About five years ago I made a box-set of themed zines and titled it Issue Two of Distorted Perspective. It’s one of the few book projects I’d lost the source files of, and up until a few days ago I had lost the print files, too.
Randomly, I was taking a project to press on a flash drive I found in a cabinet at my mom’s house and the only file on it was this project’s press-ready PDFs. I’m not sure what this means in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll be taking a copy to get printed for damn sure.
Too often we think in terms of media or consumer goods—sensory interactions—to define the mainstream. The status quo, popular culture, or whatever you want to call the middle of the bell curve of society can be equally applied to every aspect of the human condition.
This includes how we judge our lives in terms of scope; how we interact with time and how we plan for the future. For example, there is a lot of current debate regarding aging (even immortality). Imagine if you’re 22 right now, get married, and happen to be that person who lives to 150. You probably don’t assume that when making ‘life-long’ vows, because we all have different ideas of how long that really means (and our idea of that period is much different at age 22 than even 32).
Snowballs, Chances and Hell
No debate is more obvious in the shortfalls of human judgment than that of the American discourse regarding global warming. It’s sheer lunacy at this point, with a large cross-section of the public wondering how the fuck could you not see this is a problem? while the other side questions science (or prays).
Setting aside climate change for the moment, it’s actually a fascinating little debate because it exemplifies the necessity of structure in mass group behavior.
It’s About Time
The status quo—the middle of the bell curve—can’t afford to think in a lengthy scope. Natural conditions alone will define that most of us have to think on a year-to-year, if not month-to-month or day-to-day, basis. Privilege is being able to plan and define the future.
This is the essence of a democratic republic, or what the United States is defined as. Our elected officials are there to think in the terms of time that our financial backbone allows for.
When an issue such as climate change—one with consequences in scope that requires imagination and intelligently designed responses—cannot be solved by those we elect and the problem is then placed on the general burden of the public to solve, things only get worse. The public is generally concerned on a much different level than the government needs to be, but much more in tune with the quarterly growth reports needed by the companies that buy special interests.
Problems On Problems
It’s not one specific person’s fault we’re at this place in a debate on global warming, but rather a remarkable set of evidence toward the faults in the cross-section of capitalism, democracy and human longevity. The more intricacies a giant machine such as the US government has, the more aspects of the human condition in and of itself need to align so we can properly govern ourselves.
It’s a completely abstract problem to have, but it’s one we have nonetheless. As communication grows exponentially parallel to power, while resources are growing scarce and land less habitable, literacy on different levels will be required for awareness and survival. I haven’t been to high school in 15 years, but I can’t imagine they’ve added relativity to the curriculum.
Putting aside how terrifying a stamp collector could be in the future, what’s incredible to note in this video is the simple way he’s able to frame the limited scope of human understanding, particularly in how cultural linguistics define our world view.
One thing that really has been on my mind about the current span of time we exist in is that the universe is all about cause and effect. Gain and loss. Yin and yang. No matter what you call it, existence demands balance.
It is in that notion alone that the singularity—or birth of artificial intelligence—remains to be seen through suspicious eyes. One could say that the age of humanity began when life became self-aware; when we formed the ability to reason.
Would that age not end when intelligence finds a way to replicate itself outside of the shell of a body? We can entertain ourselves with as many end of the world scenarios as we like, but it seems just logical at this point the dawn of lifeless intelligence would be the end of intelligent life, because any intelligence is going to prefer sustaining itself over mortality.
While I think there is some sort of lazy, absent-minded daydream glory that is lost from being on a train when you have a laptop and an iPhone in front of you, I’ll also say that a solid three hour train ride from Seattle back to Portland with a bunch of work worth doing and some glorious sights to occasionally get lost in is not a bad thing at all.
I have watched this more than a couple times since it debuted last week, and I think it’s the perfect Monday morning thing. Regardless on your opinion of this song or the Foo Fighters (both, in my opinion, essential mainstream rock staples), this shows the power of music. (In case you aren’t aware, the entire thing was organized to get the Foos to play Cesena on a future tour.)
Look at how happy all those people are. Look at the passion of the man who organized it all, just for the one show. It’s a perfect representation of this sublime and impossible-to-touch feeling that creates community from sound.
(Also, that guy’s speech totally sold me on spending some time to make some art in Italy once I get overseas. Looks like it convinced Dave, too.)