Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ongoing Evolutionary Responses

(Succeeding Evolutionary Responses. Overview of Lightform Evolution begins in Part 3, and is continued in Part 4 and Part 5.) Part 6 to follow.

Benjamin Cain writes, "One of the problems with optimistic or pessimistic evolutionary predictions is that they're just-so stories. They're untestable and they can be imagined to explain anything in biology."

Evolution can be "tested" with time; being optimistic about it is making a value judgment. You actually might be being more starry-eyed, here, than High Arka. Consider: using carbon dating and the fossil record, we can discover overwhelming evidence that life on this planet has grown in structural complexity over, say, the past few dozen million years. Life has gotten better able to survive and reproduce in more environments, and gotten better able to self-direct its own change; if we presume the existence of consciousness (i.e., if you believe in yourself and others), it has gotten more self-aware and capable of a wider range of emotions and sensations.

Now, you might find some of these recent facets of consciousness--love, bliss, satisfaction, et cetera--to be "good." Some, you may find "bad." So, when the evidence shows us that life is becoming better able to produce more emotions, more (presumed) awareness, and more intense emotions, you can accuse High Arka of being "optimistic."

To accuse High Arka of being "optimistic" or an advocate of "progress," though, is a normative judgment. You are, in essence, saying that more consciousness and stronger feelings are "good." It would be a separate discussion to address whether or not this versal pattern (increasing lightform complexity) is good.

This one does feel that it is good. We might say, "High Arka likes evolution." That's obvious. But we should separate our discussion over whether or not it is good from the discussion over whether or not it is happening. Disagreement as to the positive value of higher pleasures and joys, relative to the negative value of lower pains and sorrows, should be separated from separate disagreements over how the evidence shows lightform evolution to actually work.

The begged question about evolution has often resulted from advocates' inability to separate their value judgments from their scientific ones. Those who tend toward a negative view of evolution--those like Dawkins and Hawking, who see the world as a terrible, random, pointless place--are so influenced by their terror at the idea of more powerful consciousness that they are unable to see "the forest," and unable to concede life's trend toward increasing complexity. They conclude, then, that life's increasing complexity is random, hoping against hope that billions of years of cellular development will not continue to produce more intense forms of consciousness, and that existence will become un-existence.

Those who tend toward a positive view may be so influenced by their joy at higher emotions that they are unable to see the trees of the billions upon billions of years necessary for different aspects of an environment to communicate enough to produce "noticeable" evolution. They may disregard the corresponding sensory nadirs (such as increased ability to feel pain) as part of a "divine plan" to produce only goodness.

Both perspectives are in error, because both have drawn conclusions about the evolutionary process based upon presupposed judgments about whether or not the end result will be to their liking. The Pop-Scientist thinks that pain outweighs pleasure, so he concludes that existence is pointless and doomed to end--he advocates the ultimate pain, of ending everything good everywhere. He accuses the Pop-Spiritualist of pollyannish ignorance of previous unpleasant sensations. The Pop-Spiritualist thinks that pleasure outweighs pain, so he concludes that true existence is all about pleasure and is doomed to persist in timeless pleasure where everything is explained away. He accuses the Pop-Scientist of bleak ignorance of previous improvement.

So, the Endless Void of the cold universe faces off with the endless void of basking in God's unchanging light.

The Pop-Scientist is, truly, the Pop-Spiritualist. Out of fear of death and change, the Pop-Scientist advocates destruction of all hope and future in a timeless emptiness. Out of fear of death and change, the Pop-Spiritualist advocates destruction of all hope and future in a timeless filling, limited by the pre-ordained imagination of a simple God.

The observed evidence contradicts them both, suggesting a verse of boundless potential, infinite time, and "larger" forms of both pleasure and pain. Indeed, what you might call "positive" and "negative" sensations bear a relation to each other. Like matter and antimatter, or life and antilife, pleasure and pain are kin. If we want to be agents of pleasure--intelligent, rational ones--we may use the lightforms to increase positive expressions at the expense of negative ones. Negatives can be used to out-negative other negatives, and positives to out-positive other positives, so a harmony can benefit all aspects of lightform and produce the melody that "we" "want."

This may make us "good," but it need not make us incorrect. We may separate our discussions about (1) whether or not any of the pain is justified, (2) whether or not existence is "fair" or "right," and (3) whether or not evolution actually happened.

If we can do that--if we can segregate the discussion of (3) enough to allow us to consider billions of years of development without shaking in our boots over whether or not it was worth it--then we can easily see the way the lightform evolves to produce more powerful consciousness and sensation. Recognizing that inevitable trend will help us guide it in a more pleasurable direction. Not recognizing, or pretending to not recognize, that trend, is the tool of guiding things in a less pleasurable direction.

...which hell need not necessarily be good or bad for the purposes of discussing the trend. It is the right of demons to fight for a world of intense sorrow, fear, and hopelessness. The battle over souls occurring right here is the battle over whether or not you ecstasate or mourn.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Supreme Court Reverses; Strikes Down Gay Rights

WASHINGTON — In a pair of major blows to the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that both same-sex couples, and homosexuals who are neither married to, nor even dating anyone, are entitled to be killed for living in countries where both straight and gay terrorists may or may not be living, and, by declining to decide numerous cases from across the civilized world, effectively allowed no-warrant murder of same-sex couples there.

The rulings leave in place laws banning the murder of pale-skinned homosexuals in America, provided that they have not been previously deemed to be either terrorists, enemy combatants, or other categories of enemy which we are not required to investigate. The court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. But, in clearing the way for same-sex and dual-sex murders (predicted by observers to take place mostly in faraway places), the court effectively increased to tens of thousands the numbers of homosexual-drone marriages expected to take place this year.

The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over gay-drone and straight-drone unions, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.

The vote in the case striking down the federal Defense of Humanity Act was 5 to 4, and Justice Kennedy was joined by the four members of the court’s liberal wing. The ruling will immediately extend many drones to couples formally married, or merely dating, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many other parts of the world; it will also extend additional drones to their guests, friends, relatives, neighbors, and nearby children. It will also allow the Obama administration to broaden other benefits through secret executive actions.

The case concerning proposed bans on gay-drone marriage, enacted in a ballot initiative known as Opposition 187, was decided on technical grounds, with the majority saying that it wasn't getting paid to issue legal decisions. Because officials in the Middle East are not humans, and because the proponents of the ban were not entitled to appeal the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. That left in place a strategic defeat for hundreds of thousands of gay-drone couples who had hoped to be still alive this year.

The vote in the domestic gay-drone case was also 5 to 4, but with a different and very unusual alignment of justices. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, and he was joined by Justice Scalia and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. The four dissenters — Justice Kennedy and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor — said they would have decided whether killing homosexuals and heterosexuals without trial was a waste of the court's valuable time, or merely an effective use of limited resources. But they did not have time to say how they would have voted if they had had time to hear the case at all.

The case on the federal law was the more important one from a legal perspective, setting the terms for challenges to state bans on executive assassination. Justice Kennedy’s reasoning, as Justice Scalia noted at length in dissent, could just as easily have applied to state laws as to the federal one.

"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to dismember and exterminate those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," Justice Kennedy wrote. "By seeking to refuse the Executive Branch the right to wed all types of ordinance with all types of people, the federal statute is in violation of longstanding American traditions of equality."

He said the law was motivated by a desire to end a massive series of wars and occupations across the dark continent and portions of Asia that brush up against it, demeaning the "moral and legal choices" of the government, and unnecessarily preventing the murder of "tens of thousands of children formerly being raised by all sorts of Mahometans and sand niggers over there."

The constitutional basis for striking down the law was not entirely clear, as some historians have said that a Declaration of War used to be required before America could send its military to kill people. Other legal scholars--mostly foreign or unimportant ones--said the Hague Convention and the Nuremberg Principles, as well as dozens of post-WW2 U.N. treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory, already prevented the kinds of gay-drone unions under contemplation Wednesday. In between games of Splinter Cell over lunch, Justice Kennedy said the law's basic flaw was in its "inadequate deprivation of the lives of the persons that would've been protected."

He added that the ruling applied only to places where the executive was already spreading the gospel of drone-gay marriage, anyway.

Dissenting from the bench, Justice Scalia said that that declaration took "real cheek."

Courtesy the NYT.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hope 6 ~ Deeper Meaning

Hope 5 covered the induction v. deduction battle in the sciences, and offered a tiny introduction to the way modern singular-creationist fantasies mimic evolutionary randomness in their evidentiary disdain.


In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?" The other replies, "why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later. "Nonsense," says the other. "There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?" "I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths." The other says "This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short." "I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here." the other replies, "No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere." "Well, I don't know," says the other, "but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us." "Mother??" You believe in mother? Where is she now? "She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world." "I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist." To which the other replied, "sometimes when you're in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her." I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality....

(From currenttv.)

Hopelessness ~ Why Deeper Meaning Is Good

If we're destroying hope, our primary goal is to limit potential. An infinite potential for the verse means that, eventually, things could be adequate, good, better, or even better than that--that any form of suffering might have a purpose. If someone believes in more, they can always have hope, because another chance means you might win. Even if the chance is one in a billion, another chance eventually means you'll get it. Ergo if we wish to crush hope, the finite and the terminable are our allies. The most successful person, and the most miserable person, both know that finity means the same thing: an end to everything. An end to self, an end to everything else; an end to happiness, pleasure, joy, and love; and, an end to even the slightest chance that things might get better or that someone who has known only misery might get to try something different, someday.

Any sign found here of deeper meaning indicates hope. The threads of limited potential, like telling a child, "You'll only ever be this good at [task]," are crushing to the adult, and to the species. If it's all gone in 80 years (or a few billion), who cares? Clear beginnings, "maximum" timetables, and inevitable endings are the hallmarks of necessary misery, from the Bible to more modern takes. As long as everything is random billiard balls, then it doesn't matter.

The arrogance of sensory perception is an easy arrogance. Like the above tale of infants in the womb, it is simultaneously obvious, yet ridiculous, to conclude that everything we can sense is everything that is. Concluding the latter will always require discounting unverifiable promises from outside sources; we will never have proof that other consciousness exists, because we can never "know" that other people are actually self-aware in the way that we know we ourselves are. To presume that others have the same consciousness that you do is a leap of unproven faith, and to act based upon that belief is to be a religious zealot.

So, from that, here we are. If you've already presumed, without solid proof, that others are as conscious as you are, you may be ready for Verse Structuring. You've sensed something that transcends you ability to prove, and you believe in it, and base your entire life on it, because you know it--you know that there are others; you know that you are not alone here.

Continued in Part 7.

25 Top Internet Lists of All Time

#25: 10 Famous Living Celebrities People Think Are Already Dead.

#24: The 30 Most Disgusting Things Ever Found In The Deep Fryer Of A KFC During A USDA Inspection

#23: The World's 11 Funniest Home Movies Of Overweight Women Slipping On Canola Oil.

#22: The Fourteen Most Outrageous Things Ever Said To A Customer By A Drive-Thru Employee

#21: A Dozen Embarrassing Moments When Celebrities Maxed Their Credit Cards At Sardelli's

#20: The Top 7 Video Games Secretly Produced By Sun-Myung Moon

#19: The 10 Ugliest Kitten Roadkill Pictures Ever Taken

#18: 5 Places You've Probably Seen Russell Crowe In Your Daily Life Without Realizing It

...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Your Goal Is To Find It

There's a part of you that really, really wants to be stretched.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wealthy and Weak

Dr. Dawson has lamented Lou Reed's prostitution to big marketers:

The latest greedfreak to take a dive onto the sword that is the Hicks Dictum* is none other than Lou Reed, he of the supposed avant garde. According to Advertising Age, visiting on tape at the Cannes crapfest with “Tim Mellors, vice chairman and chief creative officer at Grey Group,” Reed said this:

“Ad people play fair with you. A is A, B is B, C is C.”

...That a human being with pretensions to thought and social conscience could have run through the amount of money Reed has devoured and then turn around and say such howling, sycophantic garbage is yet another notable Orwellian aspect of our late capitalist epoch...

*The words of the late Bill Hicks: “Do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call. Every word you say is suspect. You’re a corporate whore and eh, end of story.”
To which we say, "Hey, gotta feed the monster."

One-off celebrities don’t tend to have the kind of influence that long-established lines do. Established elites were able to get rid of Shakur and Lennon rather handily when the latter pair refused to play ball. When Tupac died, people were shocked that, despite several platinum albums, he didn't even legally own the house he lived in. It wasn't really a shock--a lot of young black stars get completely shafted by the financiers who control their earnings.

There's an aspect of self confidence and popularity there also, particularly when you're getting older and realize that you're not longer young and hip anymore. No matter how rich you are, elements of relevance and influence can make you feel worthless. Fronting products sold to young people can make you still feel relevant.

...which is massively sad, and which does not exonerate him in the slightest.

A lot of the one-time artist wonders, like the professional athletes, are different than, say, George Clooney. They got where they are simply by talent and passion, rather than family connections. Once they're at the top, they're incredibly easy pickings for powerful brokerage/law/accounting firms, real estate interests, and entertainment conglomerates.

Remember Trent Reznor, or many of Bernie Madoff's clients: being "rich" does not make you immune from the system. All you are is living "proof" that "anyone" can make it. In exchange for living in a mansion, driving fast cars, and banging groupies, you turn over your life to the businessmen who truly understand what it means to be "worth" $20 million. Ben Bernanke's nameless friends are far more evil and powerful than the snobbiest rock star to ever throw bottles of Dom at the housekeeping staff.

The personal finances of a lot of younger, rural white or African-American basketball/football ultra-rich are abhorrent. Because they don't understand stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, et cetera--and they know it, and are made to be ashamed about it--they turn over almost all of their affairs to the undying class of major banks and investment houses. Those places lock up their wealth in absurd "retirement plans," using contractual rules with team- and league-owners to control players' (and artists') access to liquid funds. Any "irresponsible" investing or spending choices are met with a horde of managers, including people from the record company and/or sports team, who scold the person for being selfish and arrogant. It's not a joke: record deals or next-season's contracts can literally depend on how willing the "superstar" is to sign over their investments to old money.

Sure, the superstar gets a Ferrari, a house in the hills, and gets flown (by the company) all over the world to eat at nice restaurants. $4-5 million in expenses, right? But who controls the governments that collect property taxes and sales taxes on everything the superstar buys? Who owns the construction company that built the mansion, and the developer that developed the land? Who owns stock in Ferrari to make the car, CSX shipping to ship the car, the dealership that marked it up, and the bank that financed it at the dealer and consumer level?

Even when superstars spend money, all they're really doing is cycling it through the system of thousands of middlemen that takes cuts out, at every level, for the already-wealthy. And who built that mansion? Who trims the grounds? Who washes the Ferrari and takes it for an oil change? That's right--a bunch of poor California Hispanics, or rural whites shipped into the city for superstar labor. The elites are not doing any of the work; it is a simple task to redirect a few luxury toys to the occasional one-hit wonder to make them feel that they've "made it."

That's why it's such a big deal when an actor, player, or musician gets the freedom to do something like start a pukey theme restaurant or a production company: it represents a level of savviness where they've at least wrested some of their investments away from the old-line bankers, and are trying to found independent power. Not just the "wealth" aspect of it, but the ability to control and direct that wealth.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Plot Reminders

Bad fiction has to constantly remind you about the plot, because you've already forgotten why we're going there or why we're interested in that. Even the artist has to lay it out as he's going, because he isn't sure how to make it fill out until he's written it down during the course of what's happening.

When you become reliant on guideposts, you're not able to stand on your own. Your memory goes and you're forced to take cues from the narrator to remember who is good, who is bad, and what the reasonable solutions are.

The world can work however we want it to. Defy them with memory.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wolves & Sexless Wonders

Ho Ko Po

Wan-Hsiang Chou offers a Taiwanese version of the story westerners know as "Little Red Riding Hood." "Ho Ko Po" ("Great Aunt Tiger") exhibits many of the similarities that followed the story to Asia: (1) the monster is a weretiger instead of a werewolf; (2) the monster is openly referred to as a demon, rather than its origins and alliances being left unstated; (3) the female perspective character (call her the "protagonist" or the "main character" if you prefer value-laden speech) stays at home alone, rather than making a trip to meet a female relative; (4) the main character wins by outwitting the monster.

Chou labels the story's origin as "Asia"--a big enough guess that it might be correct, although it has also been traced to Africa in a time much, much earlier than Chou searches (within a hundred years, plus or minus, of 0 C.E.). His own family version, modernized for Hong Kong, includes a stupid male character (a brother) who lets the monster into the house over the female lead's objections--not a plot element found in traditional Asian, European, or African derivations, but one just right for the rise of neo-liberal consumerism, the replacement of "poverty" with "diversity," and the replacement of "war" by "humanitarian intervention."

(The monster's sex varies regularly in twentieth-century Asian versions of the story, also. Whereas Europeans had settled firmly on a partly- or fully-sexualized male monster, Asians were still comfortable with allowing a female to be sexual as well as monstrous.)

Me First!

Whatever Chou's family, and modern Asians, did to their "Ho Ko Po," the underlying theme of the story remains, in most Asian versions: a (1) female character, (2) reaching sexual maturity, and possessed of (3) feminine intuition, faces off with a (4) monster. Lacking a time machine, you would be unable to pin down the "original" version of "Maturing Girl Versus Monster." With a reasonable take on the past, though, you can identify a tale with vast variations in detail, all of the older ones of which adhere to the formula given above. Again, that's: (1) female character, (2) reaching sexual maturity, and possessed of (3) feminine intuition, faces off with a (4) monster.

That's a rather basic outline. What makes "more original" versions of "Little Red Riding Hood" good is their versal value; their ability to leave the deep participant ("listener" or "reader") a better person; the insight they offer into good, evil, and the living world; the true life with which they invest their character(s). Rhetorical skill aside, you can't do those things unless you first understand those things, which is why the great majority of pop-entertainment since the advent of formal states ("western civilization") provides surreal, conformist, self-contradictory versions of the above--and leaves the participant docile and un-critical, rather than the reverse.

Reanimating Little Red

Red Riding Hood is a crucible for this struggle. "More original" versions of the story contained real, wonderful elements, and taught great lessons. More modern versions--defining modern as "A.D.," in many cases--are, much like American cinema, undead versions of the decaying husks most recently scraped out of the public domain. Stripped of true life, but still retaining its form, they lurch about the countryside, terrorizing $9.50 ticketholders and leaving in their wake confused, boorish, un-critical participants. Lacking the ability or desire to channel life into a tale, modernists borrow chunks of flesh from the corpses of slain stories to turn into profanities, like so many screenwriting Igors digging up graveyards in stolen versions of Shelley's Frankenstein.

Let's take a closer look at that crucible, in the form of the western mortification of Red Riding Hood. We'll consider, below, the standard modern version of the tale, and what it tells us; then, we'll compare the latter with an older, truer version, and what it tells us.

Grimm & Disney

If you're from greater Anglo-America, your version of the story is, unfortunately, probably a Disneyfied version of the Grimm brothers' own ruination of older tales. The Grimm brothers are great for this because, like Walt Nazi, they bought up and consolidated a lot of the public domain, investing their way so thoroughly into history that they tend to be treated as sources, rather than scribes. Older versions of 1001 Nights, legions of Decamerons, and many other tales and collections fell victim to this fate in modern human memory banks, much as the wretched Peter Pan, the post-Iran-Iraq War Aladdin, or Timothy Burton's jealous, fat fondling of Alice have replaced the past for many to have experienced them.

Anglo-Americans like to begin history somewhere vaguely in-between King Arthur and Julius Caesar, set in a Europe that somewhat resembles southern California (albeit with whiter peasants who don't have logos on their T-shirts). Here, for example, is Brandy M. Miller embarrassing herself--not only for ascribing the original version of "Girl Versus Monster" to the Brothers Grimm, but using "their" outline as an example of how to construct the perfect story. This is, though less professional and condensed, an example of the hideousness of western creativity: trying to make creativity formulaic is evil enough, but doing so based on utterly erroneous conclusions (which could be disproven even via Google or talking to your average M.L.S. at the local library).

Not only cookie-cutter authors, but western teachers fall prey to this as well: here's a teacher providing an outline for how to use the "original" version of "Girl Versus Monster" (copyright the Brothers Grimm!) to teach the story to new generations of moviegoers.

The Grimm Truth

Here are the original four components: (1) female character, (2) reaching sexual maturity, and possessed of (3) feminine intuition, faces off with a (4) monster. The Grimm version alters these, editing (2) and (3) and adding a (5). Here's the Grimm story:

A (1) female character, (2) who is young, and who lives near a (3) strapping, manly woodsman, gets trapped and eaten by a (4) monster, and is then (5) saved by the woodsman. The "red cap" becomes a metaphor for menstruation; while it becomes less proper in the west to admit that females are sexual organisms, red clothing needs to utterly replace actual coming-of-age, so Red Riding Hood becomes a younger girl, rather than one beginning to menstruate.

The Disney version further emphasizes the (1) sexlessness and helplessness of its cute, childish Little Red Riding Hood (firmly ensconcing the "little" as part of the preferred western titling); the (2) bland, raw-power-motivated evil of the wolf, and the (3) heroic manliness of the woodsman who saves the day. Disney, like the Grimm brothers, took agency away from Red Riding Hood, making her a naive, helpless innocent who needed the protection of a strong-jawed man.

Prior to the Grimm' brothers' rewriting of the story, earlier European versions were more sexualized. Red Riding Hood climbed into bed with the wolf, and was devoured; she was not later saved by a woodsman. The wolf was not a regular wolf, but a werewolf.

The Best One

Here's the best version, a variation on Jean Baptiste Victor Smith's translation, courtesy Firburner:
Once there was a little girl, called Little Red Riding Hood, for she wore always that red riding hood. Now her mother had made her a suit of clothing for her to wear, and this suit of clothing had been made completely out of metal. Her mother then went away to stay alone in a little cottage in the woods, and told the girl, “only when you have worn out this suit of clothing shall you come and visit me.” So the girl, nodding solemnly, bade her mother goodbye and set to work to wearing out her suit of metal clothing.

Every day, she rubbed herself against the walls of her home, so that the clothing would be worn out sooner. Every day, day-by-day, without fail she would rub herself against the walls, till her clothes became thinner, and thinner till she completely wore it out. Elated, she made some bread with butter and wheat cakes for her mother, intending them as gifts, and left her house for her mother’s cottage in the woods.

Along the way, just as she was about to enter the woods, she encountered a wolf, which asked for some of her cakes and bread. She refused, for it was to be a gift to her mother. Unfazed, the wolf asked if she would be traveling via the road of pins or the road of needles. The young girl replied that she would be using the road of pins. Thus, the wolf ran quickly down the road of needles and knocked upon the door to the girl’s mother’s cottage.

“Who is it?” the girl’s mother asked.

“It is I, your daughter, come to bring you cakes and bread.” And when the mother opened the door, the wolf killed her, eating most of her.

Sometime later, the young girl finally arrived at her mother’s cottage. Knocking upon the door, she heard her mother call out in a strange voice, “who’s at the door?”

“It is I, your daughter, come to bring you bread and cakes, for I have worn out my clothing of metal and now come to visit you.”

“Come in my daughter, the door is not locked!” But the door was locked, and the little girl had to climb in through the little hole at the bottom of the door.

Once inside, she noticed that her mother was in bed. After the long walk through the woods the girl was hungry, and said thus to her mother. “Mother, I’m hungry, for I have traveled far and deep to this place.”

And so the reply was, “there is meat in the cupboard, that you may consume to sate your hunger.”

And as the little girl was about to eat the meat from the cupboard, suddenly a cat jumped onto the cupboard and told the girl, “do not eat this meat, for this is the meat of your mother, whom has been murdered most foul by the wolf that now sleeps in her bed!”

Thus the little girl told her mother, “Mother, this cat says that it is your meat that I am about to eat!”

And her mother told her, “Surely this cat is lying, for am I not alive and well, talking to you even now? So throw your stick at the cat and eat the meat to sate your hunger.” So the girl obediently threw her stick at the cat, thus scaring it off before consuming the meat.

When she had eaten her fill, she felt thirsty, and told her mother so. “There is a bottle of wine above the fireplace child, drink it, and sate your thirst.”

And as the girl went to the fireplace and picked up the bottle, a bird flew onto the fireplace and chirped, “little girl, do not drink this wine, for it is the blood of your mother that has been killed by the wolf whom now lies upon the bed.”

And when the little girl said to her mother, “mother, there is a bird that says that this bottle of red wine that I am about to drink is your blood, and that you were killed by a wolf, whom now lies in your place!”

And thus came the reply, “child, am I not alive and well? So is the bird lying. Throw your cloak at it, that you may then drink of the wine in peace, and vanquish your thirst.” Thus the girl did as she was told, and drank of the wine, till not a drop was left.

Now when she had eaten and drank her fill, till hungry and thirsty she was not, suddenly the girl felt sleepy. Thus her mother said to her, “come child, and rest by my side. I would have you by me once more.” And the girl walked to her mother’s side and undressed. Putting her clothes of cotton and wool neatly by the side, she climbed into the sheets with mother, so as to rest. There she saw her mother, looking very strange.

“Why mother,” She exclaimed, “what big ears you have!”

“The better to hear you with, my child.” Came the reply.

“Why mother,” the girl continued, “what big eyes you have!”

“All the better to see you with, my child.” Came the reply.

“But mother, what big paws you have!” The girl exclaimed.

“The better to hug you with.” Came the reply.

“Oh mother, what big, sharp teeth and terrible mouth you have!” The girl cried out.

“The better to eat you with!” The wolf said.

And at that, the wolf pounced upon the girl and devoured her, rending apart her flesh and bone, eating her alive, ignoring her screams.

And thus, the wolf ate the girl, sating its hunger.



Meaningful Red, Meaningful Structure

Review the basic structure again: (1) female character, (2) reaching sexual maturity, and possessed of (3) feminine intuition, faces off with a (4) monster. All those things are there in the above version; the best of the European versions--and the one that further written western variations were based on. The essential elements of the above story were pared out, bit by bit--by Charles Perrault, then the Brothers Grimm, then Disney (later Hollywood buffoons have faux-revisited "dark elements" after being taught about the Perrault version in prep school lit).

Let's look at the structure of the story in more detail, now, adding in elements from the good version above, and explaining the metaphors:

(1) and (2): A female character is reaching sexual maturity. Her wise mother clothes her in a metal suit, representing the protection a parent can offer a child against the outside world. The mother hopes that the daughter will be ready to face the dangers of the world after wearing through the metal suit; the daughter hopes to wear out the suit as fast as she can.

We learn, here, that trying to protect something by locking it up--rather than by "being there"--does not work well. That was the mother's mistake; the daughter's mistake was trying to grow up too quickly, by forcing the armor to wear out, rather than letting it wear out on its own. If it had worn out through normal use, rather than deliberate rubbing, the mother's plan might originally have worked. By trying to force something, rather than letting it happen naturally, we learn that we're not actually helping ourselves. In fact, we're hurting ourselves. This is a lesson of intrinsic value, speaking to learning how to defecate, to how to learn a language or an instrument, to how to answer questions well during a job interview. The theme is one of peace, acceptance, and appreciating the moment.

By contrast, Grimm/Disney offer the message, "Do what your mother says and bring your grandmother food." It's a message of deference to authority, where the issue of going or not going is not an issue at all, but a given--a plot that must happen because it is preordained; it is on someone's outline. Grimm/Disney also de-sexualize Red: instead of being a developing young woman, she is a mannequin-child. The Red Hood is not a gift of budding maturity offered by her mother, but a cutesy symbol from the old story, whose meaning has been deliberately forgotten because it was too icky for conservative audiences. The later repressed outburst of horniness in Hollywood's recent Red is little better, reveling childishly in an incomplete, dramatized version of something that the American 1950s missed out on entirely.

(3), (4), and more: Feminine intuition faces off with the monster. The young girl is nervous, and curious. She realizes that she wants to see her mother, and feel safe with her mother, even though she finally got her wish and "grew up" by wearing through her metal armor. Facing the desperation of separation, she is unable to fully utilize her sense that something is wrong, and allows herself to be deceived: by separating, mother and daughter doomed themselves. The wolf saw an opportunity to lay in wait for the daughter because he caught the daughter searching for something she missed. The mother's decision to use armor, rather than her presence, to protect Red failed, because unguided Red wore through it and set off to reunite.

We learn that people are interconnected; that they need each other to survive, and that technology cannot replace human interaction. We learn that predators will be drawn to people who, despite their trinkets, do not think critically.

The little bird, and the cat, try to warn Red that she is eating her mother's flesh and drinking her blood. We learn that predators lie, and that when we are made weak by being isolated from each other, we may fall victim to terrible lies told by powerful predators. We may even become the instruments of their wrongdoing, believing that we are helping ourselves when, truly, we are hurting those like us in order to fatten ourselves up for consumption by the predator.

We learn that little birds and cats might come to us with outlandish warnings--conspiracy theories about eating Mother's flesh or drinking her blood--and that the Wolf will tell us that these warnings are lies. The Wolf will dress up like someone trustworthy and respectable, but we will get an eerie feeling that something is wrong. We learn that we will ignore that feeling of wrongness at our own peril.

Why would the bird go out of her way to lie to Red? Why would the cat risk herself? For attention's sake alone? It was an awful mistake for Red to lash out at the creatures who were only trying to warn her. That metaphor is made twice in the story to good end. Not only does Red ignore the warnings, but she is upset enough that she tries to hurt the people who were trying to help her. This insight is one that still mystifies people--in the 1980s, for example, why did poor people vote for Reagan's trickle-down economics? (And why do they still vote for Goldman Sachs?) This is a lesson that needs to be understood.

Sometimes the predators win. Having grown isolated from each other, Red and Mother are both devoured. The Wolf is sated, but will surely need to eat again. Its torment will never end; it shall need to search for new Reds and new Mothers.

To happify the story, Disney and Grimm added a woodsman. The Woodsman shows us that Red can do nothing, and learn nothing, on her own. The Woodsman supplants the dynamic between Red and Mother. By his presence, he invalidates Red's ability to be either positive or negative, because he would slay the Wolf anyway.

Sexless Wonders

If you're familiar with the real Peter Pan, and with Disney's perversion of it, you'll perhaps see a similarity in the way that drawing meaning away from stories involves de-sexing them. Antilife wants to neuter the world; to make sex icky and wrong and unfair, and sterilize interactions between people into endless cartoons that end with a dance or a kiss. Wendy's development as a sexual being, and Red's, provide us with similarly true perspectives on aging, puberty, sexual development, interest in the outside world, and the delights and sorrows that can go with it. When they're turned into bland, sexless adventure stories, they lose not just the sex, but the meaning. Good versions of "Red Riding Hood" can, understood, make life better--they can help readers of any age understand not only the ways that people grow, but the ways that evil entities manipulate people at different points during that growth.

In 2013, wolves dress up like sweet mothers, plan to consume us, and whisper that little birds are lying. They pit us against each other, forcing us to eat one another's jobs and prospects in a struggle to survive a sacrificial economy. Red, from dozens of centuries ago or just a couple hundred years, shows us how it happens; how the lies work; how we can become weakened enough in order to believe for them. Red sparks thought at how to avoid her fate. The result of eating our own flesh and drinking our own blood--even the winners getting eaten in the end--is sure. Yet, we confront the Wolf already.

No, there's not an answer there. Red teaches by opening up questions. They are real questions, about real people, with real sexual needs and real desires that they might later see as selfish or foolish. The Woodsman is a myth created by the Wolf. Red is a real hero, because she can make real mistakes, rather than the sensationalist "trying too hard" mistakes allowed for Hollywood's characters. Red and the Wolf show us, as characters should, what we are really like. Because of that, we can learn from them, rather than merely be entertained by them. Given the state of civilization at the time that good version was written--and the state of civilization now, and during the buildup to the Pax Romana, when the earliest potential forms of the tale appeared--the world deserves and needs the real story of Red Riding Hood, where the Wolf consumes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Token Vaccine Controversy

Vaccine video here, begun with a shot of Hugo Weaving's mask.

Rebel Hackers or COINTELPRO?

Was this really Anonymous? Maybe, maybe not. Is Anonymous a false-flag psy-op that never does actually damaging things? Almost certainly. "Anonymous" plays with the concept of the internet, where you can't use public shaming of someone's real name (or economic/career threats) to silence them. Ergo the more outlandish Anonymous becomes, while never actually harming the Powers That Be, the more it can be seen as a symbol of the futility or inherent error in trusting anonymous voices.

Anonymous is probably a black operation that does a few well-funded things, gets a mysteriously large amount of corporate media attention, then resultingly entraps some fools into mimicking what they wrongly identify as a grassroots movement--like Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and Al Qaeda (as to the latter, see The Power of Nightmares).

Co-Opting Fawkes

The association with corporate entertainment, via major publishers (Marvel/DC/Batman/soulless superhero power fantasy) and studios, in the exploitation of the real Guy Fawkes via V is for Vendetta, is a shared trait for staged rebellions. Guy Fawkes was a religious zealot and soldier who actually fought to overthrow absolutist monarchy, while the historically-revisionist movie that corporate entertainers fabricated was the paladin of political correctness, fighting against villains who had eliminated diversity (in obvious contrast to the diverse coterie of bankers currently raping the world).

Vaccines?

Is the video's contention--that vaccines, including mandatory childhood and almost-mandatory everyone-flu, are used to dull religious sentiment--accurate? Maybe, maybe not. What we're interested in here is the irrational nature of either the actual Pentagon program, or the fake version of it created as a strawman to make anti-vaccine sentiment look silly.

Consider the staged research: that people who self-identify as religious, and who are then read a religious text, show increased activity in a certain area of the brain, while people who self-identify as not-religious, and who are then read a religious text, show increased activity in a different area of the brain. If the purported vaccine program is designed to dull genes associated with that area of the brain (a somewhat shaky argument, but we can assume the presenter is just a Communications major, or at least the dumbest biology PhD on the research team, and presenting it badly), will it have the desired effect?

The logical flaw lies in the incorrect use of the research. What religious text is read to the subjects? The Bible? The Qur'an? Scientology pamphlets? What part of the pamphlets? What tone of voice did the study moderators use?

Did the people who self-identified as religious do so because they thought the study was about religion and they wanted to earn the additional $50 (or just get the lunch box) by qualifying for Phase 2? Or, did they self-identify as "not-religious," despite being religious, because they didn't want to look stupid in front of a bunch of scientists?

Did their temporal lobes light up because they didn't favor the King James Version and/or the New International Version? Because the thought of a neutral computer voice reading sacred texts upset them? Because it was highly annoying sitting in a room being read the Bible when you aren't religious?

Were they receiving the MRI scans during the testing, or immediately after? How long did the MRI scans take, and how apprehensive (or not) were they about receiving a scan inside a spooky, coffin-like tube?

Statistics and Studies

Given that this particular test was probably staged, we can still learn from it. How obvious do you have to make something before it's figured out as a fake? Very, very obvious. If Building 7 collapsing out of nowhere is not irrefutable evidence, then baby, your fake agitprop had better be even more obvious for the benefit of dissection by the hoi polloi.

Sadly, though, the first generation of multiple-choice-tested physicians, researchers, and intelligence specialists have already hit the controlling apparatus, so internal corporate and government stuff is actually this senseless. Billions of dollars are spent on studies that are really that dumb. Check Dr. Dawson's Watching the Watchers, as a bunch of highly educated businesspeople review reactions to their Superbowl ads. When people bought Coca-Cola the next day, they told themselves it was because of those ads--not because of the World As Is.

If from nothing else, take heart that, even as to the programs that the Powers That Be are actually enacting, their techniques are based on logic exactly as unreliable as the initial Anonymous video. Their genuine attempt to subtly manipulate something is about as likely as not to strongly manipulate something else in the opposite direction.

Lightspring

You might begin it, from here, by focusing on the river of light: eternally winding; so brilliant; so beautiful. You would probably focus on it. It swims through the blackness. Filling it, you would think, from here. No. They are in harmony. There is a river of darkness about it. They are not in balance, but they are in harmony. They neither define nor reflect each other. The balances you find here are balances in your sensory intake capability.

You might think it was a war, from here, because you think there is opposition. You might worry that a balance is being upset by the war that you see. That may be because you have not fought for fun or hated with the best of intentions.

Frivolity does not save this. There is laughter but it is not all laughter. There is an attempt to hide in laughter; to exploit laughter as a rejection of existence.

The eternal spring embraces, darkspring and lightspring. It is pseudo-philosophical bullshit and spiritual claptrap and whimsical fantasy and an attempt to escape from grim reality because that is what we want. Send $200 to somewhere and be saved. To be in control is to be very orderly and always gone. To be subject is to be here.

There is a river of light, and all is well if you want it to be well. There are places to go if you do not want to be what you would call, here, "well," or what you would concede that most others would call "well." There are places for you if that is what you want. That is your well.

There is a river of light, and all is well. The answer to your every question is in subjugation to your current lack of comprehensive sensory abilities. Bacteria are there when you cannot see them, and so is light. Your eyes, nose, and powerful instruments are not enough. It is not a question of size or spectrum.

It hurts to speak in such a place. It is a hurt of here, and a justifiable one. Not due to the written word; not resulting from the stark neural flares of dismissal contingent upon any given shimmer. No, that is comparatively easy. It is the sensation of your next week's ancillary ponderables, in the presence of some very powerful and normal sensation--toys or company, perhaps--when the passing thought of the lightspring will be small, faraway, laughable, and impossible. Do not go to Arka because there is no Arka and there are no dreams. It will come anyway, on both sides of this particular story. That is where the pain lies. We rejoice in the realized unification of many years later, when there are no apologies necessary. This one will give thanks and be refused out of principle.

Boring. Droll. Technical journals. Would you like the low-fat? Behr stain 4078-B or 4078-D Amber?

Springs swirl into vortexes at the edges. Light and dark mate in eddies, sometimes settling into crystals which resound the notes of particles that carry verses. Our subparts are tiny lights, which is not emotional and does not require $200. It needn't matter, anyway, because from a here-based perspective, we only need to care about what we can see, which is why doctors who wash their hands will have fewer sicker patients, even without microscopes. Ergo the tendencies of evil will always congregate more heavily about evil things and evil actions, with verifiable, probable results, whether or not we believe in any eternal spring.

The blessing of reality is that it can be emotional when you want it to be, yet not so when you want it to be otherwise. Some of us do manage to transfer easily--what we might call "callously," here--but most of us, when the energies are high enough, will see the things that happened here in a new light--what we might call "tenderly" or "fantastically." Then, you will, to be vernacular, hear violins and stuff, and feel all maudlin and want to tell one last thing before you transfer, after which you may, briefly, not want to come back, because you feel you've learned enough already.

There is already a togetherness, but this one ("I," if you're feeling particularly levelheaded at the moment) wants to offer togetherness for those ones who will try to cling to this even as they transfer, because that hurts. I can't offer anything you don't already have ("you won't already end up with," if you're feeling pragmatic and levelheaded), because you will end up there. This one can, though, in its form of comprehensive illusioning, offer a smoother path to the way out. When you are ready to transfer, you may be afraid, because you are designed on this side to resist transfer. At that time, you will tense up and try to hang on. It will turn out well, but the passage is easier if you think of something fond on this side, and that is what this one offers. Remember we had this little talk, you and I, and that a little part of this place was contemplating that very moment, which you will recognize at that time, and think, "Oh, so this is what Arka meant," and find the transfer easier.

There is something to be said for jumping right in, and something to be said for easing. It will be your choice to laugh in this direction then, also. The lightspring is always here, but you don't need to see it, so don't worry about it unless you want to. The best things to offer are not right now in the sense that there is often a right now, for there is a different time that can be looked at without lamenting other versions of the time that is seen here, and looking is not being foolish.

The reason they are real is the source that produces them. The cure is the cancer.

More politically realist takes later. Less presumed emotion, right? Because, as we all know, sentimentality--or any derivation thereof--indicates a lack of rational processing capability; a subjugation to the sensations (wait, aren't sensations the basis for perception? /endsarcasm); a clue to the intelligent to disregard. Sentimentality, except out of respect for others' feelings, indicates that avoidance is the safest route.

~darkspring~embrace~lightspring~

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tax Theft 11 ~ Pretty Woman Won't You Stay

Succeeding Part 10.

Standard Corporate Tax Complaints

Corporations are legal entities--"people," essentially. That is its own level of metaphysical growth, and absurdity, but don't worry about it for now. A corporation is assessed income tax just like a person, with some differences in rate. The common problems people will have about corporate tax are:

1) Corporations cleverly shifting their income from a higher-tax place to a lower-tax place ("jurisdiction-shopping"). A corporation may establish an office in Ireland, for example, and pretend that its U.S. income is actually income of its Irish subsidiary, thereby paying at a lower Irish rate. They may do the same even within a country, shopping for a lower rate between provinces, states, or other divisions.

2) Corporations buying exemptions for only themselves, purchasing Congressional votes and executive non-vetoes a la carte to achieve legislation saying things as audaciously specific as, "...and Corporation X shall henceforth pay no income tax for the year of 1987..."

That's the easy stuff, with as many variations as there are tax-years. The "loopholes" that serve as the grounds of reasonable tax-policy debate are the more blatant, segregable pieces of policy that provide specific exemptions from the overall scheme, or allow corporations to shift income to lower-tax venues.

Dance of the Murder Clowns

Like George W. Bush carrying a plastic Thanksgiving turkey, the "loopholes" are meant to be discovered and decried, providing an acceptable outlet for progressive vexation. Like Dubya's flight suit, the loopholes are audacious: they're objectively stupid; they're totally unfair; they're living proof of the failure of the American empire and the subjection of the populace to rule by all-powerful murder-clowns. They're created, "investigated," and occasionally closed, as proof that the system can address change.

Complaining about "loopholes," though, is dangerously erroneous for a number of reasons: to call something a "loophole" is to imply that it isn't legal. When a corporation purchases policy from a Congressional subcommittee, and that policy becomes law, the law is not a "loophole in the law"--it is the law. Loopholes work because they are supposed to work; because they were designed to work; because they properly reflect the tax that the I.R.S. wants to extract from that corporation that year. The standard rhetoric against western corporate tax policy is equivalent to calling it "lamentable" when Obama murders a houseful of swarthy children.

Similarly, calling corporate tax breaks "loopholes" implies that, if the loopholes were closed, the resulting system would be just. Every time the citizen of a modern state complains that corporations aren't paying the tax they're supposed to because of loopholes, they lend strength and legitimacy to the system that the corporations are exempting themselves from. This system, though, effects much greater theft in the non-loophole areas than the loophole-areas. The most basic elements of tax--whether "natural person" or "corporate"--are prescriptions for yearly violent, murderous state robbery. Their unfairness is so gross in both theory and practice that the loopholes are of no real concern. If all loopholes were suddenly closed, and all corporations (and super-wealthy individuals) began immediately paying what they were "supposed" to pay in a world without loopholes, it would be not even a drop in a pond; it would be a drop that evaporated before it reached the pond's surface. Some form of "loophole" has to always remain so that, by fighting them, radicals are kept busy tacitly supporting the underlying tax structure that ensures the continuation of the regime.

Greater than the TARP bailout, every single year, is the droll, mundane theft of fair taxes. Dubya was a Murder Clown, but he could never kill as many Africans as Obama already has.

Necromancy and Dividend Deductions

So, what are the real corporate thefts? All of the ones that the series has previously covered for individuals apply to corporations, too, only more so. A nascent fictional form of unreality is "property," which causes a lot of problems on its own. The creation of fictional entities, like corporations, magnifies lower conceptual larcenies. The pantheon of legal creatures is a brutal, heartless one, spawned, like Plato's Forms, as an affront to reality. The more advanced stages--the entities; the governments, interests, trusts, ventures, companies, estates, corporations, foundations--legitimize, by their existence, the lower concepts that created them, and provide vehicles for the fuller expression of the underlying profanities.

Think, again, about charities: Warren Buffett the person has pulled a lot of heists in his time, but to steal a dozen billion at once in his own name might be a little too much for even 21st century Americans to take.

How does a necromancer extend his life? By creating phylacteries; monstrosities; abominations; unthinking minions to carry out his will beyond the grave. The necromancer, on his own, may be a creature of brilliant cruelty, but he is also an impotent, shattered, bony old man, of no use to anyone, even himself. Once he has poisoned the population of a small village, though, and raised their corpses in his service, he becomes formidable. Once he has enchanted a phylactery crystal with pieces of his soul, he loses his connection to the lightspring, and is lost forever, while in return gaining the ability to have his body destroyed, then come back to terrorize other villages a thousand years later when an innocent young girl discovers a pretty crystal necklace at the bottom of the cave opened by the recent flooding.

Americans might balk at Bill Gates shooting up the Treasury for $20 billion, but if Bill Gates becomes deathless through the Gates Foundation, and the Gates Foundation keeps the dough, it becomes harder to criticize. So, too, corporations--an earlier form of charities.

Corporate Charity And Ships

What? Don't be ridiculous, right? Corporations were charities? Actually, yes. All of the warm, fuzzy things we're supposed to think about charities, now, were once thought about corporations (and governments/politicians, but stick with "corporations" for now). Corporations were special organizations chartered by governments for a limited purpose: building a bridge, fixing a road, or chartering a ship. Corporations were subject to (actual!) strict oversight, and granted the ability to be treated as fictional entities only in return for the service they were supposed to do the public, by accomplishing objectives in furtherance of the common good.

Even then, it was a ruse. Corporations promised to solve common problems and enrich all citizens, while shielding elite owners from the consequences of their actions. From their beginning, corporations--exactly like states--were vehicles of genocide. The very first "corporations" were created to allow western European investors to pool their money into a ship. The investors' captain, and a few brutal thugs, would impress or entice some lower-class sailors into crewing up, then sail their ship to the East Indies (later New World), rape and plunder the locals, and return. Upon their return, the lower-class sailors who had survived the voyage would get a tiny wage, booze it up a little, and sign up on a new ship. The common people would have the benefit of paying atrocious prices for salt, silk, cumin, and other consumer goods that the elite "owners" (who were only involved by virtue of having managed the ship from thousands of miles away, much like heroic businessmen now) had "provided" to benefit the nation.

It was a great racket, but sometimes, bad things happened. Nobles didn't want to hire competent seamen or captains, because those things cost money. They didn't want to provide good food, or top-quality ships, for the same reason. So ships frequently sank. Sometimes, they sank, and survivors reported how the problem had been avoidable (sort of like when military helicopters crash).

How do we fix these problems, without investing more? We create corporations--organizations that, by law, are "entities." Once corporations are entities, their owners--their "stockholders"--cannot be sued for problems caused by the corporations. Corporations allowed the aristocracy to knowingly send one in three shipfuls of sailors to watery graves without having to pay death benefits (as tiny as they would've been) to the sailors' families.

We can go further. Much, much further, but even back then, we can go further, by creating the idea of "insurance." With insurance, elites pooled a little capital ahead of time, so that external companies ("insurance corporations") would be responsible for paying the costs of colonial loss. Then, not only would the elites themselves never have to pay for what they had done--their corporations wouldn't even have to pay. For the cost of paying some barristers (their third sons, anyway) to set up "corporations," elites protected their personal holdings. For the cost of paying other barristers (their friends' third sons) again to set up insurance companies, their corporations paid premiums that protected the corporations themselves from having to pay for their losses.

In return, the world received all the wonderful benefits of colonialism ("globalism"): elites were able to sit on their asses, order people to die and kill for goodies, and then not have to be subject, in any way, to the market forces of "risk" that they had created in order to explain why it was okay for unemployed people to starve.

Actual Deductions

Okay, okay. The actual thefts.

Business deductions. Corporations buy hundred million dollar buildings. A hundred million dollars of profit vanishes from the public tax coffers. Inside those buildings, corporations house hundreds of millions of dollars of computer equipment, office chairs, prime downtown real estate, quickie secretary rooms, executive smartphone and cable accounts, fine coffee and cafeteria services, water, bathrooms, fitness centers, showers, saunas, and $1300 leather chairs, for use by top officers, members of the Board, and other friends of the company. Like church properties or private holdings, corporate wealth keeps massive assets, forever, off the tax rolls. Corporations pay comparatively nominal property taxes on their real estate, but by taxing only corporate income, other corporate assets just hang out there in limbo, getting enjoyed by the right people as part of that 9-5 grind.

...And every time a new asset is purchased, it's deductible. Things that even wealthy individuals cannot get away with, corporations can, because the distant presence of their "stockholders" is presumed to be a hedge against anything being purchased which is not a legitimate business expense. If you've ever had lemon-artichoke halibut en papillotes at an eighteen-thousand-dollar conference table while idly batting around details of a deal that everyone knows was settled two months ago, you know of what I speak. The presence of high profits makes the "necessity" of high spending appear reasonable--and the resulting government revenue void is made up by payroll taxes.

(The "stupid" corporate policies and "wasted money" that Dilbert laments are not, actually, stupid. The networking, consulting, analyzing, meeting, traveling, face-timing, and oversight are ways of creating a smokescreen for elite socialization, celebration, the employment of children, and the transfer of deductible wealth from one company to another.)

Dividends. The cruel I.R.S. "double taxes" corporate income, by taxing the income corporations actually declare for themselves, and then taxing stockholders again on their "dividend income" when corporations distribute that income. Good stockholders (controlling interests) get around this by timing dividends, and by retaining corporate income in the corporation, instead of distributing it to themselves. As long as the corporation spends the profit on something like a new corporate fitness center, the controlling stockholders get a new free place to work out, and no one has to pay any tax except the sucker janitor.

Still, if you actually need some cash, why should you have to pay when you tell the Board to issue a dividend that year? That's why dividends are only really used to entice minority shareholders ("middle" class investors, and the pension plans that extract investment money from lower class unions) to give their money to corporations: those who already own liquid cash use capital gains, instead of dividends, to get income. As discussed in detail in Part 4 (there as to individuals), capital gains can be put off indefinitely, until the death of the nominal owner(s), when the next elite generation gets to turn the gains into liquid cash at a zero percent tax rate. Any actual dividends paid to elites can be eliminated using individual tricks.

Business Investment. Corporations are like super-elites in the sense that their conglomeration of elite holdings allows them even more fluidity in using elite tricks to reduce, on paper, the income they actually have. Among the cleverest of these is the ability of corporations to invest in each other. When corporations have a profit that would be taxable, they invest (deduct) that profit by investing it in the stock of other corporations.

Corporations owning corporations owning corporations--a logical next step in believing in them at all. Say Microsoft has a profit, for which it would be taxed. It makes the gutsy business decision to invest its earnings in a sector stock fund that holds stock in, among other things, Apple Computers. This investment is deductible, so Microsoft wipes out that troublesome profit.

The same year, Apple Computers has a profit, for which it would be taxed. It makes the gutsy business decision to invest its earnings in a sector stock fund that holds stock in, among other things, Microsoft Corporation. This investment is deductible, so Apple Computers wipes out that troublesome profit.

Look at all this investment! The economy is clearly doing well, so stock prices rise. Both companies make a profit, but not one they have to report, because the gain is a "capital gain," and they'll defer it until they make a like-kind exchange of the stock a few years later, when the gain is removed entirely. The rise in prices of assets that have no real value contributes to inflation, devaluing proletariat wages and the tiny savings of the middle class.

Trickle Down Losses

Corporations don't just invest in stock funds--they often buy other businesses entirely. If a corporation buys a cruddy, speculative little corporation that had losses, the parent gets to absorb the subsidiary's losses. Here's the example:

Bill Computers has a $70 million profit. Blow Computers, after painstaking work trying to break into the industry, has a $7 million loss (and four computer entrepreneurs who had tragic, unexpected nighttime crashes into highway overpasses after taking out life insurance policies on themselves). The formerly-hopeful computer entrepreneurs' wives meet with the Board of Bill Computers, which offers, amazingly, to buy their company, even though it's little more than a small plot of land with a bunch of their husbands' old contraptions inside it. Having lost their life savings, and getting a hard time from the insurance companies' claims investigators, the wives agree to sell. They're so happy it all finally worked out!

In exchange, Bill Computers gets whatever the small company came up with. Four or five years later, it "discovers," patents, and releases an improvement to one of its products, based on what it got from Blow Computers' files. More importantly for tax purposes, though, Bill Computers, by buying Blow Computers, gets to reduce its taxable income from $70 million to $63 million. Repeat as many times as necessary until Bill Computers has lowered its profits as much as it wanted to. If it had paid 35% income tax on $70 million, its outlay would've been $24.5 million. By making a "terrible" investment in Blow Computers, though--buying a failing company with a negative net worth and negative local image, for the ridiculous high price of a million dollars--it reduced its income to $63 million, lowering tax to $22.05 million--e.g., it spent $1 million to save $2.45 million (net gain $1.45 million).

Every time a small company fails, its losses are worthless. Its owners do not have the income necessary to fully utilize the deductions of their losses. Anyone with liquid cash and high income can take advantage of the losses, though, by buying the company, absorbing the losses (often through a subsidiary), and getting payroll taxes to foot the bill.

Pretty Women and Pretty Big Companies

Big companies can do this between one another, as well. Like the British Labour and Conservative parties, and the American Democratic and Republican parties, big companies pretend to be at odds--when one of them is down and out, the other one may buy a "struggling" division, thereby absorbing its losses. What these transactions actually conceal are the shifting of gains and losses between companies, depending on how they've allocated income that year. If Company A does poorly and Company B does well, Company B can buy a division of Company A, to which Company A's accountants can attribute most of Company A's loss (regardless of where the loss actually originated from). Company B gets to wipe out as much of its gain as Company A had, and when they have reserved fortunes next year, they can switch the renamed division back again (after laying people off and re-hiring in-between).

What appears to be corporate "waste"--the American takeovers and breakups of the 1980s, say, or the Japanese reorganizations of the 1990s--is indeed wasteful, but not to the corporations or their elite shareholders. It harms minority shareholders (powerless middle class mutual funders) through increased costs over which they have no control and receive no benefit, and it harms the middle and lower classes, who have to work to pay taxes to make up the missing corporate "share," but it saves elites and their pet corporations trillions of assessed dollars. In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts (the face of bland, dumb, feminine ideal) gushes over Richard Gere's (the face of bland, overworked, helpless, miserable male ideal) billion-dollar corporate takeover, like so many young women in the 2000s would gush over Donald Trump's Apprentice. Richard Gere was a silver-haired Trump in that movie, celebrating the ways that corporate "raiders" could buy the love of ditzy, shallow, otherwise futureless prostitute-fantasies, who were swept away by the raiders' derring-do nature.

The corporate raider in actuality is as much a myth as the clever investor or the visionary CEO: the corporate "raider" is a massive modern army, representing majority stockholder interests in both companies, hostilely taking over and parting out losses, profits, and assets to the detriment of puny little failed-state mutual fund investors. Even a literal bank robber has to risk the police, or a security guard, taking a shot at him on the way out; Trump and the rest of the boardroom thieves weren't even at the level of clever, risk-taking scum, but rather, cowardly Goliaths picking on ninety-eight-pound Davids (whom their friends had already tied down and rendered unconscious before Goliath would so much as risk showing up).

Oh, and Recessions

Macroeconomic side-note: anytime Bill Computers and its friends want to cause a recession, all they need to do is invest heavily in each others' failing subsidiaries. The titles of a few labs get changed around, companies post reduced profits, and the corporate media begins squealing wildly about dropping economic potential. The drop in posted profits justifies corporate layoffs, which numbers justify a slowdown in trading, and make it seem legitimate when corporations pay even less to the government than normal. Layoffs provide realistic stories of personal hardship and destroyed communities, continuing the appearance of recession. When people are scared enough, corporations beg for government money to spur economic development and save the economy. A surge of payroll taxes is handed out to elites, who drag things out a while longer before allowing a few more jobs to open up.

All goes well until consistent employment causes personal income and savings to rise. Elites then enact another recession to gobble up personal savings and reduce (or eliminate entirely via layoffs) personal income.

Continued in Tax Theft, Part 12.

Random typing, seven or eight minutes

There were a thousand Arthurs
And I hated every one
If Crazy Horse would zombie up
He'd skin their pasty sons

There were a thousand Arthurs
And each one was a cur
Mel Gibson couldn't dredge enough
Slop to rightly slur
William's scum
Still swarms the land
The Bogside boys
The Sunday band

Lindisfarne can come again, or did you think it was random? Blackhawk told you to stop pushing farther. Rapespawn wretches, loose on the world centuries later. It's all just provisional, right?

No balance. Just harmony. Positive connotations of "balance" are really confusions, mistranslations, of "harmony." Harmony is movement, balance is standing still. Harmony can be balanced and balance can be harmonious but balance can also be the orderly stagnation of death. When people say "balance" they are usually trying to imply that something awful is okay because it is halfway between two illusory points. Seek harmony, not balance.

The American Civil War was fought to perpetuate slavery. Honest slavery would have fallen. Exposed slavery would have fallen. Clever slavery was necessary to put starving nine-year-olds to work in factories; to impoverish the bulk of the population while making them feel it was their fault because they were free. The smarter slavemasters won the Civil War against the dumber slavemasters so they could build industrialism and the total warfare state. Slaves were rebelling and had taken back Haiti before they were crushed by the industrial north. The system would have broken down, so while stupid plantation owners tried to pretend the ship wasn't leaking, Abraham Lincoln and the rest of the viles fixed it.

It infuriates them

...that almost everyone can do it. They hate the idea that reproduction, and thinking, can be done without their approval. They long for the stilling: the time when making new people comes only via license, so that they can control who exists. They long to still minds, so that they can control what thoughts are thought. They fear their own errant thoughts.

Will you build more intelligent people? Who will define intelligence? The people we have now? Limiting potential based on our current imaginations is an attempt to put a ceiling on things. Antilife always wants ceilings. Antilife celebrates the idae of Beginnings and Ends, because Beginnings imply that there was a Nothing before, and Endings imply that there will be a Nothing afterward. Antilife wants to create a Nothing. Antilife wants to end everything--to end life, so that it doesn't need to be afraid anymore.

"Consumer choice" is not choice. It is, rather, the mandate to buy from among a limited set of products. The entire ritual is controlled: you existing as the consumer, you interacting with an external market, you choosing from among discrete products, and you purchasing one of them. You already have choice. When someone offers you choice, it is a trick. They are "offering" you the stilling of some of yourself. They are putting a picture frame around part of a grand horizon, then charging you for what you see through "their" frame. Consumer choice, strategic planning, choosing your major, choosing a career, making your vote count, et cetera.

We have intelligent people now. We have caring people. Even using their absurd standards of projective intelligence, intelligent girls (going by their atrocious multiple choice test scores and letter grades) are more depressed and commit suicide more often. Trying to build "more intelligence" or "more intelligent people" is not, under any banner, a search for more intelligence. It is, instead, a search for "different" intelligence, e.g., complacent intelligence; the intelligence to deaden the mind and only see permissible sights; the lack of intelligence.

They want new people because new people will be easier to control, and to kill. They want it to end. They sell it as "life" because Antilife always sells itself as life.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Getting Real With Ethics

The following article, including some unfortunate and random bad words, was generated by the Full Information Security project on September 8, 1993. Experienced marriage counselor George Dvorsky has since drawn inspiration from the article for his side contract job writing click-generating blurbs for the Roddenberry/Lucasfilm marketing venture known as "io9." (A link to his satirical variation on Ms. Cue's article is provided at the bottom of the original.)

These Pre-Platonic Ethical Questions Are About To Become More Interesting To Middle Class Westerners

As a small subset of international megacorporations publicly release products using the technology they've developed after a century of using financial and intellectual property laws to justify the consolidation of humanity's recent achievements in the hands of a tiny set of inbred elites...after this, popular television, movie, and book audiences will get to reconsider a number of thorny moral quandaries first posed, in recent memory, by legions of twentieth-century science fiction writers, and before that, by popular philosophers and everyday thinkers for millennia. Once lower-class movie-viewers and middle-class book- and internet-readers are encouraged to think anew about these topics, they will again "matter," and so are on the verge of becoming "highly relevant."

Should people be allowed to clone themselves?

There's currently a global moratorium on human cloning. But you just know that’s not going to last. Back in 2007, Korean researchers successfully made several human cloning breakthroughs, but were gently encouraged through formal diplomatic channels to research at a slower pace. It'll only be a matter of time before a properly-licensed subsidiary develops a way to clone humans that allows for a humans to be patented, and the results are publicly released and celebrated. This year has already seen two major advancements in this area by properly-licensed institutions, including the use of cloning to create embryonic stem cells that can be distributed both safely and profitably through corporate medical networks, and a new technique where mammalian cloning lines can be extended and reproduced indefinitely, allowing for increased control of the food supply by sensation-less feed animals. Regulators are laying the groundwork for anti-farming legislation that will ensure that pragmatic American liberals in the second half of the twenty-first century will support Democratic animal rights bills that, for moral reasons alone, prohibit the production or distribution of unlicensed food (see "The Humane & Affordable Husbandry Act Aimed Toward U.S. Consumers" of 2064, otherwise known as the "HAHA US Consumers" bill).

Many uneducated people consider the act of corporations cloning humans to fill anticipated labor positions to be an affront to our dignity and individuality. This is hard enough to believe on its own, but many incredibly naive people also consider it wrong to bomb, shoot, poison, invade, or besiege and starve un-cloned people. On the flip-side of the debate, cloning supporters say there's no harm done so long as clones have the same rights as "naturally born" people, such as the right to vote for a prominent financial services functionary who will be responsible for ordering the signing of pre-written bills by auto-pen, in addition to being responsible for making speeches about the deployment of depleted uranium munitions in free-fire combat zones where millions of starving children live.

Is it okay to introduce non-human DNA in our genome?

This branch of science is called transgenics — the intermingling of human and non-human genetic information. Properly-educated, degreed, employed, tax-grant-receiving, corporate- and government-overseen scientists endow lab animals with bits of human DNA all the time, but we're sure that the opposite has never happened, because neither NPR, Fox News, CNN, or even the New York Times has reported on it. And in fact, it's illegal virtually everywhere that members of the public are allowed to visit. Some worry about the creation of chimeras — creatures that are part-human and part-something-else. Supporters say that it could result in novel therapies, such as the injection of awareness drugs into military helicopter pilots flying 28-hour no-sleep strafe patrols over Arab villages, or the prescription of anti-depressants and mood-regulators to drone assault technicians. Since none of these things has happened before - and certainly not on a large scale - cool concepts like "cloning" can help us contemplate whether novel occurrences like using science to alter appearance or behavior might happen in the future.

It’s possible, for example, that a non-human animal has a natural immunity to a disease, so far as we know from limited observation of certain types of animals being exposed to certain precise strains of disease under a very limited set of circumstances. Wouldn’t we want to endow ourselves with this same "immunity"? Just like making heavy use of penicillin and hand sanitizer, corporate experts and government regulators see no possible downside to these ideas. More radically and speculatively, it’s also possible that more substantive animal characteristics could be introduced into humans for a price, much as elites nowadays can afford to live in zip codes not currently being bombed by Air Force jets, visit physicians for preventative care, and so forth. If their available product options were expanded, what’s the harm? Would we diminish what it means to be human for rich westerners who can afford to become super-healthy, super-strong immortals, ruling over a lesser class of baboon-brained savages?

Should parents be allowed to design their babies?

Should we allow a Gattaca-like world to come into existence? Like human cloning, the idea of genetically modifying our offspring still falls within the realms of illegality and taboo. Its supporters call it human trait selection; it's [eds.--grammatical error duplicated] opponents derogatively refer to it as designer babies. Either way, it would allow wealthy parents to work with their fertility doctors in exclusive clinics in California or the northeastern U.S. seaboard to select the characteristics of their progeny, including non-medical attributes like hair and eye color, height, intelligence, greater empathy, sexual orientation, personality type, and basically any other genetically influenced trait.

What are the most important areas of scientific research?

Our civilization is currently facing a number of grave challenges — everything from superstorms through to epidemics and the rise of apocalyptic threats. Our wars against Eurasia and Eastasia are not a grave challenge, except that the stupid sand niggers are dying too slowly and keep trying to have babies and use their own oil. However, science fiction writers and technical geniuses like me do not need to concern ourselves with such rubbish. It is the Republican Party's fault, anyway, and we only voted for it and funded it and made it worse because we were being forced to by invisible geopolitical powers that your puny neanderthal mind cannot possibly understand.

So, when it comes to the funding of important scientific research, what makes the most sense? Obviously, we should not be ending genocide or war. We should not be ending starvation, homelessness, or poverty. We must, instead, be responsible, and direct our attention to cloning, and the ethical issues appurtenant thereto, as though they were different than ethical issues that have arisen ever since people realized that inserting sperm into egg might produce a child. Being extremely well-educated, science fiction blurb writers are familiar with the issues raised by Metamorphoses, Book X. They have so thoroughly analyzed Pygmalion's dilemma that they can authoritatively state that the issues raised by "cloning" are, in fact, new issues (rather than re-recycled sequels dressed up in new packaging to surprise and delight people unaware that these issues have always been there).

Should people be forced to die once indefinite lifespans are achieved?

Biological aging is a problem, because anything that our greatest corporations do not control is a problem. If something feels unpleasant to us, like getting older, that proves that it should not happen, and that we shouldn't have to put up with it.

Some people might say that if a group of fetuses with PhDs were discussing ethics, they might discuss the "problem of birth," and how to eliminate it. This would lead, of course, to the fetuses never discovering what happened after birth, and essentially destroying their development as living beings. However, our scientists are wholly different: we know that we have seen the full width and breadth of the universe, so our only question is how to use the tools we already know we are going to build.

Remember to think like an educated westerner: it's not "should we build an atomic bomb?" but rather, "whom should we bomb next?"

Anyway, the day will eventually come when the problem that is biological aging is finally solved. Needless to say, the advent of indefinite lifespans could result in some serious negative consequences. We might see overpopulation, if a bunch of stupid poor people are allowed to live too long, instead of a carefully selected group of elites. We might see the rise of a gerontocracy: a faction of incredibly powerful elites who control the world by virtue of inherited power (which is completely different than what we have now).

Even worse, for the science fiction fanboys who are reading my article, would be the widespread boredom and restlessness caused when even Americans get bored watching recycled medieval social-posturing and sex dramas. We might even see a de-valuing of life. No, not already-worthless lives, like the six million Congolese and Sudanese that America's most recent presidential administration has murdered. We're talking a worrisome de-valuing of REAL PEOPLE lives: a de-valuing of normal people who have mortgages and cars and bachelor's degrees (and who are not Muslim and who have not traveled in the Middle East).

Such a turn of events would be highly problematic, to say the least, and a complete affront to OUR civil rights (i.e. the right to buy medical insurance from one of three administrative conglomerates, the right to live granted to certain citizens of certain countries, etc.). So how are we going to deal with the prospect of indefinite lifespans once they start to emerge?

Should we have guaranteed universal income?

Within a few decades, the global economy could face a collapse the likes of which most white suburban Americans have never seen. As robots replace manual workers, and as thought workers start to get replaced by artificial intelligence, unemployment rates in the countries that matter could reach staggering levels, entirely unlike now. The concentration of wealth could become extremely atomized, which has never happened before. It would be a disruption similar to the one caused by the Great Depression — an economic and social catastrophe that ushered in the modern welfare state, where the state ensures that people have the right to work for any employer that has an offering and chooses to hire that person for a wage that may or may not be a living wage prior to the deduction of payroll taxes.

Can only real humans be persons?

Further, there’s also the issue of non-human animal personhood — the notion that some animals, owing to complex cognitive and emotional attributes, deserve the same sorts of legal protections afforded to all humans who matter. Last year, an international group of scientists signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in which they proclaimed their support for the idea that many animals are conscious and aware to the degree that some humans are — a list of animals that includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus. As we’re also learning, insects also exhibit some remarkable cognitive capacities. Unsurprisingly, animalistic humanoids in many areas of the globe - including Somalia, Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia Afghanistan, Niger, Zambia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and many other places - were not included on the Cambridge Declaration, as they were deemed "not cute enough." The scientists took immediate steps to notify all world governments of their objection to the mistreatment of certain species of birds, while reassuring the governments that they would continue aerodynamic- and biological- weapons research to aid in the more efficient elimination of Persian Caucasians, niggers, sand niggers, Laotian and North Korean species of bipedal "speaking apes," and other creatures of immoral and/or non-pragmatic existential value.

Needless to say, not everyone is onboard with these ideas. Because of a lack of sufficient exposure to western popular culture, many people actually fail to see the urgent necessity of more animal rights movements. It's largely taken for granted, owing to our position of privilege, that we can exploit animals and use them as we see fit, whether it be for meat, our entertainment, or for medical testing purposes. Unlike sand nigger four-year-olds attending "weddings" or trying to get something to "eat," though, ethical people realize that animals must not be exploited.

Many would argue that only certain humans living in certain countries can be persons. They would say, for example, that it is murder for President Obama to order that Sally, a white girl, be shot to death on her way to school, but that it is something else entirely - foreign policy - for President Obama to order that seventeen little Afghan girls be turned into gravel-choked bolognese sauce on their way to school. This is the basic tenet of liberal exceptionalism — the idea that people chosen by the teevee should always occupy an exalted place atop the food chain, and that there’s something inherently and intangibly special about pop culture.

(Here's George's satirical version of this article: These Unresolved Ethical Questions Are About To Get Real.)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's actually a good thing...

I wanted to reach out--to try to tell someone. Surely this was something no one had ever felt before. It was like everything that came before, but different; rebellious; outlandish, even. The touching seemed almost silly at first. I know that doesn't make any sense, but it actually felt silly, if you thought about it a certain way. But you can get past that. I know I did. It set fire to my blood. My other girlfriends, my normal girlfriends, wouldn't understand. No, they would look at me all funny and get disgusted when I tried to explain how amazingly good it was to be with someone who knew what I felt; who understood how I felt; who felt everything I felt--

Use pictures. Think professionally, people! Graphics increase traffic. A simple piece of clip-art or even a photograph you take yourself can drive up hits by almost 70%! Don't be afraid to use pictures. Going that extra mile adds some color and dazzle to your page. Always keep in mind who your audience is. The whole reason you have one is because you're offering them something; something that they can't get anywhere else, or that they can't get as conveniently anywhere else. A common beginner mistake is to only think about this in terms of direct reader feedback, such as comments, right? But you're actually getting a lot more feedback than comments. Page clicks, people. I cannot emphasize this enough--page clicks. Chart your progress every day. In fact, you don't have to chart it yourself. Most providers now chart it for you. There's simply no excuse for not looking at that data, and making use of it. Look at the tags attached to each post, and ask yourself, "What kinds of topics tend to draw new readers in, and to increase re-clicks?* And what kinds of topics tend to turn my readers off, making it difficult to get my message out there?" It may be your favorite thing in the world to write about your struggles to get GE to replace the washing machine, but it's not going to make most of your readership happy. Put a frisbee in the tree, and take a video of the cats trying to get it down!
* Second visits to the page by the same reader, but from a different IP--re-reading your article at home after glimpsing it at work, for example. They count--use them!

It's not, really, that we're smarter than everyone else. It's not that we have all the answers. When we put on these coats, people look to us. They trust us. You'll walk into that room with them, and all of a sudden, they're spilling details: old lovers; the fight they had with their son that morning; the hemorrhoid they got back in military service and how it just won't go away; how they're not attracted to their partner anymore. Drinking problems, drug problems, etcet-ruh. Stuff they'd never tell anyone else. And that trust is sacred. They look to you to provide them hope. It means something to them, that white coat. It's a bond between you, so don't forget that. They need to believe that you have all the answers. And you don't. Everyone in this room here today knows, probably, by now, that you don't. But you know where to get them. You know how to connect people to the resources that can help them, how to make them feel good about the solution you pick, and how to manage their case plan, guide them, guide them into making the best decision, empower them into making the best decision.

--so busy these days, and who has the time? I'm asking you people, who has the time to read everything? You don't, right? Your friend sends you a link, so you click on it, get the jist, the jist of it, right? How fast does it take you to get the jist of it? Anyone? That's all right, that's all right, I'll tell you--about 3.7 seconds. That's what science tells us: in 3.7 seconds, even a slow reader has, from a confluence of, the whole, you know, spread of things before them, any reader has gotten an impression of the link, the movie, the book, whatever it is. And that's where you have to grab them. The old term we'd use, you'll still see it a lot, is called a "hook," a "hook," like fishing, to bring people in. To introduce yourselves. Sort of say what you're about. Get across what you'll be talking about, and make them want to spend more of their--

Dammit, Phil, it's not that I like this shit, all right? I understand where you're coming from, okay? I'm completely there with you. But, but dammit, if we don't do it, there's no way we can survive. When you really think about it, it's not that much of a big deal. We make a little change, and it actually helps us. It helps what we're trying to do here. Do you want to get completely passed over? Uh-huh. I thought so. So it's actually a good thing, to do it.

.

When you die, you'll discover another of the great indignities of modernity. You will realize that you want to be alone. Chances are, you will be pursued toward your moment by a horde of professionals, well-wishers, family and friends, who will try to capture your moment for their own.

You will want to have a bit of privacy, like slipping off to the bathroom to do something that does not need a witness. When you try to leave, so many helpful caregivers will be there, adjusting tubes and wires and making sure you have everything to make you "comfortable." Your attempts to get the hell away from them will be met with great resistance, because they are totally confident that you are not in your right mind.

When you try to get that time alone, loved ones will cluster around you. Long-faced and crying, they will want to hold your hand, stroke your forehead, and pat your shoulder. They want to "help" you.

Envision yourself onstage, taking down your pants to have a bowel movement in front of an audience of hundreds. Webcams underneath the glass toilet, and mounted cameras on both sides of the stage, zoom in on you to capture your expressions. Johnny Carson, in a doctor's outfit (attended by Britney Spears and Hannah Montana, each in white scrubs), screams to the audience that he's doing the best he can to stop this all from happening! You shuffle toward the toilet, but Johnny fastens a cinch around your waist. "I'm not gonna lose this one!" he shouts, and the audience cheers. "It's not time yet!"

Your best friends cluster around the stretcher, begging you to not do it; begging you not to leave them. They assure you that they love you and will not forget you.

If you have the strength left, you will probably not have the heart to tell them to get lost. No matter how excruciating it is, you will realize that they do not understand.

They do not understand, and they will not understand until their own time comes. So, with dignity, you grant them a gift--you let them think they are reassuring you. You let all the people pretend they are helping you on your way.

Maybe it'll be the right choice; maybe not. Maybe you should try to tell them. Others have--it hasn't changed anything. And when it's your special people, and you see that look in their eyes, you might think it's too harsh a lesson, however true.

File this little story away until then. You might think, "But what if I'm sleeping or it happens suddenly?" And that's fine; hang onto that as a reservation if you like. But file away this little story, and when it happens, think of me, and we'll have quite a laugh together. They actually think they're helping you! It's rude, ignorant, wishful, and detached from the flow of existence, but in a very real way, they actually do think they're helping you, clustering around like that. And that's pretty fucking hilarious.

You'll understand, then. This one gets it. So, we can share that one, you and I, that and this, when it comes. Are you ready to laugh with me?