If there is one basic theme I take from Donald's work it is the irony of
power through relinquished control. Each step taken in human mental evolution
and sophistication has replaced individual mental power with delegation and
reliance upon other people and objects. We stand atop the cognitive hierarchy,
not to mention the food chain, not as an all-powerful organism but as a minion
for an ephemeral cultural web and a mouthpiece for a network of machines.
Nietzsche said "Man is a rope, stretched between beast and Superman -- a rope
across an abyss." It is too early to say what the Superman will be, but it
clearly will not be a super beast, a stone age mind trapped in a futuristic
Finally! I'm done with the paper that's been hanging over my head for a year. You can read my 8600 word (7 page single-spaced) Review of Merlin Donald's Origins of the Modern Mind and A Mind So Rare. After a year of unproductivity, I got up at 5:30 AM Monday to finish writing. After six hours of surprisingly productive work, I went to lunch and then was unable to productively edit for the rest of the day, which is why it's 12 hours later than I'd planned. But I figure for a paper that's a year late, 12 hours can be traded for a little readability and some spelling corrections.
Among other things, the paper describes my "experiments" with nonverbal ritual. Unfortunately, I'm unable to include the experiences I'll have with next week's Open Full Moon version. It's also about consciousness, culture, and kinds of human reference. I think the subject is fascinating, and I welcome comments of anyone who reads it. (If you only read a part of it, is it coherent without the whole?)
Next up, I've got a group project for Natural Language Processing due on Thursday. We've read a couple papers related to our topic and have some of the base code implemented, but I'll have to continue my hermitage for the next couple days. If I'm hella lucky, I'll be able to go to the Bakery on Wednesday.
On top of it all, I have to check out 25 more residents. I completed what's probably my last duty round ever a couple hours ago. Of course, I said that last year around this time. My infamous resident came by today wanting to get his stuff he forgot to take to Kansas in December. I told him it'd been moved to Housing storage off campus. It turns out he went to massage school in Lawrence and will spend the summer giving massages in a hotel in Hawaii and get paid for it. Pretty sweet. He said he'd learned a lot of valuable life lessons and was less flaky, and I could see it in his face. It's a good thing, too, 'cause he had a lot to learn.
No song 'cause the time expended sharing it would impinge upon valuable snoretime.