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THE POETICS OF PAIN

Posted 11 May 2004, 8.21 pm by shaggy

The amateur poet turns to poesie's seductive path often as catharsis. Like religion, poetic contemplation gives meaning and order to an otherwise dreary state. Just as George Orwell admitted in 1984, "the greatest book is one that tells you what you already know." So is the case with poetry. Poetry (and by which I mean fiction in general) gives the reader glimpses of a solution. They can be only glimpses, only momentary, because of subjectivity. The author cannot solve all problems, but can merely posit answers to the questions he has experienced for himself. Even to make up a fictitious problem is to deal with it through experience, and this is the power of our great authors. Poe did not need to be haunted literally in order to have his "Tell-Tale Heart;" he massaged his own experiences into an all-new creation, projected as a discussion of guilt and Poe's (in)famous Imp of the Perverse.

Of course, there is such a thing as fiction which serves as autobiography. Pierre Drieu la Rochelle's Will O' The Wisp offers a startling glimpse into the mind of the troubled. Indeed, to read la Rochelle's words is to become troubled. But even here, there is comfort: someone has been in this situation before.

Even if our heroes do not survive, or even if our hero is Prufrock, we can still move on if we remain connected to each other. If fiction brings the reader into the author's world, Poetry is a kiss. That feeling we as humans need so much, that shiver down the spine of the lover as he kisses, is our greatness.

Even through darkness, knowing we are more than one, knowing that I am many, gives us strength. This is why literature has always acted like religion, and vice versa. It tells us what to do when we are lost. This becomes the dilemma for the poet, then. What remains to be solved? What secret passages need to be mapped? We can leave no stone unturned, no word unspoken. There may be no orginal phrasing, there might not even be any original problems, but the ever-changing world constantly kills off our forgotten poets, leaving their song as only a memory in the few minds that have heard.

Whenever the well-read poet runs into a situation without answers, poetry is born. Even the most well-read and astute student must inevitably say to himself, "where is my answer? Where is my God, my Zarathustra, my burning bush?" At these moments, the poet may not shine in his decisions, but as Nietzsche would praise, the poet proves to himself that he can stand through his greatest lover and enemy: confusion.

There is nothing more painful to the philosopher poet than confusion. Both the poet and the philosopher work in arguments, either syllogisms or emotional metaphors. Both implore that we not only see the world past Plato's shadows on the wall, but understand it and ourselves.

sophrosyne -- "know thyself and nothing in excess." Following the Greek attribute is not always simple, or even easy; this is where the philosopher and/or poet lends a helping hand to wisdom.

In a world of Nietzschean eternal return, where culture and society repeat themselves, there is a great challenge to the poet. Dream images, no matter how personal, become potentials for plagarism. So the existentialist problem becomes even more absurd, and the absurdity a function of education (or perhaps of archetype).

The importance of experience grows exponentially. The old aphorism, "if I could have know back then what I know now," separates the immature poet and the mature scholar of poesy. Both poets are equal in importance. The immature poet encourages well-meaning naivité, where the mature scholar speaks of things as they should be, as the wise voice that speaks of what the confused need (though often at first cannot find).

With this in mind, it becomes apparent that the problem of consciousness is not to "bridge the gap" between our understanding and Kantian things-in-themselves, at least not completely. Though we can never understand what exists outside of the mind, the problem (at least for the poet) is to understand what is universal in mind and contemplation. There is little in consciousness that is particular. This is why plagarism is almost-- if not completely-- unavoidable. The most seemingly random thought still has been organized by the mind, and though the mind holds many variables (necessary for evolution of any sort), there is an amazing overlap for procedures.

This, incidentally, is also how we can ever know one another. This is how we can sympathize with the pain of another.

The duty of poetry is, in essence, healing. Because we can know of our many similarities, this wisdom comes with the responsibility of exposition. With poetry, the feeling of disconnection that one may suffer from can be healed. We all are, to some extent, sufferers like Prufrock, and poetry begins to allow ourselves forgiveness for this, acknowledgement that we exist inside our skin, though we so rarely admit such a thing. We both contemplate the great questions (existential, nihilist, religious, et alia) and worry about our thinning hair and if we "dare eat a peach."

We are both simple and complex simultaneously.

VICTIMS

Posted 11 May 2004, 8.16 pm by shaggy

Do not remember me,
As I am gone.
Do not forget me,
As I have lost.
Take me as your own,
Use my blood to drink
To help you as you think.
This was not my game,
But I am dead, all the same.
People tell me that I'm gone.
How can I be? I live on
In my words, in my life.
History saves me, paints my swollen face
On the pages of man where one expects grace.
I am not gone, but a dark reminder:
Things need to change.

The Observer at the End of Time

Posted 9 May 2004, 4.49 pm by Alexander

Of the many startling ideas to emerge from Relativity and Quantum Physics (time dilation,gravity lenses,black holes, sub-atomic particles etc.) possibly the most startling of all is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle which suggests, in simple terms, that nothing can be said to exist until it's observed.

Electrons don't spin sedately around the nucleus, as Newtonian mechanics would have it, but rather exist as a sort of haze, representing the probability of their being in any one place at any one time.

Some scientists see the involvement of the observer as the most important feature in quantum theory. Until the observer observes, subatomic particles can be said to exist anywhere, or not at all. Only in the act of observation is the particle brought into existence, so to speak.

How does this relate to us? Well this is where the Participatory Anthropic principle comes in. On a subatomic scale, quantum phenomena are only brought into existence by observation;but the entire universe is made up of nothing but a vast multiplicity of quantum events interacting on a monumental scale. Do we need any other explanatory device for the whole of the cosmos? If not, then the universe has been brought into being by countless acts of observation, by all the observers who have ever existed, exist now, and will ever exist in the future.

Not convinced? Quasars are believed to be the most distant objects ever observed. They're about 90,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. This means they existed about 15 billion years ago, because the light took that long to reach us. When we observe them, therefore, we're looking billions of years into the past, to the early days of the universe. The participatory anthropic principle suggests that the quasar didn't exist until the light from it was observed - before which it was a possibility, a hazy electron.

The Participatory Anthropic Principle view of the universe makes it a kind of self-perpetuating loop. The Big Bang takes place, stars and planets develop, life begins, the universe is observed further and further into the past - and as such the distant past is projected from the far future. The observer at the end of time brings all the past into existence.

So what happens if all life is extinguished, if there is no observer at the end of time? The whole universe will cease to exist, and will cease to have ever existed. How to account for this? If we exist now, it must mean that there will always be a future observer to bring us into existence. This is the essence of the Final Anthropic Principle, which states that once intelligent life exists, it will continue to exist until the end of time, and spread throughout the entire universe. If organic life isn't up to the task, intelligent self-reproducing machines will do instead. Life, after all, is a sum of knowledge. All our knowledge, all our culture, all that is the essence of our intelligent existence, can be carried throughout the universe by such machines, thus perpetuating life forever, and accumulating all the knowledge that there is to know, and observing all that there is to observe, until the end of time.

These ideas bear a striking resemblance to the Hindu belief in the Dance of Shiva, in which Shiva brings the universe into existence with his dancing. When he stops dancing (observing?), the universe ceases to exist.

Christians, too, can draw comfort of sorts from the above. They're taught that God has always existed, and will always exist, that he is omniscient and omnipotent. The thought may not greatly appeal to Christians, but is God the observer at the end of time? Is God an unimaginably large number of intelligent machines spread across the universe? Is God, after all, the Son of Man?

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Complete Chaos

Posted 2 May 2004, 3.40 pm by Alexander

As user submissions are a little thin on the ground at the moment, I'm going to hold you all to ransom by posting my old articles, back in the day when I actually used to write for this site (and quite a few others). If you want them to stop, you'd better start submitting your own stuff.

------------------------------------

I was arguing with a friend of mine the other day, as I tend to do, about the concept of complete chaos.

My main assertion was that complete chaos cannot exist by definition. Chaos can only exist within an ordered structure. It's not just a matter of context either - I'm not talking semantics here. Think about it. Chaos by itself is not chaos, it's nothingness. Without a speck of order there is no matter, no rationale for chaos to deconstruct. What does chaos consist of? Randomness? Even a random number is made of accepted integers.

As an example my friend cited the mentally ill, the true schizophrenics. Aren't their minds in complete chaos? No. Without even a shred of order their mind would not be a mind it would become an abstract, and their physical form with it. Complete chaos would have to scramble everything, from gene strands to atoms to light. It is the completeness of the chaos that is impossible within the accepted regimen of our existence.

Now, I do believe chaos can exist in degrees, and in context of an accepted ordered infrastructure, but complete chaos? There is no such animal, not even theoretically.

What do you think?

Senior Citizens are entitled to half fare upon presentation...

Posted 14 April 2004, 2.44 am by Indigo

I've always wanted to write an anthology of stories about people I see on the bus. I'm obsessed, it's a sickness. I even have a notebook where I write the things I see and the emotions I feel from watching people on the bus. Here's my first ever bus person.



Her hands shook with arthritis as she counted out eight quarters.

"Two Dollars.." she said, shaking her thin tooblonde hair "Rediculous."

The bus driver looked caught between interjecting some pearl of wisdom and staying quiet for his own good. The woman looked to be in her late sixties. Her hair was dyed and fried, and she fought to keep her lips pressed closed in a tight frown. This was difficult because the weight of age was dragging her chin down, trying to part her thin
red pressed-together-till-they-hurt lips. The folds of her skin seemed heavy and stretched from the stress of a life writing it's final chapter against time and gravity and death and other lovely inevitable things.

She managed to haughtily stumble up the steps, and the driver caught her by the elbow, pursing his lips and looking slightly to her left, a little above her shoulder, the displaced eye contact reminicent of a blind man, but more common of a "respectful" younger person in regards to someone so old that it was impossible not to stare.

"Ma'am..." he said, requesting her attention, although he had her by the elbow. "Ma'am." he asked again. She did nothing but look down at him, ignoring the people shifting uneasily in their seats, averting their eyes, raising their books.

"You...only have to pay half fare, ma'am." he said, sounding short of breath, sounding put off, sounding sad.

"What?" She asked, not out of deafness but out of confusion and hurt.

"You...need only show me.." the next words he mumbled, but then with his eyes in that annoying 'Hey look over there before my eyes fly out of my skull' way, he motioned to a sign above his seat that read:

Senior Citizens
are entitled to
half-fare upon
presentation of
a Medicare card.

She squinted at it. It made her contacts feel dry and her hands feel like they'd been dipped in chalk. She dumped all the quarters in her hand into the change machine, and the thing registered $3.75.

"Shove that sign up your ass." She said, sweetly, and stumbled down the aisle to sit next to one of those troublemaker-looking young men who was not looking over her shoulder, but right at her sagging, wrinkled face, as he said in his young troublemaker way; "Nice."

After Amber Died

Posted 13 April 2004, 10.58 pm by ArtemisKat

"You've got the pick-up back on the road, right?" Bill asked, breaking the painful silence between the two of them.
Jody's curt one word reply brought back the barely shattered ice as the two of them stood in the bitter winter gale. They stared alternately at one another and the still steaming body lying in now scarlet snow.
Taking a step toward Jody, Bill began to speak, a note of hesitancy in his voice. "it wasn't fair of Anders to have you shoot her. You've cared for that horse, and all his horses, for years." He stopped for a moment and scratched his balding head with the hand not holding his ancient hunting cap. "I know you loved the horse. You loved her more than that little snot, Evie, ever did, but we've got a job to do. Save your mourning for later, or you'll have lost more than just this one horse."
Jody opened her mouth to speak, then snapped it shut again. What did Bill know about these things? Amber was the first foal she'd ever helped to birth. When the mare died, it was Jody who kept that spindly-legged filly going. It was she who set up camp in the next stall and she who bottle fed the little motherless bundle of energy quivering on four very unsteady legs.
Finally Jody nodded, "Lets go get the truck, Bill," she said turning her back on the form which has so recently held a life force inextricably twined with her own.
As she trudged through the snow, Jody could feel Bill's eyes on her back. Hearing him heave a tremendous sigh, Jody half turned and said, "It's not your fault either, you know. Anders should have listened when you told him she wasn't in any condition to be exercised."
Driving back to The Death Spot, the air between them continued to be empty, though filled with an almost painful static charge. Upon arriving back at the site, Bill immediately jumped out of the truck and directed Jody as she backed near to the vacant corpse.
Climbing in the back of the half ton pick up, Jody grabbed the ropes and threw them over the duel rear wheels to a teary-eyed Bill. Catching sight of his eye, she straightened up sharply and asked in disbelief, "Are you crying?"
He simply turned his head and remained quietly waiting for the rest of the equipment.
"Bill, I'm so sorry. I...I...just don't know how to deal with this. I've seen death before. I mean, I've caused death before, just like this, but it's so different this time. I just..." she trailed off at a loss for words.
Bill wiped his eyes, stood taller and replied with an abnormal gentleness in his voice, "It's alright Jody. But for now, let's just get this done as quickly as possible. I have kids waiting at home for Santa to bring them their presents, and I'm not the only one with someone waiting."
Sighing, Jody nodded and grabbed the ply-wood boards lying in the bed. She pushed them off the back and created a ramp up which they would drag the horse just like they would a deer shot for food, or a large wolf shot to keep the other animals safe. Jody marveled at how impersonal it suddenly seemed.
Mild grunts and the sound of horse hide scraping wood were all that could be heard for the next half hour. Every so often Jody would catch Bill glancing at her, an indecipherable expression on his.
Suddenly infuriated by his silence and strange air, Jody gave one great heave. In the next instant she found herself lying on her back in the cold, sticky snow wonder what the hell had happened. Bill's face appeared at the edge of the truck.
"Well, I guess that's one way to get this job finished quickly," he said with a rough laugh. "But did you really have to take a flying leap backward? I'd have thought you'd have wanted to stay a bit drier than that."
Grinning wickedly Jody scooped up a handful of snow and jumped to her feet. In one swift motion she had Bill's bright red face well washed. It took but a moment for her to sober up again.
"Let's head out to the factory and get rid of this lump," she said with far too much callousness to her voice to be convincing.

"What's done is done," Jody whispered. They placed the tattered black hat with its red band on the head of the giant snowman now standing as a memorial to the third lost horse of the winter. "When will Anders learn? When will he understand that these horses have legs too delicate to be racing on icy trails full of pits and holes in the middle of December? He loses horses every winter, although never this many at once. I don't understand. How can he afford it?"
Walking away, Jody turned around for one more look at the site. No trace of blood remained, only the sad Frosty, weeping in his own way and waving at the sky with his empty black arm.
"He looks like death, hiding under a cover of peaceful snow, just waiting for his next victim," Jody thought.

I appreciate constructive critism greatly. If you have any, I'd also appreciate if you'd let me know whether I can contact you to talk about your suggestions and get further advice.

SequoiaView

Posted 12 April 2004, 9.04 pm by Unforgiven

Sequoia Veiw - A visual representation of a directory structure.

Blatently stolen from the website:

Almost every PC user will be familiar with Windows explorer, which is a tool for browsing file hierarchies on a computer system. Explorer displays the contents of any given directory as a list where the indentation indicates the level in the hierarchy. Users can thus explore the contents of their file system on directory at a time, which works well in practice. A major drawback of this method however, is that the user cannot obtain a global overview of the entire contents of his disk, because the number of files and directories that can be shown simultaneously is limited by the available screen space. Without a global overview of the entire file system questions like "Which directory is taking up most of my hard disk space?" or "Why is my disk full?" are hard to answer.

Treemaps, developed by Shneiderman and Johnson in the late 1980's, present an elegant solution to this problem by making more efficient use of the available screen space. Instead of showing a file system as a long list of files and directories, files are displayed as rectangles, with the size of the rectangle being proportional to the size of the file. We can then display more information at once if we use all available space. We will illustrate this method with a small example:

A ace in the jail(poem)

Posted 11 April 2004, 8.16 am by cauchy3

A ace in the jail: poem
Hello crone I love your corns

Moneys are diamonds in your socks

Your shops are candies but your socks are as clean as corals


Fruits are for all men s ought

You are in manners

Birds never sing to a prisoner with some orals


Deaths are for lures to be annealed

We cross the streets and govern in the sense of the Queen

Rivers and rocks are always


My pig-lid shoes are reeds

Paste can keep your privacy like your tooth

Lovers are classes-genics under the jailer s esteems


Gemstones are rough cats come to groups of looters

Lotteries are prizes to bend down on flat tops

Birds has to fledge out from jailer s farms


You go into my garden and gave me no options

You are the yuck of your maids

Jail is your heaven but the world of the Gods


The maids lurk into my hell which is God made

Balls with their numbers set up all pearls in our tents

Skies are normal but the wands are mad


Pearls are smooth but the cold crops are new

Horses are dress in suits of donkeys

Hip s bones are stronger than our knees


Queens for benches or kings for jailers are today s new keys

Smash the logs in the logical flames

Never eyes to eyes!


Sweep your pains and taste your bitter fruits like sweets

Smears the glasses with dark ghosts that are lame

My God father will listen to my years


I pray to the evils to follow Gods on their stagy stages

I have own to you to repent of one dime

The wall of the pen house stays
Bombs are dived on dividend

I am some men of soft bloods

Harnesses of manual powers are diadems


My gasps are pleasures to load your oodles

My name is to made the oily pans fishy

My deeds are to stand aside the cross of our Gods


As heavens are match with jails

Foods and coats are deprived by powers and over powers

Morals are not only paper trails


Tummies are not belly as our annals are fasten by silver bells of our own

Silver bells are supper to nobles but prisoners hard steels

Only powers are easy mortgages but we have non


I swear I could take away the skies to stop all Gods to steal

Stomachers are wafers but menses are little towels

Lives are so unreal


Please I am happy to put my hairs into knots

I am willing to nod to my worst enemies like a friend
Knouts are like knots with holes


Trials like whores are to the satisfactions of the fiends

However Christ give his bloods to print out our worlds with moneys

Bloods and kidneys are sometimes transplant for leaving


Jailers- guest have lusts that break the preys like the sea otter

Darkness in jails is cover by white hairs on benches

Punishments are thousands times harder than fish in the omens


Thin chicken wings are even not a supper in the dens

It is painful to have images to be planned

Books about laws are too heavy to end


For one tide little fault there are some marches of flautists all over the lands

The reforms are tongues that lick off some things without educations

One cup of coffees deserve one gold coin or all your consents


Jailers cling to use abuse powers in the edge

Heaps of powers made moneys in stacks

Whips have overthrown the prisioners brains and there are no rooms for common elbows

Clowns are put on crowns to act

Frail wills and weak bodies are dirt as cheapens

Humanity are goddess who govern the fucking lakes


Pass to our futures for loves that we bear

Abuses are thunders that spoil our rectums and our ears


by cheung shun sang=cauchy3=laplace181

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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.


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Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness

Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

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