Money as Far-from-Equilibrium Dissipative Structure and the Secret of Turning the Green Energy Blues into a Mountain of Gold Doubloons
Warning to Reader: This document starts out seeming as if it might give practical financial advice but becomes progressively more rant-like and surreal. After a certain point, the tainted, greedy and obsessive spirit of the Green Energy Vortex seemed to take me over and my original intentions went off the rails, but maybe that reveals something essential about the nature of this vortex. If you're looking for more grounded advice on dealing with a time of challenged resources, I've written a very short piece: Resource Fluctuations Happen---Working with Scarcity and Abundance
One of the most obnoxiously persistent themes in so many people's lives is money. For most people the issue is scarcity and right livelihood, but even people with an abundance of money have issues.
What is money? Hard to write about something without some working definition of what it is. Money is essentially a magical artifact, a power object in this World of Warcraft and Consumerism.
Take out a dollar bill and examine it. I'm doing that right now... It is essentially a magical artifact. There are so many spells woven into a single dollar bill that it would take a magnifying glass and a lifetime to begin to unravel all the magical intentions and hidden groups who have woven their wiles into this one old world style artifact richly woven with layers of archetypal symbolism. It is alive with budding plants and berries and interwoven with intricate organic netting that near the top has elongated spirals that resemble the double helix of DNA. And then there is the pyramid with radiant eye that takes the magical spell theme over the top.
Money is magic, a highly symbolic artifact woven together by massive intentions of the collective human psyche. It is a signifier of stored energy, a container of energy as much as a battery or a gas tank, an ability to do work, to do magic, to make things happen. Alistair Crowley defined magic as "The science and art of creating change in conformity with will." Money is practically the Philosopher's Stone when it comes to creating change in conformity with will. With money you can fly in the air to far away lands and possess almost any object imaginable. With money you can get people and things dancing to your beck and call 24/7. With enough money you can create change in conformity to will (for better or worse) materially, technologically, scientifically, politically, culturally, sexually and...I'll let your imagination keep populating the list. With money you can split atoms, map genomes, and send rockets into outer space. You can save lives or destroy lives. So potent is the ability of money to create change in conformity with will that many people will expend most of their life energy desperately trying to acquire more and more of it.
Magical artifacts are probably in your pocket right now. The coins we have, beautifully engraved metal discs, once the coolest form of money, the gold doubloons of pirate treasure, have now become these annoying carnival slugs you have to lug around with you, even though their value is so infinitesimal that you have to debate whether they're worth the energy to pick them off the floor. Pennies, you have long recognized, are made to be an annoyance, a way for the gods of money to laugh at you through petty humiliation. Nobody wants pennies anymore, even stores give them away. Green energy is retreating from coin and paper into the matrix source-code world of zeros and ones.
Money is withdrawing from the clumsy world of macro objects, the world of old school Newtonian physics. But this shift was inevitable because money is not a thing, not a macro object; it is an energetic process. Money is what Ilya Prigogine called a "far-from-equilibrium dissipative structure," like a vortex, like that tiny twisting tornado of scummy water above your bathtub drain. Money, the Green Energy Vortex, is an open system; therefore energy must pour into and out of its far-from-equilibrium dissipative structure every moment for the vortex to exist.
The Green Energy Vortex is a far-from-equilibrium dissipative structure kept alive by in and out flows of information. If you are reading this, then you have almost certainly incarnated in that far-from-equilibrium dissipative structure known as The Babylon Matrix®. The engine that drives the Babylon Matrix is the Green Energy Vortex. If anything goes wrong with that engine, if it downshifts into recession or depression, for example, everyone in the Babylon Matrix is affected. The churning of this great engine is like a background hum present throughout our lives. Many of us listen anxiously to the pitch of that hum, fearful that the RPMs might lower, that DOW, NASDAQ, GDP or other ruling acronyms might go down, perhaps even threatening the global Green Energy Vortex.
You can't see the Green Energy Vortex as an isolated entity because you live inside of it. A fish doesn't really see water because water is the ever-present medium through which it transacts its life. Similarly, you live within the medium of the Green Energy Vortex. As you read these words, the Green Energy Vortex is shimmering, pulsating and flowing all about you. Wherever you are on this planet, unless you are in a deep cave of dense stone, money is passing through you as information. An electromagnetic smog of flowing high-speed zeros and ones bombards us constantly, darting between cell phones, laptops and other of those lesser rings of power. Just think about how much of the information transmitted is tied to Green Energy---Green Energy plus social, Green Energy plus sexual, Green Energy plus politics.
Money is energy and information and it is inevitable, as we tap into the source code of the Babylon Matrix, that far-from-equilibrium dissipative structure of zeros and ones, that we recognize money as a vortex of zeros and ones. This recognition causes it to seem all the more painful and grotesquely unfair that we just can't add a few more zeros to those account balance numbers that haunt our lives. Is there a shortage of zeros and decimal places out there? Galaxies have an average of a hundred billion stars, and some say there are four times more stars out there than grains of sand on this planet. That's an unfathomable amount of energy and material to come out of a point that was once, according to Big Bang theory, ten orders of magnitude smaller than a gnat's toenail. If so much can come out of so little, then why in the name of the holy dollar is it so tough to add just a few more pale little zeros to those all-important balances? There are megatons of energy locked up in the atomic bonds of one thin dime. So what the hell is bottling up the flow of Green Energy?
And speaking of absurdly narrow energetic bottlenecks, can someone tell me why in the hell, with all our technological magic, we are poisoning this planet by burning fuel so primitive it has chunks of dinosaurs floating in it? What evil spell of scarcity and victimhood is flowing around us that we haven't unlocked any of the number of possible ways (hot or cold fusion, scalar waves, zero point, geosynchronous solar collectors microwaving vast energies back to earth, etc.) to access huge quantities of free renewable energy? The science is already there, but the technology hasn't caught up yet, or isn't being allowed to catch up. This should be a cakewalk compared to creating the multi-core laptop humming away beneath my fingertips wirelessly interacting with the ever-shifting complexity of the World Wide Web. What could possibly be taking so long?
Aren't we the magically potent furless monkeys able to tap into the source code of the matrix, able to map DNA, split atoms, and create mini black holes in our super colliders? So why the hell are we still running on overpriced dinosaur grease that is supposedly heating the planet enough to melt the ice caps? Am I missing something here? We should have tapped into enough energy by now to be able to heat the highways rather than plow them. And where the hell is my space car that can run for a few thousand years on a ten millionth of a microgram of helium 3? Whatever happened to the Jetsons and the whole space age we were promised? We haven't even gone back to the moon in more than forty years, we don't even have the Concorde anymore---I was expecting the Jetsons, not the Flintstones plus computers, this is just plain stupid and unnecessary. I don't even have a lo-tech jet pack.
(More on this theme and the shift from utopian to dystopian expectations and Timelines Trembling Before the Collapse of the Wave Function.)
Fuel energy bottleneck means Green Energy bottleneck. The average American has eleven thousand dollars of credit card debt, but we should have access to enough free energy that the penny dish on the store counter should be heaped with gold credit cards. There should be a friendly, sexy robot behind the counter encouraging us to take as many gold credit cards as we want while the replicator in the back of the store fabricates our every desire in less time than it takes to sip a cup of Earl Grey tea while sitting on a veriform sofa made of a curvilinear aggregation of nanobots reshaping themselves moment by moment to maximize our comfort.
In the Sixties we were told that computers would be so labor-saving that we would be legally required to have five day weekends, but instead Americans are working far longer hours than they ever have, and are still staggering, stressed out and medicated, from paycheck to paycheck. Even the middle-class version of the American dream is starting to seem as remote as the world of Sixties sitcoms. And even if everyone can't have that kind of wealth, shouldn't I, an American baby boomer, be entitled to have a bank balance three or four more decimal points to the right? Sure, there might still be a continent of starving people orbiting off-country somewhere out there in the third world, but wouldn't I comprehend the direness of their situation a lot better if I were able to watch the famine unfold on a 70" flat panel plasma monitor? I should be spending my middle age in my Lucas THX surround-sound home theater watching an Inconvenient Truth, not living an inconvenient truth. So why am I out there, like Fred Flintstone in the stone quarry, battling with the primitive elements for a lousy paycheck, a wage slave who can't even get all the gadgets that are available right now, let alone the ones promised to me in my youth?
I am saying all this because I sense that you, the reader, are a shadowy billionaire who feels surrounded by a vague miasma of guilt because of all the morally uncertain means that have allowed you to acquire vast heaps of underutilized treasure. In your heart you know that the zaporacle.com website can absolve you of so many of those heavy sins through the sacrament of Pay Pal donation, and the more you donate, the more sin-absolving sacrament, the more zeros and ones flowing from you into this amazing website, the lighter that leaden albatross of sin around your neck becomes. Would the sin-absolving release of a few of your ill-gotten zeros and ones into this all-important website be so hard? There are so many more zeros and ones where those came from, you can afford to release a few back into the wild. Wouldn't you rest better at night knowing that even if Third World children are working fifteen-hours shifts to sew your sneakers, that at least the creator of the Zap Oracle was free to spend all his time crafting new artifacts of zeros and ones for your pleasure?
To paraphrase another great American who stood at the brink of the space age: Ask not what zaporacle.com can do for you; ask what you can do for zaporacle.com. I chose to do this website not because it was easy, but because it was hard. And now, 45 years since Kennedy stood at the brink of the Space Age, here I am, born exactly two months after the launch of Sputnik, four years old when Kennedy gave his speech about sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to earth, and we are still only on the stagnant brink of a space age. Kennedy did not say return safely to the earth and then go to sleep for forty years. We did that not because it was hard, but because it was easy. And we still can't even get a satellite into orbit without launching a twenty story metal tube filled with volatile dinosaur juice. It's pathetic that warp core drives are consigned to reruns; we don't even have new Star Trek episodes anymore.
Our only consolation is that at least we are making some forward progress into cyber space, and even someone who lives in a modest duplex packed with gadgets, can still make the jump to cyberspace and build a souped-up Millennium Falcon-like website (but without Han Solo's mercenary ambivalence about fighting the Evil Empire). And I can do it with off-the-shelf hardware; I don't need giant rocket boosters and million liter tanks of liquid oxygen, or a NASA-sized bureaucracy, which some astrophysicists have identified as the largest gas giant in the galaxy. All I need is a very modest-size tank of Green Energy, the right flow of zeros and ones, and Paypal-enabled in-flight refueling.
And that is why I address you, the shadowy billionaire. I envision you dying of a rare cancer that requires you to live in a luxury jetliner that never lands, very much like the shadowy billionaire in the movie Contact, who calls Jodi Foster, and says, "Wanna take a ride?"
But the problem with you shadowy billionaires is that you are so wrapped up in what you want, your plans and schemes, your egocentric worldview, you as hub-of-the-world, you, you, you! Clueless, you circle in your jetliner, forever stuck in the holding pattern, obsessed with what you want and forever neglecting to focus on what I want, and what my website needs, which, of course, are just so many words for saying: The Greater Good.
Hello? Earth to Mr. Dying Billionaire. Can you wake up for a moment and smell the chemotherapy? You are not going to live forever, so if you want a shot at immortality, this is your chance, make the inevitable massive anonymous donation to zaporacle.com and force me to write a new ending to this rant. Go ahead, make my day, be the maverick renegade you were meant to be and surprise me with your power: Just do it!
But what if I'm wrong about you? What if you are that one reader who slipped beneath the cracks of my vision? What if you are not a dying billionaire circling in a jetliner. Maybe you don't even own a jetliner. Maybe you're thinking that because I'm not locating you perfectly that you are off the hook, the needs of my website don't apply to you, you can just keep pushing your egocentric agenda, wanting what you want when you want it, you, you, you. But somewhere deep inside, you're sick of the self-referential myopia, and a part of you is starting to awaken, starting to ask yourself, What selfless sacrifice can I make to zaporacle.com? Wouldn't I feel more fulfilled if I skipped the next mortgage payment and instead put that money into zaporacle.com?
OK, maybe your intentions aren't pure. Maybe even the way you asked those questions shows that your motives aren't purely selfless, that you are still wondering what's going to make you feel better. Maybe it's going to take two or three mortgage payments donated to zaporacle.com before you work through some of the ego layers and get to something that begins to look like authentic altruism. That kind of inner change takes time, and it is crucial to have patience and remember that, if it comes down to it, homelessness has its compensations. Sure, you may sleep in a refrigerator box, but it can feel like a palace when you gratefully appreciate that all you have to do is wake up, stuff some more dry newspaper in your boots and walk a mile or two in the snow to the public library where you can interact with this amazing website for free.
It is now a few hours later, and rereading what I wrote I'm starting to have doubts about my own intentions. It feels like I might have lost ground control of my rant, its trajectory somehow destabilized, and now I find that it is tumbling weightlessly, a derelict spacecraft tumbling end-over-end in space. When I play back the launch tapes I see what happened--- those jagged spurts of green fire from the main boosters, my forward thrust driven by spurts of Green Energy, and that's a huge problem, because there is a horrible, horrible taint on the green energy side of the force. In writing the rant I got infected by the frenzied energies of the Green Energy Vortex to where all I wanted was my birthday present, my Precious, and I was willing to do anything to get it. I was ready to live on cold orc flesh so long as I could have my Precious, my ring of gold, my high-tech cave packed with the latest gadgets, my vantage space on the Babylon Matrix where I could observe its unraveling from an array of over-sized plasma monitors. Is it so much to ask to just be ensconced in luxurious high technology and cared for by a relatively small personal staff? Isn't it reasonable for me to want to observe the Babylon matrix from a position of privilege and infinite sarcasm and not to have to actually toil down in its boiler rooms, wake up to an alarm clock and put on a cog suit, ready to become a moving part in some vast engine of mindless industry?
Yes, dear reader, I am driven by Green Energy lust, and I can feel my eyes glow large and green down here in the labyrinthine caves of cyberspace. I don't want to let go of my dying billionaire, and so I drag his wraith-like body into my cave. I put up with his rancid chemotherapy breath, his negative attitudes and egocentrism. I even share some of my raw Orc flesh with him. I want him to love me and to embrace me with his superfluity of zeros and ones. Above all, I want this rant to make me rich, and to do it I'm willing to share with you the secret of becoming rich. But first I have to let go and trust you, trust your honor, trust that when I tell you the secret of being rich that before you start acting on that secret you will at least make a substantial Paypal donation to zaporacle.com. Take your magic number, add a couple of zeros, and donate it as a magical gesture of faith in far-from-equilibrium dissipative structures.
OK, you are on the honor system now. Here's the secret: Paypal me an additional $39.95 to cover shipping and handling and I will email you, absolutely free, my exclusive eleven-page manual that will teach you step-by-step how to be a motivational speaker in our "How to be a millionaire in 30 days!"® multi-level marketing program in which you train people how they can become millionaires by getting a copy of your eleven-page manual on how to be a motivational speaker that trains other people on how they can become millionaires by becoming motivational speakers that train other people on how they can become millionaires by becoming motivational speakers....so forth and so on. Yes, it really is that simple!
OK, I know what you're thinking, "This sounds really amazing, but what's the catch?" There you go again, always looking out for number one aren't you? Amazing how your egocentric agenda, you, you, you, keeps reasserting itself. Your attitude reminds me of a joke about a young lawyer who is invited into the proverbial mahogany-paneled office and told by the senior partners that they are willing to make him a senior partner, he just has to sign over his soul and the souls of everyone in his family.
The young lawyer looks puzzled and asks:
"But what's the catch?"
Of course there's a catch, let's get real, this is the Green Energy Vortex and there's always a catch, and most schemes don't tell you, don't honor you with the full disclosure spirit, the spirit of multi-level marketing mutual financial benefit, a spirit which you can feel radiating from me like shimmering heat ripples, a many-colored corona of scintillating hype surrounding me and mesmerizing you, mesmerizing you, mesmerizing you....
You feel my multi-level marketing charisma irradiating your soul. You feel my faith in the Green Energy Vortex pyramid. You feel the power of the Green Energy Vortex rising up in me. So join me, brothers and sisters. Rise up with me, join my magic Green Energy Vortex pyramid and rise up with me!
Oh you shrewd egocentric bastard you, you still want to know about the catch don't you? Damn, you're good, thought I was gonna slide that one right past you.
The catch is that based on statistical extrapolations by our staff of actuaries, by the time 50-55% of the planet becomes motivational speakers, the system starts to collapse. There just aren't enough working people left to provide the wealth, the goods and services for people on the bottom of the pyramid.
But the catch doesn't matter for you, because if you act before midnight tonight you will be so high on the pyramid, you'll be like the glowing green eye on the top of the pyramid, you'll be the guy that hires the next president to give you a tax cut so massive that the government will actually owe you trillions of dollars in refunds.
But wait, wait, something is happening to me, a shift in the matrix, I can't even see my laptop anymore and the whole Babylon Matrix is turning into smoky, swirling mists and out in the mists I see faces. One looks like Bill Gates, goofy eyes glowing green in the misty night, glimmers of zeros and ones in his glassy, dilated pupils, and there's another face, looks like Donald Trump, but with long, white fangs, and he is on top of Trump Tower and his fangs are dripping green blood. And then these faces dissolve back into the mists, and I see rising up out of the smoky, swirling mists a giant green pyramid crowned by an eye of flame, and the eye of flame is looking right at me, stabbing me with its magically potent will, and its subwoofer-like voice reverberates inside my head like the telepathic voice of James Earl Jones on steroids:
"I see you... I see what you want... I am your Green Energy father... search your heart, you know this to be true... join me... join me and together we will end this destructive scarcity of Green Energy and bring a new world order to the galaxy...."
Edited by Austin Iredale
Image by Mark Turnaukas, courtesy of Creative Commons license.