Film as cartoon

If I had a magic wand and could wave it to make people—all people everywhere—see film as cartoon and only cartoon, I would do it.

I mean all film everywhere and really making people see it as cartoon, as animation. Actors and sets would no longer appear “real,” but as cartoons.

This would make the persuasive power of news media and politicians (they would appear as cartoons, too) much weaker. We would still be able to hear what they say, and think about it, but we would be far less susceptible to the cinematic tricks that allow their messages to bypass thought because those tricks would not work as well in cartoons.

I see so many friends relating emotionally to film and TV characters as if they were real people it is dismaying. In fact, many people don’t just relate to them as if they were real people, they relate to them as if they were better than real people, kinder than, funnier than, more appealing than real people.

The power of mass media to disseminate ideas is good, but the power of these media to disseminate shallow illusion is really bad. Instead of talking extensively with family and friends and looking to their communities for culture and education, people are far more often seduced and fatally persuaded by telegenic personalities who invariably are reading scripst and peddling the ideas of those who stand behind the scenes.

Perfume and sheer clothing is nice, but be wary of confusing a prostitute’s sexual appeal with reality.

What we can and cannot access

  • There is external speaking/listening that we can access
  • There is external speaking/listening that we cannot access
  • There is internal speaking/listening that we can access
  • There is internal speaking/listening that we cannot access

It is generally accepted that humans can comprehend things more than they can speak about them. That is, we can work with or get more information from listening than we can actively speak about. We have much greater access to what we receive (hear, read) than what we can output (speak, write).

For example, even though I am not a professional historian, I will be able to listen to a lecture about the Civil War and understand all or most of what I am hearing, but after the lecture I will only be able to output or speak about some parts of it. Another example is second language learners who are virtually always able to comprehend more than they can say. Another example is we can watch someone do something as they explain it, say cook a complex recipe, and understand what they are doing and saying but not be able to do it or explain it ourselves.

These are examples of external speech that we can access through hearing but cannot access as well through speaking. I can understand what you are saying but am not able to explain it to someone else.

An example of external speech that we cannot access through hearing is a very difficult lecture or book on a subject we know nothing about, say higher math or chemistry. Another example might be explaining to an old person how to use a computer if they have never used one before. Even as they try to grasp it, you can see they don’t really understand it well at all.

A more interesting example of external speech that we cannot access well might be the speech of someone who is willing to speak more openly about subjective states than we are. We can hear what they are saying but may not fully comprehend it because we don’t have a model for it. What they are saying may sound weird or inappropriate or even threatening when the truth is they are simply more used to hearing about subjective states and thus more able to speak about them.

These last points are crucial. We can only listen to and deeply comprehend things we have already heard about before. We don’t need to have all the details but we do need to have some sort of general concept of what the person is saying. In this same vein, we can only speak deeply about things we have already heard about, whether through external speech or internal speech. We can listen to others, or read their work (external speech), and from that learn how to communicate their ideas to others. Or we can listen to ourselves, to our internal speech, and from that learn how to communicate our ideas to others.

If a person has no experience—neither external nor internal—with listening to speech about subjective states, they will not be able to speak about their own subjective states and may hardly realize they even have subjective states. If they hear a little external speech about subjective states and do a little internal speaking about them, they will only be able to grasp subjective states to roughly that degree.

In an earlier post (Micro, meso, and macro levels of human understanding), I discussed how most people in the world do not have access to micro levels of understanding of themselves or others. This lack of access to both listening and speaking about micro semiotics forces almost everyone everywhere to confine their speaking and listening to meso and macro levels.

We get our meso and macro levels from TV, media, religion, education, general psychology, etc. But no matter how erudite you are in those media and styles of understanding, you will almost certainly still be highly deficient in micro semiotics. That is, you will not have wide access to or understanding of your own subjectivity because you cannot access micro levels and speak about them. To say nothing of understanding the subjectivity of others.

A serious conservative issue

The 24-page bill begins: “The following provisions are repealed,” then lists dozens of Texas statutes related to marijuana. If the Legislature were to approve the bill, Texas would have no laws regarding pot. (Texas lawmaker files bill to legalize marijuana)

This is the best way to go. None of the state’s business. Never was and never should have been. This is real conservatism of a type I can happily support.

Here is the other side of our ongoing ridiculous “debate” about marijuana: DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana.

Fairbanks said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites he saw “rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana. …” He continued: “One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.”

This person works for the DEA and doesn’t know that cannabis has to be heated to activate its psychoactive chemistry.

Wrong facts, wrong policies, anti-American interference by government in people’s private lives, more harm done by the laws than the plant by far. Anyway, it is good to see these long overdue changes starting to happen in more places.

Semiotics in game tech

Edit 2/26/15: The article linked below is an excellent example of how a single semiotic is functioning differently in different cultures. Well, there is more than one, but the examples are very clear and concrete. The contention that lies behind FIML practice is that all people all of the time hold many idiosyncratic semiotics and that when they communicate, these idiosyncratic semiotics can have a huge effect on how they listen and what they say. Idiosyncrasies may have cultural origins or they may arise from subjective states or simply be arbitrary. The idiosyncratic individual (all people everywhere at all times) is like a mini-culture. FIML practice is done between two idiosyncratic individuals who are close to each other, care about each other, and spend a significant amount of time together. It is designed to help partners understand how their idiosyncrasies can and do cause misunderstandings, some of which may snowball into serious conflicts when at heart there never was much of anything there save different views of the same semiotic.

If you have been studying or reading about FIML but still don’t quite see what is meant by semiotics or how they function in real-world settings, please be sure to read the article liked below and also here. The semiotics of controller design.

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A friend sent me an interesting article on The semiotics of controller design of the Sony PlayStation.

His comment on the article:

I thought you would find this interesting. The amount of consideration that goes into something so simple makes it practically impossible to experience anything directly without FIML and meditative insight.

The article discusses the meaning of a couple of signs on PlayStation controllers. It shows how cultural inculcation led Japanese and Americans to understand those signs very differently. So differently, in fact, Sony had to change the buttons (or “localize” them) for the American audience.

Most of us will find the linked article understandable and most of us will be able to appreciate how acculturation can and does lead us to perceive signs and symbols differently.

If you can see this it is but a short step to see that individuals do the same. Each of us perceives or understands signs and symbols in ways that are unique to us. As my friend says, it is “practically impossible to experience anything directly without FIML and meditative insight.”

How could it be otherwise? How can anyone expect to understand and be understood intimately without frequent and extensive discussion of what semiotics mean to them and their partner(s)?

Many people claim they don’t have time for discussions like that, and for some I think that is true. For the rest, I don’t agree.

In any case, before long we will have super-smart robots and brain-to-machine interfaces that will utterly change the way we perceive each other as well as “reality” itself.

When that day comes, we bio-humans will have the time and we will have the inclination to buckle down and do the work needed to really understand each other.

In the future, I expect something like FIML will be a major standard for human-to-human communication. When the machines are miles ahead of us, we will at last relent and really try to understand rather than just manage or control each other.

Jeff Gates on the “in between space” and how control of information is control of everything

Link to interview

Gates is an engaging speaker. In the linked interview he describes how the signs, symbols, narratives, and beliefs of American society (and much of the world) have been manipulated by what he calls a “criminal syndicate” that operates primarily in the “space” between facts and what the public sees and hears. This syndicate does this by controlling five basic areas—media, education, pop culture, politics, and think tanks. Well-worth listening to.

Why I have become a (reluctant) fascist

Mussolini said, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

Just the other day, arch-corporatist Bill Gates called for one-world government or global government.

The Western powers (US, EU, and other dollar-denominated allies) have shown a relentless will to dominate the world. We can see this wherever we look, and especially in the Middle East, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the current “pivot to Asia” of US foreign policy.

The only serious contenders to a Western-dominated “one-world” government are Russia and China, and I don’t think they have a prayer.

Nothing at home can stop them either. Most Americans are completely unaware that their “democracy” is a sham, that elections are exercises in mass hypnosis, that mainstream media is propaganda, and that the USA is ruled by and for corporations and other powerful groups and individuals. (See: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens)

So I give up. We can only hope that a Western-dominated one-world government will at least pay lip-service to Enlightenment values and at least keep us well-fed and warm in the winter. If huge masses of us want cheaper Internet service and stuff like that, we might get it, but not much else.

Gates’ one-world government will be a corporate-special-interest government. At best it will be a tolerable, if not benevolent, dictator, sort of like the USA today but with nowhere to run to. At worst it will be openly fascist with little patience for dissent or free speech.

We have already seen the demise of free speech in Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, to say nothing of the rest of the world where it traditionally never existed. Though we still have free speech protections here, it should be abundantly clear to thinking Americans that we have been living in a fascist oligarchy since September 11, 2001. The deed has already been done at home. Now, the world.

I can’t bring myself to say if you can’t beat ’em join ’em, but I can say we can’t beat ’em and I know when to give up.

I am resigned to watching friends debate which identical candidate is better than the other, to listening to them repeat ideas taken directly from TV “news,” and to following their spoon-fed “reasoning” about why we need more immigrants or fewer, or fewer guns or more of them, or more police or fewer, or whatever the latest distraction is.

I along with my corporate masters will calmly follow the progress of the Western powers toward world domination and I am resigned to that.

One-world government today means corporatism, fascism. It does not mean something else. The only thing remotely capable of contending with corporatism is nationalism, peoples united within defined territories against it. But who can do that? Russia is trying but they are not strong enough. They may hold off the inevitable for a few more decades but that is it. Same for China.

The Western powers are moving fast and they are moving now because if they don’t get control soon they may lose the chance. My guess is they are all but certain to win. So I have become a (reluctant) fascist. At least I know that about myself.

Repost: Our techno-future and the importance of the humanities

As AI and robots continue to develop, humans will have less to do.

Many of the human things that seem so important to us today will no longer be important. For example, how will humans be able to maintain their conceit at having status within some cult/culture when a robot will be able to do whatever they are doing better?

Just yesterday Microsoft announced what appears to be a major breakthrough in the technology for translating speech. A computer can now use a simulation of your voice to translate one language into another. The demonstration is English being translated into Chinese. (See this: Microsoft Research shows a promising new breakthrough in speech translation technology. If you want to hear the demonstration, go to the end of the video.)

As a translator, I can appreciate what this technology does. It’s close to the last nail in the coffin of my profession. By the way, this does not bother me at all. Machine translations, as they are called, are already pretty darn good for most written translations. Now Microsoft is giving us pretty darn good real-time interpretations of spoken language. It won’t be long before machines will be able to do all forms of translation faster and better than humans.

The day before yesterday I read an article—UBS fires trader, replaces him with computer algorithm. The replaced trader used to make $2 million per year. The algorithm cost UBS $100,000 to create. The writing is on the wall for other kinds of traders.

Even a great deal of science and technological development—if not all of it—will be done better by machines than humans. Machines can design experiements and conduct them with little or no human input, and one hopes, zero human cheating.

The writing is on the wall for all of us. Most everyone sees it to some degree, but, seriously folks, the writing is getting very big—it’s all over for bio-human conceits. We will almost have no purpose any more, except to be.

In past centuries, we “conquered” nature and stopped needing to fear it or be in awe of it. We surrounded ourselves with technologies that protected us and made us comfortable. But those technologies have grown so much, we will soon be in as much awe of them as we once were of nature. They will dwarf us as much or more than nature did our ancestors a million years ago.

Cars will drive themselves, machines will translate, good science will be conducted by robots, banks will be run by machines, and eventually our brains will be emulated on computers.

All that will remain then is what we now call the humanities—bio-people will still (I’m pretty sure) want to be with other bio-people, share food with them, talk with them, love them. And they will need to communicate better. The machines, by obliterating the conceits of human status and culture that rule the world now, will show us our need to communicate better.

We will use brain scans to assist us, maybe even some form of technological telepathy. But we will still need deeper and better rules for understanding each other. It is my belief that FIML, or something very much like it, will be the foundation for communication in the future.

On the HBD Chick Interview

…at the heart of the argument in CofC is the idea that these movements did not stand or fall on the power of their ideas but rather on ethnic networking (summarized in Chap.6, p. 215ff and especially 222-228). For example, the success of psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School was not due simply to the intelligence of Freud and Adorno and even less to the (non-existent in the case of psychoanalysis, or fraudulent in the case of the Frankfurt School) data. Their success derived from the group structure of these movements, which centrally involved their co-ethnics, and their ability to gain a foothold in the elite academic world and in the major publishing houses and media outlets, and their ability to ignore or expel dissenters. These movements were like religious cults centered around charismatic leaders (228-230). These movements would never have managed to be successful and influential in a purely individualist scientific culture (pp.234-236). (link)

I agree with MacDonald on this point (and many others). I also believe it is quite easy to see and understand the methods and results of Jewish ethnic nepotism, or ethnic networking.

False confessions

A good deal of research has been done on false confessions, most of it showing that a surprising number of people will confess to crimes they have not committed, especially if the interrogator is skilled, manipulative, and demanding.

A new study by Julia Shaw shows that false confessions may be even easier to elicit than that. Shaw says of the study:

Our findings show that false memories of committing crime with police contact can be surprisingly easy to generate, and can have all the same kinds of complex details as real memories. (Source)

Shaw also says that “…complex false memories exist, and… ‘normal’ individuals can be led to generate them quite easily.” She recommends better police interview techniques to prevent the problem.

I would contend that the problem of false memories, false confessions, and false interpretations is much more widespread than is generally believed. In a very deep and real sense, any memory or interpretation of our own or others’ behavior, feelings, or thoughts is liable to be false or so slanted it cannot be fundamentally true.

And that means that very large and complex parts of our lives are filled with errors about ourselves and others. We function as if in a dream whose very solidity is also dreamlike.

In most cases, there is little or nothing we can do about this except rely on established norms of behavior, whatever they are. In some cases, two people can do FIML practice or something similar and thereby relieve themselves of most of this problem.

When the Buddha said, “all conditioned things are like dreams, like illusions,” I really think he meant something like the above.

Humans are very susceptible to suggestion and the forming of false interpretations. Rather than experience the rich complexity and ambiguity of life, we tend to form false and narrow interpretations about it instead. Whole cultures and entire psychologies are built on top this basic flaw.

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The study: Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime.

Jonathan Chait and the End of Liberal Society in the West

The Charles Hebdo affair presents a difficult dilemma to liberals and the left in general. Typically, they have no problem with censorship of views they don’t like. They jump on board campaigns to fire college professors for publishing about race differences or White dispossession, and they shed no tears when some poor soul in the media gets fired for blurting out something about Jewish power in Hollywood. They would love for such people to go to prison. (Link)

It’s not just adults getting fired, but also poisoned, maimed, and harmed in many other ways short of death. And it’s not just adults, but also students with unpopular views being sidelined or undermined by teachers and others. And this sort of thing can occur at very young ages, including severe physical harm.