J-3

Illustration

 

To sit remote,

In the middle of the sky

Within a flimsy rig

Of canvas and steel pipe.

Icy air smokes between my feet

Like dragon’s breath.

 

Three thousand feet below

The insect nest

Of early morning traffic.

Colored mites

On lines of white

Move in mindless entropy.

 

The Cub J-3

Is cut to patterns

Of stability.

The wispy touch

Of a forefinger –

More thought than act,

Disciplines the stick

To counter engine torque

And rest wing tips

Flat to the horizon.

 

The lion roar

Of four cylinders

Drowns the atmosphere

In healthy din.

On occasion, some defect

Spins the prop

With only three,

Causing some anxiety.

 

But hard habits

Keep the eyes alert,

Head in steady swivel

To spot, along the route,

Security in smooth fields

On which I could alight

In careful shallow glide.

 

This huge stiff phony bird

With rigid limbs

Moves in clumsy simulation

To artful graceful swoops

Of any common gull

And generates in me

Innate dissatisfaction.

 

I would,

In dream of Icarus

Slip on feathered gloves

To glow translucent white

On porcelain blue sky

And rise with huge breath

Of gentle winds

Swiftly to the zenith

Where faintest inclination

Moves my fingertips

To play on symphonies of air

Through flocks of zooming swallows

Spinning in dynamic joy.

 

 

Carousel

illustration

 

The world is whirled in Space

And hurled in moving ’round the place

Which centers on the Sun.

In golden light is rolled and spun

And bowled, this tiny fold

In Time, to chase

Itself in circled run

To heat and crack

Its peaks and caves

And tumble corpses

In their graves

Like some berserk psychotic clown

Who first builds up and

Then tears down.

A geoclastic schizophrenic,

Artist’s eye for the scenic,

Makes and breaks

In random spasm,

Seas and seasons,

Crag and chasm,

Elephant and

Microplasm.

Roiling, boiling, coiling, spoiling,

Unconcerned for good or bad.

Split with lightning, grumbled thunder –

Is it really any wonder

Humankind is plainly mad?

 

A Couple Of Thoughts

Personal photo

All three of the areas of this post are infamous in the inability to come to clean and satisfying conclusions.

 

Energy and time are intertwined in entropy which theoretically can somehow be reversed (but, I find this intellectually most odd. This is no real obstacle  in physics intellectually – to quote J:B:S:Haldane”The universe is not only queerer than you think, it is queerer than you can think”)  Life is frequently indicated that there are forces that increase complexity with time but the added indication that entropy is satisfied in this process in that much greater expenditure of energy is required to do so to satisfy entropic demands.

 

A  view of time comes from the perception of change and strikes me in metaphor as that of an observer on a passenger train gazing out the window and noting the changing terrain as a gauge of the train’s velocity. This cannot be understood as incorrect, merely rather personal. Einstein’s universe is static in four dimensions just as a moving picture film is static as viewed on the reel or a book is static taken as a document within covers. It is significant that the universe in this concept does not change, the only change is in the viewer’s mind. A moving picture requires a projector plus an observer and a book requires a reader to simulate the sense of movement we experience in time. In essence we borrow time to simulate its experience as consciousness. The sense of moving through time which is undeniable remains a mystery to me and any inquiries I have made to scientific sources results in the rather offhanded dismissal as an illusion. But as any fan of illusions can confirm, they are strong indicators of the basic natures involved in the process of observation and important to understand.

 

An interesting article at http://thescienceexplorer.com/universe/thanks-pear-shaped-nucleus-we-likely-won-t-ever-time-travel  puts doubt at the possibility of time travel.

 

Money and its variations and intricate values in conducting civilization also can seem enigmatic in the way it is perceived and motivated in current society.  The stuff itself has only interpersonal value as symbolic and although paper money can be useful to start a fire and coins can be useful as emergency screwdrivers and perhaps slingshot projectiles that usage is somewhat rare. Gold was probably valued originally because it corrodes with difficulty and is one of the few metals that is found in its elemental form. These days its resistance to corrosion is valued as a plating on electronic circuitry and it has some catalytic properties. Like diamonds (which, these days, can be fabricated commercially out of less valued forms of carbon) it is valued as a compact form of money. I have read that a Jewish escapee from Nazi persecution formed the fenders of his car from shaped gold (painted, of course) and drove it to freedom.

 

Several experts I have read deny that it originated to replace barter as a medium of exchange but that it is recorded in cuneiform and other ancient communications that money was intimately tied to debt throughout past civilizations. A book by David Graeber entitled “The First 5000 Years” explores money and debt and how it is related.  I have not read the book but reviews relate how the problems of debt which is inevitably today crushing economies throughout the world and notably within participants in the European Union is a regular occurrence through history wherein debt cancellations and holidays are a regular feature to permit economic activity to remain on a reasonable level and not totally destroy a culture. Muslim religion and early Christianity forbad interest on debt as sinful, a ruling that permitted Jews within early Christian societies to condemn themselves to Christian Hell to permit the very necessary practice therein to function monetarily. It was a while before the Christians realized their donation of the practice created a very useful and profitable monopoly that eventually they recanted. It may be this was one of the foundations of Jewish persecution throughout the centuries.

 

Money has many strange misunderstandings in its use. The concept that money guarantees value exchange in its use is implied in its acceptance but daily occurences belie this confidence. Money paid for a disappointing film or theater performance happens all the time but it is rare that an unsatisfied customer demands repayment although it does occur. When a worker is promised an hourly wage but does unacceptable work he or she may be fired but the employer rarely requires money back for the unfulfilled results. Especially, in government contracts but also elsewhere the original sums paid for the results of effort may be inadequate to fulfill the contract unless additional sums are added and extra time is accorded to complete the work but this is not normally indicated as chicanery but standard for the effort. Advertising is standard in promising more that is delivered in the sale of a product and it probably is important in the survival of the product on the market but refunds are unusual. In the normal parlance of the marketplace, someone who receives much more money than the item is worth   is very often considered a good businessman than a criminal. This happens all the time with pharmaceuticals and stock market sales and is accepted as normal. In the absolute cases with lottery tickets and sport bets and card games this very malleable sense of value is a kind of pleasure of the activity.  This odd value concept frequently pervades situations wherein a sense of permanent and dependable value is assumed which can cause a good deal of personal frustration.

 

But money itself has a value in time and place that is fragile. When I was younger back in the 1930 -1940 era a cup of coffee cost five cents on the average. Today it runs 40 times as much but wages which have to integrate with the cost of living have not risen on an equal scale. A single item, of course, cannot be   kept as a universal standard and many items are actually cheaper now than then. But inherent inflation is an accepted property of the economic system and I wonder why. As a consequence, when I was back in New York City around 2000, nobody bothered to pick up pennies on the street and when I returned home to Helsinki I left a large collected jar of them at the entrance to a subway station where someone who could value them would find it.

 

Consciousness and intelligence is another conceptual swamp full of alligators and sinkholes and foggy apparitions in perennial twilight. I discovered a wonderful article on the possibilities of plant intellect at

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plant which raises all sorts of questions about the normal assumptions we humans make in that area. I have yet to encounter a civilized petunia or geranium or even some hermit cactus with theological expectations on its blog with pertinent doubts on the intellect of humans. It seems reasonable that the current USA election might be worthy of examination on that grounds.

 

I kind of agree that mere bulk of data is irrelevant to consciousness although, I guess, a good deal of it must be a prime requisite. In Heinlein’s story “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” where a central computer complex on the Moon colony developed a sense of self with a personality and a prejudice in favor of the colony gaining independence from the Earth retains a quality of believability in that the computer, by necessity, had to be aware of possible calamities and take independent action to maintain livability of the Moon environment without human supervision. But much of this could probably be programmed in without an active artificial consciousness in the human sense.

 

I have been thinking about what the mass of current interconnected electronic gadgetry might lead to in consideration of how deeply it has and will penetrate every aspect of human culture.  Efforts are still immensely clumsy and horribly crude and there is very little still to approximate the sophisticated expectations out of the Hollywood Terminator series or the film “Ex Machina” or a truly wonderful Spanish film of a child robot titled “Eva” released in 2011 with a tremendous emotional impact. I am impressed with the accomplishments of natural processes as to their utilization of the immense spectrum of possibilities in all the basic natural forces and materials and chemistries but there has never been revealed any supernatural intrusions (whatever that might imply) and if these wonders do occur and can be understood and analyzed, I cannot deny they can be manipulate by humanity and installed in something of human fabrication. OK, not yet, but if the nincompoops now running human industries and governments are not able to persuade the species to completely destroy the planet humanity may have a crack at birthing true artificial wonders.

 

Prominent brilliant men such as Stephen Hawking have cautioned the world that there are real dangers in developing artificial intelligence where independent machines with mental and physical capabilities beyond human control could easily decide to dispense with a humanity that is a nuisance to whatever agendas they might develop. This, of course, is extending an understanding of like motivations amongst humans where each historical major force in its turn such as the Huns, the Mongols, the Persians, the Romans, the Catholics, the Muslims, and each of the major nations today in its turn invaded and dominated in most horrible ways the weaker peoples. Humans, of course, have done and still persist in these repulsive activities so the suspicion that an artificial horde could well duplicate this type of activity is not outside of possibility. But this is not inevitable, merely likely in current military ambitions out of the most primitive primary points of view. There are other possibilities.

 

Way back when people had only the faintest idea of who and what they were and what really the world was and why it rained and thundered and how far up was up or down was down they took all this wondering and assembled it into people something like themselves but more like Batman and Superman and Spiderman and these imaginary guys and their girlfriends managed the whole business. But, like any business arrangement, eventually the wiser and tougher ones kicked out the bums until there was only one left and it has stayed that way up to now. This one guy saw everything, knew everything, had rules for everybody and those who defied this boss eventually ended up as toast or perhaps, living on rice crispies or burnt French fries for eternity or something else abominable. It was a good attempt at keeping the assholes of the world under control but, as we all know, assholes are the most devious  and clever of humanity and now they have taken over the world. So the nerds got together and are slowly putting together the ultimate Him who can even make assholes behave. This Him whose gestation is everywhere: on the internet, in the current jokes we call robots, in the self-driving cars in the autopilots, in the doors that courteously open at our approach, in the Wi-Fi gadgets being born, especially in the legal and security bureaus of governments who register every time you sneeze and fart and everywhere else you can imagine and not imagine. The old absolute controller is getting rather wispy these days but that new Him has a great set of biceps and already is kicking a lot of ass. His aim is pretty poor and lots of the wrong ass is getting kicked but what the hell, he’s still rather young and quite goofy. A story written a long time ago by Jack Williamson in 1947 called “With Folded Hands” can tell you all about it.