Category Archives: Man/Mankind

UTOPIA IS NOT ONLY CREEPY, IT IS ENTIRELY UNTRUE

Personally I think the actual truth lies somewhere in the middle between the hyper-life of the modern technologist and the future will be bleak anti-technologist. It depends almost entirely on not only what man invents but how he chooses to actually employ his inventions/technology. 

That being said I am a firm anti-Utopian. I do not believe in the human utopia (not socialistic, not economic, not technological or scientific, etc.) , either that it is possible, or desirable. It is a badly conceived, utterly juvenile and naive, and entirely impractical idea.

By the way, in listening to him, I can’t help but wonder if Nicholas Carr is not in some way related to Caleb Carr one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers.

 

Brett | February 7, 2017

Personal Development & Philosophy, Podcast

Podcast #276: Utopia is Creepy

A few weeks ago, I had futurist Kevin Kelly on the podcast to discuss the technological trends that are shaping our future. From driverless cars to artificial intelligence that will make new scientific discoveries, Kevin paints a fairly rosy picture of what’s to come.

My guest today sees a different side of the coin, and argues that the future envisioned by many in Silicon Valley is, well, kind of creepy.

His name is Nicholas Carr, and he’s the author of several books that critique the wide-eyed utopianism of technologists. In his book The Shallowshe reported on the research that shows how Google is making us dumber; in The Glass Cage he explored the science on why outsourcing our work and chores to computers and robots might actually make us miserable and unsatisfied in life; and in his latest book, Utopia is CreepyCarr pulls together all the essays he’s written over the years on how the rapid changes in technology we’ve seen in the past few decades might be robbing us of the very things that make us human.

Today on the show, Nicholas and I discuss why he thinks our utopian future is creepy, how the internet is making us dumber, and why doing mundane tasks that we otherwise would outsource to robots or computers is actually a source of satisfaction and human flourishing. We finish our discussion by outlining a middle path approach to technology — one that doesn’t reject it fully but simultaneously seeks to mitigate its potential downsides.

Show Highlights

  • Why the ideology that Silicon Valley is promoting and selling is bad for human flourishing
  • How the frictionless ideal of tech companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
  • Why is the idea of utopia so creepy?
  • Why don’t tech companies see that what they’re doing can be perceived as creepy?
  • The illusion of freedom and autonomy on the internet
  • What “digital sharecropping” is and why it exploits content creators
  • The myth of participation and the pleasures of being an audience member
  • Information gathering vs developing knowledge
  • Why Nicholas doesn’t use social media
  • The real danger that AI present humanity (and it’s not necessarily the singularity)
  • Is virtual reality going to catch on? Does it present any problems for society?
  • How can we opt out of the ideology that Silicon Valley is trying to sell?
  • How to ask questions of our technology

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re a bit leery of technology like myself, then you’ll definitely enjoy all of Nicholas’ books. Utopia Is Creepy gives you a big picture look at all of Nick’s ideas on the often overlooked downsides of our unquestioned adoption of digital technology. Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Connect With Nicholas Carr

Nicholas’ website

Nicholas’ blog, Rough Type

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

 

 

 

 

 

THE TRUTH MUST BE GREATER THAN FICTION

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

Out of the “great cities and sprawling urban centers” arise most of the plagues, wholly avoidable disasters, entirely degenerate ideas, unnecessary wars, vapid cultures, weird religions and pathetic self-worshiping idols, bizarre theories, corrupt societies, criminal enterprises, ridiculous examples of fanatical human behavior, tyrannical governments, and mindless, violent herds and mobs that have ever most destructively afflicted the entire Race of Man.

It has always been this way, it will always be that way.

Individually and in small groups man is a wonder, a marvel, a charitable and just being, courageous, productive and capable, clean, pious, truthful, hard-working, often wise and perhaps even, on occasion, a true genius. Just a little lower than the angels, but often even far more humble.

Collectively and in large numbers he is naive, a patsy and a dupe, a tribalist, a socially warped and serfish coward, self-indulgent and self-destructive, degenerate, arrogant, criminalistic, easily manipulated, lazy, a fool, and very often something of an animal. Lower than a beast, for sure, but more desperate and diseased than a virus.

HELL IF IT IS – THE COWARDLY CHRISTIANS OF THE WEST

HELL IF IT IS – THE COWARDLY CHRISTIANS OF THE WEST

I’m willing to bet good money that if most Muslims around the world were allowed to live one week freely as a Christian, without fear of being forced to reconvert back to Islam, without fear of their families being physically and economically punished, and without fear of themselves being tortured, murdered, and crucified then 2/3rds would convert immediately and on the spot, and never look back.

I say this not only to those tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims seeking a far better way, but to those hundreds of millions of apathetic and lazy and cowardly Christians in the West who would not even dare to say such a thing out loud.

A lot of the responsibility for those Christians and those Muslims who live and suffer in the Middle East and elsewhere in this world lies with the abject cowardice of the Christians of the West.

And I might very well say the same thing about those Christians and Muslims living in China and other parts of Asia, and in and throughout Africa.

The cowardly West is no real example of the Courage of Christ.

It should be, but hell if it is…

ON MIND, MAGIC, MIRACLES, AND CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS

ON MIND, MAGIC, MIRACLES, AND CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS

 

A friend of mine asked my opinion on psychic phenomenon and magic and miracles. Well, not just my opinion, but the opinion of all of her friends on such matters. I made my reply to her post which I copied and pasted to this post as it is my true opinion on such matters. Given the time of year, and the celebration of the Birth of Christ (though I have no doubt Christ was likely born closer to Easter than to Christmas, and crucified and resurrected much closer to Passover and Christmas than to Easter, this is nevertheless our cultural celebration of Christmas) I think this the perfect time to address such things. For one of the often overlooked things Christ came to do, other than to redeem the souls of men, is to integrate the various parts of Man, his Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit, to their Rightful Nature and to their Natural Capabilities, and to their Proper Relationship to existence, and to God. A Man (or Woman) so Redeemed, and so set to their Rightful and Proper Self and Nature is indeed Immortal and is Man and God always intended Man to be. That too is my opinion, though I think it a correct one. Christ then does not merely save us, he also corrects us and purifies us and remakes us into our True Selves.

And if you ask me that is Truly Magical and one Truly Superb Miracle.

MERRY CHRISTMAS GUYS

_______________________________________

In my opinion, and from years of experimentation conducted on my own and with others, I think that so called psychic abilities, and magical abilities (though I no doubt have a different definition of “magic,” tan most, that is I consider magic to be Divine Work or Divine Action) and miraculous abilities (Thaumaturgy, or Wonder-Working or Miracle, and all Miracles arise first from God though people may easily be conduits of miracles) are all separate things. Related perhaps, from time to time in apparent effect, and yet separate in cause and operation and methodology and origins.

That is to say that I think so called psychic abilities arise from the mind(s) of men, and possibly from the soul as part of our inborn capabilities (though they might be improved with practice), magic (Magi – or Knowing or Great Wisdom) arise from our souls and is probably the result of experience and training (intentional or unintentional) or practice combined with inborn capabilities, and that Miracles always arise first from God and then descend to man.

That is to say Psychic, despite the misnomer, arises primarily from integrated mental (mind) and possibly psychological (soul) capabilities. Theurgy or Magic arises from the Divine Image of God within us expressed outwards as Divine and Good) Action, and Thaumaturgy (or as we say Miracle) from God and is the example or model for both theurgy and psychic abilities.

Both psychic abilities and theurgy can be misused however, and for nefarious and malignant purposes, but such things I call witchcraft and sorcery, though others might use other terms. Thaumaturgy, a True Miracle, cannot be misused or corrupted because it originates in and from God. Though fake miracles or false miracles can be misused, and are.

But I would also say that in the lives of people there are time periods when certain of these things thrive in a person’s experience, or maybe several of them thrive simultaneously in a person’s life.

As for control, I think your guess is as good as mine.

I am of the opinion, based on my own experiences, that perhaps certain aspects of these various things can be controlled, or certain probabilities of success enhanced by training or by technique (such as fasting, going without sleep, prayer, mediation, etc.) but I have never found a way to reliably control such things to any real degree. But maybe that is just a weakness or incapacity on my own part. I really don’t know.

So I certainly don’t discourage the attempt to do so and I wish you well.

Just use whatever you discover as Wisely as you can and remember that indirect and uncertain information is still indirect and uncertain. That does not make it wrong, it just means that being mortal and limited in our own knowledge we may either easily or in some small or great detail misunderstand what is being communicated to us. So we must both discern and discriminate as well as human abilities allow us to do so exactly what is being implied or exposed to us.

If I am confused or uncertain about such things I always try praying to God and asking the help of others who are wise to see if there is something I am misunderstanding or overlooking.

For instance I will certainly accept and consider and take an omen, or a vision, or a dream, but I would not use an omen, or a vision, or a dream as the only basis for making an important decision. It would be just one factor I consider.

At the very least I would try my best to seek to understand, “do I really know what is occurring or being communicated to me?” And sometimes I have thought I well understood some omen or vision only later to discover I was either wrong or only partially right, and sometimes I should have trusted my initial assumptions or my gut and failed to do so and so harm ensued or I gained no benefit from what should have been an obvious advantage. That’s only human I guess, we only know what we know or will allow ourselves to know, but with time and experience you can, I suspect, get better.

So, good luck and Godspeed to you.

I think people should have such experiences. They deepen our lives, expand our understanding, and enrich our experiences of both the world and of God.

Use them well and they should serve you well. Just always try to use them wisely and well, and for your own best benefit and for the most possible benefit of others.

That’s all you can really do that is worthwhile with anything in life.

Know your limits, but try to constantly exercise and exceed them, listen to God and to what others are trying to tell you and then use those things as well as you can.

Merry Christmas then my friends.

May it be Soulful, Magical, and Miraculous to you and yours.

A BROTHERHOOD OF TIME

A BROTHERHOOD OF TIME

Had a great Veterans Day in the company of a man whose friendship between us runs back a little over 40 years.

Some people you can have a great friendship with in a relatively short period of time. I am glad of those. But in other cases, rare cases, a friendship that has seasoned over an entire lifetime (or nearly so) is deep in a peculiar and particular way that is completely irreplaceable.

The things we have seen, the joys we have known, the fun we have had, the hardships endured, the mutual commiserations, together and alone, they go back a very long time indeed.

In some cases there is a bond far deeper than blood.

A Brotherhood of Time.

And I know you said you were ready to move on, but thank you again for your military service. Our conversations yesterday (on shop and on many other things) reminded me that without men like you, in peace and in war, our nation would have lain vulnerable to many, many threats.

I know also that you think you lost much, and you did, and I wish I could return those things to you. But you gained much for others and I for one have not forgotten it.

And in the big scheme of things I think God will return it to you as well. Maybe not in this world, but it will be returned, and blessed, and multiplied.

I love you man. Safe travels home…

By the way you old bastard, I still owe you a meal. What you did last night, well, that just made us even again…

NOT FOR YOUR SAKE ALONE

Uninterrupted time with God is far better spent discussing not your own problems, but rather the miracle of the way he has ordered everything. For in the ordering of the Universe lies not only the solution to your own small problems, but the Clue and the Key to His Own Nature, which is the way everything works when it works as it should.

Seek God as He truly is and you will also discover everything else as it was meant to be. Seek only to discuss yourself with God and that is all you will learn of. And in such a huge universe of such infinite potential that is a very small subject indeed.

It is far wiser most of the time to put yourself aside and ask God what He can teach you about everything else. In this way not only will you learn of Him, but also you will learn what you are, and more importantly, you will learn why you are.

On the other hand, it is not truly possible to understand God’s Nature by concentrating upon your own. The man who seeks God will find both God and himself, and everything else for that matter, whereas the man who seeks himself alone will find himself alone. Seek not yourself but those Frontiers well beyond you where God dwells. In this way you will have a home and a Guide no matter where you wander.

Therefore, ask not what God can do for you, ask rather what God is, and what He has made you capable of discovering, and doing. Then for God’s sake, and especially for your own, do it.

There is but one way to advise – by example.

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