23 August 2019

just another sunset in paradise - yes this was home for a while

There are new guidelines for the treatment of my shitty disease and let me tell you, according to the new immunologist I have been assigned to, guidelines rule. Which is why I am on yet another road of discovery. Which is also why the other expert I was sent to this morning gave a sharp whistle through his teeth when he saw the recommended procedures. I kept my head up and my face straight, no an easy task right now, but I did admirably. In the end we agreed on a deadline after which he may take matters into his educated hands, guidelines or no fucking guidelines.
We shook hands on the deal, like two cool stock brokers.
Whereas by the time R picked me up, I was back to being the miserable patient. One of these days, R's capacity of listening to my moaning will be exhausted. Or maybe it already is and I haven't noticed.
The house guests are on the road to a variety of other houses here and there and we are supposedly joining them in a while. That's the plan. I told the stock broker but I think he took it as a joke.

Anyway, another thing altogether:

From an essay by Douglas Rushkoff (the bold highlights are mine, I like to bring my messages home)

Last year, I got invited to a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk — about half my annual professor’s salary — all to deliver some insight on the subject of “the future of technology.”
 . . .
After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys — yes, all men — from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.

They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.
Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? 
 . . .
Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.
This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.
That’s when it hit me: At least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology.  . . . they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.
. . .
I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. They should be engaging with their security staffs as if they were members of their own family. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclusivity to the rest of their business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this technological wizardry could be applied toward less romantic but entirely more collective interests right now.
They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. 

Luckily, those of us without the funding to consider disowning our own humanity have much better options available to us. We don’t have to use technology in such antisocial, atomizing ways. We can become the individual consumers and profiles that our devices and platforms want us to be, or we can remember that the truly evolved human doesn’t go it alone.
Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It's team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.
To soften the blow, here is some music from the 1980s, a time when we thought we had it all.


Colette said...


Ms. Moon said...

Yeah, well- that could hardly be more frightening. Fuck.
Sounds like those CEO's were looking for GUIDELINES.
Aren't we all? Until we realize they may not work.

Linda said...

Sitting in my feeling of dread. Ahhhh, how I wish I had not read that.

Anonymous said...

See, this only confirms what I have long suspected - I believe that the super wealthy believe that they will survive whatever apocalyptic event comes up. Shortage of water? Ok, water will be the most expensive thing on the face of the planet, affordable only to the super wealthy. The fact that the rest of humanity will be wiped out is of no consequence. Truly frightening.

My life so far said...


Our world, our societies all depend on everybody playing nice. They don't seem to understand that we're all in this together.

Anonymous said...

I have seen other stories of the very rich preparing bunkers and secure places for the "end times" that they themselves are responsible for ushering in. It is the epitome of their small-minded selfish perspective for them to seek their own survival over all else. We are all in this together. That's the truth. We will either rise or fall as one. Together. Hope you are feeling better, Sabine. I like how you and your doc shook hands. Yes.

Steve Reed said...

Oh good Lord. What is WRONG with people? God forbid the superrich should invest some of their money in steering humanity AWAY from apocalypse. I just don't understand being that self-centered and assured of one's own importance.

I love that '80s hair.

ellen abbott said...

so shortsighted, can't see past their bank account. unless they treat their security like one of the family with all the same perks they will never be able to assure their loyalty. dog shock collars in return for survival? seriously? just shows how out of touch they are. if the event happens as they fear and are preparing for with desperate humanity swarming around their armed compounds, just what kind of life do they think they will have confined to a bunker. and all that money thay hoarded will be totally useless. and where do they think they are getting the food in their triple locked pantry? they gonna grow and raise their own underground? they will be doomed, just like the rest of us.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's chilling. How can they not get it?