I effected an experimental viewing of Westward, where 3D printed human simulacra provide the free labor to entertain over-wealthy humans manifest in our lowest forms. From where did the emotions spring? As though these too could be printed out. They are programmed, these simulacra, not to hurt a fly, and so a natural conceit for exploitation by HBO is a fly crossing an eyeball without a blink. Where's the empathy in that?
Heading into a hard Vermont winter (it has to be, since last year was so mild) my apartment is inhabited with what appears to be a single fly. It has been living for days now, living on what I have no way to know.
Of course I want to kill it, since it bothers my ears and the hairs on my limbs, thicker now than those on my head which it bothers also, but I make my peace since agitation gets me nowhere. I assume it will die before long. Et moi?
I'm reading American Sphinx and finally understand the self-deceit toward personal compromise which Jefferson made to preserve his landed estate, his composed self-being, in the face of ever-mounting indebtedness to creditors back in detested mother England. He treated his slaves well, but could not figure how to keep going without them. He made them hard as nails, he made them make nails. He could not let go of himself.
Last night I watched Lo & Behold, Werner Herzog's new version of Grizzly, a meditation on the scant humanity composed by the race. It documents our chief scientists and industrialists in charge, who cannot loose what cultivates their self aggrandizement either. I stayed for the panel afterward, but soon discovered that not a soul chosen up there had the wherewithal to have watched the actual film. It was hardly "about" the Internet or technology, though it did seem to be. It was about faces in contact with the wild, and postures by words, and suppositions needing to be exposed.
The panel thought they were to be privileged futurists, blandishmentizing the assembled highly intellectual and skeptical crowd about the wonders of our certain future. VR! Joy without stink and crowd! Connected things! God how boring. I think they might have misread their audience as their inferiors in matters human and technological. How does one select?
There were some in film who thought that Internetting looses the lowest forms of our collective being. Hating literally to death. A newest form of cruel play, not against simulacra, but against real humans on the other end of the connection. Forgetting perhaps that pre-teens are also wired and still don't yet believe that their actions have consequence. My own daughter started hating the woman shouting in front of a theater showing Brokeback mountain until I remarked to her that this woman appeared to be institutionalized in her mind. Give a break!
These hurt humans were filthy rich and stared Stepford-like across the camera across perfect store-bought looking baked goods, probably baked at home along with perfect makeup and hair. for the camera across which they stared. Only beautiful Tinder fodder can be wronged by Internet postings of their wanted nakedness shames. Leslie Jones rocks!!! (but I indulge the same evil by shaming the hurt white rich folks. I need the same empathy I have for my little fly now and it would be an improvement sure, and I'm working on it).
I flame no-one but myself, praise Jesusuh.
I prepare to set forth by light trailer. It is equipped with heater and air-conditioner, and should provide sleeping space as I deploy my disposition to wander. I worry about where I may park, and how close to cities, since that is where my interest lies but cannot afford to dwell in or on. I worry about wintertime and what it does to the car/trailer towing arrangement. Impending winter is not a good time to be thinking these thoughts.
When I took my new little sailboat to storage over the weekend, trucks were descending the hills with a foot of snow on their hoods. Just in time, and I wonder, is there room on my car roof for the sailboat? What about my bicycle? Not both, for sure, and the trailer doesn't have the roof strength nor I the will to remove boat for sleeping. I will compromise somehow.
Mostly, it's a matter that I haven't found a home here. No contact. I've bounced around enough to know that there are scant differences anymore among destinations, and yet local color does endure. Here, it's a strange sort of reticence. For me, a failure to thrive. Sitting still in apartment just encourages me to do nothing at all when not working. At least on the road, I'll be on the move.
I wonder about the flies, and about the grizzlies for that matter. I wonder about my Internet and if the cellular capacity will catch up to the stupid-expensive cable version, now that AT&T wants Time Warner. Still, post Herzog sighting, it does feel as though being off the grid, or rather on the lines of the grid, is preferable to being stuck in one place when the solar flare hits and explodes the entire thing, lithium ion and all.
Nah! But still there are insanities to be unpacked. Elon Musk blandly suggesting that we must make a foothold for life out there in case we screw up here. What a child or teenager would do should he come into world-controlling quantities of money. I did read the PayPal Wars, and I don't recall edification, nor much else, truth be told. They seemed callow and rather nasty, all.
Ambition shows up in other ways, like scientists and researchers who find that they can be paid to indulge the childlike side of themselves which is excited by technological dreams of self-driving cars and houses which know you enough to make you comfortable on sight. While the other side of them distresses about absence of critical thought and of empathy and of any sort of human touch at all.
I don't understand the pain to regulate the thermostat, the water flow, the gear the car is in. It feels natural to me, and I won't feel lost and desperate when the autopilot shuts down as it did up here in the Northeast just the other day when connected internet thingies were conscripted into a distributed denial of service attack on one of the biggest distribution centers on the planet over in New Hampshire, where they must be more hospitable to capitalist incursions, if not to the kind of freedoms I like.
What happened to the whole distributed router design to avoid traffic being killed plan of DARPA? What causes wealth to concentrate so, if not the aggregated ambitions of distributed self-interested mostly masculine individuals? We do not have a robust network, apparently. It depends on the likes of outsized supermanagers who have the nerve where the rest of us suffer abundance or reticence and personal insecurity.
But surely it will self-heal. Still, why is it that we have to elect someone with the name of Bush or Clinton? Is it not simply that the sensible among us understand how deep is our lack of understanding about how to work the levers of power? Or are they on autopilot too, not able to change course, and your chief qualification is that you know it from the inside? Barack will go down in history along with Jefferson. Ironic that, greatness in the interstices between ambition, not that he or Jefferson lacked that . . . .
Surely Jesus-security makes more sense than dreams of technology, propagating endlessly until our four squares or one generation from the stone age are enacted in a flash? But theirs is the originating virtual reality, climbing up into a Platonic perfect narrative, composed and enforced by manly men against the self-same doubts which compose you and me. Nice if there were a cosmic rescuer, but I don't think the actual Jesus has anything on Elon or Zuck or Kurzweil or those others whose particular brand of powerful insanity captivates us all.
Well not all of us. When Herzog gets his one-way ticket to Mars, I might just tag along. But it won't be for the wonder of arrival.