I’m thinking that my community is operating according to an aging economic model – the same model that is still prevalent in our society. This represents old thinking; a narrow conceptual straitjacket that needs to be shed in order to find a more flexible way of living where money, material goods and paid services will assume much less importance.
The new society will not be based on ownership and wealth. The accumulation of capital and material possessions, based on a high stable income, will convey little advantage. These may even be an impediment to personal well-being and freedom. The basic means of livelihood will be available to everyone. Those who want to give their time to study will be able to do so. Those who are more active will be able to give their energies to their chosen field of activity.
A new society is possible because technology has leveled the playing field, because we live in an age of abundance, because the concept of permanent “jobs” is growing less and less viable in a time of automation and high unemployment, ownership of housing is becoming unattainable, work has become mobile and globalized, and one can live basically anywhere. Needs can be minimized, tools and goods can be shared. Services can be obtained on the basis of cooperation and mutual help. Initially people may need to move away from places where property costs are too high and live on the periphery of old establishment society. There they will set up alternative communities based on self-dependence, sharing time, goods and services, or simply live alone, working remotely, or even join traditional tribal communities that have been less affected by capitalism.
I see all of this coming and I want to begin operating according to this new model even now, to the extent that this is possible during this time of transition.
Gnu Social had grown a bit quiet the last time I used it. I changed identities a few times after trying twice to establish my own instance, and people got tired of trying to re-follow me and I can’t blame them (that’s one thing that works better on Hubzilla).
In general, because of its core users, GS brings a different and sometimes hopeful way of looking at many of the issues that concern me. I find views and opinions here that are hard to find on Twitter or Google+. The commercial networks have vast numbers of people, and still they worry about $. On GS there is confidence regardless of the number of users and shaky platform it’s all built on.
Now Mastodon seems to be having a good effect on the rest of the federation, and brings in some new voices, some of them more mainstream. Eventually, I think that federated social networks will prevail over the mega-capital dinosaurs.
The last thing I read before going to sleep was the Twitter timeline of Dr. David Frawley, Vamadev Shastri, or whatever he calls himself. At the top, there’s a picture of his meeting with Modi. Every second tweet is attacking Muslims. There are tweets praising the new First Minister of U.P.
ISPs might do well at profiling the interests of some of their customers. But for people like web designers, writers or journalists, an average day might see them browsing an eclectic mix of sites on everything under the sun. And what if you’ve got a couple of people like that, or a bored teenager or two in the household as well? I wonder how useful this information might be to an advertiser?
So I just had a thought: rather than assiduously trying to cover our steps by using VPNs, Tor, Https Everywhere, Privacy Badger, or whatever, maybe an opposite strategy would be far superior.
A call to app or browser extension designers: give us something that can randomize browsing history. Automate sending our browser on a day-long crawl across multiple and sundry websites. The resulting web history would be pure gibberish, of no value to anyone. Furthermore, it would quickly become obvious what was happening: our browsing history would become just as worthless to the government surveillance agencies that are tracking us too.
One thing The Expanse gets right is the immense frustration Martian colonists might feel in toiling to terra-form a barren world while knowing that their green, fertile home planet has been wrecked by greedy exploiters. Science fiction is always more about today than tomorrow.
Some days I feel productive, like my work is highly important, while other days I feel lazy, useless, accomplishing nothing. That we are accomplishing nothing. But, in either case, as long as our consciousness does not change, nothing is really being accomplished, or is capable of being accomplished. We are running around in circles, chasing our tails, or gilding our cages.
In an age that border security services sometimes demand access to email passwords, and hackers manage to gain access to them without asking permission, it’s interesting to reflect on what such access conveys, especially in the case of Google. Because even if we don’t actively use a Gmail account, it’s quite likely we have one that is associated with an Android phone or Chrome browser. It’s worthwhile going in to have a closer look at that Google account to see what information Google is storing. Fortunately that’s fairly simple to do, by clicking on the Account.
Last summer, Tamil Nadu declared a bandh because of the dispute with Karnataka over water of the Kauvery River. Aurovillians knew this was a day to lie low. The guest house gate remained half closed, the town hall and all eating places closed, and whites were advised not to venture into the surrounding villages. To do so would be to risk being hit by stone-throwers, or worse.
In almost every place in India where the writer has spent some time, there have been similar stories of violence. In Varkala there was a Swedish couple from whom local people attempted to extort money. In Meherabad there was the murder by goondas of Erico, and there have been several murders and rapes in and around Auroville.
The writer is thinking it could be an interesting experiment to completely avoid using the personal pronoun, and also to regard oneself habitually in the 3rd person. Not as a pretension, but as a spiritual exercise, which, after all, reflects reality at least as well as the 1st person mode to which we are normally accustomed.
It’s a difficult exercise. In writing the first paragraph, the personal pronoun crept in: it was the first word written. Formal writing also shuns the first person, so at least there is a convention to fall back on. It would be even more helpful if there was some sort of alarm that would go off every time the personal pronoun is used. But the word “I” is itself rather incongruous, and a little cumbersome to write on a tablet keyboard.
I don’t know if anyone has figured out yet how to deal with Trump and the new era he has forced upon us. It’s questionable whether the normal state of opposition to regimes that we don’t approve of is sufficient in the case of Trump. Many journalists seem to have adopted a total opposition that confronts Trump’s lies with their own exaggeration, however sometimes this is necessary in the case of a leader whose worst sins are not lies but deeds. He is a danger – no longer just a danger but effectively detrimental – to American and world democracy. He is beginning to unravel and undermine efforts towards handling climate change, upon which our future depends. He is damaging relationships between the U.S. and the world. He has brought in a team of tycoons with narrow interests that are unfavorable to Trump’s own constituency. He is indicating an appetite for increased military spending. He is limiting advances in women’s rights. And there are many other dangers and uncertainties ahead.