Sunday, January 24, 2016

Post Haste

No, I don't really do this much anymore. I've lost the sense of anything to say.

This morning, having fallen behind on my email sweep, catching back up to my Netflix queue to be sure that I don't miss the chance to be entertained properly, noticing along the way that Stephen Hawking - very old news this - predicts some kind of perfect storm apocalypse thing, and not really caring to take the time to see if that's because of some artificial intelligence explosion, which I semi-gather he's against, or if it's just his joining in to the general malaise about our future. Wait! Did I lose my thread there?

It's just hard to believe that my email capacity for free storage will not catch up with itself sometime, and then I'll lose all the good stuff; those emails traded with actual friends which I sometimes re-read after a failed e-mail search and find myself sometimes refreshed, sometimes embarrassed. It's only a little more likely than to dig into that shoebox of old letters from girlfriends, but still, it's hard to just throw them out, you know?

It would have to be a law of nature that the quantity of SPAM, so called, collectively will overwhelm the free capacity so that I can be discouraged from deletion so that the AI monitors can see what are my marketable characteristics for the targeting of, well, more SPAM.

I know that there are AI algorithms which can and likely do reduce the actual storage space required for SPAM which goes out to the entire cosmos of inboxes to just one single e-mail note as if to one single inbox alone. Trivial! Even when it's personalized with my name on it, that's almost nothing.

But really I only spend a scant bit more time to keep up with this matter of personal responsibility than I do to check up on the snowstorm I missed because my smartphone reduces me to my local footprint of care, and I no longer watch TV. A friend was supposed to visit for a ski outing, and  I had no clue that he would be socked in down in NYC. What rock do I love (sick typo) under!?

Well, I mean, I don't really give a damn about the weather, mostly looking to be sure that there hasn't been another trade-center collapse equivalence, or nuclear lobbing or do I mean lobbying, but in any case there was at least a near miss, and I pass that one by on my way to my actual goal which is to spend some time reading an actual book. Sometimes it's just really hard to keep ones focus! And I still haven't gotten there, because I just care so much for you, dear reader in my dreams.

But since the book I'm reading - The Three Body Problem - is really hard in its original Chinese, I sometimes have to take a break from that to read a different book in English, which is pretty much like a glide down the bunny slope, and so of all things I did a quick read from a pdf even though I could have bought it on iTunes for $10, but I'd rather spend my $10 for a feature film to treat myself once in a while; I did a quick read of Bucky Fuller's Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which really everyone should read at least a few times in their (politically corrected) life.

This time around it was a bit disappointing, since he seemed to be pointing in the direction of what those Lord of the Flies evil kidlets at Google seem to want, adopting as their elder guru a crazy man, Ray Kurzweil, who's hardly scared of any stinkin' AI apocalypse, saying essentially "bring it on" because I'm going to live forever and so can you. Maybe. If you have the price for admission, right? I'm just still wary that Google may go out of business, delete delete so I can archive locally, delete. I can't keep up, and I still don't trust the AI, quite, delete.

But sure by that time storage will be totally, like, infinite, man, and totally free (does that mean ad-free too?). But they've been saying that since about forever regarding time, as in technological progress will erase scarcity and nobody will have to work anymore and our time will be our own, just like I can write endless emails without any postage except that if I write more than a screenfull not even my very best friends or even lovers (which I hardly bother with any more if you want to know the truth) can be bothered to read them. (So, I'm forced to bother you here!) It's the rhetoric which has changed, right along with the medium. Dear Mom . . . . I used to write. I can't be bothered even to call, and she can't write back anymore anyhow. Messaging is all we've got in the new media. Content. Empty.

Anyhow that was Bucky's point. That our "metaphysical" prowess will ultimately learn to leverage free solar energy and negate the necessity to despoil the planet by dirty extraction of our egg-white stored-up get-baby-started cache, which is fossil fuel. That's his metaphor, that mankind via the technology of the written word has only this very second cracked open our shell, but also that we have nearly exhausted the free ride our egg gave us while we learn to feed ourselves, except where's Mommy??

I was disillusioned to learn that Bucky himself probably invented the story of his near-suicide (this was some quick side-reading on Wikipedia) and how he calculated that in the broad infinite universe his wisdom was but tinier than a mite and how could he be so bold as to pronounce himself dead, so why not throw himself to the fates, which he did to great effect and so I must forgive him his narrative invention, apparently, of a voice from the blue. Yeah, I know, like why was it a male voice, right? Daddy never suckled us! Daddy taught us how to hunt eventually, but that was after we grew up already, and according to this particular story - Bucky's - we have yet to grow up, and so we have no business hunting! We can't be trusted with the Big Tool, by which he meant the bomb I think.

I don't know which part disillusioned me more, but in any case Bucky was pretty clear about how the pirates have occupied the board rooms, the controller cockpits of our spaceship earth, and I don't want to bore you about what he means by pirates since you really should read it for yourself. But in any case, those on the Bridge - as Star Trek used to call it - who are not the government officials who are beholden actually to them, these pirates; Bucky is clear that what they mostly do is figure out how to create more want, the illusion of scarcity in the midst of actual plenty.

Once you create more want, the rest is trivial which means calibrating the cost to stay out of the cold as just a smidge this side of terroristic, and certainly the cost to eat above the obesity diabetes level as blatantly terroristic, but with the price of oil incredibly dropping because keeping you on the move is the most critical piece. You have to be able to get to where you want to be, and it has to be not here! And you have to feel yourself too stupid actually, to be worth more than Wal-Mart, or was it Wall-E wages.

It's 7 degrees outside, alright? and I'm pretty happy just now to stay right here, and not so sure I would have wanted to ski anyhow, it's being quite this cold, although I did buy a nice new red ski parka which promises true warmth, hi tech warmth. I can't wear it though because once when I was a little boy and Mommy bought me a new red hat, I stuck my head out the car window just for the thrill of it and to copy my older brother who stuck his green one out, but mine flew off my head and down over the fence of the terrifying Skyway Bridge and gone forever and really I never did feel comfortable on that bridge, a kind of vertigo in my dreams.

I'm keeping it for inside use because it just costs too much to heat this place - OK, no I'm lying. My heat is included in the rent, yipeee, free ride, whooeeeeeeeeee! Calibrated 30% of income, and I'm on the high end of the denizens of this place.


Anyhow, the problem is apparently not how "metaphysically" clever we might be or might become because it's clear we've already figured out these technological tricks - these tools as extensions of our highly generalized capacity to leverage and solve problems in the physical world - way beyond even Bucky's imaginings, although he was pretty spot-on. He imagined the technology, but he also imagined that our use of it would be still that much more advanced into the realm of giving an actual damn.

The problem is how to get the pirates out of the boardroom. (Hint: Donald Trump is the embodiment of the pirate. You're forgiven if you cheer him on. We've been taught that way according to a highly elaborated curriculum.)

Part of the problem is that we've been tricked into believing that specialisation - divide and conquer basically - is the only way to get things done, when actually the most human thing about us is that we are generalists who can - by means of tool extensions to our interface with the world around and about us - specialize as need be and as circumstance requires it, but that our evolutionary survival as the fittest has been a generalists' proposition. The written word is restricted from no-one except as schooling makes it so, right? (Sorry, brief editorial comment)

(It's sunny now, I might lose interest and go skiing, sorry. Or perhaps you cheer me on?)

Anyhow, those boardroom pirates are just having a grand old time acting as though they could live forever in the sense that there is no house - nor number of houses - big enough, nor plane extravagant enough nor yacht gilded enough, nor fear of actual death and demise sublimated enough to keep them from their want of power.

I know, I know, that they must feel that they are protecting us from our benighted selfish and stupid selves, since they have proven to have so much more capacity to fulfil want, to amass wealth, to take the controls, Scotty, which god knows I haven't any clue about how to do.

Feel the Bern, feel the Bern, feel the Bern (advertising insert)

You see this endless snowball avalanche effect, right? Want building on want and it all goes back to Mommy's nipples, right? You still can't find them on TV, and the only really dirty word is cunt now, which yes it really should be, but, what, really? I mean really!

Nobody really thinks that war-machines are beautiful. Well, OK, I guess I do, in the abstract Star Wars sense of them. But in the particular, it seems an abomination and an atrocity of the first order that we build so many of them and still further that we sell them to the highest bidder, pirates as buyers and sellers both. Bucky talks a lot about that, and about how it's only at war that we ever have apparently infinite resources, but how we must scrimp and save and cut corners for education (schooling is in fine shape as a share of GDP), or at least keep it scarce by siphoning off the good stuff to those who wish to specialize to some artificial degree of separation from the rest of us though ironically we brand them as generally "excellent" or having special needs, generally speaking, and so the perfect becomes yet again the enemy of the good.

War as a concentrator of wealth. Technology as a concentrator of wealth. This is not what Bucky meant by the metaphysical trumping the real, for goodness sake. This is piracy!

But war does breed - and in this Bucky is at his best - the actual progress in technological development which can hold the keys to our survival. Well, except that he didn't quite anticipate perpetual war and its attendant terror which is meant to keep us all indoors, glued to the screen, glad we're not black or over there. Hmmmmmmm.

No, really the key is to get the pirates out of the control room. . .

As a kid, I already thought that the metaphor of  "spaceship earth" was wrong. It's the metaphor of the control room that's wrong. It doesn't matter who's in the control room, because Mother Earth is driving this thing, right? I want to stop saying Bucky, but I can't, sorry, but anyhow, Bucky was writing at about the same time as Rachel Carson (who manages to show up in just about every single piece of Chinese science fiction, although she's disappeared from our radar - it's funny how far afield you sometimes have to go to be reminded of your own roots. I don't think Buckminster Fuller is even on the Chinese radar at all, so far as I can tell. Too cranky? OK, wrong again, I just checked Chinese Wikipedia, he's there), and being a man maybe he was just a little bit over-impressed with his own engineering prowess.

See the egg thing was just a metaphor. Earth is not the egg. Or maybe Earth is the egg and the mother is "out there." But the point is that life as in the Star Wars Life Force (what a retro bore that new one was, a blatant, though really really good, marketing machine . . . ), but not really because that was still all about warships, in any case as in life is more powerful than these pirates. Well, sure they're going to die, the individual blackguards, but I mean the piracy movement. Life is more powerful than that too.

Which is pretty much why I've had to auto-delete all the political SPAM (you thought I'd already forgotten where I started with all this, right?), and I'm certainly not about to give my marginal living costs away as though I could make any difference to the political process (Sorry Bernie, and screw you Hillary, no wait, I love you Hillary, no wait, um, I just wish you were a little more maternal is all, but I didn't mean it. Honest!).

Want and fear, want and fear, and that's what I want to get away from. I want I want I want.

The sun is still rising. Fahrenheit exaggerated negativity approaches Celsius moderation or what's a meta for? Meme. Whatever.

I find extravagant hope in absence. The only thing absent is a loving "other," and I don't mean that space filled-in by that abomination of language, "God." The name that can be named is not the eternal name, say those clever and exam-and-rule-gaming Chinese. They do this by peculiar ambiguity of language. "The Dao that can be Daoed is not the eternal Dao" or the Way that can be Followed, or maybe "eternal" could mean "popular" or even "common," except that would be to exchange modern for archaic, which sometimes seems like a not-bad notion.

"God the Father" is so clearly the pirates' work, the patriarchy, the warriors, the control freaks, the wanters after nipples. God the Mother makes a bad trade-off.

Alright, look, I really don't want to go skiing because it just hurts. I'm old, I lack muscle tone, I don't feel like paying stupid amounts of money for goggles or a face-mask and it just hurts, OK? I'm going because I feel like I ought to go, like eating broccoli if it weren't produced by slave labor, more like eating from the life-sustaining golden harvest organic locally sourced foodie store, except I honestly can't afford to go there, and I'm not even poor or black.

I can talk all I want about the gas I'll burn to get there, but I know I need the exercise, I know, but truth be told I'd really rather just eat and drink and die however I feel like it, OK? I want someone else to take care of the externalities for me, OK, like maybe we could all just take a bus, OK, and sit by the fire and not be crowded out by too much noise, OK?

I know I know, it's because all I would want to do is eat and drink and maybe be a little bit merry that I have to be regulated and controlled and kept on a leash of salary and benefits, and a ski pass, OK, I know. I like to work, I do, but sometimes I do resent the compulsion to it. I want to want to ski, you know, but then I want to be young again too and know what to do about it, OK?

Where was I?

Mother dearest, She who is just there or you would not be here, and then you must push her away and she will be just fine with that. Not the Earth, certainly, who is kicking up quite a ruckus really, as in pushing us away for the stink of rotten egg, not some civilization from some other planet since the universal laws militate against our incremental chances to be in touch within Einsteinian limits not that nobodaddy's out there, I mean He most certainly is, according to the laws of probability, but he would need a mother too.

Let's call it Cosmos then, Mother Cosmos, She of the extravagant preparing of this field for implantation, accidental birth, gift of oil for the taking gathered up from sunlight by virtue of simply living. She who now speaks to me through accidental clusterings of language, of things that I happen to find as though they were planted there for me and me alone, for whatever else could it be, since I am not in control of so very much before its fact. Most of that which has meant much to me has come before me quite by accident, to be perfectly honest about it, although I work to claim it as my own.

Cosmic tellings take no time at all in their transmission. They are the impulse which precedes choice, the emotional basis for that which we rationalize after the fact as belonging to me and me alone, the choice was already made before we could take ownership of it, twinkle in your father's eye, seduced really, and willingly as though forever and evermore could be had in an instant.

Now I shall ski, dammit!

And another thing . . . .  oh crap, my nose is bleeding again, although I've gone off the coumadin in preparation for the colonoscopy, balancing risk against calamity for bankruptcy protection, it's probably just the intensity of the indoor heating. What a pain in the ass, sorry.

Thank goodness I don't need rubber gloves against my own blood, although I've had to use them to wash dishes to prevent cracks in the skin on my fingers. Yesterday I did ski, up against the setting sun, rosy perfection really, over Lake Champlain, just as the full moon, first since Christmas, was rising from the opposite direction. I've been there also while sailing on Lake Erie and it makes a conspiracy of love; yin/yang splendor over some reflective surfacing.

It hardly matters that these true or reflected lights were from some distant past, one - the lunacy - less so. It also hardly matters that you, gentle reader, are distant from me by coy refusal perhaps or general repulsion not wishing to accept the taste of me though you would if I were only prettier.

You are informed by constellations as they actually are in your life, and they are arranged also for you and you alone, since you are that distant from your smelly neighbor or even the lover who is temporally so sweet, by laws of physics which actually do prevent your occupying the same universe which makes a pretty good guarantee against eternity. Since it cannot be all one, although I am alone. I cannot occupy your space.

Your mother is just one big accident waiting to happen, conjecturally, since who can be so sure? Not me, that's for sure.

It's the accident of your birth that proves her being.

Aw to hell with all these engendered man-made artificially intelligent gods. Nature, by very definition has no beginning and so nature has no end. It's only Man who mismeasures things that way. Skinned against eternity for hold on just a minute now.

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