Always Unfinished

Every morning (almost like clockwork), the Universe tells me that I should wake up.

Sometimes a digital alarm is involved, and sometimes it is alarming thoughts about the time I have remaining here, brought on by curious dreams that pursue me as I emerge from sleep.

To know what’s truly at stake, in my effort to fully and finally awake…

I drove around today in a big loop, wondering how to break my cycles of enthusiasm and dread. I’m always too far in my own head for comfort – looking back into shame or regret, or trying to peer forward into the fog of possibility, uncertainty, worry, or inevitability. I can’t determine the nature of the fog – only that it is there wherever I look when I’m not paying attention to the present moment.

I see that our world needs help. I know that I have hands to help, and I try (I think). Who needs it the most? Starting from within, it would be me, so that I can be there for those closest by, and then, for an expanding array of others. The species may though might not matter. Pick someone – regardless of their bipedal-ness – and give them some time. Maybe that’s how the world is made better, by degrees.

Sometimes, that someone who needs your time the most is you. You will know when you’re asking for it from yourself, I think. Don’t ask me how I have come to believe this – I just presently do.

After that, go out and look for another in need of something you might currently have to give. I am speaking as much if not more to myself than to any other ReadWriter who might happen upon these words, after they’ve come to me from somewhere, to put down and then share.

As always, I am journaling sidelong toward something. Maybe some action involving my feet? Maybe something or someone in need of lifting.

I wrote recently about feeling like an adolescent, but there are days when I feel much more like a toddler. The spiritual onion has a lot of layers, I feel – it feels that way at times.

Toddlers are concerned for the most part with walking – taking steps with some purpose. The purpose is sometimes just learning to take steps – sometimes, there’s a real somewhere to go. Only the toddler knows.

I know I’m still trying to toddle to someplace, for somebody… or something.

this.ideas[“art-it-proj_2020”] : {

namespace HR : {

/*
// version 0.0.1
// Hello, World!
// what else should we #include here?
// WHAT SYNTAX IS THIS?
let n = 0; // Getting imperative... 
TODO[n]: check this for:[syntax ideas, anomalies]; parse&&execute;
TODO[++n]:
Write<WL.Fict.Draft, #Collab> (
  "Fast Friends", ["A Big Short Story"], 
  #Friendship#Humour#Efficiency
);
TODO[++n]: 
Write<HR.Opin.Post, #Short> (
  "A Day Without Fear or Shame",
  "[Good Grief - Give yourself a Break",#ImagineThat#SelfLove]
);
TODO[n++]: Create another programmatic TODO;
*/

// The ... is essentially-openly-directionally-declarative...

// Aboot Hardly Regarding (HR)
const<txt> hardly.id : "hardly-regarding";
const<dom> hardly.dom : "hardly-regarding.ca";
const<uri[]> hardly.uris : ["https://hardly-regarding.ca"];
const<txt[]> hardly.types : ["blog_13_en", "podcast_13_en"];
const<dom[]> hardly.hosts : ["wordpress.com","podbean.com"];
const<btc[]> hardly.crypto.btc : /*TODO*/;
const<uri[]> hardly.contacts : [
  "mailto:hardly-regarding@gmail.com";
  "mailto:info@hardly-regarding.ca"
]; 

// Format of a report to HR (Hardly Regarding)
const class Report(input) : {

  // class extensions
  static<enum> TYPE : {0:HELLO; 1:ERROR; 2:QUERY; 3:IDEA; 4:POST; 5:ETC};
  
  // read-only fields
  const contact : hardly.contacts[0];
  const subject : "HR Field Report - {input.from}";
  const submitted : {input.date}

  // user-supplied fields
  var<.TYPE> type; // what type of report is this? 
  var<sName> resp.name; // who are you?
  var<email> resp.email; // how can HR contact you?
  var<txt> body.text: "Hello, HR!"; // What do you have to say?
  
  // optional user-supplied fields
  opt<uri[]> body.links: // links to submission content
  opt<meta> body.tags; // meta-tag your content
  opt<sName> credit.name; // who can HR thank for your report?
  opt<uri> credit.uri; // website, blog, or business;
  opt<btc> credit.btc; // a trusted btc wallet public address
  opt<paypal> credit.paypal; // a trusted paypal address
  opt<interac.ca> credit.interac; // for e-transfer (Canada only)
  //opt<opt.color> answer["What's your favourite color?"].favouriteColor;
}


// This is where the ReadWriter comes in =>
// Example of a politely sugared, empty HR.Report submission: 
public HR.Report => {
  resp.name : "";
  resp.email : "";
  body.text : "";
  body.links : [];
  body.tags : [];
  credit : {
    name : "";
    uri : "";
    btc : "";
    paypal : "";
    interac : "";
  }
};

// Example of a politely compacted, filled HR.Report submission: 
public HR.Report => {
  resp.name : "Joe Sanders";
  resp.email : "TheRealJoeSanders4@someMailService.io";
  body.text : "Hi! I found a typo on page 4, paragraph 11 -Joe";
  body.tags : "#GrammarIsMyPassion#";
  credit : {
    name : "The Sanders Family";
    interac : "TheRealJoeSanders4@someMailService.io";
  }
};

// TODO: eventually create endpoints. For now, old-fashioned email will do.

}} // cont’d…

Being a software nerd, I find myself at times trying to express information in structured ways. This helps computers understand what we mean. Taken too far, it can obscure our meaning from our fellow Humans. Sometimes I think computer nerds enjoy this obfuscation: it can make you feel like a wizard (but you’re not one).

This is probably an attempt to take back some sense of agency lost for (in my case) not understanding how cars work, or how to fix a leaky sink (without consulting Instructables).

The above syntax is not a specific language, but it’s certainly based on various languages I’ve had a chance to use. It is what you might call declarative… meaning, the syntax is all about making statements, but not about issuing orders. Imperative language issues orders/instructions, and can also make statements.

You might think I am about to attempt some clever parallel with how declaring versus commanding works, or doesn’t, in the real world, and you’d have been correct for a matter of a moment, just one or two paragraphs up from here… but I’ve not got the energy this morning, and am typing in a truck (not while moving). I’m also late for something.

Although my “software code” above is not telling you to do anything, it is extending an offer – or extending a request, depending on how you look at it – using statements (and helped along by comments, which are not meant to be parsed by machines, only Humans).

Advancing Into Adolescence

Physically I’m older by the day – intellectually I’m still trying to graduate from some sort of childhood and into some kind of better adulthood. I feel like a teenager gangling along some other dimension of personal growth.

What do I mean? I mean that I’m not ready to leave home quite yet. The job market of Life looks worrying. I haven’t finished all the schooling, and the marks I do have could be better. I’ve failed to complete more assignments than I can count. I’m not so great at remembering my chores. I still need my parents’ patient guidance and understanding.

I’m not ready.

In this world, I have a house (and own a mortgage – a kind of bank loan with additional perceived status). I have a career, and make decisions and products on schedules, with objectives in mind. I buy my own clothes and I successfully pay bills of various kinds, for varying levels of service. I get free small coffees at Wendy’s as often as not, because I have white whiskers, and must look ancient to any cashier under 25. I have been permitted to operate dangerous machinery (cars) at highway speeds for well over half my life.

I am 50 years old. When I was a child, I assumed all 50-year olds were by then more than fully grown. They had different, alien, adult minds, in my mind. They were not the selves they once were – not a single atom (this is perhaps true, I think, but not in the way I might have imagined). At least, these beliefs were some of my many a prioris back then; when you are young, most things are necessarily independent of experience. You take things on faith. You make the necessary assumptions to pin your backdrop in one place, so that you yourself can make some forward motion against a more stable and static set of assumptions about how the world is, where you are going, and what or who might be around for you to hang onto when you feel you’re about to topple.

Now, my experience has confirmed that only this shell (and some of its habits) is rapidly aging. My need to climb into my bed every night, safe from monsters and the mayhem of the world, hasn’t gone anywhere at all. I still speak to God, as though God is most certainly there and definitely listening. I continue to practice faith, and continue to hope that the responsibility of fixing everything in the world is not mine alone. The grown-ups have this. And when I find myself successfully asleep, they mostly do.

My father is at this moment having some of his most important pipes cleaned. Bypass surgery: a now-common procedure, and no less sobering for a son not yet ready to stand on his own feet. I have so many things I still want to accomplish as the child somebody else brought into the world. For one, paying my parents back for all the years of sacrifice and support. I fool myself at times that this is a kind of debt that can even ever be partially repaid. I want another couple of decades to try though.

I lucked out when somebody matched me to my family, and I know that’s not at all how it goes for everybody. The unfairness of this world is in starkest contrast to its beauty – you only have to look around.

When you believe in worlds beyond this one, it is possible to believe in a Long Game of the Spirit being played out elsewhere. We are in some sense not at all old, wherever the greater parts of us reside. I think I visit this place in dreams at times, and feel it in my physical bones at others. That Longer Mike is not getting grizzled in quite the same way where they are, and has more extensions on their homework. They are still in college (or trying to get accepted, depending on the day here on Earth), and are not yet expected to be an actualized, mature being. I am still at Home there. The metaphor of course (to me) explains where the idea of other, higher-dimensional parents comes from. For better or worse, many of us feel this same thing. I come down on the side of it being better. I believe I always have, and always will.

I don’t know how long I have the right to want to stay young here in the important ways, and I don’t know how long it might take to then mature in those others. I can at times only have faith, and then believe that this faith is real. The world has this. God has this. I can still take my time growing up for a little while longer.

My 50-year old self has work to do – the clock now tells me that this is true.

I love you, Dad. and I know that I will see you soon. We’ll go for a drive while your perfect heart is still healing.

xo

Random Reporting from the Field of Possibility

I went to return a library book, and ended up finding some news.

It’s actually easy to Find News, if you bother to look – and if you consider anything that’s news to your own self to be news at all.

Inspiring Shed of Mystery – found @ Fredericton, New Brunswick

I did not know about the recent murder of a school teacher in France, until I I drove by a crowd of people assembled in front of my hometown’s town hall this morning. I noticed they had signs – one of them read, Islam loves Jesus.

Who could not wonder at least a little bit what that was about? So when my errand was complete, I went back to ask. The crowd had mostly dispersed by then, except for a few families. I spoke to four of the men there; we talked about peace and about getting along. We smiled through our masks as we spoke each other’s names. I received a bookmark from one of the men, with the words:

I was sent to perfect good character
Prophet Mohammed

I cannot think for one moment that the Author ever meant to condone violence, or the racism and bigotry that such an act seems destined to fuel. I feel he meant to argue for the opposite of those things.

Nobody in that, my hometown crowd, seemed to want anything but to remind their neighbours that the greater number of us are on the same page. We want our children to be safe, and our lives to have a meaning far, far above politics and division.

My one errand became two, and then three. There is good news in the world, I’m writing to remind you, and it has a far stronger character than the bad.

Have a happy and safe Halloween ❤

Overwhelmed by the New of It All

This is a short report.

In case you have been wondering, there are more new things in the world today than there were yesterday. I think the rate of new things per day is increasing, but I can no longer detect the edges of anything, so I can’t be sure through direct, empirical observation.

I have a lot of work to do, and although I love that work, I can’t help but feel that I would be of greater value still to everybody and everything if I were to just go back to school for four-or-more years, to learn all the things I want to, and think that I might need to.

Except, the world would have moved on anyway while I was in class. The busses have left the station: I will not be a master 3D modeller / animator in my lifetime. I will not be sagely informed about machine learning and tensors and such (whatever a Tensor is). I will never be an accomplished musician.

I will never be an expert at anything.

This is going to have to be ok. There’s something perfectly double-edged about having so much to choose from in Life, that one can never expect to have it all (or even know what it all means). This is one of countless aspects of living in a full-spectrum environment that we are simply here to experience and accept.

Humility and pragmatism probably play a part in surviving the modern world, but I need to do some more research on that before making any rash decisions about being more humble, or pragmatic.

I’m late for something.

To Continue…

Bad Sound From a Borrowed Truck

One day I started talking to myself in a truck, while recording. I called it a podcast, which may or may not be entirely accurate.

EP 06 -Failing Forward Hardly Regarding

More rambles from a borrowed truck.- Podcasting services: using them and stuff- Parable of the Sower
  1. EP 06 -Failing Forward
  2. EP 05.1 – Getting Our Stuff in Order
  3. EP 04 – Retractions, Backpedaling, and Etc.
  4. EP 03 – Religion, Privilege, and other Tools
  5. EP 02 – Serendipity, Faith, and Ikigai

Title music:
Fuzzball Parade by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5044-fuzzball-parade
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Hardly Focusing

Listening to found audio from the Internet : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_uLM5i0Z4c

I have too many Things. This includes physical Things, like household objects, as well as project-like Things, like work, self-improvement, hobbies, and fleeting interests. These all add up to an inventory. Even my burgeoning list of passwords and TODOs are part of this expansive inventory.

My inventory is a blessing and a curse of course, as are many gifts. The options available to me are by-and-large of greater number – any given Thing being a potential key to some door – but with options comes an implicit call to someday choose-it-or-otherwise-lose-it. I’ve written about this elsewhere at other times, but always I think for about the same reason: I have trouble focusing in one direction, when so many intriguing ones present themselves.

At the risk of being repetitive: the Things we are given, and the Time we have to filter through and then pursue them, seem rather mismatched to me. Where are the extra limbs and eyes and minds I need to see these Things to their better conceived conclusions (or better yet, continuations)? I am only one mortal man, with no more than the predictable number of attachments and powers.

Of course, we are a collective for a reason. We are meant to recognize in each other all of the potential we can’t ourselves realize on our own. Some of our quests might be better given to or shared with others.

I am engaged at work these days. The project I’m working on – to a good extent a realization of my own imagination, then empowered by the interests and experiences of several other minds – keeps me thinking and plugging away.

Last night, I put myself to bed in a happy state, excited for the next steps in this project. I felt a familiar feeling: engagement in what I’m doing. This is a signal that I’ve found something worth really focusing on. By that, I mean other things (at least for a time) need to give way to it, so the work can happen in a full sense, rather than a partial one.

This means I can’t write for hours every day, or read for hours every day, or spend hours and hours watching videos and tutorials unrelated to the principal task at hand. It means I can’t start new projects whenever I want. It means I can’t keep a thousand browser tabs open, to be lightly and continuously monitored while doing all of the other Things. Focusing on one Thing means something. It is different than succeeding at everything you feel you should succeed at.

I sometimes imagine myself occupying a position in Possibility Space. This is different though related to Physical Space. The directions aren’t informed by the same magnetism, but are instead directions of exploration, inquiry, and implementation. Each journey takes one toward some conclusion/continuation (with the requisite embedded learning), and then necessarily away from the others.

A person wishing to explore to the East and North will end up to the North-East – a place in between the two places they were actually interested in visiting. A person wishing to explore East and West at once will end up more-or-less where they already are. Of course, this metaphor takes one only so far – the point is, if you want to finish something fully, head toward that Thing with something akin to determination, and certainly with a good measure of focus, for some amount of time.

How far you go in that direction might have as much to do with how little you concern yourself with all of the other available ones, as with the walking you do in the direction you decide to actually walk. Walking with intention – enjoying the view, moving objectively forward. The destinations you leave (for now) might be more reachable from your new position, for all you now know, once you become elevated through your concentrated effort (like climbing). It’s all about an attitude for altitude, maybe.

Art and AI

I recently watched two young violin professionals on Youtube react to the compositions of AIs, arrayed alongside those of humans.

The challenge was for them to tell which was which. One could see on their faces an uneasiness about where technology has gone, and where it might still go. I felt that anyway, watching it.

Increasing complexity and capacity in computing power begins to challenge my understanding of what makes a person Human, and what makes a work a work of Human inspiration. In the music space, artists are now uncertain how to approach music composed entirely by machines.

They aren’t in fact composed entirely by machines though – the machines still need Human creative works to inspect, so they can re-swizzle the patterns they find in order to “innovate”. The more predictable and repetitive Human art becomes, the easier it becomes for AI to simulate.

AI are getting quite disturbingly good at simulating us, in some sense. This might be a call for artists to raise the bar and move forward with what we consider art. Whatever that means. I’ll leave that to the real artists.

Once the AI can do what we do, we must venture out and do something entirely new…

HRe: Podcast Ep 2

I found some files on a usb stick, which I found among some clutter, which was located in a room.

Among the files were some of the audio variety. These involve a man talking to himself in a truck.

Bad Sound From a Borrowed Truck
Ep 02 : Faith, Serendipity, Atheism, and Ikigai

Ikigai: https://medium.com/thrive-global/ikigai-the-japanese-secret-to-a-long-and-happy-life-might-just-help-you-live-a-more-fulfilling-9871d01992b7

Title music:
Fuzzball Parade by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5044-fuzzball-parade
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/