Mike Burr - log

[wip][mind] The Big Book of Mental Metaphors

One thing us auto-sycophant ruminants like to do is say "ooh, hello! book idea!" from time to time and the imagine the adulation for really getting it off your chest, all the stuff we've all been thinkin' lately! You go to the trouble of buying a leather suit with tweed patches, buy a $300 turtle neck, and crudely cut it to show that you have clearly removed the turtleneck and thrown it away and also took a bit extra just to be on the safe side. Your acceptance speech begins... "herp, derp, I'm just a simple country lawyer."

It makes me wretch too. I'm with ya. Except, maybe you're a naturally talented hardworking future author who, on the highway of your life, despite yourself, keep getting off exits to the dusty, sketchy little towns with gas stations for some quick self-loathing. Also, we might need gas, see? Anyway, you do too. Pretty sure.

And either way, we both do it. And there are degrees to which you can address the narcissistic waking dreams you keep having, which you recognize as so insidious af and also so clearly pointless a net-negative if you stop and think about the whole thing.

You lose track of where you were in your thinking because some word or idea popped up in your mind which to your surprise (in about 30 seconds) led you down a path of "reminds me of" stepping stones that eventually lead you to a kind of milieu that's hard to describe but is probably the kind of feeling kids who pissed the bed get when the were low-key shamed by their frazzled, stressed angry parent. [Sorry if you were that kid.] -- "You dun yello'd thuh sheets again?", or whatever form it takes. Just a ho-hum, "I suck" kind of rock kickin' gloomy pouting hopelessness with a Charlie Brown raincloud overhead. And there are degrees of this. It's a subspecies of topical shame.

It's a feeling more than it is a thought. How do I know those are two different things with some intersection but not $$feelings \subset thoughts$$? How do I know that? Tell me with arbitrary precision what you think those two words mean and we can compare. It's a hunch.

Anyway. Yes, that's quite a tangent. Maybe it's because I feel that I'm getting above my station with all this fancy book talk.

Here's a list of metaphors that I've dreamed up for "how my mind works". They would make a good coffee table book for crystallographers.

Orbits, attraction and event horizons

Your world is a bunch of stimuli that "orbit" the one they call "you". Like plain old reality, things are attracted to things (gravity analog). I think many would say that thoughts beget other thoughts, if you're just looking at the clouds and letting your mind riff. So, a kind of attraction, no? If you insist on the computational metaphor then for thoughts to "attract" other thoughts, "you" need to stop and calculate the new trajectory for those two "bodies".

Attract, yes. But bring into your awareness? Maybe not. Did "you" decide whether thought A would cause you to then have thought B right afterwords? If you did, do you remember doing it? Some kind of thing had to do some kind of thinking/calculation. If nothing else, just to reach into warm storage and fetch a random memory or thought to ponder next. You think make up some kind of plausible story for why A reminded you of B.

Then there's other stimulus, branch whacking you in the shin, you unexpectedly see an old picture of the mentally ill uncle who's a ward of the state and has been abandoned by his family. You gonna not think about that? You gonna eat that?

The "Event Horizon" is your so-called consciousness. You're there in the center with all the complicated controls. Things enter into your event horizon. Why? Because by definition the event horizon here is the boundary between conscious and unconscious. As long as those words have meaning and as long as the mean the opposite of one another, there is a boundary. Maybe it's fuzzy... Seems pretty sharp to me. It either makes it into the official journal (disaster recovery?)

A physical piece of space debris can, in theory, come swooping in from Cassiopeia, burn off just enough heat absorbing chunky rock and common metals, just so, and wind up, once its remnants reach the earth, the equivalent of a healthy sized hail; kill you no, make you bleed yes can come from outer space and clonk you upside the head real good. That causes bio stuff to happen right at the physical-you boundary. In a few milliseconds you are shouting "goddamnit!" and asking "why me?"

So by acting on the physical-you boundary, real stuff, whether predictable or unpredictable, periodic or semi-periodic or maybe the bulk, completely random, it's still just a chain of things. Picture: more sad feels, some angry feels. Rock from space: lots of angry feels, some confused feels, maybe even some sad feels depending on what was in the mix at the time of impact.

It seems like thoughts are all periodic somehow. Maybe regular and frequent, maybe erratic, maybe in some sense there are onesies. But they all have their own influence on other "thoughts" seemingly, whether changing them or bringing them nearer the "event horizon".

By the way, if we have an event horizon for our consciousness, things, maybe just thoughts this near "you", are "taking place" or being mucked with somehow by something, is that a "thought"? Did you have a "thought" when selecting which thing to think about next and it didn't make it into your consciousness journal? And so ...it wasn't a "consious" thought? Is it still a "thought". You mean to say to me

A thought that I never become aware of is still a thought!

Really? That doesn't sound right. Or do we have bad terms. If you had a thought but didn't think about it (journal), it isn't a thought. Do we need a new word for these things just over the boundary (that I just declare exists)? Is the act off almost becoming aware of a thought something you would call a "thought"? "Thought" seems to refer to both a process and a thing. The thought about eating breakfast this morning is not a process. Likewise, reasoning about which cereal to eat is a process.

Word square!!

- conscious unconscious
thing ? ?
process ? ?


Words already abound on this (other posts). It's more colorful and fun than accurate, but maybe brings perspective nonetheless.

Tron and Unconstructive Thought Thugs

You are a 2D creature living on a plane. You are a kind of crawling fungus consisting of tubes and joints. You can also fork at your joints. Say you just start off as a tube with a joint at one end. Your joints can point in any direction on the plane and sprout a limb, or multiple limbs. You can sprout a tube, bend your limb slightly, sprout another limb, repeat. You can choose to sprout two, or three limbs. Think of crazed glass or branched lightning. Your a fungus. Have fun on your plane of existence. Maybe you slurp up ideas with the joints you chose not to make into limbs; the dead ends.

Unfortunately on this same plane live UTT's. The glide along, sometimes in formation, sometimes just random huge ones come out of nowhere for no apparent reason, they can sweep your handiwork away, like running a stick through a spider web. You've got anchorage here and there so you, the fungus, is never wiped out, you just receive damage, and somehow you never perturb the big rumbling asteroid thoughts that sweep through occasionally (or regularly).

You've tried building big nets to stop one of these huge lumbering loose canons so you can have a good reason with it. No such luck. They always trundle away in the end and you'll see them again one day trundling back on the horizon.

But then one day you discover a new kind of freedom. Literally. Specially.

You hadn't even considered flexing your joint in any other way than clockwise or widdershins on the plane of existence. One day you discover there's a new kind of angle.

You angle upwards just a bit, and you realize that your tubes, while not infinitely strong, can support some of yourself if you pivot and grow along this new, this new... dimension?

So you start with periodic lattice towers to support some more exploration in this new degree. Over time you get better and have whole full-on superstructures.

Down below where all the noise and distraction lives, the dumb 2D buzzkill asteroids still come along and sweep out calories of effort, but that bit's automated now.

You just keep building stuff down there where some portion of your many legs are supporting you are swepped away from time to time. It don't matter. It is more calories and unhelpful gland activity sometimes. Got to build more structure. But the air is clear up here.

[Meant to be more poetic than accurate. Maybe "inspiring"?]



Fishing for ideas. You have a magnet. Some ideas are drawn nearer than others.

On EH-EH interaction

If we are all isolated event horizon things with "thoughts" dropping in and out of awareness, and the thoughts can go both directions (I can "think" to punch you in the nose. If I follow through, most of what happens next is automatic.) So I can bring stuff into (but good luck prying out of) someone else's EH. This isn't strong "all are one", but it's undeniable that we have an influence on others "thoughts", even if it's so clumsy it's best not attempted, which is possibly the case.

- 1 toast