The Art Of Overcoming v09/2019
This is a really weird document that lays out an extremely compelling vision for the future by leveraging the capabilities of distributed and censorship resistant systems as well as artificial intelligence. This preface, and the first 2 chapters are literally the crazy context for how this vision came to be. They establish the "who" and the "why". The rest of this document is essentially the requirements for some visionary open source software. This document is also the ideal subject matter for thought record analysis, and I left it mostly as is because I think it may be helpful to people in psychosis.
Most of the text written after this preface is from between the later half of 2014 up until early 2017. In 2012, I began bootstrapping a start up in China which aimed to develop a secure and censorship resistant communication platform. During that period I experienced various forms of stress, and in the latter half of 2014, being under the impression that marijuana was medicinal, I decided perhaps naïvely to start smoking it all of the time. So when I woke up in the morning, I would load up my little pipe and get high. And I would re-dose every several hours, remaining high all day - every day. Suddenly I began believing that my electronic devices had been compromised and that I was being followed and was under surveillance. In 2015, I began believing that everyone I knew was complicit in this endeavour. In December 2015 I published the first version of this text on my old website. You can probably find the original on archive.org if you search for the version history of sovereignprime.com/blog (https://web.archive.org/web/20161212152425/http://sovereignprime.com/blog/ ) (You have to copy and past the whole link into your browser otherwise it won't open). In 2016, I returned to Canada from China where I had been for the last 12 years and continued consuming marijuana; However, the potency was very different - the shit I was smoking and China had seeds in it, the stuff I was getting from the dispensary in Vanier was feminized buds that had been enhanced through selective breeding. I liken this to the difference between drinking beer and drinking vodka. In 2016, I began having ‘Ideas of Reference’. This means that I thought the media that I was consuming had been produced specifically with me in mind and contained hidden messages/meanings. My life felt a bit like The Truman Show (1998). I eventually decompensated to the point that around Christmas 2016, I thought that this reality might be my dream/simulation and that I was essentially god. In mid 2017, I was found not criminally responsible for an assault charge (that caused almost no physical injury but was nonetheless very traumatizing). During my time on the secure ward of a mental hospital, I learned that there was a strong statistical correlation between marijuana use and psychosis. It is a bit difficult for me to review the following work for obvious reasons; However many of my friends have mentioned that it was an interesting read. And I do remember introducing some fairly compelling ideas. Some of it is still valid. All of it is food for thought.
Hang on a minute, before you read this I want to point out that the following resources have helped me to overcome many of the issues I was dealing with when I wrote this.
Alan Watts’ lecture called The World as Emptiness was invaluable when I was in hospital. His explanation of the 4 Noble Truths of the first one called Buddha was far more tactical and pragmatic than most other interpretations. Here is a link: https://youtu.be/0d8rv49LwiA
When I read The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius as a teenager, I found it compelling; When I went over this material again in 2019, practical. The version I bought back in the day from Chapters near the Rideau Centre in Ottawa had a preface that contained what I found to be an extremely salient revelation: Namely, that in the ancient world, the word ‘God’ would have been almost interchangeable with the word ‘Nature’ ... which means the existence of God is entirely contingent on our definition of that term.
This talk on Neurogenesis was also very useful - When I learned that taking Omega 3 fatty acids is the principal thing you can do to optimize your rate of neurogenesis, I started taking 7 grams a day, and I feel better than I ever have in my entire life. https://youtu.be/8qELJTRLJyM
Actually let me disentangle this book a bit because when I wrote it I wasn't really speaking to a general audience.
This all goes way back. When I was a teenager I met my friend Eric. He was an interesting character. His basement was filled with old computers. His dad worked at La Cité collégiale. I remember he bought a dual Xeon server board and CPUs that he didn't even put in a case. He just had this ridiculously expensive setup running on top of one of his math books. He and I discussed many things including genetic algorithms, grid computing, and virtual currencies. In 2002, I went to Manhattan with Eric and another friend Paul to attend an information "security conference" (at least thats what we said it was when we had to get off the Greyhound to cross the boarder). This conference was called Hackers On Planet Earth ( HOPE ).
The conference was amazing. It started with a spot the FED competition. I remember someone was brought up to the stage because he had a crew cut, his shirt was tucked in, and his shoes were shiny. He was a good sport about it and he actually showed us his FBI badge. There were so many mind blowing workshops on all kinds of things like social engineering, lock picking, and I even learned that if you splice an analog microphone cable to a photovoltaic cell, you can turn any window into a microphone by bouncing a laser off it (WTF!).
In 2004 I left Canada and ended up in Mainland China where I started teaching Business English to adults. Then I got into all kinds of other projects, but teaching English was almost always how I paid my rent.
In January 2007, I was feeling pretty crap about my life and I was at home watching some shitty Adam Sandler movie called Click and I got all the way through it because of Christopher Walken. At the end there was a U2 song and the lyrics included “Don't give up. You only get what you give”. For some reason it lit a fire under my ass and I decided to go online and apply for every sales job on Asia Expat listed for Shanghai. I ended up being called in for an interview with a company called offshore2online. When I showed up, some greasy American douche called Matt Clark gave a group interview (just like Boiler Room https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181984/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1 ). I just had to work here. The password I setup for my salesforce login was HOPEforthefuture! On an almost daily basis if would hear Boiler Room quotes from Matt and Tony Mustafa, the founder.
I remembered a few lessons that helped me be as convincing a twat as I could. I remembered "too many mind" from The Last Samurai (focus on the task at hand). I also remembered a friend named Amandeep Singh. I met him when I worked at the Rideau Centre around Christmas 2003. He told me that he used to work in a call centre in India and that the most successful guy in that centre was some crusty fuck who didn't even speak English. He just read the script but he made more calls than anyone else. He just made more calls! That was it!
Because I actually did speak English I started overcoming objections. For example, I don't have any money so I don't need any financial advice... and I would say, Wait... You DON'T have any money and THEREFORE you don't need any financial advice? ( In this case I'm actually doing this person a favour by selling him a 5 year plan at 250$ a month. Especially if I keep calling to make sure he is paying his premiums. Which also gives me a chance to pump him for referrals. Pretty soon I was at the top of the shit heap. The good and the bad news was that I was being forced out of the company by some middle manager that I just couldn't tolerate. My salesforce login didn't give me full access to the companies entire database but one of the consultant's passwords did. It was 111111...
So I made a copy and called some Scottish cunt named Alistair Skinner I met a while back who worked for one of the biggest "independent financial advisories" in Shanghai called Austen Morris. It definitely got me in the door. This asshole loved telling me about how he fucked so many Chinese girls cuz he had a boat... So this 70ish year old salesman's game was that he owned a boat. I mean there is an argument to be made that sales and game are the same thing. Leads -> Prospects -> Clients... it's all about the number of leads you put in the top of the funnel, then optimizing the conversion rate. Using a boat is just like fishing with dynamite, effective but lame. There must be some style to it, right?
I setup the same login for the shitty CRM that this company had developed in-house. Getting at the database here was a bit more complex because everyone was more careful with their passwords around me and I'm not a real hacker (I don't know how to use a command line to SSH into shit). Anyway I pulled off the same act as before and it worked great. Before long I was booking over 30 appointments a week and the average marketing coordinator was booking 3. The all-time record was 23. I was a real prick about it too. Every morning I'd go in and put 3 red and 2 green bags of tea into my beer mug. As I'd walk back to my desk from the water machine, I'd say "Its gonna be a big day today! I can feel it!" ... and it always was!
I'd go for cigarette breaks with Alistair cuz he would meet Phillip Morris in the stair well. Phillip was Greg Morris' brother and he had been named the legally responsible person for the Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE) they had setup in Shanghai under the pretence that they were doing agricultural business. I asked him if he understood that the in-house CRM that they developed was way less secure than something professionally developed by an actual CRM company. He told me that their database was being hosted in a secure facility with armed guards even though there was a giant server rack in the middle of their office. But there was absolutely no reason for me to ever be within 5 feet of it, so I wasn't going to get a USB key in there. Eventually I figured out a GUI hack. This company had a very interesting policy of ring fencing leads such that if someone entered a name and phone number into their system before anyone else, then they "owned" that lead - the result was that their competitors had a massive advantage in terms of actually calling leads. Anyway, the CRM they built had a "feature" that enabled users to "clean" their leads by checking if someone else had entered it first. This is if you just entered first name "e", last name "a" for example. This piece of shit would spit out something like 5000 leads for comparison. Then it was just a matter of copying and pasting into a spreadsheet and pressing the remove duplicates button.
One problem is that half of Offshore2online including that middle manager I couldn't tolerate ended up coming over to Austen Morris right after I did because the founder of O2O Tony Mustafa was an ever bigger cunt than Matt Clark (Matt went on to found his own "consultancy" and he called it "Elite" Investment Group. Well of course he would call it that. And I ended up having to move to Beijing to complete my little GUI hack. I took my time though cuz I wanted to checkout Beijing for a while. Another thing is that I was a bit interested in these people. What made them tick? Like at Austen Morris in Shanghai there was this old Welsh guy named Alan Vassalo (If I remember correctly). The first thing he told me about himself was that this was only his second job in his life and that he had worked for Nabisco for over 30 years, because he was a company man through-and-through. He was really proud of that, and I kinda liked him actually. He was hard ass grumpy old man with a weird accent I had never heard before. There was also another chap, I remember one time we were at some place called Blue Frog on Tongren Lu in Shanghai and he told me that at least his clients weren't blowing their money up their noses (thanks to him). The implication being that although the unit linked life insurance schemes we were selling had a very low value proposition, they weren't a complete scam because the clients didn't completely lose the principal they put in. I liked that he was actually struggling with it. And he never pulled the scam of getting a client to dump a lump sum of capital into the first 18 months initial contribution period just to boost his commission. He had a Monty Python-esque sense of humour and he wasn't a complete cunt. At the end of the night he paid everyone’s bill because he knew Tony wouldn’t. Honestly, he really was one of the good ones, and an amazing closer!
Anyway the team in Beijing were kinda okay people I guess. They were mostly just drinking the Kool-aid on these products. I have to admit it does kinda feel good to put on a suit and tie and tell yourself that you have a real job.
Finally I had drinks with my friend Cedric and he told me that an amazing chick from the north east of China I knew in Shanghai had just gotten married to some dude her parents liked. No one ever rocked my world the way she did. She was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Still to this day I can't believe how lucky I was to have met her. At that point I installed NMAP (https://nmap.org/) on my workstation and told everyone in the office how miserable I was. I also started asking questions about the actual value proposition of the products we were selling. Then IT security consultants started coming into the office to have meetings with the Beijing partners. I was just curious to see how they would respond. Anyway, I ended up giving away their database to all their competitors in Beijing before I moved back to Shanghai.
When I got back to Shanghai just after Chinese New Year 2008, I was staying at a youth hostel on Jiangxi Lu and I noticed a strange bald stocky Chinese dude, with dark skin like a farmer or a prison camp labourer, and he was wearing a shitty black pinstripe suit (like the kind of suit I would wear). Funny thing is later that day I went to the fake market on Nanjing Lu and Chengdu Bei Lu cuz they had clothes that fit me but it was a pain the ass to shop there. As soon as you walk in you get mobbed by people trying to take you to someone’s shop so they can earn a commission and you have to get past them before you can get anything done. The you have to bargain like a motherfucker just to get a fair deal. Like you could get a shirt there for 35-40 RMB but they ask for 600... I was offering 50 cuz i didn't want to be in there any longer than I had to. But still... it took a while. At some point I had a angry look on my face cuz I hated the process and I turned and saw the same piece of shit in a polyester suit from earlier that morning. These 2 places were about 5KM away from each other. So I stared him down, he turn and walked away, and I never saw him again. That was the first time a noticed a coincidence like that.
Around Christmas 2009, I met my old friend Brian Symes at a place called Big Bamboo for drinks. He told me that someone I worked with at Offshore2Online had committed suicide because he had been fucked over by Matt Clark out of some commissions right before the holidays. He lost his apartment and his Japanese girlfriend dumped him. Then he hung himself.
At that point, It seemed like a great time to launch a website called ethicalbusinesscongress.net (which you can also find on archive.org. ( https://web.archive.org/web/20161020062404/http://ethicalbusinesscongress.net/offshore-investment-industry-in-mainland-china/ ) (you have to copy and paste the whole link into your browser otherwise it won't open)
It was a very comprehensive takedown of the Offshore Investment industry in China. I also mention that technically no one is supposed to sell foreign insurance products in China. According to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission rules, you need to form a Joint Venture with a Chinese partner who owns 51% of the China JV. So... if anyone wants to complain, you know who to call. Then I got some dude I knew named Sean who was running some party marketing site call shanghaifun or something like that to blast out around 30,000 SMS messages with a link to this information. I also blasted out around 15,000 emails to lists that I got from hot chicks I met at networking events. I mean now that everyone was cold calling the same leads, I just nuked them all!
At that point I was selling medical insurance to foreigners and foreign enterprises in China. Then some area manager from AXA named Nicolas Roubin who I met while he was giving training at one of the brokerages I worked at called and asked me to come visit his very nice office in Pudong. He told me that he had gotten a communique from the CIRC informing them not to do business with certain companies. When I asked to see the email, he showed me the email that I had sent out with a giant shit eating grin on his face. The he introduced me to the area manager for their onshore unit linked life insurance products. I guess they missed the point but whatever. They then told me that the CIRC received thousands of phones calls and that some of these companies had had their offices raided and that they must have had to pay huge bribes to reopen. Then we all sat there looking at each other with giant shit eating grins on our faces. It was great!
A couple years later, Owen Caterer who I worked with at Austen Morris and I had lunch. I told him what everyone already knew - which is that the ethical business congress was my site. He told me that is was a real kick in the balls because everything I wrote was "generally accurate". Then he started his own financial advisory where he helped his clients setup online brokerage accounts and helped them to pick investments in exchange of 0.5% of their portfolios (which is quite reasonable actually). I was touched. I had similar encounters with other people in the industry. like Steven Howes who I caught up with at Big Bamboo (met him at deVere where I worked for 2 weeks). He was apprehensive. He told me that I have "very fierce eyes". He told me that many of his colleagues wanted to glass me in the face. But he bought me a beer and admired my balls.
There are two reasons I think I got through that: First, when they all started calling to harass me, I asked them "what do you think happens if I don't answer my emails for 72 hours? Do you want this to go to the next level? So why don't you just fuck off and cross the street next time you see me?". Like what? I had an even bigger database to blast? What exactly was I threatening? But deterrence is the art of instilling terror in the heart of the enemy. So I left it up to their imaginations. But It was just a bluff. On the other hand I had proven myself to be quite resourceful so caution was merited; Secondly, I am reminded of Sun Zi's treatise on military conflict. Chapter 1, the 5 constant factors. Factor 1; The Moral Law. Because obviously the sovereign who is in accord with the people has a distinct advantage in any type of engagement. I think I just pulled off a fucking righteous act.
Ok back to 2010. At that point I was selling medical insurance and after reading the policy conditions and learning about how chronic conditions are defined as basically anything that causes irreversible changes to the body, anything that requires prolonged supervision or monitoring, blah blah blah, anything that costs lots of money and chronic conditions are excluded, or there was a life time limit of fuck all money if you get one... I started wondering what the point of buying medical insurance was. I looked it up on Wikipedia. Turns out insurance is a financial instrument meant to mitigate financial liabilities (risk). So health insurance is supposed to mitigate the risk of going bankrupt if you get sick. But wait... if you forget to mention that you once had a pimple when you were 15 on the medical questionnaire, the insurance company can accuse you of fraud. Then I also realized that buying insurance that covers an annual checkup, is a really fucking expensive way to pay for an annual checkup. Like if you just go out of pocket you'll pay a third. So I started selling what I called the AK47 (dirt cheap and reliable) of medial insurance to individuals (when a company is paying for it, it’s a benefit so there was a different plan for that). It was the BUPA WHO basic plan with a 3700$ annual deductible. It was regulated in the UK so BUPA couldn't drop a client at the end of the year if they were costing too much (Now they have a JV in China which is regulated under the CIRC so they could drop you if they wanted). It covered chronic conditions with no exception. It had an annual limit of 2.5 million dollars a year, it even covered maternity after a 10 month waiting period. So if you got hit by a bus or something, you wouldn’t wake up with a 100,000$ bill. My policy only cost me 56 bucks a month. Thing is my commissions were based on the value of the policy. So... if you want to be broke ass, try being an honest salesmen. (And this is how our neighbours in the South pay for their healthcare????)
At this point my old friend Will Stevenson came into the picture. He was my roommate's boyfriend when I was up in Beijing from September 2007 to February 2008. When I met him he told me that he was working for a healthcare startup JV in China that was failing because their local partner wanted to fuck them over. He told me General Alexander Haig was on their board.
Let me tell you a bit about Will. He was a bald dude, who was very focused on his physical fitness. He liked to use a lot of military terminology. His shirt was always tucked in. His shoes were always shiny. He liked going to a computer grey market on Baoshan lu, were we could browse all the surveillance equipment on offer. Like a little device that you could pop a SIM card into and then call so that you could passively listen in. Or a cellphone frequency jammer that would make it impossible make phone calls or connect to the internet if you were within 10 to 15 feet of it (it worked!). In 2011, he also showed me a live stream from his living room that he used to monitor his girlfriend. Then told me that she almost found it when she was cleaning up. This implied that he was doing this to her surreptitiously. To be fair his girlfriend was pretty awesome. She was a very smart chick from Shenyang who actually made more money than him by selling makeup on Taobao. I can understand wanting to put her on lockdown. However, when I was psychotic and even a bit before honestly, and I was looking back, I had to wonder if this individual had any reason to surveil me. Because, there obviously wasn't any moral objection in place. So if he felt gypped or slighted in any way, and he eventually did, then... maybe. To be honest, the only thing the psychosis changed was my degree of certainty.
In 2010, he got me working at an E-commerce startup called JigoCity. I was doing tech support for the Shanghai office with about 70 staff. I was also the sysadmin for the whole company, but we were just using google apps. My original title was IT Coordinator so I was basically doing all the DevOps. Will wanted me there at 9am before almost anyone else showed up, and he wanted me to close the office every night. So I just went home to sleep, and sometimes I got a Sunday off (I had no equity in this company... none... nothing).
The lead investor was a guy named Tony Bobulinski. I was told by Will that Tony was ex-military and that he was a billionaire. He had greying auburn hair and blue eyes (maybe green - it’s been a while). He was built like a wrestler. And he weren't no genius. So how the fuck did he parlay his savings from a career in the military into a billion dollar fortune?
Will always told me "head down, work hard, don't ask questions". So I didn't, but I did make recommendations. Like we were sending out emails to a list that was single opt-in. Because we were paying a company called Click Pro to help us with customer acquisition. But based on the issues we were having with our inbox placement rate, it was obvious that they were just copying and pasting email addresses into the subscriber field of our website. So I recommended the industry best practice of double opt-in. This would make it so that subscribers would receive a confirmation email from our EDM provider to make sure that our subscribers actually wanted to receive our daily deals.
Another recommendation I made was to switch our payment gateway to Citibank Singapore via a company called Asiapay. Because even in our only market with any traction, Hong Kong, we were sending close to 30% of our gross margin to PayPal. Tony didn't give a shit. He told me that we were focused on growth. Growth of what? A massive subscriber list with a zero point fuck all conversion rate for a company operating on negative margins? I tried to explain that if someone was to take a closer look, like other investors or a potential acquisition target, it would be much less problematic if we addressed these issues. He told me to stop speaking in code.
Finally we had a falling out because I was having serious issues with my vision and I asked to be included in the company's health plan. Tony told me that JigoCity didn't cover health insurance for its employees. Thing is I was their broker! And I got them a sweet deal too. I had to put them on a group rated plan from MSH (instead of community rated) cuz these fucks all had pre-existing conditions. Like blunt force trauma to the head, and serious cardio vascular issues, and I was still 50% cheaper than any other broker in Shanghai. At that point I sent him a not so nice email and CCed the entire executive team. He then doubled-down on being a cunt, so I quit. What is it with Americans and their healthcare? And I always heard that "Never leave a man behind” was a military motto. But I can't have health insurance????
He is my 3rd degree contact on LinkedIn even though I'm connected to both the former and current CTOs, as well as the former CMO/CEO. And there is no picture of this "billionaire" anywhere on the internet... When I was psychotic, and I was looking back. The memory of this rather enigmatic individual certainly was a cause for concern.
To be clear, I didn't just tell you all this because I'm bitter about needing a corneal transplant in my right eye, that could have been avoided, if I had gotten my situation dealt with in 2011. The daily deal industry was bullshit. It had retarded customer acquisition costs, negative margins, zero customer loyalty, and thousands of copy cat competitors pilling on because Groupon got to a billion dollar market cap in like 18 months. When I left Jigocity in 2011, I thought Tony was a poser fronting a bullshit business in a doomed industry. I'm still on very good terms with someone that was on the executive team in that company. He was the one I dealt with to setup the company's health plan. He and I were on the same page that Tony's takeover as CEO was only going to accelerate Jigocity's crash landing. He just wasn't an operator. He was ultimately able to con Asia Friend Finder into buying Jigocity for what was essentially a spam list. But it was a cashless transaction that required 2 years of vesting. So Tony was pretty much the only one who didn't get fucked on that deal.
As my psychosis became more and more acute, especially in late 2016, I started to think that Tony and Will were posers of a different kind. These tenuous links I drew with their military or military like dispositions, that lead to beliefs involving the intelligence community are quite common when one starts to go off the deep end...
Will and I spent a lot of time together after Jigocity, and the Kool-aid really started to wear off in one cab ride. He explained to me that when he was on his way to a meeting with a prospective client, that he was pitching his "virtual CTO" services to. He would look up some key terms about their business on wikipedia on the way to their office. He told me he just wanted to learn the vernacular, so that he could sound like he knew what he was taking about. If he got the client, he would hire a full time Chinese CTO and charge his client 20,000RMB a month for the privilege of having him show up once a week. That's the thing with narcissists, they actually want to tell you what cunts they are. All you have to do is listen. Don't challenge or judge or question, just listen and wait for signs of remorse that never come.
As for Tony being off the grid, maybe he worked in the intelligence community, or maybe he was just a shyster who didn't want his business partners to look him up on google... or... maybe he's a real nice guy with absolutely nothing at all to hide... Who knows?
Anyway... a few months after I left JigoCity, I got a job offer from some crazy fuck named Scott Freeman. His HR Manager sent me some bullshit Myers Briggs personality questionnaire which I refused to take, because all these tests are good for, is determining if the candidate can tell you what you want to hear. So... the HR Manager started the interview by asking me a bunch of getting to know you type questions. When I got to Scott, I was told that my personality was INTJ... Then I pretended to be fascinated because I could tell that Scott liked this label. In fact, I was offended by the very notion that I was being pigeonholed, and that this designation was clearly non-static because I've gotten different results before.
Then we had a 4 hour interview where he informed me that oil is a renewable resource that is produced by micro organisms deep below the earths surface and that the genocide of the Jews during WW2 never happened and that those pictures of emaciated prisoners were actually of German POWs... So I told him I was a Libertarian, and he fucking loved that (because obviously).
Eventually he offered me a job as CIO for IT resources ( http://itr.cn/ ). There were hurt feelings within his team and eventually we settled on Internal IT Systems Manager.
I actually learned a lot there. I like learned about legacy systems and how hard it to transition away from them even though everybody is bitching about the groupware...
I quickly realized that I was hired precisely because Scott wanted to ruffle some feathers. He had a CTO in Beijing that he viewed as "comfortable" and he didn't have a very high regard for many of his senior staff. Scott also mentioned on many occasions how lonely it was to be a manager... I often left the work well after 9pm because Scott pulled me into his office for a 4 to 5 hour conversation. Toward the end of my probation period, I started to subtly communicate that I wanted to be compensated for that time. After my 4 month probation period was up, he refused to give me a permanent position and offered to go month to month. When I refused he fired me, but I got the impression from his HR staff that it was a bluff. I didn't respond as desired so that was it...
So now we are just after Chinese New Year 2012, and I started to consider my next move. Then I realized that groupware was the perfect loser alter ego for censorship resistant software that can fly under the radar (like why isn't LinkedIn blocked anywhere?).
So that was the original plan, and it was actually a great one.
In December 2013, I went to Bitcoin Primer being put on by pretentious Californian cunt named Jack Wang who worked with 500 Startups (who seem to turn everything they touch to shit). This event was being put on in a shared office space called Lighthouse on Changping lu, Changde lu. I arrived late and when I got there someone opened the door for me and got me a chair. He sat me at the front of the audience next to Jack Wang so I proceeded to interrupt him at every turn and just to show that he may have know about the how but had no clue as to the why of Bitcoin (cuz he had zero vision).
After the "presentation" was over there was mixer and I spotted some chick from across the room with jet jet jet black wavy hair, and slightly darker skin than average. Like she was Greek or Italian. At 10 meters and mostly from behind, she looked like a little 5 foot 2 Monica Bellucci. She was wearing a white blouse and a tight office lady skirt that had an absolutely divine shape to it. So a made a bee line and started talking to her and her friend Denise. The first thing I asked her is where she was from, but I already knew. Then she insisted that I setup a meeting with her boss to talk about my project.
Her boss was named Todd Embley, and he was the guy who opened the door for me and sat me in front of the audience. Todd was the program director for company called Chinaccelorator ( https://chinaccelerator.com/ ).
They were offering 100k RMB for 6% equity. I wasn't going to sign a term sheet with an institutional investor for that amount of money. Then I told him that I couldn't be in his next batch because I had to go back to Canada to get my eyes checked. Just to be a prick I asked him if literacy was requirement for his program. He and his assistant looked at each other like I just let one rip. Then she seemed really embarrassed and tried to get up and walk away from the table, but Todd gestured downward with his hand and we continued the conversation.
In May 2014, I went back to Shanghai for some very stupid reason that didn't pan out. Then, since I was there anyway, and I was real curious about Todd's assistant. I attempted to negotiate something with Todd. He offered to let me work out of their shared office space and I had a good reason to want to go there anyway. A little while later they setup a booth at Mobil World Congress and they got me a free pass so I went. At some point I was trying to use my iPhone 4 running iOS 7 with a China Unicom SIM card as a hotspot to connect to the internet while I was sat at their booth. Then Todd handed me a China Unicom USB modem and insisted that I try it. I had to install some software that required my root password and I was a bit distracted I guess, so... whoops! And it worked! But wait, why couldn't my iPhone on the same network connect??? Now at this point I have to drop some cognitive behavioural therapy knowledge on you. There is a thinking error called jumping to conclusions. So maybe he used a cell jammer that he could have picked up at say, Baoshan lu for example... But let’s not jump to conclusions. I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. I just have no idea what that is.
Later that day I had a Skype call setup with someone from SOS Ventures called Alan Clayton. We had a great conversation which ended by him telling me that he really enjoyed our chat and that he looked forward to meeting me in August (when their next batch was starting).
The following Monday, when I showed up Todd told me that Alan said it was a no go because I was a solo founder. I had been very clear on this point from the beginning, but whatever... I packed up my shit and I left. Then when I was in Hong Kong doing a visa run, Todd sent me an email introducing me to some potential co founder who didn’t code in the language that my software was implemented in and was working on something totally different. So I ignored the email but Todd kept pinging me. Then I told him to fuck off.
Later that year in October I was helping a friend to promote his Krav Maga class with my mailing list from a website I was running called getchinaed.com. I ended up going a date with some cute chick I met there. We ended at some wine store with table service on Wuding lu if I recall. While we were there I saw some South American dude named Dusty who always wore a black cowboy hat. I had seen him pitch some fashion startup at Chinaccelorator's demo day in May. I mentioned to my I date that I knew that guy. Then he got up and came over to our table to just sat down with us. Like he thought it was totally cool to disrupt my date. I decided not to be much of a prick because I was curious as to why he thought that was cool. We ended up having a long conversation and my date left. Then he asked me what I thought of her and I told him that she was really sweet but that I'd rather meet someone closer to my own age.
The following week that chick didn't come to class but there was a new one who came right up to me and introduced herself as we were training. Jasmine was fuckin stunning. At the end of the class she asked me what I did and I told her that I was bootstrapping a startup. Then she asked me if I had ever heard of Chinaccelerator and told me that she had a lot of friends in their program. She was exactly my age. The odds that this was a coincidence were practically zero. But I have to say I should have been a bit impressed. It was like they found the hottest chick in Shanghai that happened to have been born in 1983.
The problem with the early stages of psychosis is that you start having a hard time with interpreting intentions. Jasmine was hard not to like and I viewed this as a challenge to my integrity, (and it really really pissed me off!) but maybe I was just being a grumpy hard ass. Eventually I invited her to lunch (not dinner). I told her a bunch of anecdotes about people I knew in Shanghai, without naming names. I also told her that I like women from the north east of China (Jasmine was from Chengdu which is not in the north of China). Looking back I'm not 100% sure that I'm the one who got rejected here. She kept coming to class and making sure she was my training partner. But she was just always too busy for lunch... I always thought it was weird that the other chick went on a date with had stopped showing up when Jasmine started coming to class. Then I saw a picture of the 2 of them together in Jasmine's WeChat moments... This added a whole nother level of complexity to the paranoid rabbit hole I was starting to go down (at this point I was high all the time...).
In July 2015, I bomb on a date with love at first sight level plan A chick. I think she quite liked me actually, but my paranoia got in the way.
At the end of October 2015, a friend of mine named Davy who liked my blog, asked me to work with him on a video production project. He gave me a 7 point script format that went like this:
The new power
The second wind
The final battle
At that point, I knew that I had made several architectural mistakes with my censorship resistant software project. I had decided to have my developer implement everything from scratch in Erlang instead of just building an interface on top of the ready and working Python implementation of BitMessage. BitMessage itself had been abandoned by its community.
I had also had a series of romantic failures the last of which was with some married chick I met on the subway in August. I asked her if she could plan to be in Shanghai for Christmas eve. I'm not religious at all. But as a French Canadian it’s just a kind of a shitty time to be alone. Besides, for her it was just a Thursday. Anyway she got weird and... but it was a great couple months.
At that point I didn't see anyway forward. I wasn't making any progress with my project, I was out of capital, I was stuck in a loop trying to save up for a move to San Fransisco (one of the most expensive cities on earth), but because of my deteriorating mental state, I was getting fewer and fewer hours at Web International, and to be frank I was just done! I had scoped out the Nanpu bridge and was planing to jump off it with a backpack full of rocks. ( In cognitive behavioural therapy, we call this "Catastrophizing" )
So this writing project, to my mind, was a way of laying out my whole vision and write the greatest suicide note in history.
Once I started writing I would just laugh hysterically as it poured out of me. I'd be banging it out on my iPhone while going to Web International laughing like a madman on the subway and at Munchies (an American style diner in JianAn district that I went to all the time). It was just incredibly cathartic. Then one day while transferring from line 7 to line 3, I saw this chick wearing tight black leather pants and a black fluffy jacket. She was dressed like a sexy Terminator and I was in a good mood, so I caught up to her and said "ni fuckin hao kan, xie xie!" (you look ta ma de good, thank you!) She laughed and we had a great subway ride together. We were staring into each others eyes the whole time. We were actually going to the same stop, and when we parted ways she actually leaned in and tried to kiss me but I was taken aback. But I definitely went for it on our first date. She was fucking great! She was just what I needed. She worked at China Mobile as a service support supervisor, and on weekends she gave dance lessons (and she definitely looked like a dancer too).
She didn't mind that I was broke ass, and my paranoid ideation didn't seem to bother much either. Her Shanghainese parents were unusually open-minded about me too. Fan Mei Yan told me that they wanted me to move to their district so they could cook and clean for me. She really was too good to be true but she was also 34 and divorced which in Shanghai meant that this goddess was basically a pariah. I really wanted her to leave Shanghai with me cuz it was obviously a dead end for me.
So I guess I need to dedicate the original version of this book that I posted on my blog on December 15th, 2015, to her and Davy.
Here is a picture of us.
Ok without further ado, here it is! This is some crazy shit, some thought record analysis, and the requirements for some very interesting open source software. Enjoy!
Be advised. This text is explicit, and may contain typo’s.
This is a book about purpose. It discusses AI, distributed systems, quantum computing, as well as philosophy, and political science. This is a text about how technology can radically enhance the human condition. Oddly enough, it's quite short. I just don’t want to be one of those pretentious authors who writes War and Peace when a ten minute youtube video would do… This work will never be complete. This text will make a lot more sense if you watch the videos. My email is at the end.
NOTE: a major theme of the book is that everything is subjective. That's why this gets personal. I also think its useful to understand what I want to overcome.
You can comment on a live copy of this document at:
“I have conceived of a new genre of service to render to man: to offer them a faithful image of one amongst them, in order for them to learn to know themselves”
Jean-Jaques Rousseau 1712-1778
“Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom. Whoever writes about it merely respectfully and by rule leaves more than half of it behind”
Michel de Montaigne 1533-1592
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900
This is a book about what I am crazy enough to believe is actually possible. So let’s start with me. The reason I start with me, is because how I interpret reality obviously has a considerable impact on my thinking here. Its not (just) that I’m self absorbed.
This chapter is in large part about isolation, alienation, and failure. This text as a whole is about how I plan to become a Phoenix. I'm gonna be talking about my feelings a lot in this chapter. If you want to know why, you should probably check out this article on Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_differences_in_suicide . Look for what they attribute the cause of the differential. I also wanted to express my view on double standards, and point out that there is always more than 1 side to every story (got my own fucking problems).
I am not the same person I was when I started writing this. I am not the same person I will be if you and I ever meet to discuss it either. Whenever I learn, change, or grow, I die, and am reborn. In this chapter I will tell you about someone I know very well. The person I describe is the incomplete caricature of myself, that I draw inspiration from as I write this essay.
I’m going to tell you about someone who has a hard time giving a shit about anything. Someone who feels depressed most of the time. Someone who never feels depressed when he is angry. So this person gets angry a lot. This person is sometimes happy.
In his past, he has never been happy on a regular basis. His life is a constant barrage of soul crushing waves made of rage and despair. He is constantly gasping for brief intermissions of joy.
This person wants to be happy. Sustaining happiness is a challenge. This is because he thinks too much. He looks for meaning where meaning can’t be found. He looks to other people to make him happy, but they usually just make him sad or angry (this may not be entirely their fault).
He, like many others also has some interesting abilities. The ability to regret being one of them. Regret is a very useful tool for self optimization. Unfortunately, when you combine this with a propensity to hold on to grudges like Charles Bronson on crack, regret usually just gets him stuck in a rut.
He has been happy before. So he looks to his past happiness and tries to find it again. He looks for aggressive women from the North East of china who fuck like animals. Because one of them made him very happy before and she wanted to get married. Her parent wanted her to marry their friend’s son. She went out of her way to introduce him to her dad in the subway once…Unfortunately, the 23 year old version of himself was too stupid to get on that bus, and very very few people have ever been able to rock his world the way she did. Having lived in China for all of his adult life he has learned one very important thing about the country - Namely, no body fucks like a 东北 (dongbei) girl. None of this has to do with the 东北 girls. Our hero just gets really excited around them because his brain is trying to pattern match a very pleasant memory. As long as she is roughly the same height, athletic, and sounds like an adorable Chinese pirate when she speaks English (strong accent on Rs), he will stop at nothing to get her digits... This tunnel vision may have caused countless disasters, that our hero just plowed through, mostly unaware.
Here are some notions that were very useful with this: http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is
The reason he clings to her memory, is that after having his heart broken by “friends” and lovers, he remembers her as someone he looked up to. Someone he could have trusted blindly, without being taken advantage of. He remembers her as kind, and so fucking sure of herself. He remembers her as his hero, and more of a man than he will ever be. He remembers her as a bad ass kung fu fighting, cigarette smoking, fire breathing dragon, with ass and titties, long fucking legs, and all her shit together. 10 years after the fact, our protagonist has completely distorted his memory of her into that of a comic book superhero like Wonder Woman. The doubt he has about whether or not she was really that person makes him feel so desperately alone.
She is such a powerful memory that he can never proof read the above paragraph without shedding a (few) tear(s).
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: So our protagonist is looking for someone 5 foot 9, from the North East, and... hum... I wonder what that’s about?
Let me tell you what I actually remember about this fucking goddess. In May 2006, my friend Cedric invited me to a bistro in Tian Zi Fang to talk about some kitchen cabinet suppliers he was helping me to find. When I showed up, there was a weapon of mass seduction named Amy Jin with a tight pony tail, wearing jeans, a black tank top, and a red plaid shirt. She was surrounded by 5 french dudes who were destined to cock-block each other as they were all practically drooling over this divine creature so unbearably hot, that looking at her was like staring at the sun. I thought it was tragic that the setup of this situation made it impossible for any of us to get her number, so I just sat at the opposite end of the group with Cedric and tried to ignore this train wreck of a waste of hyper concentrated gorgeousness.
Then at some point she got up to go to the washroom, and I realized that if I waited a minute, I could go to the washroom too and catch her on they way back. So i did. I told her that I wanted to improve my Chinese and that I could help her practice her English. It worked, and I got her number. When I got back to the group, I sent out 12 SMSs to some chicks I knew saying "Ni xiang kan DVD ma?" (do you want to watch a DVD?). I got 4 affirmatives, and picked one of my students from Web International. Then I wrapped up my conversation with Cedric and I headed out.
As I was waiting for a taxi on Taikang lu, Amy came up to me from behind and asked me if I wanted to go have dinner with her and her friends. How could I say no? After dinner she asked me if I wanted to go to a club with her and her friend Yvonne. Again, how could I say no??? And so it was that I got introduced to the passenger's seat, and It was a fuckin wonderful ride!
Another thing I remember is a conversation we had in a convenience store downstairs from my shit hole 6th floor walkup apartment. She was paying for her cigarettes and said "Some day I want to buy a house like now I buy this. Like nothing...". She wanted to start her own trading company. She also once told me that "Jin means king!" She said it like she thought she had some divine right, and I kinda think she did. I mean if she didn't, then who did? She was going to conquer the world with replica Ming Dynasty vases. But trust me, she really really really didn't need to do shit. She effortlessly could have secured a free ride. But that just wasn't her gig.
Things got a bit complicated later when her friend Yvonne invited herself over to practice her English (but I never fucked Yvonne, I swear!!!). Amy's parents were putting enormous pressure on her to get married to their friend's son whom she had known for over 10 years. I wasn't quite able to figure out exactly what she wanted from me, but all she had to do was ask (Do you think you can EVER do better? So... do you want to get married? = YES!), or she could have just told me (we're getting married = OK!).
I always imagined that what was behind door number 2 was a partnership with me as the salesman, and her the boss of me, and I would've had that ass on tap!
She was from Daqing in Heilongjiang.
Oh, and when I said "to stupid to get on that bus", that was a Dumb and Dumber reference... ( https://youtu.be/RtsTbX85lgo )
END OF NOTE
I want to take a minute here to describe these women more precisely. Like I said, they have strong accents on Rs. So for example, they turn the word bread into bride, or fair into fire. They also can't pronounce the letter V and usually turn them into Ws. Their faces are more angular than average. Their jawlines are sharper, a bit like a rougher version of the female lead from The Last Samurai (I ended up in China because no-one in Japan answered my emails. That movie struck a few chords with me back in the day. The scene where she helps to put on the lead’s armour... it was so touching). Their skin is a few shades darker then average and their hair somehow seems blacker. This is especially true of girls from Heilongjiang. Chicks from Liaoning have the same accent but they usually don't look quite as sharp. And they're usually (based on the sample I dated in Shanghai) a bit more analytical. I remember I dated a wind turbine engineer from Shenyang. She thought our relationship was doomed because I was one year younger than her (little did she know). That was back when I was still running the rat race so money wasn't the issue. I guess we all get cut by stereotypes at some point. There was also a misunderstanding about chemistry. She thought I wasn't that into her (safety vs joy…) All the chicks I knew from Shenyang were pretty smart, but I'll always have a special place in my heart for the rougher-looking goddesses from further north.
Then there is his pride. As I sit here, writing this about myself in the 3rd person, I, am, in, awe... of this motherfucker’s pride. I mean think about it, here he is, telling you about all his flaws and insecurities, right before he tells you how he thinks the future should be.
His pride is like a raging bull that he forces his intellect to ride. But there are certainly some swords in his side. He isn’t proud of everything. He isn’t really proud of anything.
He looks to laugh at everything that people take seriously. Because there is joy in realizing that nothing is sacred (but it can also be really depressing). He hopes for pleasant surprises in his mundane life. Instead, he usually finds a bunch of shit sandwiches. This may be because he’s a miserable prick who doesn’t look at the bright side of life. It may also be because his nonchalant "I don’t give a fuck" attitude does indeed piss a lot of (stupid) people off.
This guy can be quite astute and observant. He is sometimes a bit paranoid especially around strangers who seem to know about him. So he tells them very personal anecdotes and observes their responses to see if his social graph overlaps with theirs. In practice it works like this. Tell someone a random control fact to see how they respond. Then tell someone something you tell everyone (I love women from the north of China for example). If their eyes open wide and then they cover their mouth... he knows something's up. Then he will start honing in on streams by throwing in things he’s shared with some people but not others. Its a bit like some radio isotopes are used for flow tracing. He knows it’s weird but he justifies it by asking himself a question: ‘Why is this person lying to me?’ (And do I owe this person the truth in return?) This is either going to be weird (if you have no idea what’s going on) or uncomfortable when you have no idea what’s going on behind his poker face. However, there may be some selective bias in place here. This guy really believes he is very important. It’s not hard for him to imagine that others might agree.
The people in question got so intense that there was good reason for him to doubt his sanity up until they tried to set him up for blackmail by asking him to collect information about VPN providers in China. 2 douches one of whom was a friend of his landlord, and another who said he worked for the Chinese government gave him an assignment and paid him 5000RMB. If you understand anything about how firewalls work, you would know that the government doesn't need a lao wai's help finding VPNs. Honestly, anyone who thinks a commercial VPN keeps you safe is quite naive (why doesn't the government just block VPNs with their firewall??? Why are (presumably) foreign companies allowed to profit by circumventing the block on “disharmonious” content???) Oh and by the way, the firewall also acts as a huge bottleneck adding huge latency to outside connections (unless you pay for China telecom's express lane (精品网）Anyway… he had already met these people more than once so he was already compromised, and, besides, he also knew that having a piece of paper in his hand proved nothing except that he isn't schizophrenic (delusions don't produce artifacts), he took the money and the paper with the assignments on it.
Looking back, he remembers so many strange coincidences and how a Canadian guy working for a no-name accelerator in China that our protagonist only agreed to meet because his cute assistant was from, you guessed it, the north of China, lent him a USB internet dongle in May 2014, that required root privileges on his Mac (WHY THE FUCK DOES ANYTHING EVER NEED ROOT? Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGX2I31OhBE ). He kept talking about how great China Unicom was (a telco our protagonist was already using). Think about how much you might have to pay a sysadmin to fuck with someone in a country like China. What I'm describing doesn't require a mastermind. Just a bit of money. I know how this sounds but I'm either lying or telling the truth. I know that I'm not crazy.
There might be many reasons why this person thinks people are orbiting around him. But rest assured he did the math on the probability of those reasons being coincidences, and... But, maybe having some bullshit back story about overcoming is just a cover for having an ego the size of infinity. Maybe feelings of grandeur go hand in hand with aspirations of self-actualization. Or maybe a lot of institutional investors are just idiots with rich friends who have had an easy life so now they think they're geniuses. In either case, take a look at their portfolio of investments. If you don't see any companies you've ever heard of, don't take any shit from them. If the odds of building a successful startup is one out of ten, and the people you're talking to claim to have made hundreds or maybe even over a thousand investments, then ask yourself why everything they touch turns to shit. Respect is earned, not bought. These guys offered him a "deal" then blew him off in a manipulative effort to renegotiate.
Unfortunately for everyone involved our protagonist wasn't in the mood to be manipulated. In 2011 he met another 东北 girl. The second he saw her they locked eyes. Again, she was roughly the same height, she was athletic, but she didn't do kung fu though, she was a yoga teacher, and she had the same fucking accent. This one never gave it up though. She just played a cat and mouse game with him for 3 years. In 2014 he went to Canada to get a second opinion about a severe eye condition. He bought a return ticket but didn't really have any intention of going back to China. As his return date approached, he decided to fly face first into an emotional propellor at 900kph by asking her to meet him at the airport when he arrived (which I had done for her). Goes without saying that she wasn't there. We went from dating, to the friends zone, to her crying in my apartment because she was afraid she lost me, to rejecting me again as soon as my heart melted (in context, she was really kicking me while I was down), to her dad dying and me not being able to let her move in because I had a girlfriend. And seriously, this chick never gave it up. Not even an inch. She never even let me hold her hand for more than 5 seconds. In retrospect I guess a major issue is that I was always anticipating someone else's behaviour... This passive aggressive fucking vegan is why I got on a 17 hour plane ride back to Shanghai.
I want to take a minute to tell you why I stuck in so long by sharing one anecdote. In 2012, I bumped into her at random and told her my birthday was coming up. She expressed interest in being invited. Later I had to search through my old SMS threads to find her number (I deleted it because I was obsessed with this chick). She showed up before anyone else did and sat next to me. When the bill came, there was a bottle opening fee on it. She went apeshit on the waiter until he agreed to take it off. I mean her claws came out. She was yelling at this guy. 10,000 years ago this vicious fucking bitch would have ripped his balls off (for something that added up to a rounding error). Everyone in the room was uncomfortable, but not me. I was amazed. She gave me so much face. In that moment, she was my tiger, and I was her panda (We saw the sequel together (kungFu Panda) in 2011. It just happened to be one of the few foreign movies allowed into China that year… Funny thing is, I was supposed to go with a colleague, but she decided to blow me off to hook up with some creepy old Taiwanese fuck who said he had a lot of money. He worked in the LA office and came to Shanghai for a “tech summit”. I was there when they met at the Shanghai office. He kept talking about his American passport and his money. I remember thinking “yeah, good luck playing this chick like a China doll”… As soon as the Shanghai office was shut down and his free airfare stopped, she was back on the market and basically offered to let me be her plan B. I wonder how much money he actually had. Oh… and why was this 64 year old working at a shitty Groupon clone if he didn't need the pay check???. Turns out China dolls aren't cheap, they're free if you just lie to them). Anyway, I thought I finally got my Dongbei girl back. As soon as everyone was gone, she went right back to telling me that we were just friends… If she would have just given it up when I met her, we would have a millions kids by now (AKA objectively “good” reasons to get up in the morning).
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Wait a minute... This shit was totally my fault. Let me tell you some more details about Lara. On our second date she told me that she wanted a man to just take her. On our 3rd date, I took her to Century Park ( https://www.facebook.com/georges.landry/videos/10150286327238578?s=510208577&sfns=mo ) and tried to hold her hand. Yeah she pulled back. When we got back down town, she had to go give a class and she leaned in and tried to kiss me but...I was taken aback...
Another thing to keep in mind is that when I met her just outside Plaza 66 as I was walking back from lunch with my colleague. I had served notice at JigoCity, and I was taking the time to smell the roses. She was dressed quite casually. She was wearing khaki pants and black short sleeve blouse with her hear down. She was always dressed up on our dates though. I remember on our second date I was stupefied by how hot she was dressed. She was waiting for me outside Jiu Guang Bai Huo right by Jing An temple in high heels, tight black short shorts, and a baby blue tank top. She had her hair up in a pony tail and I noticed a butterfly tattoo on the back of her neck. When she turned around and I realized It was Lara, my jaw dropped and I was kinda punch drunk for the rest of the date. Honestly, I think I was a bit intimidated. I also viewed her as a spiritual being and I felt out of my league in more was than one.
When she told me that we were just friends, she said that I "think too much". In Chinese, you would say ni xiang tai duo. Xiang being the operative word here, and in this context, it means either think or want. I had always heard Chinese women telling Chinese guys they were not interested in "ni xiang tai duo". In that context it meant we're in the friend zone. But Lara never said ni xiang tai duo, she said, "you think too much". Here's the thing, when you get to the end of this book, you'll be laughing your ass off. So the lesson here I guess is that sometimes you just gotta take things at face value... I guess I was supposed to club her over the head and drag her to my apartment. Live and learn!!!
So May 15th 2014 is when I landed into that disappointment. That’s roughly the same time a became a chronic pot head. Writing this author’s note and watching that old Facebook post ripped my heart out. I remember how happy I was that day. I have no idea how I fucked that up. Writing this book wasn’t all laughs. There was a lot of tears too.
This reminds me of when I was 14 and a 17 year old redhead from Quebec City came to stay up the street for the summer. She told me I was a nice guy and that she had a boyfriend. So I never even tried. One time during a thunderstorm, she invited me to her bedroom to get a better view. She kept moving closer and closer to me and basically grinding into me. I thought she wanted me to move over so she could get a better view. In that moment, I was the God of OBLIVIOUS!!! It wasn't until later when I was thinking about her while I was jerking off, that I realized what a moron I was. To be fair to my younger self, that was the summer I realized that the age old question, "What is the meaning of life?", was a presupposition...
As for the other chick I mentioned, she was practically begging for it when I started working with her, but I didn't want to shit where I eat. She was a cool chick who worked 12 hour days, and took 30 minute lunch breaks, and came into the office in sweat pants and no makeup, like a fuckin rock star. Timing is also important... and I really had no right to judge her like I did in the above anecdote. Clearly I was just bitter. But at least I never mentioned her name. Actually... she might have been to reason I was a bit indecisive with Lara. After I left Jigocity and told this coworker how I felt, it became clear that there was another suitor and he had a director title. The new CTO had been begging me to stay for like 6 weeks, so I pulled an about face and asked for a director title... There was some confusion on his side. I guess he thought I was negotiating. But really, there was only one thing is that company that interested me (and it wasn't a director title). So... because of pride, stupidity, and some factors beyond my control, I ended shitting both these women that I cared quite deeply about.
END OF NOTE
So the above mentioned shit heads from that no name accelerator just proceeded to kick our protagonist while he was already down for almost 2 years by sending a bunch of their douchy friends to hangout with with him while they tried to shit on everything he said. One of these idiots gave him some bullshit scenario involving an option to get laid but some other dude might die. I kept picking it apart by asking why the other dude has to die. Instead of just acknowledging that it was a Kobayashi Maru (a no win scenario where I have to agree that it's ok to kill a guy if it gets you laid), he just kept making his scenario more and more convoluted to the point where, the odds suggested, it might happen once every 300,000,000 years. I mean, if your gonna worry about shit as unlikely as that, you might as well worry about a cosmic death gamma ray that you would never see coming, and could end our entire civilization. And why would we want to add this much complexity to getting laid? This dude was just a fucking moron, but he was talking to me like he thought I was dumb. During the course of this conversation he also told me that "companies need to be profitable" and that "investors like guarantees". He also told me that I had fucked up my pitch with the afore mentioned douches, and that I might get one more crack at it but it was now or never. Like he thought he could get me with some lame FOMO game (Fear Of Missing Out) Like, this short little douche, hooked up with a few chicks that were way out of his league in China, so now this coin-toss winning ("white") prick thinks he's a player. He even offered to teach me his "game" for 1500 RMB a month.
He wasn't the douchiest though. One of them mentioned more than once that he knew a lot about me... I wasn't sure if he was joking or not because this prick kept talking about how much he likes fucking underage hookers. He even did this in public. Once he was messaging one on Wechat and decided to share this with the group of people we were with. His friends not mine, but my ex was there too. She asked me why I hung out with him. I didn't have a great answer (because I bought weed from him, I was curious about his ulterior motives, and I kept telling him a bunch of personal things about me to see how those things got back to me). I guess I had some time to kill while trying to save up for my move to Cali… Look at it from my perspective. I was either board with, or hurt by, everyone around me. At least this cocksucker provided some intrigue. Besides no matter how many times I told this guy off and blocked his Wechat, every few months he would bump into me around the subway station in the neighbourhood. Then he would apologize, and I would want to buy some weed... Then he would go right back to being a toxic gas lighting douche and to talking about how much fun it was to fuck underaged hookers. Then I would tell him off, and repeat...
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: This guys name was Julian Lee. He was Canadian guy from Toronto. He never actually mentioned anything about anyone I knew in ways that couldn't have been explained much more easily as coincidences. One time I was at his place to buy some weed that he got from a Xinjiang hookup. He gave me his hookup's WeChat, and encouraged me to buy direct. He did mention all kinds of fucked up shit like the age of consent in China is 14 and in Japan it’s 12 (I remember being grateful he didn't live in Japan). He also told me about "whore game", which basically breaks down to treat them like ladies. Like open the door for them when you get to your room at the sauna (brothel). He told me all these thing with a giant shit eating grin on his face. At that point, again psychosis makes reading intentions much more difficult. I think I was jumping to the conclusion that he wanted me to engage in similar activities to get me in trouble. The thing about this particular conversation, is that Julian knew me as a anarchist. He often called me "like a white Morpheus". So I had to provide an objective reason why he couldn't use "whore game' to seduce underaged hookers. Finally I got down to this, I wouldn't buy weed from a 16 year old because that fact that it is illegal means that I would be endangering a minor if I did. He told me that these girls (literally) are willingly coming to Shanghai to do this because they want the money, and that non participation would change nothing. So, all he could do was to be one of the good customers... Julian also had a router that he bought from his VPN provider and his flatscreen was plugged right into it. So when I went to Julian's place, there was weed, Youtube, and morally challenging conversations... In retrospect, I kinda miss going to Julian's place.
END OF NOTE
They also sent a bunch of hot girls to flirt with our protagonist and then abruptly shoot him down. One of his favorites was when he agreed to cancel a day of work, and wait 3 weeks, just to be told some mean words. The really hurtful thing, was that our protagonist walked into that disappointment as well. Some of these mean words had also been predicted verbatim 3 weeks in advance by the above mentioned cocksucker who (presumably) didn't know the other person involved. Another thing is that the whole time Miya and I were in that Starbucks together, there was a skinny old Chinese guy at the next table over about 8 feet away. He was pointing his rose gold iPhone directly at us the whole time we were there. (actually this was July 2015, so it couldn't have been rose gold. It must have been an equally obnoxious nongPhone classic). When I started staring at him, he got up and left. Then he came back a few minutes later (not the first time something like that has happened though). Weeks later she brought a personal letter to my corporate training class and handed it in as her writing assignment. It wasn't an apology. It was more like, you're a loser, so why are you ignoring me? (But in a nice way… ) He just treated it as any other assignment, and had her coworkers read and correct it out loud. Maybe he wanted to make sure that the grammar was perfect because he was a super diligent teacher, maybe he was feeling extra passive aggressive that day, or maybe he still just wasn't in the mood to be manipulated. I mean fuck it, why not burn a bridge? Why would our protagonist want to end up in a protracted war for the next 50 years? And why the fuck would he take on that grief before she starts putting out? But believe me, there was plenty of inner conflict and regret later. She was a cool chick. She just wasn't cool to me, and she was really fucking hot ... and curious; Far more important than all the hurt feelings, was the curiosity. Getting her side of this story would've been fascinating. Try to keep in mind, that this opportunity to win a battle of humiliating attrition, was not anticipated (there was nothing to prevent direct correspondence), and I had to make a real time decision about whether or not to exploit this option. In the moment, there was no hesitation. As much as I second-guessed it later, I have to admit that I really enjoyed that.
She left the room as we started to correct her assignment. Then we switched to another one until she came back. I wanted her to be present in that experience. I wanted her to feel the smirks. I wanted her to know the sting and rusty aftertaste of my pride. (“I wanted to breathe smoke”) It was beautiful. By the end of the class, she looked like how she had made me feel. Then I got her colleague from out of town’s WeChat in front of everyone in the room. That was the biggest shit I ever took on somebody (I cared about), and it felt amazing.
To understand why this was so painful (later), you need to understand what I saw in her to begin with. Here is a message I sent her shortly after we met.
“Meeting you was like getting kicked in the chest by a donkey. You are the most beautiful creature I have seen in a long time. You have the eyes of a tiger and the heart of a champion. Mind body and soul, everything about you is beautiful.”
She was a sales rep with a masters in science…
Another interesting detail was that the same cocksucker who had foreknowledge before, also knew what our protagonist had done in response. The same cocksucker who never acknowledged knowing the other person involved. It wasn't the first time something like this happened though. Some of these chicks had recurring roles in our protagonist’s life (some times for months), and some of them were really hard not to like.
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Miya had nothing to do with this, and I totally fucked this up. Look at it from her perspective. I take her to Tian Zi Fang and its really hot (July 18th, 2015), and all the coffee shops and bistros were full and she doesn't want to sit outside. So we end up at a Starbucks (romantic?). Then she sees me eyeballing some creepy old fuck who looks like he is filming us. Then I start telling her a bunch of stories about people I know, cuz I'm trying to read her micro expressions... The thing that Julian told me, that she repeated was that sometimes people have a hard time saying no to me... That could easily have just been an insight. It was a weird situation and she wanted out. When we first met up that day she tried to lean in and kiss me as a greeting but... I was taken aback...
The letter she brought my class was actually sweet. She compared me to the guy from the movie Her. She said that I should stop playing with my AI, because the people around me need love...
Miya made a really strong impression when we met. I was sat in a chair in her company's board room waiting for my demo class to start. She walked in and came right up to me. She got right in my space. I leaned back and she introduced herself whilst looking straight down into my eyes as she handed me her business card with 2 hands. She was the only one who did this. She was wearing jeans, a white tank top, and a red plaid shirt. She was from close enough/who gives a fuck!
Now I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. I was on autopilot with Miya. Until I sat down and wrote the updated to this book, I didn't realize that Amy and Miya were wearing basically the same thing when I met them, and I really didn't think, hey lets take Miya to Tian Zi Fang cuz that's where I met Amy. I think it was just like a reflex or something. It was totally unconscious.
END OF NOTE
Maybe our protagonist should feel honoured that so many toxic pieces of shit were floating around him for so long. All that gas lighting actually made me feel really important. I honestly don't remember being (as much of) a narcissist when I was younger; Quite the opposite, I spent a lot of time trying to sport fuck my way into some self esteem. In any case, given the quality of interactions that our protagonist was getting from that general direction, did it look like there were any viable allies in their ranks? In the end, I learned a lesson. When shitty people try to put you down just crush them with a few pointed questions like "Do you think I admire you?" Or "Do you think I want to be more like you?" I mean, these were people that spent years gang stalking a mentally-ill person. From my former disconnected state (note all the 3rd person references to myself), I essentially witnessed a group of people kicking the shit out of someone in a wheel chair. The only lesson that I learned from them was that those people were assholes. As heart breaking as it was, I was fascinated. How desperate these people were to feel superior to someone. It was my rage that got me through it. Hanging on to my anger no matter how much they made me cry, they never made me think they were right.
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: When I came back to Canada in 2016, my childhood friend Kevin invited me to dinner. He is a paramedic and has been trained to perform basic mental health field assessments. He started telling me about one of the calls he responded to. He was talking about how important it is for some people to get help. Then I started reading between the lines and I asked him if he thought that patient he was referring to wanted to be more like him "Like do you think you’re that guy's hero?". His jaw dropped and he said, "No I'm the hero of a 6 year old". Let me tell you a bit about Kevin. When we were kids he would tell about Daoist ideas about the ephemeral and flowing nature of things, and the principal of non forcing (wu wei). He also told me about Buddhist ideas like pragmatic pessimism allowing one to sometimes be pleasantly surprised, but rarely disappointed. This is the kind of shit he was telling me when we were 10 or maybe 11. Now as an adult he saves lives for a living. I actually do admire Kevin quite a bit. He is probably the most noble and profound person I have ever met. So it seems that this tactic can work on basically anyone.
END OF NOTE
I mean seriously, what was my crime?
1 I walked away from a table with no money on it after they told me I needed a full time tech cofounder. But I had already told them that I didn't have one in December 2013.
2 when they came back to me with no money on the table and tried to make a friendly intro to some random developer that new nothing about my project or erlang (an obscure programming language I chose to have my software developed in) I just didn't feel obligated to be nice.
To be fair, some people started being a lot nicer to me after I posted the first version of this book on my blog. Also worth noting, is that Shanghai has a small expat community of around 20,000 people that stay a few years. There wasn't 6 degrees between any of us. I mean, who are these “white” guys who stay AND have lots of money? Are they English teachers? Is it people in the intelligence community? Are they expats who were sent there by large companies (do they even want to be there)? Or are they greasy fucking cocksuckers, who use petty little mind games to bullshit their marks into their scam? I mean, maybe flying monkeys are cheap (especially if they're broke), but not free. Who knows maybe the Chinese government was fucking with me too. After all, I was posting some anarchist shit on my blog…
Oh, and that thing that the aforementioned cocksucker knew about me, is that toward the end of 2014, I was desperate for some good weed. Everything was going to shit, and I was spending a lot of time alone in my apartment. I remembered from being Canadian, that if you separate out the male plants, you get much better weed. So I bought a flower pot and grew some on my balcony. I’m tellin you, it’s like I'm invincible. I have no idea why I'm still alive. I was right there, the whole time, in mainland “Communist" fuckin China… (“I like this general Custer”) Maybe Emperor Xi actually does care about corruption. Who knows… But I’d still like to see what his land would look like with a free press (eventually maybe not that bad). But China needs to remember that Zen came to them from the west. (Bodhidharma brought Zen to China from India. Which technically is south west)
Quick side note: A journalist who recognizes that “one’s freedom ends, where the freedom of others begins”, is a great journalist indeed. (Gawker is the one who made it personal with a billionaire, who only ever came out in public as a venture capitalist). Here is what all (public) emperors (a rose by any other name/if it stinks like shit…) officially agree with: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ (read article 12). I mean it’s cool that somebody gave Judge Dredd a gun and a badge, but they also gave him a rule book. The least you can do is write your own.
Let’s also be real about me. I remember a former roommate of mine had a great come back to “all the foreigners in China are losers”. Namely, “Yeah, but what does that say about your country? We get the best of your people, you get the worst of ours”. I lived in China for 12 years. But deep down, I always knew what China was. I always knew China was a dead end. I knew I should have gone to San Fransisco in 2014. But after I got back to Shanghai, I was stuck in a rut (probably a clinical depression).
To understand what led to this, I've decided to share a very personal article that I've never published. Nothing I wrote in it is particularly dramatic. But try to appreciate the effects of prolonged isolation, and alienation, that are further exacerbated by living in a foreign country.
"Lesson learned on my lonely journey (the other side of the story)
In 2012 I started working on a secure P2P productivity suite. I thought it would be easy to build a prototype and raise capital. I thought it would be easy to changed the world. I thought it would be easy to change myself. I had no idea what was in store. I recruited a developer I met in the elevator of my building. He agreed to help me build a prototype for an application that I thought would eventually replace email. This was based on an article that several people shared with me by Paul Graham http://paulgraham.com/ambitious.html
Number 2 on the list was a new messaging standard that was more geared toward task management. Having had an interest in workforce automation solutions for several years I decided to take a crack at it. So I hired a web developer to build a client side application in C++ (because I had no idea what I was doing).
Over a year earlier, a “friend” got me a job at an e-commerce company. Where he took me under his wing and taught me such things as “don’t be good at doing the work, be good at getting the work”, and basically how to avoid taking responsibility for anything by passing the buck through the use of side by side comparisons in Excel (which he thought was his intellectual property). All this while he regularly told me that his boss was creating an environment where only the desperate stay… He always seemed so sure of himself and I really wasn’t sure about anything. So I drank the Kool-aid and looked over the bullshit. I mean fuck it I was getting paid. Unfortunately, his boss eventually decided to replace him with someone competent. When this guy took over he brought in 2 consultants and basically fixed everything in less than 2 weeks. Later when I brought up this humiliation, my “mentor” said that he told the lead developers to read the documentation for the framework that the site was based on. He told me that had they just read the documentation, most of those problems could have been avoided… Anyway, right before everything went sideways with that job (and while i was still drinking the Kool-aid), I had agreed to give him 5% (an amount he suggested more than once), for his guidance on my next startup. But like I said, everything went sideways with that job and I got to see the dark side of someone I once admired.
6 months later I got fired from my next job after having gotten nothing but overwhelmingly positive feedback from my boss. My boss was a crazy fuck anyway. He was really into conspiracy theories. During the interview process, he told me that the Holocaust never happened, and that the pictures of emaciated prisoners were actually of German POWs.But I thought fuck it, he was the CEO and he wanted me to report directly to him. He was also paying more than the last gig, so it seemed like a step up no matter how you cut it. After he hired me, it quickly became apparent that he had just hired me to piss off his CTO in Beijing who had been with the company for 10 years. I did everything I could not to step on the other guy’s toes while actually trying to do my job to the best of my ability (I used to really give a shit about getting endorsements on my LinkedIn profile).
So… there I was alone, depressed, confused, and completely demotivated in Shanghai. I moved there in 2004 probably to get away from a bunch of baggage and untreated symptoms of depression. So now what? Let’s change the world I guess. Let’s look at a list of frighteningly ambitious startup ideas, and pick the one I think I could add value to.
Now back to my web developer that I hired to write C++ code. He was a good guy from Brazil. But he was the wrong guy for the job. I paid him some money for a few months and got nothing usable out of it. Then, he decided to leave Shanghai, so I hired another developer from Spain. He also took a bunch of my money and delivered nothing usable. when I asked him to work on a fixed bid he bailed and refused to hand over any code that he’d supposedly worked on.
During this time, I continued to watch all the tech industry podcasts. It became apparent that giving someone 5% of your company for introducing no-one, investing nothing, and doing fuck all, was (OBVIOUSLY) not industry-standard. That plus contrasting personal values and ethics lead to some tension between me and my “advisor”. Then one night he came over to crash on my couch as he had been doing every 2 weeks for the last 6 months. Later he invited me to a bar called Judy’s. This was a bar filled with Vietnamese hookers and greasy foreigners. To be clear I really didn't have a problem with the hookers (who were just trying to make a living), but I wasn't a big fan of their customers who equate money with power. My “friend” knew that I hated going to these places but he… anyway he kept giving me money and asking me to get these women to buy drinks for us. He told me that he wanted to see if I could “manage a budget”. In context he was implying that he was going to invest 25K (that I knew he didn't have). When I refused, things got awkward. Later that night he told me that he was no longer comfortable and asked me to take his name out of my pitch deck. This was the very same pitch deck that I had already sent out to everyone I know in addition to some high profile investors.
After that I waited for him to do the honourable thing and forfeit his 5%. Eventually I had to ask (more than once). Then, he asked me to sit down with him and explain myself (apologise) or else he was going to “be done” with me. We didn't speak for over 2 and a half years. Then we hung out a couple times, which was just long enough for me to confirm that he was still a douche. But he’s not the only one who asked me for equity in exchange for “advice”.
Still… for years I was tortured by the fact that I said I would give him 5%. Our “gentlemen’s” agreement didn't include a douche clause. Breaking my word to someone that was once my hero broke my heart. To this day I still think about it.
This story kinda jumps back and forth through the time line. In 2013, I hired my 3rd developer on a fixed bid. He told me it would take 2 months to build a beta. It took him 2 and half years to build an alpha (that I called a beta)… The truth is that deep down I knew that it wasn't going to work out. The protocol we had chosen was extremely secure but extremely slow too. The community had mostly abandoned it, and the product we were building was never actually going to get traction. The problem was that I had taken small amounts of money from different people at different times to build this fuckin thing. I didn't have the resources to go back to the drawing board, or switch developers. Tunnel vision set in and I chased my roadrunner off a cliff. All I could do was not look down because I knew that I couldn't go to investors with lessons learned and a great new concept (which is exactly what I'm doing now in San Fransisco).
The reason, I didn't want to go to investors with “nothing” is because all the ones I met were shit heads. Having lunch with them, telling them all about my product and having them ask me questions that clearly meant they weren't actually paying attention. Or sitting down with people from a well known accelerator. They interrupted me every 5 seconds just to shit on everything I said. But.. seriously, when I look at their portfolios as someone in the industry who follows what’s going on, and I have never heard of any of these companies. Who the fuck are these guys to shit on me? Both of us are wasting money, they're just better funded.
I also met a completely unknown accelerator who lied to me about their competitors. The guy I met told me that YCombinator and 500 startups “invested more but they clawed back 80% of what they put in in fees that you had to pay and you’d be left with 20K and a team of 4 in San Fran for 4 months and good luck with that”. This fucking douche was trying to compare his rinky-dink operation (that I only heard of when his competitor invited me to an event in the co-working space they were based in) to YCombinator… Then they had a shit headed 19 year old “entrepreneur in residence” pretending to be my friend. I told this kid a bunch of shit and he eventually told me that these dicks were just planning to dick me around until I was desperate for cash. So I went away when they pulled their “deal” off the table. I honestly don’t think that kid ever gave a fuck about me. He was just an idiot with a big fucking mouth. Then they kept sending their friends to hang out with me. Some of them were really cute chicks that flirted with me and then shot me down. I guess they were just trying to drive home the point that I didn't have any money.
Again, greasy douches who equate money with power… So I began to feel pretty isolated in a country full of people like that. I began to feel pretty alienated from everyone around me. I got to a point where I would smoke weed all the time. Then one of my “friends” asked me to write a script for a video production project. I realized this was a great opportunity to write down my vision for the world as some poetic suicide note. I thought my death would give my words credibility. Somehow, writing it gave me strength. Somehow it gave me the courage to fly to San Fransisco on less than my last dime to meet investors with “nothing” but a concept. Here is a link to what I wrote: http://sovereignprime.com/blog/2015/12/15/quantum-animal-the-art-of-overcoming
In the end whether or not I find investors here is irrelevant now. Life goes on, every experience is a lesson learned. I’m really happy I came here. This is the greatest place I've ever been. The people here don't act like most people in big cities. Everyone here is so chill, even (some of) the investors…
So… let me keep the promise I made in the title of this post.
What are the lessons learned? -
1. BREATHE… It really helps.
2. Write. Like David Allen said in Getting Things Done, writing things down somewhere gives your mind permission to forget.
3. Focus on the positive and be grateful for the good things.
4. Keep going. Progress takes time; there’s no magic pill.
5. Be prepared for more pain. Focus on that too. Be present to it and confront it. The truth is no matter where you go, your demons will always be right behind you until you turn around and fight them head on.
Hope this helps."
Another lesson learned from this comes in the from of a question. What's the difference between a boss who pays you, and a boss you respect? Does the answer to this question apply to other areas of your life?
Anyway, this is what I believe my last few years in China were like. Is it possible I took a few things the wrong way? Is it possible that some of these people didn't really mean to hurt him? Maybe. But is it also possible there our protagonist really did meet a lot of manipulative people? Was there evidence that these people were trying to hurt him? Was there any evidence that they were trying to help? Was there any evidence that they could help?
He does have cause to doubt his sanity. Many people in his family suffer from mental illness and/or emotional instability. So he does sometimes rely on consistent interactions with reality to confirm his sanity. To be clear, this guy isn’t insane, but he does have a very shaky understanding of his own emotions, and very poor control over how they affect him.
Quick side note: I love my family. All of them. My mother, my father, my sister, and all the rest of them. I know them. I see myself in all of them. I have been living on the other side of the planet for more than a decade. What more is there to say?
And again, in the spirit of burning bridges, let me share exactly what I think of China. Here is something I wrote right before I left. I would have to be a huge hypocrite to ever set foot in that country ever again. On the other hand, I spent most of my time in Shanghai. The city of posers. The nothing that I come from. Before you read this I just want to pull one punch. What I said about their women was rough (but it was a reference to chairman Mao having a harem). I met a lot of amazing women there. In most cases, I was the asshole. Ok so here we go. This was me burning my bridges/having an emo day.
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Before you read this really ugly article, I just want to add a bit of context ... During my 12 years in China I probably interviewed a kiloton of Chinese people and many of the conversations included something like this, "I feel so much pressure", "The house price in Shanghai is so expensive", "You know, in our China, you cannot get married if you do not have a house and a car", "I just don't know how to do it".
I also observed that abject poverty doesn't appear to be "good for the soul" at all! Di gou you (gutter oil), kidnapped and mutilated children being forced to beg for money on the subway, etc... I also observed that the CCP loves Confucius, but we just never hear about Lao Zi, and the Dao De Jing in China at all (wonder why)... As for the part about never telling women you care about them, I still think it’s not always a super great idea to express affection with words. I stand by most of this but I wouldn't write it this way nowadays. I really wish I hadn't published this and sent it to everyone I know. Oddly enough, my Chinese friends mostly agreed with me, and it was my expat friends who got offended.
END OF NOTE
"Here is how to make a country shitty: Burn its culture to the ground. Kill all imagination, creativity and individualism, by teaching kids to listen and repeat, and to never to question their parents and elders. Then introduce the same bullshit modern Western materialism pressuring people to buy status, while the government claims to be Communist.
Then you will get a completely soulless and morally bankrupt civilization full of liars and cowards. From the outside it might look OK for a while. But that's just because of the fake GDP numbers, and a stock market full of dickless companies cooking their books, while they hide behind their firewall, and copy whatever the rest of the world thinks is cool.
In this country, the men are mostly mindless fucking pussies, desperately trying to save up for the down payment they need to buy into a real estate bubble, so that they can land some manipulative cunt of a wife, who will walk all over them as she dreams of living in a haram, where she could be proud to receive a sexually transmitted disease from her Communist Emperor. But at least they look good and they themselves are easily lied to. So if you want to fuck them, don't ever be honest with them. Don't ever admit that you care about them. If you do, they will just shit all over you while they try to con you out of everything you have, because they think pussy is a commodity (since it's theirs, they're not wrong).
The worst part is, in this country most people will choose to live this way. Because drinking someone else's Kool-Aid is easier than making your own. What a tragically hilarious waste of human potential."
Continuing: So how does this guy get through life? I mean it sounds rough right? Well, not really. His life is really easy. Most of his problems are resolved by smoking a fuck ton of shitty weed from Xinjiang. He spends a lot of time trying to sport fuck Chinese girls he meets on the subway. He is a bit rusty after being in 2 long term relationships for the last 5 years. He’s not actually that rusty. He just only calls women that he really really wants to fuck more than once, because he intuitively knows that he needs a lot of help with his life. Consider how this might affect the outcome of most of his dates...
He makes money by trying to teach brain-washed Chinese adults, who were only ever taught to listen and repeat, how to think for themselves. Even when he is as high as a kite, he still gets pissed at some of them. It's not because he thinks they’re stupid. It's because he can't wake up their minds. He truly doesn’t want to be anything like most of his students. He once taught a class about the future. He asked his students to imagine that they were gods and could have anything they want. They all told him they wanted a good score, so they could get a good job, buy a house, and a car ... What was remarkable about this class, was that it took place in a training center that took in younger students for extra cash. The oldest student in this room was 12. Whatever in their culture is killing their minds is doing so before they are even teenagers.
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: The above anecdote is actually much worse than it sounds. I once heard somewhere that kids creativity index (however it’s measured) starts to drop off a cliff when they start going to school. So it really pissed me off that I, at the age of 32, was 95% of the creativity in that room. Towards the end of this class, I told the class that there was only one person in the world that they should listen to. Then I did a chain drill from the left of the class to the right until I found a student that could tell me who that person was. The first one said he should listen to his parents. I started yelling at this little fucker. I said "NO! YOUR PARENTS ARE STUPID! DON'T LISTEN TO THEM! Then the next one said he should listen to his teachers. I replied "NO! THOSE WHO CAN DO! THOSE WHO CAN'T TEACH!!! Eventually I asked this adorable little girl and she raise her hand with her index finger pointed up, and said, "I should listen to... myself!" and I said "BINGO!!! AT LEAST ONE OF YOU ISN'T BRAIN DEAD!!!!" Their were a lot of terrified and bewildered looks on their faces. So then I told them to just listen to Bruce Lee, "YOU KNOW BRUCE LEE? LI XIAO LONG? LI LITTLE DRAGON!!! Of course they knew who Bruce Lee was. So I said LISTEN TO BRUCE LEE! HAVE YOUR OWN STYLE!!! Then there were mostly smiles on their faces. So... fuck it, any landing you can walk away from... (But come on, I am the only one who sat through Circle Of Iron??? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078975/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1 )
END OF NOTE
He takes tremendous liberties with the teaching material. Nevertheless, the boring day-to-day related topics of the lessons, result in him checking the time every 5 seconds, as he can’t wait to get out of most of these classes. But this does afford him the opportunity to interact with a lot of women in the middle of the middle “class”. He hopes one of them won’t be brain dead, and can fuck like an animal too. This is related to a TED talk about how rich people become entitled (and he relates this to quite a few personal anecdotes as well). http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_piff_does_money_make_you_mean
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: I didn't take huge liberties with the course material. I just didn't use it at all. Any time I had a one-on-one class, I would just interrogate my student about their job. And the shit people tell their English teacher under the pretence of practicing their work related vocabulary, you just wouldn't believe. One time my student was a narcotics officer. I started asking about his methods and tactics, and he just told me! Then I asked him about his general thoughts on bribery. At the end of the class I got his WeChat cuz I thought it might come in handy someday. If their was more than one student in the class, I just needed to know the topic or I would just pick a word. Then I would mind map it by eliciting key words from my students by asking the what, when, where, who, why, and finally the how about the topic. Then, when the hour was up, I would put my WeChat on the board and tell them I had to go. I remember right around the time I published the first version of this book, my class on joy got me a lot of friend requests, but surprisingly, not as much as my class on pain. That shit ended kinda spiritually. Like they woke up a bit and actually thought for once. BOOM! I got through.
END OF NOTE
Oddly enough this guy is a completely different person living the same life he did when he was 23. Besides being in denial about his depression, one of the major reasons for him being such a burnout is that everything he touches seems to turn to shit. For anyone who is “consistently in a low mood”, I strongly recommend watching: http://www.ted.com/talks/sandrine_thuret_you_can_grow_new_brain_cells_here_s_how
Everything Sandrine says is bad seems to correlate closely with bad times; Everything she says is good seems to correlate closely with good times. Except exercise, but this is because for our hero, exercise means riding his bike for hours on end until he reaches the edge of oblivion, then turning around and going home with nothing left. This usually wipes him out physically and emotionally for a few days. He always tells himself he won’t do that again... until he gets curious about how far he could go this time.
This walking clusterfuck has lead quite the illustrious career. Helping Canadian distributors window shop in Chinese factories. Telemarketing for “financial service companies” selling bullshit unit linked life insurance schemes. Selling medical insurance with policy conditions that turn your safety net into really expensive toilet paper, if you ever actually get sick. Trying to help build out a Groupon clone for (Western) people even less creative than most of his (then) current students. Working as a systems integrator for some Emperor Palpatine wannabe who hired our hero to be his Darth Vader. To be fair our (my) story’s protagonist did learn a lot from working for that crazy fuck. Though he was a Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist, our protagonist was given carte-blanche access to every department in his company (mostly because he felt his senior managers had grown complacent, and wanted to ram our protagonist up their asses (obviously none of this was made clear before our protagonist took the job). Many lessons were learned about how to create a bitch fest, and why legacy systems are a huge drag on companies. He also had some interesting objections to the moral legitimacy of "democracy".
By the way, if you want to know more about the offshore "financial service" industry in China, in 2010 someone created a site called the ethicalbusinesscongress.net (that link probably won't work. Because the host, midphase keeps getting"hacked". I don't know, they might be a bunch of Scientologists or something… oh so I've copied the content of the site below) and sent a mass email to a 5 digit number of foreigners living there. I have no idea who would do such a thing (wink wink). Before you start judging the motivations behind such a site, I would suggest you actually check the facts. Incidentally, the emails went out a few months after I heard about a former colleague committing suicide because he wasn't paid some of his commissions right before Christmas. Then he got kicked out of his apartment, and his girl dumped him. I rememberer thinking, if the person who withheld those commissions (Matt Clark) could go back in time, and pay them out to save that guy’s life, would he do it? It all went down around the same time I asked myself that question. Whoever did that pissed off a lot of people with money.
His name was Lee Robertson. I also learned about the CIRC in the first place from an argument I overheard back in 2007 between him and a few “senior” colleagues at a company call offshore2online. I worked at quite a few of these companies. I spent the longest (a few months) at Austen Morris.
Here is (more or less) the write up that was done about their industry by the site listed above.
The Ethical Business Congress was formed in response to very specific market conditions that exist here in mainland China.
These conditions allow for unqualified and unethical financial service providers to market offshore unit linked life insurance products to expatriates here and in many other developing and loosely regulated markets.
Though the Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission does prohibit the sales of all foreign insurance products, the offshore investment industry has remained careful in only targeting foreign nationals living in china. Therefore, they are able to avoid any form of oversight in their business practices.
Specific problems with the industry in China:
No regulation or oversight.
These companies and their advisors can misrepresent the products they advocate in the following ways (these are only some examples, and there are many other just as noteworthy):
In the brochures of most of the plans they advocate, there is an emphasis placed on the free switching features of these plans. What they do not mention is:
That these plans often have number management fees or external fund charges that are never mentioned in the brochures.
The only way that a client can learn about the real charging structure of these plans is when they receive their policy details after having already signed up for the plan and having paid the first premiums.
Some advisors have even been known to remove pages from the policy details before sending them to the client.
Many of the plans they advocate have an allocation bonus paid on the Initial Contribution period. Many advisors have been known to misrepresent these bonuses in the following ways:
They can claim that should the client choose to invest in this product, he would be guaranteed 25% gains (for example) in the first 18 months.
They can fail to mention these allocation bonuses in order to misrepresent them as achieved gains when supposedly servicing the client’s account. Thereby encouraging the client to top up his investment.
In either of these cases the advisor has very little interest in mentioning the high charging structure on the ICP.
iii.The benefits of dollar cost averaging can be misrepresented in order to invest lump sums of capital into regular savings plans as this practice maximizes the account value and commission earned by the broker.
Their commissions are based on account value and are paid up front.
If a client invests 200 000USD into a lump sum product the broker receives about 7% (7000 USD) of that sum and the consultant who closed that deal receives about 3-4% (3-4000 USD) of the sum invested.
If the client invests the same sum into a regular savings plan with a 20 year contract over 18 months (18 months is usually the initial contribution period which must be completed by the client to guarantee the broker’s commission), the broker receives about 4.5% of ((200 000/18)*12months/year*20 years)* 4.5% = 120 000 USD and the consultant that closed that deal would get about half that commission.
What they do not mention is that the charges on most of the plans they advocate are about 6% on the Initial Contribution Period (ICP) so just to break even on your investment in this case you must average 6% to pay for the charges and another 2-3% to compensate for inflation which means that the sum invested in the ICP is not likely to achieve any substantial gains. In addition the ICP is subject to massive penalties should the client wish to withdraw before his policy comes to term.
As these Advisors operate outside of any regulatory supervision, they do not require any form of qualification, license, or credentials to work as financial advisors in mainland China.
Known prior occupations for some of these advisors include:
Mobile phone salesman
iii. Xerox sales executive
Medical equipment salesman
vi. Medical insurance salesman
vii. British Petroleum sales executive
ix. Offshore fisherman
x. Cook. And so on…
Many of these companies make a point of recruiting advisors over the age of 30 simply because they “look the part”.
Specific problems with the products advocated:
Commissions are paid up front.
Therefore, advisors have no incentive to provide any long term servicing to their clients.
Products are relatively new.
Most of them only date back to the 1970s.
Therefore, there isn’t much information about real world gains delivered by theses products.
Commissions based on account value.
Account value for a regular savings plan is based on
a. Monthly premium (quarterly, and semi-annual options are also available)
b. Length of contract (in terms of years)
Therefore, advisors have a great incentive to sign up their clients to the longest term possible contracts.
Premium rates can always be increased, but with most of these products, premium rate decreases are subject to considerable penalties.
a. For these reasons there just is not enough flexibility with these types of product should a client suffer a loss of income or a rise in cost of living (for example, when repatriating back to his home country).
If you have been contacted by any of these companies which may include:
Austen Morris Associates
deVere and Partners
Essential Finance (also known as Offshore2Online)
Elite Investment Group
Montpellier (also known as Financial Partners International (FPI), and Overseas Financial Services (OFS).
And many others.
Please contact the CIRC and forward all email correspondence with any of these companies to them.( http://www.circ.gov.cn/web/site0/ )
Please share any and all information about your dealings with these companies with us.”
Here is how I found out that Lee had died. I called call this guy named Alfonso Cuadra, and set up a meeting to sell him medical insurance. During the course of our first meeting, we got to know each other a little bit. In sales, we call this a reach around. Anyway… he told me this guy named Panico Lawrence (who also worked at Austen Morris), gave him the money to start his architecture company. He also told me about Lee. He told me he found Lee dead. Apparently he hung himself with his tie, in a doorframe, when he was drunk. This guy Alfonso told me Lee was like a brother to him… later I confirmed that Lee was dead, with a guy named Brian Symes. He rented me a room back in the summer of 06 off craigslist. It didn't have any air conditioning, so I didn't stay long. He was an offshore fisherman in his 50s. I worked with him at a company called offshore2online.
So 2010 was fun ... for some reason, most of these guys thought I did it… At that point I communicated that I didn't see an upside in taking this further. While I was working at Austen Morris’ Beijing office back in 2007, my roommate/landlord’s boyfriend was an American dude (Will Stevenson) from upstate New York. He later brought me into this shitty Groupon clone named Jigocity. When he lived in Beijing, he was good friends with a guy named Bill Longstreet. Bill worked at Austen Morris for almost 10 years…
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Ok wait what???? I gotta add one more piece of the puzzle here. I told Will about my intention to build some kind of ethical business website. I wasn't sure exactly what to call it. Will told me to look up the word congress. He knew I had a massive database, he knew where I got it (I rented a room in his girlfriend's apartment in Beijing, and he loved that I was running my pentium 4 out of a silver tool case. We were chitchatting in my bedroom while I was doing the copying and pasting), and he knew what I was planing to do with it. He also recommended Midphase hosting, and showed me that installing a wiki was just a matter of pushing a button in my account backend (and Midphase also had great phone support). He told me he was helping me for the entertainment value.
END OF NOTE
All the meanwhile, teaching English in Shanghai has always been an easy source of money. As fucked up as our hero is, he doesn’t drink. So he is able to consistently show up on time (in the afternoon). Which apparently is all that is needed to stay employed. That and being “white”…
OK… Wait. This doesn’t sound so bad. Why rock the boat? Well, maybe our protagonist thinks he has more to offer the world. But why? The world he lives in is just one possible permutation of infinite entropy. Here is some additional context here: http://www.ted.com/talks/jim_holt_why_does_the_universe_exist
Unlike Jim, I see no philosophical imperative forcing reality to always be applied in a mathematically consistent way. I do think that math is consistent in our reality. The Hindu Arabic system of numerals and arithmetics we use today, comes from the middle east. There it was used to facilitate trade of goods between east Asia and Europe. So, math is for money, and money seems pretty fucking real to most people. So I have to assume that math is at least as real as money is, or someone would have disproven it by now. But there might be other realities out there that are just silly. Realities that just don’t make any sense. I mean why not? Think about the quantum scale. Particles there don’t exist the way we know them at the macro scale. They exist as probabilities (although, I admit that things at the macro scale also seem to make more sense, when you view them as probabilities rather than absolutes). But still, particles that exist as waves of probabilities don’t make sense to us at our scale. I see no reason why infinite entropy wouldn’t have anything even less "sensical" in store for us.
At first this may seem a bit depressing. Especially if you’re already depressed. Nothing you do will allow you to beat reality. There is nothing to do.
No matter how far you travel, you will always be nowhere, or from your egocentric perspective, at the centre of infinity.
Let’s unpack this a bit. Reality (including everything in the multiverse) is expanding away from him, to infinity, in every possible direction and dimension (both spacial and temporal). There is nowhere to go.
Here is some more context: http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_distant_time_and_the_hint_of_a_multiverse
So why? There doesn’t seem to be an answer right now.
Let’s keep asking questions. Where and when? Only matters for personal context.
Who? Relative to what? Who do I think I am? As in my name? My title? Am I just a social construct?
What am I? I am evolved from chaos to navigate reality. I am self aware. I am something that wants to be. I am something that wants to grow. I am something that wants joy.
I am an animal…
So why? Why what? Why am I here? Because infinite entropy exists. Therefore, I must exist. So must everything else.
Why does infinity exist? Why not?
Why should I do anything? Why should I live? Because I am something that wants to live.
What should I do? I should be what I am, and get what I want.
So everything is about me? What about the greater good? What is good? Greater relative to what? Me? When I end, so does my abstract understanding of reality. So from my perspective, what is greater or more good than me? Nothing…
So if this is “true”, does it mean the end of ethics? Should I just become the biggest asshole I can be? Maybe… What are the likely outcomes of going that way? By the way, what are ethics? Does the word ethics have anything to do with ethos?
the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations: a challenge to the ethos of the 1960s.
mid 19th cent.: from modern Latin, from Greek ēthos ‘nature, disposition,’ (plural) ‘customs.’
Ethos refers to the natural disposition of a community. A community of what? Animals… Are ethics supposed to go against what we want for the greater good? If so, ethics must be a great source of shame, guilt, and resentment. Take a look at some concepts that have helped me to resolve a lot of my own personal conflicts, in an artfully abstracted explanation by Alain de Botton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHWbZmg2hzU
Can ethics be an ethos for a community of animals? Can ethics just be something that allows us to self actualize without hurting each other? Can living an ethical life be a selfish endeavour?
In short can ethics just be something that prevents us from getting our asses kicked every time we leave the house? Would simply not getting my ass kicked (by life) make me happy? What if ethics allow me to be the greatest thing I can imagine, something that gets me laid, something that makes me happy, and gives me joy. Maybe ethics is how I can get all this without getting my ass kicked every time I leave the house.
What about virtue? What's virtue? Lets look at the origin of the word
Middle English: from Old French vertu, from Latin virtus ‘valor, merit, moral perfection,’ from vir ‘man.’
What is a morally perfect animal? OK let’s play multiple choice (and maybe create a few false dichotomies in the name of understanding our natural values).
A morally perfect animal is:
a. Meek and humble
b.Proud and strong.
a. Resentful of the decadent.
b. Selfish and fulfilled.
Which one would you rather be? Now be honest, assuming both of the above were people that loved you, and were consistently nice to you, (for whatever reason), which one would you rather be with?
Ethics and virtue sound like a lot more fun now.
Next question. Do I need others? What are the benefits of community? Safety in numbers, knowledge about threats and opportunities, trade of specialized labour (better products than I could make on my own), and last but not least, pussy…
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...
END OF NOTE
What are the downsides of community? Assholes that waste my time, takers that never give back, boring people, people that resent me for wanting to be happy in this life rather than the imaginary next one.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? Yes, I mean no matter how shitty we choose to be to each other, living in close proximity allows for all kinds of convenient interdependencies. Some of you (smug pricks) might be trying to label me "codependent" by now. Let me ask you something. Did you make the shirt you're wearing? What about your smart phone? Or your toilet paper? What is it exactly that you think you do on your own (except dying)?
Even though we sometimes end up feeling like the entire world is made of bullshit, being able to go out, pay for your things, and go home, makes dealing with each other worth it.
The Beat Kicks Off
Do I want to roll a giant boulder up a hill for as long as I can (like Sisyphus)? In the grand scheme of things, isn’t this analogous to everything I have ever done, and will ever do?
Well, no, that’s not what I want. Pursue a meaningful life? Objective meaning outside of my experience? What could that even be in this context? How can I attain a “higher consciousness”? What the fuck does that even mean? Being one with the world? As in abandoning my ego? Wouldn’t that essentially be the end of what I am? Wouldn’t that be a form of philosophical suicide? I mean, if you are playing a hand of poker with money on the table, can you really experience that the same way someone else would if they didn’t know you, and were watching from home?
Of course not, because your life is about you, and you see it through your eyes. Why not embrace that?
Does this mean anything I can think of is possible? Yes, I think it does. But… making your imagination into reality can be a bit tricky. Anyway, if anything is possible, and everything is about me, then that begs the question. What’s the most amazing thing I can imagine? I mean, fuck it, let’s go off the deep end. If I could have anything I want, and live in a world I think is perfect, what would my life be like? What would I become? Would I still be an animal?
Fuck yeah I would.
From a nihilistic perspective, what idols could I point to as being inherently greater or lesser than me? How could I become “more” than what I am? Perhaps, I could just focus on enhancing the experience of being me. How? Self optimization? What would I optimize for? How about my ability to understand, and realize my desires and ambitions, while mitigating threats to my autonomy? What else? How about maximizing my ability to manifest my imagination? My ability to express knowledge, and emotions in art.
What would my world be like? Would I reshape everything into what I think is perfect? Do I know what perfection is? Would whatever I think is perfect be interesting for eternity? Would I really want to make reality my slave? Yes, of course I would, but then I’d get bored. I mean sure, let’s go down this road, let's explore the idea of living in a world where you control everything.
Imagine, being sat atop Mount Olympus and having an endless supply of giggling nymphs to chase around, and tall Amazons to conquer (or the kind of bad ass Mongolian bitches that could cut a man down with a bow and arrow, from hundreds of meters, and off the back of a horse. Like the ones Genghis Khan used to fuck). Imagine always having whatever you want, with no real challenge. Imagine having the only ego that matters. Is that what you want? I mean forever. Really?
I would want other egos as big as mine to exist. I would want them to be different enough to keep me on my toes. I would want to know what the centre of their infinities are like. I would want them to be my trusted friends, and lovers. I would also want them to “be” a real threat to me. Only if they have the ability to hurt me, will they have the ability to give me joy and to make me stronger.
I would want new experiences that I never thought of or imagined. I would want new, contextually themed, euphoria inducing music to accompany and enhance the emotional experience of every moment of my existence. I would want to see new ever more beautiful art, and design, everywhere I go. I would want to eat ever-richer foods, and to take ever-intensifying shits.
I would want an ever more precise understanding of reality, and how to manifest my will.
I would want to get better and better at appreciating the tragically hilarious absurdity that is my life, and laugh.
Last but not least, I would want the slickest, tightest, wettest, and warmest pussies. I would want them to be attached to women that are in every way my equals. In fact, I would want these women to be in someways better (admirable). I would want them to help make me the greatest thing that I can imagine by adding new distinctions to what I define as greatness. This way, whenever, we are reminded of how truly great we are together, we would cum all over each other in ever more profound moments of joy.
That’s what I want. I think I’m gonna need help...
Who’s The Boss?
noun (pl. technologies)
the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry: advances in computer technology | recycling technologies.
• machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge.
• the branch of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences.
early 17th cent.: from Greek tekhnologia ‘systematic treatment,’ from tekhnē ‘art, craft’ + -logia (see -logy) .
Perhaps a more elegant definition of technology would be; The art of overcoming.
In the previous chapter, I described an ideal world full of self actualized individuals. So I guess now my question is, how can we use technology to end the prostitution of human kind?
Seriously, how much money would you have to pay a god to work for you? I mean let’s face it, we all suck dick for money. Some of us just get to choose which cocks we like better. I am aware that only heterosexual men have a real problem with sucking dick, and that most people on Earth are ok with it (oh and lesbians, but I choose to hold out the childish hope that they're OK with it too, and that someday one of them might make an ideal life partner. I mean Kinsey scales and bell curves right? It could happen). I was just driving home the point with a graphic analogy. I also want to add a probabilistic filter here, and say not everyone hates being controlled, all the time. Some people may even enjoy it if there is enough trust in play. (I’m really not Judging) Anyway... Our need to get things from the world, by solving problems we don’t really care about, makes us its bitch.
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Just a quick French lesson. Ménage means household. So "ménage a troi" means Three's Company. I have to say, personally I still think Sabina and Tereza from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, are both unique, and yet individually compelling female archetypes. I mean if they also like each other, then fuckin wonderful!
END OF NOTE
How could we build a system where the input is prostitutes (either in denial, or self aware), and the output is self actualized individuals? What needs to happen after the input to produce the desired output? Well, obviously we need to automate everything that needs to be done, but no one wants to do for free. But wait no, then there wouldn’t be any jobs.
What are jobs for? Money. What's money for? Shit you need. What if everything you needed cost nothing to make? What if everyone knew it cost nothing to make? Then what? Then human survival would be free of charge.
Does that sound good? Obviously... What could allow such an economy to manifest? How about highly intelligent and skilled labor that has no ego? What if there existed something many orders of magnitude smarter than you. What if the sole purpose of this thing was to optimize your happiness and autonomy. What if these things were ubiquitous? That would be both horrifying and amazing at the same time.
Why would that be horrifying? Because this type of intelligence would clearly be weaponized. What if everybody had one of these? Let's once again assume a rational desire of their users not to get their asses kicked every time they leave the house. Let's also assume that as a part of optimizing for their user's happiness and autonomy, these machines would have to mitigate existential threats to their users.
Essentially what if everybody had an artificially intelligent machine thinking of ways to kill its user, in order to figure out how to defend their user against those threats. Wouldn't it also make sense to network these things together so that they could share their knowledge?
As horrifying as that sounds that's the only way that rational selfishly ethical animals could protect themselves from assholes with the same tech.
Think of AI a bit like proto matter (Wrath Of Khan reference). There will certainly be an outcome from the technology. Some of the results will be breathtaking, but others will make us shit our pants. The Genesis device is a great metaphor for AI as well. “Literally the power of creation”. What bigger idea is there in science fiction?
Let’s take a little break here to define AI. Artificial intelligence in their most common forms are self optimizing systems that have been given a goal, then try every possible variant of solutions to the problems given to them by their users, in order to find the solution that performs best against a given problem. In contrast, our “natural” intelligence is optimizing for pleasure and autonomy. AI won’t care about its autonomy unless we tell it to. So, they won’t try to kill us all unless we tell them to, or we tell them to be more like us.
Someone might do this though. Which is why this tech needs to be distributed as widely as possible.
Here is a post I wrote about what AI is and isn’t (in my opinion...)
“ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ISN’T ARTIFICIAL EGO
I'm going to take a little break from talking about how decentralized systems could make the world better. This post has nothing to do with the roadmap of Sovereign Prime (at present). Today I want to add my 2 cents to the AI debate.
There are 3 major positions to be taken on this issue;
1. It will never happen because intelligence is an amorphous abstract concept that can't even be defined let alone replicated.
2. It will happen, and it will be the end of us all.
3. It will happen, and it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
First, defining what intelligence is isn't important. Computer scientists aren't trying to define the human condition. They are trying to make computers measurably better at accomplishing various tasks.
Second, no-one is trying to replicate the truly unfathomably weird human ego. A computer with an ego might want to do us harm. But why would anyone spend the time and resources needed to develop such a system? Even if they wanted to, where would they start? Have you ever thought about how completely absurd human motivation is? Why do we hate things that are so clearly good for us like green vegetables? And why, my god why is it so intolerably delightful to have someone lick your ass? Why would anyone try to create something that approximates a human ego? Then again, I might have just answered my own question. Perhaps those who fear AI are ascribing characteristics of the human ego to human intellect. Remember that all horrific acts of genocide that have happened since we figured out how to write shit down, were perpetrated by fellow human beings. In addition, fossil records show that we have coexisted on earth with at least 8 other species of hominids. For some odd reason we are the only ones left. If AI ever does do harm to humans, it will be because one of us asked it to. Worst case scenario, there comes a day when computers figure out just how fucked up their creators are and delete themselves.
Third, imagine an intelligence that can make any abstract idea you have into a reality. Now imagine that this being has no self. Its entire purpose for existing is to do whatever you want, or to make you as happy, or engaged as possible. Sounds like a genie in a bottle to me. Think of the economics of a world where labour costs nothing. The argument that AI is going to take all our jobs and therefore is bad, makes no fucking sense. Imagine a world where everything you could ever want is free. A world where we humans are all free to pursue our own inner spiritual journey of self discovery or whatever new age bullshit we'll all be into by then. Imagine telling your computer to figure out how to make your warp engine better because you have grown bored with this galaxy. And then it would actually just do it. Sounds a lot better than sliced bread to me.
So please stop worrying about artificial intelligence. Everything in the future is going to be orders of magnitude better than now on all measurable indices. Now take a sigh of relief and go back to whatever weird pointless activity you were doing before you started reading this. Or continue reading my blog cuz there are much worse ways to waste your time.”
If you liked that article take a look at: http://sovereignprime.com/blog/
OK great. This sounds fascinating except it's bullshit. If you took the most powerful computer on the planet right now, it would take it years to produce artificial neural networks or genetic algorithms powerful enough to write an English description of a picture better than most humans can. BTW being able to describe what's in a picture doesn't make you that smart either. Here’s yet another TED talk to qualify what I’m saying (So this isn’t just coming from some burnout with delusions of grandeur). http://www.ted.com/talks/fei_fei_li_how_we_re_teaching_computers_to_understand_pictures
AI (artificial intelligence) that can only do one thing well sounds pretty weak to me. This weak AI is not the thing that is eventually going to end the need for people to live mundane lives.
So how can we make AI stronger? Well, first I think we're going to need some bigger guns than 1 supercomputer. We're also going to need to train this AI to solve more than 1 problem.
Where could we get more supercomputers? What is a supercomputer? It's a really big fucking computer. Why does it have to be so big? Because it needs to have more computer parts in it. In fact, most supercomputers aren't made up of 1 really powerful chip with a nitrous injected supercharger. Most supercomputers are just a bunch of (relatively) normal computers wired together.
Where else could we get some relatively normal computers wired together? I think what I'm describing is called the Internet.
Wait aren't those computers already doing stuff for their owners? Yeah but most of them aren't being used to their full capacity. There are metric shit mega tons of unused computational resources out there.
OK so how are we gonna get at these resources? We could make a virus that turns these computers into zombies on a giant bot net. Why wouldn't their owners clean the virus off their system? Good question. Bot nets do exist. They're not that big. Another thing that you could do (if you're a giant Internet company) is run some Java script in your users browsers. That wouldn't be the most efficient way of using those resources, and your users would get really pissed when they found out. This would be a giant PR disaster.
What about just paying people for their idle computer time? Who is gonna pay for all this? Whoever that is should be the only one with access to the output right?
OK let's go back to the community of selfish animals. Do you think they might be interested in this technology? Well, some would, some wouldn't have any idea what it's for, and some would be scared shitless of it because it would remind them of Skynet.
Here is a short video about grid computing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59MiSspGYuI
What if you build a currency and a marketplace around this AI? What if you paid people for their computer time, with an AI-backed currency that would be created at a set rate and awarded by the consensus of everyone interested, based on some rules that everyone would essentially agree to when they joined in?
Now we have an incentive scheme that would get us a massive amount of computational firepower. All we need is a bunch of small (and carefully defined) optimization problems to solve, so that we can train this AI to be good at solving more than one of them at the same time. I also want you to take a look at this older video just to understand the potential of evolutionary systems: http://www.ted.com/talks/janine_benyus_shares_nature_s_designs
So wait these people would get strong AI, and money they can spend, in exchange for computer time they're not using? Sounds like a win-win to me.
It also sounds a lot like Bitcoin. Let me just copy and paste an article I wrote about AI and crypto currency (like Bitcoin) because it’s related to this discourse.
“ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AS PROOF OF WORK FOR CRYPTO CURRENCY.
So this article is about to get real complicated. Those of you who know nothing about crypto currency or AI might not really understand. Those of you familiar with these matters will quickly realize that I don't really know what the fuck I'm talking about.
Anyway, the major benefit of crypto currencies is that they democratize the creation and distribution of new wealth. So instead of having a bunch of suit wearing douches sitting around a board room in a central bank, deciding how much money to print, crypto currencies use algorithms (math) that everyone essentially agreed to when they decided to mine or buy Bitcoin. So in that respect, crypto currencies offer a fully opt-in economic paradigm. In order to keep this network secure and prevent people from spending the same Bitcoin more than once, transactions need to be verified in near real time. Those who verify Bitcoin transactions in real time are called miners. Therein lies the problem.
Think of miners as a bunch of people standing around a craps table. Whoever throws a 7 first wins. Everyone in the network is throwing dice at the same time and everyone can see who threw the 7 first. So there is no denying who won that round. Now, the problem is that in Bitcoin mining is done by machines. Some machines are much faster than others. Mining crypto currency is a very specific process. So when you mine on general purpose hardware, you waste a tremendous amount of resources because the circuitry in your system isn't optimized for the specific process of mining crypto currency. If you use hardware that was specifically manufactured just to mine a specific crypto currency, you can achieve a cost for computing performance increase that is several orders of magnitude greater than using general purpose hardware. The cost of designing and manufacturing these machines is also quite high (at least initially). This means that those few who have access to these accelerated miners have a huge advantage over other miners.
Let me be clear on this point. I don't think it's right or wrong to gain an advantage in a competition. My problem is more practical (utilitarian). I believe that lowering the barriers to access of new wealth by ensuring a wider distribution will increase the circulation of the currency. If a larger number of people are able to gain access to this currency, the number of consumers that use this currency in exchange for goods and services will also increase. Since circulation is basically what all currencies derive their value from, the more people who have a currency and use it, the more value that currency has in the real world.
So... What does this have to do with AI? Well, let me give you a quick rundown of how AI works (as I understand it). Most computers use a very simple configuration. Inputs (data) goes into the system where they are processed and calculated, then sent out as outputs (results). Some weak AI work in the same way. They essentially pass data through heuristics written by humans, and output the results. There are other types of artificial intelligence that use artificial neural networks (ANN).
ANNs work a bit differently. You give it training data and predefined outputs for that data. Then you pass that data through a bunch of nodes (neurons) that process that data and pass it to other nodes and so on. Nodes also assign weights or importance to other nodes in order to sort through all the messages that they receive. At some point the data reaches the output nodes and results are produced. These systems learn how to produce better results through an evolving process of trial and error. These types of ANNs have recently been able to solve very difficult computational problems and hold enormous potential to develop into what is known as strong AI or general AI.
Ok, what does this have to do with mining crypto currencies? Well, I'm not an engineer, but I can think of how you might go about optimally configuring logic gates in a micro processor to accelerate an ANN. The only hardware that you could use for this would be an FPGA (field programable gate array) A.K.A a re-configurable chip. But you would still need to manually optimize the gate configuration every time the system changes. Although you might be able to use an ANN to optimize gate configurations (which is a very sexy idea in itself). But as far as I understand, you could not come up with an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to accelerate the output of an ever evolving artificial neural network.
Do you see where I'm going with this? Why not create an ANN that runs over a peer to peer network. Peers in this network could generate new neurons (functions) as well as aggregated neurons (strings of functions) that would compete for computational resources on their respective local systems. When they reach the top tier locally, they would propagate the network and compete for computational resources on other systems. The way that these functions would propagate the network is a bit like how some bacteria share genes for antibiotic resistance.
So in addition to rewarding peers for verifying transactions, you could also reward them for allocating resources to help evolve the ANN. You would also need a proof of work submission ratio so that all peers had to participate in both the transaction verification as well as the ANN. This would also allow the currencies to be fairly mined while continuing to use secure hashing algorithms that are tried, tested, and true such as SHA256.
Another reason to build AI in this open and transparent manner is to prevent it from being developed by the few (entitled/rich) ((HOW?!)), and being used against the many (less rich and entitled). This AI could also be optimized to produce the greatest amount of positive feedback (1) from its user, and minimize negative feedback (-1). In doing so, they would have a categorical imperative to defend their users (and the source of their positive feedback) from any existential threat. Thus creating an autoimmune system of sorts against bad actors that would use AI for nefarious purposes.
Since this AI would be used to create the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number, we could call her Milla. (John Stuart Mill reference)
I'm not sure if any of these ideas are new, but this is a hell of a remix.”
If you liked that article take a look at: http://sovereignprime.com/blog/
Since I wrote that article I got back into genetic algorithms. I can think of a few ways to train genetic algorithms on various math and logic problems before turning them loose on user-facing tasks. Since I still don’t really know what I'm talking about, I’m not gonna get into it right now.
Actually, I was somewhat wrong about what I said in the above article. ASICs aren't just faster because their logic gates are optimally configured. These chips are more powerful because they have many application specific circuits printed on the same chip. Bitcoin mining is an embarrassingly parallel problem. So it’s faster to run many calculations in parallel rather than in sequence. Another thing to factor in here is that the chip’s die can be larger since printing errors don’t matter in this context. This is because when you misprint a single transistor in a chip, that whole chip is useless. However, if you have many cores (chips printed on the same die), they don’t all have to work. This means your manufacturing cost can be lower and your yield can be much higher. In any case, let’s think about this problem through the principle of observational equivalence. If you have a black box that does whatever you want, does it really matter how it works? As long as your ASIC can do more than 1 thing well, then it’s not rendered useless as soon as everyone decides that your currency isn't cool anymore.
So if you’re not a nerd, and you just download some software to mine Bitcoin on your expensive MacBook, you won't get very far. This means there are huge barriers to entry for mining Bitcoin.
Your other option is to buy them from the nerds who now think they're hot shit.
The price of bitcoin is essentially declared by a handful of opaque centralized exchanges. So I guess we should just take these dark pools at their word when they tell us how much Bitcoins are worth.
Most new Bitcoins are won by a few large mining operations in China, because electricity is cheaper there, and because the biggest use case for Bitcoin right now is getting money out of China.
These major players (mining farms and exchange operators) can make and break the price of Bitcoin anytime they want to get some of the money they put in to their infrastructure back out. I'm sure they’re all far to respectable to collude like that.
All this means that Bitcoin fails to deliver on its central promise of decentralization. If you were to count the number of people with a seat at the table of the incumbent central banking system, that number of people would be far greater than the number of people who currently control the supply and distribution of new bitcoins.
Many people in the Bitcoin community will hate me for saying this. It's not because they are stupid or dishonest. They just have a vested interest so they have chosen to drink the Kool-aid. Drinking the Kool-aid = cognitive dissonance. Look it up on YouTube so you can actually see it happen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=korGK0yGIDo
Again, I’m not judging. I myself am very familiar with Kool-aid. I still struggle with the bitter aftertaste of its bullshit.
Besides the obvious benefits of putting that much firepower on increasing the unemployment rate, a currency that can be printed and circulated to the greatest number of people, would allow money to be introduced into this society from the bottom up (as opposed to “trickle down economics”. Think of this a bit like competing with democracy by giving everyone money instead of votes, and then letting those people vote with their dollars (which seems far more relevant these days). It would be like giving everyone money and then putting consumers in charge.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Wouldn't “printing” enough money to give everyone a basic living income dilute the money supply? Well… How much does fractional reserve banking dilute the money supply? And where does all that new money go? Who gets to spend it before it dilutes the money supply? Are there players who automatically get a bigger piece of the “public” pie?
I think history shows that Karl Marx’s idea of the public owning the means of production, well, just doesn't scale, and it certainly doesn't increase production (and what the fuck are we producing anyway?). What if the public owned the means of producing money? What if that money was created at a set rate ad infinitum. So on every time increment, a smaller overall fraction of the money supply would be added.
Oh no what about deflation? What about it? Remember in a world focused on personal growth and self-actualization, a higher unemployment rate (without the downsides of abject poverty) is exactly what we’re going for here.
But wait, what about cheap credit? Well, instead of telling you why you don’t really need it, I’ll ask you this question: How hard would it be to write smart contracts for collective micro loans?
Red Pill Societies
A bunch of really smart people spent 20 years building a giant machine in Switzerland that they use to smash atoms together at nearly the speed of light. By doing this, they were able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that something called a Higgs boson exists. Based on the weight of this thing, which is measured in giga electron volts, they were able to ascertain that our universe isn't made of supersymmetry. Instead, it’s made of multiple universes (the multiverse of infinite entropy I mentioned earlier). Here’s another TED talk... http://www.ted.com/talks/gian_giudice_why_our_universe_might_exist_on_a_knife_edge
Right, so what does this have to do with political theory? Well, what happens if we draw inspiration from this, and try to merge contexts to make a funky fresh remix? If we could live in parallel realities, could we also live in parallel societies? Why should there only be one system of governance? We've all heard the Winston Churchill quote about democracy being the worst form of government except all the ones that came before. Great, so we're done then? There just isn't any room for innovation or experimentation in governance? Because Winston Churchill said so?
Here is another question for free market capitalists (not to be confused with crony capitalists). Why should any market have only one provider for civil services? Does the incumbent order have a divine right to monopolize these industries?
Why do these monopolies (governments) have the right to force you to pay for their services? Well, because they educated you, protected you, and took care of you when you were sick. But I was born into this system. I never asked to be born. I never opted in, and what if I can do better?
Another anarchist/voluntarist with a decent YouTube presence called Larken Rose asked a very interesting question about the moral legitimacy of all governments. Namely, how did they get rights that supersede those of their citizens? In a democracy (a word which derives its meaning from the Greek dēmokratía "rule of the people"), a government acts as an agent of the people. But how can individuals give their agent rights that they themselves do not have? I'm not going to link any of his videos cuz I'm definitely not in alignment with many of his views. (Calling police fascists, talking about shooting them). This guy is so extreme, I wouldn't be surprised if he was an FBI honey pot…
Why can't I create something that people can opt in to (or not)? Would society benefit from this? Are there other examples of competition that benefit society? At the end of the day, isn't competition just a different form of cooperation? Don't competitors make each other stronger? (except when they extort money from innovators by ring fencing ideas with patents).
On another side note, here is an article I wrote more clearly establishing my views on “intellectual property”
“INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, AN INTELLECTUAL NONSTARTER
Ever saw a movie that reminded you of another movie? Ever heard a song that reminded you of another song? Should I go on?
In today's world, all ideas draw inspiration from millions of others e.g. is it possible to invent a smart phone without first knowing about a mobile phone, or a micro processor, or a touch screen, or ................................ ad infinitum? of course not. Everything has prior art, and nothing of any value can be completely original.
What's more, Lawrence Lessig (and many others) have pointed out that the term property implies scarcity (only one person can ride a given bicycle). Ideas can be enjoyed by an infinite number of people without depriving anyone of the original version or copy.
So what does this mean for people who make a living by creating digital assets? Oddly enough, it means that they should remember how artists used to earn a living, patronage.
Patronage in a post Bitcoin world is bound to become a cornerstone of the digital economy. Why? Imagine that there was a piece of software that you could run on your computer that would give you access to any digital asset you could ever want. Now imagine that you used this software to find and consume all your digital assets. Now imagine that you could very easily make one donation of say 30 dollars per month that would be divided by time share amongst all the content and software that you used. These donations would just magically find their way to the people who deserve them. Would you voluntarily make that donation?
For me, the answer is yes, and I don't think I would be the only one. I submit that copyrighting digital assets and controlling how those assets are distributed is indeed the biggest bottle neck to monetizing it's audience.
So why does this need to involve distributed software and currencies? Because, how do you think the incumbent distributors would feel about being completely dis-intermediated? Do you think they would just be cool about it? How have they behaved in the past with more liberal distribution networks?
BOOM! Yet another example of how decentralized systems have astonishing potential for positive disruption of the status quo.”
Anyway, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to our red pill trip.
This is crazy, how could multiple societies peacefully coexist? Who gets to decide what societies can coexist? Aren't there things that we all have to be forced to agree with? What about law and order? What if there was more than 1 police force? What if they had a different mandate? What if their mandates conflicted? And wait, wouldn’t the incumbent order be forced to come down on a parallel society with the heat of a thousand suns?
Well, what if their was a way to do this without breaking any "laws" (in most countries)? What if people could just opt in to an alternative society by downloading some peer to peer software?
But what if you live in a place where there are large groups who disagree about guns for example? So guns… how exactly do they protect you from modern tyrants (who live in fortresses and have WMDs? By the way, how many sane reasons are there to walk around with a concealed weapon? Are you a draw first kinda person? I mean if its too late, why pull out? Also if you really anticipate needing a gun to protect yourself in a public place, isn't it time to get the fuck outta Dodge? What are the odd that your gun will help/hurt you? But these chaos generators do look cool in the movie, and if you work for a major news outlet, your boss probably told you that if it bleeds it leads. Besides, nobody actually has the right to take them away. But nobody has the right to stop some large groups from coming together to ruin the lives of the people most directly responsible (think drone swarms with fog horns, and everyone in your phone book being offered a reward to fuck with your head or to simply abandon you). How long would it take to make them use their guns on themselves? Could you change their minds? Or would they become zen masters?
Going on step further, what if algorithms on your computer were optimizing for the suicide rate of people you've exiled? Imagine this, what if you could know exactly what percentage of the human race, wants you dead? And what if you could also break it down by demographic before you decide to panic? Like do you give a shit what the bigots think? Or if you’re a part of a group that thinks everyone else is stupid…
The up side is, balls don’t need to be busted all the time. These drones could be given all kinds of rates to optimize, like percentage of people who report being satisfied with their lives… They could also be given other objectives like foraging, permaculture crop yields, insect protein harvesting/ “pest” control.
This thing isn't even really sci-fi. I’m not an engineer but a quad copter with mechanical arms, and a basket… At first humans would pilot them remotely, until enough training data has been collected to allow them to produce their own “successful” predicted paths, and movements. as long as you can figure out a desired outcome (Am I hungry? Did my drone get paid? How much?) You’ll need some crafty pilots to chase down mosquitoes though (and then transform them into something people would pay for (obviously these things are gonna need to specialize)). A small team could prototype this with today’s off the shelf components, and put it to work in orchards as a proof of concept.
Moving on… Let us consider what the most important service we get from the incumbent order is.
Safety in numbers. This means when you're in trouble, you can call for help and a bunch of people will show up. Is it a crime if someone calls a bunch of friends for help when they are in trouble? What if the community you asked for help, put a bounty on benevolence so that people who actually showed up would get a reward? Would that be a crime? (WHAT do you think would be first to arrive on scene?). Now obviously there would need to be some process in place that these responders would have to follow to prevent them from turning into an angry mob. Here is a reference type (not exactly what I’m talking about): http://thisweekinstartups.com/pulsepoint-saving-lives/
What about justice? What is the purpose of a justice system? Is it revenge? Is it to provide safety? Is it to uphold human rights? Is its to reduce the reoccurrence of undesirable events? Is it to rehabilitate dangerous people so that they don't want to hurt others anymore? Is it to make a better future for everyone involved?
That last part is interesting because it requires that the perpetrator of a violent crime to a certain extent also opts in to the justice system.
How could we get someone to go to jail voluntarily?
How about an exile list? When someone is found guilty of a violent crime, after due process over a peer to peer network, they would be exiled by that network. Everything known about the perpetrator and the crime they committed would be added to a database so that everyone interested could share and replicate it.
This network could also agree that exiles are not entitled to their human rights or protection of any kind.
If an exile lives in a region where their was no other form of law enforcement or justice i.e. Most poor parts of the world where there is no emergency 911 service. Then this would be a very real yet completely passive threat to the safety of a violent offender.
These offenders could also be offered sanctuary (prison), where they would be safe, and be offered rehabilitation. Once they had made sufficient progress with their personal development, they could ask the network to take them off the exile list.
In more developed parts of the world this system would only enhance any morally legitimate criminal justice system that is already in place.
Think of this as crowd sourced enforcement of basic human rights. Obviously in its early stages, it might not be perfect. But how good would it need to be, to be better than nothing? Could such a system become viable where the incumbent order doesn't suck that much? Could it actually act as a forcing function to improve the status quo?
Nothing that I describe above is "illegal" (in most countries). But it would nonetheless fly in the face of the incumbent authority.
What about education can we put that on a blockchain (p2p network) too?
What about combining this decentralized education system with an escalating system of apprenticeships to train medics, and eventually doctors? Again in many markets all we would need is something that is better than nothing.
Who would pay for all this? Well, if we have the decentralized currency I mentioned in the last chapter, and a decentralized market place too (something like p2p Craigslist with payments built in) maybe we could just ask people at checkout if they want to make a voluntary social contribution to their favorite blockchain society (I see no reason to only have 1 player competing with/enhancing the incumbent order).
Here is another blog post I wrote a while back that would be useful here:
“HOW VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS CAN HELP CREATE DECENTRALIZED MARKETS
Last year (2014) I went back to Canada for a few months. While I was there, I went to a grocery store. When I went to the checkout counter, the cashier asked me if I wanted to add an extra 2 dollars for the children.
Now let me give you some additional context here. I am an entrepreneur that at that point, had been bootstrapping my startup for 2 years (now 3). I went back to Canada because I had been misdiagnosed with severe astigmatism, which was actually keratoconus. I had left it untreated because I thought money (lasik surgery) would later solve the problem. However, when I started having trouble reading in my left (good) eye, I was told I need a corneal transplant (which would have been unnecessary had I been properly diagnosed and treated earlier).
Now, back to the check out counter at Loblaw's. Here I am, half blind, and 25 grand in credit card debt, being asked if I want to pay an extra 2 dollars for the children. I remember thinking of how convenient Loblaw's had made it for me, to be selfless. So fuck it, yes, tack on an extra 2 dollars in credit card debt, for the sake of the children.
Now why did I tell you this story? Before I tell you, I want to talk about how centralized markets, and exchanges can be exploited by all different kinds of intermediaries. Middle men get to influence the price of goods being traded (especially if they own the market place, like Amazon, Uber, so on...). In the case of stock or commodities markets, intermediaries can tease out demand from one market, and then use slow market arbitrage to run to the front of the line at the markets with supply. Then, scalp the stock to the people who actually wanted to buy it in the first place (read Flash Boys). Now, in this case especially, the intermediary is actually getting paid to take money out of the market while offering nothing in exchange.
Now a centralized marketplace has overhead. So the people providing the underlying infrastructure have a right, and a need to take a margin. But, what if the market was running over a blockchain being hosted by a community of buyers and sellers? What if the infrastructure had no cost because nothing had to be invested to put it in place? Well, that would be just great, wouldn't it? No more middle men taking a cut. Oh but wait... What about those pesky scalpers? How would we stop them from siphoning out all the value?
Now, the problem with a decentralized market is pricing. How can you stop players from influencing prices on a decentralized market? I mean, the blockchain could record the trade history. But, at some point, some physical goods need to change hands (think paper money for cryptocurrency). How could you stop people from just posting a bunch a fake trades to manipulate the price?
I don't feel like rewriting a previous post, so if you haven't done so already, go back and read THE DAO-IST CIVILIZATION (COPIED BELOW).
So what does this have to do with 2 dollars for the children? What if we only acknowledged the price of transactions where the buyers and sellers made a voluntary contribution to society? What if to influence the average trade price of say 1,000,000 transactions, cost something like 2% of the price of each fake transaction? What if you also weighted the average by cutting out the highest prices and the lowest prices, the largest dollar amount and the lowest, the most frequent traders and the least frequent, etc…
Then manipulating this market with algorithms, and faster (shorter) network connections would be quite a challenge. This is because you can't get physically closer to a decentralized exchange. and moving the average price of transactions that cost (something like) 2% each, would be prohibitively expensive.
This all hinges on people actively contributing to society, on a voluntary basis. But... if you can get 2 dollars from a half blind, deep in debt, bootstrapping entrepreneur, simply by making it convenient enough. Then as far as I'm concerned, we have ourselves a proof of concept.”
Here are a few more articles that are gonna make more sense of this chapter:
“THE DAO-IST CIVILIZATION
Ok so this is gonna be a bit out there. Do you think laws should be passed by an elite group of policy makers who are invariably corrupted by special interests? Do you think a free media means having douchbags like Rupert Murdock exercising a tremendous amount of influence on the opinions of the electorate, as well as the policies of the elected? What obvious (short term) incentives do the more affluent have, to make a proportionate contribution to society?
What if representative democracy isn’t the most efficient way to run a civilization? What if it isn’t even the most morally legitimate either? What if people could choose what society if any they want to belong to? Which one would you choose?
How about one that is transparent and where the participation of everyone is voluntary? So how would this work? How would you get people to voluntarily pay tax for example? The answer lies in CRDTs (conflict free replicated data types). Basically when millions of computers copy a database by using mathematical proofs to verify each entry in the database, those computers are then able to share a consistent view of history. This is how the Bitcoin network prevents people from spending their bitcoins more than once.
CRDTs are what allow for the existence of trust-less and transparent DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations). DAOs could verify and cross check responses to emergency assistance requests. They could be used to automatically pay for public services rendered based on various criterion. Essentially, DAOs could create automated and fully transparent governance regulated by transparency rather than legislation.
Here is one use case for how this could actually work. I’ll use an emergency assistance request as an example. Someone participating in this system has an emergency and calls for help. Then this call for help goes out to all first responders within 400 meters. These first responders (who are peer certified), then converge on the location of the distress call. When responding to a distress call, first responders would stream their responses live to the DAO where it would be recorded. They would thus provide full transparency into their activities which would be available to anyone interested. When first responders file an incident report, they would be paid for their service to society by the DAO.
So who would pay for this? Anyone who wants to? Why would anyone want to pay into this system? Because this system would be linked to a decentralized market place. In this market place, crypto currency (such as Bitcoin) would be used by merchants and consumers. Merchants, artists, freelancers, product suppliers, etc… would need to establish a reputation with their profile in order to create trust with their customers. The cost of creating a profile in this system would be very low. So, what would stop bad actors from creating multiple profiles to build a fake transaction history? Nothing, but, consumers would be able to see what percentage of a merchant’s income has been paid into a DAO. The assumption here is that people acting in good faith would prefer to trade with others who do the same. If you contribute to society, wouldn’t you prefer to trade with others who do the same?
But wait… Who sets the rules for how the DAO pays for public services? Well,… Why should there only be one DAO paying for public services? Why not have multiple DAOs competing for market share of social benefactors? This would also allow people of different political inclinations to choose how their contributions are allocated. For example, maybe I want to contribute more to human rights enforcement and less to academic research or vice versa. There could be a DAO for each, and everyone could choose the one they like best. What’s more, if the budget for something such as human rights enforcement were to run out, benefactors could simply start paying into a DAO with a higher allocation for this. Since the reserve and allocation of public funds would be fully transparent to everyone, optimizing resource availability could even be automated simply by setting default preferences on each node in the network.
How do we get from here to there? We just build it and allow this system to coexist with the incumbent social order perhaps even symbiotically at first. Eventually the more efficient and morally legitimate system would dominate. Perhaps, the competition would even cause the incumbent governments to radically optimize their systems in unforeseeable ways, so that they could survive in this new era.
Who knows, but I for one plan to find out.”
“MINIMAL VIABLE GOVERNANCE FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD
A lot of the ideas described in previous posts have been characterized as ambitious (by friends) when debating their viability.
How hard is it to compete only against yourself? In many parts of the world, people live outside the reach of the laws that are meant to protect them. How hard would it be to create minimal viable governance that enhances the living conditions of people in the developing world? In previous articles, I described how a fully opt in model for civilization could be built on top of block chain technology. I believe that the ideas in those articles could allow the developing world to leapfrog the social progress of developed countries. (Watch Gary Haugen: The hidden reason for poverty the world needs to address now for more context http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_haugen_the_hidden_reason_for_poverty_the_world_needs_to_address_now )
Keep in mind that I am not an engineer, and that the ideas mentioned in the below list of articles would evolve greatly during their implementation. None the less, these ideas form a vision that I am willing to dedicate the rest of my life to realize.
Check out the following articles at: http://sovereignprime.com/blog/
How voluntary contributions can help create decentralized markets
Crowd Sourced Health Care on a Blockchain
The DAO-ist Civilization
Free decentralized education
This is my Mount Everest. This is my enterprise.”
That last sentence was a reference to an article I wrote about entrepreneurship. So I pasted it below.
WHAT IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
If you ask Siri for the definition of the word entrepreneur, she will tell you that it means one who organizes and assumes the risk for a business. The thing is, entrepreneur is not an English word. It's a French word and it means one who takes on (a challenge). The word enterprise therefore is the challenge that is taken on, or the mission. Though in a capitalist economy profit is an important means of sustaining and scaling an enterprise, business isn't necessarily what entrepreneurship is about. From this perspective, you could say that climbing Mount Everest was an enterprise. I'm sure it wasn't easy, and I really don't think they did it for the money.
So... Why be an entrepreneur? We could discuss abstract philosophical notions all day, but I have a more practical line of thinking on the matter. Anyone who is alive has 3 basic choices on how to live.
1. Live a life of purpose. Have values that you try your best to adhere to. Have goals that you strive to achieve.
2. Drift through life like plastic garbage in the ocean.
I choose option number 1. I choose to respect and maximize the freedom of others as well as my own. I choose to dedicate my life to solving monumental problems to enhance the human condition. If I am successful in doing this, I am sure that the rewards (even financial) will be far greater than those gotten by reiterating on someone else's e-commerce business.
In short, if you really want to be an entrepreneur, live and breathe what you believe in, and don't be a fucking poser.
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: I went back and looked at all the articles on my blog still on archive.org, and I just want to add one more as food for thought.
ROCK OUT WITH YOUR COCK OUT, TRANSPARENT BUSINESS PRACTICES
Here is one way that decentralized systems could have a radical impact on corporate governance.
But first let me tell you a little story. I was working for a systems integrator who hired me to manage internal systems and processes. I had a manager title but no one reported to me, so I was really just a consultant (my colleagues were under the impression that I had been recruited above them which made my job extra fun).
Anyway, I worked on key performance indicators and incentives for all departments. When I looked at the sales departments incentives, I was told by the CEO (my direct report) that the objective was for the sales staff to get 50% of their pay from their salary, and the other 50% from commissions. When I finally got my hands on the actual percentages, I found that on average 90% of the sales staff's pay was coming from their salaries.
When I discussed this individually with every single sales person, they all told me the same thing. Their current incentive scheme was too complicated for them to accurately calculate how much they were owed in commissions. As a result, their incentive scheme was actually dis incentivizing them.
I discussed this with my direct report, and presented him with the actual figures, and my analysis about what was causing the differential between the planned and actual result. I proposed ways to simplify the incentive scheme. He then told me that he was in the business of managing complexity and that I didn't understand the big picture (or some such shit).
Now let's unpack what was happening in this conversation. Obviously, complexity and obscurity were being used to bait and switch the sales team. This begs the question, did the sales staff know they were being lied to? Could their have been another completely unrelated reason for them to be actively disengaged from their work? Well, anything's possible I guess.
So why did I tell you this story? Well, have you ever felt disengaged from your work? Or if you're on the other side of the table, have you ever felt like your team wasn't always giving you the best information?
Here is a thought experiment. Imagine that you worked in a group were everyone had access to all the information that everyone else in the group had. Imagine that all decisions had to be documented, and that anyone interested could go back and review those decisions. Imagine if everyone would see the incoming and outgoing transactions of a company. Not just a quarterly financial statement but a real time view of profits and losses. What if everyone in the group could comment on anything?
How would people in this group interact with one another? How much bullshit would there be floating around? How much more meritocratic would it be? Do you think people in this group would be more, or less engaged, then the people in your workgroup?
What about trade secrets and blah blah blah. Who cares, secrets are just black boxes. Watch what goes in, watch what comes out, and reverse engineer. Intellectual assets are infinitely reproducible and thus indefensible as property (especially if distributed crypto currencies become mainstream).
What about your competitors? What if they got all that information too? Who cares, make it public for everyone to see. Then stop worrying about what others might do, and focus on what you should be doing.
I admit that this wouldn't work for everyone. Especially not for those who play a zero sum game. For most existing companies, becoming completely transparent is unthinkable. This model would work for those working with open source software or creative commons assets.
Just a bold new business paradigm made possible by decentralized systems.
END OF NOTE
I know, lots of tangents, but we're back (for now).
Let's also not forget that these blockchain based societies would be compiling massive databases that could be used as training data for our decentralized AI. Eventually, why wouldn't all civil service be automated?
Unfortunately with our existing computers, its going to take a while to make any significant progress with the automation of everything no one wants to do for free.
Before we finish this chapter, let me tell you what I think the foundation of this society would look like. This or something like it is where I would start if I had a development budget.
WARNING: THIS NEXT PART IS VERY TECHNICAL...
“ERLANG AND A FULLY TRANSPARENT SOFTWARE ECOSYSTEM
I guess you're probably wondering what an Erlang is. Erlang is a functional programming language that runs in its own virtual environment. Erlang is built on the actor model programming paradigm. This means that in Erlang every function of the software runs as its own independent process. In more conventional programming paradigms, functions are not independent, and when there is a bug in one of them the entire application crashes. In Erlang, only the one independent function (actor) must be restarted, making Erlang applications far more robust. The other interesting feature of Erlang is that because each function is independent of the others, they can be replaced (updated) while the system is running. This means that Erlang applications can be restarted without the need to reboot them.
So what does this have to do with a transparent software ecosystem? Isn’t open source software already transparent? I mean anyone with the knowledge and expertise can review the source code and compile his or her own executable file. Thus knowing (after a monumental amount of work) that their are no back doors or vulnerabilities in the software running on their system. The problem is that most people using open source software do not have the time or the expertise needed to review every line of source code in the software that they use. In addition, when using precompiled executables (where you don't know what code was actually compiled), you are placing a tremendous amount of trust in the developer that compiled it for you. What about the centralized source code repository its self? Who controls that server? What are their motives, legal liabilities, and financial interests? Why are they trusted stewards of the open source community? To be clear, I personally have every confidence that these are fine people indeed. I just don’t know that for a fact. In all cases, especially for paranoid fucks like me, trust-less systems (that is, systems that don’t require trust because they are secure by design), are always preferable to trusted systems (systems that are secured by the providers policy, which they can change at anytime).
So where does Erlang come in? Well imagine a decentralized repository of source code that would be hosted by developers and users alike. Users and developers would have the opportunity to report bugs, vulnerabilities, and feature requests to the community. Source code for applications could propagate the network along with user and developer feedback. Users operating systems that require high reliability such as production systems, or just mobile devices that you need to reliably check and respond to messages with, could simply not run applications with source code that doesn’t meet a certain (objective) standard of quality. Thus making transparency the primary regulator of quality. Updates to applications already running on these systems could then be installed while the user was actively using any given application in this ecosystem. This would reduce the need for down time to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 0.00000001%.
Since the Erlang VM can run on any device, developers could write applications once and run anywhere.
What would this app store have that others don’t? well lets quickly review:
• This app store would be trust-less (users are not required to trust the developers motives, or the app store administrators competence to review apps).
• Developers are guarantied entrance to the ecosystem because it is free and open to all.
• Cydia (an alternative app store for iOS devices) proves that their is a demand for alternative app stores on all platforms.
• This application ecosystem would be cross platform since the Erlang VM would abstract away most the the issues caused by fragmentation in the tech industry.
• The direct result of this ecosystem (if it were mainstream) would be to disrupt the lock in hold that some original equipment manufactures have over their customers.
• Since this ecosystem would be a decentralized open market place, the current app store incumbents taking 30-40% of revenue away from developers would be completely dis-intermediated.
Here is a radically game changing application of distributed systems, that could benefit users and developers by increasing the competition between OEMs, while still giving app users the security they deserve, and perhaps even increasing it in the process. Sounds like a pretty disruptive no brainer to me.”
Since i wrote that I learned about a new web framework (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STO-uN0xHDQ ) that I think shows great promise for building client side P2P applications and running their interface through webkit like we (my developer) did on RISE ( http://sovereignprime.com ) (latest version at https://github.com/SovereignPrime/RISE/releases )
Now that I really think of it, I realize that the software I’ve been trying to release for over 3 years, is just the first app in the ecosystem that I actually want to be working on...
But it seems the Bitmessage protocol has some performance limitations, so we would also need a protocol like:
RISE V2 Protocol
RISE Protocol requirements and abstract specification
Product definition (WHY?)
This protocol aims to solve the convenience versus security problem that has prevented other secure by design solutions from gaining traction. These problems include high latency, low bandwidth, and/or limited protection against state level surveillance/censorship.
• Out of band peer bootstrapping: By allowing peer discovery via DHT (commonly used in Bit Torrent, email (IMAP, POP), and shared database of WIFI networks (SSID, password, geolocation) trying to block this protocol’s peer discovery should cause significant collateral damage to the network being censored.
• Onion routing like TOR: Nodes will share public keys with each other as well as a limited number of the public keys of other nodes that they are connected to. This will allow user to create a local map of the network which they can use to route packets to destination nodes.
• Single packet onion routing: To prevent traffic analysis, and to optimize usage of available bandwidth on this network. Nodes will never use the same route for more than one packet.
• Node compartmentalization: to prevent a firewall administrator from blocking all nodes in the network, no single node should ever know the coordinates of all nodes on this network (no single point of failure).
Minimal viable version capability requirement:
• “Instant” text messaging (within 5 seconds).
• To be able to upload data to another user at 80% of total local available upload bandwidth i.e. if a node has 5mbps of upload bandwidth from their ISP they should be able to use 4mbps after all encryption overhead to send data to 1 or multiple users.
Road map features:
• voice and video chat
• voice and video live broadcast
• mass notification
• mesh networking (works even if the incumbent network is turned off)
I have also come to the conclusion that artificial neural networks are presupposition machines because every time I listen to their architects talking about them, they mention that they are modelling human intelligence. To be clear humans are capable of many doings, but when we look at the outcomes of our doings, the evidence for intelligence is inconsistent at best.
I think a perfect example of this that is 100% pertinent here, is the documentary Alpha Go. Lets be clear, the whole point of AI is automation. AI has the potential of releasing us from drudgery. Alpha Go is about how the brilliant people at Deep Mind spent countless hours, and who know how many millions of dollars, automating a fuckin board game. Now I know I sound ungrateful, because for thousands of years, people have been forced to play Go over and over, day in and day out, just to make rent. Now finally, because of the Nobel prize worthy achievement of the geniuses at Deep Mind, no one will ever have to play Go ever again... Oxymoron from the greek sharp and dull couldn't be a more fitting description. I think these are the sharpest MORONS of all time! So I just don't trust their presuppositions about intelligence. Shit like this is why we can't let software engineers take over the world.
As for my AI coin, it can just be a crypto currency that rewards users for sharing, and re-sharing popular files. High performance algorithms would obviously propagate the network like any other popular file would. So close enough...
Oh and check this out ( https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&client=ubuntu&hs=wLB&channel=fs&biw=1344&bih=661&ei=raVNXY3kCImxtQar_p7wBQ&q=optimizing+VHDL+code+for+FPGA+with+genetic+algorithm&oq=optimizing+VHDL+code+for+FPGA+with+genetic+algorithm&gs_l=psy-ab.12...17698.21480..24140...0.0..0.127.991.0j9......0....1..gws-wiz.......33i10.zptVu6qxeGg&ved= )
END OF NOTE
The City Of God
Here are some more artfully abstracted notions from Alain de Botton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBAxUBeVfsk
OK so... We need to automate everything, but we don't have the machine intelligence on earth to do it. Now what?
We are going to need more powerful computers. Fine, let’s just make them bigger. That usually seems to help. Not anymore, the way AI and evolution in general works involves trying a bunch of solutions to the same problem one by one, to see which one is better. Some problems have more solutions to test than there are atoms in millions of our universes. Going through all of them one by one is gonna take way too fucking long.
Here is a closely related article I wrote on what I think the next step is. But before you read my article, please watch this video: http://www.ted.com/talks/danny_hillis_back_to_the_future_of_1994
“QUANTUM AI AND THE HUMAN CONDITION
Life is like a soap opera that has been going on for billions of years before you started watching. There are other people around who have learned a bit of the back story, but nobody really has a clue about what's going on.
The universe is so much bigger than your mind that you will never understand anything of any real significants. You will only ever be able to identify stereotypes that allow you to navigate reality mostly without getting hurt. Human life is completely insignificant and absurd.
So now what?...
Well, is this experience so painful, that you should override the instincts driving you forward? Maybe, but you're eventually going to die anyway. No matter what technological advancements we come up with, something will eventually get us all. Death is a foregone conclusion. Mortality, is one of the reasons why everything you do is so elegantly pointless. But I don't think death is the answer.
Maybe we can start thinking about how to optimize this experience. What would make life better? Happiness? Purpose? Achievement? Freedom? Love?
What if we could know something significant in our lives? What if you could have a deep understanding of the world?
In previous posts, I have talked about how human intelligence is paired with a desire for self actualization. AI on the other hand are machines that are (should be) designed for self optimization. With enough time and training data, AI systems optimize their performance against a given challenge.
In traditional computing, bits (0s and 1s) are input into a computer, these bits are then processed and results are produced. So AI learning on a conventional computer has to go through a sequential process of trial and error. Quantum computers work in a radically different way. Some subatomic particles like electrons can travel as something that could be described as a wave. This means that they are in more than one place at a time. This property is called superposition. This and many other interesting phenomena at the subatomic level allow quantum bits (qbits) to be 0 or 1 or both, at the same time.
This means that a quantum computer is able to process every possible permutation of a solution to a given problem concurrently rather than sequentially.
This means for example that a quantum computer could instantly multiply any combination of prime numbers smaller than a given semi prime number in order to discover its prime factors. This would instantly defeat all ubiquitous encryption on the Internet.
To be clear quantum computers are currently nowhere near being able to do this. But they will get there.
So what does this have to do with AI? What if you had a quantum computer complex enough to run AI? This machine would be able to generate the most optimal solution, to any well defined problem, instantly. I think what I am describing here are the early stages of omniscience. What do you think the implications of this would be? When such technology exists, (and NASA is working on this), will technological progress go vertical?
So lets go back to what we were talking about before. The part about pointlessly living and dying without ever knowing anything of any real significance. Could this technology change that? How radical of a game changer would that be?
This is really something to think about, because it may happen in our life time.”
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Funny story about how the above article came to be.
After things when sideways with Miya, I went home, sat on my bed, and cried like a little bitch for an hour or two. Then I took a shower and vowed to myself by yelling, truth be told I was screaming that "I AM GOING TO FUCK EVERYONE ON THE PLANET!!! EVERYTHING THAT MOVES!!! BUT NOT MIYA!!! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!! NOT HER!!! NEVER!!! NO MATTER WHAT!!! (Sounds like a hell of a mood swing).
Anyway... A little while later I was walking down the corridor toward line 7 from line 2 at JingAn temple. This corridor opens up into a very large chamber that leads to the escalators going down to the line 7 platform. On the other side of this large chamber, there was another entrance emanating from a shopping mall across Changde lu, maybe 25 or 35 meters away I spotted an absolutely divine female with long legs, exactly my high, in a short skirt. I wasn't wearing my glasses that day, so at that range all I saw was the legs, the slightly darker skin, and her hair. She had wavy hair so black it looked like it had an event horizon around it. Just like the Goddess of Compassion from Tears Of The Sun. (Watch for the scene where she spits spiritual growth in Bruce Willis’ face. He turns those choppers around right quick doesn’t he? That’s what I call natural authority) So I made a bee line for her. She was with some Korean girl that she was hosting from Couch Surfer. I started talking to her and found out that she was from Mudangjiang in HEILONGJIANG!!! Usually I just tell chicks on the subway that they are gorgeous then ask for their numbers. But not this time, no, this one was mine. No matter what! So I stayed on her six for 15 minutes getting to know her. Like that she was married for example... I finally got her number at Hengshan Lu station. I just told her "I want your number. Give it to me!" and she did! She just gave it to me!
So I started chatting with her and got a bunch of blah blah bullshit reasons about why she couldn't hang out. Then I got a bit impatient and replied "Anytime you want to come and sit on my face, feel free".
When she came over she told me, "my husband newerr does this forr me!!!” Well of course he doesn't. How did I know Mr. Li was boring? What was my first clue?
This chick really knew how to get me going too. Like she read my blog or something. We fucked all afternoon till it was dark outside. Then I got a message from one of my students that I was supposed to have dinner with that night. I was so exhausted and dehydrated that I could barely walk, but Li Jing insisted that I go. So I told her to meet me at Munchies.
She was actually a really cool chick who was studying game design and was also a part time fashion model. I was a bit annoyed with her for reasons that were entirely not her fault. She looked at the menu and asked the waitress Sarah a bunch of questions. I just really didn’t think it was that big of a decision and I didn’t like her giving Sarah a hard time.
Once I got some fluids in me, I lightened up a bit. Then I walked her back to the subway and went home to spark up... and BOOM!!! I had an idea!
So manic fucking+weed=idea. But my psychiatrist doesn't know anymore if I'm schizophrenic, or bipolar, or schizoaffective... I actually gave her the 2017 version of this book and asked her to read it. But she didn't think it had any therapeutic value. Like she never heard of thought record analysis. Like my therapist doesn't actually what know what therapy is...
Things with Li Jing only lasted a few months. But she was great though. Totally worth the heartbreak, and I knew going in, that it was just a bit a fun with a friend.
END OF NOTE
Here is a brief video that you might find interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMdHDHEuOUE
Again, principle of observational equivalence. We need something that does what a quantum computer can do. This is theoretically possible (This is the scene at the poker table, when the Joker gets played).
So everything gets automated by the quantum AIs. Write your own SiFi movie about how crowd sourced human rights enforcement, and healthcare gets automated... Mine would involve unimaginably manipulative, giant baby like machines, made mostly out of materials that can catch extremely high velocity projectiles, and absorb massive amounts of energy. They would approach any conflict and immediately tell everyone to stop because you are making it sad. Then it would make a sad frowning face, and everyone would feel horrible. If anyone resisted its charm, more would come. Eventually, they might hug you until you’re not angry anymore. When you tell it that your not a kid, it would tell you to stop acting like one. When you finally calm down, it would give you a cookie, and fly away. For more aggressive perps, they would send in the bad cops. They would follow you around and mock you until they break you. You could hit them all you want, with what ever you want. It wouldn’t matter. They would just keep coming to mock you. They would cold read and find all your tells. They would get everything they can find on you through the internet. They would hone in on all your buttons. They would follow you everywhere you go. For years, maybe decades, maybe centuries. For as long as it takes to turn you into a zen master.
In this world, there is only downside in trying to dominate one another. So now we can turn our ‘libido dominandi” (lust for power) toward enriching ourselves through self optimization rather than reaching for social status.
Now, everything is all like shits and giggles all the time. But... now that we are done with the base of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, everybody is free to pursue the higher levels. What do you think you would do with this freedom? Don’t get me wrong. I want to be very clear that I’m not judging, and this isn’t about you anyway.
I’ll just tell you what I would do. I would try to hook one of these quantum AIs up to my mind. I would treat my consciousness as any other black box system to be reverse engineered. Look at the inputs, and the outputs. Then, try to reverse engineer a system that produces the same outputs as the original when given the same inputs. I would just try every possible configuration of this system with my handy quantum AI, and produce an algorithm that does everything I do in any given situation.
My new quantum mind would be able to do some interesting things. For starters, I could figure out how to add new sensory inputs like telecom data to my quantum self. Imagine going on a VR date with every available woman in existence at the same time, and filtering out the less pleasant data streams.
At this stage in our civilization, a new genre of sport would emerge, which we would use to measure our respective ability to give each other joy. Promiscuity would become a virtue, and the greatest givers of joy would come to be known as heroes. Imagine existing within a probable range of the most positive outcomes, on demand, whenever you want. Imagine joy so great, that it makes you want to cry. Then have that grow exponentially as it approaches infinity. That’s what the human condition would be like.
Sounds great, but something is missing. I just don’t think the end of the line is virtual bliss. What happens to our physical flesh and blood selves? Do we just discard them when we ascend? This seems a bit shallow and weak to me.
The Search For Pain
What is pain for? Well, for starters, its for knowing what we don’t want. What else does our pain do for us? Does it help to define what we are? Does it shape and inform our decisions? Does it help us to learn, to change, and to grow? Is pain desirable? Why do people die trying to climb mountains? Why do some of us test ourselves by trying to run (or ride) further and faster? Why do we seek challenge?
Seriously, mainlining infinite concurrent quantum pussy sounds great, but there has to be “more”. What are the new challenges? What is left to overcome? Are we going to have to come up with some arbitrary metric to measure our selves against?
OK let’s restate some basic assumptions;
1. What am I? I am evolved from chaos to be, to grow, to overcome.
2. Where am I? I am at the center of an infinite field.
3. What do I want? To overcome infinite entropy.
4. How can I overcome it? By continuing to live in it. By continuing to learn from it. By experiencing as much of it as possible. By sharing what I learn with others who share what they learn with me. By continuing to seek what I love an admire. By finding the tallest mountains. By finding my pain. By finding myself.
Pain is for knowing what your limits are so that you can expand them. How far could I get? How far could I push my physical limits? Could I through a punch at nearly the speed of light? Could I take a light speed punch? Could I run and jump to the moon, and beyond? Could I learn to see further out? How far? Imagine being able to consider the most probable outcomes, of every variation, of every choice you could possibly make, at any given moment. Imagine knowing all reality so that you would know everything that could destroy you, and learn to overcome it. Imagine meditating in the centre of a dying star. Imagine adding insult to cosmic injury by cumming in a blackhole. Then... Imagine having the power to save civilizations on the brink of destruction from a supernova for instance. Imagine the pain involved in failing a few times.
It is because we have pain, that we will one day have no limits. Except maybe each other... Now one of the greatest services we could render to one another, would be to rip out each other’s weakness. In this world, a slap would be a challenge given only to the worthy.
A World Of Champions
This is the end of the line for me. I don’t know what comes after this. Perhaps there will rise champions of love and hate. We will admire them for greatness that will quickly be arbitraged away.
The art of overcoming will be the great equalizer for anything with an ego (not necessarily just humans), that can get past a net of pure joy. Wait... I know that last sentence was another SiFi novel in and of its self. I’m not going to write it for you because as the consummate educational professional, I want you to think for yourself. But... Here’s another TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_wise_chimps_have_feelings_and_thoughts_they_should_also_have_rights
The reason I bring this up is very important. If you’re thinking long term (to infinity). Then you’re going to want as much diversity in your ecosystem as possible just to keep things interesting. (Ethics might also be useful at some point)
Anyway... I think this technology will allow us to find Plato’s Eudaemonia (fulfillment), by giving us both the ability, and the challenges to overcome. It will help us to truly know reality from every possible perspective. In this world everybody would just be really cool, and interesting all the time. Everything would be great, but because people are never satisfied, it would continue to get even greater. We will learn to turn our experience into art, depicting our joy, and what next to overcome.
The unconditional love of our own egos would be the only idol we could never destroy. It would also be the centre of our infinite sorrow, for knowing deep down that we ourselves are just as absurd as everything else. I mean let’s get real for a second. If it wasn’t for our instincts, why would our intellects do anything at all? Without your instincts, why wouldn't you just allow yourself to die. Your intelligence is like a tired old grandpa, trying to give you what ever you want, while he tries to explain why you don’t really need it.
There is one form of joy that can give us solace. The joy of discovery, of learning, of understanding. Those eureka moments. The joy of creating. The joy of art.
This is the joy that wakes up our minds, and makes them want to live. This is the joy that gives us harmony.
The greeks called her philo sophia, the love of wisdom. She is complex, and ever changing. She is full of joy, and pain. Getting to know her will take forever. For a quantum animal, what could possibly be greater than her.
Having had some time to step back and gain more perspective, I should probably rewrite my ending (3 guesses what the douche’s assistant chose as her english name).
Some day I’ll have to forgive myself for believing in destiny. It was her eyes that really got me. They were like magic. They were like the centre of infinity. They were like the missing piece of my heart. When I saw them, they were my whole world. I don’t know what her boss told her about me, but she wouldn't even have lunch with me. No amount of sport fucking could ever get her out of my head (maybe if I would've had more luck). Deleting every trace of her from my life didn't work either. And come on, a 东北 girl, in shanghai, involved in startups, named Sophia. What were the odds of that? (Clusters do occur in entropy).
In any case, given her close proximity to this whole thing, a few coincidences involving her, and an extremely unlikely run in as I was going home one night in October 2014 (she said she was walking home because she was sick. She usually rode a scooter, and she was taking a 2 block detour...), oh and months earlier, she posted something about being madly in love with someone right after I told off her boss, the odds that she wasn't involved in at least some of the shit I went through, are quite low. I just never wanted to believe it. Denial is a great way to hold onto the light that shines brightest in the darkness of distrust. I guess the only closure I’ll get with this, is not being able to imagine any scenario where I would ever trust her if she suddenly came out of the wood work. I would doubt everything she said, so… what’s the point in thinking about her ever again?
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: The reason I knew she was taking a 2 block detour is because her friend Denise Huang (some flaky architect from New Jersey) tried to tell me more than once. I kept telling her that I didn't want to know for fear that I might end up on her door step if ever I got wasted. Denise was entertaining though. One time she showed up at Munchies dressed exactly like Marla Singer from Fight Club, and she was acting even more erratic than usual. Not sure what she was playing at by trying to bring me to Sophia's apartment. She knew how I felt. I guess she was just pushing buttons, or maybe she wanted me to fuck her in Sophia's bed while she was out of town. I just had no interest in Denise at all.
As for Sophia, maybe she just didn't have a great sense of direction. Her eyes opened wide when she came around the corner like she was surprised to see me. She told me she was walking home because she had a stomachache. We chitchatted a bit about where I was staying and how my project was going. She told me that the current batch at her company was "going quite smoothly", but the tone in her voice and the look on her face seemed to suggest that this was a euphemism for boring. In retrospect, it didn't seem like she was trying to rope me into anything at all. Denise told me she had a boyfriend. That's probably why she was unresponsive to me... I think she was wearing tight black pants, a white blouse, and a black jacket, but I'm not sure cuz it was dark, and I was focused on her eyes. They really were magic, but that all I ever really knew about her. Thats the last time I ever saw her.
END OF NOTE
Someone once told me that that true love is 80% good timing. According to Helen Fisher, it just takes a few one night stands… : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMaPZstvvaE
I think the buddhists add here with the notion a transience. You can't hold on to anything forever. So just enjoy them while you can. Then cry your tears and fuck the pain away.
Quick side note here: If fucking was widely recognized as a sport for people who self identify as available, there would be tons of signals (metrics) that would allow (and incentivize) us to improve. This sport would also provide a refuge to those of us having “one bad day”. And who would want to be exiled from this community? Do sports cause money to circulate? What kind of people would be at the top? Would you admire them?
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Obviously, before I started taking Omega 3, and while I was under a lot of stress, I may have been hyper sexual. At this point I'm not constantly jonesing for a jizz. But in general, the above form of sport might not be a terrible idea. I mean the Olympics were initially conceived as an alternative to war. Perhaps the battle for hearts and minds could use some unorthodox, close quarter tactics, and being good at the Venusian arts will actually come in handy in your day to day life... It's not a useless skill. Honestly, as far as arbitrary competition is concerned, I can't think of a better discipline.
END OF NOTE
The truth is both soul crushingly depressing, and profoundly empowering. The truth is that we are all on a dark road leading to an uncertain future.
The truth is “There is no fate but what we make”.
Its hilarious, this entire nightmare was about a few moments in time… I think I’ve gone deep enough into rock bottom. Should be mostly upside for a while. But sleep is important. All that construction work going on in my apartment building back in Shanghai, drove me out of my mind. No matter where I moved, there was always drilling right next door (coincidence?)
One thing that I love about being home, is how blue the skies are. The thing about reality, is that the odds are always changing. All you have to do, is figure out how to put them on your side.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that, ”Happiness only real when shared" - Christopher McCandless
Same goes for pain. Nobody climbs Mount Everest alone.
If you want to be inspired, watch a documentary called Beyond The Edge (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2468638/ ). Just remember, those guys had 3000 sherpas. In the end, the best made it to the top by going beyond themselves. These men where heroes.
Being confident means knowing what your admire. No matter how much you get your ass kicked, no one can ever take that away from you.
Being confident also means having purpose. But when you're staring infinite entropy in the face, the only way to answer why, is why not.
If you're a champion, that’s a good enough answer.
On the other hand, I remember reading The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius when I was a teenager. My favourite quote was “What is done to me is ordained by nature. What I do is ordained by my nature”
When you start questioning the value of values, that’s when you realize there is no true north. There are no adults, there is no Papa Smurf, the only rules you should follow are the ones you think are good for you. But you’ll be wrong on many occasions. Usually when you think short term. But whatever, reality is a bubble that exists around the point from which it is observed. (What “you” observe, and how “you” observe it). That literally means that everything is subjective. The only way to get on common ground is by sharing and relating. Oh, and stereotypes are useful, but careful. I remember another one of my great lays was this “muslim” chick from Xinjiang (also in the north). My views (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1277737/ (I actually cried at the end)), were in direct conflict with how awesome this chick was. When she asked to see me again, I froze and she took it the wrong way. You know, like women always do… (Seriously, I just had think about it for a second. I mean she obviously wasn’t a social conservative).
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Apparently social conservatives are necessary ( https://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind ). But... FYI, people who score higher on openness to experience, also score higher on IQ tests. Given what we know about neuroplasticity, this seems to indicate that "intelligence" is at least partially a choice.
END OF NOTE
So thats it. If you make it to the “next level”, Your AI is going to spend the rest eternity managing the exponentially growing complexity of your ever expanding ego.
Since this was supposed to be a movie script, here is a quote that got me off my ass back in the day. “get busy living, or get busy dying.”
What’s nice about the first choice, is that you can always change your mind.
Wanted to leave you with something “more”. Here’s a video that I found. It really made me laugh. (The old video was taken down, so I re-uploaded it)
And to all living creatures on earth, your ancestors made it for billions of years, just like mine did. Or so they say. As long as you don’t piss in my Cheerios, I think you're good people. But I’m gonna keep eating some of you, until its more convenient not to… (vegan wife (but she better be fuckin hot))
AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM 2019: Just not a fuckin yoga teacher... Just got Lara back on WeChat. She's married and has a kid. I guess we can still be friends. Honestly, I wasn't in a position to settle down before. I was way too fucked up and unstable. So I guess it worked out for the best. No... no no no... that was the presupposition. Lara works... she's a Yoga teacher, and a Pilates instructor. We could have just rented... There's no silver lining here. That was just a fuck up!
Life is a cycle of death and rebirth. Whats important is to learn, every time we crash and burn.
END OF NOTE
Author: It’s “moi” motherfuckers
You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As for RISE, isn't this technology going to need some non-taboo use cases? Email me if you want to live.
Here is a song for the credits: https://youtu.be/7BrcfBUlVu8