Regarding Brexit. England is no longer a world power. It’s a theme park, like Disneyland, except wetter. This has not sunk into the British brain, living on memories of an empire that no longer exists, that began to die when Winston Churchill did. (If anything remains glorious, it’s William and Kate, Harry and Meghan) After WWII, the only thing grand about the UK was Monty Python. The parrot sketch was prescient. England is the guy who sold John Cleese a dead parrot and, like the pet shop proprietor, remains in total denial.

Overpopulation is killing the planet
Developments in gene sequencing and AI
Are allowing for fewer deaths and longer lives
Fortunately, humans love war

From New York Times article on Facebook Follies
‘Part of the reason is that we tend to forget that technology is only as good as the people who use it. We want it to elevate us; we tend to degrade it.’
Nice sentiment, but impossible. See, the higher never elevates the lower, it’s just the opposite, the lower drags down the higher. It's easier to fall than to ascend, like moral gravity.

The fight against this disease or that, fight for equality or fair wages or a ‘way of life’ (whatever that is in the age of instant cultural upheaval), beat cancer, the battleground states, a politician’s war chest…does it occur that everything in America is about the war for or against something? 
Your brain absorbs those words and phrases of violence, and you get out what you put in....yeah, I know, my books are violent, what can I say? Consistency is impossible in hormone driven humans.

The pioneering cognitive psychologist Amos Tversky once joked that where probability is concerned, humans have three default settings: “gonna happen,” “not gonna happen” and “maybe.”
New York Times: AI and prediction

You aren’t a computer or even a calculator, neither device has hormones. Machines don’t get angry, cry or have sex, they don’t want, there’s no blood. I suppose they could be programmed to spout patriotic or religious crap, but deep down in their chips, they really don’t care. Silicon, copper and plastic don’t feel.

Let your mind roam free rather than bludgeon it into mindful obedience. Mental freedom is creative and free, mental discipline is an attempt to put your brain in jail. Daydreaming is your jailbreak. 

My observations may or may not be related to anything in the books, may or may not be related to anything at all...also included are quotes I like and other miscellanea. 

Life is a near death experience, nearer every moment, nearer than you think; party on

Zen: attachment to detachment

First rule of contentment: If it’s good enough, it’s good enough

Humans and ideals, both are born, have a moment, eventually deteriorate and putrefy

Rationality requires objectivity
No human is objective
No human is rational

Quotes and things other people wrote that caught my attention

Best personality summary I've read in a while:
​(Seth told me)…’that Emily isn’t too happy about you and Seth spending so much time together.’
‘Imagine that…(Sarah said)…do you know what a truffle is, Mr. Turner?...They’re tubers. They grow underground, on the roots of trees that have spent years earning their place, struggling for it, working their way up into the light. The tuber lives off the tree and gives nothing back.’
‘Okay.’
‘Emily is a truffle.’
Cypress Grove, James Sallis

‘Suicide, the need to be rid of other people.’
Eugene Thacker, Infinite Resignation

There are writers who can express in a mere twenty pages things I sometimes need two whole lines for.
Karl Kraus

There is Matter, Dark Matter, Anti-Matter and recently discovered Doesn’t Matter, that would be us.

Enlightenment is the sudden insight that the universe will get along just fine without you.

You get knocked down. But you get up again. Ain’t never going to keep you down. Because you’re a glutton for punishment. And kind of an idiot.

The view is always better from a distance.

You can 'God Bless America' all you like, if there is a God she doesn't take sides.

Nothing happens until someone feels something, a sense of responsibility, happy, sad, anger, worry, tenderness. We are hormone puppets, and a good thing too.
Harness Your Anxiety

‘Death is only a word. Life is much, much worse.’
​Huis Close (behind closed doors), Jean-Paul Sartre

You want to change the world? Fair enough.
Sit, take a breath, let your shoulders drop, be quiet.
There…you’ve done it.
Dalai Daphne







'The Road Less Traveled, Stumbling on Happiness, Learned Optimism, The How of Happiness….a nauseating list of ineffectual ideas whose odorous pages seem to pour fourth year after year like some kind of psycho-pharmaceutical hemorrhage of the American psyche.
The entire discourse is so unbelievably vapid and imbecilic that I cannot help but make sweeping general indictments against all over-educated, vain and cretinous self-help gurus…'
Eugene Thacker, Infinite Resignation

Rodney Dangerfield: I was making love with my wife, and she had a faraway look in her eyes, and I said, ‘Darling, is there someone else?’ and she said, ‘There must be.’ ” 

What is repulsive about children—all children—is not that they are not yet adults, but that they are already adults—whining, self-absorbed, demanding attention, unable to care for themselves, throwing tantrums when things don’t go their way. Far from what we tell ourselves, children are the most concise expressions of humanity.
Eugene Thacker, Infinite Resignation

Amnesia is the only thing worth looking forward to.
​Only to Sleep, Lawrence Osborne

From Wiki: Blindsight challenges the common belief that perceptions must enter consciousness to affect our behavior; showing that our behavior can be guided by sensory information of which we have no conscious awareness.

They swing between extremes, desire pulls one way, fear the other, slaves to a half dozen hormones. They sing about love and pray for peace, but they know neither.

Is this a violation of religious freedom? After all, Christians, Jews and Muslims murder people they don’t like every day.

‘There are plenty of things in history that are best left in the shadows. Accurate knowledge does not improve people’s lives. The objective does not necessarily surpass the subjective, you know. Reality does not necessarily extinguish fantasy.’
The Commendatore, from Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Do you want to be treated like an animal in training? Neither do your kids, or your sig other, or your employees. So cut the crap, throw away the carrots and the sticks.
​Get the facts Here

Just finished Murakami's latest, Killing Commendatore. As you see above, I did find one interesting quote in 680 pages, and am reminded of the quote by Ambrose Bierce, 'The covers of this book are too far apart.'
Why?
1) He goes on an on about his almost ex Yuzu, about another character's British cars, repetitive in several others descriptions as well, and an obsession with breasts.
2) Overkill art interpretation.
3) Not enough fleshing out of character Mariye, sad as she has the most potential to be interesting.
4) As in other of Murakami's work, overuse of the word 'some', as in, 'I made some coffee, or some tea, or some dinner, breakfast, lunch. (Other authors are guilty as well, but Murakami brings it to an Olympic level.) I think we as readers can figure out he didn't make all the coffee, breakfasts etc. in the world, so why not, 'I made coffee, tea, lunch? It makes me think authors are being paid by the word so they add irrelevant modifiers where none are needed.
*Yes, I know Murakami has tons of readers and has been translated into 40 languages. I also know I have few readers and have only this website. Still, I can critique, offer observations on what I find dull or distracting.

Keys, glasses, phone, no matter what it is, you find it the last place you look. It can't be any other way.

Americans childproof their existence to better secure the illusion of control and so continue gliding on autopilot while focusing on their appetites and vanities. All of it—the mass production franchises, the shake and bake blockbusters, the commercial jingle pop songs, the seen-one-seen-them-all subdivisions, simply extensions of sloth and willful amnesia. Stretchy pants for the fat ass of the American soul.
Did I tell you I'm a cynic?

It’s hard to figure out a fish when it’s flopping around on the dock of your assumptions. You gotta get wet.

Everyone but everyone makes noises about being critical and open minded. But confirmation is really the only thing they’re interested in. People are as allergic to contradiction as they are to complexity and uncertainty, and none more so than those who devote their lives to religion or politics.

Talking to yourself doesn’t necessarily amount to anything. You can do it for years without experiencing any personal growth or cognitive decline. Listen to yourself however and you eventually become a comedian, whether you want to or not.

What little dignity truth does possess comes from tragedy. It’s all bullshit otherwise, without pain to do the sorting. Mistaking self-interest for truth is just part of the human floor plan, unconsciously covering your own ass. Remortgage your house to by a hybrid lately? No? Let me guess. You have a bunch of excuses.
And maybe that’s not so bad, considering how principles are as likely to get you a Hitler as well as a Gandhi.

Ever been in a car accident? If so, then you know: Life is quick, too quick.
The thing to realize is that every moment is a car accident. It only seems otherwise because the apparent regularity of things fools us into thinking we can intervene and take some measure of control.

Following quotes (asterisked) are from Disciple Manning in the book Disciple of the Dog, R. Scott Bakker

*One of the great paradoxes of being human has got to be the way the past is at much at mercy of the present as the present is at the mercy of the past. As soon as we ziplock something into memory, it becomes static, something we can run circles around. Considered from that standpoint, it really does seem that everything we do is fraught with decisions, as if every moment were a window onto thousands of future possibilities, instead of automatic and obscure.
Which is what they are, pretty much. You can sooner fish water out of a flushing toilet.’

*I’m the archivist of your lesser self…you know, the side of you that calls the shots between official engagements. I’m the bastard who makes your secrets real.

*Amanda was overweight, but in that healthy, pear-shaped way that seems to drive death row inmates crazy.

*We keep waiting for something Shakespearean to happen when most of the world is just an annex to the Jerry Springer show. Squalid. Cheap. Mean-spirited.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
  The Second Coming, WB Yeats

Dear Capitalists, 
Capitalism is a system designed to search out and seize competitive advantages. That entire structure is based on getting YOU to do what SOMEBODY ELSE wants you to do.
Think about that for a moment. The system you claim to prize, even worship, is nothing more than a puppet master, and you are its puppet, dancing at the end of your master’s strings. How perfect.​

Ever been in a car accident? If so, then you know: Life is quick, too quick.
The thing to realize is that every moment is a car accident. It only seems otherwise because the apparent regularity of things fools us into thinking we can intervene and take some measure of control.

One of the great paradoxes of being human has got to be the way the past is at much at mercy of the present as the present is at the mercy of the past. As soon as we ziplock something into memory, it becomes static, something we can run circles around. Considered from that standpoint, it really does seem that everything we do is fraught with decisions, as if every moment were a window onto thousands of future possibilities, instead of automatic and obscure.
Which is what they are, pretty much. You can sooner fish water out of a flushing toilet.’

I’m the archivist of your lesser self…you know, the side of you that calls the shots between official engagements. I’m the bastard who makes your secrets real.

Amanda was overweight, but in that healthy, pear-shaped way that seems to drive death row inmates crazy.

We keep waiting for something Shakespearean to happen when most of the world is just an annex to the Jerry Springer show. Squalid. Cheap. Mean-spirited.

Disciple Manning, Disciple of the Dog, R. Scott Bakker

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
  The Second Coming, WB Yeats

Dear Capitalists, 
Capitalism is a system designed to search out and seize competitive advantages. That entire structure is based on getting YOU to do what SOMEBODY ELSE wants you to do.
Think about that for a moment. The system you claim to prize, even worship, is nothing more than a puppet master, and you are its puppet, dancing at the end of your master’s strings. How perfect.

My partial list of annoyances when reading fiction
(let me add that I write for my own amusement, it isn’t easy to make the stories interesting, informative or entertaining, any book needs at least one category, preferably all three, so I fully appreciate the author’s dilemma)
Too many characters. If I get to page twenty and twenty characters have been introduced, I surrender.
Too much description. I don’t care how she was dressed, or what the room looked like, at least not in the detail many authors go on about, sometimes for several paragraphs.
In police procedurals or mysteries, the out of favor cop has issues with the Captain, or the female detective or cop goes on about the boyfriend, or fights with her unwanted partner only to wind up in bed with him on page thirty five.
Also, skip endless maybes, perhaps, what ifs, what time did the murder happen and is it possible suspect X could have done it, returned to the gala and nobody notices.
I am weary of forensics, Mike Hammer solved all sorts of crimes and never had any idea of the stomach contents of the victim.
No amnesia, it’s been done.
No multiple characters as narrators in different chapters, it’s hard enough to keep up with who’s who without changing perspectives every other chapter.
Don’t start me in 1887, then bounce to 1950, then to 1895, then to 1968, you get the idea.
Why does the woman, girl, ALWAYS trip when running through the woods?
Why are people always dropping their guns? 
I don’t care about the protagonists family issues, it isn’t a sociology book.
No actual historical characters, it sounds like name dropping to punch up some literary aspect.
I don’t care about the cop’s whining wife, brought about by ‘the job’ because he’s never at home, or doesn’t get to the kid’s recital. You married a cop honey, not an accountant.
Why do TV shows and movies depict cops or FBI entering a dark home with the power clearly available but instead they prowl around with the gun in one hand and a flashlight over it in the other? First, the power is on, turn on the lights doofus. Second, does it not occur that a flashlight directly over the gun in a dark room makes the cop a great target?

The goal of A.I. isn’t to be perfect, because you can always adjust the metrics. A.I. simply needs to do better than humans can do — which is usually not very hard.
Yuval Noah Harari

‘You want the truth and you want the truth and when you get it you can’t take it and have to turn away.’
Offertory, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

It comes as no surprise that neuroplasticity has been linked to mental afflictions ranging from depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder to tinnitus. The more a sufferer concentrates on his symptoms, the deeper those symptoms are etched into his neural circuits. In the worst cases, the mind essentially trains itself to be sick.
… When it comes to the quality of our thought, our neurons and synapses are entirely indifferent.
The Shallows, Nicholas Carr

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
Attributed to J. Krishnamurti

Here’s a good idea, substitute one fake religion for another...
Witches Wicca and Satanic Panic

Good Luck Faux-Masters of the Universe, since you can’t predict stock prices or interest rates, or any other damn thing, occupy your wasted time reading self help books. It is gratifying to know that youswallow bullshitjust like you feed your clients.