VALUES EQUAL PROFITS

Category archive

[THE INSANELY GREAT]

SOUNDS OF SILENCE

“And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.”

In my world, we all heard the same sound. We heard the screaming baby, the screeching siren, the shrill parent, the drunken neighbor, the morning doves, the leaves rustling, rain falling, children splashing, that new song by Stevie Wonder.

Not you.

You hear differently.

Like how you see differently. You stare each into separate screens, each screen showing only for you.

Now, those same screens — and their cohorts, your cars, your speakers, your appliances, even your doors — now speak to you, only to you, but with different sounds, different voices, different instructions than for anyone else, which I can almost understand, and now your computers have extended this, literally altering the digital inputs and digitized waves so that no sound is the same for anyone. Fascinating.

It started with a low-end speaker and a Super Bowl commercial:

By running Alexa commercials through digital audio editing software, (Reddit user) Asphyhackr discovered that Alexa ads transmit weakened levels of sound in an upper portion of the audio spectrum, between 3,000 and 6,000 hertz, outside the most sensitive range of human hearing. Asphyhackr speculated that Amazon could be tipping Alexa off to ignore certain commands if it detects artificial gaps or bumps in the spectrum.

And now you all have even your music and your television shows and your podcasts and your languages and all the advertisements and coupons spoken directly to you, only you, and in the voice and sound of your choosing.

But can you turn it off?

Certainly, it prevents anyone else from using your data or screens or speakers or swallows or robots or flat surfaces from responding to anyone but you. If you sell any of these things, that has to help your profits. Are profits still a thing?

But I suppose it’s better than always before.

It’s like how I sometimes envy your wandering autonomy. We were tied to a place, sometimes cold, sometimes poor, often filled with people we didn’t particularly care for, and which didn’t always have the opportunities we craved, even if it did fill us with love and certainty and familiarity. But you now travel the world, go anywhere, live anywhere, build anew, start over, with no concern of what’s already there, what’s already been.

The opportunities must seem endless.

Dozens of entrepreneurs, made newly wealthy by blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are heading en masse to Puerto Rico this winter. They are selling their homes and cars in California and establishing residency on the Caribbean island in hopes of avoiding what they see as onerous state and federal taxes on their growing fortunes, some of which now reach into the billions of dollars.

They want to build a crypto utopia, a new city where the money is virtual and the contracts are all public, to show the rest of the world what a crypto future could look like.

Brave new world.

PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

At long last, and with much sadness, we announce the passing of our dearest friend, brother, father, that great writer, good man, happy clown, and revered seer of all to come, Brian S Hall.

Despite his many accomplishments, and the great wealth he earned, along with the praise for his many works, his greatest joy was reading to his children, driving somewhere with his children, sharing dinner out with his children, getting a call or text from his children. He was less comfortable talking about his children, though abundantly proud of who they were, how they lived, and all they achieved.

He didn’t watch much television, and was happy about this. He didn’t read many books, and this was always a source of disappointment for him.

He wrote, constantly, because late in life he came to accept that no matter how bad or wonderful he was at it, writing was what he was his best at, and could build with words what he could never with his hands.

He never understood people’s fascination with podcasts, certainly when there was so much great music available.

He loved food, particularly potato chips, hated exercise, despite how he felt immediately afterwards, chose his friends wisely, though too infrequently, and was always willing, albeit not necessarily happy to help his parents and siblings. He came to deeply appreciate where and what he came from, why it mattered, its full gloriousness revealing itself to him after decades of cavalier dismissal.

People tolerate reality and circumstance far too much, he thought, though he acknowledged he was blessed with the means to route around these failings, probably disproportionate to most others. When he was younger, he preferred dogs. When older, cats. He chose to not divine any insight from this switch. He believed in God, both at his happiest and when most fearful, and felt sad for those who could not. Learning music was too hard, working for a paycheck too limiting, and traveling deeply renewing. Tea must be plain, coffee must be with cream, only, and he never found himself in a situation where he used too much olive oil. He loved how social media connected everyone, but never could remove the stain on his soul from how everyone, himself included, also used it, even if briefly, even if regretfully, to diminish others. He considered his persistent tinnitus as the physical manifestation of his psychological hesitancy to reach out, embrace, experience the new. He accepted this, but was never happy about it. He was grateful that his thick head of lustrous, dark, Elvis-like hair didn’t fall off until he no longer cared so much about having a thick head of lustrous, dark, Elvis-like hair. He never felt comfortable in his body and was never quite sure who to blame for this, nor its origin. This was blessedly offset by his buoyant sense of humor, willingness to laugh, and joy from making others laugh. If you were not a woman and did not appreciate The Three Stooges or an ill-timed fart, and all farts are ill-timed, then he was suspicious. His parents were good people, and for this he was eternally grateful. Fast cars, soft women, good chocolate, and a big screen were among his most dear non-guilty pleasures. He liked knowing things, even things no one else knew.

He left us with this request:

“I understand the environmental benefits of cremation over burial, and God knows I moved around, probably far too much, but I think it would be nice to be buried in an old cemetery, maybe even near relations I never knew, where despite the best efforts of the diligent old volunteer caretaker, the vines and shrubs are aggressively taking back the space. Talk again, soon!”

THE MAHARISHI GIGGLED

“It’s just old Luke and Luke’s waiting on the judgment day.”

Were people watching the creation of the steam engine and thinking, you know, if these things take off that’ll leave us with a lot more time to spend with our horses?

Because if so, that was dumb.

Likewise, those who accept on faith that society will become more rational because we are building gargantuan-tentacled machines spanning the planet along with super tiny ones to insert into our bodies, all of which we can then outsource our remembering, our calculating, and our decision-making to, are deluding themselves about the grand, glorious and frightening future which is pulling us along.

We are outsourcing the rational and this will lead us to seek out grander truths — and God.

We are building tech that envelops our life, ensnares our direction, and we will rebel — and seek God.

As we develop god-like powers, we will seek God’s guidance in how and when and why to use these new powers.

But you, personally, will seek out God because of Facebook. And Twitter. And Snap. And Reddit. And all of social media.

Because you want to believe, you crave to believe, you need to believe.

But our tools refuse this.

Anyone does something wondrous, you are alerted to the tweet that betrays their holiness.

Anything you assert is unique, the algorithms reveal this to be false.

Mortals, no matter how well equipped or ensnared with the very best technologies, will always falter along the path.

Falter even in a world of possessive super-powers.

We will respond to the demands of our machines by leaping into the emotional, embracing the irrational, and searching for unanswerable truths.

The Maharishi giggled.

Human.

It’s not enough.

We seek also to stand apart and above our machines.

This is hard.

The most popular course at Yale is on being happy.

Because we are failing at even this most human of blessings.

This is an odd crease in time. The machine is here to take care of all the rational bits yet we, caught between two worlds, each capable of eradicating the other, find ourselves hesitant  to embrace the non-rational. Meanwhile, drug companies are flooding the streets and our gullets with (legal) killers of pain and habit-forming deadeners of emotion.

When I was young, the cool kids would say kill your television!

Because staring into a screen meant you were not using your hands or your body or interacting with flesh-and-blood persons, or the ground, or the stars, nor your heart nor your spirit. But now, screens are everywhere, no matter where we are, no matter where we go, no matter who we are with, no matter what our needs, no escape.

But there’s always a way to the other side.

Be physical, be outside, seek out goodness, practice, commit, love others, make not everything so serious. Also, ask your dad for help with something.

GLOWING

“And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me.”

What if we’re glowing and don’t know it? Able to cut through the darkest?

Do we need special lenses to spot who is glowing? Or is it all of us?

You’re angry because you want to believe.

You’re bitter because you believe the world has never been more powerful, humans never more capable, yet you accept being trapped, with no way out, no way in, no way up.

But you have all the powers you need, all the tools required always at your beck and call.

What if Mozart was born before the clavier — before the piano, the harpsichord, there was nothing available capable of revealing his greatest gifts?

That is not your world.

Think of the Beatles. They played before tens of thousands of adoring fans, but the equipment of their day was unable to unleash the full power and glory and sound. The glowing did not require this.

The Beatles did not need to wait until the right tools became available to them. They went into the studio and instead crafted magic for the ages.

I know. You’re broke. In debt. With few prospects. You can’t afford a house, can’t afford children, have no chance of ever having what all those before you now happily posses.

My god, what an opportunity!

The emotional stigmata which you think limits you, in fact, reveals your freedom. You are connected to everyone and soon to everything, and no one, not even presidents nor billionaires have ever possessed this.

How will you reach all?

The Beatles were the greatest artist collective of the 20th century, no contest. The Beatles were the here-now, so profoundly different than, say Bob Dylan, who was very much the now-there. But still you think — and today’s technologies support this enticing deception — that you can be both now and there. This is false. You are — at your most, your best, your all — now, here.

You and all you connect with have the chance — and this has never before existed in human history — to hack everything. Hack the brain, the spirit, your flesh. Hack community, hack economy, hack the global jam.

This is not your hour of darkness.

Are you glowing?

SEARCHING

“Well Jesus Christ, I’m not scared to die. I’m a little bit scared of what comes after. Do I get the gold chariot? Do I float through the ceiling?”

Make yourself worthy of what God has blessed you with.

I know this may seem hard.

Our tools, maybe capitalism itself, maybe technology itself, or maybe both in concert, work their very best to make us feel we are not worthy, make us want to question ourselves, our talents, encourage us to buy, buy more, eat, eat more, spend, spend more, repeat.

These are the days of miracle and wonder and you.

Yet you find yourself weak, maybe powerless, cowering, uncertain of how to be a man, maybe unworthy of, but that you can change, I promise.

If a woman cheats on you, leave her.

This is non-negotiable.

If you derive pleasure from being cheated on, work on yourself, get better, stronger, stand up, throw down, but if you can’t, leave, always.

In our current political climate, the term “cuck” — short for “cuckservative” — has become an insult of the so-called alt-right, aimed at men they view as spineless and emasculated. The slur has its roots in the concept of cuckolding, or having an adulterous partner.

But, according to a recent study by David Ley, Justin Lehmiller and the writer Dan Savage, acting on cuckolding fantasies can be a largely positive experience for many couples, and hardly a sign of weakness.

Don’t be this guy. This is weak. This is cowardly. This is a violation of your moral code, our moral code, and your masculinity.

Which you possess. It is a gift, you are blessed, do not toss this gift away, do not forget this.

Also, stop being powerless. Go without if you must until you gain power.

No, power is not anger.

You are always able to — and should always remain — decent, even at your most powerful.

The President’s press secretary asked for prayer for a dying girl, whom asked the President for prayers from everyone.

The request was instantly pilloried by emotional cockroaches.

The fear and hate and rage to react reveals powerlessness at scale, and shows how we must pray not just for this dying child, but for all of us.

More information than ever before, but you’re lost.

Maybe when you go without, also turn off.

The New York Times recently examined some of the many questions we have about God.

People may not share their doubts with friends, relatives, rabbis, pastors or imams. They inevitably share them with Google. Every year, in the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of pointed questions, most of them coming from the Bible Belt. The No. 1 question in the country is “who created God?” Second is why God allows suffering. This is the famous problem of evil. If God is all powerful and all good, how could he allow suffering? The third most-asked question is why does God hate me? The fourth is why God needs so much praise.

And…

In the United States, there is more interest in heaven than in hell, at least based on searches. There are 1.5 times more searches for “heaven” than “hell,” 2.8 times as many searches asking what heaven looks like than what hell looks like, and 2.75 times as many searches asking whether heaven is real than whether hell is real.

If Alvin Tostig had a son today, I hope he would raise him strong and decent.

Every father should.

Back to you. Someone on the Internet told you that you could be strengthened by your wife having sexual relations with another man. False. You are being lied to. Find God. Find courage. Start at Google if you so choose, but that’s not necessary. Both God and courage always make themselves available to you.

I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER

This is Leeza. She is 8 years old. She has inoperable brain cancer. Leeza’s only wish is that you pray for her and her family.

SEND

God bless, Leeza!

I’m saying a prayer for you and your family right now, Leeza. God bless you, child!

Who did Leeza’s parents vote for?

What does that matter?

Healthcare for all is what matters!

She still wouldn’t survive!

How many more children must die before we get universal healthcare coverage?

IMPEACH!

There is no God. Praying is stupid.

Oh great white man in the sky please let this child live forever.

LOL

You people are sick. She’s a child.

Time to learn.

We will say a prayer!

Why is this in my timeline?

Can you explain more about Leeza’s condition?

Leeza is a stupid name.

This just breaks my heart. No child should have to go through this.

A pic or it didn’t happen.

1 2 3 21
Go to Top