• It's time to do something! put our children first! It's time not to just fight for our future but theirs too
    https://proof.utoronto.ca/food-insecurity/
    It's time to do something! put our children first! It's time not to just fight for our future but theirs too https://proof.utoronto.ca/food-insecurity/
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  • You Don’t Save Money By Forcing People to Go Hungry
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/01/you-dont-save-money-forcing-people-go-hungry
    Jill Richardson

    The Trump administration has proposed a rule that will cut an estimated 3 million eligible people off food stamps while depriving half a million eligible children of school lunch.

    I’ve been on food stamps.

    I spent most of my life with mental illness, and it was not diagnosed until a few years ago. Not knowing there was a reason everything was so difficult for me, I pushed myself until I could push no more.

    I got good grades in school, and went to college on a scholarship. I got my degree and then got a full-time job like I thought I was supposed to.

    I began getting severe migraines every day at the age of 14. That was my body telling me that I was doing more than I could handle and I needed to stop and heal. I had a migraine every day for 23 years. Working was hellish and painful, and I still tried.

    For every $5 the U.S. government spends on food stamps, it generates $9 in economic activity. That’s an incredibly effective stimulus.

    When I could no longer handle an office job, I tried being self-employed and working from home. I could never make enough to really get by on. Then I went on food stamps. It didn’t mean I could stop working. I got $70 a month so I could eat, but I still had to pay rent and put gas in my car, and for that, I worked.

    Food stamps did its job for me. It helped me get through a tough time until I could get back on my own two feet.

    I’m fortunate I didn’t have children. If I did, my kids would have suffered through my financial insecurity through no fault of their own. But food stamps and school lunch would have helped ensure they had a chance in life despite being born to a mom too sick to make ends meet.

    While the moral righteousness of food stamps justifies the program on its own, there are other benefits to it as well.

    Food stamps are a huge stimulus to the economy. Families spend their SNAP benefits to buy food from local businesses like grocery stores, and that creates jobs — from the store clerk stocking the shelves, to the truck driver transporting the food, to the farmers and ranchers producing the food.

    For every $5 the U.S. government spends on food stamps, it generates $9 in economic activity. That’s an incredibly effective stimulus.

    Federal school breakfast and lunch programs do more than help food security too — they help kids succeed. Imagine trying to pay attention or take a test while you’re hungry. School breakfast and lunch helps kids from low income families break the cycle of poverty when they grow up, because it helps them benefit more from their education.

    The movement to cut low-income people who are eligible for food stamps and school lunch off of those programs isn’t just immoral, it’s short-sighted.

    The Trump administration claims the measure will save money because there will be less federal spending on helping hungry people eat. In addition to the cruelty of “saving money” by taking food from the hungry, it will also ultimately harm the nation by removing the economic stimulus that food stamps provide and making it that much harder for half a million already poor kids to do well in school.

    Forcing kids to go hungry is a lose-lose.
    You Don’t Save Money By Forcing People to Go Hungry https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/01/you-dont-save-money-forcing-people-go-hungry Jill Richardson The Trump administration has proposed a rule that will cut an estimated 3 million eligible people off food stamps while depriving half a million eligible children of school lunch. I’ve been on food stamps. I spent most of my life with mental illness, and it was not diagnosed until a few years ago. Not knowing there was a reason everything was so difficult for me, I pushed myself until I could push no more. I got good grades in school, and went to college on a scholarship. I got my degree and then got a full-time job like I thought I was supposed to. I began getting severe migraines every day at the age of 14. That was my body telling me that I was doing more than I could handle and I needed to stop and heal. I had a migraine every day for 23 years. Working was hellish and painful, and I still tried. For every $5 the U.S. government spends on food stamps, it generates $9 in economic activity. That’s an incredibly effective stimulus. When I could no longer handle an office job, I tried being self-employed and working from home. I could never make enough to really get by on. Then I went on food stamps. It didn’t mean I could stop working. I got $70 a month so I could eat, but I still had to pay rent and put gas in my car, and for that, I worked. Food stamps did its job for me. It helped me get through a tough time until I could get back on my own two feet. I’m fortunate I didn’t have children. If I did, my kids would have suffered through my financial insecurity through no fault of their own. But food stamps and school lunch would have helped ensure they had a chance in life despite being born to a mom too sick to make ends meet. While the moral righteousness of food stamps justifies the program on its own, there are other benefits to it as well. Food stamps are a huge stimulus to the economy. Families spend their SNAP benefits to buy food from local businesses like grocery stores, and that creates jobs — from the store clerk stocking the shelves, to the truck driver transporting the food, to the farmers and ranchers producing the food. For every $5 the U.S. government spends on food stamps, it generates $9 in economic activity. That’s an incredibly effective stimulus. Federal school breakfast and lunch programs do more than help food security too — they help kids succeed. Imagine trying to pay attention or take a test while you’re hungry. School breakfast and lunch helps kids from low income families break the cycle of poverty when they grow up, because it helps them benefit more from their education. The movement to cut low-income people who are eligible for food stamps and school lunch off of those programs isn’t just immoral, it’s short-sighted. The Trump administration claims the measure will save money because there will be less federal spending on helping hungry people eat. In addition to the cruelty of “saving money” by taking food from the hungry, it will also ultimately harm the nation by removing the economic stimulus that food stamps provide and making it that much harder for half a million already poor kids to do well in school. Forcing kids to go hungry is a lose-lose.
    You Don’t Save Money By Forcing People to Go Hungry
    Food stamps helped me get back on my feet during a tough time. Cutting them is lose-lose... The Trump administration has proposed a rule that will cut an estimated 3 million eligible people off food stamps while depriving half a million eligible children of school lunch.I’ve been on food stamps.
    WWW.COMMONDREAMS.ORG
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  • The #FathersLove
    June 16 For whom the #LORD #loves He #reproves, Even as a father #corrects the son in whom he #delights … For the Lord #disciplines those he loves, and he #punishes those he #accepts as his #children. #Proverbs3:12; #Hebrews12:6 NLT

    We are to discipline our own children. That’s why the #promisesOfGod #include His discipline of us. The #FathersDiscipline is a mark of the #FathersLove.

    A #child without discipline may grow up in #anarchy and #insecurity, the feeling that #mom or #dad #didntCareEnough to go to the #trouble to #provideDiscipline.

    Our #HeavenlyFather #lovesUs #absolutely, and we have the #security of #knowing He will #setSafeBoundaries for us in the form of discipline. https://mailchi.mp/8c244483d774/his-image-452513?e=9cbe669f39 #YHWH #JesusChrist #Jesus #Christ #Yeshuah #TheFirstAndTheLast #AlmightyGod #TrueLove #Parenting #ParentalSupervision #promise #father #dailyinspiration #success #dailymotivation #forever #motivation #inspiration #motivationalquote #heaven #victory #imagine #pray #fact #lifehack #love #facts #bible #life #lifestyle #think #listen #church #giving #passion #christian #FathersDay
    The #FathersLove June 16 For whom the #LORD #loves He #reproves, Even as a father #corrects the son in whom he #delights … For the Lord #disciplines those he loves, and he #punishes those he #accepts as his #children. #Proverbs3:12; #Hebrews12:6 NLT We are to discipline our own children. That’s why the #promisesOfGod #include His discipline of us. The #FathersDiscipline is a mark of the #FathersLove. A #child without discipline may grow up in #anarchy and #insecurity, the feeling that #mom or #dad #didntCareEnough to go to the #trouble to #provideDiscipline. Our #HeavenlyFather #lovesUs #absolutely, and we have the #security of #knowing He will #setSafeBoundaries for us in the form of discipline. https://mailchi.mp/8c244483d774/his-image-452513?e=9cbe669f39 #YHWH #JesusChrist #Jesus #Christ #Yeshuah #TheFirstAndTheLast #AlmightyGod #TrueLove #Parenting #ParentalSupervision #promise #father #dailyinspiration #success #dailymotivation #forever #motivation #inspiration #motivationalquote #heaven #victory #imagine #pray #fact #lifehack #love #facts #bible #life #lifestyle #think #listen #church #giving #passion #christian #FathersDay
    The Father’s love
    He will set safe boundaries for us in the form of discipline.
    MAILCHI.MP
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  • #PuttingGodToTheTest
    June 4 “Bring the #whole #tithe into the #storehouse, so that there may be #food in My house, and #test Me now in this,” says the #LordOfHosts, “if I will not #open for you the #windowsOfHeaven and pour out for you a #blessing until it #overflows.” #Malachi3:10
    Listen to #todaysDevotional

    The #Bible #teaches that we are not to #testGod. However, our #verse today has #GodHimself inviting us to do just that… to #putHimToTheTest! And it comes #regarding our #giving. Many things might keep people from #givingFaithfully to #God.

    It might be #fear or #insecurity in #personalFinances. FinancialInsecurity It may be a #habit, #good or #bad, that may #drain our #income. It may just be #pureSelfishness or #greed. #WeWantItAll for us! Let me #encourage you to take God up on #HisOffer.


    #GiveCheerfully to His #storehouse, the #church, and watch the #windowsOfHeaven open and #pourOutABlessing #beyondMeasure. #YouWillDiscover a #marvelousTruth:

    You can’t #outgiveGod! https://mailchi.mp/841a50040c15/the-truest-freedom-you-can-ever-experience-452457?e=9cbe669f39 #YHWH #JesusChrist #Jesus #Christ #Inspiration #Motivation #DailyDevotional #DailyDevotions #Devotioanl #Devotions #BibleStody #TheGospel #Gospel #promise #holy #dailyinspiration #heaven #success
    #PuttingGodToTheTest June 4 “Bring the #whole #tithe into the #storehouse, so that there may be #food in My house, and #test Me now in this,” says the #LordOfHosts, “if I will not #open for you the #windowsOfHeaven and pour out for you a #blessing until it #overflows.” #Malachi3:10 Listen to #todaysDevotional The #Bible #teaches that we are not to #testGod. However, our #verse today has #GodHimself inviting us to do just that… to #putHimToTheTest! And it comes #regarding our #giving. Many things might keep people from #givingFaithfully to #God. It might be #fear or #insecurity in #personalFinances. FinancialInsecurity It may be a #habit, #good or #bad, that may #drain our #income. It may just be #pureSelfishness or #greed. #WeWantItAll for us! Let me #encourage you to take God up on #HisOffer. #GiveCheerfully to His #storehouse, the #church, and watch the #windowsOfHeaven open and #pourOutABlessing #beyondMeasure. #YouWillDiscover a #marvelousTruth: You can’t #outgiveGod! https://mailchi.mp/841a50040c15/the-truest-freedom-you-can-ever-experience-452457?e=9cbe669f39 #YHWH #JesusChrist #Jesus #Christ #Inspiration #Motivation #DailyDevotional #DailyDevotions #Devotioanl #Devotions #BibleStody #TheGospel #Gospel #promise #holy #dailyinspiration #heaven #success
    Putting God to the Test
    When we are faithful in our giving, we discover we can’t out give God!
    MAILCHI.MP
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  • #Yehuda secret
    #Yehuda government

    Check this out, sounds very familiar, and this was written in 1991.

    Chapter Twelve The Secret Government page 225
    Another plan is in force. It is the plan to prepare the public for

    eventual confrontation with an alien race. It could also intend to make you believe in an alien race that may not exist. The public is being bombarded with movies, radio, advertising, and TV programs depicting almost every aspect of the purported true nature of an alien presence. This includes the good and the bad. Look around and pay attention. Someone is planning to make their presence known and the government is preparing you for it.
    They do not want any panic. The unprecedented number of sightings worldwide indicates that public exposure is not far off. Never in history have there been so many incidents involving UFOs and never in history have there been so many official acknowledgments. For many years the Secret Government has been importing drugs and selling them to the people, mainly the poor and minorities. Social welfare programs were put into place to create a dependent, nonworking element in our society. The government then began to remove these programs to force people into a criminal class that did not exist in the '50s and '60s.

    The government encouraged the manufacture and importation of military firearms for the criminals to use. (Remember fast and Furious) This is intended to foster a feeling of insecurity, which would lead the American people to voluntarily disarm themselves by passing laws against firearms.

    From another book I read... Hope you can follow along with me.....Colonel James Gritz, Called to Serve: Profiles in Conspiracy from John F. Kennedy to George Bush, Lazarus Publishing, pp 511, 512.

    President Kennedy was attempting to dismantle the Federal Reserve System, which is the central bank of the United States, a creation of the Jesuits. The Constitution of the United States gives to Congress the power to coin money. If the U. S. Congress coined its own money as the Constitution directs, it would not have to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars of interest that it now pays each year to the bankers for the national debt, for money that came out of nothing This is why Kennedy began to issue U.S. government money that was free of debt to replace the Federal Reserve dollars we have been using. The Jesuits, who was responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, and the unconstitutional operation of this bank that steals money from U.S. citizens, tried to assassinate President Andrew Jackson for discontinuing the central bank. They unfortunately succeeded in assassinating Kennedy for trying to do the same thing. The Jesuits uses the wealth created by the Federal Reserve to finance their murderous deeds. John Kennedy incurred the deadly wrath of the Jesuits for daring to act as the President and not as their puppet.

    Chapter Twelve The Secret Government page 226
    Using drugs and hypnosis on mental patients in a process called Orion, the CIA inculcated the desire in these people to open fire on schoolyards and thus inflame the antigun lobby. This plan is well under way, and so far is working perfectly. The middle class is begging the government to do away with the 2nd amendment. (Remember, this was written in 1991!)

    Author's Note: I have found that these events have indeed happened all over the country. In every instance that I have investigated — the incident at the women's school in Canada, the shopping center incident in Canada, the Stockton, California, massacre, and the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane — the shooters were all ex-mental patients or were current mental patients who were

    ALL ON THE DRUG PROZAC! This drug, when taken in certain doses, increases the serotonin level in the patient, causing extreme violence.

    Now from some further observations.

    The guns Nikolas Cruz owned were registered, He posted on YouTube he wanted to be a school shooter, other people had called 911 saying they feared he could get violent, his mother died, and he himself had called 911. Why didn't the authorities put it all together?

    I hate to think the FBI let this happen to make a case for gun control! 17 kids died so the FBI could prove a point? Could it be true?

    The shooter himself was reaching out for help when he called 911, and he was ignored.

    Hope you don't think I'm the only person putting all the dots together. I downloaded the books from the internet.
    #Yehuda secret #Yehuda government Check this out, sounds very familiar, and this was written in 1991. Chapter Twelve The Secret Government page 225 Another plan is in force. It is the plan to prepare the public for eventual confrontation with an alien race. It could also intend to make you believe in an alien race that may not exist. The public is being bombarded with movies, radio, advertising, and TV programs depicting almost every aspect of the purported true nature of an alien presence. This includes the good and the bad. Look around and pay attention. Someone is planning to make their presence known and the government is preparing you for it. They do not want any panic. The unprecedented number of sightings worldwide indicates that public exposure is not far off. Never in history have there been so many incidents involving UFOs and never in history have there been so many official acknowledgments. For many years the Secret Government has been importing drugs and selling them to the people, mainly the poor and minorities. Social welfare programs were put into place to create a dependent, nonworking element in our society. The government then began to remove these programs to force people into a criminal class that did not exist in the '50s and '60s. The government encouraged the manufacture and importation of military firearms for the criminals to use. (Remember fast and Furious) This is intended to foster a feeling of insecurity, which would lead the American people to voluntarily disarm themselves by passing laws against firearms. From another book I read... Hope you can follow along with me.....Colonel James Gritz, Called to Serve: Profiles in Conspiracy from John F. Kennedy to George Bush, Lazarus Publishing, pp 511, 512. President Kennedy was attempting to dismantle the Federal Reserve System, which is the central bank of the United States, a creation of the Jesuits. The Constitution of the United States gives to Congress the power to coin money. If the U. S. Congress coined its own money as the Constitution directs, it would not have to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars of interest that it now pays each year to the bankers for the national debt, for money that came out of nothing This is why Kennedy began to issue U.S. government money that was free of debt to replace the Federal Reserve dollars we have been using. The Jesuits, who was responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, and the unconstitutional operation of this bank that steals money from U.S. citizens, tried to assassinate President Andrew Jackson for discontinuing the central bank. They unfortunately succeeded in assassinating Kennedy for trying to do the same thing. The Jesuits uses the wealth created by the Federal Reserve to finance their murderous deeds. John Kennedy incurred the deadly wrath of the Jesuits for daring to act as the President and not as their puppet. Chapter Twelve The Secret Government page 226 Using drugs and hypnosis on mental patients in a process called Orion, the CIA inculcated the desire in these people to open fire on schoolyards and thus inflame the antigun lobby. This plan is well under way, and so far is working perfectly. The middle class is begging the government to do away with the 2nd amendment. (Remember, this was written in 1991!) Author's Note: I have found that these events have indeed happened all over the country. In every instance that I have investigated — the incident at the women's school in Canada, the shopping center incident in Canada, the Stockton, California, massacre, and the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane — the shooters were all ex-mental patients or were current mental patients who were ALL ON THE DRUG PROZAC! This drug, when taken in certain doses, increases the serotonin level in the patient, causing extreme violence. Now from some further observations. The guns Nikolas Cruz owned were registered, He posted on YouTube he wanted to be a school shooter, other people had called 911 saying they feared he could get violent, his mother died, and he himself had called 911. Why didn't the authorities put it all together? I hate to think the FBI let this happen to make a case for gun control! 17 kids died so the FBI could prove a point? Could it be true? The shooter himself was reaching out for help when he called 911, and he was ignored. Hope you don't think I'm the only person putting all the dots together. I downloaded the books from the internet.
    1
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  • Cyberpunk: The Human Condition amid High-tech Alienation and Urban Dystopia
    https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/04/07/cyberpunk-the-human-condition-amid-high-tech-alienation-and-urban-dystopia/
    Posted By Luther Blissett By Raymond Lam: BuddhistDoor 4/7/19

    I love the seashore and the countryside, but I have spent most of my life in cities, with little to no time spent in the country.

    I grew up in Brisbane, Australia (which, despite its beauty and vibrant coffee culture, is hardly a skyscraper metropolis) and have spent a good deal of time in Hong Kong.

    Over the years I have visited Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul—cities that have long inspired novelists and artists in cyberpunk circles.

    Cyberpunk features “technologized” cities with endless skyscrapers shimmering in an ocean of neon lights and elevated railways.

    These cityscapes are often bathed in darkness, shadow, and rain.

    More often than not, the protagonists of these stories are lone-wolf types, running through grungy alleys and estranged from wider society.

    As a genre of writing, film, and animation, the dystopian cyberpunk imagination has been immensely influential in both Asian and Western pop culture, exemplified by the Blade Runner movies, The Matrix franchise, and the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell.

    To many social commentators, cyberpunk carries eerie reminders of certain characteristics of urban living today—an endless feed of information, insecurity, and distractions through the Internet and social media, the press and media serving as distractions or brainwashing rather than useful information, and social alienation and unfulfilling work.

    In these activities is an almost gleeful dismissiveness of the need to reflect on human nature and what it means to be a human being: a key concern of religions and philosophical schools through the ages.

    As Buddhistdoor Global columnist Paola Di Maio notes about our headlong trajectory into developing communication between human beings and AI: “Excited at the prospect of scientific advances, researchers seem to ignore that enhanced cognition comes with enhanced responsibility, maturity, and responsible decision-making abilities.”

    This is the key concern and, as it happens, the idea of human interface with computers or “mind technologies” is about as cyberpunk as it gets.

    There are far more informed writers who have unpacked the themes of cyberpunk exhaustively, but I find this description particularly useful for grasping the general aesthetic and spirit.

    This is from an essay by Lawrence Person: “Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.” (Slashdot)

    Surely many of these themes sound familiar?

    The eminent science fiction writer J. G. Ballard (1930–2009) defied assumptions about traditional storytelling and sought to upend the archetypes that were assumed to be universal, saying that he wanted a storytelling style that possessed “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the somber half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.” (Ballard 2017, 103)

    Most interestingly, Ballard criticized the “external” emphasis of so much science fiction of his day (such as on space travel), declaring: “The biggest developments of the immediate future will take place, not on the Moon or Mars, but on Earth, and it is inner space, not outer, that needs to be explored. The only truly alien planet is Earth.” (Ballard 2017, 103)

    My opinion is that good cyberpunk is itself a kind of literary expression of contemporary inner preoccupations and concerns.

    Take the notion of loneliness, for example.

    Some good research has been done about urban life and its correlation with loneliness, but the results are ambiguous.

    One study found that urban life is undoubtedly more stressful than rural life (and has been so since the Industrial Revolution), yet how lonely one feels is a very difficult thing to measure.

    If we are to take seriously Ballard’s notion that the best kind of science fiction is about inner space, then perhaps we have also been distracted by the neon cityscapes of gritty cyberpunk metropolises.

    The interesting stuff is not happening in an action-packed helipad gunfight with a hypersonic jet on top of a tower owned by a futuristic robotics corporation.

    It is happening in the neurotic mind of one of that corporation’s low-level office workers, humiliated in public through a thoughtless social media post by her supervisor, who himself seeks distraction from his instantly replaceable managerial role by interfacing his brain with a computer’s pornographic VR program.

    It is not just about cybernetics and the development of androids, but how society changes as a result of them.

    I like to think that, perhaps one day in the future, when meditation practice centers are hidden away in glass and metal skyscrapers—some of them already are in the worlds biggest cities—and temples of traditional Asian design are surrounded by looming corporate structures, these loci of spiritual meaning and truly human work will have helped to fortify the inner worlds of these cities’ denizens against the darker side of cyberpunk.

    Ballard was right. The true struggle for meaning and dignity is more often on the inside, even in a society dominated by neon, nightfall, and neuro-computers.

    References

    Ballard, J. G. 2017. “Which way to inner space?” In Science Fiction Criticism: An Anthology of Essential Writings. Edited by Rob Latham. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
    Cyberpunk: The Human Condition amid High-tech Alienation and Urban Dystopia https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/04/07/cyberpunk-the-human-condition-amid-high-tech-alienation-and-urban-dystopia/ Posted By Luther Blissett By Raymond Lam: BuddhistDoor 4/7/19 I love the seashore and the countryside, but I have spent most of my life in cities, with little to no time spent in the country. I grew up in Brisbane, Australia (which, despite its beauty and vibrant coffee culture, is hardly a skyscraper metropolis) and have spent a good deal of time in Hong Kong. Over the years I have visited Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul—cities that have long inspired novelists and artists in cyberpunk circles. Cyberpunk features “technologized” cities with endless skyscrapers shimmering in an ocean of neon lights and elevated railways. These cityscapes are often bathed in darkness, shadow, and rain. More often than not, the protagonists of these stories are lone-wolf types, running through grungy alleys and estranged from wider society. As a genre of writing, film, and animation, the dystopian cyberpunk imagination has been immensely influential in both Asian and Western pop culture, exemplified by the Blade Runner movies, The Matrix franchise, and the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell. To many social commentators, cyberpunk carries eerie reminders of certain characteristics of urban living today—an endless feed of information, insecurity, and distractions through the Internet and social media, the press and media serving as distractions or brainwashing rather than useful information, and social alienation and unfulfilling work. In these activities is an almost gleeful dismissiveness of the need to reflect on human nature and what it means to be a human being: a key concern of religions and philosophical schools through the ages. As Buddhistdoor Global columnist Paola Di Maio notes about our headlong trajectory into developing communication between human beings and AI: “Excited at the prospect of scientific advances, researchers seem to ignore that enhanced cognition comes with enhanced responsibility, maturity, and responsible decision-making abilities.” This is the key concern and, as it happens, the idea of human interface with computers or “mind technologies” is about as cyberpunk as it gets. There are far more informed writers who have unpacked the themes of cyberpunk exhaustively, but I find this description particularly useful for grasping the general aesthetic and spirit. This is from an essay by Lawrence Person: “Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.” (Slashdot) Surely many of these themes sound familiar? The eminent science fiction writer J. G. Ballard (1930–2009) defied assumptions about traditional storytelling and sought to upend the archetypes that were assumed to be universal, saying that he wanted a storytelling style that possessed “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the somber half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.” (Ballard 2017, 103) Most interestingly, Ballard criticized the “external” emphasis of so much science fiction of his day (such as on space travel), declaring: “The biggest developments of the immediate future will take place, not on the Moon or Mars, but on Earth, and it is inner space, not outer, that needs to be explored. The only truly alien planet is Earth.” (Ballard 2017, 103) My opinion is that good cyberpunk is itself a kind of literary expression of contemporary inner preoccupations and concerns. Take the notion of loneliness, for example. Some good research has been done about urban life and its correlation with loneliness, but the results are ambiguous. One study found that urban life is undoubtedly more stressful than rural life (and has been so since the Industrial Revolution), yet how lonely one feels is a very difficult thing to measure. If we are to take seriously Ballard’s notion that the best kind of science fiction is about inner space, then perhaps we have also been distracted by the neon cityscapes of gritty cyberpunk metropolises. The interesting stuff is not happening in an action-packed helipad gunfight with a hypersonic jet on top of a tower owned by a futuristic robotics corporation. It is happening in the neurotic mind of one of that corporation’s low-level office workers, humiliated in public through a thoughtless social media post by her supervisor, who himself seeks distraction from his instantly replaceable managerial role by interfacing his brain with a computer’s pornographic VR program. It is not just about cybernetics and the development of androids, but how society changes as a result of them. I like to think that, perhaps one day in the future, when meditation practice centers are hidden away in glass and metal skyscrapers—some of them already are in the worlds biggest cities—and temples of traditional Asian design are surrounded by looming corporate structures, these loci of spiritual meaning and truly human work will have helped to fortify the inner worlds of these cities’ denizens against the darker side of cyberpunk. Ballard was right. The true struggle for meaning and dignity is more often on the inside, even in a society dominated by neon, nightfall, and neuro-computers. References Ballard, J. G. 2017. “Which way to inner space?” In Science Fiction Criticism: An Anthology of Essential Writings. Edited by Rob Latham. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

    By Raymond Lam

    Source: BuddhistDoor.net

    I love the seashore and the countryside, but I have spent most of my life in cities, with little to no time spent in the country. I grew up in Brisbane, Australia (which, despite its beauty and vibrant coffee culture, is hardly a skyscraper metropolis) and have spent a good deal of time in Hong Kong. Over the years I have visited Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul—cities that have long inspired novelists and artists in cyberpunk circles.

    Cyberpunk features “technologized” cities with endless skyscrapers shimmering in an ocean of neon lights and elevated railways. These cityscapes are often bathed in darkness, shadow, and rain. More often than not, the protagonists of these stories are lone-wolf types, running through grungy alleys and estranged from wider society. As a genre of writing, film, and animation, the dystopian cyberpunk imagination has been immensely influential in both Asian and Western pop culture, exemplified by the Blade Runner movies, The Matrix franchise, and the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell.

    To many social commentators, cyberpunk carries eerie reminders of certain characteristics of urban living today—an endless feed of information, insecurity, and distractions through the Internet and social media, the press and media serving as distractions or brainwashing rather than useful information, and social alienation and unfulfilling work. In these activities is an almost gleeful dismissiveness of the need to reflect on human nature and what it means to be a human being: a key concern of religions and philosophical schools through the ages.

    As Buddhistdoor Global columnist Paola Di Maio notes about our headlong trajectory into developing communication between human beings and AI: “Excited at the prospect of scientific advances, researchers seem to ignore that enhanced cognition comes with enhanced responsibility, maturity, and responsible decision-making abilities.” This is the key concern and, as it happens, the idea of human interface with computers or “mind technologies” is about as cyberpunk as it gets.

    There are far more informed writers who have unpacked the themes of cyberpunk exhaustively, but I find this description particularly useful for grasping the general aesthetic and spirit. This is from an essay by Lawrence Person: “Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.” (Slashdot.org) Surely many of these themes sound familiar?

    The eminent science fiction writer J. G. Ballard (1930–2009) defied assumptions about traditional storytelling and sought to upend the archetypes that were assumed to be universal, saying that he wanted a storytelling style that possessed “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the sombre half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.” (Ballard 2017, 103) Most interestingly, Ballard criticized the “external” emphasis of so much science fiction of his day (such as on space travel), declaring: “The biggest developments of the immediate future will take place, not on the Moon or Mars, but on Earth, and it is inner space, not outer, that needs to be explored. The only truly alien planet is Earth.” (Ballard 2017, 103)

    My opinion is that good cyberpunk is itself a kind of literary expression of contemporary inner preoccupations and concerns. Take the notion of loneliness, for example. Some good research has been done about urban life and its correlation with loneliness, but the results are ambiguous. One study found that urban life is undoubtedly more stressful than rural life (and has been so since the Industrial Revolution), yet how lonely one feels is a very difficult thing to measure. If we are to take seriously Ballard’s notion that the best kind of science fiction is about inner space, then perhaps we have also been distracted by the neon cityscapes of gritty cyberpunk metropolises.

    The interesting stuff is not happening in an action-packed helipad gunfight with a hypersonic jet on top of a tower owned by a futuristic robotics corporation. It is happening in the neurotic mind of one of that corporation’s low-level office workers, humiliated in public through a thoughtless social media post by her supervisor, who himself seeks distraction from his instantly replaceable managerial role by interfacing his brain with a computer’s pornographic VR program. It is not just about cybernetics and the development of androids, but how society changes as a result of them.

    I like to think that, perhaps one day in the future, when meditation practice centers are hidden away in glass and metal skyscrapers—some of them already are in the worlds biggest cities—and temples of traditional Asian design are surrounded by looming corporate structures, these loci of spiritual meaning and truly human work will have helped to fortify the inner worlds of these cities’ denizens against the darker side of cyberpunk. Ballard was right. The true struggle for meaning and dignity is more often on the inside, even in a society dominated by neon, nightfall, and neuro-computers.

    References

    Ballard, J. G. 2017. “Which way to inner space?” In Science Fiction Criticism: An Anthology of Essential Writings. Edited by Rob Latham. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

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