Entitlemania

Source: xnspy.com/

Source: xnspy.com/

I think we have reached saturation point where as parents we have lost our way using old rules to govern new ways of living.

Look at our kids. They are addicted to screens to the point that as parents we are the 'ughs' that inhabit their house. We have become those barking contradictory fools that demand they get home by midnight, driven by a friend because we are too drunk ourselves to drive our own car to go find them. Our credit cards are racked up with all sorts of app store spends and when we threaten them with 'grounding' they laugh and say ' well go ahead then because you are already standing in my room and this where I want to be anyways'.

So you wake up in the morning to them screaming at you as to why they are late to go out for a 'makeover', stumble into the kitchen to find empty four litre ice cream containers, jello plastered all over the bench and a string of ants eating their way through the honey smacko triple whipped cookie crumbs. The car is in for a service yet again from the countless taxi pickups you made as you ferry your ungrateful, unseeing being to and from soccer, football, basketball, party, after party, shopping centre after shopping centre and guitar lessons home again.

You whine to your own parents that you are ignored, pushed, shoved, screamed and threatened with "....you fucking touch my shit in my room again you CUNT AND I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU". All those lovely photo albums of that cute kid you once knew have disappeared into that unkempt, slovenly, obnoxious, jackass that now occupies your teenagers bedroom. Your garden hose no longer reaches the end of the rose bushes as you trip over the empty bongs in the grass and that rank reek of male urine is what is killing the petunias. 

Long gone are those dinners where you could at worst tell your child to 'shut up and eat dinner' and when you have threatened to smack them they have read you the riot act of 'indecent assault occasioning body harm' or 'you are one step away from a divorce'. You confide in your partner who has taken to rip their hair out in quiet away from the point of conflict and despite the years of their seemingly serene calmness they too have turned into the vice-Superintendent. 

So what has technology taught you in the last decade that you thought you might avoid and unsuccessfully now live by. So the television wasn't that great a babysitter was it? and your benign assumptions that your teenager isn't accessing porn largely went unfounded too. The idea that them having a mobile phone was your security of mind failed as you flick through the candid surveillance shots and video clips they had been sending through the Snapchat without your knowledge.

So now you are standing there pointing your finger at me, the Internet and blaming me for your issues and lack of empathy for your situation. Well it's like this folks. Your idea of security and well being isn't valid anymore. Your kids entitlemania, need for consumerism, capitalist pig tendencies, insatiable greed for Youtube likes is where its all at. Long gone are the 'these are the house rules' as we feed your kids all the shit that they could possibly need to turn your precious little bumpkins into the surly, selfish and viperous soulless drones we need. 

Entitlemania is here to stay and the sooner you get used to the social-surveillance you live within, the lock-step buy-this-then-that instructions and the countless ways we can turn your children against you then the sooner your lives will evolve from that sensitive new age generation blah rubbish you were fed the better.

Love, your entitlemania-ego-rendition-of-you as a fairy queen is long lost somewhere in there as you sob into your pillow. The only antidote to your sickness is wellness and no, Google doesn't have the answer and no amount of prescription drugs, yoga or clandestine flings with that nice person at work will help either.

This is where we as parents admit that its a tough road ahead and no tougher than the road ahead for our kids and what they have to face life without their daily punching bag and foopie blanket to caress. 

 

 

Memory

Memory it seems is and has always been the greatest of power differentials for humanity. 

“For as long as I can remember” becomes a judicial call in judging others, in differentiating and socially sorting those who lack either the cognition for recall or who lack the capability for foresight. 

Cultural memory, personal memory and then a burgeoning digital memory comprised of a myriad of providers that in a conglomerate know more about you, than you of them. That digital memory, that retention of computational power of a changed state, those binary loops of change recorded, retained and replicable is a powerful means with which to challenge the memory of humans.

In recent times combined computational power and retention of the changed state is what is threatening this very fragile era of the anthropocene in what people claim is collapse of an analogue reality into that of a replicable, automated and inhumane Singularity. 

The core question then is what will if mean for humanity if technologies take away our capacity to remember place?  Will our human Memory Palace become a fearful void filled with dystopian nightmares, of science fictions and virtual realities reinforcing capitalist agendas as social factions?

The very same anti-ethical factions underpin plugins for the online game Minecraft which claims an ethos of community, a mirror for society made up of ‘blocks and adventures’ whilst others claim it is a ‘minefield’ for children who are being programmed and brainwashed.

“... With this plugin players group up in Factions. You claim land as your own and build your base. Factions is a self serve anti griefing system. Leaders control who can can edit their faction land. Factions is also about diplomacy and war. You declare wars and forge alliances. You fight over land and manage your monetary expenses.” - https://dev.bukkit.org/projects/factions

When we enmesh ourselves in a virtual reality we are eroding our capacity to connect with place and if we do that, we erode our capacity to retain our culture. Country is our location map for memory and culture is that memory being based on place, not just an inanimate location. Ostensibly, memory constructed as a connection with Country is at the core to culture, to who we are as individuals, of our collectives, tribes and families. 

So the story that is being told here is that it is likely the human computer experience will meld as a cyborg in networked virtual reality yet remains part of the natural environment, exploitative digitally enhanced regimes not separate to nature, rather as part of nature. A failure to recognise the inherent dangers of destroying natural environments is as much about power of those who don't care and those who care enough to stop them.

Survivor Impact Statement

Today it occurred to me that there are a number of survival skills I have learned which may benefit others, so, like everything that I have achieved in the last few years I am going to share them in the hope that they may make a difference in other people's lives.

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Trust Based

As we descend into an era of technology mediated insecurity, our blockchain constantly handshaking with provider, service and national security identity check point there is one thing apparent.


Engineers and information system developers have ensured our fundamental connection with each other as now compulsorily mediated, dependent on digital profiles we once dismissed playfully as inconvenient at worst. After all, who needs a password when we use the same one for all service providers except the bank. For those who seek ultimate expediency even trust has become a commodity, an embodied implant perhaps closer to an Uberveillance we once dismissed as science fiction.


We are led to believe as citizens that we have a right to question why each and every of our transactions are being monitored, retained, compared. If nothing more our right to know about ourself and the power for deletion must be maintained at all cost we claim yet where and when do we exercise such a right?

Nothing is more apparent, more important now in this Information Age than trust itself and so trust must be firmly foremost in any technological creation.

From an observation point of those less enamoured, we are lurching around now as Foucault posits, subject to a disciplinary surveillance exercised by the very institutions, corporations and services we once considered trustworthy, of moral accord or even remotely ethical by design.


If society by virtue of cultural association is largely disciplinary then what became of trust? In that regard, has digital, replicable technology eroded that trust by cannibalising control and become the very tool of oppression we sought to avoid?


My PhD at one time teetered dangerously to the hard right as I sought and fought to validate claims that head worn surveillance, human as network node, camera carrier would be of benefit to humanity. My attestations brought forward a null hypothesis that pitched technological determinism as default, a good.

If technology has been good for humanity such as life expectancy for those needing a heart pacemaker, then isn't a body worn camera simply an extension of that human convenience?

However, like a drug mule substantiating a gut full of powder filled condoms, a cognitive dissonance seems to be at play here, a trust mechanism that I once believed was "user" led and bred.

It became evident to me as the Internet crept steadily towards a 4G omniscience that creatives are at great risk of contributing to an Orwellian surveillant state. Likewise educational technologists drunk on their own outcomes efficiency stupor run the same risk by virtue of their own egoic need to share such data.

The Internet is after all a United States of America based innovation according to a technology skeptic. For others a more pragmatic claim that if we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to worry about yet as we well know, through history such claims have proven that governments only serve themselves and those elite minorities that prey on the demise of others.

For all their claims of counter-cultures, decommissioning and de-schooling under an Illich [ref]  inspired utopia educational technologists and their kin fall mute in the face of their actions and inaction. Of course, despite all assertions to the contrary, these head worn camera data end up disaggregated at the very least automatically rendered visible to the very corporations seeking an insight into their 100 million or so minute by minute user base.


If humans "become" a camera have we then simply lost our ability to see? Or, as some would have is believe, has humanity evolved into an übermensch, a super human made up of nodes in an electrophorus where trust is merely one number joined to the next?


It is apparent to me that a trajectory be articulated that seeks a way forward for humanity not simply a predictive analysis touting papal control, a singular dystopia and environmental degradation unchecked. Nor are claims that trust is a blockchain, artificial intelligence an inevitable, automated food farms an answer for a flailing anthropocene.

Trust is a handshake, an eye to eye human connection that brings all senses to bear. Without trust in a state led technologically mediated hope all we do is thrash around in a virtual reality unaware we have pissed in our own pants and wiped out a community in a single keystroke.

ONERC

The comment above was made in my Facebook publication of the link to the article by Nicolas Beriot, Former Secretary General, ONERC - National Observatory of the Effects of Climate Change, French Ministry of the Environment, Engineer.

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Didirrgun

Tonight we had the privilege of sitting on the pidan dunes amongst all the cockle shells listening to Bart Pigram, Uncle Peter Peter's and another Elder tell stories of their time as children on Kennedy Hill, Broome, Western Australia. We listened to another old welcome to country audio stories and then they told us stories about Boogarragarra, the lady in the red dress, the devil dog story, about fishing for stingrays, old men fishtraps down south and also north of Broome.

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Protecting Country

In July 2017  with the guidance of Bruce Hammond, Tanganekald Traditional Custodian of Adelaide, South Australia in conjunction  Magali McDuffie from Ngikalikarra Media I assisted in bringing the ‘Protecting Country’ documentary film on a screening road trip across Australia. The road trip took 14 days to complete and we travelled over 7741 kilometres through some of the most remote regions of Australia.

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Significance Of Instinct

Here I am sitting  bare chested in the warm glow, faint light at night in a cabin I’ve hand built from mud pile to shiny tin roof.

The night air blows in on me cooling from a thirty nine degree day to something even half human tolerable. My partner's dog lays on his deathbed struggling to breathe. My cars windscreen cracked from a flying stone. Overdue for service 12 thousand kilometres ago we ferry children vast distances praying each time the car won’t give up.

My partners car lies still, immobile needing a new gearbox. Our credit cards maxed out till we are in arrears. My shoulders aching from scrubbing the floors of the adjoining shipping containers that we lie in and call our bedrooms. Hot box by night we run fans till we can’t stand the hum any more.

We still have no shower nor hot water but in relative terms at least we have the water now connected, saving us carrying six buckets a day from a distant tap to flush the toilet, wash dishes, fill the kettle, wash etc.

My instinct tells me that despite health scares, daily money worries and hourly emotional roller coasters that it will all be ok. I trust it will be ok as it would seem that anything else would be a preferable route with which to take life.

So what of the significance of instinct?


A first thought if that of our basic instinct as humans to protect others and ourselves. Perhaps a general idea that our instinct is ours and ours alone. What essentially is ‘instinct’ you might ask? I’ve often contemplated what a life might be if we were unable to ‘feel our way forward’ or as first nation people globally attest, to dream into existence our own reality, not simply think we have no power in doing so. (ref: Paddy Roe)


Whilst we may often be not conscious to the manner in which we make decisions on a moment by moment, hourly or daily basis there is a correlation, I believe, between that which we have learned and that which we instinctively recognise as significant.

The term ‘instinct’ it seems gives rise to a key facet of my PhD which upon the outset for me was seemingly irrelevant to the key subject area I chose to research. At the beginning of the research journey I was set on an outcome that would inform changes in education sector policies to harness the use of wearable cameras in the learning environment or workplace setting. How blindly naive I must have been to think that this outcome alone would have contributed anything to the body of existing science in the world.

As I near completion of the PhD I am struck with the instinctual feelings that arose as I immersed myself at the time as an avid education technologist, perplexed as to how I had not “seen” the bigger picture and the impact of my own actions at that time.

I was guided selfishly by a mantra that change is inevitable so those not keeping up with change as being redundant and superfluous as an employee to an organisation. At various points through that journey I witnessed fellow colleagues being made redundant as the switch to technology facilitated online learning and mobile learning gathered pace. I joined and sometimes led initiatives such as the Australian Mobile Learning Network (AMLN) and on reflection this was all in response to my own myopic version of vision for a technology facilitated society.

In essence I inadvertently introduced the very technologies that would lead to those redundancies. How could have I been so blind at the time to the trajectory and inevitability of implosion that my actions were likely to create?

So gradually I gained an understanding that whilst the Internet would bring about great benefits to humanity that it also had the propensity to give rise to great control, carnage and cultural genocide. Whole departments in the Australian Vocational and Education Training sector started to close as teaching switched over to learning on demand, remotely accessible via the internet.

“…instinct or innate behaviour is the inherent inclination of a living organism towards a particular complex behaviour.” - Wikipedia


I am bringing into focus within my PhD the direct correlation or relationship that arises from certain  professional entities coming into contact with others. In essence, for example, the innate behaviour of engineers as they socialise with science fiction writers.


“…the simplest example of an instinctive behaviour is a fixed action pattern (FAP) in which a very short to medium length sequence of actions, without variation, are carried out in response to a clearly defined stimulus.” - Wikipedia

If the FAP as described brings about a series of actions without variation then perhaps thats why these two cohorts frequent the same bars, laboratories, fetish establishments. Maybe, just maybe as one dreams the dreams the other follows and tries to bring these dreams to reality. Take for instance a science fiction author who pens some rancid prose, it passes through peers till it has hit a likes status befitting funding and finally ends up plugged firmly in the psyche of mid teen to late life male psyche, though film, gaming, merchandise and of course, upgrades.

I also believe that instinct as a literary term is a shallow, Anglo-celt expression which only touches on the surface of what we actually mean by ‘gut feel. Think for instance how many times today you have been guided by that ‘gut feel’, how many times you consciously made a decision or took a path to a result that was based on that instinctual feel forward feeling.

Sure, technology interrupts that by having the convenient answers when we need them but how many times today did you actually ‘feel’ and then make a decision based on your hunch, knowing, suspicion or any other term that co-joins that of instinct.

So at best, instinct is ambiguous, neatly abstract, sufficiently far enough away from our liberal selves as ‘just a feeling’. The purpose of this PhD is to dissect circumstances, reflect on learning from experiences, develop an understanding of the moments where I broke through old instinct and embraced a better way of grounding reality.

For me, at this present time, sitting in a cabin, seeing the faces of my happy sons smiling back at me from a photo frame, adjusting in my chair to better see the smoke from the Indian incense that my partner punctuates the air and ambience of this little wooden home with, my triggers take me to visualise past times and to bask in the incredible time of the present moment.

My instinct tells me that there is a time and place for it all, but the hardest and most rewarding of life journeys are grounded in a collective consciousness, a humanity that extolls the virtues of basing life breaking decisions on instinct. Even as I write free form I know that more changes are ahead as I sift the the piles of literature before me. Perhaps what I’ve discovered is not unique nor contributing yet I have a hunch (pardon the pun) that there is much to be gained by paying greater attention to the way we feel of life, acknowledging the deep divides we observe around us as our children argue with us about screen time, shaking in rage with withdrawals, exhibiting behaviours and physical manifestations akin to that of an autism, a schizophrenic and techno-bipolarity.


It begs another question. What of the significance of instinct - is it enough simply to say it sometimes guides us in our decision making or as I will argue, instinct is as ‘litany’ is to Australian Aboriginal people. Our ability to tap into that energy, that connection means we have a better way of seeing our way forward, responsibly living a life worth living, not simply a capitalist virtual dreamscape.


Power

At the centre of what I have enjoyed for most of my life is as a creative, a teacher and the mixed and decadent world of the artist, the aesthete. When I see things, hear things, smell things, touch things I gain memory from the experience, not simply a reaction as some might without memory. Those experiences I’ve conveniently always thought of as attributes forming my own ‘self’, my own personality, not operating alone though rather individual as a member of a community and part of a greater society. 

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1984

In 1984 whilst attending secondary school I read and was deeply affected by George Orwells ‘Nineteen Eighty Four” written in 1948 and published 1949 forecasting much of what we are now experiencing in a contemporaneous society. 

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The PhD Research Journey

For those who exist in the lockstep, sleepwalking world of consumerist society the research journey seems only a fast way to another ticket, another accreditation. That reality though is an experiential mission, through moments of critical reflection, the hovering self, the form that is part of the physical body on the ground but the spiritual capacity to see oneself out of body so to speak. Without that capacity to reflect on our actions, take responsibility for our behaviours and change our course in life regularly all we become are ground level dwellers, basement jacks with a lack of connection, tiptoeing around the real issues in life and making others life hell in the moral meantime.

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Justice

In society we are grown from a young person to believe that if we are harmed or even threatened that there is a natural recourse for this action under the premise of justice, that 'Law' will ensure retribution, order and balance will be retained.

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Social Cooling

Image: Social Cooling

Image: Social Cooling

There is also a very compelling website which summarises the concept of social cooling as well that hits home as to where my research fits in the grander scheme of schema and the real realm of digital reputation - Social Cooling.

That freedom to circumvent social credit is also within the confines of the very same capitalism humanity sought to escape and so yet…this….a burgeoning control of our humanity, so this is why this research is important as it explores how identity, power and whereabouts all contribute to our collective and individual sense of freedom, not our subscription to a highly organised society.

Connecting With Place

Connecting with place means living with one eye on the present moment and the other hovering around looking back and trying to avoid making new mistakes. It means that the world can be our ‘place’, that our birthplace never changes nor does the tie to moral culture restrict us to enacting, living out the expectation of others to conform to their own control structure. 

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Dreaming Our Reality

I have just watched Aboriginal Nyikina Elder, Paddy Roe speaking with Frans Hoogland in the short film which was directed by David Maybury Lewis in 1992 called ‘Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World’.

It’s in a grainy 4:3 format as it was produced for Canadian television with a long list of co-distributors including Biniman Productions Ltd; Adrian Malone Productions Ltd; KCET; BBC TV; The Global Television Network; Rogers Telefund; Telefilm Canada.

Maybury-Lewis, D., 1992. Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World, Canada: Adrian Malone Productions Ltd; KCET; BBC TV; The Global Television Network; Rogers Telefund; Telefilm Canada.

{ Millenium Series - Paddy Roe > quote that segment from Paddy talking with Franz }

You must understand it this way, as Paddy and Frans are not in any way a natural fit. 

The conversation between Paddy Roe and Frans Hoogland opens up the most cogent examples of how we can connect the loss of human spirit as a result of the abstraction of living amongst computational intervention. In other words, location is about land, Country speaking into people, not location as computational place marker, rather an instinctual relatedness with the geomorphology and biosphere in which humans exist.

Frans speaks of the holistic expansion of the universe from a physics analogy, an “awareness"  that despite all that western society has tried in abstraction, it is already, always has been, in totality the dreaming that Aboriginal Australians speak of. For example, instead of a boundary marker denoting what is ‘their’ land and what is ‘our’ land as is customary in Western society Aboriginal communities ‘know’ the boundary through an awareness in fluidity as to where those boundaries exist, an instinctual relationship with Country.

The concept of Native Title as it is known in Australia is therefore “white" man speak and is just acts of parliament that force first nations into compromise and with no right of veto for what will occur to themselves and the Country on which they live. The only outcome that Native Title provides is income for a minority who separate themselves from all others who reinforce they are entitled to live on their Country undisturbed, yet in reality mining and rampant destruction of their culture, communities and country continues unabated. 

 In this short film Paddy Roe speaks of how Frans "gets it" or has the capability of being and carrying story forward, as a element of transmergy, like a virus. This whole story Paddy emphasises needs to be spoken of by those who are in ‘essence’ that carry that ‘liyan’ which is a term that most intercultural understandings relate as our ‘instinct’, our own individual moral compass.

The Aboriginal dreaming Paddy explains is the relatedness between people, law and land and that Frans Hoogland became a carrier. The manner in which this knowledge is transposed is that Paddy spoke that into Frans, the past, present and future as spatio-temporal fusion.

This awareness of living and connecting, knowing and being on Country, is together in one ever present reality, not segments of knowledge. So, location is shown here to be critical, in the most accessible way with no satellites, no tracking, no GPS, no GIS, no devices, no networks……

Aboriginal people have for tens of thousands of years by listening and observing known exactly what was happening around themselves, by looking at patterns and shift in patterns across nature. We could get lost on the mythological language barriers however the lines and the story that Paddy draws into the sand to describe how Frans was allowed to hear story is about parallels, not homogeny and a way of being a human existing without colonisation.

The end of the film depicts the two men walking together in their Dreaming as Paddy relates, walking in that dream and that the Dreaming manifests itself in what we put out before ourselves as a humanity. Frans goes to great lengths in the film to reinforce that instead of following the road as we commonly relate in life that it is there already and that we are sending that out ahead of ourselves.

In summary, in western culture humans are obliged to follow a certain path whereas Paddy is relating that humans dream their own lifeworld path forward and it becomes reality. That will be the centre and fullest message that my PhD could ever hope to realise, that we have a freedom to dream our way forward and that all of these western ways of paths to follow are nothing more than illusions.

Sleepwalking through society by contrast comes with a loss of instinct and those who choose to ignore that loss do so at their own peril.

As it is all about location, time and circumstance it is that there is a massive gap here in the social and ethical listening to story....different law....different altogether as Paddy states. With emphasis that point is laboured and by doing so Paddy points to difference as the way out, not homogeneity as the way forward.

As I relate what Paddy Roe has to say in this film with my own research I equate the concepts that Paddy speaks of with deep listening. The converse position will be disastrous for humanity if engineers don’t listen to any more than a western science fiction. As Paddy and Frans relate in listening to Country and being connected fully with our own liyan, humans will come to the realisation that the technology is US, not separate to us. In essence, - humans are responsible for ensuring that humans listen to more than an empty western dream as the way forward.

As humans we can learn from the wisdom of those who have a deep connection to Country, who recognise that we manifest what we dream. In dreaming we bring to creation, not just lockstep in following technology that takes us away from reality, knowing that loss of reality denies us of the opportunity of dreaming that reality.