Category Archives: being human

on laughter and control

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Laughter is a loss of control.

— Walter Ness, Energy Theater

on the importance of directionality

what's inside ( our machines )?

i sometimes get annoyed by the hype surrounding innovation

the word innovation has become assumedly synonymous with the concept of new technological advancements — which i know can be really exciting for business and the economy and anyone else that might have a special fervor for bright and shiny toys that go ‘beep’ in the night

introducing new technologies, new information and new devices into our ever-evolving technoHumanic ecoSystem shifts our perspective and sometimes opens up new economic opportunities for us — and discovering these new opportunities is exciting, exhiliarating really, even potentially producing the same internal chemical high we get from laughter and sex and other extreme sports activities

but i think we sometimes forget that we confound our technological progress with these biopharmaceutically-induced feelings as well as the opportunities they always seem to open up for us

we over-focus — we hyper-focus — on these new technologies, and specifically on whatever new thing might be coming next

we forget sometimes that developing new technologies is really just one side of the coin — just one aspect of what we should be working on as a social species

these technologies are external advancements — our efforts, too, to develop newer and newer technologies are activities and work expended upon improving something external to who we are as people in the world

its what i like to refer to as outer innovation

and outer innovation can be very helpful to humanity, of course — we can do truly miraculous things with our inventions, with these computing technologies, so we definitely have cause to celebrate how smart and wonderful we are to have facilitated series upon series of advanced tools and toys that hopefully promote new comfort, deeper meaning and increased quality for our human experience of life

sometimes, just sometimes though, i wish that at least some small faction of people would refer to innovation outside of our technologies — i know that our current semantic affiliations do not allow for a more inclusive stance for our use of the word innovation — but i would like to also read about our advancements through inner innovation

what's inside ( human beings )?

what do i mean by inner innovation?

well, i think we have a lot to work on as human beings regarding that side of Science Fiction we dreamt up so, so long ago where we encounter an advanced society of people — the people we meet in this sort of future-forward-looking speculative literature not only have strange, new devices and interesting, unusual ways to travel and speak, but they also seem more at peace within themselves and can even somehow magically communicate through subtle, silent gesture, telepathy and other unexplainable means — i’m almost certain an evolution to this imagined, advanced and intelligent state didn’t just automagically come about through ultra-modern pharmaceutical prescriptions from CVS or by downloading the new Cartwheel app for those hidden extra savings at Target, there had to be some hard work put in by at least a small group of inner innovators

don’tchya think?

 

how do we start to work on inner innovation more? how do we promote this concept of inner innovation in a way that might at least start to establish a better balance with our outer innovations? how are we really going to advance as a society, as a humanity?

does your dog bite?

peterSellers

sometimes i feel a lot like a human, wetware mash-up between Larry David and Peter Seller’s version of Inspector Clouseau from Blake Edward’s Pink Panther films of the 1970s and beyond

i always feel like that dream we all have where we’re walking around in a very familiar place but you know that you need to hide away for some reason — maybe you’re at school or at work or at a club or restaurant or something, but you’re overwhelmed with embarrassment and the need to hide yourself away — its only at about three quarters of the way through the dream that you realize that you’re ashamed and hiding all because you don’t have any pants on — hell, you don’t even have under garments on for that matter, and even though nobody seems to even notice you just know that you need to keep a low profile and sneak around until you can find something to cover your naked genitals and ass with

bumbling — i’m constantly bumbling

i mean — let’s say i get up and i’m in a hurry and i slide my jacket on, put my laptop bag over my shoulders, grab my coffee and water bottle and start to head out the door and then fwoOoOOop! — somehow the strap on my bag or a pocket on my jacket loops around the door handle and i’m yanked back into my ungraceful, clumsy reality again

i seem to have a bad relationship with inanimate objects

and i seem to get myself into probably just as many awkward and painful social scenarios as Larry David gets himself into on the show Curb Your Enthusiasm

its just not usually that funny to me in the moment — it only seems to grow into something of a funny story as my temporal distance from the immediate fumbling moments recede into the nebulous past

what’s kind of interesting and funny to me in thinking back to Seller’s Clouseau right now is a certain para-cosmological and symbolic connection i might have subconsciously made to a similarly hilarious character that can be watched on an almost nightly basis in our current television mass media substreaming archetype generation machine

and i think you know exactly who i’m talkin’ ’bout here Willis

that’s right — its none other than … dun dun duhhhhh!

Horatio P Caine

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when you watch an episode of CSI Miami, you know you’re supposed to take Horatio Caine dead serious — there’s this almost over-the-top ridiculousness to David Caruso’s delivery as Caine — its bad acting at its best

Caruso’s over-tense, tough as nails style of hard-guy cliché muttering at the scene of the crime actually becomes the perfect comedic counterpoint to the world of drug dealing and wheeling, murder and dark crime sizzling up from the heat of downtrodden, criminal Miami — and as unintentional as the humor may be, its a rather brilliantly clumsy-confident portrayal that truly brightens my nights when and if i get myself into a CSI jag to piss my time away

Horatio Caine almost comes across as the Anti-Clouseau in many respects, or at least that’s what i gather as the intention behind the writing and direction for CSI Miami — investigation mistakes for Caine have a far less light-hearted set of consequences than those made by Clouseau in a movie like A Shot in the Dark — you can feel that the character of Horatio Caine is supposed to come across as dark, troubled and mysterious as Tim Burton’s Bruce Wayne in 1989 Batman, but the delivery goes way too far and the result then turns into far more of a farce than anything — and for this reason, as much as Caine and Clouseau are bi-polar opposites on the spectrum of hard-assed smoothness and emotionality, i feel their intrinsically connected on a pseudo-psychic level of the collective subconscious

the dog that Horatio Caine might pet in Miami would surely bite,
but it would most likely actually be Caine’s dog

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return of the stumpheads

please forgive me

its just my inner cyberSurrealist escaping me for a bit

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for a pocket of tiMe i wrote more freely — almost straight from the subConscious to the interwebz

the content seemed to come from some other place & far more directly published itself to some other place all of its own volition

my creative flow, back then — which i actually considered to be an uncreative process of sorts — felt inspired by the automatic writings of the original Surrealists with their delicious parlour games, these wonderful ways of tapping into the subconsciousness we all contain in very public environs like The Cabaret Voltaire — i almost felt as if i too could go back there, not only tapping into my own inner elf but also somehow simultaneously sip from the poetic well that surely continues on in this strange afterlife the Surrealists left for us as their rather trippy legacy to our modernday culture

its so obvious, too, to see — & it needs to be very publickly declared from the wifi-connected rooftops at the top of the overpopulated hilltops of every major city skyscraper … yes, yes, indeed …

the Surrealists win!

and now, in this New Age of Surrealism — an age in which we are all individual cyberSurrealists conducting our own little semi-fictionalized movements of one — we continue in the tradition of revolution of the unconscious

mission accomplished!

with our new over-mediated & over-technologized culture of technohumanity we walk around with heads held up high, the vast societal assumption is our augmented humanness puts us as a people at such an advanced competitive edge against The Animal Kingdom and against Nature — we, the thinking animals with our special, clever tools — we will surely afford ourselves an almost self-created ability to live beyond our natural lives, to smartly achieve our lives everlasting here on Earth, due to our superior intellect & our ability to trick our found systems, these systems of Nature

we somehow think we can game the rules of Nature to thereby, somehow live eternally, leveraging our technologies as the tools to get there

but these beliefs { & yes, our over-trust in Science & technology — this so-called STEM kind of bullshit — are merely a new set of Belief Systems a la Religion }, that we will somehow overcome the limits of Nature Herself, are utterly preposterous, of course { so obvious to those of us who proudly keep our heads amidst the powerful encouraging forces to adopt the newest, latest, bleeding-edgiest of the latest, newest, bleeding-edgiest of our technologies }

these technologies cannot really extend our lifespan

these technologies cannot really further advance our intelligence or our competitive advantage { since we are merely competing with ourselves at this point anyways — and really only solving the challenges our new advancements present in a reverse evolutionary manner into the cybernetic aftertrail of all of this Progress }

these technologies are not really good for these things — the things that our leading technologists & neo-futurist thinkers actually aim to accomplish

instead — i would like to humbly suggest we take a few steps back & re-evaluate what our technologies really help us do as a supposed civilized society

our technologies, during this transitional point in history { as we continue to move from a manufacturing, industrial-focused era — deeper & deeper in to The Information Age } — these technologies become far more effective devices for self-analysis

yes, in the continued tradition of The Surrealists with their fascination on our extremely human & mysterious aspects, our technologies bring that tradition of psychological self-analysis into the twentyfirst century — with our new found, readymade cyberSurrealism we can more deeply understand a far more honest sense of who we really are as individual people & as a more holistic social, world organism

unfortunately, for us,
we are far less advanced
than we believe ourselves to be

because we’ve been so hyper-focused on innovating our external reality as both individuals & as pockets of society, we’ve neglected the vastly more important aspects of innovation for our inner beings — technological advancement gives us an amazing ability to turn our subconscious out into the external world around us, but sometimes the most nasty internal energies usher out reminding us all of the intoxicating and ofttimes dangerous dualities existent within us all

we are capable of extreme good & extreme evil

& we know that the tools we develop cannot be held accountable on their own as inanimate & beloved manifestations of our genius in building communication platforms that, for the most part;

  • do absolutely nothing to facilitate any better sense of real communication;
  • do absolutely nothing to optimize our abilities to survive { or even bloom or flourish } the techno-humanic ecosystems we self-invent & evolve on a near daily basis;

the fact that we’re still so insanely focused on conquering Nature in the more Darwinian framework of natural selection by shifting our context instead of more rationally & wisely discovering new ways to better live within our given, natural context & to, hopefully, start taking better care of the more holistic, collective organism of humanity — shows how ultimately unadvanced we are on so many levels { psychically; emotionally; ethically; intellectually; socially }

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we need to somehow get better focused — we need to get back on track to evolving our species in a better way for not only all of humanity, but also for the natural world & for the future of the natural world & our existence within the context of where we really live, not just where we imagine or invent as our artificial accoutrements, our little playSpace pretend world that cozily sits on top of the underlying real nature of the planet we live on { the universe we live in }

its a life or death kind of thing, actually

isn’t it?

don’t get me wrong — i enjoy the inside-out cyberSurreality of our advanced societies — its all extremely entertaining & it usually reminds me that i’m not such a bad person at the end of the day { at least by comparison to what makes it to mass media televised reality } — its also interesting to see the sort of trainwreck status updates our social web affords my friends & family via Facebook, Twitter & these amazing new, evolving platforms for human communication { please note the facetious italicization } — once again, our iPhone { or other connected mobile devicery } transforms from our all-purpose, standard Swiss Army Knife for modern wireless communications { which most-times feel like mere echo-locative blips to self-affirm our relative importance to the people we love & care about } into a mystical, mini Pandora’s Box, a fascinating open container of sorts, tapping into the inner workings of the real human mind, the real psyche { noxious energies & borderline behaviors that we all somehow previously kept politely tucked away prior to these amazing new technological advancements }

we need to innovate our insides again, my friends

& we can also keep innovating our technologies, too — don’t take my lil’ rant the wrong way — please don’t see me as some sort of neo-Luddite, i don’t want to smash the machines & set them on fire { well, i do pretty much fucking hate my printer most of the time, though, hmmmmm }

i think i just see a need for better balance moving forward — we’ve been focused on innovation as a strictly external, object-based force for new business direction & all of that — but we also need to bring a newfound concentration on re-building our sense of inner innovation before it gets too late

a reflection on reason

reason

Does everything happen for a reason?

We created the concept of Reason. Reason does not exist outside of the human mind. In Nature there is cause and effect, but that is definitely not the verySame thing as the human concept of Reason.

We make up the Reason that we’re here. We imagine, develop and cultivate a purpose in our life — or we simply live. And we can interpret the things that happen in our lives in a retrospective fashion as having a Reason — but life as we know it is far beyond anything we can dream up. Its a bigger dream than we can imagine. And everything happens in an unfathomable and entirely meaningless way. If you tune into the pulse of it all in a way that goes beyond research and words — well — you can just feel it, this chaotic tendency of Nature, of the Universe.

We invent Reason. Reason — like laughter and science and language and porn and technology and religion — is a delicate belief system that human beings leverage to make sense of the Universe and its rather wildly unpredictable events. Reason helps us cope and move beyond the horror of our ultimate destination in life { which is, of course, death }. Reason is a beautiful thing, actually. Reason brings a subtle poetry to life. Reason is the search for meaning. Meaning doesn’t exist.

Originally posted as my reply to the Quora question Does everything happen for a reason?

laugh more often

stolen / borrowed photo of Danny DeVito laughing

maybe i just need to laugh a little more often

ya know?

 

Me and Marco as Beware the HaberdashMarco came out to Boston this week from Seattle and i have to say — i don’t think i’ve laughed so hard for a long, long time

and i think for the amount of time he was out this way we actually laughed more often than i normally do on your average daily or weekly basis

 

i feel a little better because of it, too

and it was all about completely silly shit, too

we didn’t need to go to a comedy club or listen to CDs of stand-up comedy in the car or anything

i think we’re just both imbued with this kind of comedic outlook on life

certain perfectly inane sequences of events can set off huge bombing guffaws of hilarity at times — and i know a lot of it is kind of just in our minds, if you know what i mean — its a particular sensibility that you collectively cultivate with a friend or a small group of colleagues or acquaintances that quite naturally develops and grows within the space and experience of the relationships we build in life — and its something unique to just certain friends, just certain groups of people in your life, based on the time you’ve spent and the amount of discussions you’ve shared over the years

sometimes just a look can set it all off, ya know?

a knowing nod

you know the deal, right? 

as a friendship builds — as any relationship builds, crumbles, ebbs and flows — the mutually-shared experiences and the things you talk about build up a sort of pre-verbal vocabulary that is very much based on a private language that each of us develops without a need for words

and its a phenomena that can really only occur with live presence

at least that’s my feeling about this concept

here’s Marco — a photo i took of Marco — when we lived out at The Church Street Apartment in Watertown back in the mid-90s

marcoChurch_desat

the photograph could be called A Portrait of Marco with a Shovel, Plastic Watering Can and a Guillotine — that’s the title i would probably give it if i were including it in an exhibition in some local café, full-well knowing that nobody would purchase the photo or anything, but that coffeeshop-going viewers might spend a few minutes looking and fabricating their own interpretation of the private language Marco and i were using on that rather mild, Autumn day

you can just see it in the photograph, too, right?

the expression on his face isn’t due to a conversation we were engaged in, i wasn’t holding up and squeezing a rubber duck or anything like that, in the way they would at a Sears Portrait Studio back in the 70s

there’s a familiarity between us — between me, as the photographer, and Marco, my subject here — that you can feel if you really tune in to the warm details of the end image — i don’t know if you’d consider the photograph to feel casual or friendly, but you can see a certain kindness being expressed by Marco

i believe you can’t develop that depth of emotional connection and feeling without actual, live, human presence

when Marco and i wrote, recorded and performed as Beware the Haberdash back at about that time — in the early to mid-90s — i know that our connection through the music-makingour connection: through vibration and rhythm; through composition and improvisational, collaborative interplay; through talking about the music or planning for a show — our connection dove into a far deeper subconscious zone where speech, instruction, conversation — all of these things — were no longer necessary for us to actually communicate with each other through our shared live and present space 

its a rather fascinating phenomena

and its a phenomena that i am currently trying to better understand through my research into another very closely-related, uniquely human phenomena — the phenomena of laughter

my own personal beliefs — as informed by both my currently-collected, active research and from my gut — indicate that laughter, like poetry, is both immediately mutually-understood by a group of people at the higher, signal level within a given social context and is also involved in such a complex intersection of intellectual, cultural and physiological systems that simultaneously shatter that understanding due to all of the actual environmental and behavioral life experience we bring into the live and present social moment

to back up just a little bit here, let me first establish a background concept, a simple definition, if you will, that helps set the stage in a better light

humor and laughter exist as a living, breathing,
organic and found cybernetic, social system

its a system that learns and grows and develops and ebbs and flows just like any relationship that gets established between any 2 or more organisms in the world

at one point in human history — one could guess from the research done to-date — laughter evolved

we developed a way to laugh

we most likely started laughing as a human beings for the verySame reasons that any species begins to mutate or discover a new special skill or feature — we started laughing as a means for survival — as a way to endure certain psychological tensions that come embedded in our earthen, natural environment or that pulse within our sociological and cultural ecosystems

laughter came before humor

there’s no chicken and the egg that i can fathom from what we know about the theories and vast, eclectic academic areas that touch upon the phenomenas of humor and laughter, which include:

  • humor theory;
  • laughter theory;
  • tickle theory;
  • comedy;
  • psychology;
  • philosophy;
  • sociology;
  • neurobiology;
  • phenomenology;
  • language and linguistics;
  • natural selection and the theory of evolution;
  • cybernetics;
  • conversion, translation and interpretation;
  • and energy;

 

unfortunately this blog veryMuch reflects the rather powerful subconscious manner in which i produce and pursue my work as an artist, designer and performer — bits and pieces come to me in a rather random and sometimes chaotic fashion — i believe in chasing my inspiration in the actual moments when she whispers to me, so this means many pieces will feel undone, messy, but hopefully vital and real { or at least as real as you can get on the internetz }

so i leave you here with my thoughts from today to reflect upon

much of my previous thoughts on these subjects can be found on a myriad of other websites i publish to — for more on this thread of research and thought on laughter, humor and the areas in-between, check out Laugh Institute up on the webz — or you can always check back here to poke around some more and read up on my progress on the laughterLife, my continued experiments, writings, design and research into laughter as a human phenomena

Check out Beware the Haberdash online

failure

broken_promise_by_don_paolo

i’ve come to realize that i am not particularly good at anything

i mean, i’ve actually tried my hand at a lot of things in my life — and i feel fortunate to always be curiously distracted and experimental and exploratory in my pursuit of expression and life-long research in the world

so at least that’s cool

i think i’m slowly becoming okay with the fact that i’m mostly a really good failure

a theory about thoughts and feelings

Body 4

contrary to what popular scientific, mainstream belief tells us — i am convinced that we think and feel with our entire body

thoughts and feelings are not simply
processed in our brains

to think that our brain acts like some strangely mechanistic one-hour photo development lab for the way we experience and relate to the world is extremely preposterous, but this is the only way we as human beings can understand it because we are incapable of thinking beyond our current, known toolset

its got to be far more complicated than that, dontchya think?

we hate to admit it, but we’re far less advanced in our understanding of ourselves, each other and the universe than we’d like to be

we tend to oversimplify everything

because we know how to design and build machines that supposedly think, we also believe we can figure out the mysteries of the mind and the way everything in the universe works, but why bother?

i mean, don’t get me wrong, its all super-interesting to learn about — or at least to theorize about and then test to see how close we can get to some level of commonly acceptable belief system around these rather intensely amazing phenomena in life

and we don’t like to admit, i guess,
when we don’t know or understand something

but let’s just be fucking honest, now, okay?

maybe if we just accept the knowns and the unknowns — and if we also fully accept and appreciate the existential sense of being human and experiencing the world within the given found systems we’ve inherited — we might be far better off

let’s stop trying to explain everything to its ultimate, inevitably science-bled death and just enjoy it all, let it all soak in, and then see how we can live in a more interdependent and inclusively healthy and happy way together as a living, breathing collective organism of humanity

we think with our entire bodies

we feel with our entire bodies

and we also collectively think and feel as little batches of social presence in different pockets of the world

 

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

i guess we could do both

we should do both — both investigate and examine the world and try to figure it out while also enjoying the experience of these sometimes ungraspable areas of natural phenomenology embedded within our human experience

as long as we remember to come back to this sense of enjoyment, too

i guess then we don’t necessarily need to club every little thing to death with the Big Data stick

after all, i don’t think its our job as human beings to necessarily be able to explain everything in the universe — that’s a rather big and impossible job, right? 

it is, however, our purpose to live and breathe and enjoy our existence, to live a little and enjoy each other, and to potentially leave a few stories behind for the alien race that will eventually come down to Mother Earth and inevitably take us all away beyond the sky

semenov-6

our data

maggots

our data lives like insects inside our machines

you can hear the little scratchy sounds of them skittering about inside when you’re looking for a file or for some new meaning

we collect them — we store them — we trust they’ll serve us in some way

but in the end its all simply meaningless, just an unfortunate silly game