TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Baby Boomers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baby Boomers. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Generation X Goes Back to the Future 6: I Want to Appropriate You


Transgender 'Woman' Objects to Man who Wants his Age Changed Legally from 69 to 49 (12 November 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The march to liberate us from biological social markers and replace them with politicized, constantly variable, cultural markers continues. Transgendered people have argued that gender is an oppressive social label even more than it is a biological one; they campaign for freedom from that oppression, turning gender into a malleable, liberated construct. They gain a lot of momentum from this, generating endless rights controversies in increasingly convoluted identity politics.

Dutch Baby Boomer and positivity guru Emile Ratelband wants to make hay while the sun shines. Ratelband, who is 69 years old, has been told by his doctor that he has the body of a 42 year old. Using the legal precedents established in the courts by transgender rights campaigners, Ratelband has argued similarly that age is an oppressive biological and social marker. It's time to decide how old you are by how old you feel, rather than being socially identified by rigid biological markers.

Ratelband legally petitioned to get his age changed to 49 years of age, so that he can get more dates with women on Tinder. The trans proponent in the above interview was appalled. Can't you just fib on Tinder? He/she said. Everyone does.

There is grand irony in the notion that a Boomer wants to join the ranks of Generation X. But Ratelband won't have that honour yet, since the Dutch district court in Arnhem presiding over the case ruled against him on 3 December 2018, and prevented him from legally changing his birth date from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969. Ratelband vows to appeal.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time and Politics 26: The Age of Divergence


Image Source: 8 tracks radio.

Last week, Michael Morgenstern intellectualized disinformation at The Chronicle of Higher Education: Dear Humanities Profs: We Are the Problem. Dismayed about American politics? Look in the mirror.

Morgenstern stated that postmodern theorists attacked the canon in the second half of the 20th century. According to these theorists, the western canon in arts and literature (and science) was a story of oppression, often intended, sometimes unconscious. This dominant account was written by Dead White Males. The period from the 1970s to 2010s was spent dismantling that canon, attacking power and privilege in the name of liberal civil rights and equality.

This approach extolled cultural relativism: there was no objective truth, no higher class of knowledge, no text, no vision of cultural superiority which could be offered as a mode of control (subtext: unless it was the new, divergent, relativist, postmodernist canon).

The Age of Divergence

Morgenstern has realized that this attack on cultural and intellectual convergence brought about our present circumstances. Postmodern literary critics had stated that every text was equal. Every text had its own 'civil rights.' Boomer intellectuals and their Gen X students recovered silenced voices, women writers, slave poets, indigenous histories, minority views. This was understandable and justified, because so many people had been mistreated and oppressed for decades, centuries, millennia. Without their voices, our histories were incomplete and our whole understanding of reality would be based on injustice and immorality.

However, this recovery of lost texts was also done in the name of undermining established experts and authorities. This was really a generational power struggle inside the academic profession, but it was dressed up in and justified with theory. Old tenured professors were unseated, early-retired, or pushed out. The aim was to supplant the older generation of intellectuals (viewed as 'the 1950s') with a radical new generation (defined as '1968'). But time has finally caught up with the 1968ers, who are now retired or retiring.

It's not as simple as this, but broadly speaking, this is Morgenstern's summary of how radical liberals attacked conservative authorities of the 1950s and built new intellectual value systems from the 1970s onward.

Morgenstern concluded that the liberals were successful. As a result, we now live in a world where no text is taken as true or accepted solely on the basis of the authority of its author or publisher. Unfortunately for this stratum of intellectuals, they now claim expertise, and by their own logic find themselves attacked, just as they once dismantled the institutional and cultural structures which came before them. Only one Chronicle reader, rebek13, pinned down Moregenstern's idea:
"I'm confused by other commenters who seem to have missed the main points I took from this, which were not so much about 'the canon' at all, which the author admits had exclusionary tendencies (though it need not).

What I see here is a critique of our abdication of the very idea of expertise, excellence, and beauty--literary studies serving as a prime example, but only that. We have in a postmodern haze suggested that tweets are just as good as texts, and that anyone's opinion on literature, philosophy, or history is really probably just as good as the expert who has spent years studying these fields. In doing so, we have made ourselves absolutely pointless and suggested the uselessness of our very fields.

Isn't it very odd that professors of literature have such poor defenses of the study of long, dense literary texts? Isn't it odd that many of my colleagues have turned to facebook comments and recipe books as objects of study (not scrutiny, ever, but study) as though these articles were just as precious as a novel? Why should students understand the value of a long text if we are saying 'everything is literature; nothing is any more worthwhile than anything else'?

It's funny. Colleagues with creative writing backgrounds seem to have a much more profound and certain appreciation of literature than those who spend their lives studying it. They would never suggest that a tweet could achieve the same things as a book. They are not that far gone.

The solution as I see it is not a return to canon as much as a return to the idea that some modes of thought and expression ARE better than others, and that experts are in a pretty good position to tell people how and why. Then we need to be those experts."
In short, due to the Internet, we are awash in oceans of information; and the very people who were supposed to decide what information was authoritative staked their own authority over the past fifty odd years on the deconstruction of privilege around information. This overhaul was supposed to offer new freedom for disempowered liberals in the old, conservative system. It was not supposed to spell freedom for disempowered conservatives in the new, liberal system.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Awaken the Amnesiacs 8: You are Now Inside the Computer


Image Source: The Hedge Mason.

The Urban Dictionary defines Youtube comments as:
"The only place where a polite discussion about kittens can lead to a flame war about government conspiracies."
Conspiracists vary in style. On Youtube, there is a spectrum. David Seaman's vitriol approaches incendiary levels, his this-is-not-a-threat promises are so chilling that they help me understand the history of mass psychology better, especially that of the 1930s.

This post is not exactly about Seaman, nor the accusations he levels in a brooding monotone at the bankers, politicians, deep-staters, evil cabal, establishment figures, and finally - the tech leaders who censor him (like Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, whom he calls "Catshit Face"). This post is about Seaman's and others' rhetorical style in relation to conspiratorial subject matter, and what it means for all of us.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Psychic Vampires and Ambrosia's Blood Elixirs


Image Source: Etsy.

There is a disturbing subculture on social media which is devoted to teaching people how to siphon off the life force of others in order to gain power and control in society. Immersed in the dark occult, these self-proclaimed 'psychic feeders' and 'psychic vampires' like to go to public areas, workplaces, or social gatherings to drain the positive energy from young families, the negative energy from sick people, and everything in between. They use holiday periods such as Christmas to exploit the prana'chi' or 'qi' of others. They regard this ability as a honed skill. Even if you don't believe in any of this, there are people who do, and they are worth avoiding.

Image Source: Humans are Free.

You may not recognize them. Psychic vampires intentionally steal life energy from sexual interactions and will feign love or sympathy for people in order to partake of others' spiritual forces. They 'store' this energy inside themselves, or inside crystals and objects, so they may direct these forces later at other people. They are so malevolent that I will not embed their how-to videos, or link directly to their material, on this blog. However, you can see searches for their videos, with typical results, here and here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 6: The Antarctic Fourth Reich and the Great Game


Frank Hurley's photograph, taken between 1914 and 1916, of Antarctic explorer Dr. Leonard Hussey with Samson - one of the Canadian sled-dogs on Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Endurance expedition. Image Source: Pinterest via Royal Geographical Society.

Today's post continues my coverage of the Millennial Antarctic Fourth Reich conspiracy theory and its meaning in terms of Internet psycho-politics. In this case, I will describe how this conspiracy theory relates to the revival of the 19th century contest between Britain and Russia for Asian lands and wealth: the Great Game.

I argue that Antarctica now replaces Central Asia, to serve as a cipher in a new virtual Great Game. The Antarctic Fourth Reich conspiracy theory appears to be an alarming Russian-sourced or pro-Russian form of propaganda, which endorses and then moves past the pro-Trump agenda, to encourage Americans to destroy their own country from within. The Fourth Reich theory also channels a folkloric and racist renewal of Anglospheric nationalism, in which Vladimir Putin is viewed as a strategic ally.

The Fourth Reich conspiracy theory depends heavily on the Nazis' merger of the occult, politics, and technology. Secrets of the Third Reich: The Rediscovery of Vimanas (uploaded 11 February 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

The conspiracy theory also seeks to isolate the Anglosphere from the Europeans. It hinges on the supposed historic continuation of German Nazism (with a conspicuous, ahistorical failure to mention Italian fascism, Japan, or affiliated Axis powers from World War II) and returns Anglospheric opinion of the Russians to the sympathetic year of 1944.

Despite the apparent Russian dominance of this online extravaganza, the Anglospheric aspect of the Fourth Reich narrative has an elusive introspective quality which may excise the Russian factor and even nationalist racism. That is, something about this conspiracy theory involves America, the UK, and affiliated Commonwealth countries chewing over internal identity in light of contemporary politics and evolving global techno-economies and societies. The outcome of that muddled cultural reevaluation may be completely independent and unexpected, regardless of whether or not the Russians try to interfere with, or benefit from, this process.

Friday, June 16, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 5: Aryan Mystics of Antarctica and the Fourth Reich


Image Source: Nachtwächter.

The Millennial mind confronts many fears. Fear of poverty, fear of misrule, fear of violence and chaos. In a world dominated by science and technology, the ultimate fear is that rational systems could create mass irrationality. How could a pervasive anti-rationalism come to dominate a landscape framed by reason? Worse, anti-rationalism can manifest its own power. These concerns give rise to the fear that magic has been combined with politics, or that magic has been combined with technology.

Rationalists break things down, analyze them, and solve limited problems within defined boundaries. Wholeness is suspect in a world dominated by specialized knowledge and compartmentalized action. Universal knowledge is a path to faith, mysteries, and madness; however, it is enjoying a vogue in high circles and low. Conspiracy theorists - who lead the fearful - share a comprehensive vision with the supposed New World Order leaders they claim to oppose. Conspiracy theorists are now the world's greatest holistic myth-makers. If physicists seek the Grand Unified Theory and philosophers consider the Theory of Everything, conspiracy theorists offer their own brand of all-encompassing pseudo-knowledge.

The theorists have developed a Grand Unifying Conspiracy Theory, which centres on Antarctica, and uses the seventh continent to explain the role of Germany and America in 20th and early 21st century history. Beyond that, this theory claims to explain our entire world as it currently exists, and as it has ever existed.

Before I continue, I want to state clearly that I personally do not believe this conspiracy theory, nor do I subscribe to its racist or outlandish elements. However, I think it is an important phenomenon, which reflects the evolution of online behaviour and technoculture. This is the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. It revises the whole history of humankind. This alt-vision would be impossible without the Internet.

Post-Truth and Tomorrow's Politics

Salon screen capture, from a 4 March 2017 article, in which author Andrew O'Hehir lamented over "fake news and endless lies." Image Source.

The craziness of the phenomenon described here shows what happens when politics becomes a battleground of perceptions and opinions. Information is detached from reality and weaponized, and narratives are too. The Salon article above cited a New York Times article from 2 March 2017 on how Donald Trump has destroyed the tone of public debate and is jeopardizing democracy. We must find ways to determine between fake and real information. We must also consider what may or may not be discussed in the public square - and which voices are authoritative, and how, and why. But all these worries ignore a critical point.


If one allows that fake-versus-real is one discussion, one must still consider a second discussion, in which post-truth is a given. When post-truth is a given, one must learn how post-truth functions, in the same way a linguistic anthropologist studies urban legends, digital folklore, and their real contexts. If we agree with Samuel Greene at KCL that "voters' perceptions have become untethered from reality," we still need to understand how untethered perceptions work.

Post-truth is not fake news. It is neither true nor false. It is a principle for people who would like to keep all their options open and stay flexible when it comes to understanding reality. That grey area has tremendous utilitarian value, especially if it draws from deeply embedded cultural memory. In terms of that utility, it doesn't matter whether information is true, false, or blended. If established authorities decry threatening information as fake, so much the better. They stake their current power on a weakening principle, that is, old, limited forms of knowledge. Those who grasp post-truth's dynamics and mechanics have the advantage. That post-truth practical advantage drives the Antarctic conspiracy theory.

Still from Heimat (Season 1 Episode 1, Fernweh - 1919-28 (The Call of Faraway Places); first aired 16 September 1984). Image Source: Cartoon Simkl.

It may appear that conspiracy theories are idiotic nonsense, online entertainment for lunatics and basement dwellers. However, I am reminded of the Heimat German television series. That series dramatically covered the history of Germany from 1919 to 2000.

When I watched Heimat's first episodes on PBS in the mid-1980s, I was struck by how Nazis were depicted when they first appeared in rural Germany in the 1920s. They were shown as ridiculous, marginal figures, brown-shirted spotty teenagers, goose-stepping in the background of town squares. They were ignored by decent folk, who were talking in civilized tones in the foreground. In other words, no one who was 'normal' took these adolescent Nazis seriously.

That dramatic interpretation can be questioned; the history of youth movements in the 1920s confirms that Nazism was much more popular than that and its ideas grew from old precedents in Europe. But certainly, within ten years, Nazism, with all its outdoorsy nature worship and ludicrous magical politics became very serious business indeed. That is why the Antarctic conspiracy theory may seem a silly waste of time - arrested development fodder for adolescent Internet gnomes - but it would be wise to pay attention to it.

Technologically-induced social transformations are opening up power vacuums. Nimble opportunists on all sides recognize that everything is shifting, and potential power bases of the future - not yet extant - are up for grabs. Conspiratorial narratives are one way to surf the post-truth waves to future prominence and control. Today's Internet gnome is tomorrow's politician.

Memories of the racist past in the USA, especially the South, may feed American fears of neo-Nazis and of Trump as a new Hitler. That is, Nazis-in-America may not be as real as the American cultural memory of racism in the United States, a separate historical phenomenon from National Socialism in Germany.

In this post and a subsequent post, I describe how one thread of post-truth, which I call the Antarctic Fourth Reich, covers everything. It works on its own mythical terms, and defies fakeness or realness. In later posts on this topic, I will consider the Fourth Reich's cultural meaning and actual utilitarian effect in terms of real history and real politics.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Boomer Legacies: An Urbex Valentine


Video Source: Youtube.

The blog is on a break, but for Valentine's Day, see Dan Bell's urban exploration videos of the abandoned resort love nests in the Poconos, a mountain range in northeastern Pennsylvania once popular with swingers in the 1960s and 1970s. As for the abandoned heart-shaped hot tub below, one Youtuber wrote: "I was there in 75 my name is Linda, Joe are you out there , we have a daughter conceived in the hot tub .. get in touch ..lol." See Dan Bell's whole series: Forgotten Poconos: Abandoned Resorts.

Video Source: Youtube.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Enter the Frontier



Earlier this year, I developed an idea about 21st century change which I call the 'Wild West Theory of Innovation.'

The theory is about the real dynamics of change. It states that radical change produces actual, hard change and expected stabilities will not remain; moreover, the ideas and people that initiated the change do not and cannot contain outcomes. Those outcomes take change agents to the fringes, to the 'wild west.' Change can suddenly become a negative threat, because old ideas stop working, produce bad results, or can be co-opted by one's opponents. To find the positive aspect of change again, one must adapt to the new environment.

I developed the idea in relation to Bitcoin, not politics, Brexit, or the American election. But it applies to 20th century political animals and 21st century technological innovators alike, who have aligned themselves morally and politically with what they regard as positive change. They should not be surprised when they innovate themselves into a frontier territory, dominated by marginalized characters and alien concepts.

This is a non-political blog, so the point here is not to criticize any groups or counter-groups, but to consider why socio-economic reform and technological innovation are double-edged swords; to depict how we arrived at the outer edges; and to find a positive path through the frontier.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Time and Politics 19: Predicting the Future, A Tricky Business


Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita spoke at LSE (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building) on 21 October 2009; the chair of the discussion was Professor Richard Steinberg. Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video: "Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has been shaking the world of political science to its foundations with his predictions of world events. His systems based on game theory have an astonishing 90%+ ratio of accuracy and are frequently used to shape US foreign-policy decisions on issues such as the terrorist threat to America to the peace process in Northern Ireland. Considered by many to be the most important foreign-policy analyst there is, it is no surprise that he is regularly consulted by the CIA and US Department of Defence. In this lecture Professor Bueno de Mesquita will look at what is needed to reliably anticipate and even alter events in any situation involving negotiation in the shadow of the threat of coercion. He will demonstrate how to bring science to decision making in any situation from personal to professional."

In an earlier post, I discussed the work of NYU professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, who uses game theory to predict the future in international relations and advises businesses and the American government on major strategic policy concerns. In the 2009 talk above from the London School of Economics (at 53:00), he explained how he was hired to develop a fraud prediction model applied to banking regulations. At 55:32, he remarked:
"One of the best early warning indicators of fraud is that, relative to growth in market cap, compensation for senior management is under expectation for the size of the organization of the firm, not over. ... They're husbanding whatever resources they can to try to save the company."
Bueno de Mesquita has become widely known for his predictions on war, the economy and politics, although he remains dogged by popular fringe elements who compare his work to mystical prognosticators and fortune-tellers of the past, such as the Renaissance apothecary Nostradamus (1503-1566). In this lecture, he maintained a serious academic attitude while promoting his book, The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future. He has since published a book on how leaders exercise power (2012); and he issued a new edition of his book on war and peace in international politics (2013). He need not worry about becoming too popular; one Youtuber was unimpressed:
"The fiction that human beings are 'rational actors' has been totally discredited. Establishment academics with tenure have a hard time accepting real [world] facts that most people on the street intuitively understand without ... study. Anyone who claims 90% prediction accuracy in working with any complex system - who has not made themselves a billionaire with such gifts - is a con man."
Two questions put to Bueno de Mesquita at the end of his talk suggested that the Youtuber's remark had some weight. Random events, as well as anti-rational or irrational impulses, fall outside the professor's model. This is the 10 per cent range of human behaviour extending into the future, where game theory meets chaos theory meets randomness.

At 56:40, a member of the audience asked about Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007; 2nd ed. 2010). To paraphrase, the person asked if random, chance occurrences could drastically affect statistical models (Bueno de Mesquita corrected him: game theory models) due to unique expressions of human nature.

At 1:10:00, another member of the audience asked about Frederic Vester's (1925-2003) sensitivity model, which applied game theory to biology and behavioural ecology, and produces results similar Bueno de Mesquita's application of game theory to economics and politics. This similarity implies that organic systems mirror human systems in their predictability and unpredictability.

Both questions relate to the nature and impact of the Internet, especially as it is redesigned to endure and become a lasting edifice. Is the Web a techno-organic entity which reflects the rational and irrational impulses of its users, and to what degree? Can we describe peer-to-peer technological environments as 'ecosystems,' and if they are organic, to what degree are they chaotic and unpredictable? Or are the computer systems and technical designs of the Web and other peer-to-peer technologies, including cryptocurrencies, shaping the way we behave and think inside virtual realities? Are we driving the car or is the car driving us? This is a concern as Big Data analysts flock to predict, manipulate and control consumers' behaviours and voters' choices. In future posts, I will consider how these theories of predictability relate to decentralized behavioural psychology and the psychodynamics of peer-to-peer technologies.

See all my posts on Time and Politics.
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See all my posts on the Permanent Web.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Generation X Goes Back to the Future 12: Bitcoin's Unself Revealed


Image Source: Mark Harrison via The Economist.

Craig Steven Wright has revealed himself on his blog today, and in an exclusive scoop to the BBC, The Economist and GQ, that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, creator (with undisclosed other(s)) of Bitcoin. Wright claims he has the private key to Satoshi's digital signature for the first generated Bitcoin. Wright told the BBC that he was forced to come forward because rumours that he is Satoshi are affecting people in his personal life. He stated he is appearing before a camera once, and after today, he never, ever, ever wants to talk to the media again. But his weird choice to include GQ in the scoop equates the invention of Bitcoin with a male-centric fashion statement.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Time and Politics 18: Quid Pro Quo


Follow Your Dreams/Cancelled by Banksy (2010) on a wall in Boston's Chinatown. Image Source: Lifehack.

Do not ask if the middle class is dead and where the political blame lies. Ask how much time you have, now that they are dying or already dead. Ask what has happened in the past in other societies after a middle class has died. Most people in the middle classes are waiting for things to improve. If that does not happen, there are two modern roads out of extreme social inequality and economic disparity: revolution or a police state. This was the message, on 20 March 2016, when BBC World News broadcast a programme on the post-recession destruction of the middle classes, entitled The Super Rich and Us, hosted by Jacques Peretti.

For a time after the Second World War, the social contract became quid pro quo - meaning, 'this for that' or 'something for something.' In English-speaking countries, it is a contractual concept under the Common Law, "an item or service traded in return for something of value." The Latin expression is the source for the British slang 'quid' for the pound sterling. One would work for a certain amount of time and gain money and a livelihood in return. Now however, the social contract is increasingly just - quo.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How iPhones Will Look to People in the 2070s



From Twitter: "The Philco Predicta is an American television made in several models by the Philco company in the late 1950s."

"Kuba Komet Television manufactured from 1957 to 1962 in West Germany." Image Source: Twitter.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lynch's American Noir


Inspired by Mulholland Drive (2001): This is the Girl by Sam Gilbey. Image Source: Roadtrippers and Spoke Art.

The San Francisco art gallery, Spoke Art (816 Sutter St., San Francisco, California 94109 USA), is running a show, In Dreams, until 29 March 2016 in which fifty artists paid tribute to surreal noir film director, David Lynch. Here are a few of the pieces on display.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Time and Politics 17: The Oath


Microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles brings science to the public in collaboration with artists who paint with bioluminescent bacteria: "Bioluminescent portrait of Donald Trump at the WSF Brisbane, painted by Ray Coffey. Photo by Chris Proud, Old Museum Network (Queensland Museum [Australia])." Image Source: SBS.

On 20 March 2016, Bill Maher joked on HBO (ep. 14/381) about Donald Trump's ignorance, because Trump claimed to get all his information off the Internet. Trump has also promised to shut down the Internet if he is elected. He stated he would shut down parts of the Internet domestically and internationally when necessary to restrict terror operatives. He later expanded that promise beyond terror threats. Snopes found the reports on Trump and the Internet to convey 'mixed truth'; on 7 December 2015, Trump stated in South Carolina:
"We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way ... Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baikonur Soyuz Launch TMA-20M


Image Source: European Space Agency.

On 18 March 2016, a Soyuz spacecraft successfully launched to bring cosmonauts and supplies to the International Space Station. From the European Space Agency:
"Tim Peake, Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko on the International Space Station will be joined by three new astronauts after they are launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will begin their six-month mission with a lift off in a Soyuz spacecraft at 21:26 GMT on Friday, March 18 [2016]."
Flight Crest of Soyuz TMA-20M. Image Source: Wiki.

"Soyuz TMA-20M crew patch: The Soyuz TMA-20M patch pays tribute to the origins of heraldry by its use of the classic shield shape. Its fields are divided by band of colors representing the Russian and American flags. The silhouette of a Soyuz spacecraft is at the centre of the shield, which is crowned by an outline of the International Space Station. Three stars against the blackness of space symbolize the three astronauts of the spaceship, while animals feature in the other three quadrants. The black bear comes from the coat of arms of the city of Rybinsk, birthplace of spaceship commander Alexey Ovchinin. This city on the Volga is also the 'capital of barge-haulers,' called Burlaks in Russian. 'BURLAK' is the callsign for the crew of this Soyuz mission. The American bald eagle, carrying the vector from the NASA logo it its beak, represents American astronaut Jeff Williams. The grey crane with its wings outstretched is for cosmonaut Oleg Skripotchka, who used the same bird in the patch of his first flight on board of the first in the current series of Soyuz spacecraft, on this one, the final Soyuz TMA-M."

Video Source: Roscosmos via Youtube.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Love in the New Millennium 11: An Indigo-Anonymous Valentine


Image Source: Beneath Blindfold.

A surprise Valentine's post was inspired by a search on computer hackers and Julian Assange's latest media scrum. Some days, writing the cultural history of the new Millennium is like being on a game show. Do a search on a random topic and find a giant world mushrooming behind the label. "What's behind Door Number 6, Bob?" Then you look, and you're sorry you did.

Today, behind Door Number 6, we find Indigo Children. This is one of those 1970s' Baby Boomer spiritual entertainment franchises which got out of control and has now created a New Age revolution in parent-child consciousness. With apologies to all those who positively self-identify as Indigo Children, the term came from books written by three Silent Gen and Boomer authors: Nancy Ann Tappe, Jan Tober, and Lee Carroll. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Tappe combined visual arts colour theory with eastern spiritual ideas about coloured chakras and auras. She claimed that a new type of people were appearing on the planet, and their indigo-coloured auras revealed their soul missions. Sometimes, they were infused with alien spirits from the stars; either way, they were meant to change the world with superhuman psychic abilities. This was a profitable mash-up of many ideas from that time, and adapted the egomania of the Me Generation.

The Indigo Child combined the 1970s' extra-sensory perception fad with space aliens (a quasi-futuristic update of Roman Catholic demonology), sexual liberation, angel worship, New Age occultism, Wicca, and environmental eco-faith. In Tappe's mythos, Indigo people now walking the earth were and are on a gnostic spiritual path. Tappe warned that as heralds and iconoclasts of the Age of Aquarius, Indigo Children might be hard to take!
Top Indigo Characteristics:
  • Brilliant with technology
  • Relaxed and casual
  • Peer-oriented
  • Love junk food
  • High energy
  • Bored in school and easily distracted
  • Multi-task effortlessly
  • Blunt in communication
  • Unswayed by previous social norms
  • View entitlement as a right
  • Androgynous
Indigo Children were and are rebellious non-conformists, but we have to forgive them for it, since they are destined to unite us all in peaceful, loving understanding of ever-broader realities and dimensions of existence. From Tappe's Website:
Indigos is a label associated with recent generations of individuals born around the globe. They were originally seen and identified by Nancy Ann Tappe (1931-2012) as a part of the color system which evolved from her synesthetic perceptions. Nancy's lifetime work with the science of color has persuaded her and thousands of others that color is one language that can be used to distinguish and identify elements of the human personality.

Indigos bring change to every level of the human experience through their universal task: to globalize humanity through technology. Their energy today is constantly changing and fast, almost hyperactive. Technology is an innate talent and skill for them; cellphones are an extension of their body.

There are four groups or types of Indigo: Humanists, Artists, Conceptualists, and Catalysts. ...

Indigo was only one of twelve life colors that Nancy Tappe has seen her entire life in the human electromagnetic energy field. Originally Nancy saw eleven colors, but that changed in the late 1960's and early 1970's when she noticed another color among infants. She called it indigo, a color between blue and violet in the color spectrum. It took her forty years to identify and clarify consistent patterns of Indigo behavior and influence. Her information system about life colors came from her study of color and the human personality.
Over the subsequent decades, the idea of Indigo Children influenced the Boomer credo that their children were special, unique and gifted. This was particularly the case if the children suffered from learning disabilities or behavioural problems, many of which had been newly conceptualized as well.

For Gen X parents, Indigo Child spiritual parenting techniques have evolved as part of so-called 'meta-gifted education.' Little did Tappe realize that the Me Generation's ego worship would create a new generation of people who worshipped their own souls, to become demi-gods in the new Millennium's online spiritual explosion. In March 2012, Cracked numbered Indigo Children among one of the "five creepiest progressive parenting fads": "Declaring Bratty Kids to Be Magical Superhumans." Indigo Children inspired a film in 2012 and resonates strongly with people who have grown up with, and are living much of their lives in, the dream spaces of virtual reality.

Anonymous Message to the Indigo Children of the world (28 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

None of this has escaped the attention of computer hackers, who spend a lot of time online and know virtual cultures well. In 2015, an Anonymous hacker posted a video with a proposal to Indigo Children. "Look, you Indigo Children [girls]," the hacker said, "it's time for us to join forces." From the video description:
"Attention Indigo, crystal, and rainbow children of the world. Greetings from anonymous. We are contacting you today as there are those who say you and those like you are here to usher in the new era. An era of peace and enlightenment. It has been said you are here to challenge the tyranny that has so long plagued our world. To rise up against injustice and make way for a new, harmonious world.

However, the planet seems to be going in the other direction. Corporations have corrupted nearly every government in the world. Our politicians our controlled by money. The people who are sworn to protect us are now beating and killing us. Greed and indifference are glorified while generosity and tolerance are mocked. The media are nothing more than pawns in a world where our fundamental right to knowledge and expression are being censored. Children are starving in the streets. The elderly are homeless, cold and hungry. Things are only going to get worse.

the time for talking is over. It is time for action. No longer can we turn a blind eye to uncensured greed and corruption. No longer can we afford the luxury of not paying attention to the world around us. Our futures, and our childrens futures depend on it. We must act now. We must take to the streets, we must take to the internet. We must let the powers at be know that this is our world and will will not sit idly by as they enslave and destroy it.

Many believe Anonymous is nothing more than a group of hacker activists. This is not exactly true. Anonymous is not a group or organization per say. There is no central leadership. There is no membership. There is no one sole purpose behind our actions. Rather, we are a movement. An idea. We are everyone and we are no one. We are anyone who wishes to stand up against injustice. We are the passerby who records police brutality on their phone. We are the reporter who exposes a corrupt politician, we are your friend that constantly posts activists posts and news stories on social media, we are the protesters in the streets and, yes, sometimes we are the hackers taking down terrorist websites. We believe that the indigo children can add greatly to our movement. To help us achieve a better world for everyone. Join the cause today."
Anonymous lads: young hacker vigilantes. Image Source: Hacker News Bulletin.

I suspect this has less to do with toppling the Illuminati and more to do with getting laid. This goes to show that no matter how crazy the crazy gets, nature finds a way. But it's not going to be that easy (the follow-up video is here). One Indigo girl who commented on the Anonymous guy's video was skeptical:
"I am indigo and I get a negative vibe from them. Its like they are the face of what right sounds like but isn't. The change is not about fighting. It's about loving. Indigo children are free spirits. They do not have one solid belief or group or thought for which they support. They simply act on what feels right inside. I am suspicious of this post. Police brutality isn't even a major issue. There's brutality everywhere in every race and occupation in the world. There is nothing wrong with police or blacks or whites. We as a people are the problem. we each have two wolves. one of love and one of hate. the one that wins the fight is the one you feed. stop labeling police and groups and people. take self responsibility and stop encouraging the media. treat each negative case as an individual issue. stop playing victim. do not wine because the milk has spilled. feed it to the cat so that you can save a days worth of cat food and in turn a days worth of money. see the positive and feed the positive."
Perhaps Indigo Children should just lie back, close their third eyes, and think of England. More likely, the hackers will be ensnared in their Indigo lovers' harrowing spiritual awakenings and ascensions to the fifth dimension of existence.

Image Source: tumblr.

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Posts on spiritual technology in the New Millennium are here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Major Tom, Coming Home


Gif Source: giphy.

David Robert Jones also known by his stage name, David Bowie, has died (8 January 1947-10 January 2016). In A Space Oddity (1969), Bowie introduced his astronaut character Major Tom, who appears in the later song Ashes to Ashes (1980), as well as songs by other artists: Peter Schilling (1983); Plastic Bertrand (1983) - his Schilling cover is here; the Pet Shop Boys (1996), in an adaptation of Bowie's Hallo Spaceboy (1995); At the Drive-In (2000); K.I.A. (2002), covered by Sheryl Crow in 2011; the Tea Party (2004); and Shiny Toy Guns (2009). Elton John's Rocket Man (1969) does not have a connection to Bowie's character although the themes are similar. The same can be said for Matthew Wilder's Bouncin' Off the Walls (1984). Wiki lists other artists and songs which refer to Bowie's astronaut:
Major Tom also has had and continues to have passing references in other popular songs, such as: Five Star's Rain or Shine (1986), Def Leppard's Rocket (1987), Marilyn Manson's Apple of Sodom (1997), Lorraine Bowen's Space (2002), The Mars Volta's live rendition of the song Cicatriz (2005) featuring a lengthy jam, which would evolve into the song Cassandra Gemini, Cold's Happens All The Time (also 2005), Alphabeat's Fantastic 6 (2007), The Cab's Angel with a Shotgun (2011) and Lana Del Rey's Terrence Loves You (2015).
In 2011, William Shatner produced an album, Seeking Major Tom, with tracks related to this evolving Bowie character. There are many Youtube playlists (like this one) with Major Tom tributes. The character has also been mentioned in video games, television shows, cartoons, novels, and online media, demonstrating how much of an influence just one of David Bowie's songs had on popular culture. A Space Oddity was previously mentioned in this post, and Dia Sobin's 2014 tribute with links to Mac Tonnies's posts on Bowie is here. Below the jump, see some of the main Major Tom videos.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Boomer Legacies: Mysteries of Things to Come


Jugend (1916) by Julius Diez (1870-1957). Reblogged from The Pictorial Arts (Hat tip: T. Buchanan).

In yesterday's post, I described the ideas behind Roberto Saviano's accounts of crime and the drug trade. According to Saviano in ZeroZeroZero, cocaine use has overrun western societies:
"The guy sitting next to you on the train uses cocaine, he took it to get himself going this morning; or the driver of the bus you’re taking home, he wants to put in some overtime without feeling the cramps in his neck. The people closest to you use coke. If it’s not your mother or father, if it’s not your brother, then it’s your son. And if your son doesn’t use it, your boss does. Or your boss’s secretary, but only on Saturdays, just for fun. And if your boss doesn’t, his wife does, to let herself go. And if not his wife, then his lover—he gives her cocaine instead of earrings, in place of diamonds. And if they don’t, the truck driver delivering tons of coffee to cafés around town does; he wouldn’t be able to hack those long hours on the road without it. And if he doesn’t, the nurse who’s changing your grandfather’s catheter does. Coke makes everything seem so much easier, even the night shift. And if she doesn’t, the painter redoing your girlfriend’s room does; he was just curious at first but wound up deep in debt. The people who use cocaine are right here, right next to you. The police officer who’s about to pull you over has been snorting for years, and everyone knows it, and they write anonymous letters to his chief hoping he’ll be suspended before he screws up big time. Or the surgeon who’s just waking up and will soon operate on your aunt. Cocaine helps him cut open six people a day. Or your divorce lawyer. Or the judge presiding over your lawsuit; he doesn’t consider it a vice, though, just a little boost, a way to get more out of life. The cashier who hands you the lottery ticket you hope is going to change your life. The carpenter who’s installing the cabinets that cost you a month’s salary. Or the workman who came to put together the IKEA closet you couldn’t figure out how to assemble on your own. If not him, then the manager of your condo building who is just about to buzz you. Or your electrician, the one who’s in your bedroom right now, moving the outlets. The singer you are listening to to unwind, the parish priest you’re going to talk to about finally getting confirmed because your grandson’s getting baptized, and he’s amazed you’ve put it off for so long. The waiters who will work the wedding you’re going to next Saturday; they wouldn’t be able to last on their feet all that time if they didn’t. If not them, then the town councillor who just approved the new pedestrian zones, and who gets his coke free in exchange for favors. The parking lot attendant who’s happy now only when he’s high. The architect who renovated your vacation home, the mailman who just delivered your new ATM card. If not them, then the woman at the call center who asks “How may I help you?” in that shrill, happy voice, the same for every caller, thanks to the white powder. If not her, your professor’s research assistant—coke makes him nervous. Or the physiotherapist who’s trying to get your knee working right. Coke makes him more sociable. The forward who just scored, spoiling the bet you were winning right up until the final minutes of the game. The prostitute you go to on your way home, when you just can’t take it anymore and need to vent. She does it so she won’t have to see whoever is on top or under or behind her anymore. The gigolo you treated yourself to for your fiftieth birthday. You did it together. Coke makes him feel really macho. The sparring partner you train with in the ring, to lose weight. And if he doesn’t, your daughter’s riding instructor does, and so does your wife’s psychologist. Your husband’s best friend uses it, the one who’s been hitting on you for years but whom you’ve never liked. And if he doesn’t, then your school principal does. Along with the janitor. And the real estate agent, who’s late, just when you finally managed to find time to see the apartment. The security guard uses it, the one who still combs his hair over his bald spot, even though guys all shave their heads these days. And if he doesn’t, the notary you hope you never have to go back to, he does it to avoid thinking about the alimony he has to pay his ex-wives. And if he doesn’t, the taxi driver does; he curses the traffic but then goes all happy again. If not him, the engineer you have to invite over for dinner because he might help you get a leg up in your career. The policeman who’s giving you a ticket, sweating profusely even though it’s winter. The squeegee man with hollow eyes, who borrows money to buy it, or that kid stuffing flyers under windshield wipers, five at a time. The politician who promised you a commercial license, the one you and your family voted into office, and who is always nervous. The professor who failed you on your exam. Or the oncologist you’re going to see; everybody says he’s the best, so you’re hoping he can save you. He feels omnipotent when he sniffs cocaine. Or the gynecologist who nearly forgets to throw away his cigarette before going in to examine your wife, who has just gone into labor. Your brother-in-law, who’s never in a good mood, or your daughter’s boyfriend, who always is. If not them, then the fishmonger, who proudly displays a swordfish, or the gas station attendant who spills gas on your car. He sniffs to feel young again but can’t even put the pump away correctly anymore. Or the family doctor you’ve known for years and who lets you cut the line because you always know just the right thing to give him at Christmas. The doorman of your building uses it, and if he doesn’t, then your kids’ tutor does, your nephew’s piano teacher, the costume designer for the play you’re going to see tonight, the vet who takes care of your cat. The mayor who invited you over for dinner recently. The contractor who built your house, the author whose book you’ve been reading before falling asleep, the anchorwoman on the evening news. But if, after you think about it, you’re still convinced none of these people could possibly snort cocaine, you’re either blind or you’re lying. Or the one who uses it is you."
Cocaine is a vice and vanity but it fills other gaps in western culture. Self-medication enables addicts to cope with deeper problems. Drugs are signposts pointing to the subliminal world. Cocaine is popular in western countries because it papers over the cracks for people driven to the breaking point. It enables people to force themselves forward in environments which are already locked in overdrive, no matter what the cost, no matter what their spiritual heartbreak or moral dislocation. Some parts of daily life are identical to what they were thirty years ago, but in the areas touched by connected technology, the cultural and social impact is almost unimaginable. As I suggested, there is a reason for this desperate need to keep up. If you do not change in a hyper-changing society, you die.

In this post, I commented that ever since the 1960s, death is not an option. The Baby Boomer revolutionary creed was anti-militaristic and pro-youth-forever. The Boomers adored eastern faiths, but a Buddhist might find they diverged from any eastern path. With their marketing, lifestyles and values, the Boomers taught us to abhor death, because death entails the destruction of the ego and the continued survival of the soul. This is unimaginable in a materialist society ruled by egotists. In their true hearts, the last thing the members of the Me Generation wanted was to preside over a mechanistic order of crushing egotism, but that is the outcome of their collective efforts.

One may ask why. Why did the Baby Boomers develop such a confused message of holistic social healing, in societies now dominated by hostile materialist egotism? Initially, the Boomers promoted youth, pacifism and liberalism. This is a mantra against death. Their avoidance of death ended up promoting the ego, thereby sponsoring the social ills and totalitarian self-promotion which plague western societies now in mass media, politics, entertainment, workplaces and the economy. Western cultures are on the run from death; which is why westerners (and many non-westerners) now worship fast-paced change. We must change more and more; we must go faster and faster; we must work ourselves to death, but we must not die. A rest or pause would entail contemplation of that which pursues us - and that is very difficult to do.

It is difficult because most people alive today arrived during or after the worst blood-letting of the 20th century occurred. Imagine the last century's hemoclysm as a grotesque journey into humanity's dark night of the soul, in which some 180 million people died in armed conflicts. Historian Eric Hobsbawm put the number at 187 million people who were "killed or allowed to die by human decision" in the "short century" between 1914 and 1991. And scholar Milton Leitenberg, citing Hobsbawm, places the number higher, at 231 million people who died in wars and conflicts in the entire century. That makes the 20th century the bloodiest in history. It would be accurate to see the ideological solutions of the Boomers and succeeding generations not as solutions, but as masks to hide the collective shock after the bloodbath, and a desperate, reflexive need to contain further bloodshed at all costs - even, ironically, through the propagation of small wars to let off steam, but not have the whole system blow. Liberal democracy hides the west's survivors' mentality. In that aftermath, add a layer of glittering technology to spread blind hope in peace and connectivity, and you have the current state of affairs.

Since the turn of the new Millennium, no shiny technology, and certainly no drug, can conceal or suppress the enduring darkness in the human soul. To shake off utopian denial and face death in western cultures squarely and honestly, as author Roberto Saviano struggles to do, takes courage and a different set of values than those promoted forty-five years ago. And contrary to what conservative pundits would say, we do not know what those new values are. For Saviano, it starts with the courage to recognize the ugliness in human nature, not with ideological formulas, but with honesty about 'real' reality.

It calls for a frank acknowledgement of the survivors' mentality, because we will exist between apocalypses, and not just after them, if we do not. In the movie, Silent Fall (1994), Liv Tyler's character remarks that in their grief, survivors no longer want to know or show themselves as they truly are. They inhabit a purgatorial state of quasi morto, or near death:
"I figured out something about death. It's contagious. I know that sounds crazy, but it's like when people you love die, you feel like you should have died too. And you don't want anybody to know that you survived. No one."
Survivors deny the reality of their own existences because they feel guilty that they are still alive, when others have died in their stead. To live on a mountain of skulls is to want to disappear. It is easier to dream of peace than it is to be fully conscious after one's whole civilization has undergone near-total obliteration. Virtual reality well suits the sleepwalker's state of denial and the authoritarian mechanisms do and will quietly follow. If we are all survivors who have denied our true natures, who are we really? As the old year dies, the question of how to find the time to become fully conscious of 'real' reality has never been more important.

The Sleepwalker (1907) by Julius Diez. Reblogged from The Pictorial Arts.

ADDENDUM (29 May 2016): On 28 May 2016, BBC interviewed author Roberto Saviano on his work which confirms that the City of London is a centre for money laundering of Mexican drug money and the Italian mafia. Thus, the wealth and lifestyles of the City rest on violence and crime discussed in the following posts:

BBC interview with Roberto Saviano (28 May 2016). Video Source: Youtube.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Awaken the Amnesiacs 1: The Gnostic-Hermetic Synthesis of 2015


Image Source: Spiritual Unite.

Western culture is undergoing a shift. New Age circles have been buzzing about it for the past few years, especially since the recession and 2012. Their chatter is now reaching a dull roar. For skeptics who want the TL;DR version, here is the

Executive Summary.
Several online movements are currently combining hermeticism and gnosticism to realign western values.

What this means.
Hermeticism combines monotheistic arcane traditions to inspire blind leaps in how we understand the world. Its early triad of alchemy, astrology and theurgy were termed as the 'three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe.' These translate in our terms into three aspects: first, science and rationalism of the mind; second, politics and emotions in the physical, the choices made to change the "life of matter and material existence"; and third, spirituality, our grasp of the relationship between the soul and what we define as divine. Sometimes associated with old Arab mysticism and the Kabbalah, sometimes with the occult, the Tarot and astrology, sometimes with Freemasonry, hermeticism is prevalent in popular culture today. This syncretic practice is being applied to gnostic philosophical unions of masculine and feminine principles to enable a shift in western perspectives. Much of this combination is due to the aftermath and reappraisal of 1960s' social revolutions, playing out during the Technological and Communications revolutions of the 2000s and 2010s. The philosophical synthesis also shows the next level of western engagement with virtual reality. Surging in the latter half of 2015, the trend may constitute a Fifth Great Awakening in America, but it is also evident in other western countries.

From September 2015. Image Source: Power of Consciousness.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Quote of the Day: Generational Analysis is a Glorified Horoscope


A generational meme joke, brought to you by America's Tea Party.

Today's quote comes from a comment at the foot of an article at Aeon magazine (Hat tip: Kate Sherrod). The article argues against the use of generational labeling. See my earlier post criticizing the use of generational labels - a post-war marketing tool - because they are sources of stereotyping and bigotry: The 99 Per Cent, Generation Catalano, and Why Generational Labels are Fake. From Ramone:
I agree with your point about generational analysis being a glorified horoscope that leads to stereotyping, scapegoating and confirmation bias feedback loops. My parents are "boomers" so they are supposed to be wealthy, selfish, greedy and have robbed "Millenials" of all the good jobs etc. etc.

It's ludicrous to believe that people who, through an accident of birth, were born in the same generation all share personality traits because they were born between such and such a year and therefore are to blame for societal shifts affecting subsequent generations.

I find it frustrating that the so few people are making the connection between the capitalism-in-overdrive world we have today and the huge wealth gap, and the fierce competition for scarce jobs and resources. Sociopathic and stone crazy Silicone Valley billionaires openly talk about replacing the state [with] "efficient" corporations and collecting every piece of information down to our genomes and letting technology operate free of any oversight...and how all this will bring about a "utopia" (and coincidentally make them the most powerful people on earth)....well, TED talk audiences and media people listen and nod along with with these nutcases and the general public thinks it's only about electric cars, search engines, trendy gadgets and a popular website. Does anyone actually LISTEN and understand what these guys are proposing? Deluded evil (the road to hell is paved etc.) gets a pass but blaming the state of the world on the "inherent characteristics" of an entire generation is perfectly rational and reasonable.