Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Civil War

My daughter sent around this well-reasoned and alarming article from the New Republic. It sent me into a bit of a tailspin, especially as it was immediately followed, in my reading adventures, with notice of a new film called Civil War. How many of us will now be picturing fraternal warfare in our minds? The referenced article outlines four possible outcomes for the fall election, none of them good.

I've since checked up on the filmmaker, Alex Garland, no relation to Wizard of Oz, I'm almost certain, and was reminded of liking Ex Machina, in a way. It played more with the cinematic elements which might trigger an audiences loins; audience as proxy for creator. I found that interesting.

I dialed myself back anyhow, with a haphazard read hinting Adam Tooze' take on Foucault's take on power. Kind of the absolute autarchy of the workplace up against fantasy fictions of public democracy. Yes, sure, maybe there are people who would shoot their right-to-carry gun at someone shouting angry epithets in their direction, but how really shall we identify the ones to hate? How shall we decide who's cheating to make it in and who's really just supplicating? Are we really so ready for anarchy? Genetic testing proves white supremacists to never be quite so lily-white. We are already more like family than we are a nation.

Shall there be no sanction against murder? How would we identify teams? Town against town, or would we each choose an AI inimitable leader? Does it really all devolve into black and white? Can Texas and California be united based only on their exceptionalism?

We do destroy by proxy with abandon from here, without feeling all that much worse for it because it doesn't seem directly to affect us. It's over there. It's horrible the way a movie is horrible, and then we go shopping for this and that, eat out, drink beer, and merry ourselves. Shall I eat popcorn while watching Civil War?

I myself reserve my sharpest anger for rich people who've become Trumpers because they think the policies which enable them to get rich on the backs of everybody else need to be continued in support of their life-styles. But since I actually love some such people, and since I don't want a gun anywhere near my hand, except for target practice maybe, I'm not going to be charged up to kill any such people, hate them though I might. When alone. On and in principle.

Now what happens when my phone no longer recognizes me? I ordered up a new driver's license to reflect my newish address. It was getting to be too much trouble to deal with transactional types who filled in the driver's license old address unthinkingly. Don't they know how often people move? Or do I just look stable? I forgot to record the fact that my eye-color has changed because of glaucoma drops. How does one even do that? I don't think my phone cares. It's more geometric and deploys frequencies I can't sense.

The world is roiling, and, interestingly to me, it now revolves around national security threats which result directly from our savior economic system, which rushes to the cheapest manufactory and damn the torpedoes!

So we see evil in the differing economic arrangements in China, say, where the People's Liberation Army was "designed" so as not to be a burden on the people. It would grow its own food instead of plundering overtaken villages and farmsteads. And, eventually, it would grow factories and whole industries, some defense-related and some only incidentally so. Potato potaato, we build our economy on the basis of our military-industrial complex, while China is maybe more up-front about the arrangements.

I might have been more professionally engaged with China. My august professor, meaning to write me a glowing recommendation to a heady pre-professional stay in China, included a phrase which might have made the same sense to me as it did to the selection committee. 'while I can't see him becoming an influential professional, [he] has all the qualities . . .' He was surely correct, no matter the causal relations.

Anyhow, it's no longer $500 hammers and NASA at the leading edge of tech. Even the military industrial complex gets its silicon parts off the shelf, so to speak. I know from personal experience that the IT infrastructure and services on an aircraft carrier, say, are far inferior in robust fault-tolerance and service corps as compared with much of the business community. My personal interface with such matters has grown old for sure, so don't take my word for anything. I'm just sayin' that I did once know my networking basics better than the officer-types I sometimes interfaced with, though I would never for a split second consider myself competent to manage a warship's infrastructure. Anyhow, we all believed the same proprietary propaganda. What choice did we have? Chain of command doesn't apply in all situations.

There are so very many things I once was certain of. But now I marvel at how many times that certainty I once had about how to accomplish even mechanical tasks astounds me for my former stubborn simplicity, so full of pride in my acumen was I. Why didn't I think of that before? Pride was in my way.

We're going to ban production in China now for the makings that go into wonder drugs because we're worried about the sort of private intellectual-property style data they can mine. As though our Meta-Alphabet-ical Amazonian rainforest of personal data mined from our incredibly anti-social monetization as sanctioned in and by and for the digi-verse over here. Who owns you? Who ever asked you for permission to use your very personal genetic code for their private profit?

Arrangements are very shifty right now. We long for the kind of stability in cultural arrangements which only seem to have existed in our misty hindsight. And so our fears are easily fanned by demagogues, charlatans, hucksters and Confidence Men. YOLO FOMO motherfuckers who are the inevitable result of we can't tell the difference between reality TV and reality.

But I get it. I do. Scientists who are addicted to the notion that absolutely everything has to make their kind of sense come up with shit like 'many worlds,' or now many other worlds which cuts itself shaving on Occam's Razor for sure. They are so desperate to get the observer out of any and all equations that we're supposed to ascribe reality to these purely mathematical constructs so that we can call it a day. You hear these things in snippets and then you can't find them. But I know the point of the multiverses within multiverses theory was to obviate the need for any observer.

It took billions and billions of dollars to prove the foregone conclusion that the Higg's boson does exist. My nephew did the graphics based on the math so that all could see. He works for Amazon now. Which is the thing we're better off for?

The thing is that nowadays the explainers on the radio, if you even listen to that anymore, are all pert female voices that you can imagine as pretty, which is a great stereotype disturbance when discussing bleeding edge science, but hey why are they reporting and not doing, exactly? Talking heads can be groomed in many dimensions, most beyond your sensory awareness.

I'm way more comfortable with not having to explain everything or assume that it might be explainable in any ultimate sense at some indeterminate future time. I've stopped already in my defeat of Godhead and its replacement by us. At this point now, in human history, there is no more sense to making sense.

My only certainty is that digital AI can't come close to the real thing. The trouble is not that AI will exceed us, it's that we've already capitulated by internalizing the AI that's been all around and about us ever since we started constructing our world even before petro-reality and even digital reality by way of sail and wooden ships and actual horse-power. Sustainability is no road to any future that I want. Sustainability is the fantasy excuse for not changing a thing. Nobody debates that we slaughtered Buffalo to near extinction; that Native Americans never stood a chance. Keep your powder dry.

I want to deconstruct, like any good post-industrial post-modernist. I sure don't want no Elvis wanna-be for any kind of leadership role. Even Parkinson's addled, Muhammad Ali would be better. At least he knew from love. And his job was to hurt.

By definition of digital, meaning the absolute distinction between on and off, digital can't be real. It can only be black and white, with simulations of otherness for froth. As a self of any sort, I am intertwined with just about all of creation. Digital can't be. 

We have no theory for how random works even as we have to way to understand mind as a limited aspect of reality. We certainly have no excuse for separating ourselves as some kind of exceptional knower. Computers, in principle, can't even do random.

So sure, bring it on Trumpers. We do indeed need to devolve power to a more local level. What we don't need is Disney religion permeating our political permutations and determinations on anything approaching a national scale. If only we could imagine decent people wanting leadership roles we could easily imagine smallish autonomous states, intertwined by all our wonderful technologies while bereft of illicit manipulations. 

In your dreams. 

I do, of course, have a theory for random. Canonically now, our DNA evolves according to how its engendered physical embodiment survives to procreate within the ever roiling environment for existence. This evolution is based on, powered by, you might say, random reconfigurations whose net is ever increasing complexity among the living. Whatever you or I know, we know mostly by random, no matter how much credit you may wish to claim.

The only fittest that survive comport to God's mind, not ours. We have but made ourselves numb to any kind of godhead, with religion leading the charge. God has never spoken in words.

Genetics seems like some kind of grand transfer of complexity from dying entropic structure to the quickening realm of what we call creation. As such, it informs a direction for time as a kind of twin for entropic decay. Each must be measured by the other.

One must now say that God is random, which is to say that the Godhead is the fountainhead of life. Is it really any more complicated than that? Must it be? We have far more important work to do than to pound our head on what we think that we must become.

Can't have one without the other; mind the yang, entropic decay the yin. Life builds while its constructs decay. Boundaries are always fractal and therefore unmeasurable to eternity, depending on magnification. The boundary between my mind and the rest of knowledge is surely arbitrary and capricious, though it is certain that I can know nothing all by myself. The constructs of our knowledge also decay, and so, therefore, must knowledge.

My digital records conceal more than they preserve.

I hone my Occam's razor the way that Chuang-tzu's butcher honed his cleaver to find the space between what only seems to be joined. It's not the seeming that's the fiction. It's the knowing which can only be conjecture. The cleaver doesn't change the join.

So sure, let's bring on a civil war of all against the other, Pogo. Who can ever be said to have won that contest, I wonder. Not I, said the little-read hen. I wouldn't even know who to be angry at, other than myself. Good thing, really, that I'll never own a gun. 

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