Thunderstorm

A lot of rain here the past few weeks, although mostly showers and “Euclidean rain”  (that phrase from Scott Bakker’s evocative post The Lesser Sound and Fury).  Here the trees are close in and it can be difficult to really appreciate a good storm.

So Scott’s piece reminded me of when we lived on the other side of the valley –  in a former creamery on top of a hill above a bend in the Susquehanna River.  Thunderstorms would come down the valley from the west. Sitting in Adirondack chairs in the front lawn, 800 feet above the valley , we would watch each storm come toward us.  The blur of rain and hail falling from the thunderhead’s floor, sometimes, for a while below where we sat, the visibility of the full height of the cumulonimbus cloud, the advancing thunder, the ionized air, terrified and thrilled us until, in  a panic, we would run into the building, itself barely more than a ruin, that seemed in those moments, a place of safety.

A Thing is a Whole in the Thing It Is Not

Establishing the boundaries of a thing is indispensable for perceiving it.  Contained in those boundaries is not only the thing, but the thingness of the thing – that it is somehow, in some sense, a whole.

Like the fourth wall in theater, the willing suspension of disbelief in fiction of any sort, the thing’s boundary,  must be part of the thing, not part of the thing and not a whole in itself.

This relation is reproduced in the relation of every part to the whole, every part of every part that in itself is a whole of some kind.

The more tolerance there is to this infinite regress, to this paradox, the more a perceiver will be able to perceive.  It is one of the challenges of the continued development of machine intelligence.  So far,  machine executed algorithms may  exceed human capacities by order of magnitude in some areas, but they do not yet have this tolerance to a thing’s impossibility.