this is an experiment in replacing feed platforms with a 'personal' log, for numerous reasons, most of them obvious to anyone who spends time online in 2023. primarily: I'd like to wrestle back control of my own mental thought processes.

To be expanded further later, but:

  • Thinking in terms of small, short blips of text can be an interesting way to think. BUT:

  • Socmed platforms reward acknowledgement rather than dialogue. This alters the logic and disposition of our attentional surface. Thought becomes optimized for engagement, rather than thoughtfulness, even within one's own cognitive landscape.

  • Most contemporary user interfaces are horrible for cognition and attention, because they optimize for new/medium-user acquisition and retention, and not for long-term use. We get bombarded by interfaces that are meant to be easy for novices, not for one to be fluent in. Online platforms are the opposite of vim - slow, clunky, distract your attention and decrease your cognitive load.

  • Advertising culture. By its nature, every post you see on socmed platforms is a post that is yearning for your attention. Desperate, grabby, yearning. Everyone advertises. Eventually, you think in the form of an ad. We call these 'hot takes'. The success of your take is if others 'like' it. Do I want to craft my own thoughts into a collection of advertisements? Of course not!

  • Better to build your own system than rent someone else's; something you might shape, something you can craft into a system of your choosing.

What is to be gleaned from this conflict cannot be "those people are bad", let alone "bad things must be done to those bad people". Not only is it simultaneously boring and violent, it's absolutely maddening; a kind of mind-virus that propagates and snares you in its trap, with infinite closure. "Don't talk to those people; they will tell you that it's okay to talk to them." A tautology.


Past experiences coagulate and introject into internal dynamics. Personal and collective unconsciouses are created. A political belief knits together thought and emotional expression. It benefits me to believe, to be convinced, to think. With a political ideology, any belief or ideology, I form a mental model that I layer on top of the world, a new map for the territory. This map tells me something; danger over here, safety over there, and ways to traverse this canyon of ethics. The map is a device I use to navigate a territory. Sooner or later, I believe in the map. It is legitimately helpful, and sometimes does very good things, like increasing civil freedoms, reducing bigotry. When you share the map, you hold a shared language, which allows for communication.

But the map is just that; a map, with its own interpretative logic. The maps hold a lineage, because these interpretative logics have history, branching trees of schools of thought and argumentation.

What's the territory? What does it mean to navigate a territory? When do you put away the map and learn to exist with your bodymind, your intuition, and learn to understand the landscape?


Perhaps the better question is: what questions should you (we) have asked so that we (you) wouldn't have been in this position to begin with?

What kind of approach would have been (x)?

(let X = an element in the set of { noble, just, with integrity, soulful, truthful, beautiful, kind })

Everything is in everyone. The question to ask is: what would you learn if you imagined you were that person?

What's at stake is not so much "whose side are you on"; but rather, "what kind of person do you want to be"? To whom do you owe your integrity to? In service of what?

my strongest hottake of 2023 is that touchscreens are bad, keyboards are good. fingers on keys = a proximity to typing, and thus a cognitive proximity to writing. touchscreens = the ability to consume content.

bring back laptops in bed!

one thing that saddens me deeply is righteousness. the abandoning of one's principles in favor of being on the "right side of history", whichever side that is. what is noble about tearing down posters? what is noble about shrugging off some deaths if it's about 'the other side'? what is noble about claiming victimhood?

anger serves a protective function; sometimes it serves a numbing function, also, to stave off deeper feelings that are too painful, such as grief. what's happening is tragic. a group of people re-enacting generational trauma, the classic story, the oppressed becoming the oppressor, but unable to see it, because they believe themselves to be the victim. and this logic repeats itself ad infinitum, the original meme; hurt people hurting people.

behind every act of violence is another act of violence. climb that chain and you just get many painful yet beautiful stories of flawed people trying the best, given what they had. how can we not emphasize with everyone in their struggle to survive?

what do you say about an act of violence committed because they believed it was just? that their victimhood allowed this violence? that, having been on the receiving end, they know how to wield violence responsibly? do they know that this is the trap?

do you not see that this is tragic, immeasurably tragic, for everyone, and the inability to start from this position, that everyone must be loved, especially the oppressed, lest they turn into the oppressor, and especially the oppressor, since they were once oppressed?

(is this true? what about hegemony? perhaps this only stands for non-hegemonic forms of oppression)

  1. power is usually asymmetrically distributed. (legal, military, monetary, cultural, relational power)

  2. emotions, bodies, experience, and suffering is not. a person is a person, a sufferer is a sufferer.

  3. when one suffers greatly, the suffering takes over one's personal experience, and thus one's own world.

  4. when it appears that the whole world (as one knows it) is at stake, it's tempted to act (with one's power) to defend it.

  5. two unmeasurable lives take up two measurable forms of power.

  6. when one acts with one's power according to one's world to create suffering in others, steps 1-6 are repeated. (to be modified.)

a few questions follow.
a. how do you know that the world is your world?

b. what do you know of your power?

Nov 1, 2023.

on knots, trauma, and taking sides.

If someone harms you or your loved ones, will you seek revenge? Will you harm them or their loved ones as revenge? Who has the right to transact their victimhood and trauma as a free pass for retributive violence?

(What are stable models of resolving conflict within a community? The Balinese cockfight - a way of resolving deep conflicts that allows people to walk away without harm done to each others' family? Takanakuy in Peru, where people in a village get to fist fight each other once a year on Christmas day in refereed matches with the idea of resolving conflicts with a fight and a hug? The scapegoat -- according to Girard, a regular occurance of peace formation by the unconscious formation of a 'monstrous scapegoat' that allows former enemies to unite together? )

"Taking sides" is an inevitably ethically compromised position, because it does two things; it handcuffs together the past and the future, or specifically, "people I cared about" and "people I shall care about".

  1. "Do you not support us? Do you not see our humanity, and how we have suffered?"

  2. "Of course I do!"

  3. "Then, will you be on our side?"

  4. "I want to be on everyone's side."

  5. "How can you be on their side, when they have done this to us?"

Something happens between point 4 and 5; some transformation, a kind of unconscious sleight-of-hand that allows this point 5 to be repeated ad infinitum. "How can you be on their side, when they have done this to us?" Will you be our enemy, or our friend? Psychological splitting on a group level: 'we are all good, they are all bad'.

Once, when I went through a deeply painful conflict, a wise friend asked me to describe the entire conflict, but substituting the word "I or me" for everyone involved. Soon, this started to sound like an experience of tragic self-harm, where I was angry at me, and hurt me, and was sad for me, and so on. I felt foolish, and sad, seeing how "I" had behaved. Was this all "I" was?

How can you be on our side, when we have done this to us?

The rejoinder will be: "But we are not them! They are not us!" Isn't this the constitutive divide that makes this conflict work?


A meaningful, compassionate care for specific people (friends, family) involved in a conflict, and preys upon the desire for belonging and community by utilizing one of the primary mechanisms of policy/power, which is the line drawn in the sand, the demarcation that is the "vs" in "US vs THEM". Rene Girard says this is an old strategy, as old as millennia, in which the scapegoat is a classic role that unifies a community by ousting a psychic projection of conflict. But still: a morally compromised position, operating along the lines of power AND an appeal to emotional safety than virtue or ethics.

To take a side is to claim belonging, find a way to direct your support, feel accepted and needed, and to find a philosophical logic that enables the feeling of some kind of superiority. On the powerful side, it looks like camaraderie, a code of being, about honor, tradition, pride, care, and mutual respect (but only for “us”.). On the protest side, it looks like ethical valor and righteousness, the feeling of “being on the right side of history”, of pride in one’s solidarity yet anti-identifiction with the weak, of the solidity of one’s own ethics.

I think this is why I/P is so hard to talk about, how fetishized it is, how it generates conflict even through discussion. Anchoring the conflict is decades of intergenerational pain, specific memories of specific people, and it asks you to take a side, and even more, to take revenge. Revenge seems justified by the impulse to defend; defense is about maintaining the body, which transmutes into a desire to maintain the status quo.

And when notions of justice have been modeled after state-sponsored violence, how will you recuperate a virtuous way of being that might stand anew?

hot take: politics is an abstracted morality; the expression of a personal morality (superego?) projected onto a world surface. in theory, this projection from an internal reality to an external reality is a mapping of one's own moral code. however, the strength of this projection is amplified by guilt. the bigger one's own guilt of moral transgressions, misadherations to one's own moral code (which are an inevitable part of being human: failing and trying again), the bigger one's own need to find firmness in the fully coherent image of a complete politics. through the clarity of a political stance, one absolves oneself of moral guilt.

(by politics I mean the discourse of politics, the whirling mass of discussion around nation-states, history, identity, conflict that usually boils down to "who should exercise their power in such a way'; the normative worldview that news media / nation-states subscribe to; I should have a better definition of this, but here we are -)

I would say that this is the constitutive dynamic of politics. it's not that "we often project onto politics"; it's more that "politics is what we call a specter of projection". politics IS the ghostly image hanging in the air. follow politics all the way down to the constitutive turtle and you find individuals intersecting with technology; you find emotions, motivations, greed, anger, revenge, embarassment, fear, hurt, love, intersecting with policy, the military hierarchy, social media post, the rifle, the passport, the barbed wire, the tank. this amalgamation of socio-technical assemblies (which, are everywhere), become neatly cleaved into dissected parts: the "social", the "technical", they say. politics becomes "out there", this thing that we must protest for.

but when you arrive; what is to do be done? is it a continuous deferral? at some point it becomes about the present; about what you might stand for. resigning from a position because you find it intolerable -- I think this is noble; I think this is the collapse of political deferral, and instead the maintainenance of a personal code of integrity. protesting against abolition yet feeling glee at the 'wrong people being punished'; either this is the beginning of a rend, a tear between 'how I must live my life' and 'how they must live their life'... or it's also the constitutive shadow-generator, psychological splitting, this originating denial is the force that allows a political conviction to take hold, that there are things to fix "out there", that there are bad people to be stopped "out there in the world", rather than realizing, like the solzhenitsyn quote goes, that "the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being; and who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

instead of destroying the self, the other is destroyed, or a call to destroyal is rallied against. the abstraction of this reality finds various different techniques to manifest itself and further reinforce this abstraction (race, religion). in the phrase, "we must destroy them"; them and we are the same thing, two halves of a whole called "me" and "shadow-me", but by drawing this neat cleavage, "shadow-me" becomes them, fully hateable, and suddenly the full force of self-loathing, guilt, anger, generated by a blocked grief, thrums open, like a purring engine or a game of life glider gun, a, unstable angry loop, humming. and suddenly! the creation of a "we", a beautiful we, in which one's participation is fully guaranteed, certain, the enveloping camraderie "we" of solidarity. never mind that this "we" is generated by its equally certain "they".

a trick, a sleight of hand. by turning one uncertain question into two certain opposing answers, an incredible engine is created. nuclear fission; by cleaving apart a secure bond, we trigger a cleaving apart of secure bonds. the uncertain question is "how should I live this uncertain, confusing life in the right way? what is right?" the two certain opposing answers are: "we who are Good; we must oppose those who are Bad."

and I see this spread, memetically, or perhaps like nuclear fission, each immediate impulsive response generating the conditions that created the response in the first place. "hurt people hurt people", also, a kind of propagation through the network. "hurt people hurt people" is a descriptive statement allowing for compassion, but it's also a note of warning; that if you are feeling hurt, you might hurt others; if your hurt fills you with anger, it's likely that this anger will create the hurt that will fill others with anger; if your anger-filled hurt seems to give you some clear answers, it's likely that these clear answers will give other people anger-filled hurt that will give them clear answers, too.

to me, the question comes down to: this way you want to act; is it what you'd like to receive, truly? the golden rule, it seems, is just not a law to dictate one's own actions, not just a categorial imperative, but also a spell of sorts, a karmic spell about the fate of the universe; the way to receive what you wish is to give what you want to receive.


so. israel and palestine. I see the IDF invading gaza, sowing destruction in the name of 'defeating hamas'. hamas attacks israeli civilians. idf / bibi & israeli's right-wing government and right-wing protests calling for bloodshed. organizations like bt'selem and jvp calling for peace.

I see two sides.

I see people angry, people upset, people righteous. rightfully so. but do we know?

bursting in joy after seeing an old friend. the joy of getting older is the joy of seeing old friends.

the contemporary internet is a city made only of streets.

when will you let someone buzz you in, climb some stairs, arrive at someone's dwelling? in visiting someone's home or studio there is a shock of unfamiliarity, of new patterns of being, of being able to recognize details that the dweller themselves cannot. this is because you are not meeting "a person" and "their home", but are encountering a dweller-habits-dwelling hybrid, an amalgam, a singular phenomenon that transcends taxonomy. Upon arrival you are a stranger, not knowing if you should take off your shoes, where the bathroom is, or what "make yourself at home" might really mean. Soon you learn what chairs to sit on, what is touchable or not. eventually over time, you, too, gradually learn to merge with the habits-dwelling, absorb and get absorbed, learn how to jiggle a doorknob, feel for the right light switch, reach immediately for the cutlery drawer, blend into a way of living.

where is this on the internet in 202X? where do you encounter someone's home on the web?

truth #34502: one day, I will look back onto the present moment (now!) and laugh at how vivid and luscious my life was, and how little I understood it at that (this) time

a device that plays a single song because the song is so immense that it demands, beckons, conjures up an entire world, and could only be held by a singular material object

an internet that tickles like you're whispering into someone's ear; an internet shaped like the sensation of reading a letter on a rainy day; an internet that is as appropriately _____ as nature already is; of quietude.

reminding myself that nothing less is at stake than working on the largest ____ of one's _____