Saturday, December 31, 2016

Relativity: Two Analogies

If you are traveling at 100,000 miles per hour light passes you at the same speed as if you were standing still.  No number approaches infinity.  100,000 is no closer to infinity than one.  Light is considered the speed limit of the universe.  Time ceases to elapse at the speed of light.  Light is eternal.  Therefore the speed of light, which is a finite number, is a practical infinity.

If line X intersects with line Y, as on an X-Y axis graph and line X approaches line Y, as soon as line X is concurrent with line Y at more than one point it is concurrent at an infinite number of points.  Thus, by this analogy light continues to pass a traveling object at the same constant rate no matter how fast the object goes--until the moment that object travels at the speed of light.


Robert Frost said, “I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.”  America is so popular because she exports her culture—music, literature, art, etc.  That culture is various.  The Japanese pay three times as much to go to school here.  We have sent three probes to Mars.  No other nation has sent even one.  Multiculturalism serves us well.  

* * * * * * *

If I hand you a pitcher I don’t want you to get me some water.  “Some” is a needless and vague complication.  I want you to get me water.  It may be the case that in a simpler language, like a click language, I would simply say, “Get me water.”  Each language has its own qualia, and, as such, no language can ever be truly replaced.  It may be that clicks in a click language are a kind of punctual spacing between words or within phrases.  English does not have a word that means “the desire to be good”—not exactly anyway.  Though clearly we have that yearning.  The limits of language are not the limits of the mind.  As Wallace Stevens said, “The eye is larger than the mind.”   

IQ is not a great predictor of success.  I have two friends who both have IQs in the 130 range and they both work menial jobs and have never left Athens.  Michio Kaku also has made this claim.  If intelligence is the ability to acquire wisdom and practical skills then it has not been fathomed—not even close.

Does an increase in intelligence mean an increase in awareness?  No.  Does an increase in awareness mean an increase in intelligence?  Actually, it would mean an increase in the manner in which intelligence is implemented.  If I am drunk when I take an IQ test I will do poorly.  But it would also alter the way in which intelligence is implemented.  But intelligence is not the same as wisdom, and wisdom cannot be quantified, nor can awareness.

I want you to respond to this.

Thank you.


Joel Fry

Is the glass half full or half empty?

The glass is neither half full or half empty. It is half filled.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Culture and Race

Biological race is not the bottom of the cultural well.  Individual difference and similarity (with respect to others within the group and with outsiders) is.  Culture is analogous to gravity; whereas individual difference and similarity is analogous to quantum activity, though this analogy is not an exact match.  Somehow individual preference, temperament, and intelligence refracts through the prism of biological race into the culture at large.  
       Religion is an even higher layer than race, and while no religion fits any extant group the religions of the world reflect the values of the ancestors.  East Asian Muslims are much more peaceful than Arab, Persian, and Turkish Muslims.  Allah is an angry God who keeps his distance.  These two qualities—anger and distance—may have differential bearing on how the religion is practiced.  Because East Asian Muslims are less violent than Arab Muslims, East Asian Muslims are responding to a different aspect of Allah.  Also, we bomb the Middle East.   

Let me add that in the beginning of The Odyssey Homer says that the Ethiopians worship Poseidon and the Tanach says that the Ethiopians worship Yahweh, so apparently these Mediterranean cultures thought so highly of the Ethiopians that they imputed their cultures onto them.

Iliad 1.423-4 (Thetis is speaking to Achilles.)
Only yesterday Zeus went off to the Ocean River
to feast with the Aethiopians, loyal, lordly men,
and all of the gods went with him.

I would like to know what you think of this.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Death and Unconsciousness

Something can only be dead if it was once alive. A computer, therefore, is not even dead. Fungi only feed on what's dead, and fungi feed on the bottom layer. Rocks are not conscious, but they are not unconscious, because the only way something can be unconscious is to be alive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Not everyone looks in the mirror to see the world.  Some look within themselves and find the same thing.  Where else can one look?  One begins to see his problem as the world problem, the common misery and the common happiness.  One sees with his own sense, with a gaze that discerns the universe in the microcosm of a hope that stretches life like a canvas over every transparent surface.
Once I gave some money to a leprosy charity.  I say this to remind myself.  But it makes more sense to give to a leprosy charity than to a world hunger charity because world hunger charities often put small local farmers out of business and create dependency.  But curing a disease does neither of these things, and if enough people contributed, leprosy could be eradicated like smallpox.

Granted, there is such a thing as the gulag of concern.  As much as I write and talk about constant movement, occasionally I have to find a way to settle down and go still.  Going still is something that has to happen every now and then at least.  If there is such a thing as the ego it is simply an overmastering desire to stay busy and accomplish nothing.  That, at least, would be the basis of its existence, its bread and butter.  

As a nation we accomplish plenty, but as individuals we languish in our thirst for more, as if wanting more is the most exhausting of all activities.  Because we are an individualistic culture we see to it that greatness matters.  By Christopher Hitchens’ logic God is not great because he isn’t good.  For the same reason Genghis Khan isn’t great because he wasn’t good.  All other virtues are subsumed by greatness.

If you live in America you get a roof over your head, food, and clean drinking water (usually).  Imagine what this looks like from the outside.  Think of the choices the good people of the world saw with watching eyes: Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.  Enough infighting between us.  Its time to look beyond our borders. 

As Americans we are fond of saying the hour is late, but for most of the world the hour has already passed.  Buried within each of us is a way home, in the sound of a jet passing overhead, in the sound of a distant train at night, in the constant rocking of the sea, which in the mind never moves.  We’re spoiled here.  Because we have things our way we can never have our way.  Or we’re distracted and busy with the way our body moves.  But if we want to we can see past reflection—beyond ourselves and into our previous selves simultaneously.  No matter how much you change you can only become yourself.  

One man sears his conscience.  Another man, perhaps, wonders what it’s like to have one.  To the one who has a soft spot as a child, that nagging to be good is like the talent which the wicked servant buried in the earth instead of investing.  For the man who rows the boat of his shame, the vessel of his rigging—the gift, the talent of feeling pain on demand—that training is more like the ring which Frodo threw into the volcano.  Jesus' parable doesn't cover the destruction of the talent.  He saw no need to go that far. 

Conscience is nothing like pride.  Conscience can be mapped.  No matter how divided a person is conscience is one thing.  A man’s pride wounds his pride.  The glory of the conscience is goodness.  The glory of pride is exaltation.  One faculty has no need of the other.  In fact they don’t even seem to inform each other.  They are indeed at odds, sometimes even at war. 

Once, in the Upanishads, Brahma came before the God of Fire and he said, “Who are you?”  The God of Fire said, “I am the God of Fire.  I can burn all things on earth.”  Then Brahma placed a straw before the God of Fire and said, “Burn this.”  The God of Fire could not burn the straw.  Then immediately the God of Fire went back to all the other gods and said, “Who is this being that fills us with wonder?”  If you show a god his limitations he falls in love with you.

I have time for my own limitations because I make time, but do I have time for the limitations of others?  Can I write with tears in my eyes and still see?  Who is the being that fills us with wonder?  Where did he come from and why is he taking so long to return?  

Joel Fry

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Here's a new poem:


I can criticize laughter if I want to.
I can dip myself into your narrow acumen,
all the weight you carry in your brain,
which weighs nothing to me.  Does an increase
in intelligence mean an increase in awareness?
Asking is my fault.  And by my fault I see the horse
in the painting and the pasture of stars outside,
which is background without any other perspective.
I hope my wishes and my pleasures never meet.
I draw from your mouth an old phantom.
No one can hear me descend to your warm
depths, least of all you.  My gaze gets lost 
in my focus.  It follows the houses I see whenever
I want to see.  The woods I imagine repeat
a breeze my mind can almost feel.
Tell me what I’m doing wrong on the right side
of longing.  You’re on a trip to visit the world
with me and no one can tell us no.

Published in Eclectica.