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review 2018-07-15 16:59
Epiphenomenal Consciousness: “Blindsight” by Peter Watts
Blindsight - Peter Watts


“I am the bridge between the bleeding edge and the dead center. I stand between the Wizard of Oz and the man behind the curtain. I am the curtain.” 

In “Blindsight” by Peter Watts 


What if: There is only one consciousness that we all share? (Universal Consciousness) 
What if: People are caught in the illusion of separation? (Encouraged by the limitations of the five senses) 
What if: Fear and insecurity give rise to the need to think of ourselves as the creators of our consciousness? (Perhaps we tune into consciousness like a radio tunes into a station). 

"Consciousness" is body-mind. It is implied in the very meaning of the word "consciousness", the "con-" or "com-" signifying "together" or "altogether". What this "together" refers to is the senses and sense impressions. Body-mind is sensate consciousness, and is called therefore "mortal self in time" or "ego-nature". It is particularistic and therefore associated with "point-of-view" or perspectivising consciousness, like a searchlight or the beam of a flashlight stuck in one direction. This, and its self-understanding, is reflected in the famous symbol of the Enlightenment of a pyramid surmounted by the all-seeing eye such as symbolised still on the Great Seal of the United States, but is called by Blake "Single Vision & Newtons sleep" or "Urizen" or Urizenic Man. This is the "point-of-view" consciousness structure and is typically what we call "consciousness" or "mind". It is the perspectivising eye of da Vinci, but it is sensate.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-07-10 16:30
Interesting look at London
Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day - Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd has written many books about London and knows his city. In this he keeps himself at arms length except where he's describing the experience of AIDS and then I discovered (and wasn't surprised) that he nursed his own partner through it . This book explores mostly the past but the constant refrain is that queers/.LGBTQIA have always been around and in some instances have been quite influential in the city and now the only real difference is that they don't have to use beards or pretend they are not what they are.

It's largely a celebration of how queer is normal and that people come in many flavours and that the only thing that we have now is different terms and fewer legal problems.

A thoughtful read and worthwhile.

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review 2018-07-05 22:22
The Desert Spear / Peter V. Brett
The Desert Spear - Peter V. Brett

The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar'Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

 

This book is a distinct change of view from the first one, The Warded Man. We must back up and approach this story again, this time from the Krasian point of view. Jardir, who seemed like simply a back-stabbing traitor in book one now has his own version of the same events, giving us an alternate POV in this one.

We learn far more about Krasian civilization, which seems to be heavily based on early Middle Eastern cultures, with warrior values, harems of women, and contempt for outsiders, both non-warriors within the culture & actual foreigners. Many parallels can be seen within Arlen’s agrarian society, which is extremely patriarchal and very hidebound (very like medieval Europe), something which can happen when a society is under siege.

It almost seems, in this installment, that everyone has become much too comfortable with the demon-haunted night. Both societies seem to be channeling their inner demon hunters and the tension of the first book is gone in this regard. Hints are happening that we may soon get the POV of the demons—will they get the same sympathetic treatment as Jardir?

Arlen and Jardir were friends at one point—now they are rivals. Which one will become the great Unifier who will unite humanity and defeat the Corelings (demons)? But while Jardier claims to be the Deliverer, Arlen denies the title just as strenuously. Nevertheless, the demons clearly see them both as threats. These men could also have been rivals over Leesha if Brett had written things a little differently, but that ship seems to have sailed.

I’m displeased that my library doesn’t have book three and there’s no time for them to order it before I see Peter Brett at the When Words Collide conference in August. I’m not usually known for laying out the dinero for new books, but if I can get a bit of a discount at the merchants’ corner, I’ll maybe spring for book 3 (since I note that the library has books 4 & 5).

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video 2018-07-01 14:27
The Freeze-Frame Revolution - Peter Watts

Just realized I forgot to add my soundtrack choice to my review for The Freeze-Frame Revolution. So, here it is: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Berlin.

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review 2018-07-01 10:54
Give Me a Boat: “The Tale of the Unknown Island” by José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
The Tale of the Unknown Island - José Saramago,Peter Sís,Margaret Jull Costa

 


“A MAN WENT TO KNOCK AT THE KING’S DOOR AND said, Give me a boat."

In “The Tale of the Unknown Island” by José Saramago


I love the way Saramago builds this parable by using the Portuguese King D. João II and Columbus. He went to Lisbon in 1476 and remained here for several years, seeking the support of King D. João II and gathering nautical and geographic intelligence from the returning sailors. Why did we want to embark on the Age of Discoveries? Easy: We saw a niche begging to be literally explored. On the other hand, Spain was fighting the Moors, the Turks were attacking Italy, and Austria and France and Britain were fighting each other in the Hundred Year War. Portugal, on the other hand, was a united kingdom with relatively few internal problems and enemies. Smart, uh? We’re always looking for an opportunity to shine bright…

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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