Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gently Let Go Past Sixty Limits

I got a speeding ticket, can you imagine? I am far too slow.

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

There is courage in age, since there is so little left to lose. And yet those things which would marshal our forces debilitate, sometimes starting with the memories, sometimes with the muscle, sometimes both together. Muscle memory is how we once learned to read and write, and now it has gone all digital. To the fingertips, as though they were the only thing which feels. Eyeballs the only parts which touch. Body is irrelevant if not for style and fashion, exposure, beware the bozone layer.

My memory and belonging(s) are distributed geographically, and blessed by grants of internal combustion I can still reassemble many of them, so long as I have a (willing) daughter along for the narrative ride. In the landscape I discover things which had and would otherwise disappear from my mind. The artifacts I’d constructed had a certain durability, as did architectural features of that landscape which would last at least a human span, stubborn.

Not in China, where political, social and architectural landscapes are designed for 40 year spans and memory is willfully erased, it was that painful or booby-trapped with foul infrastructure along a standards-free bumpy adaptation to global modernism. Tear it down and build anew before the internals announce their rebellion.

The modern always means that space where intention prevails, and beneath which slack lies buried. Where can Chinese memory persist in this so-called State of Amnesia, or is that our state? Our American means are still that much more powerful. Attention is pulled to screens and cowling covers the pounding recirculated explosive fossil-fueled engines of destruction. Only history retains projectile unrestrained exit velocity.

Now that children can deploy fissile-fueled energy generators, hadn’t we better re-examine the underpinnings? In China it does still seem more tragic that the written language did not deploy a mere 26 characters and a few more for the ASCIIng. Even to read, the motor memory was a necessary internalization as lightning fast an understanding of its construction could decipher running script and on the fly energize those recesses of mental processing. The qi would run the gamut of the body and out the brush tip, flowing onto a page, leaving traces not only for the mind, and it never did matter if they were written on sand, so long as they could be remembered, prompted, by some geographically relevant tracing, even if only in the mind.

Those things are gone for good, as soon will I be and not only because I share little intentionality with the crowd of us. These technologies we deploy so proud and freely are now become quite merely choice deferral engines, for their promise of no harm at some indistinct point in some future we can no longer even imagine without them. These technologies. And choice deferred is choice rendered up to those who would aggregate our labor inputs for their own well-intentioned enrichment.

It was never enough that the moral regulators keep our enthusiasms at bay. Preventing too much predation in the name of evermore Me. It is more important to feel powerless, to be made to feel, to be a consumer of feeling. Our memories and feelings are all digitized to some cloud to which we must be redirected, approvingly by boilerplate clicks, and owned by the Corporation to which by MicroSerf-like servitude our wages pledge allegiance and we do battle against our fellows in the its Name. We have so little choice and we need to buy new screening devices.

I would like you to cheer me on by Facebook imagery, showing me at my best while stumbling about the globes I circle. I am in love without objection, nor focal point for eyes or fingerings up yours.

And yet I rock. Cycle. Without intention without direction without destination, perhaps that frustrated along the way there were never enough breaks. Never enough slack line balance lost among the wired men.


There is no structure to intention. It rather comes upon a person all external according to accidents and happenings few of which we might control. And so the question remains that when you are the lucky one who can take the inputs of so many assembled others and deploy them on whose behalf why do you still want them all for yourself alone? And what, please god, would it take to entertain a different take, if not for the eternity into which you will not travel so vociferously.

You cannot trust that structure which fed you the goods, there is not enough bedrock scientific establishment of its reality and it was never luck alone so you might plant your flag on it, to claim it on the behalf of those who also crave the hilltops and buy tickets to watch you there. Advertisements of empire. Colonial predations upon your person, but nevermind. That’s all conspiracy.

And so if your mind were actually implicated in the reality you experience, you know, on the same model of where memories are stored and you only narrate a thread to pull them together across your life and times, as though that actually were reality. Not quite hallucination and not quite history which would be shameful if not revised, but something which gets to be called “you.” Hey!

It would not move if not for wanting. And there is terror in the system which would keep you wanting so much more by way of virtual reality constructed on the backs of mothers earth. What would happen if you were no longer subject to that terror?

The mind, you know, did not evolve from cosmic stuff in this direction. It was there at the beginning because however else would those particles be conceived? They have no particular existence but for someone’s taking their measure. Two alone can’t even interact perceptually once there are no further particulars to exchange. These particles exchanged define the forces, the outfielding or infielding, the toward or away which always depends on the priors for directionality. Ah, there is love and there is hate too down here below.

Those are only feelings. No perceptual measurable reality, but sometimes in mind alone you can know where something is heading and that it will forcefully interact at some juncture in your future. These too are real and from the beginning, as it were, no necessity to reside in God’s mind, having love only for the reality of our direction. Some things should not be named, if for no other reason that naming invites engendering and then control and intentionality. There is no intentionality to love. And gravity is just its artifact.

Among the masses there is scant exchange of anything particular at all to generate that geography of stickiness. It would be a force only in our mind if we could let go of discovering its secret exchange and fall for it. But for the embrace of those who could not care less.

It is still that easy to know with something approaching certainty where we are headed, if not how to make it so or not so as the case may be. Reality will not be seduced and yet it is our own personal intention which we are so desperate to augment so as not to fall subject to otherwise stark direction.

And still we make our choices by impulse. By indirection as much as by direction, and it is a felt need. As it was from any beginning that you might imagine.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dateline Shanghai, The Power Station of Art (Architecture)

How would one know if Shanghai is being built or being dismantled? Both are happening at a kind of break-neck speed. Both are keeping people occupied and employed. Both form a kind of artistry, for piles of rubble, driven piles erotically flowing shapes of no known human meaning except that they must be possible. Because they are. Today I did visit the Power Station of Art. It was raining and my back has been responding by spasming promising to take me to my knees or less. My own internal architecture bodes disaster.

Where, on the way that subway billboards seem 100% electronic, and so they can change at a moment’s notice or without notice or maybe someone plasters up new paper during my nights here. There was a one depicting cozy living space to fit a kind of company logo here:

On the nether side of the subway, wait. Never wait. You can see that this is a cute living space tucked into the shape of a cute kitty cat logo. But I wanted to live there, it's so cleverly arranged. Perhaps there might be a stack of them, although I couldn't remember where the doorway was until looking back at the photo. I think I did imagine that I could fly in from above.

I asked the gated community uniformed gate-keeper what was the almost uncreditably huge building there, after I emerged from the subway stop into a depleted landscape of rained out, and he asked me where I wanted to go. I said the art gallery, and still wondered about the bigger building because my GPS on American military satellites, I have to presume, was keeping me from needing actual directions.

I needed the other kind of directions, and he said "ships and shipping" and I said "Oahhhh . . . " in that Chinesey way which means something like a much longer dentist ahhhh, but pronounced in a way to simulate, well, marvel and understanding at the same time. Really. The scope can't make it through the photo, and it's a wasteland inside, though the designer claims on his site that this is one of the few pavilions which will remain open after the expo closes which is some time in the past now and isn't hardly.

And it gradually dawned on me that I was in the wasteland of only 5 years ago, the Shanghai Expo, which explained the strange combination of abandoned and falling apart with weeds reclaiming almost everything and aspirationally futuristic still. Explain would be the wrong term. Ohhhh . . .

And I'd thought this performance space was under construction, but it was not. It was being reclaimed from the top of the Power Station of Art looking down . . . .

But so how would I know what I was getting into, arriving with boatloads for shoes, sopping, and line of brand new Audi TT's perfectly parked and into whose tony space I could wander as clueless foreigners almost always can after getting a condom on my bumbershoot and checking it to keep the water out. In. I wanted to empty my shoes.

That's the view from above after I wandered skyward, and you can still see a yellow one of at least 50 which were strangely driven away in military precision after the proper audience started arriving from which I must have been excluded although by that time I ceased and desisted to care.

Since much to my astonishment and actual near constant tears which were most likely not because of my back, although I really couldn't tell since I keep falling to my knees, most of this massive one-time actual power generating station/plant which might have been removed for pollution control or for the expo same thing, was devoted to a series of architectural shows, once you got beyond the Czech Republic guanxied installation on the ground floor which started the tears flowing but had nothing to do with architecture except for calling attention to the space where it was installed. But it was stunning and like all of Shanghai, made me think that nothing really is going on in the US, except how would I know since I've been mostly in L.A. which might as well be China and I'm way out of date on Manhattan, where back in the day all this got inspired I still think. Maybe, be not proud.

It is a giant thermometer, actually, what were you thinking, but on let's say the third floor - and these "floors" are at least 30 feet high, or maybe 20, there was this Yona Friedman whom I'd never heard of but wished that I had, because his was called "Mobile Architecture" and composed a cosmology of spaces and urbanism and how we know ourselves by our feelings in our spaces, which was art worlds distant from cute for sure. And I would have paid big bucks for one of his books, but none contained all the expressions which were on the wall, and I thought it would be just crass to catalog them for my little self, so here you go . . .

Where down at the end, I don't know if you can see it, the one of perhaps a dozen aphorisms says that "The Universe Consists of Infinite Micro Events, Each of Them is More Important Than Are Large Ones" which about sums it up you'll have to take my word for it, but it's close or nearly there. After a kind of "in the beginning . . . . " in near Chinese Tao De Jing prose, from realizing that you are small and small is bigger than big but without any others you're nothing and so forth. Next room was a workshop space where people did construct some universes . . .

Which I will leave diminutive in the interests of space. Then sandwiched above the creampuff work of Andy Warhol's buddy Michael Chow whose affectations put me off a just bit, although I swear I saw his father perform a breathless seminar on Peking Opera back when he would have been about 90 talking moving leaping and never losing voice. "Voice for my Father" was the celebrated work, and it was far too wonderful to linger, honest, because by this time passing works of Julian Schlabel and Peter Blake and Ed Ruscha Keith Haring and so many more was more than I could take and so I thought why not to the top floor and who and who should be there but Renzo Piano represented by his many designs in another workshop style and I about died so I went outside on the roof or tried the almost empty by rain (there was epic flooding but how would I know, so much of my time VPNing out of country) museum cafe which seemed lovely but I didn't want to affect that I knew what I was doing here there.

This vaulting beauty and you can't help but think of Ayn Rand, the asshole, as something which cannot possibly still exist in Shanghai, not in China yet where beauty remains an afterthought for somewhere beyond the 40 years that things are built for and before the 99 year terminal lease runs out. Unless Gensler designed it which about says it all in the realm of yeah but it's sustainable and green, right! It has to be sustainable, which pretty much says what it says about little and big. Could a grass hut bee LEED? Certified?

So do they still need some God aspirationally installed at the root of what was hacked out generationally ago? Is that the difference? God no, I hope not and don't think so because it still has to be the Qi even without knowing about it, at least they don't have to go through the stages of many to one to gendered to disengendered to beyond God our Father projected on infinity which is way more than an affront to the sensibilities anymore. Really?!?! Behind the scenes is this, Brazil:

A mountain of raw technology. I ask all the time the secret of China's growth and I get the obvious answers, mostly leaving out the consumer grant of factotums from the US factor; you know the gap mind the gap with catch-up played that much more quickly than the original tune a nod to education which has always been important but now is really just a game, and my conclusion is that it's just flow. We were once and ever shall be, world without end, but it's coming now.

The traffic in China works this way: You are only responsible for what's in front of you and you might sound your horn if you're pushing from behind, but rear-view is meaningless and if you hesitate while the hoards are exiting the subway you just won't get on, and you have to lose the feeling that there's something rude about that little diminutive thing who pushed right in your front. Because you failed to do your part and slowed the whole parade, which isn't quite the same as paying dull attention to your smartphone as people push you through and over and in. Mind the gap. The smartphones miraculously continue to connect underground, or people might look up and do something other than the smile they grant their phones and niceness all around you.

I do think that some room for reflection wouldn't hurt a bit. But they need to clean my room now. No nevermind. How? I must decamp. It's just desserts, fried banana, fired with ice-cream, in Shanghai, really, toast of the chef and no charge to me. We are fiends now on WeChat.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bonelli FengShui Cycle

Crossing a hundred
Today my share of real adventure
Melanoma excised recently from Mom's face
Spinal tapped bro bike plant
Tire hopping traffic stops
Here in dessicanso SoCal
Where dirt roads
Function as public/private divides and
No one rights copy for this place
Which could explain why
They allow outboards, hell they allow inboards
On a pequish lake that could be pretty
Enough to allow
Monstrous McMansions overlooking
Footprint adjusted up for riff-rafters
Siphoned off to curated
Raging WatersPark
There are remains of cowboys
Ski planes, jet skis, the shouting in the valley
At least in Buffalo you can fail
And be noticed
You can die
And be other than windscrape
But still
There might be meaning

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You're So Smart!

I have a very bad habit of indulging obsolete equipment. I rooted the Kindle Fire I bought my daughter the day before it was obsolete, which was the day after it was launched and orphaned. She couldn't figure out what to do with it other than to read books and watch videos which she has plenty of other ways to do. For me, as long as I don't visit tech stores very often it seems fine. I have to resist that lust for speed, since as regards functionality, my rooted Kindle is more up to date than the ones in the stores - thanks free and open sourcerers!!

Before that I ran old small laptops, although to be quite honest my now newish Windows laptop can bog down like a champ against the ebola plague of constant updates. This new champ reminds me of myself, struggling to wake up or stay asleep, and never quite in its moment. Meanwhile, Apple is the champ with profits - more than all other PC makers combined nevermind market-share - which just goes to show that controlling the overall experience is where it's really at. If you have the money to support the habit - theirs or yours!

For some reason, the Yudkowsky Kurtzweil krewe is in my face again with their brand of clever to beat all clever, which always seems functionally identical to extinction to me, the way they put it. I know I'm smarter than they are, since I ran a school for kids with IQs higher than theirs if you want to measure things that way, and by definition my numbers had to be better or I wouldn't have survived. I certainly deployed no power! I was dispositionally oppositional to lording it over anyone I think.

I could be wrong.

It's natural that these guys get the attention since we're all geeked up and excited about Internet of Thinginess constant calibrations for our lives. It's harder than ever to trust in luck anymore since you have so much choice against it, even while the world melts down around us or, per Kurtzweil, it only seems to do so since really it's just getting more intelligent and the rescue will be as surprising and instantaneous as Christ's return. Within the margin of error of megavitamins, really, if they don't kill you first. I guess you have to pick your God and go with it.

But there sure is something funny in our read of evolution. To me, the main import of various recent discoverings seems opposite to what they otherwise seem (hmmmm). So we catalogued the human genome and mainly discovered that we're mostly populated by alien DNA in the form of bacteria and other goodies. And that this collection of not-us can be more instructive of our dispositions than the us-stuff.

The other thing is that we've learned more about epigenetics, which should have been obvious if we were to think about it, which we never did. Our time-scales are way off. I mean when you breed goldfish or dogs or people for that matter, you aren't moving along the evolutionary processes. For the most part, we're removing choice individuals to meet some determination of cute, which probably makes those choice individuals less survivable without us. And it turns out, duh, that these choices are heritable but not in the sense of genetically different. It's all in the expression! Dead higher ends for Jesus and for me!

So the other thing which my technological devices bring to my front and center are endless stupid discussions about how less than super intelligent people can contribute to society's advance, and I'd thought we'd gotten rid of those questions along with Hitler. (Humble smart people always say it's hard work and not clever that gets things done, but you don't really believe that, do you?)

But no, it seems that intelligence is fairly automatically thought to accompany evolution as in that's why humans are so ascendant, and if you're unclever or ugly or as in my case just obsolete, then you're pretty much a footnote to the process and not central. This happens via Quora, by the way in case you're interested in the technology, which seems to translate as "magnet for people who think they're so smart."

The thing is really that it's luck which determines survivability on the evolutionary scale. The main thing about humans qua humanity is that we've shifted the environment. Those well-bred are just those who have adopted to the new environs, mostly because they're cute and breedable, which is sometimes internalized as intelligence. You know, those with the choice not to suffer any more slings and arrows than they, ahem, choose.

Like jumping out into the muck would be just crazy, man!! All praise wealth to whatever dead-end it leads us, because at least I get my shower!

But the muck is where it happens, rock and rollers, and that's where most of humanity lives and breeds if never prospers. So here's my root question to myself at least since by now I've lost you for sure: are the lucky the survivors or have they - the lucky - been shunted off onto a breeding dead-end, like breath-challenged pugish dogs? I mean one way to define the lucky is in relation to this clearly unsustainable "artificial" environment at whose end these inbreds mostly perish one would think and mostly instantly if they don't beat the suck me up to the eternal machine-mind endgame of Yudkowski and his ilk.

What would evolved humanity look like if it's to be founded in the muck? Viz the singularity types, I also think humanity is defined beyond the flesh, but unlike the Abrahamic religionists the singulars ape so well, I'm not so interested in that kind of soul. My humanity, if I can be so bold, is the civilization riding on social being which ultimately seems to depend on something rather more than clever or virtuous individuals. I guess it's all about where the boundaries get drawn, and I'm not a fan of ethnic or racial definitions either. Which leaves me rather primitive, like, back in the realm of the Golden Rule or its negative Chinese better.

So, luck is what you make of it most say, and if you're tied to the world as we've created it your luck is about to run out, right? Whether or no some soul-analog gets sucked into eternity. These nutty singularists even have their own version of taboo now, as in you don't want to offend the great AI in the sky.

Cheeesh. It's always seemed clear to me that religion is a manly patent on God, which is just plain wrong! Dinosaurs also must have felt proud before their end, if we want to project pride. Perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to patent our conclusions. What's cute to us is bound never to be cute to eternity.

So, in my humble judgement as we Internet poser falsies like to say, IHMO, INRI, whatever, it's about the civilization we choose to inhabit, inherit, promulgate and propagate, which is surely not the one we celebrate now. The one we have is running on automatic, just the way we would have it do since we're so damned afraid of choice that we've left the kids in charge.

(I just read Tim Geithner on crisis management, which is a seriously good book though wordier than the Bible by far. It's a nice corrective against the notion that you knew anything at all about what was happening when it was happening by a decent guy with normal intelligence. Just in case you want to know where I'm coming from.)

But then I have no breeding either.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Is the Big O really a Big Zero?

As usual, I have to bury an embarrassing post - with another embarrassing post!

But like a lot of us out here among the  populist reality fringe, I've lost enthusiasm for our president. It's the extrajudicial killings. It's the huge and increasing numbers of Americans - just as authentically so as you and me - who have been exiled to parts South just because they lack papers. It's the fracking orgy, and the loss of net neutrality and the campaign finance limit dams all broken. Obama administration policies on education are nightmarish from an educator's perspective. But mainly it's because I've had cause to examine Obamacare up close and personal, and there's almost nothing there to like unless you're an insurance company.

In simple terms, the "markets" do nothing for someone who's not a corporate person. It could be that there's no price transparency in medicine, it could be that just like Chinese restaurants, there's a kind of sliding scale according to how well initiated you are, or it could be just plain rot at the neoliberal core.

I remain confident that President Obama is a nicer fellow than GWB, and I hear his lament that without pressure from the electorate there's very little he can do. But I have removed myself a few times over now from all the incessant mailing lists trying to get me riled up about this or that atrocity committed by the far right. It's certainly not that I don't agree with most or even all of the positions. It's just that the money seems to make everything worse. And I agree a lot of the time with the far right wingers that I know and love.

So, let's say that the moneyed right wing really does have a strangle-hold on our political system, which of course it does. We then have this awfully perverse situation where a bespoke President like GWB can actually be milder in his policies and especially in their implementation than an honest to goodness person like Barack Obama.

It seems that this is because of the compromises which must be made just to be in his position, and a kind of honorable logic which says that we must actually attempt to do whatever it is that we set out to do. So that if we say that we will enforce the borders, then that's exactly what we will do and without all the small time wheeling and dealing which must have gone on under various Republican administrations to preserve the difference between what they say they want and what they actually want. In the case of immigrant labor, they want it abundant and cheap while still needing to maintain the quasi-populist outrage at the illegal entrance.

But in the case of anything at all - education for instance - there simply isn't time and space to get down to anything like real research-based knowledge, and so we get the foul sausage which results from politicking the solution. Bullshit by any other name.

For so long as the electorate is divided, money wins. That's true if you're getting the big money now let loose by SCOTUS, or if you're Organizing for America making your appeals for micro-cash through Twitter.

As anyone knows who's been shopping lately, there's very little difference among ticket-size for items as they get bigger. We buy cars "below invoice" and cheaper than they were a decade ago, and it's apparently worth chasing all over town for pennies on the dollar for whatever tech device du jour we crave.

But when we're buying dongles and breakage insurance and cables and stuff from the drugstore, we hardly notice that the markup may be several hundred percent. It's beneath our notice, even though the same amount of money would have sent us scurrying across town or to the Internet to get a better deal if it were, say, $10 discount on a tablet computer, versus the $20 markup for a USB charger.

As anyone knows who's watched the Wolf of Wallstreet, or has been paying attention however slightly to the news for the past few decades, it's the junk bonds where the real money is to be made and the manipulations to be amplified. It's the velocity of transaction which leaves the rest of us out of the game.

The big stuff which we actually spend time to research comes cheap! As in I sure do wish they had Chinese-made power tools for carpentry when I was rehabbing my old sailboat. But in just the way that our trade deficit gets filled in by Chinese investments in our economy, the "cost of living" (by which I mean how about rent and gasoline and insurance and food) fills in any and all gaps created by the incredible dropping prices for goodies. Mind the income gap, please!

But along with paying for the privilege now of letting banks use our money (if we're not filthy rich) comes the ultimate insult that somehow Twitter can actually make an amazing amount of money on each of our tweets which we think we get for free! Ariana Huffington did the same thing with bloggers. We provide content and market share and someone else owns the title to it because of some language we thoughtlessly clicked our assent to.

When did we go through that looking glass? At what point did each of us stop being responsible for what gets carried out in our names?

These days I can still barely reconstruct myself, though I’m old enough that I can’t remember what I wrote down when. Does that mean absolution? Like on that DVD they granted me of my CAT-scan once because it would be more likely to show up where it’s needed in my hands than if they tried to keep it and file it, I still mostly recognize myself in that ghostly picture inside my head. Like who wouldn't know their own signature?

(But I have no device that can read that DVD anymore, so I left it behind somewhere like DNA on a doorknob. Uh, fingerprints.)

Who knows how many narratives I've cast out, but I can see they’re me. It’s not just the shape of the skull, but even maybe the vague weight of the flesh which surrounds it, the vessels in their squiggles, bloodshot through with tracer fluid. It just looks like me is all. But you wouldn't recognize your own fingerprints, would you? 

There must be some peccadillo there somewhere I’m not thinking about now, though it’s hard to shake the vague certainty of guilt, even when it might only be a dream. 

The normal wear and tear out along the peripheral capillaries that the Doc told me about isn’t where the flaws will be; you don't even need those for recognizance. Just ordinary memory loss.

But you know, when my government does extrajudicial killing in ways secret not just from the people, but from our representatives and when the intelligence committee members are themselves sworn to secrecy about it, what are we out in the capillaries supposed to do?

I feel complicit to any extent that I want some new gadget when the rest of world wants food. What would I do if only God were watching?

What if everyone in the country had the courage not to work for anyone who wasn't interested in their opinion? That would surely break the regime of terror, except that we're all too terrified to try it. Union!

I am winding back to where I must have started. Zero. Mom calls each day now to worry that it’s been a long time since we caught up, and she understands that she must no longer drive. Too sad really that I have no place to house her, though she spends more in a year to be maintained in style sufficient to her expectations than I have or ever will earn. So it must be just desserts.

OK, so turning outward where will I go, and not to end up that way. When will there be a zero at my center? And can I buy some kind of insurance to be certain that some simulacrum of me won't persist after the responsible me is no longer? Who will be making use of me after I'm not?

Doubtful about the insurance. The increments are too small. The progression not smooth. The very moment when Zeno passes my Zenith is harder to track than the price of the latest gizmo. Somebody will have made an awful lot more money on my soul than I was ever willing to sell it for, that much I know for certain.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Newsflash! iFixit Sells Out

Not exactly news, unless you think it's news that, hello, blond babes driving expensive leather upholstered SUVs with snorkels for underwater driving didn't marry for love. But it's still a heart breaker. At least the guy cashing out told it like it is; "everyone has his number." He didn't think anyone could go that high, but Apple did. Apple has no limit, and iFixit was spit in their iPhone.

The story is so purely Orwellian though, and if it's a wink out to those of us who still read actual books, I still wanna puke.
Apple made a commitment to produce the most replaceable electronic devices and personal computers on the market. This is a clear win for the whole iFixit community.
Sure, well they've got a point, right? I kept my workplace iPhone for three full years almost, though the upgrades made it feel older than that. My little bit for the environment, like driving cars into the ground - my specialty.

Work phone. Funny, when my computer shut down at the very moment that I thought I was going to have a discussion about some difference of opinion, that exactly how I felt when I read this news. Thank goodness for the Apple find-your-phone remote wipe feature. When the end comes, there's no dignity to it.

Not too long ago, at the inception of this Catalytic Narrative name-space, I thought it would be a good idea to lose my inhibition for a while. That can be a bracing experience, mostly because if you don't make it to the ranks of people whose voice is heard, you must endure the stultifying experience of being quietly ignored. Hey, what's your number, babe?

It's not that you're standing naked in public, which you are of course though who should be embarrassed by that, Adam? We all look the same underneath except for Noah who didn't want even his sons to see him naked. That was before locker rooms, though somehow there was already steel and brawn, according to Aronofsky. Anyhow, it's more like you're busking on some streetcorner and you're trying to stay secure in your sense that you have anything to share at all. Do I have on the wrong clothes?

But along comes the Oculus Rift (really?!), more news of quantum computing, following on the heels of gravitons detected while waiting for the next round of God Particle higher energy precision. Autism spikes and we don't know whether that's a measurement effect either.

Epigenetics messes with our Bell Curve certainty that you can't inherit earned enhancements; that only reproductive sexual proficiency gets passed along. And just what do you think will be the first real money-making with those VR Goggles? Holy criminy, and the global warming announcements proliferate!

The reality which grandma likes inside the CGI world is clean and pure and airbrushed beyond, um, actual reality. Here in SoCal, we get a reasonable facsimile, so long as we stay higher than the valleys and don't require public transportation.

Plus we get all the cool movies first, and now that it's all digital everywhere, it doesn't even matter where you go to get them! Stay home, stay put, and bask! You could die on the highways, especially if it ever rains! (It's raining!!!) They say the big one is coming.

David Brooks now confidently asserts that people getting filthy rich has nothing to do with the masses dropping ever lower into abject poverty within our very own boundaries, and so I suppose this VR world into which we'd all apparently like to crawl has nothing to do with the devastation we impose on our actual planet, right???

And we thought Brooks was the good guy conservative, just like Bill Gates looks relatively OK now after the new boys took over town. I mean, who is Jaron Lanier working for now, huh?? How many dollars equals a soul exactly?

Yes, OK, I'm unemployed again, which makes it a lot easier to stand on street corners and croon since it's all relative, man, it's all relative. My daughter shortly (that's not her name, stupid! Pay attention to the caps.) will graduate from the world's best law school, and I have to find some words to stand in for the gift I suddenly can't afford. That's hard!!

Yeah yeah, I know get a job asshole! I owe on the premise of what I should be making. I'm free, white and twenty one or more, so what's my excuse?

Well, I'm a stickler - three finger salute and no reading between the lines - and there are limits to what I'll pledge or do for money. Circle Jerk.

Lately, since we can now understand that Animal Farm (which I just re-read, not incidentally), is not about Chairman Mao's China, nor Stalin's Russia, nor even Putin's New Russia, but is a rather precise recitation of the terms in place in the New American Workplace place, I count being out of work as a kind of badge of honor. Well, I mean I'd like to.

(Together with a Party Executive from China - the actual one in charge of political rectitude among the Chinese athletes during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, no shit! -  together with her fellow elementary school teachers, I did witness fifth graders reading and discussing Orwell's Animal Farm in Rafe Esquith's classroom, so I assure you that there is hope, Pandora! I hope I don't get him fired for that, but I think folks know that his breaking the rules has something to do with his students' incredible accomplishment . . . anyhow, that's my proximate cause for the re-reading, as I recently gave a talk on the topic of US/China classroom comparisons and remarked the wonders of classroom 56, replicated precisely in China as a kind of totem of no reality whatsoevermore since they also ape his teaching and miss its essence  . . .)

I feel your pain, bro, but can you feel mine? I've been struggling across at least 31 years now to tell a simple story, and I ask you how would you feel if you discovered something as Big as the God Particle (see, like that's a really funny line right there) and you can't figure out how to tell anyone about it? I know how those end of the worlders pandering Jesus on some campus must feel, I really do.

Except that when you see earnest scholars now hunched over in conversation, they're much much more likely to be studying the Bible than Sartre, which is pretty sad if you ask me. But that's just me, since I'm not jaded. Which is the most amazing thing in the world if you were really to look at it. OK, so I don't know how they feel, since they are part of a really big success story, which I'm not.

And I, quite apparently, can't tell a story to save my life!

But if you are still mystified about what to believe and what not to believe, have I ever got a tale for you! You don't have to do higher maths, and you don't have to read everything under the sun and you don't have to suspend judgment or relinquish skepticism or (does a "relinquish" belong here??) trust in the machines they use to true the world out there. Honest!! You don't even have to buy in to Jesus, although I've been told as a last ditch pitch that it makes a good insurance policy . . .

Once not so very long ago nor far away, we could actually trust one another, not because we were better people really, but more because there were rules in society which people weren't very likely to break. These rules, like the laws of physics, didn't say anything about how people would have to behave, but they did describe the vast majority of perceived social reality. Like if you were married, and you kept your family secrets secreted you would stay married, for example.

But now, I think, you constantly evaluate your partners in every plane of your existence in case maybe they're not the best or the brightest or the most internally airbrushed for your perpetual satisfaction, and so naturally we want to disappear from time to time into some virtual reality. (Myself, I decided to pick up the latest Pynchon novel, since Amazon refunded me the cost for it upon losing some price-fixing lawsuit I had no time to participate in or even to know about if you want the truth of the matter)

People think it's funny to let you know that the NSA might be snooping the emails they send you if you check out the most popular signature line now, and I don't find it funny at all. It's probably about the only thing we can be certain of!

That and what I'm about to tell you for the trillionth time. Trust, faith, God - these are all things beyond the reach of metric reality. They can't be touched or proven or reliably depended on. In their essence, the words "refer" to emotional reality.

If you've ever tried to read me it's perfectly clear that words confuse as much as they clarify! Most of the time, unless you watch The Cove which I actually did the other night (you won't be surprised to learn), we think of emotion as a purely human quality. Or at least we suppose that it doesn't make its appearance in the cosmos until pretty far down along the evolutionary line after the advent of life.

But apart from the fact that action at a distance without the mediation of time and particles remains an impossibility, I think it's really hard to talk about time's progression, and quantum computing be damned!! (So far as I can tell, the only really useful thing to come from quantum computing is the possibility for eternally secure communications, which is why the NSA funds it I think (but cannot know!).

In every real sense, Goldilocks, we were already present at the Big Bang, and now we have the measurements to prove it. Of course, as with any big explosion, we had to be pretty far away in space-time or, well, um, we'd, yeah . . .

But if emotion is that which isn't mediated by particles nor forced, and if it doesn't even depend so much on time's progression, then it too was already a function of the cosmos at inception. We simply have to define it properly as the virtual-reality observation in mind alone of eventual contact between perceptual objects moving toward one another but not yet in, um, perceptual contact with one another.

Of course the difference from virtual reality is that there is no control; no CGI scripting. Emotion depends on real reality, no matter how much we bawl at the movies.

But mind and emotion are and always have been and always will be part and parcel of reality "out there." Which is to say that there is no ultimate reality "out there," since there's always something which we project and impose and pay attention to specifically. It's that which causes the directionality of history, if history has any such thing, and it's that which defines the shape of fate, which is never accidental in the first place and certainly not in retrospect!

I know the only compelling narrative is a delineation of the first person, from whatever remove. First person shooter narratives being apparently the most compelling! Except that we're about to end all it by virtue simply of our inability to trust. It's our control which will do us in.

Power is not a virtue, to make another nice contradiction in terms.

Well, back to Pynchon. At least he knows how to be clear!!! I wonder if he looks like Aronofsky; if he wears a moustache sometimes??? Nah, I'm probably just being punked. Let's see what the New Yawk Times has for April 1 . . . .

Sunday, November 24, 2013

All is Lost

This is not narrative. You have to watch it hard to make poesis happen. You will feel it near to happening to you. It will not carry you along to its conclusion.

Like I am sick. Very very sick. My disease will kill me, but not tomorrow or the next day. These are emotional illnesses, in the plural which all now have physiological solutions for the hulk of me. I eat too much, and it's not a matter of my appetite. There is some emotional lack; some craving. I drink too much, especially when up against it and in need of my full wits. I am self-indulgent. I stop at 35 pushups now. Schlump. It will be sad to watch me sink were I the one doing it.

Not so sick, at least not anymore, that I need some Prozac-descended magic, but you know I'm sick the way that the earth is sick. Not twelve-step program sick, but moving in that direction. We all know what we should do, but we can't do it. Walking out of the United Nations talks on global warming because nobody will make a decision and we're too powerless to make a decision. All of us, even collectively or especially collectively. Our leader is a disappointment. So was Lincoln (I watched that film again last night with malice aforethought).

Certainties fall like the price for computing cycles per nano-second. I'm so certain that Google is brain-dead fixated on an old Platonic dream of virtual reality made real, just like Richard Swinburne who I saw the other day. Some supposed brilliant analytical philosopher who's still wondering if God is necessary. Innocent of all physics which solves Zeno in a much more clever way and not as Swinburne had to suppose since logic dictates ever more minuscule divisions of time or space. Reality denied. There is no perfect conveyance for our soul.

Innocent of anything Eastern, and so just rehearsing one among infinities of mental chess matches which can be deployed by the adept. But I was just too certain that Google was truly pursuing a self-driving car because we just can't let go of our individualistic personal God cares for me individually drive which will destroy the earth, most especially if we find some really cheap form of heat-energy.

But I read this New Yorker article about the Googleplex (just how do they keep their peculiar tone across so much time and so many different authors?) and it seems maybe they do have a vision, Google. That we won't need individually to own cars when they can drive themselves and we can just use them when we want to and fly in flocks to advantage the drafting the way bicyclists do while racing. I'd thought they weren't even working on networking the cars, but of course, duh, cars are merest analog for smart network packets.

But these dreams are of what? Sure I always want some newer and better gadget, but isn't there so much noise that my actual being can't hold that proverbial candle to off-the-grid? Or afloat alone beyond the horizon? How can they double my internet bill for loyalty! I was a sucker in the beginning and now they own me.

The geneticists were certain too until they took a good look at dog and goldfish breeding and had to wake up to the evident fact that these massive phenotypic variations were taking place in time slices far shorter than evolutionary. And that even certain acquired or learned changes can be inherited by mechanisms of enfolding.

And surprisingly enough again once we start cataloging the human genome, we get symbiotic parasites along for that ride too when we start checking out the bacteria inside us and then discover, say, that the contents of our stomachs might have something to do with our personalities, and so God sure is a trickster when he cares for each of us, soul-wise, if we can be so different according to what we eat or maybe how our emotions change the chemistry of our stomachs. You get the point.

And how can post-post critical theorists go gunning for the Nobel prize, I really want to know. Because, I mean the anti-prior-knowledge anti-privileging of point of view goes so anti-individualistically against the grain for prizes. But the world is mostly irony, and so I suppose must God be. Still.

My problem is that I'm just not sufficiently money-motivated, or else I'd have some. I'd still have my boat afloat. But really you know I have enough, and too bad if I go and make crazy decisions like going back to make another attempt at a Ph.D. at my advanced age, as though it could do me any good. But I don't do it for me, I do it for you, you know, which is pretty damned cheeky of me if you were to ask me. As though the certificate actually means something as sound as a dollar.

Money is a life-force, at least as much as bacteria in our guts, the way it manipulates hormones and mediates so much that no matter how much style we have we still all look the same and will never be so bold as to look the way that indigenous people can without the imperial us behind borders that individualize even as they homogenize. Ironic, no?

Well, and my abstracted memory sucks too. I hardly ever remember if I saw that movie before, and which of my loves among the spectrum of children through friends and lovers I saw it with. Or visited which place, though if I un-abstract my memory by travelling the literal memory lane it's all still there. I've tried it. It's true!

And still I throw things out, which is pretty much the same then as discarding myself or allowing those digital photos to continue to pile up though I never ever look at them. Do you?

I mean, if there isn't something at my core and center then there is no I there, but still I can lay no real claim to genetic ownership of the family tree if its all mitigated by freaks of accident. And why choose this narrative over some other? It's the bugs talking. Listening in.

At the core of humanity, there would be God, analog to Chinese heart-mind though that particular locution is a radially humanistic one and not divine. You have to work for it. Which is back to my disease of self-indulgence; a treat for the fictional "I" that has no right and plenty of work to do now. But I'm really smart and so entitled and why should I have to earn my keep when looks alone suffice? If you're Robert Redford, maybe.

But we don't even allow for the existence of emotion apart from some human birthright, and how ironic that I do, cosmically, acknowledge the primordial existence of emotion even apart from humans right alongside fundamental particles which aren't even particles or even strings so much as they remain projections of conceptual certainty no matter how complicated and outered the machines for their detection since we can't quite disimplicate our selves. Nor draw a boundary where we end.

We are infiltrated, and pure full-blooded Americans are exiled away to Mexico because they don't hold patent papers on their precincts and are supposed to belong there, just like the criminals in my genetic past. Right?

I did watch, and oh how self-indulgent or maybe it's just my age cohort now since it was before 11 AM, that new Robert Redford film of the old Robert Redford. All is Lost, right?

I've seen that movie before. It's my life. I've drowned. I've died. It's your life if you're still alive because there have been so many close calls. But the sailboat, not quite up to perfect snuff and Redford old and tired, and you really can't tell if he just doesn't care to live or if he's too tired in a physical way.

My absolute favorite scene is when he shaved. Like at least you don't have to wonder the way that I always do how come the desperate guy hasn't grown a beard after so many days. And it explains why his manual bilge pump has lost its lever, or he just hasn't gotten around to replacing it.

None of it matters until it does, and boy let me tell you I did things a lot stupider on my old boat than Redford did on his there, no matter that shore was just over the horizon for me it was still to far to swim for. Or cold, he was never cold.

But we will all get to that point soon, and I don't suppose the Googleplex will clever us out of it, since they're not really all that clever. They can't be. They're too young and have spent too much time on things that aren't quite real. And then there's the money. A drug which prevents real search. Research. Which is why you hire youngsters in the first place. Callow cleverness is so cheap.

I mostly hear Johnny Cash on his final cut. Standing in for beauty. We have to feel and want our future if it is to become real. And I'm still too damned lazy to ride a bike to work. No time to train. I startle myself awake, like Ambien against thought-coma. And so attenuated from what I never was again. Give me a hand.