Sunday, September 19, 2010

Competition Encouraged.

Sometimes I have to stop for a second and make sure I'm not some crazy person. I mean because they exist out there (one of them jumped in front of me while I was in the car and asked me if I'd been following him and other random nonsense). But I don't think I'm that. I have friends, I do normal things, I take part in my community as much as possible, I think I'm fairly standard. But than I have some weird ideas.... now I'm not sure if I'm alone in having them or if anyone else has them, but then I watch TED and am constantly thinking "Thats exactly what I was hoping someone would say!" So maybe I'm not crazy after all. Or maybe I'm not even special. Maybe everyone who can take an objective look at the facts, maybe they all see these blatant truths that I see. But maybe they've also grown accustomed to the way things are and worry that trying to change it will just make them seem like another.. well... Crazy person. I mean it sounds that way: the thought of being Anti-Capitalist was about as heretical as anything only 60 years ago.  And maybe humanity is not as fast as technology. Maybe 60 years isn't long enough to recover, maybe all the wars and genocide of these last 60 years is still taking a toll on us as people.  Maybe we don't even believe in ourselves yet. We've seen too many terrible things, we know whats possible. So we assume that a global peace is just a farce; some strange concept invented by hippies, and in order to believe in it you have to drop acid and smell like patchouli. But maybe it's not such a distant crazy idea.  Africa is a whole continent of untapped potential, because it was slower to develop. But now we are so excited to see these African nations join the modern bandwagon. We used to see these people as lesser than us and take them as slaves and force them to do our dirty work.... but now we've changed. We've developed the internet. We've developed a global voice. No longer do we dehumanize a group of people simply because of race, gender, religion (not as a whole anyway).  As a whole the world is humanitarian, it is excited to be of help to those in need.  Look at the response to Haiti. So we've taken a new step, we're wholly better now than we were... It's time we realize that. It's time we see that we aren't so bad. That as a whole, for the most part, we can all be friends, Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Africans, French, etc, etc, etc.... Sure we can disagree on things, but lets not kill each other for it. Lets have a competition. Discover a new galaxy, land on planet, ( i dunno) play a soccer game, whatever! And whatever it is the rest of the nations will judge you. And then, if you win, your country will come upon great wealth or great pride (because if you saw the crowds and the after-parties for the world cup, you can bet pride is pretty damn powerful), or some other wonderful prize. So it would be worth it for you to compete, and in the end no one died and instead of instilling sadness and darkness in one group of people, you've exposed enlightenment in one.

Lets use a very simple example: The Middle East.

This is currently the worlds most taxing issue. Oil dilemmas, political agendas, death tolls, confusion! The gift that keeps on giving. And the war has been going on for a long time. I don't want to posit how I feel about the situation, I don't want to pick sides. But I think it would be a pretty simple solution for the rest of the world said "Okay listen, Jews and Arabs. Whoever builds the best lunar-probe in 5 months, gets such and such piece of land. The rest of the world will make sure that the agreement is kept, because they are following the issue streaming-live on the internet. And the Jews will agree because they think it's impossible that the arabs could beat the jews in this type of game and the Arabs will agree for the exact same reason. This will start a technological revolution in both places in a short period of time, they will both have to pool the planets resources for ways to build this machine that can explore unchartered planets and deeper reaches of space. Of course the losing team wont be happy, but thats just the way it goes, at least they will understand why they are being displaced. We, the world, will make sure they get a comfortable home somewhere and that these people will not be ostracized from the rest of the world.

So you see solutions to problems can be simpler than we've ever known. Why have casualties when we  control the rules of the game?

Tedx Thisblog

This blog is definitely a bi-product of watching TED videos and other inspirational videos (in fact the following speech was written before I came up with this blog). So here is what I might say If I had the opportunity to speak at a TED conference (but that would kill my anonymity):

Well, 18 minutes, isn't much time, so I'll have to get to the key points pretty quickly. But now I have to ask myself, what are the key points? Well I guess if I were to be concise, to be a bit preachy and direct, I would say the main point, and it's a sort of one-two combo, is change and imminence.  

I have spent the last month watching TED talks constantly, being inspired (to the point where I was so inspired I wasn't being all that productive). So the ideas following are not just the product of someone sitting in a room with a pen and paper and saying "Where has the world gone wrong!?" Surely I can see extremely obvious examples of whats wrong, but I cannot concisely explain all of them. However, other people can, and have. And they've done it eloquently, magnificently, beautifully, statistically,  and they've done it in ways which have taken them hundreds upon hundreds of hours of research. Sure I can say "it feels like something is about to shift, or I feel like the climate is being effected (because everywhere I go the weather is ridiculous and I saw that video Al Gore made 5 years ago)" , or that "My goodness! My standardized education was a waste of my time!" But I could never prove these things, I just felt they were there. Now theres a huge bank, a cache, of incredibly honed knowledge and it paints a very clear picture. Which brings me back to my main issue: Imminence and Change. Well what is imminent, you ask. As Johan Rockstrom will succinctly tell you, our climate is being pressured into an incredible change, it's about to step over a very delicate precipice. But that is just one of the imminent things, what about our lopsided economy and over population, well there's Slavoj Zizeks RSA Speech about the misgivings of charity and how it's undermined our economy, and Hans Roslings TED talk on population growth. So you see the facts are clearly stated,  you need not go any further than to realize something is imminent. Let us take the example of the frog and the pot of water: if you bring a pot of  water to a boil and drop the frog in, he will jump out, he will be hurt, but he will be very much alive. But if you put the frog in cold water, and raise the temperature slowly, he will sit there and await his doom until it's all but too late and he hasn't the energy to jump out. Well right now the water is getting quite warm. So let us not sit idly by and watch our own demise.

But at the same time, lets not worry so much about Mother Earth just yet. We have such great aspirations; like trying to build green cars which convert crude oil into energy and burp out flowers instead of producing noxious gas. Wonderful ideas, but what value do they have immediately. Pretty much nothing. No matter how many hybrid cars or photovoltaic cells we put out there it's not going to change anything, not right now. You see we're trying to run before we learn to crawl. These things will happen naturally. But first we have to solve our own problems. Humans can't continue on like this. Lets look to another TED speaker, Seth McCandless who showed us visually what percentage of each economy's budget is put towards military: it's obscene! It's like all we as humans care about is killing other humans or stopping other humans from killing us. Let's stop and think about that for a second. According to our budgets, our focus, as an entire species, is about killing other members of our species or preventing other members of our species from killing us. WHAT!? Has the world gone mad? Well, I guess thats a bit much of a reaction. Killing each other has been a favorite past time of human beings since our inception (can i still use this word without Leonardo DiCaprio planting himself in your head?). I mean look at all the terrible leaders we've seen,  Genghis Kahn, Vlad The Impaler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, the list goes on. Killing's been pretty popular throughout history. Now, I'm not sure about you, but I personally feel like killing is wrong. Whether you do it for religion or for your girlfriend or for your dog, it's bad any way you slice it. Those dictators are all figures of the past, and the phrase "history repeats itself" is bullshit.  Humans are in their absolute youth, who is to say what will and will not repeat itself. Lets learn our lesson as well. We are all connected, anything important that happens, happens everywhere. There are no more boundaries and borders, so why kill over them. Don't drop bombs on Iraq, drop iPhones on them. Let the kids rebel. And as Sam Harris said in his incredibly inspiring TED talk, lets not delude ourselves into believing that we have no moral compass. We can tell whats wrong and whats right, and if something seems off it's our job (and I don't mean grand ol' USA), it's humanities job, to step in and say something about it.  Lets shake hands with our neighbors. So stop killing would be my step one. Thats not to say we shouldn't have militaries and protect ourselves, we cannot all of a sudden become weak and defenseless. But we don't have to make it the focus of everything we do. If enough countries are enlightened, than an unenlightened attacker is going to meet with a heavy hand from many different directions. So where do we put all the money allocated to war. Science, exploration, education. SEE! See how quickly technology is advancing, every single day something new comes out. Thats because we are currently in the middle of an incredible technological revolution. Give it a kick! Boost that revolution to the next level, and go one better. Take it into orbit. Put as much money as we can into technology and exploration of the universe. Send probes and satellites and everything we got to as many planets as we can get them to. Send people to other planets, how hard is that? The amount of material used in a Ford production plant in a single day is probably more than enough to build a fully functioning space shuttle. Reform education: follow the guidelines of Sir Ken Robinson and that indian guy who did the Self Teaching video. Kids are the future, so make sure it's a good one. What if we don't exist but once and your born again, here, on this planet, as soon as you die. Do you want to be born into the terrible future we're currently designing, one with Walmarts and Mcdonalds as the worlds primary employer? I don't think so. The changes need to be made on every level. Limit capitalism, multi-billionaires exist. There are people who don't have food in this world at the same time as people who have multiple billions of dollars.  The disparity of wealth should only go so far. Capitalism has run it's course. It's time for some big changes there. The change that is constantly spoken of is not just an idea, it's a necessary. It has to happen. Every one of these inspirational videos ends with an emphatic: You are the ones we are looking for to help. But none of them say exactly how. What is it that you  can do? You who is sitting at your computer watching inspirational videos and coming up with your own brand of brilliant ideas…. Change. Show the world who you are. Explain your ideas, write them down, post them online, somewhere, anywhere. Maybe there should be another sight, a cousin of TED (we could call it STEVE - System To Engage Virtually Everyone) Maybe your idea exists, that doesn't mean its worthless or redundant, rather the opposite, it means it's resonating in the minds of others. It's time we take stock, it's time we figure out where we are all at. It's time we preempt the "soft-apoclypse" as Slavoj Zizek called it. Let's not wait and find out what is imminently awaiting us, and lets do something about it, let's change. I personally don't have all the answers, but I have some, and you do too, so bring on the revolution.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Imminence and Change

So what is the blog about. I guess before I can really sit on my laurels and wait a day or two to conjure up a good post I have to get into what this blog is actually about (besides the vagaries in my non-introduction). This blog is a response to all the things which are sparking up on the internet, things which outline the incredible imminence of disaster and the necessary changes we need to take to avert them. Now since the dawn of man, we have always been worried that tomorrow disaster will strike, and for the most part it's just someone spouting off apocalyptic nonsense. I'm no judge of apocalypse, but I can tell when something is imminent. But I'm not the only one, there are people out there doing incredible jobs, of finding out exactly what can happen, how it will happen, and when it will happen. You see the "Doomsday is near!" claims of millennia  past, is just mindless prophesy. But now we can make educated guesses that are better educated than any have ever been. Technology! (and here i must quickly digress) We have reached new tiers of human capability that 60 years ago... no scratch that, 20 years ago,  seemed completely impossible. And it's still on the rise. Technology is moving faster than we can even comprehend it.  But we are starting to catch up. And in doing so we are seeing that there is a wake of destruction thats left behind us. So now we badly want to do something. 

So again, why am I writing this blog?  What is the goal?  The goal here, is to change the world (quite the task, on blogspot no less).  We are currently very scattered, our goals as a species are vague and our cultural goals keep us divided. Our countries, our religions, our skin color, our political policies,  our socio economic position,  these classifications have all been placed as more important than the quality of being Human. These categories have created incredible divides amongst people,  divides so strong that we ignore the inhumanity of many situations because the people do not fall directly into our spheres of relevance. But because of the internet we can change the hierarchy of these spheres. We can place humanity at the top and everything else in descending order. There is no reason for war amongst human beings, if something comes and attacks us thats a whole different story. But we must focus ourselves as a people, only then we can figure the rest of the problems out. 

You see humanity is in it's youth, we're constantly finding new things. History won't repeat itself if we make sure of it.

This is not an introduction.

It's just the first post, goddamnit. Where is it stated that the first post on any blog must be a blindly fumbling  account of someone saying "oh hey Big World Out There, i'm such and such." What a silly practice. You are either speaking to an audience or you aren't. There is no mythical world who you can just dedicate your memo-head to and expect an audience of incredible proportions.  With that in mind who exactly am I talking to? Well I guess I am trying to talk to everyone.

I don't want an identity. Only the persona which I create online. And who am I? Well I am everyone. That's not true, I am an individual. But my idea is to represent everyone. It seems impossible, and indeed it probably is, but my goal is to exist as a collective of thought.  I am something and someone though. I'm an artist. An artist is an Ideasmith, and I have lots of ideas. This is where I will put my ideas. And for the record, my ideas, are your ideas.