Showing posts from October, 2009

One Funeral at a Time

Max Planck, Born in Kiel, where I once lived (and I never realised). Did great work on black body radiation, one of the most fascinating areas of physics.
Steve Keen today quotes a fabulous phrase from the great physicist, Max Planck.
Science progresses one funeral at a time.
Meaning of course that knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is institutionalised and subject to all the petty jealousies and territorial debates you'll find anywhere else. So real progress only happens with a changing of the guard, when one generation dies out and makes way for the next. Of course not the hagiographic view mostly given of science today, where great scientists are treated as saints, although to be fair at the same time people begrudge them any money, unless they're building bombs. But you see it in debates about global warming, how we apparently just need to wait for 'the science' to tell us what to do. Now we absolutely do need good science as part of global warming debates, bu…

Sleep. The End.

Finishing off some thoughts on sleep.
So I had to drop that preconceived idea that going to bed to sleep was a process of collapsing, of 'relaxing' and letting go of all that effort of the day. Because using your body as a tensegrity structure means you have no effort in anything you do. You use energy, but there's never a biploar exertion/collpase involved.
What became important for me to realise is that lying in bed is just that - lying in bed. It's not doing anything different to standing up in the sense of doing anything at all - there's never any doing needed, at any time. It's just being, but while reclined. So sleep to me now isn't about relaxation at all, it's about stillness and being horizontal. There's something about that which is obviously important to the body. I'm not sure it recharges your batteries, or any of those other energy analogies. You may use energy during the day but it doesn't (as far as I can tell) recharge by lyin…

P.S. on sleep

The last tricky piece of the puzzle about sleep, for me, is the difference between a traditional model of how the body works, and the tensegrity model. In the traditional model you have activity and effort, and then you 'relax' to recover from that activity and effort. Activity and effort involve exertion and 'doing' things, and relaxation is a sort of collapsing and doing-nothing.
In the tensegrity model, which is how our body works (it just hasn't flowed through into the common biology teaching yet), there is no distinction like that. Both activity and what looks like non-activity e.g. sitting or lying down, involve exactly the same mechanisms. You don't have to exert yourself to do things, like walk or run or lift something, because your whole body is elastically pre-sprung to release into those sorts of things, you just need to let it.
This was a challenge for how to think about sleep, for me. In the traditional model you go to bed and you collapse and relax…


I've been very slack with blog postings lately. It's been all go at work, so not much spare time. But then this blog is really like a diary of ideas for me, so I don't try to meet any sort of publication schedule. I'd still write it if nobody read it, but thanks to those who do!

Sleep. I've had a difficult relationship with sleep for a lot of years. Good sleep can make the difference between a good or bad day, and I've noticed the quality of a day is profoundly affected by the quality of sleep you've had. My basic difficulty with sleep is that I get to sleep fine most nights, but then wake about 3am and struggle to fall asleep again. It's one of the classic types of insomnia. I get from 5-6 hours of sleep most nights.

But I don't feel tired the next day. Most days. It's possible that the bodywork ideas I've learned and worked on for the past few years have lessened the need for sleep, they drastically reduce the amount of effort I need to use …

In Search of Lost Time

Finishing off Proust.
Proust explored society and love and many other things all with a wider project in mind. This project was the exploration of the nature of time. Philosophically understanding time and space is understanding everything, really. It wouldn't be if you think of them in the usual ways, like shoebox containers that everything sits inside. But that's another topic.
For Proust each 'sign' in a life is trying to teach somebody something about time. A sign of love or jealousy, of society (the salon life he described so vividly) etc. The signs of love and jealousy are essentially about lost time, they force us to think about and experience time passing - loss and decay. To lose one's love or to fear that loss, in jealousy, is to experience loss, real or imagined. And loss is integral to the passing of time, all things pass and are gone. Our feelings of loss and jealousy in love are at root mostly our feelings about loss and time passing. We will better un…

How to Learn Music

Having rescued my main guitar from the cellar a few months ago, after 5 or so years of hardly playing it at all, it's been amazing for me to see how quickly it all comes back. The fingers know where to go. I used to play a lot, having started at about age 15 and then playing off and on for about 20 years after that. Never hours and hours a day, just here and there when I felt like it and had time.

When you learn an instrument it can be difficult to know how to go about it. Often you'll have a teacher who has their own particular views and methods. I did that for more than 10 years with piano, turning up once a week to be whacked with a ruler for bad hand position and for not having practiced. (No complaints from me, I much preferred that direct "that's crap" approach to being mollycoddled.) The scales and other 'exercises' were always boring though. Much more fun to learn the pieces or songs.

It's only now looking back I realise that this is how I made …


To explain the slowing of posts on here. I've had a lot on, and am now a bit ill too.
The posts will keep coming, just with bigger gaps between them for a while at least.

You Always Hurt the One You Love. Jealousy and Proust.

Marcel Proust, whose search for 'lost time' has been called the greatest novel ever written. It's definitely one of the longest ever written (6 volumes), but is entertaining and not too difficult to read, provided you don't mind occasional sentences that stretch to over a page.
Proust's views on love are fascinating. For Proust an essential part of love is jealousy. (You need to cast aside pre-conceived ideas about love and jealousy to really appreciate what Proust is saying, even if you don't agree with him.) Jealousy is important for Proust because it points to the very nature of love that Proust believed people most often misunderstand.
The starting point for understanding Proust's ideas about love and jealousy is his view that each person will experience the world in a way that is completely unique to them. Because each person's life experiences are unique, to them, then their experience of the world is also unique to them. (This doesn't mean th…