Mind Only Poem #4


neuro-plastic swamp

catfish heron splash

rainbow karma wind





Select Your Plan

I’ve been talking a lot here about cyborgs, but not at all about the Singularity – when technology is advanced enough for humans to upload their consciousness resulting in greater than human intelligence.

There are lots of reasons for this silence – certainly the Singularity is possible but I don’t think it solves anything.  Maybe it’s for similar reasons that I don’t participate in social media. I also find the idea of the human/machine hybrid of the cyborg much more interesting as reality/metaphor grounded in the present.

At any rate, I ran across this Tom Scott video and thought it probably a pretty accurate version of what is likely to happen it the Singularity becomes possible. Plus I think it’s pretty funny.  PlusTier Three is kinda like being brain damaged.

Disabled Disability

I had intended to write here quite a bit more than I have on disability.  This is really saying something.  Eighteen years ago I had viral encephalitis.  It damaged mainly my temporal and parietal lobes.  Making any kind of statement is remarkable.

For most of that time, I did not have much of a disability identity. While I had various and sometimes overwhelming reactions to what had happened, I rarely used the word “disabled” itself.  It was more like “Something happened” followed by various negative emotions mixed in with a lot of confusion, mixed in with a kind of clarity I struggle to explain.

The word I’m most likely to use in my own head is “brokenness”.

This brokenness is certainly the loss of function, of ability.  I have trouble making sense.  Whatever eloquence I attain here requires a lot of effort and leaves me both exhausted and in pain from the effort.   Sometimes I just talk repeating myself in increasingly tighter  circles.  Suddenly seeing a clock I might realize that 15 minutes had passed.  Seeing the worry on my listener’s face, I wonder if it had been all gibberish or “just” a semantic vortex.

This is from a general difficulty processing information, rather than extensive damage to my speech centers – although there is some of that.  Whether the information comes from raw external stimuli, my own mental processes or a combination of the two doesn’t matter.  My experiences of time, object permanence and memory are all impaired, altered, something different.  So I have trouble both making sense and making sense of.

But this brokenness is also a breaking open, a kind of general breaking open of how things are, the beautiful assault I’ve referred to before.  I would have never chosen it, but there it is.

Not Knowing

The first mark of Cyborg existence is Not Knowing. The merging of animal and machine makes the cyborg possible, but it is information that defines it.  Not Knowing covers a spectrum from unsatisfying to painful to hellish torment. There is the Not Knowing of Not Knowing.  Where are my keys?  Will the MRI show a brain tumor?  Might someone Unfriend me today? There is the Not Knowing resulting from change.  The Cyborg knows so much, so many archives, a vast cloud of Information.  But out of datedness, new knowledge, shifting paradigms, corrupted files, call it all into question. Whatever the Cyborg knows, she knows there’s more information, that it’s not enough.  This pervasive Not Knowing is like the hum of a laptop’s fan.  He thinks it can’t function without it, knowing that new information will prove her wrong.

Cyborg Karma

Identity does not contradict non self, the third mark of existence in Buddhism.  A cyborg ages and changes in both her animal and machine parts.  With this impermanence, his identity at some point also changes.  Sagging body parts, brain lesions, a repaired knee, a new cell phone, a crashed hard drive, death, rebirth, the list as varied as endless, as beginingless.

Moment to moment, usually, these changes are too small for the cyborg to sense.  Or this has been true.  Our machine parts are getting more and more sensitive in measuring these changes.  Our machine parts are getting more and more refined in categorizing and comparing these changes, of making them Information, of never losing the Information.

What complex of past actions and turbulent emotions have landed us in this realm?  At some point does the Cyborg Realm become distinct from the Human Realm?  Will the Information Realm become distinct from the Cyborg Realm?

More questions I don’t have anwers for.