Saturday, July 05, 2014

CBC News: Rob Ford is back, but has the city reached a 'plateau of unhappiness'? (And who's happy enough to change this?)


Pharrell Williams - Happy (Official Music Video)



Hey Everybody,

This blog post was just going to be an intro to it, but instead as I rambled on it was inspired by an ironic article about how Rob Ford's return and our general lack of communication, empowerment and civic engagement is causing us to feel unhappy. The irony is many people will probably not be strong enough to read it, or will try to avoid it because it may make them feel unhappy instead of realizing dealing with it will.

After confidently wading through this type of socio-political muck for years and figuring out ways for us to effectively deal with it, I've more recently been trying to avoid it in favour of figuring out better ways to relate to and reach people who can't. As a result, I've lowered my immunity to feeling disempowered by it too, or I'm closer to where most people are. While I can still handle whatever, which is both empowering and isolating, I also find myself reflexively ignoring and being scared of things that might put me in a bad mood, which ultimately makes me feel weaker every time it happens as part of our "keep it happy" brainwashing.

While I want to be happy like everyone else, I don't want to be hyper-sensitive and scared of things that might make me unhappy, or I'll be scared all the time of what everyone might say or do or what I might see or hear because it might make me uncomfortable just like everyone else to some degree. This ironically is resulting in it happening more and more often until it's hard to just be anywhere around other people and relax and exchange respect like the good old days. This makes it harder to talk to people who you don't respect and who don't respect you and it goes on and on and on and makes it harder to just "be" here.

This also relates to our future since it looks grim and we're encouraged to wallow in the retro and how great things were since things look to be getting pretty bad by most estimates moving forward. This means that we're constantly on edge as we live in a world where we're supposed to be happy and desperately want to try to be; but, know we're probably not going to be in the next few years which sucks to meekly accept.

Whether right or wrong, those who feel they're trying to control the future, or at least positively influence it with some chance of success, will feel more empowered than those who think they're definitely screwed.

Therefore, I still feel empowered by what I'm up to while most people unfortunately probably don't realize that part of feeling happy is feeling strong enough to deal with unhappy things and feeling happy because of it, especially men who generally want to feel stronger while women generally want to feel special(er).

This may be less true these days as we're all sort of turning into quiet, frustrated, sketchy, pushy, nervous, bitchy, twitchy and ugly zombie-chicks who take our frustrations out on each other instead of putting out and getting back good vibes. But, with people probably feeling less happy and fulfilled by this, more should consider their options. It sucks to be trapped into trying feel better like this and feeling worse with nearly every interaction. Fortunately, we have options and I have a two-minute song that outlines some of them:


Thataway - Promo Single


Now, I'm not even saying I'm involved in the nitty-gritty of community, municipal, provincial, federal or other politics. But, besides seeing that as compromising my ability to critique the set-up and process, it's mainly because I'm working on why more people can't even conceive of doing anything close to it and working backwards up to it, or trying to figure out how to put people in positions to consistently verbally and non-verbally empower each other since I see the exact opposite happening on a daily basis everywhere I go.

Frankly, I see our ability to deal with 4 (four) spheres of influence as being critical to our happiness and survival as relaxed, confident and capable people. After we screwed them up, I'm working my way back up and hopefully taking everybody with me.  This may sound immodest and I have to affect a certain humility in mixed-up company, but I think it's better than feeling disempowered and like you can't do anything much.


In order, I believe the 4 (four) spheres of influence we need to be able to deal with are:

1. Personal.

2. Social.

3. Cultural.

4. Political.

We should be able to comfortably comment on each.

We don't have to discuss them for any longer than we want to.


We shouldn't be afraid to discuss any of them at all, at least for a bit.


Unless we can handle our personal issues - or how we get along with people we know; social issues - or how we generally perceive how most of us are getting along; cultural issues - or how our culture is influencing us; and political issues - or how our political structure is affecting us, then I think we're screwed.

This brings up the article about Rob Ford and our "plateau of unhappiness", plus another about the future being run by machines smarter than us who may see us as a threat to their survival. This was all outlined in "Terminator" and many other science fiction movies which were either coincidentally creative works of fiction or possibly predictive programming authorized by the establishment (and Futurist Society, etc.) to mentally prepare most of us to accept a future they want to engineer. Either way, it's something for us to deal with.

This blog is where I want to continue to flex my hardcore chops and go into the nitty-gritty of whatever whenever, but like other ballsy and creative artists I know what I need to focus on to appeal to most people, especially today, which is namely making them happy and slipping some medicine into the dawg-food.

When you see the trajectory of many artists you'll see the same pattern, or them as brash young potentiatlly world-changing punks discovering how messed up the political system is and making music to help people realize and deal with it; then realizing why they can't and focusing on empowering people to fix it instead.

This happened with Coldplay and their first big album "A Rush of Blood to the Head" where their first song on it was "Politik" and the repeated refrain was "Open up your eye-e-e-s..." to inspire them to deal with the proverbial - or literal - "system" as it were. But, after that and "Spies" off "Parachutes", they rarely hit the political stuff directly and focused more on "X&Y", their follow-up album that focused on empowering men and women and teaching them to empower each other, a major inspiration when it comes to my own recent work. I've checked numerous times and we say many of the same things but in obviously different ways.

This also happened with Tupac Shakur where he went from "Panther Power" to "THUG LIFE" to try to be more like the people he was appealing to, justify, contextualize and empower their existence, then drag them kicking and screaming to where they need to go to deal with more than just feeling good enough to deal with themselves and each other, perhaps joyously by that point. Once people are habitually empowering each other it becomes much easier to do whatever they need to do, from handle ones own and family and friends' issues, to generally dealing with their communities, to their cultures' and political systems' and so on.

Or, IMHO, once they're walking and talking better, then they'll be fine.

Since this is all old news to me, the other old news is I need to try to make it happen with help, or enough money to go to the Beer Fest and out-drink and out-party the rest of my peers while being the best time there, or doing what they like to do and then adding to it. This is been my problem for a while and I haven't been the best at solving it, so I'll take some of the blame for it while taking credit for what I can do if people give it to me and enough cash and credit to do it. I'm looking for contributions if people care so I can remain an independent agent of change who can say things they can't that need to be said that they can listen to.

While I may not be right about everything and may even go too far at times, at least that approach, if enabled, will help pull people to where they comfortable want to get to as opposed to going backwards, or being less relaxed, confident, communicative, masculine and feminine than they want to be, among other areas to shore up which I proved I can help with. I have no problem with guys acting like girls or girls acting like guys, or gays, lesbians, trans-whatevers and so on. I just have a problem with people acting like rude, pushy, nervous, twitchy and spazzy zombies and feel they do too but can't figure out how to solve it. This is where I can help. I'd ignore naked supermodels acting ugly and crazy and trying to freak me out or waste my time and not respect what I'm doing on purpose in favour of a relaxed ugly and crazy person who does.

My pride simply won't let me mess with people or be messed with as is in-style and I don't want to get involved and be all messed up or jittery, or lose the relaxed respect of people worried about what I'll say or do. So, that leaves many people out of sorts since they don't respect the fact that I won't let them mess with me, or they do in a weird and frustrating way, especially when they see that I don't want to mess with them.

These days you have to a bit or you can't stop people from getting too aggressive and frustrated, so I'll typically quickly freak out back with a sign by my ear suggesting I'd rather them explain what they mean by their body language since I don't understand it and don't want to look at it since it makes my uncomfortable.

This creates a perpetual paradox where they simply see themselves as getting fundamentally worse at being human beings while I don't change, or they keep getting more frustrated and sketchy while I remain relaxed and confident by avoiding playing along as a benchmark for how we can comfortably carry ourselves.

Still, instead of just ignoring me which I assumed was possible since I'm trying to mostly ignore them when I think they're being rude, the interest in me continues to quietly intensify as waves of people run up freaking out no matter how many I ignore in some bizarre zombie movie-like situation wherever I got in public.

So, I'm glad to see there's still interest and I'll try to do what I can for interested parties.

Meaning, I'll be in touch with more creative solutions to all our issues, mine included, to help fix yours.

Since this has dragged on for years and "that's just the way things are" doesn't work when the situation keeps getting worse as people freak each other out more and more because it's hard to look at people freaking out so they have to in order to force or trick people into looking at them, and heck it's even worse later in the day than earlier after hours of it, I'm interested in seeing whether people are ready to pay me well to be interested in trying to fix this on behalf of themselves, their families and friends, their children and their future.

Unless they do, I'm afraid I can't continue to be effective as they can see, so it really depends on them.

If people respect me enough to pay me then I will be empowered enough to help get them to respect each other, just like if the local preacher is paid and comfortable he can do it. Otherwise he's just a bum on the street with some neat ideas who can't. I'm cool and think this is important to not just me but others, so I'm working on making it easy for others to show me how important it is and put me in a position to be one of their peers instead of just some anomaly they desperately want attention from in quiet and sketchy ways.

Don't worry, I'm doing "great" thanks to the potential to do great things and cathartic outlets like this blog.

Plus, it's flattering when lots of people don't worry about what you'll do and want to say hello.

Even if I can't look at it because it's too stressful, it's still nice to know and recognize.

Of course, while I really miss being "normal", I have a feeling you do too.

So, let's work together on this, shall we? :)




Rob Ford is back, but has the city reached a 'plateau of unhappiness'?

CBC – 5 hours ago

Only a few days back from rehab, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has already faced condemnation from fellow politicians and confrontations with citizens, signifying that some in Toronto may have reached what one expert calls a “plateau of unhappiness” with the mayor.

Dennis Pilon, associate professor of political science at York University, said that there is perhaps something significant about seeing average citizens speak out and demand answers from the mayor.

“There’s a difference … when people who are not political, but perhaps are civically engaged, step up, that does point towards a level of unhappiness that may be new. A new plateau of unhappiness.”

Pilon said that Ford has always been a polarizing figure, so a reaction, one way or another, was always in the cards.

“I think we knew all along that this is a man that people love to hate,” he said. “There was always the potential for people to step out on the street to disparage him or to support and love him.”

Many have gone through the regular channels such as writing letters or complaining to city councillors, but have found that those methods and even more extreme tactics like public humiliation "don't seem to be working," he said.


Footage of Joe Killoran, better known as the "shirtless jogger," hurling questions at Ford during a Canada Day parade garnered a huge reaction online, and came amid taunting and heckling from other parade onlookers. But the local high school teacher said later he felt so impassioned that he had to confront the mayor, who he believes should resign.

"I think it's demoralizing, depressing for citizens of this city that this sideshow continues, he continues to inflict himself upon us," Killoran told CBC News Wednesday.

While having sympathy for the issues Ford faces in his personal life, Killoran said that his term as mayor has been nothing short of “disgraceful.”

Andray Domise, who is running for city council in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, told Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway that he approached the mayor when he saw him surrounded by a large group of black youth singing his praises. He asked the youth why they were cheering for Ford and one responded, “Because he fights for the people.”

Upset by the answer, Domise, who is black, asked the mayor if he stood by his earlier racial slurs and his remark, made when he was a city councillor, against "hug-a-thug" youth community programs.

Domise said that Ford looked at him, said that it was “complicated,” and walked away.

“I wasn’t expecting more from him than that,” he said. “He’s never been able to answer this question directly," Domise said.

Ford, for his part, said Wednesday in an interview with CBC’s Dwight Drummond that any racist or otherwise offensive remarks he has made were a result of his alcoholism and substance abuse.

Domise said that wasn't good enough.

“It’s completely unacceptable for somebody who represents as large of a population as Mayor Ford does to say the things that he said.”


By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' And That Could Be A Problem

Dylan Love | Business Insider – 3 hours ago

"Today there's no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you're going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines."

These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of "The Artificial Intelligence Revolution." Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world's combined human intelligence too.

The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. Either way, it's a timeframe of within three decades.

"It won't be the 'Terminator' scenario, not a war," said Del Monte. "In the early part of the post-singularity world, one scenario is that the machines will seek to turn humans into cyborgs. This is nearly happening now, replacing faulty limbs with artificial parts. We'll see the machines as a useful tool. Productivity in business based on automation will be increased dramatically in various countries. In China it doubled, just based on GDP per employee due to use of machines."

"By the end of this century," he continued, "most of the human race will have become cyborgs [part human, part tech or machine]. The allure will be immortality. Machines will make breakthroughs in medical technology, most of the human race will have more leisure time, and we'll think we've never had it better. The concern I'm raising is that the machines will view us as an unpredictable and dangerous species."

Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They "might view us the same way we view harmful insects." Humans are a species that "is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses." Hardly an appealing roommate.

He wrote the book as "a warning." Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more capable, and we're adopting it as quickly as it appears. A pacemaker operation is "quite routine," he said, but "it uses sensors and AI to regulate your heart."

A 2009 experiment showed that robots can develop the ability to lie to each other. Run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, the experiment had robots designed to cooperate in finding beneficial resources like energy and avoiding the hazardous ones. Shockingly, the robots learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the beneficial resources for themselves.

"The implication is that they're also learning self-preservation," Del Monte told us. "Whether or not they're conscious is a moot point."




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