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Monday, January 15, 2018

Is Resistance Futile or Futility Resistant?

Let's begin with two opposing operations of the internet, a collective used for human relations. On one side we have the free exchange of information. On the other we have fragmentation, reorientation and conversion. I invite you to spend the next two minutes watching this clip of Star Trek The Next Generation --a tv series broadcast from 1987 through 1994. It prefigures our dependence upon digital interconnection for the advancement of  the human adventure but also the threat of being brainwashed into an inhuman (and inhumane) collective.  
(Star Trek NG Picard kidnapped by Borg)


An apposite quote;  Cicero (106-43 B.C.): "We are obliged to respect, defend and maintain the common bonds of union that exist among all members of the human race." Does this mean we should oppose sociopathic despots rattling sabres? Yes, I suppose so. Does it mean we should persecute people accused of legal offense without witness or evidence? You tell me. Laws are always under revision. What is constitutionally or legally actionable? When I think about it, it feels like the first digit of my I.Q. has fallen off --and I have been on juries!

When I think back to all the consensual energetic 1960s activities people were swept up in , I can assure you, the best-known names weren't the only ones making decisions that day or this day --one distributes culpability. Likewise, I have need of the internet because it's just too hard to maintain this high level of political stupidity on my own,  but I refuse to join a collective because they presume to be less exact than I am. 

 

26 comments:

  1. I was fascinated by The Borg in the day. The idea of everyone being connected through thought seemed wonderful at the time. Looking at the idea now I can see us being overwhelmed by the flood of information from everyone all at once....wait....isn't that what 24hour news stations are doing to us right now? Maybe we ARE The Borg. And yes, it IS overwhelming. Time to tune out?

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    1. Delores, there have lately been similar concerns about social media from various participants in its creation. Sean Parker, Roger McNamee and Justin Rosenstein come to mind.

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  2. You definitely hit a bullseye when you said "being brainwashed into an inhuman (and inhumane) collective."
    Methinks it's already happened. Thanks to the news media...

    Rayguns! I'd like to have an arsenal of rayguns!

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    1. Oh gosh, Jon, you reminded me of a goofy radio skit series that some d.j.'s put together back when Reagan was Governor of this state --I think it was called "The Spaced-out Adventures of Ronald Raygun!" Reagan took it good-naturedly. You could do worse than have an arsenal of good-natured governors.

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  3. I had a long comment to your post, Geo, but deleted it because it depressed me. Bottom line is we are living in very fast and bizarre times and I don’t know what to make of it. We seem to be spinning and spinning and there is no control on where we will land. Beam me up Scottie, I need some R & R.

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    1. Dear Arleen, I feel the spin too. We all do. How about we all hold hands and make a game of it? Won't make it go away but at least we'll all be holding hands.

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  4. I didn't watch enough Star Trek in those days. I'm thinking that was very short-sighted of me.

    I expect probably your IQ is fine, but the problem with digit dropping that you described might be the cause of some of what's going around.

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    1. O_Jenny, the Borg appeared in season 2, episode 16 of the the series in 1989. Writing credits go to Maurice Hurley, but I can't imagine D.C.Fontana reserving her influence on that one. Episode title was "Q-Who?", as I recall, and may account for my missing IQ digit --I cant always distinguish a "I" from a "1" in a hurry. Hope it's not "going around".

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  5. I didn't watch this clip again; I remember it all too well. As Gollum might have said in "Lord of the Rings," "Borgsies is nasssty creatures." Of course, much later when Data's nasssty brother reappears, some of the Borg [led by 'who?' ... Hugh] gain a measure of developing independence from the Collective.

    So perhaps there is hope for the thumb-twirling human species. Mind you, I'll not hold my breath.

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    1. Tom, while we are still capable of creating cautionary monsters, like Tolkien's Gollum (and the Golem of Prague), there is still hope for human imagination as a guiding force.

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  6. As a huge fan of Star Trek, I have always wondered just how fictional it actually was.
    Now I know! So many of the scenarios in that fabulous series appeared outlandish at the time...but now? So many of those things have become a part of normal life.

    And I really like the idea of us all holding hands while the world spins out of control...at least that way we'll hang onto some kind of security amid all the uncertainty of modern life!

    A brilliant and thought provoking post, Geo...thank you so much. ☺☺

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    1. Thank YOU, dear Ygraine. The Borg were imagined to warn us of what could happen if obsession overcame morality. Not sure if the writers predicted the hive-mentality on our horizon but they came awfully close. I'm still amazed that the original Star Trek prefigured "flip-phone" communicators.

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  7. Geo-a brilliant post here. I've been wrestling with ideas you launched. I remember that episode and I think now it is an analogy for the concept of technological singularity.
    I'm one of those who believe it is important to define the nature of being a human being. What defines us becomes important as we expand our use of medical technology and our reliance on synthetic intelligence and computer logic. What is important to maintain as regards principles and codes of living?
    Now we are indeed digitally connected and reliant. Children learn and function in ways that are profoundly different from our old pedagogical style. There are implications. Geo, you have given this near year a pensive and explorative beginning.

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    1. Tom, you're quite right in observing old pedagogical teaching and learning are affected negatively, positively and strangely by a forceful interconnectedness that approaches the hive mind. However there is an opposite, and I hope, at least equal moral andragogy --the teaching of adults-- that keeps us balanced and in pursuit of liberty. The internet is a tool --not to be confused with a posture toward existence, or with a way for a president to communicate effectively with his country.

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  8. The Borg concept was a terrifying one to me, but I had no idea it was semi-prophetic. The notion of losing one's "self" and one's ability to engage in free thought strikes me as horrific, but now, people seem to be entering that hive mentality voluntarily! With great gusto, they yell, "Me, too!" and dive headfirst into the ever-growing illogical mass.

    Even though we may sometimes doubt our sanity or relevance for thinking outside of that Fox-fueled mass, our strength is growing. Nothing motivate the inactive to action than being underestimated and dismissed. The Borg may think we're snowflakes capable of nothing more than holding hands and singing "Kumbayba," our unity will prevail. (In the meantime, I'm all for holding hands and singing.)

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    1. Dear Susan, your comment reaches me as I finally ferret out a book I bought 50 years ago: "Toward The Year 2018"; pub. Cowles Education Corp., Look Bldg, 488 Madison Ave. NY. I've been reading chapter 8 this evening --"Computer Technology" by Chas. DeCarlo-- and he's pretty close to what transpired in futurity, except for the hacking and malware stuff we have going on now. If you run across this old book of essays, it's probably lost its buff-colored jacket like mine did and has a red hardback cover. There are essays on everything from weaponry, space, transportation etc. to economics and oceanography. Sometimes It's good to get down to the basics of our thoughts, down where our strength began, to help guide and sustain us in these strange times.

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    2. Thanks. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

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  9. Hey Geo, just wanted to drop by and say a quick hello. I have never been part of any sort of collective agenda (weak minds at best).

    And the greatest artists and poets (Van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Janis Joplin, etc,) always made it VERY clear they did not want to be a part of society.

    Hell, if it's good enough for them,

    Dylan

    P.S. Sorry I have been so scarce, but this is a rather strange time for me...

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    1. Dear Dylan, when it gets too much for me, I disable anonymous comments and enable comment moderation. So far those wards have held. We're in this together, freethinkers and drones alike (been both). Sometimes I invent errands just to be around lots of people --return smiles, open doors for people, say thanks to the kid who bags my groceries. Even Emily Dickinson used to lower baked goodies, in a roped basket, to children from her window. You get the idea --we're a collective following its billions of hearts toward free will.

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    2. Geo, have you seen the recent movie about Emily Dickinson (A Quiet Passion)? It would seem the popular myth about Dickinson is largely a falsehood.

      She refused to marry or attend church, and often debated poetry and politics with men. This is why she was considered so odd in her quite "normal" town.

      She had friends. She loved children. She did spend much time in her father's garden. So I wonder why she would have been reduced to giving children baked goodies in a basket lowered from her window? This seems out of character for someone with such a strong spirit.

      Anyway, myths are always more interesting than real life. In fact, a very well researched book I read about Van Gogh a few years ago stated that he did not actually cut off his ear or take his own life. But most people prefer the myth.

      I think great spirits are often treated rather badly by their peers. Janis Joplin was voted the ugliest man on campus! I think she was quite talented and beautiful. Just my two cents...

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    3. Dylan, I'm pretty sure the rope and cookie anecdote came from Louis Untermeyer's "Lives of The Poets" --which I haven't unshelved in 20 years. I rely perhaps overmuch on my memory, but will check it out tomorrow when it isn't getting on to 2 a.m. --as it is now. P.S. I share your opinion of Janis Joplin --she sang from the heart.

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    4. Nevermind (as Nirvana once sang). Looked up the info on the internet, and several sources claim Emily often did what you stated she did.

      As a notorious recluse myself, perhaps I should attempt the same stunt? Except I cannot bake worth a damn, plus I live downtown :-)

      P.S. There's never gonna be another Janis...

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    5. Ah Dylan, I can't describe my enjoyment of Dickinson's pixelated sense of fun any better now than in April (4th) of last year. Please see:
      http://trainrideoftheenigmas.blogspot.com/2017/04/miss-dickinsen-and-paper-chase.html#comment-form

      ...highlight, paste and do listen to "Paper Chase".

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  10. After watching women march in D.C. and reading their posters, etc., I wonder about the collective mentality there.

    This episode was a favorite, seeing Jean Luc being absorbed and then later struggling to recover his identity and humanity.

    Jeri Ryan made borg world enticing.

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    1. Susan, too often the wealth of enthusiasm attending collective causes make me think of Bertrand Russell's comment, "All movements go too far." It not a derogatory remark --he was involved in more sociopolitical movements than most-- but as a description of the initial energy compared to to the purposefulness and equity that emerges as reason obtains. And yes, Jeri Ryan is my favorite Borg too.

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