Friday, November 11, 2011

entropy and order

Brian Greene on Nova's Fabric of the Cosmos used the big bang theory of order to connect the directionality of time and the expanding universe's move towards disorder. I think there's a compensating self-organizing drive to order, from water finding good routes for flow to the structure of the observing human consciousness. Maybe as consciousness grows more subtle the cosmic expansion to entropy, even time, might slow.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The particular

The weight of the particular presses down on me, prevents expansion and connection, maintains the status with only tiny perturbations – this is what it seems therapists do, ... How can there be discovery?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Assume for the index moment that there is no order or pattern that human conscious minds can now recognize. There is motion, only motion, only change. We name that state random or chaotic or unpredictable. Then, happenstance, one thing bumps another, sticks, then clusters, … and the non-clustered, what didn't fit didn't thrive, became still, decayed ... The disorderly is discarded. Human consciousness seems hard-wired to see patterns and order and wonderment. Systems develop and that seems miraculous and is attributed to the supernatural. There are some expectations of prediction, and then influencing the prediction with prayer and hope, wishes and visions for an other future.

Consciousness has evolved to recognize some patterns. Were there patterns when humans think there weren't? Is there another layer looking at us as we look at ants?

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've been watching the healthcare, health insurance conversations. And in particular about longevity, end-of-life costs, futile interventions, .. I was thinking today that the longer we live with chronic illnesses, the more pharmaceutical profits.  Kleinman uses the word 'pharmaceuticalization.'  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The war on pain relief

I am intrigued at the focus on pain relief, interpreting use of medications as abuse, interpreting looking for a doctor who will prescribe adequately and appropriately as 'shopping' - but I don't understand this war on pain relief, the benefit to those looking to cut health care costs to have a hurting, and thus maybe angry, constituency.

Friday, August 19, 2011



I can hear my mother's dismissive “stupid” directed at people and systems she didn't understand. I censor myself and don't speak it as I watch that word, stupid, move from my mind to my tongue. It's so much easier to blame outside, 'stupid', than to look at my own inability to communicate and be communicated with.

I'm too aware when I send a quick email comment to a friend that the valence of my mood hasn't been heard. I don't want to have to write more and more. I want to be heard! I get angry when the email response detours. I blame myself for having even tried. Sometimes I drag more words out of my brain, resisting, resentful. Sometimes I feel so lonely, want so to dismiss that correspondent from my friends list. My mother's way was easier. Spray discontent. Blame the other. Stupid!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

100% cotton

I saw an online ad for 100% cotton sweatshirts and phoned the 800 number. The answerer fumbled the phone and then a sluggish voice with a New Jersey accent put me on hold. And then disconnected me. I called back. The same east coast young male unconcerned sounding voice answered.

“Did you call before?”
“Yes, we were disconnected. I saw your ad for 100% cotton sweatshirts. I'd like a gray one.”
“We don't have gray.”
“No gray. Why?”
“No gray.”
“It's black that makes the gray and black is polyester.”
“Well then the sage. Long sleeve. Medium.”
“We only have short sleeve.”
“Only short sleeve?
“What about in the fall?”
“Short sleeve. It's a niche.”
“What about when it gets cold.”
“Then we have heavy weight.”
“Are those 100% cotton?”
“No, 95%.”
“Thank you”

I hung up, remembering the website offering 100% cotton sweatshirts and imagining the bodies in the niche market for short sleeve sweatshirts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The upper classes don't fidget.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Three Tends

Social conservatism appreciates cleanliness and purity. The current stress on hand-washing and education about germs and infections tilts society in a more traditional, less innovative direction.

Society is aging, and older people tend to be more cautious, less bold.

The awareness of one's own death affects the decision-making of individuals and groups of people. A consequence of more public discussions of end of life care, advance directives, right to die, and mortality might be that we become … “more socially conformist and centered on group values, more authoritarian, less understanding or forgiving of deviance, and all the more willing to punish eccentrics and outsiders and to reward mainstream heroes.” *

Might these three trends lead to the end of deviation?  Are there other markers?

        * NIcholas Humphrey, Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness, Princeton, 2011, p 189

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Motel room decor

A modest motel in Napa, CA - twin beds with matching bedspreads, twin night tables, identical twin lamps, d├ęcor topped off with twin paintings – two framed art prints, the same print, centered over each bed.

Please comment on why identical prints seems so odd, though identical lamps are expected.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tools or Patterns?

Tools or Patterns?

Humans are differentiated by being users of tools.

Humans like to find patterns (think about the constellations).

I wonder if finding patterns came before using tools, that first humans recognized a pattern in several unrelated events and then developed the tool to make that pattern happen in a consistent way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Numbers, like nature, are a self-organizing system.

Friday, June 17, 2011

more costs of aging

In addition to the end of life costs that Medicare pays, hospices and emergencies and trials, there are also complimentary medicines and adaptive devices costs that increase in the last years … grippers and support hose and more aspirin and … plus breakage and repairs and replacements for pots left on the stove … plus household help … - seniors are big contributors to the economy ...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The dominion of the monitor

“There's a book on hold for me,” I say to the student librarian at our university science library. She is blonde and pale and stiff, and seems untrained and unskilled and unwilling. “I'm moving to another computer; I don't want to reboot,” and she walks away with my card, returns with two books. “There's another on hold at the arts library,” she reads from the monitor. “Thank you; it's here,” I say. “No, it's at arts.” “It's here – there is a sign on the arts door that they are closed and all their holds are here.” “It says arts.” “It's here.” “But the screen says arts; I wouldn't know how to find it … “ “Maybe try looking on the hold shelves …. ?” I am firm and insistent. She returns with the book I know was there, mystified that something tangible has contradicted what the screen shows. I too am befuddled, wondering at the dominion of the software.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

About hope

Hope is about discontent, about being uncomfortable with what is or is expected and instead wanting a different tomorrow, a different result, a different ending. Hope is about not accepting, wanting change, hope is about wished for events. Hope is about the possible, the impossible.  Hope is about trust and faith and tomorrow.  Hope takes you away from today.  Hope is never about the real.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happiness is a chemical imbalance

Because happiness is a chemical imbalance, to get happy, we use prayer, meditation, sex, sleep, entertainment, alcohol, stimulants, … 
It takes lots of additives and hard work to get happy if you are imbalanced.

Aging and interventions

We are keeping people alive long enough so that half of us get Alzheimer's before we die.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Humans used to sacrifice themselves, animals, blood, … to appease the many Gods. Now we sacrifice to medicine, appease with unpleasant medical procedures on the altar of health.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why humans believe human life is sacred

Humans are self-organizing networks which have selected for valuing life. Today we use medical technology to ensure slow death, but human decay so challenges the rush for life that we have moved death to hide in institutions or in hospices.

Some self-organizing systems become repetitive. A few continue to iterate and change. Human development has selected for components which are drawn to the next and the new and to more. Along the way our genes have selected, over and over, for the survival of an adaptation. The prototypes that don't strongly value survival don't survive. At the same time human consciousness wrapped itself around the value of survival and more-ness and added stories and myths to ensure that more life was the dominant adaptation. So we end up with encoding for life and a story that human life is sacred. And we ennoble suffering, promising rewards after.

Some other reality might produce some other value system – perhaps the spiritual consciousness grew and 'mind meld' was the global value .

But here, now, life is considered sacred because we have selected for genes that are drawn to life and wrapped that process in a story. It's very fundamental and very circular and no reason not to choose to die a good autonomous death.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The math constants would be elegant if the nomenclature were apt. The irregularities say to me that there is a better fit than the base ten system and binary logic. Constants like pi and I and e and lots more appear because it is the very balance of all the rules and exceptions that have developed into an environment that sustains the consciousness that allows us to look at these patterns. Other values, other worlds. Another pattern system, perhaps a more elegant pattern.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Three quarters of my money and a quarter of my time is spent on sustenance – shelter, food, and health; stretches and laundry and meals. What's the point?

Monday, February 21, 2011

US end of life suggestion - one terminal drug dose per person

Every US citizen gets an electronic prescription for a terminal drug dose, one time only (associate with SSN; maybe have IRS track).

Maybe one has to be over some age to fill it.  It's OK to sell it (black market) but if one does, one then only has access to 'ordinary' health care.  (One round of chemo, one hip replacement, ... )  No exceptions at all for second round of prescription.  Indeed some hardship.  And yes, risk that teens could access these.  Of course risk that people incompetent to choose would indeed choose.  Yes, subject to abuse, influence.  But overall, puts choice in the hands of the individual with way less risk and cost than current situation.  Very American.  Very autonomous.  Completely simple.