Thursday, December 22, 2022

Whiskey for my men, drawing swords without cause, and other matters

Heard a country western song I hadn't encountered previously (at least I don't think I recent screen for Alzheimer's seems to indicate I was more or less ok...I forget, grin). Toby Keith was singing an apparent anthem in favor of vigilante justice, "Beer for My Horses." I agree there are "too many gangsters doing dirty deeds," but not being one to join a crowd (except in the unlikely event that it was enthusiastically pursuing some noble end) I am a little suspicious of a posse of buddies acting as judge, jury and executioner. Lord knows the Innocence Project (and other related work) have uncovered too many innocent men convicted and sentenced to death, and that was done by multiple levels of government rather than a hyped-up band of would-be Guardians (it is particularly heinous for the State to take life wrongly, for we of the governing society all share in the responsibility, the land as it were crying out for justice for the blood of the innocent). 

In any case, I am favorably disposed to whiskey for one's friends and I suppose beer for the horses. Reportedly my late uncle, who I note died at an age 15 years younger than my present age, once got a horse drunk and walked it upstairs to his apartment. I became instant friends with him in 1963 (my uncle, not the horse) much to my father's disgust.

I was surprised to find that some (Setterfield) have argued that the speed of light (a universal constant) has decreased over time, something convenient apparently if you are trying to patch up the inconsistency between literal Biblical chronology of the Earth and reality (whatever that is). I have personally observed some variation in the flow of time, having been involved around 1969 in an experiment with STP (a psychedelic much more potent than LSD). We had wondered if the chemical might increase remote viewing capability (clairvoyance really), something the government was interested in for obvious reasons (intelligence from any channel is useful; the early Christian church relied on paranormal warnings of pending arrest by the Romans provided in precognitive dreams by church members). 

As the mind-altering agent took effect I noticed billowing red and blue clouds of audio gas (this would be termed a form of synesthesia) from the stereo speakers in the observation room in the lab. The 60's band Steppenwolf  LP album"Monster" was playing. I then perceived a 3-dimensional vignette occupying maybe 8 cubic feet materialize above the audio system, containing a sinister-appearing choir of perhaps twenty dark-robed persons holding songbooks and singing the lyrics. Soon the vignette  faded into a purplish aura which in turn dissolved into the remains of the reality of the room. 

I hadn't realized I was standing until I fell backwards into a wall and slumped to the floor, surprised somewhat that I encountered resistance since the walls appeared to be breathing like bellows at times and looked like wet plaster covered with hieroglyphs on closer inspection. I tried to write notes using a pencil and notebook provided, but the characters and lines immediately levitated off the notebook pages and filled the surrounding air with geometric curves, making it impossible to write. I glanced at my left wrist to check my old Benrus analog watch (no digital watches a half century ago) and saw the minute hand revolving quickly around the face, the hour hand slowly advancing behind. I become a core of being which was experiencing the flood of altered perceptions, but was standing apart from them analogously as a large boulder around which white water races in rapids. I recall thinking that I was in a time-warp, i.e., that my consciousness had become disconnected from the normal space-time events as usually measured, as well as separating from the components of ego-in-the-world. 

I realized years later when studying the Upanishads that I had become the Witness, the Perceiver (Śvet. 6. 11 (line 11 of the Sixth Adhyāya, Śvetāśvatara Upanishad, [Brahma is] The one God, hidden in all beings . . .the witness, the perceiver ). I shut my eyes and began to fall though the darkness of interstellar space, Moiré patterns of cosmic phosphorescent webbing unfolding and spiraling about me (perhaps this NASA link is still good, appears similar if less spectacular Cosmic Web NASA). Although I responded appropriately to questions from observers without their having opened their mouths to speak (which did not seem unusual at the time), I did not find any improvement in remote viewing capability. That phenomenon usually occurred in the hypnagogic state between sleep and awake, but in later years I took medications to block it along with precognitive visions during sleep, as too disturbing. I had discovered that I was powerless to change a pending disastrous future (see Cassandra myth) and so preferred not to know. 

I recently heard a young woman on a public radio segment describing the prolonged death of another woman from cancer (I think), unclear the relationship. She said that the woman had towards the end found religion and that she supposed that was a delusion. I was immediately reminded of watching over a period of months while one of the New York city atheist/pc police whittled down the short story of an acquaintance of mine (a dilettante idle-rich writer wife of a former major ceo who had narrowly escaped the savings and loan collapse with a roof over his head, he having invested in a private bank at the time that went belly up). Her original original story was interesting and alive with a real human protagonist who ends up facing a near death experience while having lost everything else of her former life. 

By the time the New York editor got through with the tale, there was only a bumbling zombie-like character displaying little more than brief internal animal-like reactions. This intentional censoring of the true depth of human experience is, as I have written many times before, the agenda of something so evil that it raises my hackles and chills my bones to realize it now roams the world mostly unfettered and free, directing the hordes of confused bipeds to their fate. 

I have accepted that it is as impossible to implant truth in the soul of a man as it is give the power of seeing to a man born blind (Ernst Cassirer in his 1944 "An Essay On Man" paraphrasing Plato's Republic Book VII, "certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes," Jowett 1871 translation), but continue to the extent I am able. 

The Vedanta tradition tell us that every soul makes its own way and seeks out new paths and knowledge on its own schedule. It is unclear to what degree a person may depart from the path of a particular life, much less to what degree in response to mere observations of an outsider. We nevertheless must not forsake right action, i.e., dharma, Sanskrit root dhr, “to hold,” as one may be constrained by truth, hence here to offer words believed to be true and beneficial is an act of devotion. It is clear though that there must be a conscious choice by a soul to advance (hence the title of the great spiritual anthology classic, "The Choice is Always Ours," by Phillips, Howes and Nixon).

This 2022 year coming to a close was the first year in a while that I didn't publish (make publicly available via various online venues) any academic-level papers. I am afraid I am winding down (time modifications notwithstanding). That being said, I am still working sporadically at a high level though and was pleased to communicate briefly with a quantum chemistry professor (in another country) who had developed a closed form significance level equation for a permutation analysis (writing it as an infinite series whose terms can be computed rapidly). I had been wondering why he quoted the 1935 result of the great R.A. Fisher (the zea Mays plant height analysis in which Fisher introduced the idea of randomization testing) differently. 

It turns out he had merely made an adjustment in the way the count of permuted test statistics that equaled the original test were used, something not uncommon when an analyst is looking for an exact test at the alpha level (0.05 level of significance for example). It had surprised me because I knew the Fisher study well and had in fact uncovered a small error in calculation by Fisher (he had no computer with which to process the 32768 sign alternations of the 15 plant height difference involved in creating the randomization distribution). I wrote the following R code to accomplish the Fisher analysis exactly:

one_sample_sign_alt_sum_Exact <- function(x){

n <- length(x)

tst <- sum(x)

z <- abs(x)

# borrow bincombinations() from e1071 package:

sign_alt_mtrx <- matrix(0, nrow = 2^n, ncol = n)

for (n2 in 1:n) {

    sign_alt_mtrx[, n2] <- rep(c(rep(0, (2^n/2^n2)), rep(1, (2^n/2^n2))), 

            length.out = 2^n)


sign_alt_mtrx <- 2*sign_alt_mtrx - 1

sign_alt_num_rows <- length(sign_alt_mtrx[,1])

null_dist_vec <- rep(0, sign_alt_num_rows)

for (i in 1:sign_alt_num_rows){

    null_dist_vec[i] <- sum( sign_alt_mtrx[i,]*z )


pUp <- sum( null_dist_vec >= tst) / sign_alt_num_rows

pDn <- sum( null_dist_vec <= tst) / sign_alt_num_rows

upperTailPval <- pUp

lowerTailPval <- pDn

res <- list( nulldist = null_dist_vec, teststat = tst, 

 lenx = n, lensigncombs = sign_alt_num_rows, lowTailP = lowerTailPval,  

  upTailP = upperTailPval)



(End R code)

In any case, the chemist was rather pleased that someone had finally commented on the paper, which he had written decades earlier. I was pleased to discover that he was also familiar with the writings of Augustine (Bishop of Hippo who witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire from Rome).

I turned on the FM radio again while having a coffee break last week or so and listened to some pod-caster trying to establish that the trend in fake music, i.e., recycled pieces of other's work (grooves) and white noise, electronic sounds repetitive droning, is not as stupid as it sounds. I recall (by way of contrast) the thousands of performances I gave on the guitar, all original improvisation, never the same twice. Came to my mind a time with gathered acquaintances outside for a smoke break at an electronics school in 1978, me on an old 6-string acoustic improvising around "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin for 15 minutes or so. The little crowd had shaken their heads in disbelief at what they had heard (one granting that high praise, "that was better than the album").

Once I ran into an acquaintance who still recalled my impromptu performance of "Roundabout" by Yes, again on a 6-string alone, playing all the parts and improvising, as perhaps the best guitar solo he had every heard in the intervening 40 years or so. There was a memorable performance with one of the several rock bands I played lead with a half century ago in a downtown El Paso club with multiple levels, hundreds of people at tables with pitchers of beer. The crowd had been entranced by the music we were playing (there are some brief excerpts from some of my live work in early 70s here Dalton Live excerpts 1970s). The club owner complained to us at next band break that his customers thought it was a concert, but he wanted them to get up and dance so as to become thirsty and order more beer. They appeared to be enjoying our music using other intoxicants primarily and drinking pitchers of beer largely to counter the usual cotton-mouth.

Going back to the 19th century in the classical genre, there were the performances of the virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini, who hypnotized crowds with his improvisation and brilliance (the music he charted is still played today and variations composed based on their themes, e.g., "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," Op.43 by Sergei Rachmaninoff). Quoting from "A Popular History of the Art of Music," by W. S. B. Mathews,

It is impossible after this lapse of time to realize the sensation which Paganini's appearances made. His tall, emaciated figure and haggard face, his piercing black eyes and the furor of passion which characterized his playing, made him seem like one possessed, and many hearers were prepared to assert of their own knowledge that they had seen him assisted by the Evil Spirit. His caprices remain the sheet anchor of the would-be virtuoso. The entire art of violin playing rests upon two works—the Bach sonatas for violin solo, and the great Paganini caprices. Everything of which the violin is capable, or which any virtuoso has been able to find in it, is contained in these works.

To speak of adding electronic noise tracks or repetitive portions of a single instrument performance ad infinitum is then an obscene parody of real music and artistry. What is worse, the present deteriorating culture seems not to appreciate the difference between what is basically elevator music and the performance of music by an artist.

On the other hand, there is ample enthusiasm but little talent among found in current classical music (George Santayana said it well around 1913, though perhaps more generously than I, "artists have no less talent, their taste, their vision, their sentiment are often interesting; they are mighty in their independence and feeble only in their works"). You typically encounter alternating frenzied or painfully slow random strikes on an instrument, a squeaking, groaning cello with no hint of melody emerging among the cries of pain, frantic pluckings of stringed instruments with fingers moving at random, arms flailing, as might a comedian looking at the audience most seriously while playing the result of absurd spastic motions. attempting to relay the emotions or thoughts of the composer (more composeur), but with no observable talent in music, melody, or harmony. For an example of how a true composer can relay images when bringing musical talent to bear, see for example the 1914 "Lark Ascending," by Ralph Vaughan William. 

Online you frequently encounter people trying to find a formula for, say, the work of Mozart or Beethoven based in mathematics, probably the same class of individual who believes computers can generate music. This relates to my oft-expressed outrage/despair that the fraud of artificial intelligence is becoming so widely believed now. An entire generation has been conditioned by those in academia (the perverters of intelligence) into believing they themselves are biological automatons without consciousness, much less a soul (it is easier to believe a search engine is conscious if you repress experience that testifies to your own).

I was sad to hear of Christie McVie's death (at 79) in November 2022. The Rumors album 1977 had been a part of my musical lifetrack. I had always found Christie a lovely woman both in appearance and in spirit, so loving and alive. My late wife Cheri told me she used to crank up McVie singing her "river goes on and on and the sea that divides us is a temporary one, and the bridge will bring us back together" from The Dance tracks (live Fleetwood Mac 1997) whenever she saw the Anthony, NM exit coming up on her run from Albuquerque to stay with me on weekends at La Union, NM in 2010 prior to our marriage.

Seems to be a pattern here. As I wrote the other day in a medical forum (discussing research in geroscience, I noted that I didn't believe you could circumvent entropy, the natural progression of physical systems to more probable states, i.e., increasing disorder), I am like a senescent cell at this point (what are we given as men? three score and ten), worn out but resisting apoptosis (programmed cell death) and with my angry railings against the state of things on this planet, secreting inflammatory utterings as it were. I suppose that is the way of the old much of the time. But there is the underlying tendency of humans to believe that they individually understand and know the truth of matters while their fellows are deluded and wrong-headed.  

A Frontline report December 21 (2022) on General (retired) Mike Flynn illustrated this tendency. There are the odd trappings of a religious crusade grafted onto lies and generally non-spiritual (for those with no understanding of the term "spiritual,", see the Sermon on the Mount for an example) attitude and behavior. As Toby Keith sang about in "Beer for My Horses," i.e., we see humans readily coming together to view themselves as a like-minded, cohesive group ("the good people") taking on the people who are outside the group ("the evil people"). It is bizarre, to say the least, for a former soldier to even refer to the Constitution after putting aside his oath to defend it.

Typically the greater the certitude the less the actual spiritual or intellectual capacity of the human. Contrast such posturing of folks like Flynn with the courage and integrity of the Ukrainian people and the moving address of their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to the US Congress December 21 (2022). It is agreed that Flynn "got things done" during his time directing anti terrorist activities in Iraq, but this was apparently accomplished by putting aside normal prudence, i.e., by striking non-legitimate targets about half the time (obviously this didn't help with the whole "hearts and minds" campaign).

During the increasingly frequent periods I am unable to read and write, I seek out movies featuring people that I can admire, e.g., "The Pacific" series about the WWII pacific campaign ("Without a sign his sword the brave man draws, And asks no omen but his country’s cause", from Pope's translation of the Iliad of Homer, quoted by one of the Marines when asked why they fight), based on books authored by several Marine veterans.  I consider Medal of Honor winner John Basilone, an America lost, heroism of the legitimate sort, comparing to the fascist/authoritarian posturing of today's overgrown infants. I am grateful to have lived, but not pleased with my life's performance (I realize the life we are assigned is necessary, but still the errors and regrets are painful), nor with the state of the world. One can only hope that I am as deluded (and generally wrong) in my assessments as are the numberless hordes of narcissistic hominids who are inheriting what remains of the Earth.