Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I am grateful to have a politician call out how base American political election cycles have become. Although, ironically the video ends with "let's talk about something serious and something real....."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Democracy, Freedom and Liberty.....

.... for the living only.

I only wish to say that the stories shared here are the exact reason that I believe war is not a tool for a civilization or society to influence, change, or assist another civilization and/or society. War is to destroy, annihilate, and eradicate an enemy.

Morality and ethics are a concern of the living.

I am find it hard to express the deep disgust I have for leaders of nations in modern times that lack the intellect, wisdom, and conviction to make decisions. Embrace war, embrace the slaughter, embrace the eradication of a people. To do otherwise is disingenuous and a mockery of history. If you can not embrace such a blood lust then maybe war was not the answer to the problem. Seldom has war really resolved conflicts.

Iraq Veterans Against the War

I respect and honor every soldier who has left their family to answer a call made by those who sit in offices. "When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die." And the poor who do return home continue to carry the burden of a choice that wasn't theirs.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Ethics of Intellectual Property Rights - Part 1

I have been pondering the issues of Intellectual Property Rights, copyrights, piracy, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) as of late. I have come to some conclusions and have decided to share my views.

Critique #1 - Creation in a Vacuum

The concept of intellectual property rights is a continued assumption that the individual is the primary agent. That is to say the individual being is the nexus point for all action and thus reducible to the individual. This is exemplified in the mental health field with mental diagnoses being only focused on individual diagnosis. This is exemplified in the criminal court system with crimes being reduced to the individual "who does the crime." While these are two quick and broad stroking examples, such ideologies also seem to be applicable to the intellectual property rights as it questions: "who owns intellectual property?", but the question is framed in the assumed context that an individual is the answer, so we debate which individual that should be. The overt egocentric, and overly base, conception that the individual is the creator, doer, and owner of everything in its own domain is yet another perversion of Manifest Destiny.

I ask of anyone who creates, discovers*, invents, etc, the following question (I would hope this would include every living human):

Do you believe that you are the necessary and only necessary condition for your invention, creation, etc. to exist? In other words, would whatever you are supposedly the creator exist if and only if you created it AND only because you exist to create it?

I believe the above question is impossible to answer yes to. Furthermore, I would contend that intellectual property rights are based on answering that question yes and thus is a deluded sense of grandeur that the I exists, in some peculiar way, outside the socio-historic context that situates the individual. If I were to take a simple example of an artist who paints a painting. To believe that the artist is the SOLE creator of a painting she paints is interpreting creation as necessarily only teleological in nature. This is an overly reductionist interpretation. Any interpretation of creation take into consideration the socio historic context. For example, the artist has had access to a multiplicity of social resources (e.g. paint, training, time, knowledge of art, etc.) in order for the painting to come to fruition. I suggest we reject reductionist interpretations of creation and take into consideration the interactions of individuals in their community and society. If one does interpret the process of creation as inclusive to those interactions, then the creator any knowledge can not be reduced to a single individual.

NOTE: While at this point I can see my first argument being interpreted that I will claim that no one has ownership of any knowledge and thus artists create their art for the good of society with no compensation, I do not hold this view nor will I be arguing for some for of neo-Communist ideologies. At this point I am only calling into question and critiquing the accepted ideas around intellectual property rights.

Footnote: * - discover versus creation is an argument around whether or not knowledge is a priori or a posteriori. How one answers this question also will play into the legitimacy of intellectual property rights and is an issue I will investigate later.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Geek Mafia - Good book and Ethically Distributed

If you don't care for the reasons, you can just go to the book I am suggesting here: Geek Mafia by Rick Dakan

For about a year now I have been struggling with a few concepts and while I am not done struggling I have come to a few conclusions along the way. I will post the thoughts, reasons, and insights later; but for now just the conclusions and what that means.

  • The current conception of intellectual property in the United States is not only epistemically bankrupt, but unethical.
  • Knowledge, Information, and Power are interrelated to the point of inseparability.
  • Ownership of knowledge and/or information is social and political power.
  • Domination and exploitation exist in the cognitive sphere of humanity as much as the emotional and physical.

You may be asking: "so what?" Well for 2008 I have set a goal to support and utilize as little "all rights reserved copyrighted" materials and instead support artists, writers, and any other individual who offers their time to totalizing human intellectual capital. I just finished a book that falls in such a category and would highly suggest it.

Rick Dakan's book was published under the Creative Commons copyright.

You can get his book here: Geek Mafia by Rick Dakan

Sunday, February 10, 2008

RIAAs Next Great Idea - Filters for your PC

I am wiped from doing homework all weekend and not really into writing up a long intellectual justification for why I find these types of things not only despicable but ethically and epistemically bankrupt. So, today, I will just link to the video of the RIAA explaining their new idea to put filters on your PC.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Change by Tony Hoagland

The season turned like the page of a glossy fashion magazine.
In the park the daffodils came up
and in the parking lot, the new car models were on parade.

Sometimes I think that nothing really changes -

The young girls show the latest crop of tummies,
and the new president proves that he's a dummy.

but remember the tennis match we watched that year?
Right before our eyes

some tough little European blonde
pitted against that big black girl from Alabama,
cornrowed hair and Zulu bangles on her arms,
some outrageous name like Vondella Aphrodite -

We were just walking past the lounge
and got sucked in by the screen above the bar,
and pretty soon
we started to care about who won,

putting ourselves into each whacked return
as the volleys went back and forth and back
like some contest between
the old world and the new,

and you loved her complicated hair
and her to-hell-with-everybody stare,
and I,
I couldn't help wanting
the white girl to come out on top,
because she was one of my kind, my tribe,
with her pale eyes and thin lips

and because the black girl was so big
and so black,
so unintimidated,

hitting the ball like she was driving the Emancipation Proclamation
down Abraham Lincoln's throat,
like she wasn't asking anyone's permission.

There are moments when history
passes you so close
you can smell its breath,
you can reach your hand out
and touch it on its flank,

and I don't watch all that much Masterpiece Theatre,
but I could feel the end of an era there

in front of those bleachers full of people
in their Sunday tennis-watching clothes

as that black girl wore down her opponent
then kicked her ass good
then thumped her once more for good measure

and stood up on the red clay court
holding her racket over her head like a guitar.

And the little pink judge
had to climb up on a box
to put the ribbon on her neck,
still managing to smile into the camera flash,
even though everything was changing

and in fact, everything had already changed -

Poof, remember? It was the twentieth century almost gone,
we were there,

and when we went to put it back where it belonged,
it was past us
and we were changed.

from What Narcissism Means to Me © Graywolf Press.