Romney-Obama Debate 2 Precognitions

Upon reflection, we want them to battle.  We expect it.  The American public expects a manly president.  Who else could lead this nation of American Footballers.  Tough.  Willing to confront.  Able to win.  The debates are a feeling out of which places we’ll accept in the space of presidential personalities.  Which (of two?!) we like the most.  It’s not the policies, in the end, but how they take us into account.  The policies follow.

I keep current with the news on:

But I read it all in a peculiar way.  I look at the news sidelong, like how Sri Ramana Maharshi regarded Somerset Maugham (full context here):

After the first few minutes during which his eyes with a gentle benignity rested on my face, he ceased to look at me, but, with a sidelong stare of peculiar fixity, gazed, as it were, over my shoulder. His body was absolutely still, but now and then one of his feet tapped lightly on the earthen floor. He remained thus, motionless, for perhaps a quarter of an hour; and they told me later that he was concentrating in meditation upon me. Then he came to, if I may so put it, and again looked at me. He asked me if I wished to say anything to him, or ask any question. I was feeling weak and ill and said so; whereupon he smiled and said, ‘Silence is also conversation’. He turned his head away slightly and resumed his concentrated meditation, again looking, as it were, over my shoulder. No one said a word; the other persons in the hut, standing by the door, kept their eyes riveted upon him. After another quarter of an hour, he got up bowed, smiled farewell, and slowly, leaning on his stick, followed by his disciples, he limped out of the hut.

Well, I don’t know what Sri Ramana Maharshi’s awareness was like, but the whole episode gives me the sense of someone taking in the whole of another, precisely by not focusing on any part (and also a little suspicion, maybe, suspicion of the spirit).  And as such, I am aware, but not fixated; I am dissociated, but not disconnected.  I know the second presidential debate is coming up between Obama and Romney.  I didn’t really watch the first one, but I heard enough to know it happened (TV in another room).  I then read on my news sources that Romney, who finally got to tell people what he thought about things (despite the millions already spent to do just that???), scored a win and that Obama had seemed without the fire he was known for.

Republicans are joyous, et cetera.  Democrats are urging Obama in his preparations, or some such.  I imagine that Obama’s first performance was calculated.  It was a testing of the waters.  A getting an idea of what was expected of the team to score a win.  That’s all that was really necessary.  Well, that and not stepping on any new, cross-demographic toes.

It was interesting when Biden played the opposite (so I’ve gathered).  Really packin’ in the punches.  I saw a few outtakes (this is my favorite, from here)

biden and ryan from

and I have to say that he embodied, whether he was right or wrong in the content of what he was saying (how would I know??? we’re all at the mercy of what we’re told when it comes to that realm of knowledge), exactly the sort of conversationalist that I can’t stand.  A person that doesn’t care about conversation.  A bully.  Not that I wish to imply some sort of affection for Ryan, or whatever his name is.  I could care less about either of them.  I just wouldn’t want to have to debate Biden.  Not because I fear his bullying or his debating skills in general, but because it would be a waste of my time.  I know that spirit, that energy, that pattern of being, those postures, rhythms, ticks, blinks, and smiles.

But then, these debates are a waste of all our time.  I love the recent controversy over Candy Crowley:

The Obama and Romney presidential campaigns don’t agree on much, but they joined forces to complain in advance about possible follow-up questions from CNN’s Candy Crowley, the moderator for Tuesday night’s town hall-style presidential debate…

The campaigns pointed to comments where Ms. Crowley suggested she could expand on the audience queries to flesh out candidate answers. And they pointed to a memorandum of understanding that the campaigns agreed to, which included the understanding that there would not be aggressive follow-up questioning.

Along with reminding me of my dogs fighting over a bone, my complaint about politics has always been the absurdity of its communication, the level of its dialogue:

Listen with intent to reply from

I know its pointless to mention, but politics in our country is really not geared towards getting better, and moreover, is really in a sorry state.  Any getting better that happens to happen will be kicking and screaming.  Politics is more of a human thing kept at the level of lower biology (I understand that politics serves a need to collectively address the very biological requirements of life on a grand scale [politics is a very important regulating factor in the stitching together of human activity]).  It’s a battle, and the goal of the battle is the personal power of the players, along with the homeostasis centered on the status quo.  Now, mind you, I understand that there are really a lot of people in the world who want to do good and are involved tangentially or full-time in politics to do so.  But overall, I do honestly believe that when you get to the positions of real power, there is a brokerage going on (Until the first true internet president [nothing to do with Reddit’s fool on a pedastle {oh how I pity that cow who is pushed into the piranhas’ river by the stampede of indignation behind}]).  Although Atlas Shrugged really tended to oversimplify stereotypes, I nevertheless detect a lot of pull peddling between the lines (pull peddlers are people who trade in influence and favors [of course, this being an Ayn Rand reference, I can’t actually create a link to any real content because her Ayn Rand Institute will milk its copyrights for all they’re worth {instead of releasing something like a collection of essay “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” written in 1971!  <really gets me going on “Objectivism” and however intelligent I have often found Ayn Rand and thought-system to be, I have always been put off by their spirit |hey, a lot like Biden!|>}]).

Anyway, I expect Obama to take the cumulative advice of both democrats and republicans and show some fire, but not as much as Biden.  Biden was merely playing the foil, to give an extreme against which Obama’s performance can be positively related.  He was an internal constraint on the dynamics of the presidential election frame.  One cannot underestimate the applied knowledge taking place in the planning out of these presidential races.  The stakes are too high.  If you think people will exploit some pretty abstruse mathematics to increase the performance of video rendering, imagine the sort of thought being put into securing the presidency.

Consider considering the mental spaces in the following as applicable also to society as a whole.  In other words, apply the general processes of the thought patterns of an individual to society as a whole (gives a new meaning to Reddit).  This is from the book The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities, by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner:

 Mental spaces are small conceptual packets constructed as we think and talk, for purposes of local understanding and action… Mental spaces are connected to long-term schematic knowledge called “frames,” such as the frame of walking along a path, and to long-term specific knowledge, such as a memory of the time you climbed Mount Rainer in 2001… (pg 40)

Mental spaces are very partial.  They contain elements and are typically structured by frames.  They are interconnected, and can be modified as thought and discourse unfold.  Mental spaces can be used generally to model dynamic mappings in thought and language… (pg 40)

In the neural interpretation of these cognitive processes, mental spaces are sets of activated neuronal assemblies, and the lines between elements correspond to coactivation-bindings of a certain kind. (pg 40)

…what counts as an equilibrium for the network will depend on its purpose, but also on various internal constraints on its dynamics. (pg 44-45)

It is possible to look at information processing in society as if one has a microscope in the brain of a person.  To understand the connection, consider the following substitution of “social groups” for “neuronal assemblies”:

In the social interpretation of these cognitive processes, mental spaces are sets of activated social groups, and the lines between elements correspond to coactivation-bindings of a certain kind.

And then all sorts of academic research can be applied and tested.  The best part about politics, in this blogger’s opinion, is the window it provides into the mechanisms of ego.

These sorts of insights are mint when it comes to AI.

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