Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

The Foundation – Piles Down – Zero Return Achieved

April 12, 2007

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PROFILE – If there has ever been a need for a classic ‘Call to Arms’, that time is now. To quote a famous man from what seems is a long time ago, but is not – ‘The only thing about me is that I am an average healthy human being. All the things I have been able to do, any human being or anyone of you could do equally well or better. I was able to accomplish what I did by refusing to be hooked on a game of life that had nothing to do with the way the universe was going. I was just a throwaway who was willing to commit myself to what needed to be done.’ – R. Buckminster Fuller

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The first piles have hit Zero Return. The steel driven hard so to be sure there is not wavering with the buffeting of the inevitable storm to come. It starts small with the general feeling that ‘if we ignore it, it will go away’ – ‘This does not affect me’ – ‘Ugly picture of a brain, that can’t be me, I’m invincible’. Time for the inevitable REALITY check. The question is asked, ‘Is it not simply a case of a Zero Sum Game?’ [REF] MATH Not METH – Is based on a premise developed in 1994 to break a cycle of Heroin addiction within an institutional setting. The premise was a simple one – If you can divert the attention of an addict away from the ‘Game of Getting’ and focused on the ‘Game of Knowledge’ the Pleasure associated with the ‘Score’ followed by the inevitable disappointment in the High, is replaced by the quest for Knowledge. Dr. Irving Biederman writes – ‘From hand-held DVD players to hundred-inch plasma screens, much of today’s technology is driven by the human appetite for pleasure through visual and auditory stimulation. What creates this appetite? Neuropsychologists have found that visual input activates receptors in the parts of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, and that the brain associates new images with old while also responding strongly to new ones. Using functional MRI imaging and other findings, they are exploring how human beings are ‘infovores’ whose brains love to learn. Children may enjoy Sesame Street’s fast pace because they get a ‘click of comprehension’ from each brief scene.

I suggest a reading of ‘Perceptual Pleasure and the Brain’[PDF] and if the information sparks an interest to to learn more, then explore: Visual Pathways In The Brain – [PPT] And/Or The Neural Basis Of Perceptual Organization And Object Recognition – Part I [PPT] – Part II [PPT] For a Definition of Pleasure – [REF] Dr. Irving Biederman – ‘In a fraction of a second — from a single visual fixation — humans are able to comprehend novel images of objects and scenes, often under highly degraded and novel viewing conditions. To account for this extraordinary capacity, we have proposed that objects are represented as an arrangement of simple, convex, viewpoint-invariant shape primitives, termed ‘geons’, such as bricks, cylinders, wedges, and cones, that serve to distinguish visual entities at a basic [or entry] level, so that a given image can be determined to be that of a chair, fork, or penguin [Biederman, 1987]. The geons can be distinguished by properties of edges that are invariant with orientation in depth [such as straight vs. curved contours] so representations distinguished by geons possess the same invariance. As long as two or three geons in their specified relations can be extracted from the image, entry-level classification will almost always be successful despite drastic variations in the object’s silhouette, specific contours, and occlusion of large regions of the object. In a series of priming experiments, we have demonstrated that all the priming can be attributed to the activation of the geons [in their specified relations], rather than to the local image features [lines and vertices; spatial frequency components] that initially activated the geons or an overall model of the object. Other experiments showed that, indeed, the invariant properties of edges are far more important in object classification than metric properties, properties that do not remain invariant under rotation in depth, such as degree of curvature or aspect ratio.’[REF]


Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his monumental tome ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’ – ‘Addicts can articulate very well the consequences of their behavior. But they fail to act accordingly. The damage to the ventromedial area of the brain causes a disconnect between what you know and what you do. What is lacking is the cranial valet pushing them in the right direction, adding the little emotional extra to make sure they do the right thing. In high-stakes fats moving situations, we want to be as dispassionate and purely rational as the next person. We don’t want to stand there endlessly talking – grinding – through our options. Sometimes we’re better off if the mind behind the locked door makes our decisions for us.’ [P:60][REF] Later he referred to an incident in New York City: – ‘Tragedy on Wheeler Avenue’ – ‘So there they were: Sean Carroll – Ed McMellon – Richard Murphy – Ken Boss. It was late. They were in the South Bronx. They saw a young black man and he seemed to be behaving oddly. They were driving past, so they couldn’t see him well, but right away they began to construct a system to explain his behavior. He’s not a big man, for instance. He’s quite small. – What does small mean? It means he’s got a gun. . . He’s out there alone. At twelve-thirty in the morning. In this lousy neighborhood. . . Alone. . . A black guy. He’s got a gun – otherwise he wouldn’t be there. And he’s little to boot. Where’s he get the balls to stand out there in the middle of the night? He’s got a gun. – That’s the story you tell yourself. . . They back the car up. Carroll said later he was – amazed – that [Amadou] Diallo was still standing there. Don’t bad guys run at the sight of police officers? Carroll and McMellon get out of the car. McMellon calls out ‘Police. Can we have a word?’ Diallo pauses. He is terrified, of course, and his terror is written all over his face. Two towering white men, utterly out of place, in that neighborhood at that time of night, have confronted him. But the mind-reading moment is lost because Diallo turns and runs back into the building. Now it’s a pursuit, and Carrol and Mcmellon are not experienced officers. . . They are raw. They are new to the Bronx and new to the Street Crime Unit and new to the unimaginable stresses of chasing what they think is an armed man down a darkened hallway. Their heart rates soar. Their attention narrows. Wheeler Avenue is an old part of the Bronx. The sidewalk is flush to the curb, and Diallo’s apartment building is flush to the sidewalk, separated be a four-step stoop. There is no White Space there. Now Diallo runs. When they step out of the squad car, McMellon and Carrol are no more than ten or fifteen feet away from Diallo. Diallo runs. It’s a chase! Carrol and McMellon were just a little aroused before. What is their heart rate now? 175? 200? Diallo is now inside the the vestibule, up against the the inner door of his building. He twists his body sideways and digs at something in his pocket. Carrol and McMellon have neither cover nor concealment: there is no door pillar to shield them, to allow them to slow the moment down. They are in the line of fire, and what Carrol sees is Diallo’s hand and the tip of something black. As it happens, it is a wallet. But Diallo is black, and it’s late, and it’s the South Bronx, and time is being measured no in milliseconds, and under those circumstances we know that wallets invariably look like guns. Diallo’s face might tell him something different, but Carrol isn’t looking at Diallo’s face – even if he were, it isn’t clear that he would understand what he saw there. He’s not mind-reading now. He’s effectively autistic. He’s locked in on whatever is coming out of Diallo’s pocket. Carrol yells out – HE’S GOT A GUN! – and he starts firing. McMellon falls backward and starts firing – and a man falling backward in combination with the report of a gun seem like it can mean only one thing. – He’s Been Shot! So Carrol keeps firing, and McMellon sees Carrol firing, so he keeps firing, and Boss and Murphy see Carrol and McMurphy firing, so they jump out of the car and start firing too. The papers the next day will make much of the fact that forty-one bullets were fired, but the truth is that four people with semi-automatic pistols can fire forty-one bullets in about two and a half seconds. The entire incident, in fact, from start to finish, was probably over in less time than it has taken you to read this paragraph. But packed into those few seconds were enough steps and decisions to fill a lifetime. Carrol and McMellon call out to Diallo – One Thousand One – He turns back into the house – One Thousand Two – They run after him, across the street and up the steps – One Thousand Three – Diallo is in the hallway, tugging at something in his pocket – One Thousand Four – Carrol yells out HE’S GOT A GUN! The shooting starts – One Thousand Five – One Thousand Six – Bang! Bang! Bang! – One Thousand Seven – Silence. Boss runs up to Diallo, looks down on the floor, and yells out, ‘Where’s The Fucking Gun?’ and thens runs up the street toward Westchester Avenue, because he has lost track in the shouting and the shooting of where he is. Carrol sits down on the steps next to Diallo’s bullet-ridden body and starts to cry.’ [P:242] [REF I] [REF II] [REF III] Bruce Springsteen wrote ‘41 Shots’ based on the Amadou Diallo Incident:

41 shots 41 shots 41 shots 41 shots 41 shots 41 shots 41 shots 41 shots…. and we’ll take that ride ‘cross this bloody river to the other side 41 shots… cut through the night You’re kneeling over his body in the vestibule Praying for his life

Is it a gun, is it a knife Is it a wallet, this is your life It ain’t no secret It ain’t no secret No secret my friend You can get killed just for living In your American skin

41 shots Lena gets her son ready for school She says “on these streets, Charles You’ve got to understand the rules If an officer stops you Promise you’ll always be polite, that you’ll never ever run away Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

Is it a gun, is it a knife Is it a wallet, this is your life It ain’t no secret It ain’t no secret No secret my friend You can get killed just for living In your American skin

Is it a gun, is it a knife Is it in your heart, is it in your eyes It ain’t no secret

41 shots… and we’ll take that ride ‘Cross this bloody river To the other side 41 shots… got my boots caked in this mud We’re baptized in these waters and in each other’s blood

Is it a gun, is it a knife Is it a wallet, this is your life It ain’t no secret It ain’t no secret No secret my friend You can get killed just for living In your American skin

Copyright © Bruce Springsteen [ASCAP][REF]

Malcolm Gladwell also wrote an article in the New Yorker [REF] which has become somewhat of a battle cry for those advocating for change, at least in one area – Million Dollar Murray – [PDF]. The rule applies here.

I quoted the late R. Buckminster Fuller at the beginning of this post. Many will still question the rationale for all of this. Therefor, allow me to leave you with this:

A Tribute To Albert Lee Jimmy [REF] – December 11, 2006 was marked with the passing of Albert [Alby] Lee Jimmy. Alby was a person who left a wake wherever he chose to point his life’s canoe. He left an impression, irrepressibly positive, with everyone he met and could be counted on to bring smiles and laughter to even the most depressed crowd, just by walking among them.

Alby was the Joker in a deck of cards, hard dealt, never one to blame anyone for the game of life he had chosen to play. While he had many historical issues which marked the way he was, he bristled with a flash of anger, and then ran at the first sign of anyone trying to coddle him.

His last days were marked with an acknowledgment of the risks that stood before him, and choosing to take that one last stand, taking the chance that he might once again be able to walk the land. But that was not to be, and he died as he had lived, the quiet man.

I share with you a eulogy I wrote for a friend some years back, I often find it fits for many:

THE RANGE OF AFFECT [A Tribute to Ginger Baker]

The range of affect has been great; Just as a stone thrown skips across the surface of a still pond; As it slips below the surface, it leaves only you to know it was ever there;

And yet, as the stone settles to the water’s floor; It changes the surface forever; Such is the Range of Affect.

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While Alby’s stone has slipped from view, the wave to be felt for times to come, and the wake of his passing canoe leaving pause for thought.

As said Before:

You can Lead –

You can Follow –

Or You can Stand By and Watch

Change, It Comes


The Bridge

February 23, 2007




Liongs Gate Bridge

The Lions Gate Bridge [1937]

First Narrows, Vancouver








The Work/Words of Donella Meadows

Places to Intervene in a System – [LINK]

Dancing With Systems – [LINK]


RSVP Cycles – Lawrence Halprin – [LINK]

Tamalpa – Anna Halprin – [LINK]


Dropping Knowledge – [LINK]

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How It All Came To Be

February 23, 2007



If the contents of this message do not make you angry –


There comes the inevitable question of WHY? How is that one person seems willing to muster all the resources to hand, even take the time to gather the information, the time to assemble it all and put it out there.

The motivation for this all comes from an incredible frustration of dealing daily with the same issues over again, the ones dealt with and resolved the week before, and the week before that.

There is required a Sea Change in the way things are done, a Massive Change [LINK] in fact in the way things are accomplished. I benefit from the ability to wake up each day, thank the Creator for the granting of another day to make progress and carry on with my agenda, an agenda I speak of, sometimes lucidly, on these pages.

I come to this from an interesting place, one that is far from the conventional. The profile, while in the Public Domain [LINK], is password protected and I ask that you request it from me.

I count as the root of my inspiration a mentor in the person of the late Donella Meadows [LINK], her inspiration being represented best, at least for me, in her two Treatise’s – Places to Intervene in System [LINK] and Dancing With Systems [LINK].


There remains the frustration with those whose agenda appears centred around their need for perpetual status quo, the protection of their domain with Fear as Their Ally. But the is hope, people growing ‘Mad as Hell’ [LINK] and the words of Edward R. Morrow’s [LINK] speaking at the 1958 RTNDA Convention [Full Text], words ringing truer today as they have ever been.


And, with my own piece of rhetoric thrown in, we live today in a society rapidly advancing in the ability to embrace the latest trend in technology, yet too often lacking in the simple skills, less literate than ever, with the text of the technology becoming too often the language of daily life, while those left on the margins, analyzed and categorized into a stupor Speed Up to Catch up and in the process blow their minds.


If at the end of the day, on more life is redirected from the abyss, then the work will have been worth it. Yet, I suggest there is coming that Massive Change, people ‘Mad As Hell’, and the prospects for the future better than they would seem. There remain those who in support of the status quo, trundle out the classic, yet stale, arguments to perpetuate their own positions once again yet not bothering to look down the road a piece to see the load that is coming.

In 1966, Arlo Guthrie put pen to paper and created a monumental treatise for the time ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ [LINK] with its Call to Arms, of a sort, therein:


And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say ‘Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.’. And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.’ [(C) 1966-1968]


In the Immortal words, spoken in what became eventually the longest Anti War demonstration in memory, words indicating the issue and how endemic it became – ‘Attention. Attention, camp compound. Corporal Judson has informed the colonel’s office that three cases of Amphetamine Sulfate [DEF] are unaccounted for again. This is the third occurrence of this type in the last month. It must stop by order of Colonel Blake’s office, 4077th M*A*S*H unit.’


If what you have just read does not make you angry, I suggest you are asleep


ERODING THE MIND – Researchers have mapped brain decay caused by Methamphetamine use. The damage affected memory, emotion and rewards systems.[JPG]