Archive for the 'identity' Category

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A Bad Guy with a Gun | A Hand Placed on the Heart

The phrase comes more from the movies than from real life. On our television screens we see a character called “the bad guy with a gun.” The narrative makes sure we know he is unredeemable. The story tells us evil must be destroyed or it will flourish. The hero, the person we identify with, does the deed. In the context of the story, the killing is justified—it’s a manifestation of justice.

The National Rifle Association helps gun manufacturers sell guns by convincing consumers that to be the hero of the story, all they need to do is purchase a gun. Pull out a credit card and be transformed into “the good guy with a gun.” The consumer is programmed to be the “hero” who will stand for justice against the “bad guy with a gun.”

While the media fully understands this narrative is completely and fatally false, they nonetheless rebroadcast it at every opportunity. But when something happens in real life—a hostage situation at the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, California, they neglect to tell the story of how the standoff was defused.

The man with the gun, gave up his gun, allowed himself to be handcuffed and surrendered to the authorities. There was no “good guy with a gun.” There was a woman who took control and showed the world what a hero is.

MaryLinda Moss, a 55-year-old artist who exudes calm, feared a suicidal gunman could spark a bloodbath. Through a series of disastrous decisions by Atkins, dozens of strangers had ended up at the grocery store on a hot Saturday afternoon, drenched in fear and surrounded by SWAT teams, helicopters, squad cars and ambulances.

She put her hand on his heart.

“I told him: ‘There’s always hope. I know you have a good heart, and I know you don’t want to hurt anybody.’”

Atkins, 28, protested: “You don’t know what I’ve done.”

Read the story by Robin Abcarian of the LA Times about what happened inside the store on that day. This isn’t a story from a television drama; it’s about what a woman did when faced with a wounded man with a loaded gun. MaryLinda Moss stopped the men with guns—all of them. They had all been pre-programmed to play their parts in a made-for-TV drama. A different story played out. A better story.

The tender, terrifying truth about what happened inside the Trader Joe’s hostage siege


Mars: The Self-Deportation of the 1%

Elon Musk's new plan to enable the self-deportation of the 1% is to be applauded. And as someone once said, “Mars is next.” Earth, you've had your chance. The 1% have never really been of this planet earth, the planet was given to them as raw material to build their family empires. And Mars may offer the largest single source of new raw material available.

Musk has acknowledged that the 1% will need to pool their fortunes to fund this effort. As a community of rugged individualists, they will shun government handouts in pursuit of their goal. Self-funding of self-deportation is a core value of the mission.

Self-deportation as a method of addressing the income inequality problem is relatively new. The theory goes that global warming, the sixth mass extinction and the possibility of a doomsday event has made the planet earth so unwelcoming it has incentivized the 1% to seek refuge on Mars.

Musk is open about the fact that some of the 1% will die in an effort to establish and sustain a city on Mars. It will be a sort of culling of the herd and will make the 1% even better and stronger.

SpaceX, Musk's firm, has said, “this is for everyone, this technology to self-deport the 1% is for humanity.”


Uploading Knowledge

Every once in a while I hear that some “scientist” is working on a method to upload knowledge to the human brain. Ideally this would work like it did in the film “The Matrix.” A person needs to learn some sort of skill or master some area of knowledge, and rather than putting in hours of study and dedication. They upload the knowledge needed in a matter of seconds. Mastery is instant.

I wonder if knowledge is uploaded or downloaded? I suppose it depends on where you're standing.

What would knowledge have to be in order for it to be capable of being uploaded? What would a brain have to be in order to accept knowledge using this method?

In practice, if some process like this were ever to be created, it would look more like something by Philip K. Dick. Rather than uploading skills that increase a person's capability in the future, the market for downloading pleasant memories of a luxurious vacation to Mars would dominate.

Assuming you could lower the price sufficiently, everyone would upload everything. Why wouldn't they? “We can remember it for you wholesale.”

Of course, knowledge isn't like that. It's not uploadable. And brains aren't like that. They aren't computer hard disks.


Super Intelligence

Some people, some very smart people, believe that through the magic of genetic engineering, we'll soon have a new generation of “super intelligent” people. There may even be a legal requirement to optimize the designated genetic make-up of new humans. Sounds like a science fiction novel, but the technology is close to making this kind of scenario practical.

Of course, it would take a “super intelligent” person to create a new generation of “super intelligent” people. And certainly, replication of “super intelligence” would appear to be the intelligent goal. How will we ever solve the great problems that confront us without a greater and greater supply of super intelligent people?

Apparently, no one is working on a genetic model for creating super compassionate people. Mostly because super compassionate people aren't a dominant force in the science of gene editing. And, after all, compassion isn't going to solve global warming, seas filled with plastic or the sixth mass extinction.

I wonder what would happen if you took two planets and filled one with super intelligent people and the other with super compassionate people of varying intelligence? After a few hundred years had passed, which planet do you think you'd prefer to live on?


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