Life is a dream, and so is mathematics

So it’s day two (I’ll give up the day counting tomorrow, perhaps instead needlessly referring to the date as a matter of urgency like intergalactic Avon lady, Captain Kirk.)

The internet is down. THE INTERNET IS DOWN. Less pressingly, there is a power cut, so I may have to molotov cocktail some potatoes for dinner (if you are insane and want to try this, don’t forget to foil wrap first.)

I have just ‘put’ the kids ‘to bed’, quotes highlighting the irony of this statement given that upon closing the door they spring out of their beds and start hopping about like miniature clowns. In any case, I wish them pleasant dreaming, no matter how lucid. I am having the genius dream at the moment, in which I come up with an inspired and earth-shattering idea, only to wake up with a vague sense of the idea being something to do with… whatever it was – beans, or god, or whatever. The genius dream is reminding me that I know nothing.

And now that the internet is down, I really have the chance to be still and reflect upon my own idiocy. I had forgotten who the real brains of this outfit is, and I must dutifully put two thumbs up for the hive mind that we internet dwellers have become. I am lost without it. I don’t even own a thesaurus, so how am I suppose to pretend I’m clever? Well, I do own one, but I’m using it as a bookend for my Paul McKenna DVDs. In any case, where I was under the firm delusion that I was buttressing my mental reservoirs or some other mixed metaphor, in reality I was simply becoming more efficient at writing search engine queries (‘triangle washing instruction mean’, for example).

(it means you can put bleach in according to Wikipedia, but no doubt I will forget that presently)

The founder of the world wide web mused that most people that use it think the Internet is the world wide web. It is said that now most people think the Facebook is the Internet. Much like we did in the 1960s, we now believe that our lives will become more sophisticated because of our techno-crutches, that we will have more time for ‘more important things’, with increasingly accessible technology. But I really can’t see that happening because we are a lot more stupid than we surmise. We have simply adopted these technologies to perform what we would have done anyway. There is no extension of the activities of people, no sublimation…and perhaps we are even stupider because of it. That is why I was so disappointed with sites like StumbleUpon, because they work on a peer-popularity principle, which is exactly the opposite reason to why I signed up to it. By the peer popularity principle, you are going to Stumble Across the very-most middle of MOR, and you will read exactly what everyone else is reading. And yes, your logical inference is correct: I do want to read what everyone else does not want to read, and I don’t want to read another list compilation of your top ten compilation albums of 2012.

The internet is a playground for the hyperreal experience, but I don’t think this is a new human pastime contrary to what sociologist Jean Baudrillard might say. I don’t think that becoming the hyperreal defines our epoque at all, inasmuch as we have always dreamed and abstracted – we have always believed that things could be better – when they actually probably won’t be. If we didn’t believe that falsehood, we would voluntarily discontinue ourselves from existence. We have always believed in the illusions that make up our perceptions, and have tried to attain, for example, the celebrity lifestyle and the happiness of others that is itself not real, and never was. I concede that it may well be more extreme now, but Baudrillard perhaps labours under the notion that we have the capacity to be rational; that we have simply lost our heads along the way. I do not believe that anyone is rational; such a belief has been the downfall of many, and the seed of ideologies, beautiful or horrific, to boot.

To go off on a terribly pompous tangent about reality (I can do that because this is a blog, I can write what I like) I successfully melted my brain today. What prompted me first to do this (and it blew my mind even more than Philip K Dick’s VALIS) was a book, The Master and his Emissary, by Iain McGilchrist. I had never heard of it until was lent to me as homework by a friend who quite frankly couldn’t be bothered to put in the leg work and read it himself. It’s part of a wider section you will now find in your local library called Popular Neuroscience, which is largely bullshit, although I must admit that this book is not as excremental as the rest. Essentially, McGilchrist proposes (amongst many interesting things that will make you think twice, or three times, or perhaps even zero times, about the way you think, but with happily no consequence on the way you think…this book is a a Mobius strip-shaped quagmire you must read it!) that the whole physical world is a construct of your perception. We are built to perceive only what our senses allow. We have tactile sensations that amount to electromagnetic interactions with what is around us. We only perceive three dimensions (excluding time), but there are many more that we infer via the invention of mathematics, a product of our minds. The whole universe that we perceive is just that – our perception. Life is a dream, and so is mathematics. And the physical rules that we observe in the universe, the logic we apply to it in order to describe it, is similarly a construct of our own minds. Am I going mad? Does that make sense?

To put it how Ted Theodore Logan might put it: there could be all kinds of crazy shit going on in the world that we simply can’t perceive or detect or infer in any way, because our defining of the world relies (probably, I haven’t really thought about it but I’m going to go ahead and commit like any typical idiot on a soapbox) on our senses, and more specifically, on our brains.

Soooo what do you do when the internet is down? Here’s my top three things I did to amuse myself today:
1. Read three chapters of Dead Souls (highly amusing. That’s why it’s number one)
2. Pencilled my eyebrows mega bushy and went for a walk to drink up agog sideways glances
3. Applied wax crayon to paper in an act I naively and erroneously refer to as ‘art’

I would like to note that the pen is the binding tie crucial to the inception of this rather lame, inexplicably florid triptych.


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