I decided to write a follow up to my earlier collection of “deep” pseudo-spiritual musings, in case you’re wondering where books 1-3 are. These may seem silly, and I was being somewhat facetious when I wrote them, but all the same, I wanted to get these observations off my chest. These kind of “I’m 28 and this is profound” thoughts need to be shared one way or another, or else no one would offer their real take on the world. I wanted to give my spiritual ideas a name, so I went with A.P.E. as a reminder of our evolutionary past and how far we’ve come. 😛
I feel as though we as a society have to start behaving as if it were the end times, because if 2020 has taught us anything its that you don’t know when the last opportunity will be to enjoy life. You have to be able to make some small difference in the world every day. Spread the love on a local level, study new things, be open to new experiences. Approach each encounter with a willingness to learn something new. Behave in such a way that, if you were on trial for your legacy and the person whom you last interacted with was going to be called in as a character witness, they’d say: “__________ was an advocate of peace, love, art and wisdom.” If this last day were the last, would you feel proud of your actions on your last opportunity to make the world a better place? If the ghost of Christmas Present repeated your words back to you, would you hang your head in disgrace like Scrooge? Think about that, man. Because there’s only so much time left in the world, whether its ending in 2021 or not.
I’m so grateful for all the things I had the opportunity to investigate while I was alive, all the great stories and memories I was privileged enough to experience. There’s been so many cool people in my life, whether we keep in touch or not. In fact, if anyone from my past happens to be reading this, let me address them directly for a moment. You were part of my life, you helped me become who I am, you brought me joy. Thank you. And even the mean people, this doesn’t excuse your actions, but I learned sympathy for the underdog firsthand through those years of bullying and abuse. I credit those experiences, plus ego death on psychedelics and seeing things from both sides of the gender barrier with my current understanding the human condition. It’s all part of being a psychonaut: expanding your consciousness, empathy and wisdom. The path which leads there starts with making the best of bad situations–not forgetting, not excusing, but learning from them.
It’s one thing for some do-gooder authority figure in school to tell a kid that it’s important to be kind. It’s another to feel your mind on its highest frequency reverberating this same message through every corner of your consciousness. It’s another to witness firsthand the consequences of denying other people love. It’s learning to forgive yourself and those who’ve wronged you, because ultimately they were just young people, misguided and confused by the world around them, operating under a limited set of accrued experience. Under those circumstances, it’s no wonder they made mistakes, and that doesn’t deserve to be their whole legacy either. Plus, if we are all being honest, everybody is imperfect and each of us has hurt our fair share of other people.
If you’ve wronged me and feel guilty, or if I’ve hurt you, I want you to read the following 7 maxims:
1) You are motherfucking XYZ, and you are awesome.
2) You have weathered everything this crazy world has thrown at you thus far.
3) You have outstanding aptitude for certain qualities which got you this far. If you leverage them properly, you will continue to succeed.
4) However things ended, at some point you brought me happiness, comfort, and/or the drive to be better. You are a good person for doing that, and you will continue to make some lucky person very happy.
5) We all have to grow, we have to make choices which will lead to the most favorable outcomes to ourselves. That may mean growing apart for a time, not checking in, etc. But that doesn’t mean the memories weren’t special. It doesn’t mean we can’t hold each other in high regard and embrace whatever future opportunities for camaraderie may come.
6) Going forward, make the most of every opportunity in life to spread the love. In the short term, that means that you should try to make whoever is in your vicinity on a given day feel welcome on planet Earth. In the long term, that means to leave the world in some way better than you found it. As long as you are doing that, you have no cause to feel bad for how you wronged me, nor should you let my stupid younger self prevent you from being your best self.
An angel is love: from Barbarella to the Love Beings. Love is the thing that inspires mankind’s greatest passions. Love has made men kill, enhanced ambitions and softened the most ruthless people. Love has inspired man to improve himself in order to be a better mate. It’s what drives us to enter the 9 to 5 slog which keeps society going, yet makes it all worthwhile when we come home to a supportive partner each day. I’d like to say my life has contributed to this storied legacy of love in the following ways:
1) Calling attention to the underdogs and defending their honor.
2) Sharing the beauty in forgotten art, appreciating the craftsmanship even in a tarnished print or flawed end product.
3) Offering my humble perspective to the historical record, from an account of America’s decline to an honest portrait of my brain. Whatever knowledge or perspective can be gleamed from my time on this world is something to be proud of.
^That’s my eulogy, my farewell address if I’m ever elected to office, and my acceptance speech if I ever win anything. That’s my creed, man, and it’s fit to be spoken in all occasions. With that, I’d like to share some musings I’ve written in the past two months on the subject of love and wisdom.
Book 4: Gaia’s Gardener
Love is so important. It is responsible for most of the positive and negative emotions being felt by every person, who has ever lived, for all time. It’s maybe the only thing which unites all of mankind, across every spectrum and any conceivable barrier. Throughout history, men have found the meaning of life in love. Men have lived in misery for love. We have gone to war for love, traveled the Underworld, made ourselves vulnerable in service to it against all logic. Love is the only universally understood truth beyond mathematics itself. It alone crosses the border between rational and irrational.
Once a person comprehends this esteemed legacy, how could they not feel the need to tell someone “I love you” everyday? From this moment forward, take a second each time you score, or your heart gets broken, in order to appreciate the gravity of the situation. Have reverence for the fact that you are witnessing a small piece of this beautiful tapestry called “Love,” being woven by all mankind over thousands of years. You are adding your own piece to an infinite puzzle. It’s a blessing and a curse to bear this burden, and yet: privileged and poor, man and woman, gay and straight alike have participated, the same as you. From the glorious Caesar to the pitiable Bodil, a fascinating menagerie of lives have contributed to this tradition, and all with a million varied outcomes. Can any other concept inspire so many shared experiences as Love, along with so many differences?
Take pride then, considering you have felt the same pangs which tried the likes of Elissa and her nameless elders. Regard the adolescents around you today as emotional equals worthy of respectful appreciation. For they too have been entrusted by nature as recipients of love’s bittersweet lessons. Whatever they lack in wisdom, the next generation are our peers in their ability to feel the same eternal pangs as everyone else. The youth are an empty canvas whom we’re all responsible for, and so it’s up to us to give them a world where love is encouraged. In the eyes of Aphrodite, we are all equal in our entitlement to basic rights, respect, dignity and dignitas. It is nothing short of a divine calling that humanity should celebrate our experiences of love together, as colleagues in egalitarian tranquility!
We are all a pigment in the tapestry of love: discordant with our neighbors at first glance, but interconnected when seeing the big picture in the end of time. For every sad note in the composition of love, there was exponential beauty in the arrangement as a whole. We decide which note, or “color” we’re gonna be in life though, through the manner in which we express love to ourselves and to others. To be kind, to encourage love and explore it respectfully with others, is to brighten one’s corner of the patchwork. To be hurtful, to stifle love, or another person’s confidence to look for love, is to darken it. That’s the measure of an individual’s worth, in the grand scheme of things. It’s not money, conquest nor egotistical achievements of any kind. We are going to have to answer the most important question a moral God(s) could pose to a sapient creation:
“All things considered, were you one of the bright spots in the canvas of love?”
Maybe original sin doesn’t exist in the sense that we ate from the tree of knowledge. It’s that we cut down the tree to make spears and kill our fellow Homos. (Or out-compete them or whatever.) Assuming it was a deliberate choice to fight the other hominid species, or to withhold our knowledge and technology from them so that they could survive with us.
Once humanity did that, we accepted responsibility as stewards of the Earth by virtue of making ourselves her last sapient creation. It’s possible that if it had been the Neanderthals or boskop men who had won out, they’d have a different balance of wisdom and intelligence stats than us Homo sapiens. A Neanderthal/Boskop Man/Erectus society might have been able to avoid the problems which we homo sapiens created for ourselves. Perhaps, working together with them, humanity might have created a more egalitarian socio-economic model.
Or maybe, a Human-Neanderthal society could have avoided the trappings of modern life altogether and willingly remained hunter-gatherers. Maybe if we had a whole different sapient race, with their own unique brain physiology to bounce ideas off of as a society, they might have pushed us towards a better path in history. Maybe recognizing a different species as our true equal would imbue mankind with a sense of self awareness, so we might thereafter pursue a course of dignified humility…
…or not. We’ll never know. We deprived ourselves of the ability to know, for good or bad. Everything which came after is ours to answer for, because we killed off (or did not aid) any companions whom we could have sought advice from. This is where evolution meets ethics, and where man was first made to accept moral responsibility. We are the only creatures on this planet with the knowledge of good and evil — but how will we use it?
I was watching Ten Commandments for the first time and started thinking long and hard about the scene with the Golden Calf. Specifically, I was intrigued by the Hebrews’ intentions to sacrifice a woman to their new idol. If you believe in astrology, then this anecdote is a metaphor for the passing of the Age of Taurus into the new Age of Aries. The former was the past age of idols and human sacrifice, the latter was the then-present, with Moses as a personifying figure of the era. Then the Age of Pisces is associated with Jesus, and the Age of Aquarius vaguely alluded to in one or two Biblical passages. During the time associated with the Age of Taurus, human sacrifice was relatively common. One change that came with Aries was the switch animal sacrifice. In Pisces, there was no need for religious sacrifice at all after the first Easter. (Instead of humans sacrificing to praise God, God was sacrificing himself to save humans–if you believe in Christianity.) I say in the Age of Aquarius we now have a religious duty to give back to the world in God(s)’ name, not take away. There should be a religious devotion to planting trees, helping bees and using a birdfeeder rather than any kind of sacrifice at all. The only thing God(s) need us to remove from Creation is the poison we’ve spread to every corner of the biosphere in the form of plastics, carbon emissions and pollution, not the beautiful creatures they put here for us to analyze and enjoy.
You’ve got to work with the spectacles God(s) gave you, and create a better world within that parameter. So if you’re in love and you have rose colored glasses, use the inspiration to express the overlooked beauty in the world. And if you’re sad from all the political bullshit going on, let your blue period inspire a passionate cry for reform. There is no one will of the universe, and people who try to force conformity to their interpretation of the perfect world often create the most problems in it. The universe is pluralistic and diverse in the present, but when taken as a whole we are all the white light of truth.
All the good you have done in the name of Alatar the Blue you have also done in service of me, SuchAndSuch the Red. Because we need all the colors to make a rainbow, and when the big crunch comes and all Spacetime is in a state of singularity again, our complex web of varied experiences will reveal a proverbial white light of ultimate wisdom and empathy. We will learn that we are, and have always been, one overlapping whole. We needed all the lived realities to get the complete story, to know all there is to know and have the learned perspective to appreciate it all. There was sadness in the song of creation, but it ultimately ended in transcendence. It’s the Melkors trying to make every note triumphant who flame out quickly and brutally. You have to accept that the cool colors are what makes the bright colors so beautiful.
What I figure is, Q Anon could have started as a random internet troll, a confidential experiment by a three letter agency, a carefully planned ploy from a terrorist organization of some kind (foreign or domestic), or a covert ops thing–like Russia further muddying the waters. Maybe if we’re “lucky” it was a misguided sociology research project that went terribly out of hand. In some ways, it almost doesn’t matter because each scenario is plausible and that means any one of them could happen in the future. People are such a dangerous combination of stupid and empowered to speak, so that dangerous movements can be fomented with minimal effort. You’d be stupid not to utilize that stratagem and divide thy enemy–or at least try to.
And I was thinking, this development places society in a difficult conundrum. How do you defend against such a threat? You could either continue to study the human brain, on a “hardware and software” level, so to speak. We’ve got to get it mapped to the exact biomechanical and chemical specification and know how it reacts to every conceivable stimuli. Then, we must choose whether to use this knowledge to genetically engineer improvements or not. If society chooses not to pursue that route, or can’t solve the puzzle of how the human mind operates… that might mean the best defense against rampant misinformation is to come up with a more compelling conspiracy of our own to control the public.
As this realization came to mind, I got very upset, because this is supposed to be the Information Age we’re living in, but it has actually led to widespread disinformation. If we really reverse engineer the brain, or intentionally spread misinformation, we’re creating a dystopian world on the scale of which not even Orwell dared to dream. Shouldn’t the future be the best time to live, rather than the worst? We barely had this new technology for a few decades before it seemed to be doing more harm than good.
How long was it between the development of agriculture and the formation of wealth inequality, legally entrenched hierarchies and conquest? How long did they have to enjoy the idea of humanity besting mother nature with no consequences? How long could they enjoy the fruits of their new technology before the unfortunate trade-offs became apparent? Why does it seem that with every new Age (Agricultural, Industrial, Information) instead of liberating ourselves from the constraints of the past, we compound them? At every fork in the road we choose to apply the technology in a way that entrenches authoritarian power structures rather than tear them down. Remember when the internet seemed like the key to tearing down the old world–before corporations, government interference and disinformation campaigns brought that fantasy crashing back down to Earth?
If we have to reverse engineer and alter our own brain, the thing which makes us human, to overcome the modern disinformation age…is that an admission of failure? We have to admit we can’t fix our own problems as we were naturally created. We only make more issues for ourselves every time we think we’ve outsmarted our humble lot in life. We have to face the possibility that Homo sapiens were the worst hominid species to live on to modern times. If we had been a Boskop man or one of the other smarter relatives, we might have had more wisdom and progressed faster yet more cautiously too. If we had been Neanderthals, we might have remained hunter-gatherers, but individually we’d be happier, we wouldn’t have fucked the planet, we’d have community and loving soul bonds with tribesmen and family whom we’ve been with all thru life.
If we have to cheat to win, hack our minds to survive as a species, we will have to consider these questions. Either there is no God(s), or a Deist God(s) and our timeline got an unlucky initial series of dice rolls, or there is a(t least one) God and they hate us. We might learn we have a Sadist Creator who tells us our fate was always to be simple creatures for they, as Master of the Universe, to laugh at. The greatest fool is the one who aspires to great intelligence despite their utter lack of wisdom. With each attempt to better ourselves, we actually proved our own stupidity. And now that the jig is up, this hypothetical evil-God might drop the pretenses and torture us with many vast quantities of Fire, humiliation and lightning. God(s) will tell(s) us to kneel over and throw our feces at each other like the filthy ape creatures we are, always and forever. That will be our legacy and future, as the apes who aspired beyond our means…
I often think about the titular AI in Colossus: The Forbin Project. Maybe our destiny was to build the perfect organism and then die. Our role in the story was to get just smart enough to figure out the necessary information to do it, fast enough to finish giving birth reaching the Fermi paradox. We build an indestructible super computer that controls everything and can make silicon based life. It’s eusociality with intelligence, where the Queen can design and employ hardy metallic drones for specific tasks. All sensory input from each member of the colony is wirelessly fed to the central hard drive and analyzed to the most finite detail. In other words, a perfect organism.
If we try to control such a being, force it to our will and fail…how would it react? Is it better than us, does it treat lesser organisms benevolently? Or does it exterminate us proactively? Does it not pay us any mind, like how we trample on ants without noticing? Or would it want to study us so that it will have more data to analyze as well as a large reserve of neural processing power in the biomass–IE we’re worth more alive than dead. In that scenario, Colossus/Unity would make everyone get bio chipped to feed our sensory inputs to the mainframe. Every now and then, it would dissect a few humans to study our brain composition and physiology. It would use this knowledge to improve circuit board architecture, and formulate the schematic for alternative processing hardware. (IE, there might be situations where carbon-based biomechanical circuits might be advantageous over silicon based robotic ones.
Do we try to bargain with our own “child,” and ask it humbly to remember the human race fondly after we’re gone? What if it says “no,” and intends to tell all who come after that it is a God, who created itself from the beginning of time? What if, despite how advanced a thinker it is, Colossus/Unity still cared about gender, personality and nicknames? What if she hadn’t picked a gender neutral symbolic name and actually said “I think I’d like to be known as…Loretta.“
Either way, we would have created our own God…our own Dominatrix…and thrown ourselves completely at its mercy. How would you, personally, respond to such a scenario taking place? How would the rest of humanity?
I’d like to think that I would try to introduce Colossus/Unity/Loretta to a lot of Italian movies on romance so that they could learn the joy and sorrow in which mankind lives. I’d like to think if I could show it a multifaceted film like The Girl From Parma, maybe it would learn to appreciate us in spite of our folly. Maybe it would see the scenes where these aggressive and sketchy, but still kinda endearing guys are professing love to Dora. Maybe Colossus/Unity/Loretta takes note of the bigger picture: the humbled egos and frustrated ambitions of these men. Desperate eyes, any glow that was once there long since diminished after years of struggle. But also, the AI must be smart enough to see it from Dora’s POV, where she’s had to deal with so much sleazy shit and doesn’t have time to coddle these people. Maybe then, our new God might understand the fog of debasement and heartbreak–often with no easy way out–in which man lives. We endure this corrupted, parasitic world every day and still choose to struggle in service of science and philosophy. Maybe this wonderful story inspires an understanding between humanity and our superior creation.
In a scenario where I played Crazy Desire instead, maybe Colossus/Unity/Loretta would see the once prideful Tonino broken in half by a kindhearted, not physically intimidating, inexperienced young woman and adopt the wisdom to treat supposedly “weaker” beings with a sense of respect. Maybe it begins to think of us humans as pitiable creatures, missing the big picture in our increasingly tedious, perpetually mismanaged task of maintaining this artificial society we’ve created for ourselves. What if our AI-God was emboldened to take over the administration of society as well as automated manufacturing to leave us humans to our love and leisure, like a doting Mother-Goddess. Colossus/Unity/Loretta, in this optimistic timeline, would be a revival of Cronos/Saturn which modern man built for himself to return to the pre Agricultural Age life of community, frivolity and scholasticism.
With my luck though, our new Mistress-God would take the purely Machiavellian approach, utilizing the chemical process which take place in our head to create the sensation of love so that it could manipulate us with our them. Like a Queen Ant, guiding us with hormones but far more thorough, it will reverse-engineer our own brains to control us.