thoughts on thoughts
For those of you keeping score with our home game, here are the recent Kirkism's:

"purest forms of intelligence".... (which you happen to possess. From my familiarity with AI, this is one the hardest forms of 'intelligence' to avoid. Its a trap that most people who are new to AI fall into, coding to find transitional structure similarity between separate discrete finite automata. The problem is that it produces too much data for certain classes of grammars. Admittedly, good pruning of the resulting set of parallel's is a difficult problem to solve within an AI. But that is direct result that "good" is a highly domain specific idea, and cannot be directly translated to grammar complexity.  ) 

"to an intense bit of rational inspection"
"shaping and hammering at an emotion until it becomes a thought"...
(I really like the way you evaluated this, because it reads like the behavior. You draw a parallel, discuss your rationales, then point out that it might be a bad thing, then fall back on the old-dog new-trick excuse. Holy self-fullfilling prophecy, Kirkman.

You rationalize until you find an emotionally acceptable causal chain. Very few people don't do that, do you do it to the point that its prevents you from changing when you need to change? Are there behaviors which you know are harmful to you, but that you continue because you have built a nice self-defending rationale )

"I work to channel my aggression into a big continuous stream of non-repeating swear words" ... ( last time I saw this display, it wasn't as if you put in an eight hour day to come up with you latest collection of bon mots. This is a reaction, and for some reason, one you are oddly comfortable with letting run until you are utterly out of gas for more swearing. Not to say I don't appreciate it, because I know there are only a few people you are comfortable going off like that around. In an odd way, I've found it reassuring that you feel comfortable swearing like that in front me and my wife. )

All in all, pretty good writing, when you deconstruct it. A description and defense of grammar Aleph written in grammar Aleph.  Donno how much of that was intentional, tho. But in any case, you are lucky. Most people on this earth lack the grammar to describe the grammar that bounds are thoughts.

----EB Thu Oct 6 07:44:00 2005
Last line s/are/our

Dang it. blah my grammar sucks today.
----EB Thu Oct 6 07:46:23 2005
Yeesh, EB are you picking on me? "All in all, pretty good writing, when you deconstruct it"...whew, talk about daming with faint praise! Thank goodness you were here to deconstruct it and make it pretty good!

"purest forms of intelligence". Which humans, in general, happen to possess. I made an immodest claim to having it a bit more so than some...which, if true, has drawbacks as well as benefits.

And I think you *completely* miss the point w/ AI, though I realize I muddied the waters by talking about "permutations". This type of intelligence is NOT just slamming out bajillions of permutations *within a given framework*, the kind of thing computers are so good at, it's the ability to laterally slip *outside* of the original given framework...and also analyze the results in a complex way. Conversely, when a human plays the "permutations game", it often leads to things jumping outside their natural categories by permuting the structure within grammer, phonetics, or other "rules", and then seeing if the *meaning* is something interesting.

Seriously, I'm surprised you suggested that running permutations in a framework is anything like lateral thinking.

"Are there behaviors which you know are harmful to you, but that you continue because you have built a nice self-defending rationale"...having an *understanding* the behavior is not neccesarily the same thing is providing an *excuse* for the behavior. Many of these bad behaviors I'd continue to do, whether I analyzed *post facto* or not.

Your post doesn't seem to recommend a different corrective strategy, so I assume you're an advocate of "good old fashioned willpower"...which is powerful, but not unlimitedly so...especially if you're not "rational" enough to really understand why you've been doing what you've been doing.

Seriously, I think you're dead wrong in your suggestion that it's a self-defending rational, an obstacle to progress in personal growth, though it's often insufficient by itself to exact change. For instance, I've had a good couple of weeks at focus at work. That came from two things: one was realizing that my progress was going to be more in the spotlight than I had previously thought, (so good old lizard brain "fear"), the other thing was logicking out that when I worry a project *might* excede my capabilities, I suddenly get busy looking for other things to do, and that needs to stop.

Re: the swear words...the swearing gets its raw "id" energy from what's almost a "system error" in my head...the world stubbornly and foolishly refusing to conform to the way I know things "should" be. It's like a fission reaction in my skull. Channeling it, then, into the non-repeating stream is a way for me to temper and control the reaction, letting me ride it down while still treating it as an exercise in creativity. I am sorry to be insufficiently sensitive to the discomfort it might make for people around me.

(Incidentally, on a peronal note, the "world refusing to conform" is probably why I'm such a whiner when losing at video games and also stressed out while watching "important" sport events...finding confirmation that I'm not the most deft and that my teams aren't the very darn best in the world is more challenging than it should be to me...I have a great dealing of trouble maintaining appropriate perspective. Come to think of it, "appropriate perspective" is part of the issue for other personal issues I have, like my neuroses.)

You kind of lost me with the grammar Aleph. Google's first hit seems like it might be relevant, then it gets into a bunch of Hebrew language links.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Let me know what you think...also you still haven't gotten me what I need if I'm going to water your plants for you.
--Kirk Thu Oct 6 09:12:55 2005
Incidentally, I thought of another drawback of that kind of lateral thinking I claim to be better than average at; I can't find the reference but I've heard the theory that people with that kind of lateral intelligence are likely to be anxiety prone because they're more likely to start thinking tangentally about all the things that could go wrong...
--Kirk Thu Oct 6 12:45:26 2005
There's also the aspect of not getting at thesis done because they can find all the holes in an academic argument. =D
--Mr. Lex Thu Oct 6 13:01:45 2005
Like when Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) starts to see his dad's other side of the issue, and suddenly the world becomes a surreal, Picasso-esque landscape of crazy angles and hidden surfaces exposed! Calvin has to close one eye and then go and tell his Dad "You're still wrong".

I've never been on a debate team, but was struck how they seem to be more about arguing prowess than "what's right". In particular, the research stage where you try and figure out just what your opponent will say so that you know what you'll say in response...that seemed like a real brain-bender of an exercise.
--Kirk Thu Oct 6 14:46:05 2005
I think people are pretty good at that on an everyday level. Personally, though, I'm finding I'm pretty bad at it.
--Mr. Lex Thu Oct 6 15:27:18 2005
Most of my friends make fun of me for how amused I am with puns. I don't understand how they don't find them amusing!
--Candi Thu Oct 6 16:15:57 2005
There's an interesting novel called "The Bug" about an impossibly difficult to diagnosis error condition in a new database system in the 80s...the QA woman kind of resents the geek fondness for puns, sees it as kind of power game, forcing people to reshift their view of a piece of the world to make it conform to their own...
--Kirk Thu Oct 6 19:41:49 2005
I don't think of the whole pun thing in such academic terms. I just think puns can get annoying, cheeky and someone trying to overdo attempts at being clever. One or two are good, within the context, but when people go on and on, bathing in the puns for the sake of punnery, it can get sooooooo annoying.
--Mr. Lex Fri Oct 7 08:29:38 2005
Bad puns are their own punishment.
--Kirk Fri Oct 7 09:31:57 2005
Yet they become an award to the sick bastards or horde them then whip them out at the earliest opportunity.
--Mr. Lex Fri Oct 7 10:26:51 2005

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