I bring tidings of surpassing salubrity to my many long-neglected fans, well-wishers, and admirers: that of my return to the blogosphere! However, these hollowed halls have not the capacious elegance necessary for me to deliver the True Gems of Insight for which I am so well known. Therefore, I shall be henceforth engaging in posting my own magniloquent musings at the far-famed group blog, DC Tiger Tank. I'll give you one guess which sobriquet is mine own.
Hi, folks. I've been enjoying quite a lengthy hiatus, but I've been drawn back to my little soapbox here by the omnipresent concerns of politics. As you know, I am a strong supporter of Dr. Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination. I happened upon a post on the blog "Talking in Circles" today that stated Ron Paul was an unacceptable choice for the following reasons:
"Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wants to:
- Dissolve the FDA and let drug corporations take care of labeling, regulation, and distribution of their own addictive drugs. - Eliminate the IRS the day he assumes office, and eradicate all federal income tax and income tax returns. The thousands of dollars in Child Tax Credits annually given to single parents will be lost the first year. All corporations will instantly stop reporting and tracking their income and payroll to the Federal Government. - Allow prayer in schools. He actually co-sponsored AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION called “The Prayer in Schools Amendment” - Forcing the United States to return to the Gold Standard of currency, a complete joke in today’s global economy. - Eliminate all federal social services, and make Social Security voluntary. - Crush Net Neutrality. Ron Paul voted against the Net Neutrality bill, which is consistent with his belief that huge corporations should operate with no restrictions whatsoever. - Overturn Roe vs. Wade, the court decision that made abortion legal."
I offered the following rebuttal on that blog, and I humbly submit it for you consideration here:
The panicked attitude you express towards the removal of many of these government programs is quite typical. Big government is a warm and all-enveloping safety-blanket, and many of us, at first blush, are loathe to give it up. As a reformed neo-con myself, I can attest to this firsthand.
But while you and so many others who get dizzy at the thought of the loss of your bureaucratic protectors in Washington tend to dismiss us supports of Dr. Paul as moonbats (or, in your case, dumbasses), we truly don't have a death-wish. A closer examination of some of your underlying assumptions might help to clarify why so many of us are so enthusiastic about what seem to you to be insane policy positions.
First (as it's gotten the most play here), the FDA. Your basic assumption is that, in its absence, pharmaceutical corporations (and food producers, &c.) will be left to "take care of labeling, regulation, and distribution of their own addictive drugs", and so, by their basic criminal nature, will kill thousands or millions of defenseless Americans, sacrifices to their god, Mammon. Thankfully, this is not the case. Rather than beings driven by inconceivable evil operating in a vacuum, corporations are groups driven by the profit motive operating in the marketplace. This gives rise to two protections, far more powerful than the authority of any gov't regulator. Firstly, consumers are unlikely to buy the products of a company that will kill them. A company's own selfish self-interest (invisible hand, anyone?) drives it to seek a reputation for safe and reliable products. Releasing deadly or harmful products is a bad business decision. And, in today's highly-connected and web-savvy society, it simply isn't possible to hide slip-ups and sweep things under the rug. There is huge pressure to self-regulate and constantly improve quality - drug companies that don't will simply fall by the wayside, flattened by consumer choice. And, exponentially reinforcing this is the second protection, the threat of civil and criminal litigation in the event of negligence. As prior posters have pointed out, by adhering to FDA mandated regulations, drug companies can render themselves proof against any consequences in the event that a drug proves unsafe. Remove this bureaucratic shield, and instantly you put our often excessively litigious culture to work for you! Criminal negligence, wrongful death, pain & suffering, there are hundreds of permutations of class-action lawsuit that can be leveled at companies, and, as Big Tobacco shows, intentionally deceiving the public as to a product’s safety can warrant BILLIONS of dollars in punitive damages. This double-whammy of customer loss and crushing legal challenges is a far more powerful incentive for companies to “play it safe” and self-regulate than any lobbyist-vulnerable regulatory agency.
In addition to this, your concerns rest on the depressing premise that if the Federal Government doesn’t regulate and monitor these companies, no one will. This country has 50 states and 300 million citizens – there’s a lot more to us than the old big F bigger G! As a federalist (someone who believes that powers not explicitly given to the Federal government devolve to the states), Dr. Paul would have no problem with states regulating food and drugs as they see fit. If libertarian New Hampshire trusts the unbridled market, great (I’d move there)! If regulation-happy Massachusetts and California want their own stringent agencies, good for them. The American people can enjoy the benefits and drawbacks of the system adopted by any of the several states – that’s choice, freedom! And let’s not forget private regulatory agencies. Have you ever read Consumer Reports, or looked for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval? Likely not, but in a free and vibrant market, you’d just as likely be a more informed consumer. You would read reports and compare the options, and, with more personal responsibility (the all-important corollary to personal freedom), you’d probably make better choices overall than you do now, snug in the Federal blanket as you are.
Now, on to the IRS. Yay, no taxes and all that, but Ron Paul understands economics (and basic arithmetic!). He knows the President is not a dictator – he can’t dissolve agencies willy-nilly without Congressional approval. Dr. Paul’s important point, however, is that, if this nation ceases foreign adventurism and loses the “Federal Government is the only way” mentality cited above, we wouldn’t NEED the IRS. It’s true, and this prospect obviously is attractive to a lot of Americans. A Constitutionally-sized Federal Government could easily survive, as it did before 1913, on revenue (note: not protective!) tariffs, excise taxes, and other apportioned direct taxes. Kind of a neat thought, eh? Paul couldn’t get us there in 4 or 8 years, but he wants to move in that direction.
Prayer in schools: yes, he does want to give you the freedom to choose whether or not to allow prayer in your schools. You seem to have the impression Dr. Paul’s “Prayer in Schools Amendment” would force public schools to allow voluntary prayer. However, this is exactly the kind of top-down interference in education that Dr. Paul wants to eliminate (this is also why he wants to eliminate the unnecessary Federal Department of Education). Dr. Paul’s amendment would return the decision regarding the allowance of, again, VOLUNTARY prayer in public schools to the local schoolboards, where it belongs. With our current system, the gov’t could just as easily mandate that prayer must be allowed in all schools. Wouldn’t you be more comfortable keeping a this local issue, one that reflects the views of you and your neighbors? Again, Dr. Paul offers us choice, offers us freedom. A variegated system of schools for us to choose from, and giving us choice at a local level, really isn’t scary, really isn’t bad.
Next, a return to the gold standard. Look, a debate over the merits of the Austrian School of Economics, to which Dr. Paul adheres and of which he is an acknowledged expert, is a whole essay unto itself. The main point relevant to this discussion is, with an asset-backed currency, the government can’t just print more of it and inflate the currency to finance massive deficient spending, and thereby tax us in a far more subtle way than through a direct tax. If you like the idea of balanced budgets, I’d give this some more thought.
Next, you worry he will “Eliminate all federal social services, and make Social Security voluntary.” Okay, this is actually 2 separate issues, so let’s start with his cruel plan to axe all social welfare programs, thrusting the widows and orphans into the street a la a Snidely Whiplash landlord. Not quite. Long term, Dr. Paul’s ideas of limited government cause him to desire and support the reduction and elimination of what he sees as un-Constitutional federal programs. However, short-term, he would settle for us being able to afford them, and not have a de facto elimination of all social services when our bankrupted future government hits credit default. As he himself says, we don’t want to throw these dependent people out on the street. With the money saved by ending our interventionist foreign policy, we’ll be able to look after these people well into the future, all the while teaching a new generation how to stand on its own feet, the lessons of freedom and responsibility, so we can ease them off Federal aid and help end the trans-generational poverty this dependency saddles many of these modern serfs of the government with. In the meantime, state and private charities would grow to help ensure an adequate safety net for all Americans. Remember, Americans are a generous people- historically, we haven’t helped each other just because the government made us. Read a history of Herbert Hoover’s public life, it has a lot of good examples of this.
As to making social security voluntary, is that a bug-a-boo? I’m a bit worried when you cite his desire to give people more choices and freedom as a big reason for not supporting a candidate. If you think you can do a better job managing your retirement than a Treasury department technocrat, shouldn’t you have the option to opt out of the system? This whole idea of government telling us “Do what’s good for you – or else!” is a real head-scratcher for me. And again, the literally TRILLIONS a Paul Administration would save by hanging up a “closed” sign on the American Empire would support the system’s shortfalls while Americans are allowed out of the sinking ship. Come to think of it, a mandatory system where you have to pay rent to support other people every month smells a lot like feudal landlordism, doesn’t it?
Your penultimate concern, net neutrality, is just unnecessary government intervention into what is currently a free and prosperous domain. Leave well enough alone. And hey, thanks to the market, if you don’t like what your ISP is doing, vote with your feet and subscribe to another one. As long as the government assures free entry, which a Paul Administration would be deeply committed to, if there aren’t any providers you think are giving you a fair shake, you can start your own and capture a big market share. Just remember – where regulations go, taxation follows (ask yourself: why won’t the FG make the internet tax ban permanent? So that it can expire, of course!).
And finally, Roe v. Wade. This is again a huge issue worthy of a deep discussion, not one paragraph in an already overlong response to a blog post. First though, in the interest of full disclosure, I am pro-life. My point is here, that Dr. Paul can’t overturn a Supreme Court decision. He can, and will, appoint only the strictest of constructionists to the Supreme Court, as you would expect from a constitutionalist. If they overturn Roe v Wade, they do. But even if they did, Paul wouldn’t call for a national abortion ban. Again, he believes in federalism, and that tough issues are best resolved at more local levels. This again will result in a more variegated and vibrant nation, one with different policies for different states, with a more dynamic, engaged, and freedom-centered public discourse.
This post is quite lengthy, so my conclusion will be brief. Dr. Paul believes freedom is popular. Indeed, it often is. But I understand that freedom is also scary, sometimes even terrifying at first blush. I’m asking you to think on these issues, think about your own capacity for choice, and think about the ideals this nation was founded on. Maybe having the liberty of our forefathers won’t be so bad.
Well, folks, that's what I said. What do you think? If you agree that Freedom is a lot more exciting than it is scary, please get involved. Visit www.ronpaul2008.com and make your most generous possible donation, join a local Ron Paul Meet-up group, or just talk to your friends and neighbors about Dr. Paul and his positions. Just get involved - freedom requires responsibility!
You think I need this? I don't need this. I don't need YOU. What would possibly make you think I would put up with this kind of thing, huh? I'm a big shot, man, a big, you know, a big wig. My wig is freakin' HUGE! I could go, I could leave here tomorrow- today even! In five minutes! And get something good- something 10 times better than this, than you, you and your guff. Your guff. Your bilious stupidry. That's right! I said it!
No, I am not making a scene. I don't care who hears! Let them listen. It'll be educational! Feeling edified, Ms. Winthorp, you old bag?! Well, I sure hope so! There, see? Now we're all in on the discussion. It's a free exchange of ideas- it's a party! A block party, and you're invited! But bring your own beer, because you CAN'T HAVE MINE!
Oh, don't even give me that. Don't try to feed me that line! That's right, it has nothing to do with me. No, it's not me, it's you! That's right. I don't need this, I don't need you and your "home", what a drag, what even is a home? Huh? This city? YOU?! Don't even say that. I can't believe you can stand there, straight-faced, and say that. Come ON! We go where we need to go. I don't need some "home" dragging me down, calling me back whenever I'm ready to take the next big step. That's right, I AM taking big steps. I'm going to be a success. I don't need to sit here on the ash-heap, mouldering with you. Where's your ambition? What have you EVER DONE? If you died tomorrow, would anyone remember you? What have you done? Have you used your gifts? No! You're a slug, you don't do anything, and you never will. You disgust me. The squandered potential, the constant procrastination, the promises- it'll be better next time. Right. I'm not buying it, not one more time, never again. I wash my hands of you. I'm hereforth totally divested. Enjoy it, I certainly won't push you again. You're free, I set you free- to crash and burn, just like you want to. Goodbye.
I tell you, folks, sometimes this is the only thing that keeps me going:
Oh, the excitement! Next year, I'll be all done!
Now, for those of you who are attended schools that use some sort of mutant credit system based on "hours", as in: "Well, gee, if I take this 4.6 credit hour class this term, that'll give 17.895366722452 hours for the semester, which means I'll be all that much closer the the required hours I need to graduate!" Well, around HERE, being much smarter than everyone at the registrar's office where you foolishly chose to attend college, we have a neat little quarter system, 3 quarters of 4 credits each being a standard academic year. So, 12 credits is one year, 48 credits are required to graduate, and hey-presto, you're done. What you see above, dear reader, is that your humble correspondant has the merest 5 credits left unfulfilled. Now, if THAT'S not a pick-me-up, I frankly don't want to know what is.
"Then there stepped forth from the shadow'd darkness Egbert, the chief nerd of that place. 'If you desire access to the computer lab,' he sneered, the fluorescent lights flashing cruelly off his glasses, 'you must deal with me.'"
Will our valiant hero survive to run his finite element analysis?!? Tune in next week, for another exciting episode of Geek Kwest!
My friends, there is so little Love in the world today. Certainly there is plenty of false love, emotions and sensations which pretend to that lofty title - perhaps more today than ever before. But these concepts cheapen the name of Love. How often have you said "I love chocolate," or "I love the Venture Bros.", or something of that sort? I know I myself have said those exact phrases this very weekend. But I DON'T love chocolate, I like chocolate. There is no intrinsic good to chocolate for which I have a deep feeling; rather, I enjoy the sensation that it, as a material good, induces in me. And this, the allure of goods and promise of pleasure, the bedrock of the materialist age in which we live, in common parlance has now robed itself in the noble mantle of Love.
Love, true Love, is the most basic of human needs, more fundamental, more rudimentary than any other. Materially, Man's basic needs are food and water, clothing and shelter. This is self-evident. But the need for love runs deeper, runs to the core of what it is to be human. Before man ever wore clothing, built shelter, this need for love was there. And this desire is not of this world, just as that which makes a man a man is not of this world. For the immortal soul, the rational soul, the spiritual essence in the image of God is what makes a human being. Without it, we would be merely another primate, another fascinating product of ecology. And the basic need, the sustanance of the soul is love, which is of God, just as much (and more!) as the basic need of the physical body is for bread and water, which are of the physical earth. As St. John writes in what is for me one of the most moving passages of the Bible, 1 John 4:7-8, "My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God. Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love." And how appropriate the symmetry is, the body is formed from matter, as is the earth; the soul from spirit, the nature of the Father. Without the produce of the earth, the body withers and dies; so too, without the fruits of the Lord, the Love which He is, the soul faints and perishes. Consider the ends of these two essential parts of the human person: the body inevitably ages and dies, and one day rots away, returns to the earth, no matter the abundance of food and water, the quality of clothing and shelter with which it is supplied. The soul, on the other hand, is the essence of each human, is the ultimate self, and immortal - as it fares, so fares the human, and it is immortal, indestructable: it is ourself through eternity. How important, then to nourish it with the True Love of God! If our body should perish from tainted foods, our soul always endures; but if our soul should perish from tainted "love", what woe! And so, when held thus in comparison, the material needs of the body to the spiritual needs of the soul, of what shrinking importance are those of the body! For as always when one compares our finite lives in this world to the infinite in the next, worldly matter comes to nothing - a finite number, no matter how large, is always zero when divided by infinity!
This reality makes all the more alarming and dangerous the way in which our society so "loves" its comforts, its pleasures, its material wealth. The linguistic confusion of love of Oreos with Love of God is an outward sign of the deepening internal confusion over and abandonment of Love in our culture today. The constant blaring of the markets, the commercialization of salvation, the materialistic humanism that is so in vogue in many people's lives is literally crowding out true, pure love, the love which is of God, both in our speech and in our lives. How true, how appropriate that this culture has been labeled the Culture of Death: for it caters solely to that which must and shall die, pass away, while it labels thought of the eternal, of that Life which is of Christ, everlasting, as foolish, at best an inhibition to man's "love" of pleasures, at worst a dangerous superstition that draws off resources best used in debauchery. This is a post-Chrisitian culture, neo-pagan in its values, and it is the dominant culture in our society today. It is the hegemony, and it is impossible to live in it without being effected, touched by it every day. It is an all you can eat buffet, but all fat and dross, all lacking vitamin Love: one can gorge on it night and day and still die of malnutrition, malnutrition of the soul.
There is no problem in our world that cannot be solved by Love - all problems are due to its absence, too little love, misdirected, intemperate "love". All human actions are driven by the desire to fulfill our deepest needs. The true fulfillment of a man is in Love, is in God: wherever men act of Love, there good is found. But when men act, or withhold action because of love of things, love of the world, or no love at all, that is where the world suffers, that is where Love and God are needed most. Sadly, most of the world, most of the time, languishes in the latter state. There is no problem you can cite that Love cannot heal and solve: Love gives food to all who hunger, clothing to all who are naked, shelter to all who are homeless. If the soul is nourished with love, then the body is suddenly provided for! Love spreads, love builds up, love provides for others at the expense of self - this is the other-centric message of Christ, for the greatest commandment is "Love your neighbor as yourself!" By its nature, love is outgoing, outpouring, and brings its gifts to others. And when everyone is thinking of others, not themselves, suddenly all are provided for, always, both in the transient needs of the body, and in the ultimate needs of the spirit. Where Love grows, miracles happen!
This is the great tragedy of history, of our times in particular: if the soul is developed, with pure Love as our goal and the discipline practiced to avoid the distracting pleasures of our own flesh and focus on our neighbor, the great troubles of our world, the constant suffering of war, starvation, murder and depression we see every night on the news would slowly fade away. But all throughout history, and now again in this age with such force as has been unseen in a long time, the world seeks the salvation of the body. As I said in a poem posted to this blog, we are trying to build a Messiah Machine, to fill the emptiness left by the abandonment of spiritual goods with material ones, with the orgiastic pursuit of sex and goods, of entertainment and consumption. Sex and violence sell, they are what people are told they want, they are loud and showy and easy, in the movies and in life. The soul can't be seen with the eye, the malnutrition of the spirit in our world is so much less visible than obesity and sickness of the body, but it is no less wide-spread in our culture. And its fruits can be seen in the sadness and indolence of so many, the hollow loneliness of those without love. People try to fight the dark, the isolation, the utter despair that is isolation from God and His Love, not by turning back to him, but by turning to alcohol, sex, drugs: I should know, I'm in college! Religion is mocked, spiritual discipline frowned upon. And as the spirit withers, the minds becomes desperate, warped, seeks relief in strange ways. The philosophies of modernism are the products of this desperation: happiness is dismissed as a myth, something manufactured by sales firms and children's book authors - their perfect lives of sexual gratification, cars, and fine clothes have left them still feeling nothing, so there must be nothing to feel. They feel purposeless, but they do not turn to God's will for them and find purpose: instead they discover, though existentialism, that they ARE useless, and life is a material nightmare, a joke without a punhc line, and so SHOULD BE dark and depressing. If there is no such thing as happiness and purpose, then they actually aren't so badly off, their tortured minds insist - this is AS GOOD AS IT GETS, so it can't be so bad, right?
This abandonment of hope seems a ridiculous thing, but it is insidious. It is easier for many to give up all hope of happiness that to simply make the changes, to take the purifying, simple steps, to redirect their lives toward God. I know it, I have felt it myself. But this world needs to be awoken from its existential nightmare! For man alone, things are dark and hopeless indeed. But God is as much ready to give us His abundant Love today as He has ever been. He calls us each by name! So please, dear reader, join me. Today is Sunday, a day of grace, the commemoration of the triumph over death of the Love which is beyond all knowing. Love. Love fiercely. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Love, most of all, God. The miasma of sadness and despair cannot hold against this Love. Go to church, and share your love in community. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Attack each problem with love. We can't be complacent, we can't rest, relax, enjoy our "love" of leisure! We must act, for we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we can make a difference. With love, all things are possible.
Some of my mostly imaginary readers have pointed out that, for an engineering themed blog (just look! It's in the subtitle!), I speak remarkly infrequently (read: never) about the actual practice of engineering. Certainly about being in SCHOOL, and PANICKING about being in school, but not-so-much about the meaty stuff; we're missing the stress analysis of the structural supports of the pork cottage. This has been much to the relief of all you linguistics majors, I know. However, there may be some out there who doubt my credentials, who question my pedigree. Let me assure you, suspicious reader, that I am not, in fact full of crap.
I am prepared to offer to you, the public, ACTUAL photographic evidence of me, in the very practice of my craft:
Seeing is believing, eh? As you can clearly see, the naysayers have all been put to shame.
As I said in my inaugural post, my friends, expect such long periods of inactivity from time to time. I have a great deal on my plate. However, I found myself trying to think of something interesting to say to a friend of mine over the instant messanger today, and succeeded in composing the first paragraph of the following essay on Progress and the Human Person. As it was entirely unplanned and impromptu, I fear the structure is a bit muddled and the language a bit opaque (DANGER: SUBORDINATE CLAUSES AHEAD), but I hope that you can enjoy it nevertheless.
PROGRESS AND THE HUMAN PERSON Some brief thoughts on the future of man in a technological world
Do you not see? Have you not heard? All the world is one glorious network; it grows now by the day! Yesterday, we were more distant than today, and tomorrow, we shall be closer still! All of our modern world's considerable innovative power, the collective will of a generation, is now applied to this problem, just as our forebears turned their minds to agriculture, steam, and electricity in ages past! It was been decreed deep in the collective unconscious, the ineffable and unspoken desires that direct cultures and nations: Let us be One. The very business of human society has been recast, dear reader. The tools of progress have been arrayed as a battery of terrible power: no advancing problem, least of all that of Self, shall stand against them. And who are the bombardiers? The finest minds, the most learned professors, politicians, and entrepreneurs, those who shape and are shaped, the producers and products of our time! The invisible hand of the market, the hopes of millions, the Millennium Development Objectives, all call a halt to business as usual, and signal a transfer to a new track. The switch has been thrown, but the fungal bloom, the exponential growth of our interconnectivity that we have seen to this point is merely the stage being set, the roar of globalization merely the quiet tuning of the orchestra before the main event: Technological Singularity. Soon, dear reader, sooner than many may care to guess, the Self shall be declared obsolete. You have seen Web 2.0, we are now embarking on Business 2.0; but yet to come, the inevitable teleology of all that we see around us, is Man 2.0. The line between the ego and society is beginning to bend, blur: look for it to break within a generation. The increasing integration of man and his machines, the codependence and information wealth that we see all around us, signal the beginning of the great revolution, and prefigure its ultimate end. The changes are all around us, can be seen in ever aspect of our modern lives, our recast world. The global economy means that the real estate situation in Bangalore and the performance of the Shanghai stock exchange have as great a bearing (likely greater!) on an American's prosperity and prospects than the performance of GM or the NASDAQ. Direct competition at last emerges between the best and brightest of Thailand, Brazil, and America. As the production lines and supply webs span continents, labor markets become as fluid as the wheat markets of yesteryear, with jobs continuously flowing across borders seeking the optimum combination of skill, speed, and affordability. The continuous expansion of global telecommunications infrastructure allows the transfer of previously unheard-of amounts of information at an increasingly negligible cost per byte. And this rapidly growing codependence between the richest of the first world and the poorest of the third inevitably introduces union, empathy, where there was neither room nor need for any in the old order. Whether a Chinese factory worker can earn a living wage becomes the concern of a union organizer in Cincinnati, whether a tea merchant's Indian teas were purchased from their farmer in Ceylon at Fair Trade-certified prices is on the mind of a commodity trader in Chicago. The entire system draws together, and builds upon itself each day. The global market must and will bootstrap itself, for either the whole of the world will rise while equalizing, or collapse to the bottom rung. The alarmists and protectionists assign certainty to the later, and employ the spectre to stir up violent protests and resist the unification. Libertarians decry the loss of sovereignty and the development of common political agency that accompanies the emergence of common markets. However, what both fail to realize is that nothing can bring greater prosperity to all the workers of the world, be they blue or white collar, than complete globalisation, and indeed nothing could ultimately be more libertarian than the post-national world of this completion, a completely open worldwide meritocracy where abundant knowledge and capital are available at all times to all individuals, empowering them to pursue their fortunes in a world where unprecedented co-reliance in fact gives rise to an entirely new level of personal empowerment and individualism. Just as in a family, all members work together and behave as a completely dependent unit, and, as a result of this very cohesiveness, are able to rise to new heights of personhood and develop personality, the ultimate expression of individualism, so too in this global economy will the worldwide unification of economies, through the dependency necessarily implied by unification, remove all constraints to the opportunities all workers and employers. This efficiency will allow sustained global economic growth at levels previously associated only with mania. And indeed, a sort of mania it will be. The stage will then be set, for this is the end of Business 2.0. However, both dependent upon and parallel to this dramatic economic integration will be a personal integration of entirely different and more startling power. For just as new levels of individualism and power are yielded to residents of the global economy, they will just as rapidly sacrifice them to integrate themselves into the eudaimonic society that arises from the increasing abundance and accessibility of information, both factual and personal. 10 years ago, cellular phones were still relatively uncommon; today, they are for all intents and purposes a necessity. Imagine the loss or destruction of your cellular telephone, the crashing of your building’s Wifi network. The relatively minor curtailment of access to information, to others, to the culture of unification precipitated by the loss of these artifacts which were entirely absent from most lives within recent memory would be painfully unpleasant for most, and literally catastrophic for some. It is precisely this nonreversible reaction to the progress of the technology of connection that makes the approach of technological singularity so inevitable. As more and more access to information, to facts and persons, in greater and greater depth continues to become available, the consumers of the world will initially accept each new generation for its superficial conveniences and come to completely rely upon it as a result of the deep and accelerating societal pressures toward integration cited above. Just as today holdouts to the acceptance and implementation of technology, and especially that of connectivity, are at stark disadvantages in the realms of commerce and personal networking, and indeed often outcast as eccentric has-beens, the relics of another age, this new society, by its nature as an information eudaimonia, will be so self-evidently superior to its stake-holders that all who resist it will not merely be viewed as odd, but actually sick. The onset of this mindset will mark the rapid and ultimate decline of the traditional boundaries of the individual. This downfall will be aided and accelerated by advances not merely in traditional telecommunications, wireless networking, and parallel computing, but by the march to its inevitable end of the current generation of biomedical engineering. The exciting advances in mind/machine interface now entering use as part of DARPA’s Prosthetics 2009 research initiative, the advent of implantable processes and integrated circuitry employing human nerves as vital connections all signal an internalization of the technology of connectedness, the informational richness that spells the demise of boundaries and isolation, is far more dramatic than even that of the new societal mores with which it will form a positive feedback loop. When man is able to consult with all of humanity at all times in all places WITHOUT use of external devices, when such ego-destructing methodology is not merely necessary for success, and even to function at the minimum level expected by society, but is literally a PART of the human person, is as much and as natural a part of how we relate to the world the use of opposable thumbs has been to the human animal for hundreds of thousands of years, there will truly be something new under the sun – just as the traditional independence of the ego developed as it was necessary for man to act alone in a hostile world, so its reduction ad infinitum will mark the arise of a new man for a new world – Man 2.0. The inability to be in constant contact with a worldwide network of collaborators to, in real time, integrate and organize the evolving needs and abilities of teams of compatible people in a 24-hour worldwide society, and to concurrently access and process informational input drawing on no less than the entirety of factual and speculative human knowledge, at all times, will be as crippling to professional and personal relations in this new world as the inability to use a cellular phone and computer is in our current society. Add to this that all this will be occurring in direct, unmediated contact with the human consciousness, not through an intermediary screen or speaker, and you begin to perhaps grasp the magnitude of what awaits us in the near future. __________________________________________________________________________ Well, there it is then. If I have any readers left (c'mon, technorati, don't fail me now...), please do share your thoughts on the matter. If I have time later, I'll try to clean a bit of this up, straighten out some thoughts, etc. There are whole areas of this topic I'd like to mine, but I simply don't have the time right now. Goodnight, all!
Hello, all. Two exams down, 3 to go! But, in the midst of this all, I share with you the following important political development:
Washington, March 12 -- Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) announced and discussed his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States this morning on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program. Afterwards, paperwork was filed with the Federal Election Commission.
“The American people now have a real conservative in the race for president they can support,” stated Kent Snyder, chairman of the Ron Paul 2008 committee. He added, “Congressman Paul has a long and consistent record of a true conservative; a record we are eager to put against any candidate for the Republican nomination.”
Be sure to check out Dr. Paul's announcement here. And I urge you to drop by his official campaign website, and perhaps consider making a small donation. After all, if 1 million people each send him $10, Rep. Paul's campaign would have the funds to really begin to compete in a serious way for the Republican nomination. Now, I myself don't agree with everything he says, but I do believe that having Ron Paul as a competitor in the Republican primary race will highlight some very important issues, and there are few other people I think would be better. So take a look!