Jul 26, 2013

My decade old music folder

I have no idea who the Porcupines or Portishead are, except for they can be found under P if I set my music folders in my computer to Alphabetic order.

I was trying to organize my music folder in my PC, so that I can find music I want to listen to when I’m depressed, I want to dance, or I want to sing a show-tune, more easily, without having to wait for YouTube to load, when I’m already streaming, or downloading, or uploading, or whatever other thing that makes my very poor internet busy. What I found were interesting stuff, such as bands I can’t remember, or I just remember by name, but for the love of [me] I can’t remember one single song that they ever played. There is a collection that has been passed from computer to computer by me from many years. Some folders have been brutally murdered to the recycle bin, and then forever and ever after emptied from there, but a great number of songs and folders I really can’t remember where they came from, have remained.

See, the last CD I ever bought was Backstreet Boys, where that “Show me the meaning of being lonely” song was, (I really can’t remember the album’s name), and that CD wasn't a CD, but it was a cassette. I don’t have any apple product, and I actually refrain myself from opening any credit card, so I don’t buy anything on iTunes. I am a pirate, a true pirate, and have been for the longest time. The truth is I come from a third world country, and what I make is laughable everywhere in the world, so I do take advantage of whatever illegalities there are that don’t get me punished (unless PRISM is reading this), so that I can get some entertainment. I do support my favorite artists though, anyway I can, trying not to spend as much if any.

Anywho, my point is, in my music folders I find the torrented discography of Radiohead (sorry Radiohead, I love you so much, but I really can’t afford to buy anything, and I will go to your concerts as soon as I can), and many other discographies of favorite rock or indie bands obtained in less than an hour in such a way. Torrent, thou shall be blessed, or something like that. And I know these, I can actually find the time I added them on my mega playlist.

And some music I have gotten from my brother in law, who was my first music guru when I was 16, such as copied CDs and then turned to files (Velvet Underground, Cramps, Alice in Chains, Green Day).

I have no idea how I ended up with a Bossa Nova folder. It must be something remaining in my playlist when we were trying to find ambiance music for our restaurant.

And there’s a Rufus Spencer folder, that I downloaded legally, with their permission, that reminds me of last summer when a few Nordic bands came to place in this nowhere country and we had a lot of fun.

The Starsailor discography that I listened on a loop two summers ago, gazing at the sea, slightly caressed by a shiver of moonlight, feeling lonely, and every time I go to the sea, I remember that music and I relive those feelings as if that water never moved and was imprinted in the shore forever to haunt me forevermore.

And I do have a lot of soundtrack music, from favorite shows or movies (Empire Records, The Royal Tenenbaums, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, because I freaking love that film and the music, or Mad Men, for that Mad Men party I actually never went to, and Scrubs OST, because that show had the best music, or Veronica Mars OST, they are close, and a lot of Japanese or Korean shows soundtracks, which are really very very good if you want to cry your eyes out).

I do have a really weird collection, I have Chopin and Paganini, and an entire folder of Christmas music, that most people never heard of, because it takes a long time to decorate a tree, and there’s no way that can be done without Christmas music, and because there was a time I was working for the MAN instead of freelancing as now, and listening to Christmas music in December was the only way I could feel slightly alive.

I tend to delete diaries, or I tend to hide them and never see them again, as I just don’t want to remember the silliness or the strength of the emotion I went through that period of time, or I just don’t want to hear the whiny voice in the words of that younger self of mine, but who needs diaries when you have a decade old music folder where a lot of memories have been thrown together violently and mingled like waves in a big ocean of some happiness and experimentation, but mostly sadness and regret.

I never liked Portishead, or Porcupine, for the love of me again, I can’t remember one song of these P listed bands that stand so close with my beloved Pixies and Placebo, and yet they ended up in my music folder, because half a decade ago, a loved one helped me out putting a playlist together for a 16 hour bus trip I was going to take. The music was first transferred in my Sony Ericsson phone (can’t remember more details) and probably later were transferred in my PC. I used to really spend those 16 hour trips alone in shaky roads making up stories and dialogues…waste of time that was.

I delete diaries, and e-mails, and probably one day I will delete all of this music, and yet there’s something about music that can never be deleted. Words said and written can be forgotten, but music sounds waves that leave you for a while, but later return with the same burden you embarked them with.

Every time I listen to Creep or Wish you Were Here, or Blower’s Daughter, I remember where I was when I was listening non-stop to them and I can see a glimpse of what I felt in a distorted mirror reflection of the past me. (On this note, I don’t think Narcissus drowned because he loved his reflection too much, I think he drowned because the more he came to terms with who he was, the more the water pulled him in, to his death).

Music is the most powerful time machine ever built. Music is the most powerful mirror linking you to the time past. And it can be frightening if you stand looking for too long.

In the midst of memories that get lost in all the mess that is in our neuro-pathways, some sleepy neurons light up when they get tingled by a note, by a voice, by a song, and they light up halls and corridors that you had locked up somewhere, or that you had just forgotten they even existed, and then you remember that your memories that you usually find so cold and impersonal , weren't imprinted by some creepy dudes as in Dark City, but are actually yours, and you actually lived, and you actually have lived, a lot, for better or worse. 

Jul 17, 2013

If I had one wish I would wish for the cure to cancer

Talia Castellano was a 13 year old girl who "won the battle against cancer for 6 years". She recently past away and left her family, friends and fans around the world, devastated.

In her short life she did what she wanted to do, what she liked to do. She gave make-up tutorials on You Tube gaining fans and friends around the world, met Ellen Degeneres who became her biggest fan, became a Covergirl, interviewed celebrities, gave interviews herself. Her biggest success was bringing beauty to this world. Talia transformed herself into a butterfly. She was her own Make a Wish Foundation. She never looked like a victim, she never showed the signs of cancer in her beautiful skin. Make-Up was her wig, she said.

Talia inspired not only children or people with cancer, but people all around the world who feel that their life is meaningless, or who feel that they are going through something terrible. She inspired all of us to live life for as long as we have it, not to take life for granted, to make our dreams come true, and to make our life worth, because we're here, we're healthy for now, and we owe it to the world to start every day that is a gift, with a smile, and with a purpose.

Life is so short, if you live 13 years, or 100. Time is meaningless if it is counted on the number of its beats. Time's measure is the power of the sound of its beats. Talia's time beat a powerful sound.

Talia had one wish. Her wish was for the cure of cancer. And I wish whoever hears her message, all the people that got to know her through the internet, all of our Time's beats can amplify a message across the universe and wish her wish to come true. And I wish that our Time's unified Beat can "Bend the spoon", so that we can make it happen together, so that we can bend a universe to our own liking, a universe without cancer.

Make every second count. Make every second beat a powerful and beautiful sound, for Talia.

Jul 9, 2013

The Meaning of Life in a Simulated Universe

There's a theory by a physicist called Martin Savage, that our universe is in fact simulated, not even matrix style with physical forms of humans running the simulation somewhere, but entirely simulated. I will not even bother pretending to understand the physics or the mathematics behind this theory, but assuming that any of it is in fact true, what would it mean for us, and what is the meaning of life in this simulated universe?

If we are in fact simulated, we still exist, we still have a form of life or intelligence, as you may call it and at least within our universe, or within our human society, we have inalienable rights. Maybe for other life forms, who aren't simulated we are not important, and we do not have rights, but within our simulated reality we do have laws, and rights. Now imagine that a universe that is simulated creates a simulation, and that simulation creates a simulation and so forth. Maybe to us the simulation is just a simulation, but our own reality (even though simulated) is real to us.

Let's not talk about religion and soul, because that is at this point below us, and let's go to a more philosophical discussion about what life is. So far to us life is matter made of CHON characterized by cells as its building blocks, metabolism, growth, reproduction, adaptation, response to stimuli, but what if life out there in the universe, alien life form so to speak, does not have these characteristics, do we call it life? And what do we call intelligent life? To us, homo sapiens, are intelligent life forms, but maybe to other life forms more intelligent than us we are not, and we do not have the inalienable rights so to speak, and their laws of society, if they live in society, do not include us.

Now we are creating life and by creating life I am not talking about cloning, or creating a cell from scratch, I am talking about computers that run partially with living cells, or that are very complicated computers who can think for themselves, or what we may call cyborgs or Artificial Intelligence. Will we consider complicated computers, robots, AI, that are capable of thinking, learning, and capable of emotional activity, machines, or will our society evolve and call them life forms as well? After all we ourselves are computers created from stardust with the passage of time. Since the concept of life and intelligent life can be changed through time, who are we to say, that a simulated universe we may create isn't in some form real, and its simulated beings aren't alive? And who are the "beings" who simulated this universe, if this universe is in fact a simulation, to say that we are not alive. The concept of life is very complex, and once we start actually thinking about what we have in front of us instead of dreaming about the soul that we apparently, and only we have, we will start to understand that we are very prejudiced and we might hope that if we were created by an intelligent species, or if we are visited by an intelligent species out there, they are more advanced and less prejudiced than us.

Even if we are just computer data, we think, love, create music and poetry, and even if all of this is in fact a simulation, within our perspective, it is real, and in the end, that's all that counts.

Within just our own society, without bringing aliens, or the real humans or beings that created us if in fact we are simulated, there's a whole new philosophical debate in an advanced world, that our society is creating, but is not ready to deal with yet. As we create intelligent simulated, or artificial life, we are creating a very complicated future, in which the race of humans created by the earth through evolution, and humans created by humans as computer, cyborgs, machines, or AI, clash. We will have to deal with the issue of what is in fact life and intelligent life very soon, sooner than we thought, and as it always is, technology advances faster than society is capable of catching up with it. Very soon the debate will rise whether androids are in fact alive, and whether they should have the same rights, and whether they can marry humans, and whether they can be called humans. And soon, sooner than we can expect, technology might advance so that an android can procreate, and not just within its own race, but with humans. As far along the line it may seem, it is something that we will have to deal as a society much sooner than we thought. We might in fact ourselves become half humans, half computers, as nano-technology progresses, and we take the next step in computer technology and create a biological bond with our computer devices, internet and social media. We are all going to be chipped as a matter of fact, sooner than we think, either because we want an upgrade, or because the rules and expectations of society will convince us to, or because a form of law and government may force us to. What will the meaning of life be when we let our neurons synapse with a network of artificial intelligence?

From a biological perspective, we said that what we define life is matter of CHON that grows, reproduces, is organized, metabolizes, responds to stimuli, adapts, but from a philosophical point of view what do we call life and what do we call human, and what do we call a life of meaning? We will one day stop being human, we will evolve to something else, and the philosophical debate of what is life, and what is intelligent life, and what is the meaning of life, will not be comprehensible to us anymore. At this point in time, and at a near point in time, if we were to accept as a matter of fact clones, androids, and alien humanoid creatures, or interspecies humanoid creatures as humans, the definition of humanity itself will have to change, and yet there will be in this society a set of rules and limitations (how human of us), more expanded than now, but still limited, of what is life, what is intelligent life, and what is human. If we were to discuss what it means to be human, most people would come up with: free will, love, capability of learning and thinking for oneself, capability of empathy and social bonding, appreciation of art, music, literature, curiosity, exploration, change, evolution, adaptation. Any creature of nature or laboratory that would be capable of any of these qualities and more, will enter in the society of humans. Any creature that we will be able to feel empathy for will be called life. The meaning of life, the meaning of intelligent life, and the meaning of human, will expand in time, but it will most probably, always be limited. One concept that will last longer than any other concept in humanity will most certainly, even if not without a doubt, be the concept of the barbarian, that which is not like us, that which is not included in our sphere of empathy and understanding. More and more barbarians will be included in our circle as we evolve, but the prejudice will last for as long as we have human DNA, and human data.

Through this essay I have attempted to figure out the meaning of life to us humans in a world that is far different from what we are used to. With the expansion of our knowledge of the universe, and with the advancement of our technology, we may encounter ideas and concepts foreign to us now, that will be more familiar later. The philosophical debate of the meaning of life will continue and it will expand the more we know about ourselves and what surrounds us. There's no lesson to be learned from this essay, such as, we have to hold on to our humanity for as long as we can, and to our understanding of life as long as we can. If there was some kind of a lesson, it would be that our concepts and ideas aren't eternal and they change, and our prejudice also changes with time. The more we find out about ourselves the more we recreate the meaning of life. If we are in fact computer data, and if we are to ever prove it, we will have to deal with what the meaning of life is, and build this meaning around this reality. If we aren't computer data but real humans of flesh and blood and thought we will continue to build our meaning and concept of life around it. When we integrate artificial intelligence, and artificial life around us, we will again build our concept and meaning of life around it. And when we become pure energy and pure consciousness we will, or might again build our meaning of life around it. If there is a conclusion to be made in this rationale, is that we can only make an assumption and come up with a conclusive answer and result, by computing the data that we have at hand, and the more data we receive, and as the data changes, so will the final computation, calculation of the equation of the meaning of the universe and life be changed.

If we were data in a matrix of data, a simulation of a higher or similar form of being that is trying to figure out itself and its universe as Savage theorizes, we will have to build our concept and meaning of life around it. In a simulated universe, we are still alive, and we are still intelligent, as long as we compute the data and we interpret the data as real. Even in a simulated universe, and as simulated life forms, we are as a matter of fact real and the same meaning of life that revolves around a real universe, will revolve around this complicated computer.

Just think, next time when you meet an android, an AI life form, now, or in a few decades, we can all be some kind of AI too, so who's to judge what's alive, and what's not. Life, intelligent life, humans and concept of humanity, and the meaning of life itself, in a simulated universe, or in a "real" universe, whatever real means, will always evolve and transform. As we change faster than we ever did, we might as well start to expand our horizons, and to rid ourselves more of our prejudice and limitations.