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ȘȈǤƝȘ 81: Grace and Gaucherie

6 minutes read

"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you." —Blake

L 450 flat loudspeaker, TG 60 reel-to-reel tape recorder and TS 45 control unit by Dieter Rams for Braun
Welcome to Signs of Life, a periodic roundup letter from Other Life, the coolest newsletter in the world. If someone sent you this, subscribe for yourself here.

In this edition, you'll learn about:


News and Upcoming Events

Convergence IV: Digital Freedom. Tomorrow. Saturday, May 14, 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM CDT​​. $75. I was invited to give a talk at this event in Austin tomorrow night. I'm not sure but, reading between the lines—the organizer has a background in psychedelics and the event listing uses words like 'ceremony'—I'm wondering if we might be dropping acid or something? I have no clue though, should be interesting regardless! I know most of the other speakers, I think this will be fun.

"The theme of our fourth conference is Digital Freedom, which we'll explore through Web3-focused talks, discussions, and performances on decentralized power, alternative networks, creative collectives, and focused attention. What to bring: pen, notebook, blanket, pillow, and anything else to make yourself comfortable. Snacks and beverages will be provided, and feel free to bring your own as well." Attend Convergence IV: Digital Freedom


A-Death to Flatline: A public Other Life meetup in Brooklyn. Monday, May 23 at 11am. Other Life x Urbit Week NYC. Register and I'll send you the details later. Totally free. Just drop your email (and ETH address) here. Just note you may have to ice a Turing Cop.

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Innocent Garden Party (Not a Cabal). In Greenpoint, Sunday May 22, 5-9pm. Invite only, exclusively for VIPs, $LIFE holders, and citizens of the imperceptible country. Dinner and drinks will be served. More details soon, but save the date/time if you belong here.

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Mars Review of Books Launch Party. Friday, May 20, 9:30pm to late. I think there will be short readings. I think I am giving one. But it's mostly a party. If you're not deep into Urbit and only come to one event for Urbit NYC, I would suggest this one. (Not counting the Other Life meetup ofc). Organizer says "Lower Manhattan. Dress to impress." For the address, ask around on the day.


Wittgenstein's Redemptive Word

Wittgenstein is often seen as coldly analytical, in fact he was deeply religious—mystical even. This is the first lesson I've taken from Marjorie Perloff's new translation of the private notebooks.

Wittgenstein used weirdly long dashes as a kind of typographical form of prayer, according to the scholar Martin Pilch (2016). He would put two em dashes in a row, sometimes even three. ——. Like this.

When Wittgenstein was stationed in Kraków in the winter of 1914-15, he found it difficult to work. His thoughts were “tired” (müde).

“It is as if a flame has been extinguished and I must wait till it begins to burn again of its own accord.“ —Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein was searching for the redeeming word (das erlösende Wort), an idea or concept that would revivify his stalled thought. His language is reminiscent of the famous first lines in St. John: "In the beginning was the Word, / And the Word was with God, / And the Word was God."

On September 1 in 1914, Wittgenstein’s regiment made a short stop in the small town of Tarnów in Poland. He wandered into a bookshop and encountered Tolstoy‘s 1892 book Gospel in Brief. He will claim that this book saved his life.

Perloff argues that through the war Wittgenstein comes to the realization that there is no redeeming word; no answers, only questions. But that's not quite right. Perhaps there is no redeeming word, no particular keystone concept that could suddenly unlock everything, but this is not to say there is no redeeming Word or Logos. It is not quite correct to say that there are no answers and only questions.

The incessant drive towards clarity and correctness, constantly confronting the surprising and obscure contours of reality, is the answer to the question of life.

In seeking the right words, we seek the Word, and in doing so we are redeemed—strangely and often inexplicably, but also consistently and reliably. It is not clear why or how, but over time it is clear that this happens.

Wittgenstein's life demonstrates the spiritual and practical implications of authentic and disciplined truth-seeking. Despite the war, depression, deviant sexuality, self-hatred, poor social skills, and zero capacity for playing socio-institutional games, he made real discoveries, earned real respect, won real disciples, and achieved a lasting impact on how people think.


Other Life Podcast

Web3 Gaming is Mostly a Scam with Charlie Smith, Co-Founder of Nifty Island. We discuss what's real and what's not in web3 gaming, the future of crypto countries, and much more. Charlie's the real deal and I learned a ton about this space, which is very likely going to be massive.

Only God Can Cancel Us: On Immanent Cyberculture with Endproject. At the Other Life x Urbit meetup in Austin, a group of 8 people rocked up wearing black trenchcoats. Endproject is an art and music collective based in Houston. We talked about their defection from institutions, faith, the logic of culture, Deleuzian immanence, Urbit, and how/why authentic counterculture always wins.

If you're not already subscribed to the podcast, take a second to subscribe now.

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The Imperceptible Country

Highlights from Other Life's emergent network state

Become a citizen

The Third Motion of Value Creation: Bitcoin, Urbit, and Replit. "Value creation is under siege. Man’s fundamental will to act on what he values in order to improve his lot in life has become stifled, subverted, and tangled up in a nearly total fabric of value extraction. To explain this, it helps to consider value in full scope: how value constitutes the structure of reality, how patterns emerge from value and what this implies for human flourishing, and how higher patterns of value achievable through sovereign computing promise to set our society back on its proper, God-given course."

By ~dapryg-nodbud in the city. Read and reply in the Urbit group at web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life/graph/~hatryx-lastud/b-3929/170141184505621705714739442391000809472

The Village: Folkways, Social Legibility, and Network Technology "Social Legibility is a concept that imposes on your life in sometimes subtle, sometimes glaring ways. You carry cards in your wallet, have numbers nailed to the front of your house, and may periodically pay for transcripts from your education or pay to gain access to new credentials (like a technical certification) because of this collective primordial desire... The alternative to this state of affairs were vagrant Shepards. These nomadic wanderers of the hills were free to engage/disengage in voluntary social bonds as they saw fit, and maintain a level of privacy and secrecy that ultimately became the subject of rumors emanating from the Village. However, the price these Shepards paid for their freedom was often a life absent place, property, and lineage…a severe tradeoff."

By ~lontus-racref in the city. Read and reply in the Urbit group at web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life/graph/~hatryx-lastud/b-3929/170141184505619425939167228367640461312


Grace and Gaucherie

Diogenes Sitting in His Tub by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1860)
"The delicious mixture of grace and gaucherie that touches the heart and clings to the memory." —Sickert

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