Hey Sports Professionals

You’re exploiting the potent combination of human desire and mass communication very well, but not only is the result destructive for the poor schmucks who attach sports to their personal value and spend money they don’t have buying your addictive products, it’s terrible for your own bodies and minds. You’re being exploited by powerful rich people who force giant taxpayer-funded non-profit stadiums on everyone else.

Sports for money does not require the simultaneous attention of millions. You’re very talented, but please be reasonable. If you’re a well-paid professional athlete, you’re very well-paid by any standard. Pool some of that money with other players and set up a new organization for all your sports and play inside a building you own. Please play in reasonable sized places that integrate well into your city so your games don’t disrupt everyone else’s lives..

Next, create a pipeline program that replaces college and high school sports. Prospective future sports professionals will train and compete here safely under professional guidance and instruction as they prepare for their career in sports. Have after-school programs for prospects during high school, relieving schools and taxpayers of the need to fund professional sports. Create a robust selection process and hire prospects from high school directly into your company, where, while providing various administrative and logistical assistance, they will participate in full-time training camps and life skills programs until and after they’re selected for a professional team. For those who wish to concurrently take college classes, plan to set aside money for tuition assistance and other benefits. Pay fair salaries and treat athletes like respected employees. Make salaries standard across the league to prevent wealthy teams from determining the location of talent and allow for the self-incorporation and official induction of exceptional and organized externally created teams.

Your organization can be a multi-tiered multimedia and sports company that liaises with communities to nurture prospective sports talent (please do not gouge poor communities with prices, there’ll be plenty of money), reports on league activities through your own channels and publications, broadcasts and sells licensing rights to games, licenses player and league merchandise, and serve as the major player-owned sports league.

With your current salaries you could complete your contracts, pool a proportional percentage for seed money and immediately attract a swarm of international investors dying to do business with you. Retain a solid majority control and steer the organization to be the best sports league in the history of humanity.

Please stop exploiting human frailty to feed your own ego. You have the power to create a better situation for yourself and future sports professionals.

Abdication

war is over

The Korean peninsula would benefit from a lack of US involvement. It’s time for Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea, and Japan to move beyond historically tenuous regional relationships and petty maritime border bickering. It’s time to find a solution to nuclear weapons in North Korea without the American Wild Card. It’s time to end the war on the Korean peninsula and remove a foreign military force that abuses the South Korean population, supports crime networks and human trafficking, and destabilizes the peace. War on the Korean peninsula will be one of the great cataclysms of our age. We, as humans, can prevent it from ever happening.

It’s time for America to become one nation among many nations. The false stasis of Pax Americana thoroughly disproved and the prophets of the miserable World Order (their words, not mine) revealed as cynical mouthpieces for their exploitative tribe. They who sold the illusion of stability, progress, liberty, and equilibrium as they handed out small pox blankets and nuclear guarantees.

Our hallowed elite, sitting in mahogany halls.

We are observed in rot-filled homes forming mutinous mouths.

Our hallowed elite, opinions weighted with fortune.

We are observed in hole-filled streets grasping at the future.

 

Their walls climb above our heads until they own the sky.

Our lives are bought and sold as holy consumption dissolves on the tongues of the faithful.

Their deaths electrify our minds and topple our world.

Our lives are programs we run to complete blocks of time worth what the market pays.

 

Our hallowed elite, caressed now by Asclepius.

We are observed in sick-filled offices loving our pills.

Our hallowed elite, outsource empathy for comfort.

We are observed in our shame-filled weakness,

We are observed in our anger-filled failures,

We are observed in our trauma-filled relationships,

We who lack the will to triumph over all beings.

 

Their halls are the halls we build for them,

Our homes are the homes they told us to build.

Their opinions are the opinions we lend value,

Our futures are the futures they told us to have.

 

The walls that overtake us are creations of our mind,

Those lives we consume in delusion are creations of another’s.

The deaths that control us are creations of our mind,

Those lives we complete in deference are creations of another’s.

 

Their nourishment is the nourishment we provide,

Our sickness is the sickness they told us we could cure.

Their empathy is the empathy we forgive,

Our weakness is the weakness they told us would lead to ruin.

 

We are hallowed.

Our lives are hallowed.

We are elites.

Our world is what we allow.

Collective abdication our legacy.

Sexual Violence in Afghanistan

Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence

“American efforts at recruitment have been marked by a 30,000-foot perspective that focuses on numbers, but lacks a sense of the realities for Afghan women on the ground: Many families are wary of allowing their daughters to enlist, acutely aware of cultural notions that women in security forces are “loose” because they work so closely alongside men. A false rumor is all it can take for a male colleague, or neighbor, to undermine a woman’s career — and even cost her her life.”

I can personally confirm nearly everything in this op-ed. Within the Afghan unit I advised for a year I knew male Afghan soldiers who routinely harassed, assaulted, and raped female Afghan soldiers. We, the advisers, could not stop this practice because if we talked about this reality to anyone or even mentioned that we knew it occurred, the women would most likely have been killed in retaliation by the male Afghan soldiers, or out of shame/honor by the families of the female soldiers, who were often unaware their daughters were serving. Having to drink tea and shake hands with active rapists to keep up appearances, not offend their fragile masculinity, and prevent them from killing women you have no power or authority to help is a moral quagmire I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

In this context, I had ISAF/RS advisers focusing on women’s empowerment in Afghanistan visit our camp. Their major focus was making sure all the female soldiers had the proper boot sizes. Unfortunately, the Afghan boot factory had burned down a few years before, so we had to inform them that we were having trouble locating boots for the female soldiers, but had placed an order for the needed boot sizes with an American manufacturer. While this satisfied ISAF/RS temporarily, we had to give weekly updates on the status of the boot order to ensure women were empowered in Afghanistan.

For the record, the violence and trauma inflicted on everyone in Afghanistan is not because of some innate cultural or religious issue present within the many diverse ethnic groups that make up the region. The cause of violence and trauma in Afghanistan is the violence and trauma that has been inflicted on the people of Afghanistan for their entire lives. Their psyches, like all psyches raised with trauma, have developed coping and survival mechanisms, many of them horrific, as a response to the extreme trauma of their environment.

Choosing Peace

“Perhaps a memorable day will come when a nation renowned in wars and victories, distinguished by the highest development of military order and intelligence, and accustomed to make the heaviest sacrifice to these objects, will voluntarily exclaim, “We will break our swords” and will destroy its whole military system, lock, stock, and barrel.  Making ourselves defenseless (after having been the most strongly defended) from a loftiness of sentiment — that is the means towards genuine peace, which must always rest upon a pacific disposition.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Means Towards Genuine Peace, The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.

Our psyche contains reagents for peace, civilization, and violence. These potentials coexist with individual morality and bring a semblance of order to an otherwise disorderly universe. Organization assists our consciousness with navigating reality as we interact with, learn from, and classify data gathered through sensory experiences. Categorized data serves as the canvass on which we paint our social narratives. When we construct a foundational worldview, the direction we believe our narrative will or should go, what is really taking place is a series of interactions between our chemistry, habitual neural networks, and the arbitrary external stimuli gleaned from our limited senses. We synthesize fantasy into reality by combining disparate points of data and projecting the results.

In reaction to the unclassified universe, the human mind, collectively and over time, has used fantasy to condense its environment into local, cataloged, qualified, quantified, and taken-for-granted constructs. This reductionism provides buoyancy for feelings of efficacy, comprehension, and meaning as humanity floats on a precariously constructed raft in the midst of the vast and infinite ocean of possibilities that exist outside present perception and understanding. While simplifying the universe into narratives derived from our current limitations allows for decisiveness, it places key elements of human empowerment, self-awareness, intentionality, and collective action, beyond our reach.

We are individuals battling for relative prominence and power on a rickety raft; a species whose triumphs are limited by the bounds of its popular constructs. However, as a conscious community, our true fate is inextricably linked to our ability to collectively overcome the limitations of believing we are individual parts in conflict. Humanity must awaken to the knowledge that our raft is an illusion.

Peace through consciousness

Just as our cerebral alchemy blends available chemicals to create consciousness, the multivariate human mind produces external actions we label as peaceful or violent, good or bad. Violence is an action that inflicts trauma whereas peace is the absence of trauma. Civilization is the result of a preponderance of communal choices of peace over violence. Within individual civilizations, good and bad are constructed reactions to arbitrary external stimuli passed through whatever filters the local history instilled into the conscious and unconscious mind of a civilization’s adherents. By contrast, the constructs of peace and violence are universal and static.

Peace, as a foundational worldview, is not arbitrary or malleable. It is not couched in eras, popular constructs, or specific contexts. Peace does not require a codified ruleset that must be interpreted by an individual consciousness when interfacing with and acting within infinitely interpretable realities. Peace, unlike the concept of good, is not a force that creates an equal and opposite reaction; it’s entirely self-contained. To live in peace, one performs peace within and without at every decision-point regardless of the internal or external presence of good, bad, or violence.

Whether we understand the world through western ideas or eastern ideas or anarchy or nihilism or authoritarianism, communism, capitalism, democracy, monarchy, theocracy, consumerism, ignorance, anti-fascism, fascism, anti-life, or pro-death, the individual consciousness remains the primary agent in the fundamental choice between peace and violence. The paradox of concomitant potential peace and violence within each of us is consistent across disparate cultural philosophies, amalgamations of governance, and technological eras.  If we conclude that some version of free will exists as the result of chemical reactions in our habitual neural pathways fueling the production of a unique consciousness capable of decisions with some level of independence from external context, we must conclude we are capable of choosing between acts of peace and acts of violence. These choices, made by individually conscious beings at every moment of their existence, determine the state of human civilization.

On violence

Violence is an act, not a result; a means via trauma. There is no separation between the transformation of energy into a traumatic act and the consciousness that chooses or is directed unconsciously to use its own energy to facilitate that transformation. An act of violence sends an explosion of psychological shrapnel in all directions. The subsequent conscious or unconscious choices made by those who use, experience, witness, or passively accept violence are subject to a basic law of physics, the equal energy of reaction. Trauma is an energy, and as energy is neither created nor destroyed, the traumatized consciousness chooses how trauma will be transformed. The power of human consciousness is its capacity to make choices via broad synthesis rather than binary reactive feedback. We draw upon a lifetime of data to analyze lessons, extract information, and implement remedies. Our choice to transform traumatic energy depends on how we choose to synthesize and interpret the lessons of our collective input.

I learned this through wielding, facilitating, observing, and experiencing violence myself in varying extremes, from childhood traumas to war. Through Jungian analysis, transcendental meditation, sensory deprivation, an amateur study of neurology, and any other method I could imagine that might assist, I deconstructed these personal traumas to better understand myself and humanity’s relationship with violence. My conclusion was that while trauma does contain important data, how we interpret that data determines how we transform traumatic energy and whether that transformation will lead to additional traumas.

When discussing seemingly justified violence for the betterment of a defined portion of humanity, the act of violence itself, and its impact on everything it touches, cannot be ignored. One human must perform violence on another human in order to achieve the projected beneficial results. While the expected outcomes may feel righteous through the user’s filters, violence itself is never righteous. An act of violence is always trauma.

After Frodo Baggins returns from defeating his constructed reality’s definition of evil, a feat he manages (with some last minute assistance) by absorbing evil while attempting to maintain his self, he realizes he will never be the same. “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back. There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold.” J.R.R. Tolkien, having experienced some of the most traumatic violence ever created by mankind during what was then called the war to end all wars, adeptly portrays his central figure’s struggle to return to peace after exposure to consolidated violent power. Frodo’s decision, as Tolkien wrote, was to journey into the West to live among the immortal Eldar in hopes of finding an existence removed from the traumas of his past.

In the reality we inhabit, achieving an existence removed from trauma is not a magical journey to a place of tranquility, but rather a quest towards peace and harmony within. Once achieved and maintained, this internal, consciously chosen peace has the power to reshape our external environment, create organic, sustainable civilizations, and empower our species to transcend the traumas of its past.

Civilization is not violence

Violence and civilization are endlessly entangled concepts; two competing strands of DNA jockeying for ephemeral prominence, the growing inertia of one stymied by the reactive swells of the other. Despite intermittent heights of civilization and depths of violence, their respective periodic golden eras have never severed their mutual dependence. Human-crafted ideas that comprise civilization, also known as constructs, are imbued with justifications for violence, meaning civilization relies on violence to maintain order and violence requires consciousness and civilization for validation. Because the nature of this link is dependent upon humans, these concepts have avoided a lasting equilibrium and continue to dominate our political, philosophical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual bandwidth.

Humanity’s flirtation with consciousness and self-awareness has been mixed. Human action is determined by an endless variety of biological mutations, uncountable micro-interactions adding up to what we call socialization, external, historically dependent constructs, and whatever power or influence an individual’s own consciousness claws out for itself within their internal psychological landscape. The ratio of total conscious actions versus total unconscious actions isn’t quantifiable, so the concept of individual fault is convoluted, particularly with the potential for unconscious actions fueled by biology, socialization, and external constructs. When an individual human consciousness transgresses, the blame is spread across every factor that influenced the transgression.

Rather than use moral lenses to observe and judge human actions of unknown origin, it’s easier to discuss and judge the results of those actions. Humanity’s collective outcomes have been inconsistent and often alter the balance of power between violence and civilization. The nature of these actions has changed as humanity’s constructed world has changed, but whether our constructs in the fields of biology, technology, and politics have actually allowed humanity to intentionally evolve in a way that will lead to sustainable equilibriums of violence and civilization remains to be seen. Some level of violence and some level of civilization have always accompanied humanity as it journeyed into the uncharted wilderness of collective-awareness and actualization.

The transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer bands to rooted agrarian societies brought with it the novelty of surplus. Whether surplus individuals or materials, this change aggregated over generations and resulted in a shift in human actions, some enabling greater violence and some enabling greater civilization. Violence-enabling surpluses, particularly in the context of competing civilizations, create military force. The creation of this force results in a security dilemma.

Fortunately for early humans, the limits of their nascent violence-enabling technology, along with restrictive surpluses, prevented violence from achieving dominance over civilization. Unfortunately for modern humans, the advance of these technologies has greatly increased the risk of ascendant violence, which remains proportional to the consolidation of power into accessible and proliferated actions. With global communications, connectivity, and transportation, a single determined individual, whether from a seat of traditional power or from the margins of civilization, can dramatically impact the world.

It is in this context we must consider the existence and meaning of the United States military, rightly labeled but wrongly celebrated as the most powerful fighting force ever created by humanity. This unprecedented power is wielded through a combination of executive decisions originating from a democratically elected commander-in-chief, budgeting and authorization provided by a democratically elected legislative body, authoritarian organizational methods and orders from a militarized chain of command, and the individual decisions of service members. These mechanisms work together to create a force capable of destroying nearly all life on Earth. The problem with creating the most powerful destructive force in history is that it also creates the largest security dilemma in history for every other group of organized people.

The power of any force will always be met by an equal, opposing force. In political terms this means that whatever the relative power of any individual military, it will always find its opposing force. While not exclusively martial in nature, this contra force is the expression of an entire interconnected planet’s worth of individual and collective power. As access to greater power has increased and proliferated through the spread of new technology, the contra force to the most powerful military ever created has forced the United States to devote increasingly large portions of its budget and energy to maintaining its strategy of overmatch, a zero-sum game for other neglected but no less vital civilizational priorities. Unfortunately, investing in a more powerful military means inadvertently but inevitably increasing the power of contra forces; an unsustainable course of action for any individual nation.

Calls for disarmament and re-prioritization inexorably lead back to the security dilemma, the idea that internal actions related to security are viewed as hostile actions by external actors and increase conflict potentials. This idea is deeply rooted in human survival instincts, with relative power viewed in terms of danger and threat. However, human survival instincts are anathema to civilization.

Breaking the Security Dilemma

The only way to destroy a construct as insidious as the security dilemma is to consciously dismantle its mutually reinforcing parts. Zero violence is never the goal, because unconscious violence, violence derived from instinct or overpowering mental illness, will always exist. This form of violence, when it occurs, requires patience and work to uncover how variables within the originating society contributed to the release of trauma. In many cases, those variables can be addressed with equal work and patience. Unfortunately the many variables present within a population of 7.6 billion prevents the cessation of every form of unconscious violence. While it cannot be eliminated, by learning the right lessons from each instance of trauma, the impact will not only be mitigated, it can be used as a learning tool to improve upon a civilization’s weaknesses.

Achieving zero conscious violence is another matter entirely. The creation and maintenance of a military force is an admission by a regional administrative organization that conscious violence is not only tolerable, but necessary within the bounds of their self-defined and enforced social constructs. Whether distance, difference, or ignorance leads a civilization down the road of conscious violence, the results of trauma within and without are the same. This form of violence can and should be eliminated from human civilization, and it must begin with the military of the global hegemon. Only with an end to this existential threat to life can we begin dismantling the security dilemma and work towards sustainable peace. We must minimize conditions for potential trauma and maximize conditions for potential happiness.

Every force is met by an equal and opposite force, even when destroying our own pretenses of safety and security. If we fear the loss of our military, we should question the validity of that fear. We must not let fear continue controlling our lives or the lives of so many who are already impacted by violence rooted in the night terrors of the American people.

A different state of nature

The classic political concepts of the “state of nature” and the “social contract” are based on a misunderstanding of the origins of humanity. Life was not nasty, brutish, and short when humans were hunter-gatherers; it was relaxed, equitable, and short. This fundamental confusion about the origin of our species has contributed to the falsehood that our social contract serves as a monopoly on violence to protect one consciousness from another. It is through the trauma of poor constructs and poor civilizational models that we believe we need protection.

Humans do not wish to kill other humans. This is a central anchor within our psyches which allows us to work together to achieve greater collective outcomes. It is only when unconscious trauma becomes conscious trauma through cycles of violence, poor methods of redress, and applying incorrectly learned lessons that humans develop conscious desires to inflict trauma and commit conscious actions that accomplish that goal.

Is seeing a path to peace naïve? Perhaps it is naïve to believe humans wish to continue building civilization. Presently, it appears many are just as satisfied with being the last generation of their kind as they might be had they considered the alternative, which is to exist as a link in a chain of consciousness the stretches off into an unknown infinity. The creation of children in this environment is a cruel joke on future generations as we grow unsustainably and consume unsustainably and traumatize unsustainably. We are asking our children to grow up and clean up a mess that was too broken and complicated to fix ourselves. We must not leave this to our children, for we have the power to fix the world right now. This power is within each of us and projected with every choice we make.

The civilization we have built is as fragile as the nearest genocide, as frail as the latest threat of nuclear destruction. The constructs that control our civilization, for all their faults, were built over generations of effort and sacrifice and death and learning and can be lost in a moment; our records wiped clean and our knowledge destroyed. Every generation has the choice of whether it will preserve, enhance, or burn its Library of Alexandria. My greatest fear is that this choice will be made for us by our traumatized collective unconscious.

We are links in a chain of conscious life and grains of sand on the scales of universal history. Let us recognize our power and learn how to wield it with the humility of a happy grain, towards peace.

Free Will

Do we have free will? Can we intentionally impact the world around us? Are we incredibly complex biological automatons reacting to our environment through filters placed on us by our natural chemistry, environmentally absorbed chemicals, external stimuli, and social constructs?

Free will and unpredictability are not the same. Lacking the ability to predict the actions of complex systems means our model is currently not accurate enough to factor in every possible variable. If we are automatons, eventually our algorithms and models will catch up with our variables and our future will be clear.

If we aren’t destined to live within the constraints of our variable maze, we can claim free will for ourselves by making deliberate choices and using willpower to enforce those choices. If we know we could do better, treat our brain in healthier ways, expose our neural networks to better chemicals from our food and environment, maintain healthier personal relationships, and use our brains to positively influence and improve the world around us, we can prove to ourselves and the universe that indeed we do have free will.

Humans, like all independent entities, use energy to fuel their existence. To suddenly impose free will on the entirety of a life governed by our monstrously complicated systems would take a massive personal expenditure of limited energy resources. This is why creating a mutually reinforcing and beneficial infrastructure, over time and with much work and progressive effort, for individuals and groups is of vital importance.

Freeing humans to use their personally maintained energy reserves to enhance their own free will, allowing necessary surpluses to enable thoughtful choices, is of vital importance as we move towards the automation of tasks formerly powered by human energy. The energy remainder after that transition is currently unaccounted for. If we remain a violent, traumatized civilization with excess energy and ever increasing access to advanced and untested technology, our external environments will come to reflect our internal environments.

This is the test we face as a species; do we accept the challenge of actualizing our free will to create a sustainable civilization, or do we deny our birthright and let the hand of fate dictate, through our ad hoc system of unplanned growth, consumption, and trauma, the inevitable destruction of all we have built?

Buddy Christ

Interesting subplot in the Roy Moore saga:

Comparisons of Moore to biblical Joseph are spot on.

If I was transported to the year -1, would I personally support, condone, or allow the marriage of (according to tenants of the Abrahamic faith) the teenage future possible mother of the son of the Abrahamic god to a much older man? It was normal. Joseph’s child marriage is simply one of the uncountable other child marriages that have taken place and still continue to take place all around the world.

Let’s be clear, when I say “child marriage” I doubt the first thought that comes to mind is a little boy exploited by their family and an older man. Babies are born every day into an environment in which men regularly molest, rape, and marry young women and molest and rape young boys. Let’s be perfectly clear now, in most cultures, including the US, young boys are raped and molested by older men at highly under-reported rates. These rates nearly compare to the highly under-reported rates of older men, especially those with any type of power, who are collectively raping, molesting, and marrying women.

Fun fact: I’ve read, observed, and witnessed this because I’ve spent time in societies that were exploited by imperialist nations and found they often have a more widely accepted tradition of raping and molesting young people. It is hidden less well there than it was (until recently) in imperialist nations. However, regardless of how well hidden or shrouded the practice is in any particular culture, its existence is consistent throughout cultures. Men with power exploit others.

We can graph out our idea of a less developed civilization with our idea of a more developed civilization, do a cross cultural comparison of development and concentrations of power, and see evidence that nations with more diffused power were exploited by nations with more consolidated concentrations of power. The fate of the historical notion of nation states rests in the way its power is distributed. Greater distribution leads to easier exploitation by neighbors or foes with greater concentration, because greater concentration allows for energy organization and extraction by a centrally powerful arbiter. This arbiter can then wield an acutely concentrated power to outmatch the individually diffused powers of a divided and conquered foe.

Unfortunately, greater consolidation of power also leads to greater concentration of risk. The internet certainly helps concentrate power for those who know how to wield it, but it also offers us a way to functionally keep power diffused while still remaining highly organized. As a population grows, factions splinter and one individual can come to influence the energy of larger and larger groups of individuals and wield that power as they see fit. We must figure out whether to thank or curse g-d and/or the universe for the diffused and currently fairly egalitarian power of the internet, because this moment of diffused power will help make us or break us as a species.

Men of the world, all of you. Why do you have moments of your life you have to repress?

1.Deal with your collective misdeeds in whatever regenerative, maximally, mutually, and collectively beneficial way is easiest for you to achieve in your particular situation. The internet is such a powerful tool!

2. After this, start living a consistent life without forgetting you and only you have the power to control every single one of your own actions. Increased power and ability to do this comes with time and lots of practice.

3. Finally, be part of building a collectively beneficial environment that enables and sustains a collectively rational lifestyle for everyone using whatever creative tips, techniques, and technology all our minds can muster. Everyone’s your equal, deal with it in a positive way.

A little veteran self-righteousness for your Veteran’s Day (Observed).

Hint: They’re all Traitors!!!

Let’s talk traitors! Label each number BT for “Bloody Traitor” or NT for “Not a Traitor”

1. A person who joins the military, doesn’t like it, and openly criticizes the military.

2. A person who never votes in their regional administrative organization’s elections and applies for welfare from that regional administrative organization.

3. A person who has friends from lots of regions of the world and openly criticizes the administrative organization claiming dominion over where the person was born.

4. A person who votes for an administrative leader who has economic and social ties to other regions of the world.

5. A person who generally wants to get rid of the administrative organization claiming dominion over where the person was born to replace it with something better.

6. A person who is actively thinking of ways to better diffuse concentrations of wealth and power, including dismantling the administrative organization claiming dominion over where the person was born.

7. A person who offers economic, political, moral, or spiritual support to some form of concentrated wealth and power that impacts other human beings without their consent.

8. A person who lies about who they are and what they’ve done in order to manipulate the image they are attempting to intentionally construct in the mind’s of others.

9. A person who sees greater connections between human beings from different regions than between administrative organizations and the human beings who were born in the regions over which those organization claim dominion.

10. A person who works to create and then use tax collection loopholes in order to minimize their support for their local administrative organization while benefiting from that local administration’s services.

11. A person who works to create a regional administrative organization that will benefit that person and their friend’s at the expense of people who are not that person or their friends.

12. A person who likes a region they were not born in more than the region where they were born.

13. A person who does not know or denies the full, both good and bad, history of the region where they were born and then advocates or votes for a regional administration that reflects that ignorance.

14. A person who learns the full history of the region where they were born and then advocates or votes to dismantle a regional administration that reflects ignorance of that history.

15. A person who uses violence to accomplish something that, logically, benefits more people than it hurts.

16. A person who refuses to use violence to accomplish anything, even when it would benefit more people than it would hurt.

17. A person who doesn’t care what happens to the administrative organization claiming dominion over where the person is born.

News from Dystopia

The Judgmental Auctioneer
Sotheby’s newest star redefines the value of art

It seems like an evening like any other at Sotheby’s, though the buyers know tonight will be anything but standard operating procedure.  Known as a popular spot for trillionaires to embarrass billionaires, Sotheby’s has begun a bold new experiment in auctioneering. Using the personal judgment of their new auctioneer to decide whether wealthy aspirant owners deserve the prestige that comes from owning a certified classic work of human creativity, Sotheby’s has suddenly transformed the art world into something that transcends cash itself.

The bold move was initially viewed as a desperate attention-grab from the auction house, which has been battling to stay relevant in the age of eBay Platinum. It has, however, sparked renewed interest in the novelty of In Real Life (IRL) shopping. This is, in large part, thanks to the forceful presence of The Auctioneer.

Meeting The Auctioneer is a singular experience. The first thing The Auctioneer will tell you, or anyone who happens to be in the same room, about The Auctioneer is that The Auctioneer is the only proper noun or pronoun with which to address The Auctioneer. The second thing, at least in my experience, is that looking The Auctioneer in the eyes is offensive and reflects lessons the viewer must have learned from the white male patriarchy (WMP).

After the polite formalities are observed, The Auctioneer is ready to explain The Auctioneer’s unique style. “The Auctioneer knows what’s right, that’s all anyone needs to know.” The Auctioneer explains to me over a lunch of cavier and goji berries. “The Auctioneer went to the best schools and received the best education, but that’s not what makes The Auctioneer special. The Auctioneer is special because there is only one The Auctioneer. The Auctioneer’s lifelong struggle to enforce acceptance has informed The Auctioneer’s entirely unique, new, and special viewpoint. No one has ever had The Auctioneer’s viewpoint in the history of humanity.”

This spirit of hearty American individualism is on full display when the lights go up and The Auctioneer confidently strides to The Auctioneer’s specially made podium. The opening item of the evening is a beautiful 17th century European landscape (names of paintings and artists withheld out of respect to the new owners). Rather than set standard opening price, The Auctioneer simply glowers at the audience before asking who thinks they deserve the painting.

A hand shoots up, “I do.”

The speaker is a slender man in a gorgeous gown with red and gold trim. The Auctioneer narrows The Auctioneer’s eyes before spitting out a series of seemingly non-sequitur questions about the man’s food habits, political views, favorite charities, exercise schedule, which private school his children attend, and how many hours of sleep he gets each night. Apparently displeased with the response, The Auctioneer shakes The Auctioneer’s head and moves on.

This process repeats itself three more times before The Auctioneer finally seems satisfied with an individual and pronounces, “You deserve this.” The audience gives The Auctioneer a standing ovation before moving on to the next item.

After four of five lots, the most striking aspect of the scene is the absence of dollar values. Not once is the price of a painting discussed, only the quality of the purchaser. Over and over, The Auctioneer quizzes individuals and finds them unworthy, with The Auctioneer’s judgement as the solitary arbiter of value.

When the night’s proceedings conclude I corner a staff member to inquire further. The staff member, who requested anonymity, informs me every person in the audience has more money than god, so determining auction winners via monetary bids had become passé. Looking around, clearly that night’s winners had achieved something greater than merely purchasing a classic work of art, they had passed through a gauntlet and emerged as a validated human.

The judgmental model may not be for everyone, and certainly not for anyone with fewer than triple digit billions, but other industries are beginning to take notice. Certain top-secret classified stores on the Upper East Side are beginning to implement similar quizzes for prospective clients before allowing them to shop. Whether these tests will have the same force sans The Auctioneer remains to be seen.