Saturday, January 28, 2017

Artisanal Apocalypse

From the prophetic Millennium episode TEOTAWKI

At some point we're going to have to stop. Stop running towards that ever-receding omega point and reassess the objective. 

Or will those who have usurped all the power from our society simply pull up stakes and make all such rethinks moot? It's an open question.

Have you heard about the latest fad to hit Silicon Valley? It seems that Transhumanist apocalypicism is out and Y2K doomsday apocalypicism is in:

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.
Silicon Valley is inherently religious, foundationally dogmatic and as we see now, enthusiastically apocalyptic. And they approach the art of Armageddon with the same zest, zeal and oh yes, cash, that they set about creating apps to destroy your jobs and futures. Are you ready for artisanal apocalypticism?:
In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”
So let's look carefully at what these people are saying. They're not uniting to save humanity and stave off the breakdown of society with all the vast wealth and political power and influence that this country has showered on them, they're going to take the money and run:
…Justin Kan heard the first inklings of survivalism among his peers. Kan co-founded Twitch, a gaming network that was later sold to Amazon for nearly a billion dollars. “Some of my friends were, like, ‘The breakdown of society is imminent. We should stockpile food,’ ” he said. “I tried to. But then we got a couple of bags of rice and five cans of tomatoes. We would have been dead if there was actually a real problem.” I asked Kan what his prepping friends had in common. “Lots of money and resources,” he said. “What are the other things I can worry about and prepare for? It’s like insurance.”
And what are they afraid is leading to the breakdown of society? The very technologies that they are shoving down everyone's throats!
The fears vary, but many worry that, as artificial intelligence takes away a growing share of jobs, there will be a backlash against Silicon Valley, America’s second-highest concentration of wealth. (Southwestern Connecticut is first.) “I’ve heard this theme from a bunch of people,” Hoffman said. “Is the country going to turn against the wealthy? Is it going to turn against technological innovation? Is it going to turn into civil disorder?”
Well, the country will turn against "technical innovation" if it takes away their livelihoods. Why wouldn't it?

We don't need AI. We can get along fine without robots. This world ran perfectly fine before Uber and AirBNB and iPhones and all the rest of it. Come to think of it, the world got along fine without computers and the Internet, as painfully ironic as it is to admit that. 

Maybe it's just a question of where the line is drawn.   

What do people now see in Silicon Valley, from these people who asked for our trust and promised a bright new tomorrow?  A bunch of rats ready to jump ship as soon as their robots have destroyed our economies? How long do they think they can hide from what they've done? How long before the law of the jungle takes hold and they are cowering before their alpha-male security teams?

Their Tomorrowland never opened and never will. Well, outside of Dubai, at least. If AIs flush a lot of clever people like lawyers, doctors and accountants from the economy do they really think those people won't seek revenge? Or for heaven's sake, truck drivers! 

How deep underground do these neo-Survivalists really want to live?

Silicon Valley survivalism could be seen as just another fad of people with too much money and too much justifiable guilt on their hands. Transhumanism and uploading and all the rest of it went nowhere, like most sane people knew it would, and this might be the next escapist fantasy on the bucket list. 

Maybe this will all die down- maybe the New Yorker piece will embarrass the survivalists to sanity- and Calexit will be the next big crusade to embark on.

But it should be noted that this movement comes at the tail end of an orgy of wealth and esteem for the Valley, when they essentially had the run of the White House. All that unparalleled money and power and still they feel the icy breath of paranoia on their necks? How can this possibly be? They should be bathing in milk and rose petals and lighting their bongs with $100 dollar bills.

But maybe the bigger issue here is the constant need to reinvent the wheel, to bow down to the false god of efficiency (as bloodthirsty a god as Molech ever was), to stop allowing the bottom line to drive the course of technology and develop technologies that feel freeing and invisible, rather than overbearing and ubiquitous.

I can't help but wonder if this rash of survivalism is just a manifestation of a collective guilty conscience. If these people weren't so hellbent on eliminating jobs and industries maybe they'd worry less about the repercussions of those actions. Maybe if they turned their attention to creating meaningful work for the entire world they could start fantasizing about that Jetsons-style future again.

For all of us.


  1. Chris, I live in the country, 1/2 acer in the foot hills of the Cascades. I have 2 months of dry goods saved up. I do not subscribe to a New Zealand Hobbit hole to survive the apocalypse. I do think people who live in concrete and asphalt cities should migrate to the country and develop some skills like gardening and food storage (canning). The rats in the cage, beware, there is no food grown in the city. I agree with you Chris about the artifacts of technology will be of little use when things fall apart. Shine forth by day! 87

    1. Preparation is always a good thing. Hastening along the collapse of society by hedging your bets against it is not. Especially when you've had endless stacks of money thrown in your face for the past dozen or so years. It's a question of degree.

  2. Donald's tech guru Peter Thiel has been buying up property in New Zealand:

    We do live in strange times. I wonder how many of these rich guys realise that in the event of a societal breakdown their own security staff will be the ones with the power? When money becomes worthless middle-aged nerds won't be able to pay enough to buy the loyalties of their ex-special Forces type protectors.

    1. Well, that's what I said, yeah. Nerds only operate efficiently in highly structured societies. In post-apocalyptic wastelands not so much.

    2. Plus, as you cheekily pointed out, all their million dollar ex Spetznaz/SealTeam6/GSG9 bodyguards are going to just make these tech geeks clean their boots for them. I doubt the average mathemetician did very well when the Lombards took over Rome. If they couldn't do practical things, they'd be put to work cleaning the latrines.

  3. "The world runnin perfectly fine before iPhones and the rest of it. The world got along fine before computers and the internet."??? Wow must be nice. History and mines been anything but 'perfect' let alone 'fine.'

    1. People managed somehow. Maybe it's time to repost those Lucifer Technologies articles.

  4. There is this really great scene in world war z, the book, where a bunch of celebrities and rich people are hold up on some island somewhere and the zombies break in and kill everyone.

    The only thing a person needs for survival is a rob the rich people of all their food and supplies.

    Im thinking after the survivalist fad dies down maybe they will all turn to religion or some cult, i feel that happens next for some reason, in my gut.
    All these people are guilt ridden morons with anxieties and insecurities, just need a jim jones or charlie manson to slink in and tell them everything's cool, just listen to him, (and give him all your money)


    Anyone remember escape from LA?
    over hated in my opinion.

    I saw a post on 4chan saying trump is getting all the negative stuff out of the way in his first week and is going to reveal all the secret technology and aliens on Monday, i do admit he has been very high energy in his first week.
    The world would be so boring without people lying on the internet.

    1. Why are we even having these conversations in 2017? Maybe the reign of the Almighty One wasn't as glorious as we're supposed to believe. We're seeing levels of inequality not seen since the Gilded Age and economic pressures we simply should not be seeing and wouldn't had all the wealth not been siphoned skyward the past eight years.

      And Trump isn't done throwing bombs, believe me. I have a feeling he's just getting warmed up. Batten down the hatches.

    2. We live in a really strange time line where a wwe hall of famer is the president and won by pretending to be the champion of the working man, and in a tribalistc rage the left defend globalism and teams up with neocons and neolibs to spite the right and demand more outsourcing of jobs, destructive trade deals, and mass immigration that benefits the rich through cheap slave labor and lowering wages, oh also there is a reawakening of the far left who have failed since the 60's and been replaced by a polite and politically correct neo liberalism. Why are there even antifa in american now?, that seems orchestrated...
      I know people hate trump but he will be gone in 4 to 8 years.

      Honestly, i dont remember things being this angry and tribalistic when i was a kid. Maybe they were and i was just innocent and naive. My first memories are the last years of the 90's. 2001 was when we crossed into a different dimension and everything became dark and a disaster, the obama years created an authoritarian liberalism called the sjw, has led to extreme tribalism, led to extreme culture war, the left makes you walk on egg shells, a micro inquisition to find out who is the most oppressed, to banish the lefts appropriation of the catholic idea of orgianl sin, but they call it
      privllage, and even with a trump win it seems to have no end in site. Not that i think a clinton win would have made the fuckers any less arrogant and controlling

      when i were a wee lad i still remember forums, chat rooms, newsgroups, the internet was way more mysterious and exotic used by nerds and weirdos mostly, especially for a kid, there was no social media, we had dial up, there werent any sjw's, no smart phones, and no one really believed real girls ever used the internet, i think this was the tail end of a pre culture, "endless September" as the ancient usenet people called it, then we entered web2.0, social media, 4chan, youtube, music piracy, torrents, this is really my era, that i grew up in, i found 4chan while [spoiler] looking for hentai[/spoiler], it was a straight copy of 2chan, my generation grew up on anime, it really was a golden age of anime on toonami, adult swim, Saturday morning cartoons, chock full of weird cartoons that weren't like tom and jerry. we stole their meme's like pedo bear and nevada tan. 4chan evolved into a powerhouse over time, it got too famous, pulled off master trolls, invented hundreds of meme's, it elected Donald trump as president, did battle with the sjw borg, poked the globalist system, and all because moot wanted to talk about anime with other nerds.

      4chan really went through eras, the beginning was the freer less political days, the hackers on steroids, image macro, caturday, anime nerd, /b/, anon, rick rolling days. It actually all seems kind of quaint and innocent compared to the tribalistc days ahead, The rise of the sjw really caused a hard reaction by 4chan who love to troll, everything we did we did for the lulz.... this turned 4chan mega right wing to get the lulz from the easily offended millennials obsessed with identity politics, it was like shooting fish in a barrel for a chaotic hive mind with no identity, then trump won, which was the culmination of that culture war. too bad the poison of the obama years will probably reverberate for some time.

      Man, 4chan accomplished everything the hippies who made Discordianism
      only wished they could do, and all from their basement. (praise kek!)

      All the promises of globalism have benefited the rich, and only the rich, memeber occupy wall street?
      The wealth has accumulated at the top while the plebes have their jobs outsourced, get replaced by robots or third worlders who will work for pennies.

      Bush crashed the economy, obama bailed out the bankers, the neoliberal centrist status quo is breaking, no one trusts the media, the politicians, no one. my generation grew up with a media telling us there were WMD'S in iraq,

      So in walks the host of the apprentice.

    3. Kim Love, don't forget that the days of Caturday were also the days of "Hitler did nothing wrong" and "Mtn Dew salutes the Israeli Mossad for demolishing 3 towers on 9/11." We were always playing hardball with some pretty weird fire, it's just, in our youthful innocence, we didn't realize the jokes were the unconscious foundation for something very much Else.

    4. Kim, I feel it's important to distinguish between those with wealth who have actually used and exploited people and created problems, and those with wealth who actually haven't harmed or exploited anyone and are generally decent people. I'm opposed to cultural divisions in all forms - including class warfare of all stripes. Essentially, I believe that those at the top of this corruption are trying to manufacture class warfare so that it will be perpetrated on those who are wealthy but innocent - leaving the actual villains of the piece greater power to control and manipulate.

      Many well-known entertainers have amassed wealth (though compared to the bigwigs in the tech industry, they seem like paupers!) but they have not set out to harm anyone, and have not hurt other people. I'd be completely opposed to any actions of violence taken against them, as not only do they not deserve it, but they are not evil people. I have a very profound emotional attachment to my favourite musicians and actors, as they are one of the main forces that keeps me going when things are at their bleakest for me. Binge-watching my favourite comedy shows is how I'm managing to keep myself mentally steady, though even that's not easy, with all the political craziness.

      I'm not trying to be critical, I'm just trying to say that when we generalise by class lines, or any kind of perceived cultural difference, we risk harming innocents. Famous actors and musicians are not our enemies, nor are they, for the most part, bad people. I happen to think that many of them are probably very troubled people (emotionally.) Types that go into the arts usually seem to be very unhappy people deep down, it's why there is such a high correlation of depression running with professional musicians and actors. Through their art, they help make the world a better place, I believe. I've always loved music, and I'm an amateur actor myself - actors and musicians have a special place in my heart.

  5. My life got a lot better with internet, thank you. However, a lot of tech doesn't make anything better, a lot of jobs have vanished, and most people are getting poorer. It's finally dawned on Silicon Valley that the plebes are not happy with them.

    1. We've stopped believing in technosalvation. And it doesn't help that "disruption" is the new god of the Valley. Well, disruption is what most families fear most. People are living close to the edge these days, they don't want some snotnosed Valley millionaire bragging about how fun it will be to do away with their occupation.

  6. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

    16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

    17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to withstand it?

    1. Apocalypse is never as fun as it's made out to be. There's the whole Tribulation to go through, isn't there?

  7. I was watching coverage the other day of this on CNN, they were showing a computer simulation of the interior of a designer bunker made from a converted missile silo, extolling its virtues & all the perks of living there. All I could think was its a prison masquerading as a pleasure dome or the world's most secure daycare center for spoiled rich kids who never grew up.

    The Eloi are choosing to live underground apparently, while us Morloks get to frolic in the ruins of unfulfilled promises, how novel.

    1. Wells was a clever fellow, there's no denying it. Either that or he was hep to some secret plans locked away in the archives. It's a tossup at this point.

    2. I vote a bit of both. Lol.

    3. I think Raj is right. Wells was part of the whole Rhodes-Milner circle and the "Fabian Socialism" thing, which gives a really bad name to Socialism. Very NWO. Not sure he'd be cheered by how it all turned out. I don't think an orwellian anthill was what those Anglo-Dominion dudes were hoping to achieve.

  8. To be honest I'd rather die than live in some underground bunker for God knows how long. All this crap feels like Russian Roulette (pardon the pun) or something. "Hey, who wants to risk blowing their brains out with me? It's hot. We can be like Bobby DeNiro in that flick I've never seen but totally meant to see!" Ugh. As a general rule flirting with annihilation never ends well for anybody. You can't keep fucking people over and expect no blowback. Any reputable psychologist would diagnose this moment in history as clinically insane. People have no frickin' idea. Not that my unverified personal gnosis is any greater or anything, but damn, this is some intense shit we're living through right here. The Sun is still shining though, so there is that. :)

    1. Hey Raj - I appreciate your view on that. These uber-rich and their schemes to break off a chunk of tech in hopes of lording over the rest of us too beat up economically to play in their little apocalyptic reindeer games just feels like whats been building up as a more defined division of the "haves" and "have nots".

      I imagine as they sit around getting high at private Ayahuasca parties feeling pretty secure in their intellectual properties, that they see us, and through a glass darkly, as the huddling, murderous masses swarming upon them ready to tear them to pieces like the movies always depict about desert wastelands filled with mutants killing everyone over drops of gas to apes storming the underground city of human techno elites in order to destroy their worship of the Holy Thermo-Nuke.

      Whatever, man.

      They can afford to have these jerk-off ideas that practically invoke the very scenario they are preparing for in some kind of self-fulfilling prophesy of doom and gloom. I prefer to extend the positive by continuing to work on myself for the betterment of my family, my neighbors, and my community. The sun is indeed still shining, sir, and it is not the flash burst of a technogasmic nuclear clusterfuck, but the dawn of a new day filled with life, hope, and love. Let them sit on their golden hordes. Their end is the same as it is for all people. It is ultimately what you do with the time you are given that matters.

  9. Most of what happens in the Valley now is not innovation, its good-old-fashioned money-based monopolies. Uber is the poster child: $50 billion worth of ammunition to destroy various logistics networks and replace them with a monopolistic distribution company that owns the relationships. Uber got its foot in the door with the app, but the real agenda is taking over old logistics networks, and they'll fund that by use their bankroll to undercut everyone else's costs. If they need autonomous vehicles then great, but good-old-fashioned sharecropping will work just as well. Its exactly the kind of thing Roosevelt implemented trust-busting to stop, and if history is any guide at some point there will be a government with enough guts to take them on.

    But in practice what that means is the modern incarnation of "Silicon Valley Whizkid" is a history-illiterate app developer who has no organizational skills, who's developed a tiny little leverage point to allow big money to take over a previously-regulated or otherwise stable industry. The big money adds in some marketing about "disruption" and "innovation" and "technology" and the big media outlets pick it up and turn the takeover into the new-new thing.

    So these people really don't have any idea what's going on or what they're being used for. It doesn't surprise me they've turned apocalyptic. They're generally not particularly bright.

  10. The re/de-volution the technocrats ought to fear now is Luddism, but hopefully, revived with a nicer sounding name, say "Worldism" or parasitically, "Holism".

    Ironically, as much as it would cut into their profits, it would also forstall the collapse of society they fear.