Thursday, May 9, 2013

Humanity, Transhumanity, and Progress

Lately I've been doing some unexpectedly extensive research for a (hopefully) short fiction piece about the concept of progress, reading (re: attentively skimming) a thick stack of documents and books abut the printing press, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, 21st century futurism, and the philosophical concept of progress. This project won't achieve even an approximation of what I'd like it to and will ultimately be more trouble than it's worth, but I can't say it hasn't been fun taking a type and magnitude of work I haven't really done since my undergraduate days. (All of a sudden I really miss having JSTOR access, though.) I've been ruminating on technological developments, past and future.

From SingularityHUB.
Some nights ago I interloped upon a conversation between two colleagues speaking about the early epoch of the Internet. They were discussing digital technology's benefits and shortcomings, and one mentioned that she had recently ditched her iPhone in favor of a "dumb phone" to give herself some mental and spiritual breathing room. I asked the pair if either of them were transhumanists (or posthumanists, as I've been told some prefer to dub themselves), and the one who had just spoken about her new post-smartphone existence said me she wasn't familiar with the term.

Since I've never had an opportunity to explain anything to her before (she is very well learned) and was sensing this would be the only chance I'd ever get, I magnanimously gave her the gist on transhumanism as I've been made to understand it: that as our technology and knowledge continue to evolve, it is inevitable and desirable that humanity integrates its technology with its physiology, creating people who are more intelligent, durable, capable, and ultimately happier. "Everyone gets smartphones in their brains and we live forever," is how I may have summed it up.

Her gut reaction was NO; just no.

When I asked her why, she admitted that her rejection of this vision of the future was purely reflexive. She couldn't cite any substantive reasons -- ethical spiritual, or otherwise -- as to why she found the idea so appalling. (Granted, she'd had only twenty seconds to think it over.)

When we find ourselves upset by some argument or new idea, it's helpful to ask why instead of just leaving it at fuck that. Once we've gone beyond an emotional reaction and can put it in context, we can respond to the argument with sounder reasoning and a greater degree of intellectual honesty. I sympathize with my colleague's antipathy, but the stuff I've been reading and writing lately has compelled me to try and unpack my own anxiety towards the prospect of a humanity whose life is subcutaneously interwoven with its technology. My viewpoints might be evolving.

As for the cause of our anxiety, I've come up with two speculations.

One. Our reflexive abhorrence (hers and mine) of the assertion that humanity's march toward the Singularity is not only well-advised but inevitable has less to do with principles than with stomach-level trepidation at the notion of systemic changes in human life (our lives) occurring at such a magnitude as to cast doubt on our whole conception of "humanity."

This beggars the question: what is it we're talking about when we talk about "humanity" or the concept of "human?"

Most of us have a general idea: the people whom we know (personally and in the abstract, and including ourselves) share a set of characteristics, and it is some by arrangement of these characteristics that we define what is fundamentally "human." This definition is important to us. Our abstract landscape is a human landscape. Our concerns are human concerns; our passions and fears are human passions and human fears. (We are predisposed towards the anthropic fallacy -- and by the logic of natural selection, we are properly so.) We order our world by way of our conception of humanity (and perhaps also of "the human condition"); and so we might be profoundly disturbed if we imagine that all of a sudden -- and we will imagine it is all of a sudden, crashing down at once without the intervention of the staggered millennia, centuries, or years over which any epochal changes in a culture (or species) must encroach -- that all of a sudden, ourselves and everyone we know are made to be completely different, without anyone consulting us or asking our consent before the switch was thrown.

So what is humanity? We could talk about physiology and genetics, but that doesn't do us much good. If a human being is an upright, mostly hairless ape with a large brain and opposable thumbs on its forelimbs, 23 chromosomes pairs, and such-and-such a genome, then humanity is something we can come to understand simply by poking at a wide enough sample of cadavers. We know this isn't true.

Any proper definition of what an organism is must not exclude what that organism does -- the full extent of what it does. (So if we claim to "know" an organism, what we are claiming is a simplified but fairly thorough abstraction.)

With most organisms, there is a fairly close correspondence between a species's exhibited behavior and how we might reasonably expect to behave, given its physiology. (Anything we can't guess about its behavior must be laid at the unquantifiable obscure and unobservable aspects of its physiology.) But a knowledgeable biologist can, for instance, look at a dinosaur skeleton and extrapolate, by way of deduction, many sound inferences as to how this extinct organism likely behaved. An apatosaurus has a small brain cavity, a long neck, and dull teeth: an apatosaurus probably had relatively low intelligence and subsided on leaves from tall trees. That's a simple example, but the basic principle holds true throughout most of the animal kingdom.

But a human being is an upright, mostly hairless primate with a large brain and opposable thumbs on its forelimbs. It does not necessarily follow from the bare facts of its anatomy that human beings are organisms that drive cars. Build prisons and diesel engines. Fish and grow food. Read books. Sit up all night watching television. Talk on the phone. Play tennis. Take photographs. Strap dynamite to themselves and and blow themselves up. Ride horses. Build model ships in bottles. Heat up frozen pizzas in the oven before putting them in the microwave. Suck helium out of balloons to heighten the pitch of their voices and amuse their friends.

However interminable the range of any given terrestrial organism's general locus of behavior, a modern human being's potential actions constitute a higher degree of infinitude. We can attribute this  fact to humanity's high quotient of the characteristic commonly referred to as "intelligence" (which is a tricky word), but it is also the result of the "modern" qualifier. Humanity's history is now more cultural than it is genetic or physiological -- which is self-evident, given that technology must be counted as an aspect of culture.

Humanity has uniquely altered its environment to such an extent as to systemically alter human behavior -- and over a relatively brief period of time.

We are products of our environment. Different kinds of circumstances build different kinds of people. A generation of human beings born and bred within a culture that has access to stone tools, wheels, and knowledge about firemaking and irrigation will behave much differently than a generation born and bred in an environment where these things are unavailable. Depending on which of humanity's epochs we are considering in our definition of "human," we might already have to consider ourselves transhuman.

We've already remade our world; in doing so, we've remade ourselves. It is an ongoing process.


Another consideration: many of the attributes we might call "intrinsically human" are contingencies of our species' history, many of which are virtually ubiquitous. Where our cultural history is concerned -- and again, humanity is at a stage where culture brings far more to bear on behavior than genetic characteristics -- the situation is much more susceptible to change, and changes can occur with a sweeping speed that far outpaces the creaking gears of biological evolution. Our definition of "human" -- unless we consider a supernatural possibility or only permit the most general and nebulous qualities -- must depend disproportionately on cultural contingencies. The very concept of "exoticism" attests to the radical impact of cultural factors on what we consider to be "normal" or "natural." (And we can probably bet that most of the qualities we've elected to represent what is most basically "human" will coincide with our notions of what is normal and natural.)

So: much of what we define as "human" must be arbitrary. Ergo, any arguments regarding transhumanism (whether in opposition or advocation) citing "human nature" or "the human spirit" must be commensurately flimsy.

But then there's the second objection: that this is different; that although cultural changes have tremendously changed human behavior, none have thus far affected the constitution of our human meat.  The thought of a wetware future warping what's under our skin can equally or more appalling than the aforementioned scenario of the human "soul" undergoing an invasive electronic implant. To someone who isn't already sold on transhumanism, the old "computer chip in the brain" trope doesn't connote much in the way of desirability, no matter how smooth the sales pitch.

But these objections are, again, are purely cultural. Cultures change in time; what is taboo for me will be embraced by my grandchildren. Case in point: the widespread public support for the legalization of gay marriage, which would have been politically unmentionable (let alone feasible) a century ago.

(Still, cultural objections are perfectly valid -- during a given moment. Just don't count on "accepted" reasoning to stay on your side for very long. You must also acknowledge that your objections probably spring more from opinion than reason.)

Besides: we are already modifying our bodies. Eyeglasses: an optical enhancement tool that allows a human being to correct a biological deficiency. Vaccinations: a homeopathic augmentation of one's cells to prevent disease. A pacemaker: a mechanical implant to improve the performance of an (otherwise) irreparable and indispensable organ.

Neural implants are not too tremendous a leap forward from this.

Again: I don't think a rejection of transhumanism on a sentimental appeal to "human nature" is intellectually sound or even honest, and biological modification of human beings is already something we've been doing, albeit on a low-tech level.

But I remain a skeptic.

From Beyond ONE.

While we can't make any effective objections to the transhumanist philosophy or the eschatology of the Singularity on behalf of the human spirit, we can make them on behalf of the human species and the tenability of its existence on this planet.

I've gathered that transhumanists tend to be fervent believers in progress. Humanity will invariably improve as its technology improves. We entrust our salvation to science and technology. It's a good thing for today's futurists that we're fresh out of World War I veterans who might tell us about a similar age that made similar noises, and how these myths were literally exploded. (The situation today, of course, is vastly different, but it is only responsible to examine the past when considering the future.)

My faith in science and technology is not unalloyed. I fear we've already created a humanity that's been priming itself for a catastrophic meltdown.

If I have a broad objection to futurists and technologists, it's in the assertion (whether explicit or implicit) that the proliferation of technology, developed and proliferated for its own sake (or some providential whim of the "invisible hand") is our stair to salvation. Whatever the market wants to sell will be sold; whatever the engineers can build, the engineers will build; and this is how it should be. (Guns that can be made on 3D printers! Great! Whatever! Science! What's the worst that could happen!? But I digress.)

We've already been winging it under the banner of "rational self-interest" and the humanity into which we've redesigned ourselves is, within the planet's ecology, like a bomb on a bus (to borrow a phrase from Jack Collom).

Speculations about a transhuman tomorrow imply a future in which we use even more energy than now; I want to know how it will be generated after the oil runs out. They assume a future in which humanity will have enough to eat, despite the effects of climate change and soil degradation; I want to know where the food will be coming from. They assume a future in which nations aren't fighting drone wars over dwindling natural resources; I'd like an assurance that we've got some plan in place, or are thinking about getting a plan in place, and I want to know what that plan is.

The question shouldn't be about what kind of technologies we can develop or will develop. The question should be: what path forward is in humanity's best interest, and how can science and technology help us toward that path? (I hope and pray humanity is approaching an epiphany during which it realizes it has grown too massive and too complex to safely improvise for much longer.)

Humans beings are products of their environments. What sort of humanity would we like to succeed us? What kind of world do we think is best for them to inherit? These are reciprocal questions.

Obviously I benefit from modern technology. I'm not claiming I don't. But if we're talking about what developments will lead to the best future for humanity, sustainability must be our first consideration. As it is, the "advanced" world civilization we've haphazardly constructed on science and technology is running on borrowed time. I don't mean to act the doomsayer, but again: like a bomb on a bus. Are we certain the solution is to keep on racing in the same direction that brought us near to the cliff?

If transhuman technology presents itself as the solution (or part of it), great. Sign me up. Otherwise, I'm inclined to put optimistic preaching about transhumanism and the Singularity on level with Christian talk about the Second Coming (don't worry, the scientists have got the air/food/water/energy thing covered, or they will anyway, so just whatever, we'll all live forever, it'll be great): both represent an obstinate faith in the certainty that divine intervention (whether by the hand of Jesus or Science) will arrive right on schedule to renew the world, and they distract us from more pressing concerns: namely, redesigning human civilization such that it is able to withstand the potentially cataclysmic shocks looming on the horizon without lapsing into a new dark age, screwing over the poor, or miring itself in international wars over natural resources.

(As always: if you think I am misunderstanding an issue or an argument, please do correct me.)


  1. I think there is a significant difference between pacemakers/vaccinations and proposed neural implants, though. Pacemakers and vaccinations have a clear and obvious purpose to better the entirety of mankind.

    Neural implants, on the other hand, would serve as little more than legalized mental steroids.

    You do make the distinction between humans from a physiological and humans from a cultural standpoint, and I think how "skeevy" the human modifications feel can be, at the very least, loosely correlated to which side the modification attempts to "fix". If it's something that simply stands as a physical correction, it's probably going to induce less apprehension than if it's a physical augmentation.

    In other words, if it's a procedure that, costs aside, would be pointless or socially unacceptable to perform on, say, a dog, it's probably gonna feel pretty wonky performing it on a human.

    (I apologize if none of this makes any sense, but would like to thank you for your blog in general! It makes for really nice reading as a break from cramming.)

    1. Hey, thanks for reading!

      Yeah, you're probably right -- the comparison between pacemakers and brain-chips was made carelessly. "Correction" and "enhancement" are two very different things.

  2. I agree with most of what you said, but I think you made a big mistake in the last paragraph. Blindingly trusting the Singularity is reckless and unwise, but don't compare religious idols and beliefs with science. Trusting anything blindly is equally wrong on anyone's part, but science is not a system of beliefs. It's a method. You don't beleive in it, you trust it. You can trust it as long is it provides proof for its facts. And that's another point: sicence is about proven facts that can be found in nature/the universe whereas religion is about dogmatically interiorizing unproven statements. There's a big difference between trusting the very careful process of science to help us reach a better tomorrow and believeing that a supernatural being will radically transform the world by miraculous means. The Singularity is not a world-changing sudden event; it's a state of things that is comparatively much more advanced than the current one. So much more advanced that someone from today would not understand the workings of that time's technology. A singularity can only be recognized by means of comparison with a past state of technology. Ergo, it is not an event to believe in, but rather a more advanced state of the known world/universe that we will only be able to name when we have already been living in it for a while. You can't recognize a singularity if you're already living in one.

  3. Uhh, I have to make a few corrections. I meant to say "believe" and "believing" instead of the typos I made. Also, my last sentences should read: "You can't recognize a singularity if you AREN'T already living in one". Sorry about that.

    1. Actually, Mr. Tay-Ty summed up most of my answer.

      I'm not criticizing the scientific method. I'm criticizing the mindset that the scientists and engineers will uncover some magic bullet solution to the problems of civilization. I also don't think it's a given that human progress, in terms of technology, is always moving upwards and forwards. A society in which machinery is more pervasive is not necessarily a more advanced or better one.

  4. I don't think Pat intended a broad, sweeping comparison of science to religion. What he's referring to (possibly?) is the justification of, say, massive reliance upon fossil fuels because of the "promise" of clean, renewable energy somewhere in the future.

    It's ignoring the potential repercussions of progress, scientific or otherwise, under the assumption that, some day, Science is going to catch up with these repercussions and fix them for us (that is, if the repercussions are even acknowledged at all).

    Essentially? We're that guy smoking three packs a day cause thirty years from now, we'll be able to swap out our cancerous lungs for sleek, sexy mechalungs anyways.

  5. On the concept of technology being used to 'enhance' human beings, the technology we already have by and large is used to replace or restore parts of us that don't work as they would in a 'normal' human being. Implanting chips or replacing body parts with 'better' models (like an arm that is twice as strong) would be a wholly different experience, and one that runs the risk of us not adapting to meet it with the biological portions of our body. Right now, in many sports, performance enhancing drugs are being used to push the limits of human achievement, yet they all seem to come with a heavy cost. Sure you can run faster or jump higher or swing harder, even at ages when the body is expected to break down. Yet when those same athletes retire, they seem to break down at and alarmingly faster rate than society at large. Perhaps it's a case of 'borrowing from the future'. I'll be better today than I could've been naturally, but when the time comes, I'll be crippled and/or dead faster than an ordinary senior citizen. Neural implants may be like that too, perhaps they'll push our biology beyond its normal bounds and we'll pay a heavy price on the back end?

    As for 'sustainability', the harsh fact is that we will need to push forward with technology if humanity is to survive long term. Even if we assume that ALL the global warming/climate change predictions are true, pulling the plug on the Industrial Revolution tomorrow wouldn't solve any of our problems. Climate change is the norm on this planet. There's a coming Ice Age within the next 10,000 years whether we like it or not (possibly much sooner depending on who you ask). Ignoring that (and assuming the remainder of us will just huddle near the equator), there's the matter of asteroids. Eventually one will strike our planet with enough force to do us in like the dinosaurs, and if it's not that powerful, even one a tenth that size would send us likely back to the Stone Age if we didn't have time to prepare beforehand. Haven't even touched on the Yellowstone caldera and how that will obliterate North America when it blows (and by some calculations it's overdue). The fact is the planet is way stronger than us, we just like to fancy ourselves masters of our own domain. We could burn every ounce of fossil fuel, and the planet might change for a period of time, but it'd revert back eventually. What we need, if the goal is for humanity to endure, is to escape our tethering to this planet itself. Space (the final frontier, ha ha) is where humanity must go if we are to survive as a species. Remember, 99.999% of all species ever on Planet Earth have gone extinct, and most of them were done in by the planet itself. Ironically, the sustainability preached by the environmental left will ultimately lead to humanity's end.

    1. You had me right up until the last sentence.

      It's unreasonable to suggest we can completely dial back the industrial revolution, sure. But I don't think it's much more feasible to claim we can just pack everything up and move humanity to the Moon or to Mars, even within the next two hundred years. (But who knows?) For the foreseeable future, humanity is tethered to Earth.

      "Sustainability," as I understand it, is the assertion that by consuming fewer resources, producing less waste, taking better care of the land (from which we get our food and water), and using technology more deliberately, we make ourselves better able to absorb the ecological shocks you mentioned. I often hear it framed as a kind of communal self-reliance: if the food trucks stop delivering vegetables to the A&P, if the gas trucks stop delivering petrol to the Exxon Station, or if the power plant stops producing electricity, a "sustainable" community will be best prepared to hold out.

      (Granted: establishing such communities across the world would take a lot of motivation, and at the moment would be like persuading the tides to change. But it would probably entail less effort, expense, and commotion than evacuating the Earth for the Moon.)

      If humanity's destiny is outside the Earth, and if the catastrophic predictions prove to be correct, a concentrated push for more sustainable civilization in the interim might help forestall the social chaos that would stymie a concentrated effort to establish extraterrestrial colonies.

      (Aside: I always appreciate and enjoy your comments, though we often disagree.)

    2. Thanks for the kind words. I know we probably agree on very little, but I do think it's important to at least hear differing viewpoints, even if it's only to refine your own views. As for your interpretation of sustainable, I feel like communal self-reliance and moving towards becoming untethered from this rock we call Earth are a bit of a binary proposition. After all, most of humanity's 'progress' has been as we've ventured outside of our self-reliant communities and intermingled. Think of Europe's history as an example. During the times when Greece and then Rome came to power, humanity was making more and more discoveries in the realms of art, science, engineering, etc. Then Rome was sacked and Europe descended into the Dark Ages. As communties fell out of touch with one another, knowledge was lost and people regressed into superstition and pulled away from science. That didn't change until the Crusades and more importantly the Renaissance, when repeated contact with outside culture forced Europe to reconsider its points of view and beliefs. Now today we do have the Internet, and that might help to bridge SOME of that gap, but I think from reading enough of your work, you would not be of the opinion that digital contact is a suitable replacement for human interaction.

      My primary concern is that the sustainability being argued necessarily means a loss of technological progress. After all, if wind, water and solar were suitable replacements for fossil fuel in our industrialized economy, we wouldn't have switch to coal, oil and natural gas in the first place (many people seem to forget wind and water were the dominant forms of energy in our society until the Industrial Revolution). Also, if you have to spend your days raising your chickens and tending your gardens, it doesn't leave a lot of time for contemplating faster than light travel. Einstein spent his time developing his theories on the universe in a patent office. i doubt there will be many patent clerks in the economy you're advocating. Beyond that, what raises my concerns even more (and it might be a bit tinfoil hat-ish), is that the same people who say we need to cut back are the same people who then declare that they should be put in charge of deciding how, when and where to make those cuts. And I have serious doubts that these self-appointed guardians will feel the need to make the same sacrifice themselves. After all, Al Gore spent years jet setting around the world in private planes to tell us all how bad global warming is, apparently a teleconference wouldn't have conveyed exactly how dire things were? Or at the very least flying coach? And this push for sustainability is largely coming from the left, and all I need to do is look at governments like the former Soviet Union, China or North Korea to see what happens when a government tells its people they need to live with less. For some reason that message never makes it to the top. And, of course, it's also worth pointing out that both China and India (about 2/5 of the worlds population) have showed no inclination to get on board with sustainability or slowing industrial progress. They feel that's for the rich western nations to do, they'll continue their progress thankyouverymuch. So even if the worst predictions about global warming are true, I'm just wondering what the plan is to force 200+ countries to get in line with a specific program? After all, right now we can't even get a piddling country like North Korea to cooperate with not proliferating nuclear weapons.

    3. You're right -- I don't think that Internet correspondence is an adequate replacement for local relationships. But I also don't think it's impossible to have an engaged community whose members use modern communication tools to correspond with people across the world. I think the place I'm living now has struck a fine balance between the two.

      I don't advocate for a technological standstill -- but I would like to see a society engineered to use technology with more discretion, and with a minimal use of nonrenewable resources. Maybe I'm still giddy after reading Walden Two, but I think that a better-designed society would give people MORE time to spend in the pursuit of science and technology -- though probably with different means, towards different ends.

      In the five minutes I have before I need to run I can't even begin to guess as to how such a thing could take shape. But you're right--a top-down autocratic approach definitely wouldn't work. That's why the people who would like to see these changes are opting to start at the bottom.

    4. Bottom up approach is fine with me, I at least respect people willing to take on the lifestyle and sacrifices they demand of others (think of Daryl Hannah vs. say Al Gore). My concern is that many of the people advocating this switch in the economy are advocating an autocratic approach. Naomi Klein (who I think you've mentioned before) has basically said she thinks it's going to take an autocratic regime to institute the kind of economy she'd like to see. I guess on the plus side she wanted the autocratic power to be local-based, but I'm not sure I'll feel any fuzzier because the authoritarian government is made up of some of my neighbors instead of a faceless group from Washington.

      Ultimately I think the biggest question is freedom (and free-markets) would seem to be at odds with the type of society you'd like to see. So how much freedom is it going to cost to get there, and will we be better off having traded it in? Essentially this would be the cousin of post-9/11 America and the 'war on terror'.

  6. I am now the proud owner of a couple ounces of titanium in my right knee, so I'm already one step closer to the singularity, but all joshing aside, here's what I think about this:

    I hate the internet and I hate the radio and I hate phones and I hate television and I hate pretty much everything committed to tape or printed in ink or riveted together with bolts or whatever pseudo-Luddite thought I can come up with in reference to how much I hate these things and information we surround ourselves with.

    Oh, sure, I spend just as much time as the next guy looking up pointless videos on YouTube and sending them to all my friends and reading webcomics and keeping up to date on what's happening in your neck of the woods and all that nonsense and I love it. I'll call up my best friend who lives a block and a half away so we can beam our thoughts about nothing into space for the universe to hear and we'll have a great time. I'll follow all my favorite bands, personalities, pundits, athletes, what have you on whatever social network I can because I'm interested in what someone 3000 miles away is doing right this very second because hell it's interesting I guess and I love it.

    But it pisses me off so much.

    I'm of the opinion that not so long ago, probably before the advent of the power grid and most of the trappings of western civilization, we as a species, while having no way to connect with those across great distances, picked up similar habits, beliefs, tools, architecture, rituals, etc. Maybe not at the same time, but there was something guiding us, linking us, putting us on a path that, meandering as it may have been, was pretty similar to our neighbors a hemisphere away. And if you go back farther than that, you see similar deities, concepts, math, etc. that are in radically different places yet still manage some sort of cohesion (is that even a word; Google thinks so).

    REALLY FAR-FETCHED ANALOGY: Consider Coca-Cola made with cane sugar to Coca-Cola made with good old HFCS. Sure, both things are awful for you, but corn is so easy to grow and corn syrup is much easier to store and transport than sugar cane, leading to the dominance of HFCS in pretty much frickin' everything. And unless you're some kind of superhuman, you literally cannot taste the difference. But over time, your body will let you know just how difficult of a time it has processing it, and you wind up with a nation of people where fatty liver disease is a legitimate problem for little Goddamn kids and what the hell HAPPENED here.

    I kind of see a similar thing with the internet and other such media. Hell, maybe even speech as well, now that I think about it, if that whole Tower of Babel thing has any relevance.

    Sometime long before anyone on Earth can remember (maybe discounting the few indigenous tribes still left in the far reaches of this Earth that missionaries haven't given Bibles and bottles of friggin' Coca-Cola to yey) we were all "plugged in," so to speak, with not only each other, but also this planet, and something got in the way and messed it up a little bit, so we had to rely on other much more crude and, hell, ALIEN, ways of communing with one another and this planet, and every leap in technology, while making work and leisure effortless and making communication with our friends and family instantaneous, is just one more bigger and better crutch, and one more giant leap in the entirely wrong direction.

    We all want to feel one another. We're a gregarious people somehow split into two genders that have this crazy urge to bump uglies and make more crazy people, and I can't help but feel that not so long ago, it wasn't this Goddamned HARD and this Goddamned STUPID.

    That sounds a lot less eloquent in text than in my head, but I've long forgotten how to beam my thoughts and feelings into your brain, Pat. We all have, it looks like.

    HFCS. Jesus.

    1. (I'm not sure if it's correct etiquette to reply to another reply on someone else's blog? If it it's not, I apologize!)

      I've felt pretty similarly. Granted, it's stopped at the hating internet/screens (I've never had much of a qualm with the written word), but I understand the feeling. I've found that taking a week off of screens/internet when I hate it most can be remarkably therapeutic, not to mention telling. You don't realize just how wired in you are until you try to unplug.

      Also, if you haven't, check out this post too:

    2. Have you ever heard of a book called "Spell of the Sensuous?" I've, uh...never read it. But my friend never shuts up about it. It sounds like it's right up your alley.

      And you were plenty eloquent. I love when somebody with a flash thunderstorm in his brain sits down and just types.

      Tay-Ty: Oh, by all means! Reply to other people! Dialogue is good!

    3. Tay-Ty: Hahah. I'll give that a read and I'm down for just tuning out on a weekly basis, and not just due to not being able to physically be in front of a PC. (Yeah, I've been cheating, hahah.)

      Pat: Never, but I'm reading a lot more these days, so I'll be sure to put that sucker on the backlog.

      I'm glad I somehow expressed that coherently. I tend to write like I think and that's usually never good.

      Good discussions lately, Pat!