Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Love of Money is the Gamification of Life

The love of money is the gamification of life.

Other factors with which we could judge the success of life, such as happiness or having a positive impact on the world, are impossible to quantify. When we focus on these things we get confused and lose our way. So we substitute wealth as a clear and quantifiable goal and pretend that success is a hierarchical system.

To join the quest for wealth is an RPG.

Your deposit slip is the gold spilled after slaying an orc. Graduating to a new tax bracket is leveling up. Set up an account at and watch your net worth closely. How many hit points do you have left? What are your vital stats? Your diversified investment portfolio is your arsenal of swords, maces, and battle axes. Splurging on some Armani chain mail may be a necessary expense. It ups your clout points by 50 and grants you access to the forbidden temple where the dragons with the real treasure wait to be slain. Are you ready for that big raid or are you hoping to pay off our mortgage first?

Are you winning at life?

Class Warfare as Speciation

The aging gene can be turned off. Custom replacement organs that are grown from your own cells and cannot be rejected after transplanted can be grown in the laboratory. We are decades away from immortality.

But immortality will not come cheap so this technology will only be accessible to the wealthy. It will be debated if hording a cure for death is the same as genocide, but soon it won't matter.

The rich will tweak their genes, live to be thousands of years old. When choosing a mate, they will choose other immortals. Their differences from human will multiply until they are altogether different and genetically incompatible.

Class warfare will become speciation. The rich (homo plutus) will protect their evolutionary niche from the rival species with blatant genocide. Among the poor (homo sapien) there will be massive outbreaks of epidemics to which homo plutus find themselves immune.

A hundred thousand years ago, humans lived alongside Neanderthals. But not for long. In direct competition, one species will win and the other will die. In the coming war, the homo sapien still have the advantage in numbers, the homo plutus will have advantage in technology and resources. It is unclear who will win their place on this Earth, but it is clear that the lines in the sand are being drawn right now. We may be the last American generation with the option of upward mobility. We are the last with the freedom to choose sides in the coming war.

Place your bets. If you wish to switch sides, now may be a good time to start pinching those pennies and investing wisely.

Contrariwise, if you side with the humans, now may be a good time to stand your ground.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mirror Mirror

Your television is a mirror.

The bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise is a reflection of your living room.

You and your family sit and watch the Enterprise Crew on your TV set.

The crew of the Enterprise sit and watch your family through their viewscreen.

The Enterprise is comforted by the stability of our earthbound domestic life.

They color our household monotony with galactic adventure.

This is why we stare into the mirror.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Defense of Oasis

If you dismiss Oasis, I suggest you think of Liam and Noel Gallagher as the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of Britpop. They are not to be taken seriously, but are always good for a few nonsensical rhymes and if you stick around long enough, they are sure to battle.

The rivalry continues even after the band split up, with lawsuits and badmouthing, and now with rival musical acts. Liam's Beady Eye...

and Noel Gallagher' High Flying Birds.

Musically, Noel is clearly the winner of this battle. The first line alone, "If I had a gun/I'd shoot a hole into the sun/and love would burn this city down for you" captures the almost-not-entirely-incoherent jibberish of Oasis' hayday. That line fits perfectly next to classic nonsensical lines like, "Slowly walking down the hall/faster than a cannonball."

This easily trumps Beady Eye's chorus, "Baby hold on/ Baby C'mon" which isn't even silly.

Noel also won points recently for brilliantly suggesting to Chuck Klosterman that critics have just been looking at his career from the wrong end. To see his work properly music critics must travel through the looking glass, beyond the garden of talking flowers and the buzzing of bread and butterflies to the wonderland where time runs backward. Here his detractors would find that if his musical output is viewed in reverse chronological order, Liam is a constantly improving genius.

That's logic.