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Like a Bad Cold

Interview meme once again. Drop a comment if you want me to ask you five questions. Then answer them in your journal and give others the chance to be interviewed by you.[0]

Questions from spudtater

3. Are science and magick irreconcilable?

Hrm. This may evolve into a much longer post, but as an abstract of that I'll give it a shot. No. Science and magic are reconcilable, in that magic is a way of looking at the world and of using techniques to alter one's own perception of the world. As an example: One of the commonest "starter" spells is a sigil to make the user see a woman with pink shoes. There's no causal relationship between that sigil and the appearance of pink shoes in the proximity of the user, rather, the act of magic means that the user has programmed his own pattern-matching functions to flag up pink shoes where otherwise he would have ignored them. The magic is just a way of flagging up such patterns and modifying personal behaviour in order to effect a change through understood, scientific means.

5. What would your biograph[y/ies] be called? Subtitled?

I have a problem with biographies: Most of them are boring, and most of them are bollocks. I'd rather write an autobiography once I had enough done in my life that I felt it needed doing and explaining. But I daresay that if anyone did write it, they'd go for something trite in the title.

Biography: "Life, Liquor, and Wordcount: The Story of a Bitter Chainsmoking Alcoholic Bastard"
Autobiography: "No Final Chapter"

2. Why is "apotheosis" on your LJ user interests? Are you literally interested in the becoming a deity? If so, how's that going? 8^D

It more ties in to my views on futurism/singularity/supercontext. Human intelligence is developing and increasing. The apotheosis is the point where everyone, not just the nerds or the faithful or anything like that, but anyone who wants to can say "Right, I've had enough. I want to see what else there is." And in a puff of intelligence transformation, they fall out of our conceptions of time and space. Nobody has to, but the option is there. Of course, getting to that poin isn't easy. I'm interested in the path to it, as much as the end result.

1. How do you and gominokouhai know each other? (I probably knew this at some point, but I forget.)

Our memories disagree. I remember knowing him when I was about seven years old, at primary school. We were friends for a couple of years, then the whole "going to secondary school" thing hit, and I only met up with him again when I was about fifteen, through a mutual friend who's since dropped off the radar. He doesn't believe the primary school bit, but he agrees with the rest.

(2i)2e. In the 20thcentury, space flight proved to have much less effect on people's lives than it had initially promised. Computing, meanwhile, surprised us with its ubiquity and applicability. What does the near future hold in store? What's the most overhyped of new or forseeable inventions, and what can you see making the most actual difference?

There's lots of overhyped stuff. Then again, whatever I say is going to turn out wrong, because that's the way of things. Computing is obviously going to continue to have a massive impact, especially when bandwidth, hardware access, and education hit places outside of the priviledged West. I don't think we're going to see ubiquitous nanotech any time soon, nor are we going to see strong AI (though weak is already here, in agents and expert systems). They, along with fusion, remain a mid-future goal. What do I think will hit? Strong AI and cognitive science research will teach us more about how the brain works and how the mind works. We'll start learning more about the brain, and we'll combine this with what we know about social engineering to develop memetics into a fuller, more rounded field with real impact - tailored learning packages are just the start. We won't move away from fossil-fuel use fast enough, and rising tides will fuck parts of the world. On the other hand, comms tech will explode, and the line between gadgets will fall away: desktop/laptop/palmtop/phone divides won't exist as we know them; the software will all be central and only the hardware used to access it will change. Proximate home-drive PDA smartphones are the start, though ubiquitous 'net access would provide another way. Whatever happens, information security will finally have its moment in the sun for general users, probably through yet another fucking virus that proves why passwords are a dumb system.

And questions from gominokouhai

1. Will you be first in the queue to upload, or are you going to wait until they get the bugs ironed out?

One thing being a sysadmin teaches anyone: Never trust an unpatched release, and keep fucking patching. Six months in, I might look at it, but not beforehand. Especially because there might be competing services (woe betide anyone who uploads to Betamax), but also because it's going to be a huge software project. There are going to be bugs, and lots of them. That's unavoidable. The best thing to do is to go for the open source platform, and give it six months to move out of unstable and in to testing. After all, this is my mind we're talking about. Though dependant on the situation, I might even wait for the transition to stable, depending on my physical situation at the time. After all, when I'm up here and not stressed, I'm generally enjoying myself and I'd rather have some more memories and stories before I upload, just to remember them when I get melancholy. Which I do, quite a bit.

2. Talk about some (non-fictional) people you actually admire.

This is really rather hard. See, I find it hard to admire people who I like, because I find it hard to admire their flaws. On the other hand... Hunter S. Thompson. I admire him not in spite of his flaws, but because of them. He had to know what everything was like, so he tried everything. He lived the life he wrote about in detail, and while it's not necessarily a life I always agreed with, he did it with complete conviction. He was honest, to both himself and the world around him. I don't agree with blowing your own head off as a way to end it, but I can fully appreciate why he did it. I don't admire him for that, I admire him for his life. But I don't think any less of him for his death.

Warren Zevon is another guy I admire. Why? Because he was fucking good at what he was good at (and if you've never heard of him, track down Werewolves of London and Lawyers, Guns and Money). He pioneered the happy-sounding sardonic, the cynical lyrics with an Abba tune in a way that others have come close to (Elvis Costello, anyone?), but never really got to the same level. And like Hunter, I admire him because he admitted his faults. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. A phobia of doctors. And yet, he faced all of them, accepted all of them. He just was, and his attitude towards both his work and himself is something that I do admire.

3. What's the most important problem facing the world today?

Too many problems. Energy crisies, censorship, global warming, homeostasis among the population... however, I'm going to boil them all down to one underlying cause, and that cause is politics. Will everone who is surprised please leave the room? Thank you. Now we've got everyone who's completely ignorant of me out of the way, let's go. Politics causes other problems. The nation-state, the twisted view of property employed by politicised capitalism, the idea that selfishness and greed go together to make a perfectly workable system... all of these generate every other problem that the world faces. It all boils down to the current political and economic model. Without them, we wouldn't have censorship. Without them, we wouldn't have the people who fear change holding back the people who embrace it. We wouldn't have the ruling powers winning by stifling change and innovation, shooting down ideas that would help the world because they require too much of a shift from sitting lard-arsed on the fucking sofa cramming yet another McCuntmuffin burder into the population's collective mouths. We wouldn't have the politics of ignorance, where learning is hard and working out the issues is too much work, so who gives a toss, the country will vote for whoever looks better with his five minute soundbite on television rather than applying their atrophied brains to work out what they actually want.

The world's biggest problems are politics and apathy, and politics breeds apathy. So if ever you see someone in politics, in marketing, or in advertising, I want you (the reader, the generic audience member) to stand up to them. I want you to stand up tall and tell them to kill themselves, because without them nobody would deny global warming without evidence, nobody would deny that rape victims paying for their own ambulances is a good idea without evidence. And if they don't kill themselves, I want you to start by headbutting them, as hard as you can. You're looking for a broken nose, so the nose will look smashed, but any situation where there's blood streaming from their face is a good start. Then I want you to break them, in body or in spirit, just as long as they can't keep on with their masturbatory power-fantasies, ejaculating poison semen into the brains of the 99.5% of the population who enjoy that kind of cerebral bukkake and sit there begging for more from the piles of their own filth.

Everyone who left earlier should come back in now. I'm calm again.

4. Your hypothetical child is four years old. E looks up at you with those big, wide, trusting eyes, and with ir reedy young voice pipes ``Daddy... where did I come from?'' What do you tell em?
(Spivak pronouns are our friends.)

"Ask your mother." I don't say that because I wouldn't know what to say. Quite the opposite, I'd say that because I have no qualms about telling this hypeothetical child about the precise mechanics of sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and the general blood and gore that occurs during childbirth. I'd leave the kid mentally scarred. And while I'd never bow to telling them a lie, I'd direct them to a source of information who is likely better able to answer their question in an age-appropriate manner, because I fucking wouldn't. The idea that one should treat a child like a child, telling it only lies until it outgrows the lies, is an abhorrent one that stifles intelligence and free-thinking. Telling children the truth is the way to go. I'd just tell them too much of the truth.

5. What's it like being you?

Which me? Seriously, which me? I differ depending on the social group and situation, and part of what it's like to be me is based entirely around that. However, taking some general base points: Get up, go to work. The intervening period is spent far too tired, jamming information in through every available bandwidth channel. Without that, there'd be nothing to stop me sleeping on the bus, and then I'd just feel worse. In work, everything presents a new challenge. There's overload, but it's a good thing because it's overload with different things. Sure, they all suck. SAS sucks, VBA sucks, mainframe hacking sucks. But they suck differently, and occasionally there's a chance to really show off. There's also the chance to crack jokes, and people who understand the burning cynicism that lies beneath every one.

Away from work... I don't know. I have urges to write. Both urges when I have a story and just have to get it out, and times when I need to write, times that I need to feel myself articulating ideas without the guidance of a story or an outline. Generally, nomatter what the time is, I've got something to worry about. Contracts. Samhuinn. Beltane. Stupid overtime. It doesn't matter, there's always something that I'm likely to kill myself sorting out. But that's all fine, because I'm disposable in the grand scheme of things. Sure, other people are working on curing that, but I'd still throw myself under an anvil for one other person, because they're worth more than I am as a person. Other people find value in what I create, my own idea of my value as a person isn't too high.

But frankly, I don't care. When I'm away from the depression and the stress, I look at my life. I look at Arthur's Seat from my front door. I look at the cigarette in my hand and the pint in my near future. I look at the people I know, the events and situations I find myself in, and I find that I like it. Fuck what I think of myself. I'm happy with what I'm doing, and I'm proud of quite a bit of it.

And if that tells you what it's like to be me, then $DEITY help you. Let's face it, I don't know.

[0]: Most people say "You know the score by now." But I know that some people reading this have never come across the interview meme, so I thought I'd make sure they knew what it was about.



( 22 informants — We want information! )
Nov. 27th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
i'd been avioding it, will take five questions, but only if they are from tef
Nov. 28th, 2005 01:38 pm (UTC)
Tough, you're getting them from me as well.

1. As someone who's done some serious travelling, what're your thoughts on national identity? Can a country really define itself by the people that live within a set of arbitrary borders, or is there more to it than that?

2. Would you sacrifice yourself in the place of someone you loved? Howabout a friend? A complete stranger? In each case, why?

3. If you could change just one thing in your past, what would it be? Why and how would it change who you are?

4. Of all the places on Earth to stay having left your home country, why Edinburgh in particular?

5. If you were to sum up your life into the title of a book or story, what would that title be?
Nov. 27th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC)
Ask me, because I need to think about something new for a change.
Nov. 28th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)
1. What's the appeal of fandoms? Seriously, I can't see it and can't see any reason for it, and yet it seems to be a big thing in the Youth of Today™

2. You and I end up running our own country. I take care of international relations (using the King Albrecht model of political resolution) and communications, and you're responsible for all internal politics. What system do you go for? How does it work?

3. Describe your taste in music. What's it encompass, and where do you get your love of different genres?

4. Why are so many people so bad at picking up things that aren't explicitly stated in online communication (the constant inability of people to recognise humour and sarcasm, f'rex)?

5. The Revolution is here. Which revolution is it, which side will you be on, and what role do you take?
Nov. 27th, 2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
Oh why not? Go for it! Please?! ::smiles::
Nov. 28th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
1. In what ways do studying ancient cultures offer insights into our own culture?

2. Why do you think people have gods? What about the human mindset leaves us as a species predicated towards religion?

3. You get a chance to do this interview with one historical person. Who is it, and what five questions would you ask?

4. What's it like to be you?

5. Grecian gods in one corner, Egyptian in another, and Roman in the third. It's the mythological WWE cage-match! Who referees, who wins, and why? Give us a blow-by-blow of the physical, mental, and verbal battles going on.
Nov. 28th, 2005 12:43 am (UTC)
Ask me! Ask me!
Nov. 28th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
1. You're tasked with introducing people to comics who have so far only seen pervert-suit soap-operas. Bearing in mind their inherent dislike for superheroes, what titles do you recommend that they read?

2. Are all the conspiracies and urban legends part of a larger truth? Is it possible to tie everything together, or are they all just random coincidence?

3. You're given the chance to live in any pulp novel series you like. Which do you choose, and why?

4. You can go anywhen in time. There's one caveat: You can't come back. It's a strictly one-way trip, though forwards and back are both allowed. When do you go to? What do you expect to find?

5. What do creators and distributors of media (music/books/games/&c.) have to do to deal with a world where people can make an infinite number of perfect copies and scarcity is an old ideal. What has to change, and what should stay the same?
Nov. 28th, 2005 01:40 am (UTC)
> [...] develop memetics into a fuller, more rounded field with real impact

Interesting. I've been thinking that psychology might be in a lull in today's society, and is just awaiting a new theory, a renewed surge of interest. But then, I've been obsessing over everything mental at the moment, so that could just be me.

Thanks for all the answers! Good stuff.

I'll not ask for questions, because you seem to have enough takers already. But if there's anything that you're just bursting to ask me, then feel free!   8^)
Nov. 28th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
1. Do you believe that intelligence is an emergent, evolving characteristic in life forms? Particularly self-awareness and abstract thought, but in general: is our capacity for sapience as a species a trait like our number of arms (fixed at birth) or like our height (something that changes over time)?

2. In your opinion, why do people peg religion (inc. spirituality and other belief systems) as diametrically opposite to science?

3. What's with the potato fixation?

4. You can tell your twelve-year-old self one thing. What do you tell him, and why?

5. What's your take on magic?
Nov. 28th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
Have I done this yet? If not, jump me, big boy.
Nov. 28th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC)
1. I know you're heavily into music. Has it always been a focus of your life? If not, what was there before it? If you didn't have it, what would you have instead?

2. Did you have any experience with "pirate" broadcasting before RFB? What did you learn by doing that that you wouldn't have otherwise?

3. Given that you've batted from both ends, I have to ask: Are guys any easier to deal with than girls in a relationship?

4. How the hell do you cope with knowing so many people?

5. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Nov. 28th, 2005 03:11 am (UTC)
Okay, I've never had you do it with me before, so let's see what you come up with.
Nov. 28th, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
1. What's the one thing that you can count on to make you de-stress, even when your family is driving you up the wall?

2. How would you change yourself (physically or mentally), if you could?

3. Are you where you wanted to be? If not, what happened to change things?

4. Who has really influenced your life up to this point? In what way?

5. What'd be your three biggest achievements to date? Why do they count as such?
Nov. 28th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
oo am curious what you would ask me so - on you go
Nov. 28th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
Yes, ask me some questions, please.
Nov. 28th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
1. How do you deal with knowing so many people? Moreover, how do you deal with our drama?

2. How'd the Cult start? Why does it still exist?

3. If you had to give up one thing in your life, what would it be? Why?

4. Conversely, if you could do one more thing than you can now, what and why?

5. What one event defines our culture more than anything? Why, and what does that say about us?
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 30th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
I know you well enough to not have enough questions, you twit.

1. We've gone over this before, but usually in the context of duelling ranters. This time, you get to speak your piece without my interruption. What're your politics? What's the motivation behind them?

2. Do you think we're going to see a Singularity in our lifetimes? Will it be a moment of infinite change, or something more fundamental? Conversely, will it be a false ascension? Why?

3. What's the origins of "A man walks into a bar, orders a pint of lager..."? I knew this once but have forgotten it. It also gives other people chance to tell when we're indulging in an in-joke.

4. What have been your biggest achievements to date? What did you learn through them, and do you still carry those lessons with you?

5. Care to share some entertaining drunk-stories?
Nov. 30th, 2005 10:14 am (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
Un: "mediaevalist utopian nonsense" is listed in your Interests. You never struck me as someone who'd go for medieval life outside of the languages. Care to prove me wrong?

Zwei: Which languages do you speak? All I've ever heard is "many", and you randomly conversing in about half a dozen.

Tres: You can tell your twelve-year-old self one thing. What do you tell her, and why?

Four: What makes you happy?

Pyats: What's it like to be you?
Nov. 30th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC)
And lo, I throw myself over the cliff with the other lemmings...
Dec. 5th, 2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
Like a drugged-up canine I come begging for validation...
( 22 informants — We want information! )



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