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Most of the time my mind works like a giant ad server.

It has access to my contacts, calendars, photos, files, mail, calls, conversations, location,  friends, camera, microphone etc. Sixty three years of data including everything I ever undertook and experienced, untold petabytes of information, is available to my mind, 24/7, to serve up advertising.

And it does.

Facebook and Google are but pale imitations.

My mind, like my iPad, can be applied to ‘serious’ purposes: problem solving, decision making, unartificial intelligence.

It can work out the answer to questions ranging from ‘How did the universe originate?’ to ‘What’s for breakfast?’

Like my iPad, my mind is mostly used to replay entertaining movies.

Mainly the blockbuster ‘Imemine, a love story’, starring Me.

During the frequent intervals, ads are shown.

“Suggested by Siri”.

“We think you may be interested in this”.

“For you”.

“Others have purchased this”.

Etcetera, etcetera.  Goods, services, experiences, opinions, jingles, associations etc. Above all, repetitive ad nauseam..

Apart from deep sleep, the movie plays all day.

The mind calls this process ‘thinking’.

It seems I’m mainly interested in the sound track and the subtitles. The full HD 4K cinevision is secondary.

My attention is drawn to this process most of the time.

In fact, it is what constitutes ‘I’.

Is there a way out?

Can I delete my mind account, like I did Facebook?

 

Thoughts on thought

A picture of the thinker, deep in thought.

This week I wanted to understand the thinking process better, so I said to myself (a clue): “Think of a cow”.

Obviously a real cow cannot fit inside my skull, so I was curious as to what would happen. I expected some image of a black and white animal with horns and a huge udder 🐄 to somehow appear on the screen of my mind.

I saw three things instead: the letters ‘c’, ‘o’ and ‘w’.

Somehow these letters signified bovine meaning.

I had to really insist for an image to appear.

Then I thought of my wife. This time four letters appeared, starting with ‘w’. The appearance of my beautiful bride was only a secondary consequence. I got into trouble when I related this story. 😩

My thinking is not pictorial. It is linguistic, a set of boring grammatical constructs.

And nowadays in English, instead of that wonderfully nuanced Dutch.

The rich fabric of everyday life is transformed, abstracted and reduced to a sequence of letters obeying syntax rules.

Thinking is silently talking to myself. Letters and words, mostly without a real referent in that wonderful universe that I am immersed in.

It is said that 100 years ago the average human would have 5,000 thoughts per day. Now it is 50,000! Mainly tiresome and pointless repetition.

And no pictures!

Spending time in the world of thought is like living in a hex core dump. That’s how a computer spits out it’s memory contents when it encounters a syntax or logic error.

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A hexadecimal core dump

Why would I?

Afternoon at the Lagoon

Given that our galaxy the Milky Way consists of 500 billion stars,

given that our universe contains between 200 billion to 2 trillion galaxies,

given that there may be multiply universes,

given that the whole shebang came into being and whirls about governed by a small number of laws that can be known,

doesn’t it seem odd that I believe that I am separate from all of the above, that I am an individual, that I have free will?

I am in and of this world.

The universe is my I.

Scan vs Prick

Why scan when you can prick? The freedom of the finger stick.

I am a type 1 diabetic.

My pancreas broke, it stopped producing insulin and other essentials to life.

In practical terms, without frequent insulin injections and constant management of blood glucose levels, I’d be dead within weeks.

Read More

Dust to dust

The liturgy for the defunct bobbed up in my awareness when I wandered through the Bathurst graveyard: ‘and let light perpetual shine upon them’.

I like taking photos in cemeteries.

This one I took on my daily get-da-suga-under-control walk on a cool autumn morning. The rays of the sun had just burnt off the remnants of the fog. It was a beautiful day. Read More

Flooded in

How being flooded-in and FaceBook-less enhance life.

A couple of times a year, the usually placid Barron River is swollen by a tropical deluge, and becomes a swirling brown torrent.

So also today.

About 300 millimetres of rain fell in the last two days, and the catchment was already sodden from the 500 millimetres that fell earlier in the month.

The only road into and out of our little village is cut.

Nowhere to go.

Nothing to do.

All day to do it in.

It’s like not having FaceBook. A sea of time and opportunity opens up.

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Groups of locals stand around near the water to knowledgeably discuss time and tide.

Whose will be the first vehicle to be washed off the road?

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School’s out, no teachers today.

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The one and only shop in the village does a roaring trade.

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Couples and families are strolling, seemingly aimlessly, inspecting the water.

Will it come into the house?

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Slowly the tide that held back the torrent from the mountain is dropping.

One or two risk the road.

Soon the bus will come again, and life will be as it was.

Frenzied.

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I’m sticking to it.

No FaceBook.

House in the rising sun

A play on words for us oldies: a hit by the Animals in 1964. A new house being built along our beach reflecting a glorious sunrise, framed by my favourite trees: she-oaks or casuarinas.

So Long, Harry

One of my guiding lights, the Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert, died this week, aged 92. This was one of his favourite poems.

When spring arrives,
If I’m already dead,
The flowers will flower in the same way
And the trees will not be less green than last spring. Reality doesn’t need me.

It makes me enormously happy
To think that my death is of no importance whatsoever.
If I knew that I would die tomorrow
And that spring was the day after tomorrow,
I would die happy, because spring was the day after tomorrow.
If that is its time, why should it come at some other time?
I like everything to be real and to be right,
And I like it that way because that’s how it would be even if I didn’t like it.
And so, if I die now, I’ll die happy,
Because everything is real and everything is right.

You can pray in Latin over my coffin, if you like.
If you like, you can sing and dance in a circle around it. I have no preferences for when I can no longer have preferences.
What will be, when it is, is what it will be when it is.

Fernando Pessoa
7 November 1915

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