“There are many ways of understanding simple things, but generally the opposite is true for difficult ideas.”
Miyamoto Musashi translated by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings

We are getting exhausted at maintaining an ugly world

n

It’s been a while since I’ve heard Charles Eisenstein talking … in The Fertile Ground of Bewilderment it feels like a fresh wave of crystallization is passing through him:

“… the core is changing … interbeing is the truth. We can only surpress it at great and growing effort, until we become exhausted. It’s like a parking lot covered in cement … if you don’t constantly maintain it in a state of ugliness then beauty will errupt. Dandelions will come up, it will crack and in fifty years it will be beautiful. And we are getting exhausted now at maintaining an ugly world.”

Posted in AltEco, Enjoy, inside, Intake, Intellect Run Amok, outside | Tagged | You are welcome to add your comment

Hotair Ballooning

n

Iulia and I joined her sister (and a couple of her friends) to visit a hot-air balloon festival which takes place regularly this year not too far from us (~2 hour drive). Fortunately (because we did not register in advance and because morning flights were cancelled due to climate conditions) we were able to get places on a balloon.

A couple of test balloons (party sized, not people sized) were released by the event organizer and it was decided that we could not take off from the festival grounds because winds would have carries us into forest areas where there is no place to land … so we got into cars and drove out ~8km … where we stopped in a field, and another test balloon was launched … and it was decided that this location wasn’t good either … we drove back a bit to  another location … apparently this a routines part of hot-air ballooning.

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In the next field the 3 balloon teams started unpacking20160923_175139

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and doing some  navigation planning

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then out came fans which started to blow air into the balloons20160923_180509

I was too preoccupied taking pictures to help but Iulia wasn’t …

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Finally, when there was enough air in it was time to activate those powerful burners

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… and pretty soon the balloon was upright and we were inside it

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… one balloon took of before us 20160923_181922

… then another balloon took of 20160923_182027

… and finally we were going up

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… and the ground quickly started moving away

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and we got a whole new perspective of the area we were in20160923_182637

We were a group of 3 balloons in radio contact. If I understood correctly navigating a balloon is done by changing altitude. Wind strength and direction is different at different altitudes. In choosing the balloon’s altitude the captain is actually choosing what winds will be carrying the balloon. Sometimes we were up and and sometimes down. Sometimes we couldn’t easily tell if a neighboring balloon was coming down or we were going up

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The flight was short 20-30 minutes … a small tree (behind the balloon in the picture below) got in the way or our landing … and the spot we were in wasn’t really accessible by car … so when the driver finally arrived (found us) the team started moving the balloon down the hill … the captain was gently adding heat and the other two were dragging the balloon towards the car …

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until the two were oneo again and the balloon started coming down20160923_185800

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… and if like we were, you too are wondering how that thing is deflated … you can gradually folded it from the basket end … but our team had what looked like a massive twisted exhaust pipe which did the trick … though is not as easy to use as one would think it is … looked like tough work20160923_190712

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and then the balloon was repacked … and that was ALMOST the end of that 20160923_191126

because the team that was flying Iulia’s sister had an even less fortunate landing that involved an oak tree that wouldn’t give … and way up the hill where their car couldnt’ reach either … so it had to be started up again and as with our balloon had to be carried a much longer way down the hill where it too was folded and packed … here it is being fired up again20160923_193308

so we arrived back at the festival grounds late and hungry … but with a sweet experience of flying in a hot-air balloon 🙂

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Basecamp Company Spinoff

n

A beautiful example that business CAN be made simple and sweet:

“But first, there are a million ways to spin-off a company. And most of them are fucking complicated. Complicated stuff is anathema to us at Basecamp, so anything messy, extensively lawyer-y, protracted, knotty, or otherwise elaborate was off the table. So what was simple?

… So we decided to give Claire half of it. We’d own 50%, she’d own 50%. Her 50% wouldn’t cost her anything.

We wanted her, she was up for the challenge, and the money that she would have to normally come up with to buy-in wasn’t an amount that mattered enough to us to put any hurdles in the way of making it happen. Plus, we didn’t have to mess around with silly valuations either. Why complicate things?

We’d maintain that 50/50 partnership until she generated $1,000,000 in new sales. It could take 3 weeks, it could take 3 months, it could take 3 years. The $1,000,000 was cumulative — she’d hit it whenever she hit it. And when she did, we’d flip the partnership in her favor. She’d now own 75%, and we’d own 25%. And that’s how it would run in perpetuity.”

The source post includes the actual term sheet:

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Failed Attempts at Negative Interest

n

First I came across this article about negative interest spotted in the wild. I was surprised to see this manifest so soon. Things seem to be moving faster.

But then I came across this even more interesting article about negative interest backfiring. Basically a person who just manages to get by from a monthly income and is trying to save for retirement, watches with worry, when any saving she is able to set aside (without investing it in any risk-related monetary tools) shrinks due to negative interest.

There seems to be a conflict between the underlying story of negative interest and the underlying story of prevalent money / economics. The latter is a story of unlimited economic growth – a growth imperative rooted in interest is built into it. Negative interest, however, comes from a story in which money is in a constant state of healthy flow – systems of either steady-state or degrowth economics. It seems that prevalent economic, in its religious clnging to the growth imperative, is trying to subvert negative interest for its own means – to induce economic growth. But apparently that is not working.

To get an idea of what an alternative “retirement fund” could be we need to look past money and to reflect about the functions we expect it to provide. Lets say that when I retire I want to know that I will have a place to live, access to good food and people who will be able to support and care for some of my needs as I become less able to do so myself. What if instead of setting aside money to be able to buy these things in the future I could invest money I currently have in social enterprises that would create infrastructure that could provide me with those services. The level of my investment in these services would determine the level of service that could be made available for me when I retire

Near zero interest rates and a destablized global economy make it very difficult to create money-based savings for retirement. Now imagine negative interest applied in such a world. Instead of worrying about future value of money or watching it lose its value sitting in a savings account would it not be a better option to invest it in social enterprises that would provide me what I would like to have when I retire?

It seems we are arriving at negative interest for wrong reasons – to extend the myth of econmoic growth. That may lead to a deeper problem: that we then dismiss negative interest as a failed tool and reject it in the future. I hope we can realize and discern that the conditions are not yet right for negative interest. That it is better understood as a tool that needs to be applied in the context of other tools and changes … in service of transforming the underlying story of money instead of prolonging the one that is currently failing us.

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Paul Romer: The Trouble With Macroeconomics

n

“… Macroeconomics, he argues, is like a science that has not only stalled for three decades, but has actually gone backwards in its ability to understand reality.

In the late 1970s, as the old certainties of Keynesianism collapsed, a new generation of economists moved the discipline on to the terrain of super-abstract equations. Their assumption was that the economy tends towards equilibrium, and that only unpredictable shocks from outside the system can disturb it. Since the shocks come from outside, for the purposes of these mathematical models, the economist has to imagine what they might be. In The Trouble With Macroeconomics, Romer mocks these imaginary disruptions …

Romer is a doyen of the profession, and from the heart of the US academic mainstream. His attack on some of the most esteemed and influential economists of our time is a big thing …

… Romer, scathingly, calls this “post-real” economics, and suggests a horribly simple explanation for its popularity: human frailty … over-confidence, “an unusually monolithic community”, near-religious group loyalties, a tendency to disregard results that don’t match the theory – and too little consideration of the risks of being wrong.

This is not just a problem for economics. Romer says the parallels between bad physics and bad economics suggest there might be a “general failure mode” in any discipline that becomes over-reliant on maths. Basically, the kudos goes to people at the cutting edge of designing mathematical models, not to those whose models match reality. If Romer is right, there are big implications for the way governments and central banks make policy. Instead of abstract models, you would need something much closer to reality – and, with the rise of computer simulation technologies, that is close at hand.

… In an agent-based model, you don’t try to work out whether a million people will, on aggregate, buy more bread or less bread. You create a million digital “people” and unleash them in world with digital bread and digital money.”

source

Paul Romer – The Trouble With Macroeconomics

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Cryptocurrencies are having crises of governance

n

“… Cryptocurrencies are having crises of governance — Bitcoin about blocksize and other scaling strategies, Ethereum because the hard fork they made to try to save DAOhub in the midst of its crisis of having no way to authorize an update to a buggy smart contract. Plenty of other coins and systems have had their own issues along the way as well.

These problems are not incidental to the design of these systems, they are inherent.

Cryptocurrencies were designed to escape oppressive governance. Their creators have focused on optimizing personal autonomy and anonymity. The fact that we don’t know who stole $65 million from DAOhub or even who the original creator Bitcoin is, should make this fact obvious.

Why does this matter?

Any system that can’t regulate itself dies. If it can’t respond, adapt, or evolve, it’s dead.

The kind of governance we’re seeking is best thought of as a self-regulatory community. In other words, a community which has the necessary information, communication flows, and feedback loops to regulate its health and longevity.

Until people and community, along with the information flows required for that community to see its own patterns and issues are actually built into the ontology of cryptocurrencies, they won’t solve the problem of governance and collective self-regulation.”

source

also see Preparing Bitcon for a Hard Fork

 

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Stasis would become homelessness

n

A fascinating article in its abstract ideas and in the amazing obviousnesses in which it is disconnected from human experience … a marvelous heartless existence … the “people” traveling in these cars … why would they be there in the first place … why go anywhere to see anything when a “livestreamed HD panoramic view can be projected in  helmet that responds to your head and eye movements” can be made available to you …  a profound example of intellect run-amok

“The opportunity to multitask while traveling could make the journey into the destination. Given the expanded possibilities of what one could do inside a vehicle, our existing distinctions between vehicles and buildings, between transit and destination, between static and mobile spaces, may begin to blur. Imagine commuting while sleeping, or socializing at happy hour while the bar transports you home. Imagine if a garage was also the car. If commuting entails being in a space that is functionally equivalent to being at home, one might eventually skip returning home, and commute perpetually. The journey to work could commence as soon we fall asleep. The idea of having a destination becomes as obsolete as drivers and cars. Highways would host listless roaming bedrooms, meandering through the night.

Our understanding of a house as a stable locus of physical and emotional shelter could become diluted. There would be no reason for homes to not also be vehicles. A range of new options for customizing these vehicle-home hybrids would emerge: Homes could be made up of modular docking pods, and specific rooms could be shared, swapped, rented out, or sent away for cleaning or restocking. Modern conveniences that we currently take for granted — such as being able to use a bathroom without needing to arrange for its presence in advance — could become tomorrow’s luxuries. The homeless would be the only people not constantly in motion, the people closest to retaining a fixed physical location called home. Stasis would become homelessness.”

source

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IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro

n

Reading this wasn’t too surprising … a more worrying thought that came to me though was that isn’t this how most of our systems government, business, etc .. are run? The list of systemic failures is so typical … and yet here we are.

“The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.

This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the Fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.

It describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, and traces a shocking break-down in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation.

… The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen.

“Before the launch of the euro, the IMF’s public statements tended to emphasize the advantages of the common currency, “ it said. Some staff members warned that the design of the euro was fundamentally flawed but they were overruled.

… That the IMF failed to anticipate any of this was a serious scientific and professional failure.”

source via Yanis Varoufakis

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Yoga incorporates felt experience

n

Again this reminded me of Alexander and unfoding wholeness – a process of making in which felt experience is constantly incorporated in guiding choices … and of Pirsig’s sitting on a hot stove.

Practice is action. In this, Yoga differs from – without exclding – other schools of philosophy and of belief that rely solely upon intellectual inquiry or presumed truths. Yoga always incorporates felt experience and so, for many, practice begins with the most basic functions of life: movement, respiration and nourishment.

In Yoga, consciousness enters and merges with movement into prescribed exercises, the asanas. The body moes toward a balance of relaxation and alertness. Consciousness enters and merges into the inhalation, retention, and exhalation of the breath in pranayama. We move toward understanding that something greater than ‘air’ constantly flows through us. Consciousness enters into the choice and quantity of food we eat. We move toward nourishment as the source of invigoration, not satiety.”

TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond

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Relating with something higher

n

These words, inside me, resonated with Alexander’s Windows to the Ground

“All artists I’ve known whose works surpass anything we’ve known before invariably ascribe the source to a higher force, whether they call it God or not. The work then becomes a object for our own contact with something higher. In the course of my teaching, I’ve learned that I can assess the level of anyone’s practice of meditation by the way they relate to artworks, to music – and to other people.”

TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond

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I can care

n

“Halfway down the street I rented a large house with space for offices, individual classrooms, and one large lecture hall … Since its opening, more than twenty thousand people have come to the Mandiram … mora than twenty thousand entirely different situations – but each asks, in one form or another, “Can you help  me?” And all we can answer, the only absolute guarantee each teacher can make is: “I can care.”

That this answer leaves many intellectually unsatisfied, especially those who would like detailed cause-and-effect explanations, I can well understand. I am sorry about that. I can wish it were otherwise, but in truth I doubt there will ever be a thoroughly satisfactory explanation of how Yoga works in any scientific, mechanistic sense.

.. I don’t wish to suggest that we may not in the future understand far more about how Yoga works. It’s just that the scientific methods haven’t yet revealed much. European scientists in the 1930s verified that my father could stop his breath and heartbeat for several minutes – but not how he did it.”

TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond

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On Religion … and truth and freedom

n

A few days ago I was trying to illustrate in conversation why I have a resistance towards any religious expression in MY world. While I do believe that religion had a constructive role in social evolution … and maybe it still does in some contexts … I do feel that in some parts of the world we have evolved to the point that religion is, by definition, dysfunctional.

Then I came across this quote, which aptly describes my feeling, of Krishnamurti presented by TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond:

“I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect … Truth being limiteless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organied; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you understand that, then you will understand how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is a purely personal matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountaintop to the valley. If you would attain to the mountaintop you must pass the valley, climb the steps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices. You must climb upwards to truth … I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality … The moment you follow someone you cease to follow truth … I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free.

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Your brain does not process information

n

“The human brain isn’t really empty, of course. But it does not contain most of the things people think it does – not even simple things such as ‘memories’.

Our shoddy thinking about the brain has deep historical roots, but the invention of computers in the 1940s got us especially confused. For more than half a century now, psychologists, linguists, neuroscientists and other experts on human behaviour have been asserting that the human brain works like a computer.

… computers really do operate on symbolic representations of the world. They really store and retrieve. They really process. They really have physical memories. They really are guided in everything they do, without exception, by algorithms.

Humans, on the other hand, do not – never did, never will. Given this reality, why do so many scientists talk about our mental life as if we were computers?

in the Bible, humans were formed from clay or dirt, which an intelligent god then infused with its spirit. That spirit ‘explained’ our intelligence – grammatically, at least.

The invention of hydraulic engineering in the 3rd century BCE led to the popularity of a hydraulic model of human intelligence, the idea that the flow of different fluids in the body – the ‘humours’ – accounted for both our physical and mental functioning. The hydraulic metaphor persisted for more than 1,600 years, handicapping medical practice all the while.

By the 1500s, automata powered by springs and gears had been devised, eventually inspiring leading thinkers such as René Descartes to assert that humans are complex machines. In the 1600s, the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes suggested that thinking arose from small mechanical motions in the brain. By the 1700s, discoveries about electricity and chemistry led to new theories of human intelligence – again, largely metaphorical in nature. In the mid-1800s, inspired by recent advances in communications, the German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz compared the brain to a telegraph.

… Each metaphor reflected the most advanced thinking of the era that spawned it. Predictably, just a few years after the dawn of computer technology in the 1940s, the brain was said to operate like a computer, with the role of physical hardware played by the brain itself and our thoughts serving as software.

The information processing (IP) metaphor of human intelligence now dominates human thinking, both on the street and in the sciences.

But the IP metaphor is, after all, just another metaphor – a story we tell to make sense of something we don’t actually understand. And like all the metaphors that preceded it, it will certainly be cast aside at some point – either replaced by another metaphor or, in the end, replaced by actual knowledge.

… Misleading headlines notwithstanding, no one really has the slightest idea how the brain changes after we have learned to sing a song or recite a poem. But neither the song nor the poem has been ‘stored’ in it. The brain has simply changed in an orderly way that now allows us to sing the song or recite the poem under certain conditions.

… Fortunately, because the IP metaphor is not even slightly valid we will … never achieve immortality through downloading. This is not only because of the absence of consciousness software in the brain; there is a deeper problem here – let’s call it the uniqueness problem – which is both inspirational and depressing.

there is no reason to believe that any two of us are changed the same way by the same experience … Those changes, whatever they are, are built on the unique neural structure that already exists, each structure having developed over a lifetime of unique experiences.

… This is inspirational, I suppose, because it means that each of us is truly unique, not just in our genetic makeup, but even in the way our brains change over time. It is also depressing, because it makes the task of the neuroscientist daunting almost beyond imagination.

… This is perhaps the most egregious way in which the IP metaphor has distorted our thinking about human functioning. Whereas computers do store exact copies of data – copies that can persist unchanged for long periods of time, even if the power has been turned off – the brain maintains our intellect only as long as it remains alive.

Meanwhile, vast sums of money are being raised for brain research, based in some cases on faulty ideas and promises that cannot be kept … the $1.3 billion Human Brain Project launched by the European Union in 2013. Convinced by the charismatic Henry Markram that he could create a simulation of the entire human brain on a supercomputer by the year 2023, and that such a model would revolutionise the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders, EU officials funded his project with virtually no restrictions. Less than two years into it, the project turned into a ‘brain wreck’, and Markram was asked to step down.

We are organisms, not computers. Get over it.”

source via James Wallbank

 

 

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Harmony in Architecture

n

As part of my followup inquiry into Alexander’s work (after completing a reading of his work The Nature of Order) I came across this transcript of a debate between him and a supposedly (now) famous architect Peter Eisenman. I was looking forward to reading but was quickly disappointed because I could hardly follow Eisenman’s words – he felt theoretical, abstract, alienating and trapped in a quasi-intellectual world of his own. I did very much enjoy Alexander’s responses which basically called him out for using a lot words to say very little.

For me the essence of this debate is summed up in these (selected and highlighted by me) words:

ALEXANDER: Of course, harmony is a product not only of yourself, but of the surroundings. In other words, what is harmonious in one place will not be in another. So, it is very, very much a question of what application creates harmony in that place. It is a simple objective matter. At least my experience tells me, that when a group of different people set out to try and find out what is harmonious, what feels most comfortable in such and such a situation, their opinions about it will tend to converge, if they are mocking up full-scale, real stuff. Of course, if they’re making sketches or throwing out ideas, they won’t agree. But if you start making the real thing, one tends to reach agreement. My only concern is to produce that kind of harmony. The things that I was talking about last night — I was doing empirical observation about — as a matter of fact, it turns out that these certain structures need to be in there to produce that harmony.

The thing that strikes me about your friend’s building — if I understood you correctly — is that somehow in some intentional way it is not harmonious. That is, Moneo intentionally wants to produce an effect of disharmony. Maybe even of incongruity.

EISENMAN: That is correct.

ALEXANDER: I find that incomprehensible. I find it very irresponsible. I find it nutty. I feel sorry for the man. I also feel incredibly angry because he is fucking up the world.

EISENMAN: I would like to suggest that if I were not here agitating nobody would know what Chris’s idea of harmony is, and you all would not realize how much you agree with him … Walter Benjamin talks about “the destructive character”, which, he says, is reliability itself, because it is always constant. If you repress the destructive nature, it is going to come out in some way. If you are only searching for harmony, the disharmonies and incongruencies which define harmony and make it understandable will never be seen. A world of total harmony is no harmony at all. Because I exist, you can go along and understand your need for harmony, but do not say that I am being irresponsible or make a moral judgement that I am screwing up the world, because I would not want to have to defend myself as a moral imperative for you.

ALEXANDER: Good God!

EISENMAN: I think you should just feel this harmony is something that the majority of the people need and want. But equally there must be people out there like myself who feel the need for incongruity, disharmony, etc.

ALEXANDER: If you were an unimportant person, I would feel quite comfortable letting you go your own way. But the fact is that people who believe as you do are really fucking up the whole profession of architecture right now by propagating these beliefs. Excuse me, I’m sorry, but I feel very, very strongly about this. It’s all very well to say: “Look, harmony here, disharmony there, harmony here — it’s all fine”. But the fact is that we as architects are entrusted with the creation of that harmony in the world. And if a group of very powerful people, yourself and others …

… then I inquired some more into Peter Eisenman and his work and on his Wikipedia page found this:

His focus on “liberating” architectural form was notable from an academic and theoretical standpoint but resulted in structures that were both badly built and hostile to users. The Wexner Center, hotly anticipated as the first major public deconstructivist building, has required extensive and expensive retrofitting because of elementary design flaws (such as incompetent material specifications, and fine art exhibition space exposed to direct sunlight). It was frequently repeated that the Wexner’s colliding planes tended to make its users disoriented to the point of physical nausea; in 1997 researcher Michael Pollan tracked the source of this rumor back to Eisenman himself. In the words of Andrew Ballantyne, “By some scale of values he was actually enhancing the reputation of his building by letting it be known that it was hostile to humanity.”

As I write these words Eisenman seems to be an architecture celebrity while the work of Alexander seems to have been marginalized. The part of me that still resonates with celebrity rebels at this, but the more substantial part of me that recognizes that substantial change in society comes from its marginal proponents is comforted.

 

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Ryan Singer on Christopher Alexander Applied in Software User Experience Design

n

I have been thinking a lot about software as I’ve been reading Alexander’s work for the last year and I don’t know if the future will hold an opportunity for me to apply any of these ideas. So … it was sweet to discover that Ryan Singer made a connection between Alexander’s work and user experience design. His talk  frames software design as a reactive process to external forces (which represent activities of the world which software is supposed to support).

I feel it is a subtle and yet substantial reframing of the typical “requirements” modality which was dominant in software when I was involved in it. However I feel that Alexander’s process thinking has much more potential to affect how software is created … and that is not a part of this talk. Still, a good presentation and a pleasant presenter:

 

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Christopher Alexander – OOPSLA Keynote 1996

n

Chritsopher Alexander talking to software people on the potential of software. I especially enjoyed the last part of the talk where he highlights the immense potential of software in reshaping our world AND his warning about how that potential may be compromised when software engineers become hired mercenaries and in doing placing their personal potential in the hands of others.

Transcript of this talk

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Bush / Blair / Iraq / Chilcot

n

The Bush/Blair mindset that left them so confident about their right to rearrange other people’s political furniture in a country far removed from their own is a mindset that has not gone away: and it needs to. We would all be horrified if some outside power turned up in either Washington or London, set on using military force to change the entire political order. Indeed, the British celebrate their resistance to Hitler in 1940 on precisely those grounds, as do the Americans do in relation to the British themselves, on every 4th of July. It is surely time, therefore, for all of us to break decisively with the double standards that sit at the center of the imperial mindset that produced the invasion of Iraq, and seek instead a world order built on the principle of doing unto others only what you would have them do unto you.”

source via Dan Carlin

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Tribes

n

“I feel surrounded and blessed by love – not only do I bask in my husband’s but in Emma’s too. Our baby son and dog also adore her.

The sad fact is, however, that I feel I can never tell you – my family and friends – about her. About how happy she makes me and the rest of my family, how she’s strengthened the bond between my husband and me and given me a new zest for life and love.

Would there be fewer affairs, divorce and broken families if it were deemed acceptable to live in happy tribes of multiple partners?

source

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Robert Pirsig on Writing

n

The basic unit of that particular process is a comparison. You take two slips and you say: “Which one comes first?”. And I don’t know of any rational way in which you can pass a rule as to which one comes first but it seems like you always know. And now you get two slips and that’s the beginning of your story. Next, you take your next slip and you compare it with the first one. And you say: “Which one comes first?”. And you get an answer and if it’s behind the first one you compare it with the second one. And pretty soon you have a three-slip story. And this was the basic process.

… I learned that the most important process is: never try to sort your slips out at the same time you’re collecting them. That’s very interesting, that as soon as you try to organise your thoughts the creative process dies…

The ideas seem to come in flights. All of a sudden there’s a pile of them coming you can hardly write them down fast enough … Other times you just get complete emptiness, this void. And then I say, this is a time I better start organising. And sometimes in the process of organising all of a sudden that flight will start up again of new slips because something in the problem of organisation will get these new slips going.

You can only do one thing at a time and whatever is the top slip is the thing to do. And then having this box and having these slips I was able, at that time, to use the same structure to construct the book ZMM. It started with slips.

First there was an essay. And then I said, “Boy, I’m never going to get this in an essay, maybe I ought to write a story.” So I wrote a long story and I said: “This story is too dull, it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s just a lot of philosophy that nobody is going to read.” So I had just taken a trip with my son to California and I said: “Why don’t I put this essay inside this trip I took with my son to California?” And I did that. And then I looked at it and said “There are too many ‘I’s in this book. It’s all about me. What I need is a character called ‘he’.” So this character called Phædrus came in and he kind of got up and ran away with the book, you see? But if I’d started out with that book saying what I was going to have in the beginning it never would have occurred. It never would have occurred. It was a process of living myself, of having a static structure in the box of slips and in the outlines I kept reformulating, but ultimately say: “If I see something better, I’ll do it”.

Robert Pirsig – Source

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Radiating

n

“The Zen master, he doesn’t have any particular teaching. He just sets you a good example. He just lives his own life as best he can. The most Dynamic, the most good high quality way he can and it kind of radiates out.”

Robert Pirsig – Source

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