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Tag Archives: contemporary culture

One expression of contemporary common sense is that we are all seeking comfort. It seems so obvious, in a way, but it also feels completely wrong in many other ways, and i puzzle a lot about what exactly makes this particular idea so tempting.

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A few weeks ago i stumbled upon Scott Aaronson’s post called “The Toaster-enhanced Turing Machine”. As you might guess from my title, i misunderstood what it meant. But, actually, i really liked the thing i understood instead, so i’ll post my own version. Which is:

A Turing-machine enhanced toaster is just a Turing-machine.

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A primate brain, say a chimp’s or a bonobo’s grey matter, sees the world in monkey terms. That is to say, it first and foremost is part of a band of other monkeys, it tries to figure out who’s boss and who’s to be exploited, who is enemy, who controls the food, etc. Mostly it is all about «who»s. Inside the head, it is a lot of monkeys. Primates are social animals and the pecking order is way more important than anything else. The same brain also helps with spacial navigation, cause-and-effect modelling, literature criticism and so on, but those are side-effects.

But the thing is: Those side effects turn out quite impressive. So: How, exactly?

Science, Art, Pornography, Philosophy, J-Pop, Mathematics, Culinary, Religions, Traffic Jam, Po-Mo, Bureaucracy, 4chan — all of those (and many others) are one way or another a product of human brain activity. Now if all brain activity is monkey business, if all the brain does is deal with the politics of ape packs, then how exactly do we understand all of those things? Read More »

Así que hacer una performance de danza moderna y experimental se sale algo elitista, que la gente no pode entender, que solo les gusta a las personas intelectuales y muy educadas.

Pero donde se dice “educadas” en el otro parágrafo no se entienda personas buenas, o caritativas, pero al revés, personas que fueran sometidas a un longo y duro proceso de adiestramiento. O sea, o que estas personas que son “élite” entienden por educación no es lo perfeccionamiento del humano, pero solamente la sujeción a una terminología especifica.

Así que estas mismas personas no creen que su forma de decir sea mejor que la forma de decir de las personas “no-élite”. Pero todavía les toca hacer cosas que son arduas de entender. O (para decir de otra forma) para ellas hacer cosas que no sean elitistas les da una sensación McDonalds. Hay una paradoja ahí ¿o no? Read More »