Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C Clarke has died.

I don't know much about his personal life, except for the fact that he moved to Sri Lanka. But his impact in my life was this: he collaborated with Stanley kubrick (and indirectly with Strauss, Nietzsche, and Turing) to create "2001: A Space Odyssey". For me "2001" is not just a movie. It is a biblical book. To watch it is to celebrate a mass that transubstatntiates the mind from thinking organ to creative force.

Clarke brought the science and spirituality to the movie (and book). It is a credit to his genius that he was able to show such an intuitive understanding of both the forces that govern the universe and those that orient and attract the human soul. From the apes worshipping an alien structure and discovering weapons, through the intelligent computer fighting for its own survival and self-image, finally to the lone astronaut facing setting forth and becoming something greater; the story he wove together is really the story of every creative person, and really any person trying to be all they can be.

The beauty of Clarke's sci-fi is the way it starts off grounded in hard science, but seamlessly runs into the speculative. His sci leads you to his fi, and supports it. His fantasies grew organically from the theories of his day, and the assumed technologies of the future. He didn't use his sci-fi as a lab to test philosophies and concepts. His work seemed rather more interested with the teleological questions: How will mankind's future and philosophy be shaped by our technology and the laws of physics? One would expect no less from the man that gave us geosynchronous orbit, and ultimately the communications satellite.

A great artist has died. His canvas was the twin universes within and without us. His paints were stories of adventure and conquest. His theme was the man's constant drive to expand all his horizons.

May his ideas not rest in peace, but rather may they spur us to endless thought.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hello All And One

Let's see how this goes. Again.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Celebrities are stars.
Stars shine. stars can be seen everywhere. stars are out of reach. If you get too close to a star, you get burned.
We watch the stars. We gaze at them.
Stargazers observe the movement of stars, and use them to determine human truth.
We blame the stars for what we do. We blame the stars for doing the same things we do, or we blame the stars for making us do what we do.
"The fault, dear Cassius, lies not in our stars but in ourselves".

Celebrities are idols.
idols are gods.
Gods do things we cannot do.
Gods do not suffer the same consequences we do.
We gather together to admire the works of gods.
We read about gods. About their marriages. Their infidelities. Their dysfunction. Their friendships.
We mythologise them, but the gods live just like us.
We satirise the gods.
Man invented the gods.
Man projects his traits onto the gods.
Study the gods, and you understand the men.

Worship celebrities, but only from afar. Disappointment will meet you if you get too close. They do not belong in your world, nor you in theirs. You can learn about life by watching them live theirs. You can learn about the faults that lie in the human soul, no matter where he is. Use celebrities as a way to feel better about yourself. Watch them commit your sins in High Definition, and blame them for it. Wag your finger. shake your head. Put your sins on them. Worship them. Buy their products. Patronise their work. Make them rich. make them more famous. Make them more worshippable. Elevate them more to blame them more to learn more about yourself and feel better about yourself.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I think.

I think in certain ways.

I think in certain ways about certain things.

I think in certain ways about certain things and uncover certain concepts.

I think about these concepts.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Themes that sneak past the artist

In the previous entry, I said all art conveyance themes. This got me thinking about the role of the artist in this presentation. What if [s]he insists her/his work is themeless, or that the consumers are "reading too much" into it? Does my statement still hold true/


First scenario: The artist says the work is themeless. All art is a combination (over space or time or thought) of icons (streaks of paint, toned words, written words, notes, scenes...). Some thought process governs the way the artist puts these icons together. the most basic of these is aesthetic sense. If the artist does not ascribe at least beauty or ugliness to his work, and did not intend it to have that attribute, then he is not an artist at all. he is not creating art. He is publishing.

Second scenario: The artist says we are reading more than is there into her/his work. I do not doubt that often we see more of the art than the artist. But that just shows [s]he is not fully aware of all the forces at work in her/his head. Certain themes resonate with others not just because of their atributes, but because they are emanations of deeper, more pervasive ideas. In fact, they are projections of these uberthemes. The artist is haunted by the Uberthemes, and tries to express them. They come out as a combination of themes represented by a combination of icons in the work. The consumer sees the work, deconstructs it, and atimes glimpses the ubertheme, which then disguises itself as another of its projections.

Art is obviously a two-way process. The artist constructs and the consumer deconstructs. The artist makes art and the consumer finds art. I think the best artists are the best consumers. They are those able to find art anywhere. To deconstruct anything. I try to be that way. I overanalyse and overfeel everything (as this blogs ought to prove) because I so desperately want to overproduce. I have all these tools and I love to use them. I love to play with my world and see what I find.

Tensions and Conflicts

Themes. They say that all art is about themes. I agree. Art exists to convey themes. To spark thoughts in our heads. To communicate with us that we are not alone in thinking the way we do, or that there are other ways to think our thoughts.

Humans are (they say) thinking creatures. Our primary survival tool is our brain, not our stamina, strength or venom glands. We THINK our way out of problems. We are engineered to see choices in situations, weigh the outcomes, then act. I bet you the world looks more complicated to us than it does to a deer.

Choice thus dominates our worldview. We see it everywhere, from the mundane (cereal or toast) to the philosophical (good or evil, chance or purpose). And since the choices in our heads battle each other for supremacy, we (often subconsciously) see life, or even existence, as a battle between sets of opposing themes.

Atimes, these themes are in direct conflict (the forces of Order and Chaos MUST thwart each other as they assert themselves). At other times there is merely a tension between them.

Some of the best art I have experienced or created weaves itself around these tensions and conflicts.


In my entry about Power and Authority, I mentioned "projection". I'm sure there is a more common name for this technique, but I have not come across it in my shamefully poor scholarship.

Projection to me is carrying an idea and playing it out on a different scale (smaller or larger).

First, I have the idea/concept: "Police that abuse their authority" in the last entry's example.

Second, I unravel the definition (in the sense that I ask what it means to me). At that moment, based on the general theme of the album, the most relevant meaning for me was: "respected, powerful people using that power against others unfairly."

Third, I expand/contract the stage on which the idea was presented. Instead of the interactions of people on the street, the stage becomes the interactions of nations on Earth.

I use this technique a lot in my writing. It helps me uncover ideas which could pass for fundamental truths. It helps me see the basic nature of life's drama as it repeats itself over and again with different actors, scopes and results.

until Power becomes Authority

I was listening to Damian Marley’s “Road to Zion”, which deals with the ills in society. It’s on his “Jamrock” album (which btw I think is marvelous).

There’s this line in the chorus: “and police wey abuse dem authority”. Since the album (like most of his work) is rich with political, religious and social commentary, I decided to project the concept beyond the neighbourhood cop and the harassed citizenry, and onto the world stage.

Immediately, the facile example of America using its military might in Iraq without “due process” came to mind. I started to dismiss this “example”, saying to myself “The US didn’t ‘abuse authority’. Nobody gave them authority. They abused power.”

Then the obvious inference returned to my head that “that’s the danger: when people have the power to act without sanction.”

Power allows one to act by virtue of one’s innate ability. Authority allows one to act by virtue of permission from a supervisor, to whom one is supposed to be accountable.

For the Supervisor to be able to perform its role, it must have Power over the Authorised. Authority must be backed, defended and curtailed by Power.

When the over-ruling Power authorizes all acts and Authorities, it has achieved Order. Order is the replacement of all Power (except the supreme Power) by Authority.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Who Rules the Island?

Geek Island is a brilliant idea. Its implementation will pose some challenges, however. For one thing, everybody knows there are a LOT more male geeks than female geeks (this “everybody knows” notion is something we will probably discuss eventually). That kind of ratio (Lot: Very few) makes for an unstable society. That’s because, when men have to compete for a resource, things get hairy. Calm down Phantom (or any other feminist reading this). I don’t think women are a resource. Just their birth canals. Besides, anytime demand outshoots supply, we have a resource on our hands (or in our geek womenfolk’s abdomens).

Well, something else comes with scarcity: power. The women of Geek Island (do y’all mind if I just call it GI?) will have a lot of pull. All you comp sci majors know how that works. Remember all those groups of unkempt guys in college fawning over some average-looking Linux chick who managed to wear a skirt once in a while? That’s GI. The boys will trip all over themselves doing whatever the girls ask them (or even just wistfully talk about maybe wanting). The bolder boys, anyway. Most of the geeks would be too uncomfortable anywhere near the geekettes, and would content themselves with worship from afar (or from behind a computer, with the lights low and the door bolted). The women would have to initiate most contact, and even then it would be awkward unless they have a lot of geekery in common. Geeks can only really talk about that part of geekery they belong to, be it stamps or the different species in “Star Wars.” They are socially inept (and downright scared) among those who do not grasp the intricacies of whatever they themselves hold dear. They will, therefore, align themselves into tribes, revolving around their passions. The wars will be fought along tribal-lines. Attempts to impress the little geeklings yet to choose an affiliation will escalate into shouting matches (“Star Wars Sucks! Star Trek is SCIENTIFIC!”), then to web forum invasions, and maybe even violence (at the very least, action figures will be mutilated). The gun geeks will probably win all altercations.

Who will head these tribes? The women, of course. The power imbalance will be compounded by another fact: everybody knows male supergeeks are passive, uncontrolling types. They would probably not mind ceding the running of Geek Island to their slightly less withdrawn women. And the geekiest geeks, that is, the most obsessed, will also be influential. The rest of the tribe will look up to them, especially since they are the ones who settle all the most heated disputes, and/or have created the most impressive collections/handiwork. Paradoxically, the least geeky will also wield power. This is because they will be the ones most able to pay attention to the inter and intra-group politics. So, unlike in the real world, where B-average students rule, average is ruled by extremes in geekworld (Although that last group of rulers are probably B and A- students, while the average geek would probably get a C- from Springfield Community College, so I guess some things don’t change).

Geek Island

There’s this concept I came up with to solve most of the world’s problems: Geek Island. You take a large island, say Australia. You nuke it real good, to get rid of the current inhabitants. Maybe you don’t have to nuke it. Maybe you send a few thousand ships with “Free Beer” painted on the side. However, I believe nukes are a nice way to get things rolling (break a few eggs and all that).

Next, you gather all the world’s geeks. I don’t mean the programmers, and physicists and so forth. I mean the REAL geeks. Those lovable, dysfunctional guys. You know the type, knows every motorbike (bigup JayZ) ever manufactured, or can draw up a complete family tree of everyone in the Lord of The Rings, or even schematics of the Starship Enterprise.

How do you get them onto the island? Sure, don’t think for yourself! Expect the genius to spell it all out! Well, CONVENTIONS. No geek can resist em. Just have the mother of all conventions in Australia.

OK, now they are all together… leave them. Let them breed (My next entry is about the difficulties in getting geeks to reproduce, and the sociological consequences of the acute female geek shortage). Voila. We have a population of geeks ready to solve the world’s problems in absurd ways. Trust me. I’ll give an example:

We’ve been ravaged by hurricanes and tropical storms of late. Lots of hypotheses abound as to what is causing this recent windiness. Here’s mine. You know how chaos theorists (who are they?) claim a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane across the globe? Well it seems obvious that there are many a hyperactive butterfly about. Who better to neutralize them than a tribe of butterfly collectors… from Geek Island? We could send a few planes over, pick up the collectors, and send em to China and the like. With nets. Lotsa nets. And those butterfly-pinny-things. Once they’re done, we’d just tell them there was another convention in Australia. None of them will be able to resist reuniting to show off their finds. Voila. No more hurricanes.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

This time, it's personal

Kinda. This is still not going to be like most blogs (I hope). The whole point is to put my ideas for art in print, experiment, juggle, and give you something worthwhile to read in the process. I hope I succeed, otherwise, I'll be deleting this mission statement.

The Po

A brilliant, very talented artist came up with the po, and introduced me to it herself.

A po basically a very short poem (2-4 lines, 5 under duress) which expresses one idea (or interlocking ideas) as concisely and poetically as possible. Here's one I wrote about insensitive, taking friends:

you share your pain
'cause I'm the other
you hurt me
'cause you can't feel mine

That's the po. Sometimes when I want to write about something(s), I write many unrelated pos about it(them), which I later massage together into a new, long poem.

Thanks N.

What points to me?

My name points to me. It helps you pick me out of a crowd. What's my name? Why, cablehead, of course! What's my real name? Does it matter? I actually thought you'd be happier with this one. At least I picked it, so it probably reflects how I perceive myself in some way.

Okay, so why "cablehead"? Some college friends call me "Cable", because I don't sleep (On 24/7, like TV). Well, I like that name.

So how did we get from "Cable" to "cablehead"? Well, this blog is all about getting stuff out of my brain before it implodes in a supernova of unintelligible outbursts. Add that to the "cable" thing, and I got this mental image of my brain: Thousands of thoughts blaring constantly, and my consciousness desperately trying to catch them all. Like a channel surfer convinced there is always something better on. MY HEAD IS LIKE CABLE TV!

And there we have it.