My Life at Age Nine

When my father was no longer in the U.S. Army and had brought his erstwhile army-brats back to Seattle WA USA, we had to stay for or month or so with my uncle and his family who lived across from Grandma Anna and Grandpa Joe Yagle near the Ridgemont Theater in the Greenwood neighborhood. My uncle worked for Boeing as a tool-maker and in his basement he had a workbench, where I started making electric circuits on wooden boards. By building little enclosures for flashlight batteries, I had a power supply. With a push-button or an electric switch, I could apply power to any device like a miniature lightbulb or a toy electric motor. These circuits were the beginning of a series of ever more ambitious experiments leading eventually to artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Another factor on the AGI roadmap, besides experimentation, was exploration in general, as a way of life and a mode of being, as a sport and a pastime. Your Mentifunculus had just come from the jungles of Panama, where exploration was the name of the game. Suddenly deprived of external jungles to explore, but still thirsting for new knowledge and new territories, Very Truly Yours had to satisfy his exploratory urges by going inwards into the deep reaches of the mind. I went through a phase of reading all the Oz books and all the fairy-tales that I could find, in search of magical powers and ways to control reality.

My father found a job as an Army-trained, civilian physician working for Dr. Bussabarger at the New Riverview Clinic in Raymond WA USA. We moved into 1018 Godfrey Street in the Riverdale neighborood of Raymond. Fresh from Panama, I continued to go barefoot at all hours when I was not in school. My feet turned black from the dirt, which had not happened in the jungles of Panama. A lady in the neighborhood wondered aloud why my family let me go barefoot into the autumn, but my parents with six children had a lot more to worry about than me going barefoot. I only stopped going barefoot when winter came and we moved across the Willapa River to 758 Fowler Street in the Riverview neighborhood, where I had Mrs. Kaasa of Finnish extract for fourth grade.

My father bought a black-and-white television (TV) set and his children could now watch the Mickey Mouse Club and other TV shows in the age of Paddy Chayevsky and other creative intellects, like still-alive Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock. My older brother Larry was reading a lot of science fiction, such as the Foundation series, which I picked up and read. For me the most interesting sci-fi stories were about mind-reading and mind-control. We saw a movie called Forbidden Planet which changed my intellectual life. The crew of a space ship was on a planet where an ancient species, the Krell, had died out, but not before building an elaborate underground structure of passage-ways and machinery and power-sources. An officer from the space ship was being shown the control room of the Krell by an older man who had landed on the forbidden planet a decade or two earlier with his beautiful daughter. The old man showed the younger space traveller how to put on a headset and communicate with the machinery, but with the warning that the older man had been knocked out and thrown across the room at a first attempt to use the headset. Lords and netgods of the noosphere, they should'na done that. They should not have exposed little Mentifex to the idea of a direct brain-to-machine interface, especially not a mind-harness so powerful that it was damaging to the mind unready to use it. It could cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), which goes on all the time nowadays at American universities like the Univerity of Washington, where football is king and the Board of Regents does not at all believe that Student Lives Matter. No, at the U of money-grubbing W, only money matters, not the health and safety of the brains of student athletes. Somebody should sue the top officials of Football University and the collective and individual Regents for ignoring recent medical science and letting student athletes destroy their brains in the pursuit of short-term glory.

The monsters in Forbidden Planet, like the monsters among the addle-pated Regents of the university, were not visible in the daylight. The crew of the space ship had to establish a powerful perimeter of energy around the ship for the monsters to become visible. In the end, it turned out that the monsters were not external to the minds fearing them, but were actually a creation of those very minds imagining the monsters. Perhaps the Board of Regents of Football University should try to imagine a campus without football and without student athletes being carried off the field on stretchers with their brains and futures ruined. Where is that racist Reagan ("monkies from Africa", "not used to wearing shoes") when we need him to change his message from "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall" to "Mister moneybags UW Regent, DEMOLISH HUSKY STADIUM"?

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the Mentifex Autobiography at age:
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