From Cyber Monday to confidence mistakes

Well, it’s Monday now, and we’re “seeing how it goes”, I guess.

This is the last Monday of November in 2022.  The Monday after Thanksgiving is sometimes called “Cyber Monday”, but that’s really just a marketing gimmick* invented by companies that sell electronics and related things, to encourage people—preferably without making them think too much—to buy computers and phones and items in those categories as part of their Christmas (or other holiday) shopping.

I think the term Black Friday was something that happened more or less organically; it’s hard to imagine retailers and marketers deliberately choosing something that sounds similar to the names given to the dates of various stock market crashes and so on.  No, it was a term born of legitimate lamentation about just how unpleasantly busy malls and other commercial establishments become on the day after Thanksgiving, when a good percentage of people in the USA would have the day off, and would be unable to deny that the Big Holiday was coming, and that they hadn’t gotten much, if any, of their shopping for it done.

But, of course, smart marketers still took advantage of the term and began setting Black Friday sales and the like.  When there’s a source of available resources, of one kind or another, and a busy ecosystem, something will eventually arise to exploit the resource.

Although, to give full disclosure, apparently it took millions upon millions of years for fungi (and possibly other types of microorganisms, I’m not sure) to evolve that could break down the wood of the oodles of plants that had grown and died in the “carboniferous era”, and that’s why those wood carcasses just lay around, and got buried, and for quite a few million years sequestered that carbon, but were converted by pressure and time into coal and so on.  There was a lot of it, obviously, but it is finite, and we’ve gone through much of those millions of years of cellulose creation (from the very air), and returned a good chunk of it to the atmosphere from whence it came, in a precipitous fashion.

It’s going to take more than just tree planting, I suspect, to counter that, because we can’t plant (and grow) many millions of years of trees in the space of a human lifetime.  The solutions are going to have to be at least a bit cleverer than brute natural selection, and probably multifarious, or else brute natural selection will do what it usually does and eliminate a great many forms of life.

It remains to be seen whether the human race will be smart enough to survive for much longer.  The various faces of politics and social media and the like don’t exactly fill me with optimism, but it’s difficult to make reasonable predictions about such things, because we don’t have any good prior data from which to draw our conclusions.  There have been no previous technological civilizations on Earth, and we’ve found no evidence of any out in the rest of the galaxy or beyond, so we just don’t really know one way or the other.  Anyone who confidently make claims about the future (without explicit or at least implicit caveats) is overconfident, more or less by logical definition.

I’m not one of those people who is impressed by confidence, by self-assurance, let alone by dogmatism or arrogance—though back when I was a pre-teen and into my teens I held a spot of envy for such attitudes.  Honestly, though, now I think overconfidence is generally reprehensible.  Holding beliefs that do not scale with the evidence has been a source of some of the greatest atrocities the human race has ever committed, against other humans and the rest of the world.

Beware of people who are certain without adequate reasons for certainty.  And by “adequate”, I mean reasons that would convince a disinterested extraterrestrial of good intelligence and emotional restraint without any preconceived notions one way or the other, not that would convince some naïve group of humans, even a lot of them.

Overconfidence is truly dangerous, and most of the confidence that people tend to try to invoke or evoke or project is overconfidence.  It’s not a coincidence, nor is it wrong, that “con artist” is short for “confidence artist”.  I recommend against trusting anyone who wants you to trust them rather than to be convinced by their evidence and argument.  It may do you good to remember that “trust” is really always just another word for “calculated risk”.  Try to make your own risk calculations as accurate as you can make them.

Anyway, that’s my meandering blog post for today.  I don’t really have energy to write much more.  I had a particularly bad week last week, so I haven’t made progress on reviewing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, and I want to get a better review in before I write any more about them.  I also have a request—from my sister—to write something about the problems and dangers of sugar.  That’s something that doesn’t require nearly as much review, but I’m not up to doing it today.

I don’t feel much better than I did last week, if any at all; I’ll have to see how the day goes.  But it’s not as though the holiday season is over.  Also, the daylight is getting shorter and shorter, and will be doing so for more than three weeks—although, this being near a local minimum of the sine curve, the rate of change is shrinking, and will reach its minimum absolute value right when the daylight reaches its minimum.  Of course, that also means that even once days start getting longer again, the change is going to be very slow at first, and hardly noticeable.

I honestly don’t know how (or if) I’m going to make it through until Spring.  No one has yet given me any good arguments for doing so, certainly none such as might convince a  disinterested extraterrestrial with no preconceived notions on the matter.  And, as I’m the closest thing to an alien that I’ve ever met, I’m better at making that judgment than many others might be.

But I don’t know for sure.  I do know that I’m tired, and I’m sad, and I’m frustrated, and I’m lonely, and I’m confused, and I don’t feel well.  I also can’t seem to sleep very well at all, even for me.  My world is a miserable place, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better over the course of my life.  I don’t know whether the future is therefore likely to be better, or is more likely to be worse still, or what.

I do have my doubts that it’s worth much effort, though.  Again, I guess we’ll see.  Or, perhaps, we won’t see.  Maybe no actual answers will ever be forthcoming.  If so, that’s okay.  I’d rather be uncertain than have firm beliefs that don’t have good, sound, reasonable bases.  I hope you feel much the same.


*Like “non-GMO” and “organic” and “gluten free” are, for the most part, though for those with actual celiac disease, that last one can be a truly serious matter.

Blah blah Black Friday blah blah blah

Well, it’s “Black Friday” today, in the US, anyway, though I guess the commercial notion of a Black Friday Sale, at least, has spread to other countries now, as well.  It doesn’t make much sense to have it be a thing in other countries, considering that Thanksgiving‒as the holiday celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November‒is specific to the US, and Black Friday started because it was the biggest shopping day before Christmas, since most people were off work with the Thanksgiving holiday.  But what are you gonna do?

And, since pretty much no one but government workers gets a full four-day weekend anymore, especially given the ubiquity of “Black Friday” promotions, I am of course going in to work today, and I will be working tomorrow as well.

Amusingly, I just heard my first two iterations of the announcement that the Tri-rail will be operating on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day, which is a month from today.  But, of course, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so of course it will be on a Sunday schedule, and if  Christmas is on a Sunday, then so is New Year’s Day.  Ah, well.at least this won’t be as long a time span for the repetition as the one for Thanksgiving was.  I wonder what will happen after New Year’s.

I’m writing this on the smartphone again, because I didn’t take my laptop with me Wednesday when I left the office.  I decided instead to take some music (a book and some tabs and three recently printed piano pieces) with me since I had Thursday off, and thought I might play some.  I was weirdly giddy on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon, maybe because I had gotten past the immediate crisis of Monday night.  It was Monday night, wasn’t it, when I had my 988 issues?  Also, I guess the office was kind of in laid-back mode and we had lots of food on Wednesday.  It wasn’t good for business, though.

Anyway, I did fiddle around a bit on the guitar and then on the piano, but it mostly highlighted how rusty and stiff my fingers are.  I also ate some junk food during the day and watched some videos, and then a movie, and that was pretty much it for my Thanksgiving.

As an aside, there must be at least some tendency for people to take today off, since I was, quite literally, the only person boarding the northbound train on my side of the track just now.  There were more people waiting for the southbound train.  Maybe people who go north are more likely to take the day after Thanksgiving off because it’s…colder up north?  That doesn’t make any sense.  I see that there are a few more people at the next station.  I guess there are still tendencies for people to take the day off, or perhaps just to start later, on the day after Thanksgiving.

Sorry, I know I’m just writing nonsense and gibberish and gobbledygook, but frankly, that’s not far from my usual tendencies.  I honestly feel like I’m crashing from my weird little, post-immediate-crisis high on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday.  None of the treats and snacks and special foods of the holidays really bring any joy to eat, not in and of themselves, anyway.  I even bought a beer to drink yesterday, but I got, I think, five sips of it down before pouring it out.  A can of Coca Cola was good, I guess‒there’s something special about Coke in a can, though more than one would quickly just be the source of a sticky feeling in my mouth.

I’m very tired, though I did basically nothing yesterday.  I slept about four hours last night, which is pretty good for me.  I had a weird dream this morning, about some dark city* or world where a political movement at first made people optimistic and hopeful, but then just turned their society into a dystopia once it got going, which seems to be what dogmatic ideologies tend to do once they achieve real power.  This is surely one of the reasons why free speech and free expression are so crucial, and fuck “safe spaces” and “hate speech”.  Those are the sorts of notions used by totalitarians and the like to suppress dissent, because they don’t even want people to have the mental option available to them to think about alternatives to the Party line.

I used to get slightly irritated by the expression “get over yourself” when it first cropped up, but now I think it needs to be a mantra in response to all the neo-narcissists out there who’ve been raised to think that there ever was or ever will be a place they can feel “safe”, even as they tell other people how they are “supposed” to think.  Sorry, the universe is fundamentally unsafe, and it always will be.  Life is short, everything is trivial, and almost nothing that ever happens is about you, whoever you may be.

Even someone like Genghis Khan is just as dead now as all the enemies he killed, and though we still remember his name‒Temujin‒that means nothing to his anonymous corpse.  Everyone who lived more than 120 years ago is dead.  However many people were alive in the world in 1900, they have all succumbed to the creeping Holocaust of time.  So will we who are alive today.

Anyway, I don’t know what point I’m trying to make.  Maybe I’m making the point that there is no point, and doing it in a meandering and vague way just to make my meaning clear in both words and tone.  But I doubt that I’m that clever.

Cleverness rarely works, anyway.  Cleverness, such as one often sees in TV and movies and such, has too many moving parts, where everything has to go just right, or the cleverness fails.  Things don’t tend to go “just right” in the real world.  Alertness and adaptability, along with straightforwardness‒keeping things as simple as possible‒is probably a better strategy.  I call it “chaos surfing”.  You can’t make the waves, but if you’re alert, you might be able to ride one for a little while.

That’s that.  I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, those who are in the US.  A particular greeting to my cousin, who reads this blog.  I meant to send you a Happy Thanksgiving text yesterday, but I forgot, and I apologize for that.

Hopefully I’ll feel a little better tomorrow.  I think I’ll bring the laptop this evening, because this phone writing is getting slightly irritating.  Enjoy your Black Friday shopping, if that’s what you’re doing.  I’ll keep trudging along for now, though I don’t really want to do it, because…well, just because I don’t seem to have any better or clearer ideas at the moment.

Belated TTFN for yesterday.


*The atmosphere of the dream clearly owed much to the atmosphere of The Batman, which is the movie I watched yesterday.

どうもありがとう(Doumo arigatou) from Mr. ロバート (Robaato, i.e. Robert)

Good morning and hello.  It’s Wednesday, the 23rd of November in 2022, which is the day before Thanksgiving in the USA.  I suppose one could call it Thanksgiving Eve, though somehow that’s never seemed to catch on.  I’m writing this on my phone, because I didn’t take my laptop when I left the office yesterday; I didn’t forget to bring it; I just didn’t feel like it.  Honestly, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for writing a post today, but since I definitely am not going to write one tomorrow, I guess I’d better bite the bullet and write the blogget.

I’m at the train station as I begin this post, and of course, the iterated announcement continues, reminding us that tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, they will be operating on a Sunday schedule.  This announcement has been repeating since the day after Labor Day.  Presumably, starting Friday, they’ll be reminding us that they will follow a Sunday schedule on Christmas and New Year’s.

It’s very foggy down here by me today, which is unusual.  In fact, when I left the house, my first notion was that something big must be on fire nearby.  But, thankfully, it quickly became obvious (when I took a sniff) that it was merely fog.  It’s surprisingly rare to see fog down here, probably because, even though it’s more than humid enough, the air is almost always too warm to cause the humidity to begin to precipitate out so close to the ground.  Not that it’s cold today; it’s 73 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the weather app when I left the house, and that seems pretty consistent with what the feeling of the temperature is.

Yes, that’s right‒I’m writing about the weather.  I told you I didn’t really feel up to writing much, didn’t I?  I’m certainly not up to trying to write the follow-up to my neuropathology post from the other day, and I don’t think I would try doing that on my phone if I were, as I think I’ve mentioned previously.  I occasionally toy with the notion, when writing blog posts on the phone, of trying to write a new short story this way.  I wrote a good portion of Son of Man on a previous phone, and I think it came out well.

But honestly, though I think about the idea, I know I won’t do it.  I may not ever write any more fiction for the rest of my life.  I can barely get myself to do non-fiction such as this.

I did listen to some music last night, both on the way to the train and as I lay down trying to get sleepy.  I also ended up watching a fair few “reaction videos” to songs I know.  That’s a rather entertaining genre of YouTube videos in which youngish people, who presumably grew up listening to the latest modern music‒an ever-moving definition in any case‒listen to some classic bands and songs, usually for the first time, and we all get to see their initial reactions.  It’s a fun genre, because these are obviously people who are interested in being exposed to prior hits, and their enthusiasm for the process is often quite moving.

It’s charming (if startling) to see a youngish couple who have never even heard of the Eagles listen to Hotel California…or to see anyone who doesn’t know what’s coming to experience, for the first time, the saxophone solo from Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street.  It’s also quite a surprise for people to see the young lead singer from the Animals start growling out The House of the Rising Sun.  It still honestly surprises me every time I see it.  It’s as if some teenager has been possessed by the spirit of a cursed man from New Orleans who squandered his life like his father before him, and who must find a body willing to express his torment and his warning before he can ever rest in peace.

It’s also fun to see and hear songs I haven’t thought of in a long time as if for the first time, like The Heart of Rock and Roll, which was huge back in the 80’s.  I saw Huey Lewis and the News in concert, and they put on a terrific show…though he teased the Detroit audience by pretending to forget the last city name in the aforementioned song.  He was a good showman.  He also went to my alma mater, so you know he’s special.

And I’ve yet to see any one of the reactors watch the “best live version” of Radiohead’s Creep and not be in or near tears in response to Thom Yorke’s performance, and commenting about how this is clearly something personal for him, he’s not just singing the song, he’s experiencing it.  Which is surely true, since apparently Thom wrote the song in his late teens, and it was autobiographical.  It certainly conveys sentiments many people have shared at one time or another.

It’s all the next best thing, I guess, to sharing one’s favorite music with a friend, or listening to some new, great song for the first time with one’s peers back in high school or college or what have you.  I guess that’s similar to the reason I watch Doctor Who reaction videos; I have no local person or people with whom to watch it, and it’s definitely the sort of show I would have watched with my wife and/or kids.  I don’t feel too heartbroken to see it now, alone, since I’ve only ever actually watched it by myself, unlike many other shows that I can no longer enjoy.

Not that that makes it unemotional.  I’ve never encountered a show that more frequently evokes teariness than Doctor Who.  It’s really quite remarkable and impressive.  As fans say, it’s a show that’s bigger on the inside.

Anyway, that’s enough writing about nothing.  I hope all of you reading in the US have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow, and get to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy some delicious food.  For all those outside the US…well…have a good Thursday‒hopefully not one such as DentArthurDent was prone to have‒and you might as well have some nice food and time with your loved ones, too.  I’ll be back on Friday, barring the unforeseen.

happy-thanksgiving-from-the-farm-maria-keady

When Friday night arrives, will it or will it not have a suitcase?

It’s Friday, and the trains are back up and running, and I’m heading in to work, so I am also writing a blog post for today.  Callooh.  Callay.

I’m writing this post on my cell phone, if that term is still strictly accurate to describe the modern “smartphone”, because I didn’t bring my laptop with me when I left the office early on Wednesday.  This was not an accident; I decided that, even though I had a raincoat and an umbrella, it was possible rain might get into my backpack and damage the laptop if the rain was heavy enough.

That turns out to have been a thoroughly unnecessary precaution.  I don’t want to make light of the travails of those who had a worse time of it, but around here, the recent subtropical storm was not that intimidating.  Neither power nor internet went out, I didn’t even come close to needing to close the storm shutters, and the rainfall wasn’t all that impressive.  We’ve had far deeper puddles from a typical summer afternoon storm.

I guess that’s all good, though the trains didn’t run yesterday, nevertheless.  It was probably possible for them to do so, but I respect the decision of those responsible.  They can’t know ahead of time how debris and damage might affect the tracks, putting those riding the trains in danger and potentially derailing‒pardon the expression‒operations on longer and larger scales due to mishaps.  It was a sensible precaution to suspend service for the day.

I could have made it to the office by bus, but that’s a very long ride, and my boss basically told me just to enjoy the day off.  He has commented, in other contexts, on the fact that I’ve never taken a vacation in all the years I’ve been working for him, and that’s true.  The only time I’ve taken off has been on the two occasions when first my father and then my mother died.

As I said to him, though, what would I even do with a vacation?  I don’t have anyone with whom to go anywhere, and to me, vacations are things one does with other people.  I don’t even watch TV or movies with anyone, anymore, nor do I tend to watch shows that anyone else around me watches.  The closest I come to watching something with someone else is watching one of the many YouTube “reaction videos” for shows that I have watched.  I suppose that sort of situation is probably one of the reasons people like these kinds of videos; it feels like sharing a show you love with a friend who hasn’t seen it before.

Yesterday, during my “day off”, I decided to make use of it by going for a nice long walk (I even jogged about 40 paces during it) and then watching some movies of the sort that always used to get me motivated to get/stay in shape.  These tend to be specific kinds of action movies, and the ones I watched yesterday were Hit Man, Man on Fire, and The Equalizer.  Good, clean, violent, revenge-type fun where the strength of the hero is at least as much his cleverness as his physical prowess.

These were the kinds of characters I admired most‒of those in action movies, anyway.  And though the main character in Hit Man is a sort of born-and-raised, brutally trained and modified to be what he is kind of person, he’s still basically a relatively believable, and very clever protagonist.  And of course, both of the latter two movies were made when Denzel Washington was probably as old as I am now, or nearly so, and he’s never been an action star type.

I don’t think any of these movies are realistic, of course, but they tap into a sort of primal motivation that gets me going, and works far better than any thoughts of simply being healthy.  The whole “to live a long and healthy life” thing doesn’t push you much if you don’t even want to have lived as long as you already have lived.  But the feeling of wanting to be able to be a badass, to be able to carry out necessary violence in appropriate circumstances‒even if it kills you‒that can get even a person like me motivated.

So, I did some extra push ups of three different kinds‒it was appalling to me how few I could readily do at once, especially since I can do 35 dips at a time (and that despite being a fat pig).  I guess they really don’t work quite the same muscle groups.  I also did extra ab exercises and lunges and some other stuff.

It’s all silliness, of course, but as the writer of Ecclesiastes put it, all is vanity.  Still, vanity that gets one up and moving and trying to get in better shape is at least a locally useful kind of vanity.

Anyway, that’s how I used my “day off” which was one of the first I’ve had in a while that wasn’t just because I was sick, not counting alternate Saturdays.  Of course, in a few weeks I’ll have Thanksgiving off, but I don’t do anything on Thanksgiving.  I don’t have nearby family or close friends with whom to spend it, and if I were invited to join someone’s family’s celebration, I would probably feel too awkward and tense at the prospect to take them up on it.

It’s a bit of a depressing situation, but I don’t really know what to do about it.  I used to have family and loved ones around me (these are not mutually exclusive groups), but some members of those groups have ended up distancing themselves from me often enough‒and causing a great deal of non-intended pain in the process for me‒that I find that the sense of risk is greater than the urge to try to connect with anyone new.

Also, it’s led me to the provisional conclusion that I’m simply not beneficial to have as a family member or loved one or close friend, since I am the common denominator in all these situations.  So I also don’t want to inflict myself upon other people, least of all the sorts of people who would be kind enough and patient enough to want to be close to me, and to whom I would want to be close.  So, I’m not liable to change things on my own.

Most of the close friends and loved ones I’ve had in the past were either family, who were forced by blood to have me as part of their “in group”, or people with whom I’ve been almost randomly and fortuitously (for me) put together in school or university or work, or who, in a way, sought me out because they found me interesting.  I’m not as interesting as I used to be, though, and even those who most thought me interesting, such as my now-ex-wife, eventually found me intolerable.  She’s a smart woman; I have a hard time faulting her judgment in this.

Anyway, speaking of Saturdays‒and I did mention them not long ago‒I am apparently going to have this Saturday off; my coworker with whom I alternate Saturdays asked to switch and take this one over the next one, so I said yes.  Thus, I won’t be expecting to write a post tomorrow.  If something changes, well…you’ll know because I will have written a blog post.

In the meantime, I hope you have all had pretty good weeks, and that things are going well for you, and that all your potential disasters have turned out no worse than tropical storm Nicole turned out for me/us in south Florida.  Thanks for reading.

Just say “No” to vember

Well, it’s Tuesday morning, and against all my considered advice, a new month has started. That month is November, in case either you’re reading this at some later date or you’re really not paying attention. It’s the year 2022. That’s AD or CE depending on your preferred terminology, though those things, like the number of the year or the month or the day are all arbitrary. For all I know, by the time you’re reading this, you may be using something like stardates from Star Trek or summat.

I’m writing this on my phone again, because I didn’t feel like bothering to bring my laptop home. Yesterday was just about the least enjoyable Halloween I’ve had since I got back from being “up the road”. It was a disappointing October in general. I had an almost unnoticeable birthday, then a pathetic Halloween, which was a particularly rotten day for business, also. I put together a pretty cool costume, in case we did something at the office as usual, but we didn’t. I wish I had that money and effort back.

It’s not a big tragedy to have a disappointing Halloween, obviously, but it is one of the only things to which I look forward, so it hits harder on top of my general deterioration than it might for other people. I also had more trouble with the WIFI last night, and my rest was worse than usual even for me. I didn’t get a single hour of uninterrupted sleep. My back/hips/leg/ankle are really bothering me this morning, but that’s partly from worse-than-usual sleep and probably partly from wearing boots to go with my stupid costume yesterday. That was an ill-considered idea in retrospect, but it’s no one’s fault but my own. I always make a mistake when I approach something optimistically.

I did upload that video about perception not being reality yesterday. The content is literally the same as the audio I posted with my blog yesterday, other than the screen picture, but here’s that video, anyway.

You are certainly encouraged to “give a thumbs up, subscribe, hit the bell, comment, and share” if you are so inclined. It doesn’t really matter, of course. I’m sure my YouTube channel has no future of any note.

Speaking of the future, and also about the past, I didn’t even begin to edit the audio that I recorded with my nocturnal thoughts about time from Sunday night/Monday morning. I anticipated there being…I don’t know, something happening at the office. There was nothing. But I still didn’t get any editing or anything else useful done there. I don’t honestly know if I’ve ever done anything useful. I guess it would depend on one’s definitions of usefulness.

I’ve been trying to find books that are intriguing to me, but no fiction or even non-fiction seems interesting. My favorite blog (or should I say “website”) that I follow is on a near-hiatus, with only minimal posting for the moment. That site is the closest thing I come to socializing, so I’m disappointed. Anyway, I’ve curtailed my commenting on it of late, because most comments I make end up coming across as weird or stupid or irritating to me or to other readers or to the writer of the site, and I don’t want to bother people who are some of the only people, and some of the most rational people, with whom I interact in any way. That would really be mortifying*.

***

We’re currently stopped in the train at the station two up from mine, apparently waiting for clearance from the dispatcher. I have no idea why. They haven’t mentioned anything about any accidents or whatnot. It’s a bit frustrating, because I seriously considered not going in to the office today, since I had such a rotten night’s sleep, and I feel so utterly depressed, and in more pain than usual. But I said to myself that since I wasn’t literally sick**, and especially since it’s the first of the month, when rent is due and all that, it feels irresponsible not to go in. Considering yesterday was such a lame day for business, it seems only right to do my part to be “all hands on deck” today.

I’m so tired of always feeling responsible, though, of always feeling like I have to try, to do my best, to do my part (or more), to try to act cheerful and to be a person who can help other people when they come to him for help, as they always do. Honestly, the times I’ve been in the hospital for surgery or relatively severe illness were such a relief in a weird way. Everything was out of my hands, and I could rest.

***

They just announced that there has apparently been a “trespasser strike” north of Fort Lauderdale station; that’s the cause of our delay. I believe this is a euphemism. A trespasser is someone who wanders into the vicinity of the railroad tracks, which is technically the property of the state of whoever runs the railroad system, and by “strike” I don’t think they mean someone is marching on a picket line holding a sign.

This is why I said it would be rude if I were to throw myself in front of the train or in between cars of a freight train. It leaves everyone on the trains delayed and inconvenienced. Of course, it’s very sad that someone was apparently hurt or possibly killed, but little stressors and inefficiencies and backups accumulate in any society, costing money, time, energy, stress…and these effects do wreak costs upon the health and the lives of numerous people, with consequences that are real and tragic, but are not seen so clearly because they happen via the accumulation of disparate forces and events. What looks like a traffic accident due to driver error is really an externality produced by the increased stressors that accumulated to wear that driver down, until the wrong thing happened at a bad time, with tragic outcomes. It’s happening all the time, it’s as real as the cumulative effects of sun exposure that lead to skin cancer over time, or accumulating atherosclerosis leading to heart attacks and strokes when the system finally fails at some weak point, and it’s even harder to pin down. It’s probably utterly hopeless and pointless for me to even try to do my part not to make things worse by not destroying myself in a disruptive way, but I don’t want to make things worse if I can help it. I probably can’t help it, given my nature.

Oh, well. My foundations and load-bearing walls are creaking and cracking and crumbling day by day, and they will eventually give out somewhere, and the whole edifice will collapse. I can hear the creaking; it’s getting louder and louder, growing slowly but with an exponential trend as time goes on. I don’t know what to do about it. I have no personal resources to apply to it, and I have no right to ask anyone else for help.

Anyway, that’s enough of all that. I’m sure you all wish I would finish off sooner rather than later, and just get it over with. Probably a good idea.

In the meantime, I hope you have a good day and a good month, and a good remainder of the year, and a good next year after that. If you’re patient enough to have read this far, then I’m sure you deserve the best.

***

P.S. We had started to go forward, but halfway between one stop and the next we approached what must have been the scene of the “strike” and now they say we’re going back to the previous station, though currently we’re sitting still. I don’t know what they’re going to do from there. Sometimes they arrange bus services or whatnot, to go around the spot. I don’t know if I can handle that. I may just walk to the nearest regular bus.

P.P.S.  I have gone back to the house.  I cannot wait for the shuttle because it’s not there and I’m in increasing pain and stress and am so very tired.  I went back to the station and back to the house.  I have no reliable means to drive to work and back, and I do not have the wit or will to deal with taking the bus.  I just want to go to sleep and stay asleep.  That would be so nice.


*Unfortunately, not literally so.

**In any infectious, contagious sense, anyway. I am sick in the head, and I’m not being facetious about that. I am very, very ill right now, and I don’t have any good idea what to do about it. I think it’s going to kill me.

Happy, happy Halloween (Silver Shamrock)!

It’s Monday morning, and I’m writing this on my phone rather than on my laptop, because I didn’t feel like bringing my laptop back to the house from work on Saturday.  Those of you who have read my very long post from Saturday will probably be happy that I’m using my phone, since my writing tends to be much slower (and therefore shorter) when I use it, rather than my laptop keyboard.  Though I’ve never formally taken any typing courses, and I don’t know what my actual typing speed is, I have been typing since I was quite young (I think I was 11), since my maternal grandmother gave me her electric typewriter and I started writing the first of many fantasy novels, so basically, I can type pretty darn fast.

Of course, today is the 31st of October, and that means it is Halloween, my favorite holiday.  I personally think this should be a “bank holiday” as they say in the UK: a day most people take off work.  But I guess most other people don’t think so.

I’m afraid I haven’t posted the video that I mentioned on Friday and Saturday.  I left it at the office, so to speak.  I also didn’t record myself performing The Haunted Palace yet, but that was just due to a lack of motivation.  I’ll probably do it soon, if I do it at all.  I will attach the audio for my “video” from last week into the bottom of this post, so those who are interested in listening among my readers will get earliest access to it.  I’ll try to remember to post the video on YouTube later today.

I did another impromptu audio recording last night, as some thoughts occurred to me while I was watching a lecture on the nature of time by Sean Carroll, one of my favorite teachers of physics.  They weren’t brand new thoughts; I might even have written something along their lines once before in my other blog, Iterations of Zero.  I haven’t done anything on that blog in quite a while now, since I stopped sequestering my darker brain drippings from this one.  Maybe I should turn that into the place I share my audio stuff before turning it into a video or anything else.  I’m not sure.  It seems a shame to leave it fallow, but most things in life come to naught, anyway, and if it’s appropriate for any blog, then that might well be the one for which it’s most appropriate, given its name.

If anyone out there reads both blogs and has any thoughts about that one, please let me know.

As like as not I’ll never do anything with it, one way or another.  As like as not, even this one will peter out or abruptly terminate sometime soon.  Of course, depending on your time scale, any time could be soon.  And on the Planck time scale, it’s been a nearly immeasurable eternity just since I started writing this post.

There, those are some thoughts about time that didn’t make it into my recording from last night.

Regarding the earlier nocturnal recording, which I’m posting here, today, I need to warn you that the first portion has less than ideal quality, though that might not be obvious until you reach the second portion and compare.  You see, I did the first portion in the middle of the night, as I think I’ve told you before, and I wasn’t really paying much attention to where I was or what was around me.  It was dark, for one thing.  Also, I was sitting up on the floor* very close to the air conditioner, which was active at the time.  I’ve done my best to remove all that racket, and largely succeeded, but the noise reduction does affect the reproduction of my voice.

So, I’ll be editing the vocal thoughts I had last night/this morning, soon, and I’ll post the “video” of my previous thoughts on YouTube soon.  I guess I’ll probably post the audio of last night’s musings here before I turn them into a video and share them on YouTube.  And who knows, maybe I’ll recite The Haunted Palace soon and share a video about that.

If I’m lucky, though, maybe I’ll get hit by lightning, or a truck, or a meteorite, or a V-fib arrest, and that’ll be that.  I’d say that I look forward to oblivion, but of course, that doesn’t quite make sense, since one can’t really imagine oblivion‒if one is doing any imagining, then one is not simulating a state of oblivion.

Still, oblivion has much to recommend it.  There’s no pain, no sorrow, no fear, no regret.  Of course, there are no positive experiences, either, but if the curve of one’s life enjoyment is consistently below the x-axis, then a reversion to zero is a net gain**.  It’s where we’re all headed eventually, anyway.  And Halloween wouldn’t be such a bad day to die, would it?

Knowing my luck, that’s probably not going to happen.

To finish, here’s the audio of my thoughts on the fact that perception is not reality, followed by a few Halloween-appropriate pictures of mine.

Happy Halloween.

Welcome Home Medium in prog (2)

headless horseman croppedpumpkin demon cropped

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Mark Red

Vagabond pose pic on highway 3 posterized

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full-12 (1)

skull drawing


*I sleep on the floor.  Beds take up too much space, and they tend to make my back pain worse.

**This is related to the fact that the lesser of two evils is, by simple mathematical logic, the greater of two goods.

G’mar chatima tova

Hello there.  It’s Wednesday, October 5th, 2022.  It’s also Yom Kippur, “the Day of Atonement”, the highest of the Jewish High Holy Days.  It’s a day on which observant Jews fast—from food, water, sexual relations, and other such things—and usually go to synagogue and take part in communal prayers relating to…well, to atonement, such as for the things that one has done wrong over the course of the prior year, and so on.

I’m no expert, and obviously I’m not observant, or else I wouldn’t be writing this post while going to work on this Wednesday morning.  However, I do like the fasting process, though I am not actually a religious believer of any kind, at least not in any sense that most people would use the terms.  I find that fasting every year on this day is a nice way of psychologically (or mentally, or spiritually, however you like to characterize it) cleansing oneself a bit.

It’s a separation from the immediate satisfactions of such carnal desires as the one for food that is so easy to indulge in the modern world, and which can by used by those with chronic mood disorders and similar problems as a source of tiny and transient comfort or relative joy in a world otherwise defined by unpleasantness.  This indulgence, however, as with most such things, has negative long-term consequences when it is done for pleasure/escape (however fleeting) rather than for its biological purpose.

So, it’s good to break that cycle sometimes.  I’m not going without liquids, because I was already out sick yesterday with a gastrointestinal bug, and I don’t want to leave myself dehydrated or volume depleted, but I’m only too happy to have a strong reason to go without food.  No one at the office is going to try to push food on me if they think I’m avoiding it for quasi-religious reasons.

Without such reasons, people are annoyingly pushy about trying to get other people to eat, even when the other people make no secret of the fact that they are troubled by their weight.  It’s almost as if there were recovering alcoholics in the office (there are, sometimes) and people kept offering them drinks…or tried to slip Percocet to recovering opiate addicts.  It’s frankly unconscionable, and the people who do it ought to be ashamed of themselves, but they seem actually to puff up their egos by offering food.  It’s madness, it’s reprehensible, and it’s disgusting.  If you are reading this, please don’t do it, ever.

With that out of the way, I think I’m going to extend this fast a bit.  I’ve done that before, just a few years ago…I had done the full fast on the day proper, including liquids*, though I’d had to go to work, which was fine, since it wasn’t as though I had a temple to visit or was a member of any community.  But I extended the fast because it cleared my mind a bit, and I felt more at ease with myself.  In fact, when I broke it, after about three days (I think), I was actually disappointed.

But, of course, it’s hard to resist the eating drive.  For Yom Kippur, the one day fast, there is a strong enough religious, or social, or communal, or “spiritual” impetus if you wish, to push past it, and then, once one has pushed past it, it’s easier to continue.  One has already cleared the activation energy, now one just has to let the reaction continue.

So, this year, I’m hoping to continue the fast for a longer time.  Longer than one day, hopefully longer than three days.  I would like to keep it up long enough to reset completely some of my habits regarding food, so that when (or if) I restart, I’ll be able to approach eating simply as a necessity, not as a pleasure.  It would be particularly nice if I could achieve some manner of “spiritual” equanimity, but that may be an impossible dream for me.

I’m also hoping that, by making the announcement here, in my blog, I’ll have the added social impetus—to which I’m only very weakly susceptible at the best of times—to keep me pushing forward.  It’ll also give me something to write about.

Another nice thing about fasting is that it will save me money, and that’s always nice.  I’ve banked a great many calories in my abdominal fat, exchanging money for centripetal adiposity, and I’d like to reverse that process at least to some degree.

Hopefully, as has supposedly been the case with many a seeker after internal peace, the process of fasting will help me clear my chaotic and cluttered and extremely unpleasant mind somewhat.  Also, hopefully with some lost weight, my back and hips and knees and ankles, and even the rest of me, will have less pain.  My understanding of physics and physiology, which is well above average, suggests to me that this will probably be the case.

So, in case there’s any use to it, please wish me luck.  And if you are Jewish, and are celebrating Yom Kippur, so to speak, “May you be inscribed, for Good, in the Book of Life”.

realistic-yom-kippur-concept_23-2148639612


*Abstaining from sex seems to happen all on its own, weirdly enough.  Ha ha.

Monday morning, waking up?

Wow, it’s Monday morning already.  It seems like we only just finished last week—which I guess is what actually happened.  I suppose some people do get two days a week off on a regular basis, but as for me and my…self, well, we work most of the time.  I guess that’s probably true for most of the people reading this, too, though, isn’t it?

Anyway, it was an uneventful “weekend” for me, in the sense that I didn’t accomplish much except sleeping a bit later on Sunday under the influence of Benadryl, which is better than not sleeping a bit later.  I also got my laundry done on Sunday, which is nice.

Other than all that, not much of interest has happened.  I did go into a Publix on Sunday morning for the first time in years.  For those of you who don’t know, that’s one of the major supermarket chains in Florida; it’s middlingly upscale, somewhere between Winn Dixie and Whole Foods.

I tend to avoid Publix (and other grocery stores) most of the time, largely because such stores are often crowded, and I don’t really like a lot of people and noise and stuff.  But Sunday mornings, thankfully, are times when people are pretty sparse, so it wasn’t bad.  There were items I wanted to have around, to eat, that just aren’t readily available at 7-11 and other convenience stores—which are pretty much the only places I shop other than Amazon—and so I decided to go in.

It was almost nostalgic, but not necessarily in a good way.  Unfortunately, stores like Publix or Walgreens or Target or similar are the sorts of places that for many years I only used to go with my wife and/or children, so going into them now tends to be somewhat detrimental to my mood.  Between the crowded noisiness, which is irritating, and the mild but present heartache that happens, I tend to avoid them.

I know, that’s all really boring.  Sorry.  I’m not a very exciting person.

I might be more exciting and do more exciting things if I could just get on top of my back and hip and leg and side pain.  They are very irritating, a combination of ache, spasm, grinding, and electro-neural feelings.  Maybe it would be more proper to write “it is very irritating”.  In some senses the pains feel like a large collection, or army, or band, of things attacking me, each with its own identity, but in other senses, it’s all just one wave of algesiac fluid.  I’m not sure if “algesiac” is a proper word, so to speak, but since analgesia is the blocking or the countering of pain, I figure the form of my neologism is at least proper.

As I said*, it’s the start of a new work week, and of course, I’m on my way in to work now, having been sitting at the train station at the beginning of the blog, and then being on the train starting with these last two and a half sentences (and the footnote).  I have my usual seat, so that’s nice, and it’s not too crowded.  Nor is it one of the older train cars, from which one can often smell the oxidized iron in the air after they brake, from the wheels rubbing against the rails (I assume that’s where the smell comes from, but it could be the wheels rubbing against the brakes…and that might in fact be more likely, since wheel and rail contact should be the same no matter which type of car, but brakes may vary).

During the middle of this week, we will have Yom Kippur, which is supposed to be the highest of the High Holy Days (in Judaism).  I’ve never had too much real interest in the “supernatural” aspects of it, but the fasting has often been something I embrace with enthusiasm.  Admittedly, one cannot fast as one is supposed to on Yom Kippur—abjuring food and water—for much longer than the mandated day, but going without food for a longish period has its attractions.

There have been a few years in which I have prolonged that part of the fast for a bit, and actually rather enjoyed it.  It clears my mind in many ways.  But it’s hard to maintain, especially when all the people around one, and with whom one works, are always eating and trying to get one to eat, and of course, it being October, there is Halloween candy out.  But it would be nice if I could find the will to fast, maybe from Yom Kippur to my birthday**, or even beyond.  It might be worth a try.  If I truly decide I want to do it, I think I have the will to pull it off; I just have to decide.

Anyway, that’s enough of my splutterings for today.  Welcome to the new work week, and the first full week of the new month, usually my favorite month of the year.  I hope, wherever you are, things feel more autumnal than they do here in south Florida.  I can understand why “snow birds” come here in the winter, but it is a shame not to be in a deciduous arboreal environment in the autumn, especially if that’s where you grew up.  Oh, well, that’s a minor complaint, I suppose.  But from a certain point of view, all complaints are minor.  And from certain other points of view, all complaints are major.

Maybe I should just stop viewing.


*There are those who say—and write—that one should use the words “as I wrote” when referring to something that had been written, and avoid using “as I said” in such circumstances, but even I think such people are quibbling.  “To say” is a more broadly applicable verb than “to write”, and can convey the notion of having expressed or communicated something in any of a large number of ways, including by writing.  It’s also, in general, more succinct and straightforward just to use “I said” and related forms when trying to convey such sentiments, although the footnotes involved can take up a fair bit of extra time.  They’re fun to write, though, and that takes the sting out of it, for the writer at least.  I don’t know how the reader(s) feel(s).

**My birthday is in October, just so you know.  In case you didn’t already know.  It wouldn’t be a ridiculous amount of time to fast.  Now, if one could fast from, say, Yom Kippur until Thanksgiving, that would be a serious fast.  It would certainly take away any guilt from overindulging at Thanksgiving dinner, not that that is relevant to me, since I’m not likely to have a Thanksgiving dinner.

Shana Tovah

[When I started writing this, I had completely forgotten that it was Rosh Hashanah today.  I figured I’d at least make the title give a reference to it, though it doesn’t have anything to do with the post, nor am I going to celebrate it, since I am not part of any community or family that does so anymore.  I also added the 10th Doctor GIF about the New Year, since it’s a shame not to waste it, even though it’s a day late.]

Just in case anyone was worried (though that seems unlikely) I ended up not working this last Saturday, and that was the reason I didn’t write a blog post.  I’m not dead or anything*.

I’m writing this post on my phone, today, but it’s not because there’s anything wrong with my laptop.  It’s just that the first train of the morning is delayed due to mechanical trouble–of course it is–and so the benches that have usually been emptied by that train’s arrival are overfilled, and I’m standing to wait.  It’s hard to use a laptop when one’s lap is in vertical mode.

I may actually wait for my “usual” train to arrive rather than getting on the late one, because delayed trains tend to be more crowded, as they pick up some early passengers from the next train.  And, for similar reasons, the trains that follow are often relatively less crowded than usual.  That’s a nice thing to enjoy, and it’s not as though I’m cutting it close on time.

As you may know, I always go to work early–very early–in the morning, because I can’t sleep anyway.  This weekend, I didn’t work, and I took 2 Benadryl before bed both Friday and Saturday nights.  It doesn’t completely stop me from waking up early, but it usually lets me go back to sleep when I do.  I can tell by the effects on my mental acuity that it’s not really doing me good overall, but at least my body gets a bit of rest, which doesn’t happen most other nights.

I’m really starting to get tired of doing this blog; at least I feel that way right now.  I began writing the Thursday posts, initially, as a way to connect with potential readers of my books, to talk about my fiction writing, and potentially to promote it.  As far as I can tell, it has had none of those effects, or at least they have been negligible.

I’m not really socially adept enough to use Facebook or Twitter for self promotion, though I have tried, and I don’t have the money to buy promotions for my posts or to advertise using the Amazon algorithm.  As far as I can tell, thanks to the way these automatic “auctions” for advertising go, I’m effectively just flushing money down the toilet on the occasions when I’ve paid for promotions.

There are networks of mutually promoting authors on Twitter and other “social” media, but they are all far more pro-social than I am from what I can tell.  I can’t even schmooze online.  I get embarrassed when I leave comments on other blogs and on YouTube videos let alone trying to talk myself up to strangers.  More and more, I feel embarrassed even when talking to people I’ve known for years, or for my entire life. I always feel like I’m such a weirdo and a dork.

As for these now-daily, or semi-daily posts, they were meant to be an experiment that was hopefully going to be useful for my mental health, or at the very least to act as a “cry for help”.  I think we can all tell just how wonderfully they’ve fulfilled either or both of those functions (not at all, in case that’s not clear).  I would laugh maniacally if I had that skill, and if I were not in the train.

I did get on the train, by the way, because it looks like they simply cancelled the previous one and ran the one I ride at its usual time.  This is despite the fact that the announcement said that the earlier train was just running 15 to 20 minutes late, which turns out to have been either a deliberate lie or an idiotic error.  I’m not sure which is better.  Probably neither.  I think it would be nice if the world had a greater preponderance of non-idiotic, non-mistaken non-lies.  They seem so few and far between.

Oh, I did mean to say, I at least got some useful walking in this weekend.  On Saturday I walked for about one and three quarters hours, and on Sunday for almost exactly two hours.  So, about 5-ish miles on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  I’m actually rather stiff today because of it, but I’ve got to get into training if I’m going to go on an epic journey.  Bilbo and Frodo, though both were affluent hobbits, nevertheless were active, going on regular, long walks all the time.  So the sudden beginning of their lengthy quests was mainly felt in their decreased food intake, and of course, their exposure to deadly danger.  I won’t be so foolish as to say that sounds like fun, but at least it wouldn’t be meaningless and dreary and lonely…not for very long, anyway.

And there’s one true thing (at least one) about walking instead of riding or driving, and that is that you take in much more of the details of your surroundings.  Our ancestors all walked pretty much all the time.  Our bodies are built for it, more or less.  Yet the modern world has turned our natural mode into an inconvenience or a luxury.  That doesn’t seem like a recipe for good outcomes, all else being equal**.

Well, then…it’s hard for me to judge the length of my writing when I’m doing it on the phone, but this amount feels good enough for right now.  I’ll spare any dedicated readers the chore of dealing with more of my imbecilic thoughts, especially since you might have thought you were off the hook completely and for good when I didn’t write on Saturday.  No such luck for you, yet!  But don’t worry, that time is surely coming, and hopefully it won’t be long.

New Year


*Whether that’s good news or bad news depends on the recipient and his or her point of view, and also on my mood.  I veer between feeling it to be just neutral or frankly bad news.

**Which all else never is, to be fair.

Chaos surfing is difficult, but it’s the only sport there is

Happy Labor Day to those of my readers who live in the United States.  If any other countries celebrate a similar holiday on the same day, well, happy holiday to you as well.  And to everyone, Happy Monday.

At my office, we’re celebrating workers’ rights by working a half day today, and based on the fact that quite a few other people are at the train station already—though it’s operating today on a weekend schedule—we’re not the only ones.

It’s just another case of competition leading to inadequate equilibria of over-exertion, to the relative detriment of everyone in the system, like trees in a forest having to compete against each other for light, so they all have to keep getting taller, even though it would be saner if they could somehow agree to stay shorter and collect the light of the sun without wasting so many resources on competing with each other.  But they can’t and even if some of them could, they would be vulnerable to any mutant tree that grew taller than the others, and then that one would outcompete and out-reproduce, until all the trees got taller again, until they reached the point where the costs of getting taller were greater than the benefits, on average, and they would level off there, in a state of mutual strain.

Evolution is a bitch goddess, that’s for sure.  But trees are very pretty and majestic, so there are at least minor compensations.

As with trees, human businesses compete with each other, and the ones that stayed open on holidays had advantages over ones that did not, until a great many businesses—ones not constrained by laws forbidding it, otherwise, or union rules and agreements—stayed open on holidays, and ultimately, there are essentially no holidays on which everything is pretty much closed, when everyone stays home with their families.

That’s assuming, of course, that people have families with whom to stay home.  As for me, the only people I really interact with personally anymore are the people at work, so going in to work is my only serious socialization.  When I had my family around, I would have been happy to stay home; my family was probably an equivalent to one of my “special interests”, as they describe it for people with the Syndrome Formerly Known as Asperger’s and related disorders.  Now, though, I mainly just loll about on days when I don’t work.  If I didn’t have my chronic back pain problem, I might feel like doing other things—maybe going to bookstores or something similar.  But as it is, I just try to rest and not pay attention to how utterly empty and pointless my life is.

Hopefully, most of you who are celebrating this holiday are going to spend time with your families and/or friends, maybe having a cookout or something.  That’s the way it was when I was a kid.  Most of the people in my family worked for General Motors and related businesses, so they had the day off, thanks largely to union efforts and the like, such as—I believe—are celebrated by Labor Day.

However, businesses obviously lost money by having their factories idle when they could otherwise be productive, and so once they could transfer at least some of their manufacturing to other countries, they did, and got more work with less cost, and then so did all the other companies, and the equilibrium led to anyone who wanted to stay competitive keeping their businesses open as often as they could for as long as the costs of staying open were lower than the costs of being closed.  And the wheel turned, grinding ordinary lives into powder underneath it.

Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic, but it still does in fact suck.  In the past, there were those who predicted that rising technology would lead to people having more and more leisure time, and yet still being able to produce more than ever in the past.  These people had never studied evolution and natural selection carefully enough, it seems.  Success is always relative to other success in the environment; there’s always an arms race.  Now we work longer hours than ever before, and the most successful people are often the people with the least leisure time as opposed to the other way around.

That’s a bit ironic, I guess.  Success breeds more work rather than less, and the society it creates is so mind-numbing and stressful that hundreds of thousands of people every year die prematurely simply from drug overdoses, because drugs are the only reliable source of any solace or escape many people are able to find.  This is, of course, one of the reasons drugs are illegal; they harm productivity.  Why else would a society be against people doing something to their own bodies, as long as they don’t directly harm others by doing so?  The most popular drug in the world by far—caffeine—increases people’s productivity, at least temporarily, and there is no serious thought of restricting it.

Many of the costs of people’s drug problems are entirely due to the fact that some drugs are illegal.  In many cases, having been convicted of a felony related to drugs makes a person less able to get gainful future employment such as they might otherwise be able to do.  It likewise affects what kind of housing they can get.  And so, far from having “paid their debt to society”, these people never stop paying, for the rest of their foreshortened lives.  Why would one not be willing to risk death by taking unregulated drugs, when life is an empty competition without any good reward even for the most successful?

Then again, life has never really promised any good and lasting reward.  Any creature that found truly lasting satisfaction in a meal, for instance, would live a happy but short and less-reproductive life.  Lions and gazelles don’t have job security, and they don’t get to take vacations from each other.  Every day is a struggle to survive and if possible reproduce, no matter what or who you are.

Economies no more have souls than ecosystems do, because they are both spontaneously self-assembled systems in which whatever survives is just, well, whatever survives and becomes self-sustaining.  They’re conspiracies without conspirators.  There is no master plan behind it all.  Most conspiracies—even ones that would be recognized by all as such—were not nefariously planned by any cabal behind the scenes.  They just happen, and the ones that persist do so because they become self-sustaining, like bureaucracies and governments and businesses and whatnot.

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that we aren’t able (so far) to throw off such self-created situations.  Each person and thing can only act in response to the vector sum of all the forces acting on it locally.  Even the laws of physics only act locally.  Gravity doesn’t actually reach across the universe; each change in a local bit of the gravitational manifold affects the bit next to it, which affects the bits next to it, and so on, spreading out at the speed of light as it changes.  This is why there are gravitational waves, and why black holes continue to gravitate even though nothing can actually pass through the event horizon outwards.

Likewise, each bit of the electromagnetic field influences the next bit, which influences the next bit, and spreads along, again, at the speed of light.  That speed of propagation can fool people, whose reactions happen at most at a few meters a second, into thinking that things are truly and directly interconnected instantaneously, but they are not.  Every point in spacetime is influenced directly—as far as we know—only by the points immediately around it at any given time.  The universe itself is, in a sense, just a spontaneously self-assembled system, an unplanned conspiracy.

Humans have the advantage of being able to think about such things and their implications more deeply, and a few of them even do so.  But it’s hard for one bit of water in the middle of an ocean to deliberately change the specific configuration of the world’s seas by the effects of what it can do locally.  A butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon Rainforest™ may indeed affect whether a tornado happens somewhere thousands of miles away months later…but the butterfly doesn’t know this, nor does it know how to flap its wings in just the right way at just the right time to cause or prevent any weather formation.  It just flutters around looking for nectar and looking to mate and lay eggs and so on.

Humans are more sophisticated than butterflies, but the equations that govern the interactions of the world are generally higher-order, emergent equations that cannot be solved even in simplified forms, not within the lifetime of the universe.  Only the universe itself has the processing power to compute them, and even it can do so only by enacting them.

And while the Schrodinger equation is, apparently, a linear equation, and remains so in perpetuity, it’s still not readily solvable for anything beyond the simplest of systems.  And anyway, people are not completely sure what it really represents, they just know that it works really well.

Oh, well.  What are you gonna do?  Have a hamburger or a hot dog or some potato salad today with your family if you can.  Give a hug to someone you love and who loves you.  The chaos may be inescapable, but there are still benefits that can be squeezed out of it, if you can learn to surf it for a while.  You might even be able to have fun doing it.