Friday, July 31, 2009

Even in abstinence...

Coffee: A drink that puts you to sleep when you don't drink it. Magic!

("Coffee, 2001" from the "I like..." series by Marcel van der Vlugt)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anything you experience is a reality...

Why should dreams or stories or imagined experience be excluded from the realms of reality? At the very least, let's acknowledge a spectrum of realities. You stir from a dream into what appears to be a "senior" waking reality. Certainly, there could be many realities that are senior to our waking reality, and some of those may actually be ones currently classified as "junior" realities. As I'm writing this I'm worried that these are the kinds of arguments that people who create full-immersion video games use. Can I put some caveats on what is and isn't real after all?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A serene and radiant woman...


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gazpachot Health Care Solution...

My solution to this health care mess is simple. Demystify medicine and health. It all goes back to education.

Let me back up a little. The practice of medicine is heavily reliant upon a certain smoke and mirrors factor. The doctor wears a white coat and writes in Latin. He or she knows things you don't. You are at their mercy. Be (a) patient.

I propose that starting from a very young age, right through college, every citizen should receive basic but thorough medical training in school. People should learn to spot early symptoms, diagnose themselves, and administer basic remedies to common ailments. Preventative medicine should be taught (and stressed) along a parallel path.

In a culture where health and medicine are demystified and understood at the core level, there would be less abuse of prescriptions, less self destructive behavior all around.

Of course there would still be doctors and hospitals for surgery and other serious problems, but there would be infinitely fewer visits to the doctor for "frivolous" needs, check ups, and tests that clog up the works and drain our resources while the insurance companies turn a tidy profit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Our economies are based upon the principle of scarcity. The thing you want is rare and therefore has an assigned value. Whatever it is, you use it sparingly because you know you don't want to have to run out again and buy it tomorrow. The higher the value the greater the scarcity. Right?

But there are interesting places I've come across where supposedly rare things don't seem rare. If you work in an industry, the thing that your industry produces and gets good money for out in the world, might seem almost valueless when you see it stacked up in a warehouse in bulk. On a smaller scale the supplies closet in a corporate office is another place where scarcity and value don't seem to apply. I call these areas Places of No Observable Value. PLONOVs.

PLONOVs are important because they remind us of the abstract nature of our value system. I know people who spend their lives situating themselves in high end PLONOV environments. They bask in the illusion that they live outside the "common" value system and that they are entitled to free luxury. I also know people who would never steal a paper clip from their office. I'm not sure who's right or who's winning.

(photo by Bruno Dayan)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Your brain is an animal living in your skull...

Woke up with a word stuck in the hole between my waking brain and my sleeping brain. I just got it unstuck, and it is "panglossian."

(Read about optimism and enhanced activation in the rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala region right here.)

Monday, July 20, 2009


"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's mind without another's guidance. Sapere Aude! Dare to Know! Have the courage to use your own understanding is therefore the motto of the Enlightenment."
-­Immanuel Kant

("Baby Blankenship" by Paul Gachot)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ah, Summer...

Well believe it or not, this Star Trek book is a fantastic guilty pleasure, summer sci-fi read with nice philosophical undertones. Or at least the first 100 pages I should say. Grabbed it off a shelf from the family beach rental - tattered paperback, looking lonely with all those fat dusty leather-bound tomes surrounding it.

Kirk, Spock, Glass spider, a parallel singularity... two paragraphs in and I couldn't stop reading... until I got on the plane and left it in my brother's apartment in NYC. Must hit the used bookshops today...

Monday, July 06, 2009

The fine print on dreams...

When did evil forces co-opt the part of reality that deals in human dreams? This evil manifests as the fine print in your mortgage. It's the calorie count of your elixir. The toll booth on your underground railway. The contract on your song. The devil is always up in your details.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Falling asleep on a couch in Shelter Island...

"After a while non-stop brilliance has the same effect as non-stop boredom."

- Richard Brautigan from "Sombrero Fallout"

("Newwwww" by Bryan Dalton)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hold on to the sun...

("After Lithium" by Joseph Rafferty)