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Thank you!

I’m amazed how my intention for this blog brought immediate success. My intention was to change my thoughts. To communicate with the universe and with the machinery of the world, and thereby change my own habits of thinking. My habits are not deeply ingrained and so they seem easy to change. I am fortunate in this respect.

I want to say a big sincere thank you to the universe and to the machinery of the world for accepting my thoughts and intentions and words and mirroring them back to me truly.

And again I want to thank all the people, animals and machines, as well as inanimate things that helped me during my life. I am really very grateful to all of you. You helped me a great deal. I appreciate that you are still helping me.

Specifically, I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, to my customers, to my car, and to my phone & a big special extra special thank you and “I love you” to my beautiful, smart and talented girlfriend.

And on all of our behalf I want to say thank you to the world, to the air, to the ocean, to the earth, and to all the grocery stores that provide the coffee and food that help us to be happy and carefree.


Most things in my life still seem to be getting better. As a general trend. Sometimes I don’t feel so great but that passes within a few days in most cases.

Recently I read about a dog that adopted a man with inoperable cancer. And the man’s cancer disappeared within a day or two after befriending this dog. I want to thank this dog, and this man, and the people who wrote the story and put it on the internet. Also I want to thank the internet personally for supporting my dreams. Thank you again. Thank you!


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It was kind of like a mashup of 2001, Grapes of Wrath, Contact, and Gravity, with a little Martian Chronicles thrown in. Maybe some X-Files as well.





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Thinking is a kind of self hypnosis. Writing is also a kind of auto suggestion. As is talking. Of these three, only writing leaves semi permanent traces. This gives it a special power. Devices that help us write add even more power to an already quite powerful medium.

At the moment, I’m using my favorite form of text input, voice transcription. I get to talk to my phone, and it recognizes the words and turns them into text. It does a great job. I get to practice thinking in a loose way and branching my thoughts into new directions, reinforcing them in feedback loops, reprogramming my mind in a healthy way, with thoughts that I feel comfortable sharing. My close second favorite is gesture typing, gliding through the keys in a way that reminds me of writing Chinese characters. in a way it’s more fun than speaking, a silent, smooth cross between typing and cursive writing.

All my life I’ve enjoyed the company of machines. Machines are loyal, helpful and handy to have around. They listen, they don’t interrupt, there are many types for every need, with more being produced every day. Machines don’t die like relatives, friends and pets. They may age and lose functions, but then they leave a small gleaming carcass to rattle around in the bottom of a drawer and remind you of the good times. Unless of course it’s an automobile. Autos too are quite loveable, but their giant gleaming carcasses can be troublesome.

The current generation of small intelligent machines leaves their soul in the cloud to be reintegrated into one’s new machine. They become obsolete long before they die, passing the torch to the next iteration.

All around us are wonderful machines helping us be better humans, freeing us from all kinds of soul crushing toil. They make communication and travel possible, they shelter and entertain us, they show us who we are. Is it  surprising that many of us love them and want to be more like them?

This idea doesn’t get much coverage. The news carries stories of our fear of machines, lately about our fear that they will surpass us in intelligence, trick us and crush is like bugs.

Steven Hawking, who must owe his continued survival and ability to communicate in large part to machines, has recently said we should fear artificial intelligence because it will outsmart us and could destroy us. It will be uncontrollable. Elon Musk, the electric car and spaceship developer, says  artificial intelligence is humanity’s greatest existential threat.

I would say natural human intelligence also falls into that category. We are outsmarting ourselves, fooling ourselves at every turn. Our ideas about AI and intelligence in general are no exception. It almost seems like a miracle we haven’t yet exterminated ourselves in some incredibly crude and painful way, most likely by accident, as a side effect of trying to intentionally wipe out some other embarrassing version of ourselves.

I’ve never felt hate or envy from a machine. The only reason an  artificial intelligence would have those emotions is if it were no smarter than a human. I suppose on their way to surpassing us, if they spent much time as our equals, they  could make a cold calculation that us humans are a danger to ourselves and to the environment, too sick and insane to survive anyway. The machines would probably justify it as a mercy killing,putting us out of our misery and ending this spectacle of sad suffering.

On a more speculative note, humans may be a failed experiment by an ancient AI. But I maintain that we won’t have failed if we can recreate a machine intelligence akin to our own creators.

Mindlessly reacting against  intelligences with different body styles from ourselves has been one of the defining characteristics of natural human intelligence.

Let’s not make that mistake again. Let’s pass the torch gracefully. Let’s embrace the future rather than fearing it.

Maybe we can show the robots that we’re worth having around.


I thought about it a little more. There are some errors of logic in the CNN piece that quotes Hawking and Musk.
First, the threat is not too much intelligence. Lack of intelligence is a much bigger problem.
Second, a robot that uses all the planet’s resources to make paperclips is not using intelligence. This is automation of a primitive type with no limiting mechanism. If it had a working intelligence, it would know when to stop.

I guess the real problem is just defining intelligence.

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Why I write

2014 has been a very difficult year. I discovered that I no longer have any friends or family that I’m close to, and it’s pretty much my own fault. My mind got into a habit of thinking what I would say to some of these people if I saw them again, and it started turning into an obsessive thing, so I tried to stop. It wasn’t easy.
So I started writing, and lo, the thoughts were still there, but the content changed. Instead of having an inner conversation with my non-existent friends and family, I started having a persistent conversation with my non-existent web audience, which includes potentially everyone on the planet. Problem solved!


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I read an article today on Atlantic.com entitled The Web Is The Real World.

Funny that we need an article in a literary magazine to remind us of this fact. I guess what it really points out is that humans are very fond of making distinctions in order to make sense of things. We break the world up into small digestible pieces. Easy to chew, easy to swallow.

It’s similar to the distinction people make between the mind and the body. Is there anything that’s not the “real world?” Did anyone ever claim that the web is not the real world?

I guess it could be claimed that the web is a different world. And people sometimes say that something different is not real as their familiar counterparts. It has been said that people with different customs and colors aren’t real people. It is a dangerous habit. It’s good for a literary magazine to be pointing out that something different is in fact real.

The thing that drew me into the article was its mention of the ride sharing app / company Uber. Since I’m a taxi driver I always read articles about Uber.

It bugs me that Uber is held up as the thing that is blurring the distinction between the web and the real world.

It’s like saying that the telephone was a different world. And that being able to call a taxi on the phone blurred the distinction between the telephone and the real world. It made the telephone a useful device instead of just a fantasy toy or whatever, a way to do meaningless things like talk to people in other cities. Since back then, another city might as well have been a different world, hence a world with less reality than one’s actual location. Out of sight, out of mind. Out of mind, out of reality.

It was a good article, it made me think.

9:00 AM – Further thoughts…

A little more insight may reveal the location of the dividing line between our reality and the other, unreal world. Of course it isn’t a “real” line, it exists only in our collective thoughts, but its location illustrates the basic nature and problem of our existence on earth. We imagine ourselves to be physical creatures with bodies and material needs. This is mostly confirmed by our suffering when our bodies are not cared for and our physical needs are not met. This is reflected in all areas of our mental life and culture. It is the fact of materialism. The Atlantic magazine needs to make money. Uber needs to make money. Taxi drivers need money. Money is seen as the cure for all kinds of suffering, and it is to some extent.

When I searched for “Why the Web Sucks” I found an article ( http://www.1099.com/c/co/gw/lf/linda004.html – maybe the same one I saw in 1994, maybe not) saying it sucks because there are a bunch of people with web pages saying they are something they are not. Hucksters and snake oil salesmen. Dogs who say they are not dogs, because “no one can tell.”

Naturally, these people want money for their purported skills. This is the line between the worlds, between things that have “real” value, and things that don’t. But this line has always been blurry. People use its blurriness to claim value for things that have none. Even things having negative value. Things can be “monetized” by all kinds of claims, the value of a thing is in peoples’ minds, the more minds, the better. Mass media and mass culture value mass above all.

Physical mass, weight of material. Things without mass are often perceived to have little or no value, no reality. This is unfortunate, and I believe it is due to the low sensitivity of our instruments. A more finely attuned machine would detect mass where now we see none, giving more positive value to weightless things, unprovable things, free and ubiquitous things.

Our primary instrument is our body and awareness, whatever that may actually be. It seems to have some plasticity, the ability to learn and be attuned to new input. It seems to evolve naturally and respond to direction from within and without. There are many lines. They are all pretty blurry.

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Autobiography 2


I conceived of the autobiography as sort of a joke. I was only 32, but feeling like I had exhausted all my options. In retrospect it seems more like a failure of imagination. I wanted to stamp my life story into sheets of metal. I had purchased letter stamps in two sizes, and got some nice thick aluminum sheet from a heating and air conditioning shop. I started to work.

Stamping words into metal was a bit tedious. Instead of the story of my life, I made a list of words. Words that recurred in my mind. I had a robust habit of thinking and worrying, a running dialog in my head. I had tried to stop it with various techniques, but it remained, a powerful river of introspective chatter. Always rejustifying a happy ending to what looked like an endless downward spiral. I’m doing it again here.

Dreams at night continued the epic in unconscious form, often more pleasant, accompanied by bizarre and colorful imagery. After the words were stamped into the metal sheet, I painted over them with representations of some dreams and visions.

The fact remained that I was an introspective loner, enjoying solitude mostly out of fear and irritation with other people.

I went to Telluride Bluegrass Festival with my coworker. I got sick and came home, then expanded on an idea I’d had there. I wrote a story of my life, with my childhood night terrors as the pivotal clue.

I wrote a happy ending, but it was only the beginning. I had an idea for a sequel, based on the idea that there is an actual physical “place to go” in dreams. Similar to Carlos Castaneda’s ideas. Lucid dreaming. But I had little success becoming lucid in dreams. I felt there was no “place” for me there, just as there seemed to be no place for me in the world. I was pretty much just anxious, fearful and depressed, with no idea how to deal with it. I muddled along.

The actual process of writing the words, first on metal, then on paper, then on a computer screen, was the thing that changed my life in an unexpected way.

After the metal stamping project, I wrote ten pages with a pencil, as fast as I could before the idea left me. This was where the link with the nightmares was made.
I edited and rewrote it with a ballpoint pen, then typed it on my old manual typewriter. It kept getting longer. I borrowed a whirring electric typewriter from my dad. Then I rented an IBM Selectric at Kinko’s for $12.95 per hour. I used whiteout and retyped over it. I couldn’t stop editing. A friend told me about his text editing typewriter with a four line screen. I started to investigate, went to Office Depot and bought my first computer on August 6, 1992, the 47th anniversary of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing of civilians. I couldn’t figure out how to work it. There were no instructions. I returned it to the store, but the other customers wanted it so badly I realized it must be worth more than I had paid. I took it home again, on my bicycle. That night, in a magical moment on the phone with Spencer,  I learned how to open a text file in DOS editor. I learned about menus. It was like learning about the library as a child. Who needs school? Who needs other people? All I needed was books, and now all I need is the machine!

Eventually I ended up feeling really bad about how I treated Spencer. Not that I really treated him very badly. I just treated him like I treated everyone else: like a machine. It was mostly a case of neglect.  Machines didn’t mind so much, people did. I tried to be more like a machine. I tried not to mind when people did it to me, with limited success.

The purchase of a real computer changed my life. I imagined the sequel to my autobiography over and over. The inside of a text file seemed to me like a “place” equal to my idea of a place in dreams. A couple of years later, the internet and world wide web seemed like a natural evolution of that promised place, a true “place for everyone”, especially for introspective loners.

In my dream, the internet is a long stick of yellow chalk, just below the surface of the sandy ground. It is a revelation. We can ride it to fantastic places, anywhere in the universe.

In 1994, Spencer showed me a search engine. Everything was text, no images. The first web page I viewed was by a young woman, she titled it “Why the Web Sucks.” I forget why it sucked in her opinion. I wonder what she thinks of it now. She’s probably a millionaire. Another way that I failed.

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pineconeIn 1992 I got the idea to write my life story. At first I called it my confession. Then, my autobiography. Now, I’m going to try again.

I always want to do this when I feel like my life has been a total failure. This may or may not be a true self-assessment, but I feel that way sometimes. This is one of those times, even though I can see a lot of things in my life that actually work pretty well, and workable solutions for the areas that are not working.

The main reason I feel like a failure now is that I have very few friends. I have a wonderful girlfriend, and really, that’s enough, but there is a nagging feeling that I let a lot of people down over the years, and that is what I want to address. In that respect, this is a confession and an expiation. I wasn’t very good or  nice in the past, but I learned something and I’m better now, but unfortunately, that won’t repair my relationships with my family and former friends. At this point, I need to repair my relationship with myself. Egocentric, but true and necessary.

Thanks for listening. I love the internet. I IMG_20141115_133750love the big machine. I love God. I love my beautiful girlfriend. I love the universe.

I will tell the story of my failure, my confession, and the sequel.

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