February 28th, 2003

Illuminati

(no subject)

We open with a stupendous animated sequence in the style of Tolkein's art/maps, where we see a group of Heros luring the race of dragons out of hiding/hibernation by making them think the end of the world is at hand.

They then trap the dragons in human form, leaving them still incredibly strong, but not able to make use of their more magical abilities.

Then each ot the heros takes on a dragon in hand to hand combat, brutal and bloody and unpleasant.

And then I woke up.

Freakiest dream I've had in ages. First dream in a long while that's had any kind of plot at all.

But the special effects/animation team deserve an Oscar.
Illuminati

Abstraction

One of the most powerful tools the mind possesses is that of abstraction - the ability to take a bunch of objects, group them together as a single object and then forget about the smaller objects unless absolutely necessary.

This is true in tool usage where "driving the car" is considered a single action as opposed to a complex series of individual actions, in tool description where "a car" is considered to be an object unless it breaks down (at which point it becomes a collection of smaller objects, each of which may or may not be the problem) or in pathfinding where as one gets to know an area the level of thinking changes from "Turn right into London Road, left down Restalrig Avenue, right into Loganlea Avenue and right into Loganlea Place" into "Follow the route to Andy's house."

We package things up and then forget why we put them together in the first place. We forget that they were ever seperate in the first place. We forget all the assumptions we made about each piece of the puzzle before it became a whole. This is the only thing that makes working with them possible (imagine trying to drive a car while visualising the effect of what you are doing on every piece of machinery in it), but unless you can see through the metaphor and retain awareness that metaphor is all it is, you're trapped in illusion.

You can see this all the time in business and politics. People come up with a theory of how things should work - a metaphor for the world. They then work according to that metaphor, because it allows them to deal with the complex situations in ways that can be grasped by the human mind. But they forget that these abstractions, ideals, beliefs, methods and theories are nothing more than abstractions, useful for certain situations but not an end in themselves.

When people get to the point of stating that things have to be done a certain way because "that's how the system works", the system has become more important than what it was supposed to promote, and that's a problem for real people, who rarely fit neatly into the assumptions that abstractions make.

Every political system is an abstraction, every philosophical ideal, every business process, every belief. All ways of simplifying the world so that we can recognise it and deal with it. All impossible to live without. All traps for us to fall into. Unless we can see them.
Illuminati

(no subject)

You ever thought that maybe we're engaged in a huge game of "Good Country, Bad Country"

"Look, I'm your friend and I'm telling you we don't want to cause no trouble, but my mate George over there, he's not so nice as me, right? Just hand over everything you've got and I'll try to make sure he don't do nothin' nasty to ya. Got it?"
Illuminati

customer service

In a vague bid to stop having to worry about my email rading service I subscribed to webbox. I handed them $15 for a year's service and they promised to do all the worrying for me.

I then found something that I thought could be done a bit better and emailed customer support about it.

I got this back:

Yes, this does need to be fixed. I'll let you know when we have the updates completed.
Hopefully this will be within the next week or so.


Now that's what I call customer service.
Illuminati

(no subject)

Oh - watched Buffy episode "Conversations with Dead People"

Goddamn, that was fantastic television. One of the best episodes of anything I have watch ever. I feel like a drooling fanboy. And that's probably because I am.