: Welcome to my humble show, !
Do you enjoy being here?
: Yes, it's nice here. I like the furniture.
: What do you like best about SKULLS AND BONES?
: Just how classically spartan it is, you know.
: What's so great about SPARTA?
: Oh, Sparta? Women's rights mainly. The women in their society were well ahead of their time - much better than some modern states, even. They were especially harsh on domestic violence, if I recall properly.
Other than that, I'm not really a fan of militarism.
: That's perfectly ok.
So tell us more about WOMEN instead, please!
How do FEEL about WOMEN?
: Er, I'm not sure where this is going. They're like guys but with different-shaped chromosomes, I guess? Well, the thing is; I'm not really a people person - I prefer cars and animals - so I don't really think much about the intricacies of gender politics, relationships, etc. It's a part of my life for sure, just not a big part. I suppose I'm a bit of a robot in that regard.
I do admire people persons (people people?) though, there's likely part of me that wants to be more like they are.
There's an idea popular in hypnotherapy at the moment: everyone today can be divided into three separate personality types - "tribes" that evolved during the early stages of human development. There's the "nomad" (the adventurous, messy individual), the "settler" (social, empathetic) and the "warrior" (ambitious, proactive). I identify myself as primarily a nomad, but I suspect there's a lot of hidden settler within me.
Anyways, enough of my whiny, introspective rambling.
: Do you think there's any difference, between PEOPLE PEOPLE and PEOPLE PERSONS?
If so, what do you admire about which of them most?
: Well, they both sound like a good name for a band... If I ever start a band, I'm going to call it one of those.
I admire anyone who genuinely, passionately cares about other people's problems! They should be inspiring the rest of us.
: Hey, a more compassionate society is a better society - a society should be judged on how it treats its weakest.
: Do you think PEOPLE are WEAK?
Compared to a mountain gorilla, yes.
Whilst there have been movers and shakers throughout history, nobody's ever been strong and achieved anything without help. The "self-made man" is a bit of a myth in that sense, I guess. The human race has only lasted this long because we help each other.
I'm 100% non-religious, but I do believe that life has an intrinsic value: it gives us the chance to experience all the great things/emotions it can offer, and everybody has an equal right (equal to you, me or anybody else) to make the most of it. Ergo, if somebody else is in a weak spot, their predicament is just as objectively important as if they were you.
Also, I know how annoyingly preachy this is all sounding. I'm normally a cynical bastard, honest.
: You mentioned to be 100% non-religious…
In what way, do you think, is that important to know, for this subject?
: This really isn't territory that I'd like to tread - I just have a certain religious friend who seems to think that atheism and placing an intrinsic value on life are mutually exclusive.
: Oh, alright… ART!
Tell us all about it!
: In response to those: I'm fascinated by big, crazy ideas, by the systems in our society, and I think that comes across in what I produce and how I present it. If I had to pin my work down to one central theme: it would be just that - systems and progression. How everything/everyone around us is operating and evolving.
A lot of the time, the stuff I produce starts out as a title (a concept), and then I flesh it out until it becomes something tangible. In a sense, it's a meditation of what that title means for me.
So... I suppose there's the science-fiction spirit in my work, only more abstract.
So science-poetry. Or something.
: You should most definitely elaborate on THAT!
So how does this apply to, let's say, the ones featured above?
What exactly did you meditate on, for those?
"Collapsing Fortress" - This one's actually how I ended up on DeviantArt (well, peer pressure was mostly responsible): I made it back when I was still in school!
I was doing an art project on matter (maybe I'll upload some of my traditional works one day), which quickly started to center around the theme of decay. Essentially, it was intended to be like a microcosm of the urban environment... well, decaying. A monument of entropy, of structured matter becoming unstructured.
"Expanse" - More and more people in developing countries are becoming urbanised, I guess. :/ Because the trend tends to be high birth rates and a poor, uneducated rural population - you get slums, favelas, shanty towns, etc. It's selling yourself to the city, and it's a very cheap life. I suppose this one, to me, is a tribute to that massive structural expanse at the loss of individualism. The megastructure is dominant. So... cyberpunk themes without the usual cyberpunk visual tropes.
I saw an article recently about how inequality is set to increase and how the middle-income job could soon disappear , so yeah. Stuff like that triggers my imagination.
As for how I made this, anyone who lives in the right bit of the world should easily work it out.
"Transhumanism" - In terms of inspiration, the title says it all really. We're at crossroads in terms of our technology and how we'll use it. The internet has fundamentally changed our thinking patterns, the way we interact, and technology is going to continue changing us. What's going on right now with the NSA and the net neutrality debate is we're seeing how it can either control us or liberate us depending on the decisions we make now.
So, "Transhumanism" isn't strictly about the singularity or Nietzschean cyborg augmentation or whatever: just a general apprehension for where we're going.
"The Universe Experiencing Itself" - This is one of my favourites!
"You are the universe, experiencing itself." It's a beautiful quote: the idea that we are self-aware manifestations of the universe, learning about who we are, what we are, who the universe is and where we belong in it.
It's a comforting thought as well: that the universe itself doesn't know what it is. It makes ourselves seem important, somehow.
Anyhow, the visual idea came before the title this time - I thought it worked well.
: Well MY personal favourites of them are Transhumanism and Universe, so of course I have more questions about those...
About the first one, what THINKING PATTERNS would you personally name as examples for that, and how, if so at all, is this related to our DECISION MAKING?
About the second, what if any is the difference between macrocosm and microcosm, and why do they both NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE?
: With regards to the second question, I think microcosms build up to produce macrocosms. People don't see it in their society, because it's uncomfortable to think that we're collectively predictable like that. We like hoping against the inevitable.
As the first question, we're becoming more logically-orientated. There's a phenomenon called the "Flynn Effect" - how IQ test performances are increasing year-by-year (relative to each other, of course). Arguably the biggest explanation for this is that our lives - thanks to the progression of technology - are becoming more stimulating.
At the same time, our attention spans have become weaker, our memories have shifted more towards the short-term. What's the point of remembering anything when you can remind yourself with a few simple clicks? We're becoming inexorably closer to our information technology. You have to wonder where this is heading - will it evolve, through exponential progress, into a future where our minds and digital information are basically one, and will that lead to a singular hivemind? After all, augmented reality - such as Google Glass - is beginning to enter the mainstream.
And when we reach that future, what would that mean for privacy? If our lives in cyberspace engulf our lives in the real world, would true privacy cease to exist - and should we really entrust anyone with that power?
Information IS power now, and that's why the school bully stereotype you see in '80s movies doesn't exist anymore. The nerd is king.
This, and the "singular hivemind" idea, brings me onto my final point: increased tolerance. The internet allows us to look past divisions - you can talk to anybody you want, whether they be of different nationality, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc. and talk to them like one of your own. We are becoming more unified as a species (despite recent events in the EU on behalf of my country, I'd like to apologise for Farage), and that can only be a good thing. Hopefully, this will lead to greater peace and a single human nationality/identity one day. It's only the next logical step.
Anyone who hasn't heard of the Kardashev scale before and finds my inane rambling even the slightest bit interesting should read about it. It charts and theorises the different stages of civilisation development based on energy exploitation. At the moment, we are a Type 0 civilisation - a Type I civilisation is one that utilises 100% of its planet's potential energy output. This requires not only global networks and infrastructure, but full international cooperation as well - some believe it requires a one-world government.
: So what do you think, is INEVITABLE?
Also, what are your personal thoughts on LIVING IN CYBERSPACE?
Also, what are your personal thoughts on WORLD GOVERNMENT?
: War and all that - people often wonder why history repeats itself. Like the rest of us, our flaws can be explained through our evolution - eg. competition of genetic groups within our species - and it's an uncomfotable thought that we'll always be so easily predictable like that. There's a book written by a biologist (The Lucifer Principle) that tries to cover all this.
As for living in cyberspace, that's how I was born and raised! I don't even know the meaning of "outside" or "having a life". So on a personal level, I'll adapt well. However, for people who do go outside, I can see how it's a game changer. Plus, as I've mentioned, it'll make our data a part of ourselves and ourselves vulnerable to anyone who can access that data.
As for a world government, I can see the logistical and ethical concerns (depending on the execution) - all I believe is since we're stuck on a rocky, finite ball hurtling through space (Spaceship Earth) together, we should achieve more with greater coordination. I dislike the fact that we form all these barriers and labels among us. We do it because they bind us together as superorganisms - causing us to identify who we are in terms of nationality, religion, etc. However, division is the root of any conflict. That's why I believe there'd be maybe less conflict if we all pledged our allegience to a common human identity instead. (Probably stating the obvious there...)
: So you are basically saying that a world government, theoretically, is a good idea, but should, for reasons of common sense, by no means have any member of the so-called "elite" we have nowadays in it?
: Ha - well, that's true! It's not just them though, we all need to change. And I think it'll come naturally with time. Look at how violent early tribes were towards each other - anyone outsider was fair game for killing. Isolation dehumanises the outsider, and we're all becoming less isolated.
: So what would be a striking example for something we ALL will have to change, while still having it in common with the so-called "elite" we have nowadays?
: Hmm... well, no matter how much we try to deny it, there's secretly a part of all of us that loves war. We look back with rose-tinted glasses at the military conquests of the nation we identify with. We don't see people like Genghis Khan as mass-murderers, we see them as legends. Nature has made us this way, because competition is her method of finding the best genes/methods. No wonder why we worship the winners. And we wonder why our leaders can't get along... we wonder why we can't get along. War is the best way for a nation (its leader AND its people) to rise in the pecking order.
For a true peace to exist, everybody has to look at the needs of the man across their border as equal to the needs of the man inside it. Either that, or we become so interconnected that harming one would harm all. :/
: I don't agree with that identification thing at all...
With that WAR thing, yes, but not with the identification thing.
What is supposed to be the point in worshipping PAST BATTLE WINNERS?
Also, since we're already on it, what's actually supposed to be the point in any kind of PATRIOTISM?
The part about "interconnection" sounded quite interesting to me, though...
How would you actually imagine a society like that?
: I suppose we don't "worship" them as such, but when I was giving talks in a Chinese middle school, a kid (who was really into history) asked me if I thought Genghis Khan was more powerful than Alexander the Great. o_O I suppose what I'm getting at is this: the winners of history get this mythic aura shrouding them for generations to come, the losers are simply forgotten. And yeah, every country has a figure like this in their own national mythology. In the United States, for example, they seem to elevate their founding fathers to the point of superheroes, don't you think? :/
As I see it - patriotism holds a nation together as an individual organism with individual goals. :/ Again, to see what I'm on about, try applying it to a tribal situation. Everyone in a tribe must have some degree of loyalty for the tribe to work together and grow. However, that loyalty must also mean that you put the needs of your own people above the needs of the outsider. If necessary, you must kill the outsider for the good of your own people.
The people that a patriotic individual might consider a member of their "tribe" today might not share the same genes as they do, but they share the same ideas, culture and values. As nature speeds up natural selection through competition, that, today, extends to the intellectual successor of the gene - the "meme" (in the biological sense of that word, not just the internet sense ). Ideas, cultures, values, national identities are all memes, and they compete for the same reasons that genes do: survival.
As for what a truly interconnected world would look like, I have absolutely no idea. I've talked enough about the internet uniting everyone, but as for the kind where we all depend on each other? I'm guessing that continued economic globalisation might close up the wealth/development gap between nations, but I'm not sure if that's currently the case. Maybe I should ask one of my economist friends one day.
: Why do you have ECONOMIST FRIENDS?
: Economists-in-training, aka students like me. Sorry!
: Oh well...
I don't know about the UK at all, but in germany those are, at least, quite famous for their coke parties. So I guess I can't really blame you here, at all!
Anyway, did you ask them yet?
: I have actually - some of what he told me: as economies become more integrated and dependent on trade, sanctions will become more effective than war. He thinks that if the United States diminishes as a military superpower, they'd rely on trade and buying out firms to increase their influence. We'd have more trading blocs/free trade, and it's possible that we might a get a single universal currency as well - so I'm guessing if that happens, we'd maybe reach a level of dependency where it'll be in everyone's best interests not to cause a conflict (but I'm not the expert. ).
: Alright, thanks for sharing that!
But although neither of us is expert in here, this show is still about YOU, of course...
So, what would be YOUR opinion on having some global currency?
: I'm unsure, but I think I like the idea in principle - I suppose one's opinion of a centralised world currency would depend a lot on their opinion of the Euro (and how successful it's been). :/ It would be a huge step towards further world integration, at least.
Right now though, we do have cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and they aim to be world currencies. I have to admit, I'm not entirely sold on them. I don't think they offer enough incentive for the mainstream public to adopt them, and while I get the point of having them deregulated, I'm not sure I like the idea of their creators not being able to do anything once they've written the script (they can't improve the coin, or introduce more coins into the system o_O). It seems rather volatile to me.
If they do blow up though, I own exactly 1 Litecoin, so maybe I'll make a few quid.
: What do you think happens if 2 or more people agree on using some currency whatsoever, that is different from currently still favoured FIAT-money?
Not only, what do you think happens to these PEOPLE, but also, what do you think might happen to random BANKERS then?
Also, in mainstream terms, just what does one LITECOIN stand for?
: *checks* One litecoin is £2.47/3.26€/$3.82 right now.Deregulated currencies like cryptocurrencies allow for complete transaction anonymity, but that obviously makes life easy for criminals. Again, I think you'd get a huge amount of volatility too without a central governing body to control things. I've been told that the main purpose of cryptocurrency is to make online transactions easier, so I don't expect it to become anyone's main form of currency anyhow, and you'd be mad use it for savings as well. :/ So... I think the bankers would still keep their jobs.
: Well, I guess you provided us with quite some debatable material during this interview!
So for now… Do you have any last words left, for our humble audience?
: I'm sorry, but I've been insanely busy lately. So many all-nighters... I'm considering not going home and just sleeping in the studio for a full week until the hand-in date.
: Ladies and gentlemen, !
Go watch him, before someone else does!
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