the one that went that way

I didn’t know that it was time to have another meal,
But every day I eat a mime, my eyes get full of zeal.
To kill a thousand paragraphs in fits of raging mop
Would surely drown a farm of ants and laugh at Carrot Top.
Smelly ankles, dirty floors, and miles of sparkling moss.
They all walk into wooden doors, but please don’t tell the boss.

I cannot stand to sit down. I cannot jump the bus.
Death only slightly stronger than the five of us.

I am not quite as special. I’m lying. Yes I am.
But you can trust that I will learn to fly like Superman.

the greatest web comic ever

Yesterday was a sad day because my favorite web comic, Girly, ended with its 764th page. I started reading it when it was at #123 (reading through from the beginning, of course). The comic is about a girl who starts following around another girl and declares her to be her sidekick. With some persistence, the reluctant sidekick agrees, and they have wacky adventures. It is both hilarious and epic at the same time. If you don’t go check it out, I will be forced to threaten you. Don’t make me threaten you.

Another notable web comic is xkcd.

Swizzle Soop

Our regularly scheduled hemp oil salesman will not be skewered today. The following is a paid scrampolation from the ramparts of the following racism. Be advised: do not be advised. This is your last warning. Granola clusters of shiny face toenails willy nilly in Walla Walla, for the paper trail reigns thin upon the speaker plugs of glue. Floataciousness is the difference between the first column and the 13th warrior. Fojumpcandriverd. Stick that in your wallet and clive tornado. Smampy, the wad of broken up purple smurf, and I’m here to say that I rhyme with the beat of a different rapist. Removed squaggles of hizzle frim fram prommity doofus.

We, the lotus blossoms, in order to open a more orangeriffic onion, have the right to remain pop tab. Anything we clam or slip can and will be the land of the crave and the home of the deep. Artistic discography for a limited time. Order tomorrow!

Arrogance

I got an interesting comment on my last article/blog/notblog.

In my experience, the people who are crummy people are usually the ones that convince themselves they’re the entitled ones who are great in every way.

I realize, Ceej, that you didn’t say that thinking one is entitled makes one crummy. You just said that most of the crummy people you’ve met do not think of themselves as crummy and most of the people you’ve met who think they are crummy are actually not.

I’ve gone through times when I thought that something was wrong with me and that I wasn’t as good as other people, and with years and years of constant thought, I overcame that attitude. I had freed my mind to the point where I realized that I was comparing myself to other people, and I didn’t have to. Through force of will, I changed my way of thinking and realized that I was always exactly the person I should be. The only thing that has ever been wrong with me is that I thought there was something wrong with me.

And it is by that mode of thinking that I believe there is something wrong with everyone who thinks there is something wrong with them. If you think you are a crummy person, then you are simply because you think so. All you have to do is stop thinking that, and it will no longer be true. When a person refuses to feel bad about itself (using a gender neutral pronoun, not referring to people as objects, though their bodies are), it causes a shift in attitude that, to an outside observer, can resemble arrogance. Maybe it even is, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be there. Some people are every bit as great as they think they are, and some are even greater. And some people are every bit as crummy as they think they are.

Who decides an individual’s worth? Society? The company it work for? Its family? Random strangers? No. Nobody is more qualified to judge the value of an individual than the individual itself.

To think like a genius

What do you call someone who is really good at thinking or learning?  If you don’t already know what the answer is, then clearly you are not one.  Not everyone can be perfect.  In terms of general intelligence, there is no position higher than genius.  (Prodigy and savant deal with aptitudes in specific fields.)

So why is it that the ideas of geniuses are so often dismissed as crazy?  How can a person with superior mental ability be regarded as anything but that to which everyone should aspire?  If you disagree with the opinion of someone who is smarter than you, you are probably wrong.  It would behoove you to think about it until your opinion conforms to that of the more intelligent person.

Idiots like to call us nerds or geeks because we struggle with or abstain from social interaction due to our greater interest in intellectual pursuits.  It’s easy to dismiss this treatment as mere jealousy, but that’s often their reasoning for bad treatment they suffer, so while it is one cromulant explanation, let’s keep thinking.  Social interaction is essential to the propagation of the species.  From an evolutionary standpoint, a person with more interest in evolutionary biology than convincing people to have sex with them is at a great disadvantage.  The idiots have a sound basis for their criticism of their intellectual superiors.

To navigate the stormy sea of social interaction, true north is regarded as a tremendous importance being placed on allowing one’s emotions to guide one’s thinking.  This means that for most people, thinking ends when negative emotional sensations begin.  It manifests as a desire to think and do what is good and to avoid what is evil.  This desire makes people easy to manipulate, but it is also what greases the wheels of people’s social lives.

Geniuses don’t let their emotions cloud their thinking as much as non-geniuses.  We see things for what they objectively are, and we act on our thoughts rather than our feelings.  Sometimes the truth of something causes bad feelings, and when we act on something like that, we are regarded as evil or insane.  When the way a genius thinks causes negative emotions in a regular person, the regular person disregards that his or her intellectual superior is more likely to be correct.  Right and wrong are judged by most to be what feels good rather than what is logical.

Emotions can and should contribute to our thinking, but the lead must be given to logic.  Those whose actions are directed by unbiased, logical, and minimal emotional guidance should be revered, supported, and trusted.

The Colony part 7

Throughout dinner, Nauqenet’s attention was most focused on the largest human, the one who had saved her before.  She wanted to know more about him.  She wanted to talk to him, if that was possible.  Suddenly, the sound of wind came from a few feet away, and a gust of strangely cold air blew the ant queen off the ceiling.  She waved her wings madly, ending up on her savior’s shoulder.  The other humans looked right at her and began to make even louder noises than before.  The second largest one handed the one on whose shoulder she landed what looked like a broad, white, rectangular leaf.  In a panic, Nauqenet crawled to the large human’s neck, touched her antennae to it, and pleaded with him, “Don’t kill me!”

The human paused at that instant.  Surely he didn’t understand her.  That was impossible, right?  He put down the leaf, much to the objections of his family and replied, “Did you just talk?”

He made his reply verbally, which the ant queen could not understand, but the thoughts behind it traveled into her antennae in the same way that communication between ants worked  Nauqenet didn’t know what to say.  She didn’t expect to actually be able to communicate with a being so different from herself.  She had no idea their minds could be that complex.

After the human made his reply to Nauqnet, the other humans fell silent.  The two larvae looked at Nauqenet while the other adult trained her eyes on the largest human.  What were they thinking?

“Our minds are compatible,” the ant queen said.  “My name is… Nauqenet.  You saved me once in the forest.  I know you did it on purpose.  I can’t believe I get to thank you for it.”

The other adult made some noise, and the one the queen was talking to replied to it, “She’s thanking me for not stepping on her a few days ago.  I’m going to go let her out in the backyard.”

He stood up, opened a flap in the wall, and stepped outside.  Once the flap was closed, he said, “My name is Josh.  How are we talking like this?”

“All ants communicate this way,” Nauqenet told him.  “We connect our minds and think to each other.  Are you a queen?”

Josh laughed.  “I’m a man, so I’m more of a king, but don’t tell my wife.”

“Wife?”

“She’s like a partner.  We live together and raise kids, kinda like what you do, except on a much smaller scale.”

“You work with your queen as an equal and have only a few children?”

“Yeah, it’s how all human families work.  Well, most of them.  Instead of just one woman giving birth to thousands of babies, we have an equal number of men and women.  That way, each woman only has to have a few kids to keep the species going.”

“Does ever human have a mind of its own?”

Josh wasn’t sure what she meant by that.  As he hesitated and tried to understand the question, his wife came out.  She made some sounds at him, and he replied to her, “I know it seems crazy.  Let her talk to you, and you’ll see that I’m right.  Nauqenet, show her.”

The ant queen looked at the woman and didn’t like her expression as she looked back.  Josh’s wife was afraid of insects, no matter how small they were, especially winged ones.  Still, she put her hand down near her so that she could crawl on.  She didn’t want to believe her husband was crazy.

Titles and Labels

Titles are good things.  People like titles because they elevate them.  They grant people the illusion of authority.  Presidents, kings, officers, generals, admirals, and managers get to tell people what to do.  That’s their job.  And when it’s your job to tell people what to do, it means that you don’t have to do the things you’re telling them to do.  Less work!  Score!  The purpose of a title is to describe how much authority a person has.

On the other hand, labels describe what things are.  If you don’t know what that brick shaped object in the refrigerator is, it’s because you didn’t label it.  Idiot.  People don’t like the idea of being labeled because labels often lead to snap judgments and stereotypes.  This isn’t the labels’ fault.  No label describes everything about a person, and no label is meant to.  People are just not motivated to get the whole story about a person, and they think with their emotions.  Communists are hated no matter what else they may be or what their reasons are for being communists.  The same is true of nazis, pedophiles, rapists, atheists, feminists, homosexuals, teletubbies, snake handlers, and prostitutes.  People are not things.  They are multifaceted.  Labels apply, but it takes more than one to completely describe someone, and the only way to truly know someone is to be them.  To reject a label out of hand is to make a snap judgment about it for fear of snap judgments being made, and that, my polka dotted friend, is irony.

The Colony part 6

The thunder came from a different chamber in the mound, but it sounded like it was coming closer.  Nauqenet didn’t want to be caught, so she flew as quickly as she could toward the smell of food, which was coming from yet another chamber.  Nauqenet envisioned the dwelling to be the home of really huge ants.  She made it to a wall when a gigantic being with a pink exoskeleton wrapped in multicolored sheets of cloth came into view.

“BWAAAAUUUUGH RAUFFLE SLOOP GAMMA SIM STOPPA KEEEAAA!” it bellowed.

At least that’s how it sounded to the young ant queen.  It shook her antennae horribly.  She crawled as quickly as she could through a large rectangular crack in the wall that nearly reached to the ceiling.  On a huge, four-legged, wooden platform there sat the largest collection of food Nauqenet had ever seen.  There were no giant pink monsters in sight, so she flew quickly to the corpse of a bird that had been cooked somehow, pulled off a piece twice as large as she was, and began to eat.

As she ate, Nauqenet looked around the room, and she froze when her eyes reached the floor near a rectangular crack in the wall that led back outside.  Next to the rectangle was a vaguely elliptical pair of objects with a strangely uniform pattern on one side that she knew she had seen before.  As she looked at it, her head tingled before a torrent of memories came exploding to the surface from wherever they had been hiding.

When Queen Blix examined the larva she requested to be brought to her and raised to be a queen, she had switched minds with it just as she had done with Ninn.  Nauqenet was Blix.  Putting her memories into such an underdeveloped brain must have caused them to get lost.  She was lucky they weren’t lost for good.  The memories, having previously occupied a gallon jug, could have easily just flowed over the edges into oblivion when they were poured into an eight ounce glass.

The human from before lives here! she thought.  It looks like he’s not the only human who lives here though.  I’d better hide.  This food is probably for them.

Blix II flew up to the ceiling and looked down at the table, anticipating the arrival of the human family.  She had never seen one before.  As she waited, she realized that she was free.  It was such a wonderful feeling, especially since she knew that her children were well taken care of by the blind instincts in her old brain directed by the mind of a larva.  She was starting over and living an adventure no other ant had ever even imagined.  She was a pioneer.

The human family entered the room after a little while.  The man who avoided stepping on her was there along with another human nearly his size, and there were also two much smaller humans who could have been larvae except that they looked like smaller versions of the adults.  Maybe they were just small adults.  The thunderous noises they made came from their mouths, and everyone made a horrible racket.  Blix II had to set her antennae down against her head to keep the vibrations from hurting her.  She named the largest human Klogg, the slightly smaller one Noot, and the two larvae Srid and Ipsy.

From the racket, it seemed like they were all fighting, but nobody struck out with their awkwardly long limbs or bit each other with their inset mandibles.  Their everyday communication simply consisted of violent noise.  Their faces changed shape often due to the fact that their exoskeletons were soft and moist.  Blix II concluded that they wore coverings over them for the protection that their exoskeletons lacked, and their bodies kept their forms due to some bony internal structure.  What they lacked in protection they made up for in flexibility.

The free queen watched the humans with intense fascination, hoping she would remember all the details while wishing she could record them somehow.

Resonance and Memory

When an opera singer breaks a wine glass by singing a very high note, she is using resonance.  Resonance is when sound waves strike an object, and the object vibrates in the same manor as the sound wave that hit it.  Sound is the vibrating of air particles as they resonate with the particles around them.  When your eardrum resonates with the air particles, your brain interprets the vibration as sound.  Your eardrum is basically a speaker that mimics sounds made in nature.  Air particles do it first, which is how the mimicked vibrations even reach your ears in the first place.

Light works in a similar fashion.  Light hits an object, and the object absorbs certain wavelengths while reflecting others.  The reflected light takes the shape of the object and is interpreted by the brain after it is mimicked by your eyes.

It is my hypothesis that memories work the same way.  Cells in the brain, through resonance, are able to vibrate to mimic things you’ve seen, heard, touched, smelled, and tasted.  Under normal circumstances, the memories are dormant and only resonate strongly enough to continue to exist, but increasing the flow of electricity through those parts of the brain causes the memories to become stronger, and you actually experience the sensations that produced the memories on a low level.  It’s like a shortcut to actually experiencing something.  Rather than wait for the sensor organs to resonate with incoming waves, the brain can interpret sensations that it stored previously as if you are experiencing them all over again.

A great deal can be explained by this, like having a song stuck in your head.  Electricity just happens to be passing through the memory of that song in your brain at a rate high enough to cause you to experience the sensation of hearing the music.  In dreams, it seems like the senses are being stimulated just as they are when you are awake because the brain is very active when you are asleep, and it isn’t occupied with coordinating body parts and interpreting sensations from outside of it, so it can stimulate a combination of memories very strongly like a composer putting together a sensory symphony.  The imagination works in a similar fashion, mixing and matching memories into a scenario that didn’t actually happen but is based on things that did.

It’s like those magnetic toys that move by the action of magnets repelling each other, and the motion is maintained by electricity running through one of the magnets.  The brain communicates with electrical impulses, so it is my hypothesis that memories are maintained the same way, by the motion of parts of brain cells begun by resonance and continued by electrical charge.