Tat Twam Asi

Traditionally translated as “Thou art that”.  Interestingly, “tat”, Sanskrit for “that”, is the source of the word “that” in English.

I’m not a big fan of the “thou”s and the “art”s, however.

But I get that “tat” has special “spiritual” significance.  And “art” is a good word, generally.  Nevertheless, the traditional translation bothers me.  It probably has to do with that I’ve basically only encountered that archaic language in relation to religious frames of thought that I’d never accepted.  I almost prefer “That is you”.

Perhaps “This is you”.  But then my brain immediately picks up on a bit of redundancy in “…is is…” (and isn’t getting rid of just exactly that redundancy in thought and expression the point??) and wants to shorten the whole thing to “this you”.  But, too, it’s a little flat this way.  Lost some flare.  Forgettable.

So, then, more integrally, th(is) you”.  I’d pronounce it [thizz-you] since the “th” ends with the existential “is” and not the “-is” ending that traditionally finishes “this”.

I like “th(is) you” because it places the “is” of “you” in “this”.  That sort of syntactically mirrors what I think the statement is trying to point to, which is that the source of the very feeling of existing, the root of consciousness itself, is something that is inherent in and arises out of matter/energy.  Consciousness is rooted in existence.  It is inherent because it could as easily arise in another arrangement of “stuff” in another galaxy, etc.  I reject Earth-dependent notions of Soul as well as all Magical Wands that pop into existence to bootstrap its support.

Obviously, presence is a natural phenomenon, even if various growth narratives of matter/energy display varying degrees of experience.

Th(is) you

My Holodeck

So, I got pretty pumped about Microsoft’s Hololens.  So much so, in fact, that I managed to register for Build 2015.  I’ve known I’d jump on the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality bandwagon some day (the tune’s pretty impressive if you listen closely), and really, reflecting on the matter, I was waiting for it to mature to the point where I was willing to engage with it.

I’m confident that my impulse towards such things is not unconnected to the nature of my Grandfather (it would be really cool to make his paintings immersive and navigable).  I’ve got lots of very intriguing artworks that I’d like to make, but I could never reconcile myself with paint and canvas.  Too… much… ancient.

Anyway, obviously I can’t get my hands on a Hololens quite yet but I wanted to get ready for when I can.  How?  Start programming for the Kinect, I figured.  I kind of assume that Microsoft is going to use a similar design philosophy between the two since they stated that the Kinect was their road to the Hololens.

In any case, it took some doing.  First of all, I didn’t have a Kinect.  Secondly, the Kinect V2 actually requires Windows 8 and I was running 7.

Blah, it’s a long story of boring tech challenges that included having to literally rip my laptop screen apart (plastic flew and blood flowed and you can see what I’m talking about in the image [this is the sole non-boring detail]) so that I could replace some parts so that I could install Windows 8 so that I could install the SDK so that I could play.

But none of that is the point of this post, which is to create a sort of monument to the newest iteration of my workspace/holodeck lab.  Some people take pictures of their face each day for years.  That’s really interesting and I’ve thought of doing it myself.  On the same note, I’ve been taking pictures of my workspaces for years (not every day, although that would likely be revealing).  It’s interesting to see them/it evolve.  Who even knows if the sky’s the limit for such a pregnant space/concept/role.

Now, mind you, I’ve watched some YouTube videos of people showing their workspaces, practically jerking their electronics off onto their furniture as they went (“And over here you can see my Gold Exclusive Version 15 Flippetywidget, and over there my Platinum Spectral Wank-Wonk…”), and it literally depressed me and threatened to ruin my mood of an evening.  All I’d wanted were good layout ideas.  I felt like I’d made a horrible mistake in a Google image search.

I just want to be clear that although I like my monitors, for instance, it is because they create walls of text in front of me.  I like electronics and stuff-in-general just to the degree that they manage to serve as ice to the figure skates of my creativity.

You can see the Kinect up in top right corner, peering down on where I sit, waiting for me to tell it how to interpret my gestures.

holodeck

Pavlov‘s fretting in the background, concerned about a squirrel that’s one layer too deep for this depiction.  So many layers, foregrounds, backgrounds, Magrittian grounds…

Here’s the (IR depth) view from the other side:

KinectScreenshot-Depth-12-40-41

The IT Party

I propose a new American political party: The IT Party.

The platform would be centered around Refactoring and Innovation and Security, not (just) of the computer systems that government uses, but of the processes and institutions of government itself.

Also present, presumably, would be that emerging “worldwide” ethic (whatever that really is) that often seems lacking in our politicians.

Many of us may have seen IT transform the organizations we are a part of and can attest to the power of a fresh set of problem solving oriented eyes.

Imagine if the attitude in congress was to fix things, really and truly, not just go through the motions in a self-sustaining way.  In that case, the divide(s) that either prevent any action or dilute nearly all action to counterproductivity would be directly and vehemently engaged.

The brokenness of American politics is the biggest problem in America.  Solving it would catalyze the solution to (probably) every other problem as self-created impediments would be actively refactored in helpful systems of control and opportunity.

This brokenness is rooted in and blooms through two halves: politicians and citizens.  Citizens are uninformed and depend on questionable sources and do not range out in their sources.  Citizens, because of lack of practice, do not have a good sense for objectivity in reporting.  Consequently, their choices are less informed, even self-limiting.

Many politicians play to citizens’ weaknesses as backdoors to be exploited and are execrable for that reason alone.  Politicians as a whole are too caught up in their own careers and have too large a role in promoting them.  Imagine if businesses were run this way, with employees parading around and handing out flyers and spewing confetti.  Politicians should be “big” managers who are more invested in the growth of those who hired them to manage things than they are in their own growth.

As citizens, we should be able to identify these kinds of people.  We should be able to consistently communicate to these sorts of people across the country that we will vote for you if you run for office.

This country needs to be solid on every layer.  That is an IT philosophy.  The pieces and parts of our democracy need to be secure if our democracy is to be secure.  That means our citizens, our politicians, our computers, our law making processes, our law reforming processes, etc.

I also think we’re lacking unity/energy/attitude/America.  We need a project, like we had in the 60’s.  A moonshot.  But as you may have guessed, I don’t think that’s mars or anything so exotic (quite yet).  First, we’ve gotta fix the problems at home.

We need process oriented changes and we need to get a handle on the situation from the perspective of tackling the problem head on while throwing enough resources and top-tier talent at it to enter into a real problem-solving dialog with it.

We need a project and we’ve got a big problem that underlies lots of other big problems, so it would seem pretty straightforward.

We’ve just each gotta give our little bit of push.