Put yourself on fire

(NB: I never edit my texts. I put in a dot at the end of a sentence and after that it stays that way. I never rearrange my texts. I never fix splelling erorrs. The point of my writing is to get things out of my mind, not for you to read them. If you don’t like that style, don’t read this text.)

Open letter to, well, everyone? (That’s kind of the idea of open letters?)

The past week an interview with me has made people quite upset. Most seem to only have read the headline that is very ambigous and somewhat misleading about me “giving up”. The point I wanted to make — and I think a lot of people has got that point — is that the state of our interconnected network is a reflection of our unwired world, and hence, it’s useless to look at those two as separate entities. And the state of our unwired world is so fucked up, we need a systematic change. A lot of people, me included, has been trying to fix the system. But we’re fixing the system from within, when the whole system is the problem in itself. And to quote the brainy dude with the hairy hair, Albert Einstein:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

For me it’s getting more and more obvious that we’ve been fighting a meaningless fight. Sure, a lot of things has been slowed down, even temporarily stopped. But look at the end results? What happened with the arab spring? And we still have more surveillance than ever even though Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning has opened our eyes (to what we basically suspected anyhow, but were called conspiracy theorists for saying). But when you’re playing with other peoples rules you don’t have the mandate to change their rules. That’s why I think we need to go beyond that. We can’t do insanity. We shouldn’t waste our time on insanity, however fun it is to be an activist and get attention for good causes. We need to find a cure for the core issue, not lots of cures to all the symptoms arising.

A lot of people has been upset with me telling my view of the world. Even though, as brought up in a Scandinavian culture, I don’t like being looked up to, I do realise that I have some influence. But the people that actually like me, and not the idea of me, should be glad that I’m standing true to what is the essence of me: to try and change things, not just trying to say what is more popular. People that usually talk about freedom of speech tells me I should sit quiet in the sinking boat. Sorry, but that won’t happen.

I’m in here for the endgoal, where the world is equal to everybody, where information is free because it needs to be. Where gender, race, sexuality, origin, money and heritage play no role in who you are. A world where you chose your personality without prejudice, a world where we treat eachother well. A world where power is saught after for embettering the people, not the people with power. A world where taxes is not to be avoided, but to be proudly paid in order to help your next ones. A world where we don’t say our jeans are too expensive when we at the same time poison people in the third world to make them cheaper. In short: a world of empathy, not psychopathy. We won’t achieve that by stroking eachothers egos and pretending it’s all good.

If you have cancer, is it better that the doctor tells you that you have 6 months left to live or tells you to take it easy because nothing is wrong? If you want to achieve change, do you not need to see what needs to be changed? Or do you want to live in denial so that the people that want to opposite of you get a homerun when your back is turned? Meanwhile you read this sentence, a woman probably died of cancer while a man might have survived. It’s because while we were thinking all is good, the gender inbalance got bigger.

While you read this, the world got a bit hotter. The impact on environment this unhealthy world makes is part of the system. And the heat on our surveillance went up – we’re being treated more and more like criminals. While you read this, someones human rights was violated in a prison. In a Swedish prison. Because when we think that those prisons must be like a vacation, noone actually looked into how fucked up it is. Trust me, it is fucked up, I have first hand experience. And that begger you passed recently, did you avoid eye contact with her? Of course you did. Because it’s easier to ignore than to fix.

But turning a blind eye to things and people is the same thing as not being in solidarity. If your eyes are closed you won’t see the errors of our society. If your eyes are open, you will see them, and also the beauty to make it worth fighting for. But more and more people are closing their eyes. And our beloved internet is helping us. We’re getting news that are tailored to our interests – and who’s interested in seeing pain and suffering? We’re getting tailored music – so we don’t have to listen to new music. We’re not expanding our horisons as we used to. We’re looking inward. When we look out, we see that we fit in. Because we’re tailored to our relationships as well. We’re building small isolated worlds, separating ourselves from society. We put headphones on and walk among other people. We could just as easily be zombies, noone would care. When someone falls over, we step around them — why? Because we don’t want to impose. They’ll manage.

We’re sending drones to war. It’s because killing our own is not good PR. It’s big news when someone shoots down a drone – we’re upset with the terrorists that did that. We know the ID number of the drone, there’s descriptions about it in the newspaper. But where’s the name of the faceless 100+ people it might have killed? Where’s their obituaries? People from the wrong countries are less worth than a piece of technology. A piece of technology that will be a christmas present for kids this year. In 10 years time, they’ll be so good at playing with their drones that they will do it for a living. In the military. The targets are people. People they’ll never meet. They’ll never go to the funerals, they’ll go home and drink their beer, fuck their wife, and complain about the mortgage. And then they’ll vote for Trump again, since they’re scared of being replaced with a robot.

But at least they can get to vote. Killed people have no say. And if you’re from the wrong country – i.e. not the united states of america; you have no say in who runs the world. Democracy? Nah. Meritocracy? Nah. The american dream? Yes. It’s all a big dream. Even the dream of the american dream. But it’s better to have something to believe in than nothing at all.

Last week I was in Rio de Janeiro, and by chance ended up on a panel with the awesome Lawrence Lessig. I had no clue I was supposed to be on a panel. Pretty sure it was not planned, brasilian style. We ended up disagreeing. Lessig called me a privileged white man [sic] since I said I wish Donald Trump would win their election — my reasoning was ignored. That I rather pull the bandaid off quickly – and albeit lose some hair, then to hurt longer when I lose the same when pulling it off slowly, is the reason. Just a lot of activists all over the world, Lessig is hard working and incredibly intelligent. But still, we’re not winning this fight, in the way we’re doing it. Doesn’t matter how inspiring your talk is or how right you are. End results matter here.

With Palin or Trump in power in the USA, the world would maybe finally understand that we can’t have one super power that goes amok. I’m not against the USA which a lot of people believe. I’m against a corrupt system that feeds itself with power of things. We’ve concentrated things to that country, for historical reasons. But noone is able to stop it anymore. They can buy the companies that are started outside with all the money they have. Or the money they think they have, having the biggest debt in the world and still being able to call themselves the richest in the world. I’m against beeing foolish. I don’t think it’s wise to put all your eggs in one basket.

As a technologist, I know that we need redundancy, backups and having enough distributed capacity. If one thing breaks, we need another to take it’s place. If it fails anyhow, we need a plan b. And to avoid these things happening at the worst time, we need to have over capacity. Otherwise the system fails. But well, here we are. We have one planet, but treating it as it’s redundant. We have one system taking the other systems out. We have one population, fighting within because of shades of their skin. We have capacity but it’s not distributed. We centralised it all. The food, the money, the power, the decisions. And most of all, we have no plan b, so we can’t try new things or roll back to an old backup.

Some people have called me an accelerationist. But labels are only there to help people to easily package your words into a ready made drawer, instead of listening to them. I’ve gotten the realisation that the only way forward is fast. Faster than the current pace. A fire that is allowed to burn slowly will cause more damage than one that burns so quickly that oxygen runs out around it. So when there’s nothing left to burn, you have to put yourself on fire. Burn your views, throw away the ashes. See if you come up with the same world view when you start with a fresh look. Zoom out, look for yourself.

Lovingly, I always say that I never want people to think like me, I just want them to think. And if they then don’t think like me, they’re wrong. But prove me wrong. You can’t. No, the world is not coming to an end, but our freedoms are being stripped away, slowly, replaced by a new word which is also freedom. The freedom to be monitored for our freedom. The freedom of being a slave to the bank for your freedom to take care of the banks property. Let’s not replace freedom with “freedom”. Let’s replace the broken system with a new one, even if it’s going to hurt for a while. Maybe earth needs just one thing to heat it up, us burning the system down.


#1 dmf on 12.17.15 at 16:38

as the various old systems of governance/economics continue to collapse I don’t see why we all won’t end up in the kind of dog eat dog worlds of tribalism we see in present day “failed” states.

#2 Richard Caldwell on 12.17.15 at 18:56

This reminds me of the Discordians who wish to rock the proverbial boat so as to speed up the process of wherever the world is headed. And it can be easy to see some degree of denial in those wishing the opposite, the ones hesitant towards change.

I think self-doubt is healthy though, from you or anyone, Peter. I think more people should take a hard look inside for answers, rather than googling or seeking elsewhere outside of themselves. The world needs more individuals, real individuals, especially because of the sacrifice it entails. I try not to allow others to take credit for things I do, but equally I try not to allow others to take blame for things I do. If leaders could match that belief, whether political or religious or industry leaders, then the world might not sting so much.

Facing adversity is healthy as well. An unused sword can go dull with age. And you are handling your adversity well, Peter. So cheers.