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Showing posts from January, 2015

"To sing in green" by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

I
Didn’t you hear, in here,
How music prowled the house?
The night was hard and lightless
But out there on a stiff stone
larking – that was me.

I said all I could:
"Dear, you're everything to me!"
But the east shoved out new light
and the harsh day drove me home.
My mouth was shut again.

II
Under a murky weighted sky
So lonely we were,
Cleaved from the other!
But no more:
The air blows free and fro;
And the whole world inamidst us
Shines as if glass.

The stars arose, were
Shown shimmering on us,
And even they knew:
So strong and stronger their splendour
That we sighed,
Lay blissful, captured
by other's touch.

III My beloved spoke: "I'll not block you;
You owe me nothing.
Folk should not be kept –
They weren't born to trust so.

Hit the road, my friend,
Behold land upon land
Try out many beds
Take many women by the hand.

If a wine’s too sour for you,
Go drink Malvasia –
But if my mouth is sweeter,
Only then come to me!”




[Rhymed version planned...]


*****…

the awful world as one

Question was "What would the world be like if everyone was like you?" People took a couple of very different scenarios from that: either physical identity (a world of clones, body and mind) or philosophical identity (a world in which everyone shared your values) or both (because of confusion between those two, or some mind-body identity intuition), or even neither (because focussing on behaviour only). One friend asked if Uma Thurman would have a beard like him, a line of inquiry which got obscene very quickly.

Most people assumed that 7 billion people would morph overnight, and that the great new Them would have to deal with the world as it is currently (scarcity, egotism, path dependency, cognitive bias), rather than bending any other variables to make e.g. perfect uniform social justice possible.

The intuition pump was for people to report the things they see as essential about themselves. (Can someone have your exact values or personality without also having your bod…

wait in room

Buro meets ochlo
and neither yields; instead
there's a steady faceplant meld
of rule with weeping exception.
Christ. Reach me a nothing,
save me a stay!

If you are given pause — if
you give me a bed larger than I need
and heed the answer retrodicted —
you will brush the wrecks of timetables from me,
wash my shoulders of lead,
and see in me hot and fragile seas.

To leave me ungeneralised.


'Rain Clearance' by Dù Fǔ

for Qiu Ji

Sky emptied, the autumn cloud thins;
A west wind spans a myriad fields.
The morning scene is good — cleared:
Long rain has left us land.
Tight willows show sparse green,
Uphill, pears are flowering red.
Upstairs, a reed pipe plays;
One goose rises in plain air.





**************************************************




雨晴 (一作秋霽)

天水秋雲薄
從西萬里風

今朝好晴景
久雨不妨農

塞柳行疏翠
山梨結小紅

胡笳樓上發
一雁入高空




杜甫 (758 CE)


Very Late Review: Antifragile (2012) by Nassim Taleb

(c) 'Accidental Fish', 2013

"Nothing convinces us of our capacity to make choices — nothing sustains our illusion of freedom — more than our ability to regularise our behaviour. nothing is more capable of destroying our interest and our pleasure in what we do.

If it is the predictable that stupifies us and the unpredictable that terrorises us, what should we do? If we are always caught between risk and resignation, between confidence and catastrophe, how can we decide what to do next?
"— Adam Phillips



My problem is what my mother kept telling me:
I'm too messianic in my views.
Taleb

The most ambitious and messy book in his idiosyncratic four-volume work of evolutionary epistemology, the 'Incerto'. (It is Fooled By Randomness, Black Swan, Bed of Procrustes, and yonder.) The former three books are largely critical, hacking away at theory-blindness, model error, and the many kinds of people he sees as possessing unearned status (economists, journalists, co…

Been reading, Q4 2014

Cover of Colin Farrelly's 'Introduction to Political Theory' – unsigned.

Human beings differ from other animals because they are sufficiently intelligent to wish that they could stop working and reasoning – and free enough to toil harder than other creatures to pursue both these aims in order to eventually enjoy free time.

It follows that Homo faber and Homo sapiens are only contingent consequences of the truly essential Homo ludens. The fact that philosophers do not typically endorse this view only clarifies why they rarely qualify as champions of common sense… – Luciano Floridi

Aa our knawledge is hauflin; aa our prophesíein is hauflin: but whan the perfyte is comed, the onperfyte will be by wi. In my bairn days, I hed the speech o a bairn, the thochts o a bairn, the mind o a bairn, but nou at I am grown manmuckle, I am through wi aathing bairnlie… In smaa: there is three things bides for ey: faith, howp, luve. But the grytest o the three is luve. – I Corinthians 13, via Wi…