Author Archives: signature103

About signature103

Language teacher and researcher. Object Philosopher. Buddhist.

blog bloat

I cleaned up my blog today.

I changed the title back to the URL, got rid of most of the pages, streamed lined the menu, removed most of the widgets and rewrote the about page.

What is left is effectively a timeline of 5 posts at the top and a simplified navigation of the essentials.

I had suffered from blog bloat without knowing it. lol

Buy a sound bar

One does not realise just how bad the internal speakers of a TV is until one hooks up a sound bar or stereo. During this last Christmas holidays I hooked my stereo combo as a treat for the kids. Only then did I remember just how awful th sound quality had been all this time.

I opted for a sound bar for a couple of reasons. One a friend had just bought one for his new TV. Intrigued by it I had connected the idea that with the ubiquity of Bluetooth this would mean my sound bar could play music as well. Turning my lounge into an entertainment area was one goal. But better still I realised that the Apple TV hooked up to my computer was better served with the TV. That move was a game changer. Since I set this all up I can play music, watch YouTube and movies with the best sound possible.

The change in technology had been something hanging around my neck for a while. I simply did not know how to deal with it coming from the late twentieth century. With everything connected – the IoT – it means we no longer live in just a physically bound world. Or rather the way we bind to things is different. There was a shift in the paradigm. This was something I have had to struggle with and only now is beginning to make sense.

Freedom?

What does it mean when we say “we are free to do anything we want”?

It means we are deluded into thinking we are isolated individuals outside of an interconnect world. Everything I do affects everything else around me, so long as I related to it in some way.

So the question is is there any thing, space or time from which we are not related to all else? Experience tells me no. Some may argue that freedom is in the mind. But if the mind is located in the body, in the brain, then it is itself a relational operation. There is no thing which operates outside of things, space and time. Every action has real consequences. To think that even your thoughts do not have consequences is to be sorely mistaken. For although they do not have immediate “outer” consequences they have “inner” ones. They affect the body that thinks. To think is in itself an action.

Time and events

I remember 9/11.

But I don’t remember it as 9/11 but 9/12. I was in Sydney that day. Woke up to the images on the screen, my mother was staring in disbelief. Not much can silence my mother but this did.

Yes, I am a somewhat intelligent guy (been to university, even did postgraduate studies), but I still think of it as 9/12. I do this because it says something about time and our perception of it, especially in this day and age where real-time means I see 9/11 in 9/12.

Philosophically, that is important or not trivial to me. If this event had occurred before my birth or outside of my awareness of it I would learn and remember it as 9/11, that is, I would not pair the event with my time and place.

20210107 is another event I would remember as thus. The day American democracy was no longer such. That for years to come they will spend time repairing what had occurred in the four up until that moment. That the next administration will have a fight on their hands with something that was covert but now open. The ugly side of America has been exposed.

There is a beautiful side to America, to its values and culture. That, I will never forget. Those who stormed Capitol Hill are not representative — thankfully — of the majority as this last election has pointed out. But rather, America has a lot of soul searching to do for decades to come. And this comes from someone who does not believe in a soul.

i see what you mean

if it is not with your eyes,
then what is it that you see
the world with?

some say
you see
with your mind.

if so, then why did god
bother with giving us eyes
in the first place?

the “mind’s eye”
is a great metaphor, but
in there it shall remain.

for words can do this –
make things appear
from paper thin air

and their appearance, it
may linger in the wind or
on the page for far too long.

Chain of Keys

1.
“This house was built in 1788.”

Although most people will see this statement is a factual one, I will argue that it is, in fact, imbued with value and judgment.

We choose to highlight something by stating it, by making it the subject of a statement. Something must be focused upon (apart from “dummy” statements like ‘it’s raining’ or ‘it’s me’ but I will argue these are not empty subjects) when we say anything. To choose to focus upon the house is something consciously done by a speaker. And to choose to highlight its age is another choice. Both are given importance by stating them as facts. Value is thus given to them. They – the house and its age – are judged to be important facts.

2.
Poets and songwriters are masters of value making. A good example is PJ Harvey’s Chain of Keys.

Fifteen keys
Fifteen keys hang on a chain
The chain is joint
The chain is joint and forms a ring
The ring is in
The ring is in a woman’s hand
She’s walking on
She’s walking on the dusty ground

The dusty ground’s a dead-end track
The neighbours won’t be coming back
Fifteen gardens overgrown
Fifteen houses falling down

The woman’s old
The woman’s old and dressed in black
She keeps her hands
She keeps her hands behind her back
Imagine what
Imagine what her eyes have seen
We ask but she
We ask but she won’t let us in

A key so simple and so small
How can it mean no chance at all?
A key, a promise, or a wish
How can it mean such hopelessness

“The circle is broken”, she says
“The circle is broken”, she says

Out of the void of the music comes fifteen keys on a chain. We send time wondering, imagining, what kind of keys and chain they are. We are told, next, chain is not a like a strand but is joined to form a loop (ring). But where is this ring of keys? It is in the hands of a woman. What is she like? How are we to imagine her? We don’t know, but we are told she is walking on the dusty ground. Why is she walking on here? So many questions. So many images. The sparse repetitive sax and drum line gives us an image of her walk walking among the fifteen empty falling down houses with their overgrown gardens. The story goes on.

I hope you can see how the words have created the image for you. It may well be based on an actual place with actual persons with actual things and actual dialogues but it no longer belongs to the event, only belonging to the memory (or thought) and (or) to the song.

3.
To take statements as facts of reality is to not understand that statements are acts in reality. They are acts within the reality. They do not stand outside of reality. This is what, I believe, Derrida had meant by there is no outside text (alternate translations ‘there is nothing outside of the text’; ‘there is no outside context’). The largest most inclusive category – as tiring as this approach physically and mentally is – must be taken in order for anything to be make complete sense. And we must forget that rational sense itself is an act within this reality not separate from it in any way.