In The Mail-Marvin Minsky & Stanley Kubrick

From Edge’s remembrance of Marvin Minsky.

Quote found here:

‘So we have to conclude that it doesn’t make sense to ask about why this world exists. However, there still remain other good questions to ask, about how this particular Universe works. For example, we know a lot about ourselves – in particular, about how we evolved – and we can see that, for this to occur, the ‘program’ that produced us must have certain kinds of properties. For example, there cannot be structures that evolve (that is, in the Darwinian way) unless there can be some structures that can make mutated copies of themselves; this means that some things must be stable enough to have some persistent properties. Something like molecules that last long enough, etc.’

It’s useful to go meta from time to time, and observe where you’ve left some of the bigger questions in life.  After all, you so often become what you think, and AI, in trying to build machines and design programs which are useful to us, can shed light upon our own mental states and processes.  It’s careful, hard thought.

Questions of subject/object and the limits of our knowledge abound.


I studied the liberal arts in school, so here’s my obligatory poem:


I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth–
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth–
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?–
If design govern in a thing so small.

Robert Frost (Wikipedia)

During my studies, I often found myself yearning for more objective knowledge and structure.  Even in great works of literature and epic poetry, it often seemed I was left to wander within the creative imagination of another, even that of genius, trying to stretch across chasms of time, language and understanding (still worth it, I think, despite the numerous gaps in my knowledge).

Maybe that’s made me kind of a snob, really, so if I watch a movie on my own (not for others), I tell myself I want an artist who knows how to use his medium.

Keep my attention and engage my intelligence.  I’m a sucker for a clean, well-lighted place.

I like looking at Stanley Kubrick’s movies, even if I disagree with some of the ideas and even though I don’t always like those movies.  A lot of shots have a careful, studied symmetry and are quite well-arranged.  He was an experienced photographer and visual artist.

I can appreciate that.

The artist is so often found in his craft; the work he’s left behind.


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