Direct sales for artists

Here are some more tips for my friends artists (collage or other visual artists), on how to run your own art shop to maximize your profit (I use the TicTail free engine for my online shop). A 13″x19″ art print usually sells for $40 to $50, plus $10-$15 for shipping (international First Class is about $15). Selling a mug at Society6 can’t beat that (profit is around $1.50), so definitely make your own shop! If your work is hand-made, definitely have a category on your shop for it too (and sell it appropriately at higher prices than your prints). Also consider a Special Edition print category (limited run, on more expensive paper).

——— What you need:
1. Get a larger format printer (13″x19″). The Epson 7610 is a bargain right now, a printer that also sports a scanner, and has pigmented archival inks (which are must-have for art): $150 (currently on sale). Unfortunately, the cheaper Canon and HP don’t have archival capability on matte paper. Your only choice in that price range is Epson because fine art is supposed to get printed on matte.

2. Get the Epson Ultra premium Presentation MATTE 13″x19″ sheets on Amazon: $35

3. Get the Epson ultra premium Presentation MATTE 8.5″x11″ sheets on Amazon: $9 (for smaller size artworks, or for your mobile portfolio) [optional]

4. Get a set of extra Epson-ONLY inks (the one that comes with the printer, it’s just enough to set them up) — never buy from third parties, their inks aren’t archival: $47

5. A printer cable: $5

6. Some rolls, like the Aviditi P3015W Spiral Wound Fiberboard Mailing Tube 15″x3″: $32

7. Extra-Rigid Fiberboard Photo/Document Mailers, 9″x11.5″ (for the letter-sized artworks — if you do these): $15 [optional]

8. Best Print Shipping Labels (you can do your mailing automatically via Paypal and USPS): $9

9. “Do Not Bend” Labels (if using the optional envelopes to mail): $3 [optional]

10. Scotch tape, to secure the caps on the rolls (required by the post office): $5

11. USPS-compatible scale: $20

——— For promoting your work:
1. On EVERY social media post link your title of the work to its TicTail shop page, your name to your shop/page. If on Instagram, have your shop in your profile, and direct people there.

2. Tweak the colors of your collages on Photoshop or the free Gimp — EVEN if you’re a hand-made collage artist. People are going to see your work while scrolling through hundreds of other images on IG, FB or Tumblr. If you want to make an impression, your colors must pop. Vintage collage is faded by default. Slightly alter your brightness and contrast, add some saturation, and if you use Photoshop, you can use the “AUTO” button on the Curves panel.

3. Use a theme on your shop that it’s easy for people to find information about your art categories or about you. Don’t use flashy themes and miniature buttons, just use a straight-forward navigation. Always include an email address (for commissions too!).

4. Turn ON the printer only once a week, when you prepare the orders. Every time a printer turns ON, it drinks ink. And on these smaller printers, ink is expensive. So don’t turn on the printer all the time.

And one advice that no one likes to hear: if you make “pop” collages, you’ll sell more. Sorry friends, it’s the truth. Just like with music, pop sells better than the more experimental (and of course, more artistic) works. That’s a decision you must make as an artist yourself depending on where you want to go as an individual. It took me a while to get over the fact that my more interesting, experimental works didn’t sell almost at all.

——— How to prepare your orders:
1. Go through your week’s orders on the TicTail’s backend, and start printing. In the meantime, add ONE cap on one side of each roll. Leave the other end open.

2. You will need to adjust the size of you collages to scale properly on these sheets of paper. For example, your original collage might have been 5″x8″, but that size resizes well to 11″x17.6″ leaving some border all around too. On Photoshop, use the SHIFT key when you’re resizing, to keep the right aspect ratio.

3. Go through the orders one by one, sign the prints using a standard pen, and then put them in the roll carefully (I use a broomstick to make them roll without wrinkles). Put them in the roll, and close the cap. Add some scotch tape on both sides of the roll. WRITE THE ORDER NUMBER on the roll. This is how you will know which is which.

4. Go to Paypal and click the shipping link under the name of each of your customers. WEIGH the roll or envelope (always round it to the nearest higher value). There you can select USPS First class for envelopes and rolls for the USA domestic shipping. For rolls, you have to also check the checkbox that it’s a non-standard shape, and then type its size (15x3x3). If your roll is more than 13oz you MUST send as “Priority” mail! Print the label (note: it requires Java to print!) and stick it to the roll in a way that the barcode is on its widest (so the scanner won’t have trouble reading it). These are now paid, so you can just drop them to the post office as-is.

5. For international shipping you can only pay for envelopes via Paypal. For rolls, you must go to the USPS web site, make an account there, fill up the custom forms, print them, sign them, and then pay for them at the counter. You can pay via the USPS site too, but you’d have to use a credit card (while on Paypal, it’s all done via it, easier for your bookkeeping).

RE: The Politics of Star Trek

Lawyer Timothy Sandefur wrote an editorial for the “Claremont Review of Books”. In it, he’s saying that Picard’s non-interference politics were a step backwards from Kirk’s constant seek of justice, and that in the movie “Insurrection”, the race of Ba’ku were backwards people, shunning technology and exploration.

Personally, I find his positions immature. His positions are opinions that I would have agreed to 10 years ago. Back then, I’d fight for justice, and I’d interfere too. And I felt that technology and science were everything! But now, at age 42, I see the world differently.

In my opinion, it’s a mistake to interfere in another species’ actions — sometimes even when asked to, unless your own species (or alliances) get in danger because of these actions. It’s part of the evolution of every individual and species and their society to have wars, or even massacres. There is no society that can grow if everything is all rosy, or are held by the hand. The ugly things must happen for the good things to arise and become part of their nature. So who are we to get in the middle of an alien civil conflict “so we save them”? If you don’t let them duke it out, you don’t save them, you just postpone it. On a case by case basis, interference might be justified if the species tries to eradicate itself via nuclear weapons. Second chances can be given, but if they insist in extinction, then this is their right. Stop trying to “save” them. Your human morals don’t apply to all species. Let the universe play itself out.

As for the Ba’ku being backwards people, the author doesn’t get their philosophy at all. The writers of the movie left clues about their abilities: they were able to manipulate space and time via the mind (remember the bits about “the eternal moment” where time was stopping). They needed no spaceships to “explore”. Their minds were constantly as if in deep meditation. With that ability, they could visit not only other planets in their galaxy, not only the rest of the universe, but also other universes! Something that the Federation’s technology couldn’t do!

So, no, the Ba’ku weren’t backward people. They were miles ahead of the other humanoids on Star Trek.

They say that there are 5 “soul ages”: infant, baby, young, mature, old. People who re-incarnate on Earth can be any of these 5. Most of them are in young/mature categories in the Western world (with the Tea Party/religious fanatics belonging in the “baby” category). The way the author sees the world puts him right between “young” and “mature”. Similar ideas as those expressed on Reddit by moralist atheists.

Problem for them is, there’s a 5th stage, the “old soul”. And the old soul sees things differently, and I do too.

So, in the example the author gives, about the looming Klingon civil war, the various soul ages would react as such:

Infant: “Bwahahaha, nuke yourselves already! One less competition/enemy!” (Ferengi/Klingons)

Baby: “I’ll let you fight it out, and then conquer you while weakened.” (Romulans/Cardashians)

Young: “If I help you, you should help me too in what I need!” (Andorians)

Mature: “No, stop what you’re doing! You’re killing yourselves!” (Kirk / Early Federation)

Old: “You’re free to do what you want to do.” (Picard / Late Federation / Most Vulcans)

Aliens? On Earth?

Up to a few years ago, no one in the scientific world would even suggest that aliens exist somewhere out there. It would have been a career suicide. Today, it’s generally accepted that, mathematically-speaking, the probability of intelligent life out there is extremely high.

So where these aliens are then?

I’d like to believe they’re here. Simply because the opposite is too scary of a thought. If they’re not here, it’d mean that WE would NEVER be able to leave our solar system either. This means eventual death, since our species only thrives via expansion.

If on the other hand, there is a way to trick the natural laws and travel in vast distances (e.g. via wormholes), then that would mean that aliens ARE already here. Or have been here.

And honestly, I believe that the second hypothesis is true. The first one somehow makes no sense to me. Having no way to connect with others elsewhere, it would mean that this universe has a… bug in its design. That’s how I see it.

So, if these aliens are or were here, where the heck are they? Why are they hiding from us?

I think Star Trek has given a great explanation about this. According to the show’s Prime Directive, it’s best for each civilization to only be contacted once they have achieved “warp speed”. A similar Prime Directive possibly exists in this galaxy too, but I think that their rules aren’t about warp speed: it’s about proving that the civilization is not self-destructing. A self-destructing civilization means it’d be violent against other civilizations.

It seems logical to me that every single society that achieves technology, goes through what we’re now going through: massive man-made climate changes, exhausting and destroying the environment, life quality degeneration etc. We’re currently on the fast track to extinction, and THIS century is the MOST CRITICAL century in the history of the human kind. It’s a make or break century.

If we use common sense, we change our ways and we survive, then these alien civilizations will reveal themselves. If we do get self-destruct, then there was no point for them to make an effort to reveal themselves anyway. It’s not their job to save us, it’s ours. Their only job is to safeguard themselves and their allies. So it’s up to us to become galactic citizens, or return back to the caves.

Regarding obesity

Let’s address something here: obesity. I wanted to write about it for a while now, but this post on Reddit today convinced me to do so.

Please understand that this is NOT a hate post, because I’m obese myself. They’re my honest thoughts on the subject.

So, in the last few years, there have been a lot of social shift for obese people with messages leaning towards “be happy with who you are”, and “you are beautiful the way you are” etc.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but you are not beautiful the way you are, if you’re obese. You just have pounds and kilos of fat that’s killing you little by little (and I do too). You’re in danger. Not in a rainbow paradise.

There is nothing logical about glorifying obesity just so we can feel good about ourselves, and to fit in, and we feel accepted and all the rest that go with it. It’s in fact the pathetic way of going about it.

The reality is that we’re unhealthy, and we need change. I need that change too, but at least I’m not lying to myself that “I’m beautiful”. I refuse to accept *disease* as a normal way of life.

Collages: Paper or Digital?

Let’s address something: paper or digital collages? Here are my thoughts about it:

1. Paper collages are more beautiful in person than prints. The real scissor cuts add to the surrealness.

2. The crafting part of paper collages is more pleasurable, as is everything that is being realized with our own hands. You do get some street cred for it too. Digital collages on the other hand are much faster to work with.

3. Prints on the other hand, look exactly the same, no matter if they’re digital or on paper (they only look different if you use soft cuts or if you boost the colors on digital collages).

4. Paper collages usually go for anywhere between $100 to $500 on gallery shows. Digital collages go for $20 to $100. Digital special edition prints though can also go for $500, as long as they’re resized up! At the end, it depends on the quantity sold.

5. Galleries rarely want to work with digital artists. This means that if you are a digital artist, you must do all the marketing and promotion yourself. It does take time.

6. Paper pop collages are usually up to 12″ size (usually smaller, and customers often complain about that). Digital collages can be resized and printed up to 36″ without much loss of quality. My most usual digital size is 18″ though.

7. Commissions for big publications or big clients is asked to be done digitally because they’re very demanding and they ask about changes all the time. Most of these changes can only be realized digitally (eg enlargement or flipping of a single element). About 1/3rd of my income comes from commissions.

8. Digital collages allow modifying elements when exporting for products (eg iPhone cases, pillows, t-shirts etc). Because these exports have specific sizes (e.g. too tall, too wide etc) visual changes must be made to accommodate a collage to that product’s ratios. This can’t be done with an already glued paper collage properly. Also, you can airbrush out ad text and logos.

9. Digital collaborations are easier. Nothing to mail out or wait weeks for it.

10. Digital workflows liberate the artist. You don’t have to deal anymore with limitations of sizes and decisions made in the 1950s by some editorial guy who put together a magazine back then. The decision on the size, direction, flip, colors etc are now yours. I understand that some people like the limitations. I witnessed a similar thing with Linux: people would install and use it exactly because they wanted to beat its limits as a desktop operating system. I personally am over that phase in my life. I don’t have the need to beat anything anymore, or fight with it. I just create as uninhibitedly as possible.

The Fall of the Bronze Age and Us

I was watching the Director’s Cut of “Troy” last night, so I soon got interested in reading about the Late Bronze Age.

Right about 1100 BC, all hell broke loose in the Mediterranean: there was massive depopulation & famine, ALL cities were destroyed and burned (not one was left unscathed, and some were burned up to 7 times!), and civilization almost disappeared (we have only small villages with very simple geometric art, while people forgot how to write). So basically, we’re talking about Greece, Asia Minor and Hittites, Israel area and Egypt, all but destroyed. That era is called the “Greek Dark Ages” or “First Dark Ages”, and archaeologists consider these 300 years as much more “dark” than the Dark Ages that followed the fall of the Roman Empire 1500 years later.

Historians give a number of reasons why this happened: raids from the north and from the “sea peoples” (people of different origins got together to pirate), drought and other natural disasters.

Honestly, I think historians got the causes wrong here. Yes, these things happened, but they were not the root of the problem. I believe what happened is rather obvious after a bit of digging among geologists’ information instead: the mines in the Mediterranean ran out of tin!

Tin is a rather rare metal, and without it, they couldn’t forge bronze. Without being able to create bronze, in the Bronze Age, well, you have no Bronze Age anymore. You see, the whole high civilization starting in 3000 BC in the greater area was basing itself on bronze. When that went bust, their trades and economy collapsed. When economy collapsed, massive famine arrived. The ones who survived were trying to kill everybody else to get their hands to a little bit of tin that some might had left.

I base this opinion on the following:

1. There is absolutely no reason to completely burn all cities and kill so many people when you’re simply trying to conquer them. You only burn the cities if you don’t care about the cities, and you only care about what these people had control over that was of little availability: tin.

2. People from completely different nations coming together to pirate (“sea peoples”), only happens when the economy has collapsed. Humans of different origins don’t band together and choose violence, unless there’s no other way. Humanity 101.

And the most damning argument:

3. Iron was known as a metal that could be used by 3200 BC already (pretty much the same time that Bronze was becoming popular). But because it required a special furnace and smelting technique, iron was used very little by blacksmiths. The Bronze Age happened before the Iron Age simply because Bronze was simpler to deal with, not because they didn’t know what iron was.

So, there was no reason for people to switch to iron (especially because we would have to wait many more centuries afterwards to invent steel). And yet, we see a gradual turn from bronze to iron during the Late Bronze Age, despite the practical problems iron had. This to me makes it clear that the people simply ran out of tin, and they were FORCED to *slowly* turn to iron. In the meantime, until they got iron right, the Dark Ages were upon them!

Now, there’s a reason why I’m writing such a post here today.

Think about it for a moment: we have major civilizations that they based their successes on a single metal. When that metal went bust, so did their civilizations. The few who survived, resorted into extreme violence.

Always use History to decode the present and to get a good glimpse of the future.

So, does the above situation remind you of anything? Could this what will happen to us in as few as 50-75 years from now, when our fossil fuels go bust?

We’re in a similar boat, you know: our fossil fuels are going away rapidly, and our solar panel technology is not nearly as effective (the best ones only have 25% efficiency compared to fossil fuels, just like iron was difficult to forge compared to bronze).

Unless Lockheed Martin comes through big time with their announced fusion reactor, we should expect nothing but a similar result: the collapse of our economy, wars over the little bit of oil (and water) that’s left, and a rather Mad Max-like world.

So, I hope I’m gone by that time, and not be re-incarnated for quite a while. 😛

“Artificial” Intelligence is a myth

As I wrote in the past, my first job out of college was to work in an artificial intelligence project. The idea back then among engineers in the field was that, given enough smart programming and a tree-like knowledge database, we would eventually manage to create true artificial intelligence (AI). When I was working on the project, I truly believed in it. It was the coolest thing in my life up to that point! As the years went by, I realized that AI via that model, is nothing but a fantasy. A fantasy circulating in the scientific circles since the late 1960s.

These days, there are a lot of people who have gone obsessed with the idea of the singularity (e.g. Ray Kurzweil), while others are sh1tting their pants about how “disastrous” that could be for the human race (Elon Musk being one of them).

Artificial intelligence has progressed since the 1990s, since now it’s not modeled around programming the knowledge directly into it, but it “learns” via the Internet. Meaning, by analyzing behaviors and actions of internet users, Google can “guess” what’s the most logical action for their AI to take for each given situation (crowd-sourcing the intelligence). Crowd-sourcing is a far smarter way to have your AI “learn”, than the “static” ways of teaching an AI system word-by-word as in the past.

However, even with crowd-sourcing, we will hit a wall in what AI can do for us via that method. It can surely become as “smart” as the Star Trek’s Enterprise computer, which is not very smart. What we really want when we talk about AI, is Mr Data, not the rather daft Enterprise computer. So we need a new model to base the design of our machines. Crowd-sourcing comes close, but it’s an exogenous way of evolution (because it takes decisions based on actions already taken by the people it crowd-sources from), and so it can never evolve into true consciousness. True consciousness means free will, so a crowd-sourcing algorithm can never be “free”, it will always be a slave to the actions it was modeled around for. In other words, that crowd-sourcing AI would always behave “too robotic”.

It took me 20 years to realize why AI hasn’t work so far, and why our current models will never work. The simple reason being: just like energy, you can’t create consciousness from nothing, but you can always divide and share the existing one.

The idea for this came during my first lucid dream almost exactly 2 years ago, when I first “met” my Higher Self (who names himself Heva or Shiva). In my encounter with him, which I described in detail here, I left one bit of information out from that blog post, because I promised him that I won’t tell anyone. I think it’s time to break that promise though, because it’s the right time for that information to be shared. Basically, when I met him, he had a laptop with him, and in its monitor you could see a whole load of live statistics about me: anger, vitality, love, fear etc etc etc. Please don’t laugh on why a “spiritual entity” had a… laptop. You must understand that dreams are symbolic and are modeled around the brain of the dreamer (in this case, a human’s dream, who is only familiar with human tech). So what looked like a laptop to me, from his point of view, was some 5D ultra-supa tech that would look like psychedelic colors, who knows? So anyway, he definitely tried to hide from me that screen. I wasn’t supposed to look at it. Oops.

For a few months, I was angry with that revelation: “Why am I being monitored?”, “why am I not truly free?”, “am I just a sack of nuts & bolts to him?”.

Eventually, during my quest to these mystical topics, I realized what I am: I’m an instance of consciousness, expressed in this life as a human. I’m just a part of a Higher Self (who has lend his consciousness to many life forms at once), and he himself is borrowing his consciousness from another, even higher (and more abstract) entity, ad infinitum, until you go so high up in the hierarchy, that you realize that everything is ONE. In other words, in some sense, I’m a biological robot, that Heva has lend me some consciousness so he can operate it (and Heva is the same too, for the higher entity that operates him, ad infinitum).

So, because “as above, so below”, I truly believe that the only way for us to create true AI in this world, is to simply lend our consciousness to our machines. The tech for that is nearly here, we already have brain implants that can operate robotic arms, for example. I don’t think we’re more than 20-30 years away from a true breakthrough on that front, that could let us operate machines with very little effort.

The big innovation in this idea is not that a human can sit on a couch and operate wirelessly a robot-janitor. The big idea is that one human, could operate 5 to 20 robots at the same time! This could create smart machines in our factories (or in asteroids, mining) by the billions, which could absolutely explode the amount of items produced, leading in an exploding growth (economic, scientific, social).

5 to 20 robots at the same time, you say? Well, look. Sure, it’s a myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. However, when a human, let’s say, sweeps the floor, he/she doesn’t use that much brain power. In fact, the most processing power is used to use the body, not to actually take logical decisions (e.g. sweep here, but not here). That part, is taken care by the robotic body and its firmware (aka instinct), which means that if, for example, we need 30% of brain power to sweep the floor with our own body, we might need only a 5% to do the same thing with a robotic body. In other words, we outsource the most laborious part to the machine, and we only lend the machine just as much smartness as it needs to operate.

I know that this article will be laughed at from the people who are purely scientific, after reading these “spiritual nonsense” above, however, you can’t argue that there’s some logic on these AI implementation suggestions that could work, and that could revolutionize our lives. Interestingly, I haven’t seen any robotic/AI projects using that idea yet. There are a few sci-fi books that have touched on the idea of operating a machine via brainwaves, but they haven’t gotten through to the significance of it (otherwise they would have described a world much different than the rather traditional one they try to sell us), and they haven’t even gotten the implementation right either. “Avatar” came close, but its implementation is too literal and limiting (one human becomes one alien, 1-to-1 exchange).

An FAQ on why I base my AI theory on “as above so below”:

Q: If all consciousness in all living things is borrowed, why aren’t we all smarter?

A: The amount of consciousness in a species is limited by the brain that species carries. Just like if you could lend your consciousness to a cleaning robot (that has a firmware specifically made for cleaning jobs, plus a fixed processing power), you would only be able to lend it as much as it can carry. Not very much, that is.

Also, these robots could make mistakes, since humans themselves make mistakes, as they now operate using our intelligence. But the mistakes will be limited, because that consciousness would only operate based on the brain’s (CPU/firmware) limitations. Additionally, having stupid machines with no errors, and much smarter ones with few errors, the choice is obvious for what the market would go for.

Q: If Higher Selves exist, why wait for billions of years until humans evolved to be smarter and to have enough capacity for consciousness? Sounds like a waste of time.

A: Anyone who has done a DMT trip or two will tell you that time is an illusion. Time exists only for us, who live in this simulation/holographic universe. Outside of this experience, there is no time. Everything happens at once.

Additionally, having a natural evolution program running is much more efficient, flexible and expanding than creating “fixed” robots. So it’s well worth the wait.

Here, we must also understand that our master reality (the one that we’re borrowing our consciousness from) is also creating our universe. The universe is simulated, and the computing power behind them is their minds. After eons, life evolves, and then their consciousness can take a more active role in that universe.

Q: Why can’t we remember who we truly are?

A: It’s a matter of efficiency, and also it’s about how much consciousness our brains can hold (e.g. humans are more self-aware than flies). To survive in this world, we need an “ego” (both with the Buddhism and Freudian/Jungian meaning). The ego believes that he or she is a human, she’s got a name, a job, a favorite movie, a life here. It’s that ego that keeps us grounded here to “do our job” (for whatever we meant to do). So we create this mask, this fake self, so we can survive here. The ego is also the one that keeps us in life with such perseverance. When under meditation or entheogens we can experience “ego death” (the mask falling off), then we can truly know that we’re everything that is, ever was and ever will be. In that state, we’re just consciousness, pure being. Unfortunately, that also would mean that we can’t operate in this world. So the ego is a safeguard for efficiency to stay grounded in this reality. It’s useful to experience ego death a few times in one’s life, in order to get perspective, but for our everyday life, we need it.

Q: Why our Higher Self hooked himself up and “re-incarnated” itself (aka lend consciousness) in many different life forms?

A: For the same reasons we will do so, when we have the technological capability: work, learning, research, fun, producing food, more fun… And of course, for no reason at all too. Sometimes, things just are. Natural evolution of things. For the same reason every species wants babies, maybe.

After eons of evolution, our own “robots” should be able to lend their consciousness to their own “robots”. It’s a dynamic system that happens automatically in the evolutionary process, until it reaches its most basic levels of consciousness and the simplest of universes (1D universes). Just as you can’t create energy, you can’t create grow consciousness. You can only divide from that. As such, every time a given realm creates their own versions of existence/ simulated universe, by definition these new universes are more rule-based and more rigid than their master’s universe. That’s why “higher dimensions” are seen as ever-changing while on DMT trips (entities and things constantly in 5D flux), while further down the line in the consciousness tree, the universes there have more laws that keep things solid and seemingly unchanging.

Q: Can we be hacked then?

A: YES. In a number of lucid dreams I was installed devices in me, or was “modified” in some way by entities that clearly weren’t human. Others on DMT will tell you the same thing too. Sometimes we’re upgraded by the “good” guys, sometimes by the “bad” guys. Just like in any digital system. What can ya do?

Equally possible is that other individual instances of consciousness can inject themselves into your body and take it over for a while. That should still be considered a hack.

Q: Lucid dreams? So why do we sleep or dream?

A: For two reasons: because both the body needs it (it must recharge in standby mode, while it runs a few daemons to fsck the file system, among others), and because the borrowed consciousness must take a break too.

Let’s assume that you were just driving a car. After a few hours, you would need to take a break — even if the car could still go on for many more hours without filling up with gas. If you are the consciousness that drives, and the car is the robot that is operated by that consciousness, you realize that the consciousness will need a break much earlier than the car itself would need one!

When we dream, our consciousness operates in levels of existence similar to that of our Higher Self, but because our consciousness is still “glued” to the human body, we interpret everything based on our human experiences. Most of these dreams are nothing but programs, designed to teach us things. In a recent dream, I was in a bus, among strangers. Then, out of nowhere, I became lucid. Suddenly, the people in the bus, looked at me not as strangers anymore, but as participants in a dream that they had programmed and played roles for me. But after the curtains fell, and I knew I was dreaming and so I wasn’t getting “no” for an answer, they were quickly answering for me questions like “why we dream”, and what is “the hierarchy of the cosmos”. Most of the time, they speak in symbolism that only I can interpret, but some times they’re very direct.

Some of these entities seen in dreams are “spirit guides”, which probably aren’t very different to what “IT personnel” are for our computers at the office. No wonder why spirit guides can change throughout our lives, why there is more than one of them (although there’s usually a main entity ordering the others around), and why Esther (my spirit guide) once told me: “what do you want again, calling me for second time in this session? I’m on lunch”. LOL. And yes, they can get pissed off too (I made them so a few months ago). But they can also give you some super-important info too (e.g. they showed me that my business Instagram account was under attack, and lo-and-behold, within a week, it happened).

People on DMT can de-couple from their bodies and shoot much further than dreams allow (dreams are controlled stand-by versions of experiencing the other realms, while DMT has no limits of where it can land you). While on DMT/LSD/Shrooms/etc you can become one with your higher self, or with everything, visit other realms etc. However, when you come back to your body/brain, you “forget” most of what you saw, or they suddenly become incomprehensible, because as I said above, your brain has a limited amount of function and capacity.

Q: If these other realms exist, why can’t we see them?

A: Our brain is a filtering mechanism. We live in a parallel existence, just like part of our consciousness inside a robot would experience its existence as separate than that of its human master. Inside the mind of the robot, it doesn’t perceive its external world the same way a human does (even if it has HD cameras, that “sees” the world as we do, the digital processing that ensues FILTERS out many things, because they’re not relevant to its function). Again, people who do low dose shrooms, LSD, or DMT, will start perceiving their own room as looking different (e.g. full of pixels, or full of colors that don’t exist etc), and often, on slightly higher dosage, they will see entities in that room that normally wouldn’t be able to see with their eyes (and yet, most dogs can, according to reports, since their brains have evolved differently). So basically, remove the (brain) filter for a while, and enjoy an upgraded version of reality.

Q: So if our brain can’t see these other realms, why can’t our machines/cameras see them either?

A: Some can. It’s just that seeing further in the light spectrum doesn’t mean that you can also humanly interpret it as a separate realm with its own intelligence. We’re still inside a box (a specific type of simulated universe that is computed by our own collective consciousness) and trying to see outside of it, it has its limitations. The only way to take a peek outside of it, is if you temporarily decouple your consciousness from your body (e.g. via DMT), so you’re not actively participating in the creation of this universe, but you’re free to explore other universes. The problem with DMT is that it can land you anywhere… including “hellish” worlds. It’s not predictable at all, it’s a crapshoot.

Q: Ok, so what’s the point of our life then?

A: The meaning of life is life itself. Or, no meaning at all. You give it one. Or not.

Q: So, is my life insignificant?

A: Yes and no. Yes, if you think yourself in the vast cosmos from the human, cynical point of view (everything is a point of view). And no, because you were “built” for a function, that you do perform, even if you don’t know it (even if you spend your life watching TV all day, you could still perform a specific function in another level of reality without knowing it — universes aren’t independent of each other).

You would only feel “small” after reading all this if you’re a selfish a$$hole. If you embrace that you’re everything instead, then all existential problems vanish.

Q: So why everything exists then?

A: In the high level of things (after you sum up all the hierarchical entities of consciousness), there’s only the ONE. One single consciousness, living inside the Void. Nothing else exists. It has decided that dividing itself in a top-down fashion, creating many parallel worlds and universes and lending its consciousness to its living things, for the sake of experience itself, was the best action to take. In reality, everything is just a dream in the mind of that ONE consciousness. And Everything is as it should be.

Each individual down the hierarchy of existence is differently-built and under fluctuating circumstances, and therefore each of these individuals provide a different point of view on the things it can grasp. It’s that different point of view that the system is after: novelty. Novelty == new experiences for the ONE.

Q: Why is there evil in the world?

A: There is no “good” and “evil”. Everything is just a perspective. For the human race for example, eating babies is a terrible thing. For the Komodo dragons (that routinely eat their babies), it’s just another day.

Also, in order for LOVE to exist (love == unity of all things), FEAR must also exist (fear == division of all things). One can’t exist without the other. And it’s being decided by this ONE consciousness that it’s better to experience SOMETHING, than to experience NOTHING for all eternity.

Q: Does this ONE consciousness answer to prayers?

A: No, it doesn’t give a sh1t, grow a pair. From its point of view, everything that can happen, must happen, so it can be experienced (including very “bad” things). The ONE is an abstract construct, not a person. It’s you, and me, and everything else as pure BEING.

A possible solution for Greece

An open letter to the Greek government:

It’s obvious to me that more preparations should have been done to switch currencies. It’s obvious that the European situation had no remedy, no matter the amount of negotiations that would take place. I believe that the way out of this tomb is to innovate. You can’t use old methods to fix old errors. You need new methods. And technology can provide those.

I know that printing a new currency would be difficult, and even more difficult would be to build trust. I’d suggest this: No actual printing of new currency. Make everything electronic. I’m NOT talking about bitcoin (which isn’t modernized in principle, as Mr Varoufakis has pointed out). I’m talking about people paying with credit cards (for large amounts) and smartphones using NFC (Near Field Communication) for up to 20 drachma (I’m assuming a parity with the Euro, at least in the beginning). Regarding notes, these can be in euros (since they’re already out there circulating anyway).

People WILL trust this new form of paying because of the same reason people in the States prefer to use credit cards: they don’t see the money, so they feel that they didn’t pay much for the goods. It’s a psychological trick. In fact, the NFC trick, where you simply touch your phone to pay a micro-payment up to 20 drachma/euro, is even more painless. People will use that, even if for convenience. Most people already have Android smartphones in Greece, and one can buy such a phone for 100 Euros today (Archos brand). Within a few months, people will be using this new system, and they will even like it. They won’t even realize that there was a change in currency. Overtime, all the euros will end up in banks, especially if you offer them a sweet buy-back program.

Now, regarding corruption in Greece: Since all businesses and micropayments in shops would have to happen via NFC/cards, it would be very unlikely that people will be able to not pay their taxes. In fact, the taxes could be calculated automatically in such a system. Who needs an accountant (that most people can’t even afford), when the system takes care of that for you?

And regarding the rest kind of corruption (e.g. fakellaki, rousfetia etc), since everyone would now have these smartphones, they should be fully supported by law to RECORD every chat they have with civil servants, taxi drivers, doctors, police etc etc. And I don’t mean just audio recording, but full video recording. Who ever doesn’t accept the new kind of currency, or wants “extra”, they should be admitted to court, given the video proof. Russia does the same with the dash cams for car insurance purposes. It works.

I would like to re-iterate: you have an old Europe in new lipstick, and an old style financial problem (debt). The problems Greece has are not novel, they are in fact the status quo throughout history. So in order to go around these problems, you need the tools of today, not old tactics of the yesteryear (be it diplomacy, negotiations, politics). It needs swift action, and mobilization of technology.

FlashForwarding with Sense8

Sense8 is a Netflix production, originally developed by the people behind “The Matrix” and “Babylon 5”. When I saw the trailer a few weeks ago, I was so stoked about it: DMT, oneness, spiritual and philosophical discussions… Are you kidding me? This would be so cool! But now that I’ve seen all 12 episodes, I’m not as stoked anymore. Here’s a list of what went wrong:

1. No mystery. While the show has 4 more seasons (if they don’t get cancelled) to explain more things, its mysteries aren’t holding together well. They could have gone instead for a full episode per sensate (8 + 4 more exhilarating episodes at the end glueing together the story). Let the sensates and the overall story unveil in a way that is more interesting (not slow, but in a more brainf*ck way), rather than laying out the stories block by block and only have a central mystery to solve at the end of the season (in this case, Whispers and the company behind him). LOST worked because it knew how to build anticipation and thrilling by twisting the way it informed the viewer about what is what. Sense8 doesn’t. Sense8 is very traditional in its story telling instead, no matter if it likes to think the opposite for itself.

2. Boring, cheesy drama. Especially the ones set in India & Mexico. Very little action (except in the last 1-2 episodes), which is not fit for sci-fi. There have been at least 5-7 extremely cheesy scenes in the season too. I cringed in a similar way I did for the Star Wars prequels for some reason.

3. Unneeded sex scenes. Even on Game on Thrones, sex usually acts as a plot threading or character development, rather than filling up time. On Sense8, it was just too much of it because we already seen the same lovers over and over again having sex (we get it, they have sex daily, good for them!). I loved the trans story, but the gay one had way too many cheesy scenes in it for me to take it seriously. It felt that the whole series were revolving around the trans & gay sex scenes, rather than these sex scenes being simply part of the story. For the record, I would complain just as much if it was as much hetero-sex from the same lovers over and over too. My complain is not the gay/trans sex, it’s just the fact that we see the SAME lovers doing the same thing all the time, which is something that doesn’t serve the story and the plot. The only time I felt that the sex scene was excellent AND very much needed by the plot (because it **explains** what sex can be for a sensate) was the sensate orgy scene (3 men + 1 trans woman). This scene needed to be there because it’s the only way we can understand the unlimitness of being a sensate. It was rightfully part of the plot! But seeing the other two same set of lovers making out on each and every episode, was unneeded, too much, and ended up being cheesy at the end.

4. Single-dimensional characters. This is mostly because of how the series was setup (everyone dividing their screen time with the others, not leaving much time for development).

5. The language. JMS explained on his Facebook page why they decided to use English as the language set in other countries (see: that’s how Hollywood does it traditionally), but this just doesn’t work today. If anything, it makes the series less interesting, less mysterious even. It levels the playing field in a way that takes realism away.

So my verdict is that this is another FlashForward (remember that show, from ABC?). Great ideas, bad implementation.

Regarding tap water & farmed fish

I wish some people stopped asking others to “not drink bottled spring water”. While bottling is indeed harmful for a variety of reasons, my health would be harmed even more if I was to drink that fluoridated, chlorinated, DISGUSTING tap water. So, no, I will not stop drinking spring water (bottled or otherwise), and I won’t stop buying wild-only fish (another such thing the same kind of people ask).

Farmed fish is in worse fate than farmed mammals are because it’s treated worse: it’s fed food that it didn’t evolved with at all, like soy and beef bone meal. At least the farmed mammals, while miserable in these nightmare farms, they eat food that resembles the food they evolved with.

So if you want me to drink tap water, the quality must become as high as spring water. And if you want me to eat farmed fish, then I need the nutritional composition, health of the fish, and feed, to be the same as in the wild. For example, farmed salmon is advised to be eaten *only* once a month, because even the government agrees that it’s a sick fish. While true wild salmon, it can be eaten daily, without any consequences (only benefits).

So, fix all that, and then we’ll talk. But under no circumstances I would put my own health into jeopardy just to be among the few who fight for environmental causes that never have any true impact. I have been very sick for 38 years, so now, well, now, it’s my turn to be healthy. Having spent 10 years of these 38 years in nightmare health situation, I now owe it to myself to get the best damn water/food I can. Even if it’s detrimental to the rest of the environment. At some point, being selfish only means self-preservation, and not necessarily arrogance.

So get off my face with your “bottled water is evil” shiz. I don’t care.