Ideas, plus Cycles.

Consider this a journal entry.

I’ll try to fit a picture or two in somewhere.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford. In it he chronicles the rise of industrialization and many, many other trends in work and society. It’s a great book, and I have been enjoying it.

However, tonight for the first time I’ve been extremely annoyed with it. At the start of chapter seven, he starts explaining something through a story that I find very silly. He talks about how ill formed the conception of knowledge is in western thought by talking about the platonic ideal… but he does this by talking about socrates in the Aristophanes play clouds and he doesn’t actually address the Platonic Ideal at all, so it’s very confusing and dumb sounding… which is rhetorically his point —  but it’s tiresome to read. He is calling platonic ideals a “universal knowledge” which is more grandiose-sounding than he would likely elect for it. It does a good job of explaning and acquainting these concepts succintly, but for someone who knows what the fuck he’s on about it’s frustrating to read many words that point, fumblingly and with cumbersome imprecision, to concepts I believe myself to already understand, as least basely ‘universally.’

He continues to discuss causal reality, but through the guise of ‘interest’ and subject-object relationships. Among such subjects are a hammer and a beautiful stranger. I’m writhing in my chair to keep Madonna out of my head. Guh.

This is, of course, a perfectly functional intro-primer to an otherwise enjoyable, funny, poignant chapter when viewed on the whole. But for someone who has taken a few courses of philosophy, it was annoying to hear it discussed in such barstool eloquence. It just surprised me, because for a book which has filled seven chapters with somewhat dumbed-down content, this was the first time I felt I was being talked down to. Shit, I felt like he was telling a five year old a magical story to set up for some moral lesson.

Finally, on page 168, he co-opts another’s language in a huge block quote and completely ignores the context of the argument he refutes, in a falsely proud rhetoric of accomplished victory. He says “(tacit knowledge can result in) intuitive judgements of complex systems … (that) are sometimes richer than can be captured by any set of algorithms.”

I view mathematics to be a language, and language simply as the distillation and communication of knowledge. The set of algorithms that could replicate such intuitive judgements would likely be more complex than any person alive could fathom, and would likely need to include a distillation of concepts of conciousness we have not yet discovered… but to say it’s not possible to distill one particular type of knowledge into one particular type of language, especially mathematics, is silly. He didn’t say it couldn’t be done currently, he said it couldn’t be done period. This is why I felt it was a disastrously myopic, miscalculated argument.

Or maybe it’s not. I don’t know. I just feel like his distrust of computational thought is a little crass and careless. Specifically because, we don’t know that the mind is NOT simply computational, with influences we cannot measure or have not discovered yet. He states that that idea is falling out of favor, but doesn’t go into why and doesn’t give the whole concept due credit.

Science is just a way of understanding things, and what makes it so gloriously beautiful, so eminently brilliant… so justly and wonderfully REAL is the simple fact that it accommodates for, and often actively seeks out, additional complexity or revisions of knowledge. If we discover, through science, another influence on how a brain thinks, such a discovery can equally reinforce or diminish the idea of intellectual technology that he spits so sourly on. Knowledge, through science most admirably but also through his precious ‘tacit’ understanding, can become more complex to incorporate such judgments.  Understandings have been, historically and most convincingly through science, turned from tacit to explicit knowledge.

Just because we don’t know everything about a particular thing, like a skilled expert’s decision making judgments, doesn’t mean we know nothing about them. It just means we may not have all the pieces of the puzzle yet.

But enough of that.

In other news, my bike is at the powdercoaters, being colored a brilliantly chipper metallic green, like sunshone grass or ferocious leaves on young trees. I’m excited. It’s a deep, two coat process of first a metallic green and then a clear… so it should look sufficiently ‘wet’ and deep to replicate the look of a nice paint job all while being harder, thicker, and more resilient than paint. It is costing a considerable amount and I can’t really afford it, so I feel bad about it… but not bad enough to quit loving and being excited for it.

This green is the kind of green you see in the eyes of a girl who puts emeralds to shame with her gaze. It’s a bright, lively green that eminates from the freshest and most lush of nature’s bounties. It’s sexy in the way fingertips tracing lines across flesh are sexy. It beckons. I have always loved green, in a strange, mysterious way. Darker than mint but more brilliant and jazzy than grass. It’s called sparkling apple green. It’s a warm green. Very yellow, similar to a snake but deeper. I am so excited.

Because I’m broke I’ll have to simply clean my parts and rebuild it with my existing black components. The current groupo splashes with gold cranks and white rims, while the black post stem saddle and wheel hardware plays a shadow act to the silver pedals and bars. I may enrelish the steed with some doublestraps for the pedals, and rewrap the bars with some black or brown tape I have lying around… but the real lovely changes I want to make will have to wait. For the sake of  cohesion, I have the option of switching to black bars and pedals(well, mostly black pedals anyways) with a gold brake… but part of what I love about my kilo is that it looks so sexy as a subtle, new-techy track bike.

I do want to reequip the frame with a slew of new parts. If I had the money I would give it a full boutique offering.

Namely, a King or campy headset, silver Thomson components, Phil hubs, an Arione saddle, and some nicer rims, likely mavics. All of that is far too expensive though for now. I can’t help but think the bike would really pop with all silver components including polished rims and bars, accompanied by white phil hubs, white grips, and a white saddle. I’m kind of done with the black bike parts thing.

Speaking of bikes, here’s photos from a trip to Alki today. I had a great time with these three chaps.

I’ll leave you with a quote that just oozes attitude. It’s something I find myself echoing at least in spirit often lately…

“Yeah, that sounds like a whole thing. I’m not into it.” – Dennis, Always Sunny.


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