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 Epistemology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Epistemology. Show all posts

Friday, July 7, 2017

Wonders of the Millennial World 9: The Speed of Consciousness


Image Source: pinterest.

One of the questions which I pursue on this blog is whether or not human consciousness is manifesting on the Internet, in the psycho-anthropological myth-space of virtual reality, or as an alternate way of being, or in zeroes and ones, or in the physics of quantum computing. If human consciousness operates collectively on the Internet, it raises a subsequent question of whether that online consciousness can alter actual, real world reality.

The Big Bang Theory: Schrödinger's cat from Season 1, Episode 17, The Tangerine Factor (19 May 2008) © Warner. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

This sounds bizarre, but the relationship between mind and matter remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of modern science. In my 2015 post, A Quantum Christmas, I outlined the origins of the mystery: when we measure matter, matter changes. And quantum entangled matter shows that we can measure an entangled particle, and its unmeasured twin will change too.

This means that matter has some other way of existing beyond our perception and we have an effect on matter which we do not understand. At the quantum level, matter changes from a previous, indefinite state before we look at it, where it exists in all places at once. After we look at it, it acquires a definite, measurable state. The impact our observations have on reality is exerted at a speed of three trillion metres per second. This is how fast our observations travel to transform reality into fixed states. We might call it the speed of consciousness.

Try to assess this, and find further, via the double slit experiment, that before we measure matter, when it exists in an indefinite state, it acts like a wave of energy. Measure the matter, and it becomes definite, fixed, and the wave 'collapses' to behave like particles.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Inequality, A Function of Virtual Reality


Still from Videodrome (1983) © Universal. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: The Dissolve.

Today, academics at the London School of Economics are discussing socio-economic inequality and the rise of a dual-track system between haves and have-nots. The scholars at LSE recognize that whoever understands and commandeers the narrative of inequality will control new Millennial politics. They think there is a need to reframe the terms of debate, which means Millennial inequality is a partly-unknown quantity which is up for grabs. They consider inequality as a form of identity, that is, a subset of populist nationalism. Unfortunately, by using recognized terms from the 20th century political lexicon, these researchers are missing dimensions of the problem.

This blog has been exploring inequality rather differently. I maintain that technology and the Internet intensify the conflict between the establishment and the precariat. Globalization would be impossible without technology; the global economy's most basic motivating source is not political and is instead a function of the tools we are using. Technology has also fragmented 20th century economies and polities. The Internet compounds the breakdown through intensified media experiences, which lead to contrasting views of reality. That is, inequality is related in cryptic ways to the corresponding expansion and deepening of virtual reality.

Still from Videodrome (1983) © Universal. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: The Dissolve.

I consider the influence of technology to be poorly understood. Philosophically, it implies that there are disturbing new ways of existing, the ripple effects of which are unprecedented and unknown. Of course, the current president of the United States did not come to the narrative of inequality through conventional politics, but through years of experience with the modality of reality television.

If the philosophical implications are difficult to grasp, consider the physical effects of technology for a start. A recent conspiratorial video from Truthstream Media concerns a 2003 patent, here, entitled, Nervous System Manipulation by Electromagnetic Fields from Monitors. The patent concerned the ways multimedia gadgets could be used to alter the functions of the human nervous system to change mass behaviour. It sounds like something for the tin foil hat crowd, except that the author of the patent expressed misgivings about potential abuses of the technology he designed. He recognized that his invention could damage collective psychology and physiology, but he only considered this outcome as a kind of regretful afterthought.

This Creepy Patent Proves They Can Remotely Hijack Your Nervous System (7 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Big Data's Strategic Inflection Point


Image Source: RNZ.

Collection, surveillance, analysis, prediction: there are reasons why the battle between freedom and slavery will take place on the Internet. Only in the past decade did big data enter the headlines, because the necessary hardware and storage capacity became affordable for corporations. In addition, governmental and corporate data crunching capability improved to enable what panelists at Financier Worldwide call, "curation ... of enormous data sets" and "the ability to predict when a certain business-contextual event is about to happen, and then to adjust accordingly in an automated fashion."



Few people read the fine print when they sign up for social media accounts, so they do not understand how others now own their personal identities and seek to decide their fates. Nor do they understand how the Internet of Things forms a network of physical objects around them to glean and mobilize information. From Radio New Zealand:
"I was on Facebook recently and I realised they were showing me a photo that wasn't already on my newsfeed and that I wasn't even tagged in, that had come from my camera roll."
In 2016, Edward Snowden stated that surveillance was about "social control," not terrorism. Certainly, companies such as Oracle (cloud database management), LexisNexis (legal and business risk management services), and Micron (semi-conductor solutions) confirm Snowden's narrative (see my earlier posts on this topic here, here, here and here).

Image Source: Sputnik International.

counter-surveillance movement arose to combat government and corporate intrusion. A talk from the 2016 hackers' Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany describes the problem:
"Today virtually everything we do is monitored in some way. The collection, analysis and utilization of digital information about our clicks, swipes, likes, purchases, movements, behaviors and interests have become part of everyday life. While individuals become increasingly transparent, companies take control of the recorded data."
Mozilla, developers of the Firefox browser, developed Lightbeam so you can see who is tracking you while you browse. Privacy Lab has made available online a 2016 book by Wolfie Christl and Sarah Spiekermann: Networks of Control: A Report on Corporate Surveillance, Digital Tracking, Big Data and Privacy (Hat tip and thanks: Janine Römer). The book explains how social control through big data actually works, and it is far more evil, insidious and Darwinian than one would imagine, because algorithms target individuals' socio-economic performance in life to create new kinds of discrimination. When you state what you are doing or thinking on Facebook or Twitter, when you surf the Web, when you buy things, travel, or read certain news stories, you are letting the world know how successful you are or are not, by other people's mechanized standards:
"Today, a vast landscape of partially interlinked databases has emerged which serve to characterize each one of us. Whenever we use our smartphone, a laptop, an ATM or credit card, or our ‘smart’ TV sets detailed information is transmitted about our behaviors and movements to servers, which might be located at the other end of the world. A rapidly growing number of our interactions is monitored, analyzed and assessed by a network of machines and software algorithms that are operated by companies we have rarely ever heard of. Without our knowledge and hardly with our effectively informed consent, our individual strengths and weaknesses, interests, preferences, miseries, fortunes, illnesses, successes, secrets and – most importantly – purchasing power are surveyed. If we don’t score well, we are not treated as equal to our better peers. We are categorized, excluded and sometimes invisibly observed by an obscure network of machines for potential misconduct and without having any control over such practices.

While the media and special interest groups are aware of these developments for a while now, we believe that the full degree and scale of personal data collection, use and – in particular – abuse has not been scrutinized closely enough. This is the gap we want to close with the study presented in this book."
Corporate surveillance, digital tracking, big data and privacy: How thousands of companies are profiling, categorizing, rating and affecting the lives of billions. Talk by Wolfie Christl at CCC Congress (30 December 2016). Video Source: CCC-TV. Hat tip and thanks: Janine Römer.

Thus, the debate around big data focuses on post-2013, post-Snowden ideas: privacy or anonymity; predictive marketing; social control; totalitarianism. Yet Utopia or Dystopia recognizes that big data are so superhuman in quantity that they blur reality:
"Big Data; does it actually provide us with a useful map of reality, or instead drown us in mostly useless information? ... [D]oes Big Data actually make us safer? ... [H]ow is the truth to survive in a world where seemingly any organization or person can create their own version of reality. Doesn’t the lack of transparency by corporations or the government give rise to all sorts of conspiracy theories in such an atmosphere, and isn’t it ultimately futile ... for corporations and governments to try to shape all these newly enabled voices to its liking through spin and propaganda?"
Instead of big data driving fears of exploitation and totalitarianism, this concern revives far older contests between rationality and the unknowable.


Bodies of big data are so big that they become a kind of big mind, a combined collective consciousness and collective unconscious. To account for virtual reality by known means is impossible. Academic history as we knew it, 15 years ago, cannot now be written according to traditional methods and new methods must be developed. The body of data is: (a) too vast to be processed by a human; (b) unfixed: potentially subject to infinite alteration; and (c) stored in languages and on devices which rapidly become obsolete.

The same goes for the social sciences. Try to analyze the online kekkism in the recent American election and be prepared to confront something akin to magic which will defy current theories. The great modern experiment to rationalize the world breaks down in the face of anti-rationality, hacking, and Underground cryptics, whether by anonymity and encryption, or by mysterious forms of communication, behaviour and awareness, which will surpass knowledge and understanding. Big data erode reality, and this is why the ISIS publicity bureau and magazine can promote an apocalyptic eschatology unironically in this day and age. When you are operating in an environment where X zillion bits of data are being created every second, an apocalypse seems appropriate to some, and makes more sense.

Digital Book World recently weighed the pros and cons of big data. Mathematician Cathy O'Neil - who joked that her New Year's resolutions included the plan to gain 10 pounds and start smoking, and who wrote the 2016 book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy - warned Digital Book World that algorithms are not the rational tools they seem to be. Instead, algorithms are artifacts, the techno-dynamic features of which are correlated against human aspects, such as sales numbers and social media traction. As algorithms manipulate big data to locate desired human results, they become, in O'Neil's estimation, new kinds of laws:
"When it comes to human activities, algorithms are expected to be models of objectivity, owing to their basis in mathematical formulae and reliance on enormous quantities of measured facts about a given general population, whether students or teachers, job applicants or criminal defendants. Cathy O’Neil makes the case that real-world mathematical models are anything but objective. ... [S]he asserts that big data WMDs are opaque, unaccountable and destructive and that they essentially act as unwritten and unpublished secret laws."
Despite these warnings, on 22 August 2016, Digital Book World remained optimistic about what the Panama Papers can tell us about deep learning. The lesson is not about offshore accounts, corruption, and a meshed network of legitimate and illegitimate interests spanning the globe. The Panama Papers show, according to DBW, that big data are a gold mine for profit, right at something called big data's strategic inflection point:
"[The Panama Papers] should ... serve as a stark reminder of the hidden value sitting locked in large amounts of unstructured data, such as notes, documents and emails.

In recent years, we’ve seen businesses in many industries solve the puzzle of big data and begin to extract the insights that can accelerate innovation and grow revenue. Healthcare, finance and retail are three that immediately come to mind that are at the forefront of using big data. But that is only the beginning.

Consider this: 90 percent of the world’s data only came into existence in the last two years. With more of our lives moving online and into the cloud, this remarkable growth of data will only accelerate, offering enormous possibilities to the businesses that can navigate these massive data collections.

The Panama Papers are a roadmap. It is now possible to collect and analyze data faster than ever before through the use of unparalleled computing power and machine learning methods, such as deep learning. Unstructured data, such as the text in the posts and messages of social media that most of the world uses, emails that were leaked or subpoenaed, laboratory notes or technical documentation, represent a massive opportunity for businesses that can harness it. ...

Andy Grove, retired CEO of Intel Corp., calls this moment in potential growth a 'strategic inflection point' — the point at which two major pathways temporarily coincide — between doing business as usual, or embracing and adapting to the new."
Digital Marketing Transit Map (25 June 2013). Click to enlarge. Image Source: Gartner.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Europe's Toughest Hour

Image Source: The Olive Press. 

The crisis in Europe intensifies. The headlines are desperate: Italy accepted new austerity measures; today, "The [Italian] minister in charge of pension reform broke down and cried as she tried to spell out the detail of the changes." Old Europe is dead, and EU advocates say a new United States of Europe, "a single, robust Brussels government for all EU countries -- or at least for the euro zone," must rise from the ashes. Merkel and Sarkozy are unveiling a euro rescue package this week that will likely require members of the euro zone to relinquish economic sovereignty through changes to the EU treaties.  The Guardian expects that a number of EU countries will drop out of the union. The FT is thinking the unthinkable on a European breakup. The Economist reports that the chance the euro will disintegrate in the coming weeks is alarmingly high. The UK has told its European embassies to brace for riots if the euro collapses. The Telegraph is talking about "Eurogeddon" and says that Britain should close its doors to European immigration. The Dow Jones FX Trader has prepared an EU crisis roadmap for key milestones ahead.

This is "Europe's toughest hour since World War II." There is panicky talk of deeper integration - a new Reich - or conflict?  I have long wondered why Continental-wide empire or the spectre of war are Europe's default alternatives. Couldn't the powers in Europe simply, for the first time in over two thousand years, choose not to invade their neighbours, euro or no euro, European Union or no European Union?  How many non-Europeans died in the twentieth century for the sake of saving Europe from itself?  And how many Europeans died in those conflicts and as well before that, in the fourteenth and fifteenth, sixteenthseventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries? And now we hear hints that nothing has been learned on that score? There's a big difference between an EU striving unsuccessfully to apply federalistic American or Canadian models - and a neo-Roman empire conceived at best in Bonapartistic dreams. Speaking of the EU as the New Rome was once the specialty only of religious eschatologists.  Yet it slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.

This is not just a crisis of the economy and political power.  It is a crisis of values and ideals.  What does Europe stand for?  I have seen some pro-EU blogs talking of the potential loss of Europe's singular greatness, encapsulated symbolically in Beethoven's 9th as the Continent's cultural touchstone.  There was always some hubris and misdirected envy of America in the EU project. The choice of EU anthem made Daniel Hannan recall A Clockwork Orange It's a sin, using lovely Ludwig Van like that.

Philosopher Jürgen Habermas, labeled the 'last European' by Der Spiegel, defends the European idea against evil market forces and inept politicians.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Astrology Watch: Cardinal Climax Today


Astrologers are anticipating today to herald the onset of one of the most stressful periods of the current century in a period extending to - yes - 2012.  Today is the so-called Cardinal Climax, in which forces of massive change confront those of crushing oppression.  The image above is taken from the What the Fuck's Going On blog, where Earl Nash reports: "This is the view of the planets from New York City on Aug. 1, at 6am. We have the most planets in the tightest alignments and at the supposedly 'sensitive' Zero degrees of Cardinal signs. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I looked at records going back to the 1800’s, and this is the most difficult alignment I found. When I was at a conference in Boston last month, someone said this was the most difficult alignment they have seen in the last "1,000 years." Another person told me this is the worst alignment in "10,000 years."