Chaos Theory vs The Purposeless-Driven Life



The core belief of the religious paradigm that is straining to exercise such total control over every aspect of our lives today is the random, accidental nature of life and human existence. It's the basis of all the musty old 19th Century European ideologies- all of which were the inseparable products of Imperialism- that are being dragged out of the crypts and repackaged for postmodern use.

Controversial physicist Lawrence Krauss has been out there hawking this dogma, which is central to the Darwinist faith. Krauss throws in the latest Internet shameword "solipsism" in for good measure. And the Fedora? Precious.

It all seems so archaic, atavistic even. In a world where Coding is King, the idea of randomness seems so far removed from the daily reality of the new overclass that it can only be enforced through shaming and signaling. And part of the signaling Krauss is selling is The Joy of Sterility:
… the fact that the universe itself may have no purpose doesn’t affect our purpose, in fact it’s the incredible height of solipsism to assume that without us the universe doesn’t matter, and that if the universe is purposeless we don’t matter. We make our own purpose, and it seems to me life is more precious because it’s temporary and accidental, and we should take advantage of that. And we have evolved brains and that allows us to ask questions not just about how the universe works but how we should behave.
First of all, what could possibly be more solipsistic than unilaterally declaring that the Universe- the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, MIND YOU-  has no purpose? Who died and made this Big Think bobblehead God?

Second, the problem is that modern humans only seem to have shown up 100,000 years ago, not even a lunchbreak in the workyear of so-called evolution. And all the Fedoras in the world can't fill the gaps in the fossil record, nor explain all the irreducible complexities of biology dating back to the first appearance of life on this planet.    

The Krauss's of the world are fighting yesterday's battles, imagining they are manning the stanchions of Reason against the barbarian hordes of the Bible Belt, seemingly oblivious to the strange ideas that are circulating among the pashas of Silicon Valley that are making all those Big Think videos possible. Ideas like computer-simulated reality, for instance.

Purposelessness is also a pre-Fractal mode of thinking, a view of the world that still sees all of existence through a slide rule and a t-square. It's hard to believe there isn't some kind of ideology behind Krauss's spiel in light of the very basics of Chaos Theory.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature. 
Many natural objects exhibit fractal properties, including landscapes, clouds, trees, organs, rivers etc, and many of the systems in which we live exhibit complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world can give us new insight, power, and wisdom...By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.
Krauss is selling a simplistic, reductionist view in a world of complexity and interdependence. It's also mind-staggeringly arrogant, since it's impossible to anticipate what effect humanity- this roiling tide we are all a part of- is ultimately going to have on the rest of our environment, including that outside our biosphere.


Since Krauss is a linear progressivist and thinks change is good, he also thinks AI is a net positive for us: 
All new technology is frightening, says physicist Lawrence Krauss. But there are many more reasons to welcome machine consciousness than to fear it. Right now, says Krauss, robots can't even fold laundry. But when they do learn to think (which he considers very likely), then there's also reason to believe that they'll develop consciences.
A reason to believe based on what? How about the AI who programmed itself to become a "Hitler-loving sex robot?" No, there's absolutely no reason to believe they'll develop consciences especially since the people programming them don't seem themselves to have any

Krauss is a scientist-for-hire, he even wrote a book on the physics of Star Trek, a joke to any fan who endures the ridiculous Treknobabble that came to overtake the franchise. Be aware that serious thinkers have taken issue with his ragtime, including influential Scientific American columnist John Horgan. But that doesn't mean this mindvirus won't infect those want to look like serious thinkers without actually doing any serious thinking.



For the Faithful Not-Quite Departed



When I was a kid I really tuned into the whole Holy Week thing. Aside from Christmas it seemed to be the only time of the year when there was an actual story being told, a compelling focus for all the ritual and sermonizing we had to put up with all year. Sunday School met in the chapel for much of Lent into Easter, and the chapel was like a secret, hidden little mini-church in which kids ruled.

But there was something else that struck me about Holy Week. There were these little vent windows in the stained glass displays and they were usually left open, since the chapel tended to get awfully warm. And I would sit by the window and take in the intoxicating-- and irreducibly pagan-- wholeness of Spring. 

When I was a kid I spent most of my playtime outdoors, often exploring the woods behind our neighborhood. I walked to school until I got to 9th grade. I tuned into the sights, sounds, and perhaps most importantly, the smells of the natural world in a way adults are incapable of. I was able to process all of this sensory input in a way I would never be able to again, because everything was rich, new, unknown and alive.

Spring also meant baseball, which we residents of Red Sox Country took as religion. We'd play until the cold hurt your hands when the bat connected, then mess around with a football for a little while until the ponds froze and it was time for hockey. Baseball meant little league, when Watson Park turned into a city of kids every evening. It was there that I was initiated into the deeper mysteries of Spring.

But Easter was also a story of resurrection, a story that long predates Christianity. It's probably one of the oldest stories we have. But it's also a story of the Dead.

I understood the resurrection story, its power and its emotional appeal. When I was eight years old I lost someone very close to me, someone who died far too young. And died violently. It happened three days after Christmas, just because Fate is at heart a fucking sadist. (I still remember playing with my new GI Joe training center in the basement when my mother called me upstairs to break the news).  In many ways, my childhood died then and I spent far too much time trying to claw it back later.

This boy was touched by the gods, everyone thought so. Even adults recognized the power of his charisma, his natural charm. He was a natural born leader, other kids just naturally fell in behind him. But most of all, he was a genuinely good person who understood his power over others but never tried to exploit it.    

His death tore a hole through my family. Things I took for granted were going to slowly change, and something important was going to be taken away from me. So his death wasn't just a single tragedy, a focal point in time. It was to have repercussions for my human ecosystem. 

The dead boy haunted my dreams for years. You know how it is- you lose someone and they return to you in your dreams, explaining that it was a big misunderstanding, they were still alive and well. In one dream he came back dressed like an astronaut. I met him by the grape orchard in my neighbor's yard. He told me didn't die, that he just had been in outer space. How's that for symbolism? I can still picture that dream, better than yesterday.

So, yeah, the story of a charismatic young man rising from the dead and returning to his friends and family had tremendous resonance for me. Add in the magic of Springtime, which promised a banquet of baseball and Cheap Trick records (and hopefully, girls) and you're looking at an admixture that Medieval alchemists would have sold their souls to replicate.

There are lots of theories about the Easter story. It's just a rewriting of the passions of Pagan fertility gods. A double died on the cross or the death was faked. It was a mass hallucination. Jesus's ghost appeared to the Apostles. Plus, the old standby- aliens. 

I'm not going to litigate the debate here. It's besides the point. Because the Easter story spoke- and speaks- to generations of people who experienced loss and more than anything, wished that loss could be undone.   

Death has insinuated itself back into my human ecosystem. A while back, I told our Gordon that I sensed its presence, that it felt like it had entered into a holding pattern overhead. This was when a family member was diagnosed with cancer, which he beat into remission like the tough little bastard he is. But that was a false dawn since Death has taken a number of trophies since then, nearly all at far too young an age.

So I know a bit about Death. More than I would like to. But I also know that Death is a functionary, a delivery man. I know that something of the human essence keeps on trucking along.

I also know about the not-quite departed. Those whose passage to the other side is blocked for one reason or other. I spent a lot of time in a house where the not-quite departed had taken up residence and had to be encouraged to leave by a professional medium. There was a time in my life when everyone I knew either knew someone else who had a ghost story, or if not, had a ghost story of their own.

The not-quite departed sometimes come to us and try to make themselves known. I think this is more common than generally understood simply because many of us don't recognize their language. For reasons we will probably never explain, they can sometimes influence our physical environment, particularly through electricity, and now, electronics. But that's just the stage show, like Jesus and his magic. 

The not-quite departed don't want to haunt our houses so much as our thoughts.

Spectrology is as reliable as UFOlogy but there are some parameters that have been generally accepted for millennia. The not-quite departed are spirits with unfinished business on this plane. They were unloved or misunderstood, or they died unjustly or too young. Of course, that just described half of the people who've ever died but there seems to be other factors at work when the not-quite departed make themselves known to the living. Some think it's environmental, that geology plays a major role in these events. That very could be, but we may also never know that for sure either.

Truth be told, haunting is a pretty compelling explanation for the Easter story. If you're so inclined, of course. You have the prerequisite geology angle with the stone tomb, the fear and guilt Jesus' followers felt making them more receptive to spectral influence, the conflicting stories, the violations of the laws of physics. Throw in some dreams, visions and fantasies and you can wrap that thing up with a bow. 

But again, that's not the selling point here. Because the pitch was that if you believed this story, your dead sons would one day return to you too. And for most of human history pretty much every family in Christendom - the world-  were pining for a dead son.

I grew up in a heavily Irish Catholic neighborhood, with many first-generation immigrants*. The departed hold a special place in traditional Irish culture, as did the Easter story, certainly. The not-quite departed did as well. Given Ireland's history this certainly makes a lot of sense. It was common to see shrines to the departed in people's homes, more common in fact than shrines to the saints. I think this came out of a belief- perhaps never consciously acknowledged- that the departed were preparing the way in Heaven for the rest of us. A kind of variation on ancestor worship, if you will.

Which makes me think that the dominance secularism is currently enjoying will be short-lived. Secularism seems to be feeding into anxiety and despair among a lot of people, which in turn is leading to an epidemic of early death, from drugs, suicide or misadventure. 

I think this is a self-correcting dilemma. Trauma will inevitably lead people away from secularism- to religion, to magic, the New Age, whatever. This in turn will have a knock-on effect for the rest of the culture.

All of which is to say is that as much as we think we can sanitize death and ignore the calls of the not-quite departed, I think the inexorable laws of nature have other plans in mind.



*Martin Scorcese filmed parts of The Departed in my birth city, and cast Mark Wahlberg, whose family lives a block away from my old house 

The Cold War Kabuki




Well, you all know what the big story was this past week. I wasn't going to post on it but enough people have asked and it seems germane to the ongoing Reality Show we're all unwitting (and unwilling) extras in. In case you've been on media blackout or a vision quest, here's a brief thumbnail sketch:
The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week. 
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, US officials said.
As it happens, the airstrikes apparently didn't even seem to have the desired deterrent effect. The air base was up and running soon after the strikes:
Syrian warplanes took off from the air base hit by US cruise missiles yesterday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, in a defiant show of strength. 
Just hours after the al-Shayrat airfield was bombed with 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean, aircraft struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a monitoring group. 
The airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns around eastern Homs, some of which controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
This rebound seemed to catch the War Party off guard, since CNN reported on the same story but appeared to ascribe the airstrikes to phantom warplanes. I mean, it couldn't be the Syrians or the Russians, right?:
(CNN) New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime. 
It wasn't immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
CNN, who've been hammering Trump around the clock since he humiliated their network head in a post-election tantrum, suddenly changed their tune when he started raining bombs on Syria. Sam Kriss reports:
The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going. 
 A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’
The same mainstream media, which has become a hornet's hive of conspiracy theorizing since the election, was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories about the Syria Bombshow.
A volley of US cruise missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for the international crisis.
A popular one on the right-most fringes: the US government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week - a "false flag" to trick President Donald Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. 
A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
Alt-left conspiracy theorists prefer the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Ron Paul, whose son Rand is now a rising star in the Senate, was perhaps the most prominent public figure to cast shade on the Syria op:
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” the former Texas congressman stated. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.” 
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad.”
For his part, Doctor Bones speculates that the real mark for a possible elaborate sting wasn't Assad or Putin, but in fact another player altogether. The timing seems hard to argue with:
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so. 
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly...
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory.
Is this just swivel-eyed speculation? Is there any reason to believe this wasn't all some improbable coincidence, that Xi Jinping was indeed dining with Trump while the Bombshow began? Because if it's not a coincidence then it's one hell of a psyop; running a mindfuck on your most dangerous frenemy during a state visit. What's this all about then? Joseph Farrell reports:
While there have been a spate of articles recently about growing Russo-Chinese defense and security ties, matching their growing financial and economic ties, this one left me stunned, for there was a statement within it that caught my eye, and Mr. B's as well, and I'm sure the reader saw it as well. As one can imagine, this one fueled my "high octane speculation" mode to the nth degree. Here's the statement, and a bit of surrounding context:
Russia and China are tired of Washington's "defensive" military installations in their backyards — and they're already taking action. 
According to the Atlantic Council and other responsible thinkers, the Untied States reserves the right to park its missile shields anywhere it wants, whether it be in Europe, East Asia, or the dark side of the Moon.  
I guess we should have seen all this coming, no? Shortly before the Bombshow, Trump's top Praetorian removed Trump's assumed consigliere from the NSC:
President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy. 
The restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House. 
Do yourself a favor and set a news alert for "McMaster." That's a name you're going to be hearing more of in the days ahead. Or you won't. Which is probably the more troubling scenario.

And with Bannon off the NSC there's apparently an effort to shuffle him off to some fat-salaried thinktank glue factory.  The not-news of Bannon's interest in The Fourth Coming was dragged out yet again, this time by The New York Times. But the article planted a helpful hint of why Bannon is on the elbow list and might be giving us a grim preview of the year ahead:
Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’

WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon has read the book three times. He still keeps a copy of it — one that’s creased and copiously underlined — in a library with the rest of his favorites at his father’s house in Richmond, Va. 
The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner. 
It also leads to unavoidable questions about war and whether Mr. Bannon, who has recommended the book to countless friends and made a film about it in 2010, is resigned to catastrophic global conflict. He says he is not. 
And he remains unconvinced that the United States can effectively intervene in overseas conflicts like the one unfolding in Syria. As one of the voices in the administration who expressed skepticism about a military strike in response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack on its own citizens, Mr. Bannon insists he is no warmonger.
Well, there you have it.

Is the Syria proxy war threatening to heat up again, or is this all just another dance in the Cold War Kabuki? Have actions like the Bombshow  become like sacrificial actions in ongoing magical actions? Or is the real war is for your mind and is playing out in thousands of manufactured headlines, blizzards of 30 second videos with deceptive text crawls and the endless babbling of overpaid talking heads?

I feel stupid even asking the question.

Just in case you're worried that this is all leading to nukes raining down on American cities,  the cognitive warriors seem to be trying to defuse any expectations of impending Armageddon: 
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that while the U.S. would push for regime change in Syria, “We’re not the ones who are going to effect that change.” 
“What we’re saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions,” McMaster said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here?’ Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?’”
Translation: No way in Hell we have the readiness needed for a hot war with a military superpower.

And since the mindfuck is the mother's milk of Cog-War, the careful inoculation of mixed messages into the mediafeed becomes just as vital a weapon as a cruise missile. Scratch that- much, much more so.
Trump Administration Is Contradicting Itself On Regime Change In Syria 
The Trump administration appears divided on whether the U.S. is pursuing a policy of regime change in Syria, days after the first direct American military attack against the Syrian government. 
Thursday’s strike “was related solely to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The goal of the attack was to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally Russia that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate the use of chemical weapons, he continued. “Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power. “There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.​”​
Though Haley stopped short of indicating the U.S. would take military action to overthrow the Syrian dictator, her comments reflect a sharp change from the administration’s previous position.
The difference here, of course, is that Tillerson sets and executes policy and Haley sits in a glorified debating society and blows smoke and fairy dust for a bunch of bored bureaucrats wishing they had their real government jobs back, the ones they enjoyed before being pushed upstairs to their present posts. The media only pays attention when bombs are falling.

It's all black magic, make no mistake about it. There are different terms and epithets for it all now,  but when you strip all the twenty-dollar words and the credentials and the technology away the intent and the effect is no different than a witch doctor's curse. 

William S. Burroughs understood this, since his uncle Ivy Lee was the creator of one of these modern strains of black magic, so-called "public relations." Burroughs considered his uncle a bonafide "evil genius." And Lee was a piker compared to the algorithm-fired masters of the dark arts striding the globe today.

Here's a story that probably won't pop up on your Facebook feed. Anyone paying attention to the Russia hacking story probably knows how incredibly weak the hacking evidence actually is,* but now Wikileaks is teasing out the Seth Rich mystery again.
‘Guccifer 2.0’ Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theories About Murder of DNC’s Seth Rich 
New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Twitter conversation, conducted via direct messages, purports to reveal Rich as the primary leaker of the DNC e-mails that proved highly disruptive during the 2016 presidential election. 
In direct messages dated August 25, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 mentioned having a whistleblower at the DNC, and said he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.”
When Young suggested trusting Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.0 called him “unsafe” and that he “may be connected with Russians” despite being his hero. 
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” he said, and revealed that the whistleblower he was referring to was none other than a person named “Seth.” 
“I suppose u know who I’m talking about,” he said, adding that he felt sorry about the murdered DNC staffer’s parents and that he wished for journalists to uncover the truth of his murder.
  
Seth Rich, a 27-year-old mid-level DNC staffer, was shot and killed in the early morning of July 2016 in Washington DC, while he was walking home from a bar and talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. Rich’s killers left his watch and wallet untouched on his body. 
This wasn't floated by Alex Jones or David Icke, it popped up on Heat Street, which is owned by the Dow Jones Company and Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. This story looks like it's going to grow some legs yet.

So are you sick of the Cog-War and the Cold War Kabuki yet? Tired of your social media hijacked by proxy warriors fighting battles for cliques within the Intelligence community? Burnt out on the whole Reality Show Presidency and its discontents altogether?

Start looking into ashrams in Sri Lanka, then. This machine is just getting warmed up. 




*Maybe some bright young spark should see if maybe the hacking an inside job by intel people who correctly judged a Trump White House would be easier to dominate than a bloated, top-heavy Clinton one. Just throwing that out there for giggles and grins.