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Reality Television and Brain Hacking

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We are all aware of television’s ability to turn us into mindless zombies. But what if television could actually get inside our heads? What if our brains could be hacked and our most intimate thoughts, feelings and desires were broadcast for the world to see? Ben Shriver is about to find out…

Ben had been droning away at his desk for almost half a day when he received the package. It had his name on the card and was wrapped in what appeared to be golden ribbon. He unwrapped it carefully with trembling hands and the box exploded with sound.

“Congratulations Ben Shriver! You are today’s lucky Celebrilottery winner!”

His coworkers stopped their work and peered at him from over their cubicles.

“Grats Shriver,” said Gerald Manly, his cubicle mate. “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jackass.”

“Thanks Gerry,” Ben said, all smiles. Inside the box was a baseball sized object that took to the air hovering about three feet from Ben’s head. The lens cap slid open revealing an ominous red eye.

“Congratulations, Ben Shriver,” said a voice being pumped through tiny speakers on the hovering camera. “We here at Celebrilottery would like to welcome you to a once in a lifetime experience. Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Do you give us permission to suspend your Biochip functions?”

Brain hacking my ass! Ben smiled, thinking of Mika’s unfounded worries. “Yes. Let’s do this!”

Vertigo seized him suddenly. When it subsided, he felt like he was in a dream. He was cognizant of what was going on around him, but unable to affect it. He had effectively become a spectator inside his own body. His arms and legs jerked awkwardly for a few seconds then a voice in his skull spoke. Hey there Benny Boy. It’s Elias Cartel here. You know who I am?

“Yes.” Ben answered. Elias Cartel was probably his favorite comedian on the circuit right now. “It’s an honor to work with you.”

Well I’m the one doing all the work, laughed Cartel. Let’s get started, huh? Do I have permission to suspend your Biochip for the duration of the show and use your voice and body in non-harmful, though potentially embarrassing ways?

“Yes.” With that one statement, Ben Shriver surrendered control of his body.

Excerpt taken from “Twisted Yarns” by Jason DeGray. Get it on Amazon now!

https://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Yarns-Jason-Degray/dp/1312299207/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487697181&sr=1-1&keywords=twisted+yarns%2C+degray

 

Finished!

After a grueling editing process, I’ve finally got a reading copy of my new manuscript ready! That’s right! I finished another book. It’s an exciting supernatural thriller set in New Mexico. I’d like to have a few people read it before I start shopping it around. If you’re interested, drop me a line and lemme know!

Daily Wisdom-isms: The Tao Te Ching (Leadership)

I think one of the underlying themes of the Tao follows closely with the adage, “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Often, our intentions (even good ones) cloud or vision and judgement. They become a stumbling block instead of a building block. This is especially true on a societal level where a few peoples’ clouded judgement can literally collapse the whole system. Enjoy!!

“If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
The less self-reliant people will be.

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes as common as grass.”

—-The Tao Te Ching Ch. 57

Daily Wisdom-isms: The Tao Te Ching (27)

One of my favorite passages from the Tao. Enjoy!

“A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever he wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.

Thus the Master is available to all people
and rejects no one.
He is ready to use all situations
and doesn’t waste anything.
This is called embodying the light.

What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher?
What is a bad man but a good man’s job?
If you don’t understand this, you will get lost,
however intelligent you are.
It is the great secret.”—-The Tao Te Ching Ch. 27

Daily Wisdom-isms: That Hideous Strength (Equality and House Work)

I came across this passage and thought it explained things so well. In it, Jane, Mark’s wife, is being shown around The Manor at St. Anne’s. The Manor is the opposition to the N.I.C.E. and things are done quite differently there. Enjoy!!

“There are no servants here,” said Mother Dimble, “And we all do the work. The women do it one day and the men the next. What? No, it’s a very sensible arrangement. The Director’s idea is that men and women can’t do housework together without quarreling. There’s something in it. Of course, it doesn’t do to look at the cups too closely on the men’s day, but on the whole we get along pretty well.”

“But why should they quarrel?” asked Jane.

“Different methods my dear. Men can’t help in a job, you know. They can be induced to it: not to help while you’re doing it. At least, it makes them grumpy.”

The cardinal difficulty”, said MacPhee, “in collaboration between the sexes is that women speak a language without nouns. If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, ‘Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you’ll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.’ The female for this is, ‘Put that one in the other one there.’ And then if you ask them, ‘in where?’ they say, ‘in there, of course. There is consequently a phatic hiatus.”

“There’s your tea now,” said Ivy Maggs, “and I’ll go and get you a piece of cake, which is more than you deserve. And when you’ve had it you can go upstairs and talk about nouns for the rest of the evening.”

“Not about nouns: by means of nouns,” said MacPhee but Mrs. Maggs had already left the room.

The Book of Absurdity: Epistles of Lucius

Lucius is a resident of the Realm of Possibility. His exploits are well-chronicled adventures and his most famous can even be found in this Realm in collection of epic plays, “A Hollow Monk’s Dreams”. Get “The Godlife” here. The following is an excerpt from The Book of Absurdity, one of the Realm of Possibility’s holy texts. Enjoy!

Introduction

Some random string of ambiguous words expels itself from my skull with an ear piercing shriek. Gone now into forever sonnets sung by sirens luring men into oblivion.

This is my first seduction. The sensual play of words across blank parchment. I am Prometheus bringing the infernos of the mind to numb spirits.

I am slain for the messages I bring. Yet unable to condemn my murderers for their ignorance. I am eternally searching, a slave to the Fates, a lover to the Muses. I expunge my destiny to you in this stream of ambiguous words. My eulogy to life.

Epistle of Folly

I, Lucius, pen these words under the light of a failing candle shaped, oddly enough, as a woman’s breasts. I think it was my mother’s candle. She was always brilliant like that. Brilliant in pink and green, not so much in blue though, it never looked good on her. Did you find the wisdom in that? In what I just wrote was a wealth of wisdom. If you discovered it then congratulations, consider yourself a complete idiot. And if there was not truth in my words, then I congratulate your blindness. It takes a true member of the flock to deny himself the release of Unknowing.

All hail the great light! May you stare into it and be blinded to the lie called existence. Life can be explained by explaining things unexplainable to mortal men. God sits on his gaudy ivory throne eating cheese with Vietnamese hookers. He laughs at the human attempts to achieve his state of grace. He also laughs at golf balls because they are humorous to those of a higher idiocy. Not saying God is an Idiot. He is merely thinking above the level of genius. Thus, people view him as absurd because they cannot comprehend his method. In this we find that the methods of men are absurd as well. These methods of men are absurd because we refuse to recognize them as such. The folly of human thought. The folly is thus: “We believe knowledge offers understanding. Oh! You stupid fucks! Understanding comes from staring blankly and boldly into the void of blackness of everything we never knew only to know nothing again.

I stop writing for an instant to gaze lovingly at the fire blazing from wick nipples. It’s like mother’s milk only hot. Hot mother’s milk. I have a prophetic vision of myself as a babe suckling my mother’s teat and savoring her nectar. It means nothing now, but at the time it was my only desire. Sometimes, I wish I were a babe again.
Never forget, it is the Way that we seek, dear friends. The way to the paradise of Blah. The way that leads us into the open embrace of He That is Not a Pronoun.

Daily Wisdom-isms: That Hideous Strength (Civil Disobedience)

I seriously think the modern mega corporation was modeled after the N.I.C.E. Fairy Hardcastle (the Chief of the N.I.C.E. police force) plays an important role in Mark’s acceptance of N.I.C.E. In this excerpt, she and a few other key N.I.C.E. members discuss a riot they are planning and that they want Mark to write an account of. Enjoy!

“You mean you’ve engineered the disturbances?” said Mark. To do him justice, his mind was reeling from this new revelation. Nor was he aware of any decision to conceal his state of mind…

“That’s a crude way of putting it,” said Feverstone.

“It makes no difference,” said Filostrato. “This is how things have to be managed.”

“Quite,” said Miss Hardcastle. “It’s always done. Anyone who knows police work will tell you. And I say, the real thing–the big riot–must take place within the next 48 hours…In the meantime, you and I have to get busy about the account of the riot.”

“But–what’s it all for?” said Mark.

“Emergency regulations,” said Feverstone. “You’ll never get the powers we want at Edgestow until the Government declares that a state of emergency exists there.”

“Exactly,” said Filostrato. “It’s folly to talk of peaceful revolutions. Not that the canaglia would always resist–often they have to be prodded into it–but until there is disturbance, the firing, the barricades–no one gets powers to act effectively. There’s not enough what you call weight on the boat to steer him.”

“And the stuff must be all ready to appear in the papers the very day after the riot,” said Miss Hardcastle.

“But how are we to write it tonight if the thing doesn’t even happen until tomorrow morning, at the earliest?”

Everyone burst out laughing.

“You’ll never manage publicity that way, Mark,” said Feverstone. “You surely don’t wait for a thing to happen before you tell the story of it.”

This was the first thing Mark had been asked to do which he himself, before he did it, clearly knew to be criminal. But the moment of his consent almost escaped his notice; certainly there was no struggle, no sense of turning a corner. There may have been a time in the world’s history when such moments fully revealed their gravity, with witches prophesying on a blasted heath or visible Rubicons to be crossed. But for him, it slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men.

Can you say “Wag the Dog”? Good ol’ Bill “the Old Shoe” Schumann. He really was real. For real. Because the media said he was real. Why would our medias, governments and corporations lie to us? Aren’t they all working for our benefit? Benevolent overlords who only want to protect us from ourselves? Isn’t that N.I.C.E.?

Daily Wisdom-isms

Today’s Wisdom-ism comes from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. In this excerpt Hoff compares Taoist wisdom and simplicity to Western academia. Enjoy!

“It seems rather odd somehow, that Taoism, the way of the Whole Man, the True Man, the Spirit Man (to use a few Taoist terms), is for the most part interpreted here in the West by the Scholarly Owl–by the Brain, the Academician, the dry-as-dust Absent Minded Professor. Far from reflecting the Taoist ideal of wholeness and independence, this incomplete and unbalanced creature divides all kinds of abstract things into little categories and compartments, while remaining rather helpless and disorganized in his daily life.

Rather than learn from Taoist teachers and from direct experience, he learns intellectually, and indirectly, from books. And since he doesn’t usually put Taoist principles into practice in an everyday sort of way, his explanations of them tend to leave out some rather important details, such as how they work and where you can apply them.

On top of that, it is very hard to find any of the spirit of Taoism in the lifeless writings of the humorless Academic Mortician, whose bleached-out scholarly dissertations contain no more of the character of Taoist wisdom than does the typical wax museum.”—The Tao of Pooh pp. 25 and 26

Daily Dick-isms

Today’s Daily Dick-ism sheds light on PKD’s Gnostic tendencies.  That he was heavily influence by Gnostic theology is hugely apparent in the Exegesis as well as his other works.  This passage struck me as interesting because he seems to be blending Eastern and Western thought into an interesting concept.  Enjoy!

 

“Everything is turned around; yin or YHWH bellows and curses and rants; whereas the true Abba, the authentic yang part, is gentle–and its voice is mild and small and reasonable; it does not threaten or rant. This voice seems almost feminine. That which is truly all-powerful (cf. Zen) has no need to threaten or intimidate. This is a “hall of mirrors” –the true creator is mild and gentle and loving; the usurper bellows (‘the arrogant one’ who does not know there is a father above him/her). Here, again, we are presented with a puzzle and a lesson. Q: ‘Which is the real creator, the ‘still small voice’ or the booming, threatening one who can curse the land with plagues and blights– i.e. has mekkis?’ The coercive or the reasonable-persuasive? ‘Come, let us reason together’. God the loving father wishes us to discern this along our path of enlightenment–not to worship power but to trust wisdom and love.”

——Philip K. Dick Exegesis p. 324

Silence

Silence: When He spoke everything was terror. All trembled at the vibrations of His voice. “What was that?” young particles (soon to be a Universe) asked one another. “That was He of the First Voice”, whispered the rippling Spirit as it gathered the particles together molding them into suns and planets…creating life and matter haphazardly. “What does he want of us?” the infant Universe asked, terrified. For it knew not itself or why it was brought into being. And the spirit replied, OM!

Man: There are two birds fighting over a piece of bread.

Woman: Oh.

Man: Really! Look! Right over there before you—too late. What’re you doing anyway?

Woman: Watching rain puddles. Checking for the slightest movement…There!!

Man: There…what?

Woman: I was hoping they’d fall upward.

Man: Why would rain puddles fall upward?

Woman: Who knows what could happen? It’s rained frogs before.

Man: I don’t understand you.

Woman: Neither do I.

Uncomfortable silence

Silence: Part of the Universe understanding itself is duality. Polar opposites. Everything in creation has one. If not, they very shortly cease to be. What is light without darkness? What is man without woman? Our heroes ponder these questions right now. During the silence. He doesn’t understand she’s only listening for OM. She’s only looking for the concentric rings of the spirit to move her into an awakening. But then again, we all are, whether we realize it or not.

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