December 19-21, 2013 → Go Part 2
As always there's no way to properly abbreviate a topic that has such a nebulous scope. It ends up being biased in some way, either intentionally or unintentionally. I try to keep my work as unbiased as possible, but I do obviously have a bias. Also you tend to run into ideological webs where one controversy is linked to another, these are often nested. This is a mostly omni-polar space. There is no "master" ideology from which all the others are derived. It is totally a mix & match affair. The ideology of each person is assorted and diverse, there will always be conflicts, paradoxes, etc. It's hard to take it seriously, we are not robots, we make mistakes.
The three aspects I ended up revisiting were: symbolic change vs. meaningful change. Time factor. And objective based orientation. A good example for the first is feeding a bunch of hungry people who can't afford to eat. This is symbolic change, it is a political gesture. Meaningful change on the other hand would entail teaching hungry people to grow food, making a sustainable food production system that would preclude recurrent food aid. This is real change. Those are not brilliant examples though because even basic subsistence living requires so much more. Education, family planning, sanitation, etc. Neglect even one component and you ultimately fail, real change is not achieved, things go back to the way they were before.
Furthermore you have the complication of culture shock. Some cultures are simply not ready to adopt radical changes. Even with education, even with constant hand-holding. You end up creating an open-air prison, an occupation. It's going to break down eventually. Culture is something that has to slow cook, it has to start at the lowest level and slowly spread throughout the hearts and minds of the people. Lastly, there is always the possibility of incompatibility. Some cultures are just not compatible, there is no universal culture, that is a dangerous myth. In such instances you can either let it be and just live with it, or you can initiate some form of cultural cleansing. That is a sanitized term for genocide.
Time factor is next up. When people are starving to death time is of the essence. It takes decades, sometimes centuries to establish a sustainable food system. People who are starving do not have time for that! They need to eat, right now! So you feed them. This is done in the hope that all those other essential factors will miraculously fall into place. In reality what happens most often is a vicious cycle of dependency. The aid is enough to keep them alive, but not enough to help them achieve sustainability or self reliance. Like zombies they will follow their most primal impulses, the result is unchecked breeding, the spread of disease, ecological destruction, essentially living like sick & miserable dysfunctional animals.
Aid is intended to alleviate suffering, but when it is dispensed like this the result is far worse than just letting people starve to death. The problem changes in scale but not in severity. The underlying causes are not being addressed, only the symptoms. That is not scientific, that is just plain stupid. There is a point where compassion degenerates into patronizing platitudes. This originates from a stubborn human attitude that puts the sanctity of human life above everything else. While understandable, it's not rational. Sometimes you have to sacrifice human lives in order to save the species. That has been true throughout history and it will be true going forward as well.
I also forgot to add the part where the social contract has benefits, because it certainly does. Although in all fairness it's hard to say if those benefits are really net beneficial or whether they are merely shifting terrible, terrible consequences down the line a few generations. Antibiotics are an ideal example of this principle. The have certainly saved a lot of lives, but if they result in the creation of some kind of super-plague, it's hard to say if they had a "net benefit". They might in fact kill more people in the future than they have cured in the past. I believe it's best to avoid these types of false benefit, and furthermore it's in our best interest as a species to determine beforehand if an alleged benefit is true or false.
To be honest I doubt our species has either the intelligence or the maturity necessary to make these hard ethical decisions. Imagine if the creator of antibiotics had been able to predict their end-game. Would they simply have shelved the discovery? It's unlikely, even if they knew beyond doubt that antibiotics would cause billions of deaths in the future. Perhaps there is even a justified argument for sacrificing future lives for present gains. After all it seems to be the human M.O. It appears to be an extremely long shot but I suppose there's always the remote chance that some future person might be smart enough to solve the antibiotic problem. Super-plague averted.
This is a highly abstract argument because of the time factor. Ultimately it's not about past or future deaths, or ethics, but rather objectives. As awareness grows, as scientific knowledge increases, individuals and organizations begin to organically establish an objective based orientation. Interestingly enough these objectives are seldom objective. Rather they are highly subjective, arbitrary, random even. Let's go to the moon
, for example. Mapping the human genome produces unpredictable results ranging from: Let's cure x disease. To: Let's increase IQ. Or: Let's make ourselves immortal. When these ideas are debated in an open populist context the response are equally chaotic.
Returning to starvation, it seems obvious that the objective of GMOs is to eliminate hunger. Although mastery of genes is an open-ended toolbox, you might just as well create a human with photosynthetic skin cells, eliminating the need for food. This is why objectives are so important and why their orientations are even more so. I think in the final analysis the most important thing to take away is that all these problems require a rock-solid social contract to solve. Without massive global collaboration with each individual factor being integrated simultaneously the result is always going to be failure with a side of catastrophe.
December 18, 2013 → Go
Got into an interesting debate over GMOs recently. It really got me thinking. I started realizing a few days later that the GMO controversy like many polarizing dichotomies has an ideological core. Specifically a much larger controversy. In truth a necessity is the origin of GMOs. Although this is somewhat misleading statement considering the level of waste associated with food consumption. You can say two contradictory things that are both true: firstly that people are starving to death in the 21st century because they do not have access to proper nutrition. Secondly you can say that there is enough food produced to feed every person on the planet. These are both facts.
So why are people starving to death, and why are GMOs thought by many to be the best solution? People starve because they are denied nutrition. They are denied because
the economy is considered to be more valuable than human beings. Another way of looking at this is through the stark lens of survival of the fittest. People are not directly denied nutrition, they are instead challenged by a collection of arbitrary social conventions that force them to engage in certain activities in order to acquire money which then allows them to purchase nutrition. Those who refuse (or are unable) to follow to this doctrine are considered by society as "unfit". They do not meet the minimum threshold for survival. They do not deserve to live.
Morally this is a disgusting thing to write down. Even people who support this ideology are unlikely to divulge that they do. It would be political suicide akin to supporting eugenics. Honestly these are not things you can isolate and discuss individually, that is highly disingenuous. In modern society we have groups of people who grow food, people who produce the chemicals required to fertilize, people who mine coal to generate power to lubricate the logistics, people who stock shelves, and many more. All of these people are working for money. They have chosen to be "fit". Do the "unfit" have any right to disregard the social contract signed by countless individuals and demand their nutrition for free? Now it seems disgusting to support either side.
In a fair world all people would be entitled and able to produce their own food. This is the heart of the ethical dilemma. The economic system & the ownership of property has made it possible to deny people even this most basic innate capacity. You need fertile land to grow food and you need money to rent land. This is intrinsically unfair & morally reprehensible. But it is not something that can be easily changed. Typical survival of the fittest implies a level playing field, but humanity does not operate that way. The field has been profoundly skewed by the social contract. People do not survive because they are self-sufficient, they survive because they participate in a social system that engenders and enforces a strict interdependency.
People who do not fit into this web of interdependency are deemed unfit, they do not contribute to the economically driven social system so they are rejected by it. This is not survival of the fittest in the conventional sense, it is an arbitrary human-centric system based on ideological fantasies. So it is really no surprise that people are starving to death all over the world. They do not always deserve it, they are not necessarily "unfit" from the perspective of nature. Humanity has hijacked and subverted nature in an attempt to master it. The result is not entirely clear, aside from apparently random patches of systemic unfairness that simply did not exist before consciousness emerged.
So within this new paradigm we have GMOs. Initially we had the "Green Revolution" in the 60s which revolutionized agriculture and paved the way for population explosions all over the world. Incidentally this didn't eliminate starvation because it didn't address the underlying unfairness that created it. GMOs similarly are intended to streamline agriculture, multiply yields, etc. People will still starve. Assuming it works as intended the human race will experience another population explosion. More people will be getting fed and more people will be starving to death than ever before. At this point I would think it's abundantly clear that increasing food production does not eliminate hunger, it merely allows the human race to grow in size.
Which is why when I get into a debate about GMOs I tend to think that the underlying science is not quite as important as the general social impact. Which is arguably a worst-case scenario. Starvation remains more-or-less unchanged while populations explode. Given the carrying capacity of the earth coupled with the expectations of emerging economies; the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the consequences
are beyond disastrous. This is entirely disregarding the possibility that GMOs have any inherent ecological or biological risk. While this is has been central to the debate, it's mainly irrelevant given the other factors.
In the end you have to ask yourself: if people are still going hungry what is the point of GMOs, what was the point of the green revolution? It's not to eliminate hunger, or reduce suffering, it is just simple greed. More new people means more slaves, more consumers, more economic noise. Meanwhile the human beings presently living on this planet will be faced with a rapidly deteriorating environment as population densities & prices skyrocket. The aforementioned random patches of systemic unfairness will concentrate & intensify until they become voracious kill-zones. This is certainly not the brilliant cornucopian future imagined by genetic engineers.
I think the basic premise that is at fault is the frankly moronic assumption that throwing first-world technology at social problems will 'trickle-down' them into oblivion. This is the typical mentality of the West, so myopic and arrogant, that it doesn't even recognize the ecological basis of its own globally flouted affluence. An entity that never does anything socially responsible unless it coincides with a battery of megalomaniacal industrial interests. Deploying GMOs will serve the rich well while exacerbating the plight of the underprivileged; who will undoubtedly end up with many more mouths to feed. The ethical thing to do, the rational response to malnutrition is to allow people to grow their own food on land that is not owned by anyone. A problem that genetic engineering is woefully unqualified to solve.
December 6, 2013 → Mapping Insights
What I would have given to see the original research of great world designers from previous eras. In truth I have seen a sampling, having read some of Tolkien, Leonardo da Vinci, Le Corbusier, Bucky Fuller, Tesla, Newton, Franklin and many others of equal value yet of lesser note. These giants have all done a lowly shadowy scrub like me an invaluable favor. My research is hardly worth documenting, but I'm still going to do it anyway, just in case on some miraculous off-chance, one day I too produce something statistically significant. Then those who follow (if any) might be able to understand the path I took and why I took it.
So you want to map a crazy alien cyber-planet? No problem. Step one seems to be a standard geometric breakdown. Geodesic is clearly best because it means you work with segments that are approximately the same size and shape. If there's any kind of physical sensibility to the overall design that's how it would be constructed anyway. Next you've got your unique structures. On earth the analog would be things like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China, etc. It's hard to imagine any world without at least one such structure. With a more advanced civilization these 'monuments' would most likely have a highly utilitarian function. Intrinsically they would perform any function that could not be done efficiently on a massively distributed scale; planetary shielding, or climate control for example.
Next up you've got mission critical small scale infrastructure. Even a planet inhabited solely by a civilization of robots will have some basic repetitive needs. At this level the mosaic will always be modular. Each community is a module and each will in turn require a set of basic services. These will almost certainly be highly interconnected individually while remaining self-contained as a mosaic, but the community as a whole will also be catalytically dependent on the monuments in some way.
In terms of resources things get a bit sketchy. So far I think I can say with some degree of confidence that energy production will be distributed rather than centralized. Only primitive backwards cultures obsessed with their own self-destruction centralize core services. The same thing will most likely be true for life essentials. For us that is air, water, food, shelter, electricity, coal, oil, dirt, wood, etc. For the same reason that everyone on earth doesn't live in a single giant house; an advanced civilization will design and create infrastructure that allows the production and availability of life essentials to be decentralized.
So far we have: Geodesic, Monuments, Modular Mosaic, Resources. Clearly the criteria for list order is not citizen-centric. Rather it revolves around the flow of energy. The structure of the sphere is ideal for surface dwelling and space travel. Monuments define identity and create cohesion. Modular Mosaics allow communities to form and sustain them. Resources are fairly abstract yet without them nothing else can even exist. A sunbeam, a tree, a fish, a spider. The intricate web of nature. That is where the citizen ultimately comes from. A citizen-centric world operates in reverse: emergent nature is the basis & the template for all structures great and small. The opposite of this is an energy-centric world. The point of which is not to serve the needs of the citizens but to distribute energy in the most efficient way possible.
Neotoy Library must contain full documentation of everything in the continuum, including its history & origin story. Naturally these 'tiers of knowledge' should each be secured by some kind of 'information gateway' that effectively limits access to those who are only casually digging. Only those who have the drive and the guts to 'dig deep' should be allowed to discover the complete story!
December 5-6, 2013 → Jandar
Gilded cage scenario. Somewhere in the last few posts I painted a picture of a world with a superficially Utopian way of life, this is always the danger encountered when designing a so-called 'perfect world'. Perfection really is a subjective affair, each person probably has their own definition. Apart from the Neotoy Continuum my personal definition includes the native ability for each individual to change the rules of the universe. This sets up an immediate conflict however, any time two individuals make changes that are incompatible with each other. Say for a really stupid example, one person wants the sky to be red, another wants it to be green. Obviously it can't be both, maybe they could compromise on a yellow sky? But probably not.
So the whole "gilded cage" thing is pretty interesting. At some point you have to have limits of some kind. I think a slightly more realistic definition of perfection is a world wherein each individual is not forced to experience adversity arbitrarily. This is probably better labeled as a "fair world". Essentially if you follow the rules you will never have any kind of trouble, you will be able to experience everything that world has to offer, and other people will not be made to suffer as a result. Interestingly enough this is very different from our world where fairness is largely an alien concept, where almost every gain is someone else's loss. Even if people are not made to suffer, frequently it's animals or ecosystems that are forced to foot the bill for our extravagance.
Traditionally the concept of a "gilded cage" is one where the people in the cage live relatively affluent and easy lives, this carefree existence always comes at a terrible price, typically a lack of free will, or freedom in general. The argument against it is always that 'this is no life at all', a world wherein everything is planned from birth to death, where there is no latitude or tolerance for operating outside the system. Almost inevitably in these scenarios the rebellious protagonist struggles to break free from the oppressive infrastructure, attempting to grasp true freedom, often at the cost of their own life. These cages are notoriously authoritarian and will act quickly to quash any sign of disruption with extreme prejudice.
Neotoy is not entirely different, although I did try to make a certain number of compromises. Freedom is more or less infinite with the single precondition: it takes an unbelievably long time to reach that level (analogous to cracking strong encryption). The base assumption is that by the time an individual attains the highest level of power and hence the ability to shape the entire universe to their whims, they have also gained, along the way, an equally imposing level of wisdom and even fondness for the current model. There is however the additional dynamic of a central authority that is capable of opposing and reversing changes to the universe. This is kind of a failsafe of last resort. I like to think that Neotoy is not quite a gilded cage because rebels are not killed, the are allowed to spread their wings.
The bottom line that I believe makes Neotoy truly better is the integration of fairness into the very foundation of the universe. This is basically where I draw the line and say yes, Neotoy is a gilded cage in this respect. This is the one rule that can't be broken. Every sentient entity, every citizen is fair-minded at the quantum level. It is physically impossible for them to contradict this principle of universal fairness. Even those who reach the ultimate level of Infinite, even Delta The Changer is powerless to oppose it. This is the lowest possible level, the substrate upon which the entire Neotoy Continuum is built. It is so fundamental to being that no one is even aware of it. Fairness may not sound like much, but its influence is profound, it touches every aspect of consciousness. For example: Neotonians cannot lie.
Conspiracy theories. I'd have to say there is one legacy style theory I subscribe to. With CTs the time-frame is pretty critical, this particular one is hard to frame though. It could start sometime in the early 20th century with the advent being the collusion of industrialists, specifically those with their financial roots in fossil fuels. Although I think it's more likely that it started far earlier, how far back is hard to say, but in theory the advent coincides with the first caches of legacy-building transferable wealth carried over from the old world.
This gold & other assorted durable stores of value originated with the barbarian warlords & royalty both of which relied on slave labor to man their mines. In turn their authority might have been handed down from heaven itself (as many proclaim) or might have been granted by the more reliable & pedestrian means of compelling lies, and Machiavellian scheming coupled with strategically applied brute force. The bottom line is that these assets were accumulated, then hoarded & gradually came into common use as a means by which civilization could remain stratified for as long as "money" maintained the power to sway the human heart.
Naturally this wealth was used to establish new empires in new lands, specifically coal & oil extraction in the Americas. The wonderful thing about the entire process is that people inevitably die. The consecutive generations were born into economic extravagance but in other respects they had to start with a clean slate. Sure there were the instances of clandestine brainwashing & indoctrination, but these upstarts still had to make up their own minds. If anything was a knock against them, it was the long-standing genetic propensity to cultivate a legacy at the expense of those who were not born into affluence. This gene will endure until all the wealth in the world has been depleted.
So we have these new world punks with enough gold to inspire any number of slaves to action. Their wealth is already effectively infinite, but still they suffer from the insatiable demands of their genes: do what you've always done, take whatever people value and take control of it, and then charge them to access it. This is an impulse as desperate & real as the sex drive. As hard as it is to say, they are victims in their own way. Objectively however they are also a monumental threat to civilization and they should be treated no differently than terrorists or mass murderers. Yet thanks to the genetic lottery, control over the channels of power that regulate everything the common man takes for granted were ceded to a class of psychopaths.
In short, the lunatics were put in charge of the asylum. That is the historical backdrop my conspiracy theory requires. The emissaries of the old world are sent forth to the new, their objective unchanged since ancient times: secure 'ownership' of commodities. The only thing that has ever risen to challenge their hegemony was the same genetic crap shoot that created them. Namely freak combinations of genes resulting in 'genius' type personalities. These super-intellectuals produced revolutionary ideas that were capable of "disrupting" the conventional corridors of power. They were a critical threat, but also a valuable tool. The instinctive response was conflicted: destroy them? Exploit them? Fear vs. greed. Greed usually wins, but not always. It really depends on the individual genetic flavor of the plutocrat.
Frequently throughout history the "interests" of the elite have crossed paths with the "innovations" of the intellectual. One of the best recent examples is the rivalry between Tesla & Edison, predictably exacerbated from behind the scenes by the aforementioned old world sociopaths. Coming full circle this is effectively the origin of my particular conspiracy theory. The critical juncture where the course of history was subverted by the old world industrialists in order to sustain their monopoly. Ironically even without fossil fuels they probably could have dominated the world.
To be continued...
December 3, 2013 → Halfiger
Thoughts on technological progression: the neotonian civilization is one where technology has reached a hypothetical apex. In the 'real world' there are different views on how this might play out. Transhumanist singularity acolytes are under the impression that technology will keep advancing until we all have god-like powers; wholesale reality-alteration at the lowest level. Consciousness if it still exists will be pure energy capable of moving throughout the universe and perhaps beyond. The slightly more conservative camp of techno-utopians might just imagine a future consisting of incrementally upgraded versions of everything we have now.
Two points: none of this will be possible if we destroy the ecosystem first. Second, these prospective futures are highly static in the sense that they don't try very hard to understand why technology exists in the first place. This does seem consistent with the ideological leanings of the groups since transhumanists treat technology both as the definitive proof of human genius and as an unstoppable (logarithmic) force of nature. While techno-utopians are little more than thinly veiled hedonists hopelessly enslaved by a culture of mindless commercialism that is slowly eating them alive.
As for the M.O. of technology, the 19th & 20th century might have ventured "labor saving", while the 21st would probably imply "time wasting". As it turns out if you save too much labor you're left with nothing but time on your hands. It's really a disgusting and morally reprehensible thing to write down but it's true. To think that there is more slavery today than at any time in recorded history and yet small swaths of the world have saved so much labor that they have been introduced to the realization that saving labor creates as many problems as it solves. The funny thing is that once you've established this labor saving world of the future, people have no desire to return to their former lives of poverty & drudgery; even if they are chronically unhappy.
The neotonian civilization is an improbable one, in a sense it is a post-technology universe that has been entirely shaped & enabled by technology. It is as if technology reached a state of perfection only to preclude its own necessity. It could be argued that this is what happens whenever any technology consummately fulfills its purpose. In short it stops evolving. At which point it disappears? It becomes so integrated into daily life that it is no longer distinguishable as something out of the ordinary, as technological, it is pedestrian. True technology however is never taken for granted.
One might argue that technology and hence the M.O. of technology is merely to provide a platform for further technological advancement. But this does basically ignore the dynamic: technology does not exist inside a vacuum, it is created by people to fulfill human wants & needs. Therefore the human capacity for wants & needs defines the extent of technological evolution. Excluding cases where technology can extend and/or expand our capacity for wanting & needing. However, theoretically speaking there is still some kind of absolute boundary out there – the point at which all possible wants & needs are eternally fulfilled – the phrase "future proof" comes to mind.
This is fundamentally the basis for neotoy, this idea that technology can enable us to reach this boundary. This flies in the face of transhumanism somewhat. I'm not an expert on their ideology but I am pretty sure that they do not believe in a hypothetical boundary for evolution. Which to be entirely honest is a very fascinating premise. As a believer in the concept of infinity I find it highly plausible. That being said, just because evolution can go on forever doesn't mean that it has to. Although I'm not entirely certain what a permanent halt to evolution might imply. Is that analogous to death? Or is it analogous to perfection? From my POV a hypothetical state of perfection has always been far more intellectually captivating than perpetual evolution.
Evolution that never ends essentially means infinite variety of form; that the entity continues to change its environment and then must adapt itself to these changes. Given human history it would be hard to deny that any other scenario is possible. Although it seems like the current phase will most likely lead to our extinction, as we stupidly change our environment into something that we cannot adapt to quickly enough. These two aspects are deeply interconnected. Transhumanism effectively denies the value of the environment and our consequent interdependencies. Yet it has not yet been proven to any degree that we can survive without access to a healthy environment.
Biodome was a failure, the International Space Station cannot support life for even a single year without supplies from earth. There are plans for colonies or at least bases on the moon and Mars, but we can't even seem to keep isolated ecosystems alive on this planet, so the possibility of independent operation is approximately zero. The alternative and my personal preference, is to operate outside the evolutionary parameters – a theoretical state of perfection is one that severs these dependencies forever – in this respect it is even more ambitious than transhumanism because it acknowledges our inherent dependence on the environment and attempts to transcend rather than synthesize it.
Perfection is not infatuated with evolution, it rejects it as a sensible guiding principle. The goal is not to aid further evolution but to create something fundamentally new, something that does not need to evolve. In the end we have to contend with the laws of physics, of which evolution is just a mysterious side-effect. The puzzle is basically perpetual motion: how to create an entity that can in some way break the laws of thermodynamics while still existing within the context of conventional space-time.
Really the conclusion I come to now is no different than the conclusion I came to almost fifteen years ago: this universe is dysfunctional and hence anything operating inside it will be as well. You literally have to exit this universe in order to break the laws of thermodynamics. That was the basis of the neotoy continuum, the formation of a new universe that doesn't depend on conventional space-time.
As crazy and ambitious as it sounds, that is the only solution I can think of. To be honest the very idea of it is deeply satisfying. Throwing away this entire universe in favor of something far better, I can't think of a single more pleasant thought*. The interesting thing is, virtually every creation myth and scientific theory is obsessed with the idea that our native universe did not always exist. This implies that universes themselves can be created and destroyed, perhaps containing radically different rules.
If one can allow imperfection, surely it is possible to create a universe that allows perfection! I would suggest that neotoy is such a place, a universe wherein perfection is possible, where evolution is alien, where everything just worked right the first time. Sure there are existential struggles and situations where conflict arises, but they are rational
and there is still hope for this city-planet, it's not headed towards imminent destruction, it's getting a little better every day. Just realizing how ironic it is that my ideas about neotoy are constantly evolving. No escaping it I guess.
What exactly is my problem with our universe? Hmm, let's see: crazy humans destroying beautiful nature for no reason other than greed and idiocy. Broad injustice and inequality in every aspect of life. No way to fix these problems for more than a few moments, and inevitably new people forget all the progress that was made and undo all the hard work of their ancestors in a very short period of time. Horrible diseases and accidents and unnecessary suffering all over the earth. Inexplicable psychological and emotional confusion about almost everything, even good things are often mysterious and unexplainable.
And perhaps the worst of them all is how the status quo just papers over all this with a deplorable soul-crushing indifference that seems to shout "things are better than perfect, just keep buying shit, just keep doing exactly what you're doing" yes keep doing the same stupid suicidal stuff over and over, even more extremely and extravagantly and all these pesky problems will go away forever! Even though exactly the opposite is happening. Literally we're going to destroy an entire planetary ecosystem and go extinct in the process if we don't stop. Although in all likelihood it's already too late. Of course it's moot anyway since we weren't going to stop.
December 2, 2013 → Baltar
There are no "jobs" in this world, those poignant symbols of intellectual bankruptcy have all been overcome, everything runs itself. The city lies outside of time, its buildings, its streets are as immutable as the universe itself. And yet the city is teeming with life, billions of sentient entities go about their business, which begs the question: what is that business exactly? What do these 'entities' do to fill up their forever? That really depends on who you ask.
During the night the average denizen most likely finds themselves resting peacefully in some place they think of as "home", while living alone is not uncommon it is more likely that this person will belong to a small family or collective that knows this place as their "hold". It is the location that instinctively feels right. As the sun rises in the morning, the low levels of light that pervade every corner of the metto will gradually rise. The denizen will absorb this light and much like a flower closed for the night will quickly bloom, waking to the new day, full of energy.
So beings the morning traffic as the various shelters throughout the metto empty of their occupants, a great flood of bodies streaming through the wide streets, seeking out the closest automat. Groups will disintegrate and recombine randomly, the murmur of discussions both open and somewhat private will pervade the space. A meal is chosen and consumed, perhaps washed down at a nearby fountain. This habitual nourishment is not necessary but neither does it cause harm. It does provide some enjoyment and routine.
The remainder of the day looms large, each denizen is now free to pursue whatever activity they desire. Some will explore the city, inevitably drawn by the mystery and status surrounding the local schools, they may even become students. Others will stumble upon the dyku and learn of their ways. A select few will be driven by deeper, inscrutable interests. This is the first stage of life.
The second stage is a predictable extension of the first: the ambitious denizen will become a Ku student, joining one of the three sects they will dedicate their life to mastering the power & potential of the body & spirit. Those who persevere beyond their limits will attain the penultimate title of Infinite. Likewise those who join the dyku will learn their own way of self mastery. Many will however remain merely as they are, living each day without any specific focus or plan. Aside from those rare few who choose their own path, becoming wanderers and explorers of the city-planet, unlocking its deepest secrets.
The third stage of life is far more ambiguous, just as there is no certain measurement of being, each denizen, dyku, student or wanderer creates their own destiny. All are equal in the sense that time moves ever onward, the city endures, they are all its precious children, the least among them valued no more or less than the greatest hero. For many the final stage is the long rest. The oldest denizens will find themselves drawn to the polyandria deep below the surface of the planet. There they will find a resting place and sleep in the stillness and the dark until they feel the need to rise again.
November 30, 2013 → Sasquatch
"The harder you get, the harder I hit." He murmured, his fist gleaming in the last light. An empty threat they might have thought, if not for the eerie opalescent shimmer that danced in the air no more than a finger's-length in front of his clenched fist. It was glowing faintly in the nascent dusk, competing with the residual rays that ricocheted like lasers bouncing off the surrounding architecture, it was like looking at an endless series of bioluminescent waves crashing on some distant beach, warped & foreshortened through a dark lens; and also like an abalone shell. Countless ancient rainbow layers that converged in an invisible apex shaped like the edge of a prism. The sight was not merely unnerving, it inspired a primordial terror in all who saw it, as if those glimmering waves were somehow peeling away a lifetime of resolve, turning champions into cowards, grinding great monolithic warriors down into nothingness.
The weak ones ran as fast as they could, as far away as possible. The strong took a little longer, and lastly even the unshakable started having second thoughts. 'Was it really worth it?' This thing, whatever it was, did not follow the natural laws. Laws that had already been bent into entirely new forms. This was not mere bending, this was a breaking. At last they gave way to this silent intimidation, slinking off from whence they came. He punched his fist into a nearby polytoy column, his arm passed through as though it were air. The column seemed to fold in on itself, unraveling from the inside out, disintegrating into a pile of sparkling silvery strands that were quickly scattered by the softest breeze. A curious white Infinite concealed behind the successive column silently made their exit, slipping into the shadows of a nearby alley. 'No, not worth it at all.'
November 25, 2013 → Gondola
Connectivity is at an all time low, chaos is at an all time high. So many thoughts. Stupidity is the great immortal beast running rampant like a honey badger ripping through the beehive of humanity. Insanity is omnipresent, most notably present in the face of that crazy person staring back at me from the bathroom mirror. I used to believe that sanity was objective, but the older I get the more I see through the cracks in the facade. But it is not an elaborate production, insanity is not something you see on a grand scale, it is a mediocre back-alley drug deal. It is as benign as democracy, as affluent and well-read as a gypsy. It is a desperate and forlorn act, like the writing of a poem that no one will ever read.
And yet it brings down civilization itself as easily as a mouse drives an elephant to rampage at the circus. The saner things appear the crazier they probably are. But what can you do? Try to fit in somehow. Come one come all, the menagerie is open for business! Finding something real in this world is the most precious thing. If all the world is a stage and everyone an actor, finding someone who does not know their lines is akin to a miracle. You are more likely to find a duffel bag stuffed with hundred dollar bills. I don't think I really wanted to write any of this, but I can't seem to do anything I want to do lately. Even my basest desires are as out of reach as some distant nebula.
The incessant nihilism is nothing more than the cravings of an alcoholic trapped on a planet that has never known wine. Yet I am but one ampule of a shattered pharmacy, we are innumerable capsules spilled out over a landscape to which medicine has become mythical. Each dreaming their own dream of that distant sparkling horizon. The ambivalent cult leader gathers the flock with cheap thrills, the self-branding marsupials scrawl the sacred texts all over their rotting carcases, their phallic quills spewing black untimely ignorance across the age. No one will remember them, the meaning was lost before it was written.
The existential crisis is yesterday's news, we have moved on to bigger & better things. Now there is simply the mystery of why it all goes on. Existence should be taken for granted, it is not chosen. But staying alive is a choice and therefore bares further analysis. Is it a statement of some kind? Or an art as the sages would have us believe? This temporary conjugation of energy and will. Is there significance in the sand as it flows out through the fingers of time? From one concentrated handful to the senseless expanse? Even the metaphors are wearing thin, brittle like old tape cracking in the sun. Soon the bleached out poster they held aloft will come crashing down.
It's an obvious cycle, an undulation no different than a cosmic wave. It rises it crests it curls it collapses, then it begins again. All the beauty in the world will vanish, then it will reemerge in blinding brilliance, perhaps no different than it was before, perhaps nothing like. No one can say since the mind of lesser beings is like an etch-i-sketch, its abstract image barely legible in life. The only point of living is to reproduce, and if that act itself ends life, is that no different than a crashing wave? Mankind can no more still the ocean than he can comprehend his own nature. A wave with a mind is no more a wave, yet a wave can also be a particle, and every atom may have free will.
November 23, 2013 → Bombs
Listening to Innocents
Moby's latest album. Is it just me or is this super-fucking-depressing music? I feel like I should be slitting my wrists in a rusty bathtub full of cold dirty water while listening to this. I'm not really a fan to begin with so perhaps that's a bias. The funny thing is that Moby actually seems like a pretty cool guy
. Man, I'm totally turning into one of those people I hate. Fucking pop culture. No, you know what this reminds me of? Church music, like some kind of shitty new-age gospel for the post-modern-apocalypse. I hope there's at least one good track on here since I'm already half way through.
Fuck it. He said that this album was based on the idea that humanity retains some innocence regardless of how far down the rabbit hole we tumble. And also that none of us know what the fuck we're doing on this planet. I've summed up this sentiment countless times with the convenient catchphrase "no one knows". Why is that so depressing? This album is like a tribute to that feeling. Why is not knowing things so depressing? They say "ignorance is bliss" but I guess I don't feel that way. It is more like not knowing implies knowing that we can never know everything, it is really this realization that creates the depressive effect. Knowing you don't know cannot be considered ignorance. No, in fact not knowing is the height of knowing because you can never get any farther than that. Yes this is just metaphysical mumbo jumbo.
So how do you feel now that you know everything you possibly could? Track 8 "A Long Time" is kinda cathartic, but still painfully downtempo. There is still always the possibility of miraculously gaining access to some fragment of knowledge that no one else knows. Real truth that can shake the foundations of reality. That is pretty rare though. The supernatural sure is tantalizing. Rational minds will always write it off as wishful thinking. Has a single supernatural thing ever happened in all of human history? No one knows. Except for those who have perhaps experienced it first-hand. The concept of magic is very interesting & suspect. My initial instinct is to believe that the very idea of magic is idiotic. Fundamentally magic involves phenomena not bound by natural laws. That may simply imply news laws we do not know, but there must be laws of some kind even for magic.
Laws are not arbitrary they are the very structure that allows things to exist in this universe. Magic could be though of as phenomena that operates via unknown laws. But if magic does exist, it certainly has laws. Like most things it is possible to use the forces of nature without understanding them fully. Often forces are used wrongly because their laws are misunderstood, but they are still used. I've always thought that magical events have a rational explanation, and that some sort of advanced science could probably figure it out. Also most anecdotal magic is likely based on lost natural science. In a sense magic is just the utilization of the most sophisticated natural science.
Take for example a genotype detector with an actuator. This can be fairly easily synthesized thanks to modern science: LEDs, lab-on-a-chip, nano-scale sensor modules, lasers. Cutting edge science could produce a device capable of turning on an LED when a profile sensor detects a specific genotype. This could also be done via "magic": bioluminescent microorganisms, reactive alloys, pheromones. The truth is these methods actually require an even more sophisticated understanding of science. They are not trying to reinvent the wheel, they are merely coopting natural processes that already work far more efficiently on a quantum level. The irony is that these processes are so fragile, so intricate & specialized that it takes longer to understand them than it does to synthesize them using 'stupid' technology.
I just finished the album, and I've decided that I hate it. Glad that Moby decided to give it away, that was clearly the right thing to do. What is science really other than observation of natural phenomena? A 3D model of a pheromone does not unlock all its secrets, nor does it explain how it can activate enzymes trapped in a bimetallic alloy causing metal to glow. These facts can all be revealed via the scientific method or centuries of careful experimentation. However it seems like magic until there is well-documented proof. As always the age shapes the application and the application shape the science. There is not much call for magic swords in the 21st century.
November 22, 2013 → Organization
I suppose this is a grand human problem, one that the brightest minds of the current age are working on cracking around the clock. The problem is in the data. You may have heard the phrase "big data" recently. It has become something of a cliché on the internet. Big Data is just a phrase that represents all the information in the universe that can be stored in a database. The purpose of the phrase is actually to bring attention to the challenge that lies in distilling or otherwise extracting value from that otherwise infinite & hence useless mountain of data.
I have a similar problem. Much like the real world, Neotoy is immense, every aspect contains a metric ton of information. Even modest attempts to summarize one element of Neotoy results in a useless clusterfuck of minutia. Years ago I tried to solve this problem by creating a "connectivity map", I tried to break the continuum down into its constituent elements. These were sorted by connectivity & scale. Although it's better than nothing it still doesn't really work. It may sound absurd but I simply can't coherently express what Neotoy is.
As an artist, curator, anthropologist, etc. The job of a world/universe/continuum builder is not to produce big data; it is to produce a coherent & beautiful picture that communicates ideas clearly and without wasting the visitor's time. This is much harder than it sounds! Big data is easy, big data is effortless, it is in fact just the state of being; the process of documenting the state of being while relatively easy is not fit for consumption. It literally has to be recomposed into an entirely different format that people will actually find informative & interesting.
The quandary is this: how do you choose which facts are worth highlighting? You have a pool of infinite facts to choose from, how do you even begin to rank them, to organize them? Which fact is the most important? And new facts are always being added, at any second the most important fact could be upset by a new fact that is far more important. It's enough to drive an archivist crazy. I think the challenge of big data is actually just a challenge of time, if data is always being added the results are always changing; the size of the pool is actually not that important.
Results can only change over time, so time is the critical factor. Not to be confused with the time it takes to process the big data you already have (forever), but rather the time it takes to process new data as it is generated in realtime (literally as it is recorded). So we have a baseline problem that is already impossible to solve and on top of that we have the real problem with is exponentially more difficult than impossible. Which is why curators are required. Algorithms have tried to fill this role as of late, but to be frank they do a poor job at best (thanks to semantics).
In the end you can make as many fancy tree style visualizations as you want, it's not going to bring order to the chaos. Even when you have the liberty to make up facts as you go, there is no 'one size fits all' method that works for organizing every piece of data. I've had to learn this the hard way, over and over again. In some respects the design of Neotoy was an attempt to solve this problem in reverse by creating each piece of data from the ground up, rather than merely cataloging preexisting data. Surprisingly that didn't make things easier, cleaner or more complete.
With relevant data you have to first reverse-engineer the desire of the viewer. What is the 'user' looking for? Unsurprisingly this turns out to be a different thing for each person. So you give the user the choice to see different summary sets based on their own concept of relevance. This utterly destroys the universality of relevance! It's not relevance any longer, what is it? We don't even know what it is! It is basically big data, we're right back where we started. The only thing that has really changed is that someone is in control of what 'big data' means. Since information is infinite even the world's biggest database is really just another curated summary that utterly fails to represent the universe in its entirety.
Is this really the best we can do? It seems like without being able to control the desire of the user the answer is yes. Interestingly enough this crosses over into the economic sphere; centralization & controlling the user is the basis of commercial success. So we have the lofty aspirations of big data colliding with the business imperative to
spoon feed "premium"
content down user's throats.
November 19, 2013 → Drug
The walls and streets shimmered, a ghostly silver iridescence tinged with the faintest most delicate blue haze. The sheer solidity of the city might have been intimidating if not for this inherent optical softness that seemed to hover over everything, even its denizens. Nothing was happening, nothing at all. The way was neither desolate nor overcrowded; this was not to say that traffic was optimal. Various beings glided between the glowing structures, denizens, students: black, gray & white, dyku, animals & other entities. Even a few frame lilted elegantly through the space.
What were they all doing, these aliens? Where were they going? Why did they even exist? Not one could say. Even the core, the consciousness that lay at the heart of the city-planet, the artificial intelligence that knew everything could not say. Perhaps there was some kind of paradox to blame, in the end the existence of everything could be justified in the sense that it existed to ask such a question. The answer was immaterial.
November 12, 2013 → Canon[sic] Ball Part Ia
Oh, BTW sorry for all that depressing shit in the last few posts, it's just part of who I am. I actually had some good news, this thing I did awhile back and forgot to even mention: an interview
conducted by Piers Diesel on behalf of the SL Enquirer
— it specifically covers the Materials Project
but also touches on a few other tangential topics related to Second Life & my work there. This was my first time being interviewed and I found it quite exciting!
I'm in the process of pruning my browser bookmarks in preparation for the perennial year-end get-my-shit-together extravaganza. I thought I'd post a few of them as I go, just because, you know, they're interesting. Now... We interrupt this broadcast for a few links that will probably be of little or no use to you!
Awesome custom fasteners, pretty much engineer porn.
Fantastic procedural world project and home of Voxel Farm game engine!
Best free screen recording software (because cam studio sucks).
One of the most interesting pages on wikipedia.
November 11, 2013 → Canon[sic] Ball Part I
Is world building a convenient excuse to avoid the creative risk-taking associated with story telling? It's interesting because I initially started out writing & illustrating the "Neotoy Story" before I had even finished drafting the world. I wasn't very happy with the results. I found myself constantly painted into corners. The characters were full-blown schizophrenic, not knowing who, what, where, why or when they were.
Not to say that it wasn't entertaining to read nor fun to write. Now that the world is far more fleshed out, it seems like it might be safe to resume the story, but I have been hesitating. Perhaps because I am loath to repeat the anti-canon discontinuity of the past, or the more likely reason that I am just plain afraid that after all this effort has been put into the continuum that the story itself will suck and all that work will have been for nothing.
I am a good writer, I am not an amazing writer. Plus there are still so many unanswered questions. Could I even write an outline for a single arc at this point? Where would start, where would it end? What is even happening in Neotoy right now?
This reminds me, last night I was driving to my Girlfriend's house to pick her up, it was an especially dark Sunday night; sliver of a moon, heavy cloud cover. The road was fairly empty, I was late, I began to speed. I had spent the entire day modeling in blender, I hadn't eaten in perhaps seven hours (I get so focused that my entire thought-process becomes an extension of the application). This radical shift in activities made the journey seem highly surreal, for a moment I wondered if it was a dream or video game, I realized that every activity in my life could easily be part of a simulation (hardly an original thought
). Dying in a car accident might simply result in the words "GAME OVER" flashing on the screen. I might even respawn. But no, I was pretty sure at that moment that I was playing as a hardcore character.
I marveled at the fact that I am normally a very timid and cautious person, and yet put me behind the wheel of a car late at night and I drive like I'm racing in the Indy 500 with my entire future relying on winning first place. Driving literally makes me go crazy. I have a few theories on why this is, but I don't really want to write them down. More specifically I think driving makes me somewhat suicidal, but I can't deny that I also experience the thrill of dangerous acceleration as I slam my foot down on the gas pedal. Squealing tires hugging the road, perfectly executed turns, all in real-life, happening in real-time. Keep in mind, despite what I just wrote, I am a safe driver. I would never take risks that could endanger other people, if I can even imagine the possibility of hitting another car, a pedestrian, or even an animal, I immediately slow down.
October 29, 2013 → DD
How long does it take to wallow your way out of a crippling 48hr depression? A lifetime. LOL. Thought I might as well document it since I can't seem to outrun it. This is interesting since I started taking ashwagandha
about a week ago. It basically killed my anxiety. Normally I get horrible anxiety throughout the week, but I noticed immediately after starting the supplement that my anxiety was totally suppressed. This seemed (and still does seem) miraculous. The irony is that my constant anxiety was so distracting that I think it marginalized my depression. Now that the anxiety is gone the depression descended full force. I have to ask myself constantly at times like this, why I haven't killed myself a million times over.
I don't think I've ever discussed this so openly in my notes before, but when I was about 12 years old I decided I never wanted to have kids. By then I knew quite a bit about genetics and I had realized that any offspring I might produce would have a high probability of inheriting my horrific anxiety & depression. I have not regretted that decision even once. This is something you simply can't understand unless you suffer from these diseases, they utterly ruin your life. They force you to constantly reflect on the fact that while you are anxious, while you are depressed you would in fact be much better off having never been born. "Depression lies" is true. Depression is also very real.
I'm not saying people with anxiety & depression should kill themselves. Naturally it's their prerogative. What I am saying is that people have an obligation to do everything in their power to prevent anxiety & depression from taking human form; and I consider it to be the most disgusting & unforgivable thing when people with incurable hereditary disorders have children (you are the worst most selfish scum on earth and deserve to die a million deaths). For those of us who are already here there is not much that can be done, aside from taking medication, living the best life possible, and getting help from people who are not cursed with this damnable illness. Hopefully in the future there will be gene-therapy, until then we're pretty much fucked.
I guess I felt like all this had to be said, it's not said openly or often enough. Depression has many dimensions, one of the most ridiculous is shame. Depression is never your fault, it may not be anyone's fault, sometimes it just happens. Most often it's the legacy of apparently suicidal genes that have miraculously managed to survive for multiple generations thanks to their over-achieving friends. Other times it's conditional, social or environmental factors can cause a depression that is just as real as anything our genes can simulate. The fact is, very few people choose depression, it is a condition that is forced upon them, and that is not okay. It's wrong, it's unfair, it's stupid. And it's perfectly okay to condemn it.
Condemn it along with anything and everything that caused it. Fuck the genes, fuck the people who passed them on, fuck the people who fucked up society. Fuck society. Fuck evolution, fuck everything. That is fine. They all deserve it. In a world where negativity exists for apparently no reason, there is nothing inherently wrong with being negative. Hating things that cause pain and suffering. That is perfectly natural. That is healthy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If they had all the fucking answers they'd cure your fucking depression. They can't because they don't. And that's okay too.
October 28, 2013 → No means no.
More effete whining about the futility of everything. If I just structured everything around being creative this bullshit wouldn't happen. I blame laziness. Not wanting to expend the effort to be creative, yet not being comfortable doing nothing, hence nihilistic rants. Nihilism is ever-present while creativity is something precious you have to mine out of a mountain like diamonds. Nihilism is lazy. Apathy & nihilism are so close to being the same thing I don't know why there are two different words. What creative things have I done lately?
• Entered a logo contest for a secure data storage service. I was very pleased with the result.
• Submitted a short sci-fi story to an anthology. (just got the rejection today, TBH rejection was well deserved)
• Tried to summarize the Neotoy Continuum in an illustrated "primer". Devolved into a useless mess.
• Screwed around with the homepage design & CSS, fine-tuning, tweaking etc. IDK if it's better or worse.
• Built a bunch of quick structures in Second Life then scripted them to do cool things, no point really.
• Entered the Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt. Is killing things creative? At least it takes effort.
• Built a bunch of crap in Terraria, traps, farming zones, nothing special. Meh.
• Penned a short synopsis for a ridiculous superhero parody (mockery) thing.
• Remade the site favicon, hopefully for the last time. Hit me with your best shot, it's pretty much perfect.
• Reading 'Snow Crash' for the first time after years of hearing about it. Is reading creative?
• Obsessively outlined an obscure sexual fetish to the absurd scholarly depth of multilayered psychoanalysis.
I actually did a few other far more interesting things tied to my RL identity but since I don't want to 'cross the streams' I can't really write about them here. Let's just say I try to stay politically active & classify it under "Slacktivism". No wonder I feel like shit. Nihilism almost seems like the healthy & natural response. However, paraphrasing John Lennon: time you enjoyed wasting wasn't wasted. This is the pervading theme in my life lately, the problem is that I feel like it's making me physically ill. This is my loop: want to do something worthwhile, then remember civilization is doomed, decide not to do anything. I enter into this loop on an almost subconscious level; I don't even believe that civilization is doomed, I just don't want to contribute to a civilization that has so many underlying flaws. It feels like a waste of time – Ironically an even bigger waste of time than actually, literally, wasting time.
Put more succinctly: doing the wrong thing is worse than doing nothing at all. There is a serious & crippling hope deficit going on here. In the final analysis it feels like there is no alternative than to pretend there is some edification involved in slaving away at what amounts to a societal sand mandala. I mean everything truly is temporary
, my tiny little window of perhaps another 40 or 50 years on this planet is exactly that. Legacy irrelevant, life's work irrelevant. If I'm really lucky I'll live to see the human race face imminent extinction thanks to its infinite & apparently incomprehensible stupidity.
Not exactly something to look forward to... The optimists in this timeline think that a wholesale threat to our survival will rally+unite humanity and propel us all towards a second Renaissance. I suppose that's just as likely as world war III. The narrative is just shitty & boring. A statement that really seems to apply to all prognostication. I guess I just feel that some sort of saving throw is just pathetic. Honestly who gives a fuck if the human race manages to get their shit together at the last possible moment? We had centuries to do 'the right thing', we chose not to. Honestly I find my feelings about this rather comical since it implies an ultimate moral authority. It is no more moral than the feelings each person feels upon witnessing any given event.
"Remember what fish tasted like?" some kid living in the near future will say. An ultimate moral authority demands that the human race be punished for turning the ocean into a graveyard. Honestly the lack of fish to eat would be punishment enough. The amoral cosmopolitan probably thinks it's fine, there are plenty of foods besides fish, why punish humanity for their inevitable transition to godhood? We can just grow them in a lab anyway. "Remember what breathing fresh air was like?" will be soon to follow. Then nothing but silence a few years later since everyone will be dead. Or perhaps big machines or nanobots will be scrubbing the air. People will just go on living in this radically different world. No one will even remember or care what fish tasted like.
The human race is engendered by moral relativism. I don't know why this sickens me, it just does. Is it an indisputable sign of stupidity? Taking a beautiful, functional planet and raping it to death then replacing everything with robots so that we can continue raping things until the sun explodes? Is that something to be proud of? What is shame really? Conscience? Aren't those things just figments of our imagination? What's wrong with raping a planet to death? No one can stop us. That really is the truth. Where did the crazy idea of morality even come from? Seems like it only exists so that we can get an even bigger thrill out of violating imaginary rules. After all when you rape everything under the sun, eventually the process loses its luster. Gotta get the magic back somehow!
I know, let's make an EPA so that we can rape indirectly via lobby, then we can double-rape when we corrupt the system & have our way with the environment. Now that's what I call magic! Everyone involved in that process should be so ashamed they kill themselves on the spot. Instead they reap the highest possible rewards society can offer, promotions, gratuitous bonuses, obscene salaries, back patting circlejerks. All of which incidentally involve more rape & plunder. And this is supposed to be "real life" the "big time", the aspiration of the underclass. Maybe some day if you work really hard, you too can become a professional world-raper. Wouldn't that be great?
No. This society, this civilization deserves far more than to be punished. The worst possible punishment would be far too good, too lenient. Even extinction would be a slap on the wrist at this point. Nothing can be done. Not even god could unfuck this reality.
October 25, 2013 → ubiquity without utility
Been awhile. Moving along at the normal breakneck speed of a rumbling glacier. You should see my actual
notes; basically an enormous odt (OpenOffice Writer) file chock-full of insanity. These posts are not exactly what you would call "highlights", they are merely exclusives. I keep debating whether or not I should just post my notes raw & complete. I am an "idea man", I have a lot of good ideas, but most of them never get any farther than that. But what really is the value of an idea? Without some kind of followup, some proof of concept... An idea all by itself is approximately worthless.
This is just my crazy point of view, but it seems like the world is mostly built on mediocre (some truly horrible) ideas that were brought to life by very practical people. People who are not brilliant idea havers, people who react to circumstances with the first thing they can think of. Like most casual statements this is a massive generalization. Sometimes people get lucky, intuition can trump good ideas, sometimes ideas that seem bad initially turn out to be brilliant & vice versa. None of this however is really predictable or under control, it is an organic process analogous to life itself.
Aesthetic Nihilism. That is my current state of mind. There is a role for everything, everyone. No, it's all just chaos, roles are irrelevant in an energy system that has no respect for anything. The struggle, the writhing of molecules in primordial muck being struck from every side by radiation from a distant sun. Something forms, takes shape. It is not a design, and yet it is inevitable. On innumerable worlds throughout limitless space. Ideas may be echoes of things that have already transpired on some other planet. Come and gone. They will come and go again.
Buddhism is sagely obsessed with the moment. Speculation like ideas are shadows of another time but life only exists in the moment. Respect for things is merely being. But ideas are patterns in the brain, electrical impulses, neurological webs. They are real and yet not real. More like they are phases of being. Ideas become real, then return to formless thought, an oscillation that never ends. Is it beautiful? Ugly? Is it anything? Without awareness and perception there is not even an echo, not even a shadow. Writing this all down sounds crazy, it is crazy.
Infinite intellectual freedom. Limited practical applications. What if there were no ideas, only utility? What if we had no thoughts and things just took form (like they do) spontaneously? Is this even distinguishable? Are ideas just aftershocks of future inevitabilities projecting into the past? Sure why not. Over the millennia great minds have shaped every level of civilization with thoughts like these. The face of every culture is pockmarked with telltale scars. The ideological constructs of today are fragile ephemeral huts erected on the smoldering ruins of yesterday's enlightenment.
The greatest monuments to intellect were ground down in a matter of centuries. The far more impressive autonomic ecological edifice eons in the making were sacrificed to build these ruins, burned in the war engines, butchered for scaffold, even the bones of mankind were employed to pave the endless highways to nowhere. A biography of the present reads more like mythology than anything concocted by the cult-wielding theologians of antiquity. A madness so profound and implicit that it cannot be seen since it has become the very substance of our lives.
October 4, 2013 → The Viceroy's Enigma
Always the justification for the unjustifiable is measured in "human lives", and if that is too vague "women", then "children", whatever will hit the closest to home, touch the heart. Because once you have control of a person's emotions, you have control of that person. If you can deploy this strategy on a broad enough scale at a cheap enough cost; then you have a campaign. Tens of thousands of years and this is the height of 21st century politics.
The viceroy's enigma is a quintessential scenario wherein the king's right-hand man is faced with a three-fold moral dilemma. In the viceroy's world there are three actors that demand his undivided attention: foremost himself, second his king & lastly the people who he serves via proxy. Politically – purely politically – he is expected to prioritize these actors last to first. In reality he prioritizes them as it is written here.
Via the enigma the aging viceroy is forced to intimately examine his own role and significance in the macroscopic (larger) reality for the last time, in essence everything he knows to be true. In this particular scenario the kingdom is at war with a powerful enemy, the empire is in decline, the leadership is fair & just but also weak. The viceroy is confronted with a pivotal choice: he is captured by the enemy and given the option to either betray his king & save his own life temporarily or die. There is no right answer, hence the introduction of extreme moral ambiguity.
The people are all important yet not really worth saving. So why was he even serving them for all those years? The king is ruling the people well but also failing to save them. The king is ultimately nothing more than a figurehead, as long as the people are thriving he is expendable, unless perhaps he is the sole reason for their success. In the final analysis the viceroy is just a luxury afforded to an opulent throne, an advisor who is only useful so long as he has the king's ear.
The dynamics are maximally diverse, at the crux the viceroy has become the fulcrum; possessing intimate knowledge of all that transpires in the court, with nothing but a few whispered words he can ensure the king's downfall. The irony is that a viceroy without loyalty, without integrity, cannot be allowed to fulfill any political capacity, to betray the king is to betray the self. On the other hand, to not betray the king ensures a swift death. The "people" are constantly flowing in and out of the equation. Will they become slaves? Will they all be slaughtered? The viceroy can trust no one, least of all himself.
Only a genius could solve this problem. At its heart the whole enigma is a distraction, it seduces us with its dramatic setting and vivid personalities, suggesting that we dig deeper & look farther. But the viceroy only has one option and by extension he only has one power: he can turn the hands of the clock forward. The fall of the empire was inevitable. Every action can be justified with one or more moral certainty. For example: hastening the end of the war will save lives. Or, loyalty is transcendent, betrayal is unforgivable.
The king is already dead, the viceroy is already dead, even the people, they are all dead too. Whether it happens now or in a hundred years, what's the difference? What's the alternative really? Say the viceroy lies to his captors, tricking them into thinking he has betrayed the king? This will only delay his execution. It's probably his best bet. What if he makes a deal? Betrayal in exchange for some small concession? He has no leverage aside from what he knows, once that is given up he's as good as dead. It's a slim chance, but better than nothing.
The viceroy is tricked in the end, the macroscopic view is useless, only the present moment matters. The people are all alive, the king is alive and the viceroy is alive. These things will all change at some point but at least the are all true for now. The only winning strategy is to stop the clock, to prolong the current moment for as long as possible. In this the viceroy must be a genuine genius. The engine of war is massive & ravenous: every second has a concrete value. The absolute relativity of everything is the viceroy's most valuable asset, that and his silver tongue.
September 16, 2013 → Mudaba
Had a cool fantasy. Say that Aliens are monitoring the internet, using advanced AI they crawl this site and flag it for entertainment purposes. The aliens find the city-planet idea intriguing, it becomes popular on their home world, then using their god-like powers they begin constructing a model somewhere in the universe, just for kicks. Then lastly they abduct me and drop me off on neotoy, or alternately upload my consciousness into a neotonian. A highly improbable scenario. Or what if they never even bothered to send an invitation? That would be more my style since I place an emphasis on the creation rather than the artist. This is actually just an introduction to...
This question I've had to answer more than once: if Neotoy was real would you want to go and live there? My answer has always been no and then yes, and then a lengthy explanation. Neotoy was originally intended to be a straight-up replacement for our reality, a "better world". Then it took on a life of its own and became a strange place that I barely recognized. Many people have some kind of fantasy world they wish to live in, it is typically populated with everything they love and find worthwhile. I can't say that Neotoy ever fit that description. From the very beginning is has depended on impersonal and ruthless architecture dredged from the macrocosm.
Neotoy did not arise to placate the depraved whims of an autistic megalomaniac, it was born to preserve the human spirit and endure beyond space & time. In a sense it is in fact an answer to the following questions: what is the human spirit? And, what parts of it are worth saving? Secondary is the condition that whatever can be salvaged is placed into a suitable crucible wherein it might be further distilled & sustained.
As I get older & my perspective dilates to the point where I lose my innate ability to focus on any single thing I become increasingly convinced that the "human spirit" is nothing special, it is just another contrivance of the ego. One more crude primeval survival mechanism in our infinite arsenal of auto-edification. I may be here now because of it but it would be foolish to fall into the trap of human-exceptionalism that now threatens our species with extinction.
Therefore the sphere of awareness must expand, something even more fundamental to reality must become the focus. Perhaps this is the tendency of things to organize into holistic structures that allow for beautiful dynamics to manifest (beauty also being wholly subjective is the new yet broader human spirit!). This has probably become the new foundation of the city-planet. But returning to point; is such a world focused on optimal quantum mechanical forces an inviting thing? Would living there really be satisfying to me? A world where error is constantly reduced, where automatic systems routinely purge all threats to perfection? Is that a livable world, or is it hell? This is why I say no.
All that we perceive as beautiful in humanity is first and foremost realized outside of us, we are incidental extensions of the quantum, engendering it only because we were created by it. It is not enough merely to qualify as "human", we must be capable of creating "beauty". Beauty being a transcendental force of nature surpassing our pedantic concepts of spirit & self. Beauty is a feeling, an instinct, and emotional response on the quantum level. The translucent crest of a wave, the sparkling veins in the petal of a flower, the meandering yet beguiling sorcery of birdsong. These are the things worth saving! A world that worships these things, that nurtures & protects them for eternity, that is the Neotonian ideal & aesthetic. And that is why after saying no I say yes. Living in such a world seems very desirable, but...
What about contrast? If everything is beautiful all the time what will we be giving up in the process? The ability to choose. Destroying beautiful things will be forbidden, only creating them will be allowed. I cannot know if such a life would be livable. Furthermore without destruction can creation even be possible? Everything is utilized, everything is functioning optimally, there is no waste, no decay. That is an incomprehensible universe. So I have to answer both yes and no; because I want to answer these questions, but I would never be willing to wager the fate of an entire universe on mere speculation.
Ideally being able to visit Neotoy and study it like a sociologist or anthropologist without having to commit to living there would be my preferred method.
August 21, 2013 → Gerard or Mapping Part VI
So I came up with an unusual method for generating Metto
names for neotoy's 5120 mettos. But before that a bit of trivia: the first metto I ever named was titled with a typo. One of the core elements of neotoy is referencing the digital domain, this includes everything from gaming culture to all the random idiosyncrasies of the digital technology community. I learned how to type in high school, I type very fast, my accuracy is low; consequently I make a lot of mistakes, especially with short words. I am not unique in this, it's such a common phenomena that several memes have grown up around typos: pwn & teh to cite a couple.
One of my most common misspellings was the word "aslo" an anagram of "also", I liked the sound of it, but even more I liked the concept of using misspelled words as if they were actual words. It was in a sense a kind of mini-game that would give the reader a chance to try and decode each metto name and figure out what the original word was. I also liked the idea because I was taking something that would normally be considered a flaw or weakness and transforming it into a strength; this is also a theme used repeatedly through neotoy. One of the advantages of this method was also that multiple misspellings could be generated from a single ordinary word.
While this was a great idea it did have some problems, specifically scale & rate of production. The first was easily solved when I did a little research and discovered a list of the '5000 most commonly used words in the English language', this gave me my seed group. Then I found a cool online tool for generating common misspellings intended for SEO. This seemed ideal because it was another nod to the digital domain, it was also highly configurable which was an added bonus. In addition to this basic system for typo creation I tried to outline a few rules just to keep things consistent and orderly:
#1 genuine typos should be given priority over simulated ones.
#2 words containing more than seven letters are not to be used.
#3 morphology should rely primarily on couplet transposition.
#4 no more than three derivatives of a single word are allowed.
#5 the 5k word list is only a guide other words are okay too.
#6 typos should be more or less pronounceable & sound unique.
#7 ideally it is not immediately obvious what the seed word was.
#8 typos should never be actual words or proper names – ever.
#9 there can be exceptions to the rules if the typo is awesome
So there was a bit of a problem having to do with a lack of planning on my part. Years before I'd come up with this system I'd named a few mettos with ordinary words. Basically this is unacceptable so those mettos have to be renamed, that is the official action I've decided to take on this matter. There may also be problems with some mettos just having extremely obvious typos, those will probably be replaced with better names at some point. Luckily the general city activity is currently very low so mettos can be renamed without causing too much disruption. At a later date this may not be practical. There are currently 32 named mettos, the list which will undoubtedly grow can be seen here: map/metto
Another crucial aspect of mettos & mapping in general has been their internal composition. The first thing I attempted to establish was the school zoning. As you might expect this presented several interesting problems, fortunately my dumb luck seemed to come into play.
To give a little background the whole idea behind the metto was to create a kind of procedural state. Every metto would conform to a carefully outlined system of seamlessly integrated semi-dynamic mosaics, each of which would be 'fractal' in the sense that as one moved up in scale each larger motif (comprised of several smaller motifs) would retain the key characteristics of diversity, accessibility & functionality found within the smallest unit. As with any "real" city, the layout is predicated on core utilities & institutions (infrastructure) that both fulfills & sustains the needs of the populace.
So the challenge then is to ensure that regardless of the structural dynamism of the internal motifs the citizenry is always able to access the functions that they have come to rely upon. In respect to neotoy the core infrastructure consists roughly of a list describing the facilities that fulfill life-critical dependencies sorted by their chronological importance. Followed by the culture-critical equivalents and so on. See below:
#1 IR ROYGBV UV (10 seconds) – Photolith, mirror, fiber, prism, lens, etc.
#2 Oxygen (10 minutes) – Ecosystem & Atmospherics
#3 Water (6 days) – Hydrolith, canal, pool, fountain, rivulet, etc.
#4 Nutrition (12 days) – Automat & Ecosystem
#5 REM (24 days) – Safe shelter, forest, fortress, kiloplex, hotel, etc.
In the complete absence radiation a denizen will go into hibernation mode after approximately 10 seconds. After 10 minutes of oxygen deprivation a denizen will die. After six days without water a denizen will die. After 12 days without nutrition a denizen will die. After 24 days without sleep a denizen will die. That is the baseline however these numbers vary depending on the status of the individual, Ku students are more robust, with their robustness being directly proportional to their grade. The Infinite are of course immune to all of these conditions and can remain conscious indefinitely even in the lightless vacuum of deep space.
#6 Dais – Platform for Debate
#7 Shrine – Sacred Space & Neutral Ground
#8 School – Gray, Black & White Ku taught here also dorms for students
#9 Library – Living Memory of the Masses
#10 Hotel – Neutral Lodging & Embassy of the Continuum
#11 Café – Coffee &
#12 Automat – General Self-Serve Nutrition & Sometimes Cafeteria
#13 Kiloplex – Mass Open Housing
#14 Fortress – Fortified Housing
#15 Forest – Sanctuary of the Animals & Hermits
August 16, 2013 → How I learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Internet
It's strange, there's always 1001 things to write about, and yet my scope is often so narrow. I've always loathed "social networking / media", initially I was roped into it by association with services that integrated themselves. Then later I willingly participated in at least one network, why? Because an old friend suggested I try it and I was interested in talking to them again. The funny thing was, I fucking loved it. Even funnier, I have no idea why. Funniest, it became one of my top sources of information.
I went on to have public and private "conversations" with "famous" people I respected or found fascinating. World leaders, diplomats, porn stars, developers, producers, corporations. This is for me at least a perfect summary as to why the internet is so damn awesome. Although the real appeal probably comes from being able to express yourself in a kind of quasi-relevant forum that juxtaposes various personalities in a somewhat equilateral way. If you're so inclined, tell the president of the United States to go fuck himself in front of millions of other plebs, some poor PR grunt at the White House will have to read it. Every one of your "friends" will now know exactly how you feel about twerking, bacon milkshakes or Bradley Manning.
It sounds kinda stupid when you put it like that, but it's actually a little less stupid than that. The bottom line is that it's better than nothing. The flip side is when someone you like snubs you in some way. Suddenly you feel horrible. Unless you are some kind of robot there is always a degree if peer pressure, even complete strangers are part of this nebulous cloud of dread that constantly swings over us like Poe's existential pendulum of doom (thanks evolutionary psychology!). Recent studies have confirmed that social media makes us miserable, overly self-conscious, more judgmental, etc. But it's addictive, and when it "works" it feels fantastic. This is really something that benefits from as shallow an analysis as possible.
So I have this one habit that started fairly recently: I go to youtube and search
semi-random keywords, sorting the results by most recent. It is a truly bizarre experience, I have seen everything, and I do mean everything
on youtube. I have discovered stuff that I never would have imagined. It reminds me of binge gaming first person shooters, there is an underlying excitement with the occasional rush of adrenaline upon uncovering a particular gem, but there is also the overwhelming sense of empty exhaustion caused by mentally moving through time and space at near light speed; always accompanied by the eternal despair brought to life through countless hours of video garbage excreted onto the internet every nanosecond.
I noticed this one scheme recently, retards using some macro software to upload dozens of softcore porn clips to randomly generated youtube accounts. They do this over and over again. Presumably, people who have never used the internet before, click on these videos, and in theory some kind of microscopic revenue is generated. It's anyone's guess on how many thousands of these spam accounts are on youtube, each one funneling a few pennies into some asshole's adsense account. Yet another triumph for capitalism.
Another recent trend is people uploading full-length movies, typically obscure erotic foreign films from the
distant past. Aside from being a monumental waste of time, this morbid fixation of mine has at the very least been educational. I never knew how smart Toucans were, nor how dexterous were their bills until a few weeks ago. I never would have imagined that a rapper could invent a dance based on dogs shaking themselves dry which could then morph into an excuse for hordes of
closeted lesbians to safely explore their sexuality in front of a worldwide audience.
I started eating Quinoa
recently, it's a nutrition dense "superfood" with the potential to save millions of people from starvation. Ironically the day after I bought a large bag of the stuff an article showed up in my feed describing how impoverished Quinoa consumers in the 3rd world were now starving to death because the demand for Quinoa was going up so quickly that they could no longer afford it. Trends, they're worth noticing. The truth is Quinoa tastes like nothing and it looks like tiny worm riddled eyeballs, it's hardly something you buy because it's an aesthetically pleasing flavor sensation.
It's funny, just a few years ago I was obsessed with poverty, starvation, income inequality, now I'm just like "fuck 'em.". It's true that I'm using fewer resources now than I've ever used at any point in my life, but that's had no effect whatsoever on anything aside from my budget. Meanwhile in dozens of countries around the world, aside from ubiquitous cotton tshirts, plastic water jugs & sheet metal, there are literally billions of people living like it's 40,000 years ago. This is not even an exaggeration.
Don't get me wrong, these are not all miserable people, in fact a lot of them seem far happier than the few affluent people I know. It's just that being covered in dirt & flies, prodding a smoldering brush fire in a smoke choked hut, the 3rd world seems so far gone that saying it's "left behind" seems downright benevolent. It was left behind in the 1940s, in 2013 it seems fairly obvious that despite the advent of "revolutionary" tablet computers & Large Hadron Collider, the 3rd world has not been left behind, it has been consigned to oblivion.
I had this idea recently to start making segments for a "show" to publish via my youtube channel. The premise is that it would be all about winning the war on bad things. In other words it would be 100% positive. Just highlighting recent news covering bad things happening to bad people. This idea was inspired by several such articles; one was about Monsanto giving up in Europe, another was about Exxon losing a massive lawsuit, then there was another one about illegal loggers getting arrested. Truth is there is a lot of positive news out there. I think it could do well, I still might try it.
The idea really started to get fun when I imagined setting up a fake news desk, and adding some kind of quirky angle, like leaving my head out of the broadcasts, or closing each segment with some kind of sardonic sign off i.e. "Lastly President Obama is still deeply & eternally ashamed that Guantanamo Bay remains open. 100 days and counting since his second and last totally insincere promise to close it." You know, like the Onion I guess. Parody & humor is by far the most effective form of criticism. Anyhow, that's all for this update. I hope you enjoyed the somewhat diverse selection of topics. Hey, remember when 'raw and unfiltered' was cool?
August 6, 2013 → Tahoe Part II
I have a tendency to post long dissertation style psychological soft-rants that never actually get around to resolving the central theme of the abstract. The last post was such a post. Breaking it down further into purely human themes:
There are people who passionately believe they are dependent on the "state", that they are entitled to unconditional support. Likewise there are people who passionately believe they are above the "state" and that social Darwinism should be applied wholesale to society. These are both extreme views; on one hand we have a point of view that is overly compassionate, indulgent to the point of detriment. On the other hand, we have an overly callous, clinical point of view that is antithetical to core human values. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, engendering elements of callousness & compassion depending on individual circumstances and their own personal judgment.
I think it's clear that neither of these extremes is practical as broadly applied policy: unconditional compassion is not economically viable, the society will incur too many costs and go bankrupt (i.e. Detroit). Likewise being clinical about everything is fundamentally lazy and devolves to the point where perfectly good things are culled due to arbitrarily perceived flaws (i.e. Nazi Germany). Taking them both to their natural extremes we have a society where everyone dies because no one is doing any work, and a society where everyone is killed because no one is capable of meeting the ideal criteria. Now this is where things get really interesting.
Throw in scale and the basic equations change dramatically: in a massively mixed society you can actually get away with killing hundreds of millions of people pursuing some farcical 'master race' fantasy. Likewise in a massively mixed society you can force hundreds of millions of people to subsidize the entire livelihoods of hundreds of millions of other people. This is truly fascinating; these impractical extremist ideologies can actually become the status quo!
But I think most people would agree that a society falling on either side of the spectrum would be an ugly & deeply dysfunctional abomination that could not possibly endure indefinitely. The 'perfect storm' is when you have both extremes competing for dominance: a society where the majority of people are overly dependent on a minority which in turn has become obsessed with culling everyone that fails to measure up to unrealistic standards.
I think this is actually a fairly accurate description of America's "decline" and the current status quo. Measuring everything in terms of money, which is intrinsically lazy & dehumanizing, has gone a long way towards realizing this nihilistic vision. But enough about the problem, what about a solution?
I sincerely believe that without a radically different type of economics this problem has no solution. Money is always the de facto metric used to evaluate the health of a society & the value of its people, and because of this the social and political calculus is always horribly warped & biased towards 'stupid' & destructive tendencies. I would even go so far to state that: the degree to which money plays a pivotal role in society is directly proportional to the rate at which that society experiences social decline. The ideal society does not require money at all. Money is in fact the best representation we have for social breakdown & failure. It is in effect a corrosive substitution or placeholder for genuine functionality.
So, it is not even enough to use an alternative means of measurement, the path towards social recovery requires an entirely different type of currency. Above and beyond even this, a different psychology is needed, a kind that natively recognizes the value of things apart from their economic context. A society that sustains itself on money is always moving away from this point of origin, becoming more and more detached from the fundamental values that constitute the foundation of any traditional society.
Awareness, caring, responsibility (to self and others), these are the true pillars of society.
August 5, 2013 → Tahoe
Been awhile, I was on vacation from July 29 – August 2 in Tahoe City, California. I tried very hard this year to maintain a positive outlook, I find a constant negative psychological impact from materialistic cultures. I'm no hermit living in the wilderness, but there is a difference between living in the ghetto and being surrounded by affluence. What is the normal reaction in this situation I wonder? Is there even one? When I imagine the life the people who live in multi-million dollar houses lead, I can only think of the obscene waste that such a lifestyle involves. Affluence is extravagance, the scale alone makes it impossible to rationalize. The people who live this way, they might as well be aliens from my point of view.
In capitalism we are taught and expected to feel envious and desire their upscale lifestyle, it is endlessly glorified in media. I can't say I am entirely immune, it is easy enough to fantasize about living in a giant decadent estate, having every random desire fulfilled by a concierge. An indulgence granted foremost and unironically to the self-serving. But It seems amoral to me, taking so much just because "I deserve it". Says fucking who? And if someone else takes everything away from me, is that equally well deserved? Moral relativism at its finest. Both are "wrong" because they are the same.
Deep meditation on all this has produced an understanding of certain mentalities: nature vs. nurture is at the forefront of our most basic economic bias. Nature represents the idea that we invent ourselves, that we are responsible for our lives, that we are entitled to whatever that entails. Nurture is similar but not the same, it suggests that we are in part invented by other factors, that we are only partially responsible for our lives, and last but not least; that we are only entitled to what we are granted.
The essence of free will itself is tied up in these words. They epitomize the most conventional human perspectives. Let us analyze the contradictions: number one – we cannot be considered the sole author of the self & a mere derivative of other forces. Number two – we cannot be completely responsible for the self & only partially responsible at the same time. Number three – we cannot be entitled to everything & entitled to only what we are given. At each turn these two perspectives force the ideologue to choose a diametrically opposed pathway.
People also mix & match, the nature advocate may believe that we are both self-invented & influenced by others. The nurture minded may insist that we are entitled to what we are given & what we can attain. So, even these obvious contradictions are only semantically black & white. The worst though is when a person is certain about one and has not even considered the possibility of the other; there are plenty of those too. This however is the basic breakdown
of human ideology responsible for economic disparity.
The far more sinister side of course is the inevitable extrapolation of each point of view. Nature: being entitled to everything means taking everything, furthermore we 'deserve it', lastly; fuck everybody else because they are just competition and/or failures. This varies in degree from passive-aggressive to outright sociopathy. Nurture: being powerless & in poverty are the essence of dependency, no responsibility means no accountability & no control, everything & everyone is a construct, a collective & arbitrary invention. This also varies in degree from passive-aggressive to outright sociopathy.
You cannot contest economic disparity without debating nature vs. nurture. You also cannot win by debating nature vs. nurture. Better just to throw the whole duality out the window. Identity, Responsibility, Entitlement – the three pillars of humanity & economic disparity. Three words that are themselves so vast and vague that they mean entirely different things depending on who is using them. It's possible to take responsibility for yourself but not others. It's possible to be entitled to life. It's possible to steal an identity.
July 19, 2013 → Mapping Part V
Just some more infographics.
July 15, 2013 → Good News Everyone! or Mapping Part IV
When I was young I always dreamed of becoming a mad scientist, now that dream has basically come true. But that is not why I am writing to you today. I write to document something somewhat remarkable; after crunching a bunch of numbers last week I discovered to my amazement that the geodesic geosphere I'd been using as a mere abstract visualization seemed to actually fit all my technical requirements.
Oddly or perhaps eerily enough the numbers produced by several different calculations involving different parts of the city all synchronized & converged in this one design. As noted in the previous post my final number seed was the time & distance it would take a denizen to bisect a single metto, derived from my own 20 mile walk. Take a look:
Me: 20 miles in 12 hours.
Denizen: 40 miles (2 x 20) in 12 hours.
Denizen 80 miles (2 x 40) in 1 earth day.
So how many earth days are in one neotoy day? 10.
A Neotonian Day is 240 Terrestrial Hours. See below:
x 0.864 = 864,000 (seconds) / 60 = 14,400 (minutes) / 60 = 240 (hours) / 24 = 10 (days)
So how many miles could a Neotonian walk in one neotoy day? 800 (80 x 10).
Target: Via Walking Bisect a metto in 3 neotoy days. Metto "H" must = 2,400 miles (3 x 800).
Since there are ~100 bisected mettos comprising the circumference of neotoy ([32 x 2 = 64] + [18 x 2 = 36] = 100) that = 240,000 miles (2,400 x 100).
That is ~9.6 times the circumference of Earth (24,901 miles)! And it would take a denizen 300 neotoy days to circumnavigate the globe (3 x 100)!
Incidentally my draft Icosahedron of 5120 triangles has the ideal circumference of 100 triangles! Those familiar with the actual geometry will know that a true Icosahedron does not have a perfect ring of adjacent bisected triangles. I simulated this property by rotating an arc of 36 triangles in order to fill the parallel gaps. In reality the circumference is slightly less than 100 bisected triangles, but close enough for these approximate calculations.
Anyhow, the whole point of this post was to explain that I now have an actual working 1:1 3D & 2D map of the city planet's surface! This is hugely exciting for me because it is now possible to visualize neotoy in a way that was simply not possible before now, it also lets me start placing and naming mettos on the 2D projection. In the 16+ years I've been building neotoy this is the closest it has become to something tangible. It is now theoretically possible to create a virtual simulation of the planet surface; at last I have my foundation upon which everything else can be built.
Executive Summary: Neotoy now has 5120 mettos, not "One Billion". Neotoy now has an accurate, mathematically validated 3D & 2D map at the metto scale!
July 11, 2013 → Mapping Part III
So after playing around with several simulations in Second Life I'm beginning to think that there are several ways I can reorganize my base map to make things easier on myself and to create a more consistent mathematical foundation. The only thing about this process is how irritating it is to think I've established a constant, only to realize that due to some long-term calculus the whole thing needs to be redone. The arbitrary figure of "One Billion Mettos" (imagine in a Dr. Evil voice) simply has to go. There's other numerology that needs to take precedence.
If the metric system was my original guiding force, I now realize that the number ten is equally arbitrary; rather it's the nature of predictable factorability that is crucial. For this there are far better multiples than base ten. I'm not exactly back to square one, but I feel like my initial instinct to leave more values as floating points to be filled in later was not such a bad idea after all. In every instance the flaw has been choosing the end result first and then factoring backwards; I now realize that it makes a lot more sense to start with a holistic outline and then gradually articulate each keyframe until it becomes possible to fill in the missing links.
This leaves me with a few core values that are central to the continuum: Denizen Scale (~12'), Planet Scale (~10x Earth), Smallest Common Unit Scale (~59'), Time Scale (0.864 Seconds). These are currently pretty well defined, the problem is that they work poorly together, furthermore they are all based to some degree on Terrestrial
units. This does make sense since Neotoy is technically a derivative of earth, a 'spiritual successor' as it were, but it also has a hobbling effect, that is making it hard to reach a higher potential. From day one I've been forced to gradually abandon each terrestrial system in favor of new models that quite frankly are far more flexible and intelligent than anything the earth has so far been able to produce.
The metric system is far superior to the Imperial system, but there is undoubtedly something even better than that hidden somewhere between the lines. Ultimately the Neotoy Continuum is based on the power of the triangle; it is in essence a Trinary system. Binary is invalid, there are no 2D realities, so any system that derives from two points of reference can be thought of as sufficiently advanced. In Neotoy we do not have On & Off, instead we have Yes, No & Maybe. That is a model that is far more analogous to reality. Likewise we have Black, Gray & White Schools of thought. These similarities are all meant to mirror a reality that is not obsessed with polarization.
I'm thinking it might be wise to just forgo any attempt to link our continuum to the NC via conversions. I mean does it matter if a denizen transported magically to our universe would appear 12 feet tall? Yet that one vague number is enough to derive the proportionality of an entire alien solar system. All that is truly important at this point is that the city planet is really fucking huge; each metto is like a discreet state wherein unique cultures can emerge and sustain themselves. These are the important factors, not arbitrary numbers pulled out of a hat.
A far more relatable value might be a statement as to how long it would take the average denizen to walk across a metto. For this I have no personal analog, the farthest I've walked in a single day is slightly over 20 miles, which took about 12 hours. A Neotonian Day is 240 Terrestrial Hours. So in theory a Human could walk 400 Terrestrial miles in a single Neotonian Day. Being twice the height of a human a Neotonian could probably manage 800 Terrestrial miles in a single Neotonian Day. A metto however has to be much larger than that; the idea of a person walking across an entire state in a single day seems somewhat absurd, the scale is too small.
At the very least it should probably take a few days or even weeks for a Neotonian to walk across an entire metto, just like it would take a human several days or weeks to walk across an entire state. Unlike Terrestrial states, every Neotonian metto is approximately the same size, so this proportion is a bit more important. Say it takes 3 Neotonian Days to cross a metto, that is 2400 Terrestrial miles (in 720 Neotonian hours). This number gives a pretty good basis for calculating the overall proportionality of the entire planet, which ideally is at least as large as earth. Everything becomes more complicated with a Icosahedron because there is no straight line of triangles comprising its circumference.
July 11, 2013 → Activism?
The role of activism is merely an ongoing resistance to the seed of madness that can be found lodged deeply in every human heart. Activists recognize gross instances of globally institutionalized insanity. Rarely can they hope to prevail against this madness, it may even be safe to say that there is no global trend or policy that can ever be wholly eliminated. Activism therefore is not a win / lose relationship; it is a resistance that rapidly evolves into a lifelong occupation of enemy territory. On the larger front, every 'battle' is purely symbolic of some larger cosmic struggle that can neither be comprehended nor contained. We have people clumping into camps because that is what living dictates. This process is as real and as meaningful as any.
Those who think they are not activists are wrong, they are activists against activism. Every human being is an activist, some are only as of yet unlabeled. The point of fighting a war you can't win is to delay the inevitable. The wars of today are unwinnable affairs, not because one side is unable to prevail over the other, but because the result of either side winning is the loss of the greater context that sustains the soldiers & civilians alike. This is the so-called "Zero Sum Game" where to win is actually to lose. Therefore both sides must surrender to their commonality if either is to survive. Their madness is both their abject failure to recognize this fact and their seeming inability to take action when they finally do.
July 5, 2013 → Mapping Part II
5120 triangles. Purely symbolic map since each of those triangles would theoretically contain 9,768.2 mettos. My math skills simply aren't advanced enough to calculate an appropriate ratio. Ideally the triangles that comprise the 'symbolic' map could be multiplied by a whole number that would equal 50,013,184 total 'actual' mettos. You would think the process of just factoring that big number by various whole numbers would provide a solution, but the problem is actually the number of possible triangles in any given icosahedron. Say I divide the total number by 9,248 – this gives an exact number of 5,408. In theory if I could generate an icosahedron comprised of 5,408 polygons I would have my solution. But there is no possible icosahedron derived from that number. So I am back to square one.
My original seed number of "one billion mettos" is more or less arbitrary, loosely linked to the metric system. Since I was initially trying to base all the galactic proportions on the binary system I tried several derivatives that were factors of 8, but none seemed to fit my ultimate criteria. Really this is a problem of knowing exactly how much space is needed, which is in turn dependent on the scale of mobile organisms, specifically denizens. If a Neotonian is approximately 12' tall (3.6576 Meters) – they are indeed "giants" by our standards; then proportionally the planet needs to be quite vast in scale in order to accommodate their roaming. I only had one fixed feeling about this prospect and that was wanting the planet to be so large that denizens could become lost for 'years', perhaps even forever, within the labyrinth.
More specifically this idea was based on a fantasy of scale that allows entire civilizations to rise, evolve & collapse in a single small geographical area. The ultimate intent being a kind of super-diversity throughout the planet. A denizen traveling from region to region would experience dramatic culture shock, encountering radically different societies. This is slightly contradictive however since the uniform nature of denizens and the totalitarian influence of the core determines a highly contiguous global civilization; hence the true cultural differences between regions would most likely be subtle and hard to differentiate. This reintroduces the broader conflict between leveraging the unique dynamic of global unity with the narrative necessity of 'keeping things interesting'.
Subtlety has always been a keystone of the Neotoy Continuum, so that is my bias. Flashy, shallow complexity that overwhelms vs. Elegant, sensual simplicity that empowers. The latter should always tip the scale in favor of delicious subtlety.
July 1, 2013 → Mapping
I learn as I age, timing is very important with just about everything, likewise it's crucial to develop a timeless perspective. To be a master of life one must also become a master of time. Being both acutely aware of time's relevance while ultimately rejecting its influence.
I've started a somewhat halfhearted attempt to create a printable 2D map of the surface of the city planet (mettos only). This is extremely challenging due to the scale of the topology. In order to create a 1:1 map I would at the very least need to be able to generate an icosahedron (20 segment geodesic sphere) composed of one billion plus polygons; with each of these "2D" triangular regions having an area of 10,000 U
. An actual, albeit relativistic example of this space can be seen here
Just trying to work towards this end has been a fascinating learning experience. So far I have discovered the optimal method for unwrapping an icosahedron so that it forms a flat & continuous motif ideal for map projection. Overall the most educational aspect comes through being forced to rationalize vision with reality and vice versa. Geometry places certain restrictions on my ideas, changing them in ways that I sometimes find I love. Just so, I find myself pioneering new techniques via my vision that may in fact have real-world or at least virtual-world applicability. No doubt other people have gone down this path before me, but did they publish their research on the internet? I think not.
I'm hoping to solve two difficult problems with this project: foremost I desire to at long last establish a concrete foundation for my world to be built upon. Nothing is more central to that than clearly defining the metto; it is in effect the master tile from which the structure of the entire planet cascades and is composed. The second problem is one of placement, mapping is not just visual, it is technological: I am determined to create a method for precision orientation down to the Unit. This GPS type system will use an entirely new coordinate system derived from the triangular matrix of the planet's structure; it will not be relational, it will be absolute. This scenario is unlike anything to have come before, it is not just a world on which organisms live, it is a machine, a memory. Every triangle will be individually addressable.
So far my characters have had no choice but to wander aimlessly in a geographical fog, their mettos have names but they are floating in a gray ocean. Is one next to the other or are they on the other side of the world? Currently it is impossible to say. By doing something as simple as labeling a few triangles I can establish the scene once and for all. This is my goal. However, even at the metto resolution we're talking over one billion triangles. Then each of those triangles is a map in and of itself. So this is not something I can just throw together. As much as I would love to do it fully and "right" the first time, that is just not possible without hiring programmers. This leads me to design a highly modular architecture for mapping that will allow me to focus on small regions which are absolutely positioned like the pieces of a puzzle.
That is basically what I'm working on right now, so far I've made a lot of progress, it's just very
distributed. I'll be posting some of the assets I'm generating once I get a little further in.
June 28, 2013 → Revolution of Complacency or Casino of Destiny
I'm no expert on these matters, I doubt my perspective is particularly valuable or unique aside from an influx of technological insight. That can perhaps be my one claim, I've always been way ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. But that is not due to any remarkable personal quality, it is just my documentation of design inevitability
which has always been overlooked by most.
One such omission, a highly relevant question very few are asking: is there such a thing as technology that is just too powerful for humans to possess? Or perhaps the better question: is there any body of humanity trustworthy enough to possess it? In the coming age we are beset on all sides by nascent technology that grants almost anyone in the world the power previously entrusted only to the gods.
It's not mere hype to provide the example of Joe or Jane Blow downloading the smallpox genome off the internet and whipping up a batch in their easy-bake gene sequencer. Or 3D printing the parts to construct a rudimentary nuclear reactor. Or something even more extreme like strapping Google Glass to your face, thereby tacitly contributing to the collection of hellabytes
of personal & public information that is then data mined by governments and multinationals with the intent of enslaving us all.
I hypothesize this not to spread irrational fear but to point out how one-sided this revolution of complacency has become. No one can stop it. And yet that fact does not negate the equally inevitable conclusion that the human race can barely be trusted with the technology we already possess. While it may be pointless to even broach the topic, I can't help but think that it wouldn't hurt if more people were at least talking about it. We live in a reactive world, we have a reactive culture, a reactive society; but is that really the only way to live?
Here I'm envisioning a future wherein all human activity shifts from reactive creativity to a reactive struggle for survival thanks to an unhinged creative process. It may not turn out that way, in fact the human race may suddenly start acting more mature & responsible, super-powerful technology may only be used for good. Clearly we are betting it all on this possibility. A species of compulsive gamblers.
Personally there is no way I can be comfortable with this. Meanwhile I am deriving my income from virtual worlds & 3D printing, cryptocurrency, the cutting edge of this fantastical future. I too am ensnared in the technological casino of destiny.
June 29, 2013 → Stream
Fairness was covered, but what about conscience? An interesting word to be sure; con-science. Reintroducing moral relativism. Isn't it interesting how groups of people develop general yet radically different ideologies? Then objectively these ideologies can be easily classified based on their characteristics. This process is so fine-grained that it's possible to label an individual as a "liberal" or "conservative", a "communist" or a "capitalist". Even if these hypothetical people have highly complex philosophies & principles that may even differ greatly in practice from expected behavior associated with these words.
One of the first conclusions drawn is that labels are all bullshit and represent a flawed and comically over-simplified assessment. But for every exception there is a complimentary cliché that somehow manages to maintain an absurdly predictable profile. No matter how you look at it there is no way to deny that these people either do this subconsciously (indicating intelligence) or are just so stupid that they are unable to think themselves out of fulfilling some preposterous sociopolitical profile. Like so many things, it seems like nature playing a cruel joke on humanity, setting up these farcical scenarios wherein we are forced to confront the reality of arbitrary yet well-established roles.
Sexism, racism, and so many other cultural biases will always rely on this theatrical quality. Without getting to the bottom of it, we will never be rid of them. Suggesting that we will never be rid of them. As for hating clichés, even if they happen to be human beings, can it really be considered morally wrong? I would intimate that it is not if you can somehow prove that the behavior is manufactured. Then you are obligated to hate the source, this strange force that compels people to perform like trained animals. Here I may stray into the dark and morally dubious territory of putting culture on trial. Hating a culture is no different than loving one, there's never any justification beyond our individual satisfaction.
Culture does not even come from anywhere, it is rootless and composed entirely of like-minded people freely associating themselves with it. If these masses of people are destroyed their culture ceases to exist. If they are not destroyed, the ravages of time smudge and eventually erase whatever they were and replace it with some other, equally idiotic, make-believe. This is the core of loathing populism, it is also the relish and elation of being part of a sliver of time that will never come again. Once more, love and hate intricately intertwined. Those who don't contain awareness of both are mere unbeknownst players in the production that nature wrote to make fools of us all.
Naturally the best possible attitude is a combination of refusing to take yourself too seriously while observing the tenets of Absurdism
June 19, 2013 → Incogent
Incogent is not a word, but it probably should be. Words as always inadequate yet struggling to define an abstract world that cannot be imagined but in dreams. He or rather it
stood chiseled; this was not a figurative description, for Neotonians are not wrought of capricious biological whims as are you and I. Rather they are hewn from the very foundations of time itself. The body is nothing besides an elaborate strongbox, a cage for the soul. It is wholly bent to this purpose, visually it reflects this fact in every respect.
Standing as it were in defiance of all things, a living (if it could be called as such) testament to some insoluble problem from time immemorial, forever shattered over the unbending brow of incomparable will. It
cracked a smile, still human on some level after all these uncounted ages. Not an android after all, for this was no simulation, no product of algorithmic sorcery. Genuine emotion bred in every cell, coalescing in the heart and finally manifesting on the face. But why was it smiling? So many reasons. The simple joy of knowing life. The deeper joy of enduring despite all odds. The dim awareness of baring witness to the golden age of something. Of the city? Of the self? The deepest joy of all, of knowing that you do not know, yet feeling certain that some part of you does, and always will.
All of this flickered like a spark, an explosion of light exposing the opulent walls of consciousness' dark room, in an instant. Then soothing darkness returned, the wind of enlightenment dying in the hearth where it had flared up only moments before. Those glassy sightless eyes let go their sparkle, defiance only lasts so long as there is something to defy. The metaphorical red carpet had been rolled out, it ran in all directions like a red wave, only bespectacled here and there by the flotsam and jetsam of the dismembered bodies.
Still the being never shrugged, the sky-blue shoulders never stooped. That was the essence of the organism. It did not desire this, it simply was incapable of bowing down, therefore it smiled.
June 8, 2013 → Gone With The Night
So, the whole PRISM scandal thing just broke a few days ago... I don't think my reaction to this is normal, aside from the general unease at the perceived American descent into fascism. One of the smartest things I think Ron Paul ever said was that tyranny has been around forever, it's liberty that is an anomaly, historically speaking. We must never forget that this crazy concept of giving people control over their own destiny is an experiment
. The far more reliable tradition has always been to establish a ruthless socioeconomic hierarchy with barbarians at the top and slaves below. In our "civilized", "modern" society this seems like abject madness, until we peel back the public relations veneer only to realize that we are living in a world that has remained virtually unchanged since prehistoric times. The barbarians of yesteryear donned expensive designer suits, they continue to brutalize the populace from atop their ivory towers, now comprised of steel and glass, outfitted with fiber-optic broadband backbones.
As for the whole ivory tower thing, that story too plays out predictably. The problem with ivory towers is that they introduce a brand of corporeal ignorance into their occupants. The end result of living in another world is that eventually the real world comes knocking, and when it does it knocks those steel & glass towers down like they were built out of toothpicks and bubblegum. The ideal slave-state has never been created, perhaps until now. Always in the past we had elites protected by their soldiers who in turn kept the unwashed masses in line. The power relationships are an illusion, members merely participate because they have nothing better to do. Elites are entitled (someone has to be in charge, right?), soldiers are satisfied to sell out, slaves scrape by somehow. It can all be upset in a split second. It's not practical to police an entire country, slaves are never utterly submissive, elites are never untouchable. Things just go on as they are because needs are being met. It's not tyranny it's voluntary
The ideal slave-state on the other hand... does not create an empire on earth, it creates an empire in the mind. Intelligence is used to effectively multiply an otherwise inadequate authoritarian regime. It is now possible to police an entire country, even an entire planet, with ease. A handful of morons in an ivory tower can strategically control billions of other people via manipulating information. The ability to control entire populations is directly proportional to the ability to author the national or global narrative. Historically the creation of this narrative was a collective activity, everyone contributed and their contributions were proportional. Something along the lines of: Slaves 90%, Soldiers 9%, Elites 1%. Now thanks to the wonders of information technology the proportions are drastically different: Elites 50%, Soldiers 25%, Slaves 25%. Naturally these numbers are pulled totally out of my ass, but I think they're good approximations.
The bottom line is that in terms of population breakdown the numbers haven't changed at all. Elites still make up less than 1% of the global population while Slaves still comprise more than 90%. Only their respective levels of influence has changed. Social media is billed as the great equalizer, but that is exactly the problem; it only equalizes influence in terms of economics. Hence those with the most money have the greatest influence. Meanwhile the system is constantly being skewed in favor of "sponsored" messages. The ability to buy influence in the classical equation generates marginal influence, but in the new media equation it not only frames every debate, it also determines the content itself. Furthermore this is achieved with unparalleled efficiency due to the most overlooked aspect of the scenario: the ability to data mine & analyze the collective consciousness at resolutions previously unimagined.
So here we have the ability to comprehend the consciousness of the target with almost absolute precision coupled with the ability to control their thoughts and feelings via new media. This is the most calculated and expansive psychological campaign ever conducted by one group of people against another. Assuming that the intelligence is good, it's within reason to believe that it is possible to exploit the 90% to their maximum limit while simultaneously preventing them from revolting. This could go on indefinitely, but there's only one problem. The bigger picture percentages are being completely ignored. The human race represents far less than 1% of the critical biomass on this planet; a biomass we are constantly consuming without replenishing in order to maintain this moronic hierarchy. The human 99% is just a symbolic representation of a far larger, far less manageable 99.9% ecosystem that merely allows our idiotic civilization to persist.
The real ivory tower is not the Elites, nor the hierarchy, it is humanity itself. Mind games are not going to influence the ecosystem, nor can it be bought, and our fractional understanding of it is not going to prevent catastrophe bred by ignorance. PRISM is just a sad and ironic testament to our holistic smallness, a ribald reflection of our social & political narcissism that could be labeled disgusting if it wasn't so pathetic. Our culture has become obsessed with the myth of the 'enemy within', but this enemy is not so deep or dimensional as all that, it is merely us as we are; overtly and ridiculously doing anything and everything that even the most casual objective analysis could and would clearly define as suicidal. Terrorists have never meant shit and they never will. All the secrets, surveillance & psyops in the world won't mean a damn thing if we keep overfishing the oceans, keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, keep cutting down rainforest to plant crops, the list goes on and on, but you won't find this showing up in any NSA powerpoint presentation.
June 6, 2013 → Fairness
What is fairness on a quantum level? The one useful thing I got out of reading design in nature
was to be reminded of the importance of viewing reality as energy relationships. Recently while watching an arena-type fighting match I was once again surprised to experience an extreme reaction to foul-play. Rules were violated, honor was unceremoniously dumped in favor of low-down dirty-tricks. The bad team claimed a victory, the good team was humiliated and suffered a crushing defeat. Even in a chronically pedantic domain like sports there is a general propensity to maintain a certain level of self-respect and self-discipline. Then again, a degree of gamesmanship is also inevitable. Looking at the real world it's hard to understand why sports are so popular given that the underlying premise of fair-play is systematically substituted for things like juicing, jockeying & outright sabotage.
I only single out sports because without sportsmanship, sports is literally nothing at all. Games are defined by rules and if no one is following these rules the game is indistinguishable from chaos, and all you're left with is a bunch of jerks screwing each other for some imaginary status that no longer has any meaning. Unless number one cheater is something to be proud of. Things get a little more complex when you consider that cheating doesn't necessarily guarantee winning, in most cases all it does is give the cheater a disproportionate competitive advantage. Naturally the most effective aspect of cheating is not the cheating itself but rather the act of tricking all the other players into thinking that you are not cheating at all. The core of cheating is actually deception; it is not really that you are giving yourself unfair advantages so much as it is ensuring that your competitors are willingly disadvantaged
After all you're not doing anything special or unique, cheating is effective because it's attainable for everyone unlike being born talented and dedicating decades of your life to gaining experience and honing hard-won skills. Ironically cheating is only possible within the context of games wherein things like experience & hard work are totally irrelevant. These games are luxurious psychological constructs that don't rely on reality to function or even exist. People cheat because they can, the rules can be bent because they are not absolute. The only thing holding the entire contraption together is the integrity of each individual player. Such a game is not worth playing in my opinion, moreover it is not even a game, because it has no rules aside from the one rule: anything that is possible is also permissible.
So fairness is well defined on a purely casual level, it is voluntary, ideological; it puts its acolytes in a position of constant disadvantage. That being said, cheating is utterly ineffective if everyone is doing it. In fact if everyone cheated all the time, civilization would probably last no more than a few seconds. As hilarious as it is to say this, it's in the best interest of cheaters to encourage everyone but themselves to play by the rules. Without this overwhelming context of trust & fairness the cheater would undoubtedly become extinct. This introduces the undeniable utility of fairness, implying that it must also exist on a quantum level as a fundamental aspect of energy relationships. It is not arbitrary but rather critical to our existence. As with most things there is clearly a balance between fairness & unfairness, manifesting automatically on a quantum level but then perhaps skewed by consciousness.
Back to the quantum: is the quantum intrinsically fair or unfair? Specifically is there bias? If so, what form does that bias take? It's safe to say that there are more "fair" people in the world than unfair. It's also safe to say that each person we consider to be generally "fair" engages in countless indiscretions of consummate unfairness. This is straying dangerously into the moral sphere, which is why it becomes so important to define and understand fairness on a quantum level. The basic energy relationships that are ultimately responsible for complex behaviors. Quantum is analogous to energy so fairness on a quantum level is merely an equal distribution of energy between connected entities; energy is not conserved unduly, nor is it doled out disproportionately. Observing resource distribution on our plane of existence the opposite is true.
Consciousness theoretically empowers us with the ability to control how a lot of our energy is distributed; we conserve this disposable energy arbitrarily and then redistribute it arbitrarily (what if this also happened on a quantum level!?). Additionally we have the added dynamic of being able to "steal" energy from other entities. We are also subject to this phenomenon to a lesser degree. It is very challenging to deconstruct this process objectively, specifically to pretend that consciousness does not play a critical role. Once again, in theory this is all automatic, deterministic; the quantum level dictates the chain of events in our reality. What seems arbitrary from an objective perspective is merely the best possible choice given the circumstances. The only thing that seems clear at this point is that either consciousness extends to the quantum or determinism becomes diluted as it shifts from the quantum to the physical.
I always like to remind myself that baring prescience determinism is indistinguishable from free will.
May 27, 2013 → Jungle Fever or Make It Nasty
I write about economics too much, I also write about the same things over and over again. Being relatively poor causes one to obsess over money. There should probably be a term for this type of situation where certain things best relegated to the dumpster of history become an all-consuming fixation. I've hated money my whole life, even when I had a lot of it, and now I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about something I hate; only because there are so many good reasons to hate it. Yet another idiotic cycle that needs to be broken.
Luckily amidst this, I have been recurrently returning to the theme I have selected for the 21st century: Intelligence
. I keep asking myself at different times and in different situations: what is intelligence, is this
intelligence? Most recently I was reading Nature Via Nurture
, specifically the section on early anthropologists and their observations. A scenario was revealed wherein "primitive" tribes restricted themselves to the lowest possible technological civilization. Anthropologists noted that this was essentially by choice, as the capacity for technologically "advanced" civilization was easily attainable, it was simply not being actualized.
This started me along a certain chain of thought: can technological characteristics really be attributed to intelligence if they eventually result in the collapse of a civilization? Wouldn't that actually be considered stupidity instead? Is this a clear example of 'false-positive' intelligence? One possible definition I've been playing around with: intelligence is any process that persists indefinitely while remaining constantly sustainable. It sounds deceptively simple, but in reality only a miraculous and Herculean effort paired with a masterful grasp of efficiency can make this possible. Almost all processes in the universe are operating at a constant loss.
Put another way, I am almost defining intelligence as perpetual motion, which sounds dramatically harder to accomplish. On the flip side this sets the bar nice and high, intelligence after all is practically a Platonic ideal, something that exists in an imaginary world untainted by the fetters of thermodynamics. Is anything truly sustainable? Sustainability is analogous to scale, once the fourth dimensions comes into play, eventually every known process in the universe succumbs to entropy. Sustainability only exists within the scale of the lifespan of the universe. Of course we don't just live in a universe, we exist in some kind of quantum continuum that has no beginning nor end.
Sustainability is once again redefined, it is no longer about scale, it has merely gone beyond our current understanding of energy. Since the universe exists we can safely assume that such scenarios can and will happen again (probably are happening constantly). Sustainability therefore becomes far more abstract, in fact it seems entirely out of our control. Straying once again into determinism. Still context reigns supreme. There are processes on this planet that while plausibly sustainable on a hypothetical quantum continuum; clearly come to an abrupt end from our exceedingly limited point of view. When the ancient Polynesians cut down their last tree and thereby resigned their civilization to oblivion, could it be said that they were acting stupidly? Or where they merely unwilling actors in a much larger game of quantum sustainability?
Alternately, could tribal cultures eking out a subsistence existence, surrounded by a chronologically inexhaustible wealth of ecological biodiversity for over 40,000 years; could they be considered intelligent? Or once again, merely unwilling actors in a much larger game of quantum sustainability? Things are ultimately absolutely relative. Standard of living, quality of life, terms that are so easy to carelessly throw around; in the end we are left with an arbitrary criteria that constitutes an utterly subjective definition of intelligence.
Is long-term survival more intelligent than actualizing random obsessions? Each organism tries to answer this question. There is no consensus. No right or wrong answer. I have a strong and very personal loathing for this brand of ambiguity. I am forced to admit that this is how "nature" works. Free will is whatever I decide it is and nothing more, instinct & tendencies are not facts, just a vague sense of mutable history appended to my genes.
Factionalism is what happens, with each person (and thing) left to define their own reality, various communities congeal out of the chaos. None of them are legitimate beyond the sense of legitimacy they engender in others, most specifically in those who disagree
with them. It's not meaning, it's just a hot mess, on the macro level indistinguishable from primordial muck. This is what people call "society", "culture" and "politics". It is a lie.
Intelligence must cut through all this bullshit like a shining sword. Eradicating the lies, establishing free will in some universal an unambiguous way. The quantum incarnate (incarante metto). Embody the will of the quantum. Does the quantum even have a will, if so is it knowable? Or is it merely every possibility imaginable all at once? And we're back to the solid state. Also, what if it is knowable and it reveals that we're intended to go extinct... To defy the quantum, is that what it means to be human? Is that intelligence?
I think I've been watching too much anime.
May 17, 2013 → Portfolio Diversification
Seem to find myself increasingly at a loss these days, I think in part this is a natural reaction to absorbing insane amounts of information. Just a few hundred years ago the average person had access to a mere smattering of news, most of it highly localized and personally relevant. Today the average person has access to more information than they could ever possibly metabolize, most of it practically alien in terms of relativity. We are constantly faced with the choice of what to consume, I'd even take this a step further because it is not so much about consumption as it is about creating the self. We are faced with the choice of who & what to be via this choice. Quite literally the things we choose to consume define us almost completely, specifically because we are faced with so many options; each one becomes abnormally significant.
I've noticed an interesting analog that has been gnawing away at me lately, applying this observation to economics: depending on your skill-set & education there are so many opportunities to "earn" money, the majority of us have an insane number of options. Working is no longer so much about survival, it is more about identity. If you can do anything, you are faced with this new ideological dilemma: "earning" lots of money vs. doing something that is actually worthwhile.
Thanks to this split society beings to stratify into two camps: the people controlling all the world's resources via money & the people who have effectively abandoned this mindless pursuit of arbitrary numbers in favor of lasting self-enrichment. This is kind of a problem since the economic system only values arbitrary numbers and has no way to account for this extra-economic activity.
May 16, 2013 → Neotoy Story Notes
In the Ku it is said that training begins when training is complete, or that is at least what the Ku discover. Those who are strong enough to endure the megacycles of physical punishment are faced upon completion with a second eternity far more trying than the first. Those feelings, those initial intuitive inklings of something beyond the body, they are just the beginning. It is at this time that the "break" occurs for most, throughout history it has had many different names, but this word fits it most well. The graduate will simply disappear. In reality they have simply found their chrysalis, which is not a thing, but rather a place. For each it is unique, although almost certainly hard to reach, extremely isolated and characteristically compatible with the graduate's personality. Once the chrysalis has been found the graduate will enter a trance-like state that is part hibernation, part meditation. They will enter a world existing purely in the mind and over the course of an unspecified period of time begin their second great adventure into the unknown.
From within the dreamtime the graduate will learn the true nature of their existential power, and if they ever do emerge from stasis will have obtained secret knowledge that allows them to reach their full catalytic potential. Once this door has been unlocked it becomes possible to explore the entire continuum, including other dimensions. Those who never emerge (have not yet emerged, they still may someday) become encased in layer after layer of polytoy, at first transforming into living statues and then finally vanishing completely into some facet of architecture.
The Primates are the initial 12 color couples that were created by the core to 'seed' the city-planet.
The Primates have not actually 'gone away', they are merely in the process of a second metamorphosis. When it is "time" they will all wake up together and return to the surface.
The neotoy game should include a chrysalis & dreamtime component wherein the player is stuck in stasis for a random period of time. They cannot do anything during this period and simply have to wait for their avatar to 'evolve'. Suggesting a range from 1 hour to 1 year with the average being 1 month. The bonus is that the longer your character stays in stasis the more powerful they are when they emerge. There should be some kind of alert system to let the player know when this is about to happen, so that they can watch it unfold in realtime.
Delta's chrysalis is a hotspring located deep in the arctic wastes of the cold region, he was introduced to it by the polar bear queen "Tundra" who he befriended. Although it's not really needed, she watches over him while he metamorphoses.
Infinity's chrysalis is a small geothermal (hydro) power junction (he calls it 'the boiler room') located deep under Staiton Metto. Incidentally there is a small alter-like thermal basin there where unbeknownst to Infinity Delta hides his Ku Shield Mask for several ages. The water is so hot that it is literally like lava, and only one long frozen from the North could reach into it to withdraw the mask.
Delta's dreamtime is a small tropical island he calls it (myland), it is roughly circular and consists mostly of coarse pale sand, in the center there is a single Royal Palm tree which sometimes turns to porcelain, next to the tree there are a few thick square flagstones to sit on and a small statue of a squat squarish cat-like Buddha. The island is surrounded by an unbreakable glass bubble. Often outside the bubble massive tropical super-storms rage day and night, while inside the bubble it is always calm and sunny.
Infinity's dreamtime is jungle temple shaped like a giant jade cat Buddha maybe?
April 28, 2013 →
So I've been doing this little experiment (in a very limited capacity) to calculate my approximate economic footprint. The process is fairly simple: whenever I buy a 'consumable' I write the purchase date & price on it. Then when it has been used up I write the 'depletion date' on it. Then I take the number of days the consumable lasted and divide the dollar value by this number; that gives me the cost per day, then I multiply that number by 365. That gives me the approximate amount of money I spend on that particular consumable every year. This is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds because it not only gives you a lot of insight into your unique consumption patterns, it also inspires you to cut frivolous and unaccountable consumables out of your life.
What I mean is that this system only works for things you consume with regularity, in other words "staples", for me that happens to be things like rice, oats, bananas, milk, eggs, bread, coffee, honey, etc. Very quickly you begin to realize what you can't live without, and how much it costs you every day of the year! Sadly this is the kind of experiment that people making a median US income would never even think to conduct. While it's hard for the affluent & impoverished alike to swallow, if you're earning 40K/year with no kids, mortgage or medical problems you pretty much have "infinite money"; you never need to consider the cost of subsistence level expenses, and if you can't make ends meet with that kind of mad money, you're doing something profoundly stupid.
The bottom line is that it's pretty cool to "discover" that rent costs $13.15/day while your domain name costs ¢14/day. This also gives you the advantage of being able to calculate exactly how low income you could become before slipping into poverty. How much do you need to earn per day to maintain your current standard of living? Now you can find out. Meanwhile Joe Median Income has no fucking idea and is essentially a job loss or a car crash away from living in a cardboard box. In the modern era wherein most people take easy living for granted, it's really nice to know how secure you really are in your lifestyle, or at least that's what I'm finding out as I continue to document my economic footprint. Naturally there are literally trillions of unseen externalities that are not factored in, but as a basic relativistic calculation this is still pretty fascinating.
April 10, 2013 → Crazy Talk
I've been getting pretty abstract lately, this is good because I'm producing relatively original ideas; it's also bad because
very little of this is applicable to real life. This is probably the greatest weakness of philosophy—it may take centuries for abstract thought to become actionable intelligence. Meanwhile we all must live in the real world. Probably the two most important things I've learned recently are: subjective thought is totally mutable; when discussing abstract ideas it becomes very easy to warp or pollute ideology. This gets pretty dangerous because the more clever or convincing something sounds, the more likely it is to change the focal point of the discussion. Intellectuals have weaponized this phenomenon to a degree.
It's possible to hijack a person's point of view with "crazy talk", and since there is no factual basis or objective way to verify it, most people are forced to either take it at face value or reject it outright. Unsurprisingly the former happens a lot more frequently than the latter. The problem posed is that all facts are initially abstract ideas. Mentally we all live in this gray world of hard facts coexisting with mutable falsehoods; this is why no matter how intelligent or knowledgeable a person may be they are always vulnerable to this brand of "reality distortion". The
global warming debate is a particularly salient example of this phenomenon. Put succinctly knowledge is always finite while ignorance is always infinite.
There are of course a few ways around this problem: like always refusing to believe information that cannot be verified. This is an extreme solution that is totally effective, the downside is that it is not socially or politically palatable. Our brains are simply not wired to operated in this manner, probably because our survival depends a lot on intuition, speculation and intentionally ignoring facts
in order to enrich ourselves at the expense of the "external" (i.e. the ecosystem, other people).
It's always crucial to keep in mind that we don't live in an egalitarian utopia wherein everyone benefits by doing the "right thing". In many cases people benefit more by doing the "wrong thing", effectively externalizing (exporting) their losses to society and the ecosystem at large. This is a strategy that only works for as long as the "external" is capable of absorbing and effectively distributing these tangible losses in a way that lessens their overall impact. In this scenario the "bad" people are betting that the "good" people are capable of footing the bill. It's a relatively safe bet, at least for the time being because the "good" outnumber the "bad" by a very significant margin.
Another solution (one that I've long advocated for) is to be proactive and force validation. In other words, instead of rejecting information that can't be verified, demand that the publisher of the information provide objective validation. This is really the only way to ensure accountability and prevent the continued exportation of losses; it keeps the process of discovery active, and most importantly it makes it socially and politically untenable for the publisher to refuse to verify their claims. The downside is that it is relatively easy to falsify objective validation, especially in corrupt societies.
Also it's important to note that the verification process can take a very long time. Time is frequently used as an excuse for overriding all manner of legitimate concerns. "It will take too long and be too expensive to verify.", "We need to do this now before it's too late.", "We have enough data to make an educated guess." The correct answer to all these excuses is "No." You can't place a value on a fact you don't know.
That is the essence of externalizing losses; if you don't know how much it will cost, you can't guarantee that it will be affordable, if it's not affordable then you will inevitably export the cost. The bottom line is that if you can't afford to verify, you certainly can't afford not to.
April 9, 2013 → Oscillations
As I progress along this current line of thought, I am forced to reconcile what I've learned recently about flow systems with statements made not long ago concerning the nature and quality of civilization. At the outset we must assume that everything in nature (which is everything period) is determined via the known and unknown "laws" that govern energy, i.e. the quantum. This is a huge assumption, however there doesn't seem to be an alternative (please correct me
if I'm wrong about this).
On the other hand there is the specter of "Free Will" that conceivably gives us the option to violate and perhaps even break these immutable laws. This is the central debate: What if free will is really just an extreme mental illness? We are doing certain things not because they align with the laws of physics or facility flow access, but rather merely because we are malfunctioning? Using cancer as an analogue, we may observe that cancer is alive and is permissible within the context of the quantum; it was not created but rather manifested spontaneously from within. We view it as an extreme dysfunction of otherwise healthy cells, however it is clearly an acceptable form of life from the perspective of mother nature.
But what makes cancer "bad" exactly? Could not we ourselves be malignant tumors growing on a perfectly functional and healthy cancer? And in instances where cancer kills the patient, isn't that in fact an indication that the cancer was a superior form of life? After all, might makes right. Imagine a world populated by tumors, tumors growing on everything, nothing but tumors. Assuming that they can all survive somehow, might that not be a superior form of life? In the physical world anything goes, nothing endures forever, empires rise and fall, even ideologies eventually corrupt and dissolve into nothingness.
Within every functional flow system there is always an element of antiflow. This is not just an unfortunate accident doomed to systematic marginalization. Clearly it is part of the overall design. Flow systems are constantly trying to make themselves better, but antiflow systems (or antisystems) are constantly trying to make themselves worse. Sound familiar? Maybe it does because both systems are really the same thing. Antiflow is also "alive", just because we can't perceive a direct similarity doesn't mean the system isn't motivated by the same physical laws that govern all energy.
I've mentioned the cardinal forces of nature (Diffusion & Concentration) many times in my previous posts. This is interesting because flow systems are characterized by diffusion which is typically viewed as entropy, while antiflow could be interpreted as concentration which is typically viewed as reverse entropy. How ironic! In this scenario flow systems are actually devolving
. Which just further illustrates how perspective changes everything. By this broader definition "life" could be defined as any system or antisystem that actively engages in a process of diffusion or concentration.
Both at the same time is probably also possible.
Death is life and life is death. This makes perfect sense in the context of zero dimensionality. Just like Schrodinger's cat, we are both dead and alive at the same time. "Living" is merely the illusion of a transformation from one state to another. Nor is this a one-way trip, rather it is an oscillation between two destinations that are possibly the same place. This is also supported by observation; when a person dies their body begins to transform immediately into new life which in turn dies and is reborn again and again, presumably forever. Only the scale seems to change, but this too is probably an illusion.
Death never even seems to happen from a quantum standpoint, there is only the mystery of where energy goes when it appears to disappear. Spoiler:
it doesn't actually disappear, it just transforms into something we can't yet perceive.
As for scale, is a photon really smaller than a human being? Have you been inside a photon? Is our universe really larger than a raindrop? Have you been outside our universe? Our current forms make these questions unanswerable, but eventually we will diffuse and then concentrate into something that can or is
. Or at least could
if it cared enough to bother.
So back to the original premise of this post: how to reconcile finite flow evolution with holistic devolution. Just a few days ago I was thinking in these black & white terms, now I am beginning to suspect that these words are merely inadequate to describe how complex reality truly is. There is so much more going on here than just the meager laws of physics that we think we know.
April 2, 2013 → Every Quantum Has Free Will
Consciousness is directly proportional to network complexity, therefore the smaller the scale the less "conscious" the entity. This includes the entire spectrum of energy from quanta to atom to molecule to virus to bacteria to animal to solar system. Any entity that contains a network where some level of organization is clearly present. Predictability is directly proportional to consciousness. This explains why entities like atoms are fairly predictable while human beings do many things that are inexplicable.
But why? Because complexity is ultimately just a sign that numerous entities are working together for a common purpose, these super-networks in turn are comprised of many sub-networks; each with its own ideology & corresponding behavioral patterns. The more sub-networks there are the more differences of opinion there are going to be, naturally this leads to countless branches of possibility arising in any given situation, depending on who has the upper hand. With simple networks the opposite is true: there are less actors and greater unity, consequently the behavior is far more linear.
Is there a primal entity? In theory such a thing would be utterly deterministic, unable to exercise free will. It would also possess no consciousness. This seems highly unlikely since this determinism would be hereditary, implying that there are no fundamental entities, but that everything is a network composed of other networks. At this point it seems that scale goes out the window. Without a "prime" entity it becomes impossible to determine the network complexity of any given entity. Hierarchy is illusory; something as presumably minimal as a photon could contain a network on the scale of an entire universe.
Say this is the case, there is no absolute scale, it is possible. We are somewhere in this infinite soup of networks, what we perceive as hierarchy is nothing more than infinitely nested networks that are not related by scale but rather by some ineffable relationship that arises via interconnectivity.
March 28, 2013 → Constructal
So I'm reading this book DESIGN IN NATURE
by Adrian Bejan & J. Peder Zane; it's all about the so called "Constructal Law" which states:
"For a finite-size flow system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve in such a way that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it.
In essence this 'law' is a grand unifying theory that attempts to explain the origin and purpose of structure in nature. I think it's misleading to call it a law since it is in fact a theory
and has not been proven. This minor omission is exacerbated by the Author's bombastic and incessant extolment of its dubious and somewhat retroactive contributions to science at every available opportunity.
That being said, as an easily comprehensible concept, the constructal theory represents an excellent milestone on the never-ending road to greater understanding. Under ideal conditions the conclusions documented by the Author are arrived at incidentally during the course of an intellectual's lifetime. Anyone deeply interested in design and holism will recognize the primal patterns that convincingly imply a definable continuity pervading reality. The Author falls into the cliché trap of thinking something original has been created when he is just pointing out the obvious.
Criticisms aside, there is no way to read this book without having it trigger a massive cascade of exotic ideas. Like most unifying theories the constructal only manages to scratch the surface of the genuinely fantastical reality we live in. The perfect litmus test for this is to take one of the core tenets and extrapolate to the absurd. For example: if 'flow systems' are always automatically evolving in order to reduce entropy, the implication is that the ideal system (the end result) has zero entropy
. Yes this is an absurd projection, but it is also consistent with the theory. Eventually zero entropy will be achieved, that is after all why
the flow system exists! In such a scenario we can imagine a universe wherein currents flowing through the system do so without loosing any energy. Additionally they are able to move from point A
to point B
What? How did I arrive at that
conclusion you might ask. Simple, as entropy declines more energy is conserved, fluidity increases in proportion. A body in motion "evolves" from standing to walking to running to flying to speeding... eventually approaching and then reaching the speed of light. If recent superposition research
is any indication we can go a lot faster than that. Inevitably our speed becomes "instantaneous". Every body contains so much energy that it is in fact in all places at all times. This is analogous to a solid state. Ironically a solid state is indistinguishable from a universe that has undergone heat death. Zero entropy = Maximum entropy!
How does this make any sense? If constructal theory is correct the outcome of a flow system's optimal evolution is exactly the same as if it were to stop persisting in time (to die). So this doesn't really explain anything. At most it suggests that entropy is irrelevant and that change i.e. transformation is the true end game. As long as energy is transforming, space-time can exist. We are stuck between two extremes (glass floor & glass ceiling) that are actually only one extreme (solid state, no 4th dimension). This raises a new and far more interesting question: how is there any forth dimensionality at all?
In a universe that came from nothing and is presumably returning to nothing, how is it that we are able to exist in this apparent bubble of space-time wherein energy is free to move around? Something doesn't add up. Either the universe is infinite or entropy is just a phase. Such implications are obviously as profound as they are vast. The very laws of physics are at stake. In all likelihood we are merely transitioning from one phase to the next and then back again; a stable oscillation that never looses nor gains energy and just goes on and on like a pendulum swinging in a perfect vacuum forever. Perhaps that is the source of all the energy in the universe...
March 07, 2013 → Zero Dimensional Spacetime
Whenever I get too negative I stop posting for awhile and work on projects instead. The application of my Symbiosis Spectrum
seems to be helping a little; although I've come to develop the idea further: realizing that there is another side to it, or a 'reflection'. Below the initial scale there is a mirror world, since the five levels of interaction are effectively determined in a subjective manner by the observer, there is also the unseen inverse perspective experienced by the observed. Due to the relational nature of the scale, this is implied from the outset, but it is not made implicit by the numbers.
Just as an example, say I assign the value "-1 (degenerative)" to consuming refined sugar. From my POV this is straightforward, however the fact that I have cited sugar implies a relationship, therefore it is necessary to "flip the chessboard", now I am evaluating myself from the perspective of sugar. Sugar by itself is not a sentient entity, rather it is a product manufactured by an industry made up of countless components. I can assume that the sugar industry would assign me a value of "-2 (destructive)" since I'm proactively attempting to oppose it. Naturally the entire supply chain is effected, every element from the sugarcane plantation owner to the truck driver who delivers refined sugar to my local super-market.
In this scenario there is a lot of collateral damage with the end result being the definition of an ideological war between abstract entities. The interesting aspect of the dynamic is that both subjects (observer and observed) are using the same scale and getting different results. This is where it becomes absolutely essential for a third and objective POV to mediate. Applying the scientific method to sugar consumption it becomes immediately obvious that refined sugar is in fact a "-2", while opposing it is a "+2". A situation arises wherein a chronological paradox is created.
If sugar was never discovered, and a refined sugar industry was never created this "-2" scenario never would have existed. However, with the introduction of the fourth dimension we are suddenly faced with an unresolvable conflict. The neutralization of a "-2" requires "-2" thinking & action. The result can never be neutral, much less positive. We must literally go back in time in order to resolve the conflict. Incidentally this is the very paradox that poses such a monumental challenge to the prospect of a successful 21st century.
How do we dismantle the fossil fuel industry without destroying our civilization before it
destroys our civilization? How do we reform the financial industry without collapsing the economy? The same questions come up over and over again. The answer is always the same: we go back in time and prevent the problem from ever being created. That is the only solution capable of preventing long-term catastrophe.
The best thing that can be taken away from this analysis is that there is no going back, so the best way to solve problems in the future is to prevent them from being created in the present. The catch-22 is that aside from intuition, there is no scientific way to ensure that today's brilliant idea or innovation will not result in tomorrow's financial crisis or "end of the world" scenario.
All of these debates are based on the logical fallacy that something can be both good and bad. This is a subjective evaluation that can only take place in the chronological murk of the human mind. Remove the fourth dimension and things become instantly clear. Good and bad are both compressed into a single stream of reality, diametric ideologies are forced to confront each other violently. The war is over in a matter of moments, the end result is undebatable.
Imagine if catastrophic climate change started happening right now, not 100 years from now. Do you think we would still be feverishly blowing up mountains for more coal? Fracking for more gas? So why does it make sense to keep doing these things in the present? Why is Exxon the most profitable company on earth? The present is clearly the result of the choices made in the past, the future however is just an abstract concept that moves farther away the closer you get to it.
Perception of time is literally everything. Overcoming any of these problems relies on our ability to unlock our minds, to free them from the shackles of chronological thinking, and experience reality as it truly is: zero-dimensional!
February 19, 2013 → Xenofront
"'This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now, there'll be a catastrophe,' Lykken said. 'A little bubble of what you might think of as an 'alternative' universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us,' Lykken said, adding that the event will unfold at the speed of light." Source
February 8, 2013 → Legacy & the path of greatest resistance
I was holding off on this until all the chips were down, yet even now it's hard to know where to begin. This post will be about a lot of things, but foremost it will probably be about the tragic
suicide murder of Aaron Swartz
, instigated by the United States Department of in
Justice. That link leads to what is perhaps the definitive summary of the events that lead to his untimely death, please read it if you have not already done so.
I did not know Aaron personally, TBH I did not even know of
him until his name became front-page news all over the internet. That being said, I think it is fair to say that every activist—nay, every thinking person—, regardless of status or occupation has experienced the intolerable realization that for whatever reason they have stumbled upon the path of greatest resistance.
This is the unforgiving ideological road that pits a handful of intransigent idealists against a world that has gone unequivocally mad. This is not a winning proposition, and yet for those with principles, it is the only way forward. I think it's patently fair to say that without these brave, masochistic individuals civilization as we know it would cease to exist. No matter how you look at the dynamics, this reality is miraculous, miraculous that it has lasted for so long.
A world populated primarily by animals that seem hellbent on self-destruction, a stark minority of "activists" working tirelessly to hold back the tide. A comical situation wherein the protectors are portrayed as the destroyers, while the true destroyers are only able to continue destroying thanks to the protectors they ceaselessly assault. Call it cynicism if you will, but this is reality as I see it, predominantly nihilistic. It is this vision of the world that drives activists to their deaths. But it is no fantasy, this is the world that activists live in and have to face on a daily basis, at great personal cost, with little or no recompense.
But that's all about to change. This process may have been ticking along merrily for millennia, but there was never really any doubt about how it was going to end. The path of greatest resistance is untenable, it always has been. The destroyers are winning, the nihilists are going to get their wish: total and absolute destruction of all life on earth. It is with some humorous irony that the world will not be destroyed thanks to nuclear war, meteor strike, magnetic pole shift, or any other preposterous cataclysm. No, the world will simply be destroyed by billions of human beings casually and unconcernedly going about their daily lives.
The goal of philosophers, intellectuals and activists throughout the ages has always been the mere yet herculean feat of getting the average person to think for themselves. While the destroyers have taken it upon themselves to do just the opposite: to tell the average person what to think. This is the most basic dichotomy imaginable, and yet for the majority of "average" people the latter is infinitely preferable to the former. Modern interpretations of lofty abstract concepts like "liberty" and "freedom" can be boiled down to being free and having the liberty to agree with the status quo, even when it contradicts everything those words were originally believed to mean. Those who point this out will be ostracized, those who halfheartedly resist will be crushed, and those who make any progress whatsoever will be driven to kill themselves.
The article linked to at the top of the page asks the somewhat rhetorical question, that I will expand upon here: "What will be the legacy of Activists in relation to a world that will stop at nothing to erase them and itself from existence?" The answer is obvious. There will be no legacy for anyone, aside from a barren black rock floating in the vacuum of space, a tombstone that no one will ever read, stating something to the effect of "We baselessly believed in all the wrong things, and we paid for it with our lives.". Strangely enough it seems like that quote could apply to either side. The fact is, activists are not succeeding in stopping the march of nihilism, they are only delaying the inevitable.
So what is the point at the end of this horrifically depressing rant. The point is to not end up like Aaron Swartz, to not take the path of greatest resistance, to find another way out of this intractable hell. I repeat: activism isn't working. Find another way.
February 4, 2013 → Daring Greatly
The premise is to become fully engaged while accepting the consequent vulnerability, but the full dynamic is not addressed: specifically the scenario wherein the majority of actors are willfully and persistently disengaged while striving to minimize their inherent vulnerability. The enlightened student of Daring Greatly
is designed to disrupt this dominant (and dysfunctional) culture, but the methodology of this disruption seems incompatible and self-alienating in respect to a deadened, battle-hardened world.
All great ideas suffer from the same affliction: adoption. The greatest idea ever conceived is no different from the worst idea ever conceived, if it is rejected by the world. Yet ideas can only be considered great through practice rather than conception. A catch-22 that never quite seems to catch on...
Isn't it interesting that the world necessitates ideologues like Brené Brown, despite the fact that Buddhism has been around for many centuries. Perhaps wisdom isn't timeless, but rather more of a trendy thing that requires living emissaries. Connection
. Or the same ideas translated through time, presented over and over again in the dialectic of the current age. Nos es vas pro unda of vicis.
The alternative being that nothing actually works
. Or put in a profoundly elegant way "The glib quotes, it turns out, don't give any guidance on how to deal with a world that can be neither accepted nor changed." - Eleanor Saitta (@Dymaxion
). Everyone muddles through life.
January 26, 2013 → Endless Rain
Seems like my life is defined by a continuous struggle with a crippling depression, but that is not who I am. Depression has always been an external thing for me, an autonomic response to observing depressing things. Despite becoming obsessed with patterns, it seems I learned next to nothing last year. At the center of any great research is the researcher themselves, their "quest" is defined by a very personal experience, passion, struggle or unhealthy obsession. For me that has always been the vision of a world without needless suffering; yet in the 21st century (and perhaps for all time), suffering has become just another multi-trillion dollar business model.
The great intellectual minds of the age all seem to agree, only love can rid the world of this madness. Even as the ironically named Faithless
points out the inconvenient truth: "there's not enough love to go 'round.". Those lyrics among many others were the inspiration for my guiding philosophy, just two words that I have haplessly attempted to apply to my life: More Love
. The times I've stabbed those words in the back, are so numerous, that I can't even remember when I stopped giving a shit. That's just the nature of the beast, no amount of idealistic good intentions will ever allow the average Joe to escape the globalized web of guilt by association.
Google's motto "Don't be Evil.", define 'Evil'. Hitler Evil vs. Buying a Coke Evil. Everything falls somewhere on a spectrum. After a lot of thought I managed to come up with a kind of Homeland Security Advisory System
style chart; I call it the Five Levels of Interaction, or the Symbiosis Spectrum for short:
Every thought, every action, every event, regardless of scale can be graded with one of these five words and their corresponding levels. Additionally it can be assumed that beyond each end of the spectrum one approaches an event horizon; Hate is to the left and Love is to the right. Obviously for sophisticated actions, one is required to deconstruct the decision making process and grade each individual thought and action accordingly. Destructive cancels out Productive, Degenerative cancels out Regenerative. Neutral has no influence in either direction. Applying Destructive to Regenerative would result in Degenerative, and so forth. The math is fairly straightforward.
This guide is designed to help me break the chains of my cyclic and chronic depression by gradually changing the shape and focus of my perceptions. In short I'm trying to improve my psychological position on the Symbiosis Spectrum. This is just a thought experiment, but I thought I'd share & document it here for posterity. If it works well, maybe other people might also find it useful. My basic method involves introducing the spectrum as a kind of virtual intermediary (similar to a filtration threshold); every time I encounter a controversial idea or entity, I will mentally place it on the spectrum, if it falls at or below zero I'll try to quarantine it. In theory, if I can limit my exposure to depression-causing externalities, I can reduce or eliminate my depression.
January 24, 2013 → Contradiction in Terms
This is something that eventually had to be discussed at length. Being the big fan of paradoxes that I am I've learned to live with them on a daily basis, and my own writing is certainly not immune. So here I pose the question: how does one elevate the status of "life" above all other variables while simultaneously observing and allowing the agonizing encroachment of "evolution". Incidentally this enigma itself begins to cross into the realm of high-philosophy and provides an ideal introduction to the graph below:
You see this post is not really so much about science or the paradox as it is about the revelation of a higher order. Beyond the measurable, beyond the inevitable contradictions there is a layer of "unknowable" information that nonetheless penetrates into the lesser planes of existence. In ancient times this was partially alluded to in Plato's Theory of Forms
in which he established were "impossible to know", but he incorrectly assumed that said Forms were remote and unchanging. They are not untouchable, just unknowable!
This is why the mechanism of discovery takes the form of a parabola. Over time we become exponentially less able to perceiving higher reality, regardless of advances in perception enhancing technology. Even with an exponentially increasing rate of perception, higher reality persists at a super-exponential scale. Which is why, ultimately we have no option aside from relying on high-philosophy to address questions like "Life" vs. "Evolution". Science which is based on measurable information is totally incapable of answering questions that are derived from these unknowable Forms.
The high-philosophy of evolution implies that preservation is constantly butting heads with progress; while these are really just two sides of the same coin. This is essentially a brutal cage-match wherein two forces of nature enter and only one walks away. But there is also an endless number of combatants; the same fight happens over and over again ad infinitum. Sometimes preservation wins, sometimes progress. As time goes on the higher Forms are transformed
by the apparently random string of victories and defeats. The game has changed.
From the outside it appears that there are no winners or losers; the point of the machine is not to produce an ideal specimen. The point is perhaps to ensure that the higher Form is constantly changing, ensuring that it can never be "known". Or this is an elaborate design for information exchange between higher and lower layers of reality. It may in fact be nothing other than a naturally occurring, structurally-defined filtration system. Suggesting that evolution is just information passing from one layer to another, with 'corrupt' information failing to meet an arbitrary transmissive threshold.
So in answer to the original question, it seems that this contradiction in terms is crucial. Life and Evolution are required
to maintain a paradox as it is essential to their functionality. To give a more concrete example: Person "A" has cancer. Person "B" tells person "A" that they should go see a doctor and possibly live. Person "C" tells person "A" that they should accept the cancer and possibly die. Both person "B" and person "C" have a legitimate point of view, but person "A" is the embodiment of the evolutionary cage-match; only person "A" is qualified to 'win' or 'lose' the fight.
Any time a system forces person "A" to choose between option "B" and option "C", this is producing corrupted information. This is an example of proxy genomics; the genes of person "B" or person "C" are denying the genes of person "A" the ability to fully express themselves. This may be comparable to a truncated calculation or lossy compression. However, all three people: "A", "B", & "C" should keep in mind that these conditions and their results are all arbitrary: there is no grand summary, no objective, no ultimate outcome, just an endless morphology; hence there is no "right" or "wrong" answer.
Naturally this doesn't mean that there are no consequences. The morphology is very real, the higher Forms are very
real, the overall "organism" engenders all of these individual expressions. The point I guess is that science is unable to prove that there is some objective, genuine, moral imperative. So we are left with a high-philosophy that states both "life is invaluable" and
"life is expendable". We must protect life at all cost, and we must willingly destroy it too. The criteria will often be chaos. This is not very satisfactory to ideologues, nor to scientists, but no other answer is appropriate.
January 14, 2013 → Sign(s) of the Times
Up late last night and in an unusually contemplative state of mind; thinking once again about the holistic decline of civilization. Although this time the focal point was shifted to revolve around the cyclic aspect of civilizations; more specifically the twin cardinal forces of nature: concentration & diffusion. This was to expand on the theme discussed in previous posts on the subject of genotypes. Encapsulating the general idea that collapse was merely a mechanism to temporarily reverse the process of concentration and thereby "remix" genotypes, with the ultimate intent of strengthening the holistic genome.
This though process began to evolve further into a kind of criteria that could be used to define the 'Signs of Decline' as they manifested in any given civilization during its assumed life-cycle. Interestingly enough, my conclusions were starkly counter-intuitive and counter-cultural; to what I would have guessed much earlier in my career as a holistic analyst. Rather than overt detrimental symptoms, i.e. negative growth. The decline of civilization begins with false-positive "accomplishments" – these are ironically the very things it seems to be most proud of:
This is like the gateway drug that promises to solve every problem, although just like most drugs it gives you a quick high and then begins to slowly yet inexorably ruin your life. Technology always promises to make things easier, faster, better; but it does this by way of shifting energy and consequences into other physicalities and other time-frames. Eventually the holistic cost of these cost-saving measures catches up to us, frequently with apocalyptic results. The leading pattern here is that every destructive technology creates
dependency. Non-destructive technology frees
us from dependency.
Solution: stop creating technology that promotes dependency. Promote technology that eliminates dependency!
While this innovation initially saves labor and allows for massive societal growth it also implicitly creates a societal over-extension. This is self-destructive because society becomes totally dependent on mega-agriculture for survival. In turn the industrial infrastructure required to keep the machine running smoothly is a secondary dependency. Since the system is self-accelerating it inevitably creates an unstable situation wherein demand outpaces supply. The process itself encourages ecologically destructive behaviors like monoculture, genetic manipulation, toxic runoff, etc.
Solution: biodiverse permaculture based hunter gatherer type food 'production'. Proven to be far more productive and
Innovations as simple as the wheel the sail and the wing allow people to spread rapidly across vast geographic distances, while superficially empowering for them this phenomenon is still self-destructive because it accelerates the adoption of all the other false-positives. This is really the key to all these catastrophic "accomplishments" – the speed at which they take place. Slow things down and you have a chance to observe, study and potentially rethink things; slow people down and they are no longer able to run away from the real-world real-time disasters caused by their bad practices.
Solution: voluntarily limit mobility and carrying capacity to non-assisted or biologically inherent means, i.e. walking, running.
The beginning of everything that is to come, quantification creates the concept of relative value, this results in a monetary system & monetization of natural resources. Economics is extremely self-destructive because the true value of things is both absolute and
unknown. Tacit knowledge is lost as science replaces conventional wisdom. This is not an attack on science, just pointing out that intuition and discovery are the starting points of all knowledge and shouldn't be thrown under the bus just because they have not yet been quantified. By all means, quantify when possible!
Solution: create space for the legitimacy of the unquantifiable but do not assign it an arbitrary value, then quantify when possible, in that order.
As currency spreads and trade becomes over-accelerated, marketplaces are created to transform natural resources into money. The goal is no longer the fulfillment of needs but rather the accumulation of "wealth", this is self-destructive because the marketplace relies on scarcity to generate "wealth", renewable resources will be systematically over-exploited. The tragedy of the commons. Trade and transportation working in perfect synergy are alone enough to create a civilization destined for decline; without understanding the true value of a commodity "wealth" destruction is unavoidable.
Solution: assume the inherent value of living things to be exponentially above everything else and then exclude them from the economic system.
Assumed to be the pinnacle of political evolution this system attempts to do the impossible: up-scaling self-governance to the national and international level. This is self-destructive because it requires consciousness on the level of the individual to scale both nationally and globally. Even with information mediums like TV, the internet and comprehensive education; the collective consciousness will never operate effectively enough to consistently make good decisions. Gradually non-elected officials become crucial to the continued operation of such a system.
Solution: assign sociopolitical influence in proportion to proven consciousness. Utterly reject the concept of consensus.
Seeming to offer a solution to the problem of wholesale societal management this system creates a dysfunctional political class that eventually becomes a proxy for special interests and then merely a PR mouthpiece incapable of tackling the global-scale problems it allows them to create. Almost laughably in its final stages the bureaucracy devotes all its time and resources attempting to justify its existence to the democracy that necessitated it. Once a civilization reaches this level of degeneration, collapse is probably all but assured.
Solution: give up the ghost already.
An industry that grows larger the more unhealthy a civilization becomes. Over time the primary goal of healthcare shifts from curable conditions to attempting emergency triage on all the insoluble health problems caused by everything listed above. Beyond that it becomes a criminal enabler of countless horrific operations conducted simply 'because it can', not 'because it should'. This is self-destructive because these problems only have one solution: the death of the patient and by extension the death of the dysfunctional genotype they engender.
Solution: stop defying evolution, stop trying to artificially sustain self-destructive genotypes.
January 10, 2013 → Encrypt Everything
Currently reading Cypherpunks
by Julian Assange, he calls it a book, but it's really just a well-cited transcript of a discussion he had with a few prominent hacktivists. The reviews are correct though, it is a fascinating read and very hard to put down. It may eventually end up in my curriculum
. I'm starting out this post with the plug because I recently became obsessed with encryption; the main page now features a prominent notice indicating the security status of the site (in case you didn't already know there is
version of the site). I am a firm believer in the Encrypt Everything philosophy, if you don't fully understand why or are just curious to learn more, this EFF summary
comes highly recommended.
Not to sound overly dramatic, but this is basically the beginning of yet another world war: the war for basic human rights in the so-called "digital age". The best way to say 'fuck you' to this new brand of infofascism is to deny access to those who would take advantage of our inherent vulnerabilities. Encrypting all forms of communication is not the final solution, but it's a good start. Ultimately there's going to be a massive political showdown between these two prevailing cultures: predatory authoritarians obsessed with knowing and controlling everything vs. ordinary people who are unwilling to play the role assigned to them by their self-appointed overlords. The gleaming sword of fascism always comes bundled with noble and obsequious intentions, but one only need observe the aftermath for a short while in order to understand the corpse-filled world it intends to create.
The saddest and most ironic thing right now is that the United States of America seems determined to embody the cutting edge of the infofascism vanguard. Inventor of the internet, creator of SOPA & PIPA. I live in the most schizophrenic country in the world. Only one thing is clear, there's not enough room for the two of us.
Which reminds me, I recently added a new list to the main page, my long awaited Millennium Goals
. Inspired by the analogous UN list
. Unlike the UN however, my goals are not constrained by cultural bias, nor are they dependent on our dysfunctional geopolitical system. On the other hand, they are far too practical for a planet run by mentally ill apes. Also the list is not finished. Still it feels good to finally coalesce some my more 'grand' ideas into a relatively coherent form. As of this post there are only three listed goals, although I already have two more lined up: #4 will cover 'Nutrition', and then perhaps much farther down the list 'Spreading life to other worlds'.
In other news, 3D printing is the biggest thing to come along since the internet, and Shapeways
is at the top of the pile when it comes to 3D printing services. Yet another plug, but only because they just highlighted the very useful, and brilliantly titled whitepaper IT WILL BE AWESOME IF THEY DON'T SCREW IT UP
which you can view or download directly via that link. I highly recommend you read it, even if you don't give a shit about 3D printing; because just like mobile phones or electricity, you have about five years before 3D printing becomes indispensable to modern living.
Unless the ecosystem collapses before 2017!
I guess that just about covers everything I wanted to say for right now. Expect a lot more updates real soon.