torstai 15. joulukuuta 2016

Day 5 - Resurrection

Words do not have any universal meaning. If you don't believe me, take a trip around the world - and I really mean around the world, not just the major cities - and only speak your native tongue. Try to describe to a local the frustration of having to remove all those layers of clothing when entering a warm train after spending a day outside in a Siberian town. Go ahead and explain that you're not sure if the ponderings of Descartes are actually in any way useful to a student of philosophy in Spain. Or just try to ask for directions in Berlin, Pontarlier, or somewhere in Quinqhai. Very, very quickly you'll notice that all those words of yours are, to them, completely meaningless.

Words are mere symbols. A symbol is a thing that by itself is meaningless. If it is to have a meaning, it needs to be given one. That holds true regardless of whether your symbol is a sound, a picture, a gesture or something else.

The meaning of a symbol is the thing to which the symbol refers. The thing being referred to can either exist within or without (outside of) the human mind. The symbol is a sticker that we slap onto the thing. When presented with the symbol, we think of the thing in the world the symbol refers to.

You can know a symbol without knowing its meaning.

There is nothing that prevents a person from making up his own symbols, or giving existing symbols meanings of one's own. Still, we mostly use symbols that are also used by others. This comes with both upsides and downsides. 

The upside is that now the symbols aren't merely something we can use to aid our memory or understand the world, but also something that can be used to communicate with other minds.

The downside is that now there's a chance the meaning you think a symbol has is not the same the other person thinks it does.

This is not a problem if the other person speaks a language you don't know. You know you are being presented with symbols, but you know you don't know the meaning of them. You simply don't understand. You can just let them be. But when another person is actually presenting you with symbols you do know, there is a chance you're not attaching the symbols to the same things. The thought, the idea, is not received as it was sent. The recipient misunderstands.

To not understand and to misunderstand are not the same thing.

torstai 29. tammikuuta 2015

Day 4 - Adrian's coat

It's Thursday.
I watched the Pianist. There's a great scene at the end, where Wladyslaw comes out of a building wearing a German greatcoat, and almost gets shot by some Soviet soldiers.

To have so much meaning in a single coat.

maanantai 26. tammikuuta 2015

Day 3 - Alive, on principle

It's Monday
It is my firm belief that a moral man, once born, is supposed to stay alive until some event or occurrence beyond his control forces him to cease to exist. That is my principle.

It is a derivative of many other principles, most of which have to do with wanting good things for other people.

Yesterday was the "I wish I were dead" -day of the week. Some weeks have several of them. For the last four-and-a-half years I have not had a single week that would have had none, but have experienced several months' worth of weeks that had seven.

When a man wants good things to other people, but is not able to deliver, his own life becomes quite unbearable. He observes that he is incapable of living up to his own standards. When the unbearability reaches a certain point, one or many of several possible events take place. Perhaps the most common one is that he starts to drink. Perhaps the most effective one is that one kills oneself.

Both of the possibilities are bad because they violate the same principles that caused the original unbearability.

To drink is to cause pain to those you love. To kill yourself is to cause pain to those you love. But because you could not love, you must drink. And because you could not love, you must kill yourself.

This is the love-trap.

It is a form of circular reasoning. And the one doing the reasoning is the faceless guy called Causality.

The back of our brain, that which is no different from that of an animal, is not aware of this. It only reports whatever it is that it needs to report, namely that the reality does not meet your expectations. You are falling short of your own principles, no matter where you turn. You failed to love, and drinking helps. But to drink is to fail to love too, and that feels exactly the same as the original failure.

So you need more drink, to keep Mr. Hyde at bay.

And the circle goes round and round.

Suicide is just so much easier. It's like ripping off the band-aid, compared to the slow agony of drink.

It is difficult to say which is less painful to those you, on principle, are trying to love.

So here I am. Still alive. Also no longer drinking. Not abstaining from alcohol, though. Just no longer drinking. There's a difference.

I have been cornered by my own principles, and the only way out is to fight.

Fight to learn how to show love.

lauantai 24. tammikuuta 2015

Day 2 - Pavlov worked in advertising

It's Saturday.
This thing doesn't go away. I pondered it over last night, into the wee hours, as the child woke up to scream quite regularly. Woke up and felt horrible - too horrible for three glasses of port. But it was only 3 a.m. My condition had significantly improved seven hours later.

I blame Pavlov for my predicament with the poster. The poster advertising the bakery program.

I also blame Pavlov for my problem with the boys smoking electronic cigarettes.

If I am correct in my understanding this blame will have a limited effect, as the person in question is no longer here to make appropriate corrections. Although I'm not sure if that would be appropriate. One should not be expected to change unpleasant results if they are, indeed, true. It would make flying much easier if we could force Newton to change his theory on gravity, but alas, it would not change the reality. The reality is not interested in our views.

The priests pray and pray, but God is not bound to obey.

The atheists pray and pray, but God is not bound to obey.

So perhaps I am wrong in stating that Pavlov is to blame. Rather it is the phenomenon described by him, that is to blame. His dogs are to blame. No, even that is wrong, even if it would nicely support my dislike of dogs. And yet my personal dislikes should not affect how I view the objective reality. So even the dogs are relieved of blame, though I still dislike them.

At this point I find it imperative to make another clarification. Yesterday I wrote that habit is the logic of life. In the end I said that the poster, the smokers and the workaholics do not have a point in what they do. I was wrong to say that. I apologize. (Please note that I am not apologizing for my statement because it was inconvenient. I'm apologizing for it because it was untrue.) Yes, there is a point, and that's why I spent so much time thinking of Pavlov. What I was meant to write was that the original point, the one that was created as a result of old habits working according to the laws of causality and the rules of logic (logic and the logic of life, therefore, are not the same thing), no longer applies. We have developed habits that have no direct, logical, causational link to the original point.

We have not made plans or devised stratagems. We have not thought things through.

We have just acquired habits.

The minus degrees have dropped in half outside. Good. We have two parties to attend tonight.

That's why I didn't reach my original point.

perjantai 23. tammikuuta 2015

Day 1 - The peculiar pleasure of being so sick of this

It is Friday.

A man is defined by his habits. Whatever he is is whatever he is accustomed to being.

That is the logic of life. Everything on top of that is just causation. To try and draw links further than that is risky. One does that at one's peril.

After my failed attempt to buy a length of nylon webbing I was walking home, feeling defeated. I think it was yesterday. It was cold. Something like -20 degrees Celcius. I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit. I don't speak Fahrenheit, and neither should you.

My eyes met a poster that advertised an upcoming TV show. There was a man in a suit leaning over a table, his fists lying on the tabletop, and a woman sitting in a chair wearing some sort of business costume. Both were looking severely at a chef sitting on the opposite side of the table. Only the back of the chef was visible, so I guess I was supposed to recognize the people facing him. I didn't.

After going through the written information printed on the bottom of the image it was revealed to me that the point of the program was to have pastry chefs compete for a prize, with the indeed famous chefs acting as judges. I walked a block's worth of meters trying to figure out that poster. I had fleece underwear under my winter jacket, but because of the curve in my lower spine there was a pocket of air between the fleece shirt and my back. My back in that particular air pocket was dripping with sweat. The sweat was cold.

There is something very strange about that setup. The guy's facial expression and posture suggest he's just about to divide Poland. And what he is basically supposed to be saying is: "Make me a cake."

I passed two youngsters, maybe sixteen or seventeen years old. They were wearing my favourite style of pants, slim fit jeans, but what they wore in addition to them was just brutal.

And they were smoking electronic cigarettes.

Yet again I was overcome with a sense of disconnect. My logic dictates that a cigarette in the hands of a person of that age is supposed to be a sign of defiance. It possesses the same self-destructing characteristics that alcohol does. These sorts of things, the self-destructing ones, seem to add something to us, they give us some benefit. When the distance to the edge of a cliff gets smaller, the dick of the one getting closer to the edge gets bigger. Isn't that how it goes? Or have I misunderstood something?

And yet these guys where smoking electronic cigarettes. The things that are meant to protect a person from being thrown out of a moving plane. And they were in the last place on earth where one is supposedly allowed to smoke the regular, cancer-filled, carcinogen-producing ones: outside, in conditions that make your pancreas susceptible to frostbite.

Where is the sense of danger and defiance in that? The bloody things, according to my understanding, only give you the thing that relaxes you (because you've made your body think it can't relax without it), without any of the mortal dangers.

What is the point?

I'd reckon it's the same point that an atheist can present for his workaholism in a protestant country.


keskiviikko 21. tammikuuta 2015

Mirror mirror on the wall...

A forest.
This is a diary.

Most of it is true. The rest of it is fiction. It is not a peek into my life. Most of the true things in it have happened a long time ago, while some only occur now, presently. Most of the fictitious things are a mosaic of what has happened to real people in the real world, while some of it might have happened to someone somewhere, without me knowing it. Rather than a diary it should be read like a novel, in the true spirit of Oscar Wilde: "It is the spectator, not life, that art really mirrors." A writer can make a mirror, as clear or as distorting as his skills and wishes allow it to be, but what one sees in it is whatever the one seeing is equipped to see.

To take what is seen on the silvery surface as a representation of truth is dangerous. A mortal man cannot craft an omnipotent narrator. Neither can he be trusted to understand one. In order to have an objective mirror one would need an objective maker who could be objectively understood by you, and there were too many requirements for objectivity right there for it to be in the realm of possibility.

"Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all," we ask, time and again, and hope the mirror answers us truthfully. And yet it is your own voice, not that of a Magic Mirror, that answers. What you see in the mirror tells more about you than it does of the real world. Make sure you are equipped well enough before you take a peek.

Oh, in case you've seen the banner before: Yes, I changed it. All of it.

With love,