The Emperor of Bohemia

Words of Unwisdom From Cohee Tuckahoe

Genefuck...and Lamarckian Memetics
 The gene-centric view of natural selection holds that genes, not individuals or species, are the basic unit of selection; based on statistical information that gives the indication that the propagation of a gene is the most successful agenda among successful species. This leads into the idea that the genes themselves are simply trying to keep reproducing and through natural selection those most beneficial at a given time in a given environment are simply the ones that succeed in doing so; thus instead of survival of the fittest one could argue that organisms are a survival of the ones who reproduce the most, it just so happens that natural selection on the organism level culls off those genes that weren't beneficial for their hosts. So genes could be seen as parasites that became symbiotes in this case, in same way a virus might be (both are not living things in any way, but that way of describing the behavior has been suggested before).
Even if it's a misguiding way of overstating a certain point, it is useful in helping people to break out of their idea of evolution as a guiding hand trying to make an individual or a bloodline survive. I find the possibility that the behavior of organisms to survive and reproduce is simply the impetus of parasitic acid chains to do so very interesting.

So basically rather than necessarily being a component of all life by neccessity in the common-sense way we usually assume, perhaps that behavior in life as we know it is simply part of that specific parasitic-symbiotic relationship.
And that makes one wonder what would happen to human instincts in terms of evolutionary deviation over time if we ever transcend from our flesh bodies.
Bioroids who function on a cellular rather than genetic level or full body cyborgs or even gengineered organisms with their genes "tamed" in some way might have a huge capacity for deviations in behavioral instincts previously unheard of in life as we know it .
You would be freeing the potential of minds from these inanimate puppetmasters.

So if you reproduced through purely information means, even if that reproduction occupied a body completely like yours just without or with a separation from genetic code, then even if it's experiential life was just like life as we know it (occupying a body, all the normal external imperatives of survival, etc.) over a relatively few generations their could be huge deviation in what meme rather than gene based instincts are passed down in this informational reproduction process. So if you just kept dubbing new mental offspring onto even regular lifeforms, even with the same external imperatives of survival the survival instincts might begin to wildly differ.
The same way the shape of acid strands can create all sorts of physical changes in the development of the cells that follow that coding, the shape of information would cause standard deviation over generations in an entirely different way. And most importantly, if you take a meme as just being a basic unit of information, then unlike genes memes can pass on traits that were acquired during the life of the parent to the child - that is if the child is a new mind born from the parent's mind with as much difference as a child's body has from it's parent's body. That is, it would make sense that memes would exhibit the Lamarckian ability to transmit not only the beginning information but also information acquired throughout the lifetime of the parent to the mental offspring, if dubbing mental offspring rather than just making mental clones through some mechanism of mind uploading ever became possible.
So that alone would offer whole new frontiers of evolution and mutation of pre-life basic instincts.

And back on the subject of ourselves as we are now, we blame the reptilian jellybeans in our brains for things that may be the unthinking actions of the genes instead.
I think that the desirable paradigm shift for humanity must be sexual reproduction of minds on a purely information based level. That has potentials for innate change and variability that you would not find with ourselves simply becoming robots with a non-Lamarckian mental inheritance capacity or even posthuman organisms that start with the cloned information verbatim of our parents within us at birth.

Anyways, therefore the development of mind uploading technologies and the subsequent development of mind remixing technology and the technology to dub those remixes, those mental offspring, is our evolutionary imperative as a species and a civilization.
To dub those mental offspring into bodies so they can acquire new mental traits throughout their lives that they will pass down, without the burden of their complete minds and memories, to their own mental offspring.

Thought Elevator #12
If you accept the premise that the correct pursuit  = the right desires and actions = excellence = virtue = the greatest good = happiness, then what is the correct pursuit?

For Socrates the pursuit of knowledge was the greatest good and self-knowledge was the greatest knowledge. For Plato it was rationality; for Aristotle, self-realization. Confucius would say it's the pursuit of the correct relationships with the people around you, being the ideal master to your servants and ideal servant to your master; Lao Tsu would say the harmony and unity of opposite influences in balance with one another. Mozi believed it was universal and equal love for all and Han Feizi didn't seem to believe in this approach to normative ethics and believed that a publically known legal code and the machinations of the prince were all that kept the people of a realm in check.

Of course, your intepretations may vary and I encourage you to explore both Greek and Chinese philosophy and normative ethics further, more deeply than my shallow amateur musings.

Thought Elevator #11 Stalking the Whatchamacallit
As a brief review of the "A Fable of Tonight" series by Mike Resnick (with the latest book, "Stalking the Dragon", showing up this year) I'll say this: while I enjoyed "Stalking the Unicorn" and "Stalking the Vampire", I enjoy most books I read so that's hardly useful information, especially considering this humble illuminatus cannot list all the factors (many of them arbitrary) by which he pre-judges titles. So, to give at least some cursory depth to an analysis of these two books and by extension a generalized view of the series...

If you can judge a series that will soon consist of three books by the first two, the "A Fable of Tonight" books are patently formulaic, knowingly so. The repeated setup of the Detective John Justin Mallory stalking a creature through a modern fantasy version of Manhattan in the space of a single evening (well, all night to be precise) is not what bothered me, as it's basically the primary point of the series (lampooning the fantasy genre by pastiching hardboiled detective fiction). The repetive gags of merchant goblins selling useless items at odd hours of the night (even the specific dialogue of their demands that consumers consume their products as part of a social contract) are an example of the nigh verbatim tropes that show up in both books. Similarly, the world-weary protagonist speaks almost entirely in one-liners; though given the genre Mallory represents this might be considered a feature by some readers.

If there's one problem that might get some who would otherwise enjoy these books to drop them partway through, it's that a lot of the action is the continual bickering between Mallory and his sidekicks. Perpetual bickering is one thing, but perpetual bickering over who is supposed to wait and who is supposed to come at every new location and constant interuptions of the action, even counting (usually) witty dialogue as action), in such a manner is another thing entirely.

Progintern Communique #5 A Handy Field Guide To Surreal Politics
When Republicans damage the budget to create a situation where each year we're siphoning off billions, with no end in sight, that's fiscally responsible.

When Democrats plan to spend more now to stop that leakage and save money in the long-term (while fixing the giant holes in education, healthcare, energy, and entitlement programs in the process), that's wildly irresponsible.

When Republicans want to convince the middle class to trust the super-rich by telling them that they can be rich too and keep the working class fooled by keeping them enraged at strawmen and paper targets, that's being for the people.

When Democrats want to help the middle and working class with tax-cuts; help in areas like education, healthcare, and energy; and by adjusting the taxes of the rich to no longer be less than those of the middle-class, that's communism.

When a conservative media channel that claims to be a news network attempts to oust the government in a populist coup usurping a small anarcho-capitalist protest, that's patriotic grassroots activism.

When a center-left government puts tentative steps in place to move the system to a place still to the right of the UK and Canadian systems, much less the far father left still socialism that works for many of our European friends, that's Stalinism.

When a Republican wants to rob future generations by pocketing tax-cuts for himself and the rest of the rich now and solve the economic crisis by blaming people who are losing their homes for not buying useless consumer products, while allowing mounting problems like healthcare and energy to continue to grow more and more devastating, that's looking out for America's future.

When a Democrat wants us as a society to go to the effort of fixing those huge social problems now before they get worst, to make a better world for ourselves and our children, that's enslaving future generations.

When Republicans lie, cheat, steal, get away with stealing an election and faking evidence to get into a completely unjustified war, and generally prove to be dishonest that's just a few bad apples...and in fact those people aren't bad apples at all, they're shining examples. In fact you're a goddamn unpatriotic shithead for even bringing them up or suggesting they did a bad job and you owe all the REAL Americans an apology!

When Democrats struggle with the administrative bulk of keeping the anarchocapitalistic financial system set up by those same sort of conservatives from dragging the country down into a depression, that's a sign that they are all evil and need to be kicked out before even the current four year term is up, as soon as possible, with the Democratic Party (and all others but the Republican Party) to be banned until further notice just in case.

When Republican politicians and media fringe conservatives attempt every strongarm tactic ever invented by Hitler and Stalin, they're good old-fashioned "real Americans".

When a Democratic government voted in on an overwhelming mandate pursues it's progressive policies, even while cutting itself off at the knees in order to make compromises with the right wing politicians that have hardly been out of power at all yet and don't constitute a large enough portion of the elected government to warrant such fawning treatment, that's communazism.

When a Republican president lies to the people; introduces unethical, inhumane, and inefficient/counterproductive policies; ruins confidence in the government at home and trust in us abroad; and commits us to the oppression of a foreign people with no connection to the terrorist attack used as justification (unlike the Saudi royals that president is close business partners with...) even after we've deposed the military dictator who was our only (although completely unrelated) moral and practical justification for being there... well that's all fine.

When a Democratic president attempts to repair our relationship with the international community, prevent a new Cold War with Russia, and sit down and talk with our potential enemies so we can know them (isn't there a saying about that...'know your enemy'?...nah)...that's intolerable!

Thought Elevator #10
If earth is one giant organism, with it's ecosystem and all lifeforms upon being various organs and whatnot, and if the entire technological and expansionist drive of humanity is ultimately meant to get us offworld and onto another celestial body to terraform it, does that make us Gaia's genitalia primed in a eons long sexual encounter with the Moon or Mars or one of the other planets of the solar system?

Excerpts from "The Cult of Asherah" #4
Escaping gravity wells is so inefficient and costly, which combines with the effects of microgravity on earth animals to make planetoid and planetary colonization unappealing. Meteoroids and asteroids have a higher content in volatiles and contain water-ice necessary to support settlements almost anywhere in the solar-system outside of Earth. O'Neill cylinders could provide standard earth gravity and open space would allow for solar power to provide for much of a station's energy needs. The colonists could trade produce with scavengers and sickly zero-g asteroid clinger-on-to's in exchange for water-ice and other minerals, perform microgravity industry and research in the non-spinning central node, and interface with Earth media and information industries via the Web. And with an initial stockpile of biomass enriched soil from Earth, through composting they could their agriculture going for years - new dirt to mix the enriching mass with readily available from the same asteroid-clingers.

I could see an underground city on the moon populated with people biomodded or cybernetically assisted to deal with the microgravity long-term, using the materials on the moon to build up their industry and infrastructure rather than trading them with earth (once again, having to fly ships off the planetoid over and over again is incredibly wasteful in terms of precious energy), but farther out the feasibility and desirability seems limited. The moon would be close enough that materials cheaply shuttled up from Earth via a beanstalk space-elevator of some kind could be flown by ships constructed and housed that same orbital station to Luna and then dropped via guided pods without the ship ever having to enter the planetoid's cruel grip.

The best use for Mars would be to not terraform it, but aresform it to recreate and enhance the conditions that let micro-organisms (perhaps the very ones we are descended from) live there long ago. To use gengineering and frozen samples extracted from that world to recreate those organisms and seed them back onto the world while we repair it's atmosphere and induce a greenhouse effect. We could play parent to the very lifeforms that we might have been seeded from by a chance meteorite (if it was'nt instead the random interplay of chemicals) and even if our race and civilization died out would it be too arrogant to hope that we would be able to buy them enough time to evolve into sapients themselves and be able to deal with the gradual atmosphere-killing effect of their world's location in the Solar System? I dub these beings not Martians but, instead, the Nergal; after the god attributed to the red planet by Earth's first great civilization.

Thought Elevator #9
I would like to congratulate Abandonia on the excellent service they are providing by hosting freely downloadable versions of old out of copyright computer games. I just downloaded the original Survival Horror classic, Alone in the Dark, and I am looking forward to playing it.

My only regret is a lot of the old DOS games don't interface with my computer, as far as audio is considered; although Abandonia hosts a program called DosBox if you can penetrate it's complicated instructions (I couldn't, but then again I'm a technoidiot).

Progintern Communique #4
As a student of human nature it makes this humble illuminatus grin and giggle to see the champions of the idea that responsible Americans must choose between oligarchy and plutocracy currently waging a war of revisionist-history against FDR and progressivism, decrying those who would help others as seeking to rule them, all throughout the media (especially FOX media) without any hint of hypocrisy or irony in their voices.

How can those who state that the richest 1 percent are the greatest workers of our society claim that anyone else is an elitist and keep a straight face?

The biggest enemies to the middle, working, and disadvantaged classes are those who would use god and country and empty hateful nationalist populism to manipulate them while refusing to recognize the act of helping those people (other than converting them and blaming their problems on their own immorality) as anything other than immoral godless totalitarian evil.

Progintern Communique #3
I have a theory that part of the negativity and the antipathy towards helping people that some reactionaries display comes from the fact that they have so much fetishism for negative liberties (the government cannot do...) and negative morality (god says to not do...) that they become apathetic and ultimately antagonistic towards the universality of positive rights (mostly dealing with the quality of life and treatment/enfranchisement within the existing system of human/civil rights) and towards positive morality (going out and helping people and encouraging others to help people and helping people help themselves rather than focusing on indoctrinating them). But the truth is you can't have one without the other. If you don't stick up for people's quality of life, things like the right to unionize and the need for regulations on monopolies and trusts, then you are eroding their civil/human rights and thus making the statement that those rights are not entitlements granted to all citizens but instead privileges extended conditionally from the elite to everyone else; and that is not the kind of country that I think most people want to live in.

Economic freedom on a large-scale and traditional moral character are important, but they are components not the essence of freedom and morality in themselves. They are simply tools/institutions, among many other vital tools/institutions, used to pursue the direction of protecting the human dignity and unalienable (as in everyone is entitled to them) of all people. Forsaking the other such tools is like chopping off the rest of your body so your arm can accomplish more on it's own.

Thought Elevator #8
Some experts say the internet is rewiring our thinking with a focus on switching between many tasks at once...for some reason to me this sounds like it would cause more and more people to see conspiracies and patterns everywhere than do already.Umberto Eco wold be proud.


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