Leaving San Francisco: April 2002

Before I leave San Francisco and leave for Los Angeles, I’m going to spend some time each day thinking about the months I’ve been in San Francisco.

In April 2002, I just returned back from living in Bolzano, Italy. Half the people there spoke German. I have the journal where I would write all my thoughts in German. I wrote my last German entry the day I got back to San Francisco.

I thought I would never come back to San Francisco, but I was pulled back by all these wonderful people I met when I’d come back home.

April 2002

book: The Timaeus by Plato

music: Lenny Kravitz

food: Mahi Mahi with coconut Rice (cooked by Matthew Morrissey)

My favorite party question: What about you do you think is sexy?

Quote of the Month: “Who somebody is or was we can know only by knowing the story of which he (or she) is him (or herself) the hero.” from Hannah Arrendt’s “Human Condition,” p. 186.

During this time, I would spend most of my days in the Reverie Coffee Shop. I would wake up in the morning, get my coffee and just read philosophy and write. During the day random people would stop by, and we would chat for as short as a smoke or as long as an hour. People have lost the art of doing this, but at that time, the web was thought to be dead. We returned to a more natural way of relating.

My life was carefree.

I belonged to a philosophy group called Spinoza’s Coat. We would meet every Tuesday evening to discuss philosophy. It consisted of mostly like minded folks who met at the Reverie, or what we nicknamed, “The Rev.”

That April we were reading Plato’s Timaeus. It’s Plato’s attempt at a metaphysics of the material world. I like how he just defined something like time as “the moving image of Eternity.”

I was very happy to be back in my home town after living abroad.

I hope you’ll stick around for my blog post on May 2002!

Description of AI from Caprica

Zoe Greystone: The human brain contains roughly contains 300 megabytes of information. Not much when you get right down to it. The question isn’t how to store it. It’s how to access it. You can’t download a personality. There’s no way to translate the data. But the information being held in our heads is available in other databases. People leave more than footprints as they travel through life: medical scans, dna profiles, psych evaluations, school records, emails, recording, video, audio, cat scans, genetic typing, synaptic records, security cameras, test results, shopping records, talent shows, ball games, traffic tickets, restaurant bills, phone records, music lists, movie tickets, TV shows… even prescriptions for birth control.

Heidegger’s Peasant Shoes?

While doing laundry at Central Coffee, I ran into a passage in “The Origin of the Work of Art” by Heidegger.

He compared peasant shoes with a well-known painting by Van Gogh of peasant shoes. He wrote of the shoes (and not the painting), “Everyone is acquainted with them.” (p. 32, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” in Poetry, Language, Thought) For my part, I had never seen peasant shoes, until I googled them:

peasant shoes

Then I took a look at Van Gogh’s famous paintings at these shoes:

shoes from 1887

Although I can see similarities between the peasant shoes from google and Van Gogh’s peasant shoes, I was surprised to learn that Van Gogh’s shoes were probably a pair of peddler’s shoes.

What are peasant shoes? Has anyone seen them since – at least in the English speaking world – there haven’t been any peasants for centuries?

Philosophy is difficult in a world without pith and constancy.

Update 18 July 2014 Thanks to a reader who goes by the moniker, Peasant Painter, for updating me and letting me know that the shoes below aren’t peasant shoes but ones used for Chinese foot binding.

foot binding shoes

Locked/Unlocked and Urban Mushrooms

What does it mean for something to be locked? What does it mean for it to be unlocked? Are we hampered by the duality of locked/unlocked, or is there something in between?

This photo demonstrates “locked” in Hayes Valley.

This photo demonstrates “unlocked” in Hayes Valley.

A close-up of unlocked

There is a paradox here that needs to be explored. Although the last two photos express unlocked-ness, a certain being-in-the-world will readily interpret the two photos as expressing the opposite: lockedness.

This sort of paradox can be seen when naturalness is seen in that which is unnatural. Note the urban mushrooms below:

Urban Mushrooms