A random crazy thought

Walking to work this morning, an overwhelming idea occurred to me. Please consider:

Lucid Dreaming is a technique in which one trains oneself to check frequently if one is dreaming, with the aim of eventually being able to realise that one is dreaming during a dream. From this realisation, one can potentially take control of the dream, steering events in whatever direction one desires.

Cartesian Existentialism, loosely, is based around the exercise of systemmatically questioning all aspects of ones perceived reality. Descarte’s own line “I think, therefore I am” is a potential starting point for Cartesian reasoning. Descarte’s Meditations, in which this idea was introduced, compares perceived reality to a dream, and asks how we can know that this reality is not simply a very detailed dream, perhaps one induced by some entity to mislead us. This should be a familiar concept to fans of The Matrix.

Suppose then, that one asks this question: What if the reality all around us is a dream? If it is, can we then change the world around us simply by believing firmly enough that we are dreaming, and willing the change? If you think you’ve tried, what makes you sure that you’ve really believed? Is it even possible to believe such a thing and not be crazy? What are the implications of madness for effective lucid dreaming? …and so on.

Sweet dreams folks!

Things, Workmates, Automotive unwellness

A couple of people have commented to me directly about that last post, and I thought I should add some clarifications:
Type 2 love is not without passion or joy or wild crazy jungle sex. It just isn’t driven by these things. Type 2 love is the kind that you have to sit up in your seat and steer, unlike type 1 love (‘infatuation’? Thank you D.B.) which has a pronounced tendency to be on rails.
I would also add that, contrary to the opinions voiced by those who use ‘being in love’ as an excuse for rampaging destruction, type 1 love is still a voluntary thing. As a very clever man said to me recently: “You may not be able to control how you feel, but you can control what you do about it.”

My new replacement at work seems to be doing his best to drive me mad before I leave. He is a manic little british guy with a very low sense of humour, who seems to delight in breaking my concentration. He can probably also use Google. *sigh* If you’re reading this, A, rest assured that I would probably get along with you just fine if I didn’t have to bare all my most embarrassing workplace disasters for your benefit, eight hours a day.

My car is almost functional again… It has been a bit of a saga: first the prang, as documented in previous posts, then the tail-lights and fuel light dead, seemingly due to prang-damage, then the service and the new shock absorbers, then the timing belt exploding, just a few kilometers short of home, coming back from Porepunkah. Two days after that it was the alternator, stone dead on the way to work. I am seriously wishing I had gone with plan B and sold the thing, opting for a Smart car instead. Now I feel vaguely that I should make an effort to get my money’s worth out of all of these repairs. My once powerful and cruisy car is now teetering along on great floaty shock absorbers which bottom out at the slightest bump, gurgling and rattling and shaking, unable to yield the least ounce of power. I am afraid to ask WJM (my mechanic) any questions though, lest it cost me still more money.
Cars. Who needs ’em?evil

Things to tell the children

As parents go, mine weren’t bad, but I have concluded that they somehow failed to teach me a handful of things which might have made my life radically easier and better. Better both in the sense of being more pleasant, and much more importantly, better in the sense of being a better person, making a better net contribution to the world.

So, the latest key thing I have decided I have to make sure my children (as yet hypothetical) understand:
There’s more than one kind of love.
Recently I have read most of The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck, started reading Authentic Happiness by Dr Martin Seligman, and am about half-way through Not “Just Friends” by Shirlet P. Glass. All of this reading has been in an attempt to better understand how and why I so utterly betrayed the trust of my partner Erin last year, that it might never happen again, and hopefully to ensure that our relationship can heal.

There has been at least one common thread of information through all of these books which was seriously news to me: The kind of love that one has for one’s partner (as distinct from platonic love) comes in two distinct and almost unrelated flavours.
1. There is the love of ‘falling in love’. This is the love that comes on like a drug. Driven, often unknowingly, by forces far from rational, I suspect that this is the love that so many songs are written about. All, or 99.99% of couples begin with this kind of love. It’s what keeps the species going… and it’s at least partly a great big lie. Why? Because it never lasts. This kind of love tells you nothing about compatibility, about your capacity to tolerate one another in the long term, or even to communicate effectively. That part takes work, comes later, and feels different.
2. That other part. The kind of love that lasts has nothing to do with the first kind of love. Movie makers almost never depict this kind of love because it’s not obvious, and it’s not interesting to watch from the outside. This is the love of trust and compromise, where another persons frailties and imperfections are met and accepted. There isn’t necessarily any underlying sense of attraction to drive it. It is a private matter; where the first kind might be demonstrative, this kind of love is like a business partnership: you don’t talk about the inner workings to people outside of it, even friends, without taking care to ensure fairness and openness; insider trading is a criminal act.

It is this second kind of love that it’s vital to explain. To tell the young victims of mass-media overload that there is another kind of love, that you can’t learn about by watching video hits. To make sure that they know the difference between and relative importance of thse two very different things. To make sure that they know about the second kind before they hurl themselves headlong into the jaws of the first kind.

I dearly wish I’d understood that difference when I finished High School. I’m sure I could have.

Films, book, and the Trouble with Trouble

Long time no blog! Actually, I have blogged since that last post, but in vain… more of that in a moment.

Films! I have seen innumerable films since last post, mostly within a three day period, and they have all left lasting impressions:


Moving, beautiful and fun. This movie made me think that maybe I might like to see New York one day. Be fully warned though: this movie is in no way subtle with it’s message about AIDS. I don’t approve of Matt and Trey’s Everybody has AIDS swipe at it, but I can’t deny that the message comes on pretty strong.

Kung-fu Hustle

Absolutely frickin’ hilarious. Not only a brilliant Kung-fu move and great silly Chinese comedy, but also an elegant parody/one-upmanship of the Matrix movies.

Wolf Creek

Horrible, terrifying, excellent. I now have exactly zero desire to ever see wolf creek crater, or leave main roads and major cities at all ever again. In fact, I want a police escort 100% of the time, and I may have to start carrying a gun. A methodical thriller which gains a vast added power from being based on fact.

Final Fantasy VII – The Movie

Wha? I still don’t understand, but it was pretty. Assurances that I should play the (very long) computer game in order to understand the plot are, uh, nice. Thanks.


Mesmerizing. Neil Gaiman is still obviously filming everyone’s dreams and nightmares. eek An original take on the coming-of-age / acceptance-of-the-strangeness-of-childhood story. Gaiman has clearly spent more on the effects for this than he did on Neverwhere, which was awesome anyway. Thorne want DVD!

Ghost in the shell II : Innocence

Funky. Shirow Masamune rocks but he knows it. Be prepared for a lot of philosophical musing on the subjects of identity, intelligence, self-awareness, and cartesian existentialism. Oh, and some blood, and a lot of very very pretty animation and cool-but-faintly-disturbing music and sound effects.

I have also lately been reading an incredibly helpful book: “NOT ‘just friends'” by Shirley P Glass, PhD. I am presently only part way through the book, so a review will have to wait, but I am already feeling strongly inclined to recommend the book to all and sundry. So many things that seem obvious as soon as I read them, but which were far from it when it mattered. Enlightening.

Trouble has been troublesome lately in the sense that there are still on-going modem difficulties. My last post here was swallowed by one such outage, with Trouble falling over between my logging in and my pressing submit on the post. Grr! It has also been troubling insofar as I have not quite managed to put together the right finances to buy Trouble 2.0 yet. At least for this month, new shock absorbers have taken precedence, in the hope that my old car will stop grating itself on the driveway whenever I enter or leave. Specs for Trouble 2.0 are holding pretty firm at this stage, with all the alternatives being insufficiently cheaper to warrant their lack of performance. Presently:

Shuttle SD31P SFF barebone $659
Intel P4 D820 CPU $319
RAM: 2x1GBDDR2533 $238
2x250GB Western Digital HDD $274
No-name DVD-RW drive $65
Total $1,555
APC CS500VA UPS $139
Maxtor 250GB external USB drive $235

…with the slim possiblity that I will pick up a cheap or free USB2 internal DAT-72 drive from work in the interim, removing the need for the expensive Maxtor disk box.