Vectors of Sapien Zeitgeist

Today we understand that the universe is ridiculously large, if not infinite, and that time and space is relative to a given reference point.

There are countless people in history that can be given credit for that sentence. Einstein (of course), Hubble, Doppler, Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Brahe, Copernicus, Gutenberg, Ptolemy, and however many other people with big names or remain nameless but influenced that understanding all the same. Did you notice that I put Gutenberg in there? His printing press was the reason Copernicus has Ptolemy’s star charts which he used to help him bring the idea of a sun-centered universe back into the perception of western humanity. Screws, optics, metallurgy, mathematics, electricity, etc. Countless stories to learn of people we’re ignorant of which led to my car or television.

I’m here telling you this today because November 9th was the late Carl Sagan’s birthday, which is when and why I decided to watch Cosmos this year. During that week I wondered when James Burke’s birthday was and decided to watch Connections, The Day the Universe Changed, and his other series. I knew of James Burke’s and Carl Sagan’s series because there was a summer back in my elementary school years when my mom let me rent VHS’s from the West Linn Library. Pretty sure my mom new of them before me so she may have some memory between the time of me picking up those tapes and their author’s putting them together.

All understanding any of us have is a compilation of uncountable stories and incidental happenstances to run-of-the-mill beings like you or me. This is the inspiration for a new project of study to see how applicable history is to learning everything. Instead of taking the compilation of human understanding at separated segments of learning I’m going to try and learn by following the evolution of memes which happened from antiquity.

I’m starting in the time period of early Mesopotamian literature (~2500BC) since that’s where we have ideas of those people written on clay tablets giving a sense of their applied tools use, focus of life, disposition toward the world around.

It’s been interesting so far, the ancient Sumerians view their gods in a similar way to the Greeks; in their interpretation of how they view natural forces (by today’s standards) as the works of deities with tales of anger, conquest, and stratified focus’. Sumerians believed that deities were immortal, that you can have part breed god-men which are generally great warriors, leaders, or both (Epic of Gilgamesh). Being human, part breed or not, meant you were mortal and could die and death meant an eternal boring sleep in the ground… nothingness… that sort of thing. I didn’t put together that before monotheism heaven was just a dwelling place for moody gods (natural forces) to watch over their domain and to bless or curse the land below them. I was not surprised to find Bible similarities… at the same time reading these stories has helped me to realize how futile it is for people to argue that the Bible is a divine text. I don’t plan to get into that too far until I get to that point in the dating process.

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The Music in Me

Last night Caitlin and I were watching American Idol two hour special where the judges (Simon, Ellen, brunet chick, and black dude) narrow the contestants down to 75 people before telling us about the top 24.

After that Caitlin randomly turned the channel over to MTV which was playing Ke$ha’s Tik Tok, prompted a conversation about the identity of youth reverberating styles from past identities. There’s a ton of crap that reminded me of the 80’s in Tik Tok. Tie-die-ish t-shirt with a neck hole that’s large enough to drape a ways down a shoulder, sitting on the ground next to a boom-box busting out her lyrics, while sporting big styled hair. The bling-cycle is pretty 90’s, imo.

We didn’t talk about this, seeing them just brought up an idea to ponder of where are we going next? We were in awe of the what’s already come about in within our available memory. When I was in late elementary school most classes had a Macintosh which rarely got used. I don’t remember there being a computer lab. My middle school was brand new, just made, and it had a small lab of Mac II’s that were on rolling tables! High school I was in a different school district and every teacher had at least one PC with Windows 95/98, there was a tech room, and a couple computer labs with 40+ more PC’s per. Today I have a phone more powerful than those school computers.

Fyi, the subject goes back to music in the paragraph after next.

The world has gotten exponentially smaller since the computer and the internet came around. The Iran elections. The not so closed preceedings of the Prop 8 trial. China’s cyber attack on Google. These are just a few examples of how the internet is changing the world into something more transparent. Every aspect of media is being affected… the business side of it is just insane to think about how fast the ground shifts lately. How many different styles of music have come about in the last century?

When I let my imagination ponder the situation I see a blurred picture. Perhaps its bias, but it seems central to America: piano, guitar, various drums, wind instruments, other strings, bells, banjo.  All of these different sounds being brought from their origins to hands who don’t know their ‘proper’ place. They try and figure out what sounds good. I think my brain is breaking trying to think about it all at once.  It’s every bit as complicated as trying new foods from the super market and just making something with what you have.

For my generation and a couple that came before it, at least by my interpretation, music and language was a means of expression and setting yourself apart from your parents. Among other things it’s expression toward whoever the authority is and declaring individuality. My generation is already desensitized to the crime and the language.  It’s hard to believe that my daughter will find a new shock factor to throw at me. Will my daughter find a new alienation factor in her generation? Maybe she’ll talk as fast as the Ke$ha chick sings, that would be kind of annoying I guess.

Right now I’m thinking that thinks will keep going like a string vibrating where these styles aren’t really anything new, just different arrangements of what we already know. It will be interesting to see how humanity changes over the next hundred years now that all nations and cultures can talk to each other. Computers will obviously get more refined, practical, and hopefully more reliable; but that paradigm is done shifting for the most part.  The next big thing that’s going to blow minds is nanotechnology. The possibilities of some new stuff I’ve heard of will change the way we think about matter.

I let myself ponder this on the drive to work this morning and I inevitably came to a point that I got to when talking about behavior vs emotion in animals… I wont go into that though.

On My Mind
Learning: Peaceful Days, I found the guitar tab I wanted, now I just need the fingers to do it in time.

Writing: Getting to working out my expression on the Venus Project and the IshTube group

Active: I want to do 50 jumping jacks and 10 pushups every morning and evening

Stuff I found of interest while online today:
Hilarious: Stache Power
Funny: Training the cat wasn’t working out
Funny: If he hollers let him go
Funny: Calvin & Hobs on religion vs. science
Funny: Ash Wednesday
WTF?: Peeing baby toy
Interesting: NY Times Graph Economy vs Stimulus no idea how true it is.
Interesting: Road to recovery since Bush administration again, no idea of validity.
Interesting: Some Perspective Regarding the Above graphs
Interesting: NY Times: Obama Approved Nuke Power for Georgia
Interesting: Tampa getting religious perspective
Interesting: OKcupid makes a case for dating older women I didn’t read all of it.
Interesting: The next Mars rover?
Interesting: Why Space Exploration? I agree with him
Interesting: Cricket mothers pass information to young
Interesting: Scientology Exploiting Haiti
Interesting: Catholic Church Bails on DC Foster Care… Then Blames Gay Rights. It didn’t matter

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…

A+ Certification… can I do it?

Last week an old acquaintance dropped by. He was a customer while I was landscaping for my uncle. I had a hand in making his back yard really nice for a season before it imploded on itself due to a lack of for-sight on the designers department. lol, I actually had a feeling about some things, but I’m no gardener. I was just an extra back to break while they gave orders ;p

Anyw00t, this guy comes into the place I work at to buy computer parts from time to time; he builds systems for ppl. This last time he and I talked a bit. His little company joined with a bigger one and they were still swampped. He pretty much guaranteed me a job if I could get A+ Certified. He know’s I’m a hard worker and he’d put in a really good word for me. I took his number and I left for home that night with dreams in my head of all the wonderful things I could do with the bigger paycheck…

BUT – Let me tell you about my experiences with A+ Certification. Back when I was a wee tike, Junior year of high school I was this massive computer brain. Well, as far as the teachers were concerned I was. Durring school I would have a class period devoted to running about interrupting interupting classes to try and make sense of the slightly smoldering computer in the corner. After school I worked for the school district. I would be dispatched out to any one of a dozen schools in the area to set up/upgrade/diagnose… whatever needed such. I saved my money, and went for my A+ Certification after reading a 800+ page book cover to cover.

To get A+ Certified you have to pass two tests. $145 per test. One test is for the hardware aspect of computers. The other software; mostly operating systems. You have to pass them both within a month of eachother.

First time out I took them both in one sitting. I passed the hardware test, no problem. Failed the software by two questions. $290 to the cause. Ok, no problem… I read up on the things I missed, went back devoting another $145 to the cause. Failed by one question. Ok, just got paid… read some more. $145. Failed by one question. My month was up so I’d have to take the hardware test again. I blew more than $500 on this thing with nothing to show for it. Period.

What’s worse, one of my friends walked in(no reading) and took a Beta version of the A+ Certification… it was like a trail version to see how well it would do with people. This was offered after my run. Anyway… he screwed around more than me, and I would have to correct his mistakes at times. He passed first time out. WTF!!!?!?!

Perhaps this is where my mental dificulty lies when trying to do this all over again. Overcoming the self-doubt and “will it be worth it” nagging at me as I shell out $290 that could potentialy be for nothing. I’m living with my mom who’s unemployed and as dependant on me for money as I am on her; we can do alot with $290. But alas it’s currently my only key to getting out of this mess and finally start a life on my own. So I’ve set up a base station in my room: A computer with lyric-less music and a bed with a reading lamp…. My resulve is tightening. The reading has started……

…. To be Continued