Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Last books read ...

It is not yet a review. It is just a harbinger of the reviews to come.

Let me list here three books I read during last months with great admiration:

  1. "Moon in a dewdrop" by Eihei Dogen
  2. "One Man's Judaism" by Emanuel Rackman
  3. "Moral tribes" by Joshua Greene

I'm sure I will review them soon. They were just great.
I'm now in famous "Superintelligence" by Nick Bostrom... Lot's to tell about it ...


Return to blogging ...

I hope to return to regular blogging. Yes since almost 2 years I was not active here, and I regret it. As always, I have explanations (hard work at MakoLab while in Europe, equally hard at Chemical Semantics - while in US)

However, I just realized, that I can't stay silent here. I have this blog for more than 10 years. In most cases it was about books I have been reading (and listening). And I'm going to come back to this. But there is something else.

My country is in quite dangerous situation. The democracy and open society we have been building since 1989 is endangered. It is not just for the fact that some right-wing party won elections. It is for the way they deconstruct the pillars of all open societies - by manipulating with judicial authorities, with media, taxes, and, if take what they plan - perhaps soon with Civil Service...

What is more, when citizens started to protest through non-partisan movement called KOD, the government officials started to use a specific rhetoric against them, which unmistakably reminds me time of late communist regimes.

You could read more about that here: http://visegradrevue.eu/the-mutiny-of-the-lemmings/ 

I don't know how much time my life will give me to write here. But I just realized that I have no choice. Everything I did in my life, particularly since 1989, when I started MakoLab, lead it through its 2007 IPO to today's status, kept it open to people from many countries, cultures, religions may easily be wasted if this country becomes some authoritarian island, contesting European Union, judicial supervision, free media etc etc.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tragedy in Paris

Paris is tragic city this year.
With Charlie Hebdo tragedy in the begining to
Friday, November 13, attacks...
We stay in prayers with all our French friends...
Mirek Sopek

Thursday, January 08, 2015

No more words ...

"I disapprove of what you say,
but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Yet another backlog list ...

Well, after breaking the long period of silence, the only better post I can make is about the current backlog of books I have read, but did not write about.
There we go:

  1. "Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening" by Stephen Batchelor
  2. "Guns" by Stephen King
  3. "Zen Judaism: For You a Little Enlightenment" by David M. Bader
  4. "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons
  5. "The Fall of Hyperion" by Dan Simmons (the last two books are on this list thanks to my son, Maciej)
  6. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander
  7. "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" by Stephen Batchelor
  8. "Rabbi of 84th Street" by Warren Kozak
  9. "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana

plus some more books I even can't recall... well I read (and listen to) like crazy ....


Quantum Theory by John Polkinghorne ...

I do not quite understand why I decided to write this post after so many months of not writing anything on my blog...

The book "Quantum Theory. A Very Short Introduction" by John Polkinghorne  is one of these "A Very Short Introduction" series books that are simple and usually not deep enough. However, this one is much different. It simple, yet is also very deep.
One gets an intro course into Quantum Theory, but one is also faced with fundamental, philosophical problems of modern science.

Well, after so many months of silence, I can't write any good review, so I will say only some few words.

The author, John Polkinghorne is an unusual person. He is: "theoretical physicist, theologian, writer, and Anglican priest" (see this). What is extremely important, there is just NO sign in the book that could tell you that the author is ordained priest! Well, for 25 years he was absolutely secular scientist!

I guess I will end this long awaited review at this moment and at this point....


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Steve Jobs ...

I just finished Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.
I must admit it was fantastic reading experience, and it opened my mind on some decisions Jobs' has made and on his philosophy...

I must admit, I did not like, for many years, Apple product paradigm, even though I was happy to use iPad for some time. I feel I have strong arguments against many facets of Apple's (and Jobs')  views on technology - nevertheless, the understanding of their (his) motives came to me just from this book.

And, I must admit, I started to appreciate and like them and him for the courage to be as they were ...

Could Steve inspire people like myself ? Certainly yes, and if you ask me for what - I immediately could tell: for his main goal to build enduring company ...


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The titles on my backlog list ...

Here is the list of titles I recently read but could not yet review. Hope that my recent Blindsight review signals some come back to more regular blogging :-)

OK, after August report on my backlog, I have been reading the following titles: 
  1. "Stonemouth" by Iain Banks
  2. "A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens
  3. "No easy day" by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
  4. "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan
  5. "Creating a World Without Poverty" by Muhammad Yunus
  6. "The Jew in the Lotus" by Rodger Kamenetz
  7. "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thich Nahn Hahn
  8. "Toward a True Kinship of Faiths" by His Holiness Dalai Lama
  9. "The Ultimate Dimension" by Thich Nahn Hahn
  10. "The Lonely Man of Faith" by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
  11. "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking
  12. "Living the Mindful Way" by Sharon L. Horstead
  13. "The Information" by James Gleick
I do not include professional books I read here.
However, I feel it is worth to mention at least one of them:
  • "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist" by Dean Allemang and James Hendler.
In addition to pure technical, semantic web oriented flavor, this book is also very important from the general, or I dare to say, philosophical point of view...

 I'm now reading or plan to read soon:

  1. "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson
  2. "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons
  3. "Meditation and the Bible" by Aryeh Kaplan
  4. "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Guanaratana
  5. "Turing's Cathedral" by George Dyson
  6. "Anger" by Thich Nahn Hahn
  7. "Mindful Eating" by Thich Nahn Hahn
 As you see, it is not just a small pile, it is a tower of read but not reviewed books...
Well, I guess my 2013 New Year's resolution will be to catch up with all these pending reviews :-)

Mirek, December 25, 2012, Aleksandrow near Lodz

Monday, December 24, 2012

True manifest or thought experiment - „Blindsight” by Peter Watts

Blindsight - science fiction novel by Peter Watts...
It has been sometime since I have read this book and I'm still uncertain whether it sincerely represents its author's view of life (or perhaps author's world view) or it is a sort of gigantic thought experiment.

First, some facts. It is certainly one of the best science-fiction books I have ever read. Set in the second half of XXI century it describes an encounter between humans living on Earth with alien inteligence. The encounter starts with the apparent survey the aliens perform sending micro-satellites (called as fireflies). Humans sent a spaceship, „Theseus” to get into first contact with the aliens dwelling on a cosmic structure, a vessel-sattellite called by itself  „Rorschach”. The encounter reveils that the aliens represent totally different kind of intelligence humans expected. The intelligence is lacking consciousness yet it remain highly intelligent, surpassing humans. When the danger of this devilish creatures becomes critical, the artificial intelligence controlling the human spaceship attacks them in apparent suicide mission leaving the lonely survivor live and coming back to Earth, that, by the time of the mission undergoes a new kind of holocaust, caused by unconscious vampires ... It is possible that he is the only truly conscious subject in the entire universe...

Plot is perhaphs not the best part of the novel, though in comparison to many sci-fi(s), it is original and untypical. Language is difficult, peppered with many biological and neuroscientific terms, but the deep comprehension is rewarding. Yet not the plot itself or its language make the essence of the novel. In reality it is a philosophical treaty said in the frame of sci-fi story. It's a big discourse about human consciousnes and its nature, mind and matter interplay, essence of biology, human interaction, artificial intelligence etc.

However, when I read it carefully, I noticed that its author identifies with some quite specific views that go far from what I used to belive in... Sex seems to be presented as nothing more than a blind copulation. His views on biology seems to verge on a brink of primitive reductionism. In his world human free will seems not to exist and intelligence does not need conscious beings to express itself. I probably oversimplify it, yet this is what seems to emerge from Blindsight...

I have an impression that Watts somehow believes in propositions put forward in famous GEB (Gödel, Escher, Bach) book (by Douglas Hofstadter). Yet this book was not mentioned in the "Notes and References" to the novel. In the "Notes" author seem to explain scientific background for many of his constructs used in the novel.

I prefer to believe that Watson's novel, dark and mechanistic is indeed a kind of thought experiment - not an epiphany of some well grounded scientifically based conclusions. For example, while it is instructive to know that Metzinger's "Being No One" was one of inspirations, it is somehow reassuring that such views do not even dominate the whole gamut of current consciousness sciences...

And, as the thought experiment - it is one of the best I ever read...

Coming back ???

I would be very happy to come back to active blogging. Seems my life has become too hectic and full of so many matters and issues and challenges that I hardly can find time for my blog.
Anyway, I will try. I solemnly promise: I'll try !

December 24, 2012 Aleksandrow near Lodz. My parents place ...