Tuesday, February 24, 2009

...from Chuang-tzu.

Now there is a saying about this, but I don't know if it's in the same category or not. If being in the same category and not being in the same category are construed as being in the same category with each other, then there is no difference. In any case, let me try to say it.

There is a beginning, there is never beginning to have a beginning, there is never beginning to never begin to have a beginning. There is existence, there is nonexistence. There is never beginning the existence of nonexistence, there is never beginning never beginning the existence of nonexistence. Suddenly, there are existence and nonexistence, but we don't know if existence or nonexistence actually exist or not.

Now I have said something, but I don't know if what I have said actually says anything or not.

~ from Chuang-tzu, translated by Thomas Cleary

Monday, February 23, 2009


Toward a usable logic for human interactions, communications, constructions, understandings, etc. I welcome comments, corrections, suggestions, disagreements, connections, etc. Send email or do fnord (comment)!

Entities or Objects

Let any letter, word, or phrase represent an entity or object, eg. "A", "X", "computer", "snail", etc.

Cognizing Entities

Let some letters represent cognizing entities, who create a world thru embodying a world. Eg. I, U.


Let a set of parentheses represent an "impression" - a dynamic pattern of thinking about a given subject which comes before language, before description. By putting you in parentheses, I create you for myself. Only cognizing entities have impressions.


reads "I's impression of U" or rather, "my impression of you."
An impression can change from moment to moment, & must.

If I haven't yet considered my impression of you, I can ask myself:


"What is my impression of you?"
By posing this question & attempting to answer it, I can dramatically alter I(U) thru a recursive feedback process.


Let a set of square brackets represent a "description" - a performance of a representation, given in some language, & once given, fixed in time. A new description may be added to th old, & th old may be declared obsolete, but a description, once given, remains.


"my description of you (at a given time/place, in a given medium)."

Descriptions do not "contain" meaning - they get their meaning thru impressions of cognizing entities. Tho th content of a description cannot be changed, my impression of it can, & must. Indeed, I have access to an understanding of a description only thru an impression:


"My impression of my description of you."
Altho on some level, we can both encounter th same description (hear th same story, watch th same song & dance, etc), we cannot possibly have th same impression of it:

I(I[U does not equal U(I[U

"My impression of my description of you does not equal your impression of my description of you."


Let a set of curlique brackets represent a "relationship" between two or more (cognizing) entities or objects.


reads "the/a relationship between I & U" or simply "our relationship".

I have access to an understanding of a relationship only thru an impression:


"My impression of our relationship."

Primacy of Impressions

I cannot know directly anything other than my own impression of an entity, object, or relationship. All meaningful terms, for me, must start with I(.
Thus I cannot know (for example):

  1. U - "you"
  2. I - "me"
  3. U(I - "your impression of me"
  4. U({I,U - "your impression of our relationship"
  5. U(U - "your self-impression"
  6. U[{I,U - "your description of our relationship"
  7. U[U - "your self-description"
  8. U[I - "your description of me"
  9. {I,U - "our relationship"
  10. I[U - "my description of you"
  11. I[I - "my self-description"
  12. I[{I,U - "my description of our relationship"

But I can know my impression of each of th above:
  1. I(U - "my impression of you"
  2. I(I - "my self-impression"
  3. I(U(I - "my impression of your impression of me"
  4. I(U({I,U - "my impression of your impression of our relationship"
  5. I(U(U - "my impression of your self-impression"
  6. I(U[I,U - "my impression of your description of our relationship"
  7. I(U[U - "my impression of your self-description"
  8. I(U[I - "my impression of your description of me"
  9. I({I,U - "my impression of our relationship"
  10. I(I[U - "my impression of my description of you"
  11. I(I[I - "my impression of my self-description"
  12. I(I[{I,U - "my impression of my description of our relationship"

Knowing What I Don't Know

This model may prove useful in pointing at th limits of our understanding.
For instance, I know from th rules so far that I cannot know:

{I,U - "our relationship"
U({I,U - "your impression of our relationship"

But I can know:

I({I,U - "my impression of our relationship"
I(U({I,U - "my impression of your impression of our relationship"

So, I can now ask myself th following question:


What is
my impression of
th relationship between
my impression of our relationship
my impression of your impression of our relationship

&, having given that some thought, I can attempt to describe that impression with:


My description of
my impression of
th relationship between
my impression of our relationship
my impression of your impression of our relationship


Does my taking match yr taking
or my me, yr you?
What happened in those nows
that can't happen again, or must?
How do you look yr taking?
If I make a sideways gesture,
noticed or not
(how not to drag us drugged & screaming)
which way do tomorrows fall
or do they fall at all?

p.s. Happy 23 Day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Health Care Design Intensive in Baltimore

I went w/ School for Designing a Society & th Gesundheit Institute to Baltimore this past week for a Health Care Design Intensive. A hundred or so people gathered in th American Visionary Art Museum to generate new alternatives & conversations about more desirable ways of doing health care. Guests included students, artists, nurses, activists, doctors, patients, visionaries, educators, clowns. My friend Susan hosted, along w/ Patch Adams, who I found delightful. We had talks, workshops, design groups, Q&A's, polka dances, powerpoints, & singalongs. I fell in love w/ several great people & great ideas.

On th first day, Gesundheit had an event to raise funds for a hospital they've been building in West Virginia for some years. I learned about their work & offered my own contribution in th form of two old Nodal Nim songs, performed by Jacobbarton on udderbot & myself singing & mandolinning (vegetables you've never heard of & love song 5).

Patch led us in a workshop on loving, which consisted of four parts:

  1. We paired up & hugged - good hugs - long hugs - hugs in which we make ourselves entirely present w/ each other. One of th ladies that I hugged during this part found me every day of th conference for another hug, & each hug felt just incredible.
  2. We paired up w/ someone new & took turns gently holding th other person's head, gazing into their eyes, & saying, "I love you. I love you. I love you," for quite a while. I found that at first it didn't seem right, but then it seemed exactly right ("Yes, I do love this person!") & finally it seemed far too mild! I felt a way not at all done justice by th phrase "I love you." (Patch said later, in th context of a poetry recital slash mic check, "All love poems are understatements," & that made a lot of sense to me after this exercise.)
  3. We changed partners again, & this time, person B rested their head on person A's lap while person A gazed into person B's eyes & comforted them in silence, touching them, soothing them, imagining that their mother had just died. It felt great, & I think I let go of much of my pain then (for I found myself clinging to suffering very very little thru th rest of th conference). Th woman I comforted gushed afterward & seemed to feel quite a bit of relief as well.
  4. Finally, we paired up w/ someone new & took turns, while gazing into each other's eyes & not breaking eye contact, telling th story of love in our lives. Everything good, everything loving. I talked about my mother, memories of my father, my dog, my housemates, my former lovers. My partner, an older woman, told me about th first time she fell in love, & tears welled up for both of us. I felt close to this woman thru th rest of th conference, & talked to her a bit each day after that.

I wanted to share these exercises because I think they effected me th most. I learned that I can love perfect strangers, genuinely love them, & it feels very right to do so. I've started moving toward an greater embodiment of compassion, & having done this workshop, I think I've come far toward a goal: to genuinely feel love for everyone in my life.

I made good friends: a film-maker named Koushalya, who I hope to eventually clown w/ on th subway in NYC to get smiles of th miserable unsmiling masses (th little darlings!). I asked Koushalya th time & she showed me her watch. It has no hands. "Time is an illusion," she reminded me, & I laughed w/ joy at her thoughtful & welcome perturbation. Her filmmaking team: Accessible Horizons.

& six young students from Austria - Alexander, Reinhard, Giselle, Paula, Matteös & Lucy. Dressed as clowns, they smiled, danced, sang songs about sushi, wrestled, hugged & kissed us all. I felt fantastic in their presence, & they inspired me to relax & show love. They have intentions to build a hospital in Austria called Einherz, which means "One Heart." I will miss them & remember them, & I wish them th best. Paula made me promise to visit them in Europe... so who wants to sponsor a trip overseas for Andrew?

So much more to say. So much fun & love. It carried over today, as I stayed out dancing in Urbana at th Independent Media Center, to music DJed by my good friends Nate, Chris, & Elizabeth. I'll end w/ a new self-description in th form of a list of intentions that I put together at th Intensive:

* I live in love.

* I sit in gigantic NOW.

* I remember that I am myself AND I am not myself (I don't take myself literally).

* I LOVE US (& I will never again not love a stranger).

* I am not, but I am becoming.

* I work (moment to moment) to trivialize (projected) power differences while cultivating appreciation for distinction out of love.

Love to All,