2010-05-29

hold on to your turban, it's gonna get sunny

tumbling universes

swirling spiral globes

spinning, unhinged

superior camel-riders

collapsing the desert into a thin horizon of sun and dust and hillsides filled with grain

cabbage and red cream atop the waterfall of pleasure

I sit. And ride. and wow what a spectacular judgement of self-controlling werebats!

how atrociously flamebait! she said. are you afraid? of what?! dying is a maze of confusing lies, with a golden cicada at the top-center.

and four corners define the cube of the universe

underneath the chicken barn.

2010-05-28

when I hold on

when I hold on tightly, day after day
I start to forget
that I'm holding on

2010-05-26

my love, why

my love, why
do you cling so tightly
to these things that pain you so?

my love, what
are you?
are you not me?

then my love, why
do I cling so tightly
to these things that pain me so?

2010-05-25

fall off the horse?

fall off the horse?
only thing to do is
climb back on!

2010-05-24

learners

learners are those interested in ever-expanding horizons

they seem to have one thing in common: an open mind!

want to be one?

try wearing a bit more "I don't know"!

2010-05-23

join me!

You believe in what you read in the newspapers
I believe in magic

You're sad about the tragic bombing in kazmuchnistahn
I'm excited about breakfast

You listen to the TV, the radio, the academics, and the teachers
who tell you what's impossible.
I know nothing is!

Wouldn't you like to join me
in wonderland?

All you have to do is
the hardest/easiest thing:
let go!

2010-05-16

the game of life

Have you ever been addicted to a video game?

A role playing game, perhaps? Or a difficult action game? You want to
solve it perfectly, play it perfectly. Get the best score, get the
strongest item, complete the hardest quest, maximize your experience
points.

How many hours of concentration have you put in? How massively much
positive energy have you poured in? Honing your brain solving puzzles,
sacrificing dinner to play an extra 30 minutes..

Your energy for the game is nearly boundless. It is monumental,
admirable.

Yet outside the game, ordinary life, reality, sets in and disappoints.
Real life sucks, you say. Perhaps there's too much irrationality,
arbitrary rules, pain, or emotions. Perhaps you're broke and working a
dead-end job. Perhaps your girlfriend is ugly.

All the while, inside the game you're able to push, in a massively
positive way, for perfection.

What if..

You found a way to harness that inner energy you have for the game,
change the energy not at all, but simply slightly change it's
direction, it's focal point. What if you found a way to turn your life
into a game? You start by figuring out how to score the game: more
pleasure and happy feelings = positive points, more pain and sadness =
negative points. Now your task is simply to maximize your score.

Impossible, you say? Too many things are out of your control?

But isn't your own happiness is in your control? After all, people have learned to find happiness in much more dire circumstances than yours.

Maybe being unhappy simply means you need to go back and work on your game-of-life technique some more.

I challenge you to a game of have-a-kick-ass-lifetime!

2010-05-13

what's next?

what is your wish for the world?

peace on earth?

a comfortable, free life for all?

respect for all sentient beings?

(plain old world domination?)

now

imagine the world is as you want it to be.

what now?

what's next?

2010-05-11

the flight home

I streak across the sky
spreading my love out
like specks of dust
glittering in the sun
of the neverending afternoon

dispelling a few myths

I found this in a comment on youtube:


One negative of capitalism is it requires cyclical consumption, corps have to reproduce the same junk over and over with minor changes just to keep it going.
Another is 'technological unemployment', meaning machines take jobs and there are NO replacements. So everyone without work is just supposed to die.
The[se] are INHERENT problems that can not be fixed by changing the curency or controlling the government.


On cyclical consumption: while it does often seem as though this is what's happening, it doesn't have to be this way. If we the consumers want a washing machine that just does the job without all the bells and whistles, and lasts a long time, then there's a market for it and a smart company will produce it -- and in so doing outsell the company that's producing the overfancy hunk of junk. True, there are certain kinds of products -- trendy clothing, for example -- that do seem to go around and around in circles. But it's optional to participate in these markets. You can opt out and wear whatever you find at the local rummage sale for 2 bucks, or for Spitalfields Market in London for 2 pounds, like me! The option to not participate in ridiculousness is one part of the wonders of a free society.

On technological unemployment: this reminds me very much of Manna by Marshall Brain. The robots are taking all of our jobs! It does seem plausible on the surface -- if all the jobs are done by robots than what's left for us to do to earn money?

There's actually nothing to be afraid of; technological unemployment is actually a wonderful thing! It's one of myavorite things to think about because I get all warm and fuzzy inside. One way to approach this is to look at history. How about the washing machine? At some point in history, it was somebody's job to wash the clothes. Nowadays it only takes a few minutes to throw them in the washer; so that job is now gone, replaced by laundromat tycoons and good old GE. And yet disaster was averted and those people put out of work have managed to find other jobs. And now everyone's standard of living has gone up because we are free to, if we wish, use the laundry machine instead of washing by hand. (It's important that it's optional to use the laundry machine -- to satisfy those that long for a simpler life, of which there are many, we must allow for the fact that sometimes simple manual labor tasks provide for deeply satisfying work. This is part of the argument for low taxes, but I digress.)

How does this work? The reason you're getting confused is because you're looking at the economy in a static fashion. As if the demand for goods and services today is roughly the same as what it'll be in 50 years. However, these things change over time; how many people in the 1890s were employed by Hollywood? What was at that time a futuristic technological luxury is now a commonplace commodity with an entire industry to support it which employs thousands if not millions of people.

Another way to think about it: forget about jobs and money. Just think about a bunch of humans milling about the earth trying to have a good time. In one scenario, some of the humans spend day in and day out as bank tellers: handing people cash and punching some buttons on a computer. Then someone invents the ATM and those humans no longer have to hand people the cash, they are free to do other things (like invent new ATM-like devices! Or take up cricket.) Net, the world is surely better off with the ATM than without, all other things equal.

So fear not! There will be new opportunities for all; and they'll be more and more creative as technological improvements take care of the less-fun jobs.

(cross-posted at freedomislove.org)

2010-05-10

smile

smile to God
and God smiles back
twice as brightly

2010-05-09

save my portfolio

Will somebody please tell me why this guy is wrong?



Whenever I hear him talk about the fiat monetary system heading for the tubes, I get this incredibly strong urge to go buy more gold. I think I could use some balance in my perspective! What's the best fundamental, rational argument for why we're not headed for rampant hyperinflation?

2010-05-08

we are all traders

I was listening to Principles of Economics on Librivox recently and was delighted to hear this little gem:


Man cannot create material things. In the mental and moral world indeed he may produce new ideas; but when he is said to produce material things, he really only produces utilities; or in other words, his efforts and sacrifices result in changing the form or arrangement of matter to adapt it better for the satisfaction of wants. All that he can do in the physical world is either to readjust matter so as to make it more useful, as when he makes a log of wood into a table; or to put it in the way of being made more useful by nature, as when he puts seed where the forces of nature will make it burst out into life.

It is sometimes said that traders do not produce: that while the cabinet-maker produces furniture, the furniture-dealer merely sells what is already produced. But there is no scientific foundation for this distinction. They both produce utilities, and neither of them can do more: the furniture-dealer moves and rearranges matter so as to make it more serviceable than it was before, and the carpenter does nothing more. The sailor or the railway-man who carries coal above ground produces it, just as much as the miner who carries it underground; the dealer in fish helps to move on fish from where it is of comparatively little use to where it is of greater use, and the fisherman does no more.

- Principles of Economics, by Alfred Marshall (public domain)

The full text is available here.

(cross-posted at freedom is love -- crazy new blog idea?)

civilized war

In Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon, the crew of the enterprise find themselves on a planet which claims to be in a state of war, but there are no clear signs of it. No explosions, no battered bodies, nothing.

As it turns out, the "war" is taking place on computer systems a la war games. When the computer simulation deems that an area has been "hit", all inhabitants of that area report to disintegration chambers to meet their fate.

The local inhabitants claim that this is much more civilized than the wars that used to take place, and they accept it as a part of life in their modern society. However, the war has been going on for a very long time and it continues to take millions of lives.

Captain Kirk, being an outsider, has a different perspective. He notes that the bombs of war, the destructive power of all-out real war, the fear induced by the pain and the threat of pain; these things are what make it real, and make it worth avoiding. When it's whitewashed, it's too easy to just continue on with the war.

Rewind a couple of centuries, and bop out of fiction. 21st century America has been at war for years now. It sure doesn't feel like it to me. Sure, I pay some taxes, and once in a while when I check the news I hear some vague things about US drones flying over Afghanistan or Iraq.

Drones. This is war at it's cleanest so far, at least for us Americans. We don't even have to send a real person anywhere near the place we want to bomb now. War is so cheap, so easy that we hardly even notice it happening.

How many armchair fox-news watching neocons do you think would still be pro-war if the abstraction was removed? If our guys were going over there and dying in the same numbers as we're killing with our drones?

Or God forbid if we were being bombed by Afghani drones? How long would that situation last?

Perhaps we need some visitors from outer space to come break their prime directive and set us straight :).

2010-05-04

sometimes I dream of dying

sometimes I dream of dying
a fearsome situation
running away, falling, drowning
only to wake up at just the critical moment

is this what it is to die?
simply to wake up and remember that I was just dreaming?

how lovely!

can I turn it around, too?
can I simply let go of the dream
die to this reality
and wake up?

2010-05-03

the unknown

I revel in the unknown
I seek it out
because infinity lives there
and she takes me for a ride

up! like on a rocket!

then whizzing by the marketplace
I barely notice
the people tiny like ants
hanging out in the known

boring! I think
until I lose focus and start to fall
and catch myself, grinning
at my contradictions

2010-05-02

test

testing out wordbook plugin

hungry

i eat
until my belly is full
but my spirit
is still hungry

2010-05-01

the brazilian soccer player

the brazilian soccer player
wears his youth
on his face