Offloading Humanity

The culmination of humanity’s demise was as old as humanity itself. From the first illustration drawn on a cave wall, humans had told stories and recounted history. Each cumulative link in the chain, from decorative pottery and bedtime stories to television and holographic novels, furthered the desire to augment or escape reality. Ever seeking utopia, a world without struggle, the greatest achievement known to homo sapiens was also its last act in a lonely and indifferent cosmos.

The first inroads to mankind’s undoing began with prosthesis. The marriage between man and machine allowed amputees to twitch a muscle and control a rude motor. Implants were designed to allow the blind to see and the deaf to hear. At first the implants allowed only a narrow spectrum, roughly equivalent to that of the native human ability; later it was expanded to include wavelengths far beyond that of the Norms. With genetic engineering, disabilities were eliminated altogether. The brain was mapped and tapped. Cybernetic implants and connections gave way to a half-breed of humanity, a union between the digital world it created for escape, and the physical world to which it was chained.

When humans dreamed, thoughts were captured, recreated and rendered in full detail in a digital system. Art was reborn in the renaissance of direct thought. Individuals with no outward signs of talent or ability became composers of grand scale, artists of unimaginable beauty. The creative mind was no longer bound by sinew and skill. The world operated at the speed of thought. “Think-tanks” became a literal term, as the knowledge and subjective experiences of men and women were combined, aggregated and quantified. Theories and wild imagination alike were efficiently parsed and fact-checked. Scientific progress exploded in a flurry of thought experiments and dynamic data-modeling.

It came as little surprise when the first brain was successfully merged with a fictional universe. Video game companies at that time were constantly pushing the limits of their hardware. How quickly the fictional worlds spread. Linked by the underlying technology, each world was distinct yet connected to the whole. In any world, and in every world, the digital self became an extension of the physical self. Skills learned in one universe translated to all universes, both physical and virtual. The worlds grew, aided by true Artificial Intelligence architects. The difference between sensation physically, and the digital equivalent, rapidly dwindled to nothing.

At first, disconnection was necessary. The physical body was frail and required maintenance. In the background fabric of the physical world, science provided solutions. Humans began to spend more of their time virtually, as their physical bodies became wetware: part of the overall system. People died during these first formative years, but the technology and progress by far outpaced the outrage. It was heralded as a miracle, a major scientific breakthrough, when the first human survived her own death. She became a part of the system, no longer an avatar of her physical self, but a true reflection of her own ego.
There were further unanticipated effects of moving to a digital existence. As the physical world developed beyond the conflict of resources, wars ceased. Conflicts were taken online, where the victors gloated, but their opponents never died. Death itself became meaningless. The virtual avatar simply regenerated, without any loss of skill, knowledge or resources.

Philosophy as a field was born anew, as discussions of the ego and digital property rights collided with the belief in the divine. Fair and equitable treatment was a mandate from the earliest integration systems. Each person would succeed on the merits of their skills. Theft was impossible; any item could be restored to its owner instantly. Greed became useless when the resources were essentially infinite.
The birth rate fell in the physical world as more people offloaded their consciousness digital-industrial complex they had created. Leaving the maintenance and care of the digital-industrial complex humans had created to the trusted AI, each virtual universe became infinite and diverse. It was of little importance which universe a person chose; transfer between worlds was instantaneous.

Leaving behind a massive, world-wide automated and self-improving system, Mankind shed its corporeal form. In that instant, the creation merged with its creators, and humanity as the universe knew it ceased to be.

The Job/Experience Catch-22

I’m going to try to help out a friend who has posed the very real and frustrating problem of attempting to get a job without experience. “Catch-22″ first entered our modern vocabulary after the release of a book by the same title. The most relevant passage from the book is as follows:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. (p. 56, ch. 5)”
-Joseph Heller “Catch-22″

Translated into the field of job-searching, the argument easy to spot: To get a job, the employer requires that you have experience; however, you cannot gain the necessary experience without first having the job. And so on and so forth.

I was once in the same boat. It’s a crap situation. The question I had to ask myself, the same question I pose to my friend, is this: Do you love and want this job? I mean, really, truly, in-your-soul want and love? If the answer is yes, then quit making excuses and start making the experiences.

Employers are looking to get the most qualified person in the position as soon as possible. They are going to hire the person that can do the job they day they step into the office. The least amount of time the employer needs to spend training that individual, the faster the business can get their return on investment. Their investment is your paycheck.

Here’s a website with some common interview questions:

Go through that list and answer as many as you can with the work experience you currently have. Write down your answers. Now, go through the list again, but this time, don’t use any work or job examples. Think about all of the other things you’ve ever done in your life. Little league, drama class, whatever. See how many experiences you can tie in to the questions. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve done with your life that, while not directly job-related, can be related to a job. It shows the interviewer that you have the self-awareness and intelligence to apply things you’ve learned in your life to your work. That’s very valuable.

For every question you couldn’t answer, that’s an item to add to your list of experiences you need to make for yourself. Get a mentor. Find someone you respect in the industry you’re aiming for, and ask them for their help. The first 20 people may say “no,” but each rejection should only be seen as an additional challenge. Find out why they won’t take you on. Is it them, or is it you? You need to sell yourself many times over in your life; now is the perfect time to practice your sales pitch.

If you start your own project or help someone else with theirs, document everything. Whether it’s learning a new skill, sharing a sandwich, or just having a chat, write it all down. So much of what you do unconsciously can be used to your advantage when applying for a job. And here I’m not talking about just technical skill. Any idiot can learn to use Ableton or clone a hard drive, if that’s what they want or need to learn. I’m talking about people skills; times when you were challenged to meet deadlines, drive business results, or resolve conflict.

I’ll give you an example. I’ve studied martial arts for about 17 years now. I was asked a question during an interview about conflict resolution. You can bet I tied in my martial arts experience. Conflict resolution when there’s the threat of physical violence is high-stakes. I am able to talk about defusing that situation and it shows that I have the skills and experience, even if I’ve never had cause to use them in the workplace. It also shows that I am able to think about my life outside of work, and apply what I’ve learned for myself to the workplace. That answer impressed the hell out of my interviewer.

The world does not owe you your dream job. If you do not feel you have the experience you need to land the job you want, it is on you to go and find it, or make it up yourself. Sometimes that means working for free, or volunteering to help someone else complete their project. Sometimes it means taking a job that sucks to get the experience you need to get the job you want. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to have the skills and knowledge that your employer needs.

To do what you love, you only have to work 1/2 a day. You can do anything you want with the other 12 hours.

The Whole Story

Saw a T-Shirt on Facebook that said “What if Stacy’s Mom was Jessie’s Girl, and her number was 867-5309?”

Which is rather clever, but that’s not the whole story

You see, Jenny, pregnant with Stacy in 1985, was tired of her husband’s shit, and told him to Hit the Road, Jack. She did this because Jack was in love with Roxanne and wouldn’t stop practicing his night moves with her. Roxanne was, professionally, a sadomasochist, and would constantly shout “Hit me with your best shot!” at Jack. However, when not on call, she was just a small town girl in way over her head in the Empire State. In the night, Jack would whisper “Don’t stop believing” in Roxanne’s ear whenever she despaired at their impoverished lives. Jack and Roxanne knew they needed to leave Paradise City when they shot Sheriff Sparks while robbing a rich man. Roxanne turned to Jack and said “Hey man nice shot.” The lovers adopted the pseudonyms of Billy Joe and Bobby Sue, took the money and ran. Billy Green was on their tail shortly thereafter, as was Detective Billy Mack. While on the run Billy said to Bobbie, “We’re gong to find a place where you can lay me down.”

Catching a midnight train to Georgia, the smooth criminals made their way south of the border to Panama. The sign on the side of the road read Welcome to the Jungle. In the Jungle, Bobbie Sue had their first and only child, Johnny B. Goode. Johnny grew up listening to stories of the big city life, and vowed he would become a rockstar on MTV so he could get money for nothing. When he left his parents in Margaritaville, all he said was “Goin’, gone.” 

Playing gigs all over, he eventually earned the nickname “Cowboy,” due to his wild ways and far-roaming tours. Once, when interviewed about the close ties he had with his band mates Tommy and  Gina, Johnny notoriously said “Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other.” This led to much speculation about Johnny’s sexual preferences in the media; Johnny himself always asserted he had a “friend, dear Prudence,” though she was never publicly seen with Johnny. It didn’t take long for Johnny’s head to become over inflated with success, leading to the eventual break up of the band.

Tommy and Gina, no longer famous celebrities, fell on hard times. Money was so tight a times they were essentially living on a prayer. Tommy’s job on the docks didn’t pay enough, and Gina’s waitress gig didn’t pan out either. Arguments over money and infidelity caused constant tension in the home. Neighbors often called the police over the violence and abuse, citing the couple as saying such awful things as “I love the way you lie,” “I don’t know a Billy Jean” and “Lose yourself, monster!” An unfortunate car accident with James Dean (no relation) on Route 66, also known as the Highway to Hell, killed Gina. Tommy, hurt, but alive, nursed himself back to health with equal mix Spam and white lines. Tommy’s guilty conscience blamed himself for Gina’s death. “Because I got high,” he said. One too many failed payments caused his drug dealer to text him “U can’t touch this! Pay up and GTFO or I’ll send Maxwell’s silver hammer.”

Tommy checked himself into rehab immediately. Most of the staff at Blue Orchid were indifferent, but Tommy had a particular bonding to one of the nurse-interns there, a Ms. Robinson. Ms. Robinson was terribly shy. It took nearly all summer long to get Ms. Robinson to open up enough to even tell Tommy her first name: Stacy. 

I wanna hold your hand, Stacy” Tommy cried. “I’m going to be breaking the habit, I swear! Have a little faith!” Stacy, no stranger to false promises, said “I’ve heard that redemption song before, Tommy. When?” “Tonight, tonight!” Tommy promised. The doctors were amazed at Tommy’s progress. It took one week to go cold turkey, and another 6 months before he was deemed fit enough to be discharged.

A year later, Tommy proposed to Stacy in Hotel California. Excited, the two of them flew on a big jetliner to Stacy’s home town to meet her parents. “Mom, this is Tommy. Tommy, this is my mother Jenny and my step-dad Jessie.” One look was all it took. Tommy knew right away that Jenny was the woman of his dreams. Stuttering and stammering, he left, like a jackass, and got on the phone with an old, trusted friend. “Hey, Jude” Tommy said, “I’ve seen the stairway to heaven, and it’s Stacy’s Mom!”

Jude, ever the honest pragmatist, simply said “Then let the bodies hit the floor. You need a backdoor man? Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. You know that.” Tommy thought it over for a minute, and then said “Yes, but I won’t sing no Folsom Prison Blues.” “Good man,” Jude exclaimed. “Let out your darker side.”

When the police arrived, one yelled “Get backup, the roof is on fire!” It was a veritable land of confusion. Tommy comforted Jenny, while explaining the events of the evening to the police. “It was a mad world in there,” he lied. “I think Jude was jealous of me, and tried to have me killed! He tied Stacy and Jessie to what we called the angry chair, just doused the house in gasoline and lit the whole place up with her and Jessie inside.” 

The police were very efficient with their duties on this case. Conviction took only a few short weeks, and Jude was carted off to San Quentin. Tommy stayed with Jenny to help her mend her broken heart. Turning to Tommy in her time of need, the two became close. Jenny changed her name to Daisy and left town with Tommy in a pink Cadillac.

They had a white wedding on New Year’s Day. Their honeymoon was in modern-day Pompeii. Mr. and Ms. Jackson lived happily ever after.

Sometimes, you never know if your best friend’s lover’s son’s bandmate is going to be a megalomaniac serial killer. Sometimes it just ends with a magic dance and a bicycle built for two.

The End

Science, art, technology and thought collected and filtered by one brain's inability to silence itself.