Interesting Question

The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another....We are the state, and we shall continue to be the state until we have created the institutions that form a real community and society of men.

- Gustav Landauer, Schwache Stattsmanner, Schwacheres Volk!, June, 1910

Selected Correspondence:

17 July 2006

Pit and pendulum

Intelligence and sadness may sometimes be correlated, but it seems far more in the application than in the possession for while the mind is a rope to pull one out of the pit and those in it sometimes show it to desperate degree once free and on the surface the same rope can also scale heights of love and accomplishment invisible from the narrow confines below.

Female mathematics

Mathematics is a systemization of communicable human thought created by brain architectures that have male-type spacial abilities and extremised by the extremes within that group. Extreme female brain architectures would create a different sort of mathematics. It won't be created by the females currently in mathematics because they need a male type brain to thrive in the existing mathematical world.
Perhaps a good cognitive neuroscientist will do it for them.

Oxford without the punting

Today, outside, there's a code-red storm raging. The little ANU "lets-be-like Oxford without the punting" creek is now a torrent of leaves and ducks and mud. The eight white stepping stones I skipped over this morning are nowhere to be seen and the only sign of them is a sign --- "Please be careful when crossing on stepping stones".

Where there were once only ducks and swamphens there is now a pelican with beady eyes and an expectant smile.

I'm writing from the AV desk of an abandoned lecture theatre in the MCC building. This theatre has a piano. The piano is nice and I come in here early some mornings to emerse myself --- in myself. The theatre lights are movement sensitive, but not piano sensitive, so after after five minutes the lights wink out and there's just me, the tinkling of the keys, the howls of the wind and now and then the memory of some girl's ivory curves.

Craftier deceptions

Physics can take you out of yourself. Once you realise that there is no place where you end and the rest of a vast expanse of time and space begin, it becomes difficult, very difficult, to see why one should spend time absorbing the latest adhoc false reality willed by human beings. But this is mostly putting effect before cause, for surely it is the character trait of a physcist, bedded into flesh at a young age that leads to a desire to see the world stripped bare and engage a future of exchanging CAN for IS, or at least, so I sometimes think, requiring a much craftier deception.

Arrows for false gods

Disagreement is a good spur for conversation, but I don't know where to begin with your claim. People gain pleasure and power in spreading certain beliefs and certain beliefs are easy to spread. They don't look for the truth because they want to preserve this pleasure. Truth is rarely important in human affairs and if you want to shift your definition the only truth is power over reality. But it was the will to truth pouring its acid over the false beauty of gods and kings that guided us out of the miasma of the dark ages. You are not stupid. You are perfectly capable of piercing your claim, but you choose not to, since, like most people, you'd prefer to please and deceive.

By 'you' I mean the entire ensemble, not merely that part which processes words. To be human is to deceive. All human beings are great self deceivers, but this is not the innocent charm of the naively hopeful. They deceive themselves so that they may deceive others and having tasted this pleasure return to lap at its fountain. See Gregory Bateman. Your belief in various kinds of unsubstantiated newage hokey that you could easily shoot down is a reflection of this underlaying tendency. How many times have you read "But if we believe X then we'll have to...", or "If we believe X it will lead to...". This has no reflection on the veracity of X and so we see that outcomes are more important to most people than truth, which should not be as a surprise, because natural selection selects on physically realised existence, not on platonic ideals.

But then as we fall back into the miasma, the shadow world of ghosts and distortions a miracle rises; everywhere before self interest is known, people yearn to know where its compass points and then people hunger for the truth with passion and beauty and insight. He loves me. He loves me not. Here then the truth can set them free. Free from the manipulations and constraints of the mendacious. Free to choose their path, to remove the ring from their noses, to look up into the infinite voids and choose wonder over guilt. And before this feeling to cast blessings on the profits and prophets of truth, the liberators and martyrs of truth, those Voltairs, Galileo's, and Principia's of truth, those brutal driven obsessed miners of reality, those serial killers of delusion smashing the whole rotten edifice till all ruins and the seeds of the new.


If there is a book whose feeling captures me it is First Circle by Solzhenitsyn. To feel that home is the comraderie of persecuted, and infact, prosecuted, polymaths in a Stalinist slave labor camp! How close the parallels to my own adventures! What longing one has when reading Solzhenitsyn's love for his first cell of self similars! Such prosecution in youth is a defining peak experience. To know the state for what it really is! To see through that veneer the educated swear to disbelieve in but still slavishly follow with their hearts!

Seen Saturn's gossamer rings through a telescope? Yes? Then cast your mind back to before your first observation. Back to when you believed in Saturn's rings but hadn't seen them. You agreed with others they existed without doubt, perhaps even had posters on your wall listing their properties or used the rings in passing analogy or to seduce a lover, and if someone had turned to you and suggested that Saturn's rings were a grand conspiracy, you would have chided them as a fool, but then when your telescope was pointed at the bright golden star overhead and an image formed in your mind out of photons _straight from Saturn_, something changed, and your heart stirred your head to exclaim ``It's true then! It really does have rings!''. Of course! But isn't this what you claimed all along? How well you concealed your disbelief in Saturn's rings -- even from yourself! So to with your belief in the mendacity of the state. True belief begins only with a jackboot at the door. True belief forms when lead into the dock and referred to in the third person. True belief is when a distant voice booms 'the prisoner shall now rise' and no one else in the room stands.