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But What Are Mythical Creatures Really?

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We grow up with them, they are regular features of our cartoons and children and even adult’s entertainment to this day. They exert a power over the human mind, which suggests that either we are all suffering from some wild collective delusion, or that mythical creatures do have a kind of existence, albeit an immaterial one. Of course, since there are children’s toys and numerous statuettes the world over of these creatures we must wonder, where do these ideas come from?

What evolutionary purpose do mythical creatures possibly serve? If we observe nature, we can see quite clearly that she is not wont to construct unnecessary things. Everything, from the smallest to the tallest, serves some kind of vital function within the biosphere. Can the same be said of these things that seem to exist only in the noosphere?

Since mythical creatures are heavily relied upon in the world of heraldry, wyverns, unicorns, dragons and so on, they have become symbols, not unlike letters or words, or perhaps more accurately, hieroglyphs. You are unlikely to be reading this, I suppose if you are the kind of person who already knows about the Royal Houses of the world that still use these creatures today on their family crests. You may even have your very own unicorn earring collection. It’s really not that far removed from Game of Thrones, really, except a hell of a lot more complicated. Not surprisingly, I suppose, since this is real life.

So mythical creatures exist, then, in the same way that words exist, in the same way that software on a computer exists. They require the agency of some hardware i.e. the human mind (actually traditionally called ‘wetware’), just like computer software requires a computer in order to fulfil the point of its existence. Without the hardware, the software is just a bunch of crazy code.

Does this metaphor then extend to mythical creatures, that without the human mind, they are just a bunch of crazy nonsense? Perhaps, and yet there may still be more to this than that. I don’t know if you have even been to an old forest and found twisted old trees that seem to form the shape of letters of the alphabet. Of course, we have all learned that nature is blind and mute, right? She cannot communicate with us directly. And yet, all of us dream, and sometimes we dream of mythical creatures. All of us have had the strange and slightly uncanny experience of having someone mention a unicorn and suddenly start seeing them everywhere, as if the whole tapestry of existence were just that – a work of art deliberately constructed to communicate some kind of message.

Perhaps our artificial intelligence, our supreme number crunchers, will be able to eventually construct a map of language, of the myriad associations of meaning and show how mythical creatures are part of the foundation that supports our entire linguistic world, and therefore, effectively the entire phenomenal world. What will happen when AI meets the first unicorn, discovers how it first came to be wandering in the forests of the human mind? Goodness knows.

My Thoughts on Computers

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Okay, I’m going to press on since my ten year old and seven year old really want me to get on with it so that they can use my computer. I’m going to do my best to be a grown up about it and do everything I can so that they can use and play some kind of cooperative online thingie that I barely understand.

When I was a kid, or at least a teenager, we had one PC in the house. As time wore on, we had a PC and a Megadrive – that’s a kind of console for those who don’t know. Hang on, we probably had the old Amstrad and the BBC Micro-computer knocking about somewhere as well. So that’s three computers in, say 1996.

It’s now twenty years later and lets’ do a count up shall we. I’ve got a Macbook Pro that needs fixing, but is still probably functional, my wife and I both have Macbook Airs. The kids have an iMac upstairs, and they’ve got a WiiU. They’ve each got a Kindle Fire, and we’ve got an iPad as well. We have two iPhone 4S and one iPhone 6, and a Gameboy DS and a Gameboy 3DS. So, let me see, that’s fourteen computers, compared to three twenty years ago.

Admittedly, that would have been a lot different if I had been one of three boys, like my kids – more kids means more stuff, and boys are often into computers more than girls. I know my sister really didn’t give a crap about computer games.

So, obviously my family now I have grown is not identical to the one I grew in, but the fact is we’ve got fourteen computers, and I’m thinking of getting more! Can you believe that? In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to say no to the kids because I need this computer for work. We would have enough for them to do cooperative game-play without using the work computers. Since there are three of them, that means two more laptops or desktops.

I personally would like to get a new Playstation. I also need a new phone and will probably let my kids use my old one.

This proliferation of technology is bonkers. It’s worth noting that most of that proliferation has happened in the last five years – basically since the point when my wife and I realised we each needed our own computer. Anyway, c’est vie, I suppose. Quite what the future has in store, I don’t know, but I’ve never known, so it’s no different to any other time really. One thing I can say for certain though, computers sure are helpful, and the are a lot of fun too.