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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Sheer's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
9:53 am
If this were a co-op game..

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I was having a conversation with a friend about one of my potential many mental models for God – the one in which God is a few neurons in each mind, spread out over all of us like a application running on a Beowulf cluster. In this particular model for God, it is possible that how we decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell is majority vote. I hope this isn’t actually what’s going on, but you get some interesting results if it is.

Everyone goes to hell. Well, more likely, we throw religion out completely as criteria once we realize that everyone goes to hell.

Looking at a list of religions by population, you will see that *no one* has a majority vote. The top dog only has 31%. Now I can’t wrap my head around, at all, how people could be so dense as to think God is filtering based on religion and can’t manage to get the message straight. I’m not really all that clear on why anyone thinks God would need help multicasting a message while they believe God is all-powerful, but it strikes me that if we were playing a co-op game we’d be losing.

I do notice increasingly that men of faith are willing to admit that men of other faith are probably not evil nor the enemy. This is progress, but I think there’s a lot more to be made here. I can’t figure out how people even manage to hold the idea in their heads that A: our dispensation in the afterlife is limited to two destinations, given how big the universe obviously is B: there’s a omniscient deity who nonetheless can’t even manage to get a message to 1/3rd of the humans out there

Of course, this brings up the other (scary) possibility that not agreeing with the group you were born in is cause to be tormented for all eternity. But I would like to think that *no one* is going to be tormented for all eternity, because that phrase conjures up the idea of a being of pure, true evil. And yet, I do not get the feeling that the vast majority of Earth agrees with me that this is outside the realm of beleivability. This brings the idea of Peirson’s Puppiteers that the majority is always sane sharply into doubt.

I continue to want someone to author a new religion that doesn’t suck. What Scientology should have been but clearly wasn’t. If the Scientologists were honest, they would have the best neuroscience and mind-state gear in the world, instead of a 50-year-old dubious technology based on a wheatsone bridge and called a “e-meter”.

I do think the idea of why we can’t play Earth as a co-op game deserves further study

Monday, September 4th, 2017
9:16 am
Cover: Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

Little blues – thank you Otis Redding..

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
10:31 pm
Neural networks and what you can’t let go of

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

I had a interesting thought the other day about natural neural networks and people who hold beliefs that are not reality-verifiable or are even likely to be false. This thought started in looking at climate change deniers and people who believe religions that don’t appear to match the reality I’m experiencing, but it’s gone a bit further than that.

This is more of my hand-wavy guesswork.

It has occurred to me that one of the major problems a NNN faces is that subnets will tend to build major nexus points. These nexus points would appear to us to be core beliefs – or even just important beliefs. Once one of these beliefs is built, and a whole lot of connections to a whole lot of other subnets route through it, we would naturally be extremely resistant to removing it because we literally would be less able to function without it. In the case of religious (or religiously political) people – and I probably fit into this somewhat – letting go of their religion would make it far more difficult for their mind to work for a while – it would be somewhat similar to having a stroke. Major confluences of subnets which represented key ideas would no longer be valid – and it would likely be difficult to remove all of the traces of subnets like these, especially since there is a lot of redundancy in the way NNNs tend to wire. We may be extremely resistant to throw out cherished ideas – even when they’re proven wrong – because throwing them out makes it difficult for us to function at all, because all sorts of traffic is routed through them. They end up forming the underpinning for our personalities and decision trees.

I think if this is true, this is something we all need to understand and figure out the implications of. Christians brag of their faith being unshakable – but it might well be if Jesus showed up in person and told them they were wrong they would not be able to accept or integrate it because their faith is often loaded virally on them when they’re very young and ends up forming the physical underpinning for large portions of their mental structure.

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
8:09 am

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I never met Chester. We had a lot of friends in common, for reasons that would take some explaining and probably aren’t worth going into here, and I am curious what he would have made of me if he had met me. But mostly, I feel a certain kinship to him, since we both have wrestled with some of the same demons. And thusly, I have written a song…


Godspeed and good luck, wherever you’re off to next.

Also available, Bunne’s remix: Chester, remixed by Bunne.

Friday, July 7th, 2017
1:18 pm
Politics, the two-party system, and donation farming

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, one of the problems I see with the two party system is that it encourages dividing up the entire political landscape – a complex, multidimensional array including questions on the sliding scale of authoritarianism, capitalist vs. communist vs. socialist, nanny-state vs. libertarianism, rule of law vs. anarchy, change/growth vs. remaining the same, and a number of other sliders – on all of which probably the answer is somewhere in the middle – into single binary decisions.

Since some of these binary decisions end up being very hot-button emotional issues, it then allows for a undesirable no-or-little-progress tug of war in which both sides use the hot button issues to repeatedly ask for money, using emotional attacks like guilting that humans are not very good at resisting. In the meantime, because the opposing group feels very strongly in the opposing direction, little or no progress is made, so these hot button issues can be milked for donations for years at a time. One of my biggest criticisms of the Democrats is at this point, they aren’t even *trying* to have their candidates suggest new ideas. In the recent runoff election in Georgia, I was averaging four emails a day by the end begging me for more money – and I don’t live in Georgia – and not a single one discussed the ideas of the candidate, other than “He will stop Trump”. One of our biggest complaints about the Republicans in the Obama era was they seemed to have no ideas of their own, all they could do is try to throw monkey wrenches in the works – and now it seems that’s what the Democrats have become.

Now, the cynical bit of me thinks this is all on purpose, and it’s all because politics has become a business that is, just like so many others, all about money. And the current situation is *very* friendly to donation-farming. Send out those emails because it’s important to spend more than the other side – which is of course completely ignoring the fact that our election system is *not supposed to be for sale*. I mean, yes, more money means more ads to get ideas out to voters, but ultimately, isn’t the hope here that the best ideas will win, not the ideas with the most dollars behind them? And, if in fact the ideas with the most dollars behind them are always winning, shouldn’t we completely remove money from the election system altogether and perhaps even ban political ads because at that point it is clear that we are so externally programmable that we probably aren’t even voting what we think, but rather whatever’s been programmed into us most recently? On the other paw, if as I suspect political ads generally don’t sway that many voters, then isn’t this whole donation system basically just a racket to get money out of our pockets and into the pockets of the politician types who have in general already proven that they are not good with money? (I mean, look at our defense budget, and the defense budgets of the next five biggest competitors. Clearly we’re not good about deciding where to spend our resources if we’re busy making upgrades to our atomic bombs while children are starving to death and bridges are collapsing)

Part of what is interesting is if one looks at the emails from both sides, one sees the exact same emotional attacks used. They could almost be mad-libs – only the keywords change, the guilt and button pushing remain the same. And, we’re now in a situation where we’re *close to the noise margin* 50% left and right. This either means the ad targeters and marketing gurus are extremely good at their job and we’re all in a giant game of Risk between them, or it means that the election results we see are totally phony anyway (which is a bit tinfoil hat but only a bit – it’d be difficult to even honestly know) – or perhaps it means that humans genuinely are a even split between left and right. In any case, I suspect compressing every decision into a binary choice and two camps has led to a “representative” government that does a *miserable* job actually representing the views and values of the people. What’s really creepy is seeing how the tail has turned around and is now wagging the dog – brand loyalty is such that no matter what awful thing the people “on your side” – right or left do – many many many people on Facebook are up there defending it. It feels very “my country wrong or right” and I loathe it. I do think there’s a sizable chunk of $PRESIDENT supporters who would support $PRESIDENT if said $PRESIDENT started sending people to the gas chambers. It feels a lot like “Well, they’re a member of $POLITICAL_PARTY and I’m a member of $POLITICAL_PARTY so whatever they decide to do must be the good $POLITICAL_PARTY thing to do, no matter how awful, stupid, ill-advised, or historically poorly fated”.

Now, since I often go on about tracking the actual resources in play whenever we’re figuring out how to do resource allocation, one point I’d like to make here is you end up with enormous amounts of resources – at least man-hours (spent creating the ad content and watching the ad content both) totally burned up for no gain whenever you have a hot-button issue where people are 50-50 split. How many hundreds of thousands of man-hours have been wasted on abortion? How much church money which could have been spent at places like water.org have instead been wasted trying to save those poor non-babies (even though as I point out in abortion, summarized being anti-abortion because you think it’s murder is the same as having a profound lack of faith in God). In real progress, in human happiness, the current system costs us *a lot*. Sometimes we would be far wiser to table a issue awaiting future data rather than continue a 50-50 fight that’s unresolvable. And I think we would do just that, except that these issues are huge moneymakers for Big Politic – which is probably far worse than Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Ag combined.

I want to see a end to donation farming.

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017
10:57 pm
Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
3:02 pm
Free will and state machines

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

One of the interesting topics that we bandy around from time to time is the question of whether humans really have free will, or there’s just a very persistent illusion that makes it look like we do. Now, I find the idea of us not having free will at all rather sinister, and prefer not to believe that it’s possible that we have none, but I also find the idea that our decisions are simply the product of our minds equally absurd – this especially grates on me insofar as we humans love to punish each other – sometimes for the most abysmal things (I gesture you to Loving vs. Commonwealth Of Virginia for a example of this) that we later come to realize we shouldn’t have been punishing anyone for – but sometimes for things that are clearly suboptimal but still might not be definable as choices that people are making with their free will intact.

Jumping back up to the head topic for a minute, our minds structurally change as we learn new things, or have experiences good or bad. If someone is physically abused, the resulting physical traces in their minds – the wiring in their lion / no lion subnet – will change the decisions they make for the rest of their lives – and even something as simple as learning about a new topic will inform the decisions that we make in the future. So clearly our free will does not exist in a vacuum, and often when we are engaging in suboptimal behavior, you can trace the source back to suboptimal things that were done to us – and you can trace this backwards in time, generation after generation. Some of it is probably legacy all the way back from when ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ was the law of the land and we were extremely violent because we had to be in order to survive.

For all our religions that advocate forgiveness, we are not a particularly forgiving people. In addition, as I’ve talked about in previous articles, when people behave in ways we don’t like, we toss them into a system that is designed to be abusive – thusly breaking them worse. Frequently, when they come out, they behave in even more suboptimal ways, and we blame this on them rather than on ourselves as a society because hey, blaming people is fun, and enables us to feel superior.

But, beyond my dislike of the criminal justice system and indeed every system we have in place for fixing broken people (most of which don’t, and many of which break them worse, suck all the money out of their bank accounts, or both at the same time) I do think the question of how much of us is free will and how much of us is the inevitable, state-machine like responses to stimuli is worth examining, probably even with some hard science. I don’t think that we’ll find that we are entirely state machines, but I also am fairly sure we will not find that we are entirely creatures of free will either. However, we’re such good storytellers that even when we are responding to a series of signals lighting up clusters of subnets in ways that leave us very little choice (because there’s only one really good response path) we can tell ourselves stories that make it look to us like we are acting perfectly inside the world of free will.

Another possibility that I have considered is that in fact time doesn’t work the way we think it does – that while we perceive time as a linear experience, all of the decisions actually happen all at once, at the top of the tape so to speak, and then we experience them being played out in linear time.

Sunday, February 12th, 2017
1:12 pm
“Us And Them” and neural networks

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

More of my hand-wavy guesswork about the structure of the human mind follows.

So, one of the interesting questions that comes up when thinking about NNNs is the question of ‘us’ and ‘them’. It’s a pretty standard part of human thinking to think of yourself as a member of a group (the ‘us’) and people who are not members of that group as being ‘the enemy’ or at least subdesirable in some way. I’m not thinking this type of thinking is all that helpful a lot of the time, but it’s interesting to think about in terms of what it says about the underlying network.

Earlier, I hypothesized that while we as individuals have the ability to determine whether information is coming from inside or outside of us (or whether we think it is – in fact we’re probably not in a great position to know for sure) very few neural subnets can tell the source of information – and in fact many subnets may not be able to tell a data access from a command from a teaching / learning moment. Extending on that idea a little bit, it may be very difficult to abstract any external data that a local copy does not exist of.

It’s very likely that any attribute we can recognize in the “them” exists within us, since if it didn’t we wouldn’t have a frame of reference to think about it at all. This doesn’t mean we’re all mass murderers, but it does mean that we all have a collection of symbols surrounding the idea of mass murder. Generally, I imagine, that symbol is wired up in such a way as to inhibit such behavior in most of us. (After all, neurons do most definitely have inhibit inputs as well as excite inputs)

Now, it’s important to realize that a lot of these symbols are necessarily fairly large. You don’t fit a idea like mass murder inside a single neuron, or even a hundred, and you also have to have some fairly large neural bridges sufficient to allow reaching between symbols that are physically somewhat disparate, because the overall system is so large that there are physical limits as to what can be wired directly to what.

So, one of the questions – especially insofar as we’ve been discussing neural games of Go – is how much of ‘them’ is a interior part of us that is attempting to be a acting part at any given time. We the controlling personality is obviously going to resist acting on the urges and impetus of the parts of us that are what we would consider part of the ‘them’, but they’re still very much active and engaged neural subnets which are participating in the overall big picture of making us who we are. If you removed them entirely, you would likely not get a stable or usable system. This would seem to play in nicely into the philosophy of Yin and Yang.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
1:51 am
DID and neural networks

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, popular consensus is that DID is a mental illness caused by extreme trauma that causes a personality to fragment into segments.

I assume it is news to no one that while I do not consider $future_person[0] a alter, I do believe that I have DID, although normally my alters stay very far backgrounded. I do however think that they all contribute to the overall system – that is to say, I think that for example when I’m jamming with the band and making up lyrics on the fly but my conscious experience is only slightly engaged in creating the lyrics (a phrase or fragment or concept), some wordsmith part of my mind is creating bits that rhyme and turning this into full blown lyrics. For a example of this, check out this audio clip from band practice with Bruce, Art, and me – this was not a prewritten song, it was improv – clip

I think it is possible to have something that is a close kin to DID and have it be a more productive order than the average configuration rather than a disorder. The reason is that it enables the operator of the mind that is using this configuration to more effectively utilize the entire neural network.

Consider that normally, your conscious experience is only engaging with a few dozen threads at once – that’s all you can have ‘foregrounded’, or actively a part of your world. Now, obviously there are neural structures that do things like running a scheduler for running events at preset times, but if you have alters, you can also pass off foreground tasks that you don’t need to be actively engaged with to other bits of yourself – it’s kind of like the advantages of having multiple cores in a CPU. I don’t know if alters have a conscious experience, or just a head node and task list, or what – it would be fascinating to be able to look at the structure of my mind sufficiently to find out – but certainly they can be engaging neurons and neural subnets that would otherwise be completely idle.

Now, of course, I have no memory of what it might be like to *not* be this way. So it’s possible that I’m wrong and that I would simply be able to handle more threads if I wasn’t broken. I do seek certain types of reintegration, although with a fair amount of fear and trepidation because I’m hesitant to fuck too much with a running system.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
12:39 am

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

hought: both your lover and the devil will explore giving you exactly what you want.. but they are very much not the same thing

the devil wants to tease you with what you want, to demonstrate your exact flaws as a individual, perhaps even to enslave you

your lover wants to literally give you what you want, to make you feel good, perhaps even to set you free

How, if you’re in a turing test with the two of them, can you tell the difference?

12:29 am
Inevitable neurological war, part duex

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I discussed in a earlier article a inevitable neurological war that I see set up entirely too often. You can find that article here if you’d like to review the bidding.

I submit to my audience that Christianity as I see it implemented on Earth, at least amongst a number of it’s adherents, sets up a similar inevitable neurological war. Subnets have to decide whether they’re going to submit to the idea that God is Love, and Love keeps no record of past wrongs, or submit to the idea that God is Justice, and will torture you for all eternity for the mistakes you make here. Both messages are contained within the same religion – along with a very nice bit of code to make it both viral, and not self-updating.

In other words, it’s malware. It sets up a neurological game of Go, very likely in order to make it easier for the Powers That Be to control us by limiting the amount of use of our 10^11 neurons we can make.

Now, I don’t deny that some people manage to transcend this feature of it. I don’t doubt they are the ones for whom the idea of God being Love is the important one, and them as have a broad and complex definition of Love. I wouldn’t deny that Love will occasionally deliver you a difficult lesson. I do continue to insist that the only way that Love would place you in hell for all eternity is if you A: asked for it and B: continued to ask for it, repeatedly, for all eternity, knowing that that is what you were asking for.

At this point, I’ve got my eyes out for neurological games of Go in general. I’ve come to suspect that the operating system loaded by entrainment into most humans has a very high suck factor and that A: we can do better and B: we should do better

So, one of the things I’m weeding out in my own mind is neurological games of Go that have no end and benefit no one.

As I’ve talked about, I’m pretty sure that you can experience amazing things – and quite desirable ones – if you get the *correct* neural operating system loaded on your minds.

Monday, January 30th, 2017
4:53 am

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

New from Sheer, angsty prog rock. Almost Floydian:



Drums: Bruce DeGrado & Sheer
Everything Else: Sheer


Day after day
Things fade away
How am I supposed to be okay
With the things you say?

And night after night
Things aren’t quite right
The fading of the light
Dark is bright

So many holes
Will we ever be made whole
Over and over we’re forced to let go
Of the things we love and know

Saturday, January 21st, 2017
12:40 pm

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I can’t remember if I discussed in a previous post my working definition of evil. Understanding that it should be possible to give anyone any experience they would ever want to have in simulation, without needing any fancy VR gear – just needing the proper configuration set up on their mind – evil would, in my view, be the people who would not be satisfied with the *simulation* of control over other people or hurting other people, but who would want the experience in which other people are actually being hurt – and people who don’t want to be hurt, even though this gains them nothing but the idea that someone else is being hurt.

It’s probably too sophisticated a definition.. I mean, it certainly isn’t something that you can define quickly.. but it forms a working map for what, when I find in myself, I will root out and remove, mercilessly. It’s a special type of stupidity that I don’t think should exist. Not just cruelty, but cruelty that insists that the target of the cruelty be someone who doesn’t want to experience pain.

Now, we all know that it’s possible you could end up with a ideal universe just by matching up the masochists with the sadists. I haven’t heard any reasonable provisions for doing this, which is yet another argument in favor of the universe not currently being run by a intelligent designer. If we needed another argument for that. Of course, it’s possible that the universe *is* and my *experience* of it isn’t, see previous discussions on the topic. Which is just one of a number of reasons why rooting out evil in my own mind seems like a worthy goal.

Friday, January 20th, 2017
8:55 pm
Angel From Montgomery

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, here as a work by Fraud In France Lite, we have a old John Prine cover, Angel From Montgomery:


Keys, synths, vocals, percussion, and guitar: Sheer
Drums: Bruce DeGrado
Bass: Art Day
Additional Lyrics: Sheer, Mike Mesford

2:40 pm

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I’m still working Angel through the process. Still haven’t managed to get vox tracked for it.

Monday, January 16th, 2017
2:40 pm
Maybe a psych med to add to the picture?

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

I may have found another psych med that does something useful. As we know, I find mania useful as a growing exercise, however, what I really want is something I would call a ‘contained mania’. i.e. something where I have all the mind expanding thoughts and personal growth, but don’t discover afterwords I’ve sent a email I would do anything to have unsent.

Okay, well, I think I’ve found it. On a 5 day full throttle test – and unfortunately, I will have to repeat the test because I had the (word omitted) flu and it’s possible that’s why – I remained entirely contained. I won’t list the drug here, but a second set of trials is in order. A better life.. absent much external insanity and lack of containment.. may be near.

Of course, first I need to procure a larger dose. No problem, I’m meeting with a GP on Wed. I’ll tell her my tale, and hopefully she’ll see it my way.

Saturday, January 14th, 2017
11:52 pm

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, my first post of 2017 will be a bit of neoclassical – this actually started as a completely improvisational attempt to express my sadness, pain, fear, and other negative emotions surrounding a situation in my life. Whatever else you can or can’t say about it, I think some of my emotions when I played it come out nicely in the recording. Happier stuff in the pipeline, folks, including a cover of Angel From Montgomery that cooks pretty well, but for today, this is what we’ve got.


Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
11:09 am
Blame, continued

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, it’s basically hopeless to think I could remember who would be responsible besides me in any case. Human memory isn’t written to the way computer memory is, and it’s not.. reliable in the same kinds of ways. So I might remember violence and hate and anger, but it’s impossible to know whether that’s real or not – especially since I’m looking at it from the other side of a closed-head injury. Look, the car I was in didn’t have a airbag. I don’t know how much damage was done to my mind, but I know it was enough that I couldn’t stick out my tongue straight and I was mildly aphasic for weeks afterwords. So talking about remembering who to be angry at is really, really silly. Because I *don’t* know what of my memories are real.

As far as $person[0], I remember you asking me who I wanted on my island. Apparently at this late date we can really safely say the answer is you. I remember you wanted to be CEO of pepsi, and you were a fan of Perot, and left post-it notes all over the house encouraging your parents to vote. I remember we went to many dances together, and we danced, and it was fun and wonderful. I remember you had a duck named comet who helped with the mayor of occaquan’s campaign. I remember six little ducklings growing up in my bathtub. These memories feel real. But unless I can convince you to compare notes with me about which of my memories are real and which aren’t, I’m never going to know.

6:19 am
Then there’s the even more complex possibility

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

What if I’ve got it inverted.. what if you are in love with me? And don’t know it? It certainly was a long time before I knew I was in love with you…

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
7:12 am

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I don’t really know who did what. There’s no way to know. For all I know, I did all this to myself. If you all want it to be my fault, that’s fine with me. I just want it to stop hurting, and want shrinks to stop fixing me-for-other-people at the cost of hurting me-for-me, which is real popular.

$person, it’s not like you’d suddenly start talking to me if I was 100% complient. So I’m not even going to try. I’m going to try, instead, to scale my psych meds to give me the best system performance, and to give me manias timed for when I can take vacation time from my day job, and to make sure I lock out access from the internet and go far away from cars and the like. Basically, make them safe for the rest of the world.

In other words, fuck y’all, I’m living for me. You all want me to live for you instead, you’re going to have to convince me there’s a reason to want to.

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