Koolaid Consciousness

Pain really does hurt, but what is it that hurts?  In consciousness, the subjective and objective are mysteriously unified. I am unmistakably corporeal, and yet also, unmistakably, immaterial.  I have diverse sensations and thoughts, yet I am unitary. I unconsciously act and feel, and yet have agency and free will. I daydream and sleep, and yet have continuity. I am both me and I refer to ‘me’. I am self-disclosing.

Our experience of consciousness is outside of normal mental categorization. We experience ourselves as ineffable.

No currently available concept of induction is applicable to it.” Thomas Nagel, philosopher.

We are the singular of which the plural is unknown.” Erwin Schroedinger, physicist.

“I AM THAT I AM”.  God, to Moses at the burning bush.

Most experiences are made sense of in relation to other types of experience. . . Any experience immune to all this will be a mystery to its subject. There is only one experience for which that is completely true:  phenomenal consciousness.” Natika Newton, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2001.

What we can’t say, we can’t say, and we can’t whistle it either“.  A. S. Ramsey, philosopher.

In Soul Dust, for psychologist Nicolas Humphrey consciousness is a sensation. Whatever sensation is, consciousness is. A reaction to stimuli is always an action. No sentience, no brain phenomenon is passive.  All mentation is behavior. Responses to the outer world get internally registered, and they become representations. These representations then also become aspects of our further experience. Conscious beings become dual processors, they process outer world experience simultaneously with inner world representations of current and past outer world experience. An ever expanding loop of internal and external responses, and responses to responses, reverberates into a self-sustaining loop of memory, thinking, and feeling. . . and this is what we call CONSCIOUSNESS.

Because our present experience includes at least two distinct times, it is experienced not as an instantaneous slice of time, but as a extended time, containing elements of both ‘now’ and ‘not now’, in a unified, immediate representation.

This thickened time of consciousness, this cinema of consciousness, creates an artificially robust illusion of willful power and sense of the future. It enables us to imagine possible futures, design behavior strategies, plan and seek goals.  This inner theatre gives us a sense of creative agency that drives us to endure.

But it is an illusion. We are all drinking the koolaid.

And there is a cost, for with our inner extended time, we can sense that we aren’t significant, we can know that we are going to die. We can try to find meaning, we can try to escape.  We are seek intoxicated, altered states. These can be enlightening, they can illuminate the distortions of our normal consciousness, but they can also deepen our confusion, and worsen our dread. Many of us can’t manage consciousness, despair is not uncommon, suicide is not rare.

With our consciousness we transform the earth, with ever-increasing risk and reward, the genie out of the bottle.

Mathematics Story

I want to know how God created this world.  I’m not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element.  I want to know his thoughts, the rest are details.”  Albert Einstein.

An overwhelming intuition for Einstein was that there is an all-encompassing, intelligible, something, ‘out there’, some unified and unchanging reality behind the ever-changing particulars of everyday experience. This is what he was after, what he called the secrets of the “Old One“.

For Einstein the clues were to be found in the phenomena that are invariant, phenomena that are the same, regardless of manner of measurement, or relative position, or dynamic operation, or observer point of view.  He saw this in the speed of light, which was found to be the same to all observers, regardless of their own motion.  With this, space and time are relative, but space-time is not.  Einstein’s own great insight was that acceleration, inertia, and gravity are equivalent, and therefore, rather than a ‘force’ between two masses, gravity is inherent in all of mass and motion.  It is invariant, and so must be related to space-time, and so he derives his theory of general relativity:

Ruv– 1/2 guvR = 8πTuv

Matter tells space-time how to curve, and curved space-time tells matter how to move.” – John Wheeler.   “an entwined dance of space, time, matter, and energy” –  Brian Greene.    Einstein, Walter Isaacson, 2008

It is really a theory of what isn’t relative. Einstein preferred that it be called the theory of invariants.

It turns out there is a brilliant mathematics of invariants.  It is called group theory. It was invented by Evariste Galois, in France, in 1730. He was refused admission to the elite Ecole Polytechnique institute of mathematics, too advanced for their examiners to understand.   He died in a duel, at age . . . . 20 .

Galois wrote his theory on a mere sixty pages of personal notes, and in a famous letter to August Chevalier just prior to his duel.

My dear friend, In the theory of equations, I have investigated under which conditions the equations are solvable by a formula:  this has given me the opportunity to make this theory more profound, and to describe all the transformations possible on an equation even when it is not solvable by formula.”  The Equation that Couldn’t be Solved, Mario Livio, 2005

This theory is the mathematics of permutations and symmetries, which are patterns of geometry and number that remain unchanged during some defined operation. They are the invariants that mark the hidden unity and relations in disparate sets of phenomena. Imagine an unknown, multifaceted geometric object, unified, and complex, and dynamically changing.  Imagine its sides and corners are ink soaked. Next, imagine this object tumbling across a white sheet of paper.  The ink will create obscure and puzzling markings.  Group theory mathematics, when applied to these markings, will yield the clues to the configuration and dynamics of this mysterious object.

This theory may well be the most profound in all of mathematics.

Einstein stood on the shoulders of giants, . . . and on those of a 20 year old genius.

 

 

 

iGenius

 

A person who finds that he is just never wrong would perhaps now and then be perplexed.  Steve Jobs would be such a person.

We think that computers are the most remarkable tools that humankind has ever come up with, and we think that people are basically tool users.  So if we can just get lots of computers to lots of people, it will make some qualitative difference in the world.  What we want to do at Apple is make computers into applicances and get them to millions of people.”  Playboy Interview, February 1985.

While the MBA’s came into Apple to focus on countering IBM, he went off to create the Macintosh. It was an astounding success. But never mind, Mr. Jobs is a difficult perfectionist and doesn’t know how to manage for profit.

Eventually Dr. [Edwin] Land [founder of Polaroid], one of those brilliant troublemakers, was asked to leave his own company – which is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. ”  Jobs, 1985 . . .and then . . .Apple lets him go.

Apple’s ten year lead gets ‘managed’ away.

Jobs buys Pixar. He makes Toy Story.  Apple nearly dies. Apple invites him back, as a ‘consultant’.  He brings Next, his from-the-ground-up, unix-based, virus- proof (still) computer software operating system.  After the board turns over – he will not be bit by the same dog twice – Jobs becomes CEO. Never again will he assume he doesn’t know how to manage, and never again will there be naivete’ about the intentions or actions of competitors. He moves quickly to focus Apple, totally, on quality products and the user experience.  Philanthropy is dropped, middle management is cleared, HR is minimized, finance is made secondary, general management is eliminated (managers at Apple are always managers of something), responsibility is clearly defined, (every role has a DRI – directly responsible individual), decisions radiate to and from the top, profit and loss categories are discarded, market research is eliminated.

Attractive products start to sell.

But . . . Disney will bury Pixar!  Sony or Microsoft will crush the iPod! Walmart or Amazon will dwarf iTunes! Nokia and the Blackberry will outdo the iPhone! Expensive laptops won’t compete with Dell!  Apple stores can’t compete with Best Buy! Adobe flash is a must! Google Android will beat iOS!

The petrochemical revolution gave us free energy – free mechanical energy. . .It changed the texture of society. . . this revolution, the information revolution, is a revolution of free energy as well, but of another kind:  free intellectual energy. . . This revolution will dwarf the petrochemical revolution”. Jobs, 1985

Apple, Inc. is about to overtake Exxon Mobil as the largest valued corporation in the United States.  And on Friday, July 29, 2011, Apple, Inc. had more cash than the United States Treasury.

How has an adopted son of a machinist, who dropped out of college after one year, who never took formal management, or economic, or engineering training, who follows few of the standard or advanced notions of modern corporate management, . . . how has he come to set the standard for leadership of large complex organizations,. . . how has he become the greatest CEO in history?

The iLeader has become the i Master.

 

In the time of animals

1.5 million years ago, pre-modern hominids moved out of Africa, migrated across the Levant, into the Caucasus, past the Carpathian Mountains, north of the Danube, and on to the great vast “mammoth” steppe of grasslands, and great herds of animals.  This is where the big brain hominids could hunt and eat the big stomach mammals who lived on the grasses.  This huge savannah, which stretched across Europe and Asia and the Bering Sea land bridge all the way to Alaska and northern Canada, nourished these hominids who eventually became the Neanderthal, who then flourished in the southern temperate regions, north of the alpine mountains, along the north and south valleys of the Pyrenees mountains on the present day border of France and Spain, and west to the Atlantic.  This was the garden of eden. It was the time of the animals.

And then modern humans came, leaving Africa some 100,000 years ago, again traveling thru the Levant and on to the steppe, and then west and east, all the way to Australia.  In southern France and central Spain, about 40,000 years ago, they encountered the Neanderthal, and over next the 12,000 years, as the modern humans flourished, the Neanderthal retreated, first into small areas of France and Spain, and finally to a last stand near Gilbraltor.

We have no archeology of a war.  Neanderthal had bigger brains, and stronger bodies, but modern humans had something else, and that something gave them larger group cooperation, better tools, more successful hunting.  They unleashed a veritable ‘explosion’ of cultural creativity.

In the river ledge caves of the valleys of the Pyrenees, at Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira, and many others, there is the luxuriant, compelling art of these pre-historic modern humans.  There are life-size paintings of running, prancing, rearing, and charging horses, bison, tigers and reindeer.  The animals are regal and robust, boastful and healthy, herding and crowding, standing off and mocking.  They are relishing their lives on these great, lush grasslands, with gleaming eyes, suspicion, intention, pride, and fear.  They own the world. Their human artists hold them in awe.

It was the mind’s eye, in these caves, that painted these paintings. Modern humans had something new. They could hold their visual memories, consciously, long enough and intensely enough to recreate the vivid images of these animals in the darkness of the caves.  And not just descriptive details, . . no, also details of salience – posture, emotion, and personality.

Intelligence is the strong use of memory.  It is rich retrieval of memory, conscious analysis of memory, and parsing of the key elements of memories.  This power, the artistic power, the power of the mind’s eye, is the new power that came with modern humans.

Modern humans made success in virtually all of the ecological niches of the world, harvesting the bounty of wild animals.

And then, 10,000 years ago, from the fertile crescent came the farmers, and the Anthropocene, the time of humans, began.

Einstein and Bohr Reality

Like most people, I think that there is something real out there, entirely independent of us and our models, as the earth is independent of our maps.  But this is because I can’t help believing in an objective reality, not because I have good arguments for it.”   Steven Weinberg,  New York Review of Books, February 10, 2011.

Great Scientists today hold that it is an open question if anything is really real, and they are pretty sure that we can never really know. They echo the great debate of their towering forebears – Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein.

At the turn of the twentieth century, science turned its attention to the very small, and found the quantum.  Max Planck, (whose son Irwin was tortured and hanged by the Nazi’s in 1944, for participating in a plot against Hitler) was investigating the strange creation of light from the heating of matter, when he discovered that energy changes always occurred in discrete quantum jumps. These jumps were mysteriously instantaneous, with no travel in space in between.

Subatomic investigations soon revealed the strange fact that matter and light behave both as discrete particles that collide and bounce, and as continuous waves of flow that peak and trough with patterns of interference.  A wave’s mathematical equation seemed to represent the probability of a particle’s location, yet even a single particle was found to act like a wave. Detecting a particle’s location, by measuring its position or momentum,  would mysteriously make a particle appear out of the flow of the wave, and then the wave itself would disappear.  Reality was a strange chameleon.  100 years later this is still so.

Niels Bohr accepted this.  Albert Einstein could not.  For Einstein, an observer-independent reality, and a continuous, uninterrupted causality are fundamentals of truth. The Quantum’s instantaneous ‘jumps’- entanglement “spooky action at a distance”, particles created by the act of measurement, these could not be the full story, there must be “hidden variables”.

God doesn’t play dice.”  “Do you really believe the moon doesn’t exist when you are not looking at it?

In this, and only in this, Einstein has so far been wrong.

Bohr grasped that science was encountering a fundamental limit of knowledge.  We can only know what is knowable – measurable attributes, which must be either/or essences – like the quantum, like bits. We can only know the information of reality, not its ultimate essence. We can’t know what isn’t measureable.

any property or feature of reality “out there” can only be based on information we receive. . .  the distinction between information and reality is devoid of any meaning. . . information is quantized in truth-values of propositions. . .the quantization in physics is the same as the quantization of information.”  Anton Zeilinger,  Science and Ultimate Reality, 2004

Bohr may not have realized that he was bringing forth the science of information. At a meeting in Europe, he and Claude Shannon crossed paths. Shannon went on to create the modern theory of information, the theory that led to computers.

Einsteinstop telling God what to do!

 

Architecture Artist

“. . a building has to start in the unmeasurable aura and go through the measurable to be accomplished. . . . the only way to get it into being is through the measurable. . . . in the end when the building becomes part of living it evokes unmeasurable qualities.”   Louis Kahn

Aesthetic creation invariably entails combined, patterned arrangements of essential elements, in spatial and temporal form, that evoke sensual and emotional and thoughtful experience.  There arises, in some mysterious way, joy and meaning.  People differ in their capacity for aesthetic enjoyment.  There is music, visual art, sculpture, literature, drama, and even food.   And there is place – architecture. Louis I. Kahn was an artist of architecture.

This small, strange man with a burn-scarred face practiced architecture in Philadelphia, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania. In the documentary film, My Architect, his son Nathaniel tells us his story. Louis Kahn had three separate families. . . simultaneously, . . .and he never owned or drove a car. He died a lonely, premature death in a Philadelphia train station.

In the early 2oth century, building materials – steel, glass, and other metals – became available in stronger and more diverse components, and this had a sudden and dramatic impact on the possibilities of architecture.  These materials made possible a quick and easy facade design, with artificial size, space and suspension.  The result was, well, . . . Modern . . . architecture: buildings that were new, dazzling, and original, but so quick and easy as to be able to hide structural methods and ignore thoughtful human purpose and scale – which they often then did.

Louis Kahn visited the ruins of ancient Egypt, and Greece, and Rome, and found inspiration. He saw in the ancient buildings that architecture could have “a sense of eternity, of timelessness, and of unchanging perfection.” He called this Monumentality.  Buildings could have gravity, and architects could deliver more than just what seems needed:  “Need comes from the known.  Supply only what is lacking brings no lasting joy. Did the world need the 5th symphony before Beethoven wrote it?”  “Give spaces as much nobility as possible, change corridors into galleries, lobbies into places of entrance”.

Above all, for Louis Kahn, buildings should reflect how they are made, and materials should be used in compliance with their natural character, revealing the methods of the builder.  Support and weight should be visibly sensible.  “No space is an architectural space unless it has natural light“. Architecture should enhance human community.  He lost an early battle to keep the automobile out of central Philadelphia design.

At the Kimball Art Museum . . .the Salk Institute . . .the Bangladesh National Capital . . .the Fisher House, one can feel Louis Kahn’s enduring gift, a timeless aesthetic of space.

the Bangladesh National Capital at Dhaka possesses a monumentality unlike anything to come before in the history of architecture – at once ancient and modern, literally hand-built largely of modest, locally produced materials, . . .its spaces are scaled to the highest aspirations of humanity.”  PhaidonLouis I. Kahn, Robert McCarter, 2005.

Romanization

Before globalization, there was Romanization.

In 42 B.C.E., Octavius, the nephew of Julius Caesar, became Emperor Augustus. Until his death in 14 C.E., as the deity of Imperial Rome, he Romanized the known Mediterranean world, and launched modern history.

In the lands of Galilee and Jerusalum and Jericho, between Sinai and Phoenicia and Syria, on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, lived a subsistence farming, communal people. Theirs was a culture of food purity, of bathing with running water, of sanctity of family and marriage, and of a covenantal relationship to an un-nameable God, a one true God.  Their lands belonged to this God, its fruits were to be shared in sacrifice to God.  Every seventh day was for rest, and for God.

In 63 B.C.E., the Romans came. While hunting pirates from Turkey who were raiding grain ships on their way to Rome, Pompey the Great marched thru Armenia, Syria, and then to Jerusalem, where he seized the Temple, conquered Judaea, and established the Roman Province, Syria Palastina. He eventually married Julius Caesar’s daughter, she died in childbirth along with their child. In civil war, at Pharsalus, against his brotherin-law, Pompey was defeated.  He escaped to Egypt, but was put to sword coming ashore.

Herod the Great came to rule in Syria Palastina, in collaboration with Rome.  He rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple into a wonder of the ancient world.  He built a great port city, Caesarea, and cities in the heartland – Tiberius in Galilee, and Sepphoris, just four miles from Nazareth.  With this Romanization, farming was commercialized and families were dispossessed, Roman patronage broke communal bonds, Roman money invaded traditional exchange, and – worst of all – piety to Roman power brought sacrilege – graven images near the Temple.

Local resistance grew.  A baptism movement developed.  Water immersion re-enacted the crossing of the Jordan of the ancestors, symbolically re-committing to traditional history.  The leader was beheaded by Herod’s son. An apocalyptic sect retreated into the caves near the Dead Sea. Collaborators and Roman officials were assassinated. A Kingdom of God movement arose in Galilee, advocating radical egalitarianism – shared living, non-violent resistence, and a dangerous rejection of Roman imperial divinity.  Their charismatic leader, in Jerusalem during Passover, protested the money commerce that invaded the Temple. He was swiftly arrested, and gruesomely crucified. His movement lived on, his followers moved out to Antioch, Corinth, Thessalonica, and Rome. They came to be blamed for a great fire in Rome, and Nero put their leaders to death. Revolts in Jerusalem and the surrounding lands attacked Roman legions. In a surprise victory, The Eagle Standard of the Twelfth Roman Legion was captured.  Roman honor was stained.  Nero dispached Vespasian, who, with his son, Titus, sieged and re-conquered Jerusalem. The Great Temple, all but the Western Wall, was destroyed.

While the Temple blazed, the victors plundered everything that fell in their way and slaughtered wholesale all who were caught.  No pity was shown for age, no reverence for rank: children and greybeards, laity and priests alike were massacred.”   Josephus, Jewish War,  6.6.271

Alan Turing, RIP.

In February 2011, Watson the IBM computer beat two humans in the game of Jeopardy!. Watson was programmed with massive information – some 200 million pages, 15 terabytes.  He can process 500 million books per second.  He ‘listens’ for key words in a clue, then matches them with clusters in his memory, then cross checks them against contextual information that is offered, and then ‘buzzes’ a decision when his statistical analysis finds the likelihood of a match.

Alan Turing would not be surprised.  “I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.”  1950.  Turing was the British mathematician who broke the Nazi Enigma security code. He was also a homosexual, which was a crime in England during his lifetime.  A lover blackmailed him. Turing sought police help.  He would not deny his homosexuality.  Despite his great service to the war effort, he was placed on house arrest, and ordered to receive female hormone treatments.

Mathematicians in his time sought to unify the truths of numbers, geometry, language, and logic.  With mathematics and grammar, and self evident axioms and propositions, they sought a symbolic logic that could derive all knowable truth. Was this possible?  Kurt Gödel ultimately proved that. . . no, such a system was not possible.  There are inevitably truths in any system of logic that can not be proven within that system.

Turing’s genius was to see that in the mechanics of functioning devices, machines that really work must embody some kind of truth. He utilized the most basic element of logical mathematics, the binary system, 0/1, and then conceptualized the mechanical expression of the most basic operations, the Boolean operations: and, or, not, if and only if, and never. He created a process of physically ordering events in time along a moving tape, and applied ordered ‘sets-of-rules’ to discrete ‘events’ – positions on the tape.  He then proved, mathematically, that this Turing machine could compute anything logical or mathematical.  He had derived the theoretic essential elements of Mind, and defined the structure of the modern computer.

His mother would often say that he was so . . .”literal minded“.  This was autism.  Turing used his intellect to compensate for limited emotional understanding. Indeed, like Spock of Star Trek, he was machine-like himself.  He found himself defending machines against the outrage that machines could be intelligent.

And to him, humans weren’t so wonderfully thoughtful. They clearly and profoundly misjudge, after all, the simple meaning of sexual preference.  He mocked their faulty reasoning:   Turing believes machine think. . . .Turing lies with men. . . . Therefore machines do not think

Turing loved Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, particularly the scene where the Queen plots with the Raven to entice Snow White to bite into a poisoned apple, so that she, the Queen, can then be ‘the fairest in the land’.  He was found dead, on June 8, 1954, alongside a bitten apple dipped in cyanide.

Apple Computer’s logo?

Panopticon

The private ego is the most precious thing we each have, and it is far more vulnerable now than ever before”  Tomorrow’s People, Susan Greenfield, 2003

Modern Madness, by Louis Sass, 1992, explores the disordered self of schizophrenia to illuminate the nature of normal psychology.  The self, it seems, is not a self, but is selves.  We are at least three, an immediate-being self, a social self, and a self-observing self.  Particularly in modern times, the self-observing self must also be the leader self, the self-managing self. We are this mental multiplicity, and we need to be integrated. Modern times may be working against this.

Michael Foucault wrote of the Panopticon, a prison architecture in which inmates were to be housed such that they were always under observation, while never able to see their observers.  This was proposed by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham in 1885, and he theorized that this predicament would uniquely disarm a person psychologically, creating a state of mental confinement that would reduce the need for physical confinement. Somehow, in the naked presence of omniscient observation, one’s self-observing self would not be able to ground its functioning in a place of privacy, and thus weakened, it would be subject to outside direction and control.  In this theory, the self-observing self is built and maintained by direct personal experience – experience that we differentiate from the experience of others – and to achieve this, privacy is an absolute requirement.

Lady Greenfield, Oxford neurophysiologist, cross bencher in the House of Lords, controversial popularizer of science, has fears that modern forces are eroding the personal self.  The mind is plastic, she knows very well from her research, and its experiences determine its nature.  For her, that increasingly ubiquitous experience – computer screen experience – which is fast becoming the dominant mental experience of young people – with its hypnotic suspension of self observation, its enhancement of immediate being, its artificially instantaneous feed back, its blocking out of prosody and gesture, its insulation from social emotion, its replacement of body-kinesthetic experience, its displacement of personal pedagogy – is undermining the development and integrity of the self-observing ego of young people.  She notes the explosion of ADHD, the prescriptions for ritalin, and the growth of autism – the latter a condition very comfortable with computer screen experience. For Lady Greenfield, a diminished personal ego is susceptible to GroupThink, and to fundamentalisms. She worries that the internet is driving this weakening and collectivization of the self.  She cites Bertrand Russell:

Man’s collective passions are mainly evil; far the strongest of them are hatred and rivalry directed towards other groups.  Therefore at present all that give men power to indulge their collective passions is bad.”

Are we building a panopticon?

Iowa America

Calvin says somewhere that each of us is an actor on a stage and God is the audience.  That metaphor has always interested me, because it makes us artists of our behavior, and the reaction of God to us might be thought of as aesthetic rather than morally judgmental in the ordinary sense.  How well do we understand our role?

Gilead,  Marilynne Robinson,  2004

A small farm town in Iowa, like Gilead, formed in the abolitionist fever of the 1850’s, for many years would have to take care of itself.  There would be no national funding for a social safety net, or even for police protection or public safety.  A town like that, and most America towns were like that, would have to develop and nurture a culture of self sufficiency.  People would need to be self managing, self policing, self controlling.  And so they were.

In Robinson’s novel, Gilead, the character John Ames is an aging (and probably dying) minister, who, in an act of love and of responsibility, is writing for his young son, explaining himself now, while alive, so that years later, his son will have a way to know his father.

In Gilead, people try to do the right thing.  They pray and suffer and carry their guilty feelings, their hopes, their jealousies, their resentments, their appreciations.  They strive to understand, to forgive, to tolerate.  They consult their Bible, their ministers, and their consciences. They feel small, weak, sorrowful, and proud. They suffer loss and hurt. They endure.  “I heard a man say once that Christians worship sorrow. That is by no means true.  But we do believe there is a sacred mystery in it”. In disappointing times, these are people who ask themselves:  What does Jesus want me to learn from this?

In this world, Jack, the difficult and not-so-good son of another preacher in town, Robert Boughton, returns home.  He brings with him the uneasy memories of his past – not uneasy for him, but uneasy for everyone else.  He was a thief, he skipped school, he was devious, and mean, and it never seemed to bother him. He made a hapless girl pregnant and then abandoned her.  As a forgiving christian, Jack’s preacher-father assumes that his son was ‘aggrieved’ – that he had reason for his transgressions.

A perennial user of others, Jack may be back for more.  With devilish intent, he may try to insinuate himself into John Ames’ family, after John is gone. We sense that he never fully felt he had gotten the best of John Ames, and he needs to, people like him are like that. We feel uneasy, for in this town, he may pull it off.  John’s wife doesn’t seem wary of him.  Good people are foiled by his kind. The forgiving aren’t comfortable with anger. They avoid the resentment they feel being exploited and manipulated, and so they give berth, when they shouldn’t, and Jack Boughton will take advantage of it.

There is such a thing as no conscience at all.