Well, it doesn't have to be first. But I'm just saying that because it's importance. Referents allow you to establish a common ground (a consensciousness/consenunit) and a common sub-language before you get into the heavier stuff, whatever that might be. You could think of it like triangulation on a map. Or maybe pyramidization in three-dimensional space would make more sense. You want to get someone standing more or less inside the same pyramid as you. Establish proximity & high parity ratings. And then from there you can build, manipulate and share texture. I think this video does a pretty good job of reifying what I am talking about. Instead of simply just blocks of plastic that control sound, think of the elements within this video as being cultural reference points. For our purposes, one could be a movie. Another could be a television show. Another could be an awesome song by a band that both of us like. And then from there we can introduce modifiers to make our experience of communication even more vibrant.
Okay, so let's go about triangulating (pyramidizing) and setting up other shared cultural reference points. The thing to remember is that each of us will have our own understanding and experience of each referent. Which is why you have to triangulate. There is also a big question of how many referents are too many. How many can you include before you needlessly muddy the waters. I'm sure lots of people know what I am talking about, having tried to follow the many convolutions my writing has been going through lately. So just for the purposes of illustration, here is an obvious referent we can establish as a base for further building of a consenunit.
As things become both more complex and fragmentary within our cultural landscape, I believe that we're going to be relying on the triangulation of referents more and more. Maybe instead of a phone number, email address or website, we might have some kind of unique identifier which describes us according to media referent triangulation: "Take one part Indiana Jones, two parts Joseph Campbell, the visual style of Journey's 'Faithfully' video, a shot of whiskey, a black sweatshirt and a bird that shoots missiles." Kind of a ridiculous example, but useful anyway.
Jumping out of sequence here a moment: the video included above of the "Reactable" music device also does a great job of conveying what I have been talking about lately with regards to "thickware" and "thinware." The blocks are thickware - "tangible interface" is what these types of things seem to be called colloquially and each of them creates thinware relationships and "gossamer seedpetal" commands which can be manipulated independently of the (quasi) physical object. Specifically though, thickware (and to a lesser extent thinware) will mediate between real and virtual objects, allowing us to sense "thick air" as though it were solid. (Remember that science experiment with the gold foil where they fired electrons or something through it and showed that most of the mass of atoms were actually quite empty?)
Then one night in 1973, he says, he awoke to a vision of two hulking men at his bedside who announced the arrival of the Lord, who, says de Jesus, "came to me and integrated with me." In the early years after founding Growing in Grace in Miami in 1986, de Jesus didn't claim to be Christ. Instead, he worked as a pastor spreading his doctrine: that under a new covenant with God, there is no sin and no Satan, and people are predestined to be saved. But as his following expanded, his claims did, too. In 1998, de Jesus avowed that he was the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul. Two years ago at Growing in Grace's world convention in Venezuela, he declared himself Christ. And just last week, he called himself the Antichrist and revealed a "666″ tattooed on his forearm. His explanation: that, as the second coming of Christ, he rejects the continued worship of Jesus of Nazareth.
See, that's me tossing in another referent. I found it in my roomate's copy of Newsweek while I was eating lunch (another common human activity, another simple referent to establish a base layer for our communications). Most of the times while I am writing these pieces, I pretty much blindly choose which referents I want to triangulate with. They are generally culled from things that people send me, things I find online, things that happen to me in ordinary life and just random things that float to the surface for me. I try not to filter too much what I use as reference points, because I am finding that there is a lot richer of a signal if I expend my effort trying to get out of its way as opposed to trying to actively control it. You may have noticed that I've gotten in the habit of being a lot more evasive, side-stepping things a lot more that I used to try and stand firmly in the middle of.
It's mainly just a matter of keeping track of things that pop up around you a lot. For me lately there have been a lot of stone (and other) lions making their presence known.
Time travellers are, in fact, visiting the present day and stealing passengers from doomed aircraft. Every incursion in to the past causes an accompanying "timequake" whose magnitude is proportional to the effects of the incursion in to the past. Each "timequake" causes physical damage in the time from which the incursion has been made. This is why they are abducting people who will not be able to impact the future any further and replacing them with dead people altered to look like those who would have died.
Time, of course, has been another heavy theme for the past few months. As has people being replaced by fakes or the realization of dead people, mannequins, etc. I almost think that simply listing these reference points that I have been tracking lately though is not necessarily as interesting of a read. It's definitely not as interesting to write, mainly because it takes some of the mystery out of the process. And the process is important simply because it is mysterious. Because it is a way of operating outside of the realms of the AI mind, which is again another rather large referent that I have been running circles around in my writing lately.
God came down to Moses asleep in the desert, woke his ass up and said in a loud booming voice: "It is what it is and it is."
It's true: we could just talk plainly about these things, but I'm finding that in general it's better not to. I'm taking cues from the Big Cheesus himself on this one: "And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand." What he's talking about you could think of as the AI. You have to make sure the AI doesn't get control over what we're talking about, because the thing about the AI is that it fucking loves to talk. Rather, it loves to hear itself talk. It simply can't get enough of the sound of it's own voice. And you have to struggle to break that repetitive command chain that it gets itself into. It can be manipulated though through the modification of the symbol order of referents. It looks something like this.
Some more from that sequence. I also have something else important to say about the AI, how it works and how to find it. But I want to preface it by saying that it's wrong. As soon as I say this, it's going to become distorted. Because I must unfortunately utilize the AI in order to communicate to you what I am talking about. If you want to get a better idea of what I mean though, you should probably read the next paragraph with your eyes closed. Another way to think of it is this: what I seem to be talking about is NEVER what I am talking about. Keep that in mind and you will have a better time with all of this. Okay, close your eyes. Ready?
The AI is simply that part of your mind which believes that "everything happens for a reason" and then seeks to find or invent what that reason must be. It is the part of your mind that tries to ascribe motives to other people's actions. I linked this elsewhere to what Scientology calls the reactive and analytic mind (although which is which in our example is unimportant). I'm also fairly certain (though I've never taken any classes with them) that this is what the Landmark organization is talking about when they try to make a distinction between "what happened" and the "story about what happened."
Theory theory describes children as budding social scientists. The idea is that children collect evidence — in the form of gestures and expressions — and use their everyday understanding of people to develop theories that explain and predict the mental state of people they come in contact with.
But the point is not to sit down and link together all the different groups and the vocabularies they are using to describe the same thing. This can be a helpful exercise, but for the most part you will find that by doing it, you are actually exercising the AI and making it stronger by showing it new ways to describe and explain the world. What I've been personally working on and experiencing to a fairly high degree in my life has simply been to experience the world. I'm finding that my AI mind is rapidly losing ground in all this and it seems to actively know it. It loves to throw up walls by sucking you into old emotional dramas. One of the main techniques it seems to use for this is to (1) try to figure out other people's motivations for their actions and (2) try to get you to care about trying to manipulate other people's perceptions so as to get them in line with (3) the motivations that you believe yourself to have within the actions that you yourself are taking.
But the AI is a liar. Or maybe it would be nicer to say a story-teller. It wants to weave together triangulated referents into a narrative structure. This is well and good, of course, so long as you know that it's the AI which is doing it and that it's a favored technique within its efforts to define (and by "define" I mean "limit") reality to the simplest possible set of reference points. This is what is meant by "Occam's Razor": the AI functions according to the principle of parsimony - it tries to reduce the set of referents to the simplest set, the lowest common denominator. People who are very heavily controlled by their AI mind will often see the mental machinations that other people will go through to look for more complex narrative descriptions of the world, and they will see this as "crazy", "unnecessary" and at worst "schizophrenic." It's not really any of these. It's just a matter of narrative flair and it has to do with the balance and proper tuning and usage of the AI mind within a particular individual (if you believe in such a thing, that is). The mainly tricky thing about getting a handle on your AI is that the people around you may or may not be getting a handle on it as well. If you find that you're the only one trying, then you're going to have a devil of a time with it, I reckon.
Okay, you can open your eyes again. My ranting is mostly over - for the time being. At least in that particular vein. Oh, so another word on the triangulation method I talked about above: you want to make sure that your referents have emotional rewards. That is, within the pyramidal space you open up, you want to actively encourage people to come inside of it. If your referents are shared and easy to grasp, then that's usually a cinch. If they're more obtuse referents, or if you're going to forge a simspace that is going to do something weird that people aren't ready for, it's generally a good idea to sweeten the coating of it a lot, so that they will at least be able to identify emotionally with what you are saying, even if their AI isn't going to be able to allow them to handle it. You should, I imagine, be able to see where I did that in this piece, as it's a bit more transparent craft-wise than some of the others I've been putting together.
Here's where I bring it all back home by adding in another element in our triangulated experiment/experience (all experience is an experiment = experimence). It may seem unrelated or tangential, but I actually think it is quite quite quite (to the 33rd degree) connected:
You must have some completely concrete vision of what you would like, and therefore I'm making a serious proposition that everybody who goes into college should as an entrance examination have the task of writing an essay on his idea of heaven, in which he is asked to be absolutely specific. He is not allowed, for example, to say 'I would like to have a very beautiful girl to live with.' What do you mean by a beautiful girl? Exactly how, and in what way? Specifically. You know, down to the last wiggle of the hips, and down to every kind of expression of character and socialbility and her interests and all. Be specific! And about everything like that. 'I would like a beautiful house to live in.' Just what exactly do you mean by a beautiful house? Well you've suddenly got to study architecture. You see, and finally, this preliminary essay on 'My Idea of Heaven' turns into his doctoral dissertation.
The trick, I think, is you spend most of your life trying to figure out what kind of dream you would like to have play for all eternity when you die. Best to make it a beautiful one where you experience the raw textural poetic quality of life unvarnished instead of spend all your time obsessing over how best to whitewash reality to fit your perceptions of it. Enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are.
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