Friday, November 15, 2019

Ambient blogging

Started following Jason McBrayer's blog Prosthetic Conscience recently, and going through old posts. I'm odd like that. Anyway, his old post on the ambience of social media tied in nicely with me getting my tt-rss home-server running again and getting back to reading the RSS feeds.

I deliberately - for now - don't have an easy way to feed back on the articles I read. I'm liking my new approach of a read-only tablet for these things. But it does leave me with that same conundrum - I would like to let people know I've enjoyed their post(s), even if I don't necessarily want to comment or blog them here.

Further than that, I'd quite like a bit of a longer term view, rather than a quick 'like' button - a sign of appreciation for overall, longer term efforts, blogs as a whole.

What scope is there for that level of engagement, one that gets away from the fast, quick feedback that modern social media thrives off? Or am I just overthinking it, and should just drop people a text/DM/email to say 'hey, like those recent posts you did'. Yeah, maybe that's it.

From the flipside, as a content provider, is it actually fine to think of oneself as an 'ambient publisher'? That is, maybe I don't always want engagement from people, but I do like the idea of just posting some background thoughts out there, get it out of the system, add to the noise that people are bathing in. If blogging is an act of performance, are there times when it's more like busking, and times when it's more like doing a talk on stage?

Also going to try out Jason's guacamole recipe some time soon.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Why social networks exist / off-worlding

Continuing thoughts on getting out of corporate Web 2.0. I could add the word "bullshit" there, but it feels too angry, but I could, for reasons below. This post otherwise tying into other long term thoughts on treatment of minorities, flow of capital, and clearing out life generally.

What am I on Twitter for? Why do I have as many contacts in there as I do (around 1600, both ways)? What am I getting out of it?

Don't get me wrong, I do love Twitter still. Or rather, I love some of the people on it. That's different. I've isolated myself from Twitter itself - I don't get notifications, try to use a third party app to avoid ads and weird timelines, and try to default to a list of people that I know. It works well for me, but I have to work to set that up.

But I've been on Mastodon/Gnusocial for years too, and have been getting some amazing interaction out of that recently. Random strangers, but random post, meditation sessions, chat via XMPP and self-hosted newsgroups - I mean newsgroups FFS. It's been weird what connections I've made, more raw, less "in it for the professionalism".

And I think that's it - there's a corporate bullshit wash that hangs over Twitter. There's a level of "respectability" required of its legal status, that discourages authenticity and rebellion. Basically it's a white dude making money.

Contrast to indieweb, which is about a bunch of people setting services up to hang out with weirdos like them. Like me.

I'm tired of services which make cash for white dudes. I'm still deeply integrated with Google, but that'll gradually change - is changeable. I'm not on the Facebook, hate LinkedIn, and Yahoo killed itself.

I'm going to scale back my Twitter. I'm not sure it best way of doing it - ideally I'd probably clear out and start again, based on my "know from real life" list and build outwards from there. (There are some great people who I still haven't met.) Have it for DMs and... I mean, Twitter is everywhere, geographically speaking. Mastodon has that "citizen of nowhere" badge proudly hung on it.

I feel kind of excited though - I'm in a place where slow comms feels doable and sensible, where I can start to look into intermittent networking more, get away from this always-on thing. It's not a healthy life we've evolved around us.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

There is hope

Woken, not too early but also too early, argumentative child clashing with dark, interrupted dreams. Kettle on, coffee on, clothes on. Escaping, I sit uneasily on the stone step at the bottom of the garden, before floating with my cup to the top of the view.

There, I saw the birds flying in their pairs, the berries growing, the bindweed ripening. I looked up and gazed into the moon, gibbous and waning like me.

The moon reached down. "Maybe there is hope," she said. I knew what she meant, smiled inside. Hope is there, around us. We're being ground down like humans, the inverse of being fattened up, but still managed like cattle. Hope is here, at our feet. We have forgotten to look down, perhaps.

Hope is punk, punk is hope. The spread of weeds that lay around me, paused in the fresher autumn air, was proof of hope and growth and change and relentless future. On nature's side, an emergence that sits in chaos, that batters against the barricades trying to preserve us. Wabi sabi vs brutalism. Lao Tzu vs Bentham.

Coffee finished, I sucked in plenty of air and headed back down the hill.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Update snippets 2019-10-12

Autumn is here, a shift of tones above our heads, glorious in its vibrancy. Yet the shops ignore it, pushing forward with the red and whites of Christmerval, like a clinical dentist's shopfront jangling its keys. Stay outside.


Julian tweeted:

Techno-solutionism, a cultural disorder caused by long-term exposure to Californian Utopianism and crap sci-fi, expresses diverse symptoms. One of those symptoms is a rash of NASA t-shirts

My response (emphasis added):

Clever people and people wanting profit are brought together by an idea that 'people are stupid and therefore inefficient'. Tech needs to value and cherish slowness, nurturing, sustainability, aging and - ultimately - death if we're to turn this shit around.

Sustainability can only be defined in comparison to and in conjunction with death - being part of birth, life, growing, aging and wabi sabi, experience, procreation, regeneration, renewal, withering, refreshment.


On Mastodon, Sam posted this great summary of the difference in network medium environs:

Discovering the Fediverse has restored a great deal of the initial wonder and promise of the internet for me. That sense of active exploration and participation; of the possibilities for creation and connection. Quitting corporate social media was a necessary first step, granting liberation from the passive "lean back" culture of spoon-fed content consumption. But the #DIY ethos of Fedi is the most beautifully punk thing I've encountered in quite some time. Kudos.

I've been thinking about a Sussex Alternative Networking group for a while, and a few conversations with friends are encouraging me more. Time to start writing up notes in notebooks for when the time is right and the hours behind available.


Long read on how technology is making the world noisier

Saturday, October 05, 2019

What will spiritual war look like?

New Scientist: Extinction Rebellion founder calls for mass psychedelic disobedience

"I would support a mass civil disobedience where we take medicine to tell the state that they have absolutely no right to control our consciousness and to define our spiritual practice," Gail Bradbrook said


"The causes of the crisis are political, economic, legal and cultural systemic issues but underneath that are issues of human trauma, powerlessness, scarcity and separation. The system resides within us and the psychedelic medicines are opportunities to help us shift our consciousness," she told the conference.

This control over the mind is, I think, the key battle. Much unscalable behaviour comes from our own fears or security and social comfort, and capitalism is quite successful at selling us things based on that - light and heat, lack of death, finding partnerships, etc. All worthy goals, but the way we've dealt with them has too many side effects, both ecologically and mentally.

For me, this ties back to Shaun's dharmaecology idea posted recently, but also back to many other thoughts along the same line of course. Jung's work looks at this split between "rational" and "irrational" (conscious vs subconscious, man vs nature, etc) back in the 50s for instance.

I'm up for a psychological war; spiritual tools as part of the move to a new future (not just a "fight against" climate change, but a healing of the planet-human soul.)

Bring the wards and charms and sigils. Chant with drums. Automatic writing, not automatic weapons. Bring it on.


On a side note, this post is just part of an ongoing discussion in my head, spread around a bunch of places on the net. The ability to have multiple discussions with different people, all overlapping and feeding (mentally) into each other is a huge thing for me at the moment. Blogposts, Signal groups, XMPP chatrooms, drunken pub talks... All these are being woven together. Thanks if you've been chatting to me, you know who you are.