Networking 2019

The Alberta election is over.

During the election, Zain Velji asked us to be the “Campaign Manager” of our own social media.  I was going to write a blog post asking for more from people, but it kinda wasn’t really the time to revive a blog I haven’t used for over a year.

But now I am asking for more.  I have to face that this is my passion.

I’ve already posted in a couple facebook groups, and I’m scheduled to meet some people over the next few days, and I hope I can get more and more going.

Here’s one thing I posted to Alberta’s NDP Members Hub:

I don’t want to leave the future to chance. We can’t expect better outcomes if we stay the same, and just “wing it” with whatever we’ve got.

I want to build values-based community, with fundamental values that can unify people. Build structure and sustainable social networks that are valuable in every way possible to the members. Building skill, gaining knowledge and resources. Contending with the deeper reasons for this defeat, and even reaching for more than electoral victory.

And the first step is to connect directly with individuals who are interested. Let me know what you think.

Zootopia Might Not Take The Political Stance That You Think It Does.

  • In this movie the police heroes abuse their power routinely, bunny threatens to falsely testify against fox, and this is hunky dory.  And even together with the mafia, our “heroes” threaten someone with death to get the answers they want (or is it just Waterboarding, not lethal? Whatever).  No way that could go wrong!  What is this, 24 with Jack Bauer?
  • Two opposing government conspiracies in the same story?  Yet, somehow, both conspiracies seem to point in the same direction:  in our real world, both of them are the kinds of conspiracy theories that paranoid anti-social-justice people would believe in:
    • 1) people hide evidence of biological differences, even when they are dangerous
    • 2) people falsely create evidence of oppression by using False Flag Operations, to gain power!

      Hmm.

Though that doesn’t mean we should cheer for the villain.  Using False Flag Operations is still villainy that we should despise.  And, as the main character does, we should strive for some kind of harmony (something like Meta-Utopia is one way to do that) even if there were extreme biological differences, and even if there are a few dangerous people in a group.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag.  Some of those issues are only troubling because of the real world context we find ourselves in.

A few personal notes:

  • disappointed it was all mammals!  I wanted reptiles and such!
  • The different climates in Zootopia reminded me of a Meta-Utopia!  🙂
  • The movie suffers from Convoluted Blockbuster Syndrome.

Other points to maybe consider:

  • “kid fox wants to be an elephant” seems very pointed at transness.  Though (somewhat realistically) it turns out to be a “troll”, not sincere.
  • The main theme is bunny’s dreams/aspiorations I guess.  For a while, that was captivating me a bit, since that tension between hope for dreams and despair is where I find myself a lot.  But the movie just seems to say “Lean In!” I think?
  • And those damn cell phone apps these days!  Making the police front desk person distracted, har har.
  • And I was even put a bit off by how extremely they portrayed the hippie guy at the nudist place.  Gotta put LOTS AND LOTS of flies around his hair!  Make sure everyone feels that CRINGE!
  • a plant-based chemical turns normal people into savages.  Reefer Madness!  We also see them growing it in a secret drug lab.
  • The pro-tolerance protests started by the celebrity singer seem to run counter to reason, because aren’t the facts clear that there is a SUDDEN EPIDEMIC that is hurting prey?  I guess you could argue that the epidemic is still statistically very small, maybe not worthy of such concern?
  • the fox gets flashbacks to his childhood trauma (of being treated like a dangerous savage when he wasn’t) while looking at images of an animal that actually was dangerous and savage
  • does it make sense that both meanings of the clue “night howlers” turn out to be “correct”?  What are the odds?
  • When “biology” is used as an explanation, it’s set up as a plausible explanation that the audience should at least consider (and the one who seems incredulous at first is a huge lion authority figure who is at that moment using his physical intimidation to silence the biology hypothesis, clearly the audience is supposed to be against him).  Remember, inner biological instincts were mentioned in the opening exposition of the movie.*  If they wanted us to think that Judy was jumping to conclusions based on prejudice, not science, they should have made it clear before she said it.

*It almost seems like this facet of the story is crafted precisely as a thought experiment.  It’s like the writers are using the method that the main character from “The Illusionist” uses when getting the authority guy to try to lift the sword.  They hold it just long enough to get people watching the movie uncomfortable, then let it go.  I don’t think I have fully grasped the meaning produced by this in relation to everything else yet.

More Plot Without Conflict

There’s an art blog called still eating oranges and they made a fairly popular post called The significance of plot without conflict.

While unfortunately that post seems to mix up plot and narrative structure (or even a revealing of information), maybe the idea they talked about can be applied to either.

Anyways, here’s another very basic plot that has no conflict:  someone has a desire, and so that person takes an action to satisfy that desire.

You may not realize it, but this simple plot is very popular.

Where, you ask?  The porn industry!  The desire is “to have sex” and this causes the characters to have sex.  This is a logical cause and effect, a plot.  Though, of course, plenty of porn films have plots that are different from this.

Dream Humanism Goals

Here’s some of the things I’d like to work on bringing to my local area.  Also, I might start a Facebook Group for that soon.  For now I guess this is a rough copy, perhaps I will edit it later with more detail etc.


Better People

Making people more reasonable:

  • Improving people’s thinking skills
  • Perhaps popularizing Carrier’s “think something through every day” method, could compare it to the much more popular practice of regular physical exercise
  • Spreading Humanistic ideology
  • thus preventing bad political parties from even standing a chance, among other things

Better Democracy, Organization, and Community


Better Living Conditions

Make lives more free from economic worries, bad jobs, etc.

Epic Humanism For Calgary

My mind is starting to frequently wander into dreamer territory again.  So I might as well write it all down!

Keep in mind these are daydreams that aren’t yet totally well informed (especially the more extravagant parts).  As such they are filed into a subset of my “Art” category.

So I’ve been thinking that I really want to focus on improving my local city.  There’s a lot of reasons for that.  It’s an important city in the world, it’s where I live and thus have the most access to and influence over, I suspect it would be easier and more effective than focusing on a wider area, and if my efforts are successful, people should be able to copy them into a different city, like a sort of movement.

I’m really annoyed that the people who should already be doing this are not doing it.  The University of Calgary Freethinkers and CFI Calgary don’t seem to care much about issues in Calgary or Alberta.  Why the hell isn’t the local Freethinkers club dedicated to thinking through local problems?  I scroll through their twitter and don’t see anything that identifies them as Albertan or Calgarian or Canadian except for the name.  It’s all a bunch of talk about Trump and ISIS and Gamergate, all this really far away stuff.  They are totally generic.  What is the point of their existence?  Everyone can follow Pharyngula and get all of that stuff already.

While trying to find more like-minded people, I recently found Resolve, which is a thing in Calgary that aims to eliminate homelessness completely.  It takes donations from rich people and makes affordable housing for poorer people, and I’m sure that helps a lot but I don’t think it’s complete enough.  I think completely eliminating homelessness would require an economically self-sustaining system (which means requiring basically no charity at all once it gets started.  This could involve worker owned businesses,  an organized community, and might require lots of other stuff).  Still, I’d like to learn more about them and get involved with them.

Also Calgary as a whole needs an infusion of critical thinking skills, Humanist values, and stuff like that (this is another bare-minimum thing you’d think the local Humanist groups should be doing.  The U of C freethinkers twitter could maybe be categorized as a small dose of this, but I don’t see any effort directed to change Calgarians, they’re lucky if any locals outside their bubble even know they exist).  Instead of just trying to be the “most affordable” city in the world or the “nicest place to live” in the world, how about we try to be the wisest place in the world?  And the most well organized, socially connected, and civically engaged?

 

Decorative Science

I like a lot of neat visual treats like aquariums and terrariums and indoor waterfalls.

But another idea I’ve had would be more like a decorative demonstration of physics or something.

One idea was a table top (perhaps at a restaurant) which had a thin amount of liquid under glass and would show some kind of flow visualization.  Flow visualizations are kinda neat (here’s a hexagon flow), and people would enjoy looking at them.  More ideas could come from Schlieren Optics, and here’s something trippy you can do with high frequency strobe lights to demonstrate the acceleration of gravity or make neat patterns.

I’m sure I could find tons of other things besides flowing liquids, such as stuff with magnets, unusual gear systems, and instead of simple things, they could be more complex and meaningful.  But you get the idea.

Another Quick Thought

Just re-watching Richard Carrier’s talk Is Philosophy Stupid? again.  I think the implication is that we need a “philosophy revolution” the same way we had a “scientific revolution” back in the 1700s.

Also, I personally think we similarly need an “art revolution”!  ^^

Art could get far more advanced than it generally is currently.  Part of that is the lack of systemic vision.  Currently there is a very unorganized art world where experiments or prototypes are treated as finished products.  Also too much incomprehensible or meaningless art.  Plus I think there’s a bit of an epidemic of making art that is just making a little commentary on some other piece of art/aspect of the art world.

People need to view doing art as a kind of engineering.  It can go as far and as advanced as the engineering that goes into stealth fighter planes or whatever.  And I also think there needs to be more scientific study into how to make good art, and artists need to be more connected to that knowledge.

Ok I’ll end this here before it becomes a longer rant…

What Will David Lynch Be Like In 2016?

The last David Lynch movie was Inland Empire, made in 2006 (I have my own interpretation partly detailed in a previous blog post for those who are curious).

And now he’s set to finally make something again, in his return to Twin Peaks next year.

Suddenly there’s two things I’ve started thinking about in relation to this exciting development:

  • How David Lynch has changed since he made the series Twin Peaks
  • How the world has changed since then, and also since the last time he really made anything at all (2006)

So, for the first item, even the Twin Peaks movie (which came out shortly after the series stopped) was drastically different from the series to the extent that many fans of the series disliked the movie (I loved it).  And certainly David’s most recent work, Inland Empire, has left nearly everyone simply scratching their heads, unable to comprehend.  Will his new series shock fans of the original?

On the second item, one thing often noted about his movies is the sense of somewhat antique style.  How will this be done in 2016?  His movies have yet to feature a computer (if I recall correctly).  And something huge has changed since 2006, which will make his usual style even more at odds with the current times:  the rise of social media, and non-stop use of handheld devices.  We are now in a world full of Facebook and Youtube and Wikipedia, text messages and Snapchat and Vine videos.  Will any of this feature in his newest work?  Will a computer finally play as significant a role as the tape recorder, the camera, or the television?

So much to wonder about…

[EDIT:  about computers, in actual fact a computer is sometimes visible in a room in the Twin Peaks sheriff’s station.  Also, in an episode where the FBI is investigating Cooper, one person is using a laptop.  In the movie Lost Highway, a computer is briefly used at the prison.]