Tag Archives: sophistry

On Conspiracies, Cars and Sleep Deprivation

A conversation plays out something like this:
(Recollection may vary given time, gin, repression)

We’re in a car somewhere in the Scottish highlands, way past measurable AM, driving through a roiling landscape all darkness. The Sage is asleep, the Idealist is nattering their head off, the Driver maintains half focus on the serpentine road and Fibi is in the back seat drawing main sequence stars.

It beats joining the conversation, which has has taken a tangent into a side-real universe.

“. . . But how do you know? Once you’re at a certain point, the only thing left is predacity”
quips the Driver. That kind of transporter, cigarette gripped in one hand, trailing smoke and incindiary verbiage. Monologues away the miles.
“It’s all family values and western academia, you know? Enlightenment philosophy gets undervalued and all you’re left with is arguments from feelings and—”

I confess; I can only half focus. Being awake for 67 hours usually abrades the mundanity of the world a little and no part of the conversation drags sparks across my cortex. Waterfalls and the Driver are congruent, they’re defined by their flow.

“And the state can’t maintain that. You’re going to end up with a shiftless underclass throwing votes and scraps of allegiance to whoever pays their utility bills!”

The Driver inhabits that kind of universe, where the inflection on underclass mirrors the disdain italicizing “that” implies about an entire cosmology in the lead-in sentence to this teetering lingustic construction. Makes the car feel smaller than it is. Distances expand, buckles. A perspective can only become so warped before  being near its gravitational mass exerts an inexonerable pressure upon the fabric of actuality.

“. . . And then they want to reduce the population down to 500 million! Five. Hundred! But who will clean the toilets? Robots?”

I can’t tell what’s real any more, and I can’t tell if that’s because I’m at my eighteenth cup of caffiene in too many hours of too many long-distance drives or if that’s because the Twillight Zone is accessible through the M90 going north and somehow I stumbled into the dimension where people know the word “predacity” but think Hanlon’s Razor is a joke.

“. . . And what do you think, Fibi?”

A snapshot of my brain at any given moment:

Main sequence stars are hard to draw
I like robots
You ever find it weird that math just kinda works?
I saw a cool looking hill underneath just beyond the stoplight three minutes ago, do you want to stop the car and see if it’s neat?

Dammit. There’s a lull in the effluence. Pick a thought, pick a thought, pick a thought— Robots, robots will do.

“Eh. Robots are interesting? Current projects get some fancy tricks going wh—”

The Driver snatches the sentence out of the air.

“Yeah! And think about using those in war, man! Artifical soldiers and metallic commandoes! You bet They would love that”

Ah buggerance. Words have started self-capitalizing now. Animation kicks up a step, the weatherworn vehicle accelerates. The Driver gets a tap tap tap finger pattern rapping on the wheel. I don’t know who They are, but I guess I’m meant to, and why not, I’m too sleep deprived to be cautious now. I amalgamate a sentence of buzzwords:

“Automated trades account for a significant component of NASDAQ stocks movements, and I think Bitcoin energy consumption is up to 0.14% of worldwide electricity. You think that’s related?”

It couldn’t be, except in the sense of all this happening on the same occassionally wonky planet. But this is all fractal layers of dreambits stitched together by driver-seat philosophizing about the nature of reality, so of course the Driver grabs the reins and confabulates.

“Yeah man, yeah. It’s all pressure and centralization, dystopian technocrats that want to empower themselves through the use of robotics, and with more digitalization comes more control! That’s what the Russians want, you know? That’s why they . . . ”

Those words are words. I’m sure they even mean something. It’s another 27 miles of darkness until the sentences curve back around to military control over civilian populations and neurological modification of far-future combat cyborgs cognitating better ways to kill with brainchips. I lose track somewhere around the words “automated hate”. That’s the problem with soliloquies. Even when delivered by drivers or the Driver, I find them faintly agiating. It works in Shakespeare because the play is the thing, it helps uncover the conscience of any given actor. Knowing that makes for characterization, but in the constrained consensus reality occupied by peers, the only thing knowing the conscience does make me long for an ejection seat.

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On Cognition

A conversation plays out something like this

(Recollection may vary given time, gin):

“You know, walking down this trail, I’m always worried about being trampled by a horse”

[A wide, unbroken trail carves out straight ahead in a forest of tress with no leaves]

“Really? I mean, okay, it’s just… It’s a straight path, you can see any horse, anything, coming.”

“Not if they come from behind me”

“True”

[Naked trees reach upwards, leaves clutter the ground]

“You could probably hear them, though, if they came from behind”

“I might be distracted. Horses are very quick”

“That’s true. What if you looked around every now and again? There’s no cover here, won’t be for a long time.”

“If I start checking behind myself, I’ll feel paranoid”

[We’re no longer in a bare forest with full visibility, this is something else]
“Because… if you look backwards, you’re acknowledging there might be something there?”
“Yeah, and as long as I don’t do that, I can repress the feeling”
“So by not looking, you don’t feel paranoid about the horses?”
“Exactly”
“But you started this conversation with the horses, so, I – Aren’t you already feeling afraid?”
“Yes. But as long as I don’t look, I can pretend I don’t feel that way”
“But you already feel that way, you’re just not… acknowledging it”
“Maybe. This works for me”
[Silence. The forest is full of phantom horses]

Mental models. I guess they work, sort of.