Diary of Madmen

A newspaper editorial made the valid point that it is in the main quite fruitless to try and analyse the political persuasions of a Norwegian or indeed any other individual who is able to go thru the act of murdering innocent people.

Whatever his orientation ,to ascribe his politics as any more a cause of his omnicide than the football team he supports maybe unduly flatters his intellect and is no more an influence arguably than playing call of duty on the xbox.

Reminds me of a similar simplification for more ordinary peoples political and personal drives to whichClintonexplained “its the economy stupid”

It is in fact the same reason as why an “insurgent” might commit suicide to kill innocent lives as far as im concerned.a mad norwegian found the time to write a 1500 page manifesto and an al quaida recruit might be able to use religion as his badge but the conviction to kill innocent lives is simply irrational and incompatible with a doctrine of mutual coexistence.and poverty and social outcasting seem far more plausible causes for the madness than loftier ideas about martyrdom

But even if religion or politics are not to blame maybe their implication is inevitable in ones effort to try and believe that a similar outcome can be subverted in future.

The thought of powerlessness in the face of random acts of violence may seem too hard to accept so it is natural to try and tackle the problem by addressing any possibly rational political element though that risks artificially creating an issue or an agenda where actually such big issues self regulate themselves without heated discussion opening up wounds that are only ever capable of incompletely healing.

But the media has been noticeably quick to see the empty ideology of somebody with whom most of the media might culturally identify with ,a white european with a not unsubstantiable amount of suppressed grievances ,and so find it easier to condemn his motivations? But when faced with a race and religion that is foreign to most of the western media ,the acts of a disturbed subgroup of individuals becomes almost glorified into a deeper more intangible expression of culture and an alien ideology. Why can it not be that in a culture where democracy is less (economically, stupid) established and religion is still the most prevalent expression of most peoples way of life compared to a more secular society then the mad individuals of that society will inevitably use the language of that religion to justify those same homicidal urges as the Norwegian.

Problem is when its a playstation game then the owners are there to deny promoting violence but with a foreign religion in which there is disagreement on who can set the record straight,it is easy for western media to run away with any apparent agenda because that would always stir up more debate than the simple fact of somebody’s mental illness

I dont care how many psychiatric tests of rationality such murderers might pass, somebody who has crossed the point of civil society and decided to kill innocent strangers is an irrational dysfunctional sociopath whom psychiatry should label as mentally ill and either cure him or incapacitate him, preferably before he kills someone but don’t waste your time debating with someone who can commit random murder. I suppose the big elephant in the room is whether labelling as mentally ill would entitle undeserved legal privileges but if an apparently rational guy can justify such indiscriminate murder and appear to be legally sane he is clearly dysfunctional but should not be exempt from accountability.
What level of medically assumed but biochemically unquantifiable level of neurotransmitter deviation exempts ones actions from accountability anyway?

The view of these individuals as mentally ill should apply only as far as recognising that such people should not and cannot be reasoned with like normal people since they have managed to rationalise indiscriminate murder.The only question thus remaining is whether there should be different approaches to the suicidal killer, the non suicidal killer and the mastermind who orchestrates but rarely does any direct killing of innocent civilians, all of whom may seem sane but it seems easier to dismiss the first two groups than the last and the question is whether the latter group needs to be engaged in political debate more seriously as it will often be the group with the intention of establishing some kind of governance through it’s own propaganda and thus necessitate some kind of open discussion. This is historically how the terrorist organisations have worked through the facade of having an official face that is a comfortable distance from the direct killing in order to offset the accusation of being seen as irrational murderers. There would appear to be a micro thin line where those who appear not be involved directly in the killing might warrant engagement and may have fractionally more credibility in the mind of the public which would require a more structured dismissal or compromise. This is the micro fine line that some of the most persistent terrorist organisations have managed to tread for in some cases decades.

But can and should civil society enforce those powers that might curtail the exposure to potential triggers in that vulnerable and volatile subset of people who actually do the killing? And is it the case that political debate at a national level is never going to sway the disturbed individuals who actually commit themselves to murder and so we must recognise that debate will not reduce recruitment even if it warrants an open forum only as far as any other issue between proponents engaged in a democratic exercise.
However I don’t think it’s entirely realistic or honest to palm off these acts as completely unpreventable .Its not about reviewing left or right wing policies or eliminating ignorance although such things are all very nice but the final essential ingredient is that the actual killers are crazy and the question is how far are we prepared to compromise certain freedoms and introduce restrictions without inadvertently capping an?economically supported but also passionately upheld and laudable value of freedom that is synonymously associated with the “west” in order to root out the maniacs. The old security vs liberty chestnut. Obama doesnt believe they are mutually exclusive and neither do Keynesians but then Im not sure what he believes.

And how long if ever will it take for people to realise that all races are human and are fundamentally driven by isomorphically identical emotions and that crazy homicidal people are basically just broken people wherever they are so it does not help us to analyse and elevate their politics or religion to any scrutiny.

I never done it,it was Mr Hoppy!

Return of the Polymath

Dear Marcus du Sautoy
It is hard for a mainstream audience to grasp the importance of mathematics beyond a means to an end and the most frequent failure of its proponents in conveying their passion is when asked the very question that defeats the point, ie how does this or that mathematically abstract insight help us?

It is a frequent stumbling block which those hapless media virgins will try to negotiate and often disappear down fairly trite examples such as barcodes or technical gadgetry that is in use which beyond their functionality wont enthuse most listeners; then you get to the esoteric astronomical examples which beyond their picturesque value and metaphysical and philosophical musings are again often lost on people whose lives and concerns are much more to do with the life and the interactions that they experience everyday(that problem being again related to the fact that what attracts maybe those of a scientific predisposition is the very detachment from all things human which those of a more artistic tendency tend to try to relate to);and so to the most easily appreciated application which is in the understanding of nature and life where the two arms of scientific and mathematical rigour and artistic beauty do appear to converge and beyond their aesthetic value perhaps serve as promoting a greater appreciation, understanding and consciousness for the environment we live in and the life that has sprung from it in all its multiply dazzling ways.

Much of the problem also lies in the separation of maths as a subject on its own. While its most direct application is in physics and while physics has benefited from different and arguably less mathematically rigourous and analytical approaches in order to gain insight to a problem, maybe it is deceptive to consider one approach more mathematical than another.
Bottom line being that maths and physics are the same thing……….
Or even more to the point mathematics is not a subject at all. It is the simply the most applicable language for describing nature.
Even when pure maths appears to be looking at abstract patterns for which there is no physical parallel this is arguably the equivalent of mathematically robust philosophy asking hypothetical questions about the nature of nature.
Just another branch of physics if you ask me…metaphysics maybe but without the negative connotations of of which there is so much actually embedded in our day to day language.
There has been a cultural pride in mathematical ignorance despite the fact that all the innovations in art have often been mirrored by innovation in science (through mathematics).
And the true artists deserve to be labelled polymaths of the Enlighenment whose ultimate desire was to gain and disseminate knowledge of a sort, be it their unique visual perspective of optics, silhouettes, shadows and colours of the great modern French painters to more blatent illusions of the Dali type.

And music similarly finds its harmonies from a patterns that are complemented by a mathematical description that through its analysis tells you far more about the internal structure, the actual skeleton of the music than you could ever have comprehended just by listening.
Like peeling away the multiple layers of anatomy hidden within a human body, each of which give you a clue as to how it works and without which you cannot possibly understand beyond simply looking at it form the outside.

Similarly the mathematical treatment of phenomena both in nature and even those that appear to be purely for human aesthetics all seem to have structures that can be explained by the unifying power of mathematical descriptions.
Isn’t that an insight of tumultous proportions and could it be that most people reject the implication that maths explains everything due to a frustration or intimidation of not understanding and that which one does not understand one often chooses to reject as the conceited smugness of a select few.

Could it be that the mathematicians inability to actually convey what one feels for it and the audacious claim that it underpins just about everything one does, says or feels is such an addictive realisation that to a true purist this is almost a private secret rabbit hole that most who are in love with this realisation have already fallen too far down to care about conveying to others.

And maybe the ability to articulate these feelings in a language that is often more appreciated when embellished with a degree of vain flamboyance is not the strength of those more in love with the elegance of precision and succinctness.

So maybe to those who dont understand and so don’t care such mathematicians have in fact cut themselves off from being relevant and maybe an affinity or understanding of this sort is indeed just ( as previously blogged) an anomalous ambiguity of no evolutionary use to the species.

But that cant be entirely fair as one could apply the same argument to abstract art which arguably gets a similar press on similar grounds although on the whole it probably appeals to a very different audience when in fact maybe both have much in common in terms of ther underlying motivations and maybe would benefit by supporting each other much more.
Such a union would not only embolden their collective voice but would reinforce that enlightenment mentality that true understanding maybe only comes when apparently separate things are brought together and seen for their common ancestry.
From this comes understanding about the nature of all diversity and whether that is truth or not , when sensed through human senses it satisfies the need for pattern recognition. And that is a very gratifying sensation…maybe dangerous in that it might encourage passivity and a voyeuristic and static perspective of things which actually are in flux but not often on a human (time or spatial) scale.

But i don’t think insight into such matters would override our evolved lust for short term gratification and so I am not encouraging an irresponsibly detached and inhumane viewpoint.

Empathy with each other is innate in the loose sense and an intellectual/mathematical viewpoint would not take that away. In fact it should only do what it does for those who are already converted to the idea.
It should give solace that there is some kind of order in an apparently random and meaningless universe even if that order appears chaotic and imperceptible at the same time, even if it requires the human sense to be in the equation in order to be sensed and even if it requires mathematics in order to describe what is otherwise indescribable. And maybe it is also reassuring that the mathematics concedes a rigourous admission of its own limitations ie the Godel theorem is logical proof that mathematical logic has its limitations and that there is a certain type of computability that is beyond our mathematical axioms but which we employ without (literally) even thinking,ie the basis for thought and consciousness. For someone who gets it that’s enough to make you just a bit religious…

To go to such intellectual lengths to extract some questionable qunatity of solace is again an argument against such a viewpoint so this is not for everyone
And by definition those who are firmly and more or less happily grounded on terra firma have no need for such esoteric exercises but the point is not everyone is like that and in fact i would argue that most of humanity that hasn’t reached some self satisfied state of self indulgence and materialistic accumulation ,is in fact searching for something more in their lives. And while religion has an accessibility that lends itself to be an attractive source of answers to many ,for those unfortunate enough to be unable to eliminate constant doubt and questions maybe the mathematical structure of human perspectives of nature is about all there is to offer in terms of an overarching glimpse of some strange masterplan at work and most of the time for most of the people who get it, it works.

And to what goal would this understanding be geared. I don’t expect all things mathematical to be elevated to the frontmost of everyone’s minds.
But in the same way that God and religion do not always feature prominently in most peoples day to day thoughts that’s not to say that they’re not interested in such matters but that the reason for their ambivalence might be more to the fact that they might regard answers to such questions as impossible and hence don’t wish to waste time on such matters quite understandably but in fact were we to know for sure that ,say God actually exists no one would doubt that that would be of literally cataclysmic significance if not completely incompatible with the survival of the human race itself.

But maybe a recognition of the universality of mathematics might elevate it to beyond just the irreverent doodlings of a few absent minded boffins and actually have it recognised as the pursuit and quest for truth.
If some then regard such a quest as a waste of time or impossible then so be it but at least let it be recognised as such first and foremost and not some random self indulgent and pointless excursion for blackboards and chalk.

Beltrami's Pseudosphere

 

Somalia to Oslo

 Even if grief is the glue that bonds us.So also do we all know about the revolutionary fervour of youth that is common to all of us at some point in our lives and that inextinguishable flame of life that will always burn bright in the eyes of every innocent child that carries all our hopes and dreams so recklessly,unknowingly and carefree and how could it be any other way?
The shared empathy for suffering is all we have to counter the feeling of loss.

“The truth is what is, and what should be is a fantasy. A terrible, terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago.”:Lenny Bruce

Its upto us what we make true.

www.dec.org.uk, www.unicef.org.uk, www.oxfam.org.uk

Leviathon Shuffles,the Scale Tilts

And the tide turned.The South side retreats into the shadows and Leviathan shifts.The Richter Scale shudders and the earth buries Arch Stanton once more .The Superinjunction Imperial II Class Star Destroyer sinks slowly in the muddy obfuscation of celebrity manure and out pokes a humble orchid from the dank pit to completely change the game and the judiciary recovers from laryngotracheobronchitis to find it can sing like a canary and bellow like a bison.
The cannibalist vultures circle rapaciously waiting to gnaw at one of their own but the skeleton is not dead.
Hobbes in Leviathan : CICERO maketh honourable mention of one of the Cassii, a severe judge amongst the Romans, for a custom he had in criminal causes, when the testimony of the witnesses was not sufficient, to ask the accusers, cui bono; that is to say, what profit, honour, or other contentment the accused obtained or expected by the fact. For amongst presumptions, there is none that so evidently declareth the author as doth the benefit of the action.
And elsewhere Reuters flexes its muscles and the raucous clamour at the gates installing the bespectacled from Moody’s and Standard & Poor on the front line to strike first blood with masochistic temerity on the propaganda airwaves against the richest country in the world-it’s own, dangling its most precious asset in its fingers-it’s financial credibility.Reminding us that speculation is a dangerously unwieldly sledgehammer that no one man can ever entirely tame.

So Long and Thanks for the Fish

Audio Couture de l’Angleterre

Probably the most culturally significant global export  to stamp its place in the world.

Like the wild sister of BBC World Service

Charting its evolution can be a useful exercise in losing your alpha waves and initiating 3Hz spike and wave brain activity if its 1 in the morning,youre tired and you can’t sleep.

There is a thread from the first amoeba to Dizzee Rascal but its only consumable in byte size so lets look at electronic music from the eighties to now ignoring some of the very original sounds like Kraftwerk and some of the Jamaican dub sounds of the 70s.

So start with the metamorphosis of gospel influenced US garage into more percussion heavy house via Chicago.And in the UK you get the old skool breakbeat of rave with classic house samples and house on top of the famous Winstons’ Amen Brother sample itself then disappearing into harder electronic techno breakbeat and trance thanks to Detroit..

rave also borrowed sounds from ragga and became jungle,then drum n bass and ever more industrial tuneless labyrinthine dead ends but the jump up strand morphed into UK garage and 2 step (see DJ Zinc 138 Trek) by slowing down the breaks and adding bass heavy dub to old skool us garage influences (Wookie,Roy Davis Jr).Suddenly people could keep up with the rhythm without artificial enhancement thanks to a helping hand from a warbling bassline.

Now the breaks stay slow but the overlay becomes the genre discriminator.Almost absurd profusion of labels ensues basically defining over specific descriptions of a small selection of tunes.Very dark minimal dubstep like Burial to breakbeat based Boxcutter to Grimecore of Justice.Meantime electro adds a retro Reese type bassline to the 4-4  and slowly you get another merger between the nu breaks and the nu bass

Meantime Eminem opens up the rules on improvised lyrically precise freestyle MC’ing working to his own time independent but in sync with a backing rhythm.

I wonder if this is the point of origin for the almost total freestyling on top of some of the current grime sounds backed by a resurging dancehall ragga based Jamaican beat.You can hear Rihanna and Beyonce using the samples and loops in their latest singles.

Likes of Justin Timberlake and Rihanna (again) are sticking old skool trance loops onto soul and RnB

And all the time all the genres are going ever lower with the bass sounds until it has almost reached cellular resonance with your body cavities.Then they get warped and slowed down to an almost exaggeratedly stretched extent as with Nero.

Why have I left out the traditional “rock” guitar.Some may think there are plenty of good bands and new sounds but my argument is that the guitar on its own is not an evolving sound and maybe on its own its potential was maximised some time ago maybe even with Hendrix whereas with electronic and sampled music the sounds will continue to change with the development of technology and the only chance for guitar to sound new is to fuse with the new technology.

I remember the likes of Senser and their trance and breakbeat overlays and Asian Dub Foundation with guitar to drum n bass and of course there was the Beastie Boys but new genres didnt sprout from these experiments.Maybe the reason is there arent enough people trying to develop such a fusion because the two strands have generally different histories and schooling and although one can appreciate both most tend to have instincts for one and be followers of the other.Though maybe the roots of both lie in blues and slavery.

The guitar turned into rock and reggae which experimented with technology via dub and wacky baccy and the singing turned into rapping.Alongside the salvationary gospel roots you then see the common ancestry of all the currrent trends

And you wonder what next.But whats clear is the UK seems to be an impatient place musically.Fusion and sampling seems maybe a more efficient shortcut to the inception of original sounds and rhythms than isolation and contemplation.A trial and error naturistic shortcut rather than an exhaustive construction from the foundations upwards.
Must be the weather.We get bored quickly.

So the iconic year of the 60s might be 1969 thanks to Woodstock and the Beatles.The 70s had 1977 and punk.The 80s has 1988 and acid.The 90s had 1995 and an anything goes melting pot of styles from explosion of jungle to trip hop,dream house,brit pop,blur,oasis,etc,etc.

Then you got the Noughties and 2000 with UKgarage,dreem team and ayia napa

So  maybe the teenies started a bit premature like 2009 but everywhere I look I see GRRRYYYYEEEEEM…!

Wot! U think Im BONKERS?

Tricky Situation

Isolation epidemic
Spreadin’,
Calories endlessly
Risin’,
Stress just buildin’
from commutin’ n’ sittin’,
Fat going nowhere
needin’ burnin’,
Gettin’ up in the mornin’,
Strugglin’.

Join the dots
Get linkin’.

Third world health
Its a scam.
If it werent for the sanitation
Theyd be damn
sight fitter
than the Western man.
Whose quality of life
dont mirror his average lifespan.
And wid his more fragile constitu-shan
made statistically superior only by virtue of vaccination,pharmaceuticals and extor-shan

Take the average old man from the rich nation
And the same aged man from a poorer nation.
Which one houses the stronger,the fitter and the tougher mansion?
Which one is still valued and respected
by his family and by society.
Who is closer to the dream of Xenophon?
Of what makes for a good life?

The shallow facade of protracted Western existences is crumbling along with the eurozone.
Dont judge a nation by its averages, judge it by the mindset of its elderly population however many or few they may be. Theirs is the truest affirmation of whether life has been worth living in that country.
Maybe it’s the harshest struggle that keeps the adrenaline for survival at its most instinctive. And with stability and shelter in an artificial edifice of Western constancy comes a complacency that is unable to surmount a response to fuel bills, insurance, mortgages, childcare and pensions

Maybe we are at our best when faced with the physical
And life is meant to keep us all strugglin’….

Rabindranath Tagore
Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark

C(r)aving Madness

 From the vacuum sealed,safety inspected fire vaults of Cehennem,the fire breathing multi headed health & safety inspector issued another white paper document on the heads of the damned.

And for many years Reason was quashed,tangled in a vicious web of red tape.

Until Recession prevailed and,profaning in the name of Common Sense,mimicked its message to fool the foolish damned and thanks to Fortune and Serendipity banished Health & Safety into the old municipal incinerator in Gehenna.

And thus dawned a new Jannat of unsupervised cave visits, unsecured lead climbs to thecaveofCennetand incomplete head counts from where you will hopefully emerge without the Devil of Negligence (QC) howling for the blood of an Innocent.

No longer under lock and key with ID checks and retinal scans.

The eye became William Blake’s window to the darkest cave in your soul and he’s telling us Jahannam is right before your eyes.

Security vs Liberty