Should cancer be celebrated when it hits the people you despise?

It is not plainly wrong, that you can be sure of.

There is a nice brain teaser in considering wether it is fair, right, correct and so forth to rejoice the imminent disappearance from the life time space continuum of some person, in this case John McCain.

1 First we have the basic tenant of when it’s OK to harm someone else: self defence. If you are under duress, it is your natural right to defend your existence at the expense of the other’s death.

2 Second, we have the other basic tenant that you cannot be God, you need legitimacy to make judgements, and when it comes to life and death, usually only God can be trusted to be right, you know, His being omniscient is a big helper. God or some judge in Arizona.

The problem with judging life and death is that the cost of a mistake is infinite, infinite because it is irreversible. So, how can a limited human pay an infinite cost? We can’t, not even if you’re Warren Buffet.

3 Third and on the other hand, there is the tertiary element of what exactly is a celebration:

Celebration is social. And that complicates things a bit.

Backing up, lets see: John McCain.

The self defence clause in the case of high profile politicians is plausible. Politics is the management of life empowering our survival. This means politicians can harm us in very deep and scarring ways, and it means they can directly lower our chances of survival through their bad management.

There are may people who think John McCain did a shitty job managing our collective lives, and by effect lowered the survival probabilities for a lot of people.

I believe there is a genuine moral argument for common people to have a self defence stance in regard to personal judgements towards politicians, including death wishes and being glad they’re (finally) dead. What else do you have?

I believe that because of the self defence moral argument the “but you are no better” popular wisdom fails hard. The fact of the matter is, some people, while not attacking a target, do have a target. In politics, especially in politics, these targets are swaths of people and so many of them simply are devoid of a slight change to a fulfilled life, because of the life long activity of some polititcians.

The saint attitude never got the “right” side very far. Saints die. All of them.

You see, as far as God vs Satan go, the belief that eventually the Good will win, is a very slippery one. Here is a simple example, even though the Good guys won WW2, so one point to the people loving God, I strongly believe Satan walked away pretty satisfied too. Economically it means that many of these victories of the Good have really low margins.

With really low margins only mass market can save you. In the case of the Good guys, mass marketing happens through small daily victories:

I will not rejoice in John McCain’s cancer

… thinks the good, well intentioned, well raised and mentally saner average human, scoring another small victory (sale) with low margin.

Truth be told, there is a greater win in exercising your inner satisfaction towards the imminent end of the injustice one man and his power wielded upon you for as long as you’ve been around, imminent end brought by the man’s death. Bigger margin, more personal profit.

On the other hand, you are not God. You cannot convict and execute a human on your own, even if the human is Hitler or Saddam or Osama or whatever modern Evil Anti-Hero. You cannot convict on your own less modern Anti-Heroes either, like the Hydra or the Minotaur, because both Osama and the Minotaur have personal stories which you don’t fully understand.

However, did you give the high ranking politician cancer? No. Who did it? Well probably he gave it himself, as we know cancer is not really a disease, it’s more like a abnormal progress of encoded body regeneration, a malfunction. You can only increase the probability of cancer, you cannot GET cancer.

So as far as the self being God argument goes, we’re in the green, we decide that we will be glad about the fact that:

because this politician who has hurt our kind/group/class for decades is going to die we will be under less duress and probably have increased our chances of survival, so one point for us

… which is perfectly moral, I think.

Now the celebration, which in the case of John McCain is composed of some high profile person (disclaimer: Holly blocked me, can’t link normally) publishing an article about how swell things are now that cancer saved the group she represents.

She is not merely glad. She celebrates it, as in making a toast for it (Cheers to the Malignancy of John McCain’s Brain Tumor).

So is the cancer and future death a social celebration worthy event?

Remember the righteousness of “rejoicing about your inner satisfaction towards the imminent end of the injustice one man plus much power wielded upon you”, all while making a better emotional profit in the process?

Well the morality judgement continues: what do you do with the emotional profit you just got? Do you spend it on socially involving others and setting up “a special and enjoyable activity” of hating on a human? Hmm.

So basically you take your moral high ground and turn it into mud.

That is if you are a common human. As Holly is not a common human, this doesn’t apply. She has a horde of people reading her ideas. She stepped out of commonality and because of that we know that the meaning in the article is not about celebration but about the stupidity of the situation, where, as a commented put it:

there’s an extreme irony involved when a man whose health care is paid for by the people is willing to vote to take health care away from those same people. (here)

So cancer should not be celebrated even when it hits the people you despise, but if you are on top of a social pyramid you have the moral clout to use your position to communicate a bigger poin even through suggesting celebration of someone’s death.

That means, on you own if you are on the wrong end of John McCain’s politics, you should be free to admit and rejoice you’re glad there is a spark chance that your position will improve because the dude’s gonna die. You may even call it divine justice, just to feel even better.

You have the moral right to rejoice deaths of politicians that lower your survival chances.

But it is not ok to celebrate, it is morally wrong. No one’s cancer is a reason for enjoyable social activities. It is morally wrong to toast about a tumour. That is not what your opinion leaders, such as Holly, I hope, wish to achieve. Your opinion leaders should inspire you to reflect and make you empowered to resist.

You should reflect and be empowered to resist the folk who will follow in John McCain’s footsteps, continuing his agenda, which is what usually happens when eighty year old humans manage our collective life, undermining our survival: more undermining incoming.

Fed up with feed up

So Gary Vaynerchuk does it again. He gave the world his branded recipe for mediocrity:

document don’t create

Well shit.

This means, more cat photos and food with filters and listicles with 22 advice for every 22 year old. This means more people spewing into the world’s feeds their particular experience as a template for just about anyone in said world.

It means even more content to fill in distribution channels so that anything of real value, ya know the created stuff, gets such a tiny spot that it goes completely unnoticed in the real time world of today.

What happened to don’t write unless you have something to say? M, too harsh?

Well, we are currently executing a DDOS attack on our own world perception. I wonder when we’ll shut down. Everywhere you look there is a feed. The TV is a list of feeds, the Internet is a bucket of feeds, constant networking is a never ending feed, you face feeds of gossip, you try to ignore advertising an over the top aspirational feed and so on and so forth.

But consciousness is not born out of constant input but by input, internalisation and introspection. Nobody has any time left for the other two stages. Then we are shocked at the lack of empathy around.

I read very little of my Medium feed. I feel guilty for not reading some of my follower’s work as much as I should because they do great writing. But I take my time. For instance, if I am hit with a great personal story, I wait, maybe a whole month before jumping into the next article of “look what happened to me”. It takes time, but I know in the background there is a process which helps me update my world view from others’ shared experiences.

Information promiscuity has the same effect as sexual promiscuity: numbness. Don’t be fooled, I love promiscuity, it is a great outfit for the absurdity of existence. But you need to do it right and take care of not losing yourself.

I think Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice should not be followed by people who give a fuck about the future of this world. Shut the fuck up and create don’t document. Stop the flood of crap our minds constantly must handle.

Even on Facebook.

Black Mirror makes me want to scroll that Facebook feed into oblivion

Is Black Mirror trying to scare or to scar?

So I have finally gone through the entire available third season of Black Mirror. It’s been a sad journey. No, strike that, the damn thing got me downright depressed.

I mean it. Sad. Not bad. High quality show, nothing to say here. It’s just that, damn, after the never ending list of happy endings we get the never ending abyss of depressing wrap-ups.

I get it. They mean to prevent, or to instil, a certain circumspect attitude towards the all too touted miracles of technology. But instead they make the audience feel as if the “mere” human is completely helpless.

In Black Mirror there is never any real choice for the characters of the show, and that cancels any kind of moral message they might attempt on the audience.

The soldier, lied to. The game tester, lied to. The pics kid, lied to. The twitter horde, lied to. The social addict, lied to. Probably San Junipero is the most fair episode towards the audience, but even in that one, the character is being lied to by itself, as all lovers end up being.

Indeed, the show makes a point of the lying by being very forward about it. Laconic documents signed, ignorant decisions, rushed life changes, you name it, it is all about pointing to an obvious deceit, yes, as if technology is a lubricant for our impossible wishes.

And boy, is that a good intent, a worthy aspiration, to tame the haste of letting bits and wires invade our pores. Yet, to whom is the show speaking?

Don’t we know? We, the ones who like and praise the show so much, we already know. We know all that. The entertainment that ensues from the confirmation of our expectation only gapes our defences for the long and terrible list of depressing endings. And this is where the show is weird and tiresome.

We’ve all got fed up with happy endings, I get it. But, folks, the antidote to happy endings are realistic conclusions, not depressive wrap-ups. Will we learn by being scarred? Does anyone? Won’t this whole initial idea of warning on the dangers of technology, be just lost on the audience being to busy finding some dopamine generator for their cortisol and serotonin flooded brains?

I mean, I want to scroll that Facebook feed into oblivion after a Black Mirror shot. Who is Black Mirror trying to scare? The mind out of us? Do script writers that take on the cape of social workers ever think it is actually possible to simply swap one manipulation with another?

In season three there is no single episode without a wrap-up. A wrap-up is not an epilogue, nor a conclusion, or a satisfactory falling into meaning of the plot. No, as the name says, it is simply wrapping up the show with the gloom and doom of helplessness and fatalism. It is the final acetylcholine forced sip to completely counter any trace of adrenaline that would make anyone even glimmer at the idea that there is actually a way out.

People zone out because life itself has become utterly boring. The population with internet access would do just about anything to build a separate escape world where their escapism can take them, and they have good reason to do it: the world makes very little sense these days. We sink into our fantasy alternate universes to shed some of the information overload, some of the constant sexual arousal, some of this insane montagne russe of expectations fed into our personalities by boundless media and connectivity.

How does a depressing, categorical and ivory tower shielded show ever gonna help us? I personally fear that most of the people at risk of being technologically disenfranchised, like the soldier with the implant, will neither watch, nor grasp the show.

I am also a bit mad.

It’s like, really they have all the answers, don’t they? Ah, these commoners, how gullible and foolish they are, tweeting bad hashtags, accepting stuff pinned into their cortex, wishing social acceptance so fiercely. But wait! That commoner is me!

My titanium clipping left behind by my long removed sick gallbladder is your sinister device of tomorrow infesting my existence. Do you think the technological doom of humanity will come through bee replacements and army visors? I believe it will insidiously appear one transistor at a time, one RFID antenna at a time, at all times luring our most humane intimacy: the doom of our incoming very personal and individual death.

And to that threat, the soul decomposing depression and the helplessness it brings, is a poor punch. We won’t even see the end of round one.

Social media hurts

Is Medium a social media platform? I guess. I mean, sure we’re not called friends but hey, we spill our guts here and there are faceless but kind folk to spill back their guts, and we encourage each other and we hate each other, we sometimes call out on one another, we shoot praise and frowns with our busy keyboards and so many other things, which friends do. We then get back to better feelings and so on and so forth, not friends, followers and followers of followers who maybe recommend and comment but don’t follow, never mind, I still call some friendship here after all is said and done.

But then the blocking part. This is where Medium is different. You see, other social platforms don’t make it painful nor obvious that you are scapegoated or thrown out with the rest of the garbage or simply discarded as not interesting anymore. Yet on Medium you are hit in the belly by:

The attack of orphan posts

All these nice discussions all these clever replies all the passion poured in words and all the rage and sentiment all the color of the human expression disconnected, and the Persian fabric of emotional connection pulled by a thread and dismantled with the click of a simple looking button.

And you, the one that has been blocked, you see it. You see your punishment shouted back at you. You are shunned, not only by the person that blocked you but from threads of discussion, from following certain people because of simply not discovering them, from ever getting the chance to, you know, defend yourself.

I swear to god if in the 20 years of daily Internet use, from ancient forums and email lists, to today’s intricate machine learning guided networks, have I ever seen such a steep rise in online shunning in communities.

I get it. Trolls hurt. Their actions hurt. Their words hurt. We all hate trolls. I hate trolls even when I am trolling. But what makes a troll worth of a block?

Aren’t we all trolling at some point? Are we starting to troll by the means of the block?

Anyway, excuse my rant. Maybe I am butt hurt for no reason. It is just that blocking on medium is so nonsensical. I mean … blocking discussion, crippling communication, OK I get it, but removing all kinds of connections and links between articles like a real life attempt at enacting the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is just crazy, and it inspires many fears in me.

It makes sense on Facebook, where content is secondary, where there is a like and heart currency that many times is counted in real life, but here where it is all about a white background on which I strip my mind for all to see, hoping for some bucks and a good show, it is painful to be shunned. It is like, instead of keeping your five bucks for the next show you feel the urge and act on the impulse to shout: you’re ugly, get off the stage. Why would you do that? Did anyone force you in the strip club of the mind?

It might be simply a technical fix or something, but the way things currently work one surely needs a rugged heart in Internet exposure land, and my fear is that the cynics and emotionally disconnected will eventually prevail.

So Holly Wood banned me. Does interactivity have such a high cost in 2016?

When you get banned by the people you agree with you start thinking about your faith in humanity …

I am reading her articles for as long as I am on Medium. There was a time when I was checking Medium, despite my anger on listicles, before users could be blocked, before the feed could be tweaked, exclusively checking my feed to see if @girlziplocked wrote anything new. I think, that is what one does when one likes some music, written think pieces, videos on Youtube or whatever: you follow up and check it out for new stuff. Right? Am I bad at Internet?

But then I took the invitation of Medium and started answering to people. I did my best to answer with things that make sense as standalone articles, enjoying the bumps in my stats that answers to popular stories brought in. There were some answers I really, really cared about, such as this one:

or this one:

or this one:

These are some things that inspired me to reply. I know, if you look I rarely reply with “yes”, “kudos”, “amazing stuff”, “THIS”, “great stuff”. It hurts me to hit publish to such things. I do sometimes, when I find I can develop an idea from a positive thing I reply with congratulations, like this:

So, then following up on @girlziplocked for so long, I found myself wanting to write back. Yes, despite my admiration, no kudos were sent. It must have been this? I had some articles as replies to her:

and this:

Then, today, trying to respond to Conor Kosidowski I noticed my original reply was an orphan. And I thought, well that must be a bug. Then I feared, for one minute, that something happened to Holly Wood. Something of the horrible sorts that swiped out Kel Campbell a while ago. And again, I was too late to understand what happened. No! I felt sorry. I searched for Holly Wood and I found this: Holly Wood. Where is the other account? What happened?

I rushed to twitter, to ask a question and behold:

… thank you kind Twitter software, I don’t want to follow those people. I want to understand, its my bug.

I just don’t get it … I know I am a rushed up type, maybe I should wait out to understand, but then again, patience still isn’t my thing.

I am an amateur writer who jumps for joy when Todd Hannula 🤓 or Tim Barrus or Leah Stella Stephens 🐀 highlighted or twitted something I wrote. Maybe I bored Holly to death. … OK, sorry for the ironic victimization, I couldn’t help it, I am anything but modest, but I do jump for joy. I jump for joy for any of you people who out of the blue stumbled upon my thoughts, as tinkered with as they are, and decided to follow or to recommend, or, the best part, to talk to me. Do I sound like an obnoxious person who stalks people and should be blocked?

The only thing I really, really hope for is that this ban/block is not a form of shielding, a way to turn off any sound that distracts from a “message”, from a staged play with people’s ideas and minds. This would be a disaster, to find that one I watched as a leader in clarity for so long turns out to only care for effectiveness and efficiency, not for debate and truth. Oh, that, that would be terribly sad.

I still hope it’s a bug on Medium.

The power of platforms is the control of discovery

Look at this elizabeth tobey, have the patience please, it’s worth it:

What kind of relevance algorithm requires adding the username of the author, if one searches for the exact title words?

Discovery is the weapon platforms have against independent publishers.

And that is why all platforms, Medium, @Facebook, @Twitter, @instagram etc., all migrate towards non organic results, filtered lists that help

platforms show what they want to show.

It is important to note, want to show, not “have to”, “need to” or “is best for the user”, not even what a “machine” decides to show. Machines cannot decide otherwise than what they are programmed to “decide”. There is a lot of manual tweaking to seemingly automated decisions, and I believe a lot of consumers do not know this fact. It is a danger that a lot of small publishers will have their voices unheard simply because some “important” factor disqualifies them from being found.

What if I was searching for some “obscure” specific fact checking say, “level of emissions on Volkswagen”, would it be normal to find think pieces about “global warming” instead of an article titled “Level of emissions on XYZ Volkswagen models” ? I hardly think so.

What if Google decides to switch to the ways of Facebook, medium or twitter and instead of enabling access to information, start to suddenly broker it? What will the Internet be used for then?

This is not good.

Know thyself, the envy way

If personal laissez faire and Facebook don’t reveal much about who you are: monitor your envy.

You are those who you envy. You are the things you envy others for.

Everything you envy is something that describes you. And everything you envy is at arms length, its just your actions separating you from those things, the Holly Grails others have.

There’s an action for everything you could ever desire. Envy her boobs, there’s an action for that. Envy his car, there’s an action for that.

Know thyself the Facebook way

Here is a cool exercise for you. Go on Facebook. Find all kinds of pages and people and follow and like them. Then spend one hour a day interacting with your feed. The resulting feed will reflect yourself more than you know 🙂

Find 10 people that like whatever you hate.

Find 10 pages about whatever you find hugely outrageous.

Find 10 people or pages who post chain stories such as money for likes, fake charity posts and the kind.

Find 10 snake oil pages and like them. Doesn’t matter how skeptic you are do it.

Find 10 pages or people who post about aliens ruling the planet, reptiles impersonating Obama, etc, you know it when you’ll see it. Doesn’t matter you know its hoax.

Find 10 pages or people who post about faith. Try to find the ones who don’t post about snake oil and who don’t post about spiritual shamanism or miracle healing, but those how post about God, Buddha, Allah, Catholic faith, Orthodox faith, Jewish faith whatever. No matter how atheistic you are, do that.

Search for top notch scientific figures and places and follow them. Search for Neil DeGrasse, search for pages of NASA and CERN. See what Facebook suggests follow that, no more than 10 overall.

Find 10 major skeptics/atheists and follow them or like their pages. Start with Richard Dawkins Facebook will suggest the rest of the roster.

Follow or like contemporary musicians from mainstream music, about 10 of them. Follow or like 10 pages or people who post about classical music.

Look for people or pages posting about art. Look for Art, Ctrl, Del, for example then follow suggestions.

Please follow and like cats. There are so many cat resources. And dogs. And pandas. If you find animals with their own accounts, follow them.

Ok, you get the drill. On Facebook you can dive into whatever weirdness or outrageous thing you can think of. You can do it by simply clicking a button.

You can direct towards yourself the most diverse kind of information in the history of mankind. Do that.

Than browse around and see you feed evolve. Wait some months out and you’ll see that no matter how hard you cheat that it will end up showing less of some things and more of some other things. The more you use it and the more interactive you are the faster it will adapt.

There is no faster way to get and know thyself. Sure there is always travel and friends and adventure and love. But Facebook is free, simple, easy and always around. And it has the best, state of the art, people analyzing machines ever built. I don’t think even the NSA have such good profiling. Think about it, do you think spies and terrorists give away how they fancy nice dancing koalas, naaah.

We think that our Facebook profiles represent us. But no, it is the feed that tells the most about us. All those neural nets shouting: right back atcha!

Know thyself the easy way

Wait out your bad days, bad months and bad years. Don’t think deeper than the random thoughts of everyday. Imagine you’re all good. Not good, perfect.

By the time one has a middle age crisis, you’ll be a solid human being with no doubts whatsoever, full of certainty, predictable and serene.

You shall know thyself the easy way: the shell molded by all the things you never thought about, guarding your soul from your own prying eyes.

You have reached the maximum level of privacy settings available on planet Earth: knowing thyself without a clue about who you are. One caveat: you might want to consider that knowing the universe might be interesting though …