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FleshFactor: RE: Re: re: the brain is a wet machine

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

>At this point, are there any true digital chaotic systems, or just
>good replicas?

> rick  [Rick Nance]

It's a simple business to make any system, digital, chemical or otherwise,
"chaotic" (using the term in its "chaos theory" sense, where small
perturbations have immense consequences within otherwise orderly
systems)...All you have to do is somehow connect it to the World! The most
obvious and immediate way of doing this is using sensors... a photocell
detecting shifting light patterns, a microphone picking up the hubbub of
ambient noise, a radio antenna tuned into 'sferics... there's enough
chaos out there to turn even the most simplistic robot into an
unpredictable creature! (On a less obvious level, all systems are probably
connected anyway... It just may take a few years for the chaos connection
to reveal itself.)

All of which suggests that even the wettest of brains derive much of their
spontaneity from the outside world... that half of "you" is outside your
skin.  I'm not just talking about conditioning; I'm talking about
fundamental, creative consciousness. 

I felt this in a very raw, non-intellectual way while driving home from
work a few months back. I suddenly realized that those reflective green
highway signs, the streaking windshield wipers, the long line of
taillights were all as much "me" as any lingering pattern of
electro-chemical activity inside my cranium. Born into any other century
or culture, the strange attractor called "me" would evaporate.

While I'm talking about blurred edges, here's a related quotation I've
been wanting to send to FleshFactor for some time. I hope there are at
least a few people out there who haven't yet discovered "The Third
Policeman", by Irish humourist Flann O'Brien.

Seargent Pluck describes "The Atomic Theory":

	     'Consecutively and consequentially,' he 
	continued, 'you can safely infer that you are made 
	up of atoms yourself and so is your fob pocket and 
	the tail of your shirt and the instrument you use 
	for taking the leavings out of the crook of your 
	hollow tooth. Do you happen to know what takes 
	place when you strike a bar of iron with a good 
	coal hammer or with a blunt instrument?'
	    'When the wallop falls, the atoms are bashed away 
	down to the bottom of the bar and compressed and 
	crowded there like eggs under a good clucker. After a 
	while in the course of time they swim around and get 
	back at last to where they were. But if you keep 
	hitting the bar long enough and hard enough they do 
	not get a chance to do this and what happens then?'
	    'That is a hard question.'
	    'Ask a blacksmith for a true answer and he will 
	tell you that the bar will dissipate itself away by 
	degrees if you persevere with the hard wallops. Some 
	of the atoms of the bar will go into the hammer and 
	the other half into the table or the stone or the 
	particular article that is underneath the bottom of 
	the bar.'
	    'That is well-known,' I agreed.
	    'The gross and net result of it is that people who 
	spend most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles 
	over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their 
	personalities mixed up with the personalities of their 
	bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms 
	of each of them and you would be surprised at the number 
	of the people in these parts who nearly are half people 
	and half bicycles.'
	    I let go a gasp of astonishment that made the sound 
	in the air like a bad puncture.
	    'And you would be flabbergasted at the number of 
	bicycles that are half-human almost half-man, half-
	partaking of humanity.'



Norman White



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