Truth Against the World

Friday, April 22, 2011

Freedom Is NOT Free!

The above film is very empowering and inspiring and for the right reasons.  It's about the only thing that is worth being patriotic about.  Now, to be clear, I'm not really one for patriotism; at least not in it's current form.  The idea to be loyal to made up lines on the surface of the earth is a stupid one to me.  I'm loyal to the human race.  I'm patriotic towards the idea that every human is entitled to certain rights for no other reason than that they are human beings.  Compassion dictates this in my opinion.  I believe that every individual has a right to freedom all the way up to the line that their actions infringes upon the freedoms of another.  That is to say that you should have the right to do whatever you deem necessary so long as it does not infringe upon my rights to do the same.  This concept is what should dictate the "laws of the land."  This is the spirit that the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights were penned with.  However, I believe that Patriotism is a concept that needs to be redefined.  The American Heritage College Dictionary defines patriot as follows:

One who loves, supports, and defends one's country

When the U.S. was founded, times were different.  At that time there was no other country created with the premise that all men were created equal and should be afforded the same rights.  Now I realize that there were still slaves, and obviously they were not afforded those rights, but levels of consciousness expand as we move through time.  Eventually the slaves were freed and freedom expanded.  I don't want to get caught up in a discussion about consciousness unfolding to higher levels and collective consciousness and the like.  My point is that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are worth defending and supporting.  Maybe these documents need to be revised and spoken in a language that is more up to date, but that is all semantics and rhetoric and probably not necessary.  I'm referring to the spirit of these documents.  The spirit of these documents, which is the old spirit of the United States, is what is worth defending.  That spirit is no longer around.  It has been replaced by this:

This kind of patriotism, which is the kind prevalent in America today, is fear mongering coupled with a blind faith, newspeak, and ignorance.  This is the type of patriotism that Hitler harnessed during the Holocaust.  This type of patriotism is outdated, a mechanism of control, and exactly what George Orwell had in mind when he wrote 1984.  It is dangerous to allow yourself to be pigeon holed along with this sentiment.  This is not what the founding fathers had in mind.  They were up in arms against the tyranny of the money changers, not a vague terrorist (could be you if you're not careful).

This country broke away from the ruling banks, not from England.  Humanity was duped by a ruling elite with the manufactured ability to create worthless paper money.  They eventually used this worthless paper money to create slaves out of this nation.  This nation bled its soul out into the world.  The same soul which was usurped by those who controlled the money.  Globalization allowed the same ruling elite to envelop the world.  Now there is a great equalization occurring in the world.  The rest of the peasants of the world want whats been promised to them.  We live in a world with physical rules and limited resources.  Our numbers continue to expand and the resources continue to dwindle.  We are globalized through technology yet still constrained by the physical rules of nature.  To put it shortly, there's only so much to go around.  The corporatocracy controls these natural resources and through the fed they control the contrived resource that is now digital money.

This all means that equalization is going to change our current energy intensive way of life.  So what is the link between this revelation and patriotism?  What does it mean to be patriotic now in a globalized world.  Think about this; if it's true that 1% of the U.S.'s population owns 40 to 50% of the wealth (depending on where you get this statistic) than how does that translate globally?  I'm sure the numbers probably move in the wrong direction.  At any rate, if there's only so much to go around, and that is less and less as resources are depleted and our species numbers increase, than austerity begins to emerge in the United Empire of the World.

I believe that what is happening with the MENA countries is the beginning of this global revolution.  The difference between the MENA countries and America is that they are largely composed of 20 somethings who are all hungry.  In America we have plenty of Corn, Corn Meat, and Corn product to go around.  It's empty calories but it keeps our stomachs full.  A satiated and gluttonous man/woman is not going to strike or riot.  A hungry man/woman on the other hand?  Question is, is this movement going to move to America?  Rest assured that the MSM is going to spin this story like a they have been doing.  Will democracy emerge in the MENA countries?  Sure, the same type of democracy that services the new type of patriotism.  The type that is loyal to the big money changin' banksters.

Is there a conspiracy?  I don't think so.  Just a bunch of tenth generation (or 20th) oligarchs who are entitled to what they perceive as theirs.  They perceive the operations of the world to be theirs.  What do you know about the private bankers whom own the Federal Reserve?  Before you write this all off as a conspiracy why not try really comprehending what I have written about above.  Can you imagine being born into a life where money was never something you had to think about?  You can do whatever you want for your entire life and you never have to worry about running out of money.  By the time you were 18 do you think you would be bored yet?  How about 25?  Now keep in mind that your family has connections and you can do ANYTHING!  People like that exist.  They own the Federal Reserve.  What is it going to take for a revolution to happen in America?  We need a revolution.  One where the money changers are ousted.

I am not patriotic towards the U.S. anymore.  I am patriotic to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States of America.  It should apply to every individual in the world.  Being patriotic used to include no longer does.  I'm not going to be afraid to stand behind this message and put it out into the world.  Hear it!  I believe it's the true sound of righteousness.  Who could argue that freedom for every living individual is true righteousness?  This is not a left/right political paradigm that I'm advocating.  We supposedly went to Iraq to spread democracy.  One would conclude, since the U.S. is the one spreading this democracy, that it would be the kind dictated by the Constitution and the Bill of rights.  I think it should be obvious to anybody with a brain at this point that we went to the middle east to occupy it for oil and oil alone.  Afghanistan is for the opium and strategic location.  Libya is about oil.  The ruling corporatocracy could care less about spreading true democracy to MENA.  Don't get caught up in that web of deceit.

I'm going to begin exploring where I feel this is all headed in my coming blogs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cyborg Anthropology and the Cyberutopians

The above picture is actually a picture of the world wide web...the net.  I ran across this picture while watching a TED talk featuring a self proclaimed "Cyborg Anthropologist" by the name of Amber Case.  In her presentation she introduced me to several new ideas.  Ideas like we are a new form of Homo Sapiens due to all of the technology that have become permanent fixtures in our lives, like the fact that we have a second self that we have to service on the net (an avatar), that we now have two adolescences that we must go through.  Ideas like the internet is actually functioning as an extension of our mental selfs.  New phrases such as "ambient intimacy" meaning that we can connect to any of our contacts/friends any where and at any time.  Her talk was a fascinating talk.

I don't agree with everything she has to say.  I've always been skeptical about technology and especially communication technology.  There seems to be a split between those who embrace it entirely and those who remain skeptical.  I have noticed that those of us who are skeptical about it are rapidly disappearing.  Her basic optimism revolves around the idea that the machines utilizing the internet are actual helping us become more human by increasing our connections to one another.  During the above linked presentation she states:

The most successful technologies get out of our way and help us live our lives.

I tend to not agree with this statement.  Every time I see somebody driving down the interstate with their head down, not looking at the road, texting, I think to myself "how reckless."  Every time I have a conversation interrupted by a cell phone call, every time somebody picks up their cell phone to check a text or something on line during the middle of a conversation, I wonder to myself how is this increasing our humanity?  I realize there are actual people on the other end of that digital information, but they are not physically here.  How much is a physical presence worth now?  It seems that the worth of a physical presence becomes less and less as the months and years click by in my life.  Believe me when I say that I live mostly in my head.  This new digital arrangement is very convenient when applied to the space in my head.  I can communicate much better via the written word than I can speaking in person, and so communicating via text, FB, Blogger, or any other internet medium is very easy for me.

I resisted FB, Blogger, and Smart phones for several years.  The Blackberry was the final stand for me, and I lost (however I have never tweeted possibly because I find the name to be ridiculous and I still have a little fight left in me).  In my own life I can say that I have a handful of people I met online whom I have never met in person.  I value their interaction with my digital self, which according to Case is actually an extension of my mental self.  She is right about that.  In many ways I connect with these people on a more profound level than I do with the people I interact with on a daily basis.  This level of interaction, however, is all mental, and that is where the problem lies.  This is where the bulk of my skepticism comes in.  In order to say that these machines increase our humanness we have to be willing to give up on a lot of what it means to be human.  It's almost a contradiction.  After all, the first thing Case says in her presentation is that we are all Cyborgs.  She is right about that as well, for the majority at least.

My generation was the first generation to be raised alongside computers.  I can remember around 1986 being in grade school and playing "Oregon Trail" on a black and green screened Apple computer.  This was an actual class and personal computers were new.  I was a new human being.  However, I was not born a cyborg and I have resisted becoming one as much as possible.  There are signs on my horizon that this resistance is indeed futile.  For instance, it is rapidly becoming mandatory for me to have a smart phone for my job.  Mandatory in the same way that the steel toed boots I have to wear are mandatory.  Mandatory as in I have to pay for them myself.  They are required for me to provide for myself before I show up to work.  The reason they are able to get away with making me pay a cell phone bill as a condition of my job is because everybody already has cell phones.  Not only do they have cell phones, they have smart phones, and it is convenient for the newer generations to use their personal smart phones at work because they can't imagine not having them to begin with.  For them, not having a smart phone is simply not an option and they have never even entertained the thought before.  Factor into all of this the rate at which new technology is emerging in the world.

So what is it that we are giving up to become cyborgs?  I think we are mainly giving up a slow and reflective pace of life.  We are no longer smelling any roses.  I think the main tragedy in all of this is that we are giving up on the natural world.  After all, what does a machine care about the natural world.  We can merge with machines in a mental fashion, and that is the only fashion.  Todays 20 year olds are rapidly turning in their humanity for cyborgity.  They have never stuck their hands in the soil, tended to a food producing plant, sat under a tree for hours on end reflecting on their humanity, or spent nights in the wilderness.  They have no need for any of that because they have become largely foreign to it.  I don't know how spirituality translates digitally either.  I have a suspicion that it cannot translate, not in any human way.  I have that suspicion simply because spirituality is much more than a mental state, at least in my belief.

I think the main concern I have for humanity is a concern for freedom from tyranny.  Cyberutopians believe that a western style democracy is inescapable with the internet.  They think that digitally connecting the world is somehow going to translate into democracy.  Indeed they could use the current MENA countries (middle east and north african) as evidence to support their case.  The MENA revolutions are certainly made possible by these social medium that the internet provides.  Yet the other side of this story can look more Orwellian if one were to drop the perpetual optimism.  Sure, these regimes go away, but what are they going to be replaced with?  Dictators are already using the web to ferret out dissidents and digital renegades.

The above linked video sheds a lot of light on, what I believe to be, the more realistic outcome of government relationship to the internet.  It's easy to think that you can control who sees your second self, your digital self, your avatar.  It's easy to think that you control your Avatar.  I suppose if you believe that democracy is real, they actually count your votes, and that this is not a global corportocracy than these optimistic delusions work well for you as fact.  I like to concern myself with the truth in all things.  The internet has played a pivotal role in my life where new ideas are concerned.  It has taken a lot of mystery away from the different cultures of the world.  Basically the internet has made humanity very transparent to itself and I think that's a good thing.

I want to point out here that I'm not demonizing the internet.  I love the Godlike access to whatever information strikes me.  I can learn about anything I want to for free (well, pretty much for free).  It is a virtual library of all things human knowledge.  The internet is one of the most amazing things in existence today where technology is concerned.  It should remain a useful tool that is used to enrich our young, and us.  Having said that, it's more important to me for us to regain some skepticism.  I'm enough of a realist to realize that this skepticism I'm advocating is a non-starter.  Essentially these technologies are already mandatory for mainstream life.  In ten years from now...I honestly can say, I am afraid for the emerging future.  I'm mainly afraid for my son, and these problems are making it difficult for my wife and I to navigate raising him.  I'm also afraid for the day when a smart chip will become mandatory to be implanted in my brain so that I can be controlled while at work to limit any corporate liabilities.  Just like how the flu shot and cell phones have become mandatory.  The skepticism I speak of is rooted in fear of government control.

The nature of man seems to be that of rich and poor.  The richest of the rich get tired of being just rich.  When you have so much money in your bank account that it regenerates at a rate that you can never spend, than power becomes the new drug for you.  Control is power.  The corportocracy is drunk with power and now technology.  She's right...we are mostly cyborgs, and one day soon we will all be cyborgs.  Well at least those of us who still play the game.  You can quit your job and turn in your house, cell phone, credit, and debit card and live on the fringe.  You can do that comfortably if you are already rich.  If you're not...and you have a family to support...well...they're coming for your delusions of freedom.