Things You Don't Need to Know III

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Since I can't really write anything coherent, here's part III of at least IV of some stuff you have no need to know but I'm telling you anyway.

My parents had six children, all boys. Joel was the youngest and was the one closest in age to me. He died in a dorm fire after spending the night reconciling with a former band member. This was not long after his 22nd birthday. He'd just recorded an album with his band Mustard Seed, a group that I think could have been as influential in Christian music as Jars of Clay or Caedmon's Call. He was to marry his fiancee eleven days after the day he died. They thanked her on the album under the name Janae Pierce. He'd wanted me to fly out to Greenville, IL to record some keyboard parts for the album, but I was in my first semester of graduate school, and I didn't really want to give up a few days in a row basically without sleep in the middle of the semester. That's something I'll always regret not doing. I've got lots of copies, but if for some reason you want one you can buy a copy here. I did rewrite the lyrics to one song on the album to sing at his funeral, and I've posted the lyrics here. Larry Norman, the grandfather of Christian rock music, recorded the original song, without my changes, on this tribute album, reviewed here (another album I've also got lots of copies of). Larry had been impressed by Joel after officially endorsing the We Wish You a Larry Christmas demo Joel had put together. Someone unfortunately doesn't want one and is selling it on Amazon. One of his professors wrote a tribute to him.

I'm my youngest brother's youngest brother. This is true whether you count Joel or not. This was also a property he shared with me, being his own youngest brother's youngest brother. That one property bound us together in a way that didn't hold with the rest of our brothers, since not one of them was his youngest brother's youngest brother. Only now, if you don't count Joel, you can say such a thing of Nathan.

I'm a huge scifi and fantasy fan. I have to read so much other stuff that I don't read much scifi (though I do read a lot of fantasy), but I love scifi TV and movies, especially the ones that raise real scifi and philosophy questions. I also enjoy getting into the world and discovering all the layers and depth to how years of developing a system can end up with so much of a world explored. This is one reason I like Tolkien. Terry Brooks's Shannara series is one of the few fantasy series to be developed in the way I really like, but it's not along the same lines as Tolkien, at least when it comes to the kind of cultural and language development he had (which was really how he started it). Babylon 5 is the best of all TV series in this way, conceived roughly from start to finish before filming had even begun. The Stargate series is also excellent in this way, though that was less planned. On true scifi (as opposed to just future storytelling) and on philosophical issues, some episodes of B5, Farscape, early Andromeda (but anything after Robert Hewitt Wolfe got canned has been pretty bad), Stargate, and Star Trek are quite excellent. I hope to put together a list at some point of which episodes these are and why I like them. I'd also like to do a review of as many time travel stories as I can, with who did it right (very few) and who did it wrong and why (most of them). The only substantial thing I've written about any of this stuff is my thoughts on the Lord of the Rings movies.

3 Comments

I have six children, but we sometimes call ourselves "the Bassy Bunch" as we have three boys and three girls (but no maid, at least not yet anyway). So my almost-11-year-old son and my 8-year-old son are like you and Joel. They are youngest brother's youngest brothers to each other. There's got to be a word for that. It reminds me of that bit from "Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!

I guess that's just a liar paradox constructed in a funny way, taking a setence fragment with no meaning and then using one iteration of a recursive function to turn it into a sentence that is false if true. Assuming a two-valued logic, it's also true if it's not true, though some get out of liar paradoxes by denying two-valued logic and then just saying that these sentences are not true but also not false.

I guess there is something like the one iteration of a recursive phenomenon with both the GEB thing and the youngest brother's youngest brother. I'm not sure what they have in common otherwise. The liar paradox thing doesn't come into play.

GEB talks a lot about the idea of "strange loops", with each part of the strange loop being perfectly allowable and legitimate but, when combined with the other parts, being wholly paradoxical. Consider:

The following sentence is false.
The preceeding sentence is true.

In this case, "youngest brother's youngest brother" is simply an attribute that exists for both Jeremy and Joel (and now Jeremy and Nathan) that happens to point at each other. Although Jeremy's attribute points at Joel and Joel's attribute points to Jeremy, there is no problem here even when these statements are considered together. Hence, there is no loop here.

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