Via OM2 Photography.
Last year, we asked you for questions.
This year, we’d like to do the same thing, shockingly enough.
It’s THE GRINDER’S GUIDE TO THE NEXT 5 MINUTES: 2013 EDITION!
Here’s the deal. Ask us anything — anything at all — via our formspring account here: http://www.formspring.me/Grinding We will then answer your questions in a hopefully entertaining manner.
Remember to use the Formspring account and not the increasingly compromised comments system for this. That’s http://www.formspring.me/Grinding — stay anon if you want or not. No topic is off limits, but things involving Grinding, the future, or whatnot would probably be a good idea.
Go forth to our Formspring and sin no more… unless that’s what you’re into.
Indeed, one of Toffler’s tenets is that “change is non-linear and can go backwards, forwards and sideways.” Rushkoff takes this notion a step further an describes a present in which “there is no temporal backdrop against which to measure our progress, no narrative through which to make sense of our actions, no future toward which we may strive, and seemingly no time to figure any of this out.”
Rushkoff toes the line between apocalypse and ascension. He diagnoses the cultural problems engendered by our disorientation from traditional concepts of time and attempts to propose concrete steps we can take to recover some sense of control and purpose.
Narrative Collapse: Rushkoff identifies both the sensationalism of reality TV and the meta-stories of The Simpsons and Family Guy as examples of how we no longer have the time or patience for linear stories. From entertainment to financial investment, the payoff has to be virtually instantaneous in order to justify our attention. Politically, he shows how these impulses play out both in the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. A news cycle divested of linear time, pushes politicians into present tense reactions with unsustainable results. Rushkoff’s sympathies are clearly more with Occupy who confounded conservatives and the mainstream press by having a large impact without an easily identifiable goal. In remix culture and contemporary activism, he sees the potential for us to seize the narrative frame and use them in new ways to invent innovative story forms and flexible agendas.
To the problem of narrative collapse, Rushkoff suggests that young people have reacted to the loss of storytellers by realizing they have to become the storyteller. The gamer can write his own next level. We can be fragmented by allowing ourselves to operate on the (non-temporal) time scale of computers or we can program our computers to keep us in sync with our own goals and our own lives.
Fifteen years ago, Gulf War vet Authur Boorman was told that he would never walk without assistance again.
Now ignoring that this is also marketing for former WWE wrestler Diamond Dallas Page‘s yoga products, I wanted to highlight this video for a few reasons – its schmaltzy soundtrack not being one of them. A lot of Grinders focus on body mods like magnetic implants and internal compasses and prosthetics like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation rigs, AR glasses and brain-controlled arms and legs. But what Authur is doing is no less “Grinding” than any of those things. We use what works, and sometimes what works are systems people have been using to repair and enhance their bodies for thousands of years.
In a world where even some of our staunchest allies in the H+ movement are more interested in what price tag they can place on a posthuman future, it is important to remember that there exists technology beyond what we’ve been sold. This isn’t a defense of “woo” – my interests here are practical – this is a reminder that while many of us love cutting edge tech, there are technologies on the ground to be picked up and used to heal, control, and enhance our bodies and minds. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in building a future that has a cover charge.
Of course, if you find something doesn’t work for you, move on to something else. There’s no right or wrong way to rebuild and temper yourself.
Enjoy the work.
In the new report, the NIC describes how implants, prosthetics, and powered exoskeletons will become regular fixtures of human life — what could result in substantial improvements to innate human capacities.
The entire report can be read here.
A one-hour look at the failure of the War on Drugs across the world.
Two noticeable omissions:
But then when all drugs are bad, mmmmmkay, it kind of limits your solution space.
Can’t be emphasised enough how important reform in this area is, because as the world looks bleaker more people will turn to any available form of escapism. And as the world systems collapse, the New Barbarians, those transnational criminal organisations will be more than happy to be the ones standing the gap.
Because it couldn’t possibly be the intention of the US Gov to create a prison (aka slave) work force, could it?
Joining the dots left as an exercise for the reader.
A machine that pollutes is only half invented
John Shirley (who along with Richard Kadrey put the punk in cyberpunk) steps to the podium at TEDx Brussels and like Bill Hick’s dark little prophet, preaches the dystopic future, the dark euphoria of the coming decades. This talk is over a year old, but it resonates stronger than ever. This is not our future | how the world ends.
In the first trailer for Tom Cruise’s post-apocalyptic film Oblivion, Cruise is a drone repairman walking the shattered remains of Earth. But as he explores the planet humanity was forced to leave behind, he finds something he never expected to find, something that makes him question everything he’s been told about the conflict that destroyed the Earth.
The capabilities of these drones can be astounding. According to a recent Gizmodo article, the Puma AE (“All Environment”) drone can land anywhere, “either in tight city streets or onto a water surface if the mission dictates, even after a near-vertical ‘deep stall’ final approach.” Another drone, Insitu’s ScanEagle, which the Air Force has flown near Virginia Beach, sports an “inertial-stabilized camera turret, [that] allows for the tracking of a target of interest for extended periods of time, even when the target is moving and the aircraft nose is seldom pointed at the target.” Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird (see photo above), which the Air Force has flown near Victorville, California, is capable of staying in the air for 16-24 hours at a time and carries a gigapixel camera and a “Forester foliage-penetration radar” system designed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (Apparently, the Army has had a bunch of problems with the Hummingbird crashing and may not continue the program.)
Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses “Gorgon Stare” technology, which Wikipedia defines as “a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone . . . capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.” This imagery “can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project” being developed by DARPA. If true, this technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.
Another scary aspect of the Air Force’s drone program is the number of times Predator and Reaper drones have crashed. The Washington Post wrote about crashes at civilian airports abroad a few days ago, and the Air Force presents some statistics on actual incidents and the potential for crashes in New Mexico in a document titled “Operational Risk Analysis of Predator/Reaper Flight Operations in a Corridor between Cannon AFB and Melrose Range (R-5104A).” This document notes that “8 incidents [involving Predators] occurred over a period of 79,177 flying hours.” (p. 8). A risk analysis table from the report is below.
The Montgomery County sheriff’s office in Texas had planned a big photo opportunity with their newly acquired surveillance drone. It all went horrible wrong when, according to the Examiner, “[The] prototype drone was flying about 18 feet off the ground [and] it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground. It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode … but when it was coming down, the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.” (The SWAT team had suited up, armored vehicle on hand, for the purpose of the photo.)
“Not only did the drone fail, and not only did it crash, it literally crashed into the police. It’s no wonder we’re not able to find a video of this spectacular publicity failure,” noted Gizmodo.The CRP–Hearst report explicitly listed collisions as a concern insufficiently addressed by lawmakers in the so-called “drone caucus,” who have pushed an agenda to hurry drones into the hands of police departments and private corporations.
Alameda County is moving to become one of dozens of local law enforcement agencies nationwide to deploy the unmanned crafts. Some of the agencies include the Seattle Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The move comes three months after the Government Accountability Office warned Congress that its push for drones to become commonplace in U.S. airspace fails to take into account privacy, security and even GPS jamming and spoofing. The GAO, Congress’ research arm, was responding to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, signed by President Barack Obama in February, which among other things requires the Federal Aviation Administration to accelerate drone flights in U.S. airspace.
Alameda County, in the Bay Area, is home to Oakland, the scene of violent Occupy protests last year.
Weeks ago, the sheriff told a local NBC affiliate that it was a “no-brainer” when it came to deploying a drone.
In the second week at the VFL, I’ve been continuing modelling and printing for the final residency product, which should be completed next week.
I’ve also been looking at the ways in which drones manifest and are visualised, used and normalised in the world. (This is as good a time as any to note that I’m specifically interested in military drones, not the DIY type, quadrocopters, civilian drones etc – although there are clearly interesting connections to be articulated between these, and the designation of civilian is also problematic.)
“Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” by ESSAM (full rez here)
Essam Attia is the New York street artist responsible for placing fake NYPD ads reading “Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” around town. In September, he gave a video interview to Animal NY, with his identity and voice obscured, in which he discussed this project and his art in general. Wednesday morning, the NYPD arrested him at home.
The NYDN reports that he’s charged with “56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession,” the last (and possibly worst) charge coming because cops found an unloaded .22 pistol under his bed when they arrested him. On a practical level, Attia was not the most careful art criminal. He signed his work “ESSAM;” and he told Animal that he was a “a 29-year-old art-school grad from Maine, who served in Iraq as a ‘geo-spatial analyst.’” It probably did not take an incredible amount of police work to narrow down the possibilities.
Still—great work by the NYPD to prove Essam’s point: you are all being watched. Poke humor at the ALL SEEING GOVERNMENT EYE, and it will make you pay. IT KNOWS ALL. In the Animal interview, author Matt Harvey noted, “He agrees that there is an inherent irony in his spoofs: the very fact that the NYPD (which claims to be strongly pursuing him with their ‘counter terrorism squad’) hasn’t caught him yet, is proof that we have not reached a state of Orwellian control.”
Ah…. cancel that.
[Photo via Animal]
In 1978 William S. Burroughs opened the Nova Convention (a truly Weird Nodal Point) with these words:
All this has happened before. Like in Maya:
The ancient Maya in this hilly and riverless region confronted long-term climatic aridification, experienced decadal to century-level or longer droughts amplified by the landscape changes that they made, including large-scale deforestation indicated in the paleoecological record.
Previous to the collapse, the Maya occupied the area for more than 2,000 years, noted researchers, “a time in which they developed a sophisticated understanding of their environment, built and sustained intensive production [and water] systems, and withstood at least two long-term episodes of aridity.”
The researchers noted that the Maya case lends insights for the use of paleo- and historical analogs to inform contemporary global environment change and sustainability.
They described the Classic Period of the Lowland Maya (CE 300-800) as a “highly complex civilization organized into networks of city-states,” in their perspective article published in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Just not on this scale; worldwide Collapse. Thankfully, it’s not like there isn’t some new “Cold War”, Arctic oil grab a-coming:
Major powers like the the US, China and Russia are still waiting for the Arctic ice to hurry up and melt away. And that process is moving along at a pace that makes the average environmentalist want to sign yet another petition during Nat Geo Channel commercial breaks and bong hits. The Arctic is said to have up to 25% of the world’s oil and gas sitting like Inca gold under all that pesky ice and, with current global oil production maxed out and prices rising fast, the North Pole sure has the potential to be proxy resource war central in the increasingly tense 21st century
The center, based at the University of Colorado, has been comparing the data against 2007 sea ice levels, when the Arctic cap shrank to a record low of 4.25 million square kilometres. That rapid decrease was expected and explainable because of enduring patterns of high pressure over the central Arctic Ocean combined with low pressure over the northern Eurasian coast. Throughout 2012, however, conditions have not been consistent — from the end of June the rate of loss was recorded as being 100,000 square kilometers per day, but this figure dramatically doubled for several days in August when a cyclone brought warm winds to the region, with the expanse of open water in the Atlantic continually contributing to the loss. Over the course of just a few days, 200,000 square kilometers of ice disappeared in the East Siberian Sea alone.
While predictions of a total melt during the summer months and its potentially devastating effects on the planet has many worried (Serreze says the rapid melting may have contributed to severe storms in the US in recent years), commercial enterprises are busily jumping at the opportunity to open shop in the Northern Passage. China sent its first vessel along the Arctic route in August, trimming its usual route length by 40 percent, while Germany and Russia are already established players.
What about those “collapses?” Failure modes that would not wipe out humanity, but might kill millions, even billions? Even with survivors scratching out a bare existence, would there forever after be harsh limits to the range of human hopes?
This category is where we’d assign most punishments for mismanaging the world. For carelessly cutting down forests and spilling garbage in the sea. For poisoning aquifers and ruining habitats. For changing the very air we breathe. For causing temperatures to soar, glaciers to melt, seas to rise and deserts to spread. For letting the planet’s web of life get winnowed down, through biodiversity loss, till it’s a fragile lattice, torn by any breeze.
Most animals have the sense not to foul their own nests.
In his prescient novel “The Cool War,” Frederik Pohl showed a chillingly plausible failure mode in which our nations and factions do not dare wage open conflict, and so they settle for tit-for-tat patterns of reciprocal sabotage, each attempting to ruin the other’s infrastructure and economy. Naturally, this sends civilization on a slow death-spiral of degrading hopes.
Sound depressing? It makes one wonder — what fraction of the “accidents” that we see have nothing to do with luck?
Oh sure, there are always conspiracy theories. Super-efficient engines that were kept off the market by greedy energy companies. Disease cures, suppressed by profit-hungry pharmaceutical giants. Knaves, monopolists and fat-cats who use intellectual property to repress knowledge growth instead of spurring it.
But those dark rumors don’t hold a candle to this one — that we’re sliding toward despair because all the efforts of good, skilled men and women are for naught. Their labors are deliberately spiked, because some ruling elites see themselves engaged in a secret struggle on our behalf. And this tit-for-tat, negative-sum game is all about the most dismal human pastime.
Rising global temperatures and subtle changes in seasonal conditions could make 99.7 per cent of Arabica-growing areas unsuitable for the plant by 2080, according to a new study by researchers from Kew Gardens.
Although commercial growers could still grow their own crops by watering and artificially cooling them, the wild type has much greater genetic diversity which is essential to help plantations overcome threats like pests and disease.
Identifying new sites where arabica could be grown away from its natural home in the mountains of Ethiopia and South Sudan could be the only way of preventing the demise of the species, researchers said.
Justin Moat, one of the report’s authors, said: “The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could be extinct by 2080. This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species.”
Arabica is one of only two species of bean used to make coffee and is by far the most popular, accounting for 70 per cent of the global market
We can do better. And I don’t mean polluting the Earth better:
Carbon dioxide levels rose to 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, a 40% increase on levels in 1750. Other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide also reached record levels. Michel Jarrud, secretary-general of the WMO warned that billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide would remain in the atmosphere for centuries: “…causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on earth.”
“We have already seen that the oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of the carbon dioxide uptake, with potential repercussions for the underwater food chain and coral reefs. There are many additional interactions between greenhouse gases, Earth’s biosphere and oceans, and we need to boost our monitoring capability and scientific knowledge in order to better understand these,” says Jarraud.
Understanding the role of carbon sinks is key to understanding how increasing levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere will contribute to rising global temperatures.
The first official register of what lives in the oceans has revealed that the marine environment may be home to as many as a million species of animals and plants, but only about a quarter of them have actually been formally described.
Previous estimates of the number of species living in the oceans have ranged wildly from a few hundred thousand of several million, but the latest estimate is based on the first proper attempt to draw up an accurate inventory of marine life.
Although more ocean species have been discovered in the past decade than in any previous 10-year period – and about 65,000 newly “discovered” species are still waiting to be given formal scientific names – scientists believe that at least a third of all the marine life forms may be completely unknown to science.
More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed.
Coal plants are the most polluting of all power stations and the World Resources Institute (WRI) identified 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India. The capacity of the new plants add up to 1,400GW to global greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of adding another China – the world’s biggest emitter. India is planning 455 new plants compared to 363 in China, which is seeing a slowdown in its coal investments after a vast building programme in the past decade.
According to a new Rasmussen poll conducted a day before the election and released this morning, 68 percent of American voters said that global warming is either a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. This represents a major increase over the last few years. In 2009, Rasmussen reported that only 46 percent of Americans believed that global warming is a problem. (Interestingly, while more people say they are concerned about the problem, there was a drop in the number of people who say it’s human caused).
And that brings us back to Ontological Warfare and the Nova Conspiracy.
Then you realize the world is one huge humanitarian crisis, the global situation en-mass on average worse than many so-called disasters.
— Vinay Gupta (@leashless) November 8, 2012
Our friends at the Extreme Futurist Festival are looking for true tales of DIY Transhumanism to feature in a short film. Details follow:
This will be a 20 minute film focusing on the Transhumanist/Futurist/Biohacking underground. We are interested in hearing your stories and would like to screen this film at the next Extreme Futurist Festival.
Please send us clips of you discussing your views on this new emerging subculture. email@example.com
The Continuing Merger of Man & Machine:
The team behind the technology used a natural electrochemical gradient in cells within the inner ear of a guinea pig to power a wireless transmitter for up to five hours.
The technique could one day provide an autonomous power source for brain and cochlear implants, says Tina Stankovic, an auditory neuroscientist at Harvard University Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.
The device works well for short durations but long-term use of the electrodes risks damaging the sensitive tissue inside the ear. The next step will be to make the electrodes even smaller, reducing their invasiveness.
Stankovic says that this is proof of concept that biological sources of energy exist that have not yet been fully considered. “A very futuristic view is that maybe we will be able to extract energy from individual cells using similar designs,” she says.
…for the first time, Giuseppone’s team has succeeded in synthesizing long polymer chains incorporating, via supramolecular bonds (1), thousands of nano-machines each capable of producing linear telescopic motion of around one nanometer. Under the influence of pH, their simultaneous movements allow the whole polymer chain to contract or extend over about 10 micrometers, thereby amplifying the movement by a factor of 10,000, along the same principles as those used by muscular tissues. Precise measurements of this experimental feat have been performed in collaboration with the team led by Eric Buhler, a physicist specialized in radiation scattering at the Laboratoire Matière et Systèmes Complexes (CNRS/Université Paris Diderot).
These results, obtained using a biomimetic approach, could lead to numerous applications for the design of artificial muscles, micro-robots or the development of new materials incorporating nano-machines endowed with novel multi-scale mechanical properties.
“When Africans left Africa and entered Neanderthal territory they had projectiles with greater killing reach,” explains Professor Curtis Marean, an expert in stone weapons who was instrumental in the research.
“These early moderns probably also had higher levels of pro-social (hyper-cooperative) behavior. These two traits were a knockout punch. Combine them, as modern humans did and still do, and no prey or competitor is safe,” he adds. “This probably laid the foundation for the expansion out of Africa of modern humans and the extinction of many prey as well as our sister species such as Neanderthals.”
Nyodyme Magnets give their users the ability to “sense” electromagnetic waves. The technology behind the Nyodyme Magnet is created from a beautiful gold and nickel-plated neodymium magnet that is placed within Imagina’s specially made glue that has magnetic iron filings mixed into it to enhance the vibrations.
A new type of camouflage makeup is able to protect wearers from skin burns. Scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi developed the makeup for use in combat situations, but the team plans on developing a transparent version for firefighters. The new material acts like sunblock, forming a barrier thinner than a sheet of paper that can protect skin from extreme heat for up to 15 seconds. After that time, the makeup itself may rise to a temperature where first-degree (mild) burns may occur, but the extra time should help soldiers to find shelter from any explosion. In some tests, the scientists found that the face paint shielded its test subjects for up to 60 seconds.
In which I string a narrative together from #OccupySandy / US Election / Eschaton coverage.
The comparisons to Katrina have been everywhere, of course, but for me they hit home when, safe in my Crown Heights apartment that never even lost power, I saw friends and acquaintances who’d been involved with Occupy Wall Street tweeting their relief activities under the hashtag #OccupySandy. I couldn’t help but think, as I watched them tweet their setup of a hub in Red Hook, of Common Ground, of Malik Rahim, of New Orleans’ mutual aid after the storm, and how leftists and radicals (Rahim, a former Black Panther, learned about community care from the Panthers’ free food and tutoring programs) step quietly into the spaces that are left vacant by the wrecking crew that’s laid waste to social welfare programs and the churches and charities that Republicans keep telling us will step up to provide care.
Explaining #occupysandy in NY doing things FEMA, Gov, NYPD, Red Cross can’t, Ada says: “That’s because they’re not used to taking orders.”
— Quinn Norton (@quinnnorton) November 6, 2012
The magic of aggregate human attention is so strong that we can fix this world, we can exceed these troubles — but only together, not looking to leadership structures that have failed us again and again.
Humanity is amazing. It is the elemental magic of the world. You are the ground that can shake and rise under the fragile political structures of the Earth. You are the wrath of angry gods, you are the true storm a small and accidental system of power fears. As long as you keep believing you have to vote, and all your power is tied only to that vote, our leaders get to balance a pyramid on its tip and call it democracy.
Lay down the lie of the American ballot box, with its legal rigging, lobbying, revolving doors, gerrymandering, and even at moments outright fraud. You will have to ask yourself what is next? What do you believe, and how do you live out those beliefs? It is a scary and beautiful thing to live your beliefs.
Get out a sledgehammer and claim the real right you have to remake the system. If you’re not American, if you live in a place where your vote really can change the fundamentals of your world, great; go do that first and then act. For everyone who lives in the US or a place like it where your vote is consent and nothing else, don’t vote in the booth, vote in the street. Don’t consent to a poisonous system that isn’t listening or let it confuse you into thinking the consent you give means anything. Organize. Strike. Demand. Whistleblow. Speak. Build. Rebuild. Insist that the world treat you and those around you with decency, dignity, kindness, and equality. Start by making sure you do the same to those around you. Keep doing it until your vote matters again, and then keep doing it some more.
Do not consent to be governed by a man who would kill you in the street just because the other man would kill you in the street and piss on your corpse. Do not consent to be governed by the system that made them. Do not give your life to a machine designed to absorb it without a trace.
I strongly suspect that, regardless of who wins the US presidential election today, the United States is likely to be entering a period of a crisis of legitimacy. If Romney wins, the claims of voter suppression and out-and-out shenanigans (this is a less ambiguous example) will potentially leave many Democrats incandescent with anger, even more so than after the 2000 Supreme Court selection of George W. Bush — because now it will be a “we can’t let them get away with this again” scenario. If Obama wins, the already widely-extant opposition to his legitimacy as President among Republicans could explode; expect to see Twitter storms about secession and armed revolution, as well as the very real possibility of violence.
Donald Trump has a Grump:
…and the one he deleted:
MAGICAL THINKING WILL ONLY GET YOU SO FAR.#ThenRealityIntervenes
— Mark Pesce (@mpesce) November 7, 2012
Imagine if Fox News was your only source of information right now.
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) November 7, 2012
I’m told there are motels in Amerika where the tv’s are only tuned to Fox News. This is what we mean by reality tunnels.
This is the Ontological Gulf. On the other side of the Abyss there are people that hate us.
Time’s Up by David Gelernter:
We’ve seen an important (though far from decisive) battle in the slow-motion civil war the nation is undergoing: The blue states want to secede not from America but from Americanism. They reject the American republic of God-fearing individuals in favor of the European ideal, which has only been government by aristocracy: either an aristocracy of birth or, nowadays, of ruling know-it-alls — of post-religious, globalist intellectuals (a.k.a. PORGIs). As I’ve said before — many others have too — you can’t graduate class after class after class of left-indoctrinated ignoramuses without paying the price. Last night was a down payment.
More ideology from this theorist of the Right; Dismantling of a Culture:
LOPEZ: And a “PORGI (Post-Religious Globalist Intellectuals) establishment.” Is that to get you tea-party cred?
GELERNTER: If we don’t understand who’s running our leading colleges, we can’t even begin to understand our own culture. Our most powerful colleges have gigantic cultural influence through their alumni, graduate, and professional schools (especially their law, journalism, business, and education schools) and their direct influence on sister institutions throughout the nation. So who’s in charge? Once upon a time, there was a powerful WASP elite in this country. Obviously they weren’t all the same, and obviously we can generalize (either that or we can’t think). The WASP elite on the whole was politically moderate and Christian.
And what sort of people are running our powerful colleges today? Or are they so diverse, it is impossible to generalize?
In fact they’re radically un-diverse. They’re not all the same, there are dissenters, but culturally they are far more uniform than the old WASP elite ever were. You won’t find lots of church-goers among them. You won’t find lots of patriots. You will find plenty of intellectuals. You can call the PORGI establishment whatever you like, but there’s no way around the fact that the culturally uniform, conformist group in powerful positions at top colleges are likely to be post-religious and globalist and intellectuals — or at least intellectualizers, would-be intellectuals. So call them whatever you like, but they’re PORGIs to me.
LOPEZ: Why is that “post-religion” bit so important?
GELERNTER: Post-religious thinkers don’t even live on the same spiritual planet as Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish Americans. Old-time atheists struggled with biblical religion and rejected it; modern post-religious thinkers struggled with nothing. Since the Bible and biblical religion underlie the invention of America, it’s hard (unsurprisingly) for post-religious people to understand America sympathetically. Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, the most sacred of American texts, is (precisely) a sermon describing North and South as equally guilty in God’s eyes for the sin of slavery and, ultimately, for the war itself:
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
The quote is from Psalms 19; Reagan’s famous “shining city on a hill” paraphrases the gospels. Expecting post-religious, Bible-ignorant thinkers to grasp America is like expecting a gerbil to sing Pagliacci. The gerbil might be brilliant in his way, but he’ll never make it in opera. (If this be species-ism, make the most of it!) How can my post-religious colleagues and countrymen, many of whom have never even opened a Bible, understand Lincoln or America or Americans?
The Truth, such that it exists, is that the way one frames their enemy speaks far more to their own worldview. Just look at the depictions of the Gnostics by the early Christians. So at this point we may as well quote from an upright fictional work by a Globalistia Intellectual, a counter point scene from Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom:
It was the second year of my undergrad, taking a double-major in not making trouble for my profs and keeping my mouth shut. It was the early days of Bitchun, and most of us were still a little unclear on the concept.
Not all of us, though: a group of campus shit-disturbers, grad students in the Sociology Department, were on the bleeding edge of the revolution, and they knew what they wanted: control of the Department, oustering of the tyrannical, stodgy profs, a bully pulpit from which to preach the Bitchun gospel to a generation of impressionable undergrads who were too cowed by their workloads to realize what a load of shit they were being fed by the University.
At least, that’s what the intense, heavyset woman who seized the mic at my Soc 200 course said, that sleepy morning mid-semester at Convocation Hall. Nineteen hundred students filled the hall, a capacity crowd of bleary, coffee-sipping time-markers, and they woke up in a hurry when the woman’s strident harangue burst over their heads.
I saw it happen from the very start. The prof was down there on the stage, a speck with a tie-mic, droning over his slides, and then there was a blur as half a dozen grad students rushed the stage. They were dressed in University poverty-chic, wrinkled slacks and tattered sports coats, and five of them formed a human wall in front of the prof while the sixth, the heavyset one with the dark hair and the prominent mole on her cheek, unclipped his mic and clipped it to her lapel.
“Wakey wakey!” she called, and the reality of the moment hit home for me: this wasn’t on the lesson-plan.
“Come on, heads up! This is not a drill. The University of Toronto Department of Sociology is under new management. If you’ll set your handhelds to ‘receive,’ we’ll be beaming out new lesson-plans momentarily. If you’ve forgotten your handhelds, you can download the plans later on. I’m going to run it down for you right now, anyway.
“Before I start though, I have a prepared statement for you. You’ll probably hear this a couple times more today, in your other classes. It’s worth repeating. Here goes:
“We reject the stodgy, tyrannical rule of the profs at this Department. We demand bully pulpits from which to preach the Bitchun gospel. Effective immediately, the University of Toronto Ad-Hoc Sociology Department is in charge. We promise high-relevance curriculum with an emphasis on reputation economies, post-scarcity social dynamics, and the social theory of infinite life-extension. No more Durkheim, kids, just deadheading! This will be fun.”
She taught the course like a pro—you could tell she’d been drilling her lecture for a while. Periodically, the human wall behind her shuddered as the prof made a break for it and was restrained.
At precisely 9:50 a.m. she dismissed the class, which had hung on her every word. Instead of trudging out and ambling to our next class, the whole nineteen hundred of us rose, and, as one, started buzzing to our neighbors, a roar of “Can you believe it?” that followed us out the door and to our next encounter with the Ad-Hoc Sociology Department.
It was cool, that day. I had another soc class, Constructing Social Deviance, and we got the same drill there, the same stirring propaganda, the same comical sight of a tenured prof battering himself against a human wall of ad-hocs.
Reporters pounced on us when we left the class, jabbing at us with mics and peppering us with questions. I gave them a big thumbs-up and said, “Bitchun!” in classic undergrad eloquence.
The profs struck back the next morning. I got a heads-up from the newscast as I brushed my teeth: the Dean of the Department of Sociology told a reporter that the ad-hocs’ courses would not be credited, that they were a gang of thugs who were totally unqualified to teach. A counterpoint interview from a spokesperson for the ad-hocs established that all of the new lecturers had been writing course-plans and lecture notes for the profs they replaced for years, and that they’d also written most of their journal articles.
The profs brought University security out to help them regain their lecterns, only to be repelled by ad-hoc security guards in homemade uniforms. University security got the message—anyone could be replaced—and stayed away.
The profs picketed. They held classes out front attended by grade-conscious brown-nosers who worried that the ad-hocs’ classes wouldn’t count towards their degrees. Fools like me alternated between the outdoor and indoor classes, not learning much of anything.
No one did. The profs spent their course-times whoring for Whuffie, leading the seminars like encounter groups instead of lectures. The ad-hocs spent their time badmouthing the profs and tearing apart their coursework.
At the end of the semester, everyone got a credit and the University Senate disbanded the Sociology program in favor of a distance-ed offering from Concordia in Montreal. Forty years later, the fight was settled forever. Once you took backup-and-restore, the rest of the Bitchunry just followed, a value-system settling over you.
Those who didn’t take backup-and-restore may have objected, but, hey, they all died.
Except this is not a war. It’s a rescue mission. Just because someone hates us, doesn’t mean we won’t save them. The network doesn’t think like the hierarchy. Back to the Rescue.
This is what I learned this week: We are at the helm of our world community thriving or dying. Know this.
Down at Beach 23 and Seagirt Blvd in the Rockaways, the five of us, jammed in a 1990 Mazda 323, on top of 2 generators and a pump to empty basements of water, pulled up to a parking lot.
Sixty people came running to our car, surrounding it. “Do you have blankets? Please, we’re freezing!”
We had two left to give.
I was not expecting this. We came out to pump out basements so the people can get power back without danger of electrocution or house fires.
Four of the small band of five of us, have had our houses burn to the ground with everything in it. I know that devastation first hand and I still was shocked at what I saw happening out there.
I wish my eyes had cameras so that I could show you what is going on right now. At Beach 23 and Seagirt Blvd, a neighborhood deemed dangerous – there is no media presence.
It is true. We are the media. You and me.
I did not see FEMA there, I did not see the Red Cross. It was us.
It is people like Cory Booker, getting emergency updates from people on Twitter and running in to help. It is the grassroots movement of Occupy Sandy who are stepping in to help organize relief, it is the performers of the House of Yes who piled into an RV with supplies, food, and people ready to help.
People like you and me ARE the new emergency response.
The years ahead aren’t going to be easy. Far from it. But together, we can do it!