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Category Archives: Metaphormation


When we go to unwrap an ice cream sandwich, we try to open it longways, to unwrap it in one pull, but then it always rips sideways, around the confection, despite all our attempts to guide the rip, so you have to try again, trying to pull the scruffy edge of that thin fragile paper away from the chocolate, only now you’re stuck digging around with your fingernail, damaging the surface and making you look like you’ve been poking around in your butt.

When you finally get hold of the paper … it rips the short way again, and you have to start all over again.

Meanwhile, when you go to tear off the toilet paper, it rips the long way and makes a giant useless stringy mess and you either have to just wad it up plus a whole bunch more or if you’re a folder, you have to just start over.

So some schmuck has us eating snacks wrapped in toilet paper and we’re using food packaging to wipe our asses.

The world is upside down.boatfall


The first time someone has a new experience, they have no real notion of it, no category by which to sort or compare those experiences, their brain simply remembers it.

The second time someone has a new experience, it is familiar because of the previous experience, but that’s it. It’s not sorted, just connected.

The third time someone has a specific experience, it’s not just familiar, but the feeling of familiarity … is also familiar. This is typically when someone actually constructs a category for associating all those similar experiences; a filter or list of criteria by which to sort specific experiences into that box.

The fourth time someone experiences something, or the first time after they’ve constructed a category, the experience confirms the category – the idea – and thus they can now, finally, actually think about it.

Four is clearly a minimum.

In my experience, they can’t have all four with the same person or it doesn’t work.realityMT

Bottle Gardeners


“How do you get all the plants in those little bottles?”  He was filthy, covered in old ice cream or something; maybe he was eight.  At least he didn’t smell.

           “Well, you use a funnel for the dirt, and a stick for the plants.  But you can’t just stuff the plants in there.  You have to dig a little hole for each one. That’s how you make a new one.  These ones have all been growing for a while.  The plants were a lot smaller when I put them in.”

           “Did you put any bugs or snakes in”?

           “The bugs usually invite themselves.  Big animals won’t survive, since there’s not much food for them.”

           “What about small animals?  They’d need less food, right?”

           “Look in there.  They’d have to be pretty darn small.”  He peered into one, appraising room for tenants.  He was silent a long time…for a kid.

           “Wow, it looks like a whole world in there!”

           “It is!”

           I was used to these kinds of questions after half a day at the fair.  There’s a magical aura about bottle gardens because the plants are so close to each other and because of the condensation on the glass.  The teeny plants that usually get overlooked in the wild reveal their beauty and elegance, put on intimate display. That’s how I’d convinced Joan to let me use some space in her booth, trying to sell them. Read More »

An SEP field is a device for invisibility, and history has an example of a real one:

In 1054, a star exploded.

(Actually, it exploded about 6000 years previous, but the light from the explosion only reached Earth in 1054. )

The expanding cloud of gas from this explosion is now known as the Crab Nebula, in the constellation Taurus.

At the time the light from this supernova reached Earth, the Catholic Church was the ruling political power in Europe, and their dogma, regarding any understanding of nature, was that good Christians must always defer to Aristotle, known as “The Philosopher” at the time, for any question about what was true.

This supernova was quite bright: It was visible by day for most of a month, and bright enough to read by it, at night. It was brighter than the full moon for almost two months.

This event was recorded by:crab_nebula

  • the Mayans
  • The Incas
  • The Chinese
  • The Australian Aborigines
  • Many of the tribes of Africans
  • Many other antique civilizations in Asia and the Americas

… which is why we know the year it happened.

Since heresy was such a serious, life-threatening charge, when European Christendom saw what must have been an unavoidably noticable light in the sky, they deferred to Aristotle, who had pronounced the Universe to be “eternal and unchanging.”

Hence, this obvious change in the Universe was Somebody Else’s Problem – everyone pretended like it wasn’t there, rather than risk excommunication for heresy by talking or writing about it. It couldn’t have been invisible – even clouds would not have masked its light. But everyone acted as though it was, and it’s completely missing from European records: The Emperor’s New Clothes, writ astronomically.

In 1731 this event finally made the history books in Europe, when the English amateur astronomer John Bevis first noticed it in his telescope. It later became the first celestial object listed in the catalog created by Charles Messier: M1

Intuition is the Latinesque name for hunches or gut feelings – unconscious thinking.  All people constantly use it, but it’s also easy to overlook. And it can go horribly wrong with bad information.

For activities such as walking or recognizing faces, it’s pretty clear that the processing is nearly all ‘under the radar,’ yet all pattern-recognition is at some level automatic.  Like our digestion and healing, many of our mental skills are also automatic; we present our imaginations with a prompt, like the identity of the place we want to draw, and our brain produces the image for us.

Fortunately, you can train up your intuition, so that when you do have to take a guess, it will be better, and you’ll more often recognize when you can trust it…or let it go when you know you can’t.


Attention to the message and the accuracy improves both.

Great minds across the ages (from Archimedes to Einstein) reported that their intuition was their most important faculty, because that is what kept them pursuing a question that others had given up on, or thought was totally settled.

Stunning epiphanies, or ‘flashes from the blue’ are yet another level of intuition we can train.  Long serious attention to something, followed by a completely different activity can reliably produce such ‘flashes.’  Music and exercise also appear to help, which isn’t really too surprising;

Regardless of what you call it, or how it’s expressed, your intuition or unconscious thinking can be trained in two easy steps (habitually repeated):


  • Pay attention to it.
  • Test it for accuracy.


That’s it.  That’s all you have to do, and how exactly isn’t what matters.  Your intuition, including the updating, still operates the same as ever; without you noticing.

You don’t have to worry about reviewing when you find an error, or rehearsing or reinforcing the correct ones. That part is all built in.  You only have to give it some attention, and some feedback. It takes care of repeating what worked, and replacing what doesn’t automatically.

When you practice anything, your intuition develops, but you can increase the speed of that development with a very minor investment of time and effort.  When addressing any abstract question, and especially for standardized tests, the two steps are easy to implement.

1: After you’ve completely finished with any problem, write down your level of confidence in your answer.

You can use a percentage or odds, a 1-10 scale or stars.  Use whatever makes sense to you for recording your level of confidence, because the way you measure it is not nearly as important as taking a moment to make that guess – to let your hunches ‘weigh in.’

That habit of recording your confidence level is an easy way to develop the habit of noticing your confidence level.  Keep paying attention, and it will get easier to poll.

2: When you check your answers, also check the accuracy of your confidence level.

It’s an extra layer of abstraction, but not that difficult and that’s really all it takes.

When you’ve recorded a high level of confidence for answers you got right (or a low level of confidence for answers you got wrong,) your brain automatically engages those circuits more often and remembers the kind of problem it worked for.  When you have a high level of confidence for a question you answered wrong (or a low level of confidence in a correct answer) your brain will automatically stop using those circuits in favor of the ones that produced an appropriate level of confidence.  


As you practice paying attention and evaluating your intuition, your confidence-check will become generally more accurate; you’ll know more often when you have it right or if your answer is shaky.  You will also start to notice which kinds of questions you can trust it to help you with, and which kind it cannot.

Learning when you can trust your hunches and when they are nothing but guesses might be the primary advantage of consciously training your intuition.  

Sometimes it comes down to guessing, and when it does, your intuition is often the only resource you have.
We now know that engaging the emotions are necessary for our best thinking:

Research has also repeatedly shown that for major life decisions, or very complicated ones, intuition and gut checks often give superior results than a more deliberate analysis;

…but only when you’ve given your intuition good information!

©2005 Thomas R. McWilliams Jr

I have a theory that one way to help people (de)program our conditioned responses is to learn the structures of minds that create the pattern, so we can become CONSCIOUS of what we install in our ‘authority muscle.’neuro_bill_nice_read

Before I describe a theory about that structure and the language I think will sell for telling people about their robotic responses, I will offer some primary sources:

Throwing lead to song & language as well as a projective imagination:

Consciousness is a learned process based on metaphoric language, first inspired by the failure and concomitant re-structuring of an older organization of mind:

There are archetypal ways of thinking that all people, and even many other creatures, share, like the numbers 1, 2, 3, or the ideas of a container, trajectory, boundary or destination:

OK, here’s the basic structure:left_temporal_lobe

On the left side of the brain, we find the language areas: Broca’s & Wernicke’s areas. They are in charge of syntax, meaning and vocal muscles.


They are connected, via the corpus collosum, to corresponding areas on the right hemisphere, which have an indeterminate function.

When those areas on the right side are stimulated with electricity, people hear:

Their dead uncle.

Jaynes posits that at one time, people operated unconsciously, almost like a schizophrenic, using rote memorized listy left-brain instructions to get by, and when something didn’t work out, when there was some kind of stress …. the right brain would take over, and tell the left brain, with an auditory hallucination…what to do.

This voice is what the Ancient Egyptians called their Ka, or “personal god” which they ALL had.

The Ka is what you hear … as you read these words.

The Ka is what creates the ubiquitous ‘sensed presence’ effect.

The Ka is what hypnotists grab, when they trick your left brain into focusing on some stupid rote BS.

The Ka is where people get their imaginary friends.

The Ka is what disappeared … and became a new frame of mind, a conscious one … and which caused world-wide stories about humankind’s abandonment by the gods.

The Ka is what came out during the Salem Witch trials.sheeple

The Ka is what Freud called The Superego.

The Ka is the god part of the mind.

The Ka is where “Sheeple” originates…and it releives the stress of coping with inscrutable people…or seeing ourselves as trapped.

Jaynes posits that such a structure of mind explains not only the many examples of villages with a central dead guy but also the massively complex cereal cultures of the Mayans and Egytpians, with each person guided by the internal voice of their boss, and the boss would have the grandboss in his head, and his bosses’ boss in his head, all the way up to the pharoh …. who has “god’s” voice in his head.

The “Tower Of Babel” is the legend caused when a tsunami wrecked the mediterranian and created millions of refugees who all had crazy voices in their heads.

Some of them became conscious.

That loss of god is why so many people use things like prayer wheels or dice or lots or tarot or astrology or or or.. to try to read the mind of god, who has clearly deserted us.

The Delphic Oracle was a young girl, likely trained and lubricated with drugs to fall back into that older state of mind.

Schizophrenia may well be when someone falls back into it, which has been known to occur as a result of extreme stress.

The Ka is where certain messages get installed.

When people talk about ‘planting seeds’ they are talking about installing something in someone’s Ka.

Sound loops, which happen when rhythms or songs have odd beats, occur in the Ka.

Start telling people about their Ka – what’s the worst that can happen?

OK now onto some modern extensions, more speculative;

People can only keep track of about 150 relationships. I believe that limitation is from the Ka – it can only “store” that many “reflections.”

People learn numbers the same way we learn each other; like characters in a atory or people in our lives, by paying attention to how they interact with each other. Perhaps the Ka is what gives us our number sense.

The primary use of the Ka is to relate to each other, or anticipate each other. We cast reflections of other people in order to imagine talking to them or how they might like some offer or suggestion. Most people can imagine deliberations with specific people, even arguing both sides internally…because of the Ka.

Narcisists and other Cluster B personality types misuse their Ka’s, using it to hide from others instead of connecting with them.

Problem 1: How do you protect yours from some kind of ridiculous bullshit being installed?

Problem 2: Is there a reliable anti-ideological system?

Problem 3: How do you make sure your ‘authority’ muscle has something behind it?

Problem 4: Does learning the dynamics protect you … or make you more susceptible?


There is certainly a grand-champion hall-of-famer MOST annoying question, based on how much turmoil it has caused over the last 2,500 years, and based on how easily you can annoy someone with it today, right now.

    Thales of Miletus, the “First Sage Of Antiquity” started teaching his students to ask it while his contemporaries were still teaching them to shut up and listen. That basic distinction can still be used to distinguish a good teacher from a poor one, and “the bucket theory of mind” was formally refuted at least 100 years ago.

The ultimate annoying question literally built our world, because of its critical role in the flowering of intellectual culture in ancient Athens, and again because of its critical role in the Enlightenment, Scientific and Industrial revolutions.

One can rightly consider Western Civilization to be defined by the regular and systematic use of this Most Annoying Question (and everyone knows how annoying Western Civilization is to both it’s enemies and participants.) Without those revolutions, our population would still be in the millions world-wide, instead of on its way to topping out at 12 billion, which means that you and I and approximately everyone you know owes their life to Thales teaching his students this most annoying question;

Q: But How Do You Know?

    How do I know it’s such an annoying question?

    Test it for yourself; try asking it of your child, parent, spouse, boss, employee, salesman, vendor, teacher or student.

   Regrettably, Western Civilization works so well because of the annoying features, not in spite of them.    illspots

If you want to start down the ultimate path, begin with the first thing you can remember.



boatfall A principle is a relationship, in every case.

When two (or more) items interact, the rules that describe their interaction can only be discovered, illustrated or applied by recourse to the behavior they cause in each other.  A single item cannot teach a principle.

Hence, The Principle of Unity, taught to each of us before we can remember:  Unity is Plural, and at minimum, Two.  We know darkness, because of light.  We know of coldness, because there is warmth.  As our minds were forming, we only become aware of ourselves, when we recognized that there are others.  Who do you suppose is the first person you can remember?

The Principle of Unity has been passed down through history in many ways, some accurate, some not:  There is only One; Opposites come in pairs; 1 + 1 = 3; the Law of Identity.
Many similar expressions exist, because the root notion is the foundation of all knowledge:  You can’t even begin to recognize a principle, until at least two items interact accordingly.  That’s the only way Principles manifest.

A rather cumbersome dialect holds it as the Principle of Category: pictures in the mind (vidéa) associate, based on their qualities, into different classes.  These classes have sub-classes, based on more specific properties and qualia, each member of which predicates the qualities used to recognize the super class.  Ugh! Latin.  Is anyone bored, yet?  Who can possibly trust the language of the nation that invented long-term inflation, some MM+ years ago?

As an example of a major weakness of this formulation:  The qualities you select to define your categories are demonstrably arbitrary, a fact which went unnoticed for 1.5K years, and is still widely unfamiliar, 2K years later, and despite our continued use of their symbols, words, and models — or is it precisely because we still use them?

Thinking in terms of classes / objects / substances is why it can be so difficult to recognize that a dimension of our experience is missing from our language: reification.

A fatal, permanent error exists in the Latin formulation, as well:  What’s the most-general class?

Answer 1:  Oops, I can’t trust this logical formulation to provide useful results.  Worse, I now know that I won’t be able to tell the difference between the useful and the useless, which is the only reason to have any logical formulation at all. (Back to the drawing board…)

Answer 2:  Ainu / Allah / Brahman / God / Yahweh / Zen /  The Rule(r) of Rule(s) / The Great Pumpkin
Translation:  I neither know, nor care.

Answer 3:  Geometry starry_logo_512xjpg(Pythagoras, to my knowledge, was the first to get this close – Kepler agreed)

Answer 4: A system of organization (Aristotle came up with this one – R. Buckminster Fuller agreed.)

Physical Principles

Unlike our planet and moon, the principle that keeps them bound weighs absolutely nothing at all.  Despite their ethereal nature, principles are completely real.  Some have even said ‘reality’ is made of nothing else; there are no items, only principles.  Modern Physics proves it’s possible, and the name of that idea is String Theory.

Though completely invisible, gravity operates on everything we know.  As the tools of science extends our senses into previously hidden realms, we’ve learned that 99.99+% of reality is totally unavailable to unaided human sensory equipment.3earth

It should be no surprise that Universe operates according to invisible recipes.

It seems that humans are designed to (re)discover them, however; such discovery is how humans survive, by employing some principles to improve and extend their biological functions, and being aware of others, as a way of avoiding mistakes. Some say that “man was made in God’s image” because our minds can develop ideas which match the “ideas” that God used to think the universe into existence. Perhaps more literally it means our minds can grasp, simulate and model the abstract relations we experience in the universe and which people really mean when they say “God.” Spinoza’s Pantheism, Deism and Einstein’s Non-Anthropomorphic Conception Of God are aternative names for approximately identical notions.

Speculation is unending about whether the Universe wants us to stay…and probably will be, as long as it hasn’t decided ‘no.’

Principles – the rules by which events occur – possess certain characteristics.  Only a True Principle has all of them.

  1. Always operating everywhere
  2. Have no mass or energy
  3. Expressible mathematically
  4. Learning allows prediction
  5. Employing allows achievement
  6. Ignoring one can be fatal
  7. None interferes with any other

They can certainly oppose each other, as does a star, balancing gravity and radiation to exist.  Throughout it (and, indeed, the Universe), both of the governing principles – matter attracts and radiation explodes – always operate … as does every other True Principle.


You can see this demonstrated in the operation of chemistry, as well:  Electric forces between molecules operate according to highly predictable and eminently employable principles.  All life is technology, designed in a manner to employ such principles, built of structures which resist deformations because of the strength and geometry of the specific principles which bind them.realityMT

Such structures are experienced as ‘substance.’  The geometry is their form.  Their integrity is why we know they are real:  We can ‘touch’ them, which means when we push on them they push back … though technically ‘touch’ never actually occurs; the resistance we use to notice something is real – the pushback – actually results from electrical interactions between items that aren’t in contact.

freqmapbluebigWhen you sit upon a chair, it is ultimately electric attraction between the atoms in the chair which keeps it from collapsing.  Your weight is transferred down, via electrical forces, into the chair or ground.  This down-pressure converts to an out deformation – a bean bag seems like a structureless chair, but the tension in the fabric that keeps it together is ultimately what stops the down-into-out transformation, and thus stops your down translation.  That is, the tension in the chair (the legs for a regular chair or the tensile stength of the bag for a beanbag chair) stop you from falling all the way to the ground when you sit down (and the chair keeps its structure.)

It is only the operation of structure – the resistance to deformation – which creates an experience of ‘stuff’ and simultaneously defines structure because of that experience. There aren’t really any things or substances. Only objects; event-complexes; something attended to.

Air, for example, doesn’t resist deformation at all.  Though any one particle does have structure, the ‘substance’ of ‘air’ isn’t even there; it just moves out of the way, infinitely deformable.

This is the beginning of General Systems Theory; Principles + Motion + Shape + Experience = Reality.