Thursday, December 13, 2007

Philosophical Node

It is not uncommon for anybody to be faced with the situation to want something they can't have. For whatever reason many go through life without the things they want most. When I see these things I can't have I am often tempted to wish I could step outside of the reality that is keeping us apart and take it.

I see big screen TV's, mobile electronics, clothes, books and wonder why I can't have them. Then, conversely, I sometimes wonder why I have the things I do.

A way that helps me to understand both questions is the idea of the philosophical node.

To understand the philosophical node imagine you cannot leave your house. Even more, other people cannot come into your home. Your only method of communication is the phone. Now you know what a node is. It is a communication station. You can send messages out, others can send messages in. And you can make records of all communications, in and out.

Imagine further now. You are a very rich person. You can make calls to people and get them to do anything you need. They can bring things to the house for you, they can take things away for you, they can tell you what is happening outside of the house, or anything else you tell them to do.

As you spend money you also need to earn money. If you don't you will eventually not be able to get people to bring you food. You learn to earn money over the phone too. You could do this by trading stocks. You could do this by consulting on various types of issues. There are unlimited ways you could do this.

I am getting close having you in the mindset I am hoping for. There is just one more alteration that needs to be made to the illustration. Your windows are frosted over and you cannot see outside of the house.

You now have four channels of interaction with the outside world: your bank account, your phone, delivery, and pick up. It may seem like a strange sort of existence, but you might be surprised to know that you are doing it now. So to speak.

This house is you.

Your bank account represents everything you own including your real bank account. Pick up and delivery represent various bodily functions. The speaker on the phone is analogous to your senses. And you in the house is similar to your mind or spirit (please ignore the recursion).

I go to my house occasionally to help me answer questions about my assumptions and prejudices. What you can do by living in this house for a while is understand your perception. Consider how while in your house you get phone calls and use them to create an image of what is happening outside of your home.

I find it interesting that a person without a phone book in their house will behave very differently than one that does. A person who knows short hand will behave differently than one that doesn't. Seemingly small things that will have very large effects on how the four channels of interaction will connect with the world outside.

To connect back to my opening point, having or not having what you want is a larger effect of these patterns of interactions. What you have access to, and what you don't, happens because of the resources in your house. Understanding what is getting in the way, what resources you lack, and how to use what you have are ways to create new ways of interacting with the world outside.

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