The Meaning of Gaming – the Exploding Plastic Inevitable

August 10, 2013

The exploding plastic inevitable is the thematic title of a series of events organized by Andy Warhol in 1966 and 1967, several years after the first video game was created.
Besides being one of the leading philosophers of his time, Warhol was a cynical manipulator who strategically controlled the people around him as a strategy gamer controls his units. He named his base of operations “The Factory”.

The most famous pupil of Warhol is David Bowie, whose plastic philosophy defines his perpetually shifting musical career and persona.

As Bowie shifted phases from one cultural element to the next, game developers were presenting gamers with one after another alternate reality to explore, each with its own rule set and cultural meaning with a purpose promoted by Timothy Leary by way of Marshall McLuhan: “Turn on, tune in, drop out”.

Game developers, regularly calling themselves “wizards”, realized the utter malleability and control they had over this reprogrammable artistic medium, and the special historical time period in which their new medium was emerging – one of despair and apocalypse. Early games were largely about “fun”, distracting people from the reality of the world, in line with the pot-head ideal of “be cool, man”. Another design philosophy was that of saving the world, lead by Richard Garriott with his attempt to improve human morality by establishing it within the game world.

Andy Warhol turned out to be precisely correct, as the first and maybe only plastic artistic medium has in fact exploded. Humans, despairing and dreaming of the apocalypse, have put their faith into this merger of technology and art, this synthetic construct of magical wizards creating dragons for the terrified humans of the world to slay.

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Revolution and Games

August 8, 2013

One major flaw in many peoples’ thought is that they don’t recognize that a chain around the neck of a slave is also tied to the master. The master is chained as well. The master is enslaved. Masters are usually viewed as evil, but this “evil” is merely a form of terrible misery, the misery of someone who feels helpless while he degrades his own soul.

The basic result of slavery is degradation of the body and mind of the slave and degradation of the soul of the master. This is why masters, such as 1st world people, worship their bodies. It’s in order to distract themselves from the terror of their own souls.

The democratic movements such as Occupy Wall Street don’t just help the 99%, they help everyone. Breaking the chains of bondage frees both the masters and the slaves from the system of domination that enslaves us all.

There’s a tendency to demonize the masters, for corrupt 1st world servants aware of their own corruption to focus their hate on the “1%”, but they are as helpless as the rest of us to change the system. More so in fact, since souls are more powerful than bodies and they merely have the latter in working order.

The ideology of video games is pernicious and suits the interests of the masters – it’s usually a single mega-powered individual doing something ridiculously awesome – the message is that we should seek to become super-powered individualists ala Ayn Randian philosophy. This leads many people toward MMOGs and raiding, where although mega-powered at least one can get 24 other people together to kill a big boss. Note that MMOGs have become more corrupt over time, with raid sizes dropping and the “glory of epic loot” raising in importance.

Although the vast majority of successful revolutionary activity in history is non-violent, 80% of mainstream video games feature killing as the primary form of gameplay. It’s fair to say that the ideology of video games is not revolutionary in nature, given that they have more in common with George Zimmermann (within the game he was playing, Trayvon Martin was a monster, so perhaps Zimmermann dinged to Level 2 with the kill) than with Gandhi. Slight aberrations are sometimes interesting, such as Richard Garriott’s methodology of teaching morality within a framework of individualized monster-slaying.

The method of achieving revolution within a video game is to not act in the manner proscribed by the masters (the game developer and publisher) but to “steal the game”, to corrupt the game and re-shape it to benefit the slaves. So for example, the most revolutionary forces within World of Warcraft were the Chinese gold farmers, who profited from the game at Blizzard’s expense until Blizzard adjusted with their “authenticator”, selling protection from thieves who would otherwise steal from players within their own game. Take careful note of the vast anger of relatively wealthy Western World of Warcraft players against the gold farmers, who were largely poor and merely trying to slightly raise their material well being.

Note that these World of Warcraft revolutionaries were non-violent, while the “violent” PvP masters and high-end PvE slay-masters accomplished nothing at all revolutionary, since they were happy slaves to the system that Blizzard established, feeding at the trough of epic loot.

Despite all the “epic loot”, Blizzard is the one rolling in the real loot, while the Chinese gold farmers became slightly less poor than they previously were. The happy slaves got what they wanted too – a feeling of glory and power minus any reality of either.

The Doll

August 7, 2013

The doll sat there, porcelain and unaddressed, eyes full of pain reflecting in the glass. She rose stiff, careful to not interact with the world. Her glued hair, so carefully arranged to resemble beauty, marred by the uncaring wind. Her condemnation of us and our monstrosity could  only lead us to demonize her. So we humans threw her in a corner, unused and uncared for and called it justice.

The dragons’ ambition and the future of terror

August 2, 2013
The global surveillance state isn’t being constructed because the super-rich are bored and want a new channel for their televisions, it’s because with every new crime a criminal needs extra security to protect against retaliation. They need to commit additional crimes not just due to the expansive nature of capitalism but due to the dying world which renders everyone who relies on that world desperate. They hardly want to fail at being dragons living our their final days on earth, so they increase control over the world so that even while flailing in misery and death the humans fail in their efforts to save each other.
A school bully does little more than act tough and beat up some people. He needs no special protection other than a mean spirit precisely because he does little damage.
A mafia don needs bodyguards, a bulletproof vest, a bulletproof car, and a whole lot of paranoia precisely because he does a lot more damage.
Now what, logically, do dragons need? What does someone need who is taking a leading role in destroying life on earth? The compassionate answer is: a soul. But noone’s figured out how to give them that and they certainly aren’t in the business of looking for one. What the dragons themselves believe they need is ultimate protection for the ultimate crime. Ultimate protection is global control sufficient to prevent them from being stopped. As their control increases, their crimes become more severe.
A dying world can be managed so that death rises from the bottom upwards. The poor people, those living in countries already being ravaged by global warming, die first. Then the poor people in rich countries fight against the middle people in poor countries to see who dies next. Only at the very end of this orgy of terror does the rising water cover even the dragons’ faces.
The dragons don’t expect to live through this. They just want to be the last one standing. Whether or not they succeed in their ambition is determined by whether or not the humans of the world unite with each other. Given the criminalization of blacks in the United States and the deportation of 400,000 hispanics a year, humanity has a very long way to go toward unification. If we don’t get there, we’re all dead.
That’s a problem of the future – how to hold out one hand to another human being while flailing with the other to avoid drowning. How to simultaneously be terrified and compassionate. We need a new model for terror, one which doesn’t allow us to give in to it and become terrorists ourselves. We need a new strength, one which no human in past history has ever had to have.
The only alternative to this is insanity, getting a bunch of people together who decide that this isn’t happening because they don’t want to have to deal with it. With heads buried in the sand, they decide their happiness will not be prevented by reality. Because they have each other for support, noone ever gains the power to successfully tell them they’re wrong, and they simply demonize, marginalize, and ostracize anyone who out of love for them tries to. When they’re successful in their demonization, they applaud each other for their good work and their happiness, that is to say their insanity, continues.

Fascism in art and the Apocalyptic condition

July 30, 2013

Think about a situation where answers are desperately needed, everyone wants to have the answers but no one has them. So philosophers get popular who might have the answers, buffoonish talk show hosts semi-convince themselves into believing they have the answers, holier-than-thou television judges sentence the answers from on-high, superheroes who have the power to impose answers become popular.

There’s a word for this – fascism. It’s the same situation Germany was in in the 1920s and 1930s – they had their pride demolished and their bellies emptied. I don’t know if I agree that Ender’s Game is fascist, I won’t use the term neo-fascist because I believe there’s little neo about it – it’s very similar to the situation in Nazi Germany.
Fascism in art can be misconstrued – anyone could produce art *about* fascism without the art being fascist. So the question about Nicolas Winding Refn’s career for example I believe is clear – he’s fascist. He’s on the record as stating that his movie Drive is about heroism, not about fascism. His other movies are less clear. But even Refn is sympathetic, for example the female lead in the movie Drive is clearly terrified into submission by the fascist social reality all around her, and the male lead is terrified into violence by the same social reality – so Refn presents fascism in a very honest and impressive fashion. Drive is the best movie *about* fascism ever made even though it was made by a fascist. Perhaps the accurate thing to say about Refn is that he’s an artist first, and a fascist second, whereas even the more artistic Nazis had the order reversed. This might just be indicative of a more apocalyptic time, where even fascists don’t really believe in fascism because they believe there’s no real future for fascism to exist within.
Another argument for this being neo-fascism is that unlike the 1930s, technological mass distribution now rules the world, so art can help impose a fascist worldview in a much more powerful way than the relatively primitive Nazi propaganda films of that era. One could argue cynically but probably correctly that it was precisely the failure of Nazi propaganda that led to an explosion in mass media distribution, television the most obvious example. Once fascism fails the answer must be to create a more powerful version of it, just like the failure of the Soviet Union led to increased surveillance and control within “free” societies which had “won” the Cold War. This inverts the old Roman process of the loser in a war imitating the victor.
The logical thing with Orson Scott Card is to examine his career – if he’s fascist he’s not likely to write one book expounding his fascism while the rest have nothing to do with it. Refn’s career for example is all about men searching for meaning in life, and imposing meaning with great violence when none is presented to them. I’ve only read a couple of Card’s other books and was offended by them, but I’ve never recognized the precise nature of the offense, and they weren’t about fascism in the clear way that Ender’s Game is. Much like Refn’s Drive though, Ender’s Game is a great work of art, and is very sympathetic towards the main character.
There’s always more going on in the world than meets the eye, and to return to my previous point, one major difference between Nazi Germany and today is the understanding of human apocalypse. Ecological collapse was not widely believed in back then, so the Nazis really did envision a long term history for Arian rule. They had hope in the future of humanity. Fascists of today have no hope, just like the elite have no hope, and regular people have no hope. Noone believes in the future, or at least in a future that contains happy and healthy human beings. Fascists, just like everyone else, don’t see a future in fascism, so what’s the point of them being fascist?
It’s like different architects getting together to debate what kind of building to construct. A fascist building, a democratic building, etc. If a tsunami’s just going to destroy the building anyway, then what does it matter?
Apocalypse creates a crisis of meaning, giving advantage to humans who no longer care about meaning. This is insidious, because apocalypse is not just an ecological status, or an industrial status (nuclear weapons), or a psychosocial-technical status (global surveillance), or a political status, it’s also a personal status. Once one no longer cares about meaning one builds a future with no meaning, and then there’s no reason for the world to continue even if it otherwise would. But it’s increasingly illogical to build a future with meaning when there’s no future to contain the meaning.
In other words, the ecological reality trumps all other issues, certainly issues of fascism vs. democracy. Whether the earth is going to sustain human life in the future overwhelms all other issues.
This itself has deep and very unfortunate implications in it’s monomania. Aren’t women’s rights important? Isn’t racism terrible and very damaging? Since every other issue becomes meaningless in the face of human extinction, there’s no ability to care about these issues, just like a man who has been stabbed no longer cares about his wife, he just cares about getting healed and THEN he can go back to caring about his wife.
Fascism vs. democracy only matters in a world containing humans to actually experience one or the other.
To be fair though, issues like women’s rights, racism, and of course fascism vs. democracy IMPACT whether or not humans survive in the world. I’m a global socialist precisely due to the terrible destructive nature of capitalism and the fact that getting rid of capitalism is one of the best methods of enabling the continuation of human life.
So the fight for democracy is still important even in these dark times. It impacts human survival.

Hegemony and the Modern Condition in the United States

July 29, 2013
Human subjects are dominated by their masters. While you’re used to thinking of master/slave in terms of chattel slavery, so you appreciate the subjugation of black slaves to their white plantation owners and can understand why those slaves rarely revolt and often didn’t even think consciously about revolting, you don’t consider modern rulers to have slaves, precisely because you’re enslaved by the modern hegemonic force. Every slave begins by believing he’s free – his freedom can only begin with the realization that he’s not.
Slaves consume the product of the masters, often willfully, just like chattel slaves ate the food “given” to them by their plantation owners. And more importantly, they DON’T consume the products that their masters don’t want them to consume, just like the vast majority of chattel slaves didn’t act outside the bounds of their slavery, bounds that they as intelligent human beings fully understood.
The stronger a hegemonic force is, the more “subversive” the product they can produce. For example, a strong plantation owner could show his slaves the movie Django Unchained, which is about a former slave’s rebellion, but the purpose would not be to encourage his slaves to rebel but rather to say to them that I am so strong that I can show you this movie and you STILL won’t rebel.
Hollywood revels in it’s own power, a fundamental trait of all dominators.
The ultimate movie as far as Hollywood is concerned shows an utterly realistic method of achieving human freedom which they encourage people to see by means of a massive PR campaign, just like every big budget movie currently gets regardless of it’s quality. And then people tell each other how noble Hollywood is by means of “helping them free themselves”, and then they go to the next Hollywood movie, and the next one after that, etc., in order to experience the “feeling” of supposed freedom without the pain, terror, insecurity, loneliness, and oppression of ACTUALLY freeing themselves. It’s no fun at all to be free when the people around you are slaves. It’s this shared sense of community, this need to be intimate with other humans, which causes slaves to remain slaves, since the only other substantial community is the masters, and every human with a decent soul prefers slavery over mastery. This is why the masters terribly fear “misfits”, “antisocials”, “psychotics”, etc., not because they are “looking out for the well being of people” as they say, but because these are people in the process of freeing themselves, slaves who are cast out of slave societies for not being happy slaves.
Yet another deceptive Hollywood movie is The Matrix, where a small group of freedom fighters successfully battles the forces of oppression. This cannot occur in reality, only a mass movement with millions of people can successfully create a revolution.
There’s a modern conceit which is potentially very damaging, the idea that any mass group of people is inherently revolutionary. So the Arab Spring is called “revolutionary”, despite the fact that very little of any real positive substance has occurred there. The unfortunate reality is that hegemony is so strong, that potential revolutionaries are so desperate for any good news, that they invent good news to console themselves. So the Arab Spring is “revolutionary” despite not doing much, the mass gathering in Wisconsin around Scott Walker’s machinations was “revolutionary” despite doing effectively nothing, the anti-NATO gathering in Chicago a couple years ago was useless as I can personally attest to.
As I wandered around the anti-NATO gathering wondering what I was doing there, I noticed that I seemed to be the poorest person there, and I’m far from the poorest person in America. The typical protestor was a well-meaning middle-class person fearing for his material well-being after having gazed into his dark future. There’s nothing wrong with such people protesting of course, but if that’s what things amount to there’s not going to be any success.
Right after we dutifully marched down the streets of the wealthy I walked South, and just a few blocks away I saw a lot of poor black people, none of whom cared about the rally. Then I want back to the other world, and saw the protestors happily returning to their cars and buses, having done their “fight for justice”.
THEY DIDN’T GO SOUTH, THEY WENT HOME. This might as well be the slogan for the current state of things in the United States. Everyone knows poor people, especially poor black people, are pathetic and useless, right? Why bother inviting them? Middle class white people are so FUCKING AWESOME that of course they can do super-awesome things all by themselves. Besides, if poor black people are included then they might want some of the spoils of the “revolution”, and we can’t have that.
There’s such a thing as premature celebration. Can the Arab Spring lead to something useful? Yes. Will it? That’s a situation that is ongoing, to determine whether it will. But calling it a “spring” is itself depressing, since it’s much like the Obama slogan of “hope and change” – it gets hopes up while the elite use that manufactured hope to make things even worse.
A slave watching Django Unchained and cheering is doing nothing other than living vicariously through another’s experience, which isn’t even a real experience. Hollywood smiles in response and greenlights Elysium.

The state of the world, part 2

July 26, 2013

The world is horrific, with millions dying of starvation and easily preventable disease yearly, millions more dying or being raped in armed conflict, massacre, and/or genocide, along with more minor problems like billions living in poverty, nearly universal lack of adequate health care, severe birth defects due to weapon fallout, etc.

It’s going to get much worse, due to not just the ecological effects of global warming but the political effects. Poor people around the world aren’t just going to die quietly as their homes and bodies are ravaged by an overheated dying world, they are going to riot since they have nothing left to lose.

It’s ridiculous to think that the United States is going to reduce it’s military budget, since all of their military bases around the world, all the investment in dominating the internet, etc. only becomes more important once the terrified hordes come crashing through the gated communities. In a dying world even the rich and powerful become insecure, and their lack of security results in their need to control all of human life.

Noone with any sense wants to fight a dragon, but once the choice is between fighting and death, suddenly everyone wants to fight the dragon. So we team up, the final battle between humans and dragons, and IF humans win those of us who are still alive after the war get to build a better world. At least one lesson will be learned – dragons will no longer be allowed to exist. We were foolish and arrogant to let them live and it’s going to cost us dearly.

There are mass protests all around the world to a degree never before in human history, the Arab Spring merely the most famous example. And this is only the beginning. As the world gets worse the people will get far angrier. Many dragons are going to die.

The future is going to be horrific. We’ll either die or perhaps, like in Dante’s works, we’ll find heaven through the deepest most terrible depths of hell.

The dragons call us zombies and say they are justified in their treatment of us as they take human form and blow our heads off with shotguns, but don’t believe it. We are humans, and they are the monsters.

Good luck to us all.

On superheroes

July 21, 2013

Superheroes were created when humans stopped believing in themselves. Same with robots. The idea is that humans can no longer engage in positive projects, they can only cling to basic life, and anything more than that must be done by superheroes, robots, and rich and powerful people.

Humans are believed to be drowning in despair, decimated and useless – thus the need for a non-human savior. Any attempt by pathetic corrupt humans to do good in the world will end in failure.

Thus superheroes as powerful – “I used to be just a pathetic human but now I shoot laser beams from my eyes! Yippee it’s time to go to town!” Examine the transformation in Peter Parker in Hollywood’s Spiderman movie, for example.

The superhero mythos paints humans as sad creatures counting down the days to death while superheroes because they are powerful are truly alive. This is why superheroes always have ridiculous physiques (except when that’s too inconvenient for an actor to accomplish) even when that makes no sense with respect to their powers.

It’s fascist ideology, which is why humans are inherently offended by it. Hitler believed the German populace to be effectively dead but through world domination and utter power they would be brought to life. Hitler viewed himself as a superhero, a kind of national doctor healing the populace.

So now we have not only vigilantes like George Zimmerman roaming the streets but “superheroes” like the Rain City Superhero Movement transcending their pathetic human selves into an enlightened powerful form.

Anyone familiar with the rise of the fascist right in Europe RIGHT NOW, I’m not taking about the 1930s, understands the dangers of right-wing chauvinist fascism, and if you don’t believe that can happen in the United States I can only hope that you don’t experience a very rude awakening in the next few years. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On the computer game Deus Ex

July 21, 2013

JC is a metaphorical acronym for Jesus Christ – JC Denton in the game is a transcendental figure whose character progression inevitably results in creating the “new man” – he’s defining the transhuman reality. Thus the box art where Denton, bathed in light, looks up at the sky (heaven).

Page wanted to dominate Helios – Helios viewed himself as indispensable to the future and thus couldn’t merge with Page. The most heart to heart conversation in the game was between Morpheus (who later rose like the sun to become Helios) and Denton, and it was clear that Morpheus admired Denton.

JC is not himself after the merging – this merging parallels that at the end of Ghost in the Shell – it’s understood that the only moral merging is both entities losing themselves to create something new. Both Helios and Denton are lost and something new is created.

All of the main characters in the game are attempting to be this messiah – Tracer Tong, the Illuminati, Bob Page, Helios. Helios recognizes his limitations as a computer program and is expanding the capabilities of his program by merging with Denton, thus enabling the best possible transhuman reality in his view.

All of the messiah figures, including Denton himself, are dark and sinister (the game takes place entirely at night), and the oppressed enemy in the game is not so much the various messiahs opposed to each other, but regular people, who are killed off and/or weakened by the plague.

Deus Ex depicts a world where regular decent people suffer terribly and die while the power elite fight among each other for global domination.

Helios is the technocratic option, corresponding to the computerized security/surveillance state illustrated clearly by the recent Snowden revelations. The Echelon system in Deus Ex has similarities to the NSA system.

Page and the Illuminati are two types of dictatorships – the iron fist versus the velvet glove.

Tracer Tong is the ironic luddite – using technology to destroy it.

JC Denton, despite being well meaning and declared by the game itself to be a savior, cannot produce a good outcome. He can only choose the lesser evil.

The good possible future, that is to say democracy, is made impossible by a combination of the plague and the global police state. Instead of fighting the powers that be, the people reach out to the same powers that caused the plague to grant them the cure, cynically named Ambrosia, “food of the gods” but actually merely a life-extender for ravaged and dominated humans barely continuing to breathe.

The “aliens” in the game correspond to the “evolved man”, ala Olaf Stapledon’s “second men”, yet keeping with the dark irony of the game are actually just genetic cross-breeds.

Inspirations for Deus Ex include Ghost in the Shell, Metal Gear Solid, System Shock 1 and 2, the Matrix, Neuromancer, and the works of G.K. Chesterton.

Although Deus Ex is the best computer game ever made, it’s fundamentally flawed in it’s optimism – the powers that be in the real world aren’t interested in creating the “second men”, but rather simply maximizing their wealth and well-being in a dying world. Deus Ex believes in a radical shift in the nature of life (from human to transhuman) whereas what’s at stake in the real world is the existence of life itself.

A question regarding the civil rights/women’s rights movement and globalization

July 9, 2013

Here’s an email I sent recently to Michael Parenti:

 

Hi Michael,

I’d like your take on the role of transnational capital in the civil rights and women’s rights movements.
The standard line we are given is that a groundswell of popular movements were the sole cause of the social gains made by the civil rights and women’s rights movements in the United States. Yet at the same time that those movements were having success transnational capital (not national capital) was emerging as the world’s most powerful force.
Transnational capital, unlike national capital, is anti-racist, since most of the world’s potential markets are brown-skinned people. Tiger Woods is a model citizen of this type – a mixed race individual who makes corporations millions of dollars.
Just one year after Martin Luther King, Jr. switched his message from civil (African-American) rights to the rights of the poor he was assassinated. Some of the powers that be don’t mind him asking for rights for blacks, but none of the powers that be like the poor.
It’s a terrible myth that anti-racism is progressive. It’s transnational. By no means am I saying that racism is progressive. Racism is aligned with national (Western, largely White) capital.
My further argument is that there has been no “change of consciousness” or in Chomskyian terms no “civilizing process” involved in the civil rights movement, since what really happened was a switch from racist ideology, which supports national capital, to anti-racist ideology, which supports transnational capital.
This argument will likely never gain popularity, not due to it’s lack of truth but rather due to it not appealing to any powerful political group – progressives as I’m sure you’re aware enjoy congratulating themselves for their “change of consciousness” concerning a transition from racism to anti-racism and aren’t in the business of upsetting their own self-esteem.
This may or may not matter to what I’m saying, but I’m a global socialist who believes that the best way to help the world is to elevate the material well being of the world’s poor, to enable a “living wage” baseline for human control over resources.
Thanks for reading and responding to this,
Brian

Video Games as a Martial Art

July 6, 2013

It’s commonly understood that video games are art, comparable in principle if not in practice with movies, television, and books. They’ve also been called toys, aptly so. Video games are the fourth Kawaii artform – sports the first, toys the second, and comic books the third.

I’d like to introduce you to what for most of you will be a new understanding of games, as a martial art.

The operation of games is done with input devices, usually either a joystick, controller, or mouse/keyboard. The Oculus Rift is simply another input device.

Games vary in the amount of manual dexterity they require, but even a point-and-click adventure game requires some. Most games require a much larger degree of hand-eye coordination, and one of the primary metrics in high level Starcraft play is Actions Per Minute, the equivalent of a karate master’s number of actions in battle.

Sports are also martial arts, and in all forms of martial arts the concept of Zen applies, which is said by believers to enable the maximization of performance. These believers do not apply Zen to any non-martial artform, they don’t enter a Zen state to watch a movie, for example.

Unlike every other form of martial art, games have mostly done away with the importance of strength. Being muscle-bound is a hindrance in gaming, and we’ll never see a bodybuilder Starcraft 2 champion, not just for the reason that one can’t combine training with weights to training in the game. Having only enough strength to allow for effective basic movement of the wrists, arms, and fingers is important.

Although they are typically called “houses”, Starcraft training centers where the players live could effectively be called “dojos”.

When we consider the importance of gaming in modern culture, never have I seen games as a martial art be considered as a reason for that importance. Yet we can trace the popularity (in the West) of “kung-fu fighting” and the rise of video gaming from the exact same period of time, the fall of the West during the Vietnam War and the realization that the world was going to die. Forgive me for the technical term here, but following World War II the world entered an Age of Anxiety where due to the existence of and possible at-any-time use of nuclear weapons which could cause total global catastrophe people became distraught about the imminent possibility of human annihilation. This anxiety, deepened by the moral destruction of the West by means of engagement in the Vietnam War, caused the celebration of hyper-speed, the idea that through great speed we can still save the world. So 1977’s Star Wars, a movie which featured the fastest sword in existence, the Light Saber, plenty of hyper-speed laser beams, faster-than-light travel, a kung-fu (err, Force) master in Yoda, represented the triumph of hyper-speed within American culture. Shortly thereafter Super Mario Brothers came out, a game requiring such hand-eye coordination that when beaten would cause even Bruce Lee to bow in respect.

I’d like to end this post with the lyrics of one of the funniest and coolest songs ever recorded, by Carl Douglas titled Kung Fu Fighting (they should play this song at Starcraft 2 televised matches):

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing

They were funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up,  they were chopping them down
It’s an ancient Chinese art and everybody knew their part
From a feint into a slip, and a-kicking from the hip

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing

There was funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung
He said here comes the big boss, lets get it on
We took a bow and made a stand, started swinging with the hand
The sudden motion made me skip now we’re into a brand new trip

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they did it with expert timing

(repeat)..make sure you have expert timing
Kung-fu fighting, had to be fast as lightning

keep on keep on keep on

everybody was kung fu fighting

June 29, 2013

The Electronic Intifada

We Are Many

The state of the world

June 24, 2013
Once the real world becomes poisonous it’s “pick your poison”, and then the process begins of abandoning the real world in favor of improving the choice alternative. Consider the development of video games, which are alternate realities – video games were fueled by the haze of despair the West experienced during the Vietnam War. 80% of mainstream video games feature murder as the primary form of gameplay. Video game murder can be viewed as YOLO – a final thrill before death – and not just as military propaganda as some have argued.
The real world is ultimately all we have, and all other worlds, however real they seem, are wholly dependent on the condition of the real world. But think about a game of poker played in a crumbling building – does one repair the building, flee the building, or try to win the last game? Once one gives up on repair, only two options remain.
Trace back the history of game theory, and we find that it only became popular with the Cold War, which was the first war in human history where total human annihilation was a constant threat. The psychological reality behind the world accepting such a thing was accepting a last game of poker in a crumbling building. In other words, the entire world lost their dignity and humanity merely by engaging in the Cold War. The war itself was a terribly wrong choice. Or in the words of the movie “War Games”, sometimes the best move is not to play.
The ongoing and always increasing global ecological disaster is fascinating psychologically. Because again, the worse the world gets the more logic there is in abandoning it – in giving up. Once one gives up on life itself, there’s no such thing as true morality. Once the choice becomes flight or winning the last game, there’s no longer anything at stake. Or as Freddie Mercury puts it – “Nothing really matters”. This very despair fueled the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle of the popular musicians of the time.
The outcome for normal people of all of this is sheer terror, of course. And the outcome of that is a kind of fearful huddling together, being currently exploited by Facebook and Google. Logically, churches and other religious congregating places should be huddle centers for the non-tech crowd, and that they haven’t been more popular is a curious topic in itself – it perhaps shows just how atomized and de-civilized Western societies have become.
Austerity is an apocalyptic political program, which hollows out human societies in favor of enriching the draconian gated community crowd – the idea being that the real world is abandoned, there’s no long-term future for the world, so the best move in the game is to grab all the loot, fly to the highest mountain, and maximize the time left before the world drowns, either in despair, in torturous war, disease or general decay, or possibly literally in water.
During this process of grabbing the loot the dragons need to keep the unruly masses in their place, so of course a massive surveillance, detention and military apparatus are necessary – therefore the high tech, prison, security, weapons, and surveillance industries are doing very well for the forseeable future.
The way out of this nightmare is quite simple, of course – there’s only one solution – to repair, recondition, improve if possible, and sustain the real world. The real world is all we have, the best other worlds can possibly do is help us deal with the real one.

Bravest Warriors

June 22, 2013

Bravest Warriors

Computer Guy

June 14, 2013

Computer Guy

The Meaning of Gaming

May 16, 2013

Avalon in Arthurian legend is the place where the savior King Arthur recovered after his wounding by Mordred. Avalon is what many modern game designers hope to create – it’s a paradise of abundance, a means of resurrection. This abundance can be literal, as in Farmville with endlessly produced crops. It’s the reason for the classic reload function in gaming, allowing players infinite resurrection from death or poor choices. It’s the basis for the empowerment phenomenon in gaming, where main characters run without tiring, don’t need to eat or sleep or have social interactions and are always gaining more power, through levels, skills, money, and equipment.

The metaphor of Avalon took on increased significance at the dawn of modern gaming, with the fall of grace of the West during the Vietnam War. The West was the fallen Arthur, now needing to recover after it’s ego and sense of self-worth were injured. So it turned to the virtual realm, a brave new world of infinite possibility, and sought to both create and be saved by it’s own Avalon.

The fall of the Soviet Union meant that global capital no longer had to be on it’s best behavior. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and global capital now had absolute power, or so they think. Games reflected this dark reality, classicly with the aptly titled Doom, and the rise of FPSes with their personalized murder.

After the 9/11 attack which challenged the hegemony of global capital in the world (however slightly), both the US military machine and gaming moved to the “military shooter”, murder masquerading as war in poor urban (Middle Eastern) environments.

The purpose of gaming is the same as Avalon’s purpose to King Arthur – to rejuvenate him, heal him, and allow him to save the world. Gamers through their very identity believe themselves to be injured, they believe the world to be in need of saving, and they believe that gaming is helping them help the world. Gaming relies on this ideological construct for it’s existence, and in recent years with the rise in “end of days” mythology gaming has gained in relevance. Gaming is popular now since all wealthy people in the world want to live in Avalon. Poor people want to live on earth.

Because it’s fundamental to gamers to believe themselves to be injured (thus victims) and because they are so stricken with despair over the fate of the world, they lack the willingness to self-examine beyond the merely insecure (and utterly false) consideration that they are “escaping” reality.

Avalon is where Excalibur was forged. According to the ideology of gaming, by exploring the virtual realm one gains the power to transform the real world. Gaming will save the world.

David Bowie’s new album

May 8, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2nJHVNTHNw

5 Signs You’ve Got Cancer, Part 4

April 30, 2013

What’s Your YOLO?

Yeah but it sounds gay

Are all Europeans terrible at spelling?

I agree Usual Suspects is one of the best movies Kevin Spacey has ever been involved in also moon was quite good

whoever edited this video is ass

LMFAO!

That’s a bootleg wheel

she should hurry up and do porn

Omg I hate to go near drink people.

That last dude just owned that

I am getting lost here on Youtube.

5 Signs You’ve Got Cancer, Part 3

April 30, 2013

100 Species You May Never See Again (PHOTOS)

Spooky Abandoned Hospitals and Asylums (PHOTOS)

A Beautiful View of Saturn Sunday Night

World’s Tiniest Animals

What Do 45 Million Flowers Look Like?

Hotels Taking Technology to the Next Level

In the 21st century, people like you,… who are agile and quick decision makers… will take an important part in society.  And what’s the key here? It’s games.

A Desperate Situation at Guantanamo

Only 6 Percent of Child Trafficking Cases in India Result in Prosecutions

Pakistan Hit by Wave of Violence Ahead of Elections

Bold Acts in B’Wood!

Baby Photography: 40 Photos of Lovable Babies

The You Generation

Cancer – The Forbidden Cures

Honey Badger Don’t Care

Step Aside Coffee, This is a Job for Alcohol

If Like Gives You Lemons Keep Them, Because Hey, Free Lemons

Freeze, Puppy!

Youtubers React to Japanese Commercials

Can You Make It Through Without Happycrying

Guns, bombs, and the American way of life

April 28, 2013
Americans like guns because they owe their land to them. Guns were instrumental in the destruction of the native americans and the colonization of north america by european colonists. Guns allow for a straightforward exertion of the will to death – pull the trigger and something often dies. This might be called “intelligent design”.
The order of death provided by guns contrasts with the disorder of death provided by bombs. Bombs destroy over an area – whatever is in that area is harmed. There’s no pointing mechanism with a steely righteous Clint Eastwood gaze behind it.
Bombs are for poor people. They are cheap to construct, easy to use, and most importantly are often outside the formal economic system. In the religion of apocalyptic Mammon-fueled free market fundamentalism being poor is the greatest crime, a crime always punishable by misery, often by death.
Outlawing bombs, with wealthy (what Americans euphemistically call the “middle class”) Americans helpfully huddling in their homes following their use, is outlawing the final despairing expression of the poor (or those who align with them).
Americans believe that terrorism is fine, as long as it’s someone else receiving the terror. There isn’t substantial moral outrage about the use of the American military to dominate and often decimate whole countries – Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Yet a relatively minor single event like a mere 3,000 deaths in New York (compare to the 40,000 to 50,000 preventable deaths per day due to the global economic system or the 1,000,000+ deaths in Iraq due to the American invasion) causes great anger and calls for revenge.
Americans understand that they live in the heart of the global empire, and receive benefits accordingly. They are happy to receive such benefits as a 2nd television set in exchange for the gift of great misery bestowed on others.
This is called the “American way of life”. In recent years China and India have imported our ways, Bollywood one aspect of this, and Brazil is the most recent heathen converted to Mammon.

The Ideology of the End of the World

April 27, 2013

We may well find, as we reflect on the world in which we live, that the key ideological difference is not between capitalism and socialism, which are merely two symptoms of the issue, but rather between those who want the world to die and those who want the world to live.

The logic of the industrial revolution, which takes from the earth without giving back, entails self-annihilation unless the world is seen as merely a stepping stone, a crib which can be set aside when the infant grows out of it. Therefore a prerequisite for the industrial revolution was the work of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, who moved the earth from the center of the universe (therefore rendering it special and sacrosanct) and replaced it with the sun. Subsequent scientific development rendered the earth less special still, reducing its value and the propensity for humans to maintain its well-being or even existence.

The purpose of capitalism is to kill the world and force humanity to move on. According to current capitalist hopes, Mars is the first step.

This reality enlightens many of the interactions between capitalists and socialists. Capitalists consider socialists to be cowards, not so much due to the valuation of rugged individualism but the greater cowardice of not being willing or able to wish to leave the earth. Capitalists view socialists as babies unwilling or unable to grow up.

Socialists view capitalists as somewhere between stern authority figures and psychopaths.

My view is that it defeats the value of exploring the universe if the explorers are only there because they intentionally killed their own planet. A capitalist point here is that exploration of the universe might give the means for saving the earth, an argument that began its life meager and died a little each day after.

Think about this the other way around. What would we think of an alien species who only came to earth because they intentionally destroyed their own planet. Would we want them on ours?

What would the expected outcome be on another planet when colonized by a species whose ideology is based on destruction and “progress”?

The question perhaps is not whether or not we want outer space but whether or not outer space wants us.

 

Deconstructing Aliens

April 27, 2013

It’s taboo to speak poorly about capitalism in the West, and until recently was likewise taboo to speak poorly about the rich. As such, critiques of capitalism and the wealthy have to be concealed, plausibly deniable.

Prior to the 1980s, American alien culture was centered around UFOs, which were often high altitude spy planes being tested by the US government. Interest in UFOs meant interest in greater transparency of the US government toward Americans.

During the 1980s, popularized a decade later, there was a shift in alien culture from UFOs to alien creatures. This matched up with the recognition that the world’s rulers were pursuing an apocalyptic ideology and were no longer caretakers of the earth and living creatures. Aliens became a metaphor for the rulers, who act to destroy the world and it’s people.

Saving the princess

April 16, 2013

omega 616:
Extreme hyperbole and simplification would be “women are only good for cooking so need saving constantly”.

It’s a common misperception to believe that the reason women are so often “imprisoned” in games is due to their perceived impotence.

After all, in traditional reality (“real life”) men are imprisoned at a far higher rate than women, so according to this logic men are perceived to be far weaker than women.

The primary reason women are usually the ones imprisoned in video games is that the usual gender of the hero main character is male, and there’s a heterosexual factor in the “saving”, as per the original myth of the noble (horny) knight saving the princess locked away in a high tower within a castle. The implication is that upon saving the damsel the damsel’s king father will be so full of gratitude and so impressed by the knight’s bravery and prowess that he encourages or perhaps even forces (heavily coerces) the princess to marry the knight. While an utterly sexist myth, note that the princess’s weakness here is not inherent but rather is caused by the political/social reality. The tower is a phallic symbol, the princess is imprisoned within the penis, and the knight merely moves her from one prison to another, one which he obviously prefers since it’s his own. Also note that the tower is within an enemy castle, so the king doesn’t so much care about his daughter but rather about his own loss of prestige of having his daughter captured by the enemy.

Rather than appreciate any of this and respond to it by boycotting said games, most gamers will happily engage in “save the princess” sexist games while simultaneously claiming to be at the very least friendly to feminism. A hypocrisy which is very rarely called out, so life gets to go on with no real thought, care, concern, or self-criticism given to it.

“Addiction”

April 11, 2013

Addiction is a modern invention for purpose of creating fear. The purpose of fear is social control. Addicts “struggle” with addiction but addiction is the secondary symptom, fear is the primary symptom, and desire to participate in the system of social control the disease.

Treating addiction, therefore, is a matter of breaking the addict’s fear of a break in the social order. The problem is that most doctors and psychologists very much want to maintain the social order, so desire to maintain or if possible worsen the disease of the patient.

Addicts are able to “break” their addiction and congratulate themselves heartedly at the supposedly monumental task, yet lapse back into addiction since they aren’t curing the disease that gives birth to it.

5 Signs You’ll Get Cancer, Part 2

April 6, 2013

NASA Guppy Eats Planes!

Stunning Find on Mich. Lake

The World’s Deadliest Fish

Are you a Rock Hound?

Eerie Abandoned Islands

Abandoned Palaces in Decay

How to Keep Your Car Looking New

Check Weekend Road Hazards Near You

Crazy Mountain Adventures

In the Mood for a Roadtrip?

Billionaire Warns: US facing “financial ruin”