* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Religious experiences

5 May 2003
Matt's seeing the light, again. And again

I'm in a music shop thumbing through the CDs, even though I don't buy CDs anymore. Then later I'm drinking coffee despite Starbucks being too expensive and the caffeine being a bad idea because really I should get some sleep, maybe in the park because it's sunny. It's an idle Saturday.

So now I'm in Hyde Park making faces at the swans and suddenly it all snaps into place -- the swans! Their necks! The whole evolution thing, the whole history of the swan encoded into each and every neck. And white, white because of... ah. Another one.

It passes and I blink myself back down to ground, then go and get an icecream.

Later that same day:

I've headed into the centre of town. Blue sky. Sometimes you notice things suddenly that have always been there. Like: the sun on my face. Like: I can feel the cracks in the pavement through the soles of my shoes.

It's pointless walking down the trampled valley that is Oxford Street if you can push your way up one of the side roads, shrug through some bollards, and weave round the buildings up there. The traffic's just as bad, there are still people everywhere. But you can smell the hot sun on the stone, and trying to head East against the tide of corners and dead ends is just fun. Following the inbuilt compass taps into some primitive part of the brain: direction finding across a landscape with a heavy bag and aching feet is for what we were made.

Somewhere near Tottenham Court Road I come to; Oxford Street isn't the African savannah. I'm not tapping my hunter-gatherer grain by pushing past middle-aged shoppers -- I'm just getting cross.

At a party that evening, when I really should've had some sleep but still haven't: At that party I could give you a dozen of these:

How parties fall into different types, the ones that fracture into kitchen and other-room crowds, the ones where you never see the same person twice, the ones where established cliques don't intermix, and so on. Societies flip-flop in the same ways! There are the same stable states! (...and so on)

Couples meeting and flirting. How people have done this through the ages, there's no particular difference with the way we do it now, and if the morality of the past looks odd from this perspective that's because it has to. There's a rolling dynamic such that we always look better than the past, but actually it's just a loop. Think of the vowels: a e i o u. And when the British crossed the Atlantic and the accent shifted from a to e, all the vowels shifted along one position, e i o u a. Rolled round the mouth. Same with bread-based products. American biscuits are English scones; wafers are biscuits. Whatever you take as the present, over the pond always looks doughier. And so it is with life! (...and so on)

How we know that stimulating the muscles of a face into a smile will cause happiness, and therefore we know that the notion 'happiness' is actually stored on the face not in the brain - maybe it's too hard to represent as neuron-patterns, and anyway the brain and face are so linked why have a representation and the thing itself - but the thing is why stop at the face? Input from the eyes is as much part of the brain state as the position of the facial muscles, so we - humanity - have a shared response/memory system: that is, the world! And so by shaping the world we gesture directly into the brain, without even going via the coding/decoding steps, and that's what magic is! Loopholes and short circuits in the external brain, change the mind by architecture! If you build a pattern in the world to obey the same patterns as universal grammar, would the linguistic centres of the brain pick it up? Could you then speak with solidified language? Has this in fact already happened? (...and so on)

- Shut up, they say, - Go to bed, they say (...and they're right).

Then eventually I'm in the dark on my own, in a sleeping bag, slightly pissed, having meaningless epiphany after meaningless epiphany, shooting stars and blinding lights, until somebody tells me to keep the noise down because my awe-struck gasping is keeping them awake.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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