Kicks Condor

LEECHING AND LINKING IN THE HYPERTEXT KINGDOM

I FIRST DISCOVERED
THE 【TECHS-MECHS】WHO
ARE A CLAN OF SOUTH
OF THE BORDER GUNDAM
BREAKING DOWN
IMMIGRATION FENCES
WITH THEIR
IMPRESSIVE MANOS
MECANICAS

PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

philosopher.life, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole.

indieseek blog, bumped into brad somehow and we crosstalk a ton about the web.

linkport by joe jenett---blogs at i.webthings.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. whimsy.space, caesar naples.

indieweb: .xyz, eli, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

dwm, julia, tridactyl these are things you'll want on linux.

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

innovation.isotropic.org probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.

#personal

I use three main tags on this blog:

  • hypertext: linking, the Web, the future of it all.

  • garage: art and creation, tinkering, zines and books, kind of a junk drawer—sorry!

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

18 Jan 2019

Reply: We Are All Animals

Sphygmus

Perhaps this is it: these visceral qualia form the most intense and common language between us all.

Boy, these letters you and h0p3 write—I feel such tension. On one hand, it’s really good to discover you and to write these almost old-fashioned personal letters that reach out with an arm and wriggle around and attempt to find some crack in the sentences where some potent, pungent piece of us can seep through. I have had so many e-mail chains and letter correspondence that went poorly—I had given up on personal writing.

I still feel anxious that I might not reciprocate well—or that what seeps out might be too very pungent. You might laugh awkwardly at that shocking smell and let it pass. Or you might produce a gaping horror on your face. You might go away—and here’s more tension, why would I need you? Why would I care if you needed to go your way? (Well, obviously, I don’t want to insult you. I want to try to enjoy what letters we do write while we are fortunate to be riding the same network packets.)

Perhaps the biggest tension is anonymity. I don’t know if I ever dare to shed it. I had hoped for such a comfortable place to be just a mere character. I like being my real identity here and there—just for moments, at times. But I want to be other people, too. To be dozens of them! (Here I am, pretending to be “Kicks”, but is it not “myself” that is talking here? Or is this just another Narrator meta-character, who is allowed to stay aloof and detached from all these faces?)

But I feel from our discussions: Who are you really? And: Let’s see each other plainly, let’s know each other well. This does make me wonder. Who am I really? (I think you ask yourself this question, too, in reading your old journals. Whoever was I?)

Of course I’ve followed along—in fact, straight off, I’ve wanted to talk to you about Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (etc.) and Shards of Infinity, because they’ve been favorites of mine, too. I am really into card games—and Ascension is one of the most divisive games I’ve played—the art, the theme, the way it’s played. (There’s a card in the first set that some friends call ‘racist dog’—don’t remember the exact name, but perhaps you’ve also noticed that you can see the lined paper in the background on some of the images from that set.) But I really enjoy the wild style of the art—I’m not sure it’s my favorite, but I get a kick out of it. Some of the art I just cannot understand, other cards I just adore—there’s a card with a kind of scuba guy on it that I think is amazing. I just love that the art stirs me up.

My favorite expansion was Storm of Souls, because the combos felt out-of-control at the time. But I’ve liked all of it. When it comes to games, I’m not a critic.

I think what you’re doing with your wiki is amazing! I’m not going to try to be poetic about it; I just want to gush openly. That you are finding your own ways to riff on h0p3’s work—it’s not a carbon copy—you’ve had a glimpse of futuristic sight-seeing that is guiding you, that’s what I really think.

It’s as if you’ve spread a giant sheet of graph paper before you on the floor—and have begun to box and triangulate your aspects, to map out yourself. And, to anyone watching (and why would they watch? well, hell, if I saw someone mapping out on a giant self-o-graph in the campus quad, I think I’d stop to see) they’ll see the places where they map onto you, or where their points go near or interweave. You have your own handwriting and flourishes of decorative arrows and bullets. And those discoveries made in the mundane and detailed, knotty parts of the graph could be surprising—these lines are all pathways of experience. Who knows which are the most vaunted.

I am often told, “I cannot imagine what X must be feeling, what X must endure.” (Where X is the epicenter of my pain. This person X is the epicenter, not me. I am given the luxury of crying. My effort is often to simply control my crying; X must spend the effort just to stay alive.)

“I cannot imagine…” But you must imagine. How can you not imagine? To imagine—that is the first step. To imagine that it is you and your life. To try to understand—which, incidentally, is exactly how you two have both reacted, to project the bare, vague, scattershot feelings of my heart—without even knowing the specifics—on to your life and into your imagined experience. And you both responded by wanting me to understand you, too—I like this, this is great, you think me capable of it.

So this is the graph paper, right? And we walk down whatever lines we want to. And some lines we just have to. The mazeway.

As we read the words of Others, our bodies respond with the knowledge and recognition of our deep wounds, our brokenness, our despondence, our faith, our hopes, our excitement; all of our being resonates together.

I am so jealous of the footnotes you both have. I am only setup for numeric kinds. Yours are like little secrets and ciphers. Sometimes I can tell what the letters mean—and it is like moth language coming through, too.

Public drafting is also working out very well. It’s strange that I get a more tri-dimensional sense of what the finish letter might mean. You’d think that the draft would only be full of imperfections. But it is its own model.

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12 Jan 2019

Reply: Wandering the Infinite Extremes

h0p3

I’m glad to have the chance to engage in this. I am pretty goddamned worried I’m going to offend him right here.

I felt very worried about this, too, while I was working on my page for you. I was teasing you, of course. And that can feel like all the respect I might have is discarded for cheap sarcasm.

However, I think relationships need to be tested to see what they can withstand—one of the ‘teases’ on that page is that I paint you as having this overly analytical sense of humor and I take a shot at autism. This is pretty cruel! But your sense of humor is not really that way at all—your sense of humor is completely transgressive and degenerate—it’s fantastic—and part of your great work is in perpetually nailing up these new self-portraits of yourself that are ridiculous and grotesque—the jester in the almighty courts—though I think you see your inner self as very noble and refined, in a way. My writing this effacing page of you is simply the act of doing your work for you. You do this to yourself anyway on any given day—I am just joining you for once.

So I’m glad it gave you a laugh for a moment—I don’t think you’ve said anything remotely offensive to me, which is pretty disappointing. I would think that you of all people could pull it off and I’d like to see you try. My fear is that I’ve not revealed enough of myself for you to hang on to—so it may take some time for you to discover that I am a grotesque in a completely different form: I am an emotional wreck, crying and pleading day after day, a small and insignificant creature in my real form—weak and crushable like Gandalf’s little moth buddy that flits around in the chaos, whisphering insignificant greetings.

One of things which is beautifully striking about your absurdly flattering hypertext object is that you accept me as your retarded brother (all of my family do me a great kindness in this) that sometimes has a good point to make (even if this bastard takes fucking forever to say it to you).

Hahhaha! My God—it’s so much funnier when you mock yourself than when I do. I do accept you as my retarded brother!! Can I be yours as well? I am not as retarded as you are, of course, but I will try to be! I am daftly sucking the collar of my lime t-shirt as we speak. I am fully wetting it, brother.

Yet, I would like to extend my trust to you further at no cost to or expectation of you.

(Since I am responding to a draft, I am just hanging on to this sentence in case it disappears. It’s just wonderful. It reminds me of a travelling salesman—my Trust, the whole Caboodle, the brushes, the Extension Arm for the trust and the fur-lined Encasement—all at no additional cost. All I ask is that you do nothing. Don’t move a muscle.)

I would like to send my cards to an address (which will not be disclosed on this wiki) of your choosing (I can also just send you the digital copies).

I am not to this point yet. This is probably a bit awkward to navigate—let me just say that I don’t see my correspondence with you as a short-term whim. It is a long game. We have a lot of years ahead of us to find out why the hell we’re talking to each other and what the Fuck is going on.

You can ask and say anything—I think it’s amazing that you would want to pass cards, converse and possibly make chat logs together. But this blog is not me quite yet. I am emerging from two years of great sorrow and struggle. I am trying to find my way—not through depression, but just through grief. “Kicks” is my prototype for this self that could survive.

I am building him and you’re helping me greatly. Hopefully he will appear in more realistic and fully-fledged forms. I am not catfishing; I am just trying to have fun again. I think it’s working.

One thing I have to tell you about autism. I had this second-grade student named Ethan. One day I took the desks out of the classroom and put down yoga mats instead for the day. The kids came in and got comfortable on the floor, except Ethan who leaned against the wall, eating a Tootsie Pop. He was a big kid with a flat top and bushy eyebrows.

Many of the kids were complaining about Ethan not sitting and eating candy in class.

“I get to have this,” he said. “Ms. Principal said so. I have a ticket in my pocket to prove it. And I have to stand up, I can’t sit down.”

“Oh, wow,” I said. “You have to stand up? You’re going to stand up all day?”

“Look, I have autism,” he said. “Yeah, that’s right! And I have it pretty bad right now. Ms. Principal said I could have this sucker. I have the ticket and everything.”

The kids go into uproar. “Ms. Principal didn’t say he could have a sucker! She never lets us have candy in class! He’s lying!”

“Okay, look class, leave him alone, he has autism, at least for today,” I said. “Ethan, will it last into tomorrow?”

“I have autism,” he said, shrugging, motioning with his sucker. “I really get it bad sometimes.” His whole body language was like, “What can any of us do about it? We just have to deal, ok?”

It was a good day. He got to stand up and enjoy the sucker like he wanted. And the rest of us had a lot of fun reminding him that he had autism that day. He was, honestly, the least autistic person I think I’ve ever met.

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12 Dec 2018

“Allow me to pass over his misfortune in silence; for in the first place talk of it might dishearten you, and secondly and thirdly, and as far as I’m concerned sixthly, it isn’t proper to tug apart all the folds of misfortune and cast aside all ceremony, all lovely veiled mourning, which can exists only when one keeps silent on such matters.”

— Simon, p340, The Tanners by Robert Walser

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11 Dec 2018

Reply: S & K: Root

h0p3

Tell me how I’m being an idiot like only good friends can, please (you may already be doing so, and I ask you to forgive my ignorance as I come to grips with it). It is possible that I’m not making ridiculous mistakes here, but I am aware that is unlikely. I beg for your advice and wisdom in constructing this; I also recognize I may be reinventing the wheel, poorly. Perhaps I have misunderstood how to accomplish my goal. What is your opinion? What should I be clearer about? Where is this failing? What should I do instead? I am not asking you to build anything; I’m asking you to check my work and tell me if my building plans are stupid (because they might be). You may be wondering: “what is the purpose of this?” like I’m being too paranoid, inefficient, or insane. Perhaps this is incoherent, and I ask you to feel at liberty to say it.

Hate to say this, brother—but I actually think I follow your diagram, hahah—I mean what can I say, it’s terribly complex, but sometimes these things have to be. Yeah and like you say: Rube Goldberg. I say go for the madcap every time. If I tried to diagram my structure in dashes-and-pipes, it’d be like that, too, actually. Ten layers of tooling. Salud.

You seem quite good at stepping back and asking what the hell you’re doing. I’m going to keep a close eye on all of this, because I think the moment will come when we can bridge Indieweb and your world. It actually won’t offer you much—I think it’ll just automatic copy-and-paste is all. Depends on your feelings about syndication—seems like we both have complicated feelings about RSS. Which, to me, makes it a ripe topic.

As I have tried to say to both of you, I’m very interested in hardcoding my links. I want hardlinks statically sitting in a tiddler rather than some filterlist rendering upon opening a tiddler. The recursion problem is so serious for javascript that it cannot be performant enough to enable me to rely upon anything other than significant hardlinking. I think Bob may be the key to enabling hardcoding in a way that I can do.

Oh, I agree with you—I do the same thing on my site. I don’t ever use a query (filterlist)—I always hardcode links. It’s too important to lay it out right. It also forces me to limit the amount of meta-pages I have. I think they have to be used judiciously because people aren’t going to wade through a whole lot of meta. Those kind of automatic pages always lead to bland, repetitive layouts.

It’s evident that you hand-build your pages and they are 10x more appealing as a result (e.g. your link logs are ace).

My goal is to construct a signed wiki (and snapshots) that I can distribute however I need. I desperately aim not to centralize the distribution process any more than is necessary or reasonable low-hanging fruit (perhaps that will change). The fact is that I want to tie this wiki to my commandline to accomplish certain tasks, and that means Bob is absolutely critical (for keeping it real-time). I still want to produce a single html file to maintain whatever distribution model I see fit, but that is very doable for me now, I believe.

This is sweet—I am trying to do a lot of the same things. In fact, I’ve just got things working so that I can post from different machines at last. I’m going to end up very close to the top-half of your diagram: all my posts and layouts get checked in to Git, but I still need to do a bit of work on my outputs to Dat and single-file HTML.

You have any other pointed questions—weak points you’re worried about?

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Reply: The Preserve of IRL

Hi, Neil—good to hear from you.

Can you expand on what you mean? It seems like you’re suggesting that maybe IRL simply is the domain for the personal? Maybe hypertext (or perhaps VR and such) will never quite be that place. Or am I misreading?

  1. I have definitely had personal conversations online, as in private and intimate, but I think I have never really had a similar experience as a long and rambling conversation like that sitting on a sofa until 1 in the morning, sharing random thoughts. Or a chat like that experienced on a hike through the woods. But maybe that is fine! And to be expected. I guess maybe online and offline are just different modalities, maybe not better or worse. I liked your use of the word ‘revery’ – I think online it is hard to recreate a dialogue of fanciful musing, full of pauses, comical stumblings, dead ends, half-baked facts, but ultimately a fun and shared progression towards something. At least for me, online conversation has (thus far at least…) been much more precise, fact-based, rigorous. I possibly learn more, but it is less fun.

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08 Dec 2018

James Somers’ Home Page

A self-catalog—tho this format could fly as an outgoing directory.

I mostly cover obscure writers. James is a widely published author (The Atlantic, Playboy, Aeon) but this is a neat personal directory to his writing—very homespun and lightly annotated, with asterisks and highlighting used to nice effect.

Articles such as How I Reverse Engineered Google Docs To Play Back Any Document’s Keystrokes are a festive hybrid of code, anecdote and sundry links—found in paragraphs festooned with blue underlines that act like surprising miniature directories nested in the article. (This is an approach that I feel I need to cover in Foundations of a Tiny Directory.)

I also think it’s interesting that he catalogs all of his individual blog entries. This whole page very much fits in with my definition of Hypertexting—these scattered essays and posts become a body of work here. And the quality is excellent: generally well-considered and well-executed.

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h0p3

Some essentials.

This is my first ‘person’ page. And, of course, h0p3 has been doing this for a very long time and I am only copycatting. His are ‘light-hearted plain-web d0xxings’ or somesuch—email, address, phone number, links to conversations. Mine are just that person’s words and my thoughts in summation—which is far more of a calling card to me, particularly after these other identifiers have expired.

As with most things, though, I am still playing catching with him. He says in Find the Others:

I believe that by honestly uploading my mind into my wiki, we both have access to an enriched network of references for generating accurate theories of each other’s minds.

Ahh, dear me, so then it takes much more than a page—this entire endeavor is sunk. There can be no eulogy or summation. It would take a massively overloaded TiddlyWiki to accurately describe such an one as this…

To some non-trivial extent, the labels, attributes, characteristics, properties, and models I generate about a person help form a kind of name.

In reply to this, our friend Sphygmus[1] writes:

I want to talk about the vocabulary of “modeling” another person as well. I think I have observed that people don’t understand what you mean when you say you clearnet doxx them in order to better model them. For me, though, that was one of the most intuitive things you say. When I was in college the first time, I worked as an ILL student worker and loved it, largely because it sent me wandering through the stacks to pull out such a varied selection of books. One of the books I pulled that really stuck with me discussed how we form mental models of people in our heads and rehearse conversations with those people at various times, and the ways in which those rehearsals could be helpful or not. If I remember correctly, there were even worksheet-like questions for shaping mentally rehearsed conversations in a more helpful way. Sadly, I can remember exactly where I pulled the book from in the library but I’ve been unable to figure out the title – I wish I could go back and read it again!

Of course it also has to do with the problem of other minds and the unbridgeable gap between me and the outside world. Inevitably we only know others through our construction of them within our own minds.

After a discussion of the merits of psychometric tests between the two, h0p3 says:

I am inevitably forced to use labels, adjectives, etc. to model (boxing things in is what makes it computable information at all for us).

Ah, well—so this page is my box. And these are the things I put it in it.


(If you meet someone—someone with ASCII glasses on, say—and they purport to be a ‘madman in the desert’—then put this page straight away. FOR YOU NOW have the genuine artifact in front of you!)

(However, if you are uncertain, you can do one more thing: you can tell the man a joke. Like: a homunculus and a dark triadic memetic walk into a bar. He will stop you. ‘Let me stop you right there. Before you finish, please know that I am quite literally autistic and your elegant form of advanced humor which you are so carefully deploying might end up lost in my limbic system somewhere. Forgive me, please, and tell your joke, and thank you for saying it is a joke—k0sh3k will laugh at me later for this, but I will test out three interpretations of the joke with you now and then have her review the transcripts later…’)

(These overwhelming feelings of endearment and admiration and sheer pity that are now coming over you will now materialize in the form of laughter. The joke that was designed to pique the curiosity has now been outpiqued by a new curiosity: one in ASCII glasses that has gone to such great extent to analyze the joke that has been placed on the table—and, now look—this analysis has expanded everything in sight. You look at the joke and see that it is much bigger. And the conversation is now expanded, it is bigger. And the table—the table is much bigger, too!)

(Ok, now, tell me: did you laugh? Did you feel some endearment and admiration and some pity? I don’t know if you will enjoy or love h0p3 as much as I do, or as much as I purport to—if not, well, then I understand that, too. There was a time when I thought that I would only frustrate him or that he might just annoy me—I was reluctant to say anything or to take the time to read so very many words…)

(But what is life but a chance to expand a joke, to make the conversation a little longer, or to fancy that maybe even the table at which we sit has now grown?)


I aim to do you justice.

It’s that chivalrous, sensible, steelnivorous h0p3—he steels you up, then it’s all night steel for breakfast!

This short sentence is a trope of h0p3. He ‘aims’—he has a very specific set of purposes in mind for you, good good, his work is a pointed effort. A discovery of truth? A deep sea recovery of some rarified moral sense? I cannot characterize it properly. But to ‘aim’ is truly a bold facet.


True literature can exist only where it is produced by madmen, hermits, heretics, visionaries, rebels, and sceptics.

— Yevgeny Zamyatin

The world is kept alive only by heretics: the heretic Christ, the heretic Copernicus, the heretic Tolstoy. Our symbol of faith is heresy.

— Yevgeny Zamyatin

That h0p3 labels himself a ‘madman’, a ‘jester’, a ‘retard’ and so on—well, this is a rich tradition and these are rarified, very colorful and storied appellations. I do think of Zamyatin—who is forgotten to our society, but who was prescient to the disasters of the 20th Century that he lived in. We was a catalyst to the entire utopian and dystopian genres. (I have no doubt that my beloved Vigoleis also saw himself among this rabble.)

This is cause for alarm—and I see this in h0p3’s more dismayed dispatches from time to time—the world will not be kind to him. However, he is a heretic—we know this. He must do his work; it is too valuable.


  1. A friend. What more do you need to know? ↩︎

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Reply: Are You Alright?

Brad

I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. 😃

I’m sorry to worry you—there are just too many things in life that pull me away, so this will happen sometimes. I really appreciate your concern, though. I feel a friendship with you and I am following EVERYTHING you’re doing on Indieseek. (I am really pouring time into the directory so that I can keep pace with you and link back-and-forth there.)

It will be interesting to see if I can accomplish the work we’re striving for without being connected every day…

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07 Dec 2018

Been busy with a bit of travelling and working on my link directory, but have been reluctant to just post a pointless update such as this one—senselessly notifying everyone. However, aren’t pointless things terrifically human?? It seems that to post a note like this stumps and defies the algorithms and is emblematic of the struggle this blog is making (and its friends) to preserve humanity in hypertext. I think that if I fall into a pattern of just littering the world with tech tutorials and link discoveries (as if it were ‘breaking news’) then I am losing out on the human chance to thank you for reading or talking to me and to say something meandering or listless, which is eminently human and could help to shake your automated daily ‘feeding’ out of the rigor of new tutorials, new news and remind us that we are both typing and flicking cursors around and somehow smiling at each other through it or pondering each other in confused or amused reveries—I think ‘weird twitter’ was able to accomplish this, but I wonder if one can only make technology human by completely subverting it—these reveries are happening, but they are not synchronized and it happens with great distance between us in many dimensions. I enjoy it a great deal, though, and hopefully you do, too.

  1. @kicks I almost sent you an email yesterday just to see if you were alright. But when I found your email address it was attached to a post saying you were busy href-ing so I was less worried. I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. :-)

  2. Reply: Are You Alright?

    Brad

    I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. 😃

    I’m sorry to worry you—there are just too many things in life that pull me away, so this will happen sometimes. I really appreciate your concern, though. I feel a friendship with you and I am following EVERYTHING you’re doing on Indieseek. (I am really pouring time into the directory so that I can keep pace with you and link back-and-forth there.)

    It will be interesting to see if I can accomplish the work we’re striving for without being connected every day…

  3. Thanks for posting this – I feel like sometimes too my online presence has become something of a link aggregator or a fact exchanger, less of a rambling human conversationalist. Could be that it’s the preserve of IRL? But I totally back trying to bring back revery and musing.

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02 Oct 2018

Nikita’s Collected Knowledge

Along with a discussion of personal encyclopedias.

There has been a small, barely discernable flurry of activity lately[1] around the idea of personal knowledge bases—in the same vicinity as personal wikis that I like to read. (I’ve been a fan of personal encyclopedias since discovering Samuel Johnson and, particularly, Thomas Browne, as a child—and am always on a search for the homes of these types of individuals in modernity.)

Nikita’s wiki is the most established of those I’ve seen so far, enhanced by the proximity of Nikita’s Learn Anything, which appears to be a kind of ‘awesome directory’[2] laid out in a hierarchical map.

Screenshot of learn-anything.xyz

Another project that came up was Ceasar Bautista’s Encyclopedia, which I installed to get a feel for. You add text files to this thing and it generates nice pages for them. However, it requires a bunch of supporting software, so most people are probably better served by TiddlyWiki. This encyclopedia’s main page is a simple search box—which would be a novel way of configuring a TiddlyWiki.

I view these kinds of personal directories as the connecting tissue of the Web. They are pure linkage, connecting the valuable parts. And they, in the sense that they curate and edit this material, are valuable and generous works. To be an industrious librarian, journalist or archivist is to enrich the species—to credit one’s sources and to simply pay attention to others.

I will also point you to the Meta Knowledge repo, which lists a number of similar sites out there. I am left wondering: where does this crowd congregate? Who can introduce me to them?


  1. Mostly centering around these two discussion threads:

    ↩︎
  2. Discussed at The Awesome Directories. ↩︎

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25 Sep 2018

Sphygmus

Another promising introspective TiddlyWiki appears on the horizon of the network.

What excites me about sphygmus is: first, that she’s confronting this fear and we get to see what happens. (We out on the Old Web all have to confront this: that we might not find anyone here without the self-advertising infrastructure that the big networks have.) It’s uncertain why we are reading each other, why we are writing, who we are—there is a lot of uncertainty that I’m feeling, too, and I have this strange belief that someone else might have the answer. (In a way, OF COURSE SOMEONE ELSE HAS THE ANSWER—you out there are the ones who choose to ‘ignore’ or ‘respect’ or ‘dismiss’. Or to ‘jump right in’.)

But I am running a blog with comments—it’s easier to get feedback. A TiddlyWiki is genuinely on someone else’s turf. It is AT ODDS with the Indieweb. The ‘Indieweb’ is attempting to solve personal interaction with additional technology. But a TiddlyWiki like this is attempting to solve personal interaction by—well, it’s not trying to solve personal interaction. It expects you to learn its system and, in a way, the technology works against you, because it has a learning curve.

In other words, it’s all on us to understand and read each other. (The entire Twitter network is built on the idea that you can take someone’s 140 characters on its own, out of any context, as an independent statement—there is no need to read back on the history there. But with a TiddlyWiki, the system requires you to dig—it is possibly the literal opposite.)

We must bear in mind that, fundamentally, there’s no such thing as color; in fact, there’s no such thing as a face, because until the light hits it, it is nonexistent. After all, one of the first things I learned in the School of Art was that there is no such thing as a line; there’s only the light and the shade.

— Alfred Hitchcock

On the Web, we are the light to each other’s faces.

Aesthetics In The Info

Second, sphygmus’ entrance adds to our midst another person really thinking about how visual style is a non-verbal form of personality. That it can augment our discussion—maybe even be necessary!

I don’t think of it as part of my artistic practice but I think you are right to see a connection. My relationship with my digital spaces is deeply connected to what suits my visual eye - I’m on an absurdly out-dated version of Chrome simply because I hate the way the new Material Design Chrome looks […]

She has already made the innovation of posting all of her material in her own dark-gray-and-cornflower-blue CSS styling. When she posts h0p3’s replies, however, they are in his dark black style and narrow monospace font. (See the screenshot above.) This conjures him in that moment when we read!! (I address this in Things We Left in the Old Web, where one of my criticisms of RSS is that it cruelly strips our words of their coloring. Cruel!)

So: I am interested in how we can cement this. I want to style my h0p3 quotes and my sphygmus quotes similarly—can we come to an accord on how to do this so that I can give YOU control over how these things look? Perhaps we could share CSS fragments on our respective sites?

Documents Are Us

I covered this a bit in Static: the Gathering, that this HTML might actually be us, might be a model of our soul. But, let’s tilt on the topic a bit.

We are all more or less public figures, it’s only the number of spectators that varies.

— Jose Saramago, The Double

So, yeah, thirdly—what h0p3 and sphygmus are tackling is an approach for being a fully exposed, well, let’s just say: a human. A wikified human. There have been attempts to do this in video or blog form—to keep the camera on a person. In this case, though, the camera feels to be focused on the mind, the internal dialogue. (In h0p3’s case: the family meetings, the link histories, the organizational workings—all the behind-the-scenes discussion—maybe it’s ALL behind-the-scenes discussion. I confess that I’ve also started a personal TiddlyWiki to store all these same kinds of materials.)

So, what is ‘oversharing’ and what is just ‘sharing’? Oh, GENEROUS ‘SHARING’—what would that be? What is ‘public’ and what is designated ‘private’? Are these pointless distinctions?

Might it be time to pause all the needless labelling of information and to just read?

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21 Sep 2018

Reply: Steelwomaning

The text of my second private reply to h0p3’s ‘hyperconversations’—I am saving my own copy of this here after many days have passed.

(This letter was previously sent privately to h0p3, since I felt that I had bungled up a productive discussion. Now that I can see the overall waveform of our discussion, I think there are many things I’m learning about conversing through writing and reading—in fact, I really think my failures so far are more the failures of input rather than out!—and this immense dialogue is becoming a satisfying start to all the dialogues I would love to have with more of you out there!)

(Apologies in advance that I do so much talking here—I swear I’ll never write anything this long again. No one should feel compelled to read this. I will shut up and go back to silent, stoic reading for the rest of the weekend.)

Hi h0p3-

So I am going to try to rewind and do as you say: to take a better shot at addressing your part of our ‘hyperconversation’. I am sending you this as a private letter so that you can censor it if you like. I feel like I am starting to border on a troll of some type 😉 and feel like the nature of my blog would turn this into a type of ‘broadcast’ that can still receive ‘thumbs up’ and such sordid things. (Ed.: You can comment on this post, but ‘likes’ and ‘mentions’ are disabled to respect this sentiment!)

I hope I can preface these remarks—even if it seems like a bad idea, because it can perceived as changing the topic, taking time away from the ‘meat’. I will get to the topic(s)—but I wonder if some other items might be more pressing (might even be the ‘meat’) because it seems they might be preventing the main discussion from occurring fruitfully.

On Being ‘Intellectual’

Ok, so stepping back—I’ve jumped headlong into a discussion with you. (And might I just add: this is a rare opportunity for me and I feel fortunate to have the chance to converse—for you to respect my communications enough that you will give them the thought you have. I have NEVER had the opportunity to correspond in a strictly written way with anyone ever before—to attempt to come to an understanding with them—hmm, well, maybe once, but not to this extent—and this whole time I am wondering if the medium has its limits. I guess this is where Socrates chimes in. Well, of course it does—but I am probably the largest of those limitations—and that feels good. Perhaps my ability to write will strain under the pressure, perhaps yours—and it requires even more of our abilities to read and internalize each other’s writings! For this reason, I would like the conversation to remain written and for us to find some kind of resolution this way.)

This correspondence has had about three major episodes from each of us. I saw this encounter as a foray into a ‘pen pal’ type thing—which is to say: ‘informal’, ‘inconsequential’ and ‘probably frivolous’. (I hope you will let me say all three of those things in good ways, very good ways. I also admire that you are reaching out through/with your autism to speak with me—I do worry about aggravating your own pain, of putting you under unreasonable expectations of my own and of not seeing the full picture of ‘you’—who you are past ‘h0p3’. But only if you need it—I would rather just see ‘h0p3’ for now—this creation is by design and I intend to take it in.) I don’t feel that I want to ‘wrestle’ —I want to ‘pen pal’. After all, this is a work of fiction. The contents of this letter are products of the reader’s imagination. This letter is for entertainment purposes only. Although the form of this letter is autobiographical, it is not. Although this letter may appear authentic, it is not. What appears to be ‘wrestling’ may actually be a new type of sophisticated ‘pal’ engagement maneuver.

Now, I am not an intellectual by any stretch—I have idea no who Kierkegaard is and I can’t keep Kant and Hume straight. I do read a lot—fiction by a wide margin. I do read Vygotsky and Piaget and, sometimes, Jung. Of all the philosophers, I am most fond of Socrates—and feel a brotherhood with you through him. But the writers that I spend my time on are fiction writers - Albert ‘Vigoleis’ Thelen is someone I speak to in my mind very often. To call out to him: ‘Vigoleis’ when I see his place in the world. Denton Welch and Robert Walser are like this for me. But even these closest—I cannot speak intellectually about them, only romantically.

So yes—I think you want to have a philosophical debate with me, but I am not equipped to do it. And I wonder if it is possible at all. I can’t read all those guys and read your wiki and read the things I want to read and pursue my current ambitions. I don’t think you want to have this discussion unless I am an equipped intellectual. We are both trying to sing and shatter a glass—but your voice is trained. So while I might still be the one to shatter the glass here and there, it’s a hell of a lot more painful having to hear my notes along the way. So this is my opening question: am I misrepresenting what this discussion is—and what do you want out of it? (In a way, I feel I can almost ‘steel’ this because of the statement: “There is a lack of fairness in the dialectic here; I’ve had way more practice thinking about the nitty-gritty, and I must be extremely cautious not to assume others can or will see what I do.”—I agree with this and I feel like I am only fleshing it out further above. And this: “I can’t see far enough to know if he can see what I’m saying (which is a fairly technical claim in moral philosophy).”—I don’t see it, I had no idea there was some central claim to ‘hyperconversations’—I thought it was a series of different claims with some riddles mixed in—which is, I think, where the central claim is nestled? “I am failing this man.”—Dude, I don’t rely on you—I have my own system of living—I’m not just an imbalanced pinball lost in your machine! 😄)

And this: “Hedonic Kierkegaardian Aestheticism is here; it’s inaccurately factored into the eudaimonic calculation.” I’m not going to even try to parse this—if I tried, my reaction would be: I don’t feel like my aestheticism is hedonic at all, but quite virtuous! So I think your phrase is going to be misunderstood by me and I am just going to sound ridiculous. 😄 Perhaps this comment is not meant for me but for the audience, k0sh3k included. (Hey kid! If you exist! Hey! I /will/ you to exist for a single ‘Hey there!’)

Some classic Romanticism in here. Reminds me of that fighting phrase: “Brawl a boxer, box a brawler.” I’ve seen this shift many times against my arguments.

I do think we are paired as boxer vs brawler. That was what I trying to say when listing out some of our opposing polarities—you are codifying me in your statement above as well—no harm, just part of trying to understand someone. I don’t feel that you are degenerate and I don’t think you (yet) believe that I am either. I don’t sense that you are trying to assimilate everyone as boxers. But I do think that not being a boxer would forfeit my scrappy end of the ‘wrestle’ or ‘debate’ side and leave us to the ‘pen pal’ aspect strictly.

This is not a small aspect: while I have not been charitable with argumentation, I believe that I have been charitable with the effect you’ve had on my own work and charitable with the credit I give you for stirring up my inventive mind and stimulating me to materialize it. This will last beyond an argument.

For my part: I am not as interested in some of the topics we’re touching on: stuff like emotion/reason (I have spent almost no time thinking about my arguments there, I am going off half-cocked and I do appreciate/embrace your sayings), what ‘the good’ is (I am trying to figure out what the thrust of our discussion even is, man I can’t even begin to sort that out) and even T42T—I still think they are all very worthy topics, but I don’t think I’m your foil on those. I agree with you that I should be required to defend my ethics—but I also don’t have a list on hand like you do—and it’s changing too much for me to even know how to nail it down. I like the part which explores the texture of our online avatars, but even there—I think I need to sit in the presence of them longer before trying to mouth off about them.

On ‘Sadness’

I am going to try to make this quick and to the point—which isn’t “you can’t make me sad” but that “momentary sadness doesn’t register as much when there are more permanent sorrow in place” something like that.

But what’s so bad about this sorrow anyway? A woman crossed the street yesterday, waving to me, so I stood and waited for her. She said she knew someone—a name I recognized. She was pleasant and warm to talk to, so we talked. She said that her son had been murdered many years ago. If you just listened to her for five minutes, you would have thought she was insane. Very pleasant and insane. In a good way, a very good way. A whirlwind of details about trajectories and cover-ups. But if you listened for an hour, you could finally she her—and her sorrow. It wasn’t disgusting or repulsive—but familiar and natural. Just a sorrow—as plain as a pleasantness.

I wanted to show her something in the yard, so I motioned for her to cross the gutter—which is quite wide and was rushing with water—it’s more of a canal than a gutter. But her legs were short and she said, “Oh I don’t know.” I held out my hand and she made a move to try to cross. I realized that she was wearing flip-flops and trying to avoid some spiky weeds. I held out both hands—I probably shouldn’t have tried to persuade her—I don’t know, I began to pull her across and she kind of panicked and made a squeal! She stumbled over—she made it—and we laughed out of relief and I felt stubborn, but it was good to move abruptly from sorrow to laughter like that. Like we had come up for air. We are still in the ocean but we are in the air too.

And I wouldn’t like it if you held back some criticism. I should love to be rebuked! When you are in the freezing ocean, it is probably the best time to hear that you have made a grammatical mistake. What a helpful distraction that could be! And you may never forget to make it again.

And children, when they are rebuked—so often they simply drop their head down and say slowly, ‘Ohhh kay…’ For me, this embodies such an ideal—first, to acknowledge that criticism DOES sting, direct criticism truly can, possibly always does, it makes us drop our heads to hear—and, secondly, to simply ‘ack’ the criticism with no further commentary or defense. Perhaps to go without defense would be too submissive—on the other hand, can we endure any criticism as adults? Any?

I probably am doing my own sidestepping and defensiveness of criticism in this letter. I do know I am better to just drop my head and say slowly, ‘Ohhh kay…’

All of this context to say: I realize you aren’t making fun of me at all here, and I appreciate that very much.

Yes, but if we can find a way to truly make fun of each other—wouldn’t that be such a grand achievement?

On ‘Hyperconversations’

The shadow over our eyes is a serious problem: I believe it costs us the ability to be cognitively and emotionally vulnerable (even to ourselves). We don’t really get to know each other when we are engaged in good opsec (that’s kind of the point). The public/private adversarial tension does seem contradictory, but I hope to find a middle way; surely there is a linear logical framework from which geometric social cooperation can arise (I must hope).

Continued here:

You can always doubt, and you can only ever improve your Bayesian odds. The inductive step in trust is a leap of faith in Humanity, in The Other, sir. Building trust and real relationships is exactly why I reveal myself to you and everyone else. I want people to see how I conduct myself and my relationships across the board.

And then:

With diamond balls, I really aim to be practically transparent in my practice of saying what I mean and meaning what I say directly because my integrity is at stake.

And also:

We are each cameras, in a sense. I think of this wiki as an external, reifying camera of my internal camera states. I do hope to wield both wisely. I do not think I morally own either of them all the way down except insofar as I am constituted by (exist as an extension or instantiation of) The Moral Law.

If I were to try to identify this central ‘claim’ you are making and to ‘steel’ it: You feel that true and real relationships demand radical transparency. More than that, you see it as a virtue—embodying bravery, integrity and honesty. You see it as a direct solution to prevailing mistrust and misunderstanding in the world. You model this behavior for others.

To you, h0p3, this has a blissful and fortuitous collaboration with modern surveillance. You aren’t saying, “What do I have to hide?” It seems that you are saying, “You can’t make me hide.” And I do not think you do not see it as the ‘correct’ choice—you seem to acknowledge that it is a trade-off—but that you are willing to pay the price. But you believe you have sorted it out: you do believe that the reward will always be greater than the price.

Am I in the ballpark? I don’t really know how to do this!

To this, I have no response. I can only hang my head and say slowly, “Ok Mister H…”

I felt no need to respond to that claim after the letter—I found it well-reasoned! I did wonder how much of it is grounded in the tech ideals of ‘open source’ and ‘gratis’/‘libre’—I’ve had other tech friends dabble in transparency (sharing bank account info publicly, cataloging life activity publicly.) I stand by what I said:

The remarkable thing about your wiki is that you have turned your camera on. In fact, your wiki is defiantly personal—I think it goes beyond a mere camera. Your history. Your conversations. Your letter to your parents. Your thoughts about people—about me. A person can turn on a camera and never say these things. You are on to something. I have no desire to talk you out of it.

I realize now that saying nothing is a failure. You need an ‘ack’. Even if it is a repetition.

I think there is something unanswered here, though: Do you have any adaptations to ‘Gentle ClearNet Doxxing’ after the events of the last month? I have wondered if you were going to write more about this—maybe I missed it. To stand by a rule too doggedly is to be—well—dogmatic. Or has the rule functioned properly? (On the other hand, I might also aspire to be dogmatic about FOSS - just for myself and not for anyone else.) Feel free to just link me to the correct answers that I cannot seem to locate.

Ok, that is the end of this letter. I ran across the “business card” page on your wiki while researching “transparency” and loved it.

-kicks

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