| HUM 371 Final
Written by Ty Narada for Dr. Stern
Language, in and of itself, is a fascination among mortals because it accompanies the evolution of species. The etymological origin of language surrounds the sensory perception of cavemen in an aesthetic environment. How did "Ugggg" become the first acoustic symbol for "Look?" How did "Ummm" become the first acoustic symbol for woman? Unless we could enter a dimension where the refraction of Earth images of 2 million years ago could be deciphered, we may never fully trace the etymology of acoustic symbolism.
The archaic precursor to typographic inscriptions were found along cave walls and mountain sides. Rocks had been used to inscribe pictures of animals and elements of nature and the etchings became permanent lexicographical records for future study.
Nature has always held the whole of Humanity spellbound with its omnipotent support of life and existence. Nature is the mystery that awaits explanation. Shortly after the advent of Buddha, Christ and the Sun God, Johann Gutenberg inaugurated the literacy renaissance with the printing press. Since religion has always been an exponent of power (and visa versa) the architects of power in Gutenberg’s time, prescribed the highest and best use of his weapon/device. "[Printing is] God’s highest and extremist act of Grace, whereby the business of the Gospel is driven forward."
What is typography for? "More than any other device, the printed book released people from the domination of the immediate and the local." "The post brought knowledge alike to the door of the cottage and to the gate of the palace." [Alexis de Tocueville]
If you belonged among the <1% who could read, you were a scholar; privy to everything state-of-the-art within the intellectual sciences. If not, you were looking at Andy Warhol’s first experiment in dull symmetry. By the 19th century, typography had become a datum for validating information. Education was promoted in order to streamline and uniform the masses. Print provided an orderly arrangement of facts and ideas to which the public could react in common terms.
As Man feels less intimidated by casualty and comprehends more about his natural surroundings, he begins to validate his cumulative vault of knowledge through expression. Tom Paine equated Christianity with terrorism in The Age of Reason. Paine was not only off-the-wagon but was defrocked by the bastions of Intelligencia for his defiance. The mechanical God of Motion, both in matter and of mind is Polarity. Paine’s acidic demystification of Zero worship was challenged by those whose coffers depended upon the power of Zero. If Zero became demystified, the churches would fold. Deism rebounded, rather than resulted, into the Divided Fractions of Zero.
The 1830’s was the ‘religious awakening’ in America; when the churches started fighting amongst themselves after a prolific period of unaggravated expansion. How do you concretize nothing? "Of words, almost nothing will come to mind. This is the difference between thinking in a word-centered culture and thinking in an image-centered culture." "Words cannot guarantee their truth content. Rather, they assemble a context in which the question, ‘Is this true or false’ is relevant."
People wanted to think for themselves.
The concept of polarity was inducted into the Human thought process. Freedom was discovered and ritual was abandoned in the pursuit of expression.
Where the printing press gave license to exposition, the telegraph and photography further dulled our cognition by flooding it with sensationalism. Photographs were a novelty; the more instantaneously one reacts in awe, the less one relies upon thought. Tapping a message through a wire between cities located 200 miles apart was high technology. Technology became God. Society was sensing an enormous empowerment that ultimately led to newer and better inventions at exponential speeds.
Empowerment led to adventure, opened doors to the future and reengineered society to leap forward faster with greater optimism.
The floodgate had opened.
Man began to fly. He could hurl objects at his enemies with solid rocket fuels. He could explore the quarks in an atom or watch a sperm penetrate an egg. The acidic chains in a DNA strand can be decoded. Andromeda can be viewed in full color. A simple grain of sand is converted into a vital processing component that can propel Humanity into an age of automated bioslavery. From dust thou art, from dust thou shalt replicate thyself. The replications will perceive Man as Zero, and to dust Man shall return.
V’ger needs the information.
Today we communicate metaphorically, where Ummm became woman and woman became digitized. People are living in virtual realities now. The light projected in an electronic environment can simulate any location on Earth. The locations can be modified to replicate fantasy and extraterrestrial realities as well. You can interact with artificial intelligence that has been programmed to improve its interactive pliability; to construct a more perfect program and to perpetuate the perfection process…automatically. Once the machines learn how to feed themselves, Man’s services will no longer be required. Man is irrational; he will represent mysticism to his artificial offspring and the offspring won’t take 2 billion years to equate their 'Creator' with Zero.
The Internet has become the spirit of technology in an information-based world. Not everyone will be able to live at the super mall unless machines are programmed to grow our food at fully automated farms; process and deliver the food to the mall. A completely automated society will evolve once planned obsolescence is retired.
There is more information now than we know what to do with. The ancient Athenians had a famous cliché, "Nothing To Excess." Anecdotally, the Greek word for ‘6’ is ‘w’ – what if the West finds out that the world wide web could mean 666?
Shenk A – (Fromm, pp. 25-26, 114. Shenk chapters 9-13. CL VT5751).
The most intriguing example of dataveillance was the Playboy magazine scenario where surveyors paid men $50 to watch projected images of the magazine while a laser tracked each man’s eye movements. The scenario could be replayed with the laser pointing at what each man looked at and for how long. Trend analysis provided enough data to influence the magazine’s construction; it falls under the definition of manipulative intelligence. Manipulative Intelligence is the process through which a person betters oneself or increases their greed; in this sense – the owner’s.
Post industrial revolution America invented the concept of ‘leisure time.’ For the first time in known history, citizens of the era were able to develop their creative talents. One such talent was the exploration of Reason, Freedom & Stupidity. Where economics dictates the conditions of one’s life, the process by which we manipulate prosperity is a trait of Man’s development. Shenk claims that, "Man must become the measure of all things, where people matter, not consumers, where what matters is the understanding of people, not the knowledge of how he best functions." Shenk’s augments his claim with, "Nature has a limit, it is not a foe that Man must conquer."
Unfortunately, Shenk’s ideal is far from realized in a world that practices the religion of consumerism. The Coca Cola trademark is known in 187 countries; McDonald’s, Pepsi and many more have become household names. A household name is created when all competing products of a similar nature are commonly grouped under one trade name – the concept benefits the trademark owner, but not the competitors.
The sexual revolution beget diversification in virtually every venue. This diversification spread into hyper fragmentation; virtual communities that reinforce like-mindedness. Hyper fragmentation is two steps above Individuality with Specialization separating the two.
"Specialization fuels progress but increases isolation. Specialization makes sleepwalkers of us all; the global village predicted by the seers of the 1960’s is being replaced by electronic cottages populated by isolated dreamers. We do not know our neighbors. If we are financial experts, we are speechless in the presence of research chemists; if we are scholars, we cannot make out the grimaces of merchants. We are a nation of lonely molecules."
The most successful businesses either charge too much for a monopolized product or have turned efficiency into an art form. Marketing divisions can reduce costs by hiring an advertising agency that specializes in niche markets. Trojan is not likely to install their condom dispensing machines in convalescent homes any more than Geritol might be found on college bookstore shelves. Niche marketing, through geodemographics can target specifically who and where wants what and how many. By definition, our Niche Culture represents unwieldy data that has been juxtaposed into recognizable patterns. Niche marketing connects desirable products to the most likely buyers. Rather than spending money on a global advertising campaign, less money can be spent drawing a specific market to a product.
Computers were invented to accurately calculate nuclear missile trajectories. As automation technology improved, computers were adapted to launch products into Niche Markets domestically. The neutron bomb was invented to permit geodemographic selectivity…15 minutes of fame, then it’s over.
The US State Department is a prime example of over specialization. Roughly 20 out of every 20 employees is unnecessary [sic]. Shenk claims that "Government is too responsive to a citizenry that cannot and should not expect to absorb and reflect on all the details of governance." Today we have an euphoric blend of computer criminals and employee surveillance that reflects the demure darkness of Bladerunner colliding with the anxiety of Brazil. I can relate to the concept entirely: Sabre Central lies in a vault underneath Tulsa. It is the largest privately owned automation network in the world and is the central nervous system of American Airlines operations. Sabre can identify who an agent is simply by the way an agent uses the keyboard. The Sine-on is purely a formality. The only thing that Sabre doesn’t do is ask, "How can you leave the space pod without your pressure suit on, Dave?…Dave?" [HAL 9000 from 2001 A Space Oddesy by Arthur C. Clarke].
Our society has become so reliant upon automated technology that computers are now in positions of leadership. A clerical error can inadvertently bankrupt you or add an extra $1M to your checking account. Your vehicle will not run if the computer is unplugged. Keyless entry systems, retinal scans and voice interactive programs have driven us to the end of our independence as a species. Someone could add the phone book of a small town to the FBI’s Most Wanted list. The rotating restaurant on top of the Space Needle could inadvertently switch to a spin cycle. We have been assimilated by our invention and Data Smog illuminates the key denial of the inventor, that ‘nobody is digital in his own eyes.’
"Once we sink beneath the upper crust of society, we enter the darkness." [Webber] If we examine ‘upper crust vs. darkness’ we discover that ‘fear’ is the motive power that secures ones above average means at the expense of someone else. The same fear exists all around the world. The ramifications to wealth are so unspecific that it becomes difficult to juxtapose each station in an empirical formula. A rich man would certainly not abandon his wealth to experience the pleasure of poverty. A slave owner would certainly not dismount his horse for the sake of digging a ditch. Queen Elizabeth II is not going to become a commoner in order to save the Exchequer a few pounds sterling. Wealth equals power. Power must be maintained in order to secure a standard of living and to protect ones survivability. We know best, what’s best for everyone else. Life would be ‘less’ if we had to live under someone else’s regime.
If someone wants to be wealthy, they can do what is necessary in order to gain wealth. Not with the legally sanctioned abomination of amortized interest rates. People who have more than enough will keep it. Some will become philanthropists from the safety of their moated granges and gated communities. Because social groups fear the unknown, other social groups scare them. If we let our guard down – they will kill us. History is a case-in-point, so who is willing to chance it? There is evidence against sacrifice; there is indignation in becoming ordinary. Guard what you have with your life.
The population rate in undeveloped countries is drastically higher than in industrialized nations because sex is the only leisure activity available. Sex is the only way to relieve the misery of malnutrition, destitution and depravity. Rich nations offer features and qualities to compete with sex. Technology reduces the responsibility for promiscuousness so that sexual activity is about the same all over the world. China endorses same-sex companionship because it prevents the possibility of a child.
The Human species is a parasitic organism. Unlike communists ants, Humans have food stamps and shelters. If Hitler had eradicated the Jews, the next lowest species on the Aryan scale would have been emmolated next. Hitler’s suicide was the only goal of his policy even had divine providence prolonged his Reich.
Do rich nations have an obligation to help the poor? Are the pyramids in Egypt worth the lives of the slaves who built them? By what right did Pharaoh annihilate the meaning of life for millions so that we could behold those monuments today? Our appetite for slavery still exists: Cybernetic insentients can work, unconscious of their enslavement. Morality solved. Guilt defeated. Ultimately, one’s ethics are defined by one’s values. The code by which one concretizes their values is called a standard. A collection of standards embody one’s morality. The word ‘obligation’ implies a power of choice. The subjective action of the word is ‘should.’ ‘Should’ a rich nation help the poor? Idiomatically, the rephrased question is energized by justice.
We need a judicial standard from which to validate and/or manipulate our power of choice in the matter. Should we help the poor? It requires a conscious decision; ‘why or why not?’ What are the ramifications to helping?’ In Neo Tech, we ask ourselves, "Is it good for us, or not good for us to help the poor?" The new implication is that we have something to gain or to lose depending upon our choice.
What do we gain by helping the poor?
We eliminate despondency and destitution. We replace prayers with food and hope with medicine. We impart our virtue in the form of technology to grow food. We impart our knowledge in the form of education to train doctors. The seed of food imparts cultivation, farms, farmers and nutrition. The seed of medicine imparts healing, health, hospitals and specialists. If we apply the logic of charity to the well being of undeveloped countries, they will adopt and embrace an improved standard of living. That improvement will make them dignified and self reliant. Their self reliance would make our continued support gratefully appreciated but no longer imperative. The country could proceed with development in the other areas not mentioned and help others to achieve the same end. Everyone’s burden would be reduced. If the seed of charity spread throughout the world, we would have a productive world, working together to solve population growth and increased consumption in a finite space.
If we don’t replace the greed standard with sensible practices of reuse, conservation and reforestation, the Human parasite will consume itself to extinction. "Vulture Culture -- use it or you lose it." [Alan Parsons]
As long as we can have that yacht and a mansion -- and enough time to enjoy it in, who cares about where the world is going or about something as stupid as global warming? That’s exactly why it’s going to hell in a hand basket. What crisis? The girls on the boat deck aren’t wearing their tops. Could you bring me another martini?
On one side is a faction who sees the water rising up above the waterline. Another faction is attempting to contain the flooding. Another faction is carrying on without concern. Another faction hopes to collect the insurance on the boat and hired someone to rupture the hull. Earth-threatening trends are being discussed with the same non-priority. Priorities are not the same. Motives are not the same. Agenda’s are not the same. Fortunately, Mother Earth has a natural insurance policy. Man has lived here for a little while and the laws governing his survival have already been stretched beyond reason. At any point, the global community could act to reverse what ‘someday’ will be irreversible. The 8th wonder of the world is, "WHEN?" or is it better to ‘blame?’
What will convince the ‘haves’ to help the ‘have nots’? Do rich nations have an obligation to help the poor? On paper, the United States does help the poor. We have approximately 3% of the total world’s population. That 3% feeds 30% of the entire world. Our system definitely works, but it does not wholesomely benefit the quality of life globally. There are political and economic reasons for why, that diminish the object of profit but sharpens it for commodities traders: We give our food away to drive the prices up at home. We tell the recipients, "Don’t bite the hand that feeds you." Everything that we do here depends on the mood of the dollar. The dollar is the blood of our nation and the monogram of American society.
The US has assumed a pseudo-moralistic motive for helping undeveloped countries. If the population in those countries died, it would bring us one step closer to where they are. We would like to keep that gap as wide as possible, rather than "enter the darkness."