display | more...
The following is meandering and inconclusive at best. You probably want to skip it.

Some thoughts about the Language of Thought. People tend to give precedence to language as a precursor to thought. The idea taken out to its logical conclusion is absurd, and yet the question is always whether we can think without a lingual (I emphaize the latin etymology here) representation, or discuss how to disprove that thought functions solely based on the culture and language that you grew up and learned in.

What about questions regarding the various nature of thought? We have to be empirical about such a topic, and deemphasize individuals based solely on their cultural backgrounds. What we are discussing here is the commonality of the nature of human thought. Even as I write this explanation (and it is this need for explanation that creates the need for words as a language system, but more on that later) I know what I wish to say, but I have to pause and let my mind translate my thoughts into words.

⟨devilsadvocate⟩
Often I find that I will come up with a word for a feeling and I am not sure that I even know the definition of that word, or have ever used it before, but 95% of the time it is the perfect word to use. Are even my subconscious thoughts regulated by my own lingual system? Is the brain a clean slate before it is programmed with a language?
⟨/devilsadvocate⟩

The human mind is a vast landscape of intellectual thought decorated with potent emotions in a storm of varying perceptions. It's a wonder that any patterns recognition occurs. But then, that's what we were built for: pattern recognition.

And here it is, the seat of consciousness. And it is a she. "She knows that she will. And dreams, though she seldom dreams, or seldom recalls them, that she is alone in the back of a black cab, in London, the transience of late summer leaves accentuating the age of the city, the depth of its history, the simple stubborn vastness of it."

That, my friends, is William Gibson, and the book is Pattern Recognition. The main character is the consciousness of a society gone overblown with commercialism, namely our own. She gazes out over society, or maybe as society, "to curl fetal there, and briefly marvel, as a final wave over her, at the perfect and now perfectly revealed extent of her present loneliness."


As I was saying before, it is the need for explanation that causes me to push these words across the screen. I am in no way trying to belittle the importance of language to human evolution and our mindspace. Language has the advantage here of giving me a much needed structured system to build my mindscape upon. It focuses me in a way that is impossible to do with just plain musing. What I don't want to do is state that language is the only such system that humans have, or will, ever have. We are creatures in a universe where evolution, that is, change, is the only constant. We are bound to evolve towards using a language system that has no basis in uttered phonetics or intricate scribble. The advantage of such an evolution is not simply that it will provide a better structured system to focus our thoughts even more, but that it will strip away the layers of symbolism that language has to convery in order to be useful as a medium of communication between very different human beings.

It used to be that Apple Talk networks would crash incessantly just because a user would hold on to their mouse button too long while clicking on a menu. The computer could not perform two operation at once, that is, walk and chew gum, and so could not communicate with the network while their user sent multiple mouse-click commands to the CPU at once.* The evolution for a computer language that allows computers to talk to each other (not a programming language where a human talks to a computer) would be TCP/IP, which provided for packet loss, identity of single machines in vast networks, while also rendering a single computer unnecessary or unable to cause the network at large harm. In short, it was a magnificent step forward in the advancement of the noosphere.

We humans have yet to discover our equivalent this awesome medium. We are still fumbling around with a single-button mouse using MSPaint to create a picture for another individual. At the same time, you can make some pretty cool stuff with a modern graphics program. What can I say, I'm on the fence for a lot of abstract arguments.



*I did not pull this out of my ass, but borrowed it from Neal Stephenson's essay, In the Beginning was the Command Line.

(This all happened last Friday, but I've just got around to writing it up.)

I'd been dropped off at home by a friend, having decided to bunk off work early. The streets were pretty much deserted and it was about half past three in the afternoon. Who would have guessed what dastardly deeds would be being committed at such an innocuous hour of the day?

I had to go to the local Post Office to pick up some books that had been left there, so I got changed and headed out.

Only a few metres away from the front door of my flat is a T-junction, and I noticed a guy, sat on a mountain bike, giving me the oddest look. Being the antisocial guy I am, I gave him a return stare, and since I had to go down the road he was on, happilly crossed over towards him. As I got closer, I noticed that he had a friend that was half hanging out of a car door, and that there was an unused bike next to them both. It seemed a bit strange, and I walked between the two, thinking nothing more of it - still being given a bewildered, intense look from the guy on the mountain bike. It was only when I'd passed these two that I realised what was going on - they were nicking the car stereo, and were going to escape on their bikes - surely a work of evil genius in their tiny minds. I continued walking until the curve of the street obscured me from view, and waited for them to leave. When they'd made their getaway, presumably to get over to their dealer's house, I walked back - sure enough, there were wires hanging out from the car's disembowelled dashboard.

So I telephoned the police ASAP, and they eventually turned up in about twenty minutes’ time - and I found myself describing the guy I'd seen, as far as I remembered him. I'd not committed his face to memory, since I hadn't realised he was a thief until it was too late. But I did walk within a yard or two of him. That's pretty close.

The next day, I had to go to the police station. I was now the Star Witness. And the only witness, obviously. The police had a database which we used to go through a series of photos of previously arrested guys, to see if I recognised the scoundrel. I didn't, but it was certainly interesting - I've never seen so many scallies and chavs in all my life. It was all wispy moustaches and tracksuits. But no stereo thief.

So it seems the guys got away with it - the description I gave wasn't really recognised by the PC's I talked to, and I doubt they have left fingerprints. But there may be a happy ending to this, since they're clearly dumb enough to steal in broad daylight on a fairly busy street, and be a bit too unconcerned about people (like myself) seeing them. I don't know what good it was to have someone act as a lookout, if all they did is just look at me funnily as I watched them get up to their tricks. So I doubt they'll last too long on the streets.

It did have a side effect of me wanting to go a little Travis Bickle, though. There's too much broken glass on the streets here, and maybe it's time for a real rain to come...

Okay, maybe I won't go vigilante. But I can dream. I’m still quite amazed and disgusted at the sheer audacity and antisocial actions people can do with scant regard for others. Bastards.

Before we get to Anna's latest offering, I have a few words to say.

A while back I wrote a daylog expressing my concerns about a recent bout of serial downvoting that the wee one was experiencing. Recent events, combined with the many messages I received have caused me to re-consider that decision. I have since deleted the daylog in question. People that are much wiser than I'll ever be offered advice and consolation along the way. One user who shall remain nameless probably put it best when they told me something along the lines of "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

Maybe I'm too much of an optimist but I still believe the forces of good will always prevail in the end. Maybe I just needed some reminding.

Thanks for hearing me out and without further adieu.

Hi everybody! I hope you're doing good. I wrote this the other day when we in the hospital waiting to see my dad. He's doing better but I'm still nervous about him. It's called "Poison" and I hope you like it.

Poison

First, the taste so bitter
It starts inside her mouth
She asked for something sweet
But they don't know what it's all about

She can feel it going down her
The twisting and the turning
She knows there is no antidote
It's something that she's learning

She's regretful for her foolishness
Of which she had just done
It's burning strong and powerful
It's almost like the sun

Her body starts to weaken
And everythings a blur
The people don't know and the people don't care
Of that she is quite sure

As the time went gently by
She went and researched that thing
The only word she learned was death
And in her ear it rings

She gives in to her misery
She gradually starts to die
But before the process was complete
She asked herself "But why?"

Why should this have to be?
Why can't I just live?
The one thing that I want the most
Is just for people to give

She wanted people to share
She wanted there to be world peace
She wanted there to be no hunger
There should be that at least!

She pondered on that thought
She feels her soul is draining
She knew that it was time to go
She felt her heart beat fading

She sat there in her bed
And gradually and painlessly she died
The one last thing that crossed her mind
"This is why the people cried."

People rarely share
There is yet to be world peace
Everywhere there's hunger
And there shouldn't be at least

Bye! /me says Standard disclaimers apply

So there I was, looking for a CD to pop in, looking for something different. That I don't listen to quite enough... there's elastica sitting by the large SpongeBob tin, formerly holding that lovely stale-upon-opening prepackaged popcorn, which had only been eaten a little from, whilst watching Spun with my then-girlfriend, and then sat for a month....it was thrown out in order to use the tin for spare change to later cash in at Commerce, as the little bin I was using (had itself formerly held zip disks) was getting too full and coinage was falling off every time my pockets were emptied into it...

But I digress. (Acknowledgement to be granted to the first noder who tells me, over /msg, if it was Catcher in the Rye, or A Separate Peace which had the bit about having a teacher who had the students yell "Digression!" at each other during an oral presentation) And I digress again. E2 is conducive to digressing somehow, the way I am forever opening hardlinks in new windows for reading in a few minutes when I'm done with the one I was reading.

RIGHT! Anyway I looked around some more....picked up Swordfishtrombones for a minute, even opened the case upon my return to sitting in front of the computer, but when I pushed the button and the mug holder opened, I realized Disco Volante was sitting in it still, from days ago when I listened to it then....not always being bothered with the computer or playing music on it....

It was overwhelming, the desire to listen to this! So Tom was back in his jewel case and the mug holder was banished back to the inside of the machine, to hold the spinning Disco Volante....skip track one, always! But it was MANDATORY to listen to it cause it was just too synchronous! I mean, I was just talking via instant message to this friend of mine how I thought the weirdness in my ear I'd been feeling (which turned out to be an ear infection made worse by the common cold, which led me yesterday to spend two hours or so of what could have been napping time clicking about, reading about amoxicillin first, cross-referencing, reading discussions about why antibiotics are not necessarily good to prescribe all the time, and why you should always finish a course of antibiotics, MRSA....e. coli, yogurt, and eventually about the life cycle of the parasite responsible for malaria....) was brought on by listening to Mr. Bungle's first, self-titled album over headphones at a louder volume than i realized I had it on to...yes, the album I've been intending to write a proper review of on here and haven't gotten to....well, I need to do a good one of California too....and on top of that, I had just been browsing e2 minutes ago, and that's where I had written the review of that very album that everyone seemed to enjoy (no, seriously, I was thinking about this. I really am listening to it now. You can't make this shit up, people, this is not intentional tooting of one's own horn here), so like, I just HAVE to listen to it, like, now!

And it is still excellent. Of course I'm on a big Mike Patton kick, I haven't been bothered to change the CD in my car in a while, so I've been listening to Angel Dust for the past three days. Love it. Sometimes it's good to listen to the same album for three days. I remember this episode of listening to Bricks Are Heavy, over and over again, at the computer....on cassette. On a player with no auto-reverse. Yes, at the computer, every 22 minutes or so, I was getting up, turning around, walking two long steps, crouching down, popping the tape out, and flipping it over. Not a literal THREE DAYS, but whatever obscene amounts of time I was sitting at the computer during those three days. Vastly more time than I spend in my car in these past three days....but there have been some shitty road conditions on drives to and from work! And that ride to bring leftover guacamole to aforementioned ex-girlfriend, who probably got sick by hanging out with me too often lately, bringing me soup and whatnot, so I felt bad she hadn't eaten for the day yet and felt like crap...the (only 10-15 minutes each way) ride there and sitting around eating and watching the tube kinda cut into my sleep for the night, but it's okay. I've been to the day job, and although I'm probably going to go grocery shopping instead of nap, I'm in a good place. The day job is done, only the night job awaits, really....I have almost six hours yet! I can nap later.

And I really want to take a stab at homemade sopa de tortilla. It's a personal favorite at the Mexican restaurant in the next town over. And I want to try making my damn own. Yeeeeeah. The recipe here suggests boneless chicken breast, but I think I'll be using one of those rotisserie chickens they cook and sell at grocery stores, often still nice and warm....probably eat some of it while I'm pulling off pieces of chicken to put in the soup.

But I'd been wanting to go grocery shopping anyway. Mainly, oddly enough (or not?) for hummous, fruit juice, and yogurt. But I mean, grocery shopping alone or just with a bunch of your friends, not for actual things to cook for dinner for the next few days and general household needs, but for snacks or barbeque supplies (the food and paper plates and such anyway, in Jersey you can't buy beer at a supermarket), or ingredients to try that recipe you found on the internet....this is such a different experience than in childhood, where your parents dragged you to Shop-Rite once a week and used the word "no" a lot....yes, you can most definitely have "that" now, "that" being whatever random thing you pick up and want, and have money for....there is no wandering around on the floor picking things up and waving them at the parental units anymore with a questioning look on your face, there is only the limits of your wallet, or if need be, the little pieces of plastic within....

It's like the difference in the portion of a vacation or any other long journey that you spend in a car. As a child or even teenager, it's one thing, which may involve scrapping with your younger brothers and getting yelled at, or it may suck less because it involves headphones, a book or a Game Boy....but either way, it's another activity likely to involve the old parental veto, "NO, we are not getting Burger King, NO, you can't have a quarter, just do your business and get back in the car" or "No, we are not stopping at (random tourist attraction/store/whatever)"...but when you start going away with your friends for the weekend or even taking a good few hours' ride by yourself, that is totally different...Yes. You can stop wherever the fuck you want. And it is glorious.

So yes. Maybe I'll go grocery shopping....

My last experience with the flu was bad, ok? It was really bad. I had it all...night sweats, fever, chills. My back hurt so bad I couldn't lay down. My legs hurt so bad I couldn't stand. I spit up ugly green things and drank down the foulest conconctions known. I woke up in my own rancid sweat needing to change the sheets but not being able to because I couldn't walk ten feet without falling down. It was the worst.

But it was not without its humorous moments (see Adventures with a High Fever).

This time there are no humurous moments. Anyone looking for one of those should probably go elsewhere. This time I had the shit seriously scared out of me.

I dragged my flu-ridden ass down to the local urgent care place because I'd had enough. I'd had a high fever for three straight days with no sign of letting up and now I was coughing up stuff that was bad. I waited around in the lobby for an hour and a half before getting called in (this was expected and I'd been prepared for it). I read an entire article in Sports Illustrated on Kid Delicious and how he went from being a 300 lb. pool hustler to a 300 lb. professional pool player, twice.

In the room, I got my temperature taken, looked at funny, got my blood pressure taken and looked at funny again. It's apparently some sort of law that the vital-signs people mustn't tell you your vitals, but they must look at you as though you're knocking on death's door.
Someone else came in thirty minutes later to ask me what my issue was. I informed her that I thought I had the flu and that I thought I might have bronchitis as well. She came back ten minutes later with a flu test thing. I was instructed to roam around in my nose with it for awhile then give it back.
Thirty minutes later, the actual doctor came in and gave me another flu test thing. I told her I'd already gone prospecting once. She looked at me quizzically, then said, "Well, that's just queer, isn't it? Can you just do it again?"
Sure, I said...no problem. Back she was in record time looking concerned. "Well, I think we figured out why you're not feeling well! You have the flu." I nodded. She nodded back appreciatively.

Up on the long metal couch thing now, stethoscope cold on my back, breathing hard and damn near passing out as a result. She says, "I don't like the way that sounds. Let's get a chest x-ray to see what we're looking at. I think it may be pneumonia."
I winced at this...one of my worst fears. The x-ray process went uneventfully and I was instructed back to "my" room, where I waited another twenty minutes.

The doctor comes back in with a prescription pad and that concerned look. "No pneumonia." She says, "It looks like bronchitis. Let's get you a scrip for that." She starts to write. "There is one other thing. It's probably nothing, but I noticed a little spot on your x-ray that looks, well...like a nodule of some kind."

A nodule.

of some kind.

"Ok." I say, "What's that mean?"
"Well, it could be a blood vessel in cross-section or something. And you're so young. But you *do* smoke and just to be sure, I'd like to send this off to a radiologist to see if there's any follow-up necessary."

I am now in a state of near-panic....my absolute *worst fear* has just been discussed.

"We'll know something by Friday for certain."
"Friday? That's four days from now. Can't it go any faster than that?"
"I'm afraid not. You can call earlier just in case, though. Here's your prescription and either way...stop smoking!"

either way...stop smoking

The next three days...flu...hell...bronchitis...hell...internet learning (never a good idea when ill)...hell...solitary pulmonary nodule calculator hell...lung cancer statistics hell...

Thursday: can no longer take it. I called the urgent care place and demanded that my results be found and read aloud over the phone. The response had the same effect on me as opening my corotid and releasing all my blood would have done.

We have no record of your x-rays.

I coerced the name of the radiologist from them and called the man himself. He did not want to be hearing from me, a patient, and made this very clear. I insisted politely that he listen to my tale. He was shocked at the way such a thing would be handled, told me he was driving into his office that minute to find the x-rays. He would call the urgent care place and have them call me within the hour.

Thirty minutes later I did indeed hear from them. The x-rays were completely negative. No "nodules".

The joy of hearing this canceled everything else out. It seems now I can go back to my flu and bronchitis in peace. I'm a fifteen-year smoker. I haven't had a cigarette in five days. "Never" is a very strong word, but I'm feeling very strong right now.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.