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Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Age: 86
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,315
Location: Italy

13 Sep 2007, 8:30 am

We spend all our lives, each one of us spends all his life collecting, interpreting, and storing information. We store this information in zones of our brain that we call memory. This information, and metainformation, that is ways to treat this information (select, discard, reinforce etc.) helps us to survive, or live better, or attain important and less important goals: money, status, well being. We collect first hand, and most of the time second hand interpretations of reality (maps, theories, prayers to some God, novels, poems, musical motifs which elicit different emotions and all sorts of directories). But what’s really relevant of this information and metainformation? We listen to news services, for example, and we tend to accept other people choices about relevance (the news rooms). But is it relevant to our life that a child disfigured by burns is brought to LA to be submitted to surgery, while thousands, hundred of thousands of other children die in suffering and stress? Or is it not more relevant to know which fictions (of any kind, that is at first sight not information but, in fact, fiction) are worthwhile to be paid attention to?
A cat or a wolf has wired in criteria for selecting and storing important information for their survival, while we humans are prey of huge complicated machines (newspapers, schools, fatwas, indexes of blasphemous literature we should not read, market selections and what not). How to exstricate in all this in ways that may lead us to relevance, real relevance for our lives of all the information we are flooded with. We also have wired in criteria. If we hear an unforeseen sudden strong noise we react immediately with some instinctive move (we flee or retreat in fetal position). But, on the whole we have no wired in directions to reach a goal or avoid a danger. We rely on “authorities”, some reliable, some not (like those who some years ago directed the population to store tape to seal their windows, or decades ago encouraged families to build antiatomic shelters).

Should I wait two o' klock European time to listen to Bush's pronouncements? Nonsense: my sleep is much, much more relevant.

Morning after. I read Bush speech in the papers. Nothing interesting, I lost only the grimaces. But on the Guardian (a paper Bush points out he doesn'read) there is a review of the recent Draper's book about Bush. Draper, a Texan who has known Bush for the last 15 years or so and is on friendly terms with him, spent more than six hours interviewing Bush. He reports: "The president has for years been looking for relevance," says Draper. "There's a need to do bigness, to convince people of his consequentiality. There was no evidence of that in his earlier life - nobody took him seriously."
His relationship with his father also comes into it. "He is a classic elder son of a famous man - alternately trying to measure up to this impossible standard and trying to define himself as a discrete individual."
The life of hundreds os thousands people was less relevant than "doing bigness" to prove his "consequentiality", with his father in his head. He was humiliated by his father and more probably by his mother, he had to settle accounts. This may be relevance sometimes, often.
So what was relevant for Bush? His consequentiality compared to his father's. To be taken seriously

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
--Samuel Beckett