Coming to terms with being human.


Brain by Intel

Wired reported on a device that mimics the hippocampus, a brain area involved in memory. Assuming this works, I wonder about the implications. The human memory is easily affected by the emotional state of an individual. Trauma victims often find it difficult to recall terrible events, a biological blessing. It is, after all, those who remember such things vividly and often that are the most damaged. Our memories are chemicals (or are built and recalled by chemicals at least). How many drunken and idiotic nights am I blissfully unaware of?
I doubt that the prosthetic hippocampus will be as kind to us as our finicky neurons are. It is, of course, possible that the hippocampus has nothing to do with the strength of recall, so my musings become moot. The process we call memory is quite complex.
I still wonder. I understand the desire to help those who have lost access to their memories. It is a noble quest. But the cure may hurt. I find there are more things I would like to forget than recall. Blessed are the forgetful.


A Thought for the Restless

How many times have you sat alone in a coffee house and stared into the liquid black abyss of your coffee cup to see the blasted reflection of your own mortal futility staring back at you as you sit still while being jettisoned towards the end of your life? Your thoughts ricochet like wild bullets fired into an iron-walled room. Getting older. Every day closer to death. Never took advantage of your youth. Squandered your resources. Old relationships come back to haunt you as you reference them against the one you’re trapped in now or the one you wish you were. Your obsessions scream and taunt you from the corners of your eyes. Your thoughts smash down like a neural hammer on your cranial anvil. One thing becomes clear as you look at the tables full of people chattering away like dolphins on speed – only the strong dare to drink from the bottomless insomnia mother pool alone. That would be you.

-Henry Rollins-
Intro: TMCM’s Parade of Tirade

Why the quote? It describes an aspect of my life. It reminds me that even the loners have a thousand others just like them, separated by geography and time, yet joined in soul and spirit. A hundred times I’ve taken a seat in some dim corner, making it obvious that this table for two is now a table for one. I’ve wondered about the last person in my position, then the next person. Are we different? Are we kin? Is my best chance for friendship occupying the same space, but just a few frames ahead of me? It’s the power of the temporal. An hour separates two people more completely than a thousand miles. What could be more distant than the parallel?


My Future Posted by Hello

Kicking Chickens and Other Pastimes

Morality based games have always called out to me. I like the idea of shaping a player character through a moral rating of its actions. Unfortunately, the systems of morality that various game designers have created tend to disappoint me.
The most common fault I find is with what constitutes a good decision. Take Fable, my most recent time-waster. Every time I kill a bandit, I receive “good points”. Every time. The bandit can be frolicking in the daisies, while cradling the baby Jesus in his arms and I would still gain good points for a swift decapitation. This seems strange to me. Granted, the bandit may be a bad man. Maybe he kidnapped Jesus and was planning on ransoming him back to the wise men. However, being of no threat to me, I have zero reason to kill him except; and I pass on this phrase from my former life of service… for shits and giggles.
It seems to me that killing a man because he wears an ill-fitting leather vest would be a tad evil. Not akin to stealing a book, which does earn me bad points, but evil none the less. I assume that the moral logic is this. Bandit equals evil. Killing bandit equals removal of an evil. Killing bandit equals good.

I do not agree with this type of reasoning. The end product of an action has no bearing on the moral decision behind it. Actually, I am not convinced an action can even be moral in itself. I see morality as based in the decision making ability of moral agents. It’s the motive, not the end result that matters.
Well, I went on, didn’t I? OK, I know that making bandit killing good is just a game design decision. I would have been really bored letting all the bad guys live. Still, it says something about our views of good and evil. The bad man’s got to die, to hell with the reasons.