John’s process (RL301)

(most of this section is narrated by Merlin and it seems that most of the references about the bookcase and the banana dessert are to the movie Interstellar)

John was trying to decide what color he was going to paint his beard (see RL301), which was part of his process. He seems to just be gathering string, but it is part of a larger process that he has to trust. John is going to figure out what his process is when he is good and ready. All he knows is that there might be process, and part of the process is figuring out if there is a process and what the process is. Merlin is super into that! John might need a framework, a guide, a paradigm, a mental model, and sometimes you need to do research in order to find out what kind of research to do. John does not typically like to apply a mental model, but he wants the mental model to come from the experience. The wand choses the wizard!

John is building new matrices every day, which is why if you look behind him in time in his Interstellar (John said Inception, but it soon became clear he meant Interstellar), his book cases are not all parallel. It is a non-euclidian-space library. In his design of the film in his mind, the library would be very much more fractal and less library of congress. They might have been trying to show 5-dimensional something to a creature that can only nominally understand 3 dimensions, but there is a dream logic to it where you don’t know if it exists or if it has been discovered. You are not building it, but it is being built. You are involved and eventually you may or may not discover this as part of your process that may or may not exist. That is the process!

The process is that we don’t know if there is a process and if the bookshelf is curved. In Russia, process builds you! You get the desert that you discover and you don’t get to design a bunch of bananas. Sometimes you just have to say that you are aware of the presence of a desert in this dream and you are going to discover it and you have to walk backwards at half speed to find the thing. You discover the matrix or the process model even if it is expressed as a bookcase, curved or otherwise. You may or may not find it and it may not be you who is going to discover it. It is being discovered and you are there for it. The process is the process.

In this particular moment in John's life, he is definitely trying to figure out where things belong. Every time he gets a thing, he is trying to figure out where it belongs. Sometimes it strikes him when something is not where it belongs, but a lot of the time things are just about or right around where they belong. Sometimes you pick up a thing and you are wondering if this is an unprecedented thing. We do have to invent bananas.

It is the same situation when you want to get a PO-box and they ask you what size before you even got any mail. Why would you need a smaller or a larger PO-box? Somebody asking that question is in on the process in the bookshelf and there is some kind of hidden secret banana dessert in that. If the PO-box fills up, they will hold the mail for you and you will pick it up. Is there any downside and are you missing out on treats if you don’t get the very large box? If it is free refills, why would you get a large? You just get the smallest, cheapest one and have free refills. John is not going to get a large coffee if there are free refills!

John and Merlin have, probably ill-advisedly, set themselves up to be largely self-managing. John has done everything he could to make sure that he didn’t have a boss, but that was maybe not the smartest move, because John wants to be managed a little bit. He is not the best self-starter or long-term-planner. He likes to have an assistant who has a little authority over him, but not too much. Merlin says that there are a lot of things going on in life where you would need some guard rails, which doesn’t mean you can’t chose to go around them if you want to, but in order for life to make sense there has to be some kind of reasonable expectation about how this is all going to work together. An awful lot of people are governed by a lot of structures that they don’t question. They don’t think they need to invent a banana, but there is a banana and they accept this that is what bananas are. If you put yourself in a posture in life where everyday you could never have another banana again because you are working on you alt-banana, there would be too much possibility!

John’s tesseract right now (referencing the library in Interstellar mentioned earlier) is not only ”Where do things belong?” John could sell his house and move to Thailand, it would be even cheaper than Tennessee. He could become the governor of Thailand! There is a king in Thailand and you have to be very respectful of the king and you can’t make a joke about the portrait in the Thai restaurant. John is not going to move to Thailand and he is not going to become the king of Thailand, but he could do pretty much anything and continue to do Roderick on the Line every Monday morning. John could be in Thailand right now for all anybody knows. That is too much possibility!

It feels a little bit like an Oliver Sacks problem, a mental illness where you think that your wife is a hat. You know you can’t do everything, but you don’t know where the reasonable lines are drawn, because you blew out all lines. John knows he can’t walk to the moon, but what are the good lines and does he actually have the power to draw them for himself? You can’t pick the size of your PO box until you start getting mail! Why would you get the large size if there are free refills? Some of the lines John had drawn around himself was that he bought a house and plopped himself down in the middle of it. There are literal lines called walls! He also has bills and habits, but habits are not the same as laws and rules. John is not a person who is invested in his habits to the point that he doesn’t every once in a while shake them all off, like from now on he is not going to drink coffee or eat Macaroni and Cheese.

John was walking into this Navy Seal house, looked around and thought about what color he would paint these walls. He imagined himself situated there. There is not that much to John’s life that is constant and if he would be in this new house he would be kind of ”New Me” entirely. He would bring his microphone over there and he would do Roderick on the Line every Monday at 10am, but everything else would be up for grabs.

John could be down at the City Hall, lean on the counter and talk to the comptroller saying ”I don’t even get permits for this woodwork I do on my place!” and they would say ”Why are you here again? You are here every day!” and John would reply that he will be mayor of this town eventually and he just wanted to see where all the light switches are. Every day is ”anything can happen day” and John doesn’t know what to do about it.

John is open to an idea that there are some lines and he is wondering what they are and if he would put them into an U-haul box and bring them over to the Navy Seal house if he moved in there. Would there be pre-existing lines that he can’t see right now? Maybe that is why the Navy Seal is moving: He doesn’t like the lines!

There are a lot of psychological lines all around us all the time, but which ones belong to you? Which ones are you just trying to stay away from because you feel they are electrified? Which ones are really important? You are not encouraged to test them either, not at least because you don’t want to drive off the side of a cliff or screw with the public easement. You are better off just being conservative in assuming that there is a line and it is for you.

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