/ Social Order / DeCentral / Cybernetics /
The thing about being free is you’re free to write your own history: and once you can write your own history then you can choose your own ancestors.
Once you get to dictate what “freedom” means, and can change the meaning every other election, once you can write your own history and choose your own ancestors, and keep all the admissible records yourself, why then you can prove anything you want to prove, and prove the opposite a day later.
Thus Jews get to tell how much God loves them: and Christians get to prove exactly the same thing: and kill the Jews: to prove who’s telling the truth.
Americans let in selected immigrants, and give those selected immigrants social security, and a share in the taxes coerced from the older immigrants, and give the new immigrants a share in the land stolen from the original rightless subhumans. The Lakota can’t get his sacred Black Hills from the wash’i chu, but the spic, the Hmong, the African American can.
What particularly gets my goat is that the Fortune 500 version of hi-tech cybernetics that shoves someoneelse’s selfie in our face every other second comes thanks to a theft as bald as anything the US did to Sutter or to Crazy Horse: only in this case the unsung victim (or one of a trinity of victims: Jesus, Illich, pk) is yours truly.
My freedom, the freedom of my childhood in which I was coerced to go to school while those around me were coerced to pay taxes (then napalm gooks), embraced conventional Christianity in which how we behaved — cowboys and Indians, good guys versus n-word [Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 01, I censor an offensive word and substitute something more obscene: euphemism!] — struck me as not at all what I understood Jesus to be saying. In 1970 Ivan Illich said that a measure of real freedom might come to a people who took advantage of cybernetics to keep digital data bases of human resources: a library of people and mutual interests, opportunities. I said “about time”: and offered my own cybernetic democracy (with Illich as a trustee).
Understand immediately: the democracy foisted on us by the US is not of our choosing: I never ratified what Washington said, or Jefferson, did you? But with my FLEX (same link), anyone could have recorded their assent (or their dissent) — that is they could have had the public given me enough resources to actually buy the mainframe time and hire the eager programmers to give ourselves publicly useful but still convivial software: way ahead of Microsoft and Apple, neither of which existed yet: way ahead of Commador …
My offer got good free publicity immediately: publicity which then dried up. Time Magazine slammed the door on such publicity in 1972. Once again what you think was decided for you, by Fortune 500 companies, behind your back!
When I’m dead maybe I’ll be hailed as one of our ancestors. Let me assure you, I am not. I am the opposite of your ancestor. I’m the road you did not follow. I am the would-be leader, the hopeful ancestor, who was rejected, no truth told in the rejection. What you’ll get, while you’re still here, is the opposite of freedom: cheaters, resetting the stage, because the illusion did not work.
Jeesh, it happens all the time: I start to say something, speed-write a little essay, and realize I didn’t tell the story I meant to:
My poverty, my isolation, landed me in Sebring, Florida, unable to leave, in 1989. But I had my trusty Toshiba lap top. That marvelous PC had a good word processor and a very good data base editor: I made data bases left and right. I’d wanted to make them, for the world, NY initially, in 1970: there I was in the 1980s, finally, with a way of making data bases galore: everyone still ignoring me. One kind of data base I loved to make in those days, I had more than one version, was the address book. I could add whatever fields I wanted, program them if I wanted. I could tell the program, Q&A, to assign all new records to the state of Florida until further
notice. I could set the default city as Sebring: until further notice. When I got the Mac I got Filemaker: I wrote new address books exactly the same way. With the Mac I was studio-bound, desk-bound; but I’d carried the Toshiba lap top with me everywhere: people saw me writing, and editing, and programming away: in the library, in the park … The Toshiba battery was good for a few hours at least.
So one day I’m at the Toshiba in my trailer park, Sebring Gardens. A guy named Ray knocks on my door. He introduces himself as the park residents’ sectretary: he’s keeping a list of every resident’s name, lot number, and phone: he hands me a blank to fill out. I invite Ray in, I show him my Toshiba, I tell him how I can digitize and automate that list for him. I emphasize that changed information only has to be edited once: all future printings will have the corrected data; doing it by hand means repetition of corrections ad nauseam. I’m not telling him that I’m taking over: it could still be under his name, his elected imprimatur: I’m just trying to help.
Ray backed away. He never came fully inside anyway. Now he backed down onto the patio pad, backed back to the road: went away: and never spoke to me again, never made eye contact. Secretaries have come and gone in the two and a half decades since then. Now everywhere I turn someone is posting a printout of some standard address book.
I’ll bet that not one of them knows the above story. A year from now, ten years, they still won’t know it: any more than Americans know that they stole Sutter’s gold. No: we write our own history, make up our own facts: revise with absolute freedom.
What a mess, typical, I still haven’t developed more than a fraction of the self-chosen mythic ancestors aspect.
But I’m reminded of another post where I did make a parallel point or two: I arrived at Columbia, a freshman. I already knew the campus from visits with my father. There was the “new” library, with the Greek names on the frieze: “Plato”,” Aristotle”: self-chosen intellectual “ancestors”. I’m Germanic, British-Celtic American; not Greek. Nicholas Murray Butler, for whom the big library was named, was not Greek. … Well, sure they’re important in our intellectual, philosophical, political history, but their importance is grossly exaggerated: the inflation not an accident.
Last night Jan and I watched Sean Connery playing the Berber pirate who kidnapped an American woman in 1904: he claims descent from the Prophet, and from Allah! I claim descent from Jesus, all the time, but I actually mean something verifiable by it: if anyone in this world were capable of verification, symbolic verification.