Where you may Rome

I finally got through the second chapter of How the Irish Saved Civilization. The book already has me thinking, but not about the subject of title. As Thomas was describing how Rome fell… or his interpretation of it, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to how America is being run more and more. This isn’t a Bush thing. It’s something that’s been happening gradually through presidents, the “conscious” of a humanity, like Rome was, like America is trying to maintain.

A number of factors are mentioned. Food. Money. Troops. Tax Men. Social tendencies. And supposed secure borders. Like a building with major and minor support beams. Rome itself took out enough minor supports to expose the major ones… chop chop.

Money and tax men go hand in hand. I didn’t get the part about the tax man… but Rome didn’t like having citizens fuss and go over to barbarian territories because being born as a Roman citizen is a wonderful thing. It sounded a good bit like our prideful patriotism.

Taxes increased and the lords bled their peons more increasing the gap between the haves and have-nots. As many know the gap is increasing in our country for various reasons. Adding more features to our government. The ‘trickle-down method’ being deployed in a few presidencies. Media educated and under-educated lower class. The value of the dollar has been going down in recent years… listen to Ron Paul on that why. So they up minimum wage… then the market has to charge more for stuff to compensate. Immigrants, illegal or not, coming in and taking the lower paying jobs that young adults could be doing instead of playing games at home. Jobs and their wages get shipped over seas. Military and their wage is shipped over seas. Over dependency on cars, therefore foreign oil. All of this stuff and more play a roll one way or another, I think.

The book also talked about the people’s distaste for the military, for one reason or another. Requiring soldiers. Taking them away from their personal lives… something along those lines. I’m not savvy on this and when it may have started. But Vietnam and the current war have the country nearly in half or worse. If the people don’t back the war, moral among the military would be lower. I would think anyway. The more those who are drafted will do what they can to get out of it…. which, I think, leads…

Back to Rome where the military is forced to accept serfs as soldiers to keep their ranks; to lure them in they promise freedom and money. More tax is needed. The parallel I draw here is how military has become something recruited through the ‘willing’ lower class. The more uneducated the heavier the push. I think there may be a major difference in psychological outlook there as well. With a draft it was a requirement to go. It was your duty to answer the call of your country. It’s like the difference between having your dad pick your car for you or talking to a car salesman yourself. When the wheels fall off you can either think your dad’s a prick or you consider yourself an idiot.

The chapter was more complicated for me to grasp… but the lead up to Romes demise was a slow slope that started centuries before. From the sounds of it a long standing radiating pride mixed with internal desperation led caused a drift from their original core values. It sounds eerily familiar to me…

Ron Paul – The Dumbfounding Phenomena

This old man with what seems like a fresh outlook sure has a hold of the hearts of many an internet nerd. I’m still stuck in the same mind set for some reason. I think the man is the greatest thing since Triumph the Insult Dog (exaggeration).

Why is he so refreshing? Why does he kick ass so hard? Because he’s a politician who actually makes sense. He can explain what he’s talking about. And he does explain what he’s talking about. Check out the CNN interview.

Too bad the man doesn’t have a chance. Go Obama?

Discovering Daniel Tammet

Yesterday through reddit.com I stumbled into the Oddee website again. They have funny or interesting lists on various topics. Such as the 10 Real Life Super Heroes. Bizzar stuff, I wouldn’t mind researching a bit on that Tothian guy. He appears to have an admirable outlook on life while maintaining most of his screws… most.

The right has a number of links to other ‘articles’ on the site when I found the related Real-life Superheroes: 10 People with Incredible Abilities. Number 1 on that list is one Daniel Tammet, who prompted me to make this blog. I learned a number of things just by watching the video interview and reading about him. Like the word savant and that the Icelandic language is apparently really hard to learn. The mans abilities/brain are, of course, incredible. But the ability to do crazy math and other accomplishments is just garbage in garbage out functionality. What really caught my imagination was HOW he does it.

You can watch a Discovery Channel documentary separated into five parts on youtube. That same user also has the Kim Peek (Rain Man) documentary, also very interesting.

First I’d like firmly to put myself in my place. I am not a neurologist, a psychologist, or a philosopher… I do realize this and constantly remind myself of such while I whimsically dig channels to connect these deep pools.

Interacting with the world is what life does, whether the life in question is aware of it or not. From a cell filtering nutrients to an astronomer star hopping. I’d say memory recall is the is a step up from interaction. The how to that is what I think about here.

For the closest relation to Daniel’s case think of face recognition. It stems from the base requisite all creatures with a face: identifying your species and mate to reproduce. When we look at someone our brain makes unconscious determinations based on shape, texture, and mood that many would find hard to describe in full. We can identify a face we know/knew almost instantly. Even when it takes time to place a face no conscience thinking required, it just sort of bubbles up. Or doesn’t. And most adults could recognize tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of faces.

When Daniel thinks of numbers, this is how his brain thinks. Like our names on a page, the symbols making numbers are just identification for a shape. Landscape as he calls them. A colored, textured landscape that brings about feelings in him. 1 is bright and brilliant. 6 is an ugly hole. 9 is tall and foreboding. Pi is beautiful, he’s memorized it to 22514 decimal places the same way we remember the route to grandma’s house. And this way of seeing numbers allows him the ability to do massive calculations faster than a calculator in some cases. And, he’s able to learn a language in a week.

Kim Peek, another savant, has a photographic (eidetic) memory. He is able to read a page in a matter of seconds and retain it word for word. Unlike Daniel, he doesn’t have some tangible method. His brain just does it raw. Information goes in as is where the rest of us use what the documentary doctor called ‘conceptual encoding’. Which basically means if we were given a list of words and told to memorize it we would make connections to accomplish the effort, and we would focus. He doesn’t have to struggle with that filter we use for determining useful information. For Kim he hears it, it’s in.

Two very different men, savants, skills, and ways of processing information. I can relate, like many can, because I had my favorite courses in school often relating to the ones I enjoyed or found easiest to comprehend. A correlation strikes me with some studying methods teachers have suggested and friends of mine used to get through those courses I wasn’t good at. Copying info down in your own hand writing. Flash cards. Doodling subject related material. Practice through repetition.

Different people think different ways. Its surprising to me that this is such a common knowledge but little is said about looking within and learning how you think. It seems to me that this is that heart of individual learning itself. I have seen it glanced upon, so perhaps the concept is still in it’s infancy under the relatively new ‘sciences’ of psychology and sociology. Far older glances I have read under metaphysical ideas, by Aristotle’s terms, universal comparing to relative and philosophically related. Not so much the modern usage to label mystical stuff.


The best I’ve been able to determine, I think and learn most ‘natural’ by association. Like star watcher a learning new stars, I start with what I know to jump to what I’m learning. It’s progressive, often slow, and the more obscure a subject is to me thicker I am. Once I am able to start straight from what I was learning, it’s locked in my head. Which is why I’m good at figuring out and understanding the how things work and the why things work. Math, music, science, computers, technology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and learning stories (though not narrating them) are all interests of mine.

I can be fairly slow on the uptake. I find it difficult to pick up on random bits of information. Dates, vocabulary, languages, places, grammar, names, formulas are often hard for me to learn without spending enough time to establish a large enough base to build further understanding. It doesn’t help that I get obsessive in the areas I’m already established, then emotion and conflict gets in the way of the new learning.

Pillared learning:

Another way I wonder about this is through the relation of mind, conscience, and emotion. All are intangible ideas that reside ‘inside’ the body. Most have a sense of what these words mean. Mind processes, conscience gives permission, emotion determines priority… that is how I interpret them anyway. And yet they are all sub-functions to each other and they all rise learn and grow.

What would happen if a person had these functions swapped? These are just me playing… don’t read to much into them.

-> Would it be that if the filter (conscience) is processing (mind) it’s going to retain everything that goes through it. But the result of that is inhibited ability to relate to the present world because the filter is having to develop artificially elsewhere.

The filter (conscience) playing authority(emotion)? I would think this would make a more dramatic being because every choice would appear colorful or maybe just black and white depending on how extreme.

The filter (conscience) playing the body. I’d say a kinetic or even anxious person as ins and outs to processing would require movement of some sort…

-> How about the authority (emotion) is processing? Would it be that all information that comes in is going to be processed as beautiful, ugly, worthy, boring, neutral, etc? Would is also be tapping the face recognition/memorization abilities?

Authority (emotion) playing filter (conscience): Similar to the opposite only I think it would be more extreme to the point of bi-polar.

Authority (emotion) playing body: I’m picturing a child in a tantrum or dancing. Destruction of property. Various, more aggressive art forms.

These are interesting, I may keep on tomorrow… but my arrows I think may be where Daniel and Kim would be by my logic.

Godly Expansion

I would like to expand my position/opinion on The Force being considered a deity(s). By the standard definition of a god, saying The Force is God is backwards. Along the same lines as saying rectangles are squares… or if you want a less mathematical sense: The wood makes the carpenter. It only works so long philosophically before it falls flat.

Before I go into it let me say that I will not dispute there being a god just as none can dispute that there isn’t one… arguments about unfalsifiable claims is not what I’m on about.

The Force, at least how I currently understand people’s meaning when talking about it, IS everything living and not. A tennis ball, the gravity acting upon it and my will causing my body to toss it at someone. I guess you can see it as a catch all label for everything, whether I know about it or not. And that’s where many who use talk of a deity, by standard definition, fall down. A science pile of understanding… and a deity pile of understanding. Then archaeologists smash that interpretation with those little scrapers and picks.

That’s beside my point though… saying that god is the force is saying that god is everything. The ball, gravity, and me. Everything. As long as a person who mentions a deity understands this they can interchange the force with any word they want… they shouldn’t be offended by the misunderstanding though because they’re bound to run into the rest of the planet who will likely mistake their meaning.

A Bloggining Means


For myself and for those who happen upon here is a loose definition of this why:

A couple days ago Jedi Serenity (which is in no way linked to me or this blog) was made live. “In A Newbie’s Adventure” (and article) near the end Asta Sophi (it’s author) mentions wishing she had a blog as she went from pre-Jedi to Jedi (Thanks Asta Sophi!). And that really is what this blog is about. Voicing my personal philosophical ideas… so my future mind can track past thoughts, hence the title.

Currently, as in today, I don’t consider myself a Jedi. But my stumbling upon The Jediism Way has put my mind there… I have to be honest that it’s kind of nice to believe in something again.

Just as a brief belief history:
1982-2001: Non-denominational Christian
2001 – 2007: Theist
2007-Now: Agnostic atheist

Which leads me to The Force. Not a deity… yet still an intangible label for the gut and non-gut connection between life and the seemingly chaotic order I see in the world around me. It’s actually a simple step to go from thinking about the Tao to believing in ‘The Force’.  I think the concept fits the modern day spirit more because it holds water regardless of scientific findings since it is, by definition, an unexplainable nothing that makes it all work.  It can basically be seen as the true law of the universe, a mechanical nothing, and it’ll do it’s thing irregardless of whether one thinks or talks about it.

As far as the term “Jedi”. I am still considering this… Believing in a mystical force doesn’t make you a Jedi. It’s an off concept compared to Judaism based western religions where you believe in ‘X’ therefore you are ‘Y’ and should be reading ‘Z’. But the Jedi only have a fictitious universe and themselves to conger up their affiliation… there is no ‘X’. There’s only a sub affiliation of ‘F’ for Force, then chaotic random groupings of people adding whatever baggage they feel fits… *shrug* I don’t think I could call my self Jedi, a blatantly obvious word of fiction, while claiming to have come to that label rationally.  Also, I’m leery of personal molds; even ambiguous ones.