The (social) medium is the message

The medium is the message. It always has been. It always will be. There is no escape from the medium.

Do we have free will?

Someone pointed out that we must ask the question “are we free?” first before we can even ask “do we have free will?” I agree. To be truly free would be to be able to flit in and out of material existence. We do not and can not. Secondly, the will is not independent of the body. It is always a decision of or motivation from the body. That is to say, we are not free to will, but we are only free to imagine being free to will.

Love is a verb … and a noun

Love. Love is a verb. Love is a doing word. […]

Teardrop by Massive Attack

The opening lyrics of Teardrop by Massive Attack points to the verbal quality of ‘love’. What we call lemma or headwords in linguistics brings together meaning under one heading.

(1) He loves her.

make ‘love’ a verb. And the sentence

(2) ‘His love for her.’

turns ‘love’ into a noun.

Let me point out here that love “begins life” as a noun and, in fact, is turned into a verb in an act I call shall verbalisation. Pat Benatar famously sang

(3) Love is a Battlefield.

Clearly is talk of love as a thing in this usage.

But we can talk of love as an action as in

We love you. We love you. We love you. We’re going to do whatever it take to make you love me.

We Love You! by Regurgitator

I am not saying anything unusual. We do this so often that we almost do not notice it … almost. But let us take ‘run’. Run, like love, is both a verb and noun. But run is used more as a verb than love is (even though the strong collocation for love is as a verb ‘I love you’). Easiest is to look at example usages.

(4) He runs six miles everyday.
(5) The dog ran away again.

For (4) is a clearly a verb. In (5) run is part of the phrasal verb run away. But in

(6) The run is tomorrow.

it is a noun. And unlike love as a noun it can be specified by a determiner. When we try with

(7) The love of a mother for her child is unparalleled in the universe.

we must specify much more clearly. That is, love is a universal and a thing. So when Massive Attack sings love is a verb they want to highlight the fact that we sometimes forget that it has a verbal form, just as I am highlighting the fact run also has a nominal form, and that these forms tell us something about conceptualisation, and language.

Love and run are nouns (and they are verbs). But they are not things. My point is, conceptualisation is a tricky business that requires serious and careful study. As a child I was taught a noun is a person, place or thing. Later I was retaught to add ‘idea’ to the list definition. Much time was spent believing love and run were things. Often I must remind myself that ideas are not things even though they can both be nouns. Just because ‘run’ in

(8) The run was fun.

is given the determiner ‘the’ it does not make it a thing as ‘the’ in

(9) The car is in the driveway.

specifies a thing. That is the difference.

Some things are too good to last

There is no doubt Periscope is a great live-streaming app. The unparalleled interactiveness of the apps unlike any other similar apps will come to an end after 6 years from its release. at its best text comments and verbal replies can be achieved in under ten seconds, far quicker than any other live-streaming app. Perhaps equal in speed to instant messaging or Usenet (and likely using such technologies) it made text/video online conversation and dialogue enjoyable.

YouTube Live, for example, while does something is nowhere as interactively engaging because of the lag. I suspect the lag exists because older minimal (not minimalist) technology is used. The frustration not only shows in the broadcasters face but also in the viewers messages as well as them voting with their feet (that is, exiting the broadcast midway).

As I have said many times I would have paid for the service to broadcast. A monthly fee of, say, USD5 would have had me forking it out for its service. The exchange should have been between me and the service provider, not between me and the viewers with the service provider taking a slice of the action.

While the business model is similar to television (this reflected in its name PeriscopeTV) it really did not work that way. Banking on broadcaster content when broadcaster content has not the manpower, time and money invested in it, did not work.

But, in the end, whatever the reason that Periscope is coming to an end it is sad and will be truly missed.

Selling stuff, clearing space and mind

Over the weekend I cleared out a bunch of stuff from the house – an electric guitar and its related gear, an old telescope, a dehumidifier, a bathroom scale, CD players.

Not so much was it about the money but what a waste it would be to just to dump them. While they were being evaluated at the secondhand store I checked out what they had. Just how much people are getting rid of things and the kinds of kinds that are gotten rid of is simply amazing. It seems guitars are hot items and so are dehumidifiers if the price I got is a reflection of its worth. It kind of makes sense that utility goods like dehumidifiers and fridges should retain value. They move and are sold. We do not escape material reality in any way.

But as I said, it wasn’t the money. It was therapeutic just to clear out the space called “home” and “mind”.

Why ‘Seven of Nine’?

Seven of Nine is one of only a handful of the Borg species that has we know of by a name. One is another, a name given to himself. Picard as an assimilated Borg was named Locutus. By whom the name was chosen is, as far as I know, not stated.

But we must can assume that individualistic names is far from being a Borg thing. So does Seven of Nine mean that she is a seven of nine in a group, orderly and like a set? Or are the numbers nominal and the ‘of’ has no real meaning? Considering how many Borgs there are (assimilated) Single digit names seem hardly enough to cover all individuals in the Borg Collective. Likely there are thousands of individuals so there could be “1432 of 9” or “2 of 34254”.

Likely too is that there is no hierarchy. For example, I do not think Six of Nine out ranks Seven of Nine because of a one-digit difference. It would seem illogical to have a hierarchy in a collective of unranked drones. There is something socialistic or communistic about the Borg.

Likely, a short double-barrelled single-digit name is easier than “23482 of 967” as a name. As in real life uncommon names can either make it very easy or difficult to remember.

Another question is, do all individuals have unique names or do some have the same name like “David” or “John” in the English speaking world.

And is Seven her first name, and Nine her last?

So many questions so few answers.

Words are not things

Words are not things but semi-things. Their age matters not. The size of the fonts changes nothing of their meaning. And whether it is serif or san-serif will not make a single difference (apart from functional sustained legibility).

In other words, words have little to no properties. The font’s colour means nothing, unless it is an art t-shirt from that now-defunct Oxford Street shop in Sydney that read “blue” in red letters. Read the word out loud and the colour no longer has any meaning. This is word play in written form. The medium is the message as someone once said.

In Japan more people say the name King&Prince more than any other name right now (my daughter included). But nothing changes about the group. The group is still made up of six people no matter how many times one invokes the name. ‘Popularity’ means something else other than physical quantity. We may count the number of times in it is mentioned in the media or searched for on Google. Nothing changes the fact that they are ordinary people that bleed when pricked or cry when they are emotionally down.

My point is, words are not the same thing as the things or non-things they represent. Not only are they separate to the things/non-things they represent, their characteristics (if they can be characteristics at all) are different as well.