Month: October 2022
Survival of the Richest by Douglas Rushkoff
Subtitle: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires
What the top .1 of 1% think and how they look to control their lives and how they want to control the lives of the rest of humanity.
My notes from this intellectually engaging book..
Taking their cue from Tesla founder Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Palantier‘s Peter Thiel reversing the aging process, or artificial intelligence developers Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether. Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.page 5
This Silicon Valley escapism– – let’s call it The Mindset – – encourages it’s adherents to believe that winners can somehow leave the rest of us behind.page 10
Studies have shown that the more power a person has, the less “motor resonance“ or mirroring they do of others. Of course, people seeking power may be predisposed to this behavior. But further research has suggested that after people have gained power, they tend to behave like patients with damage to the brain‘s orbitofrontal lobes. That is, the experience of wealth and power is akin to removing the part of the brain “critical to empathy and socially appropriate behavior.” Poor people are much better than their wealthy counterparts at judging other people’s emotions. Their capacity to make “emphatic inferences“ based on facial muscle movements is far superior.
As NYU business professor Scott Galloway has explained, “we’ve decided that capitalism means being loved and empathetic to corporations, and Darwinistic and harsh towards individuals.“ Government readily bailed out banks and businesses in a 2008 recession, and the Covid crisis increased total billionaire wealth from 8.9 to 10.2 trillion in just the first year, despite the pandemic’s negative impact on everyone else.page 34
The reduction of reality to information and humans to genotypes all too conveniently dovetails with capitalism’s imperative to render everything into a suitable form for the marketplace. Everything is data, and everything has a price, and everything can scale. The described, codified object is all that matters; anything else falls away like junk DNA, inferior species, or the majority of human beings. The wealthy technologist makes it into the cloud, while the masses are left behind competing against one another in the realm of matter. Like Christ or any other saved figure, only the fully encoded individual can be transubstantiated to the next level.
So goes the atheistic eschatology of The Mindset.page 95
Bernays wrote the book on propaganda – – literally, it was called Propaganda – – in which he explained that the manipulators of public opinion are the true, invisible power in any society. The masses are too stupid to make decisions for themselves, anyway, so their rise to power in a democracy must be steered by propaganda, a “mechanical, advanced and necessary” science of population control. At the time, many journalists and politicians spoke out against Bernay’s tactics and beliefs. He and his colleagues, however, saw themselves as conducting an essential social service. The elite, and even progressives among them, feared the potential power of the unchecked crowd to wreak havoc. They witnessed the madness of crowds in Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union alike and wanted to prevent such crises from happening in America, much as Hillary Clinton feared the “basket of deplorables”, who might elect a demagogue as president, or those young technologists feared the insurrectionists at the Capitol. If one could only push a button and make that all go away.page 101
Government emphasis on job training, high-tech skills and art general compatibility with a digital future has led schools to emphasize STEM—-science, technology, engineering and math – – over the softer, squishier subjects like English, Social Studies and Philosophy. Education has shifted away from liberal arts, which wrestle with those fundamental questions of purpose and dignity while also building the faculties required to think critically about media and messaging. Those skills are dangerous to leave behind.page 146
Liberation from The Mindset…
Stop supporting their companies and the way of life they’re pushing. We can actually do less, consume less and travel less – – and make ourselves happier and less stressed in the process. Buy local, engage in mutual aid, and support cooperatives. Use monopoly law to break up anti-competitive behemoths, environmental regulation to limit waste, and organize labor to promote the rights of gig workers. Reverse tax policy so that those receiving passive capital gains on their wealth pay higher rates than those actively working for their income.page 185
One often feels very alone standing in the midst of a crowd or a large gathering.Eric Burleigh
When a friendship is reduced to an occasional wave and a hurried “hi”, it may be time for a permanent “good-bye.”Eric Burleigh
Not Recommended for Prime Time
Around this time before the elections, newspapers endorse candidates who they feel are the best qualified for legislative and executive offices. Listed below are 15 GOP candidates who I believe are unqualified for office. They all share endorsements from Donald Trump which I think is disqualifying by itself.
However here is a list of election deniers, racists, intelligence challenged, mediocre, language mangling, lying GOP candidates.
1.Herschel Walker Senator Georgia
2.Marjorie Taylor Greene House Georgia
3. Doug Mastriano Governor PA
4. Kari Lake Governor Arizona
5. Mehmet Oz Senator PA
6. Tudor Dixon Governor Michigan
7. Blake Masters Senator Arizona
8. J.D. Vance Senator Ohio
9. Ron Johnson Senator Wisconsin
10. Mike Lee Senator Utah
11. Lauren Boebert House Colorado
12. Matt Gaetz House Florida
13. Jim Jordan House Ohio
14. Sarah Sanders Governor Arkansas
15. Kristi Noem Governor South Dakota
If more than five of these idiots win, democracy will be on life support.
Book Review: Profiles in Ignorance How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber by Andy Borowitz
I got it. We have experienced some really dumb men and women in Washington and national politics. Borowitz picked on Reagan but at least Reagan had some very wise and experienced people on his staff and Cabinet. Contrast the quality of intelligence and expertise with the various iterations of the Trump cabinet.
Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and of course “The Donald” are cited in the book as national embarrassments. The dumbest candidate of all time was not mentioned in the book, Herschel Walker. Walker was outed for paying for an abortion after he claimed that he did not. This font of sanctimony is decidedly pro-life. He has consistently lied about his education and credentials. Yesterday he received a standing ovation from members of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta.
There were various spokespeople who went on news shows to defend him. Who is dumber? Walker or the people who still support him?
Borowitz’s book was meant as satire. I saw no humor in his stories. It was depressing. So very few of the people profiled by the author read books. Aides could not dumb down information for Reagan or Trump.
Unless you have been in a cave or quarantined for 40 years, most of the stories in the book have already been reported. This is not a book for Republicans. There are a number of Democrats who have experienced issues with judgment but not like the GOP.
“Life is puzzle unsolved.”― Santosh Kalwar
“If the pieces do not fit into your puzzle…
Try a different picture”Cass van Krah
From my notebook…
A new word for my vocabulary, “smokeshow.” I heard it used in a Saturday Night Live skit on YouTube. Smokeshow is an attractive or hot woman.
I would classify myself as an “intellectual omnivore.”
I also strive to be an “autodidact Polymath.”
Looking for a Lebenskunsler: Master in the art of living…
marks: wrestling = trumpsters: politics
There are two checklists at or near retirement age. The first is what is also commonly known as a “bucket list.” These are things one wants to try, do or accomplish before they die. The second checklist writes itself, maybe appropriately termed a fuck-it list. These are things that one cannot do or try for physical, mental, emotional, or financial reasons. This list expands exponentially and generally is beyond our control.
I was told of the affair
Which I was not aware
So I was not there
Given that I do not care
Excerpt from The True Meaning of Life by Pat Fleming
But how much I reached out,
To others when needed,
Would be the true measure,
Of how I succeeded.
And how much I shared,
Of my soul and my heart,
Would ultimately be,
What set me apart.
And what’s really important,
Is my opinion of me,
And whether or not,
I’m the best I can be.
And how much more kindness,
And love I can show,
Before the Lord tells me,
It’s my time to go.
Favorite Female Singers
- Aretha Franklin
- Storm Large
- Whitney Houston
- Anita Baker
- Barbara Streisand
- Karen Carpenter
- Rita Coolidge
- Shania Twain
- Carole King
- Lady Gaga
- Stevie Nicks
- Donna Summer
- Dionne Warwick