The Teaching Machine.

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Is there a crash course for religion building?
This loosely ties in with an idea I had for a thread on familiarity. I was going to ask about the importance of having things you're deeply familiar with - books you reread and know inside out etc - and whether it's possible to turn more or less anything into a religious object simply through that sort of intensive engagement.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
wouldn't it make more sense to think of it as environment than limb? what we shape ourselves to and against? what we shape ourselves to compliment and resist.
That was one of the points I was trying to make, that the environment of the system is, itself, being annexed by the system.That would be close to the core of the metaphysics of techne, from what I gather. That the system manages, somehow, through whatever technical MacGyvering needed, to better administer its environment, better predict it.

(edit: or how well the system can mime its own environment to itself, but it a tilted way, and the tilt is the strategy.)

Its that we are increasingly determining that-which-we-shape-ourselves-to-and-against. It just feels external to the conscious mind. This is where the theory is heavily dependent on Freudian stuff, seemingly. Namely, that I just use that conscious/unconscious dichotomy a lot, which is a bad move if your lover/partner is science, who will take such things as pitiful metaphysics, that "you have lost your grip on the ground!"

But yeah that is a big point: that we create the things that seems to create us. The mass psycho-social conversation itself crashes down upon us to engulf us in our realities, ever more potent realities. The matter is the matrix of the matrix, and the matrix is the matter of the matter. That ought to be a proper baffler.

Rather, the matter of a given matrix is itself a micromatrix, with its own micromatter. This micromatter would, shocker, itself be a micromicromatrix. I think that kind of chain can be visualized in 3D space, despite it effectively being whatever our ceiling it. Can't say I've looked for visual representation of this, but seemingly the end of Interstellar, in that kind of point/intersection of dimensions, did well to depict it.
 
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constant escape

winter withered, warm
This loosely ties in with an idea I had for a thread on familiarity. I was going to ask about the importance of having things you're deeply familiar with - books you reread and know inside out etc - and whether it's possible to turn more or less anything into a religious object simply through that sort of intensive engagement.
I think this is the kind of sensibility that needs to arise in us, sensing how profound each possibility can become, if properly fueled/fated. That the race you thought you were winning now appears to be a race of races, in which you are but a contender.

Your point on familiarity is poignant. That is a project that I am still interested in, studying how the familiarization process can be optimized, automated. What is the general process that underpins any process of becoming-familiar-with-something.

But I;ve hit difficulty here before, with the term "familiar". It has connotations of becoming more boring as it grows, that the familiar is boring and the strange is exciting. But what you and I are talking about, it seems, is more the process of seeing ver finer granularities within the topic of interest, appreciating more and more nuanced aspects of it. Do you think "familiar" is the word to describe what this is to us? Nothing better comes to mind, but there must be.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
This loosely ties in with an idea I had for a thread on familiarity. I was going to ask about the importance of having things you're deeply familiar with - books you reread and know inside out etc - and whether it's possible to turn more or less anything into a religious object simply through that sort of intensive engagement.
But as to the religion part, I don't believe that its subject to a total relativity like that. I think there may be multiple optimal permutations, but the process itself is endless, so there will always be a larger tournament that the winners funnel upward into.

That is, I don't think that every possibility holds, in its future, an equally infinite tree. I think there is variation here. But the "winner" or the optimal permutation may appear to us as being merely an ideological position, when instead we should view it as a sort of ideological mean, a sort of weighted average of all ideological forces combined.

Edit: like the taken chess piece feels like it has lost to the piece that took it, when in reality both pieces were subjected to forces that were abiding by a way more complex ontology.

Edit edit: so as there are probably plays in chess, strategic sequences, so there may be such sequences of ideological repositioning.
 
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constant escape

winter withered, warm
Alice stands here and I pushes for A, while Bob stands there and pushes for B, while Carol stands way over there and pushes for C. The weighted average is based on such factors: where the forces are aiming (their extensive measurements), and how hard they are pushing (their intensive measurements).
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
It's come up a few times in various forms recently: Leo mentioned really having to listen to the music you bought when you could only buy a certain number of releases, Third made a jokey comment about how someone should read one book for years, Luka mentioned the problem of the kind of sprawling, surface-level engagement that's encouraged these days.

A while back I watched a documentary about a guy spending a year climbing all over El Capitan's 'Dawn Wall' and discovering/creating various routes up and down it. I think Luka used the handhold analogy in another thread recently too. That's often how I think of books like GR or Ulysses. You have to keep climbing them, finding different ways through them.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Or we can work on erecting such mountains ourselves, which is what this kind of non-renunciative enlightenment project is about.

But that sounds like a good documentary, and a great visual explanation for that kind of task-environment. It think its possible to manufacture geniuses, but perhaps I've yet to reach a dead-end on that belief. Reaching a dead end would mean the belief wasn't real. The only price, seemingly, is a matter of psychic tension endurance, spanning however deeply one is willing to invest.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
He'd had a crazy life. He got taken hostage by terrorists on a climbing trip and ended up pushing one of them off a cliff to save him and the people he was captured with then he lost one of his fingers using a saw at his house and then his wife left him for someone else and he just lived on the wall for a year. It became his life.

 

entertainment

Well-known member
a friend just sent me a tik tok video of a group of all white danes in a dance battle and what was very strange was that you could not tell, unless from their faces, that these were danes and that this was happening in denmark. there's always this slightly awkward inflection in the style, the postures and movements and gesticulations, a self-awareness or a hamfistedness. despite how good the dancers, there's always a trace, a residue of cultural origin. but not here.

mannerisms were emulated wholesale from black american culture, perfectly. not so much the dancing I noticed, but the people in the crowd around them, how they gestured their enthusiasm and reactions.

i really thought about what shiels and luka were saying about the international schoolyard syndrome, it's very real.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
i've seen similar things entertainment there's something about the feedback getting quicker and greater and more precise that leads to these ever more precise calibrations.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
re familiarity

Perhaps we turn inwards and not outwards and instead set ourselves to map the familiar with a degree of detail and precision we were previously unable to achieve, lacking the patience and the powers of concentration, attention and the fineness of discrimination. Lacking instruments delicate enough to register the slightest fluctuations and differences and the terminology to describe them. In doing so we re-enchant our own world, deepening rather than extending, more granularity rather than more size.

To map with ever more precision and justice the vast tracts of land and sea that fall between the poles, the temperate zones that never bend to the extremes, but partake of each in admixture, cold allayed with heat and will with swooning surrender. So that if we were to situate ourselves, in this instant, in this mild and everyday instant, and say
"Well, it is just an ordinary day, nothing out of the ordinary has happened or is expected to happen and I feel nothing out of the ordinary. All these sensations and their combinings are familiar and easily managed" - and yet, how much is occulted, concealed and ambiguous here. Why do the toes curl up, clenched with tense anticipation? And why is the breath so small in the lungs, and held between out and in for so very long each cycle? Why does the brow contract with concentration and why are the eyes fierce with focus? Why this level of arousal and vigilance? Why this degree of tension?

What interplay of stimuli and response, event and interpretation, projection and anticipation, fact and perception of fact? What are the component forces which combine and clash to comprise this moment, this balance of power that determines the shape and substance of this instant - always in the process, being always lopsided, of teetering and toppling into some other momentary form?
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Rob Henderson had an op-ed in the Times the other day that was real nice, all about getting shaped by class pressures in exactly the way this thread is about

Henderson grew up super poor and in foster care in successive families; had terrible grades, barely graduated HS; then went into the military, where the GI bill got him to Yale. Television was one of the biggest influences on his sense of class

What I’ve come to realize, as I reflect on different influences in my life, is that the television I’ve watched has made me a different person than I would otherwise have been; choices I’ve made have been guided to a large degree by what TV has taught me about what constitutes a good life. Looking back, I can see that my decisions stemmed from a set of values — but whose? I thought I was building the life I desired, using fictional stories as a road map. Now I wonder how these stories shaped what I desired all along.
One year before my enlistment was over, but before I knew where I’d be headed next, I attended the Warrior-Scholar Project, an organization that hosts “academic boot camps” to teach military veterans how to succeed in higher education. I learned a lot: how to write an essay, tips for studying, making the most of office hours.
Just as important as the academic learning was the social learning. (The way going to college is in large part about jumping up a class level: learning to talk a certain way, getting a set of cultural references, etc.) His tutors get him into West Wing, the American political show that served as a Bush-era wet dream for liberals

Equally useful, though, were the insights I gleaned from the unstructured time. The tutors were either students or graduates of top universities like Yale, Dartmouth and Amherst. Between lessons and writing workshops, the other students and I would hang out with them; sometimes I’d overhear them chatting with one another.

I became close with one, a recent Yale graduate. One evening, I saw him watching something on his MacBook. He told me it was “The West Wing.”

I’d never seen this show, nor did I know anyone who’d watched it. My military friends watched “Two and a Half Men,” “Family Guy,” “Game of Thrones.” But when another tutor overheard him recommend the show to me, she nodded vigorously, saying I had to watch it.

I took the recommendation seriously. This was the first show that two Ivy League graduates had ever recommended to me. It suddenly seemed important to understand.

The more I watched, the more the characters reminded me of the Warrior-Scholar Project tutors. Characters like Josh Lyman and C.J. Cregg were educated at elite universities and, despite their flaws, tried to live up to their moral principles. They engaged in fierce debate with political foes, but respected them too. The characters who staffed the Bartlet administration were highly educated, extremely witty, clever and idealistic. It made me wonder: Was this show so popular among elite college graduates because they saw aspirational versions of themselves in it? And if this was how they aspired to be, was this also how I should aspire to be?
finally:

The more I saw, the more I learned what I wanted; the shows I chose to watch, in turn, reflected my desire to build a better life for myself, and I took my cues from them on how to construct it. Either stay like this, I thought, as I gazed at the TV, or try to live like that. What I can’t quite disentangle is whether it taught me how to get what I had always wanted or taught me what to want.
 
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suspendedreason

Well-known member
Rene Girard, the philosopher, and Joseph Henrich, the evolutionary psychologist, both talk a lot about observational learning and the way "prestige" is about being an influencer, about asymmetric watching where the prestigious person gets observed/copied by others but don't observe/copy them

And there's something transitive about it all: if I see someone I respect giving prestige to a third fella, then I'll probably give prestige and also observe/copy that third fella in turn.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
But the kicker is that when you copy someone's behavior, you also end up learning their desires. This is the connection I see with the Henderson piece. Some desires are innate, but a lot of our desires we learn from others. And when we learn desires from those we emulate, we get put into competition with them. Suddenly a scarce resource is being fought over
 
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