Against our Sense

Progressing towards a shifting target
It looked like we were walking backwards
Things receding as we approached
The hill was within reach
A reach that simply extended
Like Sisyphean
Until we had come close enough to look so that we could see
All the while making progress against our sense.

Information, Being, and Living

From information theory, we might want to say these things relating to life, nature, and society. Each thought has significant consequences.

Wherever there is change, information has been generated or effected. This is the establishment of purpose and meaning, since a destination becomes implied by change, or because of it.

E.g. Movement (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual …).

Every change is a cause. And we change as we move, exercise, take action, make action….

Change, or information, does not have to be perceived for it to exist. However, that it exists should mean that it is perceivable.

E.g. The cycle of cell replacement in the body. Healing and repentance. Impression of righteousness, faith, hope, love….

A state of constancy (like a change with difference only in time) is itself information: speaking either of a powerful inertia, or of a balance of influences. Constancy tells one that another can be trusted to be/do ….

E.g. Attitudes and character. God. Commonsense. Physics. Satan. Chemistry. Fidelity. Biology.

If an apparently random system, or system far from equilibrium, continuously produces information, then over time, that system will arrive at an equilibrium position or system (even if complex).

E.g. The development of the United States. Origin of the world. Rockefeller’s increase in wealth. Socialism. Scientology. Increase in people giving away their virginity during their teenage years. Gluttony in food, drink etc. Divorce. Social organisation ….

Information, Certainty, and Behaviour

Gregory Bateson would say that information is the ‘difference that makes a difference.’ So we could say/see that judges in shows like Xfactor, Project fame, et al, receive information from the differences created by the contestants’ performances and some reference points. And there are differences between the differences so that they have information to receive and judge.

You have received something from every difference that makes a difference to you: information.

Practically, judgement is information processing information to produce information. And a lot (if not all) of the manifestations of self (behaviour) come from previous judgements. So that change is possible with the right information processed correctly.

A bit more technically, information is the reduction in uncertainty. This is easy to picture: how certain are you that what he meant to say by what he said, was what you interpreted from what you heard. The larger the reduction in uncertainty, the more information you received (as opposed to noise, or confusion), and the more correctly certain you (think you) are.

To have information is thus to have accepted certainty about a particular reality or perception.

There is a mantra that says something like, ‘get feedback to get clarity.’ Indeed, the main reason for feedback is to ensure the correctness of our eventual perception cum certainty. Fundamentally, we seek feedback for certainty. This is important because certainties are at the core of our psychology, hence, of our experience of reality, and behaviour.

To summarise: information gets transformed into our certainties, and our certainties result in our behaviour. Every movement is motivated by information, and produces information. And every action, tangible or otherwise, is a statement of certainties.

Three Views on Hunger

To English, hunger is how we are: I am hungry.
To French, hunger is what we have: J’ai faim.
To Esan, hunger is a feeling that beats us: Ohanwen gbime.

What does your language say?
Does your language speak the truth?
What we tell ourselves is our reality, isn’t it?

Thinking about how language might affect perception, and by extension, experience of life.

The Phantom Limb in Life

There’s this amputee, he sees his hand isn’t there anymore, but he feels and moves same amputated hand and it’s fingers.

He knows his mind, or brain, is playing tricks on him, and that his eyes see correctly, but the feeling is too real to ignore or treat as false.

So he writes this poem (with the one hand left):

It isn’t there, though he feels it
So that it’s like it’s there, but it isn’t 
Neither a hope to grow back
Nor a denial that it’s gone
But vicarious experience through sticky recollection
Of a natural perception with no basis for reality


He’s not mad, certainly not deluded
Has a confusion instead
Wired by holding on to that past so strongly
That he can’t feel the now thus clearly
And he sings the song this way
‘You don’t know what you’ve lost till it’s gone’

One treatment suggested in a talk by neurologist, V.S. Ramachandran, (three clues to understanding your brain) is to correct the false perception in our brains by using a mirror. This is like how he showed it:
 “…And we all, with unveiled face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed …” [2nd Corinthians 3:18].

Not exactly the same, but you understand:

Her husband died; she doesn’t miss him.
But she feels him like a fanthom limb;
his dictates remained.

All that condemnation from outside.
Over time it fades away.
And now that the eyes sees that the bond is no more,
the butterfly has refused to leave the jar,
and the elephant, to roam free.

He left her, but her mind hasn’t left him;
living in emotional mementos,
holding on to the ‘in love’ she still holds.
Experiencing him like a phantom limb;
the brain marked with what isn’t, as though it is.

He’s retired and a janitor
Formally a Sergeant Major
Barking commands and uplifting insults
As if the people should pay attention

“Sir,” a teacher said, “place it in the pot of truth using a mirror until the truth sticks.”
So help you God.

Imprints on the mind and brain, of what isn’t=Patterns of repeated synapses that need to be interrupted, or better, redirected.

If elephants never forget, likewise do butterflies.

This is like the functional experience/perception of something that was once part of one, with the knowledge that it isn’t. Is it ‘bad’ if you actually do control it? Isn’t it unjust to covet the experience?

An experience of pain

There was one spot to touch, and all pain would break loose. It was one spot that could build a tremendous wave of pain, gripping my head and my sense, and shrinking my world to the place of its passion. For the moments it lasted, I was blind to all except you; from a rage of another sort.

Months ago, while skimming headlines, my mind picked up a phrase that went something like, ‘scientists show that pain is painful.’ Who wouldn’t say ‘duh!’ at this. It’s obvious isn’t it? But if we asked why or how we feel pain, and why or how it does whatever it does to us, to us, we may see some sense in what the headline said.

It’s amazing this house we live in; it’s wonderful this soul we have.

Rising from one side and going round the back of my neck then up towards my right ear, it was like a rapid, flowing at the speed of light. A rush of pain inside, through a path I couldn’t see. The feeling was such as I had never experienced before. I’d heard of neuropathic pain, this seemed like it. One entire nerve path firing pain at my brain repeatedly for a time that was shorter than it felt. It was truly pain full.

This looked like too much for a paracetamol; we needed something more. Tablets containing three active compounds with anti-inflamatory properties etc, inhibiting this and inhibiting that. Yes, we read the leaflet that came with the pack and found comfort in what we read. It wasn’t a cure, it was to us just a means to buy comfort time, time within which we expected the body would heal itself. And when we could try to help the body actually heal—taking treatment.

Going for that 3-in-1 combo tab gave relief. When I stopped the pain medication, it was still there, but much more bearable. And I continued with other treatment, the liniment, massage and exercise, without medicines interfering with the sensation of pain.

Pain, like many things in reality, is a real perception, demanding real physical, mental, or emotional reaction of some sort. Some, for their pains and discomfort, have chosen the triple treat of alcohol, drugs, and sex. When she stopped them for the little while that she would, the pain was still there in all its glory. She also had this expression of anger. Anger itself, like pride and fear, a face of pain in a twisted sort of way. Rather than regress somewhat with the feeling of pain, we ‘strike’ from our hearts with the same feeling boiling within. She’d now added new pains to deal with, the effects of excesses, and the addictions that grew from her mix of inhibitors.

I’d slept the wrong way that night, putting a part of my body in discomfort. What I felt subsequently was the voice that said so. It was a LOUD voice; I’d even heard it come out my mouth in very clear mutter. That’s what pain is, a voice that something went wrong with us somewhere.