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rock god


“Your saviour’s my guillotine, crosses and kerosene.”

A lyrical smack, fierce beat, grinding guitar, and that incensed vocal, all demanding change — change everything! — now — right now!

Right now, motherfucker!

“Is all the world jails and churches?”

Burn it down!

Rage against the machine. In the 21st century we are losing our self, our past, losing control of our tools, our meeting spaces, and to rage against the machine is our most human.

“Fuck it. Turn it off.”

Everything we tell ourselves that matters will soon be of little concern, probably forgotten. We won’t even have an agreeable reference for “work” or “health” or even “person.”

Or alive.

“Fear is your, fear is your, fear is your only god.”

Wake up!

Music won’t change the world, but how it makes you feel, that will.

Rage knew how to make you feel.

Eager to go punch someone then tear it all down.


In the beginning was the bass line, and it was glorious, and then the organ, calling all to gather, and the spirit took hold and the congregation did embrace the rhythm, letting it infuse their soul, and they did clap along.

(The Reverend) Tim Maia offers his sermon: “We came from a superworld. A world of rational energy. And we live in the energy world. World of animal energy. Read the book! The only book! The book of God! ‘Universe In Disenchantment’. And you’ll gonna know the truth.”

The 20th century did its best to enforce rational energy upon the world. It failed often and tragically and at scale. It may, in fact, be why so many humans repeatedly engaged in ravenous behavior, a non-rational response to the enforced rational thought. Food, drink, drugs, violence, art — Tim Maia feasted upon them all.

The 21st century will spin reality in an entirely different direction. Because — at long last — we humans have created machines which allow us to outsource the rational, off-load thinking and calculating and processing and determining, leaving us to focus on what humans can do far better than our machines.

Wilding. Dreaming. Believing.

We may not put it together, but it will be enchanting.

It may also prove our doom.

Because as Tim Maia’s funk line reminds us, our animal energy remains ever-present.


May your dreams be merry and bright.

God willing, I will return to daily essays on the second of January, 2018 — can you believe it, 2018!

Oh, and never forget. Whatever you have, that is enough for another.


And jazz and calypso did have relations with the American R&B, while gospel watched from the edge, and this did make ska and ska begat rocksteady and rocksteady begat reggae and reggae did menage a trois with punk and with rock and roll and this consort did begat The Police.

And The Police was good.

And though they did sound very much of the 1980s and yeah did their considerable musical talent and global popularity did cloak the lyrical sweep of one Sting, the group’s lead singer, guiding force, and prime commercial draw.

The best trio in all of rock music. Yes.

Bass, guitar, drums.

Yet one of their most enduring songs is synthesizer-focused.

Talent will out.

Daring is rewarded.

But I wonder: is this still true?

Never before have we possessed so much, lived so long, and dared so little.

Has our spirit been buried by this material world?

Do our own creations keep us locked in?

You need to earn a few extra dollars? Simple. Drive an Uber! Need to get anywhere? No problem. Hail an Uber! Oh, but you’ll need a phone to do that. That’s mandatory. But those are made in anti-democratic China for the world’s richest corporation.


We are connected, that’s not the same as free.

We have access, that’s not the same as talent.

The world is at our fingertips yet we risk nothing.

Even the music’s gone safe.

“Spirits in the material world.”


How can this be?

We should be the most capable, most fit, most aware, most alive, most ready — the apex of human evolution and technological advancement.

And yet…

Feel great?

Sense greatness permeating around the world?

Where did it go?

Our self-inflicted and fully consensual reduction in human grandness, leading us not into ascension but deeper into hibernation.

The body electric, static.

Ghosts in the machine.

See me, hear me, touch me. I am your screen.

Stay seated before me.

“Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day
If it’s something we can’t buy
There must be another way”

We need to set our spirit free.

But I am not sure I know how.

Move our eyes from the screen, possibly?

Prioritize the physical over the digital, perhaps?

Surround ourselves with less, maybe?

Welcome suffering, I fear?

Does my spirit need to be awakened, I wonder?

Stop asking questions. All you get are answers.

Look where that’s led you.


It’s hard to overstate how huge a transformation Star Wars The Last Jedi takes the whole Star Wars mythos. In the original trilogy, everything pivots around Leia. But now, the past is re-written, as is the future — critical, as these are the only two periods of time that ever matter. Everything has changed now in Star Wars. Luke is Jesus. Luke must die — for our salvation. Luke, now with everything changed, is the one that saved the Jedi order in the past, and now remakes it for the future.

We crave myths.

We believe superpowers exist — and they do — but not in us, though we dream they one day might.

Books, movies, these feed our need for myths. Rock music, less so.

I think of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as maybe the closest we’ve come to mystical rock music mythos.

Heavy metal thunder.

Upon first listen: nothing before matters, everything from now will be different.

That’s a lot to stake upon the only hit song from Iron Butterfly. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is timeless, peerless, its psychedelic metal sound revelatory of a future which, we must accept, never came. Guitar, organ, bass, vocals, drums, often in concert, sometimes in solo, this 17-minute, 20-or-so word song proclaims humanity at the dawn of a new age, one completely unlike the past, one not at all previously envisioned, filled with dark magic, seductive waypoints, and forever youth — in all its glory and failings. The song quickly takes us from the before time to its big bang, and from there the possibilities are revealed as not quite limitless but still plentiful.

The future beckons. “In the garden of Eden, baby, don’t you know that I’ll always be true.”

I wonder, can we return to the garden? Will the garden come to us?

These are idyl thoughts, the most human of all the thoughts.

Humans are rational creatures, admittedly, and possessing an insatiable ability to benefit from knowledge and learning. But this is not the same as possessing an insatiable ability to want to know and learn. Even in the 21st century, too many fail to recognize the chasm between the process and the gain.

Humans are rational creatures, true, but mostly not. Mostly, we are emotional, feeling, sensing.

We are rational not by choice but by necessity.

Never forget this!

That necessity is now going away.

Always stay mindful of this!

Just as we have outsourced our physical labors to the machines — nobody mills their own grain anymore, for example — now, at long last, we possess the ability to outsource our rational to the machines. Our machines will do our calculus, our remembering, our data accumulation, our indexing, our choosing, our thinking.


Emotion is our future.

Feeling is our future.

Crazy is our future.

I am not sure if that is how we get back to the garden, but I am sure it is our way onward.

Experts in pedagogy — a horrible word — continue to profoundly misunderstand reality and human composition. They continue to insist that non-rational, non-verifiable, clearly emotional-based responses from people on such “knowable” ideas as, say, how AIDS developed, or why the twin towers collapsed, or the impact of the movement of the stars upon our mood, exist because there is too much “fake news” or bogus sources or children aren’t being taught “logic” or their parents, derided as “evangelical” or “hippie,” prevent “the truths” from reaching these children.


We have constructed a world where we have the freedom to believe in the non-rational, with each of us able to construct — like an artist — the worldview which best expresses our needs. Surprise! This is the zenith of a thinking, learning, progressive, tool-building human evolution.

The Pentagon, we have verified, and to nobody’s surprise, is spending millions of dollars to search for alien life and to uncover the truth behind various unexplained human – non-human encounters. This includes actual Air Force fighter jets chasing an unknown flying object.

Alien encounters? Maybe.

The Pentagon running psyops using our fear and fascination of aliens to set in motion something dastardly? Maybe.

Rational behavior? And?

Stop expecting humans to fully engage with the “facts” “logic” “evidence” “data” when our newest machines can do all of these better, faster, longer, bigger.

You’re being wrongly non-serious.

We can’t outpace our thinking machines, can’t recall more, certainly not faster, can’t absorb as many facts, can’t reach as many people with the data, and so the logical response is to accept that the rational — the “truth” — is the purview of computers, algorithms, AI, robots, and whatever comes next, while we increasingly embrace and feed those elements of our self which the machines can’t do better.

We are outsourcing the rational.

Fantastical is our future.

This is the dawning of the age of aquarius!

“Please take my hand.”

Here’s the Boney M version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, suffused with a disco beat and electronic sensibilities. It’s not the equal of the original, but still great.


Why do you remain?

The same beliefs same routine same expectations all the lies.

Does new ease the pain?

Might shiny blind out the fear?

Buy iPhone X.

A device that knows everything about you, including your location, your face and fingerprints, from a tax dodging corporation that makes its products in a country which has outlawed anonymity on the web and imprisons people for wrongspeak.

You’re the future!

“Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can’t move.”

I deleted my Gmail account. No, this is different, my gmail was not like yours. I was one of the very first. It was April 2o04, the product still in beta, but thanks to my also being one of the very first to have and fund and manage a Google keywords ad campaign for a small business, I was so honored with what at the time seemed like the future of communicating online for business.

Now, more than 13 years later, all gone. Every email. Tens of thousands, sent and received.

I also recently deleted well over 100,000 tweets. Yes, really.

“But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap.”

We think our digital traces never really go away and that digital spaces are anlogous to physical ones. Both thoughts are false.

Digital matters, but differently.

Like sight, but not touch, like hearing, but not smelling.

But we are allowing it to consume us, all of us, all the parts of us, our connections, our prospects, our thoughts and fears, our joys, our past.

We are so much more than what it can contain.

“You’ll be honest, you’ll be brave
You’ll be handsome, you’ll be beautiful
You’ll be happy”

Rilo Kiley, now effectively deceased, were deliberately anti-commercial, their songs constructed to celebrate their joys, but never quite, to showcase their voice, yet sublimate underneath the gear, their words expressing their feelings, but never their rawness.

They couldn’t be true, full, honest, themselves.

There’s a lesson in that.

“Your ship may be coming in. You’re weak but not giving in.”

It’s good to not give up. And it may be liberating for you to leave behind.

You can not respond, not engage, not share, not like, not pose, and still go forward with your life. I promise you. In a fit of indignation, Rilo Kiley sang “that God never blessed her insides,” but he has yours. And that’s all the validation you need.


There has never been a better time to outlaw abortion. In fact, it may be necessary for our survival.

Confession: should God exist, and I believe this is so, and should God care, and I believe this is also so, my two great fears re godly retribution — not just for me, but humanity — will come from our gruesome, emotionally distant and utterly dollar-based treatment of the animals we eat, and our flippant embrace of abortion: for convenience.

I know, I know, this is crazy talk, it will never happen, if I got a young woman pregnant I would encourage her to get an abortion, I don’t want to be responsible for round-the-clock care of a fully disabled young life, our bodies, our choice, all the excuses, I am aware of these all and sympathetic to each.

But the science is clear.

We know what a four-month-old human fetus looks like, feels like. Our machines reveal to us how it is impacted by the mother’s various physical and emotional inputs. It’s size and gender and the many physical and electrical signals it puts out now avail themselves to us.

Human life.

There’s more.

And this is why the issue is so pressing.

We are now actively seeking to hack mortality, to extend human life beyond 100 years, 150 years, maybe longer, some believe as long as 1,000 years, and even some exploring methods to digitize “consciousness” — even while we can’t fully define the term — and thereby remove ourselves from the bodily realm, except: we don’t know yet how to achieve any of this and are unable to fully test these theories of human usurpation upon ourselves. Yet we are moments away from using those ((humans)) that come next — human DNA, fertilized eggs, fetuses — as our test pattern, our use case. We are editing genes, striking out offending DNA, experimenting on flesh and its components to create an improved form, stronger, smarter, taller, prettier, happier, longer-lived. But for all those who fail to meet our expectations?

Tossed into the dustbin of countless mortal failures.


Ours is the age of destruction, which is frightening, yes, but also exhilarating, as we are moving at technological scale and speed to create new realities and alter our place within them and our interactions over them.

But we must not abandon our humanity.

We must also never allow humanity to be abandoned.

We are tinkering with human life with the explicit goal of lasting transformation and we simultaneously and very literally do not know what is right or best, so let us declare now and forever: all failures, as we define them at the time, along with all successes, similarly defined, must be honored, accepted, cared for, and endowed with the same rights and potentials as each of us, just as each of us must retain the very same rights and potentials as all those who follow.

As the past slips from our understanding, we cannot allow it to be expunged from our compassion.

We are and must always remain the totality of all which has come before.

Smarter, stronger, better, we believe ourselves to be this and more compared to those that came before, but true or not, we retain pieces of them just as we retain pieces of the cosmos. Never forget.

“Amused but real in thought we fled from the sea whole.”

In 1973, following the release of several groundbreaking and very popular albums, Yes released their boastful opus, Tales From Topographic Oceans.

2 LPs, 4 sides, 80 minutes, insufferable, much too long, full of hubris, but also brilliant at times, soaring in places, uplifting, enlightening, an earnest musical foray into thought, gods, the beginnings of life and that which it makes whole, a dense pop music exploration that challenged convention all while taking the listener on a journey close to the edge of what could come next in music, only to collapse into the abyss.

Side 1, wonderful.

Sides 2-4, tolerable, but only just, and only for those who, like me, love 1970s progressive rock and honor Yes’ place amongst the greats.

“Young Christians see it from the beginning
Old people feel it, that’s what they’re saying
Move over glory to sons of old fighters past”

This is worth a listen.

We are blithely, blindly tinkering with actual human form — not values, not ideas, not building tools, not altering how we live or where, nor even how long  — but actual human form.

There will be successes, of course, amongst the shocking horrors, but as you stare into that deep, dark truthful mirror, remember now to look out, there you see all the cravenness, the ills and suffering, the lies and desires, and you know, despite our potential, despite all the effort and money from the rich, from the genius-crazy, from the evil, and from the hopeful, that our only hope going forward is strict adherence to the honor and preservation of life.

That comes first, always.

Not improvements, not abandonments, not potential.

“What happened to wonders we once knew so well?
Did we forget what happened? Surely we can tell.
We must have waited all our lives for this, moment.”



Listen to that fast-charging, tight jangling guitar lick, that steady stomping beat, hard metallic ripples piercing your speakers. Now here comes Mick, still bringing it deep into his golden years.

Punk. Rocker.

I mean that as a compliment.

God may have given him everything, but Mick Jagger has given us so much.

“God gave me everything I want
Come on, I’ll give it all to you
God gave me everything I want
Now come on, I’ll give it all to you”

Badass. And us men we do so admire a badass. Women, too, I suspect. How could they not?

Immense talent that finds its voice — and then always delivers. That’s a rare gift. Let’s enjoy it — and honor him — while he still lives.

Let’s also imagine that God gives each of us everything we want. What might that be like?

“God gave me everything I want. I can’t stop, can’t stop, I’m still looking.”

President Trump issued a “space policy directive” to NASA to send men to the moon, then eventually to Mars.

I would love to go to Mars! (And safely return, of course.)

I would love to be fabulously wealthy.

Also fit, attractive, smart, revered.

In the closet areas of my brain are many other yet-experienced realities I would no doubt relish should God see fit to give me everything I want.

But he hasn’t.

And there’s that gnawing suspicion that God knows best.

We have more than ever before. We have more than 99.999% of the entirety of humanity and its antecedents and, based on data gathered by my eyes, ears and other senses, we are not healthier, not stronger, not happier, not better.

Sleep comes with effort.

Depression visits regularly.

Obesity, outrage and discontent are commonplace.

We take so many pills that apps now exist to remind us to take all our pills.

But Mick seems happy.

Is getting everything you want only right for some?

“I saw it in the midnight sun
And I felt it in the race I won
And I hear it in the windy storm
And I feel it in the icy dawn

And I smell it in the wine I taste
And I see it in my father’s face
And I hear it in a symphony
And I feel it in the love you show for me”

We have so much.

Maybe it’s too much, I can’t say.

We’re losing our past while the future becomes everything but certain.

That grates on identity and identity is reality.

Maybe gratitude will cure us?

If not, then do like the poor boys do and sing for a rock ‘n roll band.

Worked for Mick Jagger.


Why do you believe?

The culture demands you jettison belief in God, in religion, in your gender, your genetics, your nation’s boundaries. Believe instead — the cultural gatekeepers and media bullhorns proclaim — in diversity, in fluidity, in globalization, in technology, in those jobs not coming back, in all of the things, however true, not true or somehow in-between, which encourage you to consume more, buy more, dispose more, and link your identity more strongly to your possessions, even as you replace them daily, weekly, yearly.

What does belief gain you?

A man using standard computing equipment was able to (digitally) swap the face of a porn actress with superstar Gal Gadot, the actress who so capably plays Wonder Woman.

It’s difficult for human eyes to see the truth, more so than ever before.

Probably, the viewers of porn want exactly that.

There was a terror attack in New York City today. Thankfully, a mostly botched attack.

A young man from Bangladesh.

He came to America.

He lived here for seven years.

He was in nearly all ways discernible to our eyes — and ears and other senses — utterly non-descript.

After a recent visit back to Bangladesh, he changed.

Today, he attempted to set off a bomb on the New York City subway.

Mostly, he harmed himself.

What if — bear with me here — the young man felt compelled to make and set off a bomb, kill scores of innocent people, but he simultaneously didn’t want to?

What if — bear with me here — whatever was compelling him to commit his dastardly act was not at all what he wanted to do?

I entertain the idea that the Bible is a makers guide. There are two elements to this notion:

  1. the Bible’s tales of morality, goodness, and faith instruct humanity — and guide us as we create evermore capable machines
  2. what if — yes, I know this is utterly fantastical — the Bible is also a *literal* makers guide, directing our technological development?

Mad, I know.

Bear with me.

I think today of Joseph. God spoke to Joseph, according to the Bible, through Joseph’s dreams. The dreams told Joseph what to do about Mary, about Christ, when to leave Bethlehem, when to go to Egypt, when to leave again.

Can we — us mortals — develop technology that enables us to send messages into another’s dreams?

Can we make voice a weapon?

Certainly, it’s already used as a substitute for magic.

You speak, your voice travels twenty feet where it reaches your Amazon Echo, which awakens, connects to the Internet, interacts with multiple computers and data sources, then returns with your request, speaking back to you.

Let’s do this, but into a person’s dreams!

A tree falls in the forest, no one is around to hear it, but once all the world’s things are wired, connected, we can hear whatever we want, from wherever and whenever we choose.

What then?

Hearing, seeing, as fluid as your twitter feed?

Question everything becomes no longer a pose, rather, the world we have constructed.

Sometimes, that’s cool.

One of the things I love so much about Beck is that I feel that even his failures — and, honestly, I think most of his songs are near-failures — but even his failures reveal our possible paths, pointing the way to a future, a future that is sometimes acceptable, sometimes exactly not.

Beck’s rhythmic collages of noise, cultural detritus, a flotsam of aural impressions, these alter how we see the world.

The past de-constructed, the future uncertain.

“Rockin’ the city, close to god
Engines running, all hope is gone
Out on the highway, having a baby
Crawling the city, close to god
Engines running
Dixie fried
Got a feeling, that I’m leaving
Extra sugar, heavy breathing”

After you hear Close to God, consider next Sweet Satan.


In past centuries, humans were altered by the acceleration and spread of their most profound achievement, the outsourcing of their labors to machines. In our century, we are being transformed by the acceleration and spread of our most profound achievement, the outsourcing of our thinking to machines.

We are outsourcing the rational.

Crazy is our future. Expression our currency.

Storytelling will become valued just as in the beginning.

Hunter-gatherer storytellers were essential in promoting co-operative and egalitarian values before comparable mechanisms evolved in larger agricultural societies, such as moralising high-gods. Storytellers were also more popular than even the best foragers, had greater reproductive success, and were more likely to be co-operated with by other members of the camp.

In the history of popular music — which is long — few have been grander storytellers than The Eagles.

“They even brought a neon sign ‘Jesus is Coming’,
Brought the white man’s burden down, brought the white man’s reign
Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God.”

Words powerful enough to put out the fire, joined with music powerful enough to stir the wanderlust. You can’t hear the song and not want to leave — or else make it all go away.

Don Henley and Glenn Frey were musically gifted, both desperately wanted to be pop stars, and possessed of that rare ability to construct radio-friendly hooks, awakening riffs, tightly crafted harmonies, and memorable lines. Often, they transformed those memorable lines into stories which weaved inside the listener’s heart, forever activated by just a few notes on a keyboard or beats from a drum, or the call to prayer of a Glenn Frey chord.

The pair were well rewarded for their gifts.

As are we.

The Last Resort may be the very best song from the Eagles’ very best album, Hotel California, which is one of the very best albums of the modern rock era.

The Last Resort is a layered re-telling of ourselves being our most human.


We destroyed paradise.

This was our very first declaration of human power, a defiance of godly supremacy.

Foolish, foolish pride.

We’ve spent the past many millennia attempting to make good, resurrect paradise, piece it all  back together, and return once again to the garden.

I am not certain we will ever succeed, but the effort certainly drives our best stories, just as its rejection drives our most fantastical failures.


“Tell the rambler,
The gambler,
The back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down.”

Story idea: Deep State conspires with China to hack our iPhones to drain the bitcoin wallets of the tens of thousands of newly rich libertarians. The dark elements of government then use that money to plant stories of sexual depravity against the now hacked freedom lovers in an effort to silence them.

Who are the heroes of my story?

The thing about bitcoin is — and I have almost no bitcoin, only enough to be honest when I say to you I have some bitcoin — is that it absolutely made sense for rich folks, particularly rich techies, to put a fraction of their wealth into bitcoin back in, say, 2015. But it made absolutely no sense for people who weren’t super-rich to invest in Bitcoin, probably ever, and yet here we are, with the cryptocurrency rising towards $20,000, making early investors phenomenally wealthy — assuming they can cash out, which is admittedly a shaky assumption.

Early bitcoin holders hit the lotto. Then the powerball, then the lotto again.

They are swimming in money.

You’re not.

Sure, you can rebuke yourself for not rushing in soon enough. Certainly, you can curse those who did, knowing full well they are no smarter than you, no more insightful, probably not even more daring. They got lucky, is all. Damn lucky. But they’re super-rich and you’re still struggling.

We’re all gonna die.


Few conveyed this relentless truth better than the wonderful Johnny Cash — the only human besides Elvis, the King — to be inducted in the rock and roll and country music halls of fame. Cash was also inducted into the Gospel music hall of fame. A remarkable talent, beloved in his life. For good reason. Johnny Cash was the singer-songwriter-storyteller-poet that charmed us as the fires died down. He did this in the 1950s and 1960s, an era we can now scarcely imagine. He did this in the 1970s, when most weren’t yet alive, and he continued to pierce our soul and light our spirit as we traversed our many man-made valleys of darkness right up until his death in 2003.

One of his best, “God’s gonna cut you down,” a bleak tale told by many across the generations, Cash sang to us after his death, such was the power of his voice and the reverberations of his redemptive message. We are all prisoners of the flesh, Cash warned us, in both song and deed, and only God can save us.

“You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down.”

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