contrast makes it easier to see things. Things that have to do with the way (how) we define reality.

In order for our notion of reality to be congruent with our experience of it .. it becomes necessary for us to make certain assumptions.

But sometimes these assumptions imply/assert certain concepts .. which come with their own set of problems .. that we'd rather not deal with right now. (Such as the case with Einstein & Oppenheimer.)

Skipping over a vast steppe of logic and supporting evidence .. we arrive at the following unsettling inference » the physical world (as we EXPERIENCE it) is merely an ILLUSION.

So ... now what? Let's say that the physical world REALLY IS (merely an illusion). What now?

I see two suggestions:

  1. explore the Inner world (.. just like Eastern religions espouse) .. cuz that's all you/we would have left
  2. seek peace, quiet, tranquility .. so as to better accomplish #1 above

UPDATE - Okay .. I went back and re-read the preceding section .. and it is clear that this topic is difficult to discuss in abstract terms. But getting specific would take time I had not committed to.

But I have gone back and updated today's entry .. to include more detail regarding this nascent insight .. regarding 'connections' .. making new connections.

Posted near the end. Tho you should probably wait until you get there. Cuz those ideas are (admittedly) not very developed. But I figure, while I'm on the topic, why not? Seems like the time is right to mention them .. raw as they might be.

You cant miss the section when you get to it. It is the one that talks about 'connections' .. while comparing and contrasting the mind/brain with the internet/hyperlink.

And the implications (.. for the species) of that similarity. Very nice head torque. Might wanna go wash off your mouth-guard. =)

» Thinking about Thoughts and the Exhilarating Dizzy of Recursive Consciousness

Anyway .. whenever I really get to "thinking about thoughts" .. and find myself at the place where the mind becomes aware of itself ..

.. I find myself getting this cool intellectually dizzy effect .. like a dog chasing its tail .. the mind chasing one thought which is racing after the other .. at the speed of light. Very cool. Yoga for the brain.

The gist of the 'Proust the Neuroscientist' book (© 2007, by Jonah Lehrer) is » artists of the 19th and early 20th century (painters, writers, composers, etc.) ANTICIPATED DISCOVERIES about the mind in "tangible, concrete" ways that modern Neuroscience is only now beginning to re-discover today.

Einstein's tongueNot that the soul doesnt need science, but rather that science can learn from the soul. When you think about it, it kinda becomes » "Duh" .. as in 'obviously'. But still a very cool duh. =)

Because beyond Jonah's point of mutual appreciation .. between the communities of science and art .. there lies the concept of reality itself. And if I keep this up much longer, I may fall out of my chair. =)

No article which properly discusses head-torquing concepts associated with our [ state-of-the-art ] understanding of REALITY .. would be complete .. without including this particular quote [ from Einstein at t=27:00 ] »

"The distinction between the PAST and the PRESENT and the FUTURE is .. merely an illusion .. no matter how persistent."

[ worth re-reading. einstein is such a trip. ]

That is what the entire video is about.

» Jonah Lehrer, Bob Dylan & the Reality of Creativity

Uh .. I wasnt planning to address this point, about Jonah Lehrer, but I feel (rather strongly) that it needs to be made.

Jonah Lehrer ImagineA few months ago Jonah Lehrer was involved in a journalistic scandal. He attributed some quotes (a single quote?) to Bob Dylan ..

.. in his new book titled Imagine, How Creativity Works .. words that Dylan never said. Jonah just made them up.

Some guy (a biographer?) who knows more about Dylan than Dylan knows about himself noticed the quotes and began to (try to) validate them .. which turned into a big to-do.

No doubt Jonah feels like shit. Giant poopies. But if he would only read Epstein's biography (of Dylan) he would see that Dylan did a similar thing himself .. by fabricating his entire life story .. when he arrived in New York City as a boyish looking 19-year old (1961).

Dylan's parents had reluctantly let their son take a hiatus from college, but they gave him ONE YEAR .. to find the success he sought. They never imagined that their son would become "the Voice of His Generation". So .. he was naturally in a hurry. =)

I attribute a good chunk of Dylan's success to that little factoid. The "Hell-of College" waited patiently as his ever-present motivation.

And it took him a while to hitch-hike to New York City from Minnesota in the middle of the winter .. in a blizzard. Wearing a thin leather jacket.

So he was in no mood for small talk. =)

I'm talking about the article that came out right before Dylan's first gig at Carnegie. I forget the name of the magazine, but it nearly crushed Dylan. In other words, my sense is .. if it were up to Dylan .. that mighta been the end of him. The end of his singing career .. or at least, as the Voice of His Generation.

But [ .. and HERE'S the point Jonah needs to get .. drum roll, please ] » NOBODY CARED. Nobody gave a flying happy banana split about the stupid story. Why?

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » Reality is a Funny Thing

» Radiation tri-blade » I was in JAIL this time last year. How would you commemorate something like that? Moment of silence? Dos Equis? A massage? Wear shiny bracelets? Fingerpaint? Stay locked in your closet? Or get out and about?

Japanese mapleBetter than Jail

I spent the day at a friend's. An enchanted place .. specially from a kid's perspective.

Many little nooks-n-crannies to explore. Dozens of winding paths to follow. Fruit trees galore. Just like the garden. And the largest collection of bird houses you've ever seen.

And a tree house. Did I mention the pool? How about the horses? Mostly arabians.

Arabians make pretty horses. Their smaller heads make them look sleek, elegant.

The Bug loves the place. "Dad! This place is amazing," he says. "And it keeps going. When does it end?"

"Never!" I told him. "It keeps going forever. TOLD YA it was cool!" =)

He specially likes to challenge me on the putting green.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » Better than Jail - Enchanted Getaway

» Radiation tri-blade » The Bug started second grade this week. The end of his summer vacation (.. when we have more time to spend together) came amid one nostalgic-but-heartwarming moment after another. [ See the entry dated 20 August for one such example, titled » The Long Way Around. ]

Baloo and Mogli | The Jungle Book"Let's walk home, dad."

The punchline to another such parenting vignette came this week when the Bug said, "Let's walk home, dad."

It is not easy however, to describe the context in which this quote came. (And this particular quote is all about context.)

I'll give it a try, tho .. cuz it will challenge my descriptive skills .. and cuz it represents such a bitchin' moment. Totally bitchin'.

One which sent me sailing off to » Cloud #9 .. Parenting Cloud 9 .. that enchanted nirvana upon which I floated for days.

And for which I was totally unprepared. As tho it came out of the blue. From left field.


You see .. before bringing the Bug back to his mom on the final day of his summer vacation .. the last thing we did was to share a taco .. at a local TacoJoint (.. with rice-n-beans, of course) ..

.. which is exactly what we had done the previous week, too. Except that .. the previous week, we had to take the bus home .. a 30-minute ride.

Now, we spent his entire kindergarten year riding the bus. So we have become rather proficient riders.

There is something about riding the bus that is difficult-to-describe .. that allows you to focus more directly, more completely on your son .. but I don't want to get into that now .. cuz my Cloud-9 story is so cool.

Anyway, the previous week, as I mentioned, we had taken the bus .. after NOT having taken the bus for nearly a year (.. every day to school, every day home, 3 days/week, for the whole school year).

Like Old Times (.. with a Second Grader)

In other words .. it was LIKE OLD TIMES. Old times when we had more time together.

The bus was fairly crowded as the day grew dark. I had brought along a copy of A Series of Unfortunate Events [ I try to be ready for anything ] ..

Count Olaf and his Unfortunate Events.. by Lemony Snicket .. the very first book of the series .. "Book the First," titled » The Bad Beginning .. cuz we wanted to see/learn HOW all this unfortunateness began ..

.. after having already listened to a few of the later-numbered audio books .. over the last few months. [ There are 13 books in the series, and each one contains 13 chapters. ]

That was the book I read to him on the bus. It became easier to read/see the letters and words once the lights came on inside.

There were OTHER KIDS in the back of the bus, too, surrounding us .. 4 or 5 of them. Some older, some younger. Some boys, some girls.

So I read loud enough for them to hear. The 'Unfortunate' stories (as they're called) are kinda scary, so the eyes of some of these kids were peeled wide .. as I juiced up the good parts. Heck, I think even the parents were diggin' the story. =)

Notice how prominently the Lemony Snickets web site displays the following warning » DO NOT ENTER - THIS SITE IS VERY UNPLEASANT.

That's how the whole book is. The author continually tries to get you to stop reading .. saying things like » "Most books end happily. This book does not even begin happily.

So I urge you, dear reader, to put this book down, while you still can, and save yourself from much unpleasantness." =)

Kids seem to love that kind of stuff. "Should I stop?" I ask them.

I found it particularly interesting that, in chapter 4, the 3 orphan children prepare Pasta Puttanesca [ for Count Olaf and his mangy theater troupe, some of which you see pictured here ] .. for which I have posted a recipe myself, and which a number of Rad regulars have reportedly fixed for their wives.

One of the most distinctive and enjoyable features of the 'Unfortunate' series .. is its VOCABULARY BUILDING aspect. Kids learn many new words and phrases. Adults, too.

I was able to read 4 or 5 of the short chapters .. before it was time to disembark. The other parents thanked me profusely as we prep'ed to exit (tuck-n-roll at twenty). They said some remarkably nice things .. mui flattero.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » "Let's walk home, dad." (Or Floating on Parenting Cloud #9)