Monthly Archives: May 2019

Ghost stories, reality, and The Philosophy of Flawfulness

I love ghost stories, but I love ghost stories because they tell us something fundamental about being human – that we are imaginative.

Even if ghosts are real (they are not) they do not interact with us in this physical world, the reality. So we may remove or dismiss them from the equation of reality.

But when ghosts interact with this world then there is trouble. The rules of reality no longer hold true. Things do not behave as expected. We cannot predict what will happen because there is something else in the equation of reality.

If ghosts do exist and things move accordingly their interaction then we must take into account their influence. And when that happens then that will then be the reality.

As long as we account for everything in the equation then we can predict what will happen. This is even true if there are ghosts.

I love ghosts and ghost stories only because they tell us not the truth about reality, but a truth about how we, the human being, flawfully see reality all the while being in the reality.

I can hear you now: “Flawfully isn’t a word!” Sure it isn’t. But the word flawfully is as necessary as ghosts are to being human. We are imaginative creatures. I would argue that the meaning of flawfully (to create and use something imperfect deliberately) is a necessary part of being us. It is also what separates us from other animals. You can perhaps even call this philosophy, the philosophy of flawfulness.

What is knowledge?

What exactly is knowledge?

If we take a dictionary definition of the term knowledge then it is the information, skills, and understanding that you have gained through learning or experience.

And if we take definitions of the definition of knowledge then information are the facts or details that tell you something about a situation, person, event etc. A skill is the ability to do something well, especially because you have learned and practised it. To gain is to gradually get more and more of a quality, feeling etc, especially a useful or valuable one. Learning is knowledge gained through reading and study. Experience is knowledge or skill that you gain from doing a job or activity, or the process of doing this.

Definitions are inescapably tautological. Because we cannot avoid the circularity of definitions we take it as a constant and move on.

Perhaps the most important of the definition of the main definition is from the term experience. In short, knowledge is a process. When the process of knowing comes to an end – death – the possession of information ends. It is this point that we must keep in mind (ironically as information) at all times in the pursuit of knowledge and philosophy.

Captain’s Log 1419.145

I had dreamt I was at Florence’s concert, trying to suppress my laughter. The others were laughing uncontrollably all the while she continued singing, oblivious to it all. Cole Porter sitting to my left let out a short giggle. Eventually he gave up trying and quite literally rolled on the ground laughing, but as if in pain.

She had, in the unflattering sense, quite the voice. No voice mixer could fix her deficiencies. No musician could play along with her. Invariably they would all miss a beat or miscue notes. Mildly put, she was tone deaf.

And the dress! She wore the most hideous of creations! Hand-stitched by her or her mother, no less. One had to be embarrassed for embarrassment.

When she had finished butchering the song as best she could she came to our table. She sat down in the empty seat beside me. Cole regained his composure somewhat by adjusting his jacket. The crowd watched and talked in whispers.

“How was it, Darlings?” she asked.

“Couldn’t have been more magnificent,” I replied suppressing a grin.

Cole took out a cigarette, tapped it upon the case, lit it, dragged on it, and blew a steady stream of smoke toward her.

“Bravo! Now where’s the champagne?!”

The waiter nodded and walked away to fulfil the order.

Florence lent forward passed me to take the cigarette case from Cole’s hand. I saw the gentle brush fingers upon his. He didn’t flinch. She didn’t blink. I offered her a flame. In the glow I could see her eyes stare intently at Cole’s gaze. Never once did she look at me. In that moment I had been invisible to them. Their private connection was severed only by the returning waiters, as though for my sake. But secretly, I was happy they had found each other like two ships in the night.

And like a key, the tacky metaphor woke me from the impossibility of the situation.

Captain’s Log 1424.143

Medical assistance to Sector O successfully completed.

On our return we came across a civilisation known locally as Kiitavil. They are friendly traders. Their technology is far more advanced than ours. Their colony is near the old trading port of Eaon.

One piece we are interested in acquiring is a telescope capable of incredible detail, more advanced than anything we have in the Federation. With it we shall be able to learn more of our neighbouring civilisations, and topography and culture.

Captain’s Log 1424.142

The Frohgians are encroaching Federation Space once again. Although they are not aggressive in nature their slow spread across the known space is worrying. Little is known about this race. Contact has been made often but because of their introverted character we still have next to no knowledge of their psychology.

At regular intervals the entire universe seems to vibrate with their signal, followed by times of “murmurs”. It has been observed this phenomenon seems to occur during periods of slow solar activity. More observations needed.

Meanwhile, the crew are completing preparations for the medical assistance assignment to Sector O.

Captain’s Log 1419.141

The dreams are all too real. The stories can be played, paused, and stopped at will. And in some ways, more realistic than reality itself, or at least better than reality. So am I a butterfly dreaming of being Zhuangzi, or Zhuangzi dreaming of being a butterfly? I cannot tell anymore. And fear I am losing my mind.

Captain’s Log 1319.140

Unknown fungus-like lifeforms have hitched a ride on one of the shuttles and infected the docking bay during a routine hull check. While we believe we have contained the contamination to the bay and are now using the emergency docking bay for any physical transportation on and off the ship.

On our explorations of Sector 356 we have also encountered a previously unknown caterpillaris species. Two red stripes run along its entire spine enclosing morse-like dots and dashes. At present it covers the entire aft of the USS Signature. Though they do not seem to be damaging the hull we are continuing observations as a  precaution.

A replacement pipe has been found and astroculture production have restarted after routine maintenance was completed.

The Ten Bull Pictures – notes

The standard version of the Ten Bull Pictures used today is the version by Kaku-an, a 12th century monk. The oldest version of this is a 16th century copy in Kyoto, Japan.

The earliest series is considered the one by Seikyo, consisting of five pictures. The first picture starts at the fourth Kaku-an picture (and being slightly different) and ends on the eighth. In between are three pictures which are not found in Kaku-an’s version. A later version that Seikyo’s that was popular in China also has ten pictures but it also starts and ends at exactly the same pictures as Seikyo’s five pictures.

The conclusion to be drawn then is

  1. Kaku-an’s pictures are independent in design to both Seikyo and the Chinese versions
  2. Kaku-an’s pictures have a different significance to Seikyo’s

Particularly the second point starting earlier in the timeline means it says more about practitioners at the beginning of their journey. Also, by ending later, it says something about what the purpose (or Zen’s goal) is for enlightenment. These points are worth exploring.