Technoptimism is Techonaivité

Believing in one’s story until it collapses is a common theme of those failing to live up to Eudaimonia, the notion of a life well-lived. Those whose lifework becomes discredited and desecrated in the twilight years of their life, no matter how successfully they were, or thought they were, cannot be said to have died happily. The Silicon Valley in which I live, a culture infused with the cocaine high of technological breakthroughs, grates against my earthly sensibilities. Riding on the crest of adrenaline, discovery, and money, what many in the fair Bay Area know, is not in fact what is. This temporary party-atmosphere, around until catastrophe hits, is the last hurrah of capitalism . Whether technology will trap us in a surveillance state, or liberate us from mediating political, economic, and social predators, dangles in the hands of deliberate planning and meta-organizing on the part of those developers. As users and citizens, we are all developers. Not knowing the implications of one’s discoveries is very different from saying that there aren’t any. The neoteny of tech bros and gals, and those few beyond and between, is part of the enforced juvenilization of tech “campuses” and a society that values brain plasticity over wisdom. After all, wisdom doesn’t sell. You can’t fake wisdom or put lipstick on a pig’s face with wisdom. No, but with new forms of glitz and glanz, mind control, and exploiting our dispositions as mammals, money is to be made! Thus, tech people are predisposed to think, act, and do as children do. They are rewarded to do so. But this has consequences for where... read more

Root Flute

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I had to give a shout out to my homie Dan and Divya. Dan, rootflute.com   is one helluva sound healer. He does it right. All C# tuning. My homie itom lab would get a kick out of that. As a Hang and handpan player, and general musician, I’ve shared my portion of sound healings, and participated in some awesome ones and some I have not been so stoked on. but Dan’s approach is uncanny. Everything is in tune. He understands the deep shamanic principles that are also scientific principles of theta brainwave trance states, and knows how to deliver. If you ever get a chance to do a sound healing with him, do it. I’m still reverberating.  ... read more

what meditation is

“There are many concentration excercises involving coordination of breathing and attention. Many pseudo-Zen cults teach people to count their breaths and call this zazen or meditation, but concentration without insight is dangerous in that it actually hardens the shell of the ego and concentrates psychological pollutants rather than removing them.” -Wang-sung in Kensho: Heart of Zen. p.... read more

the next 4 years

My predictions for the US in the next 4 years: Drug use will go up, both prescription drug use, and non-prescription drugs. Marijuana and coke, alcohol and numbing agents. There will be less jobs, not more. Jobs will just be redistributed to the hell-on-earth sectors, such as mining, lumber, oil and gas drilling, security. And there will be a loss of jobs in the health and human services sectors, in social work and welfare, in community organizing, in solar and wind,... read more

Enter The Chtulucene

“With public opinion on our side, we can do anything, without it nothing.” George Washington   A meme was circulating just days before the fateful Nov. 2016 election, discussing El0n Musk’s proclaimation that ‘We need a revolt against the fossil fuel industry.’ While quoted from May 2016, it had no less poignancy in November. The world stood at a precipice–American exceptionalism supporting shadow government interests, or transition to a new ecological and social dawn. It was clear early on that Clinton’s campaign had problems. Emails, minimized and dismissed. Here waffling and hawkishness. Her insider politics and lack of transparency in disclosing transcripts of speeches to Goldman Sachs and other financial tools. And all of this was dismissed as ancillary, not to her real stances on issues, but to the heralded historic moment of becoming the first US female president. It was “Her Turn,” a presumptive, privileged rich white woman haughtiness if ever there was one. She failed to connect with people in distress, with those who actually cared about their communities, their families, and their ecologies in disrepair. Her response to Flint was lackluster. Yet she was so overqualified, so went the script.   Instead, here’s a piece of speculative realism, that flips that good liberal’s script:   I don’t think anyone has a clue how devastating a Republican Whitehouse, Senate, and House, and Supreme Court is for the planet. No country left alive, after this doozy. And these aren’t your parents’ Republicans. They are alt-right neo-fascist GMO Republicans created in the Koch laboratory. They are ready for war, for ecological destruction, and for massive oligarchic rule. They feed... read more

More than just voting

Bill Nye, the science guy, has a new Al Jazeera call to environmental action.   This would be good, if he actually addressed some real issues, instead of having the moral of the story as “Go Vote!” I call weak sauce. The problem is that we think a technological deus ex machina is going to fix the problem. It’s not. We need to fundamentally change the very gears of government, both reduce the fat while making it far more effective and less beholden to the global executioners (i.e. oil companies, insurance companies, banking companies, agrobusiness, car companies, chemical manufactures, big data, etc.) and start nudging society in a virtuous rather than vicious direction. This requires not just voting, but organizing, running for office, recalling corrupt politicians, having much stricter laws for elected officials, demilitarizing the police, demilitarizing the military, getting rid of private militaries, paying teachers more than wallstreet hucksters, spending more on education and environment than the military and police. We do this by divesting our money from these companies, showing up to city council meetings, calling (not just liking or emailing) your representatives, spending your money more appropriately and tithing to worthy causes, using your car less, loving more, living in community rather than alone, simplifying your hipster life, living more sustainably and with the land, cultivating humility, and finding joy as an inside job. We also need to be growing more of our own food, spending less money on resources from afar overall, and praying and sending goodwill to the freedom fighters in this golden cage of... read more

Upcoming events: August

2 August Events: Somatic Partner Yoga @thecentersf August 18th and DJing ecstatic SF August 21   Somatic Partner Yoga Thursday, August 18 at 7 PM – 9:15 PM The Center SF 548 Fillmore St, San Francisco, California 94117 Most people think of yoga as a sedentary activity, performed in one’s own bubble. This workshop will defy those conventions, and get to the heart of yoga: the slow deep opening and releasing of old patterns of holding. This workshop will approach partner yoga and acrobatics through the slow warm-up process that enables the fascia to unwind. Working balance, flexibility and strength, we connect with ourselves, and then extend this anchored connection to work with other bodies, integrating elements of yoga, tai chi, meditation, thai massage, and acrobatics. No partner necessary. Bring a yoga mat! $20 in Advance $25 at the door About the teacher A certified yoga teacher and AcroYoga teacher since 2008, Yogi Prateado first fell in love with the art at Burningman 2006. After years of Capoiera training, AcroYoga was the perfect continuation of a dynamic partner physical artform, without the injuries. Prateado has taught and performed widely internationally at private events, acrobatic, yoga, and music festivals, at virtually every California music festival, as well as at weekend workshops and regular weekly classes. Prateado’s love for the adrenaline of acrobatics, combined with the alignment of yoga, and the salve of Thai massage keeps him returning to AcroYoga each time fresh – attentive to the needs and abilities of his current students.     Yogi Prateado (Ecstatic Dance Berlin) will be DJing Edance SF Sunday, August 21st, 2016   www.Edance.org/SF... read more

The Force of Nature that is Bernie Sanders

As much as I would like to gloat, this really isn’t about proving the NYTimes wrong, Facebook wrong, the Oil Companies wrong, or any of these other institutions that never thought that Bernie would have a chance to win. This is about giving us, and the planet, one last chance. The mainstream, tight-fistedly controlled newmedia never thought Sanders had a chance. The NYTimes writes today, Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, his sixth straight victory in the Democratic nominating contest and the latest in a string of setbacks for Mrs. Clinton as she seeks to put an end to a prolonged race against an unexpectedly deft and well-funded competitor. I can’t help but thinking that Secretary Clinton has no right to stipulate the beginning or end of a race that doesn’t involve her. Her existence–no matter how established she is–does not generate a coronation. She is one among competitors. And if she seeks to “put an end to a prolonged race,” then she should concede. Otherwise, she should polish her credentials, and increase her transparency. I have to hand it to Amy Chozick for at least running a Sanders story with a positive headline. That’s a first for the news agency, which sabotaged Steinhauer’s recent article on him which initially was positive, and then changed into a smear by editorial staff. What matters most, though, is not that Sanders is finally getting a little respect long overdue. No, Sanders is an important magnetizing force because the truth is, the policies that Cruz, Drumpf, and Clinton propose, will not lead to the deep, broad, and swift... read more

eliminate deadly “gun-free zones”

Gotta love the irony in “gun-free zones” being labeled as “deadly.” This is one of the best instances of doublespeak I’ve witnessed in sometime, and it deserves noting. The petition (by some unknown soldier) named the “Hyperationalist” (yes, that can be read as either “hyper-rationalist” if one adds an extra “r” or as it stands, “hype-rationalist”) started a www.change.org petition to “Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July.” Now, this petition is remarkably like a recent South Park episode where all problems in life are solved by simply giving everyone guns. It’s a libertarian wetdream, that could only occur in a cartoon world. Of course, the notion of the 2nd Amendment was that there shouldn’t be any necessarily trumping monopoly on violence that the state has over and above its citizens–the exact opposite of how the German father of sociology Max Weber defined the state. The state, for Weber is defined by its monopoly over the (legitimate) use of violence, and hence any other use of violence is illegal and punishable. Under this notion, having guns don’t do anything unless you are a suicide bomber, because if you have guns and use them for an illegitimate reason, and most reasons that most people imagine they have guns for may or may not be legitimate, then you will be prosecuted, and in many of the states where people are most attached to their deadly weapons, they have the death penalty. As South Park insinuated, the best way to have total clusterfuck would be to have a bunch of emotionally disturbed people gathered in one... read more

San Francisco’s push against cyclists

The violence wasn’t intentional. Like most violence, it was systemic. The drunken tech bros, dilapidated streets and increased dangerously lost tourists weren’t enough. San Francisco’s rare breed of velicopedes, the dinosaurs of what SF was before it turned the tech version of the Wolf of Wallstreet, now faced the encroachment of Uber overload as well. Don’t you get it? he screamed silently. The increased Amazon Prime orders, the Uber and Lyft rides, the drunks and drugged and vapids “needing” taxis (never mind the pudge, I’ll just narcissistically go to the gym and take a spinning class)–you thought that they wouldn’t be parking in bike lanes, endangering cyclists, scuttling “late” asswholes (sic) around to the detriment and endangerment of the rest of the nonquarentined lot, he replied with disgust. Doesn’t anybody see the problem? That the more bullshit you pile into a city, the more the commons shrink, until they are as negligible as a Castro man’s gstring during Pride? What shall become of our fair city, gone to the cokeheads and self-congratulatories? Is there any more long term thinkers in this fool’s... read more

Vectors of Consumption, Dreams of Soil

Every generation has its obsession. Legos for kids, Starbucks for Gen Xers. But not all obsessions are the same. Sure, obsessions with certain fetishized material goods as identifiers of social belonging are perhaps widespread across time and space, if not universals. But what these objects are, and their environmental and social impacts diverge drastically. To chalk up the latest fad to “it’s in our genes” explanations is to elide the fact that global tech culture may in fact be destroying the planet and all we hold dear. Paroxysms of enthusiasm for tech is by no means universal, but a symptom of cosmopolitan culture. What type of culture is cosmopolitan culture, looking down on the rest of the world from 30 stories? It is a classic North v. South fallacy of universalizing the local, the temporally circumscribed, and the indulgences of rich, morally self-satisfied countries and the media-entranced denizens that inhabit them. For, make no mistake about it: the widgets on offer by global capitalism currently are pay-to-play. There is no hunting skill involved, no luck of serendipity. Instead of trading cowry shells, the currency of tech has a long, long shadow–environmentally and socially. We are not the world. This should be the mantra of every overweight kid indoctrinated by virtual reality and X Box compulsion; every CEO and upstart start-up topsy-turvy progressivist who sees nothing but the myopia of angel investors’ capital; every stay-at-home dad and too-busy-to-care mom; every rosy-cheeked college student relieved to fit in. Our gadgetry, on which I write this morbid post, is an indulgence, and like all indulgences, comes with Corporate Social Responsibility guarantees and... read more

Where are the Democrats?

On the eve of the biggest decision-making point of my lifetime, I ask, where are the Democrats? It’s not as if it is just anomalous that I recognize the tipping point — for transformative harmony or zobified enslavement — that our current era presents. The next election will cauterize a vision for the future of this planet for years to come. Perhaps for the rest of humanity’s time here on this planet. I think we’re all savvy to this. That’s why Koch and Co. are splooging gazillions of dollars into their usual disinformation campaigns for the circus de Republicanos. Long live greed, ignobility, fascism! they cry out. Long live a two-tiered world of the haves and the have nots, of the organic and GMO, of energy control and energy hungry. Artificial dependency, may ye reign for ever more! herald their calls. And yet, this leaves me asking: Where are the Democrats? Maybe Democrats don’t even really exist anymore. Maybe a “liberal” might just as well just be a Republican, the way so-called liberals or Democrats are behaving these days, with the anti-democratic Democratic National Committee (DNC) parceling out their votes and favor to the establishment candidate instead of actually supporting the democratic process. God forbid that the people should speak and want something different than the Lords and Ladies presiding over the Mardi gras show. What then? But the true blue democrats, the Kennedys and the Carters, the rich supporters, Hollywood; Silicon Valley, Harvard–where is there money? Their influence? Why on this good green earth are they not stepping up and making the difference that washes away the confusion... read more

But not enough for everyone’s greed

  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”   A prime example of this is the October, November, December California methane gas leak, courtesy of SoCal Gas. The 800,000 metric ton and counting methane leak could have been averted and abated, if the area had been cemented over, and the company gave up future prospects of monetizing the gushing methane lines. But instead, we’ve got another TEPCO on our hands. So greedy for money, and the possibility of recouping lost money on what remains of the leaked gas, that instead of doing what is socially and environmentally right, they are attempting a long-shot pipe repair process, which means extra months of leaking methane. Too big to fail, SoCal Gas is unwilling to cut their losses, let alone admit their mistake. This seems to be an endless refrain in big energy corporations, begging the question of why such behemoths should even be allowed to continue to exist, as they are neither ready nor eager for any sort of accountability to the larger political-ecological community of beings they must be beholden to. Such energy corporations, bloated with the self-importance our energy-dependent society has pumped them up with, operate above the law, with no public oversight or emergency plan for protecting public health when all else fails. Instead, our crises, from the BP oil spill to Fukushima’s TEPCO disaster, to the Exxon Valdez, are dealt with in the most hurried and embarrassed ad hoc manner. Such an approach, with no Plan B, leaves us with an impoverished ecology, and a dangerously untethered... read more

Yes, but what are they trading?

It has long been a dogma of global capitalism that trade is good, and more trade is better. But what is the substance of any proposed trade? This is the question that we need to be asking. Rather than zombieing out and letting our eyes glaze over as we pretend that trading periwinkles for cheese is the same as trading oil for nuclear weapons, it behooves us to be more discerning in regards to the actual goods being traded. The numbers game of money, which performs the pernicious trick of equating anything with anything else (slavery for diamonds, anyone?), has pulled the wool over our eyes regarding how we evaluate and regard trade. An example is the recent Kremlin talks between India’s Prime Minister Modi and Russia’s Putin. They wanted to increase trade. Sounds good, right? Well, here’s what it turns out they’re trading: “The two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defense, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.” If trade boils down to exchanging widgits which ultimately do not bring more equality, justice, happiness, contentment, and sustainability to both countries, perhaps we need to call it by a different name. Children trade card with each other, to play. Rural neighbors trade eggs for squash, milk for apples. All benefit, and this benefit comes from nourishment. Building more Bhopals, half-built radar stations, more Fukushima Daichi nuclear plants, or more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis–is not what I would call trade. I would call that evil. The impetus behind such trade made be wholesome notions like security, safety, energy independence, and wanting... read more

Consistency

When one watches Bernie Sanders reiterating the same story for the past 30+ years, and no one has listened, apparently, what makes it seem like things are going to change now? 30 Years of SpeechesWatch this amazing video that a talented volunteer put together showing 30 years of speeches. Posted by Bernie Sanders on Thursday, November 5, 2015 WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR WE ARE BEING THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD There is no Bernie Sanders –Icon. There is only people harnessing power around this man. Senator Sanders has bravely committed to act as a lightening rod for all of the projections and aspirations of a mad world. He has stood up for the oppressed, given voice to the voiceless, and strength to the weak. But it hasn’t been him at at, properly speaking, that has done this. It’s us. Senator Sanders didn’t just pop out of the woodwork, though if you asked me two years ago who he was, I couldn’t have told you off the top of my head. His message has been consistent; anti-imperialism, pro-student, pro-justice, pro-healthcare. Pretty run of the mill issues, and certainly things that 30 years ago still were part of the mainstream Republican Party package. But what has changed is the movement that has grown around Sanders. He has acted as a molecule around which rain can form, a mass that accretes stray matter so that a speck of dust can become a surging meteor. What has been lacking all this time was leverage and visibility. Let there be no mistake about it: WE rather than “THEY” or “HE”... read more

Don’t pretend I’m not paying attention

  Don’t pretend I’m not paying attention To every nuance of your visage Every micro-movement or furtive glance, Lustful yearnings for validation.   I understand all too well, Your strained exaggeration Your compulsion to please.   Please, take off your make-up. Relax that brow and pose. Reclaim connection to your body, Your authenticity, recompose.   No gesture but that which’s called, No expression but your core. And mastering presence with completeness, Open heart’s rusty door.   For, I hear every intrigue, every subterranean discomfort you deplore. And can feel your dishonesty spewing forth in every sip of sweat from your pores.   How I long to lap up your frailty! and replace it with oak pith. Caress my finger along your vulnerability, Soothing eternal throbbings of wound’s myth.   So lick me, with your bandas’ fire, Seduce me with fierce eyes, Surrender your self to my heaving chest, And wrap me in the innocence of your thighs.   For you know far better than to pretend and feign and guile. I can but only pray and attend that you untwist that sickly... read more

My Political Views

  My political views? I’m basically against anything that kills people or destroys the planet we live on. The problem is that many people, if they have some of their illegitimate privileges taken away (like the rich being taxed. or corporations being regulated ) FEEL as if they are being killed, even though they’re not. The lack of distinction or inability to discern between the actual and perceived threat of life is one of the gravest problems facing us today, and driving people, corporations, and governments into a preemptive berzerker mode killing everything around them because they are so over-threatened by everything that moves. This hair-triggered anxiety, paired with technological weapons, is a recipe for disaster. We need to be helping people to recoup their sense of boundaries, and recognize the difference between giving up toys, and mortal threat. Until we make this distinction between luxuries and needs, we are in for some serious trouble. Hyper-reactivity is a symptom of disease, in this case, of mental-illness. I remember the old film, The Corporation, created by the Canadian Broadcasting System back in 2003, which is still shown to high school students in Canada as an education in protecting yourself against corporate propaganda. One of the most chilling scenes is when the filmmakers check off a list of all of the qualities of a sociopath, and corporations fulfill–in a deadly way–every one of them to a T. We have come to believe that corporations, like Philip Morris (now Altria) or Exxon Mobile are people–which have indissoluble rights. I’m guessing if they could corporations would even try to be granted Human Rights, if it... read more

PetBOT. HumanBot.

  What does this video say? It says that we have turned humans into machines, so much so, that our only solace is those who we cannot be around. That it is okay to have animals pent up all day. That this is somehow acceptable. Animals are not like Tamaguchi toys. They need stimuli, otherwise they die. Virtual reality for animals is the next generation is estrangement from self. Do we really want to make everything virtual reality? Hothouses and growrooms are already virtual reality for plants. Chemical fertilizers, superstimuli. What are we doing? Are we aware that this is a sign of some deeper problem, or do we go about looking to cure symptoms? What sort of charade are we playing, exactly? How many people work long days, in jobs they don’t like, doing things they don’t feel are worthwhile, waiting to go home and be alone–save for the grace of a dependent animal that has been locked up against its will, desperate for social contact? A lot, I bet. What this mean, is that this invention is just catering to a broken system. It is triage for the doldrums. It’s training animals and humans to interact increasing with virtual interfaces, personifying technology, instead of connecting with the biochemical flesh of another intentional, breathing being. “Tell your pet that you love them or play some calming music to help with pet separation anxiety with PetBot’s speaker,” PetBot’s website instructs. This created co-dependency is only the result of forcible penting pets up in sterile boxes (called apartments) with no stimuli, no companions, no life to interact with at all.... read more

Analytics

philosophy departments are being colonized by analytics: “epistemology and metaphysics” through the power of transmutation, now apparently mean “analytic philosophy” Translating this for the non-philosophers, analytic philosophers spend their whole lives on the equivalent of the Scholastics’ question of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Not exactly what our withering world needs right... read more

Bernie

Bert and Ernie – Bernie   There is no question that Bernie Sanders is the only hope for the United States, and by extension, this crazy world of ours. For so long, the U.S. has been ravaged by rabid parasite-infested maniacs shooting schools, buying elections, emptying the public coffers, destabilizing regions, and attempting to control the bodies of women and people of color. But, does Senator Sanders stand a chance? There are several ways this question can be interpreted. First of all, does Sanders stand a chance vis-a-vis Hilary, the Democratic Party favorite? Likely not. It is thought that Hilary–an admittedly second-rate candidate who has flip-flopped more than John Kerry ever did–is the only way forward, the only plausible candidate. And thus, we should throw in the towel, be reasonable, and capitulate to our fate. In this view, Sanders never had a chance to begin with. And all who would say otherwise are simply engaged in wishful thinking. But, this perspective is deterministic, fails to understand all of the upsets, how Obama came out of nowhere in 2008–a rookie Chicago senator–to become the strongest personage in the Democratic Party (albeit, now, perhaps, reluctantly and regretfully). Second–does Sanders stand a chance against a Republican-led Congress? Or would he just be spinning his own wheels with little effectiveness? This approach assumes the status quo of Republican dominance, and fails to see that for any successful Democratic candidate to govern successfully, that Democrats must take back at least the Senate (which is the best possibility this time around, as Republicans apparently have a lock-down on the House in 2016, no matter how things... read more

between you and me

between me and you   i imagine a ball of energy and light like the blue-green earth dappled with etheral clouds played with care between the hands of gods and goddesses   without touching, we pass intention back and forth receiving and responding until we come to that dripping liquid condition where action without actors blooms   movement without mover the essence of creation siphoned through our surrender and release   the grace of seasons, of starlit space of suns and darkness pervades   for, where grace presides darkness loses its tart flavor succumbing to the eros of its protective cape   beyond being and not the dualistic knot loosens inhaling the mystery of opposites   as a dream of self without reason to fret about boundaries and purities because expansion encompasses and is encompassed like an intersecting rainbow   the torus shell itself existing parallel as above so as below inflates observation at every level until the levels disappear in one smooth current of flow   that is the offer I gift you, with a sigh and twinkle incessantly relaxing into the truths presented to myself   I nudge the ball in your direction anticipating fresh predilections to nourish and sate my thirsty body so yearning droolingly so for the soft touch of guidance in this hot cold world of insecurity   so pray tell without telling the future please, let us share this relaxation through maintaing our game of seperateness while at once breathing our delusional desire into a beautiful, rotating supple crystaline... read more