Dao is the idea of a principle that underlies all things. Theories of the Dao are therefore attempts to understand our world as a whole. To paraphrase its question: How can this world with its many appearances, such as forests, rivers, lakes and mountains or animals, settlements, villages and mega-cities… how can all these phenomena that are challenged by natural catastrophes, violence, and wars, be understood so that we do not lose ourselves, but find our place in the cosmos?
Daosim seems to serve a Western romanticism, an admiration for the harmony between humans and nature as a whole. However, how often does somebody point to the moon, but instead of perceiving the higher meaning, he either looks at the finger or the person who is pointing? He, who looks at the finger of someone pointing at the moon, will not see the moon. He, who looks at words, doesn’t see their meaning and he, who looks at meanings will not look at what is. This is a common problem in Daoism.
Daoism is therefore not another romantic wholism serving our wellnessindustry. Instead of romantic stoicism, Daoism rather cultivates our personal spirit by teaching concentration and self-control in regard to the nothing that is. It brings us to a “system of internal circulation and rejuvenation”. It also teaches the ethical dimension of “self-subordination and frugality”. It questions our self-defeating behaviors such as aggrandizement and childish gigantomania. In the end, it attempts to fulfill the demands of an existing nothingness and an existence that vanishes into nothing.
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” ― Alan Wilson Watts [[Daoism]]
“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.” ― Lao Tzu, [Tao Te Ching] [[Life]] [[Daoism]]
I do think that the following vides give the best and most comprehensive introductions into Daoism.
Probably this topic cannot be discussed without a public outcry, but the question is interesting whether ultimately our body is entirely ours or whether the body shares a world which burden it with responsibilities. The belief in autonomy is quite simplistic in order to answer this important question.
1991, a kid named Thor had become Nintendo-World-Champion. Instantly famous among young gaming-nerds, at the height of his success, he just vanished.
2011, the first Tetris-World-Champion will be crowned in Portland. 20 years later, Thor has become a myth–a kid who allegedly made it once beyond the so-called kill-screen of Tetris.
The kill-screen is level 29, in which the stones just fall too fast for human players. Only Thor who employed a back-then secret technique called “hyper-tapping” could, according to the legend, master the level.
For the Tetris-World-Championship, Thor reappeared. The result is a great documentary:
10 Thesis about Tetris
1. Thesis: Tetris is a Zen-Meditation on life
Argument: The gaming principle of Tetris rests on the recombination of square blocks that build different shapes called Tetrominos. These essential shapes have to be stacked efficiently. Tetris thus represents how from simple structures very complex structures can arise and build the foundation for a particular universe (see also Stephen Wolfram and his famous Wolfram-Principle). In other words, Tetris is a simple meditation on atomized form in its relation to complexity. It resembles zen-meditations on simplicity, while we focus only on forms without content. It stands for a simplified and minimalist mind.
2. Thesis: Tetris is an addictive drug
In its simplicity, Tetris is a game without a plot and without awesome graphics. It was successful because Tetris “supercharges your cerebral glucose metabolic rate.” Your brain will “burn energy on an hyperactive speed”. Throwing a line-piece into a self-constructed tetris-ready structure (Boom!!!) results in the Zeigarnic-effect. It means that completing simple tasks will give you the constant sense of achievement, while the solution is represented as the unfinished tasks. Of course, when the first rush is over, your brain will crave the original moment.
Tetris is therefore the fulfillment of a capitalist dream. It hacks the brain and thus became one of the most successful games in history.
3. Thesis: Tetris can replace other drugs
Playing Tetris for three minutes can reduce your craving for drugs, food and sex.
“The research was published in the Addictive Behaviors journal, where 31 participants were asked to text message seven times each day to prepare a report of any cravings they were feeling. Half of the participants were asked to then play Tetris for three minutes before reporting their craving strength again. In the end of the research, it was found that Playing Tetris can help one avoid gluttonous desires and reducing cravings by one-fifth.” (Source)
According to the study it is “the first demonstration that visual cognitive interference can be used in the field to reduce cravings for substances and activities other than eating” (Study)
4. Thesis: Tetris is medication
Because of its mind-clearing effects , Tetris is more and more recognized as a “pharmatronic”, “a kind of electronic drug” (Washington Post). Some envision Tetris as a therapy utilized in ERs: “A hospital ER could be equipped with computer terminals (or Nintendo DSs) with Tetris on them, with one possible treatment for psychological trauma victims being an emergency “course” of Tetris.” (psychcentral) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008913/
“We showed that intrusive memories were virtually abolished by playing the computer game Tetris following memory reactivation,” wrote the research team from the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and the Karolinska Institute of Sweden.https://www.ptsdjournal.com/posts/tetris/
5. Thesis: Tetris is a Learning Instrument
Tetris has positive effects on learning since it “thickens the brain’s cortex and can contribute to greater cognitive efficiency” (MC Research Notes, link to study here). According to the study, 26 teenage girls played Tetris for 30 minutes a day over three months. It showed thickening of three brain regions, while there were no changes in the brains of girls who did not play Tetris. So what does that mean? Is Tetris a tool where we get better in playing Tetris or a tool by which we improve overall?
At least Tetris teaches delayed gratification. You do not just burn lines, you carefully build structures that shall be destroyed with a line piece.
6. Thesis: Tetris was an economical Weapon
“The Soviets almost won the Cold War with Tetris: “In the late ’80s, when home computers weren’t as common as now, many people played the game at work, and early versions included a “boss button” that replaced the screen with a fake spreadsheet. Some said it sapped so much capitalist productivity, it amounted to an early Soviet cyberattack on America” (Washington Post). Now, it transcends the Western-Eastern barrier with players from all continents.
7. Thesis: Tetris is Russian art and a little bit of Russia in all of us
8. Thesis: Tetris expresses our desire for perfection.
The desire to play Tetris lies in the idea of its perfection and control. A Tetris master would play forever and control its nature. But the master herself is nature and if he controls her own nature, she is not fully in control since she is controlled. Tetris is the illusion that a pure mastery is ideally possible.
If you play Tetris intensively and over longer periods of time, you will dream of it and see these shapes in your everyday-life everywhere. This mind-altering effect is known as the Tetris-effect. But maybe it is an attempt of the brain to reveal another ideal truth of our environment?
The essence of Tetris lies in its illusion of freedom.
9. Thesis: Tetris teaches us that mistakes will remain while achievements disappear
In other words, Tetris is for losers. Given that the stones fall down randomly, you eventually will lose since some stone combinations will force inevitable holes in your structure. In this sense, Tetris is no game for eternity or afterlife. It is also not about perfection but expresses the ending capacity of life.
Instead of perfection, Tetris resembles life. It is based on a random combination of molecules.
What is breaking Tetris? It is the so-called snake-sequence, an s- and a z-piece back to back. The chance of being snake-bitten is 1 in 347. So “how to lose on Tetris”? On average it takes 70.000 turns when playing only with alternating s and z pieces.
10. Thesis: Tetris resembles the cruelty of life. Though life is generally okay, it all depends on the Tetris-God
The following videos lead deeper into the Tetris universe.
Tetris Explained introduces into the problems and difficulties in relation to the 2018 world-championship. It is the best video for understanding the current Tetris-hype.
Tetris exists for more than three decades. Since the first Championship Jonas Neubauer has become 7 times Tetris-World-Champion. One might assume that there cannot be much that will happen. However, in 2018 a shift in playing styles occurred that altered the game and made it even more competitive.
Even though multiple players have beaten the kill screen by now, the myth of Thor is demystified by him finally delivering a video of hitting level 30.
This video is another good explanation and it is also interesting because also works on one of my favorite channels “Film Theory”.
If you want to understand the art of Tetris, it will certainly be helpful to watch Jonas Neubauer the 7 out of 10 Tetris World-champion (The Michael Jordan of Tetris) teaching Tetris to a rookie.
In general, it is also interesting to watch crazy playing skills.
Brain Craft is a great channel that dives into different aspect of game design and the gaming industry.
Another video from Brain Craft explains why Tetris is so addictive.
In this video Neubauer learns how to drum in 40 minutes. It is only slightly related to Tetris but interesting.
So the quarantine needs to produce a new kind of economy. Brian May has just started to introduce a new idea. He asked people to jam with him and played the chords of one of their greatest Rock-Hits “Hammer to fall”. For all who do not know their song. Here is the original:
So many artists on Youtube followed his request. This one is my favorite so far: The All Star band:
Another great example:
Also single voices were possible, of course:
Or soloists were just waiting to be featured:
Brian may also introduced this challenge for their folk-like song love of my life
I always wondered of how to correctly present my ideas. I am not necessarily interested in the analytic fashion of giving a clear outline of your ideas. Peter Sloterdijk writes on the aspect of presenting your ideas in terms of well-arranged points:
“I have subdivided my ideas into four sections, which shows, by the way, that I am not addressing you as a member of the theological fraternity. Theologians, as you know, arrange their thoughts preferably into three chapters because they like transposing themselves into God’s interiority, where the triad sets the tone, or sometimes into seven sections, if they are lifting their voice in imitation of the creator, or ten, if they are trying to match the author of the Decalogue tablets. This evening, however, I shall try my luck with the classical philosophical quaternity, which is based on the assumption that to tell the truth one must be able to count up to four”
There are some rhetorical guidelines of how to construct texts. For some reason, it has become common to break a whole into parts and to structure your argument in points. But how to identify the correct line of breakage? Maybe our method is just an arbitrary construction and, in fact, our lives develop in wholes. Even here the question of parts and whole plays a crucial role.
This is an interesting study, mostly for its insufficient conclusion.
In the experiment 4 Sars-II-patients had to cough 5 times without, with a surgical mask and a cotton mask on a petri-dish that was 20cm (sorry no freedom units here) apart from their face (please don’t tell me that there are not enough individuals involved. This is an experiment not a study. You do not need 1000 people coughing on petri dishes).
So here are the results:
“The median viral loads of nasopharyngeal and saliva samples from the 4 participants were 5.66 log copies/mL and 4.00 log copies/mL, respectively. The median viral loads after coughs without a mask, with a surgical mask, and with a cotton mask were 2.56 log copies/mL, 2.42 log copies/mL, and 1.85 log copies/mL, respectively. All swabs from the outer mask surfaces of the masks were positive for SARS–CoV-2, whereas most swabs from the inner mask surfaces were negative”
Very tiny difference right? So the conclusion should be very clear:
“In conclusion, both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.”
Now, point is that the conclusion is not wrong but very insufficient. Though it is true that the virus is not filtered entirely the viral load is reduced significantly.
You might say: Wait mister! Where do you see a significant difference? From 2.56 log copies/mL to 2.42 log copies/mL that’s bullshit. I throw my face-mask into the trash right now.
The secret lies in the little word “log”, which indicates that it has to do something with logarithms. In this specific case it means that the viral load got reduced from about 388 viruses per milliliter (sorry no freedom units again) to roughly 288 viruses, a significant reduction. The reduction is much more for cotton masks. From 388 to about 71, which is a reduction of about 80 percent.
So the point is masks have a considerable effect, though it does not filter the virus entirely. Nevertheless, there is some indication that the amount of viruses that infect you might affect how sick you get and also keep in mind that it rarely happens that somebody coughs 5 times through his mask in your face like 20 non-freedom-units away from you. If he wears a cotton mask and you stand 2 meters away and maybe even hold a petri dish in front of your face, nothing might happen.
So why did this study come up with this insufficient conclusion? Because it was intended for medical staff. They need better masks. They need something that works 100 percent.
“if your friend of a friend of a friend is happy with their life, then you have a 6 percent greater likelihood of being happy yourself. Now six percent might not seem like much, but consider that other studies suggest that if I gave you a $10,000 raise, that would only trigger about a 2 percent increase in your happiness.” (Medium).
In “The sickness unto Individualism” (2002) Jon Bon Kierkegaard writes: “now or never, I ain’t gonna live forever, I just want to live while I’m alive”. For the recipient, it is the utmost challenge to investigate which “now” is meant by the meditator. Is it the ‘now’ that divides into the splits of a second, a ‘now’ that vanishes into nothing? Is it the ‘now’ of a day that vanishes with the necessary world pause? Or is it the ‘now’ of a generation that aggregates itself similar to a state of termites building the most beautiful termitaria without, however, ever achieving knowledge of the process that has brought them to beauty. Is it the ‘now’ that conceals the infinity of time behind the moment? Well done Jon Bon Kierkegaard.