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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What's it all about?

Cindy Sheehan, who celebritized the demonization of President Bush, has called it quits. She had insinuated herself into a celebrity niche by appealing to the cum laude graduates of the school for the perpetually perplexed. So what is my excuse for wasting time on a one-trick celebrity whose 15 minutes of blame have expired? It contributes to my daily quota of disdain for inanity.

It's a free country, contrary to Ms. Sheehan's bizarre claim that our country " ... is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think." If that were really so, then we must conclude that Ms. Sheehan is a spokeswoman for that very same war machine. The computational analog of such circuitous logic is an infinite loop. A typical example of such a loop is the labeled FORTRAN statement, viz.

100 go to 100

Notice the following attributes: brevity; symmetry; uselessness. But the most powerful computer on earth will succumb to its relentless grip. Only a sensible human operator can abort such senseless waste of resources.

The Sheehans of this world are the enablers of an enormous waste of creative potential. They celebritize, and thereby leverage, the universal antagonism of entropy's chaotic destruction of resources to gravity's evolutionary creation of life worth living.

Though creative use of resources has its thoughtful adherents, the sheer number of inanity's devotees renders the ultimate outcome of civilization's agon problematic. Creativity is rare and therefore brief; inanity is useless and enduring. Indications are that the universal agon will be a symmetric draw. Perhaps that's what it's all about.

1 comment:

  1. A given organism behaves in a particular way because it possesses specific morphological and physiological features that respond to or are affected by ambient information in specific ways. These morphological and physiological features are to a large extent genotype dependent. In as much as behavior is based on an animal’s morphology and physiology, it is heritable and conspecific. A given animal’s behavior thus partly derives from the behavioral fitness of its ancestors and the favorable rate of survival and reproduction that such fitness affords. It is further driven by the ambient information it encounters throughout its existence. Humans and other animals have come to exhibit broad behavioral strategies, which can be conveniently characterized in general as survival techniques. One such strategy involves reward-seeking behavior, another information-seeking behavior (or, in other words, exploit and explore). No given organism exhibits one or the other behavior exclusively. Reward-seeking behavior, as evidenced in numerous fMRI studies, is a function of activity in the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the behaving animal’s brain; whereas information-seeking behavior, also according to fMRI studies, is a function of activity in the later developing (in both the phylogenetic and ontogenetic sense) frontopolar cortex and the intraparietal sulcus.

    Is exploitative behavior more analogous to entropy and so less efficient (or more wasteful) than exploratory behavior, which within this schema would be more analogous to gravity? A good case can be made that it is so (for example, long-term survival is at times best served by delay of gratification, and only exploratory behavior will tell you that). To explore, in any case, sounds nobler than to exploit, and the former certainly appeals to what we humans think of as the nobler side of our nature. On the other hand, reward-seeking has its benefits. It has, in a very real sense, helped us get where we are today. Maybe what it’s all about is not so much the ultimate outcome of a conflict between fundamentally opposing forces but the developmental trajectory carved out by the interplay of selective forces. In which case, the abortive action of a given sensible human operator mean next to nothing.