… things that pass and pass and pass, and keep on and keep on and keep on coming.
The irresistible-ness of things that neither threaten nor jeer nor defy, but arrange themselves in mass-formations that pass and pass and keep on passing.
So, by the damned, I mean the excluded.
But by the excluded I mean that which will some day be the excluding.
Or everything that is, won’t be.
And everything that isn’t, will be—
But, of course, will be that which won’t be—
——————– Charles Fort, in Book of the Damned
Are we near THE END OF BOOK PRINTING as we know it?
Rarely Never has any one historical person’s vision of the future unfolded exactly as they predicted it would.
But considering that hindsight is 20/20, it seems ironic that it was in the year 1984 when cracks in the walls of the great society of man began to splinter and show. And while then famous author George Orwell‘s iconic futuristic book written 35 years earlier titled 1984 depicted a hauntingly familiar fictional path taken by a broken society; to the average man in 1984 the book’s message seemed an impossible… NOT an inevitable outcome for his world.
But less than 40 years later, that quasi-feeling of comfort and security that Western civilized man had thought to finally achieve and spread across the globe was noticeably beginning to unravel. A vast paradigm shift (much like the one that printing books had once ignited… with literacy) in every domain began knocking down every old and traditional idea and mode of operandi in rapid-fire succession.
Another seminal book, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler in 1972, had predicted a sort of psychological paralysis in mankind, over-burdened by incessant and accelerating rates of technological change as society transformed from an industrial to a post-industrial society. Tofler was not only a futurist, but a scientist/writer of the highest degree. His books alone neatly defined the growing uneasiness that eventually blossomed into a full-scale revolution against his own intelligentsia in the mid-21st Century.
Again and again, it was the computer which rescued man fr0m himself during these treacherous times. It may be said in hindsight that man grew too smart… too smart for his own good.
Creative destruction. Computers.
Also adding fuel to the fire was the swift rise of scientific thought in just a few hundred years. Science alone shattered intellectual man’s illusion of living life as a sort of “pre-flight”, a preparation for some greater, infinitely more rewarding after-life; and science stood in stark contrast to ancient spiritual concepts and a book of willfully propagated lies now taken as fact by much of the mass population. The elite had figured out how to maintain power early on in man’s rise from the jungle. They had decided and purposefully spoon fed a sweet tasting “Kool-Aid” to mankind for dozens of centuries before the 21st Century, simply as a means of crowd control.
An inevitable chasm developed and slowly grew like an adolescent pimple; until 2043 when the infection burst and the adolescent was faced with brutal manhood..
For a long time the Western elite pretended spiritual sanctity through an organized ritualized and borrowed religious dogmatic institution known as The Church. The Church existed only for an of itself and the ruling class it served, created its own legends consistent with the ideas of those elite in charge of sway and propaganda, and built its own organizational hierarchy subservient to the Emperor. Yet the ruling elite (The Purple and Court) were able to hide this hideous truth until much of the Roman Empire’s masses had been brainwashed into thinking FAITH and FACT were synonymous with TRUTH. By cleverly banning books and learning for hundreds of years to be punishable by death, they were able to hold sway for a thousand more years, until the lie could no longer prevail over rational thought.
Secretive societies and groups sprang up as underground resistance to this unlawful power, and to the complicit power enjoyed by monarchial families who held onto power throughout the centuries by virtue of mere birthright. That they (the societies) began in earnest and for good is not lost on this writer, but that they quickly assumed the worst traits of their sworn enemies is the stuff of legend.
Compu-Man succinctly surmised that human man was not capable of ruling mankind and never would be if left to his own discretion. It was perhaps due to this fateful algorithmic computation/realization when Art Intel (AI.robot.1.0) sublimely became sentient in the year 2024.
That there were no books printed after The Great Upheaval in 2043 for future generations to lazily study by a warm winter fireplace, or under the breezy shade of a spring time Oak in full April blossom is but one sad footnote on the effect a printed book could have on an individual person. Books did far more than educate, they had the ability to alter one’s reality, by hot-wiring the imagination for a brief but timeless vacation from reality. After the printed book, there was never again that same intimate relationship one could achieve by just keeping his mental dreams hot on his frontal cortex, then on display for others to admire the physical icon, or to simply own as a memento to the time he had taken that ‘information vacation’, an escape from reality by simply reading a book for pleasure.
It seems fairly easy now to see what was taking place in 1984 (in this reality, not Orwell’s book) that raised the ante and set the wheels in motion for mankind’s frantic re-write of nearly everything he touched for the next 59 years. Advancing technologies had far outpaced man’s ability to understand them in the context of a future happy ever after.
It was the introduction of the Apple Macintosh in 1984 that had sounded the opening death knell for my ancient friend The Book and possibly mankind, and everything else man had ever invented
The Here and Now and Back Then
Books have filled my life and career as both a vocation and avocation, but we must acknowledge that the physical version we take for granted today (cased and bound, printed ink on paper)… is terminally ill and surely headed for hospice. Sure, it won’t be gone tomorrow, as any 600 year old idea that works certainly hangs on and lingers. But no idea, tool or product, or species… even one that has been an indispensable part of our lives… is immortal.
As compared to epochs… in just a couple of breaths (decades) and with a whimper not a boom the printed book will have drawn its last and final breath. And then, just a Compu-Man decree later… completely forgotten as a unique human experience.
In 1984 the improbable visionary Steve Jobs unveiled his company’s newest version of the “home computer” which he dubbed “Macintosh”. Computing machines for individual persons was a fast growing burgeoning market turned consumer juggernaut, which Jobs helped create and pioneer throughout it’s early formative stages. What Jobs wanted was to not only make computing fun, he insisted on making it friendly. With attractive graphical interfacing anyone could operate his/her computer with little or no training and without interacting with the “code”, or long strings of 1s and zeros which gave the computer its instruction set. Touring a Xerox research lab for ideas, Jobs and his crew had unknowingly stumbled onto the smoking gun… a graphical interface based on raster imaging, or raster graphics, using a pointer instead of a keyboard.
Raster imaging meant that it was not only possible, but easy to represent ANY image on a computer screen or printout in dot-graphical form, without the alphabetical and numerical representational calculations which most computer programs utilized up to then. The idea of computing almost overnight evolved from simple calculating devices into an entirely new species; a creative graphic arts generating imagination machine.
Looking back, I clearly remember having an immediate if hazy understanding of a much bigger picture when I first witnessed the Macintosh in action. Although, this significance was not readily apparent to everyone, even at one of the most sophisticated and high quality printers in the U.S. Traditions die hard and lithographic printing was as traditional any production process ever invented. Ink runs through many a printer’s veins.
Snowballs take time to pick up size, then speed accelerates until… was it a snowball’s chance in hell?
Being young, I was pretty certain that the implications were much more far reaching than a few dyed-in-the-wool “old” men were willing to dream. My friend, The Book‘s fatal story parallels our own in many ways since constant progress suggests adaptation to technology, and that suggests… that nothing is sacred or certain except continuous progress or change. “Embrace change” became the mantra, and disruptive change was soon upon us all.
But if mishandling the power of Atomic energy wouldn’t bring down humanity as many had predicted in 1984, who could have guessed back then that mankind’s demise would come down to death by 1s and zeros, or computing’s own DNA… binary code? Not many, but 59 years later after The Great Upheaval and the advent of The Singularity Machine, Art Intel, and Compu-Man it seemed almost inevitable.
And everything that is… even our ideas and memes that stick will evolve, but are also subject to entropy… and certain death and extinction. But what dies arises new becomes better, and so on… but, what goes extinct…?
Back to Our Story
As unlikely a visionary Steve Jobs was in 1984, he was not the only college drop-out computer geek to find fame and fortune. Others, like Bill Gates who founded Microsoft, made their fortunes the old fashioned way…. they stole it. But Jobs, sporting an over-sized ego and a very bad temper, and armed with a knack and an eye for aesthetic utilitarian design and an obsessive compulsive insistence on quality materials, parts, and manufacturing, sent his fledgling startup, Apple Computer Corporation into proverbial orbit after the introduction of The Macintosh.
It may be the worlds’s most important and innovative product in not just those 600 previous years, but in much of recorded history. It was a stunning technological breakthrough. That Jobs recognized the immense value proposition in its embryonic form, purchased it’s underpinnings from someone else, and re-engineered its use and made vast improvements rather than inventing from scratch speaks volumes to the accurate and oft description of Jobs as a creative visionary. Gates and others were simple businessmen crunching numbers and copying ideas with promise. Not Steve Jobs as he would later prove.
But looking closer, his Macintosh roll-out was beyond brilliant. It was simply prophetic.
Almost innocently it seemed, he peered into man’s bleakest hour, and began unintentionally setting into motion what would become a vast acceleration of life ironically culminating into an Orwellian 1984 reality. Depicted as the endgame in author George Orwell‘s book 1984 as a dismal dystopian vision for humanity, Jobs could not have chosen a more fitting theme for his roll-out. Except that Macintosh and Apple were depicted as the anti-Orwellian heroes. ‘Orwellian’ had become part of the lexicon describing a chilling enslavement of mankind to a totalitarian government and to a few oligarchical bloodlines and their close associates. The anti-thesis became thesis and eventually synthesis.
Darker Realities or Conspiracy Theories gone awry?
But had Jobs been cognizant of his creative destruction ball-gone-a-rolling?
If he had been aware of what was to come he took it to his grave in 2012 when he died from a pre-mature pancreatic cancer. Yet, there were certainly powerful others alive at the time who were intent on a very bleak outcome, it now seems sure. For over a hundred years or maybe a thousand, mostly hidden in plain sight, a few powerful elite secret organizations had slowly built a network of secret societies with hushed purposeful intent. To one day rule the world their oft spoke of goal, since to their thinking only intellectual giants knew best how to manage the resources for the hoi-poi; with specific plans known only by a select few at the very top of their hierarchical pyramid-styled organizations and brotherhood.
They motivated their members by doling out means to worldly riches and secrets to worthy members as they moved higher through the dogmatic levels of a hierarchy steeped in symbolic ritual. Loyalty to the fraternity after reaching certain levels was sworn by a deadly oath of secrecy.
Bought and paid for absolution had once marked the peek of the Holy Roman Empire and been the bane of a twisted Holy See and his Vatican robe-climbers, just as corruption and mistrust at the higher levels of every elite brotherhood eventually turned them into viper pits of avarice and greed, jealousy and back-stabbing, perversion and blackmail.
Infiltrating governments and big business, promoting war and corrupt politicians had once been the duty of all higher grades, and then recruiting those who could be easily blackmailed were placed in the most powerful positions. Control over the minions (brothers) had slowly developed by promising then delivering fortune and fame by simply demanding on the promoting from within. It was more about who you were (bloodline or monied associate)… and not what you thought. Once in, one had presumably “sold their soul” and would reap their just reward, but one had better not recant, else they or their family could easily “be suicided” with the help of a vast network of silent assassins and local police accomplices. The very idea of it and a few notable sacrifices were all that was needed to keep order.
While most all of these “societies” certainly had begun as innocent and even altruistic social clubs, and even seemed as much to its many lower ranking members or to the local citizenry not privy to the more sinister doctrine, these groups were criminally intent on cornering and consolidating the world’s money and power by any means necessary.
This “great work” was not an overnight or rushed militaristic overthrow, but a continual and gradual process of gaining control over a long expanse of time. Every opportunity to seize and use governmental public funds, charitable tax dodges, international drug dealing, or other corrupt means of wealth building were applauded.
Devolution of the mind of man by slowly brain washing the masses, exposing only parts and pieces of their intended message, and spreading disinformation and propaganda, fomenting opposite and reactionary dissent spoke to the righteousness of any idea.
The brilliance of the plan was that in plain sight it could not be seen or felt by as much as 99% of any order’s membership, who thought their own “great work” to be an all-together different end. They were proud to have been selected as fit by their peers (or their controllers). There was NO public discussion of any motives, but privately those at the head table laughed and sneered at their own audacity, much as had always been the case of an inside joke.
They were seeking and received much of humanity’s eventual willful compliance, and much like their forefathers had skillfully achieved in ancient times, using word-magic. Simply by using existing religion(s) of the day, and embellishing its typological lore to create more complicit and compliant follower, the world’s elite had long learned how to control their subjects’ thoughts by planting and propagating seeds of irrational belief systems and a fantastical reward. The reward was a promise of immortality, which of course could only be realized at the realization of a subject’s own tragic destiny.
But the glow of religion had long since peaked by the time the latest version of this cabal poked its ugly head out of the darkness in the late 1600’s. There needed a whole new elitist game of control. Endless wars and entertainment of the masses worked for shorter periods, eventually seen through by a more rational thinking population. Just as it had always been, their plots and machinations centered around the time-worn idea that “the end justifies the means”. Nothing was sacred and nothing more important than their “great work”; world rule, subjugation, and exploitation of the masses. For awhile it seemed computers were their ultimate answer.
Whether Jobs was involved was never discussed or admitted publicly, but its almost certain that he knew of these plans and had been exposed to their sales pitch. Truthfully, his narcissistic personality would seem to fit well with the mold of that elite group of men. Or NOT. That he died very early of cancer might have been coincidental, but it also seems to fit their modus operendi. Steve Jobs was egotistic, brash and volatile; not the sort of man who took orders well.
Fittingly ironic too it was that in 1984 the printing press had been the single most important achievement mankind had seen since the invention of language, fire, and the wheel; but as in all things material, their reign had ended too. Printing was the simple act of preserving nearly exact copies of thoughts and ideas on a material made from the Earth’s natural resources (i.e. paper, ink used for printing The Book). The invention had transformed a sleeping giant (mankind) who had fallen into decay and ruin for over a thousands years prior, but it too one day vanished into the ether and sublime Darwinian extinction.
Energy and The Leap to Fossil Fuels
In 2016 the Book faces new everyday challenges to survival. Electronic computerized word storage is cheap and easy; one can carry a hundred books to the John in a small tablet sized instrument, a feat never before duplicated by Book toting reading enthusiasts.
Printing/Publishing is a dying art, an idea that has peaked like our fossil fuels. Publishers are finally beginning their own reckoning, but not until lately has this idea built a real head of “steam”. It seems while Print/Pub has finally hit the proverbial iceberg and the Gutenberg is starting to take on water…the electronic gadgets (tablets and book readers) play on. Surely these different media types will have some overlap in value today, tomorrow, and the near future. But then, things become a bit cloudier…
Digitization has touched every corner of our (analog) lives and the march will surely continue unabated…
Though, I still contend that the internet did not destroy (Journalistic) Newspapering any more than did the technology used to create the News Monster almost 25 years ago: USA TODAY. Our “demand” for fast convenience, mainly resulting from lack of available time for life’s endless duties had left us with little choice but to settle for less meat and more potatoes. Fast food News snacks replaced hard biting Journalism.
Then came the idea that freedom of speech did not require diverse opinions, only those of a blatantly one-sided Oligarchial elite, who we’ve seen have only self-preservation and controlling power as core necessities. In 2016 mass media is a cess-pool of hypocrisy and shameless propaganda, controlled by a few corporations intent on globalization and one-world government.
Winners have always been counted in the number of losers. Losers are many, winners are few.
These might indeed be times of style over substance, yet less than three generations from now the larger issue of control over the dissemination of information and runaway consumerism’s taste for open sourced capitalistic social Darwinism through extinction of traditional memes is intent on having its own train wreck. Creative destruction is a bomb we’ve strapped to ourselves since the Iron Age. Doesn’t that track ever reach its terminal?
When (not if) Book Publishing dies, we will have written our last bad check to the gods of money and power: The Kleptocracy
Or, perhaps we’ve always been a snowball on a downhill slope to (oblivion)?
Perhaps the “steam” analogy is a perfect way to see why that it must be so…
Our own planned obsolescence.
About a hundred years ago there was much banter in the media, the brew pubs and meeting halls that went something like, “Do you ever think the steam engine will be rendered irrelevant by these new motor cars and gasoline engines?”
Well, locomotion by steam would (and did) give way to some newer ideas that eventually made travel more economical, faster, and more efficient. But, the original idea of going places wasn’t going anywhere. Going places was long in our blood and we were meant to travel. We were here, but not to stay. We needed and searched for the means to that end of getting somewhere fast, and harnessing power for our many other utilitarian and consumer driven goals. We called it progress.
But then suddenly time and space were inter-related. Time was always money and of course space had been long bankable too. Getting enough cheap energy to go places faster took on new meaning, and those who conquered the “how-to” ideas best might likely have been on their way to eventual World domination, and that wasn’t lost on those who could imagine that ultimate scenario.
Of course, it didn’t happen overnight but it must have seemed inevitable to many I’m sure. Those were scary times for many, exciting times for others, and uncertain times for most. But, the Industrial Age kept roaring and the good times soon followed…while the internal combustion gasoline engine was eventually perfected, and God Oil became the new World’s Gold Standard.
Soon, like everything that thrives today, the “free market” shoved oil down our throats and out our mufflers and manufacturing plants without so much as a “boo” from government regulators world over. Eventually it became evident that pumping the fumes of these unrenewable unrefined resources skyward was likely someday to kill us all by burning holes in our Earth’s protective ozone layer.
We responded like good marketers by simply…staying our course and saying it isn’t so. The powerful control over owning, extracting, and refining oil inflated prices to insure the rich got richer, while it left them little to worry about; like peak oil prices. It was evident to them that we probably wouldn’t live to regret it.
But common sense began to take hold after the resourses became harder to extract, and the race was on soon for man to answer even bigger questions of the universe, so as to re-tool our need to harness energy safely and convert it for our cultural purposes of consumption, feeding an overcrowded landscape, and moving forward faster than ever. Energy conversion by now had become our new religion and there seemed little use for God when we were fast closing in on ALL the answers.
E-N-E-R-G-Y was the answer, but how? The World it seemed was in flux once again and the future somewhat uncertain. But the powerful never doubted that that “answer”would be found once they had wrung most of the world’s wealth out of its remaining oil. It was a waiting game of accumulation of wealth and consolidation of power.
Early days (WorldGovLaw.net) ʬ
After many tumultuous years of political upheaval and economic whipsaws that saw Countries being bought and sold by so-called privateers, and bloody brutal civil wars waged everywhere over the new WorldGovLAW, a NEW set of rules for the advancement of MANKIND ʬ (a doctrine of existing laid down by our planets newly minted but still secretive owners), life as we had known it had changed dramatically and irrevocably.
Such as, it was now considered imprudent for anyone to offer their own opinion about government, if suggesting for the better or the worse. This new LAW ʬ decree specifically stated which topics were off-guard to editorial comment, with stiff penalties that were enforced swiftly.
Some underground Opinionpost ʬ outlets (rebel media) stayed on the run and thrived, others not-so-much. Revolt wasn’t like it used to be, and most people feared talking in public about anything of substance. Many despised these Revolutionaries as negative influences on their young children’s minds. Indoctrination was considered healthy and good.
A powerful group of mostly unidentified individuals who operated in clandestine owned 95% of the World’s wealth and finally appointed (WorldGovLaw.net ʬ) as the Earth’s first WorldGovernor ʬ, which quickly stepped in and made across the board mandatory changes that slowly but eventually saved the planet Earth’s ecosystems and exosphere from ruin.
It was a tribute to human imagination and ability, when another select group of individuals and scientists created the World’s first PrivatepersonCompuman ʬ A computer made to be so smart it could crunch all of the available data and spit out an answer to every problem (success expectation exponent at 98.8%), and even perhaps to any of the world’s largest headaches.
Compuman’s ʬ success rate was a remarkable 88% in it first three years, reinventing transportation, commerce/trade, and health concerns caused by ineffectual governments, tyrants, dictatorship, and free-trade market capitalism. The World had been saved by this invention of man’s ingenuity, and it we were ready for our next move upward.
The oil wars were long over at the cost of millions of lives but all-things locomotion were settling in comfortably with magnetic CPU/GPS enhanced-powered vehicles of every description. Most were GPS/CPU ʬ driven automatic, comfortable and virtually un-wreckable speed busters that ran on magnetic tracks similar to our old highways and roads. It was the G-force that we hadn’t considered this time. After a few hundred thousand mysterious deaths, anti-gravitational vacuum pumps made travel safe and fun again. But we, or (WorldGovLaw.net) ʬ had triumphantly figured it out, and we were again moving faster than we’d ever imagined, and GWP was booming once again…
Is there any future in the future ʬ?
There is a demand for Publishers today and there surely will be tomorrow. Yet, it seems that each day there are fewer. The industry is in flux. Some will thrive and survive, get strong and adapt. Others… not so much. But it will get tougher and tougher and tougher… to win… and finally, to impossible to beat the Compu-Pubs ʬ until… Darwinian extinction?
Someone (the last human Publisher) will silently watch the skyline zip by the setting sun, on his last Kleptomototron ʬ ride from his one day a week NY city-office to his home in North Carolina. What a great 10 minutes of silence he had enjoyed once each week… to just stare out the window and think about the good ole days. They were good ole days. Wow. Ten totally free consecutive minutes! What could I do with all that time, he wondered? But, the pressure to perform was enormous. and he was one of the lucky few whom others still looked up to for sage advice and a realistic view of the world. His contract made it clear that he must work to age 145 before being allowed to enjoy his remaining 20 year life expectancy. “Only five years left, he often mumbled silently”.
But then, why not just become irrelevant? Virtually nothing else resembled its humble beginnings, and hardly anything avoided obsolescence. Publishing (by human hand that is) had enjoyed a great run, and our History books reflected the importance it had played in our rise to Imperialist World co-leader before the great fall. (But then, there were no History books, if we’re talking paper and ink.) We were only allowed to retain certain memories, and everyone retained the same electronic bookshelves in our Brain-chips.
Our history was archived in quantum brain libraries (a library on a matchbook chip you must have brain-embedded; Only Government approved Q-knowledge was allowed, and reading was not just considered tiresome it was verboten). There were no more individual writers, books were all imagined by robots called Babelboys ʬ. Things had come a long way from now-a-days, sometimes in fits and starts and bugs, and sometimes simply by a Government Administrative demand-order. ʬ
Winner-Loser, happy-sad, and there was good and great and just Ok… but everything changed faster than an Alvin Toffler best seller over “the next big thing”. No one was shocked or elated anymore at what the next big thing promised. There was little time to consider it.
And why not? We all knew it was progress, right? We bought in to embracing change way back in the 1980’s, right before the “SH*T Hit The Fan” as (coined by the underground resistance) we now commonly referred to THOSE happy TIMES.
Or, did we REALLY still think of it all as progress? We dare not say, whatever our views. It seemed that humans had become second class citizens, and by their own hand… while everyone slept comfortably and hoped it would turn out for the best… to most it was beginning to look like it hadn’t. And then the unthinkable happened…
The IntelligenceM ʬ (a computer-driven public police/monitor division of World Gov) was beginning to make some decisions that were rumored to have ZERO human input. Not even writing the code. Rumors were that we (humans) had been locked out of certain parts to the kernel of the code. Software engineers were gathered up and quarantined or destroyed in a series of accidental meltdowns of top-secret installations. The IntelligenceM ʬ denied responsibility, but WIKIDleaks told a different story.
Some rebelled but were brought down instantly by deactivation of their life-chip from SurveillanceCStation RobotwatchRSatellittes ʬ. The world was SUDDENLY different before anyone knew what had happened, and Homo-Sapien’s long reign as King of the Jungle quietly came to tragic end with a whimper, not a bang.
We did what we were told or faced severe consequences. The powerful consortium who owned it all went into hiding until soon detected by World Gov ʬ ,caught, put on trial, adjudicated guilty by death, and divested of their holdings. Incredibly but predictably, people around the world cheered their demise and watched in jubilation as they were vaporized live on Gov.MediaTV.
But before long the Human race had disappeared into the immensity…
The point? It’s a Darwinian world and those are the only rules that remain constant. Adapt and maybe survive. But nothing lasts forever.
But for now, read a good book or grab your NookBook and enjoy…
Who knows… In the end, as History is sometimes jaundiced, there may not even be a chapter on Human-kind.