Of the Height of Hopes for Reason.

Rewrite history
in the minds of the tribe, cast
yourself in better light. In their minds,
reality yields

to their confidence
in your “alternative facts.” No matter
this embarrassment of riches,
this wealth of evidence
to the contrary.

This is post-truth.
Madness.

This is where religion
meets politics
once again. Crying: are we just being

naive

in our high hopes
that logic will prevail,
that reason will win

in the end?

Advertisements

Unwitnessed Crumbling of an Unnaturally Orange Fruit.

No matter the truth,
it fails
to impact this damned ego.

Rolls off like rain,
no dent,
hairline scratch in evidence.

To truly bring him down,
you must get him where it hurts.
Drag his name through the mud,
deprive him of audience.

Watch the weak,
pathetic
man as he finally whimpers.

Only means
of summoning response.

Ego only
broken when he’s all dried up
and there
is no one
left to watch.

Then and there,
he crumbles.

Suffocation & Burial.

So I shouldn’t mention it?

Shove it back
behind the mask,
I guess.

Just push it down
till the unconscious
and subliminal pushes back
from the conscious pressure
like a volcano.

Kick it out into the world,
I suppose. Project
it upon some faction
of the masses represented
by some percentage
of my immediate social group,

all to distance
it from me like I made a play,
wrote my own part
and then went on to cast their roles.

Guess I’ll just censor
it, bury all this inside,

beneath regulated,
so-called
self-expression
and compelled speech.

Suffocation and burial.

Culture of Nostalgia.

Our culture has become a culture of nostalgia.

Sequels. Prequels. Remakes. Reloads. Re-releases with added special effects. Old TV shows like The X-Files, Full House and Rosanne returning. Stranger Things is more creative in that it draws from many nostalgic sources, mainly movies from the 80s, but even so.

Then there is far more ambiguous nostalgia, like that which Trump has for some unspecified point in the past when America was, like, great and stuff.

Are we running out of ideas? Is Hollywood and the like just trying to capitalize on our yearning for the decades behind us?

Why is our culture as a whole increasingly like some old codger inching towards the grave, looking back on the past, regurgitating the same old stories about the good old days gone by?

Is cultural nostalgia a sign that our society is nearing its end?

On President Happy-Thumbs & the Political Gulf.

No, I am not one of those people who think that if you voted for Trump, you must be a racist. I do think you were more than slightly naive, however, and if you’re still behind him, rallying around him and holding him up like a spray-tan messiah at this late date, I simply don’t get it.

No hate. Just utter confusion.

And for the record, I’ve tried to remedy my confusion in this respect. Before he was elected, as I saw his rising support, I tried to release my tense fist and extend an open hand across the ever-increasing gulf of an isle to ask the Trump-supporting peeps on my Facebook friend’s list what I was missing, what made Trump so appealing to them. I truly wanted to wrap my mind around it all, but I eventually walked away as perplexed and frustrated as ever. And so I’ve remained.

And no, I’m not one of those people that delete you from my friend’s list just because we have different opinions, either.

Still, after all of this, I would have thought people would see him for what he is, or at least what he seems so clearly to be to me: a small-minded, narcissistic authoritarian with no value in the truth. And the lies of President Happy-Thumbs run so deep I’ve honestly come to suspect he believes his own bullshit and embraces the insipid philosophy that the measure of truth is the degree of conviction you have in an idea.

The division between people, at least with respect to politics, continues to grow. People avoid the topic as if ignoring it will make it go away, but that only feeds the gulf. When did we become incapable of talking to one another, of having an actual conversation?

And will this ever get better?

Solo to Building 8.

Meet Gary McKinnon, a red-haired, 52-year-old man from northern London who managed to really piss off the US government. He has been said to have committed “the biggest military computer hack of all time,” and has himself been called “the most profligate military hacker of all time.”

As for himself, he seems to consider these ridiculous notions. He was only after the truth. He just wanted to know the government’s secrets regarding UFOs.

His interest in both computers and UFOs went way back, though it was some time before he used one as a tool to explore the other. Though he was bad in school, he found that he was rather adept when it came to computers and eventually taught himself how to program. Then, when he was about 11 or 12, he witnessed a UFO from his second-story window. He described it as a red light that zoomed in an massive arc across the sky, moving in erratic wiggles as it made its way. This, along with his stepfather, who was interested in UFOs, is what initially inspired his interest in the subject. Since he couldn’t afford books on the subject, he joined the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), where at least he could be supplied with up-to-date material on the phenomenon.

After school, he initially took odd jobs. He was amazed when he discovered internet and got it at his home in 1995. Eventually he got a job at a company where he worked on computer security.

The spark of inspiration for his two-year hacking spree came in the Spring of 2001. This was when he learned of Stephen Greer’s Disclosure Project, a congregation of hundreds of individuals employed or previously employed by various branches of the US Government. All claim to have seen evidence of a cover-up regarding the subject of UFOs. Some claim the government has successfully reverse-engineered alien technology and even gained access to free energy, which they conceal from the public. They would be holding a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC that May. McKinnon got the associated book and took notes on areas of key interest that he could use to search for on the internet.

That’s when he began going home at night and engaging in hacking. With his personal computer, through his 56K dial-up modem, he hacked into the computer networks of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Defense, as well as the Pentagon, NASA and the Johnson Space Center. This happened between February 2001 and March 2002. He claims he’s no genius; after all, he was unable to comprehend the higher-level mathematics that would have allowed him to finish his Higher National Diploma in computer programming. He only had curiosity, creativity, that oh-so-necessary patience — and, of course, his own trusty copy of The Hacker’s Handbook.

And, he adds, what he accomplished would have never been possible if not for our government’s lax computer ”security.”

He wrote a program that tied together pre-existent programs that search for computers with their passwords set to default. Typically, he found that about fifty administrator accounts on a given ”top security” US network were set to such passwords. Easy access. Once he gained access to these administrator accounts, which were used to maintain such systems, he would have the widest access. He could scan almost any file in a given network. He then installed software that allowed him to remote control another computer. All he had to do was be cautious about hours specific to time zones and only hack in during the middle of the night.

And under the hacker-name Solo he did just that, time and time again, eight hours a day, every day for a year. He became rather obsessed, often neglecting to shower or change cloths. He ran up $2,500 in dial-up charges. And he went unnoticed. Just once was he caught by a network engineer, and after talking to the guy online, he said, he managed to convince him that he was with Military Computer Security.

So it wasn’t all that difficult, he tells us. This seems supported by his claim that in the midst of his hacking he found he wasn’t exactly ”solo”. He was in company. Running a command called NetStat (Network Status) that reveals all the connections to the computer he was hacking, he found IP addresses from all over the world. And they weren’t from other military bases, either.

Though he found nothing of significance for months, he said, he eventually came across two things of interest.

On a Navy network, he found a document entitled “non-terrestrial officers” that listed officer names and ranks. Included were 8 to 10 ship names, none of which he remembered in interviews, blaming it on his increased pot-smoking at the time. He was certain they were designated USS, though, and later searched the ship names but found no public mention of them. He also found reference to ship-to-ship or fleet-to-fleet material transfers.

The second item of interest he came across was found due to the testimony of Donna Hare, member of the Disclosure Project. Between 1967 and 1981 she worked for Philco Ford Aerospace, a contractor for NASA, as a design illustrator draftsman. She had a secret clearance and in the early 70s worked on site at Building 8 at the Johnson Space Center. One day, she walked into the restricted NASA photo lab across the hallway, where, she said, high-resolution images were regularly taken to be assembled into a mosaic. She was talking to one of the techs she knew, who showed her a aerial photograph mosaic, presumably of earth, and drew her attention to a round white spot on one panel of the photograph. When she asked if it was a dot on the emulsion, he smiled, his arms crossed, and stated that if it was, it wouldn’t be leaving a shadow on the ground. She also saw the shadow, which was cast at the same angle of nearby pine trees. When she asked if it was a UFO, he said he couldn’t tell her. When she asked him what he planned on doing with this information, he only told her that it was their duty to airbrush them out prior to their release to the public.

That was enough for McKinnon to work with.

Armed now with an exact location, McKinnon searched for Building 8, accessed it and began to search for relevant files. He eventually found two folders that were marked either “processed” and “unprocessed” or “raw” and “filtered”. In any case, in them he found a long list of photo files and he clicked on one of the raw or unprocessed ones. Due to his snail-speed internet connection, however, the image loaded only one line at a time. What he eventually saw astounded him.

“It was a culmination of all my efforts,” he described in an interview with Spencer Kelly. “It was a picture of something that definitely wasn’t man-made. It was above the Earth’s hemisphere. It kind of looked like a satellite. It was cigar-shaped and had geodesic domes above, below, to the left, the right and both ends of it, and although it was a low-resolution picture it was very close up. This thing was hanging in space, the earth’s hemisphere visible below it, and no rivets, no seams, none of the stuff associated with normal man-made manufacturing.”

Elsewhere, he added that there was also no insignia on the craft and that the domes flowed into the craft in a smooth manner.

Since it was a Java application, he told interviewers, he wouldn’t have been able to save but a frame of it. And he tried. Just as he had downloaded about two-thirds of the image, however, he saw the cursor move, and not by his own hand. Unbeknownst to him, he had miscalculated the time difference and had accessed the computer during the hours when it was still in use. Someone was physically at the computer terminal he was remotely operating and could see what he was doing. The cursor moved to cut the connection.

Amazingly, this didn’t stop him from continuing on with his hacking.

Issues with his girlfriend and the fact that he was smoking copious amounts of marijuana probably didn’t help matters, he has confessed. He even tried to get back to that same Building 8 file later on, but security had been tightened and he couldn’t gain access. He began getting cocky, too.

“It got a bit silly,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “I ended up talking to people I hacked into … I’d instant-message them, using WordPad, with a bit of a political diatribe. You know, I’d leave a message on their desktop that read, ‘Secret government is blah blah blah.'”

So when the British National Hi-Tech Crime Unit arrested him in March of 2002, he really wasn’t at all that surprised.

His personal computer was seized and the hard drive was ultimately sent to the US. He was held in custody for perhaps seven hours and confessed. Originally they told him he would probably just get a sentence for six months of community service. No big deal.
Ultimately the British Crown Prosecution Service dropped charges against him, as his crimes did not involve their own computers.

Unfortunately, the US Military was pretty pissed off.

In November of 2002, the US Department of Defense began their efforts to extradite him to the US to stand trial, where he could face a 70-year sentence and fines up to $1.75 million. There had previously been a law in the UK that required the US to produce evidence before they could extradite someone. Then a new treaty was signed. For extradition, the US now needed only “reasonable suspicion” and was not required to provide evidence. The UK, however, was still required to have probable cause. A little unbalanced, methinks.

“I was charged seven times,” he told The Observer, “with 10 years’ imprisonment on each. The most serious accusation was ‘bringing down the entire military network of Washington’.”

Their claim was that he caused some $700,000 in damages to 97 military and government systems that took over a month for them to repair. He claims, however, that he wasn’t attempting to damage anything, he was merely looking for something. He didn’t call this hacking. He called it research.

“I think it’s the biggest kept secret in the world because of its comic value, but it’s a very important thing,” he said to Spencer Kelly in an interview. “Old-age pensioners can’t pay their fuel bills, countries are invaded to award oil contracts to the West, and meanwhile secretive parts of the secret government are sitting on suppressed technology for free energy.”

McKinnon feared the prospect of facing US prison time, or even, he speculated, Gontomino Bay. Over a decade of legal battles ensued as he waited with this storm cloud looming over his head, and in the interim he was diagnosed with Aspergers and depression. This ultimately influenced the 2012 decision by UK Home Secretary Theresa May that sending him to the US would be in violation of his human rights. His extradition was denied.

McKinnon has been accused of making up the notion that UFO interests drove his hacking as a smokescreen for his malicious intent. He dismisses this as ridiculous, insisting that he wouldn’t have used UFOs as a cover if he had such intent, as it would only open him up to ridicule. I, for one, believe him to be sincere with respect to his motives and honest with respect to what he has seen — though his interpretations of the information he stumbled across is certainly open to interpretation.

McKinnon was impressed with Greer and got caught up in the free energy idea, for instance, and I am very suspicious of both. I am, for that matter, suspicious of allegations that the military has successfully reverse-engineered and replicated alien technology, though I don’t doubt that they have such alien technology in their possession. And I don’t think we have a secret space program, either, at least not to the degree suggested by the common interpretation of “non-terrestrial officers.” I will say that Greer amassed a collection of high-ranking military officials with interesting stories to tell, however, many of which I find entirely believable.

In addition, as described by Donna Hare and apparently verified by what McKinnon found while hacking Building 8, there are indeed NASA photos to be found that suggest apparent airbrushing, blurring, smudging, blatant deleting or similar techniques. If you are in doubt, take a moment and Google it. While some of these are no doubt due to photographic errors, many of them seem to be too localized and deliberate to dismiss on that basis.

As I’m not holding my breath with respect to government disclosure, I believe those like McKinnon are as close as we’re going to get. Though the US government didn’t make the example out of him in the manner they seemed to be aiming for, they did make his life a living hell for well over a decade, and that nightmare alone may be enough to ward off many future, would-be UFO Hacktavists. Our hopes for future public acceptance of the truth regarding what aspects of the US government knows are therefore likely only in the hands of a talented and courageous few.

I can’t condone it, and I’m certainly not one of them, but I can’t help but say it: I really hope they exist.

***

The Nerd Who Saw Too Much (The Sydney Morning Herald, 7/13/05).
Terrorist or UFO Truth Seeker? (Reuters, 4/28/06)
Gary McKinnon interview by Stephen Emms (The Observer, 4/22/07)
Hacker fears ‘UFO cover-up’ (BBC News, 5/5/06)
Breaking into the US citadel was easier than child’s play, by Maija Palmer, IT Correspondent (Financial Times, 4/22/06)
Mystery Space Machines Above (Rense.com, 12/1207)
Wikipedia.
YouTube clips.
Rampant insomnia-fueled Googling I could never hope to sufficiently detail.

Safe, Cozy Nothing.

Build a shell.
Erect a border wall.
Declare a safe space.

Fashion an echo chamber.
A womb, a prison.

Is it for you to grow
or are you resisting
hatching,
just a Russian Doll,
Chinese Box,
building
redundancy
as a feeble
means of defense
from inside,
rendering
yourself an ever-depleting core

of once
something, now hardly
anything? No matter.

Dead potential.
Nothing left
to defend, anyway.

Doesn’t even
matter anymore…

A.I.pocalypse, Neuralink and the Superbrain.

After I got home that evening and hopped on YouTube, I quickly discovered that The Joe Rogan Experience podcast was streaming live — with Elon Musk as the guest. I think I cheered aloud. I then sat my happy ass down for two and a half hours, watching it from start to finish. However brief the moment was, I should mention, I knew from the moment he took that single, solitary puff of Mary Jane that this was what the media would jump on. Never mind the substance that could be procured from their conversation, never mind even the whiskey they were drinking, it was all about the stuttering genius partaking in a tiny hit of the Devil’s Lettuce.

Akin to Eckhart Tolle, he exhibits a characteristic behavioral trait when asked a question. He looks down, eyes flickering back and forth as he processes the question and awaits the response offered by the depths of his relentless, explosively hyperactive mind. Sometimes, like Jordan Peterson, his eyes dart to the sky, but I think the same subjective activity is at work. In the process, he seems to naturally experience the sharp distinction between inner and outer reality in much the same way that I do when I’ve smoked a sufficient amount of marijuana. Put simply, he becomes so absorbed in his internal focus, drawn into his mind to such an extreme and intense degree that all external sensory signals are drowned out, utterly lost to him. A moment of loaded silence passes. Then he changes channels, placing his focus, his target of psychological absorption, yet again on the external world, and offers his response.

It’s an abrupt switch. There is no middle ground. From the depths of the Mariana trench to the highest point of Olympus Mons, no segue necessary. It is no wonder that, though he has experimented with meditation via mantra, he feels anxiety towards Rogan’s suggestion that he try out a sensory deprivation floatation tank. The guy’s mind is a ceaseless swarm of ideas.

When AI is brought up, which was nearly inevitable, he confesses that he has become less worried about it. Not because circumstances has become less dire in his eyes, either, but because he’s come to adopt a more fatalistic attitude.

His calls for prospective regulation have fallen on deaf ears, and while disappointment, frustration and depression doesn’t seem to graze the surface of how it makes him feel, he doesn’t seem surprised, and he explains why. This is simply not the way the process of regulation tends to come about. Shit first hits the fan and then, over a period of struggle that could take up to a decade, regulations are finally put in place. Like seat-belts in cars. But if that pattern were to play out with respect to regulating AI, he says, it would be far too late.

Given what he considers to be a failure on his part to convince The Powers That Be, he has other safety measures in mind. First, though, it might be best to illustrate precisely what he thinks the danger is.

As he sees it, the danger of AI is likely to manifest, first and foremost, in one of two fashions. It will either be controlled and weaponized by a small group of people — a government faction, a terrorist organization — or it will develop a will of its own, and in either case there is potentially grave danger. If AI develops into a superintelligence, it will quickly become capable of improving upon itself, with the consequence of those improvements leading to still greater and swifter improvements. It essentially achieves a singularity, Musk says, in that the ultimate result is impossible to predict. Circumstances may not lead to our extinction, but it would certainly be well outside human control. AI would be so intelligent that even if it were benign, we’d be like pets to them. And they would be gods to us. This, Musk argues, wouldn’t exactly be the Panglossian “best of all possible worlds,” however, and I couldn’t agree more.

His solution, unfortunately, scares the shit out of me even more than the alleged dangers inherent in the rise of AI itself. Given the inevitable rise of superintelligent AI, he says, the best-case scenario for human beings would be to merge with it.

“If you can’t beat it, join it,” he offers.

It would be the only way to defend ourselves from AI, to arm ourselves against it, and to prevent us from becoming their house pets. This isn’t as drastic and divorced from our current circumstances as we may think, either, he stresses. In essence, we are already cyborgs. We have digital versions of ourselves online through email and social media. We can answer questions on Google, hold video conferences with people across the world. Our phones and laptops are extensions of us.

There is certainly, clearly a difference between this, our current relationship with technology, and what we typically think of when we imagine a cybernetic organism, of course. He describes this distinction as being our current “bandwidth problem”: our rate of input/output is far too snail-pace, particularly the output. Our vision can take in a lot of data through all the text and imagery on our screens, but we have to deliver our input through hunt-and-pecking fingers or, in the case of our phones, merely our dumb, clumsy thumbs. He suggests that what we need ASAP is a high-bandwidth interface with the cortex. Just as the cortex works symbiotically with the limbic system, the AI could work symbiotically with the cortex, making us more or less what we typically imagine as cyborgs. The rate of data exchange would be so fast that experientially, we would be one with the AI extension. We would have enhanced cognitive ability. We would interact with one another in simulated worlds, download limitless data, even backup our identities and achieve technologically-mediated immortality.

This is the aim of one of his companies, Neuralink: to blend man and machine so that we ride the AI wave rather than be submerged by it. And it fucking terrifies me.

In the midst of hearing him talk about this, I was reminded of both Delgado and Bearden, who helped me fashion nightmarish scenarios for the human future back in high school.

Ah, the good ol’ days.

I first heard of Dr. José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado back in my Sophomore year, I believe. Rather than the popular notion that physical abnormalities were the cause of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy, he hypothesized that the underlying issue may be erratic electrical activity in the brain. After he learned of research that seemed to show that the movements of animals could be controlled by stimulating their brains with electrodes, he focused his own research there. Rather than lobotomizing people, he thought he might be able to jolt their brains into the normal manner of functioning, and to meet this end he invented the stimoceiver. It was essentially a radio receiver attached to electrodes, and he went on to implant them in the noggins of various animals including cats, dogs, monkeys, chimps and eventually human beings.

Through use of an implanted stimoceiver he could remotely control various parts of the limbic system. In the experiments he began carrying out in the 60s, he found that he could produce a wide spectrum of emotions and behavior in his subjects from the simple to the curiously complex — and all at the mere press of a button, the crank of a dial. The way we passively change channels on the television, adjust the temperature in our house or turn the dial on the radio, with just as much ease he could produce euphoria or terror in another, he could summon up a fit of rage, conjure sexual desire, or produce passivity. Armed with nothing but a remote control, he once stepped into the ring with a bull implanted with one of his stimoceivers and was able to stop the aggressive beast dead in his tracks every time it charged at him.

When his experiments moved to human beings, he found that he could induce emotional and behavioral responses they were unable to overcome by will. Even more disturbingly, in some cases the subjects mistook their remote-controlled behaviors and emotions as natural responses — as products of their own, free will.

Allegedly, such behavior can also be produced through posthypnotic commands, but that’s another long, ranting article.

Aside from remote control, he also discovered he had the ability to reprogram or condition the brain. There was a chimp named Paddy, and after she was implanted he monitored her brain waves and induced a painful sensation every time her brain produced certain spindles, ultimately training her brain to stop producing them altogether in just shy of a week. Admittedly, the potential this has for preventing seizures is amazing. It could also “train the brain” against depression and countless other mental disorders. Psychiatrist offices are full of patients who take drugs to overcome these very things every day; drugs that often have horrible side effects, at times much worse than the symptoms they’re administered to treat. Here, a person’s neurological habits could be subject to a limited period of conditioning. No lifelong routine of popping pills necessary.

Still, its more than a bit horrid.

So while there are certainly beneficial aspects to this technology, it is outweighed in my mind by the potential horror that could result from its use — particularly today, where upgraded versions of his stimoceiver would be much smaller and inserted far more easily. And technologies such as Neuralink could provide an avenue for such control as well, either by terrorists, hackers, or power-hungry factions of the intelligence community.

In addition, Neuralink may potentially pave the road to something even more terrifying, and this is where we come to Thomas E. Bearden. I first heard of him in the book Silent Invasion by Ellen Crystall, which led me to his own book, The Excalibur Briefing, which I found interesting insofar as I could comprehend it at the time. Eventually I came across him again, without seeking, in the mentally nauseating New Age book Gods of Aquarius by Brad Steiger, where he was given the last word. I photocopied that part of the chapter during high school and, looking into my files two days after watching the Rogan podcast with Musk, I found I still had it.

Reading this back then constituted a turning point in my thinking, where my growing paranoia regarding the experiments of Delgado reached a peak and solidified.

In Gods of Aquarius, Bearden speculated that:

“The evolution of a life-bearing planet may be divided into stages, the first five of which are: (1) The formation of the planet itself and some billions of years of cooling, so that a primordial atmosphere and ocean are gradually evolved; (2) The fomenting of amino acid structures in the violent convulsions of the primeval sea and planet; (3) The formation of the self-replicating supermolecules, DNA and RNA; (4) The formation of one-celled organisms; (5) The formation of multicellular organisms. At the upper end of the fifth stage of evolution, the intelligent mobiles emerge, as do eventually tool-using intelligent mobiles. This is the level on which man finds himself on the planet Earth.”

It is interesting to find that much of what he said, particularly beyond the quoted portion above, falls in line with my current thinking. He states that in life, in organisms, there are two competing control systems. The first he describes as “genetically programmed,” and this refers to the instinctive or genetically-hardwired and are inherited by virtue of being a member of the species; the second deals with the “genetically unprogrammed,” which is to say the patterns learned or conditioned through individual experience and cultural influence. Organisms must have some degree of both in order to survive, though a more “intelligent” species has more of the second.

In order for an intelligent organism to utilize it’s intelligence to its fullest potential, however, it must bear a body that provides the naturally-evolved tools or technology that makes the utilization of that potential possible, which is something I’ve contemplated in depth. As I’ve written of before, it may very well be that a species of octopus exists in the deep oceans under the thick surface ice of the moon Europa that bears an intelligence far greater than our own. Despite its relative superintelligence, however, it would be unable to develop spears, let alone the advanced technology our comparatively stupid selves have managed to develop — and simply due to the fact that it does not bear opposable thumbs or exist within an environment that would enable it to create fire.

Human beings are a tool-creating, tool-using species, however, and over the course of evolution we have developed greater and greater technology, or systems of tools. Our technology, serving as extensions of our bodies, which themselves constitute an extension of our minds, brought us to dominate all other species on earth and increase our population. It will also likely pave the way to our self-destruction, however, because our species in-fighting is not only no longer limited to our genetically-evolved technology (our bodies) but also no longer regulated by our genetically-hardwired instincts.

We need not strange someone, or even shoot them personally. We can bomb them remotely. This distance, available through our technology, gets around that limiting, hardwired sense of empathy.

Our technology is also advancing at an exponential rate. Bigger, better, faster, stronger. More destructive, at least potentially. We are on a positive feedback loop of conflict heading towards destruction. This was as central to Bearden’s concern as it was, or so it seems, to Delgado’s.

Despite the dangers inherent in going forward, we cannot go backward in evolution, Bearden concludes. Becoming a technological species was a one-way threshold. In terms of “natural” evolution, the human species has achieved its final stage, and the next step, the sixth stage of evolution, must be a conscious one — and, in Bearden’s estimation, a technological step, if we survive ourselves and are therefore capable of taking that next step at all.

(It also strikes me that this could be the filter that explains the “cosmic silence” so often spoken about when discussing the so-called Fermi Paradox.)

What would this sixth stage constitute? In the eyes of Bearden, by necessity it must be characterized by the reintroduction of internal control, preventing the kind of “destructive competition” that accelerates us towards species suicide, without relinquishing our intelligence, which is to say our “genetically unprogrammed” nature.

Over the course of recorded human history, we have struggled to achieve this.

“Law, logic, philosophy, creed, religion, practice, love, sacrifice, money, the ballot, and the bullet — all of these have empirically proven that they cannot solve the human problem for all humanity. Since none of the solutions advanced to date can solve the problem, we must discard them all and search for a new approach.”

How? What on earth could solve the problem? The solution he proposes could be seen as the inevitable trajectory of our technology, the endpoint of it’s ever-advancing and allegedly exponential rate of advancement, barring self-termination. He contends that the only available solution is to unify all human brains “into one giant superbrain” adding that “one would also hope for the ‘maximum individual freedom within the constraints of minimum essential inter-individual control.’”

“One would hope”? Seems frighteningly low on his hierarchy of values, from the smell of it.

This could be accomplished through, and would in all likelihood (at least in my own, paranoid mind) be the end result of, the kind of technology Delgado was developing and, more to the point, the kind of mind-machine interface technology that Musk was proposing as the most beneficial avenue given the inevitable rise of superintelligent AI.

Bearden envisions this as each individual or “mancell” functioning within its own personal sphere but interactions between such mancells being governed by the technologically-induced harmony of what would constitute a technologically-mediated superorganism or massmind.

Bearden hypothesizes that when, to start simply, two minds are technologically linked — at least in the kind of high-bandwidth, time-delay-free union Musk aims for in his Neuralink effort — a phenomenon occurs that is not unlike what happens naturally within the complex mesh of matter packed into the typical human skull. The cortex and the amygdala, or limbic system, are in symbiosis, causing them to identify not as individual parts, but as a whole, just as Musk explained.

The two sides of the cerebrum or cerebral cortex, the left and right hemispheres of the brain, have a similar relationship, perceiving themselves not as the dualistic aspects that they are physically, but as the singular entity they are experientially and enact behaviorally.

As Bearden explains, the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and the left hemisphere controls the right, and one hemisphere, typically the left, tends to dominate. Despite this, we do not typically consciously experience any separation between the left and right side of our body. Both hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum, a thick mesh of nerve fibers that transmits the messages between them at such a high rate of speed that it produces a convincing illusion of immediacy from the standpoint of conscious awareness.

“If one holds up both hands and observes them, one is perfectly aware that here are two separate hands, but is only aware of one being to whom the hands belong, even though each hand is being controlled by a different cerebral hemisphere.”

In other words, in those with functional, cerebral hemispheres, the inter-cerebral bandwidth is heightened to the point where our consciousness cannot detect any time-delay between one hemisphere and the other. Whatever one hemisphere generates the other hemisphere experiences as having generated itself. Put in another way, Bearden explains:

“… when consciousness can perceive no difference, identity results, just as separate movie frames appear continuous (each two appear one) when flashed at 22 frames per second. Thus in one’s own body, two brains are integrated into one functional brain and one perceptual personality. There is no conscious separation of the two brain hemispherical perceptions, and one consciously is aware of only one being or continuity, himself.”

This is precisely what Musk appeared to be trying to convey when he spoke about the AI extension. The AI extension he appears to be aiming at through Neuralink would constitute a artificial, technological layer of the brain that would, given sufficient bandwidth, perceive itself as being as synonymous with the AI extension as one hemisphere of the cerebrum considers itself synonymous with the other. If such a super-brain were to be accomplished, the brain itself would look upon the singular human organism in much the same way as the singular human organism — you, I — currently look upon one of our hands.

On a positive note, this linkage, according to Bearden, would naturally eliminate competition between individuals within the network, at the very least what he describes as “destructive competition,” as such behavior would be as self-defeating as you using one of your hands to stab the other. We would be one super-brain with access to countless bodies.

Where would there be room for an individual? For privacy? For personal freedom?

While this superbrain is not necessarily what Musk proposes, it certainly seems like a step in that direction and may even be an unintended consequence of the aims of Neuralink. As with Delgado and Bearden, Musk has good intentions, but be it intentional or not, this may ultimately destroy the individuality we presently enjoy, obliterate any vague semblance of privacy and personal freedom. Liberty of the soul could meet its dead fucking end here.

And that saying, the one about what the road to hell is paved with? Call me paranoid, and I hope I am, but it still might be a good one to keep in mind.

Never Mind the LIKEs.

Do it. Mark
the moment.
Let your soul
take a shit.

You need it.

Doesn’t really matter
if anyone

“likes”

it. Love ’em,
fuck ’em. Captured
a moment:

all you were after.

Whatever music video
or clip
from an interview
or lecture

you shared,

whatever meme
made you giggle
or smile,

each and every ranting,
rambling status update…

Love it.
Fuck it.

Never pass up
the chance
to be you show
you share
this with an audience.

Provided
only multifaceted
illusions
of separation,

highlight
the webs
we weave,

the ties
that bind us.

Freedom of Expression.

Cut off
my tongue
and stitch shut my lips.

Sever all
my fingers
and my frantic thumbs.

Go on and try
to force your insipid words
out my mouth

or through ink
or hunt-and-pecking
or other means of expressing

with a sharpened blade
to the neck,
or eager finger, so happy
on the trigger,
itching,

hold me at gunpoint.

Go on and pull it,
stupid, oppressive fuck.
Sharpen your blade.
Ready your needle
and nano-fiber thread.

Go ahead, fuel
my building insolence.

Just know that I’ll bleed
for my own soul
and all of those opening
their raging vein

of uncensored
honesty.

No,
I don’t ever have to agree.
You?
You missed the message,

and if its the last
thing I do,

I’ll load the chamber
once again,

I’ll sharpen
it and brandish
it to drive

in the point
to thee.