I think ∴ I am

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Think me? How curious thought Alice

 

There are certain phrases and adages with which people pepper their speech.

These are less conversational condiments than bland fillers. They create a common ground as the listener will know how the saying ends … all’s well that ends well. BUT that’s not a wellspring for creativity and only well and good if you’re just treading water. How does repeating something over and over help any conversation to move forward … especially if the saying wasn’t relevant to begin with?

For every ‘many hands make light work’ there’s a ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’

Regardless of the most slick technological presentation most of what we ‘know’ is regurgitated, learned by rote, and as the saying goes ‘Even the biggest lie, if repeated often enough, becomes fact’. WMD may be one noticeable exception. The key being that those speaking the lie have to at least appear credible.

Most people are therefore (∴) not thinking but reacting. Worse than reacting they’re anticipating and their programming means they know just how to react.

Their response is preordained thanks to a linear progression from their most impressionable years, into their family’s church (it ∴ chooses you, not you it), on into school, possibly onto college or University, then into work … all the while you’re being told that if you are good and do well you will receive rewards.

There’s one provocative line of thought which ∴ paints religion as the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time. Millions of people throughout history have invested their entire lives in the religion that was chosen on their behalf before they were even born … AND?

Has one person returned from the afterlife, or sent an incontrovertible message?

No.

As Mark Twain said, ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled.’

The truth hurts, which is why so few people expose themselves to it.

Living in denial is all fine and dandy until the day that reality knocks on your door. Reality is a persistent thing. More stubborn than the most onery mule. You can wish that people didn’t get cancer. You can pray for peace. But cancer and war are up there with death and taxes as life’s certainties.

War persists because our leaders approach problems the same way they always have.

Once ensconced in office no leader tampers with the system which promoted them.

They preserve the status quo, because if they improved the system, or got the people to expect better, they might have to go. Self-interest trumps the greater good.

That’s why progress is a minority interest. I don’t mean progress in terms of computing power. Moore’s Law is being revised constantly as it originally stated that processing power doubles every two years, then it became eighteen months.

The odd thing isn’t that Moore’s Law couldn’t keep pace with the rate of change, it’s the fact that people fastened onto processing power doubling every two years.

It was neat, but it wasn’t neat thinking (neat used to mean cool).

Science is concerned with pure progress unlocking knowledge, however, it’s counter-productive in the sense that the more we learn the more we see how little we know. Our total knowledge is inversely proportional to how much we ‘know’.

So, what’t the best way to go? Who’s the best type of person to hire to explore avenues of opportunity for progress?

The next thought piece will be about ‘certainty’ unless another more fascinating subject eclipses that. This blog will be nothing if not fluid.

I’ll bid you adieu with more wise words from Mark Twain: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

The graphic is in case someone would like to make it their avatar on Whatsapp, or wishes to pin it somewhere to challenge their thinking when they’re sure that a fact is a dead cert.

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It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain

 

 

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Marvel at what might have been.

When people who know full well say they know full well, they know what the well is full of and it isn’t human kindness.

The world weary Lord Verys, and his counterpart Lord Baelish better known as Littlefinger, clearly understand better than most mankind’s capacity for evil.

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Varys: I have more intelligence in my littlefinger than you have in your whole body. Balish: Ah, but is your body whole Lord Varys?

It is their stock in trade to know things.

At its most basic Game of Thrones appears to be a game of Top Trumps between Balish and Varys. Knowledge is power. He who knows most will triumph.

Both seem driven by vested self-interest and survival instinct. Both seem to have the capacity for small gestures of kindness that contradict their strictly Machiavellian M.O..

And yet nothing is ever what it seems in Game of Thrones.

Jon Snow is dead. He died, and yet he’s back by popular demand.

Long, long ago, and it feels even longer ago than the time when Game of Thrones appears to be set there was another series where a main character came back to life after a fatal car crash. In bringing back Bobby Ewing the producers killed off Dallas.

What George RR Martin harnessed was the power of shock tactics.

Who could imagine the big star of the first series Sean Bean dying so brutally? Well anyone who had seen Sean Bean die brutally as Boromir in Lord of the Rings.

What Tolkien didn’t do in his fundamentally simple parable of good and evil was kill off any major character until the finale at Mount Doom, and there we knew who would die. Sméagol  AKA Gollum like He who must not be named AKA Voldemort whilst drawn as the character with cloven hooves was always the sacrificial lamb.

Both Gollum and Voldemort are consumed by their own evil desires. That’s how a morality tale concludes. Good triumphs. Evil fails. Decades hence I’ll warrant that JK Rowling’s opus will be as well remembered as EM Blyton’s books.

Yes Enid Mary Blyton’s books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies, but those commercial numbers are not matched by critical acclaim. Tolkien’s trilogy was not recognised as masterpiece originally because it was unwieldy and demanding.

There are ironic parallels between the Lord of the Rings and The Famous Five as there are four tousle-haired friends Julian, Dick, Anne and George (children) and Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry. The fifth in the former is – and their dog Timmy – in the latter it’s Gollum.

In Harry Potter for all of its breadth there’s little depth. The ultimate duel between good and evil, Yin versus yang, only ever had one outcome. And because Harry was basically such a pussy it would be necessary for Voldemort to die at his own hand, or wand.

In Game of Thrones no character has a safety net. Tyrion and Daenerys appear to be fundamental characters and yet one of the most charismatic and powerful figures Khal Drogo was also sacrificed by Martin. Whether his demise is permanent remains to be seen.

Sorcery was introduced as a malevolent force. In Game of Thrones nothing is what it seems, and Drogo is not so much saved as enslaved. Trapped in a shell devoid of any vigour, virility or savagery.

Drogo’s death is a catalyst for the birth of dragons, and the revelation that Daenerys has asbestos in her DNA.

If dragons are fantasy are dinosaurs sci-fi?

Has the boundary between the two genre ever been more blurred?

Clarke’s third law states: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

In Star Wars “The Force” is what? Magic for want of a better word.

There’s one common bond between both genre. Each must be bound by it’s own laws of, for want of a better word, physics. This is why hybridisation is so dangerous.

If DC and Marvel were to cross swords, or a hammer and sword in the case of Thor versus Wonder Woman, they’re both the progeny of gods so who would triumph? The slight beauty with her magic bangles or the musclebound hero with sledgehammer?

In the Marvel Universe and DC’s Multiverse there’s never any real sense of danger. Their comic book roots mean that they will always face peril, they may even face-off with one another for a spin-off series, but they can’t perish. Perish the thought.

That’s why Marvel can never provide what Game of Thrones does. Even the puny mortal character Hawkeye can now be rebuilt because they have the technology or magic. That technology costs a lot more than six million dollars at today’s rates.

Even if a story obeys the internal laws of physics, there are inevitably flaws.

What we’re always required to do in every great story is disregard one gigantic plot hole. In Lord of the Rings the same eagles that fly in to rescue Frodo from certain death having trudged hundreds of miles to destroy the ring could have flown him in at Gandalf’s request. But then there’s no Quest.

There are Doubting Thomases aplenty who have pulled apart other great stories. Isn’t much drama watching something play out when we know how it all ends anyway?

Knowing that anyone can die at any moment keeps viewers on the edge of their sofa.

George RR also sows seeds and cultivates them over the long term. We see Grand Maester Pycelle a man bent double with age, who nevertheless has still apparently been able to get it, do a stretch and a little jig after a whore has left his chambers? What manner of man is he, if indeed a man at all? There are shapeshifters aplenty elsewhere in this tale.

It’s crucial that the storyteller never betray his followers.

J.J. Abrams’ ‘Lost’ famously lost the plot. How many of us were captivated by the mystery of the great invisible creature who pushed palm trees aside as if blades of grass. That had to be significant. No doubt all would be revealed as we the loyal viewers waited patiently to play out. All that was left was doubt and the feeling of being cheated.

J.J.’s not alone. The entirety of Hollywood seems unable to write a Third Act. How many movies do we watch full of anticipation, overlooking the seven-minute rule that requires some scene to snap us back to the action ~ often without actually making us feel any more involved.

Look closely at the closing scene of The Force Awakens. Star Wars fans had waited for so long to see the reappearance of Luke, the scene was so loaded with meaning that Rey is forced to stand holding his ‘gun’ for so long that they both appear to have had a stroke.

GRRM would have made that a throwaway. Luke would have swept in, as if by magic, upon the back of a huge mysterious creature. He would not have controlled the creature by force, it would have been his no more than Daenerys owns the dragons. Their power can’t be harnessed, it can only be lent.

And still even the greatest stories borrow.

Who inspired the name Khal Drogo? Could it have been Drogo Baggins was the eldest son of Fosco Baggins and was the brother of Dora and Dudo Baggins. He married Primula Brandybuck and they had only one child, Frodo Baggins?

And what great fantasy author would choose the name Primula? Way too cheesy right?