Essays - Science

Distill The Zeit

The Savage Mind – Claude Levi-Strauss Scar Tissue – Anthony Kiedis

Power, Sex and Suicide – Nick Lane (the story of mitochondria)

Distill:  To concentrate, to extract the essential elements.

Zeit: A JB neolog - an abbreviation of zeitgeist. Meaning has not changed. Zeitgeist has too many syllables. It has a harsh sound. Shortening zeitgeist to zeit, still meaning the temper of the age, the tenor of the times, the water we all swim in like it or not, rebel or not, winner, loser, guru, boozer.  Zeit is the more flexible layer of our operating myth (the Technium-see definitions at start), containing deep shadows of myth memory.  Every generation has its zeit-swerve, a feel, a conglomeration of values - many values unspoken and many values enforced by law to ensure that you get the message.

Zeitgeist: The spirit of the time.  The trend of thought and emotion characteristic of a particular period. The beliefs, ideas and spirit of a time, its intellectual, moral and cultural climate.

Zeit-Search: An ongoing component of every science and humanities curriculum.

Acknowledging and examining such things as Myth and zeit (must read Kuhn TSOSR  1962). Myth is capitalized in this essay because it includes all manifestations uniquely human. If it is pondered, compared, analyzed, planned, debated, fought over within the neurons of the neocortex it is the stuff of Myth.  If Myth is a big sockeye salmon, zeit is a salmon egg. They’re both fishy.

Humans have a great strength and a great weakness, these are that everyone lives by the spirit of their times and does so with intensity. Each zeit has a foundation of reinforced concrete, a flexible wood frame, moveable partitions, a leaky roof, conditioned air, hot air, cold air, moldy air, stuffy attic, invisible spirits, voices from the past, smoke and mirrors.  Each generation has an avante garde trying to open windows or saw holes in the wall or tear the whole house down.  Maybe it’s still wintertime in the soul of the culture, maybe it has been springtime for weeks, time to introduce some fresh air.

“You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.” - Bob Dylan

There will always be weathermen yammering about wind direction. - JB

Somewhere in the sunny Caribbean there are three young fish swimming side by side.  An older fish swims along and asks: “How’s the water fellas?”  They respond in unison: “What the hell’s water?” – D.F. Wallace

“Creativity begins in the imaginative grasp of a world of relationships hitherto obscured by clouds of received notions. Anomalies in the received tradition are detected, discrepancies observed, and then one discovers a composite, integrated world that lain hidden - complex, multitudinous: like fictional worlds of Proust or Faulkner. In a rising excitement the discoverer sets out to explore it all, to show its details, its interconnections, and its vitality. That recovery of a hitherto submerged world and the capacity to conceive of it as a whole, form the essence of historical creativity.”

- Bernard Bailyn

Zeit: Our world of ideas, prejudices, values, core beliefs and all other relationships within the technium. Zeit plus Technium equals Operative Myth aka Myth with a capital M to indicate its all-encompassing scope for all individuals.

“Magic: A treasury of ideas” - Franz Boas

“Mythical thought can be capable of generalizing and so, be scientific, even though it is still entangled in imagery.” - Claude Levi-Strauss

The primary role of the human neocortex is to translate sensory input into biochemical patterns and in so doing to conserve these chemical changes as culture, memory and matrices for language, social interaction, altruism, curiosity, tool use, i.e. sentience, raw material for Shakespeare, Dante, Dickens, Dostoevsky, and Rachel Maddow.

Biochemical patterns unique to an individual are created in the brain and other organs by adding small groups of molecules to core genetic sequences and copied onto RNA. This process is called PTM (PTM, with its multiple meanings now comprises Post Transcriptional Modification and Histone modification within the cell nucleus and Post Translational Modification after exit from the ribosome). PTM is any chemical change to any genetic or potential genetic material that affects the expression of a gene in the living organism or its descendants. Transcription is the copying of a sequence of bases  (a gene) from a single strand of uncoiled DNA floating in nuclear soup in each of our 15 trillion cells.

Once this primary, highly conserved information is copied by the RNA from DNA. it is transferred through a nuclear pore out into the rough endoplasmic reticulum surrounding the nuclear membrane where the RNA passes the gene-code to a ribosome where the protein is constructed with amino acids. After the core protein has been manufactured (translated), it is modified to serve its finer functions.  If it’s a liver cell it is will be modified to process bile. If it is a photoreceptor cell, it must be modified into a cone cell in order to distinguish color or, if an auditory cell for a range of pitches.

I don’t want liver cells that beat or heart muscle that produces hair or the cells in my eyeball struggling to distinguish between 15,000 olfactory stimulants. The genetic code for an auditory cell is transcribed by the RNA in the nucleus of a cell already expressed as cochlear and in passing through the ribosomes of a cochlear cell, base sequences created from the same gene receive a unique molecule attached or is folded in a unique twist giving its hair cells the proper height bundles of hairs to distinguish between A flat and A and B and C and C sharp and so on. This unique hair-height feature is controlled by a specific histone that has evolved and been conserved for this task. Remember, for each of our 20,000 protein coding genes there are from 750 to 110,000 associated histones that may add specificity to each gene. The average gene is 27,000 bases. There are eight histones for every 146 bases. There are more options / opportunities for protein molecule variety than particles of everything in the entire universe. The genome is just the starting point.   If Watson, Crick and Mendel are of the DNA then God is of the PTMs, the Post Transcriptional-Translational Modifications to proteins. Histones are proteins.

Where in our genome (as this detailed info must be in there somewhere) are these hundreds of pitch differentials coded?  Given, this end use point coding of pitch specificity occurs at the cochlea in a hair cell. We know that a 33-week-old fetus can hear sound.  It must be that the gene for hearing has been activated on two occasions - once to code for the hair cell itself as a type of cell and then again later for a specific pitch (the length of hairs in each cell’s hair cluster) - one small PTM (at translation) to create the hair cell and then 700 additional PTMs from DNA at end-user, the organ of corti at the cochlea. This from a second DNA uncoiling of bases and associated histones to reveal the audio gene(s) with all of their hair length- pitch-code now made available.  What gives the cochlear cell the signal to unwind its nucleosomes for this renewed access to genetic material for pitch differential? There must be at least 700 different PTMs in the chromatin for this hair-length information that will be expressed in the 700 different hair cells aligned in order of pitch from low to high along the organ of corti – some hairs are moved by the piccolos and some by the bass and some will be capable of hearing a plucked cable of the Golden Gate Bridge (lowest limit of audio perception).

Questions & Observations:

  1. What genes code for air vibration sensation at cochlea?
  1. How many genes code for the cochlear hair cells?
  1. Are 2 genes and 700 PTMs required to make the human hearing apparatus or are there 700 genes with their PTMs that code for hair cell differentiation at the cochlea’s organ of corti? Perhaps a single long gene with all 700 pitch differential lengths coded by a mix n’ match of exons during transcription of this single gene. A gene with a million bases would provide a large arena for such distinctions.
  1. What governs / controls / codes hair height in hair cells? Is it the cell’s location along the organ of corti that limits the amount of a specific growth-factor? One PTM per specific hair height?
  1. How many trips between the DNA and ribosomes are made during hair cell-hair length protein production in the fetal organ of corti?
  1.    How does blood get past the blood-brain barrier?
  2.    FOXP2 gene police more lenient than the police at all other organ tissues therefore cultural change acquired during lifetime are more likely to be passed on.
  3.    How would ANY mutation avoid being acquired during a single lifetime at some point in organism’s evolutionary history thus exhibiting Lamarckism?  All mutations are an acquired characteristic at least once.
  1. Is FOXP2 mutation-policing absent where a child inherits an entire suite of acquired characteristics from a talented parent: Picasso, Mozart?
  1. How might one explain Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius for architecture?  His father was a preacher.  His mother willed him to be an architect from his first trimester.  Perhaps a suite of sensibility planted by a supernatural entity in parental DNA or into fetus Frank in utero with his embryonic neural DNA invaded by Pietro Brunelleschi’s spirit-walk-in.  Cue: “Twilight Zone” theme.
  1. Genetic factors that pass on talent must evaporate after their second use. Wright’s sons were not gifted architects though John Lloyd Wright invented Lincoln Logs.  Picasso’s children were not notable painters.
  1. Big T-pot: Methylated histones at outermost layers of neocortical neurons at temporal lobe-audio cortex migrate via blood and are tagged for destination at germ cells by golgi apparatus.  These neurons last for one’s entire life, there is plenty of time to send such chemical messages to the germ cells, maybe by a means of transport much slower than blood, lymph perhaps or simply winding their way across the landscape of the body with each tissue along the route reading the destination address and forwarding histone with PTM as necessary like a chemical Pony Express. Traveling in cerebrospinal fluid to pelvic region-ovaries where these cortical neuron PTM’d histones that have been methylated with music sensibility (abstracted clusters of trained-interconnected neurons i.e. 500,000 synaptic interconnections coded into a single cell for transport to the germ and where might this talent packaging occur? the hippocampus.
  1. There is a cascade of operations involving a few of these structures - each adding a layer of genetically decipherable abstraction. One group of methylated proteins carry a lifetime of music skill down to an egg or perhaps to all of the eggs and a couple of days’ worth of sperm where it works its way into some uncoiled nucleosome where it will get locked into some junk DNA and recoiled after fertilization and meiosis-mitosis and passed onto to the child of the virtuoso where this skill headstart will flower into full-fledged genius - prodigal expression and a concert tour of Europe at age nine.
  1. Do histones migrate from cell nucleus to the cytoplasm of its own cell?
  1. Do histones migrate from one cell to another?
  1. Do histones migrate from one organ system to another?
  1. Are histones intercell messengers?
  1. Has anyone ever searched beyond the cell nucleus for histones?
  1. What circulates faster lymph or cerebrospinal fluid?
  1. Using the example of touching a hot coal where does the hot memory get locked to avoid an additional burn?  If in a boxing match - remembering that opponent swings from his right after slipping a straight-right jab, this among 500 other vital details of style in a conflict.
  1. This short term memory of an opponent’s fighting quirks is not important enough to be conserved for a future generation but would be important for later encounters with this particular person or others from his tribe.
  2. What is the role of intra or inter-cortical signaling in relation to role in long-term memory. A memory of a poison plant would be useful to all future generations.  Is this toxic taste stored for epigenetic transmission immediately or is it sent to germ cells after a deadly encounter by another member of the tribe looking over a dead body and a half-eaten plant?
  1. Does a foul taste take a different path through the six layers of the neocortex and or limbic system-brain stem  than a pleasant, seductively delicious taste or the path of an ordinary taste encountered often?
  1. It seems like a very bad taste-larger negative effect ought to be sent on its way to the germ cells sooner rather than later.
  1. As this epigenetic information arrives at the chromatin of an egg. how does it find its way to the appropriate collapsed puddle of DNA for storage and transmission?
  1. If a vital genetic message is sent to a sperm it has only a day or two to find an egg or the important message is lost.
  1. Epigenetic messages accrue in women and are very transitory in men.  Maybe people have more sex in times of catastrophe or social upheaval to fire both barrels toward the bookkeeper of the species, the DNA memory bank.
  1. How soon can a particular synapse reboot in order to send another signal?
  1. How might this repeat-rate affect the number and type and distance of interconnections of dendrites?
  1. I am in a fight with a wildcat and the blows are flying fast and I want to remember the details of this animal’s head bobs, incoming paw direction and speed, my brainstem that are receiving signals re: blows landing intensity and direction I might want several avenues to my “fast lane” memory storage.
  1. Determine the part of the brain that creates the most CO2 or that uses the most blood in a fight or flight emergency. Is this related to the type / location / destination of the memory and its pathway(s).
  1.         Memory might be divided up by the brain as follows:
  2.            VSTV…..very short-term vital
  3.            VSTT…..very short-term trivial
  4.            VLTV…..very long-term vital - individual or group-tribe-clan survival
  5.            ILT……..intensely long-term for clade, phylum, kingdom survival

How is a signal stored to reflect future use? Where on the molecule is the sensory signal tagged for very short-term vital recall.  Perhaps electrical signal, accompanied by a molecule of adrenalin, stands alert  in memory for split-second retrieval.  In the examples, above: a through d, each needs a tag to indicate the duration of memory from:

  1.            hyper- long for species level effects: I must remember to hibernate.
  2.            very long for generational effect: Salmon run at this fork in the river.
  3.            long for single life duration effects: Remember my mama’s birthday.
  4.            medium- Where I parked the car at the mall.
  5.                   short - Stochastic directionality of flying paws with claws.
  6.  An individual human has an experience whose memory and genetic conservation is crucial to the survival all three domains of life on Earth how is this knowledge, this memory conserved? What are the sensory-motor-genetic pathways and mechanisms of conservation?  Written language and mathematical equations are too abstract - best to hardwire this experience into the genome and not depend on Google - Wikipedia-Facebook.  How is this accomplished? A-epigenetics, B-epigenetics.
  7. According to Neo-Darwinism all species memory, i.e. genetic change is rooted in mutation whether by chance (Darwin) or by internal forces ( Galton, Kimura, et al). This mutation ( according to Darwin) occurs in an individual providing immediate reproductive advantage.  This all domain-saving thought would not be manifest for two generations.  How can we sidestep Darwinian causation to ensure that this life-saving wisdom in not lost?
  8.  There must be alternate pathway(s) to conservation of mutation than natural selection acting on individuals during their lives.
  9.  Which would result in more useful mitochondria ( i.e. cell energy) a few large neurons or many small neurons?
  10.  Are the nuclei in larger neurons proportionally larger than those in small neurons?
  11.  Would it be harder to evacuate waste from central area of a larger cell, so larger neurons not used for rapid response signaling that would require high ATP consumption.
  12.  Do larger neurons produce more proteinic variety than small neurons? Perhaps a larger neuron would produce only GABAergic proteins whereas the smaller would produce serotonin, acetylcholine and norepinephrine.
  13.  What are warmer given equal amounts of blood - veins or arteries?
  14.  Science and art are both about noticing the world.  Drawing as a child helps one to stretch the capacity for observation of any kind.  Don’t wait for science class in high school to begin looking closely at small and large stuff.
  15.  Does a human smell his / her own fear?  Does this smell affect behavior, i.e. external stimulus augments internal signal to get the hell outta Dodge.
  16.  Is fear “smelled” by olfactory system or detected by one’s vomeronasal apparatus as a pheromone?  Is there a fear pheromone? Is there a fear signaling chemical transported by air produced by a frightened organism?
  17. Would Romulus have a blank neocortex if raised by wolves with no Remus or other humans to socialize with?
  18.  If a human grew up isolated from other humans with no living things other than non-humans, would its neocortex remain unused and empty - the blank slate remaining blank with all brain function handled nicely by a small deer or dog-size neocortex, limbic system, brain stem.  Would social interaction with wolves or horses stimulate development in the neocortex?


“Mythical thought builds ideological castles out of the debris of social discourse.”

- Claude Levi-Strauss

Social discourse is nothing but mythical thought in the first place-debris everywhere-JB

A Mythical thought:  On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

The following thinkers created the debris of mid-Victorian social discourse:

  1. Jeremy Bentham
  2. Goethe
  3. Malthus
  4. Lamarck
  5. Cuvier
  6. Adam Smith
  7. John Ruskin
  8. Charles Lyell
  9. Matthew Arnold

Humans, like termites, push around their little clod of dirt (activities for earning a living, gaining social status, reproducing, killing time) all the while creating an urban architecture possessing complex mathematical properties.

“All myths tell a story.”  Claude Levi-Strauss

“Myth starts from a structure by means of which it constructs a set.” – CLS

Our initiating structure is a set of genes coding for neocortical growth and activity on two levels; that of the social order and that of each person.  Every culture and every generation chooses its keepers. The following list contains some of our keepers.

  1.            U.S. Constitution
  2.            George Washington - the idea
  3.            Primacy of contracts and other law established by Marshall court.
  4.            The myth of progress, myth of Wild West, Hollywood
  5.            writers: Grant, Twain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Mailer, Heller, Wallace, Shteyngart
  6.             Songwriters: Francis Scott Key, Stephen Foster, Hoagy Carmichael, Doc Pomus

The individual weaves the fabric of his / her identity from the multi-hue thread of family and friends, teachers, internet, movies, tv and books and as much nature as one can stomach – rivers, tides, animals, galaxies.

One can’t just say “Cubism is Cezanne for Dummies” or “Cezanne is the source for 20th, 21st century art” without discussing what exactly it was that Cezanne did.  He painted in a slow, tortured anti-bravura manner ( for bravura manner see: Joaquin Sorolla 1863-1923) Cezanne’s everyday technique involved one hour of looking for each  minute of applying paint to canvas. He painted in a way that creates the simultaneous perception of deep space ( think Mt. St. Victoire) and the actual surface of his canvas - an odd thing to do as it begs the following questions as it answers them; what is pictorial space? Why always a window? Why always an open window? Cezanne destroys the window as he celebrates the surface of the canvas. There are no windows either opened or fogged with Cezanne. It’s just you and the wild outdoors or you standing in his dining room or kitchen. Cezanne destroys the window.  He performs this magic act with passage and facture.  Passage is those large patches of sky that appear to be locked into the midground tree branches and the foreground dirt road.  Facture is those small fields of 3-dimensional pigment, actual brush strokes about half inch by half inch used to render sky or cloud or tree foliage, little patches of paint that scream “This is paint ! This is the surface it is painted onto! and….This is sky mutha-fuckkka!”  

Cezanne asks trope-defying questions while delivering a deep, soulful depiction of nature and in so doing, a view of his own humble, durable, tenacious, hardworking spirit.  He has simultaneously removed the ground rules of 350 years of Western painting and gives in return an art of depth, belief and imagination.  Cezanne demonstrates the superficiality of the previously unquestioned rules of myth-making in paint, their fallibility.

Cezanne opened the door to countless experiments, Cubism among them - Cezanne is the source of all Art- isms postdating 1905.  Cubism toys with only one or two of Cezanne’s many facets but not all.  After Cezanne, all Art is about art - no longer about “nature” nature: i.e. trees, soulful facial expression, rivers, sunlight on flowers or sunlight on anything other than the canvas itself.  See: Malevich “Red Square,”  Cezanne is the perfect Christian, a good man in tune with nature and free of zealotry, dogma and petty catechisms.

Does art ever get transformed into a scientific instrument, an heuristic? Or is our cosmic path toward entropy always from technology to art from the factory to the art gallery? Answer: All art is science.

If Lyell, Carlyle, Malthus, Smith, Ruskin, Dickens, et al were the zeit-threads of Darwin’s Victorian cloth  who are the more recent zeit-weavers?


  1.            Woz-Jobs
  2.            Moore-Grove
  3.            Brin-Page
  4.            Gates
  5.            Zuckerberg
  6.             Jenny Blake
  7.            Seth Godin
  8.            James Altucher
  9.              Chris Hedges

Synthesize the aforementioned for a big new theory of “What It Is.”

How might the ideas of these people be united into a single over-arching idea that would refresh art, science and philosophy?  Who were the great zeit-distillers of the Christian era?  Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?

  1.            Jesus (is not buried in Grant’s tomb)
  2.            Martin Luther
  3.            Adam Smith-Thomas Jefferson-James Watt
  4.            U.S. Constitution
  5.            Darwin’s “On Origin of Species”
  6.             Wozniak et al.

Do creeping plants like ivy share any chemical process with axons as they both seek verticality? Yes, they both pump protons.  Zeit is distilled on a number of levels from bottom to top and from top to bottom.  Sometimes small ideas accrue to large effect creating an idea avalanche changing all in their path - both directions are constantly at work, up and down the taxonomic ladder or along its mobius strip. These are phenomena whose effects are beyond intention, i.e. if 6 billion people drink water every day there are small effects on a global scale that create effects that are beyond intention.  The same goes for eight billion people using the toilet or driving their cars. The large effects will happen beyond individual intention because of numbers alone, as properties of combined effects.

The zeit is always in flux.  When the number of suzerainties in Western Europe reached critical mass, nation-states emerged and absolute monarchs reigned. Zeit is also distilled at the more local levels of person, family, friends, profession, community, state, nation.

Each decade has its zeit-distilling TV shows: “Jackie Gleason” and “I Love Lucy” “Bonanza””Andy Griffith” “All In the Family” “Mash” “Cheers” “Breaking Bad” “Nurse Jackie Gleason” ….and its zeit-ey books: Mailer, Wolfe, Roth, Sontag, Heller, Updike, Didion, Tom Robbins, Tom McGuane, D.F. Wallace, Gary Shteyngart, Richard Ford. Looking at music; In order to be ziet-worthy, songs must be simply structured, melodic, harmonic, danceable and bearing an easily understood message: “da do ron ron” or more recently “Mama say knock you out” I’ll stick to the big zeits or this is going to take all night. What are the effects of a single person on their zeit? Each of us makes the only difference that matters.

Why discuss zeit?  To parse, analyze, describe, explain, deconstruct our operative myth, to split it apart, to gut it like a fish and go over it with a magnifying glass or a scanning tunneling electron microscope. All this in order to understand the context of our new idea so that we may evaluate it effectively, all the time remembering that the act of observation affects the thing observed.  If gradualism was important to Darwin as homage to his esteemed colleague Lyell, then it becomes more vulnerable to challenge than if the idea of gradualism arrived from on high as a cosmic truth accessible only to a mighty mind.

Gradualism, as conceived by Charles Lyell, is the idea that small things accrue for large effect over vast amounts of time.  The silk sleeves of sorrowful maidens leaning plaintively on travertine windowsills wear a groove that holds a trail of tears. The activity of a trillion earthworms over one billion years creates six feet of topsoil in Illinois. The lives of countless tiny corals over eons create The Great Barrier Reef.  As Darwin interpreted Lyell, small mutations accrue over the ages that give a selective advantage to an organism, as these changes accrue, new species emerge.  Turns out that little species evolution follows this pattern but it was the zeit.  Gradualism was in Darwin’s air, it was boldly asserted and plausibly maintained until Eldredge and Gould arrived in 1972 to blow gradualism out of the water. They actually put a pinhole in the hull of the great ship Neo-Darwinism but the leak has been growing-gradually. Darwin’s Big Boat is taking on water now for many reasons.

If new species resulting from random mutation-natural selection have as their source the broad strokes of Malthusian population dynamics and not so much nature’s genetic experiments then random mutation is less fixed as a cause of speciation. Mutation-selection can be seen as an intellectual fashion statement of Victorian vintage and it becomes less fiercely conserved dogma. If the advantage of natural selection and environmental forces simply running their course perform all the weeding of the unfit thus resulting in a beautifully adapted system, say a Tiger, is Darwin tipping his hat to Adam Smith’s laissez faire economics? If so, then perhaps these aspects of Darwin’s thought ought to be revisited in light of our new zeit. This has actually been going on among biologists since the late 19th century. Every bio-scientist takes a swipe at Darwinism.  Some of the big swings of the 1920s and 1930s, discredited at the time are returning with credibility, such as Galton’s internal causality Sewall Wright’s theory of species selection.

It has been said by many of our now renowned, formerly maverick, contemporary scientists that it is important to review one’s “incontrovertible doctrine” as a distillation of popular ideas and not as inviolable, scientific principle that is beyond question.  “Hard Science” implies the malleability characteristic of any zeit, i.e. no science is hard through and through. Zeit hardens into myth under the pressure of subsequent generations. Zeit-fallen leaves compressed into distilled zeit-coal and then into Myth-diamond or deconstructed into elementary building blocks for new life. Our lives and all of those we see around us are the falling leaves. History makes coal-graphite-diamonds.

The prudent as well as the rebels question “accepted” wisdom on all possible levels prior to buying into Myth or zeit.  Kicking the zeit-tires is Job One for anyone over twelve years old. Every avant garde has its spear points. In recent painting pointy Delacroix, Turner, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Picasso, Duchamp, Malevich as well as legions of bohemian obscurities who provided a rich milieu for the geniuses. The nourishing bacterial stench of the rotting organic ideas-fear-despair-depression-hopeless ignominy of the uncelebrated avant garde.  For every Yoko Ono or Andy Warhol there is a cohort of peers who “get it,” who challenge one another with intense competition, commentary, criticism, enthusiasm, comradeship, backbiting, gossip, swapping lovers before they jump out windows.  Picasso had his “Bande au Picasso,” Warhol had his Factory to explore ideas in colorful company.

The prime task for the avant garde is scouring the zeit from every point on the compass, dismantling decaying dogma. The avant garde is our good bacteria digesting swallowed ideas to make room for more nutritious fuel. Contemporary science resists the idea of an avant garde in its sprawling global community. It conserves prejudice and procedure, habit and tradition and hopefully reputation, assuming self and other-correction at all levels: all credible experiment under senior guidance, intense peer review, publication in respected journals. A hard-won reputation is easily blown. In theory, the system cleans itself, no avant garde needed.

Contemporary science is like a big steel tub of crabs crawling over one another trying to pull down ones who have made it to the upper edge for escape into a new paradigm.  Science ought to nurture a class of dedicated zeit-pickers, rebels by job-title. Science views an avant garde as abhorrent and vacuous. God forbid that a young scientist get some publicity in the popular media for her exciting ideas upstaging her “humble” elders. See: “The Sagan Effect”  Every researcher imagines they are the next Newton, Einstein, Feynman, Franklin (R.), Margulis, McClintock. As Tom Wolfe reminds us in The Right Stuff regarding test pilots and astronauts; if you don’t believe you are the greatest fighter pilot of them all, you crash.

Zeit is living Myth.  Myth is the operating system, zeit is apps.  Myth evolves gradually for the most part undergoing abruptions-punctuations every 115 years caused by political, scientific, artistic or technological revolution.  Sometimes a perfect storm.  An abrupt shift in Myth would be a paradigm shift in Kuhnian terms ( see: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions - Thomas Kuhn - 1962)

“Science is a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions.”  Thomas Kuhn – see: JB essay this book “Titanic Twelve”

Myth trumps zeit. Smaller abrupt shifts in Myth are Kuhnian paradigm shifts. Paradigms are a subheading of over-arching, prevailing myth including religion and language of a people. Neither Newton nor Einstein nor Picasso changed the religion or language of their people in order for their ideas to launch great change. There is change and then there is CHANGE.  A bolide (comet, asteroid, meteor-something big crashing to Earth) impact at 50 to 250 million year intervals creates CHANGE.

Myth includes all features of a culture including those that have been highly conserved (religious doctrine, Scientific method, Capitalism and its underpinnings in the legal tradition: contract primacy, property rights, three-act storytelling tropes, humor as other people’s pain and idiocy, music: 7 tones in the scale, literature as other people’s pain and idiocy.  The operative Myth of a people contains everything - the whole ball of wax. Each culture has an operative paradigm, some are more open for a good shift, swerve or juke than others. The paradigm defining document for Americans after The Holy Bible is “The Constitution” For America’s contemporary Capital “A” art world it is Duchamp’s reposition of the R. Mutt urinal. In physics it’s the Feynman diagram, in bioscience it’s the mitochondrion inner membrane proton pump.  Note that as the idea described gets more complex, its defining document becomes simpler.  What is more complex than life? What could be simpler than a base pair or a Feynman diagram?  If a new nation cannot write its Constitution on a single sheet of typing paper it is doomed. E=MC2= The whole shebang!

The vulnerability of any paradigm to change is analogous to the trash receptacle in the men’s can at the Black Rock gas station-mini-mart. It is always overflowing. There is no more room for a single additional paper towel but any fool can put their boot down into this overflowing bin and compress the contents to the bottom making much more room for hundreds of additional paper towels. There is no realm in American business or industry, academics, science, art, literature, pop culture that wouldn’t benefit from a boot stomp to squeeze out hot, warm and cold air, inefficiency, wrong-headedness. Opportunity abounds !

Every scientist, engineer and artist ought to be required to generate a proposition that pokes a hole, however preposterous, in her branch of science or art. A hole in the prevailing paradigm, demonstrating her comprehension that she is not only swimming in water in the first place, but that she might know something of its temperature and chemical composition, its operative dogma, its governing paradigm, its local expression of The Myth.  This probe ought to be formalized. A part of every humanities and science curriculum.  If the young person’s proposition does not induce snickers, frowns, anger or laughter in the faculty, (who all made their bones by drinking the Kool aid of their teachers) she must return to her drawing board until she finds a way to annoy her characters of her establishment.

Well, you say, every scientist, fresh PhDs among them, is probing the unknown all day long. It’s what we do! - perhaps,  but rarely beyond the parameters of professors, peers and publishers.  Myth and its multitude of manifestations are required in order to function. To discover truth,  some Myth must be busted and all myths are bustable - look to the side and deeper.  It takes will-power, talent, tenacity, imagination, hard, sustained work and a bit of seduction and fun along with a sexy idea like gravity, relativity, proton pumping, symbiosis, quantum energy.

A swerve on the Myth, an abruption, gains traction like airborne bacteria attracting H2O molecules to become drops of water and rain. Rain created The Grand Canyon.

Questions & Observations:

  1. Perhaps huge genomes of the broadfooted salamander (65.5 billion base pairs) the African Lungfish (132 billion base pairs) and the Paris Japonica flower (149 billion base pairs) humans clocking in at only 3.2 billion base pairs, are used as storage lockers for 1,000 other organisms - life libraries.
  2. Investigate:  individual’s “junk” DNA coding for features of other organisms.  Do we warehouse the DNA of other species in the event of a catastrophe that wipes out 90% of individuals on the planet so Cosmo doesn’t have to start life again from scratch?
  3. If we do store the DNA of other organisms, are they the same species, clade, phylum or kingdom?
  4. Might “junk” DNA code for bacteria or viruses vital to the host for various functions including digestion or ph regulation, metabolism, earlier forms of respiration and fermentation before all of its efficient metabolic steps evolved as the Krebs Cycle?
  5. Humans evolved from apes, rats, fish, sponges and protists. Perhaps “junk” DNA is left over from our previous incarnations. HOX genes are conserved over hundreds of millions of years, perhaps our fish gill DNA is also conserved but switched off for now as it sits in long-term storage on one of our chromosomes in the event we need to devolve like the whale devolved.
  6. Scenario: Earth gets struck by a colossal ice ball that vaporizes upon impact, vapor condenses creating a global ocean.  The catastrophe initiates much dramatic re-switching of genes from off to on - our prehistoric gills are re-expressed and we swim away.  Hey boys! How’s the water?
  7. Our “junk” DNA is the old crap in the attic that may turn out to be great grandma’s priceless tintypes of Lincoln.
  8. Why would our genomic sensibility toss something away that was expressed and lost one billion years ago that it spent 3 billion years creating?
  9. If this “junk” DNA doesn’t jive with any known living creatures - this is to be expected.  The organisms it jives with have been extinct for a billion years but like the Terminator - They’ll be baaack! 99.9% of species that ever lived are now extinct.
  10. Maybe ‘junk” DNA is used by microbes during decomposition - a reason for them to get involved in the process, harvesting useful nucleotides.
  11. Title for new Paul McCartney album:  “Re-Evolver”
  12. Perhaps “junk” DNA is used during fetal development coding for phantom proteins controlling micro-development of fetus, appearing “junky” postpartum, i.e. for the following 70 years.


Zeit-search: An ongoing component of every science and humanities curriculum.

Acknowledge that there are such things as Myth and  zeit (must read Kuhn TSOSR  1962). Myth is capitalized in this essay because it includes all manifestations uniquely human. If it is pondered, compared, analyzed, planned, debated, fought over within the neurons of the neocortex it is the stuff of Myth.  If Myth is a big sockeye salmon, zeit is a salmon egg. They’re both fish.

Study your zeit. Make many lists. What are the key features of your zeit: deep and shallow, strong and weak? All hindsight is through tinted glasses. My zeit tints my glasses always in all ways. Examine the dyes that tint your glasses. Search for and examine source-zeit or Mythical roots for current beliefs that have been conserved by either popular demand or because they are useful to a powerful group with hidden, latent or expressed nefarious intention. What is Postmodern zeit? How is it different from Modern zeit?

Kill ‘Em All Postmodernism (K-PoMo) is the flowering of the ideas of the apostles of turn of the century French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure during the mid-1960s in American academia, specifically at Yale in the Department of English Literature. Many obscure elements of PoMo texts spread within a decade to architecture, anthropology, sociology, paleontology and other academic realms. The core idea of PoMo is KILL ‘EM ALL. By ALL read anyone who ever had an advantage due to class or race or education. PoMo erases advantage. It deconstructs hierarchies until those at the bottom are at the top. PoMo accelerates social convection.  These PoMo apostles  are inspired by: Barthes, Foucault, Derrida,  Deleuze, Debord, Baudrillard. See: The three Hs (Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger) and Saussure for the seesaw significance of sign and signifier. The Fab Six, the French Invasion. To summarize:  Modernism in a nutshell- left brain, PoMo -  right brain. Connect the dots of THIS cascade of art world causality: Cezanne-Duchamp-Yoko-Warhol-Koons-Barney. And THIS one in bioscience:  Lyell -Darwin-Galton-Mendel-Watson-Margulis-The Fab six, Eldredge/Gould(1972)-Dawkins-Gould ( 2002)-Quantum biologists-present. 1960s PoMo is now over, exhausted but Big Postmodernism (B-PoMo), the stuff of The Titanic Twelve, is just now gaining global traction as we move from 60s “kill ‘em all” PoMo into the new age of digital-robotic-artificial intelligence-nano aspects of B-PoMo.


Levels of Distillation

In his towering novel on everything under the sun with a focus on evolution, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Stephen Gould goes to great length repeating his mantra that every era has built-in prejudice that is difficult to notice and that limits the scope scientific exploration.  This prejudice marginalizes mavericks.

Every zeit has two opposed components providing instant dialectic but rare synthesis, not unlike oil and water:  the linear (left-brain-Modern) and a lateral (right brain-B-Postmodern) interpretation of all phenomena at all levels of abstraction. This omnipresent difference, hardwired into the neocortex, remembering that even prehistory had its modern and postmodern minds, will always spark deep disagreement, conflict, bickering, scoffing with snort- flehmen response as the vomeronasal excitatory waft of a PoMo juke on the topic at hand hits the Jacobson’s organ of a left brain conservative.

The Modern / Postmodern dialectic has been with us since the dawn of civilization.  It is renamed with every new zeit: see: Apollonian-Dionysian, Romantic, Academic, Jacques Louis David’s Classical vs Delacroix’ Romantic, Stendhal vs Dickens. Structuralist-Poststructuralist, Hemingway-Fitzgerald, Mailer-Vidal, Nirvana - Coldplay, graffitist - easel painter. Whoever comes up with the cleverest neolog for this timeless duality achieves a certain fame. The Left-right dialectic is the perpetually setting sun we always misread as dawn.

Any individual will possess only or two or three of Howard Gardner's nine intelligences (two too many, Gardner should have stopped at seven, lose “cosmo” and “self” as these are implied in the others), The Gardner Nine: Nature, Music, Math, Cosmos, EQ, Kinesthetic, Language, Self, Art. The Art-smart person will be a temporal-spatial learner and will be drawn to a different set of tools than a computational learner. Some people smell the beans, some people count the beans; both know beans.

Two 25-ounce cans of beer produce a pleasant hangover conducive to thought.  How?  Perhaps ethanol, as excitatory, stimulates reasoning, problem-solving in the neocortex.  Perhaps ethanol as inhibitor calms the ambition, new-seeking, research hungry neurons allowing synthesis of existing knowledge and creative speculation into unexplored realms.  How many days in a row will this new productivity last before neural pathways become saturated with Budweiser?  I wonder about the quality of the ideas produced under the influence of beer.  I would guess that it is the inhibitory effect on jumpy layer 3 neurons at the tectum allowing synthesis of mental activity into written word.

Large-effect random mutation will typically have destructive outcome to an organism-species in its later stages of evolution.  John Trumbull said of his painting method “I begin with a mop and finish with a one-hair brush.” When nature swings a mop late in evolution the organism dies; however, following a catastrophic comet impact - see” Chicxulub bolide (wiped out dinosaurs) mops are flying every which way, doing foundational work of species opportunity creation. Big opportunities when Oxygen happened in Earth atmosphere and poisoned most life on the planet for whom oxygen was deadly. Splattering random paint may be an effective way to begin a painting but as the work progresses and especially as it nears completion, too many successful structures and processes are in place with their purpose and destiny fixed.  The painted realities are now calling the final phase shots as the painting and the organism control their own evolution with little outside help. Intensely selective of the finest refinements.  A bear isn’t going to decide to become radially symmetrical after 700 million years of bilateral evolution, but there was a time when this organism’s bauplan (now expressed as bilateral bear) was on the table and a choice was made between bilateral and axial symmetry. The painting suggests to its creator how it wants to be resolved re: color, texture, tone.  After the dramatic initial stages of evolution, whether art or animal, the creator is primarily listening to the work speak. The work completes itself using the momentum of prior decisions and a core logic of all art regarding qualities of resolution. As an organism moves further along its evolutionary continuum, it is less likely to welcome any mutation at all regarding not only its core structure and metabolism but mutation to any one of fifteen levels of established, road-tested fact.

So who are the “gene police”? Might “junk” DNA serve a policing function for the 10% of our DNA that has a protein coding function?  Is this 10% evenly distributed spatially along 43 chromosomes or around a locus within chromatin soup in order to be close to its DNA policeman?  Perhaps ‘junk” DNA merely acts as police ensuring that extinct DNA remains switched off. One extinct trait per “junk” policeman. If all 43 chromosomes  turn to chromatin soup and get scrambled how do we know we don’t use 33 instead of 23 chromosomes? We use the mother’s gene if Ph is from 2 to 5 and father’s gene if 6 to 10. Do we have 1,000 genes that switch back and forth depending on local conditions throughout life?

Re: consciousness and our 80 billion neurons.  If you have 80 billion anything (jumping beans, Pop Rocks, insects, oxygen molecules) in one small place ( like inside a skull) things are going to happen - see: compressed gas molecular motion - things speed up - it’s a law of nature - thermodynamics. Interactions happen, patterns emerge with a little prodding from the environment.

Distill the zeit because all great thinkers have done this. Their revolutionary theory closes the door on one understanding and opens the door on a different, usually more precise one.  To be a good zeit door-closer, one develops a deep understanding of the door being closed.  The Beatles are considered revolutionary while the Rolling Stones are simply a great band because The Beatles understood so much of the music they were synthesizing into their compelling new sound, whereas The Stones were, at their inception, exclusively a Chicago (via Mississippi Delta) Blues-based band. The Stones didn’t pack enough music DNA to be revolutionary. The Stones were rarely more than a juke on the Blues.

Charles Darwin understood in detail much of the natural science he was synthesizing:  French naturalists Cuvier and Lamarck, geologist Charles Lyell, the work of countless fossil hunters-classifiers, taxonomists, plant and animal breeders. Darwin’s theory of evolution wasn’t such a great leap of imagination for him. It was a reasonable conclusion seen from his broad cone of vision on the shoulders of an army of scientists among whom were a giant or three. Darwin was a great synthesizer of the ideas of others just as were The Beatles.

Distilling the zeit opens doors of inquiry. If stasis is data as Eldredge and Gould assert, then 10,000 research projects gain new validity. Distillation is creation. The distillation of existing ideas  will precipitate the new idea. How does one distill? Is list-making distillation? Is enumeration distillation?  The Beatles had a repertoire comprising 200 rock and roll, R&B and Broadway show tunes from which they drew set lists; 12 to 15 songs per set, five to seven sets a night.  The Beatles played and sang through their song-zeit for 8 hours a night for two years in Germany prior to breaking big. Zeit-shifting can be searching for something to break the boredom.  Innovation for its own sake.

The Beatles shifted the entire paradigm of pop music, not just a part of it due to the width of the net they cast. Their repertoire covered entire shimmering shoals of fish not just the blues, however, The Blues were the basis for much of The Beatles 200 song knowledge base making the lads second level synthesizers as they worked with material that had already undergone one distillation, a creative swerve from this endlessly fruitful fount, Mississippi Delta Blues-Gospel songs i.e. the music of black people.

The Beatles, like their co-paradigm shifter of the mid-1960s art scene, Andy Warhol, had the instinct to use, as a source material, that which had already emerged from an intense refinement-distillation-synthesis cycle. Each one of The Beatles primary inspirations, the songs that landed a slot on the Beatles Star Club Hamburg set list was a proven innovation, a synthesis in its own right: Little Richard, Bill Haley, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lieber-Stoller, the Everlys, Goffin-King, Ellie Greenwich, Bert Berns.

The challenge for Darwin and The Beatles was how to synthesize that which had been refined once already by big talent.  Using a math concept, let’s call it the challenge of synthesizing a second derivative of nature, i.e. synthesizing the products of other talent.  In Darwin’s case: Charles Lyell, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus all of whom had already gone to school on raw nature or in The Beatles’ case, the raw nature of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Elvis, each of whom had received a higher education on the mother nature of rock and roll, early 1950s R&B. The Stones were a first derivative, the Beatles, a second derivative, i.e. more concentrated by an order of magnitude.

An explorer synthesizing that which has been distilled, works with more potent raw material by definition. Raw material that is hardly “raw.” It has been well cooked.  Little Richard and Charles Lyell manufactured bricks; Charles Darwin and the Beatles designed and constructed towering beacons.  In Darwin’s case, shining a light on 150 years of civilization - a near Myth.  The Beatles illuminated their own generation to transcendent effect - a rock solid zeit shift.

Picasso understood the tropes of western painting when he accepted the challenge of distilling Cezanne. The Salon Cubists barely understood Picasso let alone Cezanne. Gris did not understand Cubism at all. He was making 15th-19th century realistic renderings of Cubist-paintings.  Hint: anytime you see an “X”-type intersection with four different hues at each quadrant, you know you are seeing the work of a Cubist wannabe. Gris’ “Cubist” paintings are rife with this goofy space-splitting device.

Did Andy Warhol perform an act of synthetic magic similar to that of The Beatles with their magic potion 200 song set list, stirring his pot with Campbell’s, Brillo, Marilyn, Liz and Mao? or was he doing something other than synthesis? Is repositioning (see: Duchamp) an iconic cultural artefact an act of synthesis or is it taxonomically different, requiring a new category, but on the same level of abstraction, i.e. once removed from nature?  There are two classes of second derivative: true synthesis, i.e. deriving essence from an oeuvre for some new thing and there is repositioning.  Duchamp repositions the urinal as “Fountain” by R.Mutt from the men’s restroom to arena of the Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917 (note: “Fountain” rejected though rules stated all entries would be accepted – later exhibited at Alfred Stieglitz’s studio where it was photographed)  Warhol repositions Campbell’s soup from supermarket shelves to avant garde art gallery.  Has anything been synthesized by either Duchamp or Warhol?  In repositioning their common objects into rarefied Art-space they synthesized the Idea of reposition.  Andy and Marcel’s second derivative was something even more densely concentrated than The Beatles’ own hit songs - an idea itself - the idea being, that one could gain traction, make a statement, get acceptance in the capital A art world by an act of reposition an idea that has spawned 100 years of art to date and is going strong. To give Paul McCartney his due, Sergeant Pepper is a towering reposition of a rock and roll band into an 1890s dance hall combo, see: Edwardian era poster advertising the “Benefit for Mr. Kite” btw, contrary to popular belief, Paul was easily the Beatle most tuned into 60s Art-zeit, not hipper than Yoko, but among The Beatles, the most in tune with the currents of the 20th century zeit stuff.

Duchamp, and to a lesser extent Warhol, shifted paradigms (Andy’s contribution was a swerve - smaller than Duchamp’s shift) without performing an act of extraction/consolidation of essence from an existing range of work. Duchamp and Warhol redefined the pursuit of meaning in Art.  For fundamental zeit-shift in music one would have to credit the atonalists and John Cage whose composition “Four thirty Three” frames the ambient sounds of wind in trees, raindrops, whispering and muttering, coughing and program rustling while a classically trained concert pianist intermittently raises and lowers the lid on a grand piano for four minutes and thirty three seconds without playing a single note.  After the premier at Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, NY on August 29, 1952 the audience was in an uproar and Cage entered the history books. Cage is dealing with an idea about the nature of music itself more than with any expectations built into his zeit at any level; from infant auditory neural programming of the 7-tone western scale to the expectation of an audience versed in the avant garde for something new and exciting, but not this new or this “exciting”.

“I am frankly embarrassed that most of my musical life has been spent in the search for new materials. The significance of new materials is that they represent the incessant desire in our culture to explore the unknown.  Before we know the unknown, it inflames our hearts.  When we know it, the flame dies down, only to burst forth again at the thought of a new unknown.  This desire has found expression in our culture in new materials, because our culture has its faith not in the peaceful center of the spirit but in an ever-hopeful projection onto things of our own desire for completion.” - John Cage

"Many people taking a walk would have their heads so full of preconceptions that it would be a long time before they were capable of hearing or seeing. Most people are blinded by themselves. Thus, the goal of the composer is revealed to be primarily that of the missionary. Music is about changing the mind -- not to understand, but to be aware.

Many people in our society now go around the streets and in the buses and so forth playing radios with earphones  and they don't hear the world around them. They hear only what they have chosen to hear. I can't understand why they cut themselves off from that rich experience which is free. I think this is the beginning of music, and I think that the end of music may very well be in those record collections.” - John Cage

Duchamp: This stuff that was not previously considered Art is now Art, we know this because it is located at an art exhibition.

The Beatles: This is art because it distills the very best of the recent past. It is art concentrate - white lightnin’.

Darwin, Duchamp, Warhol and The Beatles shifted their zeit. Darwin and The Beatles via distillation; Duchamp and Warhol by reposition.

A urinal is like a tree in its unassuming naturalness, in its humble, low-key manufacturedness, whereas Coca-Cola, Marilyn and Elvis were intensely advertised- commodities.

Commode vs commodity, commode is commodity, albeit quiet. The urinal and the Coke bottle are familiar objects.  Drink the Coke, take a leak.

Distillation vs reposition, what mechanisms did Newton and Einstein use? Newton distilled his theories from the spectacle of nature: the things of this Earth and celestial bodies. Einstein drew from his imagination.

Who was the greater paradigm shifter, Picasso, with his distillation of Cezanne or Duchamp in his reposition of the manufactured object?  Picasso revolutionized all painting. Duchamp revolutionized all Art.

“Warhol took Marilyn Monroe as his subject in different mediums, silk-screening the actress’s image multiple times in a grid in bright colors and in black and white. By repeating Monroe’s image (and that of other celebrities) over and over again, Warhol acknowledged his own fascination with a society in which personas could be manufactured, commodified, and consumed like products.” - anon @ web

Levels of commodification can be measured by counting advertising dollars spent and from income generated by a movie star or a rock star.  How much money has changed hands as a result of Coke in all of its manifestations or Marilyn? considering gross box office receipts and auction prices for Warhol’s silkscreen paintings of Marilyn. Box office gross receipts for “Some Like It Hot” - $8 million, auction price of “White Marilyn”  Warhol silkscreen - $12 million,  one of hundreds of “Marilyn” silkscreen paintings. The commode is advertised in industry catalogs and at trade shows. Billions of dollars are spent advertising Coke around the world. Warhol, as a child of The Great Depression, was drawn to things involving a lot of money. Duchamp, the aristocrat, would be comfortable with the ordinary. The ordinary carrying, for him, built-in irony.

Copernicus distilled observations of planet orbits into a new theory of planetary motion.  Newton distilled his observations of apples and planets and heat into laws of nature.  What are “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” if not laws of nature? songs, clothing, performances and attitude with explosive impact on a generation.

Great minds are like expansion valves on an air conditioner condensing unit.  The expansion valve transforms pressurized liquid into vapor which has a much greater capacity to store heat, i.e. to do the useful work of removing heat from indoor air.  The trait shared by all zeit distillers is their discovery of new realms of opportunity whether by distillation, reposition or some other strategy. To distill is to put one’s boot down in the overflowing trash can.

Has reposition accomplished anything useful beyond the Art world? The internet / Arpanet repositioned from a useful military tool to public use. The breakfast drink Tang repositioned from Astronaut fare to popular breakfast drink. Feathers repositioned from thermal insulators to flight enablers. See: exaptation: features evolved for one reason and used for a different reason.

Might reposition add value to bioscience? What if non-coding “junk” DNA is repositioned as vital stuff ( as has been proven for some “junk” DNA) as Duchamp repositioned his urinal from a piece of discarded ceramic junk translating it into an iconic talisman inspiring 100 years of artmaking. Once this reposition of “junk” DNA has been repositioned to uDNA  (undiscovered function DNA) becomes an accepted trope, doors will open for new experiments and add significance to 1,000 previous ones.

Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould repositioned stasis in their landmark 1972 paper on “Punctuated Equilibrium,” overturning Darwinian gradualism in species evolution, opening new realms of meaning for data gathered in the last decades of the 20th century.  

Selling the synthesis:  Stephen Jay Gould spent considerable, if intermittent effort during his 40 year career selling this idea of Punctuated equilibrium (stasis IS data).  It was a hefty idea in that it contradicts the key Lyellian- Darwinian notion of gradualism.  Andy Warhol attended 10,000 parties to ensure that neither his visage nor his work would be soon forgotten.  Linnaeus sent twenty of his most brilliant and devoted students to distant regions of the globe classifying plants and animals using his system of taxonomy, still in use today though modified. The Beatles played 1,000 shows to sell their innovations in pop songwriting, performance, haberdashery and haircuts. It is never enough to have a great idea; one must sell it.  Myths insists upon perpetuation. They have momentum, much energy is required to reverse, shift, swerve or juke them. Myth tolerates the juke but will kill to resist a shift. Myth is an organism continually interacting with all aspects of evolutionary causation. When does Myth-speciation occur? As in nature, after catastrophic events, just like plants and animals. World War II was a great speciator on many levels of our hierarchy of mid-century zeit; from radar to a million young dad’s with PTSD whacking their baby boomers around.

Gregor Mendel squirrelled his zeit-shifting work away in an obscure journal where it was undiscovered for 40 years then BLAMMO ! ! Mendel’s ideas were so powerful they propelled themselves into the heart of bioscience.  Mendel is the Neo in Neo-Darwinism, i.e. evolution in light of genetics. Genetics threw and it continues to throw much light on evolution.

Is zeit-shiftiness  in inverse proportion to the energy required to sell it? Warhol was the tip of  zeit-spear Coca Cola upon which billions of dollars had been spent in advertising and he advertised his persona to remarkable effect. He wanted to be famous. Stephen Jay Gould spent 1,340 pages to try to sell his ideas of stasis data and species-clade centrality in natural selection.  Does this mean Warhol and Gould’s ideas do not sell themselves? They may be simply a bit before their time or in light of an avalanche of data gathered from contemporary genomics perhaps trivial by now.  They seemed important at the time. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory is a labyrinthine, emotionally complex veiled, camouflaged, tortured plea to the public for Gould’s own enshrinement next to Darwin as a discoverer of two primary evolutionary processes after 40 years of getting too little respect from his peers in the scientific community.  In 1972,  poleaxing Darwin was a bigger deal than it is these days.

“I Want To Hold Your Hand” is four minutes and six seconds long and it sparked a musical-social revolution.  It inspired a cascade of events and attention, each propelling the next until 50 million boomers were eating out of John Lennon’s hand.  Perhaps one of these boomers will write: “I Wanna Eat Out Of Your Hand.”

As is the case with the air conditioner expansion valve, pressure is a key component in  zeit-distillation.

Distill the Zeit: A command, a request, a duty, an obligation, an opportunity, a challenge. Every individual is a distillation of their zeit without trying.  One distills by falling off a log.  Every person carries the language and an array of core values, beliefs, ideas, prejudices.  How many Baby Boomers didn’t like rock and roll? It’s the water.

Is zeit the same for all? Do we end up, after all of this distillation with the same jar of hooch?  Why were Darwin, Einstein and Freud’s white lightnin’ enduring, so effective in changing the temper of their time?  It is  hard to say whose hooch will rule -  much easier to rank the participants in retrospect and then write the story of precursors.  Who were William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 19th century academic precursors? Whose work did he distill in his masterworks? Who cares? He perfected all tropes distilling none.  He shifted no zeit. His masterpieces have been forgotten.  He had total comprehension of the water he was swimming in with zero vision for the future. In trying to perfect academic painting he killed it. Pioneers are, by definition, outliers. Those celebrated in their own time, as Bouguereau was, were hailed because they are intensely well behaved.

Picasso was a well known painter in the Parisian art world in 1920 but not yet canonized.  One hundred artists take a conscious shot at distilling their zeit, say there are fifteen genuine candidates.  One simply cannot tell at the time the work is created who will prevail.  It’s like trying to predict which species of lemur will survive extinction when Madagascar breaks away from Africa by forces of continental drift. Who could possibly know which of 10 species will survive this long, slow, catastrophic change in habitat? The winners will be determined in part by future climate patterns.  Which species is best adapted to the desert?  Which one to the rainforest?  Which one can best endure hunger, drought, new predators, a new bacteriome. Who swings with the most agility through the canopy in a jungle that will not evolve on the new island for five million years?  There is no way to know which species might control the direction of the lemur evolution or what avant garde painter will prevail - it is a matter of future, unpredictable forces.  The most adaptable will survive-the best promoted will prevail. Promotion is often associated with quality and as Gore Vidal said when quitting Hollywood screenwriting after little success in the early 1950s “Even shit has its integrity”   Evolution is “Moneyball” Buy me the player who gets on base. I don’t care what they look like or how they do it.

What zeit-defining writers will emerge in 200 years? Mailer, Wolfe, Updike, Frantzen, Sedaris? Vonnegut, Heller, Castaneda? Ford, McGuane, DeLillo? Shteyngart, Foster-Wallace, Gould, Altucher? Each has made contributions. Mailer cast a brawling, wide net and advertised himself to the max  but his subjects were pre-cooked like those of Warhol and often relied upon  the same pre-cooked legends for “raw” material: Kennedys, war protesters,Ali, Astronauts, women’s libbers, Marilyn and then Mailer’s own prefab crew of Gilmore, Jesus, Picasso and Hitler. Tom Wolfe’s net is as wide as Mailer’s, not as deep but more fun. Updike tried too hard to seduce-got smarm? Vonnegut just didn’t write enough, though he touched a big Boomer nerve. Heller hit the jackpot and added a term to the zeit-vocabulary, Catch-22, but he was a distiller with little shift.  Castaneda who? Find your spot. Tom Robbins – find your clit.  Ford articulates the ephemeral morose. McGuane writes about his social inferiors and people in local hot water, remaining under-connected to the book-buying public.  Montana is a mile high and there is not enough oxygen in the air for the swampy expansive southern deal. Keep it clean. Montana-The Craftsman State, if you want avant in your guard go to New York.  DeLillo is disconnected, precise, deep, wide and glacial, Pynchon without the kookie-scramble. Shteyngart nails it but as a definer not a shifter and a only a small nail. Foster-Wallace, a towering presence but that 400 page section on the international war game- tennis match scotched the deal, repelling 20,000 potential readers. Gould’s masterpiece demonstrates the non-utility of Gould’s Glu-Stik (see: Occam’s razor) Someday someone will edit 500 pages away and we’ll see the stumps of the trees in the forest levelled to print this heart-tugging, mind expanding and deeply moving 1,300-page doorstop. Gould’s Glu-Stik: Never miss an opportunity to say something five times using all adjectives that pop into mind, let the reader sort them out.

Zeit-distillation isn’t a pissing contest  with contemporaries or precursors. It is ideally the unassuming precipitation of events. Events are raindrops forming around someone’s bright idea-microbe, will it become a rivulet, a river or a tsunami?  Preening in the spotlight may create zeit-flash but is a sign of Myth marginality. One does his or her thing (see: Gregor Mendel, the quiet monk) - Your work ends up shifting the zeit or not. As in quantum things, the act of seeing disturbs the nature of that seen.  Zeit-shifting is like running for President in the 18th century.  One has big ideas, deep capability and large ambition but any sign of ambition works against you. See: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The “aw shucks-foot scuffing” trope had dissolved by the 1952, 1956 presidential campaigns to Adlai Stevenson’s dismay. John Adams’ biggest problem and the main reason his face is on no currency, is his failure to hide his ambition at a time when this was a key feature of public life. Ambition is the dead give-away that you are not of the nobility or the landed gentry, that you have no inherited wealth, that you are common. By mid 20th century USA zeit revealed suspicion of inherited wealth.  Hamilton had a similar problem with revealed ambition. Where is the Alexander Hamilton Monument in Washington D.C.?  He deserves one in spades. You’ve got to nurse your milieu, allow those convinced of your fitness for office to sing your praises.  If they’re not singing loud enough and you’re dying of cancer, you’ve got to write the big book and explain your achievement yourself.  Gould’s big book is great because it is so sad.

There is a cabin high in the Hartz Mountains of southern Germany with a gable roof whose ridge splits a raindrop. Half of this drop becomes the Rhine and half becomes the Danube.

This you know from all evolution, if your work does not contain a mutation it has no chance to launch a new species.  Evolution follows the errors.  It is the static species who get swallowed up, subsumed, erased by evolutionary forces from natural selection, endosymbiosis and/or by quantum effects.  Your adversaries study and steal your moves, no matter how successful at one time - they’re soon on to your game. They know your hiding places. They dig you out, your number is up.  That weirdo we kicked out of the troop for playing with fire is far away now, on his own, fifty miles upriver with not a tree or banana in sight, hunting with his new girlfriend spearing and cooking rats and hiding in the grass.  He had a mutation in his curiosity gene - dude was out of control, dangerous, he couldda burned down the whole forest with his hot stuff.

Distill the Zeit:  Gould has done an astounding job describing the water he was swimming in re: evolutionary theory.  Gould knew in great detail what “stasis is data” was shifting away from.  His “shift” turned out to be a credible swerve or perhaps only a juke.  Punctuated Equilibrium and species selection have both been buried in an avalanche of science that perforates Neo-Darwinism. It is time for a new term for species evolution. there appears to be little natural selection or gradualism at work.

It is every scientist’s job to say no as loud and as often as possible to a new idea. This gauntlet is as much science tradition as hypothesis-experiment.  It is a hazing ritual not essentially meant to offend so much as to encourage and to sort. Don’t take offense all you innovative thinkers and proto-paradigm shifters, every great paradigm shifter is required to have their satchel stuffed with snickering, nay-saying, turned backs, whispers and sneers, a bit o’ persecution but hopefully not exile, prison, burning at the stake. These tales of mighty opposition are as much a part of myth-making as the original experiments that proved your paradigm-shifting theory.  Picasso’s friend Braque thought he had drunk gasoline upon first seeing the zeit defining-shifting painting “Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon”. Matisse, leader of the Paris avant garde, scoffed at Picasso’s bold African-inspired tortured, fractured abstraction saying, “This will ruin us all,” referring to Picasso taking the Paris avant garde into a realm that frightened even Matisse, the leader of the avant garde for the previous five years with his wild and crazy Fauves. Picasso’s feelings were hurt. He rolled up this canvas and put it in the back of his closet for twelve years.  It is now the centerpiece at MOMA where it has held sway since the late 1930s as ground zero for 20th century painting. Remember: Duchamp-Art, Picasso-Painting.  Not the same thing.  Painting is a subset of Art; therefore, Duchamp is more important than Picasso.

Did you set the course for the future or was your bold assertion simply the luckiest?. Your spaghetti sticks to the wall because the wall was sticky from a recent toss. You become canonized - a lucky shot,  but you DID throw some spaghetti.  One gets credit for making and throwing, the sticking is left to the course of history. Your toss affects this course ( see: Pea size gear - Earth orbit around Sun) and the course of history affects your toss. Creation is a discourse with the future.

Frank Lloyd Wright distilled the zeit big time. He was the Darwin and darling of Modern Architecture; actually PoMo architecture  but this is a long argument for another essay. Wright took the best of the nature boys Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold and William Morris with their re-directed Christian fervor. Ruskin’s words and Morris’s works both in fashion in Chicago design circles at the turn of the century. Wright sang the praises of the fashionably reviled machine as he deconstructed the American home as a stuffy, claustrophobic hellbox. Wright grew up in near poverty in a hot, stuffy, drafty, freezing attic bedroom (the box upstairs) with an oft-abused (beaten by his psychotic mother) mentally ill sister locked in the basement (the box downstairs). He had lots to hate about these clapboard torture chambers.  Wright’s mantra during his Prairie School years was “The Destruction of The Box.”

Wright was born with perfect visual pitch re: proportion, a bold imagination and a capacity for hard work, schmoozing self-promotion.  He had good hired help.  Marion Mahony's brilliant perspectives of Wright’s best Prairie School work showcased in his “Wasmuth Portfolio” rocked a generation of young Modern architects in Europe. Voila! Wright’s (and Mahoney’s) portfolio shifts the zeit of 20th century architecture.  Wright was accused of being the “greatest architect of the 19th century” by Philip Johnson-speaker at my Harvard GSD graduation in 1979, advising us to marry money adding that he never hired Harvard grads because they all want to be boss. The core of Wright’s genius is the zeit-distilling esthetic theorist of Victorian age, John Ruskin for the “Organic Architecture” storyline Ruskin developed in response to Gothic architecture. William Morris for the woody tectonics of all things Arts and Craftsy. Matthew Arnold for the relaxation of Wright family Puritanism of his Welsh forebears.  Wright’s largest gift to 20th century architecture is not the impact of his 700 built works as much as his effect on the three towering Modernists: Le Corbusier, Mies, Gropius, Wright’s apostles by proxy. His actual apostles save only two (Schindler and Neutra) were incinerated in the heat of propinquity to the master including latecomer Paul Rudolph, one of my Harvard architecture critics. Poor Paul, incinerated as a young architect by a Wright encounter of the too close kind. Wright was viciously dismissive, poisoning Rudolph as a critic.


The water in 2015 - Distilling The Zeit as hierarchies - a Linnaean taxonomy.

Domain:  The inventors of our grammar and syntax, the inventor of the Golden Rule, Plato-Socrates, Zoroastrians, Hindus etc.

Kingdom: Jesus-Plato-Socrates: the biggest, identifiable by name, zeit-distillers.  

Phylum:  Newton- Martin Luther - Darwin - Edison - Henry Ford - Marconi - Tesla

Subphylum:  Mendel-Freud-Cezanne-Einstein-Planck-Bohr-Feynman-Weinberg

Class: Moore-Grove-Woz-Jobs-Gates-Page-Brin-Zuck.

Order: Juridical system - The law of the land: “The Constitution,” vast libraries of case law i.e. the “book” as it will be thrown at you in court.

Family: Your defining entertainment: movies, TV, music, internet stuff

Genus: Your community, neighborhood, school, church, bar n’ grill

Species:  your family and friends

Individual:  Your own mind

Continuing the experiment,  extending the Linnean heuristic (JB neolog addendum) to  deeper loci within the individual to describe the causality of human myth.  

Orgam….. organs in a single body - heart/gut memory?

Cellam…...cells within a single organ, cells throughout an organism not  protists

Cromam... organelles,chromosomes (as physical entity w/ DNA, histones etc) golgi structures, endoplasmic reticulum rough and smooth, ribosomes, etc, etc-not proteins

Protam….. DNA molecule,  all proteins, peptides, polypeptides, lipids, etc

Genam…..individual genes (as parts of DNA affecting one another) and immediate intermediaries within process of protein synthesis and cell metabolism

Param…....base pairs in position at DNA

and so forth down the line to quarks etc.

Computer science wasn’t shifting much zeit in its first 50 years - waiting for Woz-Jobs the great synthesizers with their great idea: computing power to the people.

Zeit-locus shifts among realms of thought, each different realm seated in a unique cluster of voxels in the neocortex. A neocortical volume containing a dash of conserved Myth (as methylated genetic material) then onto another realm of myth-making, all of this Myth n’ zeit genetically secured in the cell nucleus.  An early era centers on philosophy - Plato begins as zeit grows into Myth, for the next era the locus of our Myth is religion - Jesus begins as zeit then grows into Myth. Jesus becomes useful as a benevolent front for powerful political leaders - Constantine and a long parade of Popes. If JC had not proved a useful front man for avaricious politicos we would not know his name. If you buy into the Myth of Christianity, there is work to go around for everyone. Every church needs an architect, a groundskeeper, a few priests, deacons, aldermen, youth counselors, missionaries, monks, painters, sculptors, musicians, stained glass artists, stonemasons, quarrymen, printers, Bible salesmen, crusaders, weapon makers, horsemen, stable boys, blacksmiths, iron miners, real estate brokers and managers, accountants, investment advisors. Religious Myth is a big job creator. Jesus was a sort of Mother Teresa for the Middle Ages, established here and there to pave the way for power - just as Jesus reified as missionary and surrounded by the most opulent seductions of the human mind: Suger, Martini, Cimabue, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bernini, Borromini, et al.

On to astronomy - Copernicus: heretical zeit, then stored as heritable Myth n’ physics - Newton he is the zeit - a kingpin with the Royal Mint, The Royal society then onward as his ideas are locked into Myth. Then the spotlight of Myth accrual shifts to bioscience - Darwin as alarming zeit (descended from apes!!) then into intellectual comfort food Myth. Moving to Art, there is old man Cezanne and then Einstein brings the ball back into the arena of science. Our present zeit comprising them all to one degree or another Copernicus to Jimmy Kimmel. Remember when architecture mattered?  Zeit-guy Abbot Suger in 1150, his Gothic cathedral - spirit of the age, sadly, no longer, we live in the age of the tweet, Gordon Moore - you and your microchip are ancient history, zeit-shifter Bill Gates hangs out with geezers. We’re drowning in Zuckerwater.  Alas, architecture has been over for 750 years.

Darwin distilled his zeit and launched a new one.  Evening talk show joke writers distill the zeit-lite of the day. Over the course of three decades Letterman tells a story by accretion not by a synthetic act; Dave’s message: irony is exhausted, bearded, out to pasture. Where will the Myth-hammer fall to crack-a-paradigm,wack-a-zeitmole  releasing fresh air for mankind? There are now a billion people on facebook most of whom have never heard of either Charles Darwin or Paul Cezanne. You don’t have to know there is hydrogen in water to swim in it, but you do need to know some chemistry if you’re going to affect water in ways larger than flushing the toilet.

Zeitshift is rarely an act of will though it may take great willpower to create a body of work that will catalyze a profession or a population, distill an idea of your social milieu into something manageable, something clear.

What is the difference between Myth and zeit?  Myth has broader scope, deeper roots. Myth comprises the deep levels of language, its grammar and syntax ground rules shared by all, that humans are driven to speak and write. Myth is conserved across all generations of the technium, zeit has flex and is shifted by minds like those of Newton, Darwin, Cezanne, Wright and McCartney. If Cezanne hadn’t shuffled the zeit of Western painting there would have been no Cubism, no Duchamp, no Le Corbusier. We would only now be hearing such things as “Ornament is a crime” “Form and Function are One” “Less is More” “God is in The Details” “I asked the brick what it wanted to be, the brick said “I like an arch.” Such ideas would have had no context or not enough context, not enough enabling soil, no critical, contextual mass.  Question: Who shifted more zeit for architecture, Cezanne-Picasso with Cubism or Frank Lloyd Wright with his destruction of the box? I would vote for Wright as architects are always among the last professionals to show evidence of having gotten the word.

Darwin relocated Christianity from unassailable Puritan, Protestant Myth into the less tightly conserved Victorian zeit, opening it up for a bold re-interpretation of its creation dogma. Conservative Christians have never bought this reposition of their belief system from its locus of primary Myth to the much more flexible zeit. Young people of the mid-Victorian era wanted more flex in their belief system to deal with the avalanche of discovery and technological change. Their grandparents were executed for apostasy.  An idea must be demythologized in order to be changed.  De-mythologizing is like uncoiling the DNA molecule from its core of histones so that specific genes may be copied or changed. Things tightly wound are not easily accessible. Darwin loosened the bindings of the shifting Victorian Christian myth launching a thousand manifestations of fresh air, cleaner water, turned soil. People try to de-mythologize one another with alcohol - works every time. Police ought to test drivers with a mythologizer to see if they have reassembled their comprehension of the myth of traffic rules and regulations before driving home. Red light means stop but it hasn’t always.

Contextual Voltage Metaphor (CVM):  Stored intellectual charge seen as an accruing electrical charge, charging a capacitor or a battery, setting the background, backstory, backdrop, the stage, the platform  for the jolt, the energy release of a new idea. Adam Smith, Charles Lyell and Thomas Malthus charged Darwin’s battery, a triple-charge, that would not have lit a lamp 25 years earlier. The Beatles music would have been rude cacophony in the decade 1945-1955.  Beatlemania required the modulating, pump-priming effects of the early R&B:  Louis Jordan, Jackie Brenston, the Treniers, Jimmy forrest, Ray Charles as distilled by Bill Haley, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. The evolution of style is like a line of rats undergoing peristalsis in a crawling kingsnake.  Each pooped out in its own time into the light of day to fertilize the dreams of a new generation.

Timing is of the essence. Will the flame of a new idea gutter and die or start a raging forest fire creating its own turbulent weather? Every idea needs conceptual kindling, prime the pump, humans do not like to be shocked, but we all enjoy a good buzz…..and then there are the savants -  people out of step, living in their own bubble, worlds of their own making,  the outsiders, the crazies who invent a language spoken only by themselves, creating their hermetic, always obsessive art and music ( see: Captain Beefheart, Martin Ramirez, Joseph Cornell) setting few fires outside of their own flaming minds but evidence that our broadly shared myth-making instinct is at work.  Sometimes a private language will fuel a larger fire due to its undeniable inventiveness or delight, Isadora Duncan comes to mind.  Cezanne was considered an oddball outsider for much of his painting career and he slides into home plate in Paris at age 65 for the game-winning home run. Our kingmakers enjoy bestowing accolades on a few of these geniuses toward the end of their lives or post-mortem, escorting them through the looking glass into the public eye and into the history books - big shows, reviews, auction clout. Zeitshift requires not only combustible intellect but a sales pitch.  Every painter needs a pocket apologist-a sympathetic, articulate critic or three. Zeitshift begins with a juke, then a swerve - prime the pump, fresh water flows, all is cleansed.

How does one know when the pump has been adequately primed?  Hard to say - go ahead - toss your spaghetti. If it slides to the floor ignored, you will have left a tomato stain. It might be art, especially if tossed against an interior wall of an art museum.

Does a culture go into estrus, signaling readiness to be impregnated with a new idea? Does it get twitchy and frisky, ill-at-ease, more willing to take risks? Does it stay out late to hang with dangerous friends, aching to get its paradigm shifted, Its Myth modified?

Every generation produces unique zeit-signs in art, science, philosophy, music, dance, humor, religion and language. That one of these expressions might shift its zeit is always a possibility. Fascinating how the titanic generation of 1912 shifted paradigms in physics, philosophy, art, dance, technology (motorized flight, radio, autos), architecture, bioscience, entertainment (movies, recorded music) A generation every bit as fertile as the flagship class at “Saturday Night Live” with Morris, Newman, Belluschi, Chase, Ackroyd, Radner, Curtin, Murray - boggles the mind. Think British invasion mid-1960s: The Beatles, The Zombies, The Stones,The Who, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, The Dave Clark five, Gerry and The Pacemakers, funny name Pacemakers - perfect for a boomer band today.


Shiny Stuff

  Americans are obsessed with shiny stuff:  gloss, smoothness, polish, superficial flawlessness. New cars are shiny, magazines are printed on shiny paper, music is aurally spotless to the nanobeat with many layers of sound to cover up imperfection. Art museums celebrate machine-made art valorizing Murakami and Koons a generation after finish-meister Andy Warhol made factory shine cool. The printing industry and commercial photographers make shine a religion. Legions of sunday painters obsess over old-fashioned mimesis and then spray their realistic works with retina-scarring high gloss varnish. What are we trying to conceal in this shine-fever? this runaway myth that closes all doors to the uncertain and ambiguous? Are we trying to conceal a gutted humanity? residual guilt and horror from 220 years of slavery? some unspecified emptiness? Americans obsess over gloss as if we were a single generation away from life in an earthen hovel. Shiny stuff  being the only refuge from a collective memory of struggle with physical cleanliness.  The problem with shiny stuff is that in our effort to obliterate imperfection we allow a smothering imperfection of a deeper, indelible order to prevail. We live in glossy denial of our human touch, our marks, our brushstrokes and our striking of the drum behind the beat. The trace of our imperfection, the evidence of our uniqueness as individuals is erased by shine.

Paul Cezanne is a charter member of the Titanic Twelve because he put an end to shine in painting. Adding a final coat of glistening varnish was the sign of a finished painting from 1412 to 1912. The Titanic Twelve put an end to gloss. Neither Joyce nor Pound shined their words. One isn’t immediately attracted to their words and there is nothing like twelve tones in a musical composition to take shine away.  Cezanne’s late paintings, and the Cubist work of Picasso and Braque it inspired, destroy resolution, polish, shiny stuff. This principle of modernity still perplexes and frightens most Americans. Cezanne’s lesson has been unlearned. We are inundated with shiny stuff. Supermarket fruit and vegetables are polished to flavorless glow. A multitude of supermarket packages scour our brains with shiny, glaring color. Pop music is polished by sound doctors until the music sparkles with vapid aridity down to the 1/1000th beat. Movies,  television shows and video games sparkle and shine. Botoxed, lifted, puffed skin glistens, teeth glow to the point actors illuminate a set by opening their mouths. Late night TV stage sets- theaters are train wrecks of clashing, saturated color and polished form - see: Colbert renovated Ed Sullivan Theater.

We swim like a school of seduced, drugged, woozy fish following an endless array of spinning lures dipped in shiny stuff. The attraction to shine lives deep within the brainstem, conserved for 100 million years. It’s pre-human, pre-mammal. Fish go nuts for shiny stuff and we kill them with it. We were attracted to shiny stuff before we crawled out of the sea. Are we force-fed or do we demand shiny stuff and its specular reflection, a shiny feast of TV, movies, magazines, kitchen appliances and cars? If it doesn’t shine, it’s not finished. If a micro-flaw remains, truth will enter and destroy the beast. Humanity might escape and accidentally nurture someone’s soul. It is vertebrate nature to be attracted to shiny stuff like gold and silver and sparkling stuff like diamonds and fireworks. This attraction to shine goes deeper than being American, deeper than being a guilty Judeo-Christian polishing everything that will take a shine. We are seduced by shine.  To be seduced is to be duped. A shiny mediocre plateau is often  mistaken for the destination, missing a deeper worth. Unripe, unfinished stuff is shined to hide its blandness, inferiority, the faux. Shine is sprayed or rubbed on to fool people. It is a short circuit. New things shine. We love new things: new cars, new guitars, new songs with shiny sounds.

We live in the age of the polished turd. Ideas, products, images, and stories are shined until antiseptic, soul-less - dead. Information issuing from the corporate beast must be shined, made palatable and seductive for the children of global capitalism. Shine glosses over banality. Shine reveals indefensible assertions, fear of ambiguity, fear of open-ended soul-power. Why is Cezanne widely acknowledged as the greatest painter of our epoch? He faced down the purveyors of the myth of shine - the paradigm of shiny shit. He showed the world something deeper, better, more honest and thus, more beautiful. Cezanne’s ragged, open-ended late landscapes and still lifes invite the viewer to participate in the dance of creation, to “finish” his paintings in our hearts and minds. In Steve Earle’s great anti-establishment anthem “Copperhead Road”, his rebellion is most deeply expressed, not by gunning down a Federal Agent but by his shooting of a coat of primer on his Dodge, a black matte finish where shine goes to die.


6/14/2016    9:42 AM

Fractal Taxonomy


Fractal:  A repeating pattern that displays at every scale. Fractals are not limited to geometric patterns but can also describe processes in time, sounds, structures and two dimensional arrays.

Taxonomy:  The science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Organisms are grouped together in taxa ( singular: taxon) and these groups are given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a supergroup of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is regarded as the father of taxonomy. Linnaeus developed a system known as Linnaean classification for categorization of organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms. The Linnaean system has progressed to a system of modern biological classification based on the evolutionary relationships between organisms both living and extinct.

Human taxonomy:

Domain:     Eukaryote

Kingdom:    Animal

Phylum:    Chordate

Subphylum:    Vertebrate

Class:     Mammal

Order    :    Primate

Family:     Hominid

Genus:     Homo

Species:     Sapien

To do: Rather than think of a hierarchical taxonomy, imagine that the linnaean pattern exists at each level from deep within the species-clade up to and possibly beyond, the domain-kingdom.  Working our way down into deeper levels of G-rev causality ( Genetic revision). Continuing deeper within an organism,  after the individual member of the species,  we enter successively smaller realms of genetic causality:  the organ (orgum), the cell (cellum) , the chromatin (chromum), the DNA, RNA ( protum-as in protein), individual exons (Genum), base pairs and single bases (Parum)

Genetic material not at DNA-RNA ( tidum-as in nucleotidum), single atoms in their entirety (unitum), electrons (electrum), protons and neutrons in their entirety ( nucum), quarks (quarkum) pi-mesons, leptons etc. (mesum) particles or waves comprising radiation (wavum). Every level that can sustain a genetic revision ( G-rev i.e. mutation) event is assigned a linnaean name. For Darwin, evolution centered on the individual organism - the locus of natural selection, for Richard Dawkins, it is the Gene, Gould argues for the species as the locus of speciation. Any level, from the pi meson to the clade might be the locus of an effective G-rev ( mutation) i.e. a potential starting point for speciation. Assign a Linnaean name to each one of the possible sites of causality. Acknowledge them all. Each level of this expanded, fractal taxonomic array has local fractal logic; i.e. each level becomes the center of the taxonomic hierarchy. Naming is an important step in understanding.


JB Questions and Observations:

  1. Key thinkers are like air conditioner expansion valves - a small but significant player in a system that transforms that which comes before into something new. If dealing with human thinkers as expansion valves, the transformative genius becomes an archetype. An HVAC expansion valve turns liquid into gas which absorbs heat. Confusion is heat in human affairs and will be intermittently absorbed-transformed.  Looking at the 8,000 year continuum of building in the Anatolian village of Catal Huyuk, dwellings evolve into precursor temples and over 700 years of refinement, the iconic Parthenon emerges as the summa, the apotheosis, a single building as an expansion valve, coloring all buildings that follow.  Literature begins with stories around a paleolithic campfire. These primal, mythical stories evolve into Greek drama then into Ovid, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare on into archetype-expansion valve Mark Twain from whom all 20th century literature has evolved. Expansion valve icons are geniuses by definition. Call them EVs (expansion valves). Not every genius is an expansion valve but all expansion valves are geniuses. See “The Titanic Twelve” JB essay #65
  2. Last common ancestor of woodchuck-opossum?
  3. Lincoln’s  greenback issue  was the largest act of faith in the history of the United States of America at the time of their introduction in 1862 - ironic that this happened during the Civil War.
  4. We read, see, hear over and over ad nauseum about strictures laid upon a population by one religion or another and of the resulting physical, moral, social, spiritual, intellectual and political paralysis. People cocoon themselves with confining filaments always and in all ways, no church necessary. Religion becomes a phantom excuse for timidity, cowardice, conservatism;  the confusion and fear of a constricted life but without religion,  people would be immobilized altogether.
  5. “Each work of literature teaches us how to read it as we go along” - Prof. Thomas C. Foster
  6. Irony is the ultimate sign of the Postmodern. Irony is by definition multivalent i.e. the stuff of multiple readings.
  7. See: JB essay “Taxonomic Gearbox” Feb. 23. 2015


June 9, 2016    11:28 AM

The Titanic Twelve

  Human consciousness is subject to fad. Left brain for this epoch - right brain for that. In a mandelbrotian hierarchy, the zeit of each generation leans to one hemisphere or the other. Zeit-summarizers comprise our philosophical, artistic, scientific canon: Brunelleschi with his fixation of the station point opened the door for linear perspective in drawing and painting, Newton explains a grand order, Carlyle and Ruskin repurpose religious energy for secular use, Einstein explains the simultaneity of energy and matter, McCartney combines rock-romance and melodic-harmonic invention, Cobain signals frustrated flannel for Gen-Y.

In Western Art-making for the past 20,000 years the picture plane has oscillated from shallow to deep and back to shallow. Cave art is shallow. Giotto, Cimabue extended pictorial space on chapel walls and with Brunelleschi's codification of linear perspective, pictorial space became very deep. 400 years of Western looking through the picture plane as a window. Impressionists flattened the picture plane with impasto 3-d brushwork scattering sunlight across the retina. Cezanne accelerated this de-windowing of the picture plane, shattering the illusion of deep pictorial space altogether while creating deeply felt, intensely real works. Deep pictorial space and linear perspective not required.  Cezanne’s rebellious denial of the picture plane as a window is the source of his greatness and the source of all things Cubist,  thus most 20th century painting and much architecture. Analytical cubism is Cezanne for Dummies. Young Picasso was a great mimic of all the prominent painters of his youth but he wasn't about to sit on a folding canvas stool out in the blazing sun every day painting rocks and trees to get his Cezanne ticket punched, nevertheless, he wanted to absorb Cezanne's closure of the Renaissance idea of the picture plane as clear glass. Cezanne searches for a deeper magic and finds it. Mondrian, Malevich ignored the whole idea of a painting as a view through a plane. What you see is what you get - a panel with an idea - no window, flat as a pancake.

This three part division of ways of representing pictorial space: naive shallow, deep, informed shallow,  distill graphically the three great epochs of Western civilization 1. Pre-Renaissance: an epoch of the unpinned station point 2. The Renaissance epoch of the “Descended Grid" ( 1412-1912) from Brunelleschi's codification of rules of linear perspective (pinned station point)  to 3. Cezanne and the cubists flattening of pictorial space. 1912 is the locus of Postmodernism - a new epoch of the Unpinned station point emerges with renewed vigor.The Titanic sunk in 1912 - a symbolic end of the domination of Enlightenment rationalism ( think steam power, slave-cotton capitalism, urban slums and disease and the evils of the 15 hour work day for children taking the bloom from Voltaire’s rational rose) There are 12 significant thinkers who introduced the ideas of Postmodernism to the world ( multivalence, ambiguity, contradiction, simultaneity, rhizomic connection. The Titanic Twelve: Braquasso, Einstein, Schoenberg, Joyce, Mieles, Isadora Duncan, Tesla, Marconi, Wilbur Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ferdinand Saussure. The twelfth player to be selected by reader.

Postmodernism did NOT begin in the 1960s with the invasion of the Fab French Five: Barthes, Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, Baudrillard, as Yale academics would have us think or with the Modernist dogma-shattering book by Robert Venturi: "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture" but in 1912 with the unpinning of the station point by Braquasso - see: attached diagram for the split of Western civilization at 1912. It re-started a dormant epoch of simultaneous and always conflicting, ways of looking at the world: orthographically pinned or in the spirit of the Titanic 12 - unpinned.

Note: Architecture game changer Robert Venturi likes my diagram and has the original on the wall of his Philadelphia office ( and in his slide show). The architecture world has labelled Venturi as the father of postmodernism and he has crowed from the rooftops that he is not a Postmodernist. My diagram (see above)  explains his assertion that he is not a postmodernist.

In the attached diagram "T.O.E.2" ( Theory Of Everything-2)  the postmodern ( unpinned) stuff is the upper branch of the arrow and the Modern is the lower, straighter continuation of the pinned idea. These ideas have been at war with one another for the past 100 years creating a cultural dynamism that continues to thrive. One is essentially pinned or unpinned at heart and mind. A case of neurology-neocortical networks-left brain-right brain, matters for neuroscientists. The Titanic Twelve launched the Postmodern swerve.

Diagram e-mailed upon request

JB Questions and Observations:

  1. Frank Lloyd Wright draws heavily on John Ruskin via William Morris to convey Protestant religious fervor in architecture. Mid-20th century Modern architects had religion i.e “Kill ‘em all if they don’t convert, feel the power and the glo-reee of the Miesian box-a placeholder for the uninspired.
  2. The religious impulse is an engine always running in human culture: the gears, clutches, belts, pulleys of core myth supply fervor to the machinery of art and politics. The Grand Synthesis ( Darwin-Mendel), Abstract Expressionism and MId-century Modern Architecture were religious cults.  Passing through the cultural alimentary canal soon will be gender-race driven obsession currently being digested as enzymes try to dissolve exceptionalism in a reign (rain) of obsession.
  3. Does life on Earth change the rate of solar decay? Does life accelerate the reduction of the solar gradient? Does life reduce the sun-void gradient or simply take advantage of it for some large and remote chemical-spiritual purpose?
  4. Are there long-term lasting genetic-epigenetic effects resulting from the age of American slavery (“The fecundity of the capitalized womb”) that are locked into both white and black genomes as methylated chromatin? Are black and white Americans now born deformed by 18th, 19th Century slavery horrors?
  5. JB Experiment: Test African blacks and American Blacks for DNA,RNA methylation differential. Are there residual heritable genetic effects of slavery horror. See: TTT (Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma - Dr. Natan Kellerman)
  6. T.S. Eliot and Richard Prince: appropriation agonistes.
  7. Any story told by anyone falls into some literary trope for explication - no need for erudition on part of author - explanation performed by lit academics for sport and credit.
  8. A bright purple butterfly is a single small, pretty thing in its own right but wherever it darts in its zigging and zagging across the Mayfield amid hundreds of shades of green, yellow, purple and orange-brown beige, it acts as a keynote or a compliment and lights up all colors as it flutters by. Its color is the cherry on top of the existing diffuse hues. Each small zone visited has its unique color combo and this butterfly brings them all to life. The fluttering keynote. Gifted people do this - add the keynote color wherever they go.
  9. Antebellum plantation owners were a population of absolutist dictators - one absolutist per mile square.
  10. The emergence of The Beatles in 1960s was the manifestation of a grand cycle of crime and atonement with roots in 250 years of global cotton capitalism, American slavery, Black oppression giving rise to the blues, jazz, R&B, rock and roll. Liverpool was at the heart of Cotton capitalism as the British port of entry for Slave-produced cotton for the child-crippling textile mills of Lancashire. Liverpool merchants and bankers got rich on the global slave trade as British banks financed American cotton capitalism (black enslavement). The Beatles were the expansion valve releasing an unspoken, dark pressure suffusing the Merseyside air. The Beatles, a band born of African-American music, transform this black music delivering it back to people of every color and creed around the world -a big thank you for the world built upon your slavery and the music it inspired- a melodic, passionate prayer for life  from the Liverpool lads:  tears into music - liquid into animated air.
  11. Two great inspirations for 19th early 20th century women’s hair fashion: Fannie Kemble and the Gibson Girl.
  12. Is high-fructose corn sweetener an enteric pathogen? Yes it is - don’t touch the stuff.
  13. Only two of our first 12 presidents did not own slaves: John and John Q. Adams.


May 31, 2016    1:07 PM


  “Whatever is beneath the earth change their forms, the earth and all that is within it.”  Ovid - “Metamorphoses”


Rays of sunlight penetrate into the center and through all living things, through the skin into plant and animal cells shallow and deep, into cell nuclei, into the DNA, RNA and histone molecules where rays strike atoms, quarks, pi-mesons and higgs-bosuns making changes all along the way in and back out, changes manifest as organism growth, oxygen production and genetic revision. Speciation is a grand manifestation of the change wrought by solar and other cosmic radiation. DNA is revised by radiation. New strategies for life are tested in environments nano to macro.  Environments  change along with organisms. Everything on Earth and beyond at every level of the cosmic hierarchy is aswirl.

Human culture comprises myriad efforts to slow time in order to get a grip on rapid, relentless change. A story is an anchor for the vessel called humanity seeking a port in this galactic storm. Stories give form to the formless. The theories of Darwin, Marx, Freud and Einstein are such stories as are the work of Dickens, Dostoevsky and DeLillo. A story is a machine for seeing with. Every story is a theory - all theories are stories. Does it matter if they are “right” or “wrong”? They serve us during their time. A compelling theory may launch 1,000 useful ideas and be wrong at it’s core. A potent story spawns many new ideas, some endure longer than others. Generating stories is like throwing glitter on a wet dog - some is going to stick, most will end up on the floor.


JB Questions and Observations:

  1. Storytellers in sequence: Carlyle-Ruskin-Morris-Wright-ecclesiastical to temporal intellectual passion i.e. Frank Lloyd Wright gets religion and spawns 20th century architecture - FLW was the ground zero story bricoleur transforming 18th century Scottish Presbyterian fervor into built form.
  2. Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare and countless others borrowed heavily from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” a cornucopia of deus ex machinae. Bloodiest book I ever read.


5/17/2016    4:09 PM

Gravity Sticks

  Law of nature: All that exists accrues, expands, grows: ideas, opinions, facts, myth, law, superstition, inanimate objects, prisons, animals, armies, plants

Corollary: All that exists decays, dissolves, diminishes, dilutes, devolves

This law and its corollary applies to  any and all things real and imagined, corporal, temporal, ecclesiastical, incipient or bound for extinction, bottom line: reification works both ways-abstract to temporal and temporal to ephemeral ( de-abstracted, reabsorbed) nature is all simple arithmetic adding and subtracting. Wrong or right ideas, when they are fresh, can grow if nourished with energy. Ideas are weeds or useful plants. How are they framed? Energy is a fickle fellow, a trickster, he must be entertained, amused by novelty, synergy and invention. When freshness dissolves, order dissolves. Add energy and success happens, add color, motion, rhythm for healthy ideas. Recombine the success of others into something new. Choose a signifying color as in Prince purple, the Red Baron, Black Bart, The Brown Bomber, Blues Magoos. Learn to dance.

JB Questions and Observations:

  1. Teapot: Mammal organ systems were pre-precambrian ( before 540 MYA) symbionts i.e. free-swimming protists ( single-celled animals with a nucleus) each with its specific capacity to create, pump, filter, and digest fluid and to create networks that exchanged information and stored information that could be retrieved at will - early forms of brain, liver, heart, kidney, pancreas, and stomach. Each life-form evolved separately as each one developed its specific capability and then 850 MYA during the Sturtian Snowball Earth when all life was crowded into teeming pools around deep thermal vents below the ice. Organisms mixed and matched their strengths for advantage in a 250 million year cage match. Quoting former “Wired” editor Kevin Kelly “The ever-thickening mix of existing technologies in a society creates a supersaturated matrix charged with restless potential. When the right idea is seeded within, the inevitable invention practically explodes into existence.”
  2. Our “special six” cell types migrate into an undifferentiated colony of single-cell organisms, perhaps bacteria. DNA is swapped laterally between all cells in the colony - all cells in this group ultimately share all DNA and seven organ systems evolve within this larger, more complex and dominant organism. Some of these symbionts are multi-cell systems when they enter the colony.
  3. Were the first animal neurons symbiotic slime mold? Neurons and slime mold are filamentous and form complex networks
  4. The computer chip is the Gothic cathedral of our age, the technology that has our largest attention and resources. During Ancient Rome it was civil infrastructure: water, sewer, roads, baths, during the 19th century it was all things steam powered especially cotton mills.
  5. Kevin Kelly neologism: Technium:  everything ever conceived and manifest by the human neocortex and not found in chimps: towns and cities, language spoken and written, myth, ritual, art, engineering, music, science, law, war, technology, entertainment, consumer products - the whole shebang. A useful new word.
  6. People are like crossties below railroad rails - a certain strict conformity of language, behavior and gesture is a given -material ( strong wood) geometry of cross section, length, alignment and spacing, preservative treatment. Within these constraints be and do anything you want - be creative. Allow the train of your times to roll over you adding value to the experience of everyone. If you get old or if you misbehave you will be extracted like a rotten tooth and replaced. Your realm of personal expression revolves around your surface texture, the natural variation of the wood grain, slight irregularities of installation ( one’s heritage, parents, friends, social station), the rate at which you accrue moss, dirt, gravel, your orientation by fate to sun or shade, desert or mountainside. There is  micro-variation seen as individuality but if you don’t support the rails you’re gone. Ten of you can decide to leave at once and send a train into a river - a revolution!
  7. Most tech development goes into war-making / defense, the general population pays the bill and gets the leftovers - toys. The technium has always been about war and its parent - Capitalism.
  8. Marconi deserves a place among the Titanic Twelve - The children of Darwin, Marx and Cezanne-progenitors of all things Postmodern i.e. multivalent, ambiguous, uncertain, simultaneous, rhizomic.
  1. Picasso
  2. Braque
  3. Wilbur Wright
  4. Frank Lloyd Wright
  5. James Joyce
  6. Mieles
  7. Schoenberg
  8. Isadora Duncan
  9. Einstein
  10. Tesla
  11. Marconi
  12. Henry Ford
  1. “The muses are born of God and memory” - Ovid
  2. Surveillance device: Vomero-Detector i.e. pheromone sensor that identifies everyone in a crowd of 1,000,000 in one second and can display everyone’s  person’s life history, credit report, education, purchasing pattern, criminal record, driving record, airline, train and bus ticket purchases, sort the entire crowd by net worth and genetic composition. It sends signals to participating local boutiques for personalized pitches at shop window flat screen technology images are adjusted as high net worth individuals pass by. The wealthy are greeted by name and asked about family,  presented with the latest glam merchandise,  speakers play favorite music and walls turn into favorite colors. Wristwatch detector-analyzers available for romance chemistry analysis.
  3. The technium is bonded to nature like a cancer growing on skin. The technium is inseparable from nature. Can humans change the current destructive nature of the technium?
  4. Surf your bliss i.e. don’t interfere with the wave you are riding.
  5. JB invention: A gut microbiome monitor management system to keep immune system tip-top. A device that accounts for 1,000,000 species of gut microorganisms and monitors their status, demise, proliferation activities throughout the day. The device suggests what to eat next for top health.
  6. Stochastic Fog ( StFg)- An academic device wherein one makes something up - some phenomenon - some previously nebulous process or thing of any scale. This activity is parsed six ways from sunday. The bright new idea is inserted into all of this fabricated “data” and is explained and reinforced by it. The stochastic BS is used to explain one’s pet hypothesis. This works especially well in juridical matters.
  7. Ways of growing: a. Expand from within as a balloon or onion b. Add to exterior as paint on a wall or stacked bricks.
  8. Was the idea of nuclear family cohesion among African Americans epigenetically scrubbed from their genome in a process of histone demethylation that was reinforced and conserved during hundreds of years of slavery? Do humans have a family cohesion gene? If so, what chromosome is it on?
  9. How is social bonding stored and transmitted in primate genome?
  10. Idea for cable TV series: “Upstairs downstairs” - “Downton Abbey” with American colonial aristocrats Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and their wealthy farming neighbors and their enslaved populations. See: “The American Slave Coast” by the Sublettes for details.
  11. What are the genetic effects of hundreds of years of hog-corn-molasses diet for African Americans?
  12. Are there any residual  TTT effects of the master-slave experience in the genome of either black or white Americans? TTT (Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma) see: Natan Kellerman research.
  13. Substitute the word “property” for “liberty” in USA founding texts for real intent.
  14. “The Civil War was a revolution as it destroyed an entirely legal form of property” Sublettes
  15. The ancient Roman classic Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” (50 AD) is the source for countless cheap and not-so-cheap novels, dramas, boddice-rippers. It is a great source of dastardly human behavior. All deadly sins all the time and more ! It inspired 400 years of western literature high and low and much academic painting.
  16. Global Capitalism ( it has always been global for past 400 years since the beginning) demands hierarchy and USA private high schools and colleges provide it.


May 8, 2016    4:31 PM

Ingest - Evolve

  Nature stopped taking big chances half a billion years ago. All change in plants and animals since then has been cosmetic - a lion here, a zebra there, here a monkey, there a chimp - let’s add some brains and see what shakes out.

Nature abhors a gradient. This is the deepest fact of life on Earth. There is a gradient between the Pre-Big Bang omniverse and the void. That gradient generated the Big Bang.  There is a gradient between the heat of the sun and the void of outer space generating life on Earth. A gradient between life itself and all of outer space that gives rise to all human culture aka the technium. The technium-void duality generates autos, washing machines, I-phones and digital communication and so on down the hierarchy of stuff ad infinitum. Life on Earth emerged and has developed to reduce a gradient.

Prokaryote: a single-cell organism without a nucleus. Bacteria and archaea are prokaryotes. There are more species of bacteria on Earth than any other life form. Bacteria comprise a large proportion of the Earth’s biomass. Archaea are simpler than bacteria and live in extreme environments and were Earth’s first living things 4 BYA (Billion Years Ago)

Eukaryote: An organism whose cells contain a nucleus. Eukaryotes may be single-cell ( but much more complex than bacteria) or multicellular as in all higher forms of life. Plants and animals are eukaryotes. All cells in a human have nuclei. Mnemonic: Humans like YOU - EU  are EUkaryotes. All plants are eukaryotes.

“There never was a simple eukaryote cell - all complex life evolved from symbiosis of a primitive archaea and a bacterium. The cell nucleus and all other organelles evolved after this merger.”  -  Professor Bill Martin

All forms of animal and plant multicell life evolved from the merger of an archaea and an energetic bacterium - a single event in the history of life. Neither of these independent, free-floating prokaryotes had a nucleus or any complex organelles seen in cells today or 2 billion years ago at the time of this fateful merger. The energy gained by the acquisition of the energetic bacterium fueled the evolution of cell complexity, multicell life and the speedy evolution of diverse forms enabled by sexual reproduction i.e. the mixing and matching of two separate genomes for an improved model.

If biologists were carved into Mount Rushmore the four heads would be Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, James Watson and Lynn Margulis. Lynn Margulis !  Who the hell is she !   Lynn Margulis, when a grad student in 1967 , wrote a scientific paper called “On the Origin of Mitosing Cells” that proposed that chloroplasts and mitochondria,  the vital energy-producing organelles in every eukaryotic cell, were ancient free-swimming microbes that merged into a neighbor cell to form a potent symbiotic duo that has evolved from a single-cell organism into all subsequent multicellular plants and animals on Earth for past two billion years. Margulis was ignored, marginalized or disparaged for many years after the publication of her paper but she persevered with her revolutionary theory and with the techniques of genetics developed during the late 1970s,  her theory gained traction.  Biologists now believe that this symbiosis was the single most important event in the history of life on Earth. It made all multicell life possible and gave rise to sexual reproduction and wide opportunities for cell complexity, purpose and genetic variation-evolution. Margulis’ reputation evolved from that of a shunned outlier to widely hailed genius in ten years.

Why was this Margulis Merger of simple but energetic bacterial cell and plain simple archaea so successful two billion years ago? What was happening inside cells that was not happening during life’s first 2.5 billion years? This new partnership greatly accelerated the role of life as a gradient reducer. Life was now going to help the cosmos reduce the difference between the chaos of the sun and the orderly cold, dark stillness of empty space at a much greater rate. Life exists to restore the order of emptiness. The bacterial partner of this historic merger evolved into mitochondria ( chloroplasts in plants - the things that make plants green). Mitochondria are tiny boiler rooms with thousands of molecular engines ( ATP synthase proteins), nano proton pumps, whirring and chumbling as they reduce atomic gradients across mitochondrial / chloroplast inner membranes. Proton pumping molecules  generate and store energy used throughout the cell for protein production, cell replication, neuron signaling and all other cell functions day and night for the lifetime of the plant or animal. The Margulis Merger between bacteria and archaea ( see: Martin and Muller theory for details) speeded up life by a power of ten. Nature loves this successful, long-lived  marriage of microbes. The merger greatly accelerates the reduction of the solar-void gradient. Big life speeds up the race to nothingness - nature’s comfort zone.

How did this marriage of two small, inefficient prokaryotic organisms occur? 2.5 BYA the Earth was all ocean teeming with trillions and trillions of archaea, bacteria and viruses-all very simple life forms with no cellular complexity.  Due to the effects of orbital precession ( Earth’s wobbly diversion from a perfectly elliptical orbit in a perfect plane around the sun) and axial precession ( Earth’s wobble about its axis in 40,000 year cycles that cools and warms the planet) Earth entered an ice age during which the oceans began to freeze far beyond the polar region to the equator. This freezing created intense overcrowding among microbes. The albedo effect of a snowy Earth further accelerated this ice formation and compressed all microbes into a vast soupy freezing mass. Imagine a vat of rice five miles deep with each grain a living thing. The pressure at the lower reaches is immense, bodies merge, cell barriers are violated. 95% die from the shock of intermixing and the harsh environment. One pair of merged microbes survives with the energy required to fight for a place near the warm water. It warms itself and reproduces around a lens of melted water around its thermal vent. The same vent that created this life two billion years previously. Life had come full circle in the first 2.5 billion years - back to the vent but still as only a single cell with a powerhouse passenger. So we have our merged pair of microbes multiplying in this deep, dark but warm pool of water. A crack forms in the five mile thick ice crust reaching the surface and sunlight. Descendants of the original merged pair move with their new energy up to the light where solar radiation further speeds mutation-evolution. The ice melts over the next 100 million years, oceans gradually reappear and this new form of life, with its built-in powerhouse, thrives and dominates every niche. Land emerges from the sea, oxygenated atmosphere forms. Environments differentiate across the planet and plants and animals differentiate filling every niche. Unicellular life explodes into myriad multicell varieties. The race is on.


JB Questions and Observations:

  1. Reading a book is a gradient reducer. There is a magnetic gradient between a great unread book and a reader that begs to be eliminated in the service of the universal law of entropy. Reading a book causes life to grow just as life grows from the solar-cosmic gradient reduction engine.
  2. There is a gradient between an author and a story to be told whether fiction, non-fiction, memoir or cookbook. The stuff of story is a set of events that transpired to reduce social gradients public and private. The protagonist swears “The devil made me do it - the gradient had to be reduced !”
  3. Our social hierarchy is a finely tuned gradient comprising signals such as net worth, education, manners, age, good cheer and health. Our conspicuous commodities are shorthand messages;  symbolic-totemic-talismanic abstractions for wising up others about our social standing in the technium. Dress for success. Where highlife meets lowlife at any of the above, the stuff of story emerges: wealthy woman meets impoverished poet = fireworks. Healthy teen meets autistic new kid on block = drama. Educated flower vendor meets dimwitted aristocrat- hijinx ensue. Combine three gradient disjunctions in each character for drama. Mix n’ match these elements of the great convection engine that is human society. Reverse gradient expectations - rich girl is kinesthetically challenged ( crippled from polio). Poor boy from slums is a mathematical genius, etc. What is a fish out of water ( one of seven classic story tropes) but a gradient waiting to be reduced?
  4. If the nuclear proteins NOTCH and P53 can make edits to DNA then a G-rev ( positive genetic mutation) at the P53 and or NOTCH gene can affect evolution as much as a great many base pair revisions.
  5. Are skin pigmentation and muscle composition controlled by mitochondrial proteins? People of different races burn muscle energy at different rates. Mitochondria are the source of all cell energy.
  6. Is there a link between toxic effects of high fructose corn sweetener and free radical leakage at mitochondria?
  7. Is the microscopic hydra in the same clade as squid?
  8. Was Noah’s flood caused by a glacial dam burst similar to the Missoula Flood that washed over Central Washington, Western Oregon and central Montana and covered this vast area in less than a day.
  9. Would the pressure of a five mile thick ice sheet have caused the lower level to remain unfrozen - a vast, dark, thin and deep ocean all around the globe? Would this glacial-melt ball bearing lubricant layer have made the entire Earth's ice shell subject to tidal pull of the moon? Would the "low tide" inner ice ball surface have crushed one trillion microbes into one another twice each day forcing the issue of symbiosis?
  10. Could the momentum from a colossal, immediate release of water from a glacial dam burst cause either axial or orbital precession or both?
  11. Would this water interface between the iceball shell and the rocky Earth act as a ball bearing inducing rotational differential between earth and ice shell? Would rotation differential generate heat warming the deep thin water layer making it more suitable for evolution? Expanding warm water beyond thermal vents to the entire layer of melted ice?
  12. Are there correlations between Glacier lake- Earth orbital-axial irregularities and evolutionary events in the history of life?
  13. Has epigenetic inheritance had an effect on human tool use and the development of human culture? Is there hardwired  genetic culture memory i.e. human culture transmitted by cellular stuff in addition to books, language etc.?
  14. There are three, four, five or six kingdoms of life on Earth depending on which scientist you ask. I like the six kingdoms model: 1.Plants-eukaryotes 2. Animals-eukaryotes, 3. Protists-single cell eukaryotes 4.fungi-eukaryotes  5. Archaea-prokaryotes 6. Bacteria-prokaryotes
  15. The are three domains: 1. Archaea, 2. Bacteria 3. Eukaryotes
  16. Slime mold has tentacles up to several yards long. Neurons in chordates have axons up to three feet long. Is the human neocortex a slime mold symbiont? Our brainstem covered with 85 billion slime connections evolved from a symbiotic parasite - the source of our “higher” intelligence. Perhaps higher is a misnomer as this explosion of network capacity may turn out to be disadvantageous for planet health.
  17. Is there more wood in the crossties of railroads or in all wood frame houses?
  18. Kevin Kelly, former executive editor of “Wired” magazine, proposes a neologism to encompass all of human culture, a single word: The technium - useful !
  19. What were the health effects of lead water pipes in Ancient Rome. Did decaying mental capacity caused by lead poisoning cause the demise of the Roman Empire?  


4/25/16    4:15PM

Neuron Sparks

  “Equilibrium is death” - Dr. Nick Lane biochemist

The term Darwinian implies evolutionary change that is small and discrete. It may be small but it is interconnected in countless ways-not at all discrete.

We tend to think of whole animals evolving. Humans are a whole animal. We conceive of ourselves as a single unit but molecules, enzymes, lipids, nucleotides, genes, organ systems and relationships between organs evolve, quantum relationships evolve. Many levels of hierarchy of living systems co-evolve in a single organism. G-revs ( positive mutations)  must coordinate with all others. A G-rev increasing the diameter of the ureter can upregulate the entire body in a single generation by positively affecting 10 trillion other cells. All systems in an organism must evolve in concert. All cells must communicate with one another. How? Sensory systems, messaging systems: quantum, atomic, chemical, mechanical communication throughout the body 24/7/365/life. The term “natural selection” doesn’t begin to suggest the scope of this inter-intra-organ communication. Competition in the real world of pine trees and bears is a trivial subset of behavior at the organism level ( the whole feeding, fighting f-ing animal). Does an RNA molecule compete with another RNA molecule or an enzyme? - no - but it communicates in many ways.

Ninety nine and nine tenths percent of all evolution occurs deep within the bodies of animals as G-revved somatic cells divide and multiply mixing and matching genes for improved function ( evolving)  through a single lifespan in many cell divisions from tens to hundreds to many thousands. A human has 10 trillion ( with a T !)  somatic cells distributed among twelve organ systems, featuring five vital organs: brain, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs. These organs speak to one another genetically during a single lifespan.

We traditionally hear about evolution in the form of animals fighting for sex and survival with the genes of winners proceeding to next round as offspring benefitting from G-rev. This is Modern Synthesis dogma ( Darwin meets Mendel) the core of contemporary biology - the Kool Aid of our time - Don’t drink it.  For every battle between two lions, tigers, bullfrogs, snapping turtles or humans there are 50 trillion instances of cooperation and communication between cells in the service of DNA modification and evolution. Darwin’s “red in tooth and claw” trope is nano-trivial. Selection happens between somatic cells - other arenas of the hierarchy, from tribal populations to quarks are trivial.  A new generation of major organ cells carries a net positive array of mutation or net negative array. The bad die young.

G-rev occurs 24/7/365 in every cell in our bodies. A mutation might serve a heart cell but throw the liver out of whack. Organs communicate genetically via chemical and electrical signaling coordinating G-rev among themselves. All for one - one for all. The positive accepted revisions are then registered in the germline DNA. G-rev is transmitted to the following generation. You could accrue one gazillion G-revs throughout eleven organ systems before you are twenty years old but if this G-rev bounty doesn’t appear in the germline when you mate, it’s sayonara to all of that potential improvement of the species. Nature is wasteful but it’s not stupid.

How do all cells communicate with one another, germline included,  re: the usefulness of the latest mutation.How do the cells of our body communicate with one another? What is the pathway-vehicle- mechanism- medium? How are messages sent and received re: fitness of a mutation? Each of our twelve organ systems is crawling with neurons. Neurons are found throughout the vertebrate body not just in the brain. Most of us have by now heard of our gut and heart brains. We also have a pancreas brain and a lymphatic brain and a liver brain and a kidney brain.  This population of neurons beyond the noggin sends gene-altering signals, mobile introns customized via neuron sparks,  through a  rhizomic neural network. Individual cells work together swapping information through the nervous system evolving in concert, giving the improved animal an advantage in head- butting. The primary arena of evolution is not jungle or ocean but infinite realms within each organism.

JB Teapot ( see: Russell’s Teapot) There is a clearinghouse in the brainstem collecting, sorting and distributing genetic information from neural systems of specific organs. Afferent ( incoming)  information is compiled, sorted, compared, coordinated, summarized and coded then sent as a package to the germline for transmission to next generation of the whole organism.


JB Questions-Observations:

  1. Is differential gene splicing involved in synthesizing hundreds of pitch and hue proteins of the cochlea and retina? Are the hundreds of different perception cells coded via post-translational modification ( phosphorylation, methylation, ubiquitination, etc)? See Notch proteins for most likely path to cell specificity.
  2. How much birdsong occurs beyond the upper range of human hearing?
  3. Each of our ten trillion cells has one million tiny energy factories ( mitochondria). Keep your mitochondria happy with a walk around the house a few times a day for better health - wake them all up with exercise. If they are awake and fulfilling their destiny they will make you happy. If they remain static they will kill you in 1,000 ways.
  4. Investigate the effect of high fructose corn sweetener on afferent neural function at hepatic cells ( liver). Does HFCS wreck signal processing via osmotic or osmolality  CA+2  or K dysregulation
  5. Investigate induced remote organ G-rev, coordinated mutation, coordinated post translational modification to be encoded later in genome as base pair mod or histone acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation re:
  1. leukocyte influx at liver
  2. Channel-inducing factor at gut
  3. Vascular permeability at lung and or brain
  4. Neutrophil trafficking at heart
  5. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor at brain
  6. other
  1. JBT - The Blake Lens ( incorporating Dr. Nick Lane’s  theory of Proton transfer) A circulating pool of melted ice water four miles below the ice sheet of snowball earth during the Huronian glaciation 2.4 billion years ago as possible location of emergence of life. The ice in small, deep zones in the ice block is melted by an alkaline thermal vent that pushes mineral-rich water from heated rocks far below through spongiform mineral towers forming proton gradients across membranes where organic chemicals lodge in small holes between flowing mineral rich water of differing PH, a chemiosmotic reaction. There is great pressure from weight of ice sheet in the presence of hot and cold water creating  convection in the water as it travels from the zone of the heated vent tower into the chilled outer zones of the dark pool. There is a crack in the ice to the surface of the ice sheet four miles above where a pool of melted water is exposed to solar radiation. The Blake Lens provides an environment ideal for an orgy of endosymbiotic lateral gene transfer- experimentation.

JB Experiment: Locate existing thermal vent, flush and scour its internal compartments ( micropores) of all organic residue - create a clean breeding ground for new life - see if any new life emerges.

  1. Is there neural crosstalk between lungs and pancreas? Liver and lung? Is there Notch protein crosstalk in these organ systems?
  2. Ivy league universities are among the largest hedge funds in the world according to Ron Unz. JB idea: open these Ivy Hedges up to general population of investors multiplying their cash which is redistributed to students for free education at Ivys and elsewhere.
  3. Do inorganic molecules undergo any sort of selection - natural or otherwise?
  4. Organic matter itself is a great enzyme speeding up gradient reduction between the sun and outer space. The sun and the great cosmic void create a thermodynamic anomaly violating entropy that must be erased.
  5. Was the Big Bang a gradient reduction event erasing disequilibrium between adjacent universes?
  6. Investigate chains, cascades, hierarchies and taxonomies of disequilibrium from the big bang-adjacent universe to the sun-cosmos and all others down to  membrane osmolarity and beyond, down into microcosmos.
  7. Would breathing antibacterial bathroom disinfectant ( dimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride)  kill pneumonia in an infected person? If so, it would be less trouble than a doctor. Cure pneumonia in five seconds - don’t try this at home yet.
  8. JB neolog: Capacitor Effect: great reactivity built up behind a kinetic barrier that is released in an instant.
  9. Would UV radiation be more likely to stimulate the origins of life in an atmosphere without oxygen? Is there something prohibitive about oxygen that gets in the way of early life? Life emerging from non-life?
  10. Meteorite carrying cosmic amino acids crashes through the ice during Huronian glaciation 2.4 BYA (Billion Years Ago) and drops amino acid galactic passengers into a Blake Lens filled with mineral nutrients and proton gradient infused membranes - voila !  LIFE !
  11. A hurricane ( or any weather system) is a dissipative structure dissipating energy gradients.
  12. Is a city a living thing? It consumes stuff: energy, people etc. it grows and sends out new life as suburbs ( mini cities-little copies of itself), it excretes waste, cities die.
  13. If there is a manifestation in the physical world of string theory - strings that interconnect clusters of adjacent universes, why not such a network of strings in the microcosmos at human body or any animal or plant body? Strings interconnecting the cells of all organs with a rhizomic network sending G-rev signals to the germline?
  14. Would the pressure of ice five miles deep at Sturtian Glaciation (850-650 MYA) have crushed all hydrothermal vents into granules?
  15. Investigate migratory, Notch-infused dendritic cells for a role as G-rev messengers at and between all organs, especially from the brain to the germline.
  16. If a retrotransposon (jumping gene) can copy itself across an entire genome then why not from somatic cells to germline?
  17. A single cell consumes 10 million molecules of ATP ( from mitochondria) every second. Keep your mitochondria happy and you will be happy.
  18. What is the effect of ethyl alcohol ( wine, beer,whiskey, vodka etc) on epithelial lining of gastrointestinal tract? Is the pathogen barrier interrupted? Are lymphoid, myeloid, stromal players in this protection negatively affected? Does alcohol make one’s gut open to invasion by pathogens? Does alcohol inhibit barrier maintenance? Effects of ethyl alcohol on mitochondrial function?
  19. Investigate corelation: trapped oxygen differential at ice block between Huronian, Sturtian and Karoo glaciations and evolution. Organics processes at Blake Lenses in each of the three glaciations re: oxygen availability.
  20. Can an RNA molecule of any sort cause a neuron to fire its electrical charge or its chemical charge? Can it prevent such firing?
  21. Investigate: eukaryotic cell nucleus as a free-floating organism like precambrian mitochondria.

April 14, 2016    12:45 AM


Voyage to the Germ Line

  The current evolutionary paradigm comprises two theoretical arenas:  “The Central Dogma” and “The Modern Synthesis”. The Central Dogma is that DNA codes for RNA and RNA codes for proteins in that order, in that direction. It has since been modified to take into account proteins that modify DNA, that reverse the sequence. The Modern Synthesis refers to the conflation of Darwin’s natural selection acting upon random mutations with the ideas of Mendel regarding the realm of genetics. A  key feature of Darwinism that remains fundamental to The Modern Synthesis is that genetic change via mutation is random, always random, forever random,  NOT generated by the needs of an organism as it lives its life. A key assertion of The Modern synthesis is that genetic information is passed from one generation to the next by DNA in the germ line not by somatic cells. Germ line cells are sperm and eggs, somatic cells are all others, including heart, lung, kidney, liver, epithelium, brain etc. If a cell is not a sperm or egg it is a somatic cell. If a mutation is going to cause a change in the DNA of a mammal,  either positive or negative it will happen in the DNA of an egg or sperm - nowhere else. DNA can mutate to high heaven in 10 trillion somatic cells according to The Modern Synthesis and have no effect on future generations.

Given Modern Synthesis dogma, only one-ten millionth of a man’s cells are available to undergo mutation related to possible evolution.  For women, the ratio of somatic cells to germ cells ( eggs) is 1,000 times smaller. A woman produces 400 eggs per lifetime, a man produces 500 billion sperm. A woman’s eggs are exposed to the possibility of mutation for an entire lifetime. A man’s sperm turn over completely every 30 days i.e. 30 days from genesis in the testes to exit of the body.

I am not a creationist but these two currently operational theories demand the suspension of all reason, logic, common sense and intuition. We are supposed to believe that the future of all mammals depends on cosmic rays caroming through millions of cells from the top of the head to the gonads to strike a DNA molecule located in the well protected testicles or ovaries causing a mutation, with only one in ten thousand of these mutations being advantageous at a single genetic trait somewhere within 20,000 human genes. Believers in this catechism will remind us that mutations can also be caused by the stress and strain of cell division as chromatin wrangles itself up into chromatids at every cell division. We are also told that all cells possess chemical machinery that edits mutations out of DNA. The tales of the Holy Bible are more believable. There must be other mechanisms at work than those proposed in this dual Kool Aid combo. The exclusivity of The Central Dogma and The Grand Synthesis is the stuff of myth. These two time-worn theories comprise a paradigm that has generated much science over the past 70 years. The processes these two theories describe are too limited in scope, too slow and neither takes into account coordination between interconnected mechanical, electrical, chemical and quantum systems of organs and processes throughout the body. It is time for re-vision. Why would nature limit evolution to such an infinitesimal portion of the matter at hand?

JB Theory:

  1. All ten trillion cells of the human ( mammal, vertebrate) body ( adjust total per species) participate directly in evolution via the transmission of genetic information between themselves ( somatic cells)  and between all other somatic cells and the germline in a network. Animal evolution is not limited to random mutation in eggs and sperm DNA.
  2. Rename mutation. The word mutation implies a singular incident and an odd, irregular unfortunate occurrence. The word mutation has overtones of wrongness. Mutants are the stuff of sideshows.  Let’s rename mutation as G-rev (Genetic revision) G-rev might involve DNA or histones or RNA - whatever tags along for the ride that creates a zygote.
  3. Reconsider the hardcore dogmatic element of randomness - little heritable DNA change is random.
  4. RE: random mutation - mutation is replaced with G-Rev ( Gene revision) and random is replaced with directed. Random mutation becomes directed G-rev.
  5. All cells send messages to the germline to be passed to the next generation. Every organ in the body not only communicates with each other’s form and process but all cells of every organ participate directly in productive evolutionary revision i.e. germ cell nuclear material modification.
  6. How does it work? Somatic cells send genetic info in the form of cRNA ( Courier RNA: JB neolog)  to the germ line via surrounding tissue fluid collected in capillaries of the lymph system that runs from the brain dura mater lymphatics to the toes and all around each organ on toward the para aortic lymph nodes serving the gonads.  RNA is then sorted and distributed to growing germ cell matrix for insertion into germ stem cell nuclear material or maturing (mature) eggs and sperm: DNA, histones and RNA. This RNA is tagged at each source organ specifying its destination at the appropriate germ cell DNA or other transmissible nuclear material.
  7. Sperm and eggs and their progenitors are continually processing new genetic information from all over the body.
  8. Over the course of twenty years a person’s skin cells have gone through 200 generations, each involving mitosis, crossing over etc - opportunity for evolution via G-rev. If an animal is able to register these beneficial changes into its genome for 200 generations in 20 years, it has advantages. It is not believable that nature would overlook such opportunity.
  9. Revisions to genetic material resulting in phenotypic expression during the lifetime of a single organism is called epigenetic change. To date this change has been considered un-inheritable for the most part because it is a normal function of somatic cell expression in all non-reproductive organs.
  10. Epigenetic information is not wasted. It is tested within a cell type for a few generations of that cell line and then forwarded to the germ cells. Neurons and all cells of the central nervous system are a part of this forwarding process for new genetic information. Neurons store epigenetic change ( memory) and forward it via the dura mater lymphatic-glymphatic system. Epigenetic change is stored and intermittently transferred to germline DNA via RNA in a reverse of Crick’s central dogma assertion of exclusivity of direction. This reverse directional effect of RNA on DNA has been seen for past 20 years in prion activity and reverse transcriptase studies.
  11. Epigenetic information becomes genetic in an avalanche of edits, updates, revision, change aka G-rev or as tradition has it - “mutation”
  12. G-rev is not typically a random occurrence from a UV or gamma ray strike upon a hydrogen or carbon molecule of a nucleotide, nor is it a collection of broken and re-assembled DNA strands. G-rev at the germline ( sperm / eggs) is constant, voluminous and locked into the genome for transmission into following generations.
  13. There are 220 types of somatic cells in the human body - they are not sterile as The Modern Synthesis asserts.
  14. G-revs are so numerous they appear to be adaptively directed from the somatic cells.
  15. Darwin proposed that evolution took place at the level of the organism in its real world environment the result of generations of struggle to survive and reproduce. Contemporary theorists have suggested the gene itself is the operant realm of evolution ( Richard Dawkins) and others ( Stephen Jay Gould) assert that it is the the species upon which natural selection/genetic drift/genetic flow act
  16. This is how it works: Step One: nuclear material at somatic cells is epigenetically modified as histones undergo post translational modifications ( methylation, acetylation, citrullination, ubiquitination, SUMOylation, ADP ribosylation, phosphorylation) The cell,  in rapid succession says “try this, no this, now this, OK this one's a keeper”  The cell uses this change for a few hundred or a few thousand cell replications of epigenetic inheritance within the tissues of an organ to test it before sending info via RNA through the lymph system to gonads where oogenesis(egg making and spermatogenesis (sperm making) are underway prior to for further editing and insertion as new G-rev base pair sequence at DNA in Sperm or eggs. Descent with modification at 10 trillion somatic cells followed by descent across organism for trials of offspring against all comers for food, sex, survival.
  17. There is no such thing as non-coding DNA. all DNA at chromosomes participates in sorting, editing and storing somatic cell information prior to conversion into a protein signaling gene.

Our society has a germline seen as movies, novels, art museums,  television, newspapers, magazines, scientific journals, professional sports teams and textbooks. There is intense competition to participate in these avenues of influence. We struggle and conspire to contribute as if we would evaporate unseen into the cosmic ether if our paintings didn’t find a New York gallery or if our screenplay is not turned into a feature film or our scientific paper is rejected by the prestigious journal or if we don’t make the starting line-up on the soccer team. The cultural germline has intensely policed channels. We are trained to believe that getting into this germline matters more than it does. Each life matters as much as the next and all lives send an enormous amount of information into following generations in countless ways - no major label record deal required.

Every person (cell) in the body ( society) signifies and each sends vital information to the next generation by individual, thought, behavior, action, and  mood throughout life. It is the way of the world that each of the carbon units ( us)  plays a role in determining what gets transmitted, what lives and what dies.  Private thought and action is sorted and finds its way to local, state and national influencers,  germline politicians, cultural gatekeepers at school board meetings, elections,  publishing houses and art museums. We vote with our bodies as we drink the fresh water piped in from the water treatment plant, use the sewer system and shop at the supermarket. We vote with our bodies and our pocketbooks as we drive process and product to prominence or decay. We have a choice to litter or not, to smile at the cashier or not. Individual action born of individual thought and feeling  gets collected just as information at ten trillion cells gets collected.


JB Questions-Observations:

  1. Perhaps all somatic genetic information is routed via lymph system to the pons first  where it is sorted prior to transport to the germline
  2. There are 323 million people living in the USA. where is the germline? How might one get his / her ideas into it for guaranteed transfer of one’s unique contribution into the next generation. What is the American counterpart to the lymph system G-rev pipeline. A movie screen is like a giant penis shooting spermey ideas out into the audience. A college professor is an erection of sorts firing his material into an audience that might contain a receptive mind or two.
  3. If a railroad track is a metaphor for a society’s path into the future. Would the crossties be individual people? Would the intense regimentation of RR crossties reflect the sameness of language or an array of ethical beliefs, shared religion, marriage rites etc. Would the unique patterns of wear and tear on each crosstie reflect the scope of our individuality?
  4. Bertolt Brecht was the Mother Teresa for the Stalinist incarceration of millions of Soviet citizens. Brecht gave Stalin a free pass from day one until Stalin’s death in 1953. To Brecht, Stalin was a great unifier who defeated the Germans. Brecht chose not to see the millions of Soviet citizens who were interned in the Gulag archipelago.
  5. Brecht was the king of agitprop theater ( AGITationPROPaganda). I wonder if he was on Stalin’s payroll throughout his theatrical career? Brecht was the Picasso of 20th century theater with a great influence on Americans Tennessee Williams, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller.
  6. Perhaps there has been little need for any organism to ever evolve or evolve from scratch when it can simply incorporate systems from other animals and plants each with its own special gifts. Much biosynthesis ( per Lynn Margulis) Very little new stuff in plants and animals as they evolve.
  7. What was the first organism to see, hear, breathe oxygen, touch, smell, use blood to move chemicals through its body?
  8. What happens at olfaction? How does a smelly molecule affect neurons to sense a smell?
  9. What were the proto-organs for each modern organ?  How were genomes modified to deliver functional units to offspring?
  10. Maybe instead of lymph, the network that transports genetic info from somatic cells to germline is entirely invisible and operating in a quantum network.
  11. Random mutation playing out via natural selection and genetic drift is crude, too undirected even with hundreds of millions of whole life generations across eons. The picture must be bigger.


4/2/16    11:02am

Canals On Mars

“History does not repeat itself - it is historians who repeat one another.” - anon In 1907 the elder, esteemed American astronomer Percival Lowell claimed to have discovered canals on Mars. He proposed that these “canals” were a last gasp effort of a dying civilization to reroute water from Martian ice caps onto a drying, desolate landscape. Lowell made detailed drawings of these patterns he called “canals” and as a result of his scientific reputation and social status, his exciting idea spread quickly. The wide publication of Lowell’s carefully observed drawings and theory the origin of Martian canals stimulated the imagination of millions of newspaper readers on both sides of the Atlantic including many science fiction writers. The existence of Lowell’s “canals” could not be corroborated by other astronomers and his theory was soon discredited.  Lowell was actually seeing the shadows of blood vessels cast on the retina of his own eyes from his small telescope eyepiece.

This story is ripe for wisdom-mining. There are no canals on Mars; there ARE canals on/in our eyes. Others find it annoying when we make Lowell’s mistake of thinking our canals ( the ones we see on Mars or anywhere on Earth, in our souls, out among the stars) are everyone’s canals if only other people would bother to look as closely as we have looked. When discussing canals ( ideas, beliefs) approach slowly, begin with a hint, you may find a like mind and most likely you will not, if not, let it go. Your canals are yours. Everyone has his/her collection, their canal-baggage aka their mythome, belief system, prejudices, habits, enthusiasms, trails of success / failure, often anxious to share.

Many successful writers latch onto an underclass that they proceed to exploit in their art. Bertolt Brecht exploited the proletariat workers of the world like the good Communist he was. John Steinbeck exploited the unfortunate Okie immigrants seeking work in California. Thomas Mcguane exploits the small town hapless businessman, doctor or rancher of disintegrating prospects. The effective memoirist exploits their own family.

Brecht patronized his oppressed, exploited workers from the vantage point of a comfortable, well-educated member of the bourgeoisie he and his fellow avant-gardists scorned. Brecht exploited the working class as much as any industrialist. The abused worker was his lab rat for his own aggrandizing  theatrical experiments. The workers of the world were Brecht’s “canals on Mars” the burst blood vessels through which a writer sees his subjects. The most successful author is always slumming. Never write of or above your psychic or social station i.e. don’t write about people happier or wealthier than yourself. When a writer of the upper class turns to write about his/her poor little rich people - look out! Literature is in the works - see: Tolstoy. This is AOK,  not criticizing, just noting.


JB Questions-Observations:

  1. Eight-oar rowing, the most communist in spirit of any sport given its requirement of total subsumption of the individual for the good of the whole enterprise yet competitive rowing has been nurtured in the heart of the Capitalist upper class by the WASPiest of young men and women, destined to the highest levels of Capitalist leadership.
  2. Bertolt Brecht wrote one great play ( adapted) “Threepenny Opera” and one great song lyric “Mack the Knife” the rest is agitprop.
  3. Socialism is sharing of wealth created by all members of society. Capitalism is the hogging of as much wealth as one can get away with and if laws interfere, change them - see: Bill Clinton and friends-Glass Stegall. Feel the Bern !
  4. Brecht’s “Epic Theatre” is Agitprop at its best but agitprop nonetheless. Agitprop = AGITationPROPaganda, a didactic theatrical form meant to instruct audience ( usually poorly educated)  on the value of Communism.


March 19, 2016    2:37PM


  JB reading: “The Empire of Cotton-Sven Beckert, “The Georgetown Set” Gregg Herken, Bertolt Brecht-His Life, Art and Times”-Frederic Ewen

“Power develops at the intersection of network paths not at the endpoints”

- Sven Beckert

Rhizome: An elongate, horizontal, subterranean plant stem possessing nodes.

Rhizome (Gilles Deleuze def. + -): “The rhizome presents history and culture as a map, a wide array of attractions with no specific origin, no beginning-no end-always in the middle between things, ceaselessly establishing connections between semiotic chains, organizations and power in art, science, politics and social struggle.” Note: Every walk of life is a rhizomic realm, threads of significance, web of meaning. Webs among the cells of the brain tracking webs perceived in the world of all else.  All higher education is about introducing one to the working ( fashionable)  rhizomes of a chosen field - the Kool Aid-catechism-central dogma. Walk the dogma or change majors.  Look for new connections in rhizomes that overlay one another i.e. vertical nodulation: air travel with textile trade networks and internet links. The little-noted but all-pervasive vertical threads - three dimensional fabric - a cube of cloth ( ideas, tropes, patterns, networks) length, width and height - see: 3-D chess game.  Trade routes-nodes, vacation routes-nodes, mosquito vectors.

Dendrite: Threadlike extension of a neuron branching into treelike structure. The dendrites comprise the receptive surfaces of the neuron conducting impulses toward the neuron body and out through the axon. One neuron ( of ten billion in the human brain) has up to 100,000 dendritic spines.

Rhize (JB neolog): A single filament in a Deleuzian rhizomic socio-politico-historic network - Examples

  1. The path of an airliner from Los Angeles to Nashville is one rhize.
  2. A cool shoes meme travels its Gladwellian path from Harlem to the rest of world
  3. The concept of Containment ( of the Soviet Union) from the mind of U.S. foreign policy guru George Kennan through the minds of State Department and CIA officials and toward the democratically elected leaders of Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, most notably reified as containment failed abysmally in the Vietnam War of 1962-1975.
  4. The idea “All men are created equal” rooted in ancient Jewish wisdom and found in texts of 17th century English thinker John Locke influenced Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin’s reading intersected with Locke’s actual role in the drafting of “The fundamental Constitution of Carolina” for his patron Lord Shaftesbury's pioneer residents of Colonial America. “All men are created equal” has been a potent rhize whose power was manifest in the fact of the American Civil War.

Mythome-Part One ( JB neolog via Ferdinand Saussure and Roland Barthes,) As in Biome, Bacteriome, Virome i.e. the whole shebang of a given system - myth in this case. The dense fog of ideas comprising our shared consciousness. Our mythome is the entire realm of socio-religio-legal, ethical, moral-scientific, art-making, war-making belief, i.e. the three dimensional tangle of our shared existence as it is woven up, down and around and through Global Capitalism-banking-manufacturing-marketing and entertainment. The colossal rhizomic mat from which we try to derive a meaningful life is our mythome.

Mythome-II There is a grand game of musical chairs with worker exploitation as the empty chair. The music of profit-seeking plays, populations stir, protest, vote, elect, strike and the ogre rises and shifts to a new population. The filled chair is the nation most willing to allow the exploitation of its workers. From 1840 to 1862 it was the USA - South; today it is Pakistan, Indonesia and Mexico. Read the label on your T-shirt for the latest victim-nation.

Mythome-III The Capitalist world, after 250 years, is running low on victim nations and will look to the prison population of economically viable nations for its factory workers. Millions of prisoners will be sorted into two groups: the well-behaved pliable workers and irretrievable unfortunates who will remain in their cells. The prison labor force will work for 35 cents an hour building our cars, airplanes, appliances, brooms, and toys. By the year 2025 all factory work will be done by prisoners and robots. Asians and Mexicans will have priced themselves out of the market.

According to Deleuze, the rhizome has no particular beginning or end thus any power of place occurs at the intersection of two or more rhizomes or the place where one small rhizome hits a larger one. Imagine the dendrite of a neuron that has been untapped for the first 20 years of life, growing into and linking up with an old neuron in action since birth with its billions of connections throughout the entire nervous system connected to all sense and memory. In 1825 New York City already had been a vital american rhizomic link to Europe and the rest of the world for 150 years. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, as NYC was linked to the bountiful heartland of America, New York City became a nodal point and rapidly developed into “The Big Apple” - a burgeoning metropolis of international scope. From bustling end point to globally influential node. Before the Erie canal, New York City was a rhizomic endpoint; after the canal it was a node on a mighty rhizome.

It is counterintuitive that a node would have more clout than an endpoint but it is the multiplicity of linkages at a node that generate power and influence. People who cultivate the most links with others thus making their dinner parties nodal events, make themselves powerful nodes in their political milieu. The artist plys his working existence in a studio or at a desk alone with his / her muse - isolated endpoints, whereas the savvy, influence-hungry journalist plays out his craft at vociferous dinner parties, raucous gatherings of influencers seduced by excellent cuisine, lubricated with lip-loosening alcohol, debating the future of America. This dinnertime as path to power trope is examined in detail in Gregg Herken’s book “the Georgetown Set” A potent slice of 25 years of American foreign and domestic policy worked out at such social gatherings in the homes Washington DC’s political players, from the CIA, the State Department and The Washington Post and other DC power centers.  

A playwright who directs his own work and that of others is at the intersection of enormous rhizomic energy radiating from other playwrights, actors, producers, set designers, newspaper critics, audiences. The chances of career development are multiplied geometrically from such involvement - see: Bertolt Brecht at early career when pivoting from starving unknown writer haunting cafes of Munich  to the hottest theatrical celebrity in Berlin, Germany’s largest city and capital. There is another rhizomic tangle at work as the playwright sorts through the work ( a variety of rhizes)  he/she absorbs in their local theaters, combined with poetry, plays, novels and political events not to mention one’s own hormonal allotment creating energy, anxiety and rebellion.

JB Miscellany:

  1. Writers forget that writing is the residue of thought and feeling and fact - it is nothing much itself.
  2. When a person says, upon returning from travels “I caught a bug in Mexico, Greece, Uganda, France, Siberia, wherever, perhaps they always carried that bug in their bodies along with ten million other species of microbe at work around the globe and in our bodies 24/7/365. It was their immune system that took a hit in said foreign locale due to lack of sleep, excitement, too much drink, airport stress etc. the bug was in them all along but dormant until stress set in to compromise immune system.
  3. History valorizes those who shock, not those who love. You love literature, you’ve read the canon and loved much of it, memorized dozens of passages and poems and written intensely-crafted poems and novels yet remain obscure with cash-flow challenges - shocked anyone lately? Adults consider the source when shocked - it is typically left to youth to be shocking, as adults tend to look stupid or crazy. Young people are expected to shock us in new and possibly constructive ways: see: Einstein, Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Kirchner, Brecht, Warhol, Schnabel, Basquiat. The delivery system of  shock is typically an outsider struggling to come to grips with a corrupt establishment. Mature adult artists get the big picture and make a living serving the beast ( Global Capitalism) in one way or another, teaching, selling insurance, writing ad copy, doing corporate architecture ( isn’t all architecture corporate or one degree of Kevin Bacon removed?) . You did your shock and awe phase during your wild, wooly twenties when no one was looking. Note to artistic self for next life - go to art capital, duke it out with less shocking-destructive peers and prevail for patronage, fame, wealth and the history books.
  4. When early 1950s foreign policy guru George Kennan’s “Containment” philosophy ( contain the Soviets) slowly and painfully morphed from push to shove in Vietnam during JFK’s 1960s, the Containment trope disintegrated as an ugly, stupid, contagious frog got boiled in the jungles of South Vietnam, revealing its wormy, rotten essence i.e. contain until it gets difficult then just let ‘em run all over you - who will care? What’s so bad about Communism anyway? The Vietnam War shed a harsh light on Kennan’s big idea from the beginning of U.S. involvement ( JFK’s 20,000 troops). Containment was unprincipled at its core thus not worth fighting and dying for. Containment was nebulous, too abstract and it involves policing state ambition not defending one’s land / honor / founding Enlightenment principles of life, liberty and property. Containment, at its root in Vietnam, was always a violation of our deepest principle of sanctity of property. That American policy makers would give a damn whether Vietnamese become communists or receive aid from generous neighbors (Chinese) was always secondary to our hallowed first principles stated so clearly by Thomas Jefferson in our “Declaration of Independence” Sixty thousand U.S. soldiers dead - what a fucking waste serving a rotten rhizome that wormed its way through the consciousness of The Georgetown Set from 1950 to 1975. Bobby Kennedy put it best: “Jungle Rot”
  5. We live in a culture of leftovers - Commodity Capitalism. Mechanized societies with global rhizome networks of trade do the killing, thieving (of land and health) we make the laws that suit us, valorize the philosophers who explain us, sanctify the religious leaders who give us the moral go ahead. We defend the trade routes and finance all of the above. You - the world’s 90 percent slave in factories, as juridical bureaucracies ensure that you keep your mouth shut, work hard and go to church, reaping your small benefit from menacing paternalism.
  6. According to Yale professor emeritus of Literature Harold Bloom author of the iconic text for all creative types: “the Anxiety of Influence”, every writer of note wrestles mightily with poetic precursors, for Bertolt Brecht his primary “foes” were Rimbaud, Baudelaire and Verlaine. Brecht’s “B” team was his immediate  precursors  Richard Dehmel, Detlev Liliencron, Otto Bierbohm and the metaphysical clown Karl Valentin. These men were as Woodie Guthrie and Alan Ginsberg to the emerging Bob Dylan in the early 1960s. Valentin was the cudgeled hero ( see: Charlie Chaplin)  trickster - the Apollinaire of Munich, melancholy clown.
  7. Cubism, Dada and Expressionism were the youth movement of a new, 20th century. Interesting that they are visual arts whereas the youth movement of the 1960s was dominated by music, perhaps Pop Art was a youth movement of pre-boomer generation.
  8. The shark was a recurring motif in the work of Brecht: see: “Mack The Knife”
  9. Compare and contrast Bruckner's “Wozzek” and Budd Schulberg’s “On the Waterfront” the “I could’ve been a contender” theme.
  10. Brecht strikes one as an All-American ( though German) intellectual-artist-cowboy. Brecht loved America and the idea of the natural man as opposed to romantic man. Natural man is of the Earth not of the spirit. He is sweat, snot, blood, guts, semen, tears, sex, fist-fights, wrestling, eating, running, smoking, eating more, rebelling, bitching about the bourgeoisie - those slightly older folks locked into the Capitalist mythome trying to make a living.
  11. Might perforin ( pre-forming protein) release be a mechanism for branching in trees?


March 10, 2016    7:52 PM


Squirrel Factor

  When living in Palo alto a few years ago I could look out my home-office window and see a squirrel scurrying along a 2 x 6  fence rail. From time to time I would put a peanut or two on this rail and watch the squirrel stop, sniff the peanut, grasp it, quickly gnaw into it and either sit there and eat it or quickly carry it away. One day I put a small pile of peanuts on the rail - a treasure! The squirrel ran up to the pile, took one look and without taking a single nut, turned and ran away. I tried this a few more times. Whenever there was more than a few nuts,  the squirrel would run off without taking a single one. What was it about the unexpected and un-natural  bounty that frightened the little guy? Did too much of a good thing signal doom? Was this squirrel hard-wired to distrust excessive good fortune? Was it the weirdness of too many nuts in one place? A squirrel is a mammal. Humans are mammals we share 95% of our genes with squirrels and we share this revulsion toward unnatural, unexpected goodies.

On the night April 22, 2014  62 year old British aristocrat and passionate animal rights advocate Mark Shand fell to the sidewalk in New York city and died after a night of celebrating a hard-fought victory in his battle for Elephant protection in India. A dear friend Barbara Kwiatkowska said “It was a night of triumph and Mark was so happy. this was his big night, you could see how happy he was.” Mark’s foundation “Elephant Family USA” had just raised $1.7 million at a charity auction at Sotheby's. Mark had been drinking scotch from dinner until he walked out of his third establishment of the night (“It was scotch all the way”) for a cigarette at 2:00 AM. Mark walked into a revolving door after finishing his smoke and fell back to the sidewalk, hitting the back of his head this time, cracking his skull and bruising his brain - he went into a coma and died the following day, to the shock and sadness of his family and friends. He was in the prime of his life, a “lion” to his closest friends.

What happened to Mark? Why do people drink to excess when celebrating big victories? why do auto racers celebrate a big win by ritual spraying of champagne onto all around the podium? Why is the victor presented with a magnum of champagne in the first place?  There is a tight link between victory and alcohol in our culture. Why?

Answer:  Squirrel Factor

Mammals are hardwired to distrust excess in good things. Alcohol depresses feelings of bliss associated with triumph. Your close friends will ensure that you drink a lot after a big victory. They will accompany you all over town as you drink yourself stupid, bringing you back into the orbit of the normal. Your friends don’t want to lose you to the bliss angels.

Jimi Hendrix was the towering master of rock and roll in 1969,  admired by his colleagues and worshipped by millions of amazed fans. He drank to excess one night and choked to death on his vomit. Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison-ditto. Kurt cobain blew his brains out at the height of his global success. !00% of touring rock stars of the past fifty years are drug and alcohol abusers - why? John Lennon- heroin junkie, James Taylor-heroin junkie, the Allman Brothers and their entire road crew - heroin junkies. One might think that musicians who have arrived at “The Mountaintop” (global success: worldwide sold-out concerts, international #1 hit records,TV appearances) would be high on a sort of natural happiness from having finally achieved a hard-won goal but they appear to be lower than people not dealing with fame. The mountain top breeds addiction like a Guatemalan swamp breeds mosquitoes. Look at a photo of the Beatles in 1970 after seven years of unprecedented acclaim,influence, towering personal wealth, love, adoration and respect from all corners of the cultural landscape. Faces as unhappy as those photographed overlooking a mass burial pit at Auschwitz.

Squirrel Factor - mammals (reptiles, amphibians, birds?) have little capacity to endure bounty in any form: love, money or fame. It just ain’t natural. It makes people nervous. It makes one vulnerable - to what? jealousy? envy? mooching relatives? The inevitable bliss-crash? The successful  have become tall poppies. If society doesn’t find a way to bring us down, most of us will find a way to bring ourselves down. This is quite sad.  Strength of character is measured, not by one’s capacity to endure hardship - almost all of can handle hard times, character is measured by one’s ability to endure bliss, to remain in the flow,  to savor victory in a graceful, non-destructive way. To live day after day in an elevated state i.e. to be happy.  Savoring victory with intelligence rather than in an alcohol stew is very hard for most.

We treasure our stories as they are  workable, exchangeable, elastic excuses for marginal ascent into one’s zone of excellence and happiness. Our stories are our reason why not. Is it Western culture alone that forces one to apologize for success? No, Russians drink like fish to avoid bliss.  Is bliss-killing an American, British, or uniquely Protestant, Christian or Muslim thing? Yes x 5. Whatever the biological or cultural origin and scope,  It is an unfortunate tendency that must be battled daily. try to endure an extra minute of pure happiness each day. Strengthen your bliss. Don’t follow your bliss. following implies that you are its dog. You and your bliss are one.

Beverage alcohol is a $200 billion industry in the United States. That is 9.4 billion gallons of bliss-killing slosh n’ grog across the land. We call ourselves the home of the brave - Ha!  The home of cowardly beer-swilling  bliss-chickens. Squirrel factor is an instinct. It is hardwired into the animal brain. One must battle it daily.


JB Questions and Observations: Books: “Empire of Cotton”-Sven Beckert, The Georgetown Set” Gregg Herken - residual thought at item #1 from “Elementary Forms of Religious Life” - Emile Durkheim

  1. Picasso appropriated indigenous, timeless African and Polynesian totemic motifs, sacred religious objects, images, talismanic relics for his urban, boho-bourgeoisie, art-as-commodity milieu. He took art with deep tribal significance and repositioned it, appropriating all things bold and strong from this native art while conflating it with the rebellious pictorial tropes of late Cezanne ( more mythically dynamic art) in order to begin the path toward Cubism in 1906 creating his Tropes de Tropique ( JB neolog) that evolved into “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” in 1907 followed by  full-blown analytical cubism in 1910 “Portrait of Fanny Tellier” and the synthetic Cubism ( collage) of 1912 that has inspired architects for 100 years.
  2. JB Theory: Low oxygen levels above 10,000 feet altitude in a small plane cause neurons to burn fat giving a sugar high euphoria and impaired judgement. Pilot to himself “Running on fumes - no problemity I can make it 200 more miles to Boise”
  3. JBQ - does oxygen-sensing in the vertebrate brain have a link to bacterial activity?
  4. At “Empire of Cotton” JBT - Along with the exit of USA manufacturing to Asia, Indonesia and Mexico, there is little incentive to maintain infrastructure in USA for citizens alone. Infrastructure is for capitalist enterprise and the defense sector that enables it - the people just tag along on fine highways, port facilities, utilities. this explains the rot of USA infrastructure as capitalists and their congressional handmaidens put money in international banks to be spent on foreign infrastructure development in third world where their businesses are located.
  5. At “The Georgetown Set” - Herken JBT - Pundits, policy wonks, politicians of the 1950s were all alcoholics thus always depressed, no wonder the Cold War took root. See: Alsop Brothers, CIA directors. All of Washington DC was pickled - maybe it still is.
  6. We need a minimal letter symbol such as the “etc” or “et al” that means “and later” example: Brits invested in agriculture in USA during antebellum and ( plug in new abbreviation here meaning and after.) Perhaps “altr” short for and later.
  7. JBT - whatever causation is at work when one makes a decision during artmaking is the same as the urge-compulsion at work in a metabolic process at the cellular level.
  8. Throughout the 19th century the northern states and the Brits were deeply involved in the entire business of cotton growing, ginning, shipping and remained involved after the Civil War as owners, agents, bankers for coal mines, quarries, railroads so - for slavery as well as for slavery by another name. Coercion of African Americans from nation’s colonial beginnings to the middle of the 20th century. Emancipation of slaves generated a second round of moneylending to small cotton farmers i.e. loans were refreshed. The Brits may have outlawed the slave-trade in 1807 but the steam-driven  industrial revolution in Britain was built on the backs of American slaves.
  9. Sociocultural rhizome ( see: Gilles Deleuze) at work in Washington DC during the Cold War: 1. Joe Alsop writes a column on the missile gap between Soviets and USA 2. JFK reads this newspaper column into The Congressional Record on the Senate floor. 3. Alsop mentions JFK in two of his following newspaper columns as an American leader with foreign policy acumen. 4. JFK rises in nation’s consciousness becoming part of the zeit.


February 29, 2016    5:18PM

Bacteria Barbie

  Humans do not dominate the planet because of our clever tools or our art and science but because we have been able to enslave one another and build relentlessly on this control over our own species. - JB

Each human harbors ninety trillion bacteria. This is ten times the total number of human cells present in a body.  There are 7.4 billion humans on Earth, 7.4 billion times seventy trillion is a large population. The total human population is a rounding error in relation to the total number of individual bacteria. The total population of all multi-cell animals including insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and birds is a rounding error in the face of this colossal microbe population. The majority of Earth’s biomass comprises microbes.

Think of a naked Barbie doll as the kingdom of bacteria and each of 8 million  species of animals as one of her outfits. One costume per occasion / ecosystem. Humans are only one of these 8 million. The signal feature of the human costume for Bacteria Barbie is our multi-folded neocortex. The complexity ( number of folds)  of our neocortex is the only physical characteristic distinguishing humans from most of the hundreds of other mammal species,  all of which have elaborate nervous systems-brains. You can find every brain area possessed by humans in a killer whale, dolphin, chimp or a mouse. Our neocortex has more neurons packed into six layers and a multitude of folds, though total mass of the human neocortex is smaller than in several large mammals. Sperm whale brain: 8,000 cc, human brain: 1,300 cc. Human brain surface area: 2,275 cm squared  bottlenose dolphin brain surface area: 3,745 cm squared. Human neocortex has six layers of neurons, dolphin and other large mammals only five thus the greater brainpower in the realm of society-building, social interaction.

JB Theory: Our human bacteriome has a consciousness that has evolved over three billion years that has directed its evolution and all higher animal evolution for the past 1.5 billion years.

Example: Each of us has 45 trillion bacteria in our gut, some of them initiate the feeding cascade. Bacteria get hungry, sending signals to ghrelin and glucagon molecules in the stomach causing pangs of hunger signaling afferent neurons through the spinal cord to our thalamus and hypothalamus in the brainstem. The hypothalamus sends an array of hormones through the brain, head and body that prepare for eating. When gut bacteria are sated they initiate the leptin cascade and we stop eating.  All animals are either eating or making plans to secure food ( working 9 to 5 at office, pumping iron at the gym) every waking hour. Not much animal behavior is more than one “Kevin Bacon” degree from eating. For the first 4.5 million years of human existence we spent all day hunting and gathering (gathering is hunting for nuts and berries). Today hunting takes myriad forms but it’s all hunting. Humans are directed by our voracious bacteria to hunt all day and into the night.

To do: Identify the chemical and or electrical signals  and inter-bacterial electrical networks using membrane filaments as pathways and antennae between gut bacteria and ghrelin hormone ( eat) and for signals between leptin and gut bacteria (stop eating-you’re full).

JB Questions and observations: ( reading: “Empire of Cotton” - Beckert)

  1. Both South Asians and Native americans were colonized by Western Europeans. why were Native Americans obliterated and South Asians not?  Was destruction-causation all microbial?
  2. Does ethanol ( Whiskey, vodka, gin etc.) damage survivin molecules in the human gut epithelial cells thus exposing intestinal tissue to microbial harm? “Survivin is a key regulator of gut tissue integrity as it regulates epithelial homeostasis in the stem cell niche.” - Martini et al
  3. Britain and Boston financed and manufactured cloth made from cotton grown by one million American slaves they so vigorously lobbied to “liberate”  “Lords of the loom and lords of the lash were tightly linked.”see: “Empire of Cotton” by Sven Beckert
  4. Did slaves build the railroads of the American south between 1830 and 1861?
  5. Andrew Jackson is to global capitalism what Isaac Newton is to classical physics. Jackson was the “Key Man” as he initiated the core capitalist cascade of 1.  Land appropriation by coercion at American South  2. Cotton growers moving into this incredibly fertile-suitable land, displacing Native Americans, to grow high quality cotton. 3. USA cotton grown by slaves fuels the Industrial Revolution in Britain and across the globe with high quality cotton for distribution to European textile mills at ever lower prices. Andrew Jackson was the paradigm shifter from War Capitalism to Industrial Capitalism. He should not only remain on the twenty dollar bill, his portrait ought to be enlarged and printed in four colors.
  6. Was there a strong relationship between the French blockade of British trade from 1806-1814 and the War of 1812 in USA?
  7. What were the health effects of calico printing dyes-inks on Europeans during the 19th century rer: ink-immune system integrity-gene damage via skin absorption?
  8. If a liver cell ( hepatocyte) was the size of a football field in height-width and depth, a protein molecule would be the size of a snowflake.
  9. Proteins are synthesized at ribosomes dotted around the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) that surrounds the cell nuclear membrane.
  10. Does a cell nucleus migrate within the cell volume so that it is nearest the zone of outer cell membrane that is closest to the nearest capillary for the transport of this cell’s protein products to other areas of the body? It seems that the vacuoles transporting these proteins from the RER to the outer membrane would want to traverse the shortest distance across the volume of the cell and avoid dodging unnecessary organelles and vacuole traffic.
  11. How does a cell nucleus detect the nearest capillary so that it can shift toward it? Electromagnetic signal via iron-rich proteinic “wires” extending from outer surface of cell membrane-nanostructures?, wireless chemical signal?, smell, taste, touch?
  12. Sven Beckert, in his book covering the roots of global capitalism asserts that there are two phases to Capitalism: War Capitalism where European absolutist states conquered indigenous people and one another to expand and control markets followed by Industrial Capitalism characterized by harnessing steam power, economically and legally coercing proletarian labor  and enacting laws that shifted land from difficult to manage communal ownership to private ownership enforced by law. 1.  Kill-’em ( “others”) -steal their land, 2. Enslave your own people literally or figuratively with backbreaking, mind-stunting, soul-killing factory work and one-sided credit schemes.  Beckert asserts that War Capitalism occurred first and paved the way for Industrial Capitalism which has thrived from the late 18th century until the present. These have been occurring simultaneously all along. The two capitalisms are an ongoing duality - subparts of the overarching capitalist project.
  13. What is the smallest box of Crayolas that will deliver an orange crayon? Twelve. what is the smallest box of Crayolas that will deliver a chartreuse” Sixty-four.
  14. Individual freedom implies a gradient between the individual and his / her nation. Global capitalism, over the past 250 years has burgeoned because it has been and continues to be an extremely efficient gradient reduction engine. Capitalism reduces all things. It has reduced the inherent-latent and expressed power of the free individual as all of those in a capitalist culture are enmeshed in its machinery of work-debt-spectacle-myth-habit. Capitalism is a gradient reduction engine. Capitalism’s great convection sucks free young people into the abyss of capitalist wage-slavery-credit-workaholism where they try to remain afloat in its unrelenting, faceless turbulence.
  15. One of the larger failings of Christianity was to remain silent  during the 19th century as three generations of European and American children were lost to brutal work in textile mills. And adding to this cowardice is a toxic ecumenical ethos centered around a work ethic, the inevitability of work, as if any animal would think otherwise about slaving from dawn to dusk for subsistence. Christian apologists who watched this unfold remind me of the American doctors who gave their stamp of approval to continue deadly below surface work on The Brooklyn bridge as hundreds of men died agonizing deaths from nitrogen narcosis after shovelling mud and sand deep under the river within 60’ x 60’ caissons.
  16. Regarding networks - power lies at intersections not at the terminals.
  17. The entire Industrializing-colonializing world was dependent upon American Slavery in the 19th century prior to The Civil War: England, France, German Lands, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Egypt, Turkey and India
  18. Capitalists have lobbied with vigor over centuries for government intervention, for wars against indigenous people, railways, highways, port facilities, land laws, contract laws, shipping protection and tariffs. They shout whenever the government spends money for social well being for the other 95%. They aggrandize themselves as independent, self-made, prudent, ad nauseum. Capitalism has always been a one-way spending street whose motto is: remove, enslave, suppress, coerce, dominate.
  19. Multicell life evolves as a more ferocious entropic gradient reduction system whose greater complexity ( than single cell prokaryotes) enables quicker solar energy dissipation.
  20. What role have microbes had in evolution? The symbiosis of energy producing mitochondria with early bacteria was a significant breakthrough opening the door to multicell life able to burn a lot of energy.
  21. Do gut microbes use the central nervous system pathways to communicate with the brain?
  22. Do gut microbes exist in a caste system with long-term resident species electrically interconnected with nanowires that can signal within an entire population of bacteria and that can also signal the brain? Are lower-caste microbes ones who ride out by the billions on every turd? Is microbial life democratic or absolutist?
  23. Might a person contain bacteria that were also present in medieval ancestors?
  24. If gut bacteria grow electrical filaments, how long does it take for a next generation to grow its new filaments?
  25. Are there bacterial filament electrical networks that live as long as the person and that expand as the person ages and the microbe population grows?
  26. Might one’s internal organs get tangled up over time with bacterial filaments like an overgrown, clotted root system in a small flower pot?
  27. One word: Electromicrobiology


February 23, 2016    9:22 AM



  In 17th century Fiji there is a tribe of ocean-going navigators in which the young men learn to sail around the island group fishing and exploring. The islands have gotten crowded, the habitable land and the marriageable women are spoken for. There is no room on the islands to give the young men so that they might start families. These young men are rejected by their society. They rig up ocean-going sailing canoes and set off in search of a place beyond the horizon. Young men rejected at home create a new society in the vacant ( of humans) Hawaiian Islands. Rejection has initiated a cascade of creation.

A songbird chick hatches and grows to maturity with an unusual tuft of feathers on its head and three others of her age-mates develop misshapen beaks. These mutants are unlike any other birds in their forest. They are rejected. They fly away together to a different forest with insects burrowed into the bark.  A new species evolves with a beak good for bug-killing and a distinctive and respected tufted head. This new species thrives. There are two forces at work here causing speciation: an initiating mutation and the demands of a new environment. The emergence of this new species is the result of a “Creation Cascade” ( JB neolog) 1.  The initiating mutation-misfit-misalignment  2.The exit from the tribe-clan-flock 3. The adjustment to the new eco-opportunity and its inevitable adversity.

External - Dispersion from conflict,  persecution, famine, war= external cascade

Internal - Dispersion from constriction: 1. mammal birth - fetus too large-rejected by mother’s body-new life emerges 2.  one’s goals become too large for current work role i.e. insufficient creative outlet - seek more challenging job.

Rejection in romance has been one cause of 3,000 years of literature, art and music. The act of rejection creates a platform for creativity. rejection creates a void that is often filled with art or other drugs. Art is a drug, drugs are not art.

Rejection-creation occurs at different levels of our social taxonomy: 1. One on one at romance, workplace, social club. The act of rejection plants a seed or perhaps unwraps a zone of  your DNA for transcription-translation into a new protein - a new way of walkin’ 2. The group rejects the individual - this happens 10,000 times a day in schools across the land - social sorting. Birds on a wire pecking and pecking until three fly away and start their own club with its own rules. The Beatles were a small, very tight club - a cultural sabot - an armor-piercing projectile that blew up the whole ammo dump of congealed post Elvis, pretty boy from Philadelphia, pop music along with the hearts and minds of the Boomer generation.  Sabot-savants: Dylan, Simon, Hendrix, Morrison. The song as a sabot penetrating hearts and minds.

A creative person rejects 100 ideas for every keeper. the creation of a work of art means rejecting all that is tired, trite, timid, trivial, treacly. All that is not fresh is rejected and this is creation.

Education is learning what to reject during your exploration-investigation-experiment. No need to re-invent any part of the car, much less the wheel. there are 50,000 parts to a car. It will take a lifetime of study to know the important ones. Learn the terrain, touch and go - move on if the territory has been explored.

Rejection and creation are yin/yang, positive-negative space: the S-holes and the S   ( see: Bakanowsky). Rejection and creation are two sides of the same coin. Where there is rejection there will always be creation, latent or active. Nature frowns on a vacuum. Rejection creates a vacuum in the soul that will be filled. One might as well give this vacuum-filling direction. Nature, when left to itself, will ruin things. We see beauty in the animals, plants and landscapes all around us but these manifestations of Cosmo’s glory are the tip of a deep pile of evolutionary debris from eons of undirected agency - see: Charles Darwin.

Latent Creation:  (JB neolog) The unexplored psychic bomb - example: Adolph Hitler, though a talented painter in a sublime but traditional manner, was rejected by the art community of Vienna, a hotbed of all things modern at the time, especially painting. An opportunity for creation was planted in Hitler’s psyche by this rejection. How his “creation” played out is history but at its root was rejection. Hitler’s life in the trenches of WWI were also a rejection of all things good. Joseph Stalin, late Czarist Russia’s most famous young poet whose creative roots may have been boyhood beatings or his four trips to Siberian villages as a political exile. ( Were Czarist forces grooming a mole?) How many bullied boys develop notable creative energy?  Every boy gets bullied - it comes with boy territory though it may seem special at the time. Where you see rejection there is creation.

If you are the rejector, expect creation blowback, often ugly. If your group has rejected others by code or by act - expect a creative response. remember that the creation following rejection is as likely to appear destructive as constructive. Terrorism is creative blowback. The Western world is fortified top to bottom, from the nuclear triad ( Bombers, missiles, submarines) to our militarized local police and well- armed next-door neighbor. The USA has done a lot of rejecting in 250 years and instinctively, methodically, obsessively arms itself in expectation of some inevitable creation. Rejection is creation is destruction is terrorism.

What artist ever brought more sublime terror upon a tired art paradigm than Paul Cezanne. Cezanne’s creation, his proto-Cubism was the Beaux Arts Academy’s destruction. It happened as follows:

  1. Cezanne is refused by the French art establishment early in his career.
  2. Cezanne, with his hearty diligence, creates a deep new way of picture-making
  3. Cezanne’s creation inspires the destruction of the French Academy  as his acolytes Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Duchamp shift the Art paradigm for the 20th century.

The Law of Rejection-Creation: Rejection and creation always work together. They are a duality. They are always together like white on rice, like stink on shit.

Corollary to the Law of Rejection-Creation: One cannot revisit the site of a rejection event to unring the bell or to put toothpaste back in the tube. If the bell has been rung, if the tube has been squeezed,  be on the lookout for creation in manifestations good or evil. There is no indifferent creation. Rejection often grows to maturity, ages,  festers, incubates. Sometimes the creation ( destruction?) response is immediate but creation is often a dish served cold.

Synonyms for Creation: formation,conception,genesis, inception,origination, origin

Synonyms for rejection: elimination,exclusion,repudiation,refusal, surrender, alienate

A person or group will reject a member for becoming unlike them or a membership candidate for being unlike. Western societies pay lip service to uniqueness but turn their backs on it. We celebrate the prominent who have risen to prominence through talent, original thinking, hard work and luck, then we reject them. We cut all tall poppies - perhaps for their own sake, for it is “lonely at the top” a lie of course.

Rejection? why do we reject? Is it jealousy, envy, scapegoating, social difference re: education, net worth, speech, family heritage, illness, age, smell, sight or touch? All senses and memory has its say in the act of rejection. I reject my under-actualized self in order to search for fulfillment of my destiny.

The shock of rejection. the instant void - alone, cast into the cold creates a bubble within the heart and mind to be filled with wonderful things or with destruction. One becomes “Other” by rising above the group or falling below the group. soaring or sinking at all times: Personal convection ( not conviction here) The community occupies the middle ground. We must use our wings with skill to stay aloft.

Action-reaction. The act of pushing out a person propels one backwards. Push too hard and find one’s self afloat in the void. See: New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Republican presidential candidate humiliating fellow presidential candidate Marco Rubio, pushing Rubio out of contention during February 6, 2016 nationally televised debate and finding himself, Christie,  damaged goods in New Hampshire primary voting the following week.

Rejection: Elapsed Time: If an adolescent rejects a parent sixteen years after this child becomes a member of the family, there is a different dynamic at work than during more rapid rejections such as  failing to fit in as the new kid in school.  The time “in country” is proportional to the scale of the vacuum created after rejection. The hardening of the surround makes the void less elastic, more difficult to fill. How might one induce plasticity into a hardened mental-physical habit or expectation so that the interior surface of one's emptiness might conform more quickly, or at all to a new idea-process-endeavor?

Much anxious energy presently manifest in the spectacle of daily life and ritual in the U.S.A. is rooted in nervous anticipation of  latent effects of unexplored, unexpressed creative opportunities of displaced Native American’s and formerly enslaved, currently harassed African Americans.

Rejection and creation are one.

February 10, 2016   2:17 PM


All science writing is full of holes because all human thought is, by its nature,  full of holes: unproven, unprovable assertions i.e. Russell’s Teapots. Durkheim, Freud, Jung, Levi-Strauss, Stephen Jay Gould,  using the Torah as a model, weave porous rhizomic webs comprising much research of others, adding their own notes and many bold assumptions/conclusions hoping that their assembled compilation of myth hits a nerve, in the community. Myth: An association of ideas reinforced by habit.

Mythics ( JB neolog): All culture including all tradition, history, rite, ritual, religion, all language, science, law and belief as expressed in architecture, books, music, worship, all ongoing interrelations between and among all people engaged in all things. The entire ball of uniquely human wax - the big rhizome - the swarming, teeming, rising, falling nest. Mythics can also refer to a specific culture’s “whole ball of wax” as in American mythics or Aboriginal mythics. Mythics includes myth and religion and science. In biology there is Darwinian mythics referred to as “The Grand Synthesis” or the Genetic mythics encompassed in the term “The Central Dogma” We need a word that is more inclusive of myth or zeitgeist or weltanschauung or culture or society. Mythics. There is family mythics and personal mythics ( see: all memoir)

Mythics is the Kool aid you are given to drink and that you ingest / absorb in 10,000 different ways throughout life about how your society functions. Every parent and every profession has its mythics.

Fogify: Intentionally obscuring the matter at hand to prevent others from seeing deeply into one’s assertion. see: smokescreen

Clarify: Assembling the fog of others in an effort to explain one’s own fog. Foggy thought is amassed in plain enough language to make a case. Who’s to say otherwise? These days, who could possibly care? No one has the time to re-read their own fog let alone verify the fog of others. If they see a mark of membership in whatever priesthood ( usually a PhD)  it’s live and let live. throw your ideas in the pot until someone cares enough to argue.

Sfumato: The atmospheric reduction of the intensity of distant hues and tones. Green foliage looks blue and dim in the distance due to the effect of the atmosphere. Air filters yellow wavelengths of light from the green wavelength from trees, leaving blue.  Leonardo Da Vinci used this popular renaissance picture-making in the background of the “Mona Lisa”.

Blake’s Law: Understanding diminishes with the square of the distance from the matter in question. Corollary One: Understanding increases with the square of the distance from the matter in question.  Note One:  You can’t know the forest if you don’t know the trees. Note Two: Knowing trees while losing sight of the forest is to lose context and thus, meaning.

In his towering novel “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory” Stephen Jay Gould fills 1,300 pages trying to shift our understanding of core aspects of Charles Darwin’s theory of species evolution. Gould’s research and reasoning  weakens two of three of Darwin’s core arguments for species evolution. Gould’s achievement is  monumental but it makes him appear a cheeky upstart.  Gould generates 1,000 pages of intensely interesting ( though repetitive) historical and contemporary fact, figure and anecdote to fogify his achievement, to demonstrate obeisance to the big chief of all bioscience and all contemporary culture.

Darwin, the biggest paradigm shifter of our epoch, remains foundational in 2016. Gould hasn’t made a dent. To  try to rattle our core notions at this point, no matter the fecundity of one’s facts and figures perhaps gleaned from decades of diligent research, gets little traction. Scientific community to genius upstarts: “You’re all brilliant, probably right, now go away.”  Darwin, like Christianity, is bigger than science - he is our culture. He is untouchable. If Darwin goes, it all goes. His thought is a taproot of the rhizomic network of myth propelling our belief system. Diddle with Darwin at one’s own risk, even if you have a customized, two piece pool cue.  If Gould’s magisterial book had been published within 50 years of Darwin’s Earthshaking tome “On The Origin of Species”  Darwin would be a footnote rather than a foundation.

In his iconic book “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life” Emile Durkheim asserts that all religions share a few principles whether remote aborigines or urban judeo-christian sophisticates:

  1. A sense of sacred / profane, a belief that a man comprises a sensate and a spiritual being, mythic personalities
  2. Totemic representation of the sacred as well as the negative cult ( see: The Devil @ Christianity)
  3. Rites of initiation, rites of grieving,  gathering at regular intervals to celebrate clan / tribe/family identity, the tribal bond, hopes for good fortune,
  4. Acknowledgement of an overarching cosmic power-deity-god, a sense that each clan and each person contains a part of this power.

Durkheim asserts that both science and religion are products of belief. Society dominates all ideas sprung from the human mind:  scientific or religious. Durkheim asserts there is nothing beyond society, nothing greater than society and that individual thought and will is formed, judged and subsumed by society that religion is not primarily about the cosmos, the unknowable, the forces of the universe but about binding populations. “The believer is raised above his condition as a man thus gaining strength as he is saved from evil in whatever form evil may take” -Durkheim

Durkheim asserts the primacy of abstract theories/ideas above individual works as being more true. Durkheim, in studying (second hand) religious patterns of aboriginal tribes of Australia projects his discoveries among them onto all religions worldwide. He has entered his project with the full array of late Victorian prejudice regarding the inviolability of human progress, social evolution/ranking: aborigines are primitive (black skin)  Native Americans are less primitive ( redskin) and judeo-christian people most advanced (white skin). It is no small irony that Durkheim takes 350 pages of detailed ethnographic description to tell us how “primitive” Aborigines are. They are, of course, not primitive at all.

Much of Durkheim’s fog comes from outdated Victorian ideas distilled from misreading Darwin about evolution and fitness. Additional fog comes from his judaic notions of the primacy of the group over the individual and the co-equal place of science and religion.  Durkheim-Fog has roots in his Jewishness, his Darwinness, his Europeans-as- privilegedness. Nonetheless his book has great value due to his detailed discussion of components of religious life. Whether his ideas are right or wrong 100 years after their writing is beside the point. Durkheim’s assembled rhizomic mat of ideas has value even if every bold assertion can be contradicted. This is the beauty of fog. Fog has value - it can dim the harsh glare of rational thought, contemporary prejudice or logical examination to reveal a deep truth about people.


JB Questions-Observations:

  1. The Churinga is an aboriginal totem meant to inspire collective feelings of respect. Are the “Mona Lisa” “The Pieta” such totems for Christians? Is a Gothic cathedral a totemic space / structure?
  2. Cartesian Principle asserts that knowledge can only be established link by link on “indubitable first principles”  This Cartesian idea fully contradicts the way the human brain establishes knowing via its myriad strand rhizomic network.
  3. Does the contract have totemic status in Anglo-Euro life? It does if Capitalism is our religion if we have sacralized it.
  4. Renaissance Popes used the profane seduction of Raphael’s Madonnas and Borromini’s sexy sinuous architectural space in order to win back into the fold of the mother church souls lost to the Protestant Reformation. See: Counterreformation.
  5. Durkheim tries too hard to separate the sacred from the profane. His rhizomic thread snaps from too much cognitive dissonance. He fails to establish a thread, a string, a filament on which he could weave further assertions experiencing “Rhize-Fail” JB neolog i.e. The untethered rhizome of one’s argument.
  6. Charles Darwin pulled the intellectual roots out of Christianity to little effect. Few cared,  Christianity was never an intellectual enterprise anyway. “Faith is impervious to experience” - Lucien Levi-Bruel
  7. What religion were Muslims prior to 8th century?
  8. What is the correlation between protein acetylation and folding to protein function at cochlear hair cells?  Does the protein’s folded geometry correspond to the afferent pitch signal distinguishing 500 different pitches?
  9. To investigate:Cortical and sub-cortical Interneuron microtubule networks that augment electrochemical links via axons-dendrites-synapses-neurotransmitters. Is there a family of signalling proteins that travel from neuron to neuron via tubules? Perhaps initial sensation and motor response occurs via traditional axon-synapse mechanism followed by long-term physical networks of tubules that carry chemicals faster. Does an axon become a tubule? Does the myelin sheath fuse into a tube once electricity is not the signaling mechanism? Do neurochemicals take over from electrical charge or vice versa?
  10. Durkheim proposes society as the the source of the idea of the ideal rather than  innate individual consciousness. This is not so. Most humans, most mammals have an innate sense of proportion - it is key to mate selection and to esthetics in general throughout the arts.
  11. Durkheim's foggiest assertion is that the root of religion is in the collective not in the self.
  12. Another layer of Durk-fog is his valorization of the concept at the expense of individual expression and in so doing marginalizing all artmaking.


“Everything in social life including science, rests on opinion”

                                                                      - Emile Durkheim

February 2. 2016   5:50 PM

Becoming Species

“There is religion when the sacred is distinguished from the profane”

- Emile Durkheim

Humans resist states of being at the heart of evolution: separation, isolation, freakishness, outlying but new species are born of weirdness, cataclysm, getting lost, change, mutation of molecule, cell, body, local environment and ecosystem. When the Earth moves - animals and plants evolve.  Continuity and comfort means equilibrium, balance, regularity, harmony, sameness. Nature does not embrace change unless change is vital for survival. Our nucleic acids battle efforts to change them 24/7. Most of this DNA / RNA change is bad and almost all is edited out of the genome prior to inheritance.

A species is a group of organisms that interbreed. Robins don’t interbreed with cardinals thus- two different species. Japanese people can and do interbreed successfully with caucasians thus they are the same species. All humans are the same species and there is only a single one-Homo sapiens. There are over 800,000 species of beetles, 20,000 species of bony fish.

Species evolve when and if they must otherwise they do not evolve. Species maintain their equilibrium over eons. A mosquito of today is almost identical to a mosquito that pestered the dinosaurs. There has been no evidence that a single higher animal has evolved in any way since Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” in 1861. Evolution, when it happens, is almost always abrupt on a geological scale, intensely slow in human terms.

Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould proposed their theory of Punctuated Equilibrium in 1974 asserting multicell organisms ( non-bacteria, non-virus, non-archaea) evolve when confronted with large environmental change such as an ice or heat age, grand geologic shifts-new islands and continents forming, a meteor impact’s negative effect on the atmosphere. This punctuation may take ten million years to play out giving rise to new species then stasis returns to this species for 100 or 500 million years. The fossil record confirms punctuated equilibrium. Stasis is data. Darwin proposed that all organisms are evolving continuously. This has been proven false. Organisms may change with each new generation ( your face is different than that of your parent) but change is not evolution. Evolution implies change for the better. DNA has evolved for four billion years to resist change - to edit mutation away from its double helix before conception. There is evidence for evolution of plants and animals over the past 3.5 billion years but it has not been continuous and the evidence itself is not at all continuous.

Pathways to speciation are many. During the 1960s bioscientist Lynn Margulis proposed the symbiotic path to species evolution where two different species merge creating a new, more formidable species. When the single-cell energy engine mitochondria merged with other, less energetic single cell organisms three billion years ago many new species of microorganism emerged. When proto-organ systems merged many good things happened within an organism: fluids were synthesized, pumped, filtered, properly timed and the creature remembered where the food lived.  Mergers and acquisitions were ( are?)  a key pathway to speciation. Organisms under great pressure forced to merge with one another in shrinking crowded conditions miles below global ice sheets, speciation occurring next to warm vents from deep within the Earth’s mantle. Population pressure - creatures breaking into one another’s skin and happy with the result. More energy, more motility, more durability, bigger teeth.

Three pathways, of many, to evolution:

  1. Rolling the dice 1,000 times per hour under UV bombardment,  testing new combinations and features against all environments - intracell on up the hierarchy of systems out into the primordial ooze - the Darwin method: mutation followed by natural selection.
  2.  Accidents of fate, genetic drift,  a population disperses throughout the realm, those creatures most remote find themselves on a broken off piece of continent, a new island where they live for eons in isolation from their fellows. Their genes have drifted, initiating evolution of new species. Natural selection was not the primary cause.
  3.  Epigenetics - evolution occurs as DNA, RNA, histones, heritable proteins receive signals between every single cell division among 10 trillion cells throughout a higher organism’s reproductive years. Countless micro-events with evolutionary consequences at each cell division, once a week not at each lifetime. Evolution occurring as each cell divides not as each organism has more fit or less fit offspring. New information re: fitness relayed to the germline: eggs and sperm for inclusion in next year’s model. One thousand trillion evolutionary events per lifetime - not just an array of  random nucleotide mutations passed from parent to child. Non-stop evolutionary feedback-feedforward loops throughout trillions of moments in a single life.


JB Questions and observations:

Reading: “Elementary Forms of Religious Life” - Emile Durkheim

  1. Is a television a totem? Does television fill a totemic role in American ( Western) culture?  How about a laptop or an I-phone or a car?
  2. Claude Levi-Strauss patterned his book “the Savage Mind” on Durkheim’s “The Elementary forms of Religious Life”. Both men used the same strategy of assembling published papers in anthropology-social science acting as clearing house for the ideas of many in neat, summaries that became foundational texts.
  3. Types of american totemism within our religion of Capitalism: a.infototems: TV,laptop, I-phone b.Utilitotem; Washer, dryer, range, refrigerator-freezer c. Statustotem: auto, espresso machine
  4. The quark as The God Particle is 100% totemism.
  5. ToDo: Reinstate animal / plant totemism in USA. Assign each animal and plant species in the world to groups of school children investing them with the responsibility to care for their totem organism throughout their lives.
  6. Why would one animal species select another species as a totem?
  7. Note:  Durkheim espousing contextuality in 1912. Contextuality didn’t hit the realm of the built environment ( City planning and architecture) until 1960 in the work of Jane Jacobs. Have architects EVER been on the cutting edge of the ideas of a given era? Not after the era of the Gothic cathedral.
  8. Did the thought of Ruskin and Morris have any direct effect upon Le Corbusier and Mies or was it always filtered through Frank Lloyd wright via the Wasmuth Portfolio? Can one get the full import of an idea second or third hand? That we can, forms the backbone of modern education.
  9. Architecture coughs up its Jencksian history hairball in the mid-1970s lame swerve on hardcore French Postmodernism in the work of Charles Moore, Michael Graves and other pasticheurs of the time. Ughh, such a superficial, desolate and highly publicized dead end for architecture - suckered again.
  10. If snowball Earth had an ice sheet 20 miles thick one billion years ago this must have had an additive effect upon mutational effects of UV radiation as warm pools at top of this high ice were exposed to sunlight at 20 miles up, beyond any filtering atmosphere. Did this high ice push exisitng atmosphere up with it or leave it behind?
  11. JB neologism: “Stochastic Targeting”: to send a barrage of speculative detail. Target mind adjusts this barrage with details known to recipient so it appears that you were 80% correct instead of shooting in the dark.
  12. Can a recessive gene become active during one’s lifespan if the dominant gene fails? How might an activated recessive gene attract RNA polymerase to begin midlife transcription? How does RNA polymerase know which is the dominant gene in the first place?
  13. Sewall Wright gets a lot of credit for adding to our knowledge of evolution as a key generator of the Modern synthesis that combined Darwinism with modern genetics. In retrospect, is this credit deserved?  Was Wright seeing evolution at work with his guinea pigs or observing minor breeding changes?
  14. Our dominant genes are expressed during fetal development affecting sex, height, eye and hair color and many metabolic processes. Do all 46 chromosomes come into play postnatally regarding such things as hormone production and all manner of transcription-translation regulatory process? why not? All 46 chromosomes are part of the chromatin. why would an RNA polymerase not wander over to a recessive gene and put it to work? Especially if the dominant gene was damaged or working inefficiently. Perhaps the distinction between dominant and recessive evaporates after fetal development allowing the environment to call all shots regarding which genes are active among all 40,000 genes not just the human haploid 20,000.
  15. Genetic change has been conflated with, confused with evolution throughout the latter half of the 20th century and the 21st. Calling allele frequency change “evolution” is like calling a grain of pollen a pine tree - well… sort of is and sort of isn’t with a 99.9999 % chance that the pollen grain is just another allergen - a sneeze at most. Fisher, Haldane and Sewall Wright explored genetic change. that their theories have been framed as evolution was to jump to conclusions. The core notions of the Modern synthesis are about micro-evolution  - no evolution discernable / provable,  just variation, just change. Variation is not evolution. Discerning pathways of phenotypic change is not discerning pathways of evolution. The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis is not ALL wrong, just ALL too narrow.
  16. Might a bacterium or a virus take a few nucleotides / base pairs from one species of mammal and insert this DNA from mammal One into mammal Two which is a different species from mammal One? Scenario:  Buffalo dying of a viral infection - 50% of his 30 trillion cells have this toxic viral DNA mixed with buffalo DNA in a diseased chromatin soup in 15 trillion cells. A mosquito bites this dying buffalo then it bites a man on his balls infecting a few million germ cells / sperm / gametes with both viral DNA and buffalo DNA, any notable consequences?
  17.  Natural selection does not “cause” evolution any more than an academy award “causes” a fine motion picture or a Nobel Prize “causes” brilliant research. Natural Selection is an outcome not a cause.
  18. Genetic drift explains sports dynasties  - see: Roger Penske and four-wheel genetic drift.
  19. Investigate founder effects on JB “The Ugly Gene” in New England Settlers-17th century Puritans.
  20. Evolutionary biologist Ronald Fisher, a Darwinian gradualist - key player in Modern Evolutionary Synthesis misconstrued the rate,time and degree of the evolution of animal complexity. Fisher was fooled by outward appearances as 90% of vital biochemical pathways were in place before the Cambrian Explosion at 550 million years ago. All else has been biochemical window dressing, couture for bacteria bags: mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds i.e. experiments in fashion, trivial in scope. Compare the number of microorganisms to the number of multicell organisms on Earth today. Fisher actually believed a bear is different than a snake.
  21. What was the last common ancestor of the chloroplast and the mitochondria?
  22. Test for correlation of high fructose corn sweetener to mitochondrial fission at fat cells and at kidney, hepatic and gut tissue.
  23. Curing a person of cancer is like curing the Earth of humans. what would be an effective strategy?
  1. introduce unfriendly microorganism
  2. add excess heat or cold interrupting metabolism
  3. add dust to interfere with breathing
  4. eliminate food supply
  1. How does one target a single species? what is unique about this cancer family of cells? What is unique about this organism? In humans - the neocortex
  2. At cancer cells  interfere with mitochondrial energy production, dissolve cancer cell membrane, dissolve cancer cell nuclear membrane.
  3. Is the cell outer membrane made of identical lipid bilayer as its nuclear membrane?
  4. Age-old problem: how to direct cancer battle to cancer cell mitochondria only?
  5. Do different tissues have unique mitochondrial DNA? Is liver mito DNA different from that in lungs,heart or kidney?
  6. Review DNA/RNA methylations - differences in various tissue cells. How is a hepatocyte mitochondrial methylation different from a lung cancer cell mitochondria methylation?
  7. To do: Examine 1,000 different cancer cell types to determine differences in their mitochondrial DNA/RNA epigenetic modifications.
  8. This must all be old hat: Target DNA-RNA promoters that are unique at cancer mitochondria to interrupt energy/metabolic process thus killing the cell - starve cancer cells of their glucose.
  9. Do brain tumor cells have unique mitochondria from the brain area tissues of origin. Does each brain area generate unique tumors each with its own signature?
  10. What is the cancer equivalent to the effects of disruption of neocortical function, neocortical links with brainstem, striatum etc. intra-cortical links re: sensory perception. Inter-cortical links re: efferent signaling between neocortex and hypothalamus, thalamus, globus pallidus, putamen, pons, medulla, cerebellum, hippocampus? Cancer-human analogy.
  11. Cancer cure? 24/7 low level ultrasound or uv/infrared light ( something besides traditional radiation-chemo) bombardment geared to upsetting cancer cell mitochondria reproduction i,e, cell division / proliferation. to do: determine quantum level electrical processes/pathways at mitochondria. Halt methylase and or polymerase proliferation.
  12. bio-friendly coated Nano pulsing device inserted into tumor-wireless operation with belt battery pack. Call it the BQMD: Blake Quantum Mitochondrial Disruptor.
  13. Cure cancer by disrupting RER (rough endoplasmic reticulum) adhesion at ribosomes during translation to disrupt lipid production and thus disrupting cell membrane formation. Reverse the hydrophilic property at carcinomal lipid membrane. If there is no hydrophila there will be no cell wall - get to the root.
  14. Cure cancer by control of TOR target -  rapamycin regulation of cell growth. TORC2 regulates cell surface area by influencing lipid production and intracellular turgor. Interrupt TORC2 transcription, translation or transport.
  15. Cure cancer by stopping golgi apparatus from packaging proteins for export to adjacent / daughter cancer cells.
  16. Cure cancer by inhibiting normal cell function at any and or all organelles and all biosynthetic, transcription, translation and lipid production one organelle at a time.. disrupt one-disrupt all. determine the most fundamental metabolite and disrupt it with a wavelength of sound or light.


January 25, 2015    10:53 am


Selfish Chromosome ?

At early Earth, 3.8 billion years ago, there were trillions of free-floating small strands of DNA comprising only a few dozen base pairs. This DNA evolved over the course of 200 million years from free-floating RNA that had coalesced within the primordial soup 4.0 billion years ago. Is a 48 base pair strand of DNA a living thing? When this DNA is split apart by static electricity it becomes two pieces where before there was one. Lightning strikes and the population doubles as each cleaved part restores itself to wholeness. The notion of free-floating DNA or RNA molecules coalescing in the primordial soup  four billion years ago or tumbling around in hot vent pools two billion years ago deep within a ten mile thick ice crust for 500 million years until a reason to exist materializes  makes as much sense as a quarterback with his 500 plays wandering around in a Mardi Gras parade. DNA is a part of a system, part of a team. The system begins as a simple colony of actors evolving into a more complex system. The DNA system comprises many different types of molecules and many types of organelles: the cell nucleus, the nuclear membrane, the cell membrane, golgi apparatus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, the nucleolus, chloroplasts, microtubules, vacuoles, promoters, enhancers, tRNA, RNA polymerase, mRNA, etc. All are part of the DNA system.

The cell itself and all of its components is part of the DNA system: plant or animal. Was there once an array of organettes, precursors of organelles? Did organettes combine forces one by one and two by two,  over hundreds of millions of years of symbiotic mergers? It was not only the symbiotic merger of  mitochondria with the cell  but all organelles/organettes merging via symbiosis in the dense, crowded, high pressure world of snowball Earth’s dark hot pools, warm lakes, cool seas  or surface pools exposed to sunlight 2.3 BYA. The organettes formed colonies in the primordial pockets. Colonial structures held together by porous webs of microtubules followed by total lipid membrane enclosure.

The first life on Earth emerged 3.5 billion years ago ( BYA) seen now as biogenic graphite. The second life on Earth evolved 3.48 BYA and is seen in fossilized microbial mats. All living things have DNA. DNA comprises four small molecules: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. Three of these components of DNA: guanine, thymine and cytosine, have an oxygen molecule:. Oxygen did not occur in the Earth’s atmosphere until 2.8 BYA. Question: How did life, with its core genetic component of DNA evolve for 700 million years without oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere? Was the oxygen derived from rocks or from water condensing from volcanic gas? Did earliest life evolve on the surface of rocks where it could suck the oxygen needed for nucleotides from within the stone? did early life send microtubules ( straws)  into this rock to suck in oxygen?

The systemness of DNA replication- transcription-translation argues against a bunch of free-floating molecules colliding with one another in the primordial soup to positive evolutionary effect. Systems don’t work when the important parts are not present. Absence of oxygen is a theory crippler.  Perhaps the DNA got its oxygen from the water thus an argument for first life being waterborne and eventually spongy-corally-clammy-fishy. Did all aerobic life emerge from the water not the land? The land had no significant oxygen in the air above, not enough to accelerate evolution, until 1.8 BYA.

During the Huronian global glaciation 2.4 to 2.1 BYA the entire Earth was an iceball with ice five to twenty miles thick all over the Earth’s surface. The Earth’s ice crust was pocked by thousands of volcanic vents creating warm pools-lakes-seas in the darkness deep within the ice sheet. The intensity of molecular activity in these pools, each with its own chemical signature, accelerated collisions of all molecules raising the chances of positive symbiotic effects.

Is the DNA system is the product of bioengineering by an advanced species on a distant planet - a designed system invented  by creatures whose bodies do not use DNA in their life processes? Perhaps The DNA system  didn’t evolve in nature anywhere in the universe or in an adjacent universe accessible via quantum string tunneling. The DNA system emerged from generations of experimentation and calculation - alien thought. Was Earth seeded with its DNA system? Perhaps a few million archaea  released in the primordial soup 3.5 BYA from a spacecraft long dissolved or not. Check those streaks of color in the polished marble next time you’re standing near the restroom wall in a major airport. Due to its systemness,there is no such thing as a selfish chromosome or a selfish DNA molecule. A selfish cell? We know that cells work very well with others. If the DNA is not selfish, the gene is not selfish.


JB Questions-Observations:

  1. What proteins regulate intracell proliferation of mitochondria? Are these mitochondria-regulating proteins from the cell nucleus or from the mitochondria DNA?
  2. Imagine a wheatstalk as thick and tall as a redwood. One stalk the source of 10,000 loaves of bread.
  3. What part of the human brain carries epigenetically conserved ideas about myth, religion, cosmology, etc.?
  4. Experiment: Analyze past 90 years of Hollywood motion pictures noting the elapsed time between cuts and between scenes - note change in implied audience attention span over the decades. Note the elapsed time of either Joey Bishop or Sammy Davis,Jr standing or sitting doing absolutely nothing in Sinatra’s Rat-Pack movies.
  5. Do Christians harvest ( destroy ) their tall poppies ( prominent people) as some sort of sacrifice to their God? See: Durkheim “Elementary Forms of Religious Life”
  6. Was the 3-in-One oil marketing machine trying to capitalize on Christian dogma to sell lubricant for squeaky doors?
  7. RE: distinctions between the sacred and the profane. If mankind has access to it, has power over it -is comfortable with it or enjoys it  then it is profane - all else is sacred. The Woody Allen Club Membership Test is at the root of all religions.
  8. Profile all people who see themselves as leaders of a cult with at least 50 members - New Age, Self-Improvement, Witchcraft, etc. A breed of self-assessed “higher” consciousness folks - the plant intelligence-shamanic-tantric crew holing up along the Santa Cruz-Monterey coast. Are these cultists on to any incipient religion? Yes,  but which will endure?
  9. Emile Durkheim was splitting hairs in 1912 when describing the difference between magic and religion. the difference is as follows: Since one hundred percent of humans create/crave/lean-in to the notion of the sacred and profane, magic is any and all of those practices not officially sanctioned by the dominant party-approved religious order. Those not in line with the governing religion are witches, magicians, outliers, Others and probably mentally ill and in need of medication or institutionalization ( see: Foucault “Madness and Civilization”. Magic and religion have nothing to do with a practitioner’s tendency to socialize. Durkheim is naive and narrow regarding his distinction between magic and religion.
  10. The sacred is Yin, the profane is Yang, they define one another. Each is necessary in order to define the other, to supply le differAnce. See: Jacques Derrida “Grammatology”.
  11. “Green Beard” effects as epigenetic behavior transmitted via neocortical spiny neurons. Green Beard behavior is that in which people favor their own sort. You gotta green beard like me? Yes - you’re in like Flynn.
  12. What did young Le Corbusier learn from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio projects by 1914? What seeds were planted  by Wright’s Prairie-Style buildings?
  13. RE: origins of first spoken language: afferent sensory neural network reaches critical mass i.e. overloads from intense stimulation of hand on a burning coal and a word spontaneously pops out of the neocortex-voicebox-mouth such as AWE or OWW !  which transforms into Hot. YAWEH ! into God. BRRR - shivver into hiver ( fr)- winter- cold. Infant’s first sounds: goo goo, dada.
  14. Investigate multi-sense stimuli from sense apparatus to basal ganglia to signals @ neocortex. What is the neural network synaptical critical mass required to stimulate word formation?
  15. Each of the sciences, social sciences, arts, politics and law has created its own dense rhizomic mat comprising myriad symposia, documents and experiments, thousands of theories, some credible dogma and plain BS  to protect students and practitioners from the void. There are over one million scientific research papers published in the past thirty years whose contents have not been verified due to the busyness of all scientists with their own work.
  16. Review the structure of the slime mold vertical pod-net structure as a small bag for proto-organs 600 million years ago, organs jostling for position within this useful prefab structure that eventually evolved a backbone and symmetry-body morphology stored in HOX genes. It grew fins and swam into deep water in search of a meal.
  17. Were there ever  free-floating precursors to the kidney, liver, heart, brain or pancreas and or sex organs that discovered advantages by sharing skills. “I’ll pump your blood if you’ll filter mine.” “If you help digest my meals I’ll increase your oxygen supply.” “I’ll be your operations center if you’ll fight off the big bad guys.”
  18. Why would two nucleotides ever want to link up to form a base pair? Was this a forced marriage? A marriage of convenience? Just because they could? A happy accident? An unhappy accident? Crazy kids? Did they break apart soon after for a million years alone then reunite?
  19. Has there ever been a living cell without a bilayer lipid membrane? with just a hairnet sort of enclosure surrounding its organelles?
  20. A key reason for mitochondrial symbiosis was to provide a source of cell energy when DNA is locked up busy preparing to divide at mitosis-meiosis and not able to engage in protein transcription-translation. All protein synthesis must taper off while cell is dividing and re-starting its scheduled protein production. Mitochondria provide interim energy due to its separate genome not tied up in the cell’s general chromosome duplication.
  21. Is there a unique RNA transcriptase for each different protein produced by a cell or does a single RNA transcriptase molecule start all protein production with intron-exon editing or protein tagging via methylation/ phosphorylation providing the proteinic variation? How unique must a protein be in order to warrant its own unique RNA transcriptase that is present prior to start of transcription?
  22. What cell type has the most mRNA types? JB guess: auditory hair cells.
  23. Do auditory hair cells require many hundreds of alternate splicing pathways diverging from a small number of tRNA and or RNA polymerases directing the synthesis of the range of proteins needed to detect 500 different pitches?
  24. Religion or magic” The cult of genetics central dogma; what’s not to believe? Dig the dogma -it’s life and lab-tested.

January 13, 2016    5:49PM

Beyond the Base Pair

  DNA comprises four nucleotides: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. these bases pair with one or another into base pairs. There are two options for these four bases as thymine only pairs with adenine and cytosine only pairs with guanine. Each of the nucleotides is represented in writing as A,T,C,or G. A only pairs with T and C only pairs with G. The human genome as it occurs on our 20,000 protein coding genes  comprises only these four bases in an infinitude of possible sequences. the average gene is 1,500 base pairs long. The average chromosome ( they are all a unique length) has 139 million base pairs. Only two percent of the human genome codes for protein. the rest has either a regulatory function or it is dormant. If the average DNA molecule ( one DNA molecule per chromosome) was one sixteenth of an inch wide ( a piece of string) it would be two miles long. Each one of a human’s 10 trillion cells has a full component of 23 pairs of chromosomes, forty six total in each cell. Every gene occurs twice - one from mother one from father. there are 3.2 billion base pairs in the human genome, 6.4 billion bases.

If you have studied biology in the past 45 years you are familiar with the appearance of our 46 chromosomes all coiled up into wormy looking pairs, aligning at the center of a dividing cell and travelling to opposing sides of what has become two different cells. DNA is only bundled up into worm-ish chromosomes when replicating; at all other times this DNA is unspooled into a gooey mass of glop. A  few hundred ( of 20,000 plus) locations where the base pairs have been enzymatically separated to allow genetic information to be transcribed from the DNA in the cell nucleus to a ribosome sitting on the rough endoplasmic reticulum surrounding the nucleus where the proteins specific to that cell’s tissue type and the proteins needed for the cell’s shared metabolic needs are manufactured from amino acids suspended within the cell. Amino acids are building blocks of protein and protein is the building material for muscle, nerves, bone, blood and brains, all sensory organs and all hormones. We are protein. Protein is amino acids, the sequence and shape of amino acids is determined by DNA:  the specification for each plant, animal, bacterium, virus, archaea, fungi and mold.

There is ten years of research into the addition of a third base pair to the organism genome. E.coli bacteria are the medium of choice to date for these experiments. Bacteria multiply at an intensely high rate. E.coli bacteria double their population every 17 minutes by binary fusion in geometric progression. Bacterial growth is exponential: 1,2,4,8,16,etc If a third base pair is accepted into the blueprint of life and it enters via bacteria. this mutant DNA could spread to every living thing on Earth within a few years. Is it prudent to experiment with a fundamental building block of all life in such a cavalier manner - no. Life works fine most of the time - why wreck a good thing, a great thing. Just because life can be fooled to accept this UBP ( unnatural base pair) this third base pair, does not mean that good things will ensue. A third base pair integrated in all of the DNA of the human genome would be to throw ten thousand wrenches into our DNA spokes upsetting all inheritance of internal and external physical characteristics and any metabolic process - the whole works. Old turkish proverb: Any fool can throw a turd into the well  but it takes 20 wise men to get it out.


Questions and observations:

  1. We live in the age of the network aka the rhizome. the age of the hierarchy is over. Look at the map of the major cities of the USA on the back page of your in-flight magazine. Note the connections between cities indicated by multiple webs of red lines radiating from each city. This is the heuristic of our time. The hierarchical ladder no longer functions for us. Imagine this map in real time and space, as pulsing intracity networks, our population on I-Phones, the traffic patterns, the infrastructure patterns: water, sewer, gas and electric lines, fiber optic cables, telephone lines, social networks: school boards, little league teams etc etc.
  2. American tribal ritual of intercity flight within aluminum tubes at 40,000 feet. Sit back and relax, absorb the insane zeit from security paranoia theater at the airport to kidney and liver-killing soft drinks and alcohol in a jam-packed microorganism airshare,  pandered to with peanuts and the latest Disney movie as the wonders of the universe pass below little noticed.
  3. All life on Earth is a video game played in an alternate universe operating within our quantum emptiness filling each living thing: plant, animal, bacterium. Myriad hands in gloves guiding all to victory.
  4. When eating an egg, a person ingests a lot of DNA, ribosomes, rough endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparati, RNA of all stripes, mitochondria, lipids etc etc - a smorgasbord !  Protein of many varieties in this broad mix of nutrients.
  5. Compare and contrast: “The Good woman of Szechuan” by Bertolt Brecht and “Glengarry Glen Ross” by David Mamet.
  6. JB essay title: The Mystification of Repressed Myth (bubbling up from archaic depths ( 1940s)  into consciousness via Turner Classic films.
  7. JB essay title: “Corrosive Reification-Sinatra’s Rat Pack” or “Why does Joey Bishop Just Stand There?”
  8. Is there a gene that accelerates epigenetics? that accelerates the acquisition of acquired rather than evolved characteristics?
  9. Did gene transfer occur between horses and humans allowing the proliferation of epigenetic pathways to evolution?
  10. Did horse teeth, enabling grass chewing, evolve via epigenetics?
  11. Did the human outsize neocortex evolve via epigenetics?
  12. JB neolog: Pooze or P.ooze or Primordial ooze: ancient sea/swamp/tideflats/ponds 4.0 to 4.5 billion years ago where the ground rules for organism metabolic process were established. See: Krebs cycle etc.
  13. A wild-ass guess: There were 2 million donkeys on the North American continent 2 million years ago.
  14. Humans may or may not have killed off the horse in North America - humans scared the entire horse population away across the Siberian land bridge. The horse did not go extinct in North America, it left the premises. Horses are smart.


12/31/15  7:20PM

Disposable Sublime

  Riddles, allusions, elisions, omissions - dreams, jokes, slips and symptoms

all the stuff of bucolic self come bubbling up for neural health.


“Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

Monty  Python - “The Meaning of Life”

Sublime: exalted, elevated, noble, awe-inspiring, majestic, glorious, transcendent.

Fecund:  Able to produce many offspring

499,999,999 sperm are wasted in every sex act that gives rise to a new human life and 500 million in each one that doesn’t result in fertilization. Cosmo ( JB God)  does not care about this incredible waste. Cosmo throws a colossal avalanche of spaghetti against the wall hoping one piece will stick. Cosmo is oblivious to the value of a single individual even though it expresses Cosmo’s own wonder-beauty-sublimity.

A sea turtle lays 150 eggs, 75 of these eggs survive bird and lizard and raccoon predation hatching in a timely manner. The baby turtles crawl a hundred yards across the sand to the surf and swim forward into the open sea where they immediately become food for sharks, dolphins and any fish that can lock its jaws around them. Two or three individuals from each nest will live through infancy in the open ocean growing to maturity to reproduce.

A baby sea turtle is a sublime thing comprising a multitude of miraculous biochemical pathways, complex organ systems and physical beauty evolved over 250 million years yet its existence on earth is tenuous, filled with danger with zero guarantee for a full life. Only a few of these small  miracles survive to produce their own offspring thus boosting their evolutionary potential.

Fecundity-disposability of the sublime is played out in most species of plants and animals. It is sadly wasteful but who would want to see the ocean jam-packed with shore to shore sea turtles or look out to the horizon across a salty writhing mass of 100,000 species of sea animals and plants. Balance requires brutality. Brutality ensures balance and it ensures some open ocean for the strong and lucky survivors to fight-flee seduce and mate.

Species not only dodge, fight and flee from predatory species but also fight and flee their own kind for survival and the opportunity to reproduce. One of the larger questions  for chordates is “Who gets the girl?” Intraspecies conflict is a big driver of evolution.

People create sublime things in the manner of nature: great paintings, music compositions, films, aircraft, I-pads and disposable razors. Only a very tiny percentage of sublime creations ever have a public moment. For the one tenth of one percent that do go into our public arena as products vying for mental shelf space, this glorious debut moment passes and the sublime thing is soon forgotten. A small army of talent creates a movie,  this cinematic treasure spends ten days at the multiplex then it’s gone. It is sublime. It is disposable. Sublime disposability drives people to madness. An architect works for three years on a big contract for the Navy - one million square feet of office and warehouse space. The project is shelved - forever. A composer working as a music professor draws out his finest musical ideas for years  writing his symphony and no one ever hears it. Disposable sublimity occurs so often in the arts, the professions and industry that it is cruel to even bring it up. A difficult subject on all counts. It fills psychiatrist’s couches.

There is intense intraspecies competition among humans to write the music that reaches the public, the book that finds a publisher and a public,  to design the building that gets built and used by a family or by millions of people. The 10,000 screenplays submitted to Hollywood movie studios each year  that never reach the cineplex are brothers to those  499,999,999 sperm that didn’t fertilize the egg. Funny how important we think our screenplay, novel or symphony is when it is one gazillionth as complex, as miraculous as a single sperm or any one of a million species of single cell animal or plant or bacterium or virus.

It is easier for us to adjust to the inequities of small turtle travails, the brief life of a cherry blossom or the waste of sperm than to the brief  life of one’s cherished artistic creation. How many wannabe  “Great American”  novels have hit the remainder bin after selling 500 copies ensuring the brilliant, imaginative author will remain a wandering nobody in the bustling halls of academe  not only not in the canon but not even a particle of gunpowder.

Life is brutal-pass the bottle

bein’ brilliant isn’t what’ll

get me up into the bracket

where I just can’t  hear the racket

  • Mr. Gasoline lyrics

Media professionals design their product to hit the market and get out. A movie studio knows that its 75 million to 300 million dollar product has the shelf life of a baguette. They know the entertainment ecosystem  is shark infested, a relentless, vicious, winner take all competition every weekend. Movies, music and theater are designed to seduce immediately in order to simply get to the starting gate. Sublimity is always lost. Sex with no love, violence with no purpose, stories with no roots in the heart. Form with very little content. Delivering a shred of honest emotion  earns a Grammy, Emmy or Academy Award nomination.

Humans are miracles of nature little different from sea turtles or any organisms. We are all sublime beauty and wonder all the way down to the biochemical interactions of our molecules and beyond, yet entire populations of humans are allowed to waste in squalor without cleanliness, health, education or any degree of welfare. Entire classes of Americans become prison industrial complex fodder,  lost to financial predators in the loan-sharking or the wall street banking class, poisoned by the manufacturing class and brainwashed by the media class.  We are  sublime. We abuse and bury our sublimity.

God throws you against the wall of life like so much spaghetti,

it’s up to you to figure out how to stick


We insist upon and try to cultivate our own sublimity once we know it is our resposibility. Cosmo turns away at birth and family loosens reins during adolescence.  Cosmo does not care if you are the turtlette who gets snatched by a crab as you flipper-flop through the dangerous sand to the dangerous surf or if you are the sea turtle who survives in the open ocean for 30 years reaching reproductive maturity dodging sharks, killer whales, boat propellers, shrimp nets and plastic pollutants mistaken for food. Cosmo does not care if you endure a stunted human life through psychological abuse, physical violence, obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, hate, jealousy, assault or wither within the corrosive prison  of a troubled marriage. Cosmo don’t care, don’t give a damn, you are on your own. Are ya feelin’ lucky?

There are many thousands of sublime works created each year that will never see the light of a coffee shop wall or resonate on a streetcorner. Sublimity and self-promotion are mutually exclusive yet we demand that a single person harness  tools of self promotion to capitalize their sublime works. This is the stuff of the schiz-mind fry for Modernists - those who can handle lots of ambiguity, uncertainty and change, the pitch-yaw-roll of Postmodern life will thrive.



Poststructuralism is a precursor to  1965/1980 postmodernism that focuses specifically on linguistic matters of a synchronic sort emerging from Saussure. One’s text must contain a dollop of rebellion from mid-century social sciences icon Claude Levi-Strauss, himself a disciple of Saussure. A postructuralist never writes so clearly that multiple interpretations cannot be fussed out of the text.

“Language is not a pane of clear glass”

“Priority belongs to language itself. We learn to mean.”

“Meaning is an effect of the signifier”

It is asserted by poststructuralist Jacques Derrida that the idea is not independent of the word and to suggest such makes one logocentric. If one brands the word “Hot” onto the surface of a person’s thigh does the brandee need to know the definition of the word hot, it’s spelling and pronunciation in order to understand the heat and pain?

“The trace of otherness lays all oppositions open to deconstruction, leaving no pure or absolute concepts to be taken as foundational. Meanings, not only art, democracy, terrorism, human rights are not individual personal or subjective since they emanate from language but they are not given in nature or guaranteed by any existing authority either.” Catherine Belsey summing key Poststructural concept.

Art, democracy, terrorism and human rights are evidence of mankind trying to establish  sublimity. Terrorism in the service of sublimity is an irreconcilable opposition.

JB Questions-Observations:

  1. Can your flu catch a cold? Can your Toxoplasma gondii cerebral parasites catch a virus? Do viruses infect other viruses for ill effect on one’s health. Could this cascade of infection go 5 organisms deep given they are only inserting RNA or DNA into one another?
  2. Did Hungarian Communist party apparatchik art cop, Georg Lukacs have a role in Trotsky’s assassination during his stay in  Russia?
  3. Did anything ever de-fang capital “A” Art as much as 30th century interwar communist politics: prole as audience vs oppressive capitalist - UGH ! see: Lukacs-Brecht-Adorno dialectics
  4. Is there such a thing as an “archaic” myth? Aren’t all myths ingrained at different levels in the history of a culture and also at different levels of present consciousness-unconsciousness. Do myths come and go or accrue?  When and how might a myth die, dissolve, evaporate? When will the myths surrounding The Bill of Rights evaporate?
  5. Review the evolution of the definition of myth from Benjamin-Adorno to Jung to Barthes - Joseph Campbell et al.
  6. Piling on the commie way: Perry anderson on Adorno, Adorno on Lukacs, Adorno on Benjamin: A Marxist Brothers comedy.
  7. There is a sort of philosophical discourse whose purpose is to register membership in a club rather than to explore ideas. Adorno writing to Benjamin is like a kid sending a secret club code or giving the secret handshake. He peppers his text with as many commie buzzwords as his light ideas can carry. The Brecht-Adorno-Benjamin axis of 3d generation commie claptrap of mid-late 1930s re: commodity capitalism, division of labor, use-value proving to one another they have been good boys and done their Marx homework. Perry Anderson as a 4th generation Marxist  is even more pompously prolix.
  8. Aztec-Inca gold financed the European Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution as it financed manufacturing throughout europe of weapons, tools, ships, textiles and global exploration. War and commerce flourished with the avalanche of Aztec capital. The engine revs up on central American fuel. Bottom line: Latin American booty enables Commodity Capitalism to evolve with great vigor in Baroque Europe.
  9. It is human nature to project the death of one’s own neurons onto the entire culture as one notes the dissolution, the catastrophes, the failure of much that was good: millennial unawareness of Sergeant Pepper, the loss of factory jobs to digital technology, the replacement of wood with plastic, the computerization of cars and all communication. As neurons enter necrosis-apoptosis, the individual affected begins to see loss of quality all around. We project our loss out to the world forgetting that renewal is all around.
  10. Compare and contrast two concepts of myth: the Levi-Strauss-Joseph Campbell strain ( all-encompassing, transcultural, one story serves all) vs the Roland Barthes-Gilles Deleuze-Baudrillard version that ascribes myth to all aspects of a culture system: religion, law,philosophy,art, advertising, entertainment, car sales - commodity manufacturing, use and fetishization. The deep vs the deep and shallow together.  Levi-Strauss: Myth can be separated from marriage rites, plant medicine, lineage tracking where Barthes et al it is ALL myth all the time. If humans believe it, watch it, eat it, do it then it’s myth.
  11. Hegel’s idealism-dialectical materialism defangs Christian Fundamentalism at pre-Victorian era. Hegel provides rocket fuel for Victorians Carlyle, Marx, Darwin, Ruskin and later Nietzsche. Cracking the Christian hegemony at European Zeit opens the door for emergence of Jewish thinkers into late 19th century discourse and their major role as members of the Titanic 12.  Adam Smith vs Marx: choose sides - yin or yang - commie or cappie - Christian or Jew. ultramodernist or citramodernist. Richard Meier or Frank Gehry?
  12. As dogmatic Christian belief dissolved across the 19th century due to secular Enlightenment notions gaining traction previously marginalized jews saw an opening encouraging emergence from the cloistered shadows of the arcade ( see: Benjamin) and compete for center stage in intellectual discourse. Judeo-Christian Yin Yang was thus animated for all 20th and 21st century discourse.


December 21, 2015  10:54PM


Name That Zeit

  Signs are commodities - JB


Mythology: Roland Barthes and Poststructuralist’s definition -  “The common practices of our society that are neither true nor false but carry meaning and values we may not have consciously chosen.” - Catherine Belsey

Culture:  The unspoken ( mythology) and the spoken ( ideology) - JB

Modernism: The features of the descended grid: fixed station point and all it enabled: double-entry bookkeeping, cartesian navigation, musical notation, linear perspective, scientific method, rights of man,

Postmodernism: The ideas discovered, cobbled, invented by the Titanic Twelve in 1912 -  all ideas here are products of the unpinned station point - a deep, fundamental difference from modernism

Citramodernism: Postmodernism between Titanic Postmodernism and the postmodernism spawned by One twelfth of the Titanic group - Ferdinand Saussure - postmodernism between 1912 and 1966. Postmodernism from 1966 to its demise in 2000 let’s call PoMo. Without names for this stuff we’re sunk !

Ultramodernism: Modernism ( The stuff of The Descended grid) manifest between 1912 ( when it lost its primacy) to the present day where it flourishes in combination with all things Postmodern in a new episteme driven by the digital world/social media and the 8 second attention span

Structuralism: The search for eternal man, for overarching definitions, for binary oppositions: the raw- cooked, legitimate-forbidden, nature-culture, hostility-reciprocity i.e.  for the universal. “Nothing between the universe and a bean” Barthes on the absurdity of Structuralist thought of Levi-Strauss. Note: Levi-Strauss swam in Saussure’s lake as did Barthes but at a greater depth with less light and more pressure. Barthes is light, sunny, witty, humorous, arch, wry, ironic, snarky, looser, more playful. Dolphin vs whale Levi-Strauss had a more serious project, a larger point to make. Barthes lived to deconstruct Levi-Strauss as he filled in the colorful details of our various myths that bring them to life.

Poststructuralism: The search for specific man, for the detailed story, for the specific - see: Roland Barthes.  Replace all active usage and usage back to 1966 of the word Postmodernism with Poststructuralism; any use of the word postmodern that implies or asserts origins of Postmodernism begin with the Fab French invasion of 1966.

Bottom line: Postmodernism began in 1912 with the Titanic Twelve: W. Wright, Freud, F.L.Wright, Saussure, Einstein, Schoenberg, Melies, Tesla, Duncan, Joyce, Cocteau, Cezanne-Braque-Picasso,  not in 1966 with  the French Eight i.e. Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Lacan, Debord, Baudrillard, Deleuze and or Guattari.

Foucault, like Venturi can claim: “I am not a Postmodernist”  as he, Foucault, was, like Venturi, all about a critique of notions born of the Enlightenment - JB

“Lacan reinterpreting Freud in the light of Saussure and Levi-Strauss” (Belsey) is like Frank Lloyd Wright reinterpreting himself ( Prairie Style) in the neo-Loosian terms of Neutra and Schindler via Corbu and Mies @ Wesselhoff. Get thee to a scorecard ! - JB

Note to self (JB) Poking holes in recent ( since 1966) definitions of Postmodernism and Poststructuralism is taking away the toys of a generation of intelligent, well-read, hard-thinking ( though occluded) imaginative, high-spirited academics.

Did a feminist or a gay rights activist ever claim to be a postmodernist?  How did this become a part of postmodernism? It occurred during the PoMo era 1966-2000.

Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers and Soviet worker realism - both paintings of totalizing ideologies.

Human culture is a tall tub with a convection current circulating around in a giant ring from surface to depths. This grand convection moves in time through history and individuals, families, neighborhoods, cities whole populations, nations rise and fall at varying rates in the turbulence. Each zone of this tub has qualities that may be seen as modern or postmodern in character. Mo and PoMo are happening somewhere in this current at all times and have been since plants were domesticated in southwest Asia 10,000 years ago. there were postmodern Assyrians and modern ancient Egyptians. PoMo ideas such as multiculturalism and defiance against the powers that be are always afloat in steerage where they give birth to a wealth of new ideas that are carried up on social convection currents and locked into the zeit of dominant rationalists - the purveyors of power. The tenets of 1960s-90s PoMo are not even new with the Titanic 12. These ideas were popular when Irish and Jewish immigrants sailed to America in the 19th century. They were not new with either Marx or Darwin or Freud or Saussure. they are part of the phenomenon of individuals and classes falling into depths ( see USA sinking middle class 1980-2015) of the silent majority. Treating the concepts of PoMo.

Epochs get new names such as Medieval, Modern, Postmodern after an accretion of new ideas in religion,human rights,  politics, economics, art, literature, science and technology. It is the combined power of a few of the more prominent of these ideas that launches the naming of a new era, typically many years after the ideas emerged. As a new epoch progresses there are many changes throughout a society. Change itself is a given. Change is continuous. Change during the past few hundred years has been accelerating at an asymptotic rate. All change in an era is not necessarily in the spirit of that age but gets included. It goes along for the ride. Postmodernism is about things fundamentally unpinned not anything that occurred between 1966 and 2000 or between 1912 and 2000.

Scholars have confused the ideas, innovations and inventions that are the core of much subsequent change with the thought-trends that get the most attention during  early academic careers. Scholars define their operative zeit as if it were foundational when its status  is tertiary or secondary but rarely primary. We now have the much tortured, misnamed  postmodernism and poststructuralism both spawned by the Titanic Twelve.

The core marker for the Postmodern, the unpinned station point is best seen in analytical cubism was also expressed in a cluster of secondary and tertiary signs such as gender, ethnicity, sex, and race. These are qualities of late 1960s politics. They are expressions of the 1912 PoMo idea in a non-visual realm. There are no PoMo principles as these all reside with the titanic Twelve. there are only features not principles.

Modernism, in one of its more fundamental definitions ( there are sooo many), began when Filippo Brunelleschi pinned the station point in 1412 as he established the core idea of his great invention linear perspective. This fixing of man in a single spot allowed  many aspects of the real world to come into focus: cartesian navigation, double-entry bookkeeping, the picture plane as window, the scientific method, musical notation. If you just hold still - you can see a lot. This towering, paradigm-shifting event PSP meaning the pinned station point - mankind remains stationary and looks out at the world and begin to define it and to measure it and to catalog and analyze its contents. Man creates an array of  grids for making sense of the world; the navigation grid of longitude and latitude, the music grid of pitch and duration, the numerical grid of money spent and money owed, the spatial grid in two dimensions that allows the conception of buildings in an abstraction of 3-D space.

During the 19th Century the station point was unpinned by Charles Darwin and Karl Marx. This grand unpinning was manifest in ten realms in 1912. These 12 realms and their associated genius are as follows: 

The Titanic Twelve:

  1. Wilbur Wright - Pitch-yaw-roll controlled flight
  2. Arnold Schoenberg - Atonal music composition  
  3. Albert Einstein - Post-Newtonian physics
  4. James Joyce - Post narrative fiction
  5. Jean Cocteau - Post 3-act drama  
  6. Nicola Tesla - Radio-A/C current
  7. Georges Melies - Motion pictures
  8. Sigmund Freud - subconscious realms
  9. Ferdinand Saussure - Lateral linguistics ( synchronic)
  10. Isadora Duncan - Post Baroque dance
  11. Cezanne-Picasso-Braque - Unpinned pictorial space
  12. Frank Lloyd Wright - Dynamic symmetry

Note that Charles Darwin and Karl Marx’s shift of locus of Victorian culture from the ecclesiastical to  the temporal secular realm of science, industry, labor and class conflict as the arena of mind-soul-heart of Western man precedes the reifications of The Titanic Twelve. See the writings of Carlyle, Arnold, Ruskin and Morris for details of this shift. The  scarifying of the zeit, the plowing aside of the reigning Modern episteme for new spiritual-intellectual growth.

The Edwardian blossoming of human innovation in 1912, the year the Titanic sank. The work of The Titanic Twelve  is at the core of half of 20th century thought,  including Poststructuralism and Postmodernism.  The loss of the Titanic symbolic of the loss primacy of The Enlightenment Project. The world’s stage is shared from 1912 onward to today. Due to the continued dominance of enlightenment ideas, the postmodern should be seen as a diverging arrow that is one third the width of the Modern but growing rapidly.

Our age became schizoid in 1912 as two parallel tracks emerged from WW One evolving in tandem, giving rise to two Modern architectures; one pinned and one unpinned i.e. one based on classical Brunelleschi orthography ( plans, sections and elevations) and one based on Cubism ( pitch, yaw and roll around the object, best represented in models). Two modern paintings: One born of Cezanne’s deconstructed picture plane ( Mondrian, Malevich, Pollock, de Kooning, Schnabel)  and one informed by Freud and Marx: Duchamp, Surrealism, Dada, Warhol, minimalists, gendo-politico-sexo art projects 1970-2015.  Of course Venturi is not a Postmodernist as he always cleaved to Brunelleschi and the rationalities of The Enlightenment though his works are coated with pastiche born of notions unpinned from Modernist dogma. Though Le Corbusier is seen as a founder of hard line Modernism, he was a Cubist at heart and after his butchering by that motor yacht  while swimming in the mediterranean in 1953 his Cubist soul  became manifest in his late work best exemplified by Ronchamp and Carpenter Center.

One cannot clearly discuss either Poststructuralism or Postmodernism or any aspect of either without understanding, incorporating and addressing one’s root precursor(s) among The Titanic Twelve.

The great bifurcation from the PSP episteme into the age in which PSP (pinned station point)  is shared with UPSP (unpinned station point) was at 1912 not at 1946 ( Levi-Strauss) 1957 ( Barthes) or 1962 ( Foucault) 1966 ( Derrida) or 1971 ( Deleuze, Baudrillard). The Postmodern world did not begin with Barthes, Derrida, Venturi or Jacques Derrida as architecture historian Charles Jencks or Paul DeMan or Richard Rorty might lead one to think the postmodern began at the great bifurcation, the birth of the Titanic Twelve, the sinking of the Titanic. The whole 1960s version of Postmodern semiotics was a development of only two twelfths of the idea package, that of Saussure and his followers of the next 50 years in Germany and the USA.

In locating the birth of Postmodernism at 1912 rather than mid 1960s one can resolve the scatter of anomalies, inconsistencies and exceptions that riddle PoMo thought from 1965 to the present as its demise is now widely heralded.

To further clarify Modernism as it continues through the 20th century colored by all things PoMo let's call all post 1912 Modernism ( given that MOdernism began in 1412 with Brunelleschi)  Ultramodernism in order to distinguish it from any shades of pre 1912 manifestations of which there are countless. Without names there is chaos. All this naming may seem precious, obsessive, annoying but without names there is muck, mud, confusion as is seen in 100% of ALL writing on Postmodernism.

Since a misconception of the start point of Postmodernism is now enmeshed, ensconced, solidified into the discourse, we need a name for Postmodern stuff between 1912 and when the misinformed began to hold forth in the mid-1960s. Call PoMo between 1912 and 1965 CitraModernism.  OK - Modernism split apart in 1912 under the paradigm shifting force of the titanic Twelve creating two Modernisms: UltraModern = traditions extended ( Gropius and Mies were UltraModernists) and CitraModern = unpinned, Cubist, ambiguous, Contradictory, complex world of Russian Constructivists, late Corbu and Frank Gehry.

As for ideas such as the dissolution of grand narratives, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, the all- inclusive multiculturalism of the visual arts and anthropology, sociology, these are social evolutions-revolutions that took place in the water-episteme-spectacle of the unpinned station point but are not directly tied to a single one of The Titanic Twelve though they DO manifest CitraModern notions. The gas emitted by The Titanic Twelve colors everything, even the Modern, creating the UltraModern The water of the new paradigm was first poured by Darwin and Marx ( The Towering Two)  followed 50 years later by the reifications of The Titanic Twelve and then all members of Western civilization  as we all swim in this water no matter what our unique concerns.  No wonder so much PoMo writing is confused - some write of Darwin / Marx,  some of the Titanic Twelve and their followers and some of those simply swimming in the PoMo water. They were on the floodplain when the river flowed  and got wet but were not otherwise close to foundational ideas of the fourteen. The whole group that includes Darwin and Marx -  henceforth:  The all-inclusive Fab-14.

At least two generations of literary theorists, critics, architects and artists have tried to package these social developments as Postmodernism. they have tried to place Roland Barthes in the same corral as Michel Foucault. They don’t belong together other than as generational cohorts. Barthes has direct ties to one of The Titanic Twelve in Saussure, Foucault has no direct link. Foucault is a critic of the Enlightenment not a founder of the Postmodern. Barthes and Derrida have direct links to Saussurean semiotics, Deleuze has links to both Saussure and Wilbur Wright. Deleuze ( with Guattari) weaving their rhizomic cocoon all around the towering commodity capitalism and its contingent myths.Any scholar delving into the current morass of contemporary discourse that I have parsed as  Mo, UltraMo, CitraMoPoMo must ask the following questions:

  1. Is the idea / subject at hand pinned or unpinned? How can one tell?
  1. Pinned is the stuff of Brunelleschi, the Descended Grid, Rationalist thought, the Scientific method, hierarchies, power centers, exceptionalism
  2. Unpinned is the stuff of Darwin, Marx, The Titanic Twelve, relativity, free dance, Cubism, multivalence, ambiguity, pitch-yaw-rolling around the subject from multiple points of view.  
  1. Which of the Titanic Twelve most fits your area of exploration? Pick three or more.

In the realm of Saussure if I am involved in any of the following:

  1. Culture as text, culture as myth - Barthes
  2. Any aspect of synchronic linguistics including all of Chomsky
  3. Semiotics in lit-crit, architecture

In the realm of  Wilbur Wright ( simultaneity, pitch-yaw-roll forming multiple viewpoints

  1. Into gender, feminism, race, ethnicity
  2. multiculturalism
  3. Aeronautics, aircraft manufacturing-fixed wing

If I write novels I read Grant’s civil War Memoir, Twain, Hemingway, Nabokov. I seek a swerve from these precursors and their spawn ( see: Harold Bloom for the mechanics of poetic invention) Pynchon, Delillo, Barth ( not Barthes) Coover. Do the PoPoMo.

A lesbian feminist artist would go all the way back to Marx, mix in a bit of Wilbur for a contemporary swerve on power narratives and to Darwin and Stephen Jay Gould for notions of evolutionary change ( it’s not all the same - different strokes for different species, some change is abrupt ( saltational) some is by invasion of another ( symbiosis) and some from genetic mutation. All living things evolve. You have returned to the roots of the roots.

Note to academics: Please stop trying to cram the women’s and gay rights movements into the Saussure-Barthes-Derrida bag as it does not fit. Try Foucault and his Modern, post 1412,  antagonists.

Is everything and anything that happened between 1965 and 2001 postmodern? Can one describe any development in economics, politics, art, science, liberal arts during this time as postmodern?  Many try. There ARE qualities of postmodernism other than simply the place in time of an event. We are too close to the rich sources of postmodernism to lose all meaning so soon. The word modern is long gone and must be qualified-explained on a few levels before proceeding. Postmodern is a dumb word to begin with as every age considers itself modern i.e. what’s happenin’ now thus every age forever has had its own postmodernism. It’s a total garble but I try. By my definition in this essay is everything between 1912 and 2001 postmodern? NO you haven’t been paying attention. The modern was cleaved by The Titanic Twelve plus Two i.e. The Fab 14. into UltraModern and CitraModern then in 1965 into faux-provisional-misnamed, phony-ass, superficial Postmodern.

It is painful to read any text on postmodernism from richard Rorty to Perry Anderson and Richard Butler and watch all of these men try to cram every social-political-artistic idea from 19654 to 1980 into the Saussure bag. It’s always at least ten pounds of ideas in a five pound bag. One must encompass at least one or two of  the other Titanic Twelve if not the whole Fab-14. Turn to Marx for foundational text re: power narratives and social stratification to Darwin for notions of evolutionary change, to Gould and Eldredge for notions of abrupt change as all living things evolve or go extinct. Explore the roots of the roots.

When poster boy of postmodern architecture Robert Venturi decries on the cover of top architecture magazine “I Am Not A Postmodernist” he means just that. Venturi’s work, though of pastiche, parody and snark, seen by many as hallmarks of postmodernism, is essentially of the grid, the ethos of the enlightenment, the orthogonal and defined clearly by orthographic projection: Plan, section and elevation. Venturi is of the PSP not the UPSP. Venturi swims in Ultramodernism the branch that has not been colored by Cubism at all. Venturi is a child of Brunelleschi not of Cezanne. for UPSP Citramodern architecture see the Russian Constructivists and late Corbu ( after his motor yacht trauma that re-arranged his creative consciousness via big brass propeller to the head ( and body). For more Citramodern see: Frank Gehry, Coop Himmelblau, Rem Koolhaas and Wes Jones.

To reiterate:

  1. Address your subject
  2. Locate its link among the Titanic Twelve and at least one of the Towering Two. Darwin is connected to every thought of the past 150 years and Marx to at least half of them.
  3. Identify the proponents in the generation preceding your own and ideally practitioners and theorists in every 20 year period between your founding genius member of the 12 Titans
  4. Do not confuse the flurry of French philosophers, all children of Saussure for all 12 Titans. Allow the Titans first to exist in their hard won pantheon and then the breathe with intellectual space around each one. they are all foundational to 20th century thought and achievement in all matters of culture: Art, Science, technology, law, ethics, entertainment. Ask yourself the deepest meaning of maneuverability for man on all three axes. That third dimension of movement was revolutionary in the deepest sense and Wilbur Wright invented it as well as patented it.
  5. Easy rule of thumb. 1412 saw the birth of the modern. It grew for 500 years to maturity. In 1912, the year the titanic sank, is the year the modern sank ( more accurately, was joined by a new episteme) The two running side by side in parallel from 1912 until they merged during the new millennium as digital tech and social media have rewired the human mind.

When Picasso referred to his partner in paint Georges Braque as mon frere Wilbur, after french aviator Charles de Lambert circled the eiffel tower in 1909 in a Wright Brothers Flyer using Wilbur’s great invention: linked aileron-rudder assembly that allowed controlled flight in three dimensions, Picasso was (unwittingly?) acknowledging the essence of analytical Cubist ideas he and Braque ( together and henceforth-Braquasso) were then exploring: 1. moving around the subject to capture its three dimensional essence from multiple points of view and capturing this multiplicity on a single canvas thus spawning the idea of simultaneity. Analytical Cubism i.e. Cezanne shorthand at the root of all post Edwardian 20th century notions of multiple, simultaneous seeing. Seeing all cultures simultaneously, all religions, all skin colors, all sexual orientations. Claude Levi-Strauss synthesized Braquasso and Saussure in his analysis of hundreds of ethnographies of indigenous peoples from melanesia, South America, Australia, North America and Africa and noting equal cultural complexity in one way or another in all cultures. Jared Diamond drives home the point in his Pulitzer Prize winning book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” noting the primacy of geography and timing over any innate neuronal wiring in defining differential cultural fates.

It is difficult for literature academics to relinquish credit for what they believe to be the foundational ideas of 20th century thought, the core of their field of study to masters of the visual arts or to a scientist ( Darwin) but alas, they must.  Primacy of mid 20th century lit theory-semiotics belongs to Brunelleschi and Darwin and then to Cezanne and Braquasso not to the Beatles of 20th century philosophy - the French Invasion of Barthes, Foucault, Derrida and Baudrillard. The American intellectual establishment was permanently seduced ne, overpowered in 1964-1966 when Paul DeMann of Yale opened the doors. to paraphrase Victor Hugo speaking of the Renaissance. “It was the setting sun all Europe mistook for dawn.”

Braquasso were popularizers of the more foundational Cezanne as Barthes and Derrida were explainers of Saussure. Neither Braquasso nor Barthes were founders, they were explainers-synthesizers. Frank Lloyd Wright was a great synthesizer of John Ruskin and William Morris as well as of everything he laid eyes on as a young architect. Founders shift paradigms, entire bodies of thought get re-visioned in a new lens, the world is seen in a new way forever after. Foundational thinkers deliver new tools, new heuristics. Several of the Fab-14 generated their great new idea by synthesizing and explaining many ideas composing their operative episteme. Whether one is foundational like Darwin and Saussure or secondary like Barthes and Derrida has to do with scale of synthesis. Darwin summed up 150 years of enlightenment science from geography to animal husbandry. Barthes explicated one aspect of the work of a single thinker. Matisse was foundational. He synthesized the Enlightenment achievement in 100 different ways. Secondary figure richard diebenkorn ( no slouch in the annals of modern painting) based his entire career on the background of a single Matisse painting. Ocean Park series riffing on background of “Zora On the Terrace”

The system invented by Wilbur Wright from his intense study of birds in flight enables a man to move along three axes all around a place or an object such as the Eiffel Tower. Wilbur’s system remains a part of every single fixed-wing aircraft in the world.  It was from imagining themselves flying around the eiffel Tower that enabled Picasso and Braque to imagine flying around a kitchen table with its newspaper, pipe, cup of coffee and clarinet.

In closing: go to the source. Go to the expansion valve that transforms fluid into vapor, that changes states of substance. The expansion valve of 20th century expansions of the modern both ultra and citra - pinned and unpinned was the combined effect of the Fab 14 with an especially useful focus on the Titanic Twelve who delivered useful tools for translating zeit into the stuff of life. The expansion valve for what is commonly if erroneously called Postmodernism was the Titanic 12 not the Fab French Four or Six or Eight.  I write this to supply a tool for unjamming the modern-postmodern discourse. As long as one thinks postmodernism began in the mid-1960s the discourse is confused chock full of exceptions, excuses, pulled punches, qualifications, reservations. It’s time to pull the detritus from the weir to make way for still another swerve on modernism, that of the eight second attention span. Remodernism: 2000-Present


December 3, 2015   6:24 PM