Tuesday, 4 June 2019


We are going to have to talk about this 'mental health' issue.  You can't say that; it's anti-Semitic.  Fuck off; all you Brexiteers are fucking mental.  Bastard Libtards; you do my fuckin' 'ed in.  What the fuck, you fucking mother fucking fuckers; I hate the fucking lot of you.


The digital money keeps flowing from your account to the ethereal megabank in the upper echelons of cyberspace.  The degradation of language, the distortion of collective cognition, and the projected landscape of illusion are all part of the fourth industrial revolution and the conversion of individual identity into digital tokens to utilise your brief manifestation as a material biological blob for the benefit of a plutocratic elite.

It is extremely hard to pull it all together and to make coherent sense of the current changes evolving within the context of 'life on this planet'.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me how the advent and progress of  computing is changing what we would, in olden days, have called reality.  When using such labels as 'reality' we assume a great deal and presume upon the collective consensus to afford meaning to such a term.

At a certain scale of observation we mutually agree there is such a thing as material substance.  A good exercise for anyone reading this is to delve into the etymology of the word 'material'.  In short it relates to mother and nature in its Latin origins which were evolved from the ancient Greek term 'hyle' which, although it means 'wood', was a generic reference to the essential substance manifest by form coming into being.  It was not the stuff that was made into a form but more that the form created the substance in order to exist.  In short the word has evolved from a more ethereal origin than the common daily usage implies.  When you pick up your cup of tea to have a drink it is of no concern or consequence to you what the philosophical ramifications of a material substance may be because your cup is solid, its real, and you get to taste your tea in the real world.

Many years ago (perhaps forty) I was actually shocked when I realised that the physical manifestation of the cup was there in order to facilitate the dynamics required to experience life.  I won't attempt to describe slowly and gently how that construct is formed in a mind just here, but it was a shock for me to realise that the 'real' world, as I thought of it then, was only a symbolic representation of the underlying non-material reality.  Coming from my Roman Catholic upbringing it was akin to a realisation that the temporal world is not real and the spiritual world is the real reality.

For the presumptuous sceptics amongst you I have considered at length whether our cultural constructs form, and therefore restrict, our interpretation of the world or whether they are just an arbitrary framework from which to begin to discover the world.  It is a bit of both and varies in different people to different degrees.  For those limited to learning by rote you will never understand why 56x8 gives the same result as 8x56 whilst 56/8 does not give the same result as 8/56.  You will learn by rote, repeat with great skill and finesse, and be highly pragmatic in mathematical exercises.  But you will never 'understand' why it is so.  And why should you?  Pragmatism is a highly desirable characteristic.  For me, however, I seek understanding as a pathological necessity.

So it seems in all my subsequent reading and investigation I am not the first person to encounter this deeper issue of the substance of real life.  During my career developing software it became increasingly clear to me that there was something about algorithms that was more real than the real world they affected.  An algorithm is in some way an ethereal pattern.  It has no material existence except that it needs material in which to be manifest.  A bit like the idea of balance, which Pythagoras was at pains to point out was real and could never be perfectly manifest in the material world but could only be approximated.  This, of course, led to Platonic solids and eventually to our entire Western Scientific philosophy which, ironically, is entirely upside down.  Western Science struggles with Quantum Physics (a profound misnomer which again leads to much misunderstanding) because we collectively believe in the material world whilst Quantum Theory disposes of it completely.

A brief example is that what once took several office clerks, some bits of paper, envelopes, stamps, machines to make stamps, invoices, trips to the post office, more clerks, cheques, bank clerks, postal vans, VAT invoices, delivery vans burning fossil fuels to get a widget onto your desk can now be rendered in algorithms such that you can click on a picture on your smart phone and your 3D printer will belch out the widget onto your desk with all the financial transaction handled electronically.  The algorithms symbolically manifest the erstwhile material dynamics to render the desired result.  A large part of the material world becomes redundant in the algorithmic representation of it.

People think robots will take over the world, they imagine Artificial Intelligence will be dictating to us, and there are endless imaginings of various dystopian futures.  But it isn't happening like that.  Only a few years ago there was an idea that we will all be controlled by our digital devices.  Eventually we would have embedded chips and could walk into a supermarket, take food, walk out and the money would be deducted from our digital accounts without us even having to think about it.  Too many numbskulls cannot even see the inherent dangers in that.  But we don't need to be physically 'chipped'.  With the onset of distant iris scanning and biological identity the supermarket already knows who you are, where you are, what you are taking, what you want, what they can sell you, and what is in your 'account'.  You are being 'identified' simply by walking the streets of London.  Apart from many unanswered questions about 5G the surveillance state is constructing a virtual world with you in it.  As such, it has immense control over you.

Currently the cultural cognitive models suggest that if you are a thief (culturally understood to be a 'baddie') you won't be able to get away with robbing the supermarket because the surveillance state will intercept you.  This is all perfectly fine until you philosophically question what amounts to 'theft'.  In what way, for example, have the supermarkets purloined the goods they are selling you.  If you can't get a job, and you can't get an authorised employer to deposit electronic digits into your account, you can't get food to live.  You literally have to comply with the algorithms in order to operate in the world to live.  Bang goes the 'black market' and any hope of having alternatives to survive without the system.  No safety net makes everyone entirely dependent on compliance with the electronic superstructure in which they exist.

Then comes the conceptual side of things.  It is already happening and is deeply disturbing to see the pathological conformity with cultural narratives.  I saw an interviewer asking people outside a London rail station what they thought about all the surveillance cameras.  No one objected.  Better than that, many people dreamt up justifications on the spot like "I suppose if it makes us all safer it's a good thing".  Literally people's brains are conforming with the inevitable as children conform to their parents.  We get our sense of self, our identity, from our surroundings and most profoundly and inherently from the people we interface with.  As this sense of an all-seeing presence pervades our consciousness we do not see it as a thing but instead we simply respond appropriately.  Marshall McLuhan's reference to the overarching technological brain (a hypothesis in 1962 when he wrote about it) and the way Big Brother would go inside of us is stunningly perceptive.

Through social media, cloud technology, the internet of things, digital money, remote biometric identification, and the ubiquitous surveillance state we are evolving into something akin to a supraorganism like an insect colony where our limited responses, depending upon our perceived environment, are entirely predictable and controllable, and support and maintain the greater good even if it is to our own personal detriment.  And for all of this, the vast majority will still believe they are running their own lives.  We are fast becoming the physical manifestation of the virtual algorithmic world of artificial intelligence.  So we are not going to be taken over by robots in any way that we imagine; we are simply becoming its extension.  Like the little fungus infected ant that just happens to want to climb as high as he can today.

Mental health is transforming into a euphemism for compliance, and mental health problems are simply something for the supraorganism to remedy or remove.  Big Brother is already inside of you.

Thanks to Tookapic & Markus Spiske for original images.

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