Monday, January 18, 2010

What does it mean to be human?

I am no where near the first person to ask this question, however, I was having quite the discussion today with my friend in Oman.  The idea of consciousness came up and she asked me “what is consciousness?”  The first thing that came to mind was trying to explain the concept that consciousness is what makes us, us.  I used the construct of the soul.  That is, consciousness can be likened to the soul, which is unique and makes us, us.  It gives the ability to discern meaning from the world around us.  It gives us the ability to learn, to reason, to quantify and qualify, to realize absolutes, generate ideas of morality and ethics.  It is this unique feature that can be ascribed to a person to create one’s humanity.  Yes, in some circles, people would argue that various other animals do exhibit human like characteristics, but this does not make them human.

Now, the question is, where does consciousness come from?  It can be argued that consciousness is a byproduct of the electrical grid and processor that is our brain. In that case the consciousness can be broken down into a series of chemical reactions and electrical pulses. The question then becomes, what if we can duplicate these pulses, and various chemical reactions via an external grid.  Would the reproduction still be human?  Would the reproduction have a soul?  Then we can extend into the whole idea of rights ascribed to this copy. 

In some ways it is only a matter of time till we have to ask these kinds of questions.  What will the answer be?  I’m really not sure.  The technological imperative marches forward even though we, as humans, may not always keep up with the consequences of our work.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Gaeta’s Lament

I thought this was quite beautiful so I wanted to share it with you all.

Alone she sleeps
In the shirt of man
With my three wishes
Clutched in her hand

The first that she
Be spared the pain
That comes from a
Dark and laughing rain

When she finds love
May it always stay true
This I beg for
The second wish I made, too
But wish no more
My life, you can take
To have her, please
Just one day wake

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sometimes you wonder…


The curse and legacy of millions, if not billions, of generations of life culminate at this single moment with you, or me. We are the product of the very essence of creation itself.  The first simple microorganisms 3.5 billion years ago.  To better capture that figure it’s 3,500,000,000 years ago.  I just recently turned 28 so to put it in perspective life is 125,000,000x older than I am or I am .00000008% as old as life itself.  Thus to conceptualize imagine if we stood in line, all of us, every single ancestor we’ve had back to that first primitive organism.  The distance that line travels is just unimaginable.

You then have to ask yourself how, with all these ancestors who survived everything from mass extinctions, plagues, famine, being eaten by other blobs of primitive life or even mountain lions, that things like mental illness evolved.  What advantage did having messed up neurochemicals confer? I can only fathom it had something to do with evolving our brains to the states they are in today.  However, you would think that the intermediary states would have become extinct or vanished overtime.  I suppose seeing successive generations carrying forward these flaws or broken receptors only goes to show we’re still evolving.  The chemical concoctions that power the electrical grid that is the brain shifting, moving or simply broken because they conduct improperly. 

I suppose some would argue that this was a gift from god, or that life itself is a gift from god.  That we were made 5,000 years ago and were made perfect.  I find it hard to believe that defective wiring or conduits would be “perfection”.  That this perfection would entail years and years of internal suffering.  I guess that’s the gift of my genes, the gift of time, the gift of evolution.  Thus, here I am, without a mouth and having to scream. 

The meds, they don’t really help.  What are you left to do but silently suffer and go about the routine.  To face the day, to continue moving but all the while just hurting or suffering inside.  I guess that is the purpose of life, to suffer, to anguish, to live and ultimately die.  In an instant, the light goes off and the inevitable course of existence keeps moving forward.  One’s memory, just that, a memory or if they propagated then they can pass on the curse that is whatever they carry within themselves, either knowingly or unwittingly. 

Here we are…standing on the precipice of change which overlooks the abyss that is life. Where we go from here, how we move, it only goes one way, into the nothingness.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I had a dream once.  I had a dream in the ability of one to manifest one’s own destiny.  I see now something’s are inevitable.  All we are left with in the end are questions and non-answers.

Is this all that we are?
Is this all that I am?
Isn’t there something more?
Is this all that we are?
Is this all that I am?
Isn’t there something more?

When I was a child I had dreams of a future….


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let it Rock.

Because when I arrive
I bring the fire
Make you come alive
I can take you higher
What is this, forgot?
I must now remind you
Let It Rock
Let It Rock
Let It Rock


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Moving forward…

"Having cut even this, they go forth,
Free from longing, abandoning sensual pleasures.
Those attached to passion
Are caught in a river [of their own making]
Like a spider caught in its own web.
But having cut even this, the wise set forth,
Free from longing, abandoning all suffering.

"Let go of the past, let go of the future,
Let go of the present.
Gone beyond becoming,
With the mind released in every way,
You do not again undergo birth and old age."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

In response to a recent list serve post: “Is your anti-virus program effective?”

A colleague on a listserv recently posted a response to this question that can be summarized by the following:

“I really think the weakest link in our computers now sits in the chair in front of the keyboard.”

I fundamentally disagree with this statement and retorted with the following:

On some level you are correct; however, some of the fundamental issues that I'm observing are the damage that semantics is causing.  As a result of marketing we have various "Antivirus" programs, while at the same time those vendors offer additional packages as "anti-spyware" and "anti-malware". It is wrong of us to shift the responsibility onto the end user as we are inherently responsible for lulling them into a false sense of security (e.g. we supply antivirus and make them update so they are safe).  Yes, users need to understand not to allow certain things to install and, at some level, I believe we see they understand that fact.  Where we should be placing pressure/blame is on the "anti-virus" vendors.  The whole marketing "anti-virus" only treating "viruses", anti-spyware only treating "spyware" is an antiquated notion and ultimately hurts the end user.  Malware, viruses, worms, plague, at this juncture it's all the same.

We've seen a paradigm shift in the nature of the threats and the roots of infection.  We've adapted, many of the major vendors as a result of marketing have not.  Every machine that has come through our auspices has been patched and up to date with the latest dat files from Network Associates [8.5 and 8.7].  However, this has done nothing to reduce, stop or inhibit the spread of Windows Antivirus 20XX, AV360 or the various evolving rootkit style infections.

In short, the products we have purchased to protect our users have failed to evolve with the needs/threats to our users.