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Parental Advisory: Explicit thoughts

welcome.


Now that you have seen my place you may leave again.

Not that I want you to leave. It is just that it is a bit sparse around here, I'm afraid. There is a section of good links to computer programs that can make your work or life easier and then there are a few small downloads for the interested. An image of yours truly, for example. Hopefully you will find something you like and leave satisfied.

That would be just dandy.

--piotrr
Latest Log Entry (older entries below):

20021118

I led a life today

It was a very disorienting experience, I can tell you that. It was the first time I cried in .. months, at least. As far as I can remember that little bout of sadness did not last very long and was not particularily releasing either. This was different. This was full of release, full of a sort of care-free sadness. Care-free because it was not sadness over something real, it was something .. literary.

I led a life. It was all in a computer game simulation of course, but it was still a life. I once argued the idea that dreams are just important as lives, from the inside. You could compare that thought to the movie "The Matrix" but I really urge you not to. That movie was not even concieved of when I thought this and the ideas are not really connected on any other plane than the encapsulation of experiences.

The idea was that a dream and a life are both all-encompassing and self-sufficient. While you are having a dream that is not "vivid", you do not know that it is a dream and the dream becomes all you know, even all you have ever known. Sometimes when you dream you might even consider it real and your life a past dream. Either way: so since dreams are complete from the inside, and so is reality, what is to say that one is more important than the other?

This was no dream though, this was just a "computer game" of sorts. The game is called Alter Ego and it's just text, multiple-choice questions and a few icons. You start out in the womb, you are born, you experience growing up, you get a job, you marry a woman, you have children, you grow older, you grow weaker, you die. That, in short, is the topic of the game. The details .. well, I've entertained myself by describing the intricate details of the life I led in that game a few times now and maybe I should repeat one of those instead of starting it all over. Here:

My name was not important.

As a small child I was inquisitive, quiet and happy albeit slightly weakly, catching every cold that came along. I remember taking my first few steps when my parents weren't there, steadying myself against the bars around by crib. I remember the family dog licking my face and I licked him back.

As I grew up, I was a booky kid but I was also popular even though I might not have been very social. I fooled around with girlfriends now and then, but I only had a few dates throughout my adolescense. At my second job as as assistant at a law firm I met Gigi and we started dating. It's funny, too.. one of the very first things she wanted to talk to me about was .. getting married. She got pregnant before we even were able to make the arrangements and we named him Peter, sort of after me.

I can't remember all the people who were my friends. I know they were my friends because they came to me with their questions about life, and I know I could always give them an answer. Maybe I wasn't so outspoken, but I was frank, I was proud and I could always calmly analyse a problem.

It seems as though I didn't really play until it was too late. I did record my will, but I never got to say goodbye to Gigi and Peter and now it's too late, too dark. At least I didn't grow old, sickly and waste away. At least I died catching that softball out on the field.

And to think I hated sports.

As you can see, the experience is quite genuine. The feelings of loss as the "adventure" is over are true. It might sound pathetic, but I cried and I'm proud to say it. It felt damn good, and it gave me a good, healthy perspective on life. I heartily recommend it.

--piotrr

20020912

The other day,

In Metro, the free metropolitan newspaper, I read a letter from a little old lady - at least that is how I visualize her - writing something to this effect:

"Why do all the children and teenagers walk around with hats during the summer? These kids are going to run around with nothing on their heads all winter."

Yes, how quaint. Such a cute little old lady, wasting thought and breath (or stamps, at least) on writing a letter to a magazine about how children should wear something to keep their heads warm in winter, and to cool their heads in summer.

No!

It is not cute. It is a logically flawed assumption. The human mind discerns what does not fit into the observed context - this is why we need camouflage to keep ships and troops hidden from the enemy. If you observe a generalized entity or unit of entities in a context and find an aberrance, you notice it. This old lady saw people wearing hats in summer, and noticed that these people were children. (Please remember that this is not about children, or hats. Not really.)

She considers this: "Children were wearing hats in the summer. What do I know about children? Oh yes, in the winter, they do not wear hats. How odd. What a funny little fact!". Except that it is no fact, it is a statistically biased observation. There is definitely a possibility that some children will do anything in direct opposition to what is recommended to them, but mostly those who wear hats in the summer will still be wearing these hats in the winter, unless the trends change. Style over function, no?

Well so what?

This is not about hats or children or winters or summers. It is about generalizations. It doesn't matter that a little old lady confuses the kids who wear hats in summer with the kids who do not wear hats in the winter, though I would prefer if she did not. What does matter is that this flaw in our observations is so rarely compensated for. This little old lady probably would not have realized her error on her own, because it is a flaw in her vision, and us humans have a very hard time finding flaws in our own perception because we use our perceptions to look for the flaws.

It is the error-tracking system tracking an error in itself, finding nothing, and thus proving that it is flawed.

It is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. We cannot know the position AND speed of a particle because our observing it will effect it.

It is human stupidity, it is the reason mediocrity will over time die out into a new catastrophe, and it is thus Gould's punctuated equilibrium.

It's time to punctuate.

--piotrr

20020912

Ahem.

It all started years ago.

No, that is no good. What started? Why do I bring it up? That is not a natural thing to write on a web page! So what does one write?

I was born in 1978..

..while others insist that something between 800 and a flat thousand years ago is more likely. I do not know why this is, but I suppose that I somehow appear to be wiser than my years. This does not exactly surprise me, since there really is no such thing as a standard amount of experience or wisdom at a certain age. One could expect a young person to know little of the world and of human nature, judging by their age...

I do not do that.

A person is who they are, no matter their age. You could make judgements before you know them judged by parameters you find valuable somehow, or you could ..not. If there is anything I crusade against, it is the incessant generalizations thrown around by people every day, every hour, every second. They might not even say it (even though they often do) but even when they do not, it is a thought crime.

--piotrr

Shodan
Brautigan