Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done


I don't think "globalism" always translates to fantasies about one world government. It's just a fact that 8+ billion humans are embedded in a spherical biosphere, a Babel University. It's neither hubristic nor utopian to point that out.

Our awareness of this context is more acute than ever, given the faster feedback loops. Observing accelerated evolution and describing it ain't the same as fomenting revolution.

Mark Twain mocked artists' conceptions of Heaven (angels, harps...) as uber-boring and anything but utopian. What would Jordan Peterson offer as a vision of Heaven in light of his claim that humans hate predictability. Nirvana = Samsara? Is Buddhism giving more of a clue? But then "marriage of heaven and hell" is a Christian theme also.

Tower of Babel: 8 billion brains imagining reality in various ways = nothing sensical, yet something invisible, the sum total Ouija Board re-weighting of weights. There's gravitas, but does it speak anything close to a language we might understand?

Spaceship Earth == Babel University == Global U (a teaching hospital).

Suggesting humans have room to be less awkward and uncoordinated in their collective self management hardly strikes me as a totalitarian vision. Extrapolate from trends? Haven't we learned something as a species? The question is have we learned enough to keep it going.

Certainly the fate of humanity is cliffhanger enough to satisfy most anti-utopians. Dystopianism is pretty easy to promulgate.

Yet is the Lord's Prayer not a promise of obedience to eternal principles? What choice do we really have in the end? Humanity might self discontinue. Utopia or Oblivion suggests a preferred direction, a gradient.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Occupy Portland (a flashback)


The day after watching Isle of the Dogs, I found myself cycling down to a kind of Occupy in south Portland, where a group of campers was protesting against the concentration camps, organized by the Federales, for undocumented immigrants not going through proper bureaucratic channels, a rather hopeless labyrinth.

We see multiple languages in operation in that context as well, plus an agenda to close borders that were never closed, historically speaking.  The logic of the purchase of this territory from Napoleon requires a stronger literalness.

Winning some battle with Mexico in another era never included Mexico's agreeing to foot the bill for a literal wall between the two jurisdictions.  That battle was only recently lost, and not by Mexico.

Nationalism (a memeplex) is working overtime to solidify itself, even as governments themselves are hollowed out by globalist networks working in concert.

Shoring up the nation-state system is the only way some supranationals see their way clear to keeping a hold on their own legitimacy.  How would they stay in business without strongly patriotic sentiments and a terror of possibly diseased invaders, infected with alien ideologies and religions?

Melody and I visited the camp by bicycle, reminding me I need better nighttime lights, as we came back in the dark, stopping at Dots on Clinton Street for a single beer each.

The camp is at the base of the ICE detention center tucked away in a new area of town featuring high rise apartments and the cable car up to OHSU.  Getting there by bicycle is really easy, thanks to Tillikum Crossing.  I took lots of pictures.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Turning Tables

I see a lot of people in Congress hoping to build their careers by making political hay out of Facebook's indiscretions around sharing personal data.

The EU is pushing back using legislation, written by lawyers more engineeringly informed.  Having to read patent after patent is a way lawyers continue to be Einsteins.  They don't just capitulate to the emerging cast of engineers.

However, some breeds of lawyer may not be sufficiently sensitive to the hypocrisy involved in pursuing private companies for amassing data that the government itself has seen fit to harvest, with equally base business motives in mind.

The national security surveillance state is sometimes portrayed as being "behind" Google, and of course there's lots of continuity around In-Q-tel and all that.  However, we may also tell the story as one of self reinvention, or even rebirth.  It's not like the old intelligence apparatus is still running things.  Rather, the IC of yesteryear gave up the ghost, which now inhabits a new body.

The District of Columbia still has a lot of pride in being cutting edge, maybe years ahead in terms of scenario planning.  Lets distinguish between WDC as a geographical area, where anyone might live, and as an icon or symbol in journalistic accounts.  There's a difference between map and territory.

In my view, DC is of diminishing relevance vis-a-vis other capitals as a result of changes in political circuitry.  Decentralization is more efficient unless we're going to re-polarize and fight some wars.  DC is venturing into trade wars as a theme, and appears eager to foment more violent outward wars as well, which somewhat accounts for its waning influence.  People would prefer a less gloomy future.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Princeton Chatter

VNC to 2D

I set myself up for a battery of medical office visits and tests, all the same day.  What better time to catch up on Princeton Alumni Weekly? PAW we call it.  Clever.  Tigers...

The cover story of the June 6 issue features Olga Russakovsky, a professor looking at the issue of bias in Machine Learning.  If those gathering the data were racists (believed in races), chances are the machines will find those patterns all over again, thanks to the labeling.

The article Why America Stumbles... on page 19, seemed an example of how bias equals inertia.  Rick Barton looks at Syria, but not from an existential point of view.  "Does Syria exist?" is not in question, even though its sovereignty is violated daily.

"Does the USA exist?" would be another question to ask, regarding this post Constitutional Banana Republic that took upon itself to bomb Syria recently, with great fanfare, in an effort to prove itself the Final Authority, complete with Nikki Haley's "dead baby" performance in the UN.

From recent revelations about how Netanyahu of Israel (so-called) has been trying hard to start a war with Iran (Persia), the US (i.e. DC) complicit, we see that a certain cabal is eager to set that tinderbox called Mesopotamia alight, and by extension the world.

Apparently the feigned chemical weapons attack in Britain was intended as part of the same war plan.  Get everyone hating the Russians, accuse Assad of chemical weapons use in April, and then go on the offensive, with the public eager for a big show.  That almost happened.

Fortunately cooler heads prevailed.  We know the hotheads are busily at work on their next subterfuge.

Announcing the end of the Nation State Era has become an exercise in self and species preservation at this point.  Clearly the puppet masters are eager to pull whatever strings they believe they have.  Telling uncomfortable truths is better than sounding phony all the time.

However Princeton Alumni Weekly is not prepared to be on the cutting edge, except insofar as its president reminds us on page 2 that universities often outlive nations.  That much is true.

So do they read Grunch of Giants in the Woodrow Wilson School?

I agree with Chelsea Manning's recent remark in Berlin, that we're all machine learners.  We modify our existing belief systems in light of new data coming in -- or we don't.  We're all implicitly Bayesians, with brains reprogrammable by mind.

Continuing revelation is a reality, the most sobering reality we know.

Sometimes belief systems freeze up and become specimens in some World Game museum. PAW is like that in some ways.  Stick to belief systems the alumni are comfortable with.

It's not that I expect the peoples of Spaceship Earth to spontaneously start up a new chapter by all gravitating to the same page all of a sudden.  There's some eternal truth in that Tower of Babel myth.  We never all had a chance to agree on those Nations in the first place.

It's just that it's a Small World After All, at the end of the day.  Universities know that better than most sometimes.  Congratulations to Maya Lin on the new installation.  I look forward to visiting it, maybe for my fiftieth reunion in 2030? 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Process Work

[ if the picture isn't embedded that's because your browser is being strict about blocking 3rd party URLs from unfurling, which is your choice if you know how to toggle browser settings (otherwise it's their choice) ]

One of my presents, for my sixtieth birthday, was some workshops at the Process Work Institute in northwest Portland.  The details of what goes on in some of the sessions is confidential, but I think it's safe to say that citizen diplomacy is a theme, even if we don't call it that.  Arny (Arnold Mindell) calls his process Deep Democracy.  Students connect from all over the world.

I tweeted up a storm as I was riding buses 75 and 15 to the venue.  The Global Matrix meeting at Glenn's pad had featured beer and pizza (Nirel was doing watermelon), and with some minutes to spare I dropped into a very local yokel joint on W Burnside, the opposite of upscale fancy, for a low cost Rainier, tallboy can. 

The upshot is I was somewhat relaxed and sleepy at the workshop, which is not all together inappropriate given the emphasis on staying in a day dreamy state even while navigating in CR (consensus reality).

Tourism gets a rep for being purely recreational, even though travel is a form of work.  People come to Portland from all over the world to pursue their careers, but that may count as "tourism" if there's no obvious business paying expenses. 

When soldiers do their tours, in the line of duty, that's not considered tourism either.  How about when our family went to the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, and my wife did a workshop with the Dalai Lama in Durban?  Was that tourism then?

Someone from Cape Town was in our car going back to Asylum District.  This was her first time at PWI, but she wasn't new to process work.

The reason I ask is because citizen diplomacy is exponentially more doable given telecommuting and given businesses have as a part of their agenda a commitment to team building and staffers getting along.  The "melting pot" may not be a zip code so much as a virtual space in Cyberia.

Choreography matters.  People want to see big organized dances, be those military parades or the Olympics.  We become persuaded of our ability to synchronize, as a species.  That's political capital for other ventures.  Or psychological energy, depending on your shoptalk (vocabulary, namespace).