The wrong end of a pistol

Out of curiosity, regarding the recent return of the TallyPo in Afghanistan, I went researching (armchair, skip-scanning of articles that matched my topic at-hand—which does not actually qualify as “research”), the treatment of women by the three major Abrahamic Religions.

What I found, anecdotally, made me question why these religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, even exist.

Throughout the ages, these religions pretty much codify the treatment of women as property. Islam being the worst offender. But the other two are just as dismissive of women as equal partners in all aspects of familial and community governance.

Let’s see:

  • The “books” of “God” are all written by men.
  • God is a dude.
  • God created Man and then Woman as an afterthought.
  • Men and Women are both contractually welcome into their associated heavens, not as a generalized people, but specifically as Men or Women.
  • The locations of worship, the synagogues, mosques and churches are generally off limits to women. Women should worship at home.
  • Roles within each religion are segregated and the dominant ones always assigned to men.
  • Women’s roles are always servile where obedience is the “godly” behavior attributed to ascension.

How could 1/2 (or more) of the majority of the population of the planet just put up with such station?

Fuck that.

And now that the women of Afghanistan, who have enjoyed a much expanded set of freedoms (not perfectly equal, but way better) are back under the TallyPo’s oppressive religious regime?

I’ll be awaiting the rise of the Afghan Underground Women’s Rebellion. There’s a shit ton of guns in that country, thank you very much Russia & the United States, and when they fall into the hands of the women whose lives are now once again severely throttled, I suspect the TallyPo will have more to fear from within than from without.

As a white, male, armchair, theoretical tactician I know I should be ignored. I have zero credibility regarding my opinion on such matters. I offer the above as an insubstantial hope that the reversal of women’s fortunes, eventually to the positive, does not demand a sacrifice too dear.

Somebody is responsible

I’ve been on a Bulfinch’s Mythology bender lately.

Why? Maybe because I recently finished watching “The Good Place” and “Good Omens” on Netflix, both of which I recommend. But, I also had a desire to know more about a certain Roman/Greek god Bacchus/Dionysus. (Don’t the Romans seem like god thieves?)

Regardless, I got to thinking about WHO DREAMED ALL THIS SHIT UP? Think about it, there was somebody, at some moment in the past, who had the inkling to say something akin to, “Boy, that’s some hardcore white streaks shooting down from the stormy sky. Someone must be throwing them. Maybe, yeah, maybe his name is Zeus.”

SOMEBODY had to have that first thought. Sure, there may have been discussion or what have you. But there was an original human who had that very first notion.

And then I got to thinking about all the other gods. And all the other words. And all the other ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ELSE.

“I sure am thirsty. I think I’ll drink some of that, um, trizzick. Uh, no. Bakabaka? Naw. Water. Yeah, I’ll call it water.”

Imagine, every word ever spoken was first spoken by one dude (or dudette). Every word. Somebody did it first.

And every thing created, every food eaten, everything. Somebody had to have done it first. Millions of unique names and objects.

And not just once, thousands of times for the same thing. How many languages have a word for “water”? All of them?

Individuals, millions of them, in their own time and minds, are responsible, at some point in the past, for every single word we utter, every thing we use, and every notion we understand.

 

 

The Dead Must Train Themselves

This is a continuation of the topic raised prior.

I’ve spent some time watching Black Mirror’s offerings and the one Duke Miller recommended, Marjorie Prime. The premise for these stories is that the living, bereft at the loss of a loved one, takes possession of a simulacrum. But, this virtual construct must be conditioned to behave like the deceased.

Who the fuck wants to do that?

Now, given the responses to the last post, it would seem the concept creeps some folks out. Others might find it hollow or shallow even. And then there’s the whole possibility question, could it actually be done? You’re all probably right on each front. However, I don’t know that the full potency of the idea has soaked in.

I’m convinced that this capability is coming. The crippled versions I’ve interacted with so far are limited I’ll admit. But, all the pieces are there. This will come to be, I know it. The first, I suspect, to be exposed as interactive agents will be dead celebrities. Those whose copyrights and trademarks are expired — open for exploitation, as it were. Imagine speaking with Shakespeare, or Nietzsche, Dickens or Darwin? Those representations will of course need Black Mirror’esque training, someone must do the deed of teaching ol’ William how to speak and how to be cheeky about love and life.

But that’s not where I think this will truly bloom (or die on the vine).

Given the technology—soon to be available, I’m certain I’ll be able to train my replacement. I’ll relate to him things I’d never tell anyone else, but things that would strike to the core of my persona. I’ll transfer other autobiographical stories that I’ve no intention of committing to paper, but would serve as flavor to any who come later — for those who might want to know me. I’ll record video of me speaking so that the DeepFake technology can make a model of me actually saying words. And I’ll de-age a bit, get back to around 45’ish, maybe.

I know my kids dig it.

Hell, wouldn’t you all be surprised to learn you’ve been talking to my digital duplicate now since early September. You think I survived that heart attack? Well, in a way, I did.

We are not conscious

Consciousness, at its simplest, is “sentience or awareness of internal or external existence”.

I’ve been thinking about the Singularity, the rise of the Machines, of AGI (artificial general intelligence) and how all of this may or may not give rise to AC – Artificial Consciousness.

We are not conscious. By that, I mean that this elevated concept of “Self” that we attribute only to ourselves—is a tautological illusion. It’s a transcendence we perpetrate as an ideal we set as an intelligence bar only we, so far, have attained.

Now, we can forever debate what consciousness is. No true definition has emerged from the age-old philosophical grindstone. But that won’t stop me from stepping up and out of the discussion and providing an armchair scientific analysis of the concept.

We think we’re conscious. OK, let’s go with that for now.

What if we take our brains, the source of our so-called consciousness, (we’ll include all the input senses and feedback loops connected to it), and cut our processing power in half. All the neurons, the tactile, aural, visual, all the sensory inputs and billions of neural connections — whack! Take just half.

Do you think the resulting entity would still be conscious? Who knows… Maybe, right? Okay, then let’s cut it in half again. And again.

Now we have an entity one-eighth of the mental capability of a human. Is that creature conscious? Let’s say they have the cognitive and sensory capacity of a salamander. Conscious? Some will still say, who knows? Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say Newt is incapable of the notion of “Self”. If they look in a mirror they won’t see themselves, a, you know, “Hey, don’t I look gooooood!” moment.

All we did to get to Newt, and his unconsciousness, was to regress our own capability backwards. If we progress in the opposite direction, doubling Newt’s brain and sensory power, we arrive at humanity’s ability level. And we’re to believe that once we get “here,” we’ve magically attained consciousness?

Maybe, consciousness is simply a capacity concept. What we think of as being self-aware is merely our vastly more complex and proficient ability to observe and analyze ourselves and our surroundings. Processing power. A numbers game.

We “think” we’re conscious, but maybe what we really are is being excellent at consuming data, examining that data and inferring outcome from that data, that is, following sequences of events to some conclusion. I think therefore I am.

Given this theory—that what we call consciousness is merely a critical amount of processing horsepower—we can expect that once an artificial general intellect acquires the threshold of an equivalent amount of cognitive and self-referential feedback processing, that it, too, will be just as “conscious,” as us, that is, not at all.

~~~

The corollary to this thesis would be: what of the artificial entity that is twice, ten times or a thousand times more cognitively capable than us humans? Would that entity truly have attained “consciousness”? Or, is this special concept we’ve awarded ourselves really just a numbers game, no matter how great the count?

Rabies: Vampires and Werewolves

Rabies, HIV, Hepatitis, Tetanus can all be spread through bites, animal or human. There are of course insect bites that will give you all kinds of diseases: yellow fever, dengue fever, Lyme disease, plague, malaria, etc. But I’ll focus on Rabies, for now.

The discovery of the cause of rabies didn’t occur until the early 1800’s and didn’t get a vaccine until Louis Pasteur figured things out later that century.

I have to wonder about the disease, Lyssavirus (named after Lyssa, the Greek goddess of insanity and rage) and its symptoms, in one variant, madness and an odd psychological fear called hydrophobia.

So, you, a carrier, bite someone and your victim becomes infected, insane with madness, and cringes from the sight of some mundane substance. Sound familiar?

(Seems that Lyssa and Lycaon, the Greek king who was cursed by Zeus to become the first werewolf, could have made the perfect couple.)

Hey, Bram Stoker, did you read about rabies in the London libraries around the 1890’s? Two legends, vampires and werewolves, both being vectored by saliva (viral infection) passed during a bite. Hmm, a curious coincidence.

Image courtesy: http://www.horror.land