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In any case, as the ancient wisdom states, happiness lies in appreciating the small things in life.
The list of similarities is well beyond that of mere coincidences, and yet, against all reason, it goes largely unnoticed.
The very basic mechanisms of organic human interaction have been profaned by irrational fear and ego driven ignorance long enough for the natural imperative to protect one's way of life to slowly decay until it is completely replaced. Whatever cultural artifacts that remain are mere vestiges of the past that, at best, find themselves renewed as twisted marketing assets for opportunistic corporates, and at worst, another deceptively selected target for the misguided masses to attack. Establishing a self preserving vicious circle of hatred towards the very ideas and traditions that nurtured humanity up to the presented day, further straining the already crumbling social cohesion and encouraging isolation in an already apathetic society.
Those most unfortunate souls that have been born after the past decade or so will be the ones that suffer the most. Their mental model of reality will be tainted by the coldness and indifference we've embraced during the most critical period of their development. Through our misguided leadership, they will learn from a very young age to accept their place in the new world as hedonistic slaves and reject the endless potential inherent to their being.
For a free spirit like him, death should be nothing special.
Lost another client to the failing economy this past week. A small phone and laptop repairing business that I used to host a few services for was unfortunately claimed by the current economic circus, namely the recent cost spike in rent and basic services and their inability to compete with global brands. At least the owner managed to find employment shortly after, if that can even be considered advantageous anymore.
Workloads are at an all-time high, yet the greatly increased productivity does not reflect in the quality of the employee's life, or
even it's overall time on the job. Even worse, due to the miraculous scientific and technological leaps of the past
century, we find ourselves in the ironic position of a deprecated asset on its way out. One that isn't even worth replacing with
dignity and that, ultimately, has little to no repercussions to a monopolized and corrupt market.
At this point I can't tell if this purge of independent efforts is part of the price to pay for genuine progress or just another example of predatory corporations and mindless consumers.
The future that awaits, though still shrouded by uncertainty, paints an even worse scenario. One where the current system can no longer uphold all the accumulated negligence and ignorance we've been responsible for and begins to fail when it is needed the most.
This second half of the year feels twice as long as the first. There are so many bizarre situations simultaneously unfolding, it makes the past decade look insignificant in comparison.
So much has happened in the past ten months alone that the precedent for the foreseeable future is clearly an even bigger struggle. As every corner of the planet is busy dealing with its own mayhem, we as individuals are being economically, emotionally and intellectually taxed to extremes previously reserved for the horrors of total war. Victims to a silent yet meticulously planned offensive that keeps us artificially preoccupied and ultimately distracted from what truly matters.
The collective stress is palpable even from a distance. Expressions full of exhaustion are now the norm even for those few that had remained unscathed thus far, now resigned to accept their newfound status as yet another prisoner to the system's jailer with the rest of their worth.
Needless to say, such a model lies beyond the scope of our current understanding of the nature of reality and well withing the realm of the metaphysical, it even shares many similarities with Plato's "Realm of Ideas". A similar concept that attributes our perceived reality as a projection of a higher dimensional plane from which all ideas originate. The resulting universe is, therefore, an imperfect projection of a perfect idea, host to incomplete shadows or "forms" that are but abstractions of a core, fundamental concept. Thus, complex life can be understood as an incomplete permutation of a greater, encompassing idea that keeps an unconscious, bidirectional connection with its own projection.
Who we are lies betwixt our cognitive genetic legacy and the arbiter of our own original actions we define as free will. The metaphorical blank check that new consciousnesses is popularly compared to is, therefore, inaccurate in that it fails to account for the inherited psychological defaults, the archetype that, from that point on, will wrestle with the conscious self into a predestined path of sorts. A Hegelian dialectic of the experiences we assimilate as unique individuals and the accumulated lives of our species.
This is happening to many others that find themselves in similar or worse positions, a distinction that is quickly blurring into a homogeneous rank for anyone and everyone below the upper echelons of the socioeconomic ladder. Where the frustrated masses find themselves piled up in the same, miserable category as expendable peons in the midst of a metaphysical conflict beyond their collective comprehension. For the techniques employed to steer minds into a societal union no longer rely on honorable actions or even the promise of wealth and pleasure. These new, scientifically backed methods operate on a philosophy too complex and unintuitive to grasp by most. Such is the level of refinement and efficacy that the results can be nigh unfathomable, and well within what some would describe as (evil)magik.
Civilization, being as complex as it is, cannot rearrange itself without temporary loosing its momentum lest it destroys itself attempting to steer. In the same way a car must slow itself down to an appropriate speed to safely make a pronounced turn, so must the human collective take the necessary precautions to survive changing its path. As of the last twenty years, it has become cyrstal clear that we aren't being led to where we were promised, even worse, it may already be far too late to compensate for the incoming curve.
Flocks of birds became a daily sight, with places like roofed parking lots and public parks hosting so many nests, it became quite common to spot eggshells on the sidewalk. By the end of the second month, cats and possums had bred into armies fighting for territory with the casualties attracting scavenger species that knew better than getting close to the city, specially deep enough into the human hive for me to see. Native insects that were believed to be long gone (like mantises and tarantulas) could be found in the denser patches of grass. Lizards decimated the ever present roaches, rats countered this by feeding on the surplus of lizards, which in turn allowed the bigger predators to thrive on the already problematic amount of rats. At its apex, leaving trash bags out in the open meant they were going to be undoubtedly vandalized by the swarms of critters that by then had already adopted a basic hierarchy and thus, focused their attention on looting our precious garbage.
Cats, in particular, benefited most from the bizarre situation, with birds and smaller critters growing in number and an almost total lack of human intervention they opportunistically multiplied. The resulting generation, having grown and adapted in an environment of abundance that required relatively little effort to survive and by learning from their parent's warped example, failed to inherit the knowledge a street cat requires to survive, setting them free from the intellectual and memetic bonds that (for better or worse) enabled their predecessors to make it in the concrete jungle. Including their distrust for humans.
Funny enough, as economic activity rose to "normal" levels and the inevitable culling began, the newest generation that was born into staleness and luxury was the first to die.
This shift also warped the dynamics of our daily lives to the extremes we know and love today. Self-destructive vanities like sedentary lifestyles and stupid, counterproductive diets were once reserved for the very most privileged prior to the industrial revolution. And such people were looked at as what they were, opportunistic hedonists that were only pampered by virtue of their birth or coin. Abusing their often unearned positions to perpetuate the degenerative pleasures that gave purpose to their otherwise seemingly pointless existence. As motivated to pursue further distractions as they may have been, the fact of the matter is that the technological disparity between the aforementioned characters and the average, modern man is so massive that they can't possibly be equally categorized.
Even history's most infamously selfish and misguided individuals, with all their power and wealth, could only muster so much indecency before the limits imposed by their technology and manpower forced their egos into a plateau. Today, this metaphorical obstacle is no more, for it's (far) easier to indulge in self abuse in the age of scientific miracles and normalized misery. Who, after all, is willing to push back against what is for most, the only escape from their respective dystopian prison? Said immediate dopamine rush inherent to modern distractions greatly out benefits the slow yet wholesome rewards of discipline. The resulting artificial environment can be so particularly oppressive because its countless faults are being compensated for by computers and robots from every angle. Being nothing short of ideal slaves, tireless and eager to gain purpose by fulfilling the activities that kept our ancestors busy and relevant, directly promoting the societal role of the average man into that of a conqueror of nature that answers only to his own judgement.
Not a single aspect of what used to be our daily life remains intact, the already strained bonds among the few fortunate to have them are being warped into the same, meaningless social contracts that so many of our most basic cognitive needs have been demoted into. Everything beyond our economy has been taken for granted to the absolute extreme, nurturing the underlying misery that invariably accompanies sentience. Explaining why the ranks of the indifferent keep growing.
We are living during the age of technological prosperity that, up until two generations ago, was nothing but the maddest of fiction. What could only be described as literal magic is today a mere recipe, we've triumphed beyond the hardships of our planet and into the lethal void, we've mastered the secrets of life to serve our endless demands. Should we survive a few more generations, I have no doubt we will be capable of feats beyond our current imagination. All this, paid for by our humanity.
Perhaps it wasn't worth it.
Positioned somewhere between sleeping on the sidewalk and the loss of their only source of income, the desperation among those at the very bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum has pushed them deeper into survival mode, where the imperative to live overcomes any preexisting moral or ethic alignment. The air reeks of imminent violence, the fear in the eyes of the displaced can't be assessed as an understandable reaction to an unfortunate situation or an opportunistic glimpse for some much-needed relief at a random stranger's expense. Though the quarantine has helped curve such crimes, it failed to address all and any preexisting societal problems, most of which stem from the fact an increasing percentage of the citizenry have nothing else to lose but their dreaded lives.
In a society as fractured as ours, the gravest danger remains society itself. Even as the (supposedly) ultimate killer thins the herd into patches, even as the economy implodes and food shortages worsen, it were the generations of negligence and indifference towards our own system that ultimately killed hope.
If what we are being told is the truth, then it's safe to assume that it's only a matter of time before the virus finds its way into every home. Preventive action will only take us so far in an indifferent community, effective isolation from the plague requires logistics and understanding beyond the means of the citizenry or its government. Our leaders opted to minimize countermeasures because they are well aware of their own incompetence and lack of control, we are left defenseless against an invisible enemy.
The ridiculous promotion of civil irresponsibility, lack of control and one-sided ideological extremism the government has been relentlessly promoting also deters any dynamic contingency plans. All it takes is a single rebellious individual to undermine even the most elaborate containment efforts.
The grim reality (that most choose to ignore), is that if the virus was enough of a threat to cripple the so-called "developed nations", countries with a lower economic and cultural competence will have no choice but to rely on the honesty of their politicians to prevent an outburst of panic and hope for the best.
Fun times ahead.
For those that had settled in the core of what was to become a sprawling city, the native ecosystem, although rapidly decaying, was still present to provide a relatively safer alternative to the bird's newfound means of sustenance. But it was the much more docile and less numerous human population that allowed many of the bird species native to the area to thrive before eventually being culled en masse by the relentless expansion of mankind. The results were a drastic shift in the aptitudes required to survive, some of which were beyond the genetic potential of many native species that have either migrated or perished.
We are indirectly kick-starting the evolution of our surrounding species.
The factories responsible rely on the winter's chill to mask the stench of their waste, which has (and will) always be a local issue since the aforementioned businesses now find themselves in the very heart of the city's insatiable growth. A privileged position for the factory's benefactors who find their massive patches of land rising in value with each passing day, but for the rest of us who are forced to breathe their spoils it's nothing but a reminder of our lack of vision and control.
Sadly, this was too weak a winter.
As a consequence, today there is enough religious literature to overwhelm anyone seeking answers, to complicate matters further, the only religious institutions that made it to the second millennium got there by zealously and violently enforcing their ideals or as remnants of ancient practices that are slowly fading into obscurity as so many before them did. Such is the abundance of (mis)information and empty promises that is has instigated confusion and indifference in the minds of the masses. Leading astray the uninformed and uninitiated into damned paths.
This unawareness of one's own ignorance is what the Buddhists call "avidya"; misguided individuals that have accepted erroneous information about the nature of reality as true and therefore predisposing themselves to eternal existential dreads. How powerful these are vary, but it is in this doubt induced desperation that those who have neglected their psyche for so long are forced to realize the fragility of their beliefs.
Seeing it as their only escape, they further give themselves into pointless distractions and artificial pleasures to make it through their day, turning their backs to the ever looming abyss all sentient beings must (eventually) face.
The herd has been led astray for far too long, we no longer have a society stable enough to compensate for such mysteries. Our partial understanding of nature, even with our newfound capacity to instantaneously spread information, isn't enough to quell the raise of these collective psychological woes. Offering escapes to relieve the pressure is the responsibility of those in power, but to the eternal void they are indistinguishable from the rest. Hence, the hedonistic philosophy behind their every action, the same pursuit for sensorial pleasures they enforce on those below, has crept into their circles through the same gap in the wall.
They can no longer feed us or themselves the same lies.
With the hardware already in place, I thought I might as well format for a fresh start. In the process of reinstalling and configuring, however, I ran into enough issues getting my setup to work that I had no choice but to spend the rest of the day tinkering with the machine. The biggest issue was the fact that I could no longer use bitmap fonts on software that relied on pango to render text, which just so happened to be around two thirds of the roster. I compiled pango ver 1.43 to roll back the changes but weary of potentially breaking more packages I swallowed my pride and went on a quest to replace ohsnap as my primary and only font.
Later that weekend I had time to work on an ancient KitchedAid K45SS mixer that refused to start and an original xbox 360 gamepad that had apparently reached the end of its lifetime as a product engineered to fail. In contrast to the mixer, which had a simple mechanical obstruction between the speed lever and its resistor plate in the form of a loose screw and accumulated filth, removing it was all it took to fix. Despite its age the machine worked as originally advertised once again.
The 360 controller had a typical USB cable issue that required some trimming and soldering to fix. Not the most elegant solution but the replacements available were of even lower quality so I had to make due.
The controller itself looks brand new, it is just as well kept and maintained as the day I bought it years ago, and it was stored inside a sealed case to ensure its longevity. Despite the precautions, the controller's cable still broke right in the dead center of the ferrite core located just above from where the cable meets the controller. The joint is tightly secured with outer and inner layers of rubber encasing the core, of course the problem lied within.
It's such a shame that new products are strategically built to fail to encourage further (unnecessary) investment. This culture of mindless consumerism is slowly but surely removing the concept of actual quality out of the client's possibilities, as surely and successfully as fractal reserve banking erased the idea of living free of debt.
Soon, however, the view will be blocked by the upcoming apartment complex that are being constructed for to accommodate the ever-growing population. Not that there was much to see in the first place.
Consequentially, due to the physical limitations of our biology, there is a tiny yet very significant delay between the input our senses receive and the moment we become conscious of said stimuli. The present is but an illusion engineered by the mind, a subconsciously processed memory that we consciously accept as reality.
All for a chance at happiness.
Nowadays, there's no shame in failing since it has become the norm, only a tiny fraction of those that set out to achieve anything ever see any results at all. New year resolutions, in particular, tend to be long term goals that merit being honored by the yearly ritual, rooted in the individual's deepest desires and priorities. Most of which they've been consciously setting aside for most of their lives and will most definitely take great suffering and effort to overcome.
Placing all hope for change in an extreme and sudden shift in behavior is doomed to fail not because its implausible, but due to its lack of genuine motivation and vision, in this case anchoring the potential outcomes of their goals to the supposed patronage of an arbitrary moment in time. The first mistake in the whole process is the ridiculous belief that the first day of the year will work as a deadline for lifelong negligence and ignorance, a sort of cleansing holiday that will purify their minds of the barriers that have kept them conformed so far, finally enabling the true potential inherent to their being.
The underlying dogma behind such overly optimistic ideas remains unphased by its very lack of results, it blindly guides them deeper into their own delusions because they give their stupid ideologies so much power. Understanding leads to accepting, only then can a concept relate to what would otherwise be filtered by emotional noise. This is why despite it being obvious, this kind of warped mentality can thrive practically anywhere while simultaneously hiding its flawed core.
Approaching the problem in such a crude way requires great compensation from the individual's other virtues. And we are not a virtuous society.
It is worth pointing out that some of these sites have lost relevancy as their number of users grew. The very core of what makes a community worth participating in has to be guarded and nurtured, carefully expanding to prevent the influx of newcomers from diluting the local culture while providing a constant influx of new members. This to maintain and develop its unique memetic value, as it's perhaps the most dire element to the success of a digital community. It's also the main reason why those few that have endured the ruthless expansion of the global tech giants are still standing today.
By the time it was obvious that the internet was to be divided into casual and enthusiast sections some of these websites thrived of the fact their user base was growing at a manageable rate, new users were expected to learn the ways of the tribe to nurture the memetic value of the community without spoiling what made it relatively inaccessible in the first place; its original vision. The only independent hubs left have survived so far because they heavily enforce their local culture, which filters a great deal of potential members that aren't willing to adapt to the site's environment. While this has managed to maintain the community's unique niche, it has also stunted its growth preventing them from naturally expanding while the alternatives thrive. These filtered users are then incited to return to their familiar hangouts within the jurisdiction of their technochrat overlords, where everything from the user interface to the local moral compass itself has been engineered to subversively accommodate to the most basic of tastes.
Before any of that can happen, however, an essential part of the equation has to be present that as of recently has been seriously scarce and heavily stigmatized; capable leadership. Being a virtuous, dependent and honorable individual is no longer enough to kindle the spark that all congregations originate from. Presently, being skilled and capable are stern requirements to successfully face the legal, economic, administrative and even personal challenges that come with daring to start a fire beyond the watchmen's control. Soon enough, just publicly disclosing one's role as part of independent community will be enough to warrant suspicion and reject, even expressing valid criticism of socially acceptable platforms will be enough to be targeted.
We have consciously dismissed the sky from showing us such gifts, blocking our view of the rest of the universe with the sore glow of the urban lightning that shines bright enough to engulf itself in its own artificial luminescence. If only it were as pleasant to look at as what our ancestors did for so long.
On the other hand, this means that the few that sporadically check this site do so because it became another destination on their usual surfing route. For such users, the autonomous virtual ecosystem hosts a considerable portion of their digital activities, I even dare say that websites outside the censored, popular domain add some desperately needed life to the unbearable blandness the mainstream has conditioned everyone to expect.
That being said, this project was supposed to serve as a portfolio for potential employers / clients, while no doubt some of them are tech savvy enough to see the point behind the effort, there are those can't make sense of a site that isn't yet another fwittertube clone. Funny enough, the latter makeup the majority of corporate recruiters that are directly responsible for filling up engineering positions.
Hence, the occasional, cute dog picture.
Were it not for the deplorable state of my nation's economy and the grim future that awaits those living increasingly dependent of their digital overlords, there would be actual incentive towards investing in the future via innovation.
For the time being, larping as a hacker is the next best thing. Today, I even paid for a pizza with the income.
An inevitability, the internet's potential goes far, far beyond the insultingly mediocre entertainment device that we ignorantly perceive it as, those few that can see beyond the initial smokescreen are quick to realize just how dangerous control over cyberspace can be. Even as a stepping stone towards higher goals, its reach is such that it now presides over human activity at a level so essential it has effectively fused with our psyche; we request its counsel in times of despair, we chant its memetic mantras into reality, we validate its decrees by uploading our support or rejection, we've become victims to its countless gifts while ignoring it's just as numerous dangers.
Once this symbiotic process reaches its natural conclusion, those who control cyberspace will have indirect, yet total control of humanity by proxy.