Friday, June 19, 2009

maybe one of the highest things to aspire to is giving hope to other people. i have never thought of myself as influencing people particularly. but i was just thinking about how i am going through some tough shit and trying to stay mindful, always trying to recognize if i'm just anesthetizing myself, and sort of keeping in mind the deepest goal or direction (following my conscience, as i've thought of it). and at the same time having a meta-interest in this process, which may actually be a hindrance sometimes, but it means that i can maybe vaguely try to explain it. so when other people are going through distress, i can maybe be more aware of it, and even though my thoughts sound like total nonsense when i try to explain it, maybe somehow people are benefiting from that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

systems that are rich and ready

Drop a grain of sand into a supersaturated solution and watch complex crystals spontaneously form. Give an engineer two words of inspiration and watch him build an intricate machine. Inject a pathogen into the blood and watch the immune system build new antibodies and make new cells.

Many systems contain a lot of "potential energy" in this sense. What seems like a small input triggers an elaborate set of processes. With your small input, you "caused" the reaction, but a lot of the "cause" is actually the prior state of the system.

There is an important distinction between this and gating. For example, turning on your computer is a simple action that invokes a massively complex process. But there's no informational input. The computer will boot exactly the same way regardless of small variations in how you press the button. The key to what I'm thinking of is that the system receiving the input is not just waiting for some "Go" signal to perform a predetermined function. Instead it's rich and ready for a huge possible variety of inputs, each of which will engage the resources of the system in a different way.