RPD 2005 – Where were YOU the night of August 4th? – KMS Explains…

August 4th, 2005. Robot Pride Day.

“Where were YOU the night of August 4th?”

This simple phrase, uttered every year on said date has become a mantra for a growing population exposed to the Constant Change subculture that arose from Blue Dog Pict and is run by Sky Pirates.

Over time the special day might suffer the same dilution as Valentine’s Day or Easter –  becoming little more than an opportunity for Hallmark to sell cute cards. Like any special holiday, it is important to reflect on the philosophy and spirit that set it in motion.

The following is a way of conveying the message behind this strange and seemingly premature annual event.

On July 4th, 1845 the New York Daily Tribune published a story by Margaret Fuller titled “The Fourth of July” intended as a wake up call to all Americans. In it she identified America?s “slavish materialism” and proposed as a solution: “individual action based on principle to set an example of the practicability of virtue,” creating what Michael Meyer interprets as “the deeply rooted, self-cultivated individual who has the power to awaken his neighbors from their torpid lives of expediency to lives of principle.” 1

In 1995, upon seeing the first iteration of Netscape unveiled, I realized that the human species, inexorably tied to machines after the industrial revolution, had evolved an irrevocable upgrade. In my novel ?True and Selfish Prophets? I wrote:

“Cognition is the water of Life. And the human aphids, (or perhaps the humans as intuitive components within the seed) begin to, in a micro instance, where the conditions simply become ‘right,’ find themselves capable of displacing this cognition at will, exchanging it effortlessly, compiling it, amassing it. For a micro-instance the seed reverberates with the sudden congealing of cognition, its critical component, given rise through the event of a critical mass forming within the micro-instance of the ideal setting, throbbing with expectancy.

“The seed, once perceived to be of planetary magnitude by the parasitic-movers within, suddenly becomes unveiled in its true form”a small seed erupting into life with the push it needed from the aphid-component-parasitic-movers, as they consolidate, and beginning the cycle anew; the newborn child, now becoming a maturing compost-in-waiting, an as yet ignorant aphid-component-parasitic-mover groping blindly for answers.” 2

In 2005 – the tenth anniversary of RPD – Kevin Kelly, former editor of Wired, in a special issue devoted to ten years that changed the world, acknowledges [Sun Microsystems?] John Gage?s foresight that “The network is the computer.”

Kelly extrapolates:
“[Gage] neatly summed up the destiny of the Web: As the OS for a megacomputer that encompasses the Internet, all its services, all peripheral chips and affiliated devices from scanners to satellites, and the billions of human minds entangled in this global network. The gargantuan Machine already exists?in the coming decade, it will evolve into an integral extension not only of our senses and bodies but our minds? “This planet-sized computer is comparable in complexity to a human brain. Both the brain and the Web have hundreds of billions of neurons (or Web pages). Each biological neuron sprouts synaptic links to thousands of other neurons, while each Web page branches into dozens of hyperlinks. That adds up to a trillion ‘synapses’ between the static pages on the Web. The human brain has about 100 times that number” but brains are not doubling in size every few years. The Machine is [it] is fractal. In total, it harnesses a quintillion transistors, expanding its complexity beyond that of a biological brain?[surpassing] the 20-petahertz threshold for potential intelligence as calculated by Raymond Kurzweil. For this reason some researchers have switched their bets to the Net as the computer most likely to think first. ” 3

Although the Web is frequently lauded as the great equalizer, affording a level playing field to the end-user and the MegaCorp alike, we, “the people,” must be cautious in what we are giving away in the process. We are in a boon – where the Internet is still unregulated except for matters of domain administration.
As we become increasingly reliant upon it, we must be aware that this seeming Elysian Field of data exchange might one day be retracted and regulated by a centralized body. (A recent article published by the BBC discloses the UN?s interest in creating ?some sort of talking shop that will give governments and others a say in how the net develops.?) 4 This might not come from even as altruistic a force as the UN – note the recent takeover of populist MySpace.com by Rupert Murdoch?s decidedly Orwellian NewsCorp.

While Sky Pirates and followers of Robot Pride Day are hardly Luddites, it is prudent to consider Popul Vuh, the sacred book of the ancient Quich? Maya, written almost four hundred years ago, wherein the authors caution against our reliance upon the tools that might one day turn against us:

“And all [those things] began to speak…”You…shall feel our strength. We shall grind and tear your flesh to pieces.” said their grinding stones…At the same time, their griddles and pots spoke: “Pain and suffering you have caused us…You burned us as if we felt no pain. Now you shall feel it, we shall burn you.” 5

We have perhaps never felt this reliance upon the Machines more strongly than at the end of the last century when it was realized that the simple omission of two digits from the calendar year could lead to potential widespread disaster as the last digits reset to ?00.? Although Y2K ended being little more than a money-maker for alarmists, it served as a wake-up call concerning our ignorance and utter codependence on technology. More than anything else, it exemplified how we feel incapable of dealing with our own realities outside of the sphere of technology. There seems to be a widespread anxiety that although we can see the collision course we are on with disaster?that is?the depletion of natural resources, the collapse of the environment, global warming, and all associated disorders?we have little power to affect it. We always have the power to turn off the television, pull the plug on the radio, unplug the computer, turn off the lights and turn on candles, feel the sun and walk through nature?or whatever it is we have left of it. Perhaps our greatest arrogance is the idea that we might be more powerful than nature itself. Truth is, nature will outlast us. Ironically, the machines will likely outlast us as well. The only concern we should have is whether we will manage to sustain ourselves within her plan.

It is essential that we become pro-active in preserving the ecosystem (The Natural Resource Defense Council has been fighting a two year battle with the current American administration to prevent it from drilling in the Alaskan wilderness for oil) and supporting sustainable methods of living/farming, waste management, power consumption, or we will succumb to the same pattern of collapse that many great civilization?s (Easter Island, Sumer, Rome) have met.

In his erudite “A Short History of Progress,” Ronald Wright capitulates: “Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn’t easily moved. This human inability to foresee?or to watch out for?long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer?

“We have the tools and means to share resources, clean up pollution, dispense basic health care and birth control, and set economic limits in line with natural ones. If we don’t do these things while we prosper, we will never be able to do them when times get hard. Our fate will twist out of our hands. And this new century will not grow very old before we enter an age of chaos and collapse that will dwarf all the dark ages in our past. Now is our last chance to get the future right.”6

When I assigned August 4th the ironic title “Robot Pride Day” ten years ago (1995), it was to stand as a beacon and an historic flagstone that we had rounded a corner in human development. In our sudden and remarkable new ability to communicate telepathically with the rest of the species, I saw two possibilities simultaneously:

1) We could minimize the disparity of our experiences and find empathy with those whom we did not understand, communicate ideas and create new mythologies that served us as we moved forward

2) We become a homogenous, singular mob that would forfeit its anonymity and independence and become fish in a barrel for the predatory multi-national faceless conglomerates that would target us for financial gain.

In his manifesto “Culture Jam”, Kalle Lasn, founder of AdBusters, writes:

“Layer upon layer of mediated artifice come between us and the world until we are mummified. The commercial mass media are rearranging our neurons, manipulating our emotions, making powerful new connections between deep immaterial needs and material products.” 7

I believe both things have taken place. Just as the Web has expanded in ways that no futurist could have predicted by the sheer amount voluntarily created user content, we have also forfeited much of our ability to think and act independently, based on principle, as Margaret Fuller cautioned over a century ago.

Neither scenario is all-inclusive?there are still many of us living outside the system of institutionally sanctioned thought?watching, creating alternatives, upholding the most virtuous aims. The Constant Change community and its Sky Pirate protectors maintain those traditions in human interaction that perpetuate love, freedom, the quest for knowledge, the earning of wisdom, tolerance, and above all, respect for all creation. We are the children of a new age ? one in which we are more closely tied together than ever before ? and yet this close-knit lifestyle can pose a threat to our very understanding of the way things are. We strive to maintain a greater perspective, to demand the truth, to act against tyranny and to encourage creativity and grace.

We must remain conscious so that we are prepared should that day – when we lose our grip on the reigns of our destiny – ever come to pass.

We will still be there when the lights go out.

What will you be doing when Robot Pride Day comes? How will you answer the morning after when they knock on your door to ask:

Where were YOU the night of August 4th?

Where will YOU be on Robot Pride Day?

Luv and roadkill,

Gematria ? Mission Specialist -08.ZIYA
K. Malicki-Sanchez
G-Lightflash
The Constant Change Crew
August 4th, 2005

————Endnotes————–

1 Meyer, Michael – from the introduction to ?Walden and Civil Disobedience? Thoreau, Henry David, (Penguin Classics, New York, 1986.)

2 Malicki-Sanchez, Keram ?True and Selfish Prophets,? (Los Angeles, 2005.)

3 Kelly, Kevin ?We Are the Web,? WIRED – August 2005.

4 “UN at odds over internet’s future” http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/4692743.stm Published: 2005/07/18 11:56:17 GMT

5 Delia Goetz, Sylvanus Morley, and Adrian Recinos, trans., Popul Vuh: The Sacred book of the Ancient Quich? Maya (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1950), pp. 91-92.

6 Wright, Ronald – A Short History of Progress, House of Anansi Press, Toronto, 2004.

7 Kalle Lasn ? Culture Jam (New York, 1999) p.12

Robot Pride Day 2004 – State of the Union Address

Esteemed allies, we bring you a missive from the Great Walla Walla.

2004 has been an interesting year for those of you currently residing on Terra Firma (that’s the planet Earth for you who pretend to not know).

Honda and Sony have unleashed robotic companions on the marketplace, little Roomba vacuum-bots have commandeered carpets the world over and Akiva Goldsman and Will Smith have come together to capitalize on the genius of Isaac Asimov in the worst way. All tell-tale signs that the age of spiritual, cognizant machines is not only immanent but has, in fact, arrived.

Robots will forever change the significance of history and of politics that to this point have been cornerstones exclusively of human interaction and development.

Yes, the billboards say “One Man Saw It Coming”, but in fact we have seen it coming far longer than that and have psychically prepared accordingly. As this paradigm rapidly trickles into mass culture and the term “Robot Pride Day” is subsumed into the morass of robophilia destined to invade our mass distraction, it is important to remember what it was that brought us together in the first place. That is the examination, celebration and perpetuation of what it is that makes us distinctly human?that is to say?what elevates us beyond mere computational capacity and reason. It could be argued that it is language, but robots share this with us.

It is something more, or more accurately, something less than that; it is nuance, inference, those intangibles and glimpses into silent moments that we recognize as “perfect”, or that, unlike robots, we are trapped by our organic nature in a timelock, framed and propelled by our mortality so that we, who are that bittersweet intersection of language and permanent silence have a desperate will to engage with life.

Yes, we can celebrate robots as a feat of our own infinitely creative power, and their inevitable independence, but more so because we know by observing them what we can never be: therein is found the fuel that fires our rage and how we channel that into our own unique and beautiful ability, not only to be alive, but to be desperately so.

– K. Malicki-Sanchez(G-Lightflash)
August 4th, 2004
www.robotprideday.com

The deeper ramifications of RPD – RPD State of the Union Address 2003

by Gematria
“Where were YOU the night of August 4th?”

Friends, germs, pesticides, members of the League of Sky Pirates and assorted guests…

On the night of August 4th, in the year 3014, the robot postal workers of Planet Natureworld held secret council with a force known only as ‘Darla’ at the Lullaby Cabaret. Little is known about Darla and what the force may have said that night, but much has been recorded about the tumultuous events that ensued.

In the early morning hours, the robot postal workers cut a fiery swath through the streets of the docile capital, effectively dismantling a thousand years of subservience to the organic races and claiming once and for all their sovereignty. But this, is all well documented in the historic texts of the renowned historians Redshift 4.26 and Goombaboy.

Robot Pride Day represented an enormous victory for the Sky Pirates of the Oily Color Pile Nebulae, for though they too were organic (for the most part) it mirrored their quest to promote and perpetuate the celebration of heterogeneity in the cosmos, in the hopes of nurturing the cultural offshoots that it gave rise to.

The Sky Pirates had fought for years against the Corprat Empyre and its evil minions the Sirious Vampyres whose nefarious designs to homogenize and organize the cosmos into pre-determined systems of thought and expression had already taken too strong a hold on the weakening minds of the population.

This special day served as a wake up call that there is always a way out – a way to change the way things are – to liquefy that which has petrified into standards, so as to begin asking questions anew.

So on this very special day we take a moment to reconsider that nothing is set in stone. That we mold the shape of things to come and that what we assume to be predestined may be little more than the effects of the Corprat Empyre’s grip taking hold.

Challenge authority. Search for the truth. Evaluate and consider the principles that guide you. Question everything! For the seeds you sow today will be the buds of your tomorrows.

I will close this years Robot Pride Day address with the following excerpt from famed Sky PIrate – King Ink’s diary:

“I don’t remember the sun. The first time word and meaning became one. But whatever thought I had could not hold true to the feast before me. I would like to say how the fingers of heaven reach out through the black smoke of the valley torn from battle around me. How my comrades glisten with the sweat of death and the valor of up rising beside me. But alas, it is not and I am alone.

So come lie by my side and watch this sun as it will set but not rise, not rise again for me. Not rise again for the day, the day of days, the day of pride and remembering. The day of courage and change. Of love and truth. A truth so stubborn that still it burns from beneath the silent ocean that flows to the ground around me.

Terra Firma be mine. Hold me now that I have fallen. Forgive me for what I could not be. Listen to these humble words and with them hold this proof, this testament. Be my witness, my child, that I may pass on the truth of truths, I am alive.

I live, but I only now know for certain at this, my end. Listen for me as I could not back when the sweet dew of truth found its way to my lips kissed with the words of Darla. So decadent this taste that my mouth froze solid my actions, my voice and lowered my head to hide my thoughts.

Scream for me and the years I watched. Be a shaft of molten rock that explodes into the sky. Be a tower and rise throughout the universe for all to know that what had been said has been proven and now is done, that you, that we, are alive.”

Ad Lumina friends, and may the light guide your way….

Gematria – MISSION SPECIALIST – 08.ZIYA
Defenders of the Oily Colr Pile Nebulae
At Your Service
Special thanks to the Constant Change Crew of Sky Pirates for their tireless efforts in bringing you the all-new www.robotprideday.com site for 2003!

Constant Change Crew:
ShyOne
Quarkalicious
Articulatrix
Peaches
The Codebitch
King Ink
G-Lightflash

August 4th, 2003
info at constant change dot com