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Topics - Dildo Argentino

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This terribly irritating, constantly nose, ear and hairpicking Slovenian yodel with his speech impediment and his atrocious accent (sort of like mine, TBH) has pretty much sold me on this. Which leads me to wonder whether there are non-political alternatives to unbridled capitalism.

Principia Discussion / Chaos is Energy
« on: November 13, 2018, 07:49:17 am »
Hello again, Dears,

I've been looking at Holy Nonsense. It is a most substanceful tome and pleasing to the eye, and I am duly grateful for it, but here

I think it copeth out a bit.

Creation and destruction are also a very important pair of apparent opposites. To choose the creative in the hope of an all-creative trip is, I have found, a sure way to invite a shitload of destruction into my life. Ask any manic-depressive (when depressed, preferably).

Apple Talk / AMA, holist
« on: January 17, 2018, 12:16:55 pm »
Let me start one of these as well, because I have been away for a while and changed somewhat in the meantime. So, ask me anything, I will attempt to answer genuine questions to the best of my ability, as my time permits. I will be heartbroken if I don't get any questions, but don't let that stop you! It's my problem and I will deal with it. ( :

Apple Talk / Hopeful but realistic ten-year scenarios
« on: January 11, 2018, 06:52:16 am »
Hello, I'm back. I bear no ill will. :)

So what's your optimistic but realistic scenario for 2028?

If you believe you can actually predict that scene (I think it's up in the air, even though the climate is highly likely to get much shittier), I'm all ears for that, too.

As for me, I would like to see nation states weaken and voluntary, organic, small-group-based networks rise further.

I would like to see widespread fullerene printing available to the masses, with a flourishing, if still fringe maker culture to go with it.

I would like to see the foodprinterTM, a portable device which, if pointed at a heap of general purpose organic waste and given sufficient energy, will produce slop that will sustain the human body.

I would like to see immune, neural, cognitive and digestive enhancements inching towards the mainstream.

I would like to see a planet teeming with humans who begin to move around freely as is their birthright, and a healthy and strong opposition to the ubiquitous surveillance panopticum that will surely still be on offer from the 1-percenters and possibly their machine buddies.

I would like to see the dragon irritated and scared, if not yet slain.

Apple Talk / Paul Feyerabend
« on: February 03, 2017, 08:23:26 pm »
I know you'all is men and women of science, we've been over this, but still... guess you could say I'm sort of out looking for trouble here, but...

Today as I was looking for quotes about the purpose of philosophy (as a sideline to the main direction of this thread, please share any good quotes on that subject if you have some) and thought back to my favourite philosophers, and I remembered Paul Feyerabend. Back when I was actually studying the philosophy of science, I found him extremely interesting and very engaging. In the university library, I listened to casette recordings of a series of lectures he gave there 20 years earlier. So now I looked up some quotes by him:

"Taking experimental results and observations for granted and putting the burden of proof on the theory means taking the observational ideology for granted without having ever examined it."

"My intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is, rather, to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits."

"Knowledge is not a series of self-consistent theories that converges toward an ideal view; it is rather an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible (and perhaps even incommensurable) alternatives, each single theory, each fairy tale, each myth that is part of the collection forcing the others into greater articulation and all of them contributing, via this process of competition, to the development of our consciousness."

"There is no "scientific worldview" just as there is no uniform enterprise "science"- except in the minds of metaphysicians, school masters, and scientists blinded by the achievements of their own particular niche... There is no objective principle that could direct us away from the supermarket "religion" or the supermarket "art" toward the more modern, and much more expensive supermarket "science." Besides, the search for such guidance would be in conflict with the idea of individual responsibility which allegedly is an important ingredient of a "rational" or scientific age."

"Rationalism... is a secularized form of the belief in the power of the word of God."

"The idea of a method that contains firm, unchanging, and absolutely binding principles for conducting the business of science meets considerable difficulty when confronted with the results of historical research. We find, then, that there is not a single rule, however plausible, and however firmly grounded in epistemology, that is not violated at some time or another."

"It is clear, then, that the idea of a fixed method, or of a fixed theory of rationality, rests on too naive a view of man and his social surroundings. To those who look at the rich material provided by history, and who are not intent on impoverishing it in order to please their lower instincts, their craving for intellectual security in the form of clarity, precision, 'objectivity', 'truth', it will become clear that there is only one principle that can be defended under all circumstances and in all stages of human development. It is the principle: anything goes."

"Every profession has an ideology and a drive for power that goes far beyond its achievements and it is the task of democracy to keep this ideology and this drive under control. Science is here no different from other institutions."

"The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education."

I still think his criticism of the naive-realist view of science is valid. I have also decided to make him a Discordian saint.

Apple Talk / How to be an anticapitalist today
« on: January 28, 2016, 07:38:38 am »

I find this very reasonable, so I am looking for strong objections. I think the points about why anticapitalist revolutions failed could be a great deal more nuanced, but the general gist of it seems right to me. "Tame and erode" isn't much of a catchphrase, but it seems workable and indeed seems to be happening already, in many ways.

Apple Talk / Creepy Birdman video from Poland
« on: November 20, 2015, 07:04:33 am »

Apple Talk / Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight
« on: January 19, 2015, 09:50:33 pm »
The TED talk

Masochistic, I know, but I am curious to read what you people think of this talk. If it is preposterous of me to ask, just ignore or berate as seems fit. I promise I will not volunteer an opinion.

Apple Talk / Aya
« on: November 26, 2014, 11:33:24 am »
Have any of you had any experience with ayahuasca? Care to share? :)

Apple Talk / Craniosacral therapy - woo?
« on: November 13, 2014, 08:25:46 am »
Full disclosure: I've had 4 or 5 sessions with a qualified and certified practitioner. I would not describe it as massage, and it was not limited to the head. The sessions were very soothing, my posture improved and my breath became freer, and I even felt (as I tend to do after a good simple sports massage, or did after Alexander technique and Rolfing) that my eyes grew sharper. After a couple of days, the effects faded. One particularly weird thing: at the last session, she reached into my mouth (with sterile rubber gloves on) and gently manipulated my vomer. A bone I hadn't even known I had. It was an amazingly weird feeling. I'm going again at some point.

I realise that it could all be placebo effect, although I am quite critical, really, and while I have found these three techniques helpful, I have found others to be sometimes honest, sometimes malicious scams.

I have looked at two metastudies, one from 1999, and one from 1012. Both seem to suggest that there is no evidence that this form of treatment works rather than there is evidence that it doesn't work.

The theory behind craniosacral therapy is not particularly wooey. Given that a rhythmic (though daily, rather than more frequent) process of cranial fluid managed to be missed until 2012 (see Nigel's Neuroscience Nook), I think it is possible that the autonomous rhythm, pulsation of the craniospinal fluid that Osborne described is not mythical. I don't know if anyone has conducted studies on the degree of immobility of cranial sutures in living individuals, but I would be very interested to see any such research. If there is one thing I am sure about in this respect, it is that human beings are chaotic systems, i.e. some very tiny changes have massive consequences.

Another thing I am pretty sure about is that the effects of bad posture on the nerves passing through the neck can be massive. So if it improves posture, it could contribute to an increased sense of well-being simply by relieving chronic muscle tension in the neck, even if the autonomous craniosacral pulse turns out to be a myth.

I feel that Muscle Effect Therapy is somewhat similar. Neither of these are that much of a great deal... but sometimes a precise and light touch is necessary and sufficient.

These things resonate with my feeling that health and healing are concepts and activities not entirely within the remit of science, and perhaps they ought not to be, either. Responding to the hidden, unspoken, unspeakable needs of another asking for help has, I feel, an irreducable element of art to it.

Apple Talk / Snowcrash has started
« on: November 11, 2014, 05:06:17 am »
Estonia invites people from around the world to become its e-citizens.


Apple Talk / How to Help Raving Mad People
« on: November 02, 2014, 04:56:49 am »
Paranoid psychosis is the technical term most often applied to the condition, but you know the type: a person with a complex and intimately interconnected set of beliefs about the world which, to him, look like TroofTM, as in God's honest, the real deal, everything worth knowing about the world, including what to do about it, while to you, they look like a convoluted, jumbled bag of phantasmagoria with an at bets tenuous, but often totally non-existent connection to the world as it really is.

My dad, for instance. Long story follows.

TLDR: holist's dad is a mad old git. He's been experimenting with being with him in a way that's helpful when he is preoccupied by his paranoid ideation and pretty hyper (i.e. manic episodes) for 30 years or so, with some success, but he would appreciate input.

Dad first went bonkers in 1969, at the age of 30, on the 3rd anniversary of his mother's death. By all accounts she was a truly loving mum and both her sons were deeply shaken by her untimely death. It also happened to be the first anniversary of his firstborn son's birth (that's me!) and his hasty and unpremeditated assumption of the responsibilities of marriage and a child. It was also one year after he, outraged by the events in Czech, publicly renounced his party membership and thereby, in an act of foolish and kitschy, and childish defiance, destroyed the only career he had before him, a promising if unpalatable one at that. His experiences in the holocaust (inclusive of being lost at age 5 in the Budapest ghetto for 5 days in the winter of 1944 and being pulled off a train of displaced children bound for Auswitz at the last minute by an aunt who happened to pass by) also came into it in a big way. I have spent some time and effort reconstructing the events of that fateful night and day. Short version: he ended up nacked, battling demons and attempting to derail a tram by hand in a public square, paranoid to the eyeballs, out of touch with reality. He was sedated and hospitalised for a couple of weeks, and this was repeated every few years while he was still in Hungary, pursuing a line as a member of the "democratic opposition" - a bunch of (old-sense) liberal individuals who got together to scheme a lot and did rather little, but made a big deal out of it, while doing little marginalised intellectual odd-jobs (translation, editing, etc.) to eke out a rather impoverished living.

He left Hungary in 1980. He had had a "western passport" for only a few years then: his making a public fuss about the invasion of Czechoslovakia had cost him that back in '69 - and when the Poles introduced a state of military emergency due to the Solidarity Riots, he got scared that he would be locked inside Hungary again, and, on a whim, bolted to Vienna. His family followed him in a few months, but I did not, though I had been living with him and new wife and kids for 6 years, because at that time I considered him so unreliable I had no doubts about going to live with my mum rather than going with dad along the path of uncertainty that is being a dissident and starting all over in a new place, with an intermittently raving lunatic parent). After a spell in a Vienna refugee camp where he waited for his family to catch up, and a couple of years in Germany, he ended up in Reading, UK, as well-regarded political dissidents were always welcome at the BBC's listening service in Caversham. The Monitoring Service in Caversham was one weird place during the 80's, very Orwellian, Brasilesque: hundreds of people sitting in tiny open-plan cubicles with headphones on, listening to state radio piped in from everywhere around the world, using antiquated recording devices that actually recorded audio magnetically on metal wire and were foot-switch operated (!!), and then using typewriters to type out summaries or, in the case of more important broadcasts, verbatim English translations for British intelligence.

He was in pretty good nick when he arrived. The reason he flipped his lid again was that he had expected a bit of a hero's welcome, and got a truly shoddy deal instead. The job was terrible. 12-hour and 16-hour shifts, ugly, uncomfy headphones on all the time, irregular sleeping hours and hard, hard work for not very much: I think his fate was sealed when he unadvisedly let on that he was good at Russian, too. He was, but not quite native-language good: he could do the same work in the Russian section, where he was frequently placed to fill in, but it was four times more arduous and didn't pay more. He started missing shifts, then acting strange, sleeping on the job, summarising an important speech by Kádár when he should have translated it verbatim: the British bureucracy swung into action (it's funny that the Monitoring Service was actually a part of the BBC), and they fired him in a cold and cruel fashion, I have the correspondence to prove it.

Thus began a career as the scary foreign lunatic in a parochial county town not, at the time, known for its understanding of outsiders, especially mad ones that struggled to keep their clothes on when things went wrong and who could escalate with the best of them.
Through an amazing plethora of any-and-all jobs, he struggled to keep providing for his family for years as barman, night petrol station attendant, hotel cleaner, deafness-awareness raiser, delivery man, milkman, advertising leaflet distributor, paperboy, car-park attendant, cook... and every now and then, when he couldn't handle the stress, he threw a wobbly, ended up sedated and in a warm place with soup. Kinda worked for him. The first few times, he fought like mad for his rights, even acquired a loyal solicitor who believed in him to an extent of taking him on pro bono for years, later on he just accepted that this happened occasionally and learnt to be let out as soon as possible through docility and eager rule-following.

I arrived in Reading six years after him, in 1986, and for years I tried to do the right thing and failed in several ways. My initial fear (he was right scary when he was up to his antics when I was a kid) flipped to anger and the realisation that I am now stronger than he is in every way, and eventually I found that if I have the time and the inclination to be with him 24/7 when he is raving, I can largely steer him out of trouble gently. But he's old and broken now, and doesn't seem to do it anymore... which, in a horrormirthy way, is kinda sad. I'd like to have a go at it with him one last time, to see if I could last the course through a fully fledged psychotic episode. In a childhood totally devoid of role models (and filled with various flavors of broken alcoholics and emotional cul-de-sacs), he was the closest thing. He was mad, at times disgusting, at times truly scary (as manic people skirting the border of psychosis can be), at times unbelievably sad, but he never sold out. Taking on 6 police in riot gear and giving them a run for their money... way to go, dad. Now he's mellowed into an incontinent and fadey old dwarf who spends his time in the valley of the darkness of death, with regular sparkles of surprising wisdom. Took me a long time, but I do appreciate him now. My holocaust syndrome could have been a lot worse, had he acted some other, more conformist way.

At his most sane, holist Snr could present a better-than-passable impression of being a terribly urbane man with both a twinkle and a good humoured insight of what it was to be human. Today, he is certainly not urbane (a fucked up old weirdo is more like it), but the twinkle and the insight has matured and can be elicited on good days. However, at his least, he was everything you don't want from the mad foreigner down the road who will not go away and has seen right through the worst that can be done to him to try to make him different.

The institution that played a sizeable part in destroying his life (for it is largely a train-wreck with a few silver linings, mostly in the shape of offspring who are all faring reasonably) was not a mental one: it was just the system of Communism-Socialism that operated in Eastern Europe from 1946 until the "Change of Regime" in the 1990's. He could have been smarter, a select few have, but I can't really bring myself to blame him for failing... he gave it all he had, which was not all that much, and came out less than a winner. Bless him.


Of course, with dad being the way he is, the maniacs and the delusionals have found me regularly ever since. I think I tolerate that flavour of madness much better than most anyone I know (and the exceptions are nutters themselves! and so am I), but the best approach is to treat them as an unreliable, fucked-up child: hang around, show some interest gently, be available, prevent minor and major disasters as they turn up. What do you think?

Apple Talk / OPEN BAR: Now endorsed by Foodbabe!
« on: October 27, 2014, 12:32:19 pm »
That's like a fully formed soundbite! Can I use it? :)

It's still interesting to watch how it plays out in the street. Also, the eagle has some pretty precise notions about what it does not want to happen here, but I don't think they care very much as long as those things don't happen. Which means there will be a power vacuum and an opportunity for some devoted and truly patriotic band of unfortunates to step up. Doubt that it will happen, though. A pity. For a long time I've been saying that everyone with the sense to fix this little clusterfuck of a country has far better things to do.

Apple Talk / Cryptocurrency - a revolutionary technology?
« on: October 21, 2014, 05:49:37 am »
A pretty different take on Bitcoin. Perhaps the connotations of "crypto" in the direction of clandestine and secretive are misleading? What do you think?
Disclaimer: I don't know much about this, but I'm pretty sure the picture is not as rosy as it is painted in this video... and I wonder why.

Apple Talk / Geoffrey D. Falk
« on: October 12, 2014, 07:26:48 am »
I just stumbled upon the books by this guy. He has a website.

His books have interesting titles:

Stripping The Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment


"Norman Einstein": The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber

He makes both of them available for free.

Has anyone read those? Opinions? Worth reading?

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