Learning Unity

So far, a certain behavior of mine has resulted in an increased refinement of my ability to use Unity.  The behavior is a mistake and I groan every time I realize I’ve done it again.  While following a tutorial or working on a project I will test the project by “playing” or debugging the game.  I’ll see something to change or start following the tutorial again and begin seamlessly modifying the game environment.  However, the game is still in debug mode and everything I’m doing will be lost when I exit debug mode.

Whilst following tutorials this can represent several minutes of steps.  I’m then faced with the dilemma: do I try to remember every detail of the past several minutes or do I just rewind and start over?  The compromise I’ve found is to try to recapitulate the sequence of steps based on an understanding of the arc of where it was all leading.  In one case, I had to start over.  I’d missed some unrecoverable detail that derailed the whole thing.  Otherwise, I’ve managed to slowly stumble my way back on track.

The benefit of this stupidity is that I’m stumbling back on track faster.  Mistakes can be training tools when we don’t fail to engage them.

Now, back to all that lost work…

Programming Tutorial


At long last:

  • Read: Programming (It’s a shitty article, but it introduces a lot of terms from a “technical” perspective, which will make them recognizable later in other contexts)
  • Read:  .NET Framework (Drill into the links if you like, or leave the window open and drill in later as necessary to maintain a superficial understanding of the terms involved [skim quickly and keep developing a cursory understanding of acronyms and layers {consider knowledge acquisition like combat – dance with the requirements of staying ahead of the curve <innovate meaning on the fly and demolish it later by the same process |someday you’ll understand: refactoring =reflect and simplify=|>}])
  • Simplify
  • Read: C# and VB.NET ([{<|=…=|>}])
  • Check Out:
  • (A.0) Do you understand, at least vaguely, what the following probably means?  (given the fact that “var …” is an expression that the computer recognizes as an instruction to create a place in memory to store the value that follows the equal (= or in) sign)
    • var x = new List<string>() {

      “string with an index of zero”,
      “the previous slot in the list held the textual representation of the name of a programmer”,
      “the index of this list element is 4 – but I bet you’d guessed that already”,
      “the fox jumped a fence just as understanding leapt a void”,
      “thinking at many levels at once, while still keeping them distinct, is the best way to proceed, methinks”

      var y = 0; 
      foreach (var z in x) {
      	y = y + 1;
      MessageBox.Show("Hey! user of this program that's running in your head (vaguely, maybe), there were {0} elements in the list named 'x'".Fmt(y));
  • (A.1) Does the following make more sense to you ?
    • var listOfLevelJumpingTextualContents = new List<string>() {

      “string with an index of zero”,
      “the previous slot in the list held the textual representation of the name of a programmer”,
      “the index of this list element is 4 – but I bet you’d guessed that already”,
      “the fox jumped a fence just as understanding leapt a void”,
      “thinking at many levels at once, while still keeping them distinct, is the best way to proceed, methinks”

      var countOfTimesThroughLoop = 0; 
      foreach (var textContent in listOfLevelJumpingTextualContents) {
      	countOfTimesThroughLoop += 1;
      MessageBox.Show("Hey! user of this program that's running in your head, vaguely, there were {0} elements in the list named 'listOfLevelJumpingTextContents'".Fmt(countOfTimesThroughLoop));
  • How you would you describe the difference between the two previous examples?
  • The message to the user said that there were some number of elements in the list.  The number of elements in the list was assumed to be the number of times a textContent was created as the list was “interated“.  Does this make sense to you?
  • (A.2) Although it will seem stupid, can you articulate clearly what is the same and what is different between the previous two examples and:
    • var a = “string with an index of zero”;
      var b = “jerome”;
      var c = “the previous slot in the list held the textual representation of the name of a programmer – the one who typed these characters – over and over again (actually, he C & P’d them)”;
       d = new List<string>() {


      var e = 0; 
      foreach (var f in d) {
      var k = "Hey! user of this program that's running in your head, vaguely, there were"
      var l = "elements in the list named 'd'";
      h.i("{0} {1} {2}".j(k, e, l)));
  • Whew!  There’s some code.  Especially that last line!  Abstraction galore!!!  You still with me?  If you aren’t, why?  If you are, why could someone not be?  Empathize with yourself or others.  What kind of brain habits does this stuff draw on?
  • What’re frickin’ patterns anyway?
  • Damnit!  There was a typo in (A.1).  Can you find it?!?  Are there any OTHER typos… ANYWHERE?  I dunno.  I’m hoping you can tell me.  We rest on our compilers.  Can humans be said to “compile” code in their head?
  • That typo happened when I renamed a variable after a copy and paste but forgot to cascade that change to one of the “instances” where it was referenced in the code fragment.  Do you think that description could ever make ANY sense to you?
  • Debugging is a reality of programming.  Debugging is frustrating.  Debugging is the stone that keeps kicking your toe.  Can you deal with it?  Can you learn to love the chaos?  Are you Neo?  Can you flow with & above the specific techniques required by one layer or another?
  • Bonus: Can you see that moving your fingers adaptively over the keyboard draws upon those same skills as devising an algorithm to solve a problem?  How can I move my fingers fastest over the keys given that my hand is structured so and so and my brain cognizes this way and that and the keyboard is flat like such and such…?
  • Programming involves a number of simultaneous concerns.
  • Some have said that understanding the assignment of a value to a named variable is the core essence of programming.  What’re other contenders for “core essence”?
  • [From: wikipedia]  The details look different in different languages, but a few basic instructions appear in just about every language:
    • Input: Gather data from the keyboard, a file, or some other device.
    • Output: Display data on the screen or send data to a file or other device.
    • Arithmetic: Perform basic arithmetical operations like addition and multiplication.
    • Conditional Execution: Check for certain conditions and execute the appropriate sequence of statements.
    • Repetition[iteration,loop]: Perform some action repeatedly, usually with some variation.

That concludes lesson 1.

Please, ask questions.  Asking questions of the appropriate oracle is an addendum to lesson 1.  Perhaps it be (choose wisely, least-cost first):

Spark Striker

I keep having an idea.  I fed it and it kept coming back and it’s grown and now I kinda think of it as my own.

What I really mean by those words is that I have an idea-egg laying place.  I’m not crazy, I promise.  I use metaphor to strengthen meaning as by folding it like a swordsmith does his steel.  Over the years, I’ve come to acknowledge that this very place of swordsmith folded meaning is itself the best egg to incubate.  The process that feeds itself through its own evolution is always fun to capture ephemeralinguistically.  As with a Magritte painting, we must look passed the sign to (the space around ourselves and the sign) to see what is being signified.

In fact, if you really want to dig your fingers down into the soil of the matter at hand, you may recognize, with me, that an “egg” (in this metaphor) is condensed “incubation”.  If an “egg” is simply condensed “incubation”, then the best question to ask’s: “what’s ‘incubation'”?

My earliest memory of it was in our house, in the living room, as a child of 5 (or so).  This room with hardwood floors had built-in shelves/cabinets, painted white, with a glass door per shelf that swung down from the top.  I was in a corner of the room in early afternoon and the sun was shining in through a partially opened curtain.  I had one of the glass doors swung up and I had a paperclip and a rubber band on the shelf in front of the books behind, and I knew there was something important that I was playing at.

This is one of those subtle realities of childhood that is difficult for one adult to describe to another.  Of course, as with language learning generally, kids are good at it but nevertheless completely unconscious of it and unable to describe it.  Adults fare little better and much worse.  They(?) have the words with which to approach the effort, but they’ve largely lost the experience to some buttons (habitual behaviors) they’ve learned to press to reach it.

What was I playing at?  What was that feeling in my heart?  Like a ringing in the distance and(?)  my desire to be filled by the sound of it.  Today’s words, of course.  Then, it probably felt closer to a tiny fire made from twigs scavenged from between blades of grass that dwarf them.  What I think I was expressing was the beginnings of a tendency to reflect on “fun”, or even stare at “fun”‘s “sun” (am I blinded?).  Did I, as a child, find that fun?  I realize now, I found it significant. What does it take to sustain fun?  What are some conditions that define its borders and its gateways?

What I mean is that I knew, even then, that my play was a ‘in place of’ something real.  I knew I couldn’t build what I wanted with the paperclip and rubber band and the hinge mechanism of the glass door of the shelf.

I was gently showing a thing that I had space for it.

Maybe I’ll call that “step 1”:  Pick a thing, any thing.  “Anything?!” I can hear you thinking.  Sure.  In math there’s Newtons Method for finding successively better approximations (to a real valued function f(x)…).  Just guess a solution, using your best judgement, and start applying it and the algorithm should draw you in closer to the solution you seek (‘less you get stuck in a Newton fractal of the soul [common enough]).  This will be the thing you grow.

In ‘step 2’, the ‘algorithm’, you discover and encourage the conditions upon which it sustains itself.  Look to the aches and pains and pleasures of its passing and arriving to get a sense for what it wants and needs, and try to bend yourself in such a way as to provide for it.  Or decide not to and let it go.    Rinse.  Lather.  Repeat.

Do you want the whole story of how I got to what I’m about to describe?  The details will have to wait, but generally speaking, taking that moment in my life as a beaker for the alchemical deposition of the active elements of the gestalt, we could say that my play gradually broadened to encompass the books that were behind the “first tools”.  And, generally speaking, my play has kept broadening to include more aspects of the room and the world.

I can’t imagine what you are thinking right now.  That is probably a failure of my ability to communicate.  I should form tight words around standardized meanings.  I sorta apologize.  I empathize, at least.  But, I have to admit to unabashedly deriving childish delight in traipsing after meanings that scamper along the boundaries of expression and in getting my boots muddy.

By following the evolution of a meaning in relation to the means of its expression the “empty sentence” has proven to be a fertile “space for it”.  Does my writing lack focus for this laissez-faire attitude?  Usually I wrap up “apparent divergence” quite nicely with claims that it was all an expression of what I was trying to express, “triply” so.  QED

Black Holes

We tend to think of black holes in terms of gravity (I’m not sure how you think of gravity… everyone seems to have their own yardstick).  But I toy with thinking about black holes informationally.  There is a basis for thinking this way.  Black holes face the problem of packing stuff densely.  I have an intuition that increasing density poses a problem best solved strategically.   Strategy exists over information.

But information is just a backdoor for meaning.

I wonder if (a) black hole(s) weave their pulling influence throughout human experience?  An odd question.  I mean it concretely.  If black holes exist (also) in information as purpose for the purpose of pulling everything together, then perhaps (a) black hole(s) (is/are) literally pushing our society through this technological explosion towards Kurzweil‘s singularity.  Consider it a pulling at space through time lassoed events.  Pulling events through complexification.

Life would be considered a direct ripple caused by this release of energy.  DNA metabolisms form around it.  A negentropy pull.  Life, so conceived, is a complex dissipative system meant accommodate a level of energy so great as to cause maager(typo*) to avalanche into itself, distill.   (*typo, it was a slip of the fingers in an attempt to type “matter/energy”.  I find this especially interesting because it is an expression of what was beeing expressed.  I don’t think there is a word for this phenomenon, like there is for homonym or onomatopoeia, although I have invented one or several, I can’t remember any at the moment…  Also, just today I read Hofstadter‘s discussion of this typing “bloom” for “blue moon” in the introduction to Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies.  I’ve had many such experiences.  The more you write the more often such oddities occur.  Same for the LHC.)

Seen another way, as plants are heliotropic, growing towards the sun, life in general is singularotropic, growing towards the singularity.  This is another way of saying that the singularity pulls at everything along every dimension.  It’s another way of saying that as we develop we will continue to broaden and deepen the ubiquity of our extension throughout what is.

What is a black hole?  What is its significance?  Is it just some impersonal gravity sink that will decohere us all, in the end?  Perhaps the idea of it being like a ‘hole’ is misleading.  What if we thought of them as more like distilling distillers?

Let there be no doubt that I only vaguely know what I am talking about.  I write these words as a layperson.  But there’s definitely something over there, where my fingers’re pointin’ out increasing entropy ain’t the only egg in the basket.

Neural Closures

Is this a good approach?  In words, “myFunction” does something that requires two things to be done before it can commence (step1a and step1b).  Since step1a and step1b are not dependent on each other, in a parallel processor, they can be efficaciously carried out concurrently.  Each one can call a wrapper around the core processing upon their own completion, but that wrapper will only trigger the core processing when all the required steps have been completed.  This could be generalized beyond 2 pre-steps, or past 1 “core” processing step.  It’s just a simple illustration.

neural code

I want to call it: Neural Closures.  It’s my design pattern for the day (very like the code pattern in Now Loose Those Beasts, except in that case each step was dependent on the one previous to it before the “beasts could be loosed” (core processing), so it’s a variation of the pattern of which the above code is also a variation.  What to call the essence?  Oh, I know: closures.

This name combines the idea of incrementing a variable with each call (like the activation potential of a neuron) with that of stored references to closures (essentially patterned electrical activity/state) around callback functions serving as a sort of axon-dendrite connection in the “brain” space of the program between _______s (hint: meaning/intention).

Now, if we started looking at that electrical state, and started thinking more about it then our instruction sets and their circuitry we might get somewhere on the “what is it like to be” series of a questions concerning AI, “artificial” life and “artificial” consciousness. (The above general pattern also occurs in human psychology, both at the unconscious, barely-just-pre-conscious, conscious and supra-conscious scales).

What is it like to be pure meaning?  What is it like to be pure energy?  What is information?  What is awareness?  Why are distinctions possible?  Why is there something (matter/energy) that reacts and interacts with itself?  Why is there something rather than nothing?  What is “is”?  Is circularity essential to “is(ness)”?  What is the real secret of the circle?  

Can we get a piece of that pi going by?

(PS => In javascript, since there is no SyncLock to protect against race conditions, the above code will have to do.  That is fine since a browser window’s environment is single threaded anyway.)

The Four Seasons Trilogy

dominique appia's Four Seasons

Here’s one conception of my novel notion:

  1. Treuth by the Rath of Spyryt (Spring)
  2. Atle’-Antis (Summer)
  3. Psychlotron (Autumn)

There are many ways to describe this project.  Its scope is pretty severe.  I’m going to use the approach here that will be used within the books themselves, that of compounding amplification.  The important thing, in this approach, is to build a whole from the start, and continuously smash things into it (Psychlotron) in just such a way that rather than breaking apart it incorporates them and expands into a (k)new (w)hole, which nevertheless contains the old one, in some way or another.  Lets call this approach “fusion”.  Fusion will be essential in the making of the philosopherstone, which itself is like the seed of “cold fusion”.  Which, in our case, is mind itself.  Amplify.

In summary:

“Treuth by the Rath of Spyryt” is a bildungsroman adventure through levels of the soul and the world in pursuit of the philosopherstone.  (TRS)

“Atle’Antis” is the movement of the storyline from individuals to their world (which was more theoretical in TRS).  (AA)

“Psychlotron” is the completion of the movement into a dissolution of the boundaries between individual and environment.  The unio mystica in the real world. (Psy)

A bit more detail:

  • Treuth by the Rath of Spyryt:
    • Starts with the story of Rath, who is focused upon catalyzing the creation of a virtual reality world from his own unique angle (very contentious).  He is a startlingly efficacious programmer/ninja who is always emerging from remote vantage points (to-iri no jitsu).  Along his way he encounters Spyryt, an enigmatic woman with her fingers on the pulse of the nexus of change in the world.  Together, their activity rustles up Treu, a self-described wizard bent on creating artificial intelligence, which he calls the philosopherstone.  Rath and Spyryt come into a conflict fueled by Treu in his spellcasting Psychlotron.  Conflict is the nature of the dynamism of his mechanism. Conflict is the precursor of movement.
      • At the same time this narrative is being developed, an iridescent bildungsroman layer slowly forms in which the story is commented upon and developed in relation to a fourth character, Auth.   The Auth layer shows the other narrative of the book to be in part representative of the psychodynamics of Auth.  Auth layer gains sway and suddenly, the narrative is about Auth publishing a book and an ecosystem of apps that work to bring about a future he prophecies, in a certain way.  Thus the world becomes a main character in a story that had until then treated it as a passive environment.  End book 1, the Spring of what is to come.
  • Atle’Antis:
    • Auth has published his book and his apps are gaining notoriety.  Especially the text editor (lapis documens) and the scheduling app (projenda), but also, increasingly, the blog software (thoughtstreams), the tutorial software (bootstrapps), then the global game Western Wizards.  Western Wizards, as a character development game, starts bleeding out into the world (as planned by Auth).  It slowly evolves into a user interface into global information and power, into national and international politics, economics, education.  A global conversation tool is developed that increasingly starts to look like the amalgamation of a static textual Constitution with the legislative process centered on its evolution, dissemination and practical application.  Governance starts happening through a custom-designed “operating system” that people interact with through an open source API.  A world emerges sideways to the one traced by history.  This is Atle’Antis.  This is the summer of Auth as he frolics in the fields of his karma.
  • Psychlotron:
    • Atle’Antis continues to gain momentum.  Influence that at one time was important for one reason starts to become important for another.  The evolving governance OS (gOS) had always taken advantage of machine learning and other insights from traditional discipline of AI.  However, as resources start to pour in to the evolution of the technology of the gOS AI research increasingly becomes tied up in the evolution of gOS, until finally, gOS becomes self-aware.  From here is traced in quick lines the warp-drive acceleration of meaning and world towards the Singularity which itself comes to be related to in the religious, fateful, spiritual-essential sense as an inevitable feature of matter/energy systems in the universe as it exists and evolves phyically/informationally.  In Psychlotron, all the forces in play come to their fruition and all that came before is plunged into the winter of left in the wake of their passing.

Final comments.  The kernel narrative of book 1, the projected psychodynamics of the author, largely trace out the overall development of the three books, with subtle differences.  Part of the purpose of nesting a story within itself is the perspective placed on the nested version of the story.  I understand, as an author, the nature of psychological projection.  Still, I have a prophecy for our world.  And while it may also trace out the process of individuation within myself as an individual human, it simultaneously traces out the individuation of human society and the inevitable influence of technology as an expression of that very same phenomenon that led prokaryotes to eukaryotes and humans to nations….  It can do this because the two phenomena are similarly rooted in the nature of Life.  This same nature of life is embodied in the dynamics of consciousness, or awareness.  Because life is, essentially, ramified awareness.  Or, awareness is ramified life.

Life is a word that sounds so simple.  We see it as warm and familiar in relation to the complex equations of physics and computation.  But Life is anything but simple.  Life is baked into the very foundation of the universe and physics will one day be subsumed by an understanding of the living nature of existence in the expressions of that understanding.  Old physics, today’s physics, will be seen to be little more than Newtonian approximation from an historical angle founded in the vagaries of the psychological evolution of animalia.

While this may all sound a little dry and theoretical hereabouts, the final product will be disconcertingly efficacious.

Now Loose Those Beasts

I have an itch to look at a piece of some old code (to generate browser forms from entity and ui metadata retrieved from the server).  Without further ado:

createMetaform - Copy

I think there is an essential lesson about asynchronicity in the form of this function. Notice how it flows top to bottom then back up and in. It ends somewhere near the center. In fact, the beasts are loosed right around the golden ratio, if mine eyes do not deceive me.  Notice the sort of unconscious inward mirroring between myth and code. Like as in how the function “nowLooseTheBeasts” takes the retrieved entity, loads it into the generated form, and then injects that into the DOM (the anatomy of that which the user can see) and then updates the UI container (IOW, the present-moment skin of the DOM’s underlying anatomy).

I might say a lot, for there is a lot to say, not only about the code pictured above, but the code in which that code is embedded.  Or again, like my first published draft of this post, I may say very little.

That’s like two attitudes toward code (to say nothing of programming): 1) Condense code like distilling a mathematical equation; 2) Dense code is hard to evolve, rather, use (occasionally) verbose design patterns to create code that is broken apart, light and airy, and easy to rearrange.  (Uh oh, looks like I’ll be saying a lot, since none of this has anything to do with the condensed meaning I first typed out… [but if I say a lot using dense meanings… {you’ll have to keep the resonances humming on your own <I can’t do all the work for you through this flat text |you’ll have to breathe life into the pattern herein distilled>}])  I tend, rather, to practice a mixture of the two.  The code pictured above radiates one face of my meaning.  These words another: mathematical equations obfuscate meaning in one way (symbols, like λεπ, that generalize toward total abstraction) while clarifying it in others (revealing underlying structure via the absence of noise unrelated to that structure).  A third: meaning could be thought of as the field generated by the “flow of consciousness” through an alternation between symbolic equations and concrete substitutions (concrete, in this case, in the form of present perception & past memory).

(I just noticed an interesting thing about my language.  What I interject in parenthesis throughout the sentence is the very material normal writers use to construct their next sentence (or is the material they wisely edited out in the interests of the reader [sorry! {I just don’t know any other way to be authentic.  You see, it’s just what I’m talking about in this blog post, two approaches combined <mysterium coniunctionis?>.  |is the question greater than the period? Yes _I’m going to get off track with all these parantheticals_.|  I’m trying to communicate an insight that consciousness is asynchronous.  And how it is so.  How we have consciousness and then we have everything else.  We naively refer to the “everything else” as if it were a single, unified thing.  The Unconscious.  The Right Brain.  Or whatever other moniker you know it by.  God, maybeven?  But what we really have is a  bounded “self” {bounded by some self-defined body}, some identity, some self-referential field, that creates of itself one “processor thread” {this is a language equation, in a math equation that quoted word may be lambda or epsilon or pi}.  Then it tries to understand “its unconscious” as another single processor thread.  In reality, self-identity necessarily founds all representations of non-self-identities in the non-self itself, which it understands only in the one way: not what I am now; which it understands in only one way: what I am now.  Which means we have a seesawing.  Can you see it sawing away like scissors through too much paper?]).  I wonder if this means our paragraphs diverge in purport?  Perhaps it is a shortening of the distance between meaning?  If so, perhaps one could travel through the noosphere at a faster rate thereby?  One could certainly travel inwards, from top to bottom then back up and in).

All that is to spell out: when you let the mind generate meaning in its own natural, asynchronous way you just may find unexpected resonances as exoteric purposes reveal inner purposes that harmonize with outer purposes esoterically.

Note on the code: To be precise, this is essentially the constructor function (initializer) of the “Metaform” object.  The Metaform exists to construct and manage the lifecycle of a user input form (like a purchase order)  generated by logic that takes in entity metadata (property names, value types, relational attributes, ui actions) and a view outline  (user interface domain specific language) and a view model (entity data to be placed into the UI shell generated by combining the entity metadata with the view outline) (although, sadly, to the careful eye, the code will be seen to not adhere to this [what is effectively an] ideal description in subtle ways that are the result of the code body’s growth in the context of an existing code base).  The embedded functional nature exists for one reason and because of one reason.  It exists for the reason of creating seams along a single of path of logic.  These seams are necessary because the single path of logic has steps that require getting data from the server.  In the browser, in javascript, this is achieved through AJAX; in my case, jQuery.get().  jQuery.get() can be used synchronously (by settings async: false and using the return value of the function call) but this is against the grain in javascript, and in fact, vastly slows down the UI (circa 2012).  For instance, during the time it takes (in this case) to generate a form, if the user wishes to somehow otherwise interact with the UI (such as in selecting a different order to view since the first click was in error and the one below it was meant [these sorts of corrections happen in terms of a fraction of a second]), the user will find the UI unresponsive, jerky, rude.  The “proper” way is to use callbacks.  Callbacks allow the browser to update and respond to UI events while the logical steps wait for server data, which, when it gets returned, is passed on to the callback function to continue stepping through the logic.

Callbacks essentially start to look like the code pictured above and can go to any level of depth, like Shai Hulud through the Dunes of Arrakis.  In fact, callbacks, time travel, wave forms and prophecy are probably all related (by way of some audaciously essential subtlety that worms its way throughout [ie: recursion, reflection, reflexivity, autopoiesis, knowledge, mercuri[o]us, Prometheus, treu {ooze ta say the Dao ain’t sum alien’z Way?  De’briz uv ‘is passin’ ticklin’ da leevz uv’wareness?}]).

Arrakis, among other things, represents Frank Herbert’s understanding of a pattern of reality in which large interconnected systems (organisms, empires, species)  attain a time embedded structural dynamic that tunnels the effect of local events outwards into the wider system, giving disproportionate global effect to local actions and disproportionate global action unto local effect.  Too with time.  You can imagine this “time embedded structural dynamic” to be a whirlpool of events with a boundary that bends and tunnels through space and time like a worm of karma through the events of history.  Except history is a desert through which many such worms wend their way.

Are you keeping up wit’his semantic DJ tap dancing language ‘cross your visual field?  Wondering whether or no to attract a worm to ride  or just keep wormstepping the susurrus of the night.