I was born in the wrong time
I was born in the wrong time. We live in an age that assumes there was never anything other then this, and if there was it must have been inferior because humanity has only progressed through the millennia, and every loss along the way has been worth it. I just got back from a weeklong trip to Athens. When we arrived in Piraeus our host showed us where the closest grocery store and pharmacy were, he gave us an hour to rest then drove us into the central city, he talked us through 6 levels of Athenian history from the Neolithic to Classical, Roman, Byzantine, 19th century, and now. He picked up an herbal cough syrup for my girlfriend and gave us tea from the mountains of Delphi. So much for the vogue idea promulgated by The Huffington Post and Bloomberg that the “the good old days” are a myth.
It starts with materials. Most recently guitars, cars, gasoline motors, and refrigerators. Even farther back candy, cloths, houses, beds, pianos, toys, cameras, and roads. Things were just made better back then, they had to be because plastic, cement, Styrofoam, and other plagues on society weren’t around. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve destroyed the food, Monsanto has devised ways to make genetically enhanced corn, soybeans, and fish which weaken and poison our bodies. When the materials of life are compromised the quality of human interaction and creative endeavors of humanity will be soon to follow.
There is no place in this world for intuitives. How could there be? When according to Aristotle logic is the only instrument by which we can come to know anything, and the writings of Aristotle are the foundation on which all Western thought is built. We have gotten to a place where there is no legitimate profession for intuitive individuals. Just ask any musician, where do I find a musician you ask? Try a tech company, you’ll find them in the sales department.
Logic versus intuition — According to Monica Anderson of Artificial Intuition, one need only plunge into any textbook on Physics or Mechanics and they will encounter this phrase, “All else being constant…” Therein lies the rub, for when has any of us encountered a life problem wherein all but a handful of factors will remain constant for more then two seconds? To that end Anderson has coined the term “Bizarre Systems” for those problems in Biology, physics, or mechanics that resist analysis. Intuition on the other hand has crafted its own downfall by being imperceptible to us. Intuition is simply put the mechanism human beings have evolved to grapple with these complexities, which makes it by far the more cosmic and relevant power in a constantly shifting universe. When we solve problems by intuition we aren’t aware we are doing it. This is why it is so frightening to imagine we are building Artificial Intelligence technology to operate on the principals of logic. We glorify logic in our culture to the point that we have literally mapped out our future based on relatively simple problems, in other words we have totally missed the point.
Resisting analysis is the nature of God. Allan Watts said as soon as something becomes permanent it becomes dead. Well what is God, and by extension all of reality, if not life itself? Life is impermanence, the constant will to become something else, the constant shifting of constants. Does any of us want to believe in a God that could be shackled by something so humanly pathetic as logic? We’d have to be drunk on our own genius and wholly infatuated with ourselves to believe that.
Quality versus quantity — I’m sitting in a carved wooden chair at the end of a long table. In the distant kitchen I hear my mother and a servant chopping vegetables, measuring flour into ceramic bowls, and conjuring sauces from cosmic dust, fiery intellect, and steam. I recline backward and allow me ears to perceive more deeply. Outside I hear the world wrapping up its day; butchers and clothiers are boxing up merchandise and checking inventories with pen and paper, couples are rushing off to the theater arm in arm by horse and carriage or on foot. On the corner to the east a violin rings out across the cobbles, playfully reinterpreting Mozart. Everything I eat tonight was handpicked from the shop of a trader whose family has plied bread, or cured meats, or edible mushrooms for centuries. After dinner we will curl up in front of a roaring fire with brandy and hear piano magic and talk of politics, or theater, or of those we love.
The things we choose to discuss define us as a culture. In 21st century America — in the San Francisco Bay Area we choose to discuss the things that make us money. If a man has built a successful business, invented a flashy line of computer code, or reinvested money in a way that made it grow, we call him successful. All value is gauged in its most vulgar terms, I have money and hence I have value, I made money and so I am successful. It wasn’t always this way, there was a time when the person who knew the most languages, travelled to the most places, written the finest novel, or the most beautiful string quartet was considered truly rich. There was a time when being rich meant living a rich life, when success meant tasting everything under the sun and drinking existence down to the dregs.
The year Europe turned — We all remember a moment in our childhood when we saw something we knew we’d never be able to forget. A classroom full of children laugh at your sandals, a parent cuffs you on the back of the head and tells you you’re dumb, a girl tells you she will never love you. There is a long childhood when all of our hopes are already manifested, we live in a world where dragons fly across our skies and we alone have the might to defeat them. And then there is a day when all of our rich fields of imagination are reduced to the iron gears of human folly. Europe had a long and rich childhood — I believe that childhood officially ended once and for all on June 14th 1940 when the Germans entered Paris and replaced the sacred and simple ideal of peace with that of power, function, and wealth.
I’d give it all back for a chance to live again. Our mental bandwidth is cluttered with various simulations on life, and I don’t just mean the television. We inherited a world where a person will work an entire life for an entertainment center, an Italian villa, or a Princess cruise. In a world that despite all of our best efforts is still a land of plenty, we squabble for a few hundred square feet in downtown Brooklyn or San Francisco. Its time to steal back our inheritance, let’s live like humans again.