Systems theory

I’m about twenty-five pages into reading Introduction to Systems Philosopohy by Ervin Laszlo. Once every three to four sentences I find myself laughing and shaking the book and demanding (aloud) to know where it’s been all my life. It turns out that there is in fact an academic discipline that completely jives with the way I observe and analyze the world, and this is it. Who knew? I’ve got a reading list and a will to get through it for the first time in years. Pretty exciting.

On a lighter note

Dear marketing people everywhere responsible for emails that contain recommended products:
If I JUST BOUGHT a kitchen sink from you, it’s safe to assume that I do not care the teeniest tiniest bit about other kitchen sinks. Unless you’re trying to tell me that the one I just bought is terrible and so I should start thinking about a replacement.

Hugs & kisses and have a nice day.

The thing is, though

“i just work here” turned out pretty well, as poems go. But that’s just it, it’s a poem. The thing is, I do dream of America. I’m on the complicated end of thinking right now. We accumulate tons of information and then we compress it and simplify it down into patterns and rules and rule sets and all of that. It’s the learning process. Right now I’ve got a lot of observations – about this country, political noise, and the glorious and terrifying path that we uproarious humans are all on together – and they haven’t compressed yet. The rules haven’t emerged in my mind.

Right now I have a theory. In extremely broad strokes, my theory is that the left has a pretty solid handle on which issues are important to deal with in the quest for quality of life for the masses and being good people and loving our neighbors and all of that. The right has a pretty solid handle on what works and what doesn’t, in terms of practical procedures. So in my mind it would be nice if we could recruit democrats to set the “what” – the overall agenda – and republicans to work out the “how” of the implementation.

Better yet, let’s throw all the extremists from both sides into a cage match and let moderates quietly step up to run everything. It’ll be a next-gen reality show that we’re ALL IN.

Dream on, right? I’m so hilarious.

i just work here

the dream of a place belongs to the dreamer
there are people who own disneyland, as in
they profit from it or pay to maintain it
and there are the people who do the work to keep it running
none of them own the dreams of disneyland that keep people coming back and excited and willing to go through all the frenetic hoop-jumping and long lines for it
the owners and the workers might make disneyland happen
but it’s the dreams that make it special: what it means to the people who have to work hard and plan and struggle and sacrifice to get there
because they need all that to be worth it

i don’t dream of america
i just work here
bless the dreamers, and maybe pray they never wake up

Thought of the Day

Being genuinely good to people is not only subjectively and morally preferable, it is also objectively more effective for the purpose of achieving growth, motivating change, and acquiring information.

“Insert Title Here”

Every word is a lie that tells itself true.
Before we gave it a sound, what color was blue?
Before we said it sang, did the wind have a voice?
What’s the flavor of home, what’s the weight of a choice?

Without words don’t we know what’s right from what’s wrong?
What did we feel before love came along?
These pearls of power, these kernels of truth,
Exist between tongue, lip, throat, jaw, and tooth.

The marks that we make out from mind, eye, and hand,
Spell out the stars, tides and sea, rising land.
Gone, forgotten, the things never given a name…
Yet unspoken, they lived, loved, and died just the same.

(c) 2015 Jane Bartley Hozier

Frozen: Devil’s Advocate

Leading with the necessary disclaimers: I love Frozen. No matter how many bazillion times I’ve heard Let It Go, it still makes me cry when I’m in the right mood. I cheer when Anna punches Hans off the boat. I am not criticizing a Disney movie for lacking reality.

The thing is, I appreciate a good Devil’s Advocate argument. They make me laugh because let’s face it, I’m a little warped. I can also blame my husband to some extent.

All that said, here are the reasons why Hans would have been a much, much better ruler for Arendelle than Elsa:

1. Coming out of that cute little ending scene with the outdoor skating rink, I figure Elsa’s top priorities are going to be making up for lost sister time, and enjoying actually letting herself feel emotions for the first time in, what, thirteen years? Hans’ #1 priority would have been the kingdom. He’s been dreaming of holding a position of authority his entire life, and he just spent the last three chilly days building himself up as a hero of the people. He’d want to spoil that why? He has twelve older brothers, likely with varying degrees of aspiration to leadership. If even one or two are currently unsatisfied, what’s to stop them from coming to challenge his position? Retaining the adoration of the people serves as an incredibly valuable buffer between him and outside threats to his rule.

2. A little thing called THE CHURCH. Y’know, the entity with authority over that nice Latin ceremony wherein Elsa was crowned queen. Neverminding the superstition and fear of the common man, the church wasn’t ever exactly known for kind-hearted tolerance towards sorcery (AKA devilry, witchcraft, heresy…) So what happens is, the church declares Elsa’s reign illegitimate and excommunicates her as a heretic. The peasants have to choose between loyalty to their country and loyalty their church, which pretty quickly leads to civil war. The Duke of Wesselton goes crying home and the first thing he does is tell the church about all the evils going on in Arendelle, which is apparently rich enough for him to want to exploit. The church blesses his attempt on the queen’s life, and encourages him to raise an army so he can go try again. It’s only a matter of time before somebody makes a play to convince soft-hearted Anna that she needs to depose her sister in order to save not only her sister’s life, but the kingdom as a whole. With Hans, on the other hand, you get a nation united by mourning the tragic loss of the royal family, and the church backs him 110% because his acts of charity look awesome. No civil war. No foreign religious war. Hmm…

3. Fear is a part of life – especially for leaders – and healthy emotional control takes years of practice. The threat of religious warfare is a situation wherein Elsa would face even greater consequences, with even less control. Taking all bets on how long till it’s Ice Age 2.

4. He may be a total dick about it, but Hans has solid political savvy. How much of Daddy’s instruction to his heir consisted of “Don’t get caught.”? And Elsa couldn’t even pull that off! Quite possibly in part because her father never let her practice on actual people other than a handful of servants that were probably very well paid for their silence. Elsa has no reason to even know how to make friends, much less allies. And she might need a few of those to survive a church war.

Give Elsa a year or two as queen, and Arendelle’s a nation of ice zombies. Which I guess could make for another interesting movie, just not one that’s okay for kids.

Speculation #627b

Every so often the back of my mind serves up an idea that feels huge. I can’t prove this one in any way, shape, or form. It’s just a what-if, one that spawned out of reading this comic and then this NASA article about dark matter and dark energy. It goes like this:

What if our corner of the universe is imbued with an awareness of being observed? The stuff of our reality – the matter, the energy, etc. – reacts to being looked at… what if that’s not normal? What if it’s an experimental property? And, what if that’s what Zen practice tries to move past, or shut down, or suppress, or disempower?