Voraciously Assimilating Commentary by Lance Olsen on William Gibson

I’ve been voraciously assimilating commentary by Lance Olson on the work of author William Gibson. Can’t get enough of it!


Here are some words and phrases I looked up while reading Olsen’s commentary on Gibson’s Burning Chrome. I had a general idea what some of these terms meant, but a couple of them, like “gomi no sensei,”  I had no idea.


Yes, this is my idea of fun. You may prefer to skip my definitions and go staright to Olsen’s excellent commentary.


Simstim – Stimulation of the brain and nervous system of one person using a recording (or live broadcast) of another person’s experience. Fictional at this time, as far as I know. You “jack in” to the other consciousness via ASP (Apparent Sensory Perception) decks.

ICE – Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics

Mimetic – from Greek mimetikos,  “imitation.” Related words include mimic and mime.    Mimetics concerns the nature of representation, a process of mimicry and communication.

Michael Davis, a translator and commentator of Aristotle writes:

“At first glance, mimesis seems to be a stylizing of reality in which the ordinary features of our world are brought into focus by a certain exaggeration, the relationship of the imitation to the object it imitates being something like the relationship of dancing to walking. Imitation always involves selecting something from the continuum of experience, thus giving boundaries to what really has no beginning or end. Mimêsis involves a framing of reality that announces that what is contained within the frame is not simply real. Thus the more ‘real’ the imitation the more fraudulent it becomes. (The Poetry of Philosophy, p.3)”

In math, a numerical method is called mimetic when it mimics (or imitates) some properties of the continuum vector calculus. The goal of numerical analysis is to approximate the continuum, so instead of solving a partial differential equations, one aims in solve a discrete version of the continuum problem.

gomi – According to this website,  the underlying concept of GOMI is based on the theme, “Recycle, Reuse & Reinvent”. “GOMI”, meaning “rubbish” in Japanese, is a project based on the notion of recycling as a way of propagating new creation. Emphasizing on the usage of recycled materials in the process of creation, it is our intent to create an awareness of environmental issues for both the public and designers alike.

Gomi no sensei – “master of junk,” like the character in one of Gibson’s stories who roams the city “gathering junk to make whimsical deconstructive robotic sculptures.”

Semiotic – The theory and study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language or other systems of communication, and comprising semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics.

Todorovian –  Tzvetan Todorov is familiar to us as the Russian theorist who developed theories of narrative. One of his keys ideas was that effective narratives conform to the following structure:  equilibrium > disequilibrium > new equilibrium. Stories start with a state of affairs which is somehow balanced and in order; a conflict arises which disturbs the equilibrium; the conflict is somehow resolved, leading to a new, adjusted equilibrium – new order.

epistemological – the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity. Since the 17th century epistemology has been one of the fundamental themes of philosophers, who were necessarily obliged to coordinate the theory of knowledge with developing scientific thought.

ontological –  relating to or based upon being or existence

intertextuality – French intertextualité, from inter- + textuel textual + -ité -ity: the complex interrelationship between a text and other texts taken as basic to the creation or interpretation of the text

Mnemonic – Often used today to describe various techniques people use to help them remember things, the word mnemonic is derived from the Ancient Greek word μνημονικός mnemonikos (“of memory”) and is related to Mnemosyne (“remembrance”), the name of the goddess of memory in  Greek Mythology. Both of these words refer back to μνημα mnema (“remembrance”).

Carl Jung  (July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961) –  A Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and founder of analytical psychology.

Jung’s unique approach to psychology has been influential in countercultural movements in Europe, the United States and elsewhere since the 1960s. He emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician, much of his life’s work was spent exploring other realms, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. His most notable ideas include the concept of archetypes, the collective unconscious and synchronicity. Jung emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern people rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of unconscious realms.
                                    – Jung info quoted from Wikipedia



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