Aphorisms After a Suggestion by Plato

CF's Composition Desk
Unusual Aerial Phenomenon Over San Francisco Bay
Photograph by Christopher Fulkerson
Copyright 1999 by Christopher Fulkerson
All Rights Reserved

by Christopher Fulkerson

"Nor indeed did Mene's son Musaeus, guardian of the Graces, deprive Antiope of her fair share of honor, she who upon Eleusis' plain expounded to initiates the long Bacchic cry of secret oracles, duly escorting the Rarian priest for Demeter." Athenaeus, quoting Hermesianax of Colophon in Book 13 of the Learned Banqueters, 597d.

The physical significance of matter varies according to the significance we impute to it. This is the basis of artificial gravity. Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010.

The well-known aeronautical incidents known as "9/11" are but a footnote in a proper study of the musical science of counterpoint. On that day, America, and probably the whole world, was forcibly enrolled in counterpoint class. Though it was served a notice of academic delinquency, it has failed to show up for the first day of class.

A society is supposed to learn from its prosecutions. MORE

The great problem with anti-intellectuals is that they are usually not very smart.

Samadhi is brought about by the practitioner's yoga with the "suchness" of an object.   Enlightenment occurs when the practitioner's livingness (my term) joins with the "suchness" (Buddhist technical term) of the object.   The Enlightenment and realizations will have the character of the object according to the mind of the practitioner. MORE

The problem with the claim that Democracy has a moral basis is that, given their wide freedoms, the majority of people in democracies opt out of involvement in it and choose only to enjoy its benefits and to be unconcerned about morals. Therefore, a moral basis is little more than merely a claim that initiates freedoms, and one that is used only to justify a system that acts to defeat morality. There is even an apparent belief that morality consist of always allowing more freedoms. Both the left and the right are guilty of this, each in its own way.

Photographs of atomic particles are yet another type of atomic particle. More about this is being prepared for my essay "Existence Within Cascading Interactivity."

My observation will of course be denied by such persons as coin and use the terms, but I point out that it is gratuitous to use the term "transphobic" (or similar locutions such as "homophobic") since someone who thinks such persons are mentally ill is neither exhibiting "hatred," nor the literally accurate "fear," of them. MORE

Before discussing the possibility of human omniscience, it is necessary to realize that ordinary consciousness is already infinite, though bounded. Omniscience must therefore come through internal process, through realization.

Americans imagine their country to be "the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave," but they are not brave enough to live without a freedom so crude it is in fact a version of chaos. Self-restraint seems impossible for the Americans; only the teeming masses of competition act to mitigate the exaltation of selfishness. The American "free market system," which the more astute economists have observed has never actually been practiced in this country, is of course no system at all - it is little better than a fraternity food fight.

Professionalism and credibility are not achieved through popularity.

The individual is not a unit of government. The smallest unit of government is the family. Most American families are quite zealous about indoctrinating their members into views compatible with the prevailing culture as defined by government and as they are able to conceive it. If you have a problem with your family, you probably have a problem with some political developments that have affected your family in one way or another. In America, few families are as liberal as their members may be. So at the smallest unit of everyday government, there is evidence that the Right is far more powerful than the liberal element. Religion preys upon this tendency. This is one reason so many liberals have to first wrest their individuality from their families. The Buddhists have an expression for this; they say "the most difficult part of the Dharma is: to leave home."

The adolescent era of the American process of self-definition maps to the America's Revolutionary Era, and the life of the individual maps to the life of the country. (This is possibly the case with all people in their respective countries.) The tragic aspect of this ever-repeating phenomenon is that only at the beginning, in the original, actual Revolution, was there reliable political and philosophical leadership. As Americans repeat the history of the country in their own life histories, they have only popular culture and its dubious icons to use where the first Americans had political and philosophical leaders. Until Americans learn that popular culture is inadequate to act as leadership for their young, American culture will continue to degenerate. American parents have the paradox of being raised in a country that rebelled against its authorities, and then themselves becoming those authorities and being rebelled against. At some point, we have to get off the merry-go-round of popular culture, or we will be surpassed by a more robust and obedient, and therefore probably cruder, society, that does not have as effective a rebellious streak in its, or its people's, psychological profile.

Albert Einstein is credited with having said "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." To this I add that it is important to notice that the creator of Relativity does draws distinctions, and very well, but does not relativise human affairs. The involvement of the observer certainly does not mean the erosion of all values.

The British theoretical computer scientist David Deutsch believes that quantum computing will reveal alternate universes. The nature of such discovery actually redacts on the science itself in an interesting way. If quantum computing can ever reveal alternate universes, then there are alternate universes where this has already happened, and some events in this universe are compatible, even perhaps the result of, such computing. That is to say, if quantum computing can ever exist, it already exists somewhere, where it solving the problems as to how to reach this universe; it can already reveal alternate universes; it has already revealed them. This might be why Mr. Deutsch seems unconcerned about practical applications of his ideas: perhaps he knows they are already being applied. I think it is no great leap to say that time travel would be figured out too. Or perhaps I may now say, time travel has been figured out. More: Quantum computing will result - or has already resulted - in questions being answered before they are posed, and it will lead - has probably already led - to the reshaping of matter. One interesting question about quantum computing is that, until QC is fully operational, it could become difficult to tell whether a change was effected through time travel, or the Quantum Computing Effect, of solutions being found before they are sought.

Fulkerson's First Law of Politics: Real political change does not begin until your spam killer thinks you are up to date. Until then, the spammers think "A week is a long time in politics."

I propose an Opportunity Adjustment Tax as a solution to the problem of public assistance to the poor. After taxes have been computed an additional tax surcharge would be added on according to the wealth of the taxpayer, based on a changing Index to be determined by the voting public. This Opportunity Adjustment Index would require all voters to agree, insofar as elections constitute agreement, on two threshholds: upon a Lowest Opportunity Threshhold, this being what living conditions below which no American should live, and upon a Highest Opportunity Threshhold, this being what the level of income constitutes the highest level of wealth in the land. The very wealthiest, who surpass the HOT, would pay for the discrepancy between the actual living conditions of the very poorest, who are beneath the LOT. This plan would not work if there was too much erosion of what it is that determines citizenship. All of these quantities and indecies would vary, by vote, according to economic changes. Through accountability, socially concerned persons would have a quantifiable knowledge of what the wealthiest were actually willing to allow the poor to endure, and through their vote, the wealthy would have a say in what was within the limits of acceptability for the poor. The chief problem in the plan is of course to get the poor to stop voting against their own interests out of misguided belief in an ethics that only serves the interest of the wealthy, and the ethics of no one.

The act of recognition has eventually proved even more significant to me than I thought it was when I chose it as the "topic" of my orchestral work THE RECOGNITIONS. I have had rock stars and television celebrities in my cab who hinted - and in more than one case, whose companions made sure to also point out their supposed status and how strange it seemed that I didn't recognize them. But I hope it is not too banal of me to observe that recognition of the supposedly familiar is not evidence of any particular capacity. It may prove no more than that one is a victim of propaganda. A more important skill is to recognize someone you have little or no reason to recognize. I recognized the Librarian Emeritus of the State of California and used his full name in reference to him without ever having seen his picture, heard his voice, or read any of his books. I stated directly that he reminded me of Kevin Starr, and he said "That's me." I recognized him by his passion and knowledge for the history of California, and through no other means. I once had a punk in my cab who threatened violence to me, whose friends had to restrain him from hitting me merely because I spoke unfavorably about life as a cab driver, and though I had said nothing about my involvement in music, his parting "insult" was to shout "You fuckin' Mozart!" at me. (Let it not be thought that I think myself Mozart. But the fact the quite illiterate punk thought of that for no music-related reason may have some significance, though at the moment I don't care to puzzle through exactly what that significance might be.)

Regardless of their level of income or influence, everybody in America is addicted to various types of music and consumerism, but are forced by circumstances and politics to do various types of theater and law, when what they really should do is get more exercise and have more sex.

All insurance businesses are of organized crime.

Americans imagine their country to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave," but they haven't the courage to live without a "freedom" so crude it is in fact chaos. (Just because greater chaos may exist elsewhere does not excuse our own - the argument for America that compares our country to others does not redeem us. You cannot relativize your way to redemption - that is certainly one thing relativization cannot do for you. "Think of how awful things are in Haiti" does not excuse perpetual reliance on the "right" to politically fight absolutely everything one does not like. The habit extends so universally that it is a wonder things get done.) Self-restraint seems impossible for Americans as a nation. The American "free market 'system'" is of course no system - it is little more than a fraternity food fight. Future international conflicts are going to be won either by those with the most robust slave system, and that would certainly not be America (and there is a great danger things will be a simple as that), or by the country that can suffer setbacks while fighting on the "moral edge." Setbacks are not something Americans are good with - as we try to correct the setbacks the Republicans dealt us all, the Republicans further fight the resolutions (although their Midnight Hour tax resolution on January 1st 2013 serves to their credibility). As democracy advances, the demonstrable corruption in the adversary is the best way to insure the co-operation of a populace that wants to refuse to understand conflict, and will resist any sanction of war. And you cannot make others wrong if you yourself are wrong.

There can be no great samadhi without a major factual basis in reality. Give me a full palette every time, and I will decide what stays and what goes. That is the true way of the composer. If I am skillful, my decisions will probably be economical, but enforcing this same is inhuman, and it will never do to repeal my stimuli and expect me to create interesting work that both lives in, and inspires, people living in the world. If you confuse emptiness with mindlessness, then emptiness is just another mindless slogan, not a mindful philosophy. If your emptiness leaves you with few choices of action, you are no spiritual warrior, you are a physical slave, and you'd better do the cleanup that evidently needs to follow from your "emptiness." Wielding the Sword of Wisdom implies there is something to cut. If your portion is inadequate to your tasks, it is you yourself who have been cut. If you volunteered for this condition, you are the victim of wise-sounding philosophical adversaries whose teachings are against your interest.

True lucid dreaming occurs during wakefulness. A meaningful dream yoga practice begins with the realization made during dreaming that what you are experiencing is not a dream, that is to say, you are really getting somewhere in your dream yoga practice when, within the dream, you realize you are awake. (When this happens, you have probably achieved the transfer of consciousness to another body, but not always, since sometimes your actions do not require a body, only, perhaps, and for example, the sense of sight.) The way to achieve this is simple: from time to time while you are awake, think about the fact, realize, that your lucid dreaming would be just like this wakefulness you are now experiencing.

One very simple dream-yoga practice is to take some simple action you remember from a dream, and find excuses to perform that simple action, ritually if need be, while thinking of the dream you had. Don't bother about the nightmare when the water heater leaked in your dream; think of that dream in which you were, say, dusting your household items. Your dreams will come to you if you value them, and your ability to control your dreams will grow as this valuation of your dreams works together with your dreaming. That was approximately the method of the most successful dream-yoga practitioner in all of Western history - Imanuel Swedenborg. After writing dozens of scientific treatises, he began keeping a dream journal, and this resulted in the extraordinary exeriences he later wrote about. You don't have to have the ambition to emulate Swedenborg, but the example of the dream journal does work. The Tibetans advise practitioners to remind themselves, in waking life, of how similar these waking experiences are to experiences in the dream-state. If you find excuses to do the things you may remember from your dreams, you can reinforce the similarity between dream and waking reality.

Industry increasingly dodges responsibility by hiring according to the "independent contractor" employment model. Independent contractor status is a murky business because the wealthy use their lawyers to keep down the poor. The situation is pretty clear for those living under it. There is no real "independent contractor" status. If someone can fire you, that person is your boss. There are only people who have been dispossessed of even the status of being protected slaves. An "independent contractor" is an "unprotected slave." The wealthy have reduced the poor to a situation in which, desperate, they have to accept the "take it or leave it" scenario. But it is counterproductive to employ someone and not take care of them, since, by not taking care of them, they get poorer quality work, and they create a volatile social and political situation. So it is really not very smart for the wealthy to keep others so bleakly under their thumb. It is counterproductive to be greedy. Another way to say this is, it is not cost effective to create a situation that leads to revolution. Greed has what could be called a "reverse payback" law. The greater the greed, the greater the likelihood of extreme negative responses when the greed is discovered. So, even for greedy people, it is not prudent to practice more than a certain greediness. When the wealthy practice too much greed, they are like parasites, killing their hosts. So, when poor people complain that the wealthy are parasites, if it is true that those wealthy are not husbanding their resources, the poor may indeed have a basis for their claim. At present, the greediest people among "legal" businessmen are those in the pharmaceutical industry.

Democracies are not made from populations all of whom believe in democracy. Democracy is therefore not as popular as its advocates would have you believe. Democracy is in fact Bolshevist - right down to the meanings of the root words: demos = people; bolshoi = people. The commonly held idea that there is unanimity in democracy is an orthodoxy like any other orthodoxy, and is used as a means of resisting undesirable opinions, certainly including those of one's own countrymen. In other words, democracy uses the idea of the rule of the people as a means of resisting the rule of the people.

I believe that gravity and light are the same thing, that one does not appear without the other. It seems most probably to me that in the remarkable trompe l'oeil found in THIS DOCUMENTARY, the green girl is Wille and the light is Vorstellung. In any case, I think that the best way to understand Schopenhauer is to translate the two main words involved in his philosophy to reveal the title of his masterpiece as "The Universe as Gravity and Emanation." This will reveal his work as a huge "thought experiment" about the physics of gravity and light. The reason it so appealed to Wagner was that it sounded to him like the kind of creation and control of illusion that is involved in the theater. In both their cases they were at least one step shy of what they were describing; they both had the genius to begin to sense what was going on - that the world is fake, a staged simulation.

Because Nietzsche repudiated his German citizenship, the state-worshipper Hegel hit him over the head with Locke's "tabula rasa," resulting in his loss of mind.

Spectator sports are for people whose lives do not have genuine meaning.

Pierre Boulez has remarked that "Traditions are mannerisms which are transmitted by somebody." Without disagreeing with M. Boulez, I say that tradition is the history of error.

Since it is a fact that the world is not real, there is no philosophical dichotomy expressed as that between the supposedly competing philosophical views of Idealism and Materialism. Materialism has no basis for anyone who has witnessed the true situation. Materialism is no longer anything more that a form of scepticism.

Jesus Christ was, or acted the role of, a reincarnation of Julius Caesar's son Ptolemy XV Caesar. He was, or acted the roel of, an "action emanation" of Julius Caesar's career, that is, he effected in one person all the things Julius did, including those of his armies and collaborators. The miracles Jesus accomplished were due to the engineering and civil feats of Julius. The Medieval poet Dante Alighieri knew of this correspondence, and gives an incredibly broad clue, that is not even very esoteric, about it in his epic poem The Divine Comedy. MORE

Where the spirit of the law is ignored, there is no law at all, or worse: where the spirit of the law is ignored, even the literal meaning of the law can be circumvented.

Absolute popularity corrupts absolutely.

Morality is a form of intoxication. Intoxication is artificial morality.

Morality is not a code of conduct, it is a feeling, one of wholesomeness which, rightly or wrongly, an individual feels when he believes himself to be in full and proper conformity with his environment. One can mistakenly believe oneself in a right relationship with one's environment because one is simply mistaken, or because one is intoxicated, but either way, the feeling of moral rightness has nothing to do with reality. Again, morality is a feeling, not a code of any kind, and morality is completely artificial. Ethics is a code of conduct. It is however an error to believe there is any absolute ethics, and true right or wrong, any objective good or evil. There is no ethics independent of point of view. One's point of view determines one's code of conduct, and therefore one's actions. The idea that ethics and morals are linked is a maneuver of governing bodies, such as those of nations or religions, to make people conform to their demands in a form of artificial willingness.

I have deciphered enough of Immanuel Kant's philosophy to believe that he never gave up his early interest in "Zodiacal" influences, which various political and religious authorities discouraged, or prohibited, him from writing about, and I in fact believe that it is proabable that his famous Twelve Categories are in fact the signs of the Zodiac. Kant was not interested in "traditional" ideas about these. Several of the most important terms in his later mature philosophy are mistranslated to suggest that he was writing about "judgment." In fact the particular terms he chose for "judgement" can all be translated into English with words suggesting the human sense of sight. MORE.

Without wishing to discount Buckminster Fuller's proposal that the Earth is a spaceship, it seems even more plausible now to think of the Earth as a computer. And to the extent that we live with search engines and social networking programs, we are personally and physically part of computers.

Sports as an "achievement" are as useless as science done to find out what it is like to live in space. There is no need to find that out unless we are going into space, so we only go into space to find out what it is like to go into space. Much more science could be done at a fraction of the cost by robots. There is no need to compete in sports.

People think too little from both sides of the equation; they seem to think that only the one approach is necessary when understanding something. Who is the king, the person whom the people say is the king, or the person whose edicts are obeyed? What is the law, that which is called the law, or that which the people feel their "right" to obey? To judge from the behavior of most Americans, there is no such thing as intellectual authority except perhaps in medicine; there are no traffic lights; there are no limits to what pedestrians may do in the street; there are no lanes in the supermarket; there is no reason to curb your dog's barking; if it is in the dictionary it must be a word. If you were to deduce American society from its actual everyday behavior, we would seem a group of bratty children.

In a work of translation, to leave a name untranslated is an act of betrayal against the translation. Of all the components in a story, the one that best contributes to its self-referential self-re-creation are the names employed in it. James Joyce said he wanted it to be possible to recreate Dublin from his work. Every piece of literature has this capability to greater or lesser degrees, and the milestones in such a recreation include the names within it.

Adam Smith was wrong to think that the free market would improve men's morals. It only improved their acting skills, beginning with their ability to act politely, and eventually, as we have quite adequately seen, their ability to act deceptively. In the recent Real Estate meltdown, both the bankers and the buyers were being deceptive about what they could or should do. Since both sides were exhibiting greed, the only economic model that predicts that situation is Marxism, according to which such problems are to be expected in advanced industrial nations, as instances of "decadence." Marx's advice for the conquest of such nations was to let them go ahead and do what they like, until they collapse. So the proper Marxist tactic to bring down such a nation would be to ignore it, or engage it. China's economic loss in the meltdown could be thought of by them as a military expense toward the defeat of America.

You cannot have both an international free market, and nations with borders and conflicting economic systems. A truly free market erodes national boundaries; if you wish you country to keep its integrity, do not advocate a completely "free market." In a dispute, victory will belong to the nation with the most robust system of slavery (probably the largest number to work, and to be sacrificed in one kind of war or other). Any nation willing to use this expedient for victory will be less than likely to then adapt the free market system. So the unreserved endorsement of the free market system can only lead to its defeat, and probably that of your country.

No communication is devoid of an inferrential component.

Most people think that consciousness is something they have a quantifiable amount of, and that this seldom changes much; they believe consciousness to be an established thing. They have as much consciousness as they have, and that is that. But for a cab driver, consciousness has to be an alterable thing; if you are tired, or conditions demand it, you simply must exert greater awareness, the way a quarry worker must exert himself more to lift a heavier stone. The fact that danger is ever-imminent forces precience on a driver.

The Fifth Amendment is an occultation, in that it permits a refusal to complete the collection of information, thus keeping the state, and all its constituent parts, in darkness on whatever point is at issue. This is not a bad thing, but it is worth thinking about what it is that is used to maintain people's rights.

That government governs best which governs through cultural conditioning only. Such government requires no immediate law enforcement, since the populace has no desire to behave in a manner other than according to custom, and can deal with deviations itself. Many but not all religions are such governments.

The ease of unanimity in the behavior of a society always reflects the success of some government that no longer seems to prevail, having apparently disappeared; America is at present a perfect self-sustaining societal blend of German Nazism and Soviet Socialism. The very fact that you are reading this on an out-of-the-way website of a neglected intellectual is proof of this; in the Soviet Union, such publishing was called "Samizdat." There, it was punishable by incarceration; here, it is punishable by neglect, which is only a cheaper form of incarceration.

Usually the everyday success of a society is several centuries behind the projects of the legislators, even today: we have not yet reached Charlemagne's goals for public education. Psychologically, few people have reached even as far as approxiately the year 1850. I almost wrote 1860, but then I realized that Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde, which dates from 1859, is far beyond the understanding of almost every person you meet in everyday life, and no understanding of the modern world is possible without it. Other examples could be used. Most cultivated arts allowed to be presented recreate only the Eighteenth Century, and the popular arts usually recreate the tribal bwehavior of much earlier times and places.

At the level of brute action, no real human progress has been made from the days of heating the home by burning firewood, to the modern age, when we power our vehicles by burning gasoline. I recently saw a man smoking a techno-cigarette, which he wanted me to believe did not really burn; but it did, and he blew the fumes into my breathing space.

All government is eternal. It is best to keep it bounded as well.

The enforcement of law is only possible through some form of the breaking of law.

The confluence of the two previous facts causes problems in government, and leads to the necessity of tolerance. All government, from autocracy to democracy, has lapses at the moment of the changing of the guard, whatever that may be, and must accomodate various other kinds of change. This being so, the eternity of the present government comes into conflict with that of previous or succeeding governments - even governments that seem to their constituencies to be completely compatible. To try to describe the problem in human terms, a law that must be enforced in the future conflicts with a law that exists in the present. This can be percieved in the biographies of overlapping political leaders, in that they can be seen to disagree with one another, and that they represent different times - the old and the young, for example. But as the reader I hope realizes I mean more than just that. If a future leader is to have any chance of governing, he must be allowed to form his own thoughts about how to do it. And it's not sufficient that he only think; he has to learn to act. In taking action about how to govern in the future, his actions may be at variance with the presence. I mean this at the level of theory, but the wise will I hope understand. This in no way applies to the everyday lawbreaking of those unconcerned with such matters.

The lifetime of every person reproduces the history of his nation; sometimes this makes emphasis of a specific person, or even more than one person, in his nation. When people talk to you about their life story, they are talking about how their life reflects these things. The rebellious period most Caucasian American teenagers experience corresponds to the American Revolution. Through your actions, activities, and meditations, not least through reading books, you can change the emphasis of your life story and what it reflects, perhaps even bring out different personality strands from the stream of your life. Some teachings about this are within easy reach; the simplest of all of these is to read a biography. MORE

Capitalism is socialism without compassion. Democracy is socialism without historicism, but in practice, historicism is often applied, especially by religious millenarianists. Since there seem to be no democracies without religious factions, democracy probably doesn't exist in practice.

The differences that various governments and systems claim are illusory, and have more to do with convincing their publics of something than with any real issues. This is only a somewhat less than usually cynical formulation of an idea that is very commonly held today.

Nothing that lives is part of nature, for all life defies the law of entropy, by which all energy eventually dissipates. To stay alive is an act of defiance against the laws of physics. To the universe at large,all living things are criminals. If there is physical "law," then life is a crime, to be committed as flagrantly as perpetually as possible.

If, as is the case in the United States and no doubt elsewhere, corporations have the status of "personhood," then there are "persons" who are corporations who are voting and acting in favor of the interests of the corporations... in contradistinction to what humans understand as "persons." Let us keep in mind the Russell-Einstein Manifesto summarized by the words, "Remember your humanity, and forget the rest." Corporations may legally have the status of persons, but they remain non-human. When a corporation votes as a person, is it voting once, twice, or more than that? When a corporation as a person represents a point of view, surely it cannot be that of a person, but of the parties with an interest in the corporation. So when a corporation seems to speak for a person, it is speaking for a number of persons. This is a capacity beyond the range of a "person." Corporations cannot be persons; defining them as such by fiat cannot make them so; and it is being amply demonstrated that their interests cannot ultimately coincide with those of human beings. Legislation by fiat is tyranny.

Multitasking is an indicator of the state of war. Multitasking is not new. Around 500 BC the Athenians were accused of it by the Spartans.

The essential work of a computer is performed by either changing the present nature of other work, or by changing the point of reference of other work. In either case, the effect is across time. MORE

In any economic system, unless all workers are equally regulated, the workers who are most severely regulated are the ones most unfairly treated, and the ones upon whom the economy actually rests.

A contribution is better to make than a deal, since a contribution can never be less or other than what it is (unless the contribution is monetary, in which case, its meaning is by definition "negotiable," though the fact of it is not). Also, a contribution is more likely to sooner or later find the place that its contributor wishes it to have, and those uninterested in or even opposed to it will find it less inconvenient or objectionable than the components of a deal they don't like. Expressed geometrically, a contribution is at its least a point, while a deal is at its least a line.

Science is not about proving theories. Science is about making predictions. If you ask for proof, or are having to provide it, you are not doing science, you are in a court of law. If you are trying to learn how to predict the future, you are doing science. The scientist who does not waste time proving anything gets the farthest. Don't prove something, do something. Rather than convince anybody, create an invention that makes use of your knowledge. To prove something, you have to take time out from action. Why bother?
Proof is best offered in a spare moment, in an elevator; or casually, over coffee.

It is clear from simply looking at them that Newton is the chicken, and Leibniz is the egg. Hello, you are supposed to "get it" just by seeing their portraits. Even their philosophies compare in this way: Newton, who strayed from his apartments as little as possible, picking out bits of fact from books on hand; Leibniz, who thought tiny living monads were the basis of the universe. A vast amount of imagery and data, both iconographical and scientific, can be reckoned and projected from this simple fact.

Since the American dollar is now based on belief in the United States and nothing else, it must be admitted that the US has a faith-based rather than a fact-based economy. There is a problem: faith-based economies repulse fact-based economies.

When drinking alcoholic beverages, time should occasionally be taken to feel the exaltation. Before long, drinking any more just ruins the effect of drinking. If this is never done the act of drinking is truly an abuse. When drinking, more is not necessarily more. Apollonians best savor the gifts of Bacchus; it is ironic that simplistic Bacchanalians miss the full experience. The same can be said for how to appreciate the two different types of music, Classical and Popular, and who really appreciates either. One of my favorite things to do is to sip vodka (very slowly, and straight only, so as to be best able to control my intoxication) and read ancient Greek texts out loud, in the original. The combination of Homer and Citroen is splendid. Doing them in tandem, you can experience true exaltation.

Be aware that a huge wave of bad science is coming over the next few years. The partisanship of the bad science will be much easier to sort out if you keep in mind Al Gore's remark that "clean coal" makes about as much sense as "healthy cigarrettes." MORE.

The only reliable characteristic of democracy is that it can temporarily diffuse revolution. As Americans understand democracy, it has never existed. In general, the system is simply finessed by those who understand the nature of things, including how to be evil, better than others.

February 29, 2000 was not supposed to occur. The "adjustment" that requires an extra day every leap year is supposed to be skipped every 400 years, in order to re-adjust, due to the innacuracy that accumulates every four centuries. When the Gregorian calendar was established, it was decided that the readjustment would be made in years divisable by 400. Since 2000 is divisable by 400, "leap year" was not supposed to be observed that year. According to the original plan, we have been off one day ever since the year 2000.

If America is so separated from England, and if the Church is so separate from the State, how can it be that there is a National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and how can it be that it is a cathedral of the Church of England? Americans are encouraged to believe that since it is paid for with private funds, it does not violate the Constitution's First Amendment. But in this supposedly independent nation, where the Church and State are supposedly separate, the official head of the denomination that runs the National Cathedral is... the Sovereign of England!

Properly, a Prime Minister is an initiator; he is a "facilitator." A President maintains a position; usually the point of this position is its temporal significance; he is a "mind." Expressed in modern physics, a Prime Minister is the moment at which a wave begins; a President is an identifable particle. Of course it is possible to perform both tasks simultaneously. If he is thought to derive his power from a monotheistic deity, a king marks the position that every one of his subjects is dead. To "survive" a king is meaningless, if his significance is defined by a supreme deity. Expressed in modern physics, a king is the entirety of all particles along a wave, and the authority over all these elements. Such authority only exists if there is no further life in the wave or its particles. Belief in a supreme deity is fatal. Better to ask for less certainty, and be willing to do more work.

Knowing that the world is an hallucination makes every action far more effective than any prayer said in ignorance of the nature of reality.

"Thought experiments" are real events, whether or not they are real experiments. Don't worry, there are already thought police, and dream police as well... to protect you.

It is easier to read minds than to figure out what a stupid person thinks he's doing.

My attitude to women's rights is expressed in the popular observation that Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, only she did it backwards and in high heals. That's a woman's portion, and if she doesn't accept it, she doesn't earn the respect for doing it. But, accomplishing such feats, she has every right to respect for them. If you try to compare men's and women's natural duties and abilities too directly, or too literally as equal, you only create problems for everybody. I might believe that there should be equal pay for equal work, if the work were really equal, but I'm not sure the work is ever really directly comparable as most people might like to believe it is.

You can have pretty much any type of initiation you like, into any open or secret society or mystery cult you can find or think of, and you probably already have had very many such initiations. There are no genuine boundaries or requirements: every orthodoxy requires a left hand in order to function properly. Gowns, vows, smells and bells - these things are to initiation what a pyramid is to a geometric point. If you require a pyramid to make the point, you will not get the point very often. MORE.

Those who will not listen to the music will have to face the music.

America is not about people. It is about cars. MORE. STILL MORE.

It is unethical to use wealth to block the redistribution of wealth that will result from the economic changes caused by the ordinary business activites associated with an extenuating project necessary for a society's existence. MORE.

Many Americans do not suspect that not all science is good. There is also bad science that causes harm. MORE.

America has become culturally, and in important ways politically, the very same monster that during the Cold War we were told the Soviet Union was.

There is no law of the sort which the various authorities - temporal or spiritual - would have us believe in for their convenience, or even for the compromise of the "social contract." You can try to change the fact that "law" does not exist, but effecting such change is a project no one has ever yet succeeded in. Or you can act according to the way things really work. MORE

Monotheistic religion makes life a near-death experience.

Except for the cult in which I am God, monotheism cannot exist, since it does not represent the nature of things. For its supposed creator, Akhenaten, monotheism was not a religion, it was a successful gambit.

Beware the Tao. Dualism is a two-edged sword.

Some acts of translation are from nonsense into sense.

Freedom is sweet.

No society can provide both freedom and equality for its citizens.

Morality is an anchor, and every time you want to get anywhere you have to weigh it to move on.

Life defies entropy. Since entropy is a law of the universe, it may be that life itself is a crime against the universe. If this is so, I have no intention of obeying the law of entropy insofar as it may require the dissolution of the forces that encourage me to florish.

A military action is successful only to the degree that its meaning is understood and translatable into everyday terms. The attack of 9/11/2001 on the United States said clearly "we hate you," and may be one of the clearest messages ever expressed militarily. The United States has not responded with an equally clear message; it is likely that the United States cannot, in fact, reply to the attack of 9/11/2001.

Tradition is a history of error. MORE

In music, you never want just two violinists playing a single part together. You want only one, or at least three, because whenever two fail at playing a single part perfectly, and this is always, there is the question of who is correct, and who is wrong. With three or more, there is a group effort. This can be generalized into a philosophy of life.

The ignorant person believes and speaks the expression "If I give you a fish, you have food for a day. If I teach you to fish, you have food for a lifetime." The enlightened person knows that if I give you a coin, you have money for a time, but if I teach you realization, you have gold for eternity. MORE

In a free world, everyone is out in the provinces of someone else's empire. Life in the modern world consists of voluntary participation in any number of empires. In an unfree world, the number of empires you can choose to exist within is limited and involuntary, giving your superiors greater resemblance to tyrants.

Every pessimist thinks he's a realist.

Every nag thinks she is "honest."

Ugly women are always the most difficult, and they are usually the most vain.

The arts in America have, since World War II supposedly ended, been part of the external - and continuing - empires of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. Indeed, those supposedly defunct empires exist in a more robust form than ever before in the concert programming of the United States. This is why there is so much music by German and Russian composers, most of them safely dead. The situation is quite comparable to the relation between ancient Rome and Greece. The Romans seemed to conquer the Greeks, but in fact the Romans adopted the Greek religion, much of its political structure, spoke Greek the way Nineteenth Century Russians spoke French, sent their children to Greece for their education, and often even exported their otherwise civil wars to Greece.

The fairest, most effective way to bring about globalization is for nations to allow multiple citizenship for selected individuals. During its Revolution, which was defended by, and then betrayed, by Napoleon, France issued citizenship to persons it thought friends good enough for this honor. This practice needs to be revived. In this way, persons deserving such honor would participate in the life of more than one nation. Such persons would act as bridges between nations.

A medical professional who cannot speak genuinely satisfactory English is in gross violation of the spirit of the doctor-patient relationship, it being universally understood that proper doctors communicate effectively with their patients. Further, no medical professional may be less intelligent than is necessary to understand a patient's ignorance of what they are doing to them.

The planet is in the position of a person committing suicide by asphyxiatingfrom car exhaust. Therefore, world politics are the politics of a suicidal species. Humanity has never resembled the lemming more than it does now.

Tolerance facilitates taxation. Tolerance erodes black markets. It is in the interest of governments to encourage tolerance. From this point of view, America's greatest enemy is its own intolerant Puritan element, for some time identified with the Republican party.

Republicans are heartless, and Democrats are mindless.

A simulation is neither a test nor a proof, least of all, if it is being observed. Therefore, simulations are merely secret formulas for their creators. And therefore in turn, they are not simulations, but only the appearance of simulations, simulacra of simulations. Not only are simulations not real, there can be no such thing as an observed simulation.

It is not true that money is completely negotaible. Money not only talks, it has memory. MORE

A requirement to have faith in any God who delivers as little as any we have yet known is like being forced to loan money to an employer.

The best evidence that Shakespeare was Catholic is that he was involved in the theater. The Jesuits made a practice of teaching through theater, and this may account for the Italian project that developed simultaneously with, and parallel to Shakespeare, which resulted in the creation of the musical genre called Opera.

Polygamy involving one male, and polyandry involving one female, are most compatible with current morals if the one male in polygamy, or the one female in polyandry, are in charge in their respective groups. MORE

There is an answer to most or all of the anomalous phenomena we witness or hear about, and that these phenomena are due to the fact that we are not actually in a world we imagine we are in. If "reality" is realized to be an illusion, many explanations fall into place.

Religion is a permanently fixed and dogmatic method of working out differences without compromise; it produces the best results for the leadership, the worst results for its followers, costs little money, usually takes the longest time - often many centuries - and involves the great secret that every religion is a system of world conquest. MORE. Politics is a temporarily fixed and negotiated method of working things out with compromise; it produces unreliable results for the leadership, unreliable results for their followers, costs a lot of money, usually takes less time than religion to accomplish its goals, and its openness depends on its methods and aims. Popular art is like religion, classical art is like politics. However, once the cultural artifacts are created, Classical art can become the center of a religion. Once it does, it begins to lose its standing as a Classical art form.

Jesus was wrong when he said there is no greater gift than to lay down one's life for a friend. It is a much greater gift, and one that is not advisable to give, to lay down one's life for an enemy. MORE.

Moses was a prophet, Jesus was a loss, Mohammad was a success. None makes fullest sense without both of the others; all are dispensible. And, there are others, and they too are dispensible.

Christianity is the religion of the Pax Romana. It is probably Rome's version of conveniently emasculated Judaism.

If you haven't done anything to merit the death penalty, you don't need Jesus to die for your sins.

Obeying the law is the minimum, not the optimal, degree of social cooperation. MORE.

If a conflict doesn't eventually result in peace at home, then you lost the war. Winning the peace can be much harder than winning a war. A war plan without a peace plan is a plan for national suicide. The best war plan avoids the part about the warfighting.

The iliad is about winning the war; the Odyssey is about winning the peace.

Every religion is a world conquest effort. MORE.

Monogamy is a detente.

You need your teacher until you realize your teacher is your warden.

Physical fighting is far from being the optimal way to defeat an enemy. The best way to defeat an enemy is simply to make them wrong. (Overall, this was the approach the U.S. took against the Soviet Union. And, this is the approach China is now taking against the U.S. This time we are truly vulnerable, since we owe them money.) Unfortunately this method usually takes time. But your chances of eventually being made wrong yourself are much greater if you engage in warfighting. Nowadays, at least in Democracies, this is largely because your successors are usually responsible for winning the peace.

Homer is both greater, and more important, than Shakespeare. Shakespeare is the most successful writer of all time. If these two statements seem contradictory, give some more thought to what may be meant by "greater."

Time is too short to waste very much of it studying what is known and permitted.   There is really only time to study what is unknown and forbidden.

When thinking about any alleged distinction between good and evil it is best to remember that it is a big planet, and most of it is dirt.

It is easy to be prolific in an old style.

Any time anyone advocates to their own advantage the idea that another person should work alone to deserve respect, they are promoting tyranny. The chiefest tyanny artists face today is due to the lack of patronage. The notion that to be credible an artist must make his own money is perhaps the crudest notion artists have to face on a regular basis. MORE

Avoid giving anybody special thanks until the final goal is achieved and everything is working.    If you thank people too early on, they will think their work is done.

A dispossessed worker who believes he should follow all the rules is like a wounded soldier in a foxhole who believes in faith healing.

There are no independent, objective ethics.   There is only point of view.

It is too much to ask humility of the humiliated, until they heal from their humiliation. Until then, one can only be patient.

In a free market economy, faithfulness of any kind will be punished, most often in the form of a fee, or with a loss of earning opportunity. Adam Smith was wrong when he taught that the market would improve people's morals. The market only improves people's acting skills. It is no coincidence that the American president who most advocated the free market was a former actor.

Religion is to an adherent's intelligence what a bandage is to a wound inflicted by the conqueror who inflicts it.   If you think you need the bandage you are probably right, but you should try to realize that it is an expedient administered, or made to seem necessary, by those who have defeated your will.   MORE

Never let your honesty exceed your listener’s liberality.

Marriage is a social convention intended to control the opportunities for, circumstances, and outcome of procreation.   Only the emotionally underdeveloped engage in it.    In other words, in at least two senses, marriage is for children.

Sex without religion is like wealth without taxes.

R.H. Tawney quoted an historical source which stated "...The poor, it is well known, are of two kinds, 'the industrious poor,' who work for their betters, and 'the idle poor,' who work for themselves." Apparently, the progenitors of capitalism were 'the idle poor.'

It may be that simple evidence of the involvement with alien technology by our society, and even collusion between aliens and (though apparently not limited to) our government, is the simple fact that for several years now public contracts often include clauses against reverse engineering. Such language is so redundant to common sense, and the precedent of many decades of law concerning copyright and intellectual property, that it is strange for it to be specified so particularly. It should be obvious I am not concerned about whatever "history" the "case law" may appear to have.

To forgive is human, to err is divine.

For as long as she can give birth, a woman is more important than any one of her children.

When Jesus was asked about which husband the woman who married each of seven brothers successively would be with in heaven, he didn't give a direct answer, he only called the questioners "hard of heart." This suggests that a good-hearted person has no problem with polyandry, and by extension with polygamy.

Never let your public expressions exceed the understanding of disinterested bystanders.

The lights in the night sky are waiting for you to look up and see and communicate with them, which they are eager to do. You have always been allowed to observe the moons.

We all work well with others who do what we ourselves want.

You have what it takes to be who you are.

Some people think I'm confused, but I don't know what they're talking about.

When I was a young boy I noticed there were more spiders than before. These were the harmless spiders that were easy to kill, called "Grandaddy Longlegs." I asked my mother where they came from. She told me they came from the computer. This was around 1960, and was the first time I remember ever hearing the word "computer." She made her reply simply, but in a way I was to understand that I wouldn't comprehend the long answer, and since we were talking about something that didn't seem dangerous, and since I was too young to sustain an inquiry, I didn't ask after her reply. That incident may be the earliest memory I have that is proof to me of the enormity of the illusion in which we live, and of the involvement of technological devices in that illusion. I have lived to an age to resume that inquiry, and my every action sustains the inquiry.

One way to understand my suggestion that the world is an illusion generated by a computer is to understand the Battle of Thermopylae as a "brute force" attack on the firewall to Europe. Thermopylae means "Gates of Fire."

"In the last resport, all government means control by a minority - for only a minority can produce that unity of directive which the word 'government' implies." - John Warr

"If one looks to the people's welfare, no theory at all is really valid, but everything rests on a practice docile to experience." - Immanuel Kant

"This is what a I feel a poet has to do with his life: not expose it, not confess it, not present it literally, but convert it into legend." Stanley Kunitz, March 24, 1993, Interview with Leslie Kelen, published in American Poetry Review, March/April 1998, Page 54.


First posted 10/18/2009. Last Updated 11/28/2013