Friday, June 16, 2006

World as Symbolic System

For the past 14 hours I have been staring at a computer screen, logged on to various linux systems, moving files, configuring servers, testing... Deeply enmeshed in a particular symbolic system. As I drove home I saw the world with different eyes - the world as its own kind of symbolic system. Some of it imposed by man on the environment (stop sign, crosswalk) some natural (tree, rock). Each blade of grass is a symbol - albeit many without obvious meaning. Like a file you might touch but is devoid of content. Or perhaps each has a very simple meaning like all of those devices in /dev... I should really stop looking at a computer screen about now.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Father with My Daughter April 2005

On a trip with the whole family down to Los Angeles a little over a year ago. The only time my daughter ever saw my father. He was still doing OK at that point, although the radiation treatments drained him of strength.

Charles Edward Shelton, RIP

I will be able to write more about this soon. But for now just the news. My father died today of cancer. My sister was with him in the Los Angeles hospital room.

He has been dying for 10 years of cancer - prostate cancer that was diagnosed too late to cure. The cancer spread throughout his body and fortunately for him, medical advances allowed him to live a good life over those 10 years. Only in the last 6 months or so had the disease progressed to far that his quality of life was diminished to the point where living was an enormous burden for him.

So it is with sadness, but also long expectation and relief that the living go on without him. He is survived by his long-time partner, his three daughters and me.

Memory Machine

What we write here may be much less important for who reads it today and more important as a record of our civilization at this time and place. The web is the collective memory of the millions of people that record their thoughts here. Hopefully we will find ways to record these transient memories into some more permanent form so that future researchers will have this treasure trove to draw from when trying to understand the insanity of our current times.