Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Demons get kinetic

Sethren, we have serious work to do.
  We have mastered demons.  We can juggle with them now, we can spin them on our fingertips like iridescent gyroscopes no bigger than a midge.
  And we have covered things.  A thing is anything in front of your eyes now.  That ballpoint, that mug; and including animals, insects, birds.  And maybe people as well.  With people, we are in the zone of the ethical.  A dead horse is a thing.  A dead human being?
  But let us stay away from the edge.  We have anatomised a needle.  We know what a thing is, and how in the metaverse it is an assembly of demons; while in the real world, it is a bounded material existence.  Think of a needle.
  What's next?
Demon    thing    act    concept    map    praxis    Culture 
  Next up, act.  Act. 
  Here it becomes crucial to fully realise, not just "Yes yada yada yada", but actually stabilise the concept, even though we haven’t dealt with concepts yet, that body, brain and  the E=mc2 universe are a continuum.
  An act is a kinetic four dimensional amplification of a sequence of demons.
  In 2007 Heinrich and Bugnyar did an experiment with Ravens.  They put a raven on a perch in a deep narrow cage.  A bit of meat was hung from the perch on  the end of a piece of string too long for the bird to heave it up in one pull.  The raven did nothing but look at the meat for several minutes.  Then it reached as far down the string as it could with its beak, pulled up a loop, trapped the loop between its foot and the perch, reached down again with its beak, and pulled up the meat.
  This looked like a raven analysing a spatial situation, organising an act in the neural substrate, and then completing a kinetic four dimensional amplification of a sequence of demons.  What components of logic, rationality, foresight, mechanical analytics, and general universal philosophy contributed to this act are not our concern, sethren.
  It did demonstrate something.  Ravens have an ideoverse, a four dimensional space in the neural substrate where demons exist.  Acts are not the exclusive preserve of Homo sapiens.
  Here is another thing ravens did, this time not an experiment, someone just watched them.
  A couple used to tether their large dog to a post in the yard when they went to work, with enough space that the hound had a full circle to wander about in.  They put its bowl of food on the edge of the circle and drove off, except one day they just pretended to, and stayed and watched.  A pair of ravens flew down.  One stood on the edge of the circle and cawed, danced and jeered.  The dog naturally bounded over to kill it, and was aggrieved to find that the rope pulled it up just short.  A prancing raven and a rearing, fang-gnashing slathering hound.  Meanwhile the other raven ate its fill of dog food on the other side of the circle.  Then the ravens swapped places.
  Maybe, nothing to do with acts, but maybe when we search for the origins of human cooperation, we should have more regard for the behaviour of others in the animal kingdom; African hunting dogs, wolves, orca and porpoises, social falcons.  The interactions of a pack of hunting dogs, from first waking to kill, has enough complexity to give us work for a while.
  I wander off again.  I become embroiled.  Let us rather, sethren, look at an act, borrowing a pair of the excellent “Darwin’s goggles” from Jonnie Hughes.
  It is the act performed with a needle; not the needle we anatomised all those days ago, but a needle in functional terms; a thing for puncturing a plane of material and drawing a thread through it.
Okay, we are going way back, to just the epoch before the first actual needle evolved.  Two lads are sitting against a rock in the sun.  One has a needle, a rather hefty and clunking thing, with a thin hide strip through the eye.  He doesn’t call it a needle, he calls it a dirip (this is not the same dirip as the quantum toy entangled with its twin a billion light-years away in a kids room on the planet Xerk which we discussed a few weeks ago.  The coincidence of names is just that, a coincidence.  You may think, that’s very strange, but the universe is full of coincidences).
  So he’s sitting there with this dirip, which we would recognise as a needle, forcing it through the square of hide on his lap, drawing the hide lace through after it, and then repeating the action, time after time.
  After watching for several minutes, which do not yet exist, the other says, “Bro’, I been watching you what you doing and I have to say it, Bro’ what you doing is teleologically opaque to me.”
  “I’m diripping, Bro’.”
  “But why?”
  “Because this assemblage, the pointed rigid body, the flexible strip it draws after it, is a dirip.  Thus, I am 
  “Yea, Bro’, but all you doing is making a series of holes in that hide.  What’s the point, Bro’?”
  “Bro’, you can’t dirip without making holes in the hide.  That’s what you doing when you diripping.”
  What we have witnessed is an act (repeated), a kinetic four dimensional amplification of a sequence of demons.  But it is an act that is very unlikely to have ever taken place, because such a thing as a dirip, and such an act as a single unit of diripping (which could in time evolve into 10whatever you like acts of diripping, think all the sewing machine needles in the world, all at full chat) could not have taken place without the evolution of countless other acts preceding it, the act of joining two things together (which has eluded our diripping lad) being just one of them.  Sewing will not evolve before a whole series of things and acts and concepts have evolved.  Just as a demon is a locus for alliances of demons (a needle), a thing can be the locus for a whole agglomeration of things (a bicycle), and an act is made up of a sequence of acts, most of them involving things (a root canal filling).  Culture sometimes looks fractal.  We cannot generalise until we have the detail.
  Sethren, we must eat.  Same time tomorrow.  We have to ask ourselves whether there can be non-kinetic acts.  Among other things.  But kinetic first.  Have we signed the petition, sethren?  It is a demand that one of the plump pink London tapeworms should put his money where his bothria are and live on £53 a week; week after week.  That is one of the things we shall understand in time, sethren.  Demeaning and destructive poverty is not a condition.  It is a praxis.  We may get there in the end.

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