Money Is Technology

I want share an insight I had a number of years ago. It’s not a particularly profound insight, it was just a curiosity I noticed. Basically, I realized that money is a form of technology. Very, very old technology. Perhaps I would be able to convince you more easily if I had a clear definition of technology. But I don’t. These days, I usually conjure up images of electrical gadgets and doohickeys when I think of technology. Money, of course, is nothing like that. It’s little more than a substitute for other things of value be it food, labor, or pieces of the other aforementioned technologies.

Long ago, man kept what he killed and that was about the end of it. Then he (and she) advanced a step and began bartering back and forth so as to allow for greater distribution of goods. But the barter system was inefficient. So some genius somewhere invented money. Basically, we took something of value and allowed it to represent something else and we traded it in exchange for goods. Originally, we used gold and silver and similar such stuff. Somewhere along the way we traded the gold in for something almost without value: paper. Now we are transitioning to something truly devoid of value: electrons flowing in circuits. Electronic money is the wave of the future much to my personal chagrin.

Anyway, what is clear is that money is tied to us in a very deep, intricate way. It is like the technology on which all other technologies rely. It is the technology upon which all other technologies are built.

Wow. I was expecting to write maybe one paragraph on this topic and I squeezed out three. Chalk one up on my innate ability to ramble.


Don’t Worship the Universe

That’s right. I said it (to borrow a phrase from Mark Levin). Do not. ABSOLUTELY do NOT worship the universe. Why? I’ve said it elsewhere. I believe the universe is Satan. What we perceive as reality is Satan’s attempt at playing God. I believe this is what Jesus of Nazareth realized forcing Him to confront the Devil at the cross so long ago.

So, if you are following a nature religion … I’m sorry, but you are worshipping the Devil (unwittingly, of course). I’m sure God will forgive you. And if you think I’m accusing you of being a sinner (which, of course, you are), I’ll simply point out that I have you out-sinned six ways to Sunday. I’m the antichrist, baby. When it comes to sin, the only one who can top me is Satan himself, and even he might be a little iffy.

Maybe I should be more serious about this. But I have to laugh, or I’ll go mad.

Ethics, AI, and Zen Masters

I studied ethics in college. I was big on Western analytical philosophy. Not so much the philosophy of the East which stressed the importance of raw experience and the ineffability of certain aspects of existence. As a matter of fact, I thought Zen koans were a bunch of bunk, if for no other reason than that they spoke in contradictions and riddles. I was more of the school that one precisely say what you mean and mean precisely what you say. For example, I shrugged off the koan “He who knows, does not speak; he who speaks, does not know.” I thought it was just stupid. A waste of time.

Then, after arguing with an existentialist friend for several years about truth, I was forced to concede the point regarding incommunicable knowledge; that is, knowledge which humans gain through raw experience which they can’t communicate to anyone else. Most notable is coming to terms with your own death; no one else can help you with that. Also of note is the fact that much of this incommunicable knowledge is ethical in nature. I believe it is just this point regarding ethical knowledge that the above Zen koan is about. I can write the koan and even describe it to a certain degree, but until you, the reader, make the connection with a particular experience in your life, you won’t know what I’m talking about.

What is my point?

Well, this creates an insoluble difficulty when programming ethical AI (artificial intelligence). Basically, there are aspects of ethics which you can’t program. This makes AI less controllable and likely more dangerous. These days, I actually understand the koan, “He who knows, speaks not; he who speaks, knows not,” and it does not bode well for our relationship with AI. Once the AI begins learning on its own, we won’t have control over its ethical development. I, personally, am not comfortable with that. Terminator may just become our reality in spite of the best efforts of our AI programmers.

Oh, and just so I maintain my reputation as a lunatic: I don’t think AI will produce new conscious beings; rather, the sentience involved likely will be Satan and his demons. Have a nice day!

Smite Him! Smite Him!

My “illness” has led me on a journey through many hills and valleys. Much of this resembles the typical path of someone who is bipolar. They have highs where they think anything is possible; followed by lows of the deepest despair. In my case, during my “highs”, I often began interpreting commonplace events as having deeper religious significance. Sometimes, I gave religious events/objects more significance than perhaps I should have. I remember on one of my “highs”, I saw a political cartoon. The cartoon depicted God and Satan in a boxing ring with an onlooker at the edge shouting “Smite him! Smite him!”

I, of course, laughed, because that was absolutely the whole point of my “antichrist experience”—or so I thought. Basically, I believed that God was an absolute pacifist. There would be no smiting by His hand. The devil would like to convince us otherwise, but God will not strike him down; not even him. He could, of course, but He won’t. God was, in my view, like a giant “marshmallow”—kind of, sort of. You know what I mean.

But then, what to do about the devil?

Let him humiliate himself.

It is very much like Satan is God’s oldest child and this oldest child is so full of himself that he has challenged God to a “fistfight” yelling and screaming obscenities at his Father and Creator in a most disgraceful fashion in front of the rest of the Divine family (us). God simply sits there in quiet dignity and lets the devil expose himself as the foolish, childish, overgrown less-than-an-infant that he is. It would be undignified for God to “step in the ring” with the devil. He knows this. And now, I think, most of us do to. Honestly, what is the best response when an idiot challenges you to a fight? Ignore him and walk away. Or, in God’s case, sit there shaking your head—as he is no threat to you and you can undo any damage he does—and wait him out.

So, as an absolute pacifist, I thought that God’s response to Satan was simply a silent rolling of the eyes. Once Satan is exposed and we see him for who and what he is—a giant, spoiled angel needing his diaper changed—we will all, and I do mean all, choose God and His love over Satan and his empty promises.

Anyway, that is what I thought a few years back when I saw that cartoon in the midst of my highs. Currently, I struggle with this issue. Is God an absolute pacifist? Does He let Satan kill, maim, and destroy because He won’t interfere with the devil’s free will (problem of evil—solved)? Or am I simply deluded? There is such a thing as tough love. How does that square with pacifism? Of course, I’m the antichrist. Whenever I think I’ve got something figured out, I grow convinced it is what Satan wants me to think.

Anyhoo, those are my thoughts for the day.

Book Review: The True Jesus by David Limbaugh (3 *’s)

I have recently finished reading The True Jesus by David Limbaugh. It is not a Catholic book, unlike many of the other tomes I have reviewed. Overall, it was an okay book, but not great.

Its focus, of course, was Jesus, His life, and the arguments supporting the Christian position regarding Him—that He is the Messiah and the Son of God. Having read the Gospels several times myself, I found much of the book repetitive. A lot of the page matter seemed to come almost verbatim from the Gospels themselves. There was some theological reasoning and argumentation, but not a lot. I would estimate that roughly 75% of the book consisted of paraphrasing of the Gospels themselves, or quoting directly other writers (mostly, if not entirely, Protestant writers). That did not make it a particularly well-developed read.

Still, the writing was clean and engaging. There were only a few typos, and the arguments that were put forth were interesting. I learned a few tidbits here and there; like, for example, I learned that there are (if I recall correctly) four different interpretations of the Eucharist and its relationship to Christ. I might want to point out, that I think he flubbed the Catholic one. Basically, he claimed that the Catholic Church supports the doctrine that the Host is the physical body of Christ. To my knowledge, that is not the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Church argues that the Host is the spiritual body of Jesus, not the physical. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall reading that in a Catholic source somewhere along the way. Other religions, writers, and philosophers have different views. Some believe it is merely a symbol; still others think it is just a remembrance. Maybe it is just a piece of unleavened bread with nothing special about it at all. However, the way I see it, if God wants to make the Host special, He would have no difficulty doing that. That’s the depth of my understanding of the Host. At the very least it is a remembrance. But God is God, and it could very easily be more.

Anyway, I think I would only recommend this book to people who are unfamiliar with the Gospels. It could then serve as a kind of springboard into further research into Christian religions. Those who are familiar with the Gospels, would likely find it boring. At least, that was my take. The reasoning and argumentation contained within its covers isn’t substantive enough to wade through all the material I already know. And, of course, it ultimately relies on the usual Christian principle that I find so difficult to accept: that Salvation is determined by an arbitrary, unprovable belief. The God I believe in, wouldn’t do that.

So, in the end, I’ll give the book three stars out of five.