To wit: the clever, logical, programming/engineering monkey-mind should not be allowed to instantiate its limited idea of humanity, the universe and everything, on… well… humanity, the universe and everything.
by R.U. Sirius
It was at the end of the first day of the Singularity Summit 2012 when Ben Popper — the dude from The Verge who I’d spoken to by phone approached. “What do you think?” he asked. It’s been pretty interesting, I responded earnestly.
The absence of a superlative was perhaps telling, but I was not in the mood to think on it more deeply. Ben agreed. And then Eve and I made a wrong turn heading back to the North Bay and we found ourselves moving at a crawl through Chinatown.
Chinatown was throbbing with biological life of the human sort. Old Chinese women were inspecting vegetables on display outside of stores. A group of older men stood on a street corner just hanging out and talking. The streets were packed to overflow with people going about their early Saturday evening activities. I don’t think I saw anybody smiling, but I had the sense that people were enjoying their familiar activities.
Once home, I decided to finally watch I’m Still Here, the Casey Affleck film documenting Joaquin Phoenix supposed attempt to leave behind his acting career to become a rap star. Fat; with long uncombed hair and scraggly beard, dressed like a particularly disheveled street person — throughout the film, Phoenix, along with some of his handlers, displays a full repertoire of coarse, vulgar, moronic human behaviors as he tries to pursue his new career. He also appears in onstage performances, rapping… badly. Various media commentators suspect that it’s a hoax, but Phoenix remains in character. He puts Ben Stiller — trying to get Phoenix to consider a script — through the ringer. He acts pathetic and nuts in a famous Letterman appearance. He’s trying to get Sean Combs to produce a rap album for him.
Watching this film… unsure myself whether the whole thing was a bit of Andy Kaufman-like performance art; a genuine descent into madness; or both (I was leaning towards both) and seeing how the various players tried to navigate how to respond given that they were experiencing the same uncertainty that I was — I was struck by the wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels multiple strange loopy character of the thing that I was not only witnessing but participating in by being engaged in confusion. And I was struck by how many layers of uncertainly could emerge out of very stupid behaviors… behaviors, incidentally, that would likely hold little interest to a proper singularitarian; and all of it done for absolutely no rational purpose other than to fuck with people’s heads. For what? To improve them? To teach them something? No. Just to see what happens. Read more “Steal This Singularity Part 1 (2012)”