Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Church of Arneticetheism

I'm starting a new church, & want advice/disciples. It's based on something that occurred to me a vision revelation I had today in the toilet desert.

I was thinking about the history of religion: about how, initially, people personified everything, & then they systematised their beliefs somewhat so that there were various gods responsible for various aspects of nature. Over the centuries, these gods were consolidated, so that there were fewer and fewer. Nowadays many people don't believe in any gods at all. So we see a progression: animism, polytheism, monotheism, atheism, with the number of spirits or gods steadily decreasing from very many, to several, to one, to zero.

So anyhow, I was thinking about these things (with a blank mind and a pure heart, naturally), when, lo & hark (the beer of angels, incidentally), it was revealed unto me that the true number of gods is −1.

This is a pivotal revelation, as you will recognise immediately, deep in your souls, and a wondrous sign that the end thymes are nigh. On the other hand, it could do with some further clarification. Any ideas?

Monday, November 19, 2007

You must wear The Unitard

If you aren't a regular at PAN, don't bother with this one. If you are, please see the Unitard thread.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My tunes on

My concubine complained about the font so maybe I'll give Georgia a try. (Georgia the font, that is.)

I've put two tunes on No PAN tunes yet; I'm not quite game to record a whole tune de novo at the moment, but I'm trying to stoke up the enthusiasm. (A lot of enthusiasm is necessary---I've never managed to record a tune without giving up a whole night's sleep.) I so should listen to Andy & migrate to Wordpress before it's too late, because I've now learned that, at, I can put my tunes up, but can't add even short descriptions.

So, the tunes are not here, they are here. But the descriptions are here:

The Two Good Girls and the Two Bad Girls: this
is a monologue my younger daughter extemporised once in the back of the car we used to have, shortly before she turned 3, which I put to music.

The Call of the Mountain Thing: this is a B-grade horror ballad I wrote to try to impress my concubine before we hooked up. (It's one of many things I tried, so this may not have been the deciding factor.) Anyhow, its genesis was the bassline in the chorus, which is vaguely reminiscent of the theme from Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King; geddit?

I know the recording quality is shoddy; sorry, I don't care. I care a bit more about my lack of skill with the instruments, but still not very much. The writing's the side of it that really interests me. Any comments about that, & also about how easy or hard it is to find & listen to the tunes, would be welcome.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Metaphors We Live By

I still haven't got the time or mental space to post any of my own thoughts or experiences, so I'm going to rip off other people's. I'm going to post something interesting I read yesterday; better than nothing, right? I'm reading Metaphors We Live By, a 1980 book by Lakoff & Johnson positing that metaphor is a much deeper principle than the literary device it is sometimes assumed to be; rather, they reckon, it helps structure our conceptualisation of the world, & is crucial to our comprehension of all abstract concepts. It's kind of slow in places but every 5 pages or so there's a "hey wow" moment. Anyhow, yesterday I got to this bit on pp 143--144 which I like enough to type out in full:

Another example of how a metaphor can create new meaning for us came about by accident. An Iranian student, shortly after his arrival in Berkeley, took a seminar on metaphor from one of us. Among the wondrous things that he found in Berkeley was an expression that he heard over and over and understood as a beautifully sane metaphor. The expression was "the solution of my problems"---which he took to be a large volume of liquid, bubbling and smoking, containing all of your problems, either dissolved or in the form of precipitates, with catalysts constantly dissolving some problems (for the time being) and precipitating out others. He was terribly disillusioned to find that the residents of Berkeley had no such chemical metaphor in mind. And well he might be, for the chemical metaphor is both beautiful and insightful. It gives us a view of problems as things that never disappear utterly and that cannot be solved once and for all. All of your problems are always present, only they may be dissolved and in solution, or they may be in solid form. The best you can hope for is to find a catalyst that will make one problem dissolve without making another one precipitate out. And since you do not have complete control over what goes into the solution, you are constantly finding old and new problems precipitating out and present problems dissolving, partly because of your efforts and partly despite anything you do.

The CHEMICAL metaphor gives us a new view of human problems. It is appropriate to the experience of finding that problems which we once thought were "solved" turn up again and again. The CHEMICAL metaphor says that problems are not the kind of things that can be made to disappear forever. To treat them as things that can be "solved" once and for all is pointless. To live by the CHEMICAL metaphor would be to accept it as a fact the no problem ever disappears forever. Rather than direct your energies toward solving your problems once and for all, you would direct your energies toward finding out what catalysts will dissolve your most pressing problems for the longest time without precipitating worse ones. The reappearance of a problem is viewed as a natural occurance rather than a failure on your part to find "the right way to solve it."

To live by the CHEMICAL metaphor would mean that your problems have a different kind of reality for you. A temporary solution would be an accomplishment rather than a failure. Problems would be part of the natural order of things rather than disorders to be "cured." The way you would understand your everyday life and the way you would act in it would be different if you lived by the CHEMICAL metaphor.

(By the way, Mishee, if you're reading this, I don't think that's what they mean by "living by the CHEMICAL metaphor.")

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why today of all days?

Alright, now, nobody get your hopes up! Let me say from the outset that I don't have any specific immediate plans for this blog. My main reason for setting it up is just to verify the procedure, so I can

a) try to talk my mother into blogging somewhere where anonymous or casual replies are allowed, and

b) fantasise about maybe one day putting some PAN tunes online.

[Update, 15 Nov: ironically, I have now learned that I can't post audio files here! So I guess every blog host has its strengths & weaknesses. Andy suggests Wordpress; maybe they've got everything, I don't know.]

However, I have a heap of marking to do, & an exam to set for Wednesday which is currently in a very early state of preparation. Also, the computer on which I hope to record my PAN tunes is, at this point, still only a prophecy. I will elaborate on everything when able; in the meantime, hopefully no one is reading.