Archive for Abril, 2015


My good friend Mara has not one but two graduate degrees. From fine, storied universities. Surprise, surprise: the only “job” she was able to find was at a retail store.

Hey—it’s only minimum wage, but at least she’s working, right? And at a major-league, blue-chip company, An American icon; an institution; a name every man, woman, and child in this country knows; an historic company that rings of the American Dream the world over, besides. Surely, if nothing else, it’s a start.

Perhaps you’re right. Maybe it isn’t the start she always dreamed of…but at least it is one. If so…then awaits her at the finish?

What is Mara’s job like? Her sales figures are monitored…by the microsecond. By hidden cameras and mics. They listen to her every word; they capture her every movement; that track and stalk her as if she were an animal; or a prisoner; or both. She’s jacked into a headset that literally barks algorithmic, programmed “orders” at her, parroting her own “performance” back to her, telling her how she compares with quotas calculated…down to the second…for all the hundreds of items in the store…which recites “influence and manipulation techniques” to her…to use on unsuspecting customers…that sound suspiciously like psychological warfare. It’s as if the NSA was following you around……and it was stuck in your head…telling you what an inadequate failure you were…psychologically waterboarding you…all day long…every day for the rest of your life.

Mara’s boss sits in the back. Monitoring all twelve, or fifteen, or twenty people that work in the store. On a set of screens. Half camera displays, half spreadsheets; numbers blinking in real-time. Glued to it like a zombie. Chewing slowly with her mouth open. Jacked into a headset. A drone-pilot… piloting a fleet of human drones…pressure-selling disposable mass-made shit…as if it were luxury yachts…through robo-programmed info-warfare…like zombies…to other zombies…who look stunned…like they just got laser blasted, cluster-bombed, shock-and-awed…


It’s bananas. The whole scene is like a maximum-security mental asylum designed by sadomasochists in a sci-fi movie. If Jeffrey Dahmer, Rasputin, and Michael Bay designed a “store” together, they couldn’t do any better. Her “job” will begin to drive her crazy—paranoid, depressed, deluded—in a matter of years if she continues doing it. No human psyche can bear that kind of relentless, systematic abuse.

Now. Note what all the technology and bureaucracy that wonderful, noble company has invested hundreds of millions in doesn’t ask her to do. Learn. Think. Reflect. Teach. Inspire. Lead. Connect. Imagine. Create. Grow. Dream. Actually…serve customers. Heaven forbid. It just beats her over the head, over and over again, three times a minute, every twenty seconds, with how much she hasn’t sold; hasn’t made; hasn’t produced. For her shitty .0003% commission. According to the quota that’s been set for her. By her boss. For his boss. For their boss. And so on all the way up the food chain.

See my point? Mara’s job isn’t to benefit customers. It isn’t to educate, understand, listen to, or even to chat with them. It isn’t to stop them from buying what they don’t want; to help them find what they might need; to match them with the right stuff. Nope. It’s merely to push more and more and more and more shit at them…faster, meaner, and dumber than any sane person would think is humanly possible…using advanced military technology and techniques… programmed to abuse her…so she can wage advanced psychological warfare…on her customers. And they were just suckers, gaping maws, fools, marks. And be yelled at…by a robot…if she doesn’t.

Really? This is the best our economy can do? To take the stuff of 21st century warfare and use them them to…rack up the profit? To turn a bright young woman with two grad degrees…into a Superprofitable Human Weapon of Mass Consumption…a half-crazed algorithmically-programmed asshole…a human drone…so even bigger, actually crazy assholes…can get super-rich…by slinging entire supertankers full of junk…at people getting poorer at four thousand percent interest a year…by using drones and bots to wage psy-warfare against them…so they’re conned into buying too much?

The economy doesn’t make stuff anymore. That much you know. So what does it make?

It makes assholes.

The Great Enterprise of this age is the Asshole Industry.

And that’s not just a tragedy. It is something approaching the moral equivalent of a crime. For it demolishes human potential in precisely the same way as locking someone innocent up, and throwing away the key.

Consider Mara again. Who in Christ’s name would design such an inhuman system? Whose sick joke of an idea is a “store” like that? What do you even call it? Because it’s surely not a “store”.

Only a monstrous asshole of the highest order could assemble such a demonically vampiric bullshit machine to prey on…everyone. Customers, managers, workers alike. Such a carefully sophisticated engine of human misery; of finessed cruelty; all to rake in a few extra pennies an hour, at the expense of dignity, intelligence, creativity, commitment, fairness, craft, service, sovereignty…sanity.

The store is an Asshole Factory.

Allow me to explain.

What happens to Mara when she’s “doing her job”? Think about it for a second. She turns into precisely the kind of asshole that the heartless dweebs who thought up this infernal torture-machine no doubt already are. Not because she wants to. But because she has to.

That’s exactly what the store was designed to do. Turn everyone into the same kind of asshole as the assholes that made it, run it, and benefit from it…want everyone to be.

The store is an Asshole Factory.

Our world is now full of Asshole Factories. That’s what the stores, offices, industrial parks, skyscrapers, malls, low-rise blocks, gleaming headquarters, whimsically designed corporate campuses, really are.

It’s the grand endeavor of today. We don’t make stuff anymore. We make assholes. The Great Enterprise of this age is the Asshole Industry.

Consider, for a moment, my tiny hypothesis.

Have you noticed, lately, that people seem to be more, well, assholish…than before? That everywhere you go, people seem to be meaner, nastier, dumber, angrier, more brutish?


It is the last and greatest industry left in an economy that has been impoverished, emptied, hollowed out, drained.

The Great Enterprise of the Age of Stagnation is the wholesale manufacture not of great, world-shaking, ground-breaking ideas, inventions, concerns…but of bigger and bigger assholes.

The chain-store; the mall; the hypermarket. The corporation; the firm; the partnership. B-school; law school; med school. The boardroom; the backroom; the trading floor.

These are, by and large, Asshole Factories. They don’t make people. Capable of great things. Who create and build and touch and soar. They make assholes.

They are designed to disinfect us of our fragility. To cleanse us of our flaws. To disinfect us of weakness. Love, grace, mercy, longing, forgiveness, passion, truth, nobility, dreams. Their objective is to stamp all that out; to eradicate it; to erase it. To replace it with calculation, ruthlessness, self-concern; gluttony; cruelty; anxiety, despair. By using the most sophisticated technology ever made to subjugate, oppress, and goad us into being little torturers ourselves.

And in so doing, they emotionally sterilize us. They psychically traumatize us. They intellectually castrate us. They socially neuter us. They cheat us of greatness. That is how they turn us into assholes.

They are designed to deprive us into depriving everyone else of the lives we could and have, at our highest and truest and noblest.

The assholes haven’t just taken our incomes, our savings, our careers, our educations. They’ve taken something far more precious; something priceless. It is our lives—the full, true lives we should be living—that have been taken from us. And in the gaping void where the lives we should be living are, the assholes have deftly inserted carbon copies of…themselves.

When you think about it that way…is it any wonder that society seems to be stuck? That the economy seems headed into oblivion? That life for so pretty much anyone under the age of 35 and/or worth less than $20 million or so appears to be going…nowhere?

Remember my friend Mara? She’s probably being piloted like a drone…yelled at by a bot…three times a minute…into waging advanced techniques of psycho-war…designed to traumatize prisoners…over and over and over again…right this very second…

Until she’s cleansed. Perfect. Flawless. Pure. Another gleaming, brand-new asshole, rolling proudly off the assembly line of the Asshole Factory.

We’re obedient constructivists. Pragmatists. Rationalists. So you probably want to know: what can we do about it?

It’s pretty simple.

Don’t be an asshole. Remember the Asshole Factories? Here’s a secret: they’re churning out assholes by the millions. And so should you bravely decide to be an asshole, what you’ll really be is just another interchangeable, forgettable, rapidly depreciating commodity.

So who should you be?

Be yourself. The person you were meant to be. Whether you believe in heaven or the inferno, freedom or fate, the simple fact is: each and every one of us was put here to be something greater than Just Another Asshole stealing pennies from his neighbors to pay off Even Bigger Assholes.

So let me say it again. Don’t be an asshole. Be yourself. The miracle of being that you were meant to be. A person that, consumed with passion, seared with happiness, aglow with meaning, brings forth all that is great, noble, and true in the world, and so, with love, mercy, and wisdom, lifts every life that you meet into the light.

Thank you and goodbye

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Evolution is all about a struggle for survival and reproduction. For predators it becomes an arms race. For hundreds of millions of years predatory animals have honed their offensive weapons while prey animals have evolved ever more effective defensive adaptations. Each animal, predator or prey, carved out their particular niche and occupied that niche until they were driven out, to another niche, or went extinct, or still occupy it today.

And that’s the way it went for hundreds of millions of years. Every species multiplying its numbers to the limit its niche or habit would support. Species waxed and waned, predator and prey maintaining a balance. When the prey numbers would expand the predator numbers would expand and when too many predators reduced prey numbers, then the predator numbers would also wane.Ron 9

For millions of years nature kept every species in check. Population explosions of any species was soon met by either an corresponding explosion of predatory animals, or in cases were there were not enough predator animals, like rat or mice plagues, starvation would ultimately reduce their numbers to what the territory would support.

Sometimes of course there would be conflicts between different species of either predatory animals of prey animals. They can of course develop a symbiotic relationship like zebras and wildebeests, zebras eat the tall tough grass and wildebeests eat the shorter tender grass. But if this doesn’t happen, one species must adapt to another niche or go extinct.

This is not a fast process, sometimes taking many thousands of years to play out, depending on the size of the territory and the lifespan of the animals involved. And over many millions of years the balance was always maintained. Every species lived in and defended its niche and life went on. Only a universal disaster, like massive volcanism poisoning the air and seas could really disrupt this balance.

Every animal had adaptations that allowed it to survive in the wild. But no animal had a “super adaptation”, that is no animal evolved an adaptation that gave it ultimate control over other animals. There was no colossus in the animal world. No matter what the adaption, no animal could be that strong.

But the first hint of such an adaptation evolved about 5 million years ago. Somewhere in Africa a species of great ape evolved that had all the other survival adaptations of other great apes plus one more, that ape was just a wee bit smarter than other apes. And among these smarter apes, some were smarter than others. These smarter apes had a slightly higher survival and reproductive rate than the ones in their own group who were not so smart. But even these “smarter” apes were not really all that smart.

Ron 6Brain size, which is correlated with intelligence, increased very slowly over two and one half million years. But the ultimate competitive weapon, the weapon that would give this one great ape a huge survival weapon over all other species had begun to evolve. From this point on the fate of the earth, the fate of all other species, was set. The ultimate weapon had begun to evolve. And about 100,000 years ago modern humans appeared.

Ron12Until about 10,000 years ago, give or take, humans depended entirely on the natural world for its substance. Killing animals that they could find and gathering what fruits, roots and tubers than nature provided them. Then slowly the Neolithic Revolution started to happen. People began to plant seeds and domesticate animals. However Homo colossus had not yet appeared.

Ron 5

Homo colossus appeared about 250 years ago. That was when man began to spend nature’s non renewable carbon deposits as if they were income.

William Catton:When the earth’s deposits of fossil fuels and mineral resources were being laid down, Homo sapiens had not yet been prepared by evolution to take advantage of them. As soon as technology made it possible for mankind to do so, people eagerly (and without foreseeing the ultimate consequences) shifted to a high-energy way of life. Man became, in effect, a detritovore, Homo colossus. Our species bloomed, and now we must expect crash (of some sort) as the natural sequel.

However we need to get back to the subject of this post, the competitive exclusion principle.

Wiki:The competitive exclusion principle, sometimes referred to as Gause’s Law, is a proposition that states that two species competing for the same resource cannot coexist at constant population values, if other ecological factors remain constant. When one species has even the slightest advantage or edge over another then the one with the advantage will dominate in the long term. One of the two competitors will always overcome the other, leading to either the extinction of this competitor or an evolutionary or behavioral shift toward a different ecological niche. The principle has been paraphrased into the maxim “complete competitors cannot coexist“.

The competitive exclusion principle usually describes the competition of animals for a particular niche. But humans are animals also. We have been in the competition for territory and resources for thousands of years. And we have been winning that battle for thousands of years. But it is only in the last few hundred years that our complete dominance in this battle has become overwhelming. We are winning big time, we are quite literally wiping them off the face of the globe.

The below chart was created by Paul Chefurka.

Terrestrial Vertebrate Biomass

Three very important things can be derived from the above graph. One, we are wiping out all the wild species. 10,000 years ago humans were about .1 percent of all the land vertebrate biomass of the planet. In 2000 we and our domesticated animals were about 97 percent of the land vertebrate biomass. Today it is closer to 97.5 percent. And we continue to wipe them out. The Earth has lost half its wildlife in the last 40 years.

The second thing that is revealed in the above graph is the dramatic increase in biomass carrying capacity that has been made possible by fossil energy. Mechanical farming with tractors, combines and other farm equipment has made it possible for one farmer to cultivate hundreds of times the acreage he could just a little over a century or so ago. But that is only half the story. Fully half the people in the world are alive today because of synthetic fertilizer created from fossil fuel by the Haber-Bosch process.



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