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the insanely great awakening - page 2

EXORDIUM & TERMINUS

“In the year 7510
If God’s a coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He’ll look around Himself and say
Guess it’s time for the judgment day”

Sounds wise, but can we trust these words given that the person proclaiming them only achieved fame once?

I say, yes.

One hit wonders remain curious things, as they cause us to wonder what semi-famous, partly-recognizable musicians must do with all the remaining days of their life, with everyone wanting that one song of theirs played over and over and over again while they, even if they are somehow always decent and tolerant about this, are forever unable to replicate that lottery-like success that propelled them into our collective consciousness, but we also wonder how white hot fame can be achieved by someone — only once — because the relentlessness of the machine that is capitalism is always seeking out, always maximizing return, always copying whatever works, and we simply expect this consensual metaverse to throw off enough data so as to ensure that if anyone does it once, they’ll certainly have the tools at their disposal to achieve at least a second go-round on the fame-success wheel, but no, one-hit wonders remain, like a frozen moment in time or a flower that emerges from across the cultural landscape, delivering joy, briefly, and then gone forever. Curious.

In 1964, the duo of Zager & Evans wrote their only hit song — In The Year 2525.

It became a hit, in, fact, in 1969.

Ripples require time to reach the shore.

This is how I feel about several core technologies now radiating towards us. We won’t fully realize the sum total of their transformation of human form and thought and movement for at least another 17+ years.

The flood comes in 2035, that’s when the past will no longer be readable and the future becomes fully writable.

It began with Windows 95. We are now in Year 22 of a 40-year (not 40 day) planet altering, life repurposing, technology infused deluge. A great flood of robotics, artificial intelligences, bio-coding, pharma-induced healing, the digitalization of perception, the merging of daily life into screens, sparring abundances, competing algorithms, and the connecting of all people to all things will transform all life and living on this planet.

The past will then become more unknowable than the future.

That means that together, we can and should build a new way of living with our creations and can and should embed our values — the right values — into all that comes next.

What comes next?

The destruction of everything.

Our collective understanding of purpose, work, ownership, possession, value, wealth, health, learning, serving, believing and perceiving will all be transfigured, shortly. Nothing will be left untouched, not even humanness. I predict the next 17 years will foster the following global trends:

1. TRIBAL WANDERERS

The past is rapidly becoming more unknowable than the future. We are like Adam and Eve, more aware of what’s to come than what’s come before us. This new reality will lead to a transformative break in human values. It will also create a permanent wandering class.

No home, new modes of work, play, crafting, interaction, and the connection of all places and things to all people will lead millions, maybe billions, to forever wander the land, seeking friendships, seeking answers, a willful freeing of their mind and liberation from place forever altering our culture. Hop inside the (autonomous) bus and drive! And sleep and eat and play and learn and share.

Caution: We have erected an economy and government based on the self, which is vanishing, and the local, which is being made irrelevant.

2. OUTSOURCING THE RATIONAL

Atheists are on the wrong side of history. Just as we outsourced our labor to the machines, now we are outsourcing our thinking, our calculating, our rational tasks. As a consequence, we are becoming more spiritual, more creative, and yes, more irrational, free to explore all our thoughts, impulses, desires, fears, hopes, aggressions.

Belief in magic, religion, in spirituality and God will accelerate and deepen because of, not despite of, the rise of big data, machines, robotics, electronics, computing and artificial intelligences. We become what our machines cannot. We do what can’t be outsourced. Faith is our future. Spirituality is our expression.

3. DIFFERENTLY ALIVE

Everything we make from this moment forward will be aware, sensing, responsive — alive. How are ((humans)) differently alive?

Answering this — legally, culturally, politically — will tear apart everyone and from everything.

There’s more. With everyone and everything connected, in real-time, and always, and with the spread of bionics, nano-machines, processors, the very notion of ‘self’ will be transformed. Connectivity is our self.

4. HACKING MORTALITY

Hacking mortality will become the biggest industry of this century. We will not live forever but those that come next will live for probably decades longer than us. Great for them, less so for much of what we’ve constructed. All the systems, institutions, wealth, rules and culture which now exist, all of which are dependent upon most of the world dying by or before age 75, will themselves die off. The notion of economy, jobs, savings will be a distant memory, poorly understood.

Caution: many of the radical life extension efforts will prove deeply repugnant. Prepare to fight them. They are unholy.

5. THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED ONLY IT’S EVENLY DISTRIBUTED

What becomes of commerce — and power — when we all have as much as we need and are each only a screen swipe away from the leaders of nations and the guardians of conglomerates?

What is your standing? Your source of power? Your desires when everything is within reach?

Remember the “science fiction” story of the little girl who accidentally gets hold of one of the world’s two tablets, tablets which contain the world’s knowledge? In reality, tablets are already available to over a billion people — with the price dropping steadily.

6. THE FREE-ING OF EVERYTHING

Soon, everything will be free. Literally, everything that matters will be free and freely available. Food, healthcare, entertainment, transportation, energy, gadgetry, connectivity, you, me, our creativity, passions, darkest thoughts, where we lay our head.

You won’t be defined by your work or your wealth.

You will pay for things, but not with money, often not with work.

And when no money needs to exchange hands, ever, because the price — of everything — is effectively zero and trading our expertise, our attention, our companionship, right down to the millisecond is all that’s needed, every existing locus of power is obliterated. Where will power come from? What of your self worth?

7. CONSUMPTION IS DEATH

God bless the child who’s got it all.

Even the really fat ones.

Know this: We are fat, obese, and sedentary not because of cars or technology or industrialization or suburbanization or laziness but because capitalism is a fierce, never-tiring always-learning meta-system which discovered that money could be made in selling food and leisure and kept getting better at this, and better and better, and better.

Capitalism knows our desires better than we know our limits.

But having consumed our fill, puking it out, consuming all over again, retching, repeating this process, year after year, generation after generation, the vomit of consumption a toxic force upon our planet, we — the takers and makers and learners of capitalism — have finally constructed an alternative path. We can live full and exciting and interesting and private and communal lives entirely without having to embrace consumption.

You will never again be defined by your possessions, though you will be free to let your possessions define you.

8. VALUES EQUAL PROFITS

Soon, we can get anything from anyone, anywhere at anytime. Businesses will respond to this by differentiating themselves with the only thing they have remaining — their values. Their opposition to gay marriage, their warm embrace of sustainable food practices, their rejection of the profit motive, their deep, abiding faith in Jesus Christ. Values will determine their customer base, their margins, their market. The purely profit-based corporation will whither.

In the next stage of commerce, your values will always be on display and used for exchange.

9. THE INSANELY GREAT AWAKENING

As we alter our bodies, our minds, upend society, reconstruct awareness and deconstruct all that came before, including markets, capitalism, value, power, wealth, influence and experience, there is a right path forward.

We just don’t know what it is.

We will seek out God.

We are eager to believe.

A great awakening is upon us.

10. THE PAST IS MORE UNKNOWABLE THAN THE FUTURE

“But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight, so very far away, maybe it’s only yesterday”

It’s all not working, nothing is how it’s supposed to be. We have never been more empowered, more capable, more angry, more empty, and we sense, the fear and revulsion and excitement of it always on display, that the very idea of human, of person, of self may soon vanish forever.

We will soon scarcely even understand those before us.

We will not be like them at all.

We cannot go back.

Let’s recall the wise words of that musical duo from Nebraska, what were they called again, Zager & Evans, and that one song they had.

“In the year 8510, God is gonna shake His mighty head. He’ll either say I’m pleased where man has been or tear it down, and start again”

God came early.

BE POSITIVE THOUGH IT HURTS

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.

GOD KNOWS I DO

“I really do believe there’s a heaven somewhere. There’s a heaven somewhere”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2018. The new members include Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, the Cars and Nina Simone. Sister Rosetta Tharpe will be (posthumously) given the Early Influence award.

I did not get a vote.

Had, I would not have included Bon Jovi. I would likewise not have voted for the Cars and probably not Dire Straits. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, I absolutely would have inducted as a full member. I would also have added Yes, the Doobie Brothers Joy Division (plus, New Order), ELO, Jim Croce, Hall and Oates Dick Dale, Beck, Talking Heads, INXS, and probably PJ Harvey.

You likely know all of them except for Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Know her.

A supremely gifted guitarist who died before most Americans were yet born, she inspired churchgoers, backsliders, black, white, Elvis, Brits, Jerry Lee Lewis, and countless others.

(Tharpe) attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll. She was the first great recording star of gospel music and among the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll audiences, later being referred to as “the original soul sister” and “the Godmother of rock and roll”. She influenced early rock-and-roll musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. 

Tharpe was a pioneer in her guitar technique; she was among the first popular recording artists to use heavy distortion on her electric guitar, presaging the rise of electric blues. Her guitar playing technique had a profound influence on the development of British blues in the 1960s.

“There’s a heaven somewhere, up above my head. Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

We undervalue pioneers, still, excepting those few that become fabulously wealthy.

I wonder if this will cease? This is the age of the destruction of everything, with the world changing so fully, so fastly, that soon the past will be as unknowable as the future.

And there will become a permanent global wandering class.

Unable to thrive within existing cultural, political and economic structures, they take to their driverless cars, using social media to interact, their hands and talents to craft, bitcoin to buy and sell, algorithms to barter.

Let’s talk now about government.

This post is not political.

Government is a consuming beast, benevolent when required or whenever mutually beneficial, but always demanding, always growing, like a shark that must keep swimming, but always always always it is seeking to devour independence, suspicious of all and whatever that might challenge its supremacy.

America presents a complication.

If the Bible is the inspired word of God, the Constitution is the inspired word of freedom.

The structure of our government — and when combined with the sanctioned bill of rights — places hard, repeated limits on the unquenchable fire of government rapaciousness.

They found a workaround.

Importing people and marginalizing others, creating a dependent class, ensures at least a high floor to government power. The dependent simply aren’t going to challenge the government’s efforts to grow and take.

They found another workaround.

Government becomes intertwined with the culture, such that no day, no moment can pass without our eyes and ears, at minimum, repeatedly and aggressively assaulted (or informed) of the government’s actions, demands and desires, and…by working very closely with those who control the culture’s entertainment, government can also sanction thought, behavior, norms while marginalizing and disempowering those who — witch-like — operate beyond its scope. This presently includes some evangelical Christians, the last remaining hippies, and a few others. 

Should such groups ever in any way threaten the  government’s glorification, the government simply goes after those groups, stripping them of freedoms, and forcing them to take on government in its realm — almost always a losing proposition for the non-government side.

But we do have examples of those very few who fight in this arena — and win.

They do so almost always through the force of their talent, so great is it that it can’t be hidden away nor destroyed nor mocked nor denied, and so great is its power that it changes people, changes their hearts, minds, and alters reality, like sound ripples which loosen the rungs, maybe even destroy a column, possibly even damaging the foundation of all existing structures.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was one such talent.

Yes, she rendered unto Caesar, as is still required, but her playing of the electric guitar revealed to us all of a new way, a better way, of a kingdom beyond.

“Up above my head, I hear music in the air.”


Another pioneering entertainer, Miss Roise Mae Moore, who recorded in the 1920s.

BABY YOU’RE A RICH MAN

The rich young man informed Jesus that he faithfully obeyed each of the commandments. The rich young man was certain Jesus would smile, nod, bless him, then send him on.

Jesus did not.

Instead, Jesus told the man to sell his possessions, give all his wealth to the poor.

We are led to believe the man did not.

We spend too much time admiring the rich, discussing the rich, attempting to copy the rich, I think, rather than seeking to understand the poor, and poverty, and living without.

Chamath Palihapitiya is a very rich man.

Facebook money.

Mr. Palihapitiya, who also owns the Golden State Warriors and interests in various tech companies, is, I doubt you are surprised to learn, quick to tell others what they are doing wrong.

Recently, however, he told us what he did wrong: help build Facebook.

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion.”

Do not expect Mr. Palihapitiya to give any of his Facebook money back.

Do not expect him to live like the poor, nor the middle, nor even the well-to-do professional class. He belongs to that tiny thriving cabal of aggressively globalist, virulently tech-centric, fabulously wealthy men and women who have prospered these past 30 years, even as millions of Others lose their work, their livelihood, witness the destruction of their community.

One of the apex beneficiaries of a political + financial + educational + economic structure which we can only question now because of the very clear and present backlash to it. It’s sort of like how those winning the culture wars never say culture wars, just culture. Only the losers say culture war. For the winners, it’s the culture.

For the economic winners, globalization is The Economy.

Until it’s not, of course.

To deride the men and women who find hope in electing men and women who just might represent their needs, their wants, their communities, at long last, is to deny the very real suffering your preferred economic system has created for millions.

Don’t do that.

Maybe the poor will always be with us, but the poor have a vote, and they also deserve a listen.

Tupac wondered if there is a ghetto in heaven.

“I’d rather be dead than a po’ nigga
Let the Lord judge the criminals
If I die, I wonder if Heaven got a ghetto”

I suspect not.

I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto is a lyrical call to worship and a brutal call to arms. A five-minute homily that drops more wisdom, more real, than a college student might learn in a year — or a journalist in a lifetime.

Sadly, the music is wretched. Strip away the words and I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto is almost painful to listen to, a throwaway 1990s drum kit vomit of a song, saccharine R&B blended with “urban adult contemporary” preening.

I think our current economic and cultural and political structures, particularly those being built up, less so those crumbling, those fading into the past, and the ones being set fire to, are like this Tupac song. There is brilliance inside, and goodness, and truth, and a reaching out, and a looking toward, but there’s also so much crap and hate and anger and violence overlaid, and we need to come to terms with this, if we are to right it.

Maybe, and I can’t promise this will be validated, but maybe if we listen to all those who the current cultural winners are brandishing as angry or racist or on the wrong side of history, maybe we can make the system they so admire actually work for all.

And without anybody having to give up everything they got.

“Now the tables have turned around
You didn’t listen, until the niggas burned it down
And now Bush can’t stop the hit
I predicted the shit, in 2Pacalypse
And for once I was down with niggas, felt good
In the hood bein’ around the niggas, yeah
And for the first time everybody let go
And the streets was death row
I wonder if Heaven got a ghetto”

GOD GAVE ME EVERYTHING

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.

TEN ROCKETS

All of Earth bands together. After great expense, much effort and many years, no less than 40 lives lost, the grand project was complete. The grandest. There now existed 10 spaceships that could traverse the galaxy, possibly beyond.

Not a stairway to heaven but a flight through the heavens.

There was no greater work, no greater passion, no greater focus. Humanity’s representatives were about to personally explore distant worlds, make first contact.

Each craft was able to hold a single man. The planet’s ten most capable were chosen. None so chosen ever considered turning down the honor — despite knowing they would never again see their homeworld, never again know the touch of a human, taste the Earth’s air, or feel the Sun.

In succession, and with the entirety of humanity watching, the 10 craft were launched.

One exploded instantly, killing the man aboard.

Another crashed into a space rock the size of Old Russia, killing its solitary occupant.

Earth then lost contact with the remaining.

One never awoke from cold statis. His ship will drift beyond the Milky Way before every bit of him has fully decomposed.

One landed on a strange new world, populated with strange, intelligent beings, which treated the Earthling as a sort of planetary pet. They did not know, nor could they understand, that he went mad in under two decade’s time.

The fifth craft landed upon an eerily Earth-like planet with a remarkably similar evolutionary history. Only, the beings that were most like-human were scarcely a meter high. The man told them of his homeworld, its history, then quickly used his size and strength to become their ruler. He killed many, raped many, and profoundly altered the course of the planet’s future. Four thousand years later, his body lay in state, and he is still considered their God.

The sixth landed on a horrific planet, hell-like, and the man was cruelly tortured to death, brought back to life, tortured to death, brought back to life, no less than twelve times. Bored, the aliens decided they would build a craft to go to Earth and torture and kill them all.

After waking too early, the seventh found himself in near-infinite emptiness. On the 14th anniversary of his launch, he took his life.

Eighth man landed on a world the craft’s sensors informed him contained sentient human-like life. After five years of searching, he stumbled down a rocky cliff, breaking his back. He lay there for ten of that planet’s days before succumbing to death. His carcas was found by a small band of the planet’s two thousand Neanderthal-like creatures, who buried it with great reverence.

Those who lived on the planet the ninth man landed upon were shocked, amazed — also frightened. Not daring to take a chance, they killed him as he disembarked from his craft.

We lost track of the tenth.

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