The fire has escaped the engine room, and it is burning through the institutions of our civilization.

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In a story like the Game of Thrones, itself influenced by the reality of feudal politics in Medieval Europe, we are taught that the good are not always victorious, the vanquished are not always the least honourable, and that values like ‘goodness’ and ‘honour’ are mostly irrelevant to how events play out and the world is shaped.

What seems to rule instead is the raw fact of power, heavily loaded with chance.

Played out again and again, this course of events ultimately tends toward chaos, empty of meaning — at least when judged through any prism of justice or righteousness. There is no all-powerful God looking down to put things right. The only value is that of power itself — power is the ruler — only through the lens of power does anything make sense. …


Reading Lorca, and then reading about Lorca in Spanish Wikipedia, I think about the how the quiet poet becomes a rebel, not through any change in themselves, but through their being an unchanging self while society around them changes.

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(photo courtesy KlimBim)

One thing I like about the Spanish Wikipedia apart from the intimacy of detail about his life, and a deeper cultural awareness, is the love for Lorca which seeps out, even through the translating engine. There is also a nice list of symbols which occur in Lorca’s poetry, which is absent from English Wikipedia. …


When I was younger I spent long periods of time in solitude meditating. Over the years my practice has changed, and I have explored different techniques from different traditions while travelling in Europe and elsewhere. Here I write about some of my experiences, and how I meditate now.

My first steps with Buddhist and Advaita techniques

My first instruction in meditation came from a Tibetan Buddhist book How to Meditate by Kathleen McDonald, which I bought in Kathmandu when I was 16. This book gives a good introduction with the basics of posture, and the technique of following the breath. It also goes into more detailed meditations that relate to Buddhist philosophy and deities, which I think probably overcomplicate things for most readers. …


The reorganisation of humanity as imagined in my post on world government requires an adjustment which might need to be revolutionary. If during the transition, the world descends into chaos, it will be important to have some touchstones, some values that can guide us and keep us on track.

For many people, this comes in the form of religion. But religions as they exist today seem to do more to divide us than to bring us together.

If we are to venerate something in the future, it must be something universal, that transcends any particular time or place. …


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My reasons for releasing all my poetry into the public domain, without retaining any copyright, have been posted on my website for a while. I’ve always thought that society would need to change if creative people are to make a living with or without the protection of copyright, and so I’ve been watching the emergence of the idea of a living wage, where the government provides a basic unconditional monthly income, with a lot of interest. Although it was voted down this time, I am really surprised at how quickly it seems to have become a viable idea.

To recap on the basic premise: Copyright is an invented right. Creative people have lived and worked without the faux protection of copyright for a long time. And in fact, most of the time the ‘protection’ of copyright is used either to remove a right which a creative person has — such as when their song rights are sold on to another artist — or to strangle the creativity of others, who fear breaching copyright on similar work — even though copying others’ work is as old and integral as creativity itself. The one benefit which copyright promises to creatives, that of a decent stream of income, is now withering away, as the dispersal of created material cannot be controlled by the internet, and what money is clawed back is kept by those who have the legal power — large publishers and corporations like Disney — not artists themselves. …


When we (inevitably) discover intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy, I predict that they will have teapots. My line of reasoning is that just as the evolution of body plans stumbles across useful things like mouths and body armour, so too the evolution of tools inevitably stumbles across useful forms like teapots. This can be extended into the world of ideas, with interesting consequences for first-contact with other intelligences.

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At least some of the life in this galaxy must resemble our own here on Earth. It must have evolved from something like the archaea that exist in hostile proto-Earth conditions — themselves perhaps born from some kind of panspermia that permeates the stars. Evolution naturally takes life towards more complex forms, where conditions permit, and these are able to manipulate a planetary environment. Evolution inevitably creates creatures which have mouths to eat each other, armour to protect themselves, things like legs to move, hands or claws to grasp, ears to detect vibration in the atmosphere, eyes to see into the electromagnetic spectrum, voices or lights to communicate. They will also modify their environment to extend these functions — burrows and nests for protection, symbiosis with plants, cleared paths to walk on, and eventually develop tools to capture food, and systems of behavior that coordinate activities for mutual benefit. Eventually as coordination increases, languages will evolve to communicate complex information, writing will evolve to store it, and civilizations will be constructed. …


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Imagine going about your daily life and never being sure if the people you meet around you are real humans. Some of them, no one knows quite how many, are AI powered robots that churn out the propaganda of their creators. They seem real at first but when they are engaged, it is clear that their brains simply churn out viral memes. The television shows huge crowds of people cheering the president, but one day you come across one of these crowds and you realize they are all zombies, not one of them is real, or if some of them are real you can’t tell. What these zombies embody is the transformation of money into opinion, and their mission is to change society to suit their masters. They are programmed to love their masters with cult-like devotion, and their weapon against their enemies is channeled hate and rage. …


A meritocracy is a kind of evolution, an evolution of individuals in a society. Like biological evolution, its business is to reward the survivors, and winnow out the weak. It is a hard game but the rules are those used by Nature herself.

For all its advantages over less fair systems of resource allocation, like systems based on dynastic rule, one disadvantage of a meritocracy is that it gives license to those who do succeed, to pat themselves on the back for their cunning and hard work (forgetting the role of luck). …


The singularity seems to be here. It just whooshed past, and we are in a new reality. OK?

Of course, the first thing you’ll notice is that we’re all still alive. The world still seems to be here. It wasn’t the end of the universe that some of us expected.

But something did end there, a few weeks ago. It was the world that we all knew and loved. Today we awake in a new and different world, and we, those who awake, are different too.

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The Singularity was the culmination of the trend of advanced technology that accelerated us into an interconnectedness that has made us and the world fundamentally different. We are not separate like we once were. …


As scary as the ‘new normal’ of a Trump Presidency is, I think it is wise for the resistance to remember that election result wasn’t the inevitable result of a changing world, but rather it reflects a chance coming together of several factors.

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First — and it is easy to diminish this, but the result reflects a genuine protest vote and organic movement for change, however manipulated these sentiments may be. …

About

Alaric Jones

i just like tying words up i suppose there is a term for that.. #poet

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