On a New Year

The reply to the interrogatories in my custody case glowed on my screen. The specifics caused nausea.

My brother's name stood there in her list of witnesses.

J[Redatcted] C[Redatcted]
[Address redatcted]
I texted him.

"Did you know that [Redacted] is planning on calling you as a witness against me in court?"
Sent. . . Read.
"No, no I did not. That is upsetting."

My paranoia flares down. I don't talk about it any more with him, because he's free to say what he wants. 

A week later he texted me: "Call me when you are able." I did. 

I hadn't heard from my father post-surgery. It was a routine procedure. He had called everyone before the operation. Can you know? We went to see him, before he was "disconnected". From trapped, to half-life after he died, to a funeral home, keeping us distanced from the reality of death. 

The Past


I don't like the internet much because it's full of lies from everyone. Every lie just betrays more ignorance about real issues moving forward. This is full-stop nothing to do with left or right politics. It has to do with ignorance, lies, and systems of control. All of these political social media posts are lies. All of them. Especially yours*. They are ignorant, because not one focuses on meaningful or important issues. 

I've been avoiding the internet because of it. 

The crux of the issue is that the management of humanity is a complicated endeavor fraught with danger. An article is just a way to scrape money from advertisers. It's shared by people who have beliefs unrelated to facts (or reality), who only have a vested interest in avoiding cognitive dissonance. 

That certainly isn't what I want to fill my time with. What I'm bothered by the most is that there is no discussion of issues critical to our future. 

How many times have you seen social media posts on the use of CRISPA to eliminate malaria forever? Or, what happens after that? Once we open the door to genetic control of our children and planet? Would you use it to edit your unborn child to avoid getting fat? Because you can, you know, today; Since they've had the option to use CRISPA for at least a year, I think maybe we should be talking about it.

Oh, hey, how about this. Do you know many employed horses? Really? If there weren't any new jobs for horses, why do you think there are going to be new jobs for you? Cars are self driving with safer records than humans today. Seen the self-checkout lane at the supermarket? Some machine diagnostician artificial intelligences (not symptom checkers)  have significantly better outcomes than human doctors today. The real employment rate is dropping (and a complicated sticky wicket). Programmers are teaching computers to compose and write music, create art- they already write the majority of books for sale on amazon.** Jobs are rapidly being eliminated. Maybe, if someone is forced out of the job market by a labor saving device, like most of humanity will be in the next few decades, we shouldn't treat them as a burden to society.

The Future

The sonuvabitch of it is, that by all available metrics, the world is getting better. Less war. Less death. More wealth. More equality. We are eliminating diseases, traveling in space, curing cancer, extending life. I mentioned this to a lady I worked with and she literally left the room due to how much this conflicted with her conception of reality. It was too important to her world-view that things be getting worse.

Oh, and we won the role-playing fight too. People can make and play whatever they want. Kingdom Death is getting millions. No one is saying people can't play that! It's out! It's getting made! The new D&D is still crunchy and mainstream, but our voice was heard. The Dungeon Master can run the game. New levels in production and usefulness are still being reached. Gaming is good. Gaming is healthy. No one I know lacks for games to play.

Looking back over the last 8 years of this blog, I find that I live (mostly) in the world I had hoped to in regards to gaming. I've been dealing with separation and fighting for some legal affirmation that I am in fact, my daughters father. Every time I read the internet I'm assaulted with ignorance and hate and cruelty and stupidity from the luckiest people to ever be alive. 

I've changed, you've changed, the world has changed.

Personally, in spite of the endless personal setbacks I've had this last year, I'm happier than I've ever been. The best use of my blog going forward is to expand beyond just talking about role-playing.

Common wisdom says, you know, not to do that. You want to brand. You want people to come to you for one thing. Fuck that I guess. I still love gaming and am still working on gaming (and gaming adjacent products). I've learned a lot about myself and who I am and the ways in which I'd like to share. In the year going forward we're going to see a bunch of new things. You've already seen some of the type of things I'm talking about; the in-depth look at the Catalyst fiasco.

I'm interested in feedback about this and about the new things I'll be trying. Take the opportunity to let me know if you like or hate a new thing. It'll be a week or two before I'm fully back up to speed, but I'm looking forward to 2017.

I hope you are too.

* I'm not calling them out, because I don't want to get engaged in pointless debate. But literally every political post is made by person ignorant of facts; almost universally unconcerned about that ignorance. Conservative and Liberal. 
** As always, these facts are subject to spin, but that's not the point. The point is that today there are very few things humans do that machines or computers cannot either do better or have a path to be superior than humans at. Nobody is breaking apart automated assembly lines to reinstall human laborers. Once replaced by automation, new jobs are not created and the jobs do not return. This point is philosophically neutral. The end of needing humans to labor is not. 




12 comments:

  1. Sorry about the rough year -- glad to hear you're weathering it. I'm a semi-regular reader (I subscribe to your blog via feedly) and I've enjoyed reading your gaming posts for a couple years now. I enjoy your writing style so I imagine I'll stick around if you expand beyond gaming.

    I also write a blog, and I find I lose some readers and gain others whenever I change things up. Every year or so I ask myself why I blog (the answer is usually because writing helps me think and forces me to learn). For me staying true that motivation is more important than branding or consistency.

    Good luck in all your projects, and Happy New Year!

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  2. Happy New Year Courtney! Best of wishes, and am looking forward to your posts. :-)

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  3. "The sonuvabitch of it is, that by all available metrics, the world is getting better. Less war. Less death. More wealth. More equality. We are eliminating diseases, traveling in space, curing cancer, extending life."

    ...said Pangloss while our species accelerates to the brink of the ecological abyss.

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  4. Hope the new year is personally better for you. About the blog: you do you. I came for the gaming content, I stayed for the unique voice. Take care and be well.

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  5. Courtney: I'm very sorry to hear about your separation and related troubles. What a nightmare. But you will get through it, and things will be better eventually.


    I'll keep reading what you write here. In particular, you're touching on some of my own hobby horses: I have to confess that I am bad at Facebook, because CRISPR, the labour market in the age of AI, and the improvement/decline of the human world are three of my recurrent themes on social media, and I can confirm that nobody wants to talk about them with me much. Those, and the hard problem of consciousness, which is really in a different category as it's not so much a topic for conversation and debate as it is a profound mystery for solitary meditation once one understands the basics.

    Anyway, eager to hear what's eating you on any given day.

    Picador

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  6. This blog was the first light I saw when I got out of the cave and into the OSR bright world.

    Your articles are not only good to improve our roleplay skills but also our interpersonal skill (we set expectations and share informations all the time in real life).

    I will keep reading your blog, RPG related or not.

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  7. I've missed reading your eloquent blog posts and hope that your personal life sees a good turn-around in 2017.

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  8. Here's my wish that you have a much brighter new year, fellow blogger! Love Hack and Slash, have for some time now.

    By the way, THIS is amazing: "Every time I read the internet I'm assaulted with ignorance and hate and cruelty and stupidity from the luckiest people to ever be alive."

    THIS. This, this, this. Yes. We in the Western world especially have much better lives than most of humanity throughout history. But our lizard brains, if left unchecked, only want more more more out of fear. Our culture is awash in fear, and we're acting like idiots because of it. Now, if we can only convince more people like that lady you encountered otherwise...

    The good fight goes on...

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  9. Be the truth speaker. Youl'll be loved and hated. I will be reading.

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  10. long time reader - always enjoyed your OSR content;
    I will paraphrase the most powerful thing I ever read in an internet comment section:

    "As a mature adult, I have seen more men destroyed by the family court system than by drugs and alcohol."

    check out turd flinging monkey videos on YouTube

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  11. Kind of beautiful. Good luck and god speed. Look forward to reading more, even if I am mainstream D&D.

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  12. I too have enjoyed reading this blog as it inspired me to be a better DM. I still haven't read it all but peruse it when I need motivation.

    I also appreciate the fact that you are human with real problems and I'm cool with reading about that too in this blog. While the tone of this post (to me) is equivalent to that of an Kris Kristofferson signing Me and Bobby Magee (rough but uplifting) I appreciate you still being positive and wish you the best going forward. Chris

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