Sunday, March 5, 2017

State of Sleep

Not long ago, while in China, I was negotiating the Great Firewall and remarking to myself how much more annoying are the brand and patent boundaries of the Great Companies which mediate my world. Apple wants you to stay inside its infrastructure, and Google stops roughly at the geographic boundary, and Verizon wants to profiteer on boundary crossings.

All of this makes me approximately as angry as being faced with the need for immediate gratification in the purchase of some trivial part, which I know full well is being marked up some thousands of percent just because they can, and because of the ever descending cost to manufacture trivia.

I am having trouble with my sleep states. I never wake refreshed, though when I count the literal hours, perhaps they are sufficient. But I can't get the starts and stops right. Maybe it's something going on in my background.

There is the identical problem with the machines which control my life. Even Apple's products sometimes have trouble coming back to an awakened state if I move among screens too much. With Windows, it just seems foolish still not to shut it down and let it fully (actually not quite anymore) restart. It's quicker than the transition between sleep and wakefullness.

Machine state is punned against political state in this interesting book that I'm now reading. State as machine, user as product of computational manipulations, geography made to seem invisible. The future is not here because we have not yet been redesigned to match it.

Out of this falls a near perfect definition of Trumpism, the true Resistance. And it is the we who feels we must resist or die. Hail Irony my God.

Resistance is, of course, futile or worse. But Benjamin H. Bratton (he must be distinguished somehow!) loses clarity most when he plays with distinctions between design and accident. How, for instance, is design distinguished from accident when it is accidental design? Must he dance so lightly around the various essentials for being human?

He does dance along the blur of boundaries dissolved, but fails to notice that there is still an only partially permeable and osmotically one-way clear boundary East from West. It is simply easier to master alphabet, which China does now swimmingly, even while her native technology for writing seems largely to have weathered the digital divide.

This fact might be so poorly understood still that it remains glossed over from either side. There are those who did predict that the ingeniousness of alphabet, related to scientific and technological as it seems to be, gave it a kind of manifest destiny to in-form the global mind. Not so!

Or, not so fast!

What is there then on the other side, regarding accident? I do believe that Bratton still uses accident against design; the one meaningful, the other signifying nothing. That was never the case in the Godless realm of the East.

Irony decrees that while we populate the void with Godness, it was the Chinese who put meaning there. Mind then, I still do declare, inheres in the lived awareness of oscillation between the two so minute that it surpasses internal awareness, just as do fleeting images which are kept alive to us only in motion. There is no seeing without the mind and eyes both flit.

It is not the discernment or imposition of design that counts. It is not even the choices allowed by User Experience Design. Rather, it is one's emotional integration, one's tellingness of living against a universal sense which will always just elude us.

This is not so much a problem for strong-minded men to resolve, and there's the rub.

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