Used to be that if you didn’t vote for Democrats you were creating a vacuum filled by conservatives. Now if you don’t vote for Democrats, locally and nationally, you’re permitting the takeover of fascists. The choice really is that stark now. I hear anarchist & Marxist friends saying, what about us? What about our systems and non-systems? You can have anarchism or socialism–locally. You can create communes and communities, and demonstrate locally how it works. A display of that alternative. Meanwhile vote against fascists. Register to vote and vote for Democrats. Then work on starting your own political party and building it up.
One strange thing about consciousness is that it doesn’t know what consciousness is. That is, most discrete consciousnesses do not know themselves. Consciousness is baffled by consciousness. It’s like a blind man that can feel and smell but can’t see itself in a mirror. If consciousness increases its level of consciousness it can see itself and know what it is. Til then, this disability will prevent programmers and developers from understanding that AI cannot become conscious.
Writers who respect copyright, intellectual property, and writers’ dedication to their art will *not* use programs that scan published text to help fake “writers” work up material through AI programs. I sent a cease and desist to prosecraft.io to take down their use of my novel Stormland, 1000 words of quoted prose, and end their usage of it. There are class action suits coming, against these outfits. They took down the Stormland theft soon as I mentioned lawyers.
People who use programs, AIs especially, to create “art”, visual or in writing or musical form, are hurting not only the culture–but themselves. They’re weakening their own creativity. Because creativity must be stretched and developed through effort in order to flower. They also enfeeble their own experience of art. They will lose capacity to grow as artists. A pretty picture etc is easy–and it will atrophy their creativity. And what they do produce will soon be a bore to everyone.
I saw SISU. This movie is cinema at its purest. I seem to see cinephile references to Dr Strangelove and possibly even Indiana Jones in this–in a way, it’s about if Indiana Jones became a monomaniacal killer. (Just killing Nazis.) A Finnish Indiana Jones who only says twelve words in the whole movie. Naw, forget Indiana Jones. It’s kind of like a Spaghetti Western but way better than most Spaghetti Westerns. Quentin Tarantino vibes. In a good way. Believable? Don’t worry about it. Jalmari Helander wrote and directed it.
I saw a SPIDER THROW A TWIG yesterday….I watched Brunhilde the garden spider repair her web after a windy night. I don’t generally like watching spiders as I have primeval-fear issues with them (I suspect, and I am not joking, that some of us have DNA memory from proto-anthropoid ancestors who were at risk of being caught and eaten by giant Shelob-scale spiders) …but I became interested in this very large, bulbous-rumped gold and black garden spider, who was repairing her web in my front yard. I got so involved I gave her a name, Brunhilde (the ones in the big webs are females).
I noticed she was working deftly to disentangle a very small twig from her web; I watched her unfasten it and I was stunned to see her *throw it*, using two forelegs, almost like throwing a spear, to get it clear of her web. I didn’t know they did such things.
She then went about repairing damage to the little radial connectors between the circular webbing. She did something else I didn’t know they did, then–normally, spiders seem to build up webs by extruding them directly from the spinnerets on the tips of their abdomen. But as I looked closely–my face just six inches from this large spider!–I saw this one dip the very tip of a tarsus, the end of her leg, into the glue pot of her spinneret.
She then stretched the web goo *from the tip of her leg* to replace short connective links between two web circles. It was like a paintbrush sort of movement with the tip of the foreleg, or like the use of a brush from a glue pot, but it stretched a short line across. I was impressed with her deftness. And seeing her in the sunlight I had to admit she was rather pretty.
I spent enough time watching that I became rather caught up…as if in a psychological web…and hence named her, and then found myself worrying about her last night during a bit of a rainstorm we had. Then I laughed at myself. Worrying about a spider! What a dolt!
“Horror, sci-fi and Cyberpunk legend John Shirley has teamed with guitar ace and musical dynamo Jerry King (guitarist & songwriter for the bands Moon X and Cloud Over Jupiter) for a third album, ESCAPE FROM GRAVITY. For a limited time, order a physical CD of this ground-breaking album together with John’s new edition of Really, Really, Really, Really Weird Stories! Several of the songs on this album were adapted from poems appearing in John’s 2021 poetry collection, The Voice of the Burning House. Like the previous Shirley/King collaborations, this album fearlessly explores mind-bending themes with virtuoso arrangements… Shirley’s weird stories, lyrics and vocals will combine with Jerry King’s music to melt your brain!” – Available as a CD/Book Bundle on www.jackanapespress.com/product/john-shirley-cd-bundle
There’s value in the “one bad apple spoils the barrel” adage. I leant over an apple barrel and saw one rotten apple spreading its rot to a sound apple; I heard the apple whispering, “Communism is the only solution.” The barrel’s label? ‘Anarchist Apples’. Another barrel, ‘Communist Apples’, was succumbing to an anarchist apple. I decided to crossbreed anarchist apples with communist. The result, anarcho-syndicalism apples. But what’s this? One of the hybrid apples is rotten! “Libertarianism is the only solution,” it whispers.
There are esoteric teachings stating that after death, there is something that–to a greater and lesser degree, depending on the person–may survive for a while. It is a kind of energy-form, possibly in plasma form, that is held in shape by electromagnetic fields, or some other particle-theory-based field. It has some self awareness. It disintegrates, on the death of its biological host, and fragments of it can be consumed by other more permanent, more complex energy forms, which use it as fuel. It’s a naturalistic view, not a supernatural one. These are all creations of the universe, somehow spun off by evolution.
Anyway, one’s actual selfhood–according to the teaching–usually disintegrates *if* one hasn’t been conscious enough in life. Literally conscious, not, like ‘politically conscious’ or something. Most of us live our lives semiconscious. If one has been actively moving in the direction of consciousness, in the course of our human-biology life, a natural process takes place, rather like a seed sprouting, leading to the creation of a more permanent self-aware energy form which has a kind of subtle biology and has senses and memory. It can resist the predators, in the afterlife, just as a man in the wilderness can resist being eaten by a wolf or lion, through his intelligent evasion or self-defense. This entity then cooperates with others of its kind, in a kind of community, which works to try to cultivate more sturdily conscious forms from the cellular / genetic creatures found where humans live, in the substrate biology of our planet.
This is an actual teaching–I’m not making it up. Just because someone teaches it, somewhere (and has taught it for at least 2500 years), doesn’t mean it’s true.
Emilio knew it was the googuys the second he saw them through the peephole in his apartment door. Despite their being warped around the fish-eye, he could see they were in their “casual but not casual” clothes; designer jeans, top drawer button-up shirts. The blond one wore the most high-end Google glasses. And something metallic hovered, just out of sight, barely glimpsed in the background.
Google Guys for sure.
“Yeah he’s there,” said the guy with the glasses.
“I’m picking it up,” said the other one.
Implant scanners, Emilio figured.
“Mr. Sanchez,” the one without the obvious glasses called. “Hi! We’re here from the Housing Interface!”
The drone being there told Emilio he had no choice. He knew it’d summon Hard-forcement if he refused to open the door.
He unlocked and opened the door and there they were, the googuys, their armed drone hovering over between them. It was a whirly little thing like a silvery frisbee, and on the stationary metal post in its center it had a tiny nozzle. It could shoot little blood-soluble glassy injectors with that nozzle.
And that was just the drone he could see. Emilio knew they often came with the little stealth drones, smaller and harder to see than a housefly.
He looked them over. No surprise. They were sparklingly groomed, and though the glasses guy, Chode, had long butter-colored hair, every inch of it was exquisitely coifed. The little silvery card clipped to his collar read, Romeo Chode, Google Housing Interface.
The other one looked mixed race, maybe Latino Asian Black Caucasian. His collar card read, William Nim, Google Housing Interface.
“Emilio, hi,” said Nim. “I’m Bill Nim. Can we come in?”
“You going to text me a warrant?”
“We’ve done that,” Chode said, smiling apologetically. He was looking past them at the small Mission apartment, an early 20th century construction passed down through the family, one of the last rent-controlled places in this shrunken San Francisco barrio.
“Then come the fuck in,” Emilio said, sighing, wondering if this was a check-on visit—or was it the Worst Possible.
Their frisbee-sized drone followed them in like a trained bird. Chode scanned the apartment, turning his head with the slow-sweep efficiency of a security camera so his glasses got a panning shot of the room; taking in the Immaculate Heart of Mary statuette in its shrine; the framed family photos, the worn sofa and cluttered coffee table; the slightly slanted floor, the old wood-framed archways painted in bright Mexican colors.
“Looks like the building’s settling,” Chode said, glancing at the floor. “Has it been safety-checked in the past six months?”
Emilio ignored the question. But he knew what it implied. “What are you guys planning to put in its place after you tear it down?”
Nim blinked at him. “We are not real estate investors or demolition persons or…”
“Whatever, man—my family is not leaving here,” Emilio said.
“There’s no definite decision on that,” Chode said, looking Emilio up and down, pausing to scan Emilio’s maimed hand. Two fingers had been removed from Emilio’s left hand as a contractual requirement when he’d signed on to work for OctoCorp. Part of their Full Commitment hiring policy.
“The housing authority has already granted us this building,” Chode went on, “as per the Corporate Financing Incentives Act of 2034. But as to the schedule, the short version is, if you apply for a Hispanic Heritage deferral, you can get an extra sixty days here. But–if you give us access to a cerebral usage unit, you can stay for an additional fourteen months!”
Emilio wished Carmen was here. She’d have torn these guys a new one. She was stronger than he was. He felt defeated already. But he stalled for time. “A Hispanic Heritage referral? How do I get that? I’m a Sanchez, for chrissakes. What do you want me to do, reel off some Espanol?”
Chode sniffed. “You look a little light-skinned. Our records show your grandfather was from Germany. I have your DNA read-out.”
“Everyone else in my family is from Mexico and this has place has been in our family for generations. My uncle lives here—he’ll tell you. He’s out playing dominoes now but when he gets back—”
“Daddy?” It was Julio, in the archway of the hall, rubbing his eyes. He had slept in, his first day of school vacation. He wore the Kwazy Kwacker pajamas he’d long since outgrown.
“Julio Sanchez, eight years old,” Nim muttered, gazing raptly at the boy. “Fully vaccinated, enrolled in Wal-Mart Elementary. Shows upper-level cerebral responsiveness in class.”
That made Emilio grate his teeth. Maybe he should call Carmen at work…
“Hi, Julio!” Chode said brightly, waving at the boy. “You know, you’d be ideal for our new Cerebral Youth program, and we’ve been tasked to find out—”
“No!” Emilio shouted. “Out, Chode! Both of you–out!“
“Dad!” Julio ran to his father and clung to him. “Who are they?”
“Doesn’t matter, they’re leaving.” Emilio pointed at Chode. “You heard me—I said get out now or I swear I’ll—” He was unable to finish he sentence. He broke off at the piercing sting on his neck.
He heard Chode say, “As you threatened us, we do have authorization to—”
Then Emilio was gone, instant-tranked by the drone.
When he came to, he was lying on the floor, his head on a pillow. He straightened up, feeling queasy, the room rotating slowly. The vertigo passed and he saw Chode and Nim straightening up from Julio who was stretched out on the sofa.
There was a little foam at the corners of Julio’s mouth and a metal stud in his forehead.
Emilio’s hands fisted. “What have you pricks done!”
They turned to Emilio as he got swaying to his feet. Nim smiled. “In the event of malicious resistance, we have All Access to the cerebral resources of tenants, as of the new law—it took effect January first.”
Chode nodded. “The boy is fine! He’s having a typical initiatory response reaction. Nothing to worry about.”
Stomach churning, Emilio looked around the room for a weapon. There were knives in the kitchen….
Then Julio sat up, smiling, wiping foam from his mouth.
He looked cheerfully at his father—but there was an infinite remoteness in his eyes. “It’s okay, dad, I feel better! Can I go with Bill and Romeo, after I get dressed? I want to see what it’s like to be a cerebral helper! I really want to!”
And Julio’s smile widened—as a little blood trickled down from the stud in his forehead.
…You know all those toxic corrosive materials we use, with the WARNINGS on them, don’t touch this, don’t inhale its fumes, use a mask, use goggles? And the toxic building materials that exude formaldehyde. And paint removing chemicals and so on–what’s it like in the factories where they make it? What are the rules in that place? “We crack a window and we carry out people when they get sick and put them on the pile out back”? What’s it like where they make Crazy Glue?
I am mostly thinking of outsourced product manufacturing. What are conditions like in the overseas factories for products like this, that we routinely use. Or perhaps in parts of Texas and Mississippi.
And what of their effluents? How deeply flows their pollutants?