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                                                    Adaptation Jerks 
Printable Version                                                               
                                                    Another Damn Spring - 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          Endless Revisions; 2015 - 2019

        Undoubtedly, we are the strangest of kinds. Though by diving deep in the ocean and if we’re real lucky, we can snatch a glimpse of yet another strangest of kinds; the elusive, Giant Squid. Thought to be a loner in the vast dark depths, this monstrous creature somehow—finds an occasional mate. But, if he gets his signals crossed, he could end up like his enemy, the whale who lies bloating upon the shore. A missed signal consequence perhaps? 
        Going inland by way of New Zealand, we can glimpse yet another strangest of creatures; birds that no longer need to fly, or possibly, somehow lost that privilege? Yikes! Even if they landed at some oasis where they’d never need to leave, I say losing the perk to fly is one helluva steep—backwards, adaptation price! Actually, we don’t need to travel far and wide to catch a glimpse, or find wonder in, this planet’s creatures and their communicating ways. Consider just a few at-home marvels; birds, bees, ants even. When the days shorten but before hitting their southbound flyaway interstates, do migrating birds somehow cast an immensely broad signal pinpointing just exactly when and where each will need to show up for this annual, exodus departure? Well, when December’s freeze befalls a lonely flyer perched atop a snow laden branch, I wonder if it’s like that of beached whales; if he too—missed the signal to turn anywhere but where he did. 
        We do know honeybees communicate the location of forage by dancing the figure 8. By counting the amount of dips and dives per sequence, along with the angle of the sun to a colony, bee scouts signal to their buds just where the nectar is. We count, can bees? And then there’s the everyday ant; their driven intensity is a wonder in itself. Who knows how or what they signal but they just don’t give up. Their dwellings can get drowned, burned or flattened time and again but still they aren’t deterred. Ants regroup and rebuild like their home is on the most sacred of ground; a worthy observation to consider. 
        For this strangest of kinds, by adapting to upright walking and the sprouting of thumbs, we came a long way and thankfully! Luckily, we no longer crawl about sniffing dung to glean a few clues. By way of thumbs, this creature came to invent an endless array of every imagined tool so if there’s a need to know what a pile can divulge, technology can do the prodding. However, like the New Zealand birds, the Dodo once knew how to fly but is now extinct because of that very loss. Well, Homo Sapiens have lost the edge on a few handy perks too. It’s like the saying goes: if you don’t use it—you lose it. Hardly could we compete in the wild now if stripped of even basic essentials; fur pelt now downed, moccasins now gor’texed, fire now matched. All this just to keep from freezing—not to mention fed. To this, think of our wimpy sense of smell as just one prowess perk—now dulled. For consolation though, we gained the highly coveted cerebral cortex and I’d bet most of us would call that a good trade. Or, is it a trade? 
        Evolution once meant: progress to more advanced organisms with more complex structure and function. But, we couldn’t agree if progress was intended, so we coined a new word—devolution: backward evolution where a species can change into more primitive forms over time. Biologist Niles Eldredge sums the role of adaptation up in a sentence:"Adaptation is the heart and soul of evolution.” Even if I filled today’s story with only evolution/adaptation intricacies, it’d only be a scratching but it’s safe to say that all agree—only the fittest survive.
This is inclusive. It applies to absolutely every species. So, of the 99% of this planet’s—now extinct species—how many made the Dodo trade? 
       No oasis is exempt from change and that includes within. Only this time, the trade that’s up for grabs is our keenly sharpened cerebral cortex. Before technology fully functions to do everything for us, let’s take a fair look at how we’re adapting. Consider what will be the permanent, irreversible loss, or diminished state of any perk we’ve got going for us: the adaptation jerks we will most surely take on once we cast aside more traits deemed unnecessary once technology; the Godsend of our eracomes fully geared to do absolutely everything for us. This includes sending/receiving, creating even—our own damn signals. And if you are someone truly enamored with all that technology can do, then maybe you’ve already caught a sense seeping into you from a belief that finally—we’ve landed on the pinnacle of it all. If so, nows a great time to let the obvious sink in: when pinnacle perching—the going up is over.

        The Director of The Institute for Humanity’s Future said: "we must study all aspects of superintelligence with at least the same level of consideration we give every arcane subject." Who’s we? Academics? Time to start thinking for ourselves cuz reckless stupidity is stamped on both sides of today’s New World Order Coin. The hell-bent gang looking to replace us sure want us to believe we’re so inept we deserve it! And the flip-side gang is working overtime to sell us their fantastical lead where soon: nobody will have to work, nobody will have to play slave to the money machine once technology does everything for us! How stupid do they think we are? More importantly: how much more stupid do they want us to become? Time to take our own accounting—while we still can. 
        With every passing second, technology is being geared to fulfill any need money can buy including the riddance of every lifeline we hold onto. Possibly, we don’t yet accept there’s a clever undermining going on because it’s being packaged as a trade that’s little more than a re-shuffling; higher-thinking jobs being the booty. So, I created the previous, Mr. Crowdrightin installment; crammed it full of current excerpts to drive home what we must quickly grasp:
1) Those higher-thinking jobs already can’t keep pace with the many humans who need to pay for their freer-than-ever experience. And, that’s without exponential in full swing.
2) That already, the bulk of today’s jobs aren’t in higher-thinking/paying sectors but in, and will continue to be in—low-pay sectors. Higher-thinking technologies are replacing higher-waged jobs. Remember, it’s the radiologist who’s more expensive to employ—not the housemaid.
3) If we keep on this road: unemployment will become chronic by nature. I’m not a fatalist and that’s not my grim prognosis. C’mon! Fatalistic collapsing only becomes inevitable when a mass does absolutely nothing to retract from reckless stupidity!  
        For those who’ve landed one of those higher-thinking jobs at the expense of our middle-class, do you align yourself with today’s glorious way gang; that technology is the godsend here to release us from paycheck-bondage? Maybe you favor yesterday’s hell-bent bunch where markets will always find a way. Well, so long as powerdogs get to keep piling their horded bones. Guess it doesn’t much matter which side you fancy but this does: as quickly as your high-flyin’ job sprouted—someone else landed another  job bent on getting rid of yours. And if you see yourself as part of some specialized gang competent enough to stay ahead of AI in this good ‘ole survival of the fittest competition where the rest of us need to just buck up or shut up, then realize: the very means for this consuming beast to peacefully coexist includes you and that existence is buckling under the weight of an unprecedented competitor that knows no bounds.  
         When I watch long trains roll by, ladened with massive wind blades headed for some farm to be erected literally—wherever the wind blows, I used to think wow! Now here’s a shining example of a relatively new industry; a renewable-sustainable one no less, that just might become tomorrow’s bulk employer! Then I saw a clip on the Discovery Channel detailing how these wings are made. With many a’ workers in the background busily crafting these impressive beauties, the boss was in the foreground busily explaining how he was hard at work installing automation to cut overhead. I flipped him off but of course he didn’t see it. The guy didn’t even wince; knowing his overhead was listening—watching his excitement grow as visions of all that pocketed money danced in his head. 
         We’ve gone from skilled craftsmen to headache, devalued—overhead. We don’t even warrant hushed consternations anymore while heffes chat about getting rid of us. Well, heffes and higher thinking creators of our replacers need to realize: we are all in the same damn boat and it’s in dire need of bailing. Flinging our butts off the side—won’t prevent yours from sinking. All of us, by remaining non-pulsed by what’s coming on: chronic unemployment will be the least of our ailments no matter how highfalutin anyone climbs.

A Path Less Traveled.
        We are all giving our premier seats on this earthly journey to inanimate its’ without much ado. Why? Are we really so deeply rutted in self-absorbed mire—there truly isn’t any hope of extraction? The juncture before us is one of choice. Chiseling our way to a saner path is up to young, old, skilled, unskilled, big fish or small fry, and it’s as crucial to choose to do as was every other choice any vigilant mass ever made. Those living right now must come to see that to stay this course: we are ultimately the ones—with no one else to blame—who will deliver all humanity to the brink of jobless quicksand. And once there, the only way to forge onwards to that grand techno-utopia is to somehow bridge this expanse but—there is no bridging over wholesale joblessness that can possibly bear the weight of all of us. Yet, this transcending bridge is already being concocted and once completed—it’s an irreversible, never to come back from, sure path to mayhem. 
        Even if our guides believe transcending our bio-selves is their decision to make, it is without question one trade we are wholly unprepared to entertain. But, so long as we let idiots try their hand at playing God, then it really doesn’t matter whether this bridge bears only the weight of brainiacs and money-backed ticket holders: once the rest of us find ourselves at that chance-a-crossing brink or starve, then etched deeply with the color of blood are those history lessons spelling out exactly what we’ll do to ensure that if we can’t cross—nobody will.  
        We’ve been given a grand chance at what a free-type existence feels like; a governed lead worth improving which is far more tangible than some empty illusion so it’s not a hopeless endeavor to clear some of the debris away to find—a path less traveled. The raising mass awareness boulder isn’t insurmountable. Getting unstuck from the me-me mire might be a bit of a trick but not insurmountable either. If we’ll simply let a few of these hammerings gel—we will find a saner path. Here’s todays’ hammering: we are no longer the only adapting higher-intelligence. However, the it-type has no devolutionary, backward gearing.   

To catch a clue.
        Maybe we aren’t yet certain as to what adaptation jerks we are taking on but we do know signaling success is crucial. And, newday instantaneous signaling bombardment damn sure doesn't help. Little wonder why discerning fact from fiction is so confounded nowadays. In all this—our intuition is taking on some serious hits. One hit needs scrutinized: that proof from outside our bodies is the only credible means to obtain actual knowledge. Guess its back to faith versus proof. 
        During the 1970’s, Dr. John Diamond refined a discipline called Kinesiology; the study of our bodies muscle and movement signaling. Now called Behavioral Kinesiology, Diamond discovered indicator muscles strengthen or weaken in the presence of positive or negative emotional and intellectual stimuli. This discipline, time-tested for over 40 years with universal and uniform results, attests to a direct-connect our ancestors surely survived by: our body’s ability to provide credible signaling. So, why does our highly sophisticated state disregard this huge perk if we are truly—so sophisticated? Hmm…
        Mother Nature holds a few dictums too and to better appreciate one of them, just observe common, everyday behavior of any communal species and you might catch a glimmer of an adaptation in-the-making. For us, just observe how quickly we’ve become utterly reliant on Baby-G  to tell us everything we deem important. Watch as a sea of us move down a busy street.  Notice how instantly, we look down at our smartphones to glean something like—which way is west. The timeless instant response to simply look up, has readily become an afterthought. Mother Nature’s behavior dictum? An utter reliance on fingertip info-gathering will affect how Homo Sapien perks develop—or diminish. 
        Holding out for scientific proof to eventually conclude that this sophisticated beast just might be regressing comes as one bad trade.
Adaptation may be slow but it’s still fluid. However, we do have time enough to dust off our intuition as a preventative, just-in-case measure. We can also brush-up on how to catch a clue from our body’s signaling ways simply by doing a kinesiology test. Actually, a doc has likely already done one on you; the one where you hold an arm stiffly outright and as the doc asks specific questions, he gently pressures down whereas the arm will remain outright or easily fall in accordance to the response. The conclusion: our body correctly signals to us all the time—it’s just a matter of correctly reading the message. 
        By the late 70’s, another doctor expanded Diamond’s findings; specifically to research how our body responds to truths and falsehoods. Meaning: do we innately know truth, or must we rely on our minds’ idea of truth? Twenty proof-gathering years later, Dr. Hawkins published Power vs. Force, wherein his findings conclude the obvious. Just like absolutely every communal beast, we have social consciousness hardwired right into us. Meaning: our survival, just like every communal beast, requires communal concurrence. So, of the 99% now extinct species—who disregarded this memo?
        Conclusions like these really shouldn’t be all that hard to wrap our minds around if we’d simply remember even a few signaling ways every other creature inhabiting this planet uses. Undeniably, our scientific proof-only mindset: something that really only began taking hold during this past century has indeed affected us. We don’t doubt other creatures signaling abilities—just our own.

Doubting Thomas.
        Earth Magazines’ June 2013 issue ran an article titled Making Decisions as a Species. In it, Author George Seielstad quotes Al Gore from a 2009 speech: “We as a species must make a decision. This sounds absurd because we’ve never made a decision as a species and yet we must quickly or we’ll lose the opportunity to retrieve a climate balance that is favorable for human life.” Seielstad then provides a few recent, species-wide agreement examples to remind us that communal concurrence is not all that absurd. Other than immediate survival elements kicking in; like adrenaline where we might unanimously agree to run for our lives, Seielstad says: “by the 1970’s, it was realized the chlorofluorocarbons (CFS), once widely used as refrigerants and propellants in spray cans, destroys the ozone. In response, by 1987 an international agreement was reached making the Montreal Protocol the first treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification. The result of this species-wide concurrence is that the ozone layer is now recovering.” Other concurrence examples he used was the elimination of smallpox and The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT), which is now on the universal agreement table.
        Though NPT has not yet been successful, we must hope that someday soon, humans will come to see nuclear fusion as the first species-wide Pandora’s Box we were wholly unprepared to open. Add warheads to nutcases, spent nuclear debris, leaking reactors, aged and/or sinking coastal plants, and it all spells horrific trouble. Superintelligence is the second box we are hardly prepared to open. Like nuclear fusion—both are Promise or Peril technologies. 
        Just as nuclear energy was thrust upon this planet with scant consideration to its long term perils; how to dispose, contain or control it, Superintelligence is the newest techno-frontier being shoved upon us with the same how to dispose, contain or control it perils and more—much more. Surely, we innately know anything capable of annihilating our species deserves a hard look at by the whole of us but as yet, we’re busy stifling our inner-signaling, willingly deferring this power-pitch lead to our scientific, political and moneyed elite guides; the same guide-types who impudently delivered unto this planet the nuclear promise. So, are we getting smarter or dumber?

        Unlike the ant, maybe technology has been doing so much for us long enough now that consequently, we’ve gotten lazy and can’t be bothered to defend our community anymore. Possibly, our inability to think for ourselves is like a precursor; by lack of use and/or appreciation, does go the perks once had. Since we’ve been quite busy making trades in the artificial realm—these are plausible considerations. Maybe we aren’t yet certain as to why other creatures’ misread signals but we do know bio-adaptation is slow but never idle. We’ll adapt alright but if we want to go forward, then we can’t keep stalling cuz when a fluid process stagnates—it aint forward-ho anymore.
        Hawkins says: “It’s not that we lack information—we are virtually drowning in it.”  Indeed. Throughout this series, I’ve offered conceivable reasons to justify our dismal state and info-overload gets top billing. Obviously, if missed signals or scrambled interference can lead a whale to its beached demise: then a 24/7 nonstop, supersonic mass-messaging downpour is grossly confounding our already diminished ability to correctly read bio-signals—even if we aren’t yet willing to recognize that certainty. I don’t think anyone’s at fault here; we are where we are and we yam what we yam. Rather, we can’t afford to hold out for yet another, 20-year adaptation blink of scientific proof-gathering years, to finally confirm what we can still innately discern. The next-up twenty are Baby-G’s teen years. We’ll need a sharp, fully-functioning, clear-minded concurrence process in place or this teen will zoom right past the Promise—smack into wholesale Peril.  

Cumulative Consciousness.
        When stuck, self-help books are here to help re-track. First up, the importance of taking an honest assessment; we must first accept where it is we are. So when Power Vs. Force thunked down, it seemed the perfect fit for a personal accounting—expanded. But remember, self-help is just that. Think AA. Unless one’s open to change, no exclusive detox center, shrink or honest-assessing laundry list from even a loved one—will help.  
        In his book, Hawkins provides a Map of Cumulative Consciousness. His theory: “The individual human mind is like a computer terminal connected to a giant database. This database is human consciousness itself, of which our own cognizance is merely an individual expression but with its roots in the common consciousness of all mankind.” This concept interfaces perfectly with Zeitgeist: The individual human experience moves as a cumulative—spirit of the times. 
        From this map, Hawkins has us checking in at 207 during this past decade; up from 190 where it had been stuck for many centuries. This scale, which begins with the sapping energy fields of 25 up through 200, are described with labels such as shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride. Above 200 reside recharging energies like courage, willingness and acceptance. From 400 to 600, powerful energies expressed by reason, love, joy and peace reside. Above 700—full enlightenment reverberates. Please spend a minute here to let your emotions gel with these labels. 
        In following Hawkins reasoning, we can see why societies remain stuck below 200 for so long. “Primitive conditions for bare survival are the norm; clothing meager, illiteracy the rule, infant mortality high with widespread disease and malnutrition, and a vacuum of social power. Skills are rudimentary; gathering fuel and food, preparation of shelter—a total dependence on the immediate environment. This is the Stone Age cultural level—little more than animal existence.”
        Luckily, higher energies offset lower ones. Societies calibrating above 300 are typified by: “technicians, skilled and advanced craftsmen, routine managers and a more sophisticated business structure. Completion of secondary education is standard. Interests in style, sport and entertainment develops, and an informed awareness of public events with a worldview that extends beyond tribe, neighborhood and city but—to the nation at large and all human welfare.”  
        When Hawkins assessed global conscious at a whopping 207, gloatingly, you might think American consciousness is much higher. After all, we are technicians with a sophisticated business structure and we certainly are — interested in style and public entertainment! But, life ebbs and flows and societies can damn well backslide—with or without adaptation certainties. Without those certainties, are we merely stalled but at least looking to grind some gears hoping to find forward? Or, are we merely waiting for someone else to find forward for us before gravity jerks us backwards?

It’s Dismal alright.
        Our agenda is simple enough. Get a decent job with fair pay and embark on how to live a fulfilled life; an existence that’s supposed to be governed by the people for the people. This simplicity was gaining a comfortable presence right up until info-inundation came along to exacerbate an already acute case of distrusting every powerhouse agenda out there. Also, this overwhelmed sense enveloping us from a world changing at supersonic speed sure doesn’t help matters. That’s the way I see it anyway. However—our critics don’t excuse us so easily. 
        This now worldly and educated mass is accused of being shallow, complacent—ignorant. Remember Pistono’s 60% lesson? Already, 60% of us don’t use our noggins much. That’s a big chunk of dismal. Here’s another: we hardly attend, nor seem to appreciate—our democratic gift. This fact, this damn voting record or rather lack of as we’ve been weighed and measured here too and it turns out that half of us don’t vote, means we need to stop laying the dismal blame on the uneducated bottom. This indicator points directly to a cause/effect outcome. Be it an adaptation jerk or temporary stall—how has freedom affected us? Thus far, our lackluster showing is arming repressive mindsets with told you so proof; that even in a free state—masses still choose to behave like sheep. Realize: any society’s middle sets the standard to what’s progressive or regressive about their never idle ebb and flow. So it’s us, not the bottom of our group snapshot as they aren’t yet the bulk-middle, when vote-casting is easier than ever—this is what we are choosing not to attend to.
        Newsweek’s editor Brown observed how cynical and irreverent we’ve become. Cynical: distrusting or disparaging the motives of others. Irreverent: showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously. If these are accurate psychic markers, then this communal beast better hope they are mindset-fads soon to fade cuz if these etchings run wide enough—they won’t sneak by the madam in charge of devolution. 
        This messenger constantly questions if these bottled messages will even crack an opening in our cynical armor but never once have I questioned what lesson stands before us. We’ve got to choose to move individually responsible in a mass-minded way. How we gonna do this if we persist in elevating bane cheekiness at a distrust-expense we can’t afford to be entertained by anymore? When the Humanities Director wrote his we, maybe he was thinking of fellow academics, scientists and politicians but I’m spelling out who is the backbone of we. Our Zeitgeist embodies a freer-than-ever educated existence. Yet—it’s dismal. Why? Our predecessors likely dreamed that when this day came, it would be a peaceful and enlightened time. I doubt they’d have fought so damn hard for us if they knew we’d only squander their gift.

Welcome to the Jungle Baby.
        Critics point to other regression markers; entitlement mentality now grips us, we’re fully plugged-in yet tuned-out, we’ve become a complacent, lazy democracy that’s allowed an Oligarchy to flourish and—our focus is fried. Yes Houston—there’s a problem. Hawkins’ state of enlightenment didn’t make room for the necessity of hammering on just how dismal our Zeitgeist is but my state is not nearly so enlightened.
We have become a cynical, irreverent and judgmental bunch who easily blames those others for our tribulations. Sure, every society deduces their state of civility based on the past but evidently, it’s trendy to base it on the future as well. I muse at how quickly we deem the future is hopeless based on the kids of today because I remember adults assuring us our future was hopeless based on the kids of today back when we were kids! Well, maybe they were onto something. After all, we are the kids that allowed a mountain of debt to stack up—all on our watch. Anyway, just read any novel of past eras; kid-blaming is standard fare. Honestly, how is it that now worldly people still lay the weight of disarray on those hardly old enough for whiskers or bras? 
        Yes, we do spend a great deal of time glorifying a God we believe is embodied in each of us but then pigeon-hole every other like-minded believer whose concept deviates from our own narcissistic one. Whatever ascribed dogma we hold above basic human unity, subdivides yet again at partisan lines; hard left and right folks awaken each day to volatile, division-fixes. We then idle away our weeks entertained by favorite shock hosts to reinforce that our God or Godless judgments really are worth dividing over but ironically, manage to dab on a bit of unity-pretense come Friday, Saturday or humble judgeless Sundays. Come Monday, our jig’s rewound and the years stack like weights—pressing us deeper into the mire. We are educated adults gifted with the freedom of choice and we choose to blame every societal defugilty on those others—whoever they are.  

Are we Mindless too?
        In Newsweek’s March 28th-2011segment, Douglas Schoen writes about; “The Mindless Middle.” “It’s scary enough that so many Americans don’t know how the system is supposed to work in that: ignorance facilitates cynicism. But when so much of the problem stems from an apathetic middle, it makes it far harder to build the consensus necessary to move America forward as the challenges mount. We face fundamental questions about how to balance our budgets, reduce our deficits and educate our children. Yet the ends of each political spectrum, the ones more interested in fanning flames and less motivated to find solutions: are the ones arming themselves with knowledge, while the center, where consensus stems from—is tuning-out or turning-off.” 
        He is right and he is referring to us. Regardless of age, most anyone reading this will hail from the middle irrespective of any conservative or liberal leaning. And because most us try to stay informed, nearly every topic I’ve hit on is going to be familiar to you so this series truly is a preaching to the choir. Any sane democrat or republican knows then that our ship has some gaping holes and it's imperative to plug some or we will sink—that we already are. So aside from our immature paring judgments which we can all strive to reach for higher ground on, politically, we aren’t nearly so divided as others would have us believe. But, it’s a new day. Casting the occasional vote won’t cut it anymore. It is within the next 20 years when the outcome of this David and Goliath showdown will be sealed. Humanity can’t afford to have this right-now informed middle, remain mindlessly impervious to what we know must come from—the disengaged us. 

All-things Pixeled. 
        Currently, there’s not much data-proof out about the ill-effects stemming from how we now communicate though we do know communication is everything to communal us. But, here’s two; both sporting their own syndrome and acronym tags. Information Fatigue Syndrome (IFS) occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity resulting in feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) occurs when we stare at pixels so much it results in eye strain, headaches, neck pain and other health associated symptoms. Yeah, tags are a dime a dozen nowadays but still—I can relate. From the years of writing this, I now must fend off stress due to an overloaded processor and if I ever get outta this chair—I’m hoping to find my eyes and neck will eventually recover. And my ass. It damn sure needs restored to its previous state! 
        While waiting for other debilitations about a pixel-infused existence to become official, we’ll have to make-do with our own observations. Behaviors widespread enough to snag catchy tags come straight outta clever us. As we see it—we are becoming two-bit sound-bite junkies incapable of focus. Now I doubt these diminishments will snag any two-bit trending spot, but I have noticed the occasional sound-bite about them streaming by! Anyway, it’s serious. A vast majority of us have already succumbed to a lethargic, techno-zoned, mentally-zonked, physicality. We exist more sedately than any other human era so we can stop pulling out the denial pouch about how our pixeled existence doesn’t affect—ours truly. 
        Also, maybe it’s time we consider what’s happening to our airwaves; those breathable waves we absolutely congest with such profuse, gargantuan mountains of texts, tweets and every manner of posts. Airwaves which we still don’t know what cause/effect these massive piles are wreaking on Mr. Sky-blue. We don’t even know much about the cause/effect being wreaked on our own bodies from all the radioactive emissions being infused into us from our pixeled darlings that we hold so dearly close but we do know:
we glare at pixels on average—11 of our 24 hour daily allotment. Honestly, if this plugged-in existence is so damn groovy that we refuse to acknowledge any ill-effects happening to ours truly, then we should at least look around; start with our own kin. Hell, look at our own kids because by the time proof gets here—they won’t be kids anymore.

Focus Focus Focus.
         Rhymes with pocus and I could have some fun with that! I looked up the definition of hocus pocus because it seems as though our focus somehow keeps getting just that! Okay, stick with me. Writing our laundry list aint easy. Humans have a long legacy of imbibing in varied, altered states of being. To see this, just indulge your imagination. Envision every campfire ritual conducted anywhere thru the ages; from every rain dance frenzy, to the beseeching of any and all Gods, to every group sharing a flask of whiskey, reminiscing, hoping to agree on a good path for the challenges to come. Typically, those conduits used to alter states were culturally accepted—but limited in both quantity and variety—until lately. Today's human, regardless of whether we're currently or residually under some altered influence, or merely just day dreaming—wishing we were: obsessive thinking about any fix simply means there's scant focus left for any task-at-hand. Our focus is in dire need of attention. We are making machines look exceedingly attractive—at our own expense.                             Pot, which came on the scene in a big way during our cultural revolution, was ushered in as life's best liberator. But for many, it turned out to be life's best inhibitor. And then one day you find ~ ten years have got behind you ~ you missed the starting gun ~PF. Today, state by state, its resurgence is evident. Hailed as either medicinal or recreational now; (to dispute either claim is basically irrelevant since pot comes with evidence backing both), what is relevant is a keener regard for focus. The solution here—resides in what's culturally accepted. And as history attests, our focus isn't so fragile it can't recover from an occasional, altered influence and in fact, because of what history teaches, it could be said occasional alterations can be helpful; bring some clarity, some enlightenment even. But here on out, what needs to quickly become socially accepted is a choosing to live our lives not immersed in altered or vicarious state. Make it cool— to live reality in real-time.
We are
dazed and confused ~ LZ. Still. A hefty part of this does stem from the array of choices to now alter our state; it's like some candy counter chocked with every affordable imbiber desired! Moreover, today's pixel-fused existence deserves top billing simply because a vice is a vice is a vice unless we don't think it is. This is why societal acceptance is so damn important. Just consider what was culturally accepted yesterday; doc and pregnant patient both enjoying a smoke while chatting over the yet-to-born, wee one's health. Think about yesterday's acceptable, encouraged even, means to remain calm while flying by engulfing the entire fuselage with smoke! Today, our culturally accepted, over-indulged, pixeled existence must quickly become passe' and for more reasons than hoping to mend our already fried focus; hoping to stave off other ailments that come with living life so sedate. With higher-thinking technologies coming on fast, we must see Virtual Reality; today's latest fad, as but a mere precursor of what we have yet to fathom tomorrow. My guess: VR alteration fixes won't be easy to detox from simply because VR deftly targets full-on captivation. And, VR is culturally being accepted—as harmless entertainment no less! Soon, it will be a nearly free kind of fix even! Moral of story: getting off the couch to even find a loaded brownie, meanwhile captivated by all that's so damn entertaining coming from the surround-sound of a big ole' flat screen replete with Xbox and 3D excitement, will all pale in comparison to how Virtual Reality will have the means to literally—blow us away. So before consumer us rushes to embrace this latest techno marvel, please carefully consider the impact this bad boy alone can so easily deliver not only to our very precious bio state, but also—to society at large.

        Lack of focus is the most cited reason worker-bees are now being considered a liability outweighing value. Our headache status. Coupled with litigation—this reality is making replacement machines affordably attractive. You see, there’s some validity behind industries bright-idea to package nearly every edict they think-up, to then wrap-up as a rule and shove under the banner of safety. Whether we punch in each day with our focus intact or not equates to one thing: if we get hurt, hurt others or make expensive mistakes—industries are tired of being sued. Add to our lack of focus some of our more tiresome quirks and suddenly it becomes quite clear why billions are being invested in monitoring and replacing us. The requisite grease for these techno-wheels to even churn is simply because human workers are becoming more expensive to keep around at a time when technology is finally becoming cheaper to have.

The wee-door. 
        Is our culturally accepted, non-stop seeping into our heads, focus-snatching, plugged-in existence actually a good trade—educationally? Well, some publically-funded grade schools are starting to question this—enough to disallow computers from teaching their pupils. But again, until proof-confirmation gets here, we’ll have to make-do intuitively so just do a self-test sometime. Notice how much information you retain from an evening stint of pixel-saturation. It doesn’t seem to matter how educational, entertaining or captivating the material is, just try reiterating a fraction of that saturation—the next morning. Personally, I stand a better chance of retaining a few pub-jokes or fireside-tales the morning after then much of anything from an evening’s worth of over-imbibing on techno-infusions. 
        Here’s what we do know: over-saturation of pixel-infusion alters the human state. We know this because machines peer inside our heads now; color all the gray matter so we can see what overstimulated and oversaturated activity looks like as it interferes with our ability to think. Pixels, especially graphically gory ones oozing nonstop out of nearly every red hot video game straight into our animalistic base lobe areas, are sold by the millions—for billions. The Columbine massacre happened over 15 years ago. Laws now restrict minors from purchasing this garbage but the bulk of those spent billions are pulled right from the pockets of older brothers so I doubt the laws did much good. Besides, it’s all become fingertip easy to download absolutely anything so really—the only effective deterrent to all of this resides within societal acceptance. FYI; entry into the privileged realm of adulthood is supposed to coincide with responsible behavior—not some birthday number. Nobody’s brain gets to breeze through this kind of wretched saturation unscathed—healthy young adult brains included. And before castigating someone audacious enough to question the virtues of all-things pixeled, just think of the old adage about moderation. Liken the indulgent effects of pixel-infusions to just a glass versus the whole damn cask. Overindulgence of anything is just that. Too much of anything but breathing is just too much ~GC. 
        Retention is about how well a human absorbs intelligence. Focus is like the wee-door that must remain open for intelligence to enter into our factory in order to create wisdom or knowledge—thus retained. This is how our bio-processor works which is now up against non-bio processors that take tons of shortcuts. The rate in which these two brain-types derive at even one output can be likened to a wheezing sputtering versus an unseen flash. This is the most critical reason why our focus needs more focus. Retention for wisdom and decision-making is simply a bio-process that takes a bit more time than any two-bit sound-bite pixel-infused existence can provide. It’s what our one-of-a-kind processor must have and that processor truly is a thing to cherish, coddle and damn well fight for. Bottom line: if we come to embrace Virtual Reality as the next grandest escape, I've no doubt as to how futile a U-turn back from that adaptation jerk will be.

        Ask anyone you come across about how they see our watch going down. Then listen. That’s what I do to sleuth my way to what we think. Unfortunately, I’ve found our responses to be miserably predictable. Older us hope not to be around when robots and full-blown civil pandemonium gets here. Never once do these hoping to check-out first responders include a minds-eye extension of hope for the next generations—the ones still checked-in when those dark days descend.
      Regression proof? Older respondents quickly point to younger generations as their favored scapegoat for all the proof needed to see that regression has set in. They see our youth as self-absorbed, lazy, disrespectful. The evidence: their communal participation is nil, their work and dedication outputs are embarrassing, and they can’t be bothered to carry on respectful interactions anymore; especially when a techno-toy is in-hand which those are now perma-glued in every young palm. The conclusion—the future is hopeless. 
        Won’t do much good to hope the responses from younger adults are any better. Again, just ask around. From them; especially the educated ones who will run tomorrow’s show—act non-pulsed by the all of it.  Acclimated to a techno-infused existence, they seem transfixed only on the easy-living concept technology ensures them. After all, they have their ace in-hand; they know what it takes nowadays to afford living fully entertained so really, those unskilled others just need to adapt. With jingle in-hand, they rush to embrace what life offers them. It’s off to the fitness center, the mall, pretentious night club or hiking but mostly, they rush home to unwind with their special friend—their favored techno-toy full of movies, apps and games. 
         Because young adults have yet to accept their beloved technology comes with a few downsides, it takes a bit longer for the light to come on but when it does—it’s the movies they point to. Eagerly, they connect the conversation via Hollywood; Wally, Idiocracy, In-Time, Blade Runner, Minority Report. I disappoint them when I confess my Cyberpunk knowledge ends at The Matrix. But once the conversation retracts, their finger-pointing is equally dismal. Here, a faceless bunch of elders are those responsible for ensuring that humans will always have jobs and that robots will always—only assist. It’s a dichotomy; our self-absorbed state. Both young and older embrace compassion, even practice it regularly but yet—we don’t project that same regard onto tomorrow.

Turn anywhere but there!
        When I angle my queries toward the governed future, I can clearly see we are migrating! Well, democrat/republican diehards don’t easily migrate. They remain certain that every calamity is due to the wrong side being in power and our ship will magically upright once the side that’s right—gains control. To this, a reminder is in order. For the past 30 years of listing, our ships’ governed helm has been equally guided by both—the wrong and the right hands. 
        For those migrating, the millennium voter has everyone talking and I say yeah! Shed that ole’ predictable insulated pelt! But, exactly where are they headed? Where are any of us headed? Slice-n-dice pollers are soon going to have yet another plateful! However: migratory attitudes precede actual casting. So, what are those conceptions?
A) In America: our supremacy is destined to forever reign because those driven with purpose are tasked with the job to ensure comfy living for the rest of us. This myopic vision is what got me thinking about the Dodo bunch and what pinnacle-perching got them.
B) The fatalistic gang has one clear-cut migratory path headed straight towards a huge crash! Directions to their camp can be found by the sign which holds the educated-based foretelling that all great nations inevitably collapse—it’s simply our time.
C) Wow! Keep a lookout for the path cut by the cessation gang! And to think this insanity fizzled with the last election! 
        If you suspect I’m plumass tired of do-nothing creeds then you’d be right. Do-nothing but wait for others to do something. Do-nothing except grab as much outta this ride while it lasts or Do-nothing except find a like-minded state-nation flock to hunker down with before it’s too late. To anyone thinking of joining these flocks, please look for the big fat yield sign that says turn anywhere but there! If any of these concepts gain consensus-building middle ground, their migratory path will take all of us straight into a granite wall! None of these paths are worth trading off the greatest freedom ride any mass has ever been gifted! Remaining loyal to division suicide only makes a weakened nation a whole lot easier to conquer and collapse for hells sake! But, in the minds-eye of cessation advocates, when the dust of all that’s inevitable settles, they see themselves standing amongst those meant to survive. And when I ask if this self-preservation vision has their kids standing by their side, only then does their resolve crack. Only then—do they shrug. Either they don’t plan to have kids or—they have yet to stare with eyes wide at what collapse utterly looks like.    
          No country can withstand collapse if strapped with a self-absorbed, nihilistic or wholly fractured mass-mindset! Collapse isn’t the given inevitable price for becoming great! The inevitable given comes first from within. So look about; are the paths of intolerance and hopelessness well-traveled where you are? If not—that’s great! Be the breeze the rest of us so sorely need!
          I’m looking for the gang saddled with purpose—with an unshakable conviction that we can do better! Where are you? C’mon! Humanity can’t afford for us to ignore or blame others for the weaknesses being exposed in this free to pursue our own happiness experiment. The world is watching and we are letting those oppressed down. And, Humanity sure as hell can’t afford for us to carry on like the passing of this torch is the responsibility of everyone but us. We seem to be expecting others to steer our capitalistic/democratic ship sanely through these techno-challenged times but it’s in those very words which clearly spell out whose hands are supposed to be manning the damn helm!

These Words.
        Every installment is subjected to countless rewrites but this one lords over the rest so if you are reading these words, then just know I finally conceded to let stand all the sidestepping I’ve taken to get to all that’s slippery. I’d apologize except I’m doing the best I can so for the cynic, if you can do better—why the hell aren’t you? None of this has been easy but it hasn’t killed me either. I don’t feel deprived by missing out on all the captivating, mindless plugged-in hours I traded time for in order to write this series and at least my sense of purpose is mollified.
        For the record: God or Godless wonderments have been pondered by every society in the entire history of mankind. We are no exception. Complacency happens to all of us on occasion but it’s not an exclusive modern-day average American affliction. Yes, we do have some nearly insurmountable quandaries in dire need of—our undivided focus. Yes, we have basked our way to some really dismal, self-absorbed mire. None of this spells irreparable hopelessness and it sure doesn’t spell irreversible devolution! As yet. However, we do stand at the prelims to one of the gravest cataclysmic junctures humanity has faced and it’s a now or never juncture. We won’t get the benefit of that imminent push to shove us from the muck and mire. It’s like the heat on the lesson to move as one has been turned way up. Maybe Gods’ patience has worn thin. I don’t know but I know the day of reckoning is here. We are the ones who must learn to value and believe in ourselves as a unified whole. Are we truly so dissolutioned we won’t? Poet Audre Lorde; “It’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, and accept—and celebrate those differences.”
        For whatever reasons, are the Homo Sapiens that make up today’s American pie incapable of baking this free-state communal system into fruition; a lasting beacon for humanity’s future? Well, that’s the thing about adaptation. Until we actually lose our privilege to fly, there won’t be any sure certainty but to wait for that kind of proof is chancing one steep—backwards adaption price. Our Zeitgeist stands listless; ready to be a fresh breeze. Please review The Map of Consciousness. There’s no magic pill or auto-fortitude button to help us become that breeze. And for those of you who have made it to these words—I’d say your meter pings are vibrating higher than the folks who check in long enough to see DP is a really long series about us moving responsibly forward and so skedaddled! But, if you are reading these words, still suspicious of my intent or doubtful this effort could actually help spark us, then I’d say a bit of housekeeping is in order as those are clear indicators as to where your own cynicism/irreverence meter is pinging. 
        Hawkins, like all self-help gurus, impresses the need to evict our egos but I’m not ready to go through life thinking my ego is my enemy. Yeah, irreverence and cynicism have a ball up-there now and again; jiggin’ away to the gnarly tempo of cover me ~CB. Okay, so I tune to Lithium—allot. Anyway, I want to befriend my ego; allow it to help compel me. The trade? It allows in-spirit guidance—unhindered passage. As for being judgmental, I don’t know how this communal beast fully escapes this sapper but when I find it’s also up-there gyrating away, at least I see it as the clearest of signals to shut the party down and do a bit of my own housekeeping.  It’s an inside job today ~PJ. 
          If we are stalled because we just can’t see how any individual effort can feasibly raise awareness enough to culminate into a viable redirect, well—that’s exactly how it begins. Always has. It’s simply a matter of choosing to let awareness in and if we’ll do this, then it’s like FM man: something ethereal evolves when we awaken—together—a better way of moving.  

                                                          Most sincerely yours, Publius

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