Thursday, June 01, 2006

Historical Trends/Talking out of my ass

Today I'm going to examine three different epochs with my general knowledge (far from complete) and try and highlight some of the major differences between them.

Roughly six thousand years ago, "western civilization" (roughly from the Euphretes to the Atlantic coast, and a totally symbolic and meaningless definition, but we'll use it for convenience) was in the midst of the bronze age. Now, although the elements they possessed showed great variety with the geography of that particular culture, bronze age cities all seemed to possess similiar elements; They all seem to have a "God House" as a central hub of activity for that particular city, usually having a great symbol or statue of that particular God or Goddess. Almost everyone carried an idol, usually with a large open mouth. They were huge fans of hyperbole (The cities of Sumer have at least five self titled "Kings of the Universe" and the trend lasted for millenia, and the historic accounts from the period describe people living for tens of thousands of years, and single kings killing armies of thousands with their bare hands, etc.) Mentally, the mind is arranged in such a way that is called by some the Bicameral Mind which more or less implies that everyone was Schizophrenic, so they were visually and mentally "hallucinating" (for the record, you're hallucinating right now) voices and images, and lacked an identity as defined as ours. The idea is essentially that humans in bronze age cultures experienced the Gods in reality as a result of functions in the right side of the brain. According to Julian, this functioned as their decision making process. It is also believed that the people of these cultures believed that their world was paradise, and heaven was literally right next door to them (usually placed on top of a mountain or thought of interchangably with the sky) and their chief purpose was the service of the gods, preparing sacrifices, doing their will, and so forth.

This mental state supposedly began to break down with the advent of writing, which is also credited with a technological boost over the peroid after it appears. Writing was first seriously utilized by the First Babylonian empire (not to be confused with the much later Babylonian empire that is mentioned in the old testament) under the King Hammurabi. This technological boost results in a few neat and new things, such as chariots and horseback riding, and iron. Iron appears roughly 1500 BC, credited to the Hittites, who quickly put together a massive empire. Also around this period of time, the island of Gnossis erupts/explodes, bringing an end to Minoan culture, dramatically changing the climate, displacing millions. Around this time, the first and very short lived monotheist god appears in Egypt under the reign of Phaeroh Nephretiti (one of the few female Phaeros.)

This "iron age" world is dramatically different from bronze age culture. It is here that the first literal and historical records of betrayal commited by humans appear (which is really weird when you start to think about it.) It is during this period a new form of thought (or rather, several) is developing. The first and probably most important is that paradise has now been thought of as lost. No longer do Gods and Men walk toghether, we now walk the earth as punishment for some abhorrent sin. The Gods are now lofty beings that must accessed through mediums and oracles. In one culture particularly, an idea that instead of many Gods running the universe in it's different part, there instead could be one God responsible for the whole thing. This idea later gets merged with a seperate idea that humans could freely choose their Gods, an idea originated in Greece and made possible for all by the Iron age megaculture, Rome. Rome was the so called "height" of iron age culture, encompassing the mediterrainian sea and having influences all the way back to the Euphretes. There is a record of a Buddhist Monk visiting Athens around 150 BC or so. The idea that one could willing choose to worship a God or not matured into Christianity and later Islam, where one could accept Jesus and be saved or not be saved, although the concept later became symbolic with the fall of Rome and the gradual conversion of Europe and Africa to either/or, when majorities swung in either direction.

The key thing was that the literature and records went from the perspective a culture walking hand in hand with the gods and living in paradise to the perspective of having had lost paradise and drifting further away from it, thus the meaning of life was to reach that paradise, and numerous methods appeared to fufill that mental goal. Paradise/Heaven was now this aloof place one needed to reach through one's life actions, God was an aloof being who was listening (hopefully) but wouldn't neccesarilly talk back, but one could interpret his will in life phenomina. This was the era where humans were in control, God was merely watching over them. This mindset was a very successful one, because it's still around today in rather large numbers. But this is no longer the iron age.

The late iron age heralded the rise of industrialization. Large workforces did simple jobs in succession to produce products en mass. The thousand year old nobility, ordained by God who was watching over us and the power holders since the fall of Rome, were suddenly rivaled by a new class, the bourgois/wealthy entrepeneurs. An "industrialized" version of the societal model appeared in Adam Smith's concept of capitalism, where the "invisible hand" of God guides the markets in a manner that promotes overall wealth. This modified feudal system begins to replace the older system in the 1700s. This newer system revives the older concept of freedom to choose, and the idea that God does not or never did exist can begin to be stated by the mid 1800s without certain death.

Now, we're still technically in this world, but we seem to be on the tail end of it. Most of western society operates on steel (made of iron and nitrogen, among other things). Christianity and Islam still account for the vast majority of the world's population, with newer religions such as Wicca, Mormonisn, Aethiesm, Neopaganism, Darwinism etc. making up the minority. But this is a minority that is beginning to hold a lot of sway in global politics and, perhaps moreso, technology. At this point in history, a professor in Britain has successfully connected his nervous system to the internet. Whereas children a thousand years grew up on stories and playing in the fields, today children grow up piloting digital bodies throughout virtual fantasy worlds. Where a thousand years ago the best one could hope for was a year or so to cross Europe, today we can do it in weeks. While first charcoal production was needed en mass to produce the stock needed for a market, then factories and now the Rapid Prototyper, a device under development that can reproduce an item in actual space from a mathematical formula. Our model of the universe covers trillions of trillions of miles. And the dominant idea among the power elite is that we are moving towards paradise. No longer have we been lost, we're coming towards it. Dozens of books have been published claiming that immortality is just around the corner, that disease will someday be a memory. It's all boulderdash, but it's a good motivator. The point is that we are on the verge of a very significant mind change than what you or I are used to.

If we are able to connect our nervous systems to the internet, and mentally "surf it" or push a button to activate an electrode to stimulate instant happiness, if a person can control a machine seperate from their body as if it were attached to them, if a person can mentally "email" someone, this is essentially telepathy.

Imagine a world totally oriented towards this. Humans are connected to the internet at the youngest age possible. Video games are now played with the mind, perhaps the individual is able to download a game into his brain and play it in a field or perhaps areas are set up for children to play properly; the game itself is experienced in reality, as if it actually happens. Everything is connected to the internet, people can activate devices with a thought. From the outside perspective it would appear that everyone is a jedi or some sort of scifi superbeing, conjuring objects around them as if with their mind, just as the Aztecs thought Cortez and the Horse he rode were the messengers of the god Quetzalcoatl. I envision a world where machine and human live in unison, with machine providing and controlling, more likely. Wars would likely decist since such a culture could probably exist across an entire globe, probably replaced by some other fucked up form of population control. Maybe this will be the culture that finally places humans in space permenantly.

This future appears technologically possible from the technology under development today. The real question is what kind of mentality would operate in this enviroment? Surely with technology covering so many life functions, functions in the brain would cease, freeing up energy for development elsewhere?

Okay, I'm done for now.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The War on Trolleys

Councilors attacking trolleys

For crying out loud, we replace the trolley fleet in two years. What on earth would we gain by scrapping them and establishing a new system of routes, requiring adminstration costs as well as loss of work hours due to people getting used to the new system. Sure they're old, they cost a bit to maintain, but traffic can easily flow around them.

Putting more fast large vehicles on the road isn't going to solve anything. The traffic still has to stop ever fourty feet or so every five or so minutes. Dumping a couple tons more of diesel fumes a day just so council can budget itself raises is absolutely retarded. I personally would rather know exactly when the bus is coming so I can plan around it. There are way better ways to cut costs in city operations. Let the trolleys finish their job.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

More war stuff

Well, I have been quite entertained by myself and my own blindness over the last months. Like most people in this country, I fell for the same cultural illusion that, since Canadian troops were not in Iraq, Canada was not involved in President Bush II's crusade. But of course, we were in Afghanistan since the beginning, first as "Peacemakers." But somewhere along the line, we ended up invading some insurgent territory, also known as people who don't want foreign rule and have united under a ferocious warlord in terror. So we've been fighting the war on terror, and in the process terrorizing people to unite under warlords, and now we're going to take out those warlords by killing those same people we terrorized, who are supposed to be the people the army is there to save.

Harper of course will not discuss this; he won't even examine the issue critically, he simply argues that we must "support our troops." Sound familiar?

The forces' mission is up in Feburary. That's less than a year. We should be discussing this now because it's going to take a long time for all the information to make it through the labrynth of government. We need to know who is benifitting, who is suffering, and what ultimate purpose this is serving, and if any of the logic it is based on makes any sense at all and isn't drawing from the same wealth as the logic of bombing a nation to make them revolt on their leader, for spreading democracy by the point of a gun. The Bush regime continually points out that Iraq is not Viet Nam, and I'll point out that Afghanistan isn't Holland. This is not an allied democracy that was occupied by enemies and we are not necesarilly being interpreted as liberators, and our military is small enough that we really should be considering the lives of Canadian soldiers seriously, and not wasting them on wars that are primarally benifitting Haliburton and oil barons. It is not that we do not respect our forces or want to harm their morale, we don't want their lives wasted needlessly for a war that appears to be more suited to benifitting the billionaire's club than the people who actually make the nation function.

Since Harper so far has already thumbed his nose at the ethics commisioner and is apparantly putting restrictions on his MPs vocal chords, it's becoming pretty clear that his "Moral Authority to Govern" was only a sound byte, and I am really getting sick of being taken for an idiot by government. Clearly the Cons are no different from the Grits, except the Grits are willing to call inquiries sometimes. But then again, we just spent two years pretending we weren't part of the coalition of idiots and we destroyed a government over a scandal that cost us five dollars each, goaded by Harper. So I suppose Harper's view on us is somewhat justified...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Neo Nazis assult cool guy; R.I.P Beach House

Edmonton Sun Article

I'm good friends with Pat. We smoked a lot of weed together. We've had some really awesome times. I've also had a great relationship with this particular house, my current girlfriend lived there when I met her, and my friend Pat lived there up until last night.

Now, according to him, he was assaulted by Neonazis before the home was firebombed. They knocked on his door and began to question his Soviet Flag in the window, and then forced their way in and proceeded to break a number of his blues CDs, calling it "Nigger Music", and scratched a swastika into his stereo. They made him take down the flag and busted up a number of his instruments. Later, after the firebombing, everything was lost.

But he has survived. Therefore, this act of hate has failed. I am now in the market for a Soviet flag to wave gloriously in defiance of these assholes. Anyone with me?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

We can be heroes

I am concerned about the apathetic stance my peers appear to take on most issues. I have a friend who is being informed and telling that a super secret power elite are planning a population cull around 2012. I assume he doesn't actually believe this, but still is just interested in reading it. But you never know, I'm not him. Anyhow, while we were discussing this at work today, I responded by saying " Don't worry, we'll stop them." attempting to get my optimism back online after the sudden seizure of the Commons by the facists (more on that later.) Another friend of mine then went on to rant that we were pawns. I again reiterated that we would overcome the facists, noting that we didn't spend our youths playing games about great heroes who defy the man. He crabbed that those were just stories and reality wasn't like that.

Obviously I have a problem with this view. It's self defeatist, it stops the mind from even considering the possibility of trying. Psychologists, physicians and mystics alike are now all spouting the same message; "If you don't believe you can do it, you won't." If you don't believe you can fix the stove, then you never will. If you believe you can, then you can. If you're determined, you'll figure out a way. Not necesarilly the best way, but a way. Similarly, the Wright brothers believed they could fly, and guess what? They could.

Arguing that we can't possibly overcome the empire is a waste of energy, and that brings me to point two of the day; the Cons are in power! Now, here in Canada, we can be united in fighting the man; let us walk together my brothers, vive la resistance!

Remember; we've all overcome the evil Bowser, king of the vile Koopas. How much harder can Bush, Harper and the rest of the aristocracy be?

Why you should care about the enviroment

Alright, let's see if I can convey my concerns in an orderly fashion.

1. Humans are a part of nature.

2. Humans are animals.

3. Humans therefore are subject to the laws of nature and function in the same manner as animals.

Typically in nature, when an animal population thrives, it grows at an exponential rate. This occurs for a period known as the "Net Growth" phase. This occurs until one or both of the following conditions are met: 1) There is little or no food left, or 2) There is so much waste that an outbreak of disease wipes out the majority of the population. Once this happens, we enter a period known as the "Net Death" phase, where the population collapses almost as fast as it grew.

The human population has tripled in the last century. There are now over 6 billion homo sapiens, most of them want to breed. Most of them want to eat. You see the problem here now, correct? If we divide that 6 billion into 4 assumptive factors: males, females, children, elderly, we have at least 3 billion potential babies. Within a generation or two, we'll have nine billion humans. Then 12. Then 18. Then 24...

There has to be a point when we reach one of those conditions. Some argue we already have. I prefer not to be as fatalistic.

The reality of the matter is that our industrial society is based on disposability and convenience, both have terrible consequences for both health and the enviroment. We are now generating more waste than the enviroment can handle. This is chiefly because we are demolishing the biosphere's ability to "digest" our wastes effectively at an alarming rate.

For the first time since anyone, including the resident amazonians apparantly, can remember, there is a drought in the rainforest. In an ecology that depends on rain to fall daily for months on end, this is catastrophe. For us, this the beginning of the sacrifice of 10-20% of the world's oxygen for the richness of a few and the ever needed "job" for everyone else.

This is why you should care; the economists and the cons and energy industries seem to think they can go on expanding and building products for your consumption forever. They seem to have no concept that all that paper is coming from wood, all that beef is coming from farmland from demolished rainforest, all that mercury is pilling up in oceans, etc. They don't see that resources can only be consumed at a rate they can be recovered at.

So what can you do? Recycle, recycle, recycle. 90% of people's garbage is recycleble (is that a word?) If it's paper, you can recycle it. If it's plastic, recycle. Food, you can garbage or compost. Something simple as recycling and using recycled paper can prevent trees from being cut down, providing us with more Carbon Dioxide (Greenhouse Gas emissions) breathing and oxygen exhaling trees to slow the tide of global warming.

The alternative concept is fairly easy to imaging. If we continue on our present course, eventually the weathern patterns will be altered enough to promote large scale drought conditions. Without food, people will stop being concerned about silly things like cds and movies. The economy will collapse. Governments will lose control. People will flock around those who can provide them food and protect them from preditors. These protectors will quickly become warlords. One of these bozos would eventually aquire the leftover nuclear warheads from our glorious civilization, and that's where the real problems would begin.

Nations less affected will of course also try to seize any nuclear assets left in the wake of a superpower crushed by famine. War would quickly follow a serious famine.

This is not doomsayer paranoia. This has happened to civilizations before. Mayan cities, the old kingdom of egypt, the Anazazi, the Nordic Greenland colonies; all these cultures appear to have fucked with their local ecologies (whether consiously or not) and made their lifestyles unlivable.

So there you have it. Remember, we are nature, we are natural beings, but we also are rational beings. Societies have changed before to suit new circumstances, and we can too. Just worry about what you gotta do, and the rest will work out fine.

We've been Conned!

Well, we went and did it. We split the vote on the left, confident the liberals were no more. But nooo, they still got 30% of the vote. So while apparantly only some of the liberals were miffed, they weren't as fucked as everyone believed. Fancy that.

Anyway, what a surprise, we now have a Con government. That's right, the party that one year ago was pushed down our throats by the corporate media; the party that was soundly rejected by the more sane voting population because of appearances by candidates at anti-abortion rallies and comments by their dipshit, creepy leader about how the presence of the Canadian military could have somehow turned the tide in the war in Iraq and forced Saddam to surrender, as well as Harper's utterly bigotted stance on homosexuality. But, one year later, utterly lamblasted with sponsorship scandal bullshit, canadians voted conservative in enough numbers to put Harper in the driver's seat, although luckily in a minority.

The conservatives have no plans for dealing with enviromental damage currently being delivered by our consumer demands. If anything, they are likely to sabotage the efforts of enviromentalists in all sectors. The fact of the matter is that we cannot count on this government to work towards any functional goals for a society that doesn't stand poised to use everything up. One of the local cons, Peter Goldring, believes that any solar panel project would have to occur at the expense of natural landscapes. For the uninformed, such as Peter Goldring, solar panels work best on or as close to the area in which they are powering, like the roof of a building.

This government will undoubtedly attempt to crack down on internet piracy, despite the impossibility of prosecuting the near whole of modern civilization. It will also likely at least contemplate an increase in sentences for marijuana.

On the grander pissoff scale, however, is that, despite capturing 7% of the vote, the Green party failed to capture a seat. I cannot help but feel partly responsible. But now, with Anne out of our riding, there's room for a new Lefty to combat the facist evil that pervades all democracy, like a cruel mother octopus, to enter the ring and fight for all that is good and green, like a loving mother bird.

So decide what concerns you, research the issue and decide where you stand, and do it fast. This government will (hopefully) be dissolved before the year is out.