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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
"...En el parque, yo solo...
en el parque viejo, solo
me han dejado.
La hoja seca,
roza el suelo...
en el parque me han dejado
...y han cerrado..."
On the way to my grandma’s funeral I pick up cupcakes.
I’m the one in charge of the cupcakes
and if I don’t pick them up there will be no dessert
and that won’t be enough. The cupcake store is on Alton,
my grandpa’s name, and I wear a tie he gave me.
I must look like I’m going to a funeral because the baker says
sorry as she hands me the cupcakes. Or she might be apologizing
for something wrong with the cupcakes I haven’t yet noticed, but am bound to
once I set them out on the white tables in the church fellowship hall.
More likely I didn’t put my arms out quite right as she handed them to me,
something most people know inherently how to do,
causing her to have to set the four plastic trays of cupcakes
awkwardly down on my suit sleeves, where I held them out from my chest
so no frosting would touch my tie. Because she is polite
or because she has been trained to be,
she took the fault on herself by saying sorry,
though it isn’t my fault either to need
so many cupcakes as to make them nearly uncarryable dressed this way.
Fault is something there sometimes isn’t any of.
Many thinkers have approached consciousness from a first-person vantage point, the kind of philosophical perspective according to which other people’s minds seem essentially unknowable. And yet, as Kevin shows, we spend a lot of mental energy attributing consciousness to other things. We can’t help it, and the fact that we can't help it ought to tell us something about what consciousness is and what it might be used for. If we evolved to recognise it in others – and to mistakenly attribute it to puppets, characters in stories, and cartoons on a screen — then, despite appearances, it really can’t be sealed up within the privacy of our own heads.
Attention requires control. In the modern study of robotics there is something called control theory, and it teaches us that, if a machine such as a brain is to control something, it helps to have an internal model of that thing. Think of a military general with his model armies arrayed on a map: they provide a simple but useful representation — not always perfectly accurate, but close enough to help formulate strategy. Likewise, to control its own state of attention, the brain needs a constantly updated simulation or model of that state. Like the general’s toy armies, the model will be schematic and short on detail. The brain will attribute a property to itself and that property will be a simplified proxy for attention. It won’t be precisely accurate, but it will convey useful information. What exactly is that property? When it is paying attention to thing X, we know that the brain usually attributes an experience of X to itself — the property of being conscious, or aware,of something. Why? Because that attribution helps to keep track of the ever-changing focus of attention.
Boca do Lobo’s designers were inspired by these strong emotions to design Warsaw safe box. Imagine yourself back in the 1940’s in Warsaw watching people running in the streets trying to escape from the chaos the city was emerged in. They have to leave everything behind: their house, the life they were used to, probably to never have them back… But inside these suitcases they bring jewelry, watches, everything they valued the most, everything they could not leave to cruel destruction.
I met a radio host in a parallel universe and he told me that when a person dies and nobody is there to mourn them, that mourning is randomly assigned to a person and that is why we sometimes feel sad.