That Thing in the Desert is No Longer Home
A scene was described to me about a man in a hospital bed. His inner circle had gathered around him all vying acolytes jockeying for the last moments. She told me in a faraway voice about how she was going to wear essential oils because maybe then her presence would bring some calm. There was the talk of playing old movies to revive the sleeping consciousness within. My imagination fills the room with colorful circus performers weeping masks of persona onto the floor. There had been many years of horseshoe-shaped by-gone days in which everyone in the room had found themselves — curated weirdness and ostentation. Khaki and a white cowboy hat icons of contrast. Is this counterpoint in the flesh?
Nothing says white privilege like the idea you are remaking culture in your image. From bayside Ivory Towers, a set of ten commandments renamed principles, which are less burning bush and more golden calf. Such rules are used as a guide for people to bring out shadow selves in the name of expression and inflict them on others under the guise of community. If you dare to speak up against the abuses, such behavior begets, than you are cast out for not being inclusive. The kind of logic that makes gas-lighters proud, but I suppose that comes from lighting so many fires. If you wanted to convince me that you wore the white hat; then you would have followed Law in giving the people use of your icons without the kissing of rings.
The rich lily white masses will gather for his wake appropriately themed — futurism, borrowed of course from someone else. I robot. Do you think royalties were paid?
Larry lays out the case that the compromise necessary to make the post-work world a reality is that we as humans “are lowering our standards of comparison. Such compromises make us dumber and lazier — putting our trust in algorithms without questioning their assumptions.”
He quotes Paul Krugman “Smart machines may make higher GDP possible, but they will also reduce the demand for people — including smart people. So we could be looking at a society that grows ever richer, but in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots.”
Maybe when you are confident that the wealthy technocrats, who have gathered to your ephemeral city will own the robots, you believe you are pioneering a utopia. What does that mean for the rest of us? This willingness to degrade humanity by taking in the opium of multi-sensory excess seems like a tradeoff that only benefits the elite. Encouraging people to play and dream as the only measure of connection in a post-work world is the equivalent of chaining people into comfortable caves and entertaining them with shadows.
Soma sounds innately familiar in this context. Burn all of humanity down but give them pleasant drugs to keep them docile. Question the assumption of this “Pioneering work!”
I never got my permission to be myself from that thing in the desert; I had it long before. I would instead stand in the sunshine a free man, book in hand, than malingering in the community seeking a world of degradation of the very things that make us human: prose, poetry, song and principally choice.