Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a girl of style and grace...
Not really, but it's been my opening line for years.
Hello Daily Kos readers. My name is Valkyrie Ice. While that is not yet my legal name, it is the name I have been known by for over 30 years online, and as such is a unique identifier, not an "alias" or attempt to "hide my identity". A simple google search of my name will lead you to my facebook, my email (lsmcgill at both hot and g mail) and my many articles for H+magazine, Acceler8or.com, Transhumanity.net, and IEET, as well as a complete bio at: http://lifeboat.com/...
So, don't bother trying to accuse me of hiding behind a fake name. I don't use the "legal appellation" Lance for a simple reason, I am transgender, and I despise it.
That said, lets get down to brass tacks shall we?
I am a transhumanist. For those of you who do not know what that means, I see humanity as an evolving species. We are a tool making animal, and we have over the centuries refined those tools to the betterment of mankind. It also means I see those tools as a continuing means improve the human condition. I neither view humanity as inherently "flawed" nor "perfectable", I just think we have the potential to improve.
I am also a "humanitarian", in the sense that I see value in the existence of all human life. I see things in the long term, acknowledging that the exact value of any given human to my own personal goals and desires is an unknown, but that investments in others have the potential to have a return many times greater than my outlay. I see societies as a system intended to benefit all members, and understand that most of the systemic problems we currently have are not due to failures of the systems, but due to the hijacking of those systems by parasitical entities diverting benefits into individual "status hordes" to the detriment of the commons.
As such, I have no political leanings, no ideological ideals, and claim no labels. I merely observe, analyse, and report what I see as the logical outcomes.
And, if I have already convinced you that I am "a crackpot" or any of the other numerous pejoratives I have been called in the past, so be it. It has no bearing on the underlying reality I observe, nor on the trends I report on, and even less on their logical progressions.
However, if you are still interested in my observations, read on.
Welcome to those of you who chose to continue. Let's see how quickly I can convince you I am stark raving insane, shall we?
If you read any of the articles I have published previously, you will note I consistently refer to myself as a "Succubus to be". This is my online persona, one that is far more "really me" than the fiction I project "IRL" For now, just go with it. My reasons for presenting myself in this way are rather unimportant at the moment, because to understand them, there is a lot more information you need to know first.
So, where to begin?
First off, regardless of what many people have accused me of, I am not an optimist. I hold no great opinion of "human nobility", nor do I think that "justice" "equality" "good" or "evil" hold any intrinsic meaning. "Left" and "Right", "Conservative and "progressive", "Liberal" or "Libertarian", are all meaningless labels intended to provide a "narrative" in which their followers are "hero's fighting against the tyranny of (insert given opponent here)".
To be blunt, the overwhelming majority of humanity does little more than serve as infectious vectors for one parasitic ideological meme complex or another. Very few of them actually serve their own self interests, instead serving only as disposable agents of their ideology, ants marching to the orders of a non-existent queen, seeking only to spread their ideology, and further it's goals, oftentimes at the expense of their own well-being, and even their own lives. Very few people make even a token effort to examine their "beliefs" in an objective manner, and reject those elements which are detrimental to their continued well-being, which are illogical, or which encourage harm to others. Instead, they accept the "received wisdom" of their ideological "faith" and then precede to attempt to "convert to the faith" as many others as they can.
And this applies not merely to religion, but to any ideology.
Because of this, most people exist in an "echo chamber", a "worldview" in which fact means less than faith. While the "Republican/Conservative/Rightwing" faction is one of the more egregious examples of this "cocooning", it is nonetheless an almost universally shared trait of humanity. ( I don't even excuse myself from this fact. As hard as I try to examine things solely from a logical and evidence based perspective, I have no doubt I have many as yet unnoticed biases I still need to weed out. We humans excel at rationalization of our illogical biases after all.)
Now, if I have not yet outraged and offended the majority of you, let me add that this also applies to non-political and non-religious fields of human endeavor as well, such as science, in which any evidence that contradicts "consensus" is "heresy".
However, as I have pointed out previously, ( http://www.acceler8or.com/...) "Consensus" is a political term, an "Argumentum ad Populum" fallacy intended to prevent dissent and quell questioning of the "status quo." It has no value in science, and it's use serves only as a means to enforce "ideological purity" among "the faithful".
In other words, do not expect me to accept "consensus" as a "valid argument" for any reason, on any subject, at any time. Objective reality is a matter of evidence, and not a popularity contest. As the saying goes, "it only takes one white crow to disprove the theory that all crows are black."
So, to any of you still reading, you are probably curious as to what I "see" as "objective reality". Let me start by giving the basic way I see "humanity" and "Society".
I discuss this far more fully in my blog: (http://valkyrieice.blogspot.com/...) but to simplify, humans are driven by two basic instinctual drives. the first is survival, the second is reproduction. These two drives lie at the center of everything we do on a day to day basis, but we have complicated and rationalized and compounded so many "excuses" for our actions, we have deluded ourselves into thinking that we have no instincts, and by doing so, have given them complete freedom to run amuck, regardless of the harm they inflict to ourselves, our societies, and each other.
We are "pack/herd" animals. Our genetically inherited "survival strategy" is to band together into groups. We instinctively know that there is a greater chance of our survival as individuals if we act in concert, and that by co-operation, we each receive benefits that exceed the benefits achievable alone. As a side effect of our gathering into "societies" we instinctively create hierarchical structures, or "governments". This is a means to allow the "collective" to efficiently enable the equitable sharing of "combined resources" for the good of all members of the collective.
Note, this is the "ideal", and requires voluntary participation of the individual, call it "socialism" if you wish, it matters little. The point is that in an "ideal" system, the role of "government" is to provide benefits to all members of a society through management of voluntarily shared resources, enabling the creation of "benefits" impossible to provide for oneself. It does so through "allocation of resources" created by "division of labor", in which each individual offers their "product" to the community in exchange for the "products" of other individuals in the community. Under ideal conditions, this enables a "community" to create "surplus" over and above the "basic needs", and thus creates "affluence" and the ability to "grow" (support a larger community without stressing existing resources)
Were this the only instinct we have, obviously "poverty" would not exist. But it also would likely mean we would still be a hunter/gatherer society.
Which brings us to the second instinct we have, reproduction. Where survival encourages us to co-operate, reproduction is all about competition. Our genes want to reproduce, and they want to reproduce with the "best available" genestock they can. This leads to us "competing" with each other in an effort to "prove our worthiness".
Now, competition is not a bad thing, it encourages improvements, and combined with the "benefit systems" of a community, it enables a continuous "Spiral of progress", in which each successive "improvement" enables greater benefits, more resources, and greater ability to grow to the society at large.
So, why then do we have "poverty, human suffering, etc?"
The reason is that as we have grown beyond the "tribal" system of society, universal accountability has been lost. The ability of the community to govern individual behaviors to ensure that they did not jeopardize the entire societies well-being faded as we grew into societies in which individuals could become "anonymous" and could hide actions that caused society harm behind a veil of secrecy. This has enabled individuals to in effect become parasites on the system, diverting shared community generated resources into their personal "Status Hordes" and using those communally generated resources to benefit only themselves as individuals.
(And to clarify, no, I am not talking about the poor, those requiring aid, or any individuals who makes any sort of income below, say arbitrarily, a couple of million a year, and only selectively of those who make more. To claim that such minor parasites are dangerous to the larger society as a whole is to basically ignore the facehugger sticking an alien in your chest while you are bitching about a fleabite. Not every individual in a specific societal tier acts parasitically, nor does parasitic behavior exist exclusively within specific tiers. Minor parasites are simply a fact of life, I am speaking primarily of those who's parasitic behavior threatens the life of the entire community.)
Again, for a much fuller explanation of my views, I recommend the link provided above "On Government".
However, what we have ended up with due to these factors is a society in which every single member of the human race is involved in a "Status Game." Almost every action we perform, every belief we hold, every ideology we espouse, we do so in order to "improve" one or more status markers, either to earn "social accolades", "financial awards" or any of a large variety of "status markers" which we consciously or unconsciously acquire in order to "make us more appealing" to whichever potential mates our genetics considers desirable.
We, of course, invent endless justifications to avoid acknowledging this. We don't like to think of ourselves as such animalistic beings, and in truth, we are not entirely this simplistic, but at the most basic level of subconscious motivation, it starts here. It's the basic substrate on which all else is built.
And it is this reality that underlies the majority of problems we have with accepting facts that conflict with our "ideological worldviews". The investments we have made in these worldviews, the "status" we believe that such a worldview gives us, and the "loss" of that status that we perceive will occur by admitting "we were wrong" provides little incentive to accept fact over faith. And since "increasing the flock" in essence "increases" status within the "group" of others who share that worldview, we are "rewarded" by spreading the "ideological virus" of these various memes, and "threatened" by those who hold contradicting memes.
And it is this view of humanity that underlies all of the analysis of society, our technological development, and how we will develop over the next few decades that I do.
Now, with this understanding it should be quite obvious that I view the various political divisions as neither "good" nor "evil" but see that there are various aspects of all sides which are beneficial for the good of the community, and thus all individuals within that community, and aspects which are detrimental to the well-being of the community, and by extension, to the individuals which contribute to that community, and depend on it for survival.
And yes, this does presently mean I see the "right/conservative/republican/teaparty" as containing memes which are far more threatening to the overall well-being of the human community, but it does not mean that there are NO beneficial memes mixed in to the morass. But neither does this mean that the "left/Progressive/Democrat/Liberal" ideologies are free from harmful and counterproductive memes either. It just means there are fewer harmful memes on the "left" relative to the "right".
Regardless, while these ideological differences are not "meaningless" and do play a large part in how much human suffering we will face in the transitional period we are undergoing, in a larger sense, they are also superfluous, in that their ability to deflect the technological evolution underway is minimal. The technological changes I see do not depend on any given political or ideological worldview, they are straightforward logical progressions of current research, engineering, and development. At best, political and ideological efforts can speed up or delay these development by a few years, but they cannot prevent them. All they can really accomplish is to make the transition smoother and less harmful, or make it harder and far more costly in terms of human lives.
I will allow that to be digested, and see whether there is any further interest by anyone before continuing. For those curious as to the origins of some of these observations, I recommend the book "God Wants You Dead" ( http://www.scribd.com/...) as well as some of my articles, available at the link found in the first section of this "diary"