Ontological Rescue Squad Training Manual #1: Know Thyself

Posted by on September 15th, 2012

Listen to Imhotep

– from S.H.I.E.L.D issue#1

Critical Thinking is Critical.

In this post I will go through several long and educational, instructional LongReads… These will serve as an introduction, a basis to build from.

As I’ve said before, “the first grind is the mind”, and that video at the other end of that link is well worth (re)visiting.

We are in the midst of a Reality War, where the meaning of words such as Theory are weapons.

Where in the US the Romney/Ryan campaign is, rather generously, described at Post-Truth. Where earlier this year the Texas GOP declared war on Critical Thinking. Yes, really. And the shocking thing is… we aren’t shocked by this.

But there is still hope. Take this tale of a man who broke out of the prison of his mind; The Political Awakening of a Republican:

I always imagined that I was full of heart, but it turned out that I was oblivious.  Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society’s “losers” had somehow earned their desserts.  As I came to recognize that poverty is not earned or chosen or deserved, and that our use of force is far less precise than I had believed, I realized with a shock that I had effectively viewed whole swaths of the country and the world as second-class people.

I might still have stuck it out as a frustrated liberal Republican, knowing that the wealthy business core of the party still pulled a few strings and people like Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe remained in the Senate — if only because the idea of voting for Democrats by choice made me feel uncomfortable.  (It would have been so… gauche.)  Then came Hurricane Katrina.  In New Orleans, I learned that it wasn’t just the Bush administration that was flawed but my worldview itself.

The enormity of the advantages I had always enjoyed started to truly sink in.  Everyone begins life thinking that his or her normal is the normal.  For the first time, I found myself paying attention to broken eggs rather than making omelets.  Up until then, I hadn’t really seen most Americans as living, breathing, thinking, feeling, hoping, loving, dreaming, hurting people.  My values shifted — from an individualistic celebration of success (that involved dividing the world into the morally deserving and the undeserving) to an interest in people as people.

In order to learn more — and to secure my membership in what Karl Rove sneeringly called the “reality-based community ” — I joined a social science research institute.  There I was slowly disabused of layer after layer of myth and received wisdom, and it hurt.  Perhaps nothing hurt more than to see just how far my patriotic, Republican conception of U.S. martial power — what it’s for, how it’s used — diverged from the reality of our wars.

An old saw has it that no one profits from talking about politics or religion.  I think I finally understand what it means.  We see different realities, different worlds.  If you and I take in different slices of reality, chances are that we aren’t talking about the same things.  I think this explains much of modern American political dialogue.

My old Republican worldview was flawed because it was based upon a small and particularly rosy sliver of reality.  To preserve that worldview, I had to believe that people had morally earned their “just” desserts, and I had to ignore those whining liberals who tried to point out that the world didn’t actually work that way.  I think this shows why Republicans put so much effort into “ creat[ing] our own reality ,” into fostering distrust of liberals, experts, scientists, and academics, and why they won’t let a campaign “ be dictated by fact-checkers ” (as a Romney pollster put it).  It explains why study after study shows — examples herehere, and here– that avid consumers of Republican-oriented media are more poorly informed than people who use other news sources or don’t bother to follow the news at all.

Waking up to a fuller spectrum of reality has proved long and painful.  I had to question all my assumptions, unlearn so much of what I had learned.  I came to understand why we Republicans thought people on the Left always seemed to be screeching angrily (because we refused to open our eyes to the damage we caused or blamed the victims) and why they never seemed to have any solutions to offer (because those weren’t mentioned in the media we read or watched).

My transition has significantly strained my relationships with family, friends, and former colleagues.  It is deeply upsetting to walk on thin ice where there used to be solid, common ground.  I wish they, too, would come to see a fuller spectrum of reality, but I know from experience how hard that can be when your worldview won’t let you.

Another term to throw around at this point is: Reality Tunnel, “a subconscious set of mental “filters” formed from… beliefs and experiences”.

The first step is to understand that this exists. Only then can you attempt to take control of it and progress.

In this Harper’s Magazine piece from 1997, the recently passed Earl Shorris relays his own journey in Understanding, thanks to a meeting with a remarkable female prison inmate:

She didn’t speak of jobs or money. In that, she was like the others I had listened to. No one had spoken of jobs or money. But how could the “moral life of downtown” lead anyone out from the surround of force? How could a museum push poverty away? Who can dress in statues or eat the past? And what of the political life? Had Niecie skipped a step or failed to take a step? The way out of poverty was politics, not the “moral life of downtown.” But to enter the public world, to practice the political life, the poor had first to learn to reflect. That was what Niecie meant by the “moral life of downtown.” She did not make the error of divorcing ethics from politics. Niecie had simply said, in a kind of shorthand, that no one could step out of the panicking circumstance of poverty directly into the public world.

Although she did not say so, I was sure that when she spoke of the “moral life of downtown” she meant something that had happened to her. With no job and no money, a prisoner, she had undergone a radical transformation. She had followed the same path that led to the invention of politics in ancient Greece. She had learned to reflect. In further conversation it became clear that when she spoke of “the moral life of downtown” she meant the humanities, the study of human constructs and concerns, which has been the source of reflection for the secular world since the Greeks first stepped back from nature to experience wonder at what they beheld. If the political life was the way out of poverty, the humanities provided an entrance to reflection and the political life. The poor did not need anyone to release them; an escape route existed. But to open this avenue to reflection and politics a major distinction between the preparation for the life of the rich and the life of the poor had to be eliminated.

“You’ve been cheated,” I said. “Rich people learn the humanities; you didn’t. The humanities are a foundation for getting along in the world, for thinking, for learning to reflect on the world instead of just reacting to whatever force is turned against you. I think the humanities are one of the ways to become political, and I don’t mean political in the sense of voting in an election but in the broad sense.” I told them Thucydides’ definition of politics.

“Rich people know politics in that sense. They know how to negotiate instead of using force. They know how to use politics to get along, to get power. It doesn’t mean that rich people are good and poor people are bad. It simply means that rich people know a more effective method for living in this society.

“Do all rich people, or people who are in the middle, know the humanities? Not a chance. But some do. And it helps. It helps to live better and enjoy life more. Will the humanities make you rich? Yes. Absolutely. But not in terms of money. In terms of life.

“Rich people learn the humanities in private schools and expensive universities. And that’s one of the ways in which they learn the political life. I think that is the real difference between the haves and have-nots in this country. If you want real power, legitimate power, the kind that comes from the people and belongs to the people, you must understand politics. The humanities will help.

“My T-cell count is down. But that’s neither here nor there. Tell me about the course, Earl. What are you going to teach?”

“Moral philosophy.”

“And what does that include?”

She had turned the visit into an interrogation. I didn’t mind. At the end of the conversation I would be going out into “the free world”; if she wanted our meeting to be an interrogation, I was not about to argue. I said, “We’ll begin with Plato: the Apology, a little of the Crito, a few pages of the Phaedo so that they’ll know what happened to Socrates. Then we’ll read Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I also want them to read Thucydides, particularly Pericles’ Funeral Oration in order to make the connection between ethics and politics, to lead them in the direction I hope the course will take them. Then we’ll end with Antigone, but read as moral and political philosophy as well as drama.”

“There’s something missing,” she said, leaning back in her chair, taking on an air of superiority.

The drive had been long, the day was hot, the air in the room was dead and damp. “Oh, yeah,” I said, “and what’s that?”

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. How can you teach philosophy to poor people without the Allegory of the Cave? The ghetto is the cave. Education is the light. Poor people can understand that.

The question then becomes: what do we do with our new knowledge? Our post-awakened existence?!

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. ~ Rumi

This epic, three hour interview with Chris Hedges wherein he recounts his own personal evolution, a progression towards the twin asymptotes of self-knowledge and worldly-understanding, was revelatory for me as both a path to follow and a better life to lead:

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Liberalism is Domesticated Protest.

Now here’s an elderly Situationist with some news about Utopia to temper the notion that Humanism might save us all:

 Utopianism? From now on, that’s the hell of the past.
(((There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the furnace.))) We
have always been constrained to live in a place that is everywhere but,
in that place, we are nowhere. That’s the reality of our exile. It has
been imposed on us for thousands of years by an economy founded on the
exploitation of man by man. Humanist ideology has made us believe that
we are human while we remain, for the most part, reduced to the state of
beasts whose predatory instincts are satisfied by the will to power and

Our “vale of tears” was considered the best possible
world. Could we have invented a way of living that is more
phantasmagorical and absurd than the all-powerful cruelty of the gods,
the caste of priests and princes ruling enslaved peoples, the obligation
to work that is supposed to guarantee joy and substantiate the Stalinist
paradise, the millenarianist Third Reich, the Maoist Cultural
Revolution, the society of well-being (the Welfare state[4]), the
totalitarianism of money beyond which there is neither individual nor
social safety, [and] finally the idea that survival is everything and
life is nothing? (((Take note, philosophy students: this is how one
asks a “rhetorical question.”)))

Against that utopia, which passes for reality, is
opposed the only reality that matters: what we try to live by assuring
our happiness and that of everyone else. Thenceforth, we no longer are
in a utopia, but at the heart of a mutation, a change of civilization
that takes shape under our eyes and that many people, blinded by the
dominant obscurantism, are incapable of discerning. Because the quest
for profit makes men into predatory, insensitive and stupid brutes.

Eschatological signs and portents may abide, we may succeed in lifting the veil ourselves and see things as they truly are, we may learn that the secret of the universe is All in the Eye of the Beholder…  but one thing is certain: this is not how the world ends!


The Revolution Has Begun (Love or Fear? The choice is yours.) #anon

Posted by on April 23rd, 2012

I fully endorse this message:

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UPDATE: On reflection, it seems there’s a bit of THRIVE snuck into that vid. To balance that out, watch Guy Ritchie’s excellent #blankbadge movie REVOLVER.

Tattooed Buddhist monk shares a meal with a tiger

Posted by on February 9th, 2012

Your new mission in life (mine included) is to surpass this moment:

and if you already have, tell us all about it!

via Empire of Dust, actual source unknown (possibly taken at wat pha luang ta bua, in thailand).

Steve Fuller: Humanity 2.0 or just NO?

Posted by on September 27th, 2011

Steve Fuller, apparently a philosopher-sociologist of science and technology has released this series of book ‘trailers’ for his latest work, Humanity 2.0. This is the Introduction:


The further into these trailers I got, the more concerned I became, and not just because he talks positively about Intelligent Design. What concerns me is EVERYTHING HE SAYS, and that his academic creditionals will lend authenticity to his… argument, and he will be taken as an expert by the media on the future of humanity. This man is what I am now calling a Maladaptor.

Unfortunately I don’t have the spare brain capacity at the moment to read and dissect his rationale in detail, but if you are willing to suffer so we don’t have to, please do so, send in your review/retort and we’ll publish a set of them here.

Slampt shows how to implant an RFID chip

Posted by on June 24th, 2010

We don’t get the chance to post much actual in-world Grinding here; not that we’re not constantly on the look out for it.

Implanting an RFID chip and modding your stuff to use it is still the state of the art in Grinder Tech. (And if there’s something better you know of out there, EMAIL ME! m1k3y AT grinding DOT be). We’ve mentioned Jon Oxer on here a few times, but the details were incomplete.

Western Australian honorary Grinder slampt has done the best job so far in documenting the process; even videoing the minor surgery he had to implant the chip:

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His main reference was Tim Fanelli’s excellent RFID wiki, so (hint hint) that’s an excellent place to get started if you’re so inspired! (And if anybody starts saying you’re getting the Number of the Beast implanted, point them straight to his Implant Philosophy page.)

This is still very much DIY tech. Getting the chip implanted is the easiest part; they’re not expensive at all. The harder part seems to be finding a doctor, nurse or piercing professional happy to inject the chip.

The much more expensive part, especially in spending TIME, not MONEY, is modifying your house, car, motorbike or computer.. whatever it is you want to use the chip to control or access.

We’re still a ways off having off-the-shelf, consumer tech that is RFID Implant ready; give it time. But there are resources aplenty out there to help you. Find your local HackerSpace; failing that, create one!

So get to it. Wow me and report back.

UPDATE: Minor correction, per slampt: “Tim Fanelli has an excellent RFID wiki, which I both contributed to and used. This is a great source of information and people are encouraged to contribute.”

make your own QRCode stamps with Shapeways

Posted by on July 13th, 2009

3D printing service Shapeways are now offering QRCode stamps, so you can do cool stuff like this:


Here’s how they did it:

1. I went to a QR code generator, typed in the URL and got my QR code.

2. I opened the saved image in the Gimp and flipped it to horizontal(under image-transform).

3. Uploaded it to the Shapeways Stampmaker, ticked the for use with light box and ordered it for $25.

4. Shapeways 3D prints the stamp and ten days later I get it, and now I can stamp my QR code anywhere.

Which get’s me thinking, maybe we should try that first homework assignment again.

The “Truth” Behind US HDTV Converter Boxes

Posted by on February 23rd, 2009

      As US TV stations switch over to digital signal, the government is subsidizing the purchase of converter boxes so that older TVs can still receive television.  There are a lot of places on the internet where this has been met with a bit of skepticisim as conspiriacy theorists wonder what the purpose of these boxes really is.  (Aside from maintaining the ability for impoverished Americans to get some form of information via television.)

     Well, the truth came to light recently in a shocking video posted to YouTube:

Actually, according to Wired and the gentleman who posted the video, it is all a simple hoax. 

Last week Chronister’s video was promoted on the conspiracy-friendly Alex Jones radio show, and as of Monday the clip has chalked up almost 200,000 views and over 850 comments, many skeptical, but an equal number expressing alarm. “This is nuts! I had an odd feeling when the government planned to pay for everyone [to] get one of these,” wrote one viewer. “Yup, that’s a camera, and a mic. Holy shit. I am taking my DVR apart tonight,” added another.

In an interview with Threat Level, Chronister admits the whole thing was a hoax, concocted in about five minutes with a hot glue gun and parts from an old cell phone. The reaction surprised even him.

“I was listening to the Alex Jones show … and I heard him mention the video,” Chronister says. “I just about fell out of the shower.”

Chronister says the video is partially true: A friend really did share the rumor about hidden camera in the DTV converters.  “I originally opened up the device with the intention of proving him wrong,” says Chronister. “At which point the thought popped in my head, wouldn’t it be funny if I proved him right instead?”

Still, debate can be found on various parts of the internet and the hoax seems to have taken on a life of its own.  (Even as recent as a few minutes ago, comments stream into the video’s YouTube site amazed that the government is doing this.)  

Me?  I love a good hoax, esecially when they gain a secondary life and expecially when they exploit a segement of the internet’s perverse fear of technology.  Are hoaxes like this a twisted reaction to western society’s increasing comfort with surveilence culture?  Have we bought into the Participatory Panopticon to the extent that if this had been real, it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise?

I’m tempted to suggest a homework assignment where we invite you upload your own video showing a hidden camera discovered in an everyday object.

Extra points if it’s a biological object.   

Any takers?




“Any Tool is a Weapon if You Hold it Right”

Posted by on November 18th, 2008

I love people. I firmly believe people are smarter, more resilient, more adaptable and downright more awesome than even most people give themselves credit for.

But sometimes, people really piss me off.

That said? Let’s talk about Ontological Violence. For instance, the word on the street is that the ability of homosexuals to marry and gain the same legal and religious protections and rights as heterosexual couples actually damages the status of heterosexual marriage. According to ProtectMarriage.com, all California’s recently successfully passed Proposition 8 did was to “simply restore the meaning of marriage and protects it as an essential institution that has benefited mankind since the beginning of time.”  Search for the documentation backing other recently-enacted anti-gay marriage (or gay adoption) bills and amendments, you’ll find similar statements that make a very fuzzy distinction about where the line is drawn between defending our religious freedoms and impinging on the civil rights of others.

I don’t want to get bogged down here, debating the morality of gay marriage; there are plenty of other pundits who will tell you one version or another of their moral truth. What I’m more interested in is how the very idea of homosexual marriage and homosexuality in general is a threat. I want to talk about how progressive ideas of all stripes – be they subcultures, religions, sexuality, different loves or different goals are transformed in the media and in the hearts and minds of millions into a threat. How has love become a weapon in a war that, according to Protect Marriage,  has been going on since “the beginning of time?”  How has love become a thing that inherently does violence to – if polls are to be believed – a majority of the people in the United States?

Most importantly, however, since this isn’t a piece for Feministing or Feministe, I want to talk about what this means for Grinding, for transhumanism and for the people reading this site.

That people have a tendency to “Other” the people who are not them is not a strange new development. It’s the fodder for a thousand Philosophy 201 classes around the world every year. You can cite Buber, you can cite Heidegger, you could – if you wanted – discuss the tendency for Cartesian thought to make “Self” or “Not Other” the axis upon which existence spins. But on a practical level this does us no good. The entities immersed in the system we call the world (whom I like to refer to as “People”) still display an amazing ability to separate the world into dualities, most notably “Self” and Other.” And if something threatens that sense of Self – and really, anything that is Not-Self threatens Self by its very existence – many people are quick to interpret that Not-Self’s inherient existence as an act of violence.

Whoever you are reading this, there is something about you about what you think, feel, love, hate, fear or represent that makes you – in the eyes of someone else – a bomb. In a world where the media assures us there is a Culture War, we have moved past the point where “Everything is Political.” The politicization of your every action or inaction is now taken for granted. If there is a Culture War - and so many people tell me it’s real - then you, no matter your lifestyle, are not just political, you are weaponized. It only makes sense that in a world where information flows faster and faster between corners of the globe and the people living across it that ideas – especially “progressive ideas” – acquire the high velocity of a bullet. And in this world, there’s never just one bullet, but a hail of them. I grew up in a small community in which I literally did not know that homosexuals existed. Now they are my friends and lovers.  The world opens broader and brighter every day.

Here on Grinding, we talk about bodymods and cyborging and hacks and the bits of science that can push us that much farther beyond the narrow envelope of what is human. When our voices grow loud enough, when it stops being “the guy in the Olympics”, or “that girl with the forked tongue”, or “that kid who can feel your arphid chips in your wallet” – our collective voices will echo like a barrage of gunfire to someone. Given enough velocity, any idea threatening the envelopes of “Self” or “Human” Sounds like the crack of gunfire. Transhumanist voices will sound like violence. Just like queer voices or feminist voices or voices of colour, there will be those (there ARE those, look at Stem Cell research or the nascent anti-longevity movement) who interpret our ideas as a violence done to them.

Why? It’s beyond me. I have my theories, and I tend to point people back to Terence McKenna, Alastair Crowley, Grant Morrison, Robert Anton Wilson, Judith Butler, or maybe Emmanuel Levinas for my beliefs on why we shape our internal worlds like we do. But given this is Grinding and I’ve always got an eye towards practicality here – I want to talk about the stakes. In a world where the spaces between things and people shrink because of the power of interconnective technology what is conceivably on the line when – through the mere act of existing – groups perform violence on each other?

I’m going to take a page from our friends over at Project Marriage and take this back “to the beginning of time”. Well, I’m going to take this back before there were Christian marriages, which is apparently the same goddamned thing.  I’m going to take this little anthropological time machine all the way back to the time of the cave men.

Now I’m many things, but I’m not an Evolutionary Biologist. I’m also not an Anthropologist, but I think Mohinder from Heroes is supposed to be both of those things and if he can manage it, then it can’t be too hard. (Actually he’s a genetics professor apparently, but the joke stands.) However, I do want to talk about our former friends and neighbors, the Neanderthals. Now, we don’t know for certain what happened to the Neanderthrals. What  know they were wiped out. We are here gazing intently into our interweb-reading devices and they are religated to museums, crude graves, buried under rocks and in doomed to Geico commercials. We can construct a lot of narratives as to what happened to our genetically similar, broad-browed cousins, but the specifics, sadly are the domain of the past and as such are ever mutable. We can only ever add detail to the narratives of their passing, we can’t say for certain what made them pass. (Although I’m going to offer a few of my favourite ideas in a bit.)

Bottom line is that we (and by we, I mean Homo sapiens) won and they (and by they, I of course mean Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and let’s throw in Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo erectus just to get the point across) lost. They lost the whole ball of wax in a game where the stakes are infinite and the play was cutthroat. But how did that happen? For about one hundred and fifty to two-hundred thousand years, they were the biggest game in town. The Neandrethals were everywhere in Eurasia and while their population numbers possibly peaked at somewhere around thirty-five to fifteen thousand, they were still the star players in town, assuming the name of the game was “build intelligent bipeds”. Then, you get a period of co-existence where our heroes the Neanderthals were sharing bits of land with the newest Human upstarts on the block – Humans, fresh, if the story is to be believed, out of Africa.

The Neanderthals may not have been as un-like us as high-school biology textbooks have led us to believe. In fact, researchers at the Max Plank Institute estimate that there’s somewhere in the neighborhood of a 99.9% similarity between them and us. They used tools, and while those tools never reached the sophistication of Eurasian human tools, they theoretically weren’t too far off the “state of the art” at the time. They had fire. There is even evidence they may have had language: They had the pre-requisite musculature necessary for  human-like speech and they carry the exact same FOXP2 gene that we do – a gene tied to  the development of language skills. Prof. Steven Mithen even makes the claim that Neanderthals had a musical language that never bifurcated into two different tracks of cognition – one for language and one for music. Hell, according to some controversial findings, they may have even had musical instruments.

So what did we Humans have going for us? If the margin of survival between our two closely related groups was that narrow, what made the difference? Well, obviously weather had a lot to do with it. The weather in a lot of the areas the Neanderthals called home sucked and was not really conducive to a hunting-based society. But one serious advantage the Humans had in areas where we overlapped in harsh climes was that Humans had a “cultural cache:”  In other words we did more than hunt. We had a back-up plan. Plan B came in the form of rudimentary agriculture, whereas as best as we can tell, our Neanderthal buddies were strict hunters and carnivores. (And possibly cannibals, to boot.)

Our human ancestors also seem to have had larger social groups. While Neanderthals appear to have had small tight-knit family units, the proto-humans were forming things recognizable as communities. This of course, would have created greater social and linguistic sophistication. And as linguistic sophistication grows so does cognitive function. The Humans, by existing in larger communal structures would have been exposed to a greater range of ideas and variations. The Neanderthal would have had tradition and an extremely isolated small family unit, not facing the cognitive and social challenges that an increasingly networked proto-culture faced.

Perhaps they were simply unable to deal with the climate change of the ice age. Or perhaps when thrust into contact with our ancestors they had a sexy party and interbred (although recent studies show a great deal of doubt that there was ever an appreciable amount of interbreeding between the two competing species). There are a lot of theories on why we won out in the evolutionary sweepstakes, although perhaps the most believable (to me at least) is the one put forth by authors like Jared Diamond and Howard Bloom:  When and where these two vastly similar but very different cultures met they did what we all feel the reaction to do when encountering a perversion of “self” – they fought.

The proto-humans, being faster and having projectile weapons that the Neanderthals’ material culture never developed and – according to Bloom at least – harboring an instinctual and genetic drive to win – wiped out the Neandterthals wholesale.

Honestly, it was probably a mix of all of these things:  Climate change, differing community structures, different material cultures, outright naked aggression, scarcity of food. Me? I still leave a lot of room for the humans gaining the upper hand through the use of psychedelics, but I’ll leave “The Stoned Ape” to its own devices for now. What human culture shows in almost all of these scenarios is an ability to adapt faster than their opponents. More to the point, as author Bruce Sterling points out in his book Shaping Things, they appear to have possessed the ability to make mistakes and learn from them with a greater speed; a necessary skill for a successful culture.

The things that saw Humans win that race were not big things, really. Certainly  they were game-changing  ideas at the time: change how families work, orginize the old family units into tribes, divide labor tasks in case the present state changes so we’d have something to fall back on.  Our forebears were able to – and were forced to - try new things in case the old things stop working. These are lesions we should have learned from cavemen. Theirs was a live-or-die situation, certainly but how is now really any different?   

Look at the news, look at the polls. Over fifty percent of the people in this country (not even getting into other cultural and geopolitical morasses, here) do not have the ability to suspend their fear of the Other long enough, to embrace real change, to make mistakes at high velocity, to have a sense of self that is porous enough to allow other kinds of people to live their lives, to let love be not a weapon.

But here’s the part that keeps me up at night:  I love people.  If I didn’t, I think I’d be in a different line of work.  My fear is that the roots of Ontological Violence stem from way back in the day.  Back when two like species met each other on the world’s dusty plains and only one walked away. And the one that didn’t walk away? It had beauty, it had art, it was so much like us… but it didn’t adapt. It didn’t have the little ideas to enable a species to make it through the long haul.  Because of their inability or unwillingness to incorporate little ideas that by the light of the cities look like the simplest fucking things, they  wasted away, or we might have killed them. Who knows?  There’s no one left to tell their tales.

I still love people.

I think we’re capable of wonderful things. I think we’re capable of anything if we let go of our fear and our prejudices and the dogma that stops us from being able to learn and persevere and make new and exciting mistakes.

But I see people preaching hate on the street-corners, defending their god, their religion, and most of all their fears with hate, anger and bile. I can’t help but look at those people who see my Self as a violence against them, and wonder if they can adapt and survive and change. In those hate-filled faces I see for just a moment – despite my better nature – a big-nosed shaggy-headed singing Neanderthal watching in terror as people it cannot understand crest over the ridge with their cunning weapons and dangerous ideas. I can’t help but wonder if we freaks and queers and Others do, in fact, commit a violence against them. Because all of us - The outsiders, the pagans, the Grinders, the subculture kids, the futurists, the cyborgs, the freaks, the fags – all of us mutants and monsters?

If there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s adapt and try new ideas.

Maybe there is a Culture War. And maybe history is just repeating itself.

Artist Wants Webcam Eye – Grinders Needed

Posted by on November 17th, 2008

A one-eyed San Francisco artist wants to replace her missing eye with a Web cam – and tech experts say it’s possible.

“I’d always given thought to using cameras to restore sight to the blind,” said Dr. William Danz, whose patient, Tanya Vlach, wants the groundbreaking device. “This is a little different, more like James Bondstuff.”

Vlach, who lost her eye in a 2005 car accident, wears a realistic acrylic prosthesis, but she’s issued a challenge to engineers on her blog: build an “eye cam” for her prosthesis that can dilate with changes of light and allow her to blink to control its zoom, focus, and on/off switch.

“There have been all sorts of cyborgs in science fiction for a long time, and I’m sort of a sci-fi geek,” said Vlach, 35. “With the advancement of technology, I thought, ‘Why not?’”

So, what she’s asking for is not that impossible a hack, right?  Her actual Blog and her original request for help are right here.  So here’s my stone cold serious question to all of you Grinders out there:  

Do we have anyone in the audience who could help her?   I know there’s a lot of engeneering, MAKE-o-philes and body modders who read this site.   There are a lot of Grinders on this site, more importantly.  Anyone out there have any ideas for her?


update on homework assignment #1

Posted by on May 15th, 2008

So how’s that working out for you so far?

There was a lot of discussion on the original post about how popular QRCodes are in America. So who has seen this? ’nuff said?!

Let’s look at two different types of submissions.

Firstly, from someone we’ll call Anonymous#1:

Anon Submission

Secondly, from Rootfireemeber:


Getting an idea of the range now? Let’s broaden the scope even more, because I am hearing a lot of “oh, but I don’t go out anywhere interesting“.

Can I then suggest screenshots of CounterStrike spray tags or some SecondLife AV?

Be as clever, creative and opportunistic as you dare.

I’m not saying you should carry one on you at all times, or take photos of the QRCode stuck onto the back of some unknowing business suit.

You have a better idea, don’t you. You just haven’t done it yet.

So do it and send it in.

This is just a warm-up Grinder Army.


UPDATE – In case you haven’t already figured it out, you can’t leave images in the Comments. Just leave the links to the files and we’ll sort it out. kthxbai!

homework assignment #1

Posted by on May 8th, 2008

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to print out this image, put it somewhere cool, take a photo and send it in or leave it in the comments below.


That is all.