Furthest Right

Caught between poles

Examples of the human dichotomy — situations where our minds get ahead of our ability to balance our reason, and so we lean into unrealistic scenarios.

Until quite recently, there were two main schools of thought on this. According to one, the hard problem is actually very easy: the answer is that consciousness ‘emerges’ from neural processes. This succeeds in replacing ‘what is consciousness and how is it possible?’ with ‘what is emergence and how is it possible?’ But it doesn’t seem to get much further; many find it less than satisfactory. According to the other view, the hard problem is so hard that it can’t be real: consciousness must be some sort of illusion. Many of this persuasion tried hard to convince themselves that they are, in fact, not conscious, but few of them succeeded. Centuries ago, Descartes suggested, plausibly, that the attempt is self-defeating.

[ And a third way ] So, then, if everything is made of the same sort of stuff as tables and chairs (as per monism), and if at least some of the things made of that sort of stuff are conscious (there is no doubt that we are), and if there is no way of assembling stuff that isn’t conscious that produces stuff that is (there’s no emergence), it follows that the stuff that tables, chairs and the bodies of animals (and, indeed, everything else) is made of must itself be conscious. Strawson, having wrestled his angel to a draw, stands revealed as a panpsychist: basic things (protons, for example) are loci of conscious experience.


I can buy into the “emergent” idea, because it seems to me all patterns in life — per nihilism — but it seems to me that humans are paying attention to only one side of the cycle: how consciousness appears to us. It’s likely that in a larger context, consciousness is not “free will” as like to think it is, but a complex series of decisions made like those of a digital switching machine. At that point, consciousness is more a machine being aware of itself and planning around it than some divine trait that is obscure to us mortals.

As eyeballs flock to the Internet without a reciprocal shift in advertising revenue, the online world is scrambling for a new business model that reflects the potential and reach of online marketing. As traditional media is losing ground with its push mechanism and high cost CPM (i.e. how much it costs advertisers to get a thousand people to look at whatever it is they’re hawking), and the model for getting paid for online content is still up in the air, the question on everyone’s lips is “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”

As Los Angeles positions itself to become new media content capital of the world, I expect the answer to this “How do I make money online?” conundrum wrapped in an enigma will come from this city.

People who sell things or help people sell things to people over 25-years-old (like Amazon) and people who help those people sell things (like Google) have found a way to pay the bills, but U.S.S. Content is sinking into the ocean, namely because it is really easy for a person to find whatever they need online if they’ve got mad Googling skills. This is best exemplified by the Millennials, or the generation that launched a thousand marketing Powerpoints who tend not to pay for anything on the Internet because they either know how to torrent or have friends who do.

Gen Y’s reluctance to spend money online is precisely the reason “the Internet wants to be free” – they built it that way on purpose (note to business owners: if you want us to pay for stuff why don’t you start actually paying us? It’s called a “wage motive”). If, as one panelist put it, “when times are tough people gravitate to quality,” then how do you market to an entire generation that doesn’t mind watching their free copy of Reality Bites with Russian subtitles?

LA Weekly

In the same way, humans fail to consider anything but their own participation. We all want quality content; it costs money. Either we find out a way to pay for it, and view ourselves as investors in future content, or it doesn’t occur. Now, you’ll note that I said investors — it’s possible we could construct a business model which did not involve profit as much as redistribution of wealth to those who purchase and thus invest in any the products of any industry.

Both advocates and the media portray the homeless as simply ordinary Americans down on their luck; victims of cruel economic forces and a housing crisis. They delight in telling us that we are all just one paycheck away from living ont he streets. But the pure down-on-my-luck group is relatively small; about 15 percent. They are highly visible in media stories about the homeless because advocates learned long ago that this group elicts the most support for their cause.

Ignored is the prominence of substance abuse, criminal behavior, and mental illness which highlights the majority of the homeless. Advocates and the media neglect to tell us that seven out of ten homeless have been institutionalized at one time or another; this includes mental hospitals, detoxification centers, and prison.

Advocates and the media always argue that it is external forces, not individual choices, that lead to homelessness. Personal repsonsibility is never an issue. They place the blame on face-less corporations, evil Republicans, and a selfish society.

Consequently, many homeless have become more offensive and even violent in their behavior as they have come to believe that everyone who passes them owes them something. They used to beleive that their plight was their own fault but as White observes, “Now, because of what they [homeless] hear in protest songs, read in newspapers, see on television, hear from advocates, or learn from the social system, they think that their condition is someone else’s fault. Some act as if they are morally superior to people who work and raise a family.” But, the fact is, that in the majority of cases, the homeless are either directly repsonsible for their plight or some individual-based problem is at work.


In the same way, we only think of homelessness as if we were homeless. In that condition, we’d like to be blameless and have it not only not be our fault, but to have someone to blame. We didn’t do this; Republicans did this to us. So we project our own fear in the form of blamelessness onto the homeless, who really are only those with mental illness and profound criminal or sociopathically lazy tendencies; it’s easy as hell to just survive in this society and those who fail at it are truly defectives.

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