The User Illusion, LACMA, Cleanliness, and Power

I finished Tor Norretranders' User Illusion about 2 months ago. A book ostensibly about consciousness that bleeds into physics, math, biology, and neuroscience.

One of the central themes of the book is that to receive/get/retrieve information, you must constantly "eliminate" information. You must constantly cut other things out to get your so-called bits of information.

When you calculate 2 + 2, you have to cut through the information of 2, the plus sign, and the other 2 to arrive at your desired bit of information. The answer, 4, means nothing in itself, but in the context of calculating 2 + 2, it's the answer.

And usually the answer is the only thing that is valued in this current socio-politico-economic context/"the real world." Your boss is not going to care if you "show your work." Essentially the problem 2 + 2 is just waste to your boss, but it is the very thing which creates any meaning as to why you want the number 4 in the first place.

The metropolitan urbanized societies in the so-called "West" seem to be built upon this notion of having all the answers.

If you're hungry, you can go to a restaurant or buy your meats, fish, vegetables, fruits at the supermarket. If you are lonely, buy your way to a club, a sports event, or some sexin'. If you're sick, go buy your medicine at a drug store, or a street corner.

Your answers are there for YOUR problems, ready for YOUR consumption.

However, what I'm intrigued by is that we don't really see the problems in creating those answers. We do not see the work that is gone to catch those meats, those fish, the farming involved in growing veggies and fruits. I don't see how long they took to build any of the apartments, houses I lived in, nor the clubs, or stadiums. I'll be damned if I ever have to build my own house. I don't see the process of mining done to make metals that are used in my computers, my vehicles.

Basically, we don't see the 2 + 2's. Via public discourse in form of billboards, television and internet ads, public education via school were almost wired to not see problems. We become suffused with this idea that things are easy. We just see the 4's as they are, take them, use them for our own problems, but we don't know how we produced that 4 in the first place. Subsequently, we become entirely dependent on the system that produced that 4, because we don't know how we arrived at it in the first place.

It takes a lot of work to make things look easy. What we discard of is a measure of depth, complexity, involved in

Now what does this have to with the LACMA?

Like any other museum, it's damn clean place. I could probably roll my tongue on the cement ground there and be cured of cancer or something.

Museums are places of power.
The LACMA makes simplicity look really easy. But could you imagine dealing with all the trash that about 700,000 visitors put in your spot all day? Could you imagine all the electricity needed to make visitors' food, and throw some light on art?

It seems to take a lot of power to generate this illusion, this aura of cleanliness, richness.

In the spirit of this Barnes & Noble book I bought with a gift card called the Works, which showed the consumption patterns inherent in New York City infrastructure, I think it would be a good idea to show how much an institution of power like a museum consumes.

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