The Machine is Not Your Friend!
by Ray Jason…….
The sailor within me was concerned. But the poet within me was delighted. This was no ordinary squall that was approaching from the north. It was so gray and dark and menacing that it looked like molten lead as it churned across the bay towards me. So I slipped behind a small mangrove island where I dropped my sails and set the anchor.
As I was finishing that task, the deluge descended. A burst of wind tipped AVENTURA over to starboard. It also toppled me gently down onto the cabin top. I laughed as I wondered whether the deepening voyage into my Middle Years was beginning to compromise my balance.
When I began to lift myself up to go below and retreat from the rain, a primal voice from across the centuries prompted me stay where I was. So I closed my eyes while lying on my back and let the warm equatorial downpour saturate me. Within a couple of minutes the rain softened – and I felt an almost blissful contentment as I let it wash over me.
I was not experiencing any deep philosophical insights, but there was a vague sense that if I remained there something might be revealed to me. And a few minutes later this is precisely what occurred, but much differently from what I might have expected.
Suddenly, I noticed that there was another person 15 yards away. An Indio fisherman had silently rowed his cayuco nearby and was grinning over at me. My ”laughing in the rain” behavior was very different from what he had witnessed with most gringos. He paddled closer and quietly asked me if I was okay. I sheepishly replied that I was fine. Then we both smiled and he turned back to his quest for dinner.
But the philosopher within me began interrogating myself, and questioning whether or not I really was “okay.” In the eyes of the wider world – probably not! But in terms of my carefully studied understanding of Life, I was feeling pretty damned fine. That’s because I felt far more kindred with that little fisherman than with the world that I had sailed away from.
Back in that “real” world, I would have to search a dozen Starbucks for a dozen days before I found anybody who had recently lain on their back savoring the rain – although there might be an app that claims to replicate that experience. The “natural world” has been reduced to a mere programming niche for cable TV. Our human connection to the Sea and Land and Sky has been severed.
Tribal peoples understood that we are intimately linked to those realms and they paid homage to them in their rituals and in their daily existence. For example, the Plains Indians didn’t just see the buffalo as a protein source; they revered it as an important strand in the web of life. And they used the entire animal to aid in their survival – the meat, hide and bones.
But modern civilized peoples have lost their reverence for the natural and the wild. They have let themselves evolve into creatures that are artificial and tame. They are no longer Children of the Earth – they are Servants of the Machine. Their partners in the dance of life are smart phones, talking automobiles and computers.
They can’t grow their food, mend a garment, build a shelter or read the weather from the signals in the sky. But they will justify this impotence by claiming that modern technology frees them up to pursue more meaningful activities. Like what? Mounting a camera to your hat and filming the sad emptiness that is urban living? Now there is an evolutionary leap forward.
The creators of these myriad devices, which dominate the human-built world, will claim that they are designed to save you time and money and exertion. But their real purpose is to turn you into a product addict – and to reap obscene profits while doing so. How else does one explain lines of people camping out to buy a slightly better phone than the one they bought a year earlier? At least they can now video each other with their GoPros as they shiver in their sidewalk lunacy.
The cyber revolution was supposed to advance human connectivity to undreamed of levels. And it has if you consider nightmares part of the dream world. Replacing face to face human relationships with Facebook to Facebook interactions has had grotesque results. Isolation and alienation among young people has reached epidemic proportions. Teenage suicide rates are way up. Kids in Japan are refusing to come out of their rooms for months or years at a time. So their only contact with a supposed real world is through an electronic machine. Young adults have to seek a professional therapist if they are contemplating doing even a one day “cyber fast.” Does this sound like the machine is in control or the human?
But besides the tragedy of surrendering one’s autonomy to machines, there are even more dangerous consequences. The greatest beneficiaries of advanced technology are those who seek to control society. I un-jokingly describe these people as The Malignant Overlords.
Those “smart” electrical meters in your homes certainly do enhance convenience – but it is the convenience with which your rulers can monitor you. And all of that high-tech weaponry, designed for overseas use, works equally well in the hands of your local police storm troopers. And those gruesomely efficient military robots will certainly never prove to be a threat to actual flesh and bone humans.
The idolatry that 21st century people display towards almost anything that is sleek, metallic, and cutting edge is disturbing at best and genocidal at worst. So-called modern civilization refuses to respect the ancient and elemental laws of nature and balance and limitation. Such pride and delusion will probably not just lead to grief – but to unimaginable tragedy.
And that is why I feel such kinship to the little native fisherman in his hand-carved cayuco. He does not need an electronic fish finder to catch his dinner. He does not need a robotic assembly line to build him a boat. And he does not need a Kindle self-help book to teach him basic decency.
Instead, he could draw from the reservoir of a thousand generations of human empathy, and row over to me and quietly ask,
“Are you okay?”
9 thoughts on “The Machine is Not Your Friend!”
Magnificent article. Thank you so very much.
I hear you; and concur with your assessment. I was driven to seek relief from the madness of it all via some healthy and unhealthy means.
Circumnavigating the world several times and traveling extensively throughout the United States provided me with an avenue to heal and discover.
I so love the descriptions in your story.
While driving in Browning, Montana I came across a distinct Native drum beat in the distance. I followed the sound and it brought me to the ‘North American Native Pow Wow’. As I entered the make shift arena and the dancers arrived, I was drawn to a large Blackfoot Indian dressed in jungle fatigues, just behind the leaders of the procession.
I was wearing some of my Marine Corps regalia. We caught each other’s eye, and this Indian began to run directly at me, in a sprint. Right up into the stands where I and the lady I was traveling with were standing. He picked me up in his arms and twirled me around his body, as he called my name.
It seems that I was involved in rescuing this wounded man from a battlefield, while we secured a Medivac chopper for his evacuation. The imagery, warmth and love that I had for this Marine returned to me, as he swung me around like a rag doll.
My lady friend handled it like a trooper. However, as she was attempting to take our picture, the trembling in her arms and hands had to be steadied.
Traveling, getting out of one’s box and disengaging from tech entanglements is a must for me.
I’ve taken the journey within…Exploring the depths of consciousness and awareness…It has provided me with the adventure of a lifetime…
Your beautifully put together article is inspirational, reinforcing and enlightening. Thanks again.
Thanks for your kind and complimentary remarks. And thanks for relating that vignette about the Native American/Marine. I never saved any lives in Vietnam, but fortunately I never had to take any either. I do my best to save soldiers’ lives these days by convincing them to not be lured into it.
Here is my best example of that writing:
Continued good luck with your introspection and writing.
From both sides of the coin, it appears we’ve arrived at the same conclusion: ‘war is the ultimate insanity’.
Blessings & Respect…
“Transhumanism is a recent movement that extols man’s right to shape his own evolution, by maximizing the use of scientific technologies, to enhance human physical and intellectual potential. While the name is new, the idea has long been a popular theme of science fiction, featured in such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, the Terminator series, and more recently, The Matrix, Limitless, Her and Transcendence.
However, as its adherents hint at in their own publications, transhumanism is an occult project, rooted in Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, and derived from the Kabbalah, which asserts that humanity is evolving intellectually, towards a point in time when man will become God. Modeled on the medieval legend of the Golem and Frankenstein, they believe man will be able to create life itself, in the form of living machines, or artificial intelligence.
Spearheaded by the Cybernetics Group, the project resulted in both the development of the modern computer and MK-Ultra, the CIA’s “mind-control” program. MK-Ultra promoted the “mind-expanding” potential of psychedelic drugs, to shape the counterculture of the 1960s, based on the notion that the shamans of ancient times used psychoactive substances, equated with the “apple” of the Tree of Knowledge.
And, as revealed in the movie Lucy, through the use of “smart drugs,” and what transhumanists call “mind uploading,” man will be able to merge with the Internet, which is envisioned as the end-point of Kabbalistic evolution, the formation of a collective consciousness, or Global Brain. That awaited moment is what Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, refers to as The Singularly. By accumulating the total of human knowledge, and providing access to every aspect of human activity, the Internet will supposedly achieve omniscience, becoming the “God” of occultism, or the Masonic All-Seeing Eye of the reverse side of the American dollar bill.”
“Today referred as the “Global Mind,” it underlines the plans of Google and the transhumanists in creating artificial intelligence. By merging with the Internet, which will represent the accumulation of the totality of human knowledge, and be able to peer into every aspect of our lives, it will achieve omniscience.
This, the transhumanists believe, will serve as a new god, to unite the world in a communal purpose, and usher in the New Age, or what Kurweil refers to as The Singularity. To understand the Luciferian significance of these ambitions, McLuhan himself explained:
Electric information environments being utterly ethereal foster the illusion of the world as spiritual substance. It is now a reasonable facsimile of the mystical body [of Christ], a blatant manifestation of the Anti-Christ. After all, the Prince of this world is a very great electric engineer.”
— David Livingstone
Ray, I wonder if you have ever come across the writings of the so called “anarcho-primitivists”? Have you ever read anything by John Zerzan or Derrick Jensen (I think that is his name)? These are people who believe it is “civilization” itself that is the problem. Just wondering, your comrade in livery, Jerome
Yes, I have been admirers of their work for nearly a decade and have two of John Zerzan’s books in my ship’s library. In fact, my very first essay at my blog (which I consider a keystone statement) deals with the rarely-perceived downside of Big C Civilization. I tried to address this issue gently but persuasively. Here is the link for you and anyone else who might be intrigued:
Another powerful influence on me as regards examining the negative aspects of Civ is Daniel Quinn. In fact, I am honored that he sometimes reposts some of my anti-Civ work at his ishmael.org blog.
A lot of my sea gypsy tribe speculations deal with combining the best qualities of tribal cultures with the best elements of Civ. The aphorism I created is “How do we foster Mozart without the mushroom cloud?”
Thanks for your continued interest in my efforts.
Ray, Very cool, I thought you might be in that groove. I have nothing but respect for the anarcho-primitivists, and find much of what they say to be right on, but … might it all be a moot point by now? I mean, there really is no going back. We are going to have to deal with what civilization has created and where we might go from here. To go all the way back would suppose a disasterous apocalypse of some kind or another, something I’d hope could be avoided … and who knows, we might be able to use all this technology in a positive way if we could ever get past this idiotic stage of “consumerism” we can hopefully survive. Good stuff Ray, ciao, your comrade in livery, Post Consumer Man
I too hope that there is not some cataclysmic event. I wish for us to keep muddling along with life becoming less magical but at least escaping massive die-offs. However, I feel that such an outcome is very possible. Thus like all blue water sailors who have to fend for themselves when they are alone “out there,” I hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
I expend ZERO energy trying to reform the Beast. Instead, I dedicate much of my work to anticipating a post-Collapse scenario so that we are not left just with war lords, but so that there are some Thoreaus out there as well. Here is a piece that deals with this. Unfortunately, I never heard back from Chris Hedges, but I hope that somebody got it through to him.
Ray, Thanks for the article. I’m sure it would be no surprise if I told you I too admire Chris Hedges, and really, your letter to him could just as easily have been directed at me. Like you Ray, I’m not optimistic, but escaping is still not on my agenda. If you’ve read any of my stuff, surely you know I am still trying to change it, fight it, work within it, etc., etc. True, a daunting task, maybe even a foolish one, but a post apocalyptic world does not appeal to me. For me, the task before us is to try and avoid that. If that cannot be done … well, I guess I’ll just have to go down with the ship. Great stuff Ray, you are a prince of a man, your comrade in livery, Jerome