Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Airplane Reading

Walking with Nobby is somewhat frustrating yet entertaining. We get wisps of where a sensitive mind was looking, getting away from Dionysus, but not really, not in NOB's namespace. He allies himself with engineering, mentions both Bucky and Wittgenstein (I'd known that before).

He's vectoring towards chance, or luck, but we avoid "synchronicity" because there's allegiance to Freud over Jung in this text and it's not like there's a real theory here, just a meta-politics of some nature, poets feeling their way forward (autopoiesis, dialectic). Dr. Nick had earlier highlighted some of the salient points, especially the link to John Cage, again on the topic of chance, Apollo vs. Dionysus, or system versus not.

David Koski phoned as I was wheeling my bag towards the bus and shuttle center at O'Hare. Alaska Airlines delivered me on time and in good shape. I wish the hotel wifi was working (and it's only supposed to in the lobby), but you get what you pay for sometimes ( found me this room). The hotel shuttle's radio was recruiting for and advertising mortgage restructuring. I phoned David back once I got to my room to continue the conversation (ongoing). He's working night shift these days, is on his day off.

Ian had a video clip for me this morning, about public key encryption (Diffie-Hellman) as used by Amazon. The segment is apropos given I've queued public key cryptography as one of those Python for Teachers topics, with attached lore (something I went over again with Wanderers yesterday). I'm not suggesting one right way to tell the story but here's a good example of embedding something technical / mathematical within history / mnemonics, complete with challenges and heroes. Or we could use a more fictional backdrop.

If geeks want to pass on their subculture's lore, then it's up to them to figure out how. Outsiders don't know it that well. Getting this UK government secret into civilian use was something of a coup (GHCQ had realized the possibility, but others would eventually discover it and make it public, such that now it's in every web browser).

Ian's flight doesn't get him here until tomorrow.

What I hadn't known about Nobby before was that he served in the OSS as a compatriot of Herbert Marcuse, tasked with discerning the psychology behind fascism. Marcuse's later critique of Love's Body only served to spread its fame. I was impressed with what a strong hiker he was, into his 80s. Dr. Kaufmann didn't think Marcuse was all that great a thinker. Also like Nobby, like Nietzsche, he was a "hard bed" for his friends.

His relationship with Dale includes a lot of teasing, a kind of sparring, yet is based in trust and true friendship. They talk about sex, drugs, rock and roll, especially given Dale's generation's spin on those. NOB, clearly into esoterica yet wanting to be democratic, accessible, is beginning to study Mormonism. I'd not heard of the Oneida experiment but then there's lots I don't know.

Blogging, as a genre, relates to NOB's advocacy around the aphoristic writing style. He was into fragments, letting the spirit connect the dots. As someone highly skilled in the liberal arts, he could commit to memory and use hypertext without any outward http. Thanks to the web, we needn't be that skilled to get some of these same benefits.

Sometimes I found myself taking the part of the grandson defending the grandfather against the son. But then I was right away grateful for DP's staying on target, their unity-twoness. Great coupling guys!