...taking back the web conversation
things written recently by me on the Content Collective:
A tick just fell out of my hair. The first of the season. As I watched it crawl across the table, I contemplated what role parasites play in an ecosystem. Could it be that they bring some generally unrecognized benefit to the whole in a way that isn't immediately obvious?
Possibly so, but as I looked at its hideous form (or was it beautifully intimidating?) reaching for the bait as I dangled a paperclip above its head, easily climbing up the thin strand of metal. Seeing that it wanted my blood, I spoke with revulsion. (Talking to ticks now? Maybe I have gone a bit cookoo.)
"I can't say for certain what your role may be, but I do not want you in my world. Not only do I not want you to feed off me or any animal I know, I don't want you in my world at all. I don't want you to reproduce. I don't want to continue to live."
So with that, I lit a candle, and with the tick still hanging on, moved the paperclip over the flame. It fell off and stopped moving almost instantly. Deliberately and willfully ending the life of another creature, even so small, simply because I do not like its existence. What am I?
Recognizing facebook as a generally unreliable and flawed means of communication
The "top stories" news feed routinely omits posts by friends the system perceives you to "not interact with" very often (and often even those you DO regularly comment on or "Like" don't appear). An utterly inferior substitute for RSS feeds with a decent newsreader. The only way to make sure you don't miss something somebody posts is to constantly reload their "timeline" page, which is essentially no more efficient than navigating to the individual website of each person or organization to see what's new, except now it's all under the control of a single corporate entity known to behave in untrustworthy ways.
Why are so many of us addicted to fb?
What has happened to the web when, for so many, facebook has become the primary method of doing everything we once did on the open, independent, non-censored internet? As someone who has also gotten into the pattern, for the past several years, of putting more significant amounts of time and creative energy into my fb presence than my own website (a situation I've recently begun to mitigate with action even at this very moment), I know the lure of it. But why?
Intuitively, the psychology of the whole thing seems designed to make people who become accustomed to it feel more "safe" posting their information on fb than the "wild untrustworthy, untamed internet". Lots of subtle manipulation of the illusion.
Paradoxes and Contradictions
A long-time reader of Ran Prieur's website posted a rather harsh juxtaposition
containing passages of stuff Ran wrote over a decade ago, vs a few of his more recent comments about things that have garnered his interest.
In addition to adding a couple comments in the thread, Ran wrote this on his site about the subject:
"I was in a dark place for a few decades. As recently as ten years ago more of my energy went into what I was against than what I was for. At times I got so deep that I made the number one counterculture error: morally condemning people for participation in an imperfect system. Now I think that's a mistake on every level, but when someone condemns me, I don't mind -- it's karma."
Predictability of the status quo
Do we get addicted to sameness, predictability, safety? Doing the same thing again and again because it seems to keep our needs met. And if life is eternally happy on an endlessly repeating pattern loop, why not?
Welcome to where nothing ever happens
Every day is exactly as the day before. Nothing ever changes. Nothing unplanned happens. Everything is always just so, right the way it needs to be. We like it this way.
Princess Ostara, who was primarily her kitten, but who grew on me too, has moved on to a new home. For the time being, Abney and Magellan continue to inhabit the Hobbit Asylum with me, though how long I'll remain here as summer comes.... Uncertain?
I have seriously been contemplating a seat-of-the-pants journey to Portland; when things were crazy during the final weeks before she moved out, I was certain I'd want to be there before June at the latest. But now that things have calmed down, I kinda feel myself wanting to just slow down and enjoy life here, care for the cats, and be thankful for what I have.... But also don't want to stagnate, which this place seems to promote. Though my pacing and mood fluctuate, the general intention continues to be gradual, deliberate preparation to leave this place and find a living situation more conducive to my permaculture practice.
Relationship status change
So, for anyone who hasn't already heard, the person I lived with for the past year has now (mostly) moved out. Suffice it to say that things got very tumultuous during the final month or so. Now she lives in a new place, and seems to be getting what she needs in terms of care which was beyond my ability to provide. For my part, I'm thankful to have a bit of peace and solitude for a while.
Playing with code
In other news, at this point I've pretty much begun another project which began as a fork of the Content Collective V2 codebase, but is being turned into a more general 3d content authoring program, which I intend to use on the domain where my "professional" site lives, both as a demonstration of my 13337 5k1lz, and as yet another cool web toy for random people to play with.
Auto update url for location bar: check.
The theory is that these location links should be "permanent" as long as v2 of the Content Collective lasts. How long might that be, in reality? In the world of the web, who is to say for sure? Perhaps one reason literary linking doesn't happen as commonly as much as it once did is because of a historical lack of care on the part of the general web-authoring public to preserve accessibility of old urls when possible. (I know I myself have been guilty of this practice during site wipeouts and redesigns from time to time, though since creating the "canonical" bitscape.org archives, I have been endeavoring to preserve the static html versions of those links going forward, at least as long as I'm able to retain the domain and figure out hosting.)
Communication vs Commerce
The web in general began to deteriorate when so many people who became involved did so because they believed the primary purpose of the whole thing was to make money. This implicit myth was prevalent during the "dot com" boom. Before this, the reason for the excitement about the whole thing was because it was loved as a communication medium. Sure some money was needed to keep the server's running and the lines connected, but once those expenses were paid, the real value of the internet was its ability to facilitate community and co-creation via interfaces built of thoughts.
Deep Linking Coordinates
And with a bit of coding, the syndicated feed I've setup at bitscape.org (containing my own posts only) "links" to a hashtag url containing the coordinates of the block within the Content Collective. So it is begun. Next is to implement dynamic updating of the browser's location bar so anyone can use a similar link for the url of any block.
Internal Collective Links
Enabling dhtml links
Link creation and handling in the Content Collective
The lost magic of linking
Contemplating what the web was when it began, especially upon reading an article reflecting on how "links" have changed over the years
. Back when the web was new, clicking on a "link" really did feel magical! Why? Well, for one thing, when "static html" was prevalent, (not only that, but authors most often hand-coded their html in a text editor), every link was created by a person with conscious effort during the process of writing. Clicking a link meant you were following a trail of thought that somebody had left there with purpose. The article expounds in more depth with a theory on how the very process of links becoming "worth something" monetarily diminished their value as a communicative device.
So they set thine fleets ablaze!
Amidst the torrid currents of ocean's raging storms;
Onward toward the madness they carried their torches:
Possessed by phantoms from the howling isle,
The Regent spawned a vile scourge,
Born of which the artifact legend tells
began the everlasting feud for star clusters,
seen only by the eyes of ancient cosmic minds spanning the galaxy.
We look into mist, veiling the mountain mystery,
forgetting the pattern repeating
from lore before the earliest telling
in words our ancestors once understood,
from beyond the fire of birthing
into another reality from which it may yet be awakened.
Glory, what mayhem!
The prophets spoke of this day long ago. Terror gripped all amongst the royalty who heard their proclamations. The time of fallen kingdoms, deserted ruins, a land depleted by many millennia of extractive patterns. The unsustainable could not be sustained?¿? Utter heresy! The speakers were extinguished with all due haste.
Tid we dn't conceieve of whence to put within these ¿o'worldly realms?
So we sit, within the confines of these algorithmic constructions, and why? Do we believe it to be our destiny? What is to be made of a fore-ordained path of mathematical determinism? Can it be construed any other way?
Focusing on balance and clarity. Letting go of self-doubt. Refusing to be ruled by fear. Learning to know my true needs and find ways to meet them, without letting ego run the whole show. No need to worry, the path is opening up, in all ways. Here, now.
5 a.m. musings
[wrote the following very early in the morning on fb, and want to put it here as well...]
I am truly lucky. 5am, snuggly sweet cats purring on me as I relax in this comfortably heated space, having just discovered first hand how truly easy it is to donate to wikileaks, provided one is able to spare even the tiniest fraction of a bitcoin, simply by copy-pasting the address from web browser ( https://shop.wikileaks.org/donate#dbitcoin ) to wallet, impulsively typing in an amount, and hitting "Send". No contact info, account details, email addresses, or anything else required to throw a little financial support in the direction of the rebels. Digital cash, the way it should be! But I digress....
So yes. I am truly lucky. Thankfully, for at least a while again, I have some paid work to get by on. A decent place to rest, good food, good people never too far away, and also solitude when I need it. Am I crazy to be contemplating a return, by choice, to the nomadic uncertainty and sometimes harsh reality of the road? No final answers at the moment, but I do find my mind abuzz with thoughts that are presently on the verge of being able to articulate, so might just ramble on a few more paragraphs.
Thinking back to the first big Rainbow Gathering I was fortunate to attend (2008 Wyoming)... The essence of what I found to be so mind blowing about the whole experience at the time, despite the pervasive presence of law enforcement personnel, was the way the entire space felt liberated from the invisible, rarely acknowledged (perhaps because it's so pervasive) cultural oppressiveness of the way a typical American city operates. For years and years before I had ever even heard of Rainbow, I struggled to understand and articulate why I felt so stifled by the middle class American lifestyle in which I was raised, and often felt so lost and empty, wandering aimlessly for hours on foot around the towns where my teenage years where spent, wondering why the world seemed so profoundly hopeless.
The first time I read the book "Days of War, Nights of Love" by the anonymous crimethinc collective (2004), it philosophically shook up my world by so clearly explaining the nature of the things, in ways I hadn't quite been able to articulate previously. Though it was "just a book" full of words and theories, it pointed me the direction needed to take the sorts of actions that ultimately helped lead me to that Rainbow Gathering years later.
So what is it about America? If you're feeling adventurous, jump into the middle of an random midsize town or suburb, spend a day or two, or if you really want to get ambitious, make it a week..... Just as a human being, anonymously, knowing no one, with none of the typical accessories we typically use to pacify ourselves. Bring no money, no credit cards, no car, no cell phone. Just a person in the world. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? Who are you going to connect with? How will you be treated?
Endless blocks, with rows of fenced off houses, closed off, both to one another, and to the outside world. Between them, paved streets reserved almost exclusively for cars (bikes may be legally allowed to squeeze in sometimes, though often at great risk to riders), so people rarely encounter one another face to face while passing, but even if they do, well behaved "strangers" make the best effort to generally ignore one another's existence, except on the most utterly superficial level possible.
Then there's the commercial district. Big box buildings and parking lots, where people's pervasive anxieties surrounding money and material status are exploited, exacerbated, and perpetuated. But if you're participating in my little experiment of just being a human without carrying pieces of printed paper or cards, you don't have to worry about any of that. Of course, you probably won't be welcome inside anywhere for very long, but I doubt you'll want to be there anyway. Take away the tease factor of sales pitches and incredible deals, surrounded by stuff designed to entice, but which you are not welcome to partake in except to the degree you are among the privileged classes who carry dollars around everywhere, and the whole scene becomes very stale, very quickly. Looking on the bright side though, with a little intuition, finding food and other goodies becomes a matter of honing in on the right dumpsters, which is really pretty easy once you get over that initial cultural conditioning.
Yes, it is possible, maybe even easy to find sustenance amidst the lonely, desolate expanse of the modern city. And if you have a social security card, citizenship status, cultural knowledge, and most importantly, a willingness to subordinate your human agency to the will of the owners, it's possible to get a job, make a living, maybe even acquire one of those big fenced off houses, and play out the sad spectacle of forming yet another rigidly codified, isolated "nuclear family" whose members compete with all the other nuclear families for status and accolades in the pretentious game.... But... Why?
Then try the same experiment in Rainbow land. Being a human, no money, no cards, no prior friends or acquaintances. Everywhere I walked, there were welcoming fires, food being prepared and offered, opportunities to help the community and participate without even being required to give a name, much less a social security number or any of that garbage. Circles of sharing, where people who have never meet have the opportunity to engage with one another without being awkward, and it isn't strange at all to wander around smiling, singing, hugging people.
Why America? What brings about the derisive attitude toward the stereotypes about "hippies"? What is so threatening about people who endeavor to create a more inclusive society where human happiness is encouraged, rather than extinguished? Why should we let the government tell us we are not allowed to own anything amongst us in common, have land and other resources for all to share, but none to exploit, deplete, or destroy? What is so taboo about this concept?
Whether I want it or not, the culture has given me this thing known as white male privilege. But what if I have no desire to use it to make yet another enclave for myself amidst this desert of stunted human potential unless the world can somehow be improved with it? What if I'd rather use it to destroy the scourge of patriarchy? Can I use my white male privilege to do that? If I could, why wouldn't I make the world a better place for all the non-white, non-male (not saying I even claim this category of male at this point, but the world sees me as such, so be it), even if it's just for the selfish reason that this is what is also needed for me to live a happier life?
Meh.... I've written enough now. Snuggly cats are wonderful, but even with the abundance I have been given, my desires are so big and so vast, I wonder if I will ever be truly satisfied. The soul, ever as it has been, calls me to continue to search to seek and find my tribe.
What better way in life to spend time than with tea, cats, and a good bowl of green yumminess to burn and inhale?
A good relaxing way to spend a Saturday morning... That and a radio that can receive KBGA, as another session of classic soul from H-Rap sets the mood.
Into a place where any thought can become manifest with the permanence of the written word, even within the ever-ephemeral world of the virtual, nothing but electronic particles rearranging and giving off energy in this way we find so predictable, yet so magical in its own right....
Trivial, mindless, perhaps inconsequential words, words representing thoughts, which may or may not be true, but it doesn't matter. What matters is connecting the stream of consciousness with the medium of expression, and to do that requires loss of inhibition within the channel. So to open, we open, and once again, even more, open...