Saturday, July 31, 2010

God thinks bigger over a field of time that goes on and on. If I go to God and I'm all about what mood I'm in today, I don't connect as much as I might. What large, good thing could I help along, given who I am, given what large, good things are growing?

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Logicomics," an often beautiful graphic novel, is about the time, straddling the 19th and 20th century, when mathematicians tried to prove the validity of their own system to their own satisfaction. They started out thinking it was just a matter of trying.

Of course, they were moving, with everyone, into a time of not being able to know things in the solid, absolute way that seemed so natural in the past.

So after much work by many people. especially massive clearing the underbrush by Bertrand Russel and ---- Whitehead, who worked together, Godel capped everyone's work by proving that mathematics as a whole and all its assumptions can't be proved.

To prove a system, you need to reach out and bring in something from outside the system, which is just what mathematicians didn't want to do.

"Logicomics" is a great read and a great work to look at. We don't have to get all upset about the findings, because we are living inside that finding, and many others say knowing ain't what it used to be, ain't what it seemed like it was going to be in Europe in the 1700's, for example.

Intellectuals kept being certain that they were setting up a certainty program that just had to be worked out. But Russell, Whitehead, and Godel in mathematics and Heisenberg of the uncertainty principle in nuclear physics said no. No certainty of the kind once dreamed of by a certain kind of smart people for smart people now. If you want to be certain, you've got to go to other kinds of human endevour.

It was traumatic for the people who did the work of proving that mathematical logic couldn't be proved to find that uncertainty at the end of the trail

They really wanted certainty.

Another thing "Logicomics" points out is that these logic lovers often had serious insanity in their families or in their lives. They really wanted to find solidness that makes sense all the way down.

Russell, after his parents died was raised by his cold grandmother in a mansion where upstairs an uncle moaned and howled with uncomfortable nuttiness. And his grandmother never told him outright his parents were dead, left him to find it out when he found and explored the family mauseleum on the estate.

Other people in the quest for mathematical certainty did great work for a while, and then no longer contributed to the search because they were disfunctionally nuts.

Reality offers comfort, but so rarely the kind we first had in mind.

I was looking at a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle. I knew he wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories about Mr. Hyperlogical and that later in life believed in and heavily promoted Spiritualism, directs communication with dead people. His respectable logical friends and fans didn't like that a lot. But he hung with Spiritualism because he believed.

I had known these things and thought that Conan Doyle had a lot of energy on the logic/illogic boundary--two sides of the same thing.

What I didn't know is that Conan Doyle's father was crazy as a heavy drinker and ended up being locked up for years because he was odd to dangerous when drunk and always ended up drinking. The father couldn't remember the drinking episodes and felt very beset.

Anyway, there's another man, from roughly the time the first work on the proving mathematics problem was happening, who was into logic and had family craziness.

A frequent visual contrast in the good-looking "Logicomics" is the brown, dark late Victorian interiors, and the lighter outside when people take a walk. Brown dark interiors are where they do the actual work on logically proving logic, and the work turns out to be basically as limited as those interiors looks.

The people writing and drawing and researching "Logicomics" are shown doing the work and talking about the work. Some of that happens in Greece, now, where one of them lives. Greece, light and open, as in ancient times, and also modern, reminding one that Athens is a modern city that exists now, and parts of it look much like other cities.

They never say explicitly it's kind rhyming that they are doing a history of an end of the road for logic partly right where the logic road began, in Athens. They may not think that so much, because for them Athens is a continuing modern reality.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The gentle, strong path beyond winning.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Both sides, all edges--look, look, look. Both sides, all edges--heal, heal, heal.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Worth being cheerleader about? For someone creative, nothing is worth being a cheerleader about. Gotta let reality configure itself in a way that fits reality and your heart and mind, and not be limited by a pre-existing set of ideas, no matter how goot the creative person thinks those ideas are.

"Kim" by Rudyard Kipling is a great read, which continually shows how fabulous a writer Kipling could have been if he hadn't been determined to go rah-rah for the British Empire in India. It also continually shows how he was limited by his rah-rah.

And it's partly good.

A good reason to read "Kim" is it's a good read. Another reason is it helps one understand modern Indian literature written in English, which references "Kim" a lot. It's sort of the giant old monument some feel they have to deal with, and they definitely assume you're read it.

It's not hard to read. Mostly, bumpiness that is there is caused by Kipling's way different than now assumptions, and also by the modern reader's assumptions about Kipling's assumptions, which are often inaccurate. Kipling limited himself, but his largeness emerges when you least expect.

When Kim, the orphan British boy living on his own wandering around India, meets the Tibetan lama who becomes his teacher, also wandering, we are invited to think of the lama as a comic figure. "Ah, conscending Kimpling," we might think.

No, it's a set up. The lama is very smart, including in practical ways, and because he's very smart and has access to serious money back at the monastery, he is able to help Kim in a serious way. He figures out that Kim should go to a British school in India and what kind of British school in India he should go to. He should go to a good school designed for children of mixed parents--which fits Kim, even though he is culturally and not genetically mixed. If he'd gone to the British schools in India that thought they were the best, he would have been looked down on all the town. He doesn't quite fit in the mixed school either, but much closer. The lama pays his way.

The lama is away from Tibet and wandering in India because he is looking for the river in which he will find enlightenment.

At the end of the book, he finds it, and finds it very close to the source. So to some passers-by he would look like an old man being oddly euphoric as he sits in mud puddle.

What if someone with Kipling's raw writing ability--lots--and willingness to work--huge, were around now and wanted to promote exactly my political ideas using story-telling and poetry writing?

If would be a far, far better thing if this talented person didn't do that, but let the story-telling and poetry fashioning ability find what they were for. We'd all know more for the honest effort.

Such a person might look, sometimes, to people more organized around current idea categories, like they were being happy sitting in a mud puddle, but they might be gathering strength from the good source, which could then travel to minds and times that would otherwise miss it. Make a longer and more honest splash by not knowing where all this creative work is going and being willing to sit in the right place, however unimpressive to some others.

The people can take in your work and just take it in, rather than alternating taking it in and yelling at it, like many current readers of "Kim," like me.
I used to think about the uninterrupted woman--about what a woman would be and what thoughts she would think if she weren't interrupted.

Various other things came up, and I thought about her less, then not at all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bless the people moving with sirens. May they be fast and safe and wise.
A mural famous in mural circles got redone differently by the original artist.

The most space in either version is taken up by a plowed field, not yet planted. A woman is walking down the rows, toward the person looking at the painting.

She is also walking toward the things that seem closest to the viewer in the painting, guns coming up from the lower edge, pointing toward the woman.

The woman's hands are held out toward the guns and views, full palms facing. The idea seems to be that her hands will somehow stop the guns and also the hands ask the viewer to do something to stop this.

This was painted at the time when the US was supported on side of wars inside El Salvador and Nicaragua. When some people in power greatly wanted the US to go into Nicaragua directly with full power with guns, and US soldiers behind the guns.

The mural shows the guns and the woman trying to stop them, and doesn't show who is holding the guns.

It seemed, looking at the mural, like her gesture with her hands might work because it was so true and she was so determined. It seemed pretty iffy though.

Time passed. The US became less interested in going into Central America directly, partly because the people the powers that be in the US didn't like in Nicaragua lost an election.

The mural, on Mission at 21st in San Francisco, faded.

Then the artist who painted it the first time repainted it different.

Guns still in front, hands still in front of the trying to stop them But they are not her hands. We don't know whose hands are trying to stop the guns like we don't know who is holding the guns.

She is in the same spot walking on the field, but looking a big happier, dressed some different to go with the briefcase she's carrying. That is how we know it is not her hands trying to just stop the guns somehow--her hands are one carrying a briefcase and the other at her side, like the usual briefcase carrying behavior.

I figure she's there to help the people who work the fields and the people who try to stop the guns. She is doing hope in a different way.

Another recentish mural in the Mission, Folsom and Twenty-Fourth shows clear cut land, raindrops, and four indigenous folks standing there, praying, I think to heal the land. They are bringing the raindrops. And maybe a woman lawyer is working to heal that same land.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The love medicine in Louise Erdrich's novel "Love Medicine" is made by Lipsha Morrissey. He has healing powoers, but he's never made a love medicine before.

Healing is just in him, the touch. Sometimes, he has touched sick people and gone deep, and the person is made whole. Sometimes, the healing is smaller but much appreciated. Old women with knotted veins in their legs he'll rub around the veins or knock near the heart or rub the stomach, and the women will feel better.

His hands know how to heal.

He knows that the Chippewas had the strongest love medicine of any tribe, but he doesn't know how it was made. He has Chippewa instincts, but no training in healing and the like. The one person in his area who seems like he knows about such things seems to use his knowledge to make people's lives worse, not better, so Lipsha avoids him.

He takes his lealing instincts and experience and his Chippewa feelings, and imagines how to make a love medicine. Find particular bits of nature, and combine them with particular human actions.

When he goes out to find the bits of nature, he spends the whole day looking and doesn't find them, and is cold. He decides he doesn't want to be cold another day, so he makes up a shoddy imitation of his improvisation which will be more comfortable to carry off.

When he does do the shoddy imitation, the next day, he gets instant, very bad results.

One thing he does as part of Plan C (I don't want to be cold again) that he might not have done if he had acted on his original imaginings, is he takes the love medicine to the priest to be blessed.

The priest doesn't have time to deal with someone who want a wrapped something blessed and won't say what it is, so he tells him to take his problem to a nun. He finds a nun he livkes, and she hangs in there until he tell her the thing he wants blessed is love medicine.

She assumes incorrectly that he wants love medicine to help with a girlfriend. She tells him he doesn't need love medicine. "Just be yourself."

If he had been loyal to being himself, and done that somewhat uncomfortable work of his best imagination, he probably wouldn't have gotten a bad result. Maybe no result, which would have been better, or maybe the best imagine result would have come from doing the best imagined procedure, as originally intuited.

--This is described at the beginning of the "Love Medicine" section of the Louise Erdrich novel "Love Medicine."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Name holy cities: Kyoto, Jerusalem. Name holy cities: Lhasa, Rome. Name holy cities: Here, sometimes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm sleeping at the bottom of an ocean of air. Other people breathe it, too. Plants make the part I use the most. I am dreaming with roots and legs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nature sometimes wins with brute force, and sometimes with beauty.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sometimes, the shared public moment is all about not being about what's most important. Sometimes, the shared public talks is a hiding and an escape.

Even if the issue being discussed is important in itself, it is, at these times, being used as a silencing device, a noise to fill the silence around what we should be dealing with that we're not.

At those times it's better to not line up with other people like you on the people like you team, saying things people like you say about the noisy issue.

It's better to hold onto your head. Shut out the pressure of right here, right now. Look at an ancient classic, or silly ephemera from seventy years ago. Unhypnotize yourself and be quietly open to knowing what's under all this hoohah.

Just knowing that is good, knowing what thing that matters is being mass distracted from.

Quiet sanity counts at times of noisy group insanity. But once you know, you might even come up with some way to move on the real thing, helpfully.
Knowing what time it is in numbers, helps us mesh our lives together, but pushes us toward missing a lot of what time is.
acts, ax, backs, blacks, clacks, cracks, facts, fax, hacks, jacks, lacks, lax, max, pacts, pax, plaques, quacks, racks, sacks, sax, slacks, shacks, slacks, smacks, stacks, tax, tracts, wax
One block of 19th in the Mission between Mission and Valencia has three murals of movement.

Across the top of a utility building, a mural in honor of the Latin players on the San Francisco Gigantes, called Giants in English. A long mural that has the feeling of a hit or thrown baseball--the arc of a baseball, the long flattish flight path would fit well in the mural.

The mural, by Precita Eyes, makes good use of an orange vibe. The Gigantes colors are orange and black. Orange isn't always easy to use well, but the muralists do. It's on the uniforms of the pictured players, naturally, but also it sort of pervades the piece with the feeling of a baseball sunny afternoon.

Unfar away, toward Mission, a soccer, futball, mural tumbles around. The players are playing on a world map and enjoyed themselves and they are rolling and the ball is rolling and close to them, not far away like a baseball gets sometimes. It feels like the map itself is reveling in the fact that it rolls like a soccer ball.

Not very far away, closer to Mission, is a super hero mural, with a bunch of them.

A good thing about understanding a sport and caring about how it goes with a particular team is that you watch games closely.

If you watch any sport game closely at the professional level, you will see super hero moments, unbelievable things that it seems like a fellow human being couldn't do but just did.

Such moments, amazing, against the odds, happen all the time on Planet Earth, but ar often missed because so much else is going on, so much is going on at once.

Sport simplifies what actions matter, what actions are likely to happen. Sport focuses the attention. We can see, sometimes, the wonder that is around us in so many ways.
The battery has run down, so for the moment, my watch is an artwork entitled "Why Do You Need to Know?"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beauty is dangerous--that's why there's so much energy put into making beauty seem shallow and something to be achieved by following some higher-ups rules.

Real beauty makes a person in its presence feel "This moment here is enough," or even "This life is enough because sometimes there's beauty."

Many higher-ups are dependent on it seeming to many people that nothing is ever enough, on making people in general feel that they have to try to feel an unfillable hole of deficiency in themselves and the world.

Actual beauty can make that deficiency seem wrong, silly, irrelevant. Here we all are, and sometimes, near us and sometimes through us, beauty happens.

Higher ups are irrelevant then, as higher ups. As humans, they could join the awe.
People who are beautiful tend to be beseiged in an unnuanced way, by many other people. This takes away from time and space for them to find their own nuances--research that could really help us all. What is beauty inside and out?
Brushing by a tree lightly in a way that heals both you and the tree a bit.
I'm sitting looking at water, hoping some non-rigidity will slosh in.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

On the wings of an angel and a Fast Pass, notice what's up with folks in general.
Firefighters on the Fourth of July are waiting for you to not be stupid. The sound of no siren celebrates your carefulness amidst the fun and drink.
You can do it. It's not that hard. The awkwardness is learning.
Alternating sidewalk squares say, "!BANG!" and "Take it easy."

--Octavia near Market on the downtown side of the street

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bless this city, no matter how I feel about it right now.
I need to not try to force my own kind of coherence on them. I need to let them cohere in their own way.
I like her, and I like liking her. The process of liking her is fun. I just sit around liking her.
It's insoluable! Yay! That means there will be a really interesting solution.
The Good! The Bad! and how we might actually change things with a dance different than either
What was your underlying day like?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The light of a star is changed into life quite directly by leaves. Stars far and near like to listen to the sound of tree leaves rustling with each other because it's about them and because that quiet complex crackle is one of the ways sound to each other.

Friday, July 02, 2010

It causes me to feel foolish, and it's good. It's a great gift.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A lot of times, if kids are enjoying words as words, they do it loudly.

But a couple of kids on the afternoon bus were enjoying words as words in a conversational tone of voice as they talked about their lunch.

"Pan-da Ex-press, Pan-da Ex-press," said one.

The other said, "I liked the orange chicken. Or-ange. Orrrr-ange."

"The lady next to us was fat, or heavy-set," said one.

The other replied, "Obese. O-B-E-S-E."

As I left the bus, one was saying, "Lemonade. Lem-on-ade."

Maybe someone could connect them with haiku. If they found a haiku they liked, they could relish some of its words."


"Rip-ple. Rip-ple."