[year's end tradition read] A true New Year's story, courtesy of Orion… “The Light Walkers” https://t.co/AIXWBWGcOY
— ../westy (@westyreflector) December 30, 2016
December 30, 2016 at 05:17PM
Thank you so much, Marc (@disquiet) for thinking of Sterling in this project. As I told Marc in an email exchange where he told me of the dedication in this week’s prompt, my thinking about how the sound waves we produce may somehow go on forever began with the Junto’s week dedicated to the death of Jefferey Melton (@Nofi). This week brings much of that exploration full circle.
Nick Drake’s ‘Northern Sky’ open tuning resolves to a Dsus4 chord (with the suspended G as the center note and F# up high)
I was gifted knowledge of Drake while working at Rolling Stone as an intern in 1992, and ever since, ‘Northern Sky’ is the song I turn to when skies darken. Felt right to invoke it here by striking its open chord for a few minutes. (Note: Soundcloud’s auto-compression revealed my perceived silences to be not so silent. Hi ho.)
Sterling passed in our home at the hand of kind veterinarians, on a soft rug, with easy, knowing caresses on 22 December 2016 ~6:20 EST. I trust he’s suspended somewhere now between space & time in painless parallel peace. Fwiw, we had David Bowie on random shuffle and ‘Absolute Beginners’ came on as the process began. Perfect is a strange word in this context, but life works in curious ways sometimes to deliver solace.
All the love.
RELEVANT EXTERNAL LINKS:
My reflections on Sterling:
A dog’s will to live is its raison d’être. Dogs do not suffer Albert Camus’s “one truly serious philosophical problem” of suicidal ideation. The canine affirmation is automatic and compulsory — a dog will never choose to end his or her life. It simply can’t. Dogs live, and only live.
A dog, by extension, affirms all lives it touches. Life’s entirety, of course, comprises a spectrum of emotions and ricocheting perspectives on reality — from nihilism to optimism, frustration to contentment, abandonment to love. A dog brought home becomes a nexus and repository for all that home’s experiences, memories and outlook.
Projecting a dog’s POV through ours, there’s beauty in their affirming life while (perhaps) never knowing that life is an opt in/out choice. The phrase “dogged determination” is doggone true. We don’t know what a dog knows, but we sense — and communicate through — some kind of mutual sentience. The true paradox of our cross-species communication surfaces as our dogs act with intention: we know they think — but only because we can’t tell what they’re thinking.
(The know-can’t-tell paradox will also be true in determining whether an artificial intelligence achieves true sentience, but this story here’s about organic lifeforms. Ignore the robots around us, for now.)
“fake” is the opposite of “real,” not of “truth”
We don’t live different lives in one reality. We all live the same life, but in different, discrete realities.
“Conspiracy theories” are battles among competing realities, not between truth and lies. Truth also requires conspiracy to be accepted en masse.
No perception is fake. There’s only what’s “not real to me.” All realities are true.
What’s true, however, is separate from the truth.
“The sky is blue” is true.
“The sky is blue” is not the truth.
Blue is how our eyes perceive a scattered refraction of light passing through particles.
Therefore, belief in blue skies (and their corollary “clear skies”) is a conspiracy theory.
Every blue sky is “fake news.”
“an existential threat” ≠ “a threat to all existence”
Simple semantics often slip up speakers. The phrase “existential threat” is used too often to imply that something described as such portents the apocalypse, in the way “communist threat” was used throughout the Cold War to as a casual substitute for nuclear annihilation. But “existential” is not a synonym for “apocalyptic” any more than “communist” was. Rhetoric and doubletriplepolitispeak are funny that way, though.
Semantic checkpoint: “Existential threat” implies the threatening thing threatens because it’s existential. To be afraid of something practicing Existentialism, then, for real, connotes a fear of what Sartre termed the “doctrine of self-making” where human reality is an individual, lived experience. Not very scary at all, really, unless making choices for yourself terrifies you.
“Doc, it’s so weird – been a month and this mosquito bite hasn’t gone away.”
“It’s not a mosquito bite.”
“What do you mean? I saw the f|_|c|<er bite me.”
“It wasn’t a mosquito, Quinn. It was a GBI CogGuard Microdrone.”
“A coggie? But I’m not a redvector. I haven’t done a feelbad or said a makesad in months!”
“The CPD’s latest redword list only went grid around the time of your ‘bite.’ We’ll uplink the chip the drone left in you to the NYCPD and see what it picked up.”
“Look, the coggie probably heard you say a homonym. I’ve seen a few cases of bites when coggies think ‘I’m snowed in’ means ‘I’m Snowden.’ A CPD interview clears that up pretty fast. Relax for now…”