OUR INSANELY GREAT AWAKENING

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EVIL APPLE

“Fame will not change him much he won’t be out of touch.”

I was using Apple back when the company was nearly dead.

I was promoting Apple before your child had their first iPod.

That was a long time ago.

I can’t shake the thought that one of the great companies made in America, that makes possibly the best smartphone in the world, is evil.

And so must be stopped.

Think of Apple’s business model: to put a screen always in front of you.

Out for a run? Apple Watch!

Seated at your desk? Mac!

Standing in a line? iPhone!

Seated in your favorite chair? iPad!

Ready for some much-needed downtime? Apple TV!

Placing a screen in front of our eyes at all times in all places has helped make Apple the world’s richest corporation.

But is what’s enriching Apple diminishing our children?

I am beginning to believe the answer is — an emphatic yes.

It gets worse.

Apple appears to be aggressively promoting a core value of consumption.

And this is wrong.

New year? New iPhone!

Buy a new iPhone!

Buy a new Mac! With TouchBar!

Buy a newer bigger thinner larger smaller iPad! This year! And next! And next!

Look! A new Apple Watch! Buy!

With new bands! BUY!

BUY BUY NEVER STOP BUYING!

Our life must be more than consumption.

APP STORE BUY!

MUSIC STORE BUY!

BUY BUY BUY!

We need to teach our children better.

It gets worse.

Apple is the richest corporation in the world. I believe it has more cash than any corporation in the world.

Yet it outsources manufacturing of the world’s most profitable product, iPhone, to China.

China requires America’s great companies hand over their technology and braintrust.

It gets worse.

China actively surveils its own citizens, polices online behavior, and has outlawed anonymity on the web, along with sites and services that do not comply with its rules.

Even if we escape the harms of this, we have to assume it will limit our children’s future.

Oh, and does anyone believe Apple Inc is paying its fair share of taxes? Money that could go to improving our schools, our roads, our healthcare?

Am I wrong about any of this?

What do you do when the corporation you most believe in, most want to believe in, believed in most of your life, utterly betrays you?

Leave them behind.

I GOT I GOT I GOT I GOT

“I was born like this, since one like this, immaculate conception.
I transform like this, perform like this, was Yeshua’s new weapon.
I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head.”

This song is garbage.

Unlistenable.

All those who suggest it is a great song by a great artist, a testament of lived experience, are wrong.

It’s garbage.

7-11 taquitos.

Worse, maybe, the music is an annoying, ear-swatting, repetitive screech from some keyboard pressed play then left on repeat.

The lyrics a reflection of a culture, debased.

No — a culture debased, swallowed whole, regurgitated, then re-packaged for consumption.

The world should not be this.

Pop music form has regressed, like so much else. Deconstruction has set us backwards, not revealed fuller truths. Pop music reached its zenith in the late 1960s, rock music in the 1970s, rap in the 1980s and we’ve tried so hard to find the next, failed, but kept trying, and we had our punk and rage and metal and the many nonsensical iterations of metal and country rock and country pop and rap soul and pop soul and grunge and old school but they all kept slamming up against one another, all trying to sound new, and failing, because the form itself can’t be made greater, there can only be something to replace it, except the machine that is commerce refuses to let go, fearful of losing any money and so just as painting was doomed to never reach greater heights in the 20th century — after photography and literal moving pictures were born — so too is pop music likewise now just poses, winks, nods and fuck yous to the establishment, to the fans, the believers.

No, Taylor Swift is the equivalent of your dad starting a conversation with you by discussing the most recent favorable outcome of your favorite sports team. Comforting, possibly inviting, but not the point.

We know we must go forward and we have no idea what that means.

Pop music was a gift by and from and, sadly, to the 20th century.

All we’re doing now is pretending garbage like “DNA” is listenable. Art.

“See, you’s a, you’s a, you’s a—
Bitch, your hormones prolly switch inside your DNA
Problem is, all that sucker shit inside your DNA
Daddy prolly snitched, heritage inside your DNA.”

A front, a pose, playacting, the “artist,” as fully realized, human wrecking crew, manifesting ripples in the force, all the world pays attention.

It’s false. It’s shit. Don’t give it any part of you.

“I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head
This that put-the-kids-to-bed
This that I got, I got, I got, I got
Realness, I just kill shit ’cause it’s in my DNA
I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA.”

Everybody chasing money, whole world in debt.

This is what we’ve allowed our world to become.

Debased, violent, greedy.

And still can’t come up with a way out.

Lamar’s talent is to feast on this shit and puke gold. Yours is not. You fool yourself to think otherwise.

Lamar excels in this world, bad as it is, rotten as he knows it is, and you are welcome to embrace that rottenness, to try and be like Lamar, except fail miserably at it. Or, you can take another path, a path that leaves this rot behind.

Lamar has a gift. The word flow, punctured beat, syncopated rap, the phrases, the rhythms, the repeats, all coming so fast, so strong, you hear his beauty poking out from beneath all the excess, and all of it wasted in the flesh, in the cash, in the now, with all that anger

This won’t take us forward.

Create something beautiful.

But if you can’t create something beautiful, probably that’s because this reality won’t allow it to come to life.

We’ll have to change this reality.

GOOD GOD I DON’T NEED A REASON

“I never thought too hard on dying before.
I never sucked on the dying.
I never licked the side of dying before.
And now I’m feeling the dying.”

They pointed the way but nobody heard.

They uncovered truths and nobody cared.

They followed their own path. The end.

Future no longer remembers Gen X. Preceded by Boomers, proceeded by Millennials, runt of the demographic litter, which is fine, really.

What if they could be more?

I think of alternate realities.

Not those steampunk novels.

Steampunk is boring.

A novel I would read, though, would explore how Earth could be today had us Earthlings back in the late 1980s embraced and sustained grunge-punk, not rap.

But that’s just too hard to believe. More believable, an alt-history where Earth embraced and sustained techno, not rap.

Think of it.

Back when he mattered, Eminem wrote:

“And Moby? You can get stomped by Obie
you 36-year-old baldheaded fag, blow me!
You don’t know me, you’re too old, let go.
It’s over, nobody listens to techno.”

Strong.

But what if he was wrong? What if there never was an Eminem because rap fizzled out and techno spread around the world, becoming the dominant form of popular music?

I think the world would be a nicer place, honestly.

It strikes me as odd that the number of births and the wrong choices of a group born around the same time would have such a long-lasting ripple effect on the next culture and the next.

Is there a better way?

Numbers?

Because, if numbers, that can be coded and computers can assess trillions of numbers every second.

Which are probably far more than necessary.

Think of how easy it is to judge someone based on only a single number.

What’s your GPA? What’s your ACT score?

High school football players eager to play for the top college football teams are assigned a number, typically between 2 and 5. Recruit X is a 4 ‘star’ and Recruit Y is a 5 ‘star’ but Recruit Z is only a ‘3’ star.

What is your hs-CRP score? It helps determine the amount of inflammation in your body and is a good predictor of your likelihood of stroke or heart attack. You want a hs-CRP score of less than 1 and certainly no more than 3.

What is your HDL? Your LDL?

What are the number of hours per day you sit? That offers a clue into your lifespan.

China, which made your iPhone, has not stopped at simply illegalizing the open, anonymous web. They have begun rolling out a numbers system which helps them determine how great a threat you are to their existing power structure. Points are assigned based on a range of personal variables.

In the US, algorithms are used to take money from us, make money off us, loan us money or, possibly, land us in jail. Numbers that feed these algorithms are based on race, gender, marital status, credit score, income, age.

Tell me your age.

Tell me your income.

What is the cost of your debt?

We dislike it but numbers are used to represent us and they typically do a very good job.

The President sleeps very little, a curiosity among many. While most of America slept last night, the President went on Twitter, which served him various tweets, links and videos, all based on an algorithm, not chronological order. One such tweet struck his fancy, which he then retweeted.

This act brought swift and protracted gnattering from the heretofore established media.

Algorithms impact our economy and productivity, our creativity, our mental health, our knowledge and our awareness, even our nation’s security. Algorithms are everywhere. Stock funds are using algorithms with the hopes of generating outsized returns. The algorithm can assess and intuit more and probably better financial trends, government filings, visual patterns, social changes, purchase data, customer tweets and the like. Facebook’s algorithms may know — before anyone else, before even friends and family — if someone is nearing suicide:

Algorithms are also helping with dying, telling healthcare professionals who most (and most soon) requires palliative care.

Algorithms are also used — which means they are also gamed — to determine what your child sees next on YouTube, far too much of which punctures their senses and pollutes their spirit.

New rule: We must not ever allow algorithms to be unleashed if they harm children and/or diminish life and living — ever.

If our algorithm non-use limits our economy, if shutting off algorithms borks our entertainment, that is small sacrifice. The spread of algorithms into every device and across every human interaction changes everything and everyone forever. They must do no harm.

This is particularly true with respect to children.

Deuteronomy, 12:31: “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”

We have always known that sacrificing children is an abomination.

“You’ve got your hands over your ears.
You’ve got your mouth running on.
You’ve got your eyes looking for something
that can never be found.
Like a reason.
Good god, I don’t need a reason.”

Fugazi was once a thing. They were fun to see. Trust me.

BITCOIN BLUDGEON

The price of one Bitcoin snuck past $15,000 today.

Had you bought (many) Bitcoin (3-5) years ago, you would now be (theoretically) rich.

Assuming, of course, in addition to going back in time, you could divine some means of actually turning that $1 million or $150 million in Bitcoin (value) to cash, or land, or stocks. But, sure, tell yourself you could have been a (multi-) millionaire. Tell yourself you can simply open up that digital wallet and ask one of the many Bitcoin exchanges to deposit the millions in cash into your bank account. Go on, try.

Everyone wants to be rich.

Never before have there been as many theoretical paths to riches.

So why is just about everyone struggling?

And why are those in the richest rich club doing all they can to lock everyone else out?

Americans — most Americans — still — still — want to work hard, make a good deal of money and then exchange that money for the freedom and security and products and services and experiences and niceties it affords.

This is why so many — which is inexplicable to the media, which is inexplicable to me — admire President Donald Trump. He has worked hard, damn hard, and very obviously enjoys all that his money affords him, including boasting about all that his money affords him.

Yes, he was born into money, unlike most, but he then — unlike most born into money — worked all day, all night, every day, every night, to be far more rich than when he started.

Is he gauche?

When you have like-Trump money, you get the choice to be discreet with it.

Americans want money.

Americans want to earn their money.

This is why so many react so bitterly to government healthcare, though they know how vital it is, because it negates their own power, their own freedom, the likelihood of them ever getting a great job with great earned pay and benefits, including healthcare. Earn your wealth, that wealth can be used in part to ensure your good health. Similarly, there’s a reason the only people who are promoting a “universal basic income” — a monthly check sent to everyone, forever — are either already rich or those who hate to get their hands dirty.

Money is power.

Work, build, make, create, extend, increase — and you earn money.

Which earns you power.

Earned power is the wisest of all the powers.

Someone sends you a check, not only did you not earn it, and this informs you you are lesser than they, but you are now dependent upon people you don’t know and who don’t know you and may not understand you and probably couldn’t care less and so could stop your monthly check or make you bark for it.

That’s no way to live.

This is why those working so hard — for just $15 an hour — are driving up the price of a Bitcoin, or throwing their money away on obviously doomed Initial Coin Offerings. They don’t need to be taught the foolishness of investing what they don’t have on a ICO con, they already know this, just as they already know they probably aren’t going to win the Lotto, but when all the other ways are shut off to them, the almost certainly impossible odds are still better than not at all.

We hear tales of a handful of fortunates who were early investors in Silicon Valley Big Next and who are now worth many millions, even billions.

Yet, late into the second decade of the 21st century, with everyone on the Internet, with crowdsourcing a provable business model, with instant access to information everywhere, it remains nearly impossible for any actual hardworking American to become an early stage investor — in anything.

Go on, try it.

Note all the legal barriers and financial regulations placed before you.

Okay, fine, but you are smart, insightful, resourceful, and so you know to be first in line to buy shares of Silicon Valley Big Next the very moment it goes public.

Nope.

Insiders have now created a “secondary market” that essentially allows the fortunate few to buy and sell their shares only to other insiders, shutting off outside access and preventing you from ever taking part in the financial bounty.

You are being systematically denied the opportunity to participate in the future’s bounty. It’s a rigged economy, despite all the apotheosized potential.

Bitcoin is a gamble. It’s also a sledgehammer. Both of these are needed right now.

“Now, when I talked to God, I knew He’d understand.
He said, ‘Stick by my side and I’ll be your guiding hand.
But don’t ask me what I think of you,
I might not give the answer that you want me to’.”

No one could have imagined Fleetwood Mac would become what it became.

THE AI BITES THE APPLE

There’s something that gnaws at me. Why did God create and then place at the very center of the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Why?

It wasn’t meant for us ((humans)). God made clear that under no circumstances were Adam and Eve to take even a bite from the tree’s fruit.

We know how the story begins:

The devil rather easily persuades Eve to take a bite and she in turn rather easily persuades Adam to take a bite.

At once, they become fully self-aware and their whole world, moments before swirling in good only, no evil, becomes a mix of these two forces. The fall is so swift and so complete that their first child, Cain, murders their second child, Abel.

Who is the tree for?

It’s doubtful it was for some other species, as God makes clear humans have dominion over the world. The tree also wasn’t meant only for God and those god-like, as he clearly states: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” “One of us.” They already possess this knowledge, the tree is unnecessary.

Could the tree of the knowledge of good and evil been intended for our creations? For that which follows us?

Are our creations on the cusp of self-awareness and the ability to choose right and wrong, good and evil?

We cede control and responsibility to our machines — be they robots, computers, sensors, digital assistants, and artificial intelligences. But we have never ceded to these control of choosing between good and evil. We certainly use them in our choice, but it’s always remained our choice.

Is that about to end?

For the first time since human life began?

What then?

I know, I know. You’ve been taught that when our machines develop self-awareness, all hope for humanity is lost. We will quickly become their slaves — those of us not killed in the great cyber wars. We will do what they say, when, and how, and with whom.

But science fiction is almost always wrong!

Fahrenheit 451? Wrong! We are awash in free and freely available books. The Diamond Age? Wrong! There are not only 2 tablets to teach only the most privileged children. There are already hundreds of millions of connected tablets in use.

What if machine self-awareness is liberating? Not for them, for us! Like our previous machines, mechanics, computers and processes.

These previous constructions have freed us from back-breaking labor, from drudgery, from starvation.

What might self-aware machines free us from?

From work? Yes. But also from having to determine what is right or wrong, in context. From having to be rational — all of the time.

Recall, nothing great ever happened by being rational.

Just as our machines have relieved us of the burden of labor, calculation, and memorization, our new self-aware machines might liberate us from the burden of the rational. Rational is what keeps us in place.

“I was the lion
You were the eagle,
your claws in my back.
You were so eager to get through the night
but our love is off limit,
no real connection”

Jim James is an obvious possessor of an abundance of talent. I confess that I do not care for his music.

ARMS

He dropped the coin on the ground before me.

Fifty.

No!

Don’t be stupid, he said.

I wasn’t, just selfish. Maybe sentimental. Foolish, I’ll admit.

That’s good money, finest crypto, accepted most places.

Not for sale.

I clutched my left arm instinctively. It was thin, natural, covered in audio tats, a vocal history of my family, my lineage. My stomach rumbled. I looked down again at the coin. No, I thought. I can’t.

Fifty plus a brand new arm, he said.

Damn. Serious.

That’s like, ninety crypto!

He was right, too. A young limb like mine was a prized commodity. The lowers — rich folk — ground them up and poured the ash into their hydro meat. They said it added seconds to their life, some said even minutes. I wasn’t sure I believed any of it. Still, the offer was tempting.

Growed limb. Better than what you were born with!

Maybe.

See!

He rolled up his sleeve and showed me his right arm.

Impressive.

It was, too.

Is it the tats?

I looked away.

Tell you what. Forty crypto plus a growed limb — which is even better — and I have my girl copy the tats onto the new arm. What say?

I shook my head.

He walked away in disgust.

But I knew. Those tat copies aren’t as good. Everyone says they’re exact copies only better but they’re not. The highs aren’t as high, the lows aren’t as low, the voices are close but not real. I could go another day without eating, probably. I couldn’t lose the true voices of my mom, dad, my brother, my two sisters, gran, gramps. The audio tats on my arm were all I had left of them.

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