How to Get to Sesame Street...

Wherein I will attempt to coalesce my thoughts on a possible future. Maybe even a probable future. A future based on the promise of technology, algorithms, and the fruition of popular myths. Myths, such as, that one held in so unexamined high esteem of "Making the world a better place". Or, "Making a difference" cherished as such an uncritically examined virtue.

Let's get those two last points out of the way, so you won't resent me as you read. Or, heaven forbid!, not read any further. To paraphrase the wise teacher, if you want to help others, first get out of any need for help yourself. If you want to do something good for the world, take yourself out of it. On the latter point, read stop acting in such good faith based on your conditioning and acquired ego perspectives. As wonderful and selfless as they may seem to be. Leave that to Oprah, acknowledged Most Wonderful Human Being on the Earth. Ever! And, I for one do not hold to the suspicion that woman is the Antichrist. Martha Stewart could be, though. Putin? No. He might just be the Messiah. I merely tell you what I've heard. You decide.

Also, there's something in all this about becoming conscious of consensus reality and waking up from the world dream.

Here goes . . . 

We all want to have the world by the ass, don't we? Admit it. Tom Cruise does. As a Scientologist, he may even just have it so. Be that as it may, wouldn't life be simpler? Even better? Maybe, even . . . wonderful? Excellent? Perfect? That is, if we had it all figured out? Information holds that promise in front of us.

Heck, we can figure out how to solve a Rubix Cube Puzzle in mere seconds. Also not to mention having the wherewithal to concoct a rig to do that job. Why stop there. By now you must've heard of the Singularity. The predicted time not that far off when computers will be smarter than humans. And, presumably, when we can all just sit back and sip tall ones poolside. Hopefully the embargo will be lifted, and you can smoke a Cohiba with your Mojito.

The Singularity will arrive when we know everything there is to know, about everything. And, have it handy. In some container. The smaller the better. Handier even than on that App on your smartphone that signals you when you get within sniffing distance of a good pizzeria. Not just any pizzeria, mind you. A good one. Let's go for a really good one. Of course, in the construction of that app structure someone will have to have figured out just what is a "really good" pizza. Come to New Jersey and you can find the answer to that question on just about any street corner.

App structure? Yeah. That's where you will find the sacred algorithm. Sort of a Deus ex Machina, if you will. If you have been following my posts of late you have noticed my mentioning algorithms. Specifically, bringing up the likelihood that the future of our civilization will be governed by algorithms and those possessing algorithmic invention and wizardry; and, of course, as is always so, those who pull their strings. Think puppeteers, and their puppet masters. Guess who the dummies turn out to be?

If you don't know from algorithm, not to worry. As they say in the trade, we got you covered. That image above is one version of what an algorithmic schematic looks like. Just one example. There are zillions. In a complex, multi-variant situation — maybe like the world we live in — your algorithm will sort out the permutations and options. Either to help you reach your desired result, or suss out any number of possible results from which you may select. Got you covered. See what I mean?

But, gotta desire something, though. Desirelessness will not be a virtue in the Brave New World. Neither, self-awareness. And, God forbid, Self-Awareness. If you don't know the distinction between the lower case and upper case aforementioned, just let's say it's a whole nother kettle of fish. Concerning which I have nothing to say. Nothing. Get it? There's something for you at the bottom of this piece if you in fact have interest in such like that. Nothing much.

And, by the way, did you think we skipped past Mr. Orwell's cautionary 1984 tale? Or, Huxley's Brave New World. Do you think that just because it doesn't look like what they described, it didn't happen? Maybe it did. And this, right here and now, is what it looks like. Huh? Just to say, do you think that it would come knocking on your door with an engraved introduction, smelling all nice and sexy, announcing itself for what it is? "Hey, asshole, I've come to make a slave out of you. You'll love it. Here's a new App just for you. Free! Now, be a good boy [or, girl] and bend over."

Apropos of . . . what? Mr. Steve Jobs comes to mind. I believe his genius is not so much in his technological innovations. But really, it's in how he figured out how to make a buck off it. Now that's an achievement we all can applaud. He certainly has made the world a better place. Made his difference. If you are one of the unannointed who doesn't know from Jobs, some think he just probably could have been the Second Coming. Long ago, Jesus. Now, "Jobsus." Some also say he is the enabler of a whole generation of ignoramuses, pied piper to the robotization of a whole generation of human beings who have been willingly distracted and anesthetized by habitual mindless fooling around with multi-functional, small personal hand held devices. (Take a deep breath.) I wouldn't blame Steve for everything. Just like atomic fission, it's about how it's put to use. Reading the latest on the feed on my Wi-Fi tablet, so thrilled the news is covering Kim's astonishing cleavage. Or, so-and-so's "baby bump". Just for the record, I don't give Steve a total free pass. He must've seen how folks were using his "devices".

For an overview. The broad arc to a key aspect of the present times can be traced from an evolution from the movie screen, to the television screen, to the computer screen, to the smartphone screen, to the smart watch screen, to the smart eye glasses screen. That last one gives a hint of even more wondrous technology to come. No, not the glasses per se. Or, other "wearables". Depends, though, on what you mean by "wearables".

How about having a screen permanently floating out in front of you right there in your field of vision. 24/7. Or, at least, whenever you want. Presuming you'll have a choice on that. No gadget, to speak of. If you dig how the screen size / device size over recent history has been reducing, imagine something that can be implanted into your body that does everything and more of what your smartphone or computer can do? Maybe into your brain. That may still seem rather invasive to us at the present time. Maybe taking it in the wazzoo would be more acceptable? But now, literally. Let's foresee a time when it won't be a put down, as it is now, to ask, "Hey, who put that bug up your ass?" A time when that line will be a conversations starter. Even a sure fire pick up line.

You would have complete access 24/7 to the cornucopia of the world's information and problem solving capacity. Full, life-like resolution. Like we do now. Only we take what's in front of our eyes as real. Choose your screen size. "Life Size" by default. Available (mandatory?) to anyone with only the slight trade off of agreeing to give those algorithm makers and shakers access to your activities, desires, and thoughts. Heck, you'll not only be able to take the day off, you can take your whole lifetime off. And, that little thing in your head will let you know what's best for you too. It'll conjure a world view tailored just for you right in front of your face. You'll be right 100% of the time. And, my friend, that's RIGHT. Wouldn't it be better if we all saluted the same flag? Thanks to technology we may have that opportunity. It'll make Adolf look like Walt Disney.

I could go on into the future when we have mastered every damned thing and will be able to dial up our offspring much in the same way we can from the options on a pizzeria menu. Then we can dispense with the whole messy implant business, and just make people the way we want them. The way they should be. You know, like you and me. Certainly, like me.

Let's discuss the algorithm some more. You're still wondering what's it do? Understanding algorithms themselves, much less having a facility with them, and even more much less being able to dream one up, is an intellectual hurdle equivalent to what it was like to be the first human to discover the difference between Up and Down, as a concept. It's kind of inscrutable. Like, for example, the Canoli shell. You look into it from either side, and what do you see? Nada. Zip. Zilch. I can't make it simpler than that. Totally aside, never buy a pre-filled Canoli. Have it filled for you on the spot. Gotta have that crispy shell.

Don't despair. Or, do. (It's a free country.) It'll come to you. About algorithms, that is. You know how you go and look for something or other on an Internet search or on a website, and that something or other gets posted in ads on other websites you visit later on? For example, you are shopping for a new spiked patent leather neck collar. Next thing you know, there are ads on your Facebook page featuring sources to purchase said kinky bit. Then there's also Facebook itself. Say, you like a page with girls with tattoos and spiked neck collars. (Just sayin'.) Next thing you know, dear Mr. Zuckerberg and Friends are showing you many other pages of that ilk for you to "Like". People to "Friend". Note to any algorithmazators reading this: Just because someone likes something, doesn't necessarily mean they'll like more of the same. But, thanks for putting me in touch with others like myself who enjoy discussing different ways to peel a banana. Or, to separate eggs. And, by the way, the collar fits just fine, thank you.

You guessed it. What makes all that wonderfulness possible are algorithms. A calculation of an outcome based on a set of rules. It's not the calculation so much; that's just a dumb, albeit, complex function. It's the rules. Someone has to come up with the rules the calculations must follow. And, someone also has to set it up to follow our activities to glean what in the hell will ring our chimes so that they can get the information in the first place. Our Internet activities are a treasure trove of information for marketers. When you have a device stuck up in you permanently, then everything you do is accessible. But, don't worry. Only the best people will be given access to all that. And, motivated to only serve your best interests. At least, your best interests, according to your betters.

We recently read a news item where a hapless gardener was raided in his home by law enforcement officials. Seems a surveillance helicopter spotted something in his back yard looking suspiciously like weed. Turns out to be okra. Sorry, buddy. Either way, however, he'd be in a sticky mess. Cook okra if you don't get the reference. 

And it's not just about the marketing applications. When it comes to shaping public opinion, planning the Brave New World, be sure the g'mint has a few algorithms of its own. I'm probably on some watch list just for this posting. Most assuredly, for typing the term "Watch List". And, don't you know, it's not just some algorithm tracking single words or phrases. But, the proximity of suspect words and phrases in written and verbal communications; and, even punctuation. Lord, let us pray the algorithmatizers will have the wisdom to parse distinctions in usage such as in "Eats, shoots, & leaves" and "Eats shoots and leaves".

Here you'll witness the actual creation of an algorithm. Rather crude, taste-wise, but it makes the point crystal clear. It's a video clip from the TV show Silicon Valley, a hilarious send-up of the folks behind and on top of the IT culture.

The same guys who brought you that must-have guy app, "Nip Alert." If you are a multi-tasker, and a guy, you do definitely want "Nip Alert". So you will not miss a thing. Or, two.

But, first watch this:

So here we have all these bright young go-getters, earth movers and shakers. Making the world a more better place. Making a difference. Just imagine at what can be done. It all goes under the umbrella of the so called Myth of Progress. Which, by the way, I had it on good authority in the early 1980s that it was dead. Yet, by all evidence, it lives. Maybe even thrives.

Progress. As in, if we can do it better, more of it, or different we will overcome this or that (or, all!) difficulties. Attain all heights. Also, those handmaidens of progress, technological invention and information. Thank you, Jobsus. When we all have all the information, the all right information, and just the right information, and have it now . . . then, we'll have the world by the ass. Jumping on Oprah's couch.

As for the Sesame Street reference. I would have thought you might have forgotten it by now. Don't get me started on how short our attention spans are. Well, the Sesame Street thing is about how mainly puppets live on Sesame Street. OK? Read between the lines much? Not to put too fine a point on it, "dummies" is the right word here. And, as you see explicated fully below, "We are slaves to what we do not know."

What to do. Wake up! Of course. But, our world doesn't seem to be all that built for awakening. As the song goes, it's but a dream. But such a nice one. A bowl of cherries, you could say. Mainly, it seems to be the opposite of awakening. Miley Cyrus' twerking may be an eyeful, but it'll not really open your eyes. On your tombstone, fella, how about, "He had an eye for a big beautiful booty. Now, he be dead. Next."

By awakening I mean becoming aware. Particularly aware of our inner life and its mental and sensory movements. Be that as it may. I believe all man-made things have at their center the seeds of their own destruction. Just that, historically, we poor schmucks have to suffer through some pretty lame doo-doo until it gets undone and the next new new thing comes over the horizon. This is not inevitable. Fruit ripens in its own time. Be patient with others. Be urgent and earnest with yourself.

Awakening. At one point in my life I awoke. I immediately became a huge pain in the butt for everyone around me, running around trying to get everyone else to wake up too. Now I see that there is no one to awaken but yourself. Seeing others as asleep is a sure sign of your own dreaming. Let "sleeping dogs" lay. Let it be. Let the universe take care of its own creations. Let the Divine Algorithm do its work. Yes, there is a Higher Algorithm. Hope!

Here is what the Master, Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, has said on such matters. It's the last word. And, best.

Excerpting from I AM THAT . . .

Questioner: All teachers advise to meditate. What is the purpose of meditation?

Maharaj: We know the outer world of sensations and actions, but of our inner world of thoughts and feelings we know very little. The primary purpose of meditation is to become conscious of, and familiar with, our inner life. The ultimate purpose is to reach the source of life and consciousness.

Incidentally practice of meditation affects deeply our character. We are slaves to what we do not know; of what we know we are masters. Whatever vice or weakness in ourselves we discover and understand its causes and its workings, we over-come it by the very knowing; the unconscious dissolves when brought into the conscious. The dissolution of the unconscious releases energy; the mind feels adequate and becomes quiet.

Q: What is the use of a quiet mind?

M: When the mind is quiet, we come to know ourselves as the pure witness. We withdraw from the experience and its experiencer and stand apart in pure awareness, which is between and beyond the two. The personality, based on self-identification, on imagining oneself to be something: 'I am this, I am that', continues, but only as a part of the objective world. Its identification with the witness snaps.

Q: As I can make out, I live on many levels and life on each level requires energy. The self by its very nature delights in everything and its energies flow outwards. Is it not the purpose of meditation to dam up the energies on the higher levels, or to push them back and up, so as to enable the higher levels to prosper also?

M: It is not so much the matter of levels as of gunas (qualities). Meditation is a sattvic activity and aims at complete elimination of tamas (inertia) and rajas (motivity). Pure sattva (harmony) is perfect freedom from sloth and restlessness.

Q: How to strengthen and purify the sattva?

M: The sattva is pure and strong always. It is like the sun. It may seem obscured by clouds and dust, but only from the point of view of the perceiver. Deal with the causes of obscuration, not with the sun.

Q: What is the use of sattva?

M: What is the use of truth, goodness, harmony, beauty? They are their own goal. They manifest spontaneously and effortlessly, when things are left to themselves, are not interfered with, not
shunned, or wanted, or conceptualized, but just experienced in full awareness, such awareness itself is sattva. It does not make use of things and people -- it fulfils them.

Q: Since I cannot improve sattva, am I to deal with tamas and rajas only? How can I deal with them?

M: By watching their influence in you and on you. Be aware of them in operation, watch their expressions in your thoughts, words and deeds, and gradually their grip on you will lessen and the clear light of sattva will emerge. It is neither difficult, nor a protracted process; earnestness is the only condition of success.

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