Monday, September 26, 2005

Olden but Golden.

Bruce Jay Friedman's Black Angels.

This slim 158-page volume contains sixteen stories - ranging from the too-good-to-be-true gardeners (who turned out to be exactly that) to the man who (somehow!) gets guilt-tripped into becoming a wife-beater. Mr. Friedman really knows how to lure you into his sharp-witted world - one darkly amusing hook after another. At the same time, he knows how to bring the weird. For instance, The Investor features a hospital patient whose body temperature perpetually matches the exact status of his favorite stocks. Much absurdity follows both as a result of and independent of the prime gimmick.

At its heart, the book is about stupid no, self-involved - no, stupid - people. The Operator in particular is a stunningly meanspirited and brutally accurate portrayal of the so-called "player" that plagues today's hip-hop culture - despite being written in the early sixties. The more things change ...


Apparently, Mr. Friedman has been around for ages and I'm only just discovering him. Funny how that is - we walk around, proud of our knowledge, thinking ourselves well-versed in the way of things when really, we're this close to being overrun by the deluge of things we don't know. Shelter in your pathetic niches mortals, only polymathy will satisfy.

*insert obligatory transhumanist wanking here, outboard brain this, DNI that*

Listen. I have given the matter much thought and I've come to a conclusion - the movement we I should be following is Vitruvianism.

Simonides and Raymond Lull after him had their Memory Palace; St. Augusine's "... inner place which is not a place", which was basically the memory palace plus lucid dreaming; the Tibetan monks have their thermoregulation and biofeedback and then of course there's the assorted martial arts.

While we wait for technology to catch up to our fantasies, shouldn't we be seeking optimal configurations of the existing human?


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