Mermaid MMMCCI

COVID-19: A Scientist's View

Here is a very good article, not political, but helpful.
If  you read only one thing about COVID-19 today, read this from David C. Hess (Harvard/Princeton Alumnus, current Associate Professor/Director of Biotechnology at Santa Clara University). He's someone who should know a thing or two about this pandemic - Just the science, no political agenda. No B.S.


Many of our local and state governments are pushing towards forms of reopening. For the past 12 years my lab has studied the evolution and spread of infectious diseases, I research this stuff and I teach this stuff, I am an expert, this is not uninformed opinion. We are no where near ready for a safe reopening, but there does not seem to be any stopping it.
Thankfully, some regions are being responsible, but many are not. I predict that by the end of June at least 5 more metro areas in the US will be as bad as NYC at its peak.
Hopefully then we learn our lesson and understand that we are dealing with a once in 100 year event that will take incredible resolve and resources to safely navigate.
What will follow is a series of 4 myths each dispelling the what the proposed safety of this reopening is based upon:
1. contact tracing
2. antibody testing
3. herd immunity
4. treatments.

Myth 1. Contact Tracing.

Contact tracing is great, I have collaborated with public health workers that do this for a living, it is a powerful public health tool.
First off, this virus can spread in the asymptomatic phase and you can't start contact tracing until some presents with the disease, so its usefulness is blunted from the beginning.
Second, our public health system did not have enough trained persons to do all the contract tracing work for other diseases before corona virus-- where are we getting the actual people trained to do contract tracing from, are we going to use out of work baristas or blackjack dealers to do the work that requires a Masters in Public Health to do and to be good at takes years of field training? We don't have the people to do contact tracing for a disease that spreads as fast as this corona virus.

Myth 2. Antibody testing.

So the idea is we just give people an antibody test and if they are positive then they are immune and safe to be moving about. Sounds great, right? Except we don't have a good idea of what these tests mean with regards to immunity.
First problem, false positives, many of these tests cross react with antibodies raised by your body against non-COVID19 coronaviruses that you have been exposed to in your life.
You do not want a false positive, that means I tell you that you are immune but you are not actually immune. Second problem, without a vaccinated control group that we know is immune we don't know where to set the threshold of the test to claim immunity and this varies for every disease.
We have no idea what a positive on these tests actually means in terms of immunity. Don't believe me that a positive antibody test doesn't equal immunity to the disease-- then you might want to read up on the most common way we test for HIV-- hint it’s an antibody test and spoiler alert if you have antibodies for HIV it does not mean you are immune to HIV, it means you're F#@KED.

Myth 3. Herd Immunity.

Viruses have been evolving solutions to our immune system for hundreds of millions of years. If Herd Immunity worked as simply as it is presented on social media then no one would have the common flu. Haven't we all had the flu at some point? Well, if everyone has had the flu then how do we still get the flu?
Viruses evolve.
Every person that gets infected is an experiment for the virus, it makes billions of copies of itself and everyone has a chance to be a new mutant that will evade any herd immunity that has been acquired and will start spreading freely again.
If we let this virus just burn through our country or the world, everything we know about viral evolution tells us that it will evolve variants that can reinfect those that are currently immune.
This is one of the reasons that keeping the global case count low until a vaccine is developed is crucial.
We have one shot at eradication-- if we suppress the global case count and then get a vaccine and deploy it before a major variant arises then we can kick this thing out of humans and back into bats for another 10,000 years-- but once a few major variants develop then it is likely a new permanent human disease and a very different and worse problem for the world.

Myth 4. Treatments.

So surely science will save us, this is a big deal, let's do a Manhattan-type project and come up with a cure. Uh, okay, I think you have been watching too many movies. Viruses are not alive and that makes them very hard to kill.
I am not trying to be funny. The simplest bacteria that we have discovered has to do nearly 200 biochemical and biophysical reactions to stay alive. Many of those reactions can be targeted specifically (without hurting our cells) with drugs to kill the bacteria and that is why we have so many effective antibiotics.
Do you know how many biochemical and biophysical reactions a virus needs to do as it floats around in the environment? Zero, Zilch, Nada. That is why it is not alive, it is inert. Killing a virus is like killing a rock, how do you kill a rock? That is why soap is so effective, it is a detergent and soap literally tears the genome of the virus apart from the viral coat that protects the genome, you are physically destroying it.
Do you really think there is no money or desire in curing things like herpes or the common flu?
Our best success against viruses is HIV and that took nearly a decade and consists of 3 drugs that you take the rest of your life to control the virus. Understand that drugs to treat this disease will only reduce the symptoms, they may save lives (which is great) but people will still be in hospitals and on ventilators, the likelihood of a magic cure very remote.
Cures for most viruses don't exist, you are thinking of vaccines which you take before you get sick to prevent you from getting sick, we are really good at making those and we will, it just takes time and we need to get there. I hope this information helps, I wish all of you health and safety during this difficult time. I hope to be proven wrong about most or all of this, I will take scorn and ridicule in exchange for saving tens of thousands with acknowledging reality.

It has been pointed out to me that my posts are depressing and may seem like I am saying there is no hope. Fair point, that is not my intent.
We can beat this, but it will take time (9-18 months) and during that time our lives will look very different than they did in 2019. Once we realize this, we can make the right decisions, get help to those that need it most and endure.
I have hope, I just wish we didn't have to learn the hard way how bad this disease can be.
Thank you everyone to your feedback and responses to my posts the other day, I wasn't sure how they would be received. I do want to clarify what I mean by Myths, for example contact tracing-- it is not that contact tracing isn't good in theory or won't be part of the solution, we just aren't ready to have it deployed on a massive scale to create a safe reopening environment.
These 'myths' will likely be part of a long term solution, but the Myth is that they are ready to go now or May 1st or June 1st. These terms have been thrown around social media as if they are light switches you flip on and then everything is safe.
I just wanted to provide a deeper scientific context to the challenges of rolling these interventions out. I hope the information helped as we all try and make the best and safest decisions for ourselves and our families.

漫画 Lenny and Sparky

From one of my old sketchbooks


Mushrooms around Moscow



Mushrooms around Moscow


Mermaid MMMCC

模倣子 Macromemetic Re-engineering of Police Brutality

As a Macromemeticist, I feel I must weigh in. We have to admit that for at least the past 300 or more years, the "police" or whatever gendarmerie have been charged with their primary function being hassling, putting in their place, catching, rounding up, inflicting harsh treatment  upon as an example to others, including if necessary summarily killing African peoples in North America.

which is written right into the very Constitution itself, makes it clear how important this system of official behavior was...and continues to be, as it has never been replaced.

Jim Crow is a logical extension to allow this collection of memes to continue to be deployed and to function as the operating system of society. It's very hard to just "throw it away" and it's sheer fantasy that it's all just going to rewire itself because of the rewording of a couple of lines of laws here and there.

Also, the rules for discriminating who gets to be on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, when, and under which circumstances, are very important and very deeply ingrained. Things like the "one drop (of African blood) test" and the "paper bag test" continue to resonate. People continue to racially identify, when, ironically, getting rid completely of such distinctions should arguably be our goal. What that might look like may be a bit unclear, however. The point is that when you have a system of oppression, you have to have some people who are targeted, like scapegoats, and those who are free of that. Of course, with homophobia, being called "gay" when one is not reminds one, and everyone, of the threat that hangs over all gays.

An aside: it's pretty clear that homophobia is a kind of support to misogyny, or women's oppression and victimization. Comparing a man to a homosexual is like comparing him to a woman. There is a lot of systemic misogyny, and this supports a lot of the goals of the system (who knows what exactly they are, controlling women is a big objective of most societies). The idea that homosexuals are brutally beaten up and killed sends a strong message to men and to women that they need to, loosely put, stay within the confines of their respective gender roles. Pages could probably be written on that subject.

Yes, racists and racist cops have all been taught to be that way. Cops oppress black people, I would assert, because their main function was, historically, to keep 75% of the enslaved population in line, through the use of brute force and violence. The intensity of that violence necessitates that selection criteria be exacting. The effect of this is that one person, slightly lighter than a paper bag, and with straighter hair, receives the polite hello anyone would expect, while one slightly darker, with curlier hair, is beaten to death by a gang of cops with the fury and violence one would expect to be reserved for the most violent and horrendous of criminals.

Linguistic signals are no doubt also important, by the way. Things that one would try to suppress or cover over in order to appear "not black." Racheal Dolezal is probably of particular interest here, since she tried to go the other way. What did she do to signal to white people that she was "no longer while?" What were the important signals she made to black people?

Anyway, the memetic solution, so far as I'm ascertained, is to replace this system of behavior so that the enactors of it have new ways of acting, which have equal memetic resonance to the memes being replaced. Honesty is required here, mainly, how bad is the behavior? What are the typical ways in which cops interact with black people?

Okay, this is the important bit. The only thing that counts is that the cop perceives that he will receive as much or more memetic resonance from some new activity, some new way of interacting with black people, no matter what that is.

A stupid example, which might nonetheless help a great deal if actually implemented, follows. Cops would carry business cards, and they would have a tear-off stub, and both business card and stub would have the same stamped serial number. When interacting with a black person, instead of whatever his usual activity, which might include putting his knee on the person's neck or otherwise chocking him, or arresting him, or performing an illegal search, or just shooting him, the cop could give the person the business card, and tear off and keep the stub, possibly writing the black person's name on the stub. The intent would be that the black person call the police station number on the card and leave a message, hopefully saying that they are well and okay.

That's it.

I can try to knock up a diagram of how this new memetic subsystem would function. A certain understanding of Macromemetic theory may be helpful. The interaction between cop and black person is circumscribed, i..e,. it has good "marking" (clear transaction boundaries). The copper creates "engagement" (actors can clearly see who is participating in the memetic transaction) when he closes one memetic loop by handing over the card and (possibly) getting the "coppee's" name (chance for a bonus memetic resonance, too), and also opens another loop in terms of the coppee later calling the station house. Another big opportunity for marking and engagement comes when the coppee calls in and leaves a message (and bonus if their name matches the stub), when the phone receptionist and possibly the copper's commanding officer learn the details of the work the coppee has been doing. Calls coming back with the serial numbers, possibly also with names.

That's what it's all about. Opening and closing memetic loops, with the highest amount of marking and engagement as possible. That's some of the basics of macromemetic engineering.

This would be a real advancement in dealing with what is as crippling and life-destroying as substance abuse as a way of medicating the fear which we inherited from our parents, our families, our communities.  This would place the answer in the context of NO BLAME, NO SHAME - Except for failure to focus on recovery from the "disease" - a life-long effort
[ like my recovery from my addictions - my addictions are a disease not because I am bad - but I must deal with my disease or I have failed to care for my self and others ]

In a way it is nobody's fault if they are racist because they learned it from the beginning of their lives - very subtle. BUT it is all our fault if we Don't DO something to change the way we think and act - don't fight our DEEP DENIAL and practice recovery - individually, within the family, within the neighborhood, within the larger community and within our nation and world.

The disease of racism is HUGE and it will lead to our extinction as a species.

Our first step must be to acknowledge it - as we have just had a chance to do THIS WEEK.
And then find leaders who will take us bravely into a recovery process together, recognizing that no one created this, but choosing to love our selves despite our self-hatred as a daily practice of moving away from the PTSD of fear of THE OTHER.... The person who looks different than me.

And THEN we must vote for better leadership in November at all levels of government.



Mushrooms around Moscow


模倣子 The Prospect of World Government

I couldn't see the whole article. We talked about this, right, how back in the day the only way to have any impact on the behavior of other countries was to prosecute a way, or back somebody else who was.

Now at least we have institutions which pretend to offer an interim solution. The amount of way, has, I think, gone done, perhaps as a result.

One problem, and this is mirrored perhaps by how things used to be in academia, i.e., that academic figures garnered prestige by publishing, and that prestige was mainly esteemed within the academic circles. It may have been true that teachers were held in high regard, respected, even if they might be paid less (which they definitely are now). Doctors (and lawyers) certainly, and politicians, get respect and renown in the community, whether or not it comes with money.

In academia that's changed -- now it's all about getting results that can generate revenue, goods, profits. There's a direct connection.

Engineers used to be underpaid and treated like shit, but that changed in the 60s. Now they're seen as a necessary input materièle for the profit-making machine, as research professors have come to.

My point is that if we unify nations, and make it all about the all-mighty dollar, it will probably never be stable. The States of the United States may be okay, but in fact there there may still be things like the underpopulated West being effectively subsidized in order to achieve political balance or democratic legitimization of the objectives of the East and Southeast. I forget who said, "water (dam) projects are the currency for bribing the Western States" (or something to that effect).

Professors and doctors and lawyers and teachers, and police, and firefighters, in short pretty much anybody who contributes a positive externality to the economic system (probably should include mothers -- non-dysfunctional ones!) should be systemically awarded extra-economic or non-financial considerations. Things like food stamps, preferential housing, better parking, just plain social customs like letting teachers go first in lines, get seated at restaurants. A lot of these are already in place. Cars with doctor's plates can park anywhere in New York City, military people or retired military people have access to honors and services special for them.

This is an idea I'm still kicking around, but which I've given some thought to just in terms of American society and problems to do with the monetization of academia and other stuff. And just in general ideas about externalities, which happily comes up as a concept in the NYT but I don't tend to see much of it elsewhere, even thought it's a super-important concept.

It may be partly one of the excuses for why Puerto Rico has not become a State (and may never). It's so much poorer than the rest of the United States, that if it had two Senators and a few Congressmen, it might exert all kind of funny pressure on the political system for economic reasons. If it could make its own laws...hmmmm....?

It's the same thing for most countries, except for a few in Europe and Japan, but even still, vis-à-vis the United States. If you combine exchange rate disparities with political and representational power, things could get weird. The UE has had a lot of troubles with this, and it gets even more fun if you throw in things like regulations, not just how much stuff costs and who can vote about stuff. There are a few cool Kurtzgesagt videos about the European Union (Union Européenne).

Extreme example: a country where a person makes $10/day, means a $10,000 car is worth three years' work, full amount, no money for food, while in the States, say, where somebody might make $30,000/year could buy it in a year, and easily borrow money to make that easier.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Some kind of "buffer" is needed, and that might involve things like Guaranteed Minimum Income and Universal Health Care and Guaranteed Nutrition and stuff like that, so that countries like the USA could continue to be super-duper-rich, and other countries not.

I may be a bit manic -- it's been one of those days.  Hopefully this has at least a nugget or two of sense in it.


J'adore ces sirènes de Disney!

漫画 Xan smokes a cigar

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The Falling of a Swallow

Here a female mate is injured and the condition is soon fatal. She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.

Here he brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.

He brought her food again but was shocked to find her dead.
He tried to move her ... a rarely-seen effort for swallows!

Aware that his sweetheart is dead and will never come back to him again, He cries with adoring love.

He stood beside her, saddened of her death.

Finally aware she would never return to him, he stood beside her body with sadness and sorrow.

Millions of people cried after seeing these photos in America, Europe, Australia , and even India.

The photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the most famous newspaper in France . All copies of that edition were sold out on the day these pictures were published.

And many people think animals don't have brains or feelings?
You have just witnessed Love and Sorrow felt by God's creatures.
The Bible says God knows when a sparrow falls. How much more He cares for us.


Mushrooms around Moscow


模倣子 Getting People to Talk Up Others

Index of Memetic Materials

How to get people to be nice to others, to engage in altruism that benefits the group interests or purposes? This is a problem in human behavior, which one would like to solve, i.e., how to get people to speak up and say good things about each other (when they do well), with the aim of providing behavior for everyone to model.

Analyzing the System As-Is
Here we have a system in which people write "good job" cards, actually give them to the people they want to admire (or have an intermediary do it), and then that person has to decide what to do with the card, e.g., get a free candy for it, and possibly put it into a drawing to win prizes.

Figure 1. Memetic State Diagram of Motivation System

One striking thing of the chart (1) is that we want people to recommend others, but the people we want recommended are the ones deploying most of the memes in the meme chart. Also, the people writing the recommendation cards kick it off, but what motivates them? What makes them fire off the write-card! meme?

What Motivates Meme Deployment?
What we want are deployments of write-card! and also the put-card! memes. So does my memetic theory thus far really characterize how well-motivated meme deployments are? This comes down to deployment theory, which is still in development.

It's kind of cool that we can see the function of the system just by the memetic state diagram (Fig. 1). Just sayin'

Do we need to add more to the state diagram in order to accommodate motivation? This also starts to turn into a statistical / empirical problem -- how to we measure how likely people are to deploy a given meme, or the "rate" with which they are actually doing it?

One thing about this system is that there are no race conditions or jinx events. Anybody can deploy the write-card! meme any time they want, free from outside influences. So what drives this deployment? That's a problem: there's no stochastic event in the environment which could trigger this meme deployment (that we know of), so we don't know. It's a classic problem of marketing -- how do we get people motivated to do stuff?

The point is that there is no clear motivation for people to talk up others, and that's the problem we started with. This is the real problem, and it does not appear to be getting addressed (so far).

Another issue is that the person fingered for admiration is immediately thereafter required to push the process along themselves. What motivates them? They might not want candy, and they might not want everybody to be told about them. They might even want to just hang onto the card, which they're also free to do.

Summary and Conclusions
The memetic state diagram shows itself to be quite useful for analyzing a system. We can see which memetic deployments are required to move the system along, and who has to do them. Then we have the problem of who's to do it and what motivates them. There is probably more work to do in deployment theory, i.e., the probability of a deployment, or a series of deployments.

Compelled states are perhaps a useful way to look at what happens when an agent hands something to another agent, or otherwise presents them with a choice, or no choice. This seems to be something that agents try to avoid (4). There are two or three compelled states in the system here.

One thing that might be good is motivating the card givers to push good vibes through the system instead of making the recommendees do it. The rewards should perhaps be directed towards them, perhaps instead of the recommendees. This would also address the problem of what motivates card-givers in the first place.

(1) What's missing from this diagram? One transition not represented is that a card writer can put the card directly into the box without giving it to the recomendee (which is not allowed -- need an immunomemetic system).  The other thing is that there are two, well, technically three, "compelled states" (2). This is giving the card transaction, and also the drawing and giving somebody a prize (who says they want it?).

(2) A compelled state is something I'm working on. The idea is that it's a state that sort of "appears", kind of like with a Testimonial Trust (3), when one person takes an action. For example, when somebody is handed a card by some random other person, they have to accept the card (putting them into the HasCard state), unless they have immunomemes or such which allow them to reject accepting the card and going to some other state.

(3) A Testimonial Trust is created upon the death of the person, and does not exist until such time.

(4) People "don't like to be told what to do." Agents try to find immunomemes that they can deploy to get out of the compelled state, or avoid going into it.


I need to draw some like this!

漫画 nude reaching upwards

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By Jay Dearien

I was excited to read about the direction of Ending Capitalism.   It's frustrating to try to take any sort of first step, however.  If one is a manager or company owner, or works in an office, one can have sessions about it, and try to bring RC principles into one's place of work.  This may make things a bit better, but Capitalism continues to operate as before, and one continues to participate actively in it. 

We face much irrationality in trying to end Capitalism.  People fear Communism, revolution, offending others, losing their jobs, losing what they have.  People hold to irrational beliefs such as, "it's the best possible system," or "everybody has to work to make things nobody needs so everybody can have jobs and money to buy things they don't need -- it has to be this way," and so on.  Economists are not seriously working on alternatives.  These are some of the ways in which the Capitalist System works to protect itself from being replaced.

What is Capitalism?  How can it "protect itself?"  Why is Capitalism a Bad Thing?  How can it be replaced, what would that look like, and how can we as individual humans work to bring it about? 

First off, it seems that late 20th Century Capitalism has become more complex and perhaps in some ways fundamentally different from that which Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and others discussed.  The "Capitalist system" has grown, spread out, and invaded our lives to a degree previously unknown, and has become like a religion, its various and sundry tenets held as sacred, ridiculous though they be when held up to rational scrutiny. 

I see this quasi-religious progression as yet a further ill added on top of the classism produced by the unequal distribution of the Means of Production, and something which could be termed "Consumerism," or what I like to call the Sales-Driven Economy.

The sales-driven economy is the outward expression of late 20th Century Capitalism, and this may represent a break from the style of pre-20th Century Capitalism.  We live in a world dominated by "the market", in which everything (we believe) has its price.  The sales-driven economy confuses us all about what is really going on (e.g., classist oppression inherent in the Capitalist system), sells us the illusion that we can somehow get ahead by participation or will perish if we do not, lulls us into a false sense of security and irresponsibility by telling us that the "invisible hand" is silently taking care of everything, and so forth. 

The reality that we must recognize is that the sales-driven economy is a Darwinian system.  The unit of natural selection is not genes, however, but something which could be described as salable product ideas.  If something, anything, sells, it continues to sell, spins off copies of itself, and florishes, and if something, anything, does not sell, regardless of its merit or benefit to humanity or what-have-you, it dies out.  The microcosm in which this Darwinian system operates, what it uses for "fuel," are the Means of Production, our time, and our minds. 

The sales-driven economy has become the decision mechanism for how all of our lives and resources are spent, but the mechanism is at best only indirectly linked to the welfare of human beings.   Moreover, the system actively works to ensure its own survival by refining its "immune system" of collected irrational concepts to confuse humans into participation, and to attack other humans who try to do otherwise. 

However, there may be ways for each of us in our daily lives to decide not to participate in the sales-driven economy, and thereby sap some of its strength, contributing incrementally and directly to the Fall of Capitalism.

A major feature of the sales-driven economy is the role of "stable currencies" and the attempt to put a price in terms of these currencies on every imaginable item, i.e., to cast everything from a loaf of bread, to a toaster, to love, to a child's smile, to education, to knowledge, to freedom, to happiness in terms of a "good" or "service".  I view Time as the only true currency of spirituality, but it is not so with the sales-driven economy, and here is where some of the oppression starts to manifest itself.

The reality (upheld by Einstein) is that the clock ticks by at the same speed for all of us here on Earth, but in the sales-driven economy some people's time fetches a higher price than others'.  If one is a so-called "professional" or if one is title to a chunk of the legally-sanctioned unequal division of the Means of Production, for example, the result is that one's time is valued more highly than another who lacks these things. 

This hurts everyone: in the latter case one is disempowered within the sales-driven economic universe, while in the former one either becomes enslaved to a faceless master through the selling of one's "valuable" time to the highest bidder or is forced to watch its value diminish. 

Re-evaluation Counseling is an excellent example, by the way, of transcendence of the sales-driven economy.  By transcendence, I mean an exchange, or transaction, between people which is external to the sales-driven economy. 

Rather than going to a professional counselor, whose time may be valued at several times my own, forcing me to actively participate in the sales-driven economy for the better part of a day in order to pay for one session, I trade only one hour of my time for one hour of my co-counselor's time.  The result in this case is not only that less total time is spent, but that none of it is spent participating in the sales-driven economy or contributing to the oppression which it inevitably produces, whereas in the other case I would have had to have served as a "little soldier of Capitalism" for a whole day just to pay for my session, as well as during the session itself.

Herein lies the seed of the idea for how to end Capitalism.  Like any collective evil, Capitalism requires the participation of groups of humans for its continued existence.  Each time we participate in a transaction involving exchangable currencies, we are contributing to the strength of the sales-driven economy and validating its hegemony in our lives.  Each time we make the choice to abstain from such transactions, we sap its strength. 

As I said, the three "fuel sources" for the sales-driven economy are our minds, our time, and the Means of Production.  Each of us has some control over all three of these, and we can choose to direct them away from the sales-driven economy, rather than into it.  We can each use RC to free our minds from patterns and distress around money, work, our jobs, etc.  We can strive to spend less time being "consumers" and more time just "being."  And we can save our money, rather than spend it.

It's at this point I make the connection between the RC direction of ending Capitalism and the philosophy of Financial Independence, or FI.  FI is a discipline of learning to appropriately value money and the life energy it takes to acquire it.  As one progresses to higher and higher levels of Financial Integrity (also FI), things like bartering and direct exchange of services play a larger and larger role, as these turn out to be a better, more effective use of one's life energy.  Contrary to the runaway consumerism of the sales-driven economy, the focus is on having "enough" rather than "more". 

FI recognizes that much of the output of the sales-driven economy is bad for humans and for the planet.  An FIer (ef-eye-er) cuts participation in the sales-driven economy to a minimum, thereby freeing up time for more humane pursuits.  The summit of FI is when expenses decrease and savings increase to the point that one can live off the interest and thereby permanently leave paid employment. 

FI and RC both hold to the belief that the headlong struggle to develop a matured infrastructure is already complete, so we really don't all have to work so hard anymore, and the fact that we still do is based purely on pattern, needing to be discharged.  Both also favor trading and bartering between people. 

FI is already actively practiced by thousands of people, and may give us an inkling of what the next step may look like in the process of ending Capitalism.  For instance, questions of public policy, government, taxation, etc., will start to arise as greater numbers of people "opt out" of the sales-driven economy, spending less and less or none of their time working for money, saving their money rather than spending it, volunteering, being economically self-reliant, and engaging in non-taxable, non-exchangable-currency-oriented transactions with one other. 

Groups of people following these practices can become a laboratory for post-Capitalist society.  For instance, will more or fewer of us be engaged in agriculture?  How will young people be brought up and educated?  What transportation and communication systems will we need?  Which existing goods and services will we no longer need and which new ones will we have to have?  We may find that we all only need to work a couple of hours per day, or that young adults need only work a few years to earn their nest eggs before turning the few "necessary" jobs over to the next group, or something else altogether. 

Governments and the economy will have to gradually learn to deal with the transition.  A major disadvantage of the Bolshevik revolution was that, all else being equal, a new and untested economic system was implemented overnight on a national scale.  Through FI, individuals can move at their own pace, one by one, to a new way of life.  Capitalism will be eroded gradually due to a decrease in active participants and funding, and replaced bit by bit by a new system that will grow and take shape through peaceful evolution. Governments and institutions will have time to react to the transition.

Jay Dearien

-- end of published text --

"Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

"Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

New Road Map Foundation, PO Box 15981, Seattle, WA 98115
phone: 206-527-0437  fax: 528-1120


漫画 hand study II

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The Secret of Writing Success

I can't help thinking of the phrase:

"A Reason Happens for Everything"

...when people start talking about how their writing career finally started happening, they finally get a book deal, finally start paying the bills with their writing, and so on. I just looked over a couple of articles, and see what you think. How I Stopped Sabotaging Myself -- Confessions of a Late Bloomer, and also the promisingly titled It's Never Too Late  (to start writing even when you're over 50). I found them both rather rambling, rattling off details such as I was a mother of three, quit working to do charity work, never really took it seriously, and so on and so forth. I don't feel that I'm someone who has to have it fed to me in bullet points in half a page or less, but I do like such things to at least try to have a point.

What do you think?

I've got a couple of manuscripts for novels, a handful of short stories (some taken from chapters of other manuscripts for novels), all of which are candidates for publication. I published an article on data base administration about twenty-five years ago, and I can tell you how I did that, and maybe I will. I've also gotten a poem or two in a couple of places, to do with personal connections to the publication in question, and also got a short story into an anthology edited by some folks in my writing group. Again, connections.

How did I get that article published? It was in a monthly magazine, journal, called Software Maintenance News in New York, and I found it by going to the library in Boulder, Colorado, getting Writers' Market and calling all the publications that had 1-800 numbers, that is, where somebody might immediately pick up the phone, as opposed to my having to write them (e-mail was not a big thing yet, including e-mail attachments).

The reason I was doing all this stuff was because I had a few weeks, I wasn't sure how many, between consulting jobs, and I had always wanted to get something into print, and I figured this might be a time to tick this particular box off my "bucket list" (a term which did not yet exist at that time). I had a lot of data base experience in the trenches of Silicon Valley, so I figured that might be one of the few things about which I could write with any semblance of authority. I pitched the editor the idea of writing up a "lessons learned" piece about a time my team had experienced a data base corruption during an upgrade before which a clean shutdown had not been performed.

The editor liked the idea, I submitted a text (by e-mail, using CompuServe), and we went back and forth and back and forth I don't know how many times, and as I recall it was weeks and may even have been months before he finally accepted it. It may have been unusual to get so much attention from an editor. The magazine only had about three or four pieces like mine per issue. I can't remember if I was fighting for the "crossing the Rubicon" metaphor for the data base file reformatting (making them impossible to roll back) -- I think it was my girlfriend who thought it too obscure -- but the editor pressed me for a number of other changes in the flow and focus.

By the way, the Otherworlds anthology submission was even more back and forth. It was about two or three times longer than the database article. Lots of back and forth with the editors, who are friends of mine.

One takeaway I have from those two is that there was a lot of back and forth with the editor, and the piece got changed a lot by the time it was done, and it was substantially improved from its original form by this process. One thing I wonder is how many editors would be willing to work with me or anybody else like that? Or, by extension, is the quality of what I tend to write, or my personal perception or standard with which I judge my own work might not be quite in step with what editors are looking for.

I think Stephen King has a number of frank and honest things to say about these questions. He seems to be magnificently alone in that respect. Otherwise there seems to be a lot of rambling, beating about the bush, and a failure to say anything of substance in terms concrete details about what they did, what happened, their process, and how it changed over time, leading to increased success.

King talks about how his process changes, how he zeroed in on what he wanted to do, and the kind of feedback he started to get back, and focuses on these critical details. Incidental biographical details peppered here and there let the would-be writer feel that it might be within the reach of mere mortals. It seems that too many people put their own publishing success down to something between "waking up and deciding to do it" and Divine Providence and being finally recognized for the genius they are.

Not a lot to grab onto for us, the poor, huddled masses.

I started National Novel Writing Month in 2011. I became the organizer in my town in 2013, not that that is relevant. But every year I wrote a full-length first draft for a manuscript of a new novel. I have a year-round writing group (on hiatus due to COVID-19) where I work on revising them. I have my 2011 and 2012 manuscripts edited such that they at least may be read as book, by Beta-readers, others. They are effectively products that may be haggled over with agents.


I say that once I don't hate them, I can start to think about showing them to others, to see if they hate them. Probably around a dozen people have read both of my full-length novels, they've given feedback, and generally like the stories. Some of my chapters move me and some other people to tears, but I'm still working on translating this into a similar reaction in agents, publishers, and hopefully, readers.

I've submitted both to agents, maybe got a couple of personal replies...rejections all, so far.

That's kind of where I'm at now. I've got my process to produce so far the million words of a number of manuscripts. I think you have to have that. If you don't have a process that gives you a volume of completed work reliably over time, then that's got to be fixed. National Novel Writing Month fixed that for me.

Some people say "I like to write, but I hate editing." Just hang it up if that's you. I love reading my own stuff, changing it, making it "better" (whatever that means), in some ways more than I like writing it, but the point is they're two completely separate processes, neither is lesser or greater than the other.

I'd sure like to hear from somebody who knows something about it how to line up an agent. I've talked to a few agents and I've learned that they're very good, very quick, about sizing up whether a manuscript is right for them, which you'd expect. They have to wade through a lot of manuscripts every day, and you can't let it drag. I gotten some advice that I need to do more research, which is another of my beloved underspecific terms, read "you have to know what you don't already know."

Well, duh. How dryly tautological.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. I can help people write a manuscript if they have trouble writing one, and I can help them make it objectively better if they have trouble with that. After that, my toes dangle over the edge of the precipice, like most of us.

I don't know if I'm a "good storyteller." I stick to stories based on my own life, while a lot of people I know seem to write from some other place. I don't know about that. I find it's easier to judge whether adding or removing one bit or another would work, because I know what I'm trying to tell, and I feel it's interesting if I can tell it in a way that I don't hate it, either because it's bad or just self-indulgent, and then I go on to see if others hate it or not.

In 12-step programs they talk about how you can't give away what you don't have. As they say in French, il faut parler de même, one should speak of what one knows from one's own experience. There are two ways not to do that, and one sees both in the world of parvenue and would-be authors: talking about things beyond one's ken, and skipping over or being vague on details to seem more knowledgeable or in a better light. Why aren't people more helpful, like Stephen King? Is publishing some kind of zero-sum game or crabs-in-a-bucket scenario? Perhaps it's just that people are bad at explaining environments to which they are newcomers, and rather than admit this, they invent convenient fictions. It's frustrating.