Being raised in the Fairview section of South Camden, this blog is made up of of many stories. It is about a city that I was born and experienced into in February 23, 1944, 12:10 am. I work in this city as a landlord, manager, mechanic skills of many, master of none, arbitrator, etc. Camden has impulsed me into an unnamed philosophy. The sweet and the bitter lives of the people of Camden has begged me to write for my own therapy and understanding, a personal therapy, Some encounters were welcome and some were disappointing. All were real! These are stories of peoples on their path from somewhere and someplace and moving toward their dreams as we all want to do. Some are and were tenants, some are strangers, some a blur in time and some learning how to be real in a real tough but dynamic city. Camden, NJ has held the distinction of being the poorest and highest crime city in the country. I heard that it has, for its size, more warrants for arrest than anywhere else. I even get them on occasion. It is in in some ways Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. It is also a city of comedy, heart evoking, mean and a sometime distrustful place with acts of murder, confusion, theft, lies and ignorance. Sounds like many places on this planet. Despite this horn of plenty, it is vibrant with love, hope, joy and expectations. Children, spirituality, wonder, nature…and always full of dreams and magic. And it is an opportunity to learn about cooperation with each other. Uncle Gus RIP, tells me once in a while that man can do anything in this world except get along with his neighbor. Well his spirit still lives in this city :-). Here I will recount some of the Camden Chronicles as they happened and are still happening. Contact me @… firstname.lastname@example.org
Cesar Viveros Herrera has spent over 15 years creating public art in the United States and his Native Mexico, and has collaborated with Mural Arts since 1997. His public work has been inspired by the communities he has served throughout the years, to whom he has become the extended voice of their particular ideology, recurring primarily on documentary work that helped him to visually articulate these individual stories to be exposed to a broader audience. Aztec dances and ceremonies, miniature altars, sculptures, fresco painting, mosaic, and feather work are some signature elements of his work outside murals. https://www.facebook.com/cesar.viveros.904
From the notion that if two sides of the same blade are sharp, it cuts both ways. The metaphor may have originated from the Arabic expression (sayf ḏū ḥadayn, “double-edged sword”). In the Bible, the word of God is described as a being sharper than a double-edged sword.
With a double edge sword, we can see the edge of the blade and the resultant consequences of the sword blade can cut or even kill you. This you see with your eyes…the sharpness of the edge and the intended consequences. The feeling of pain and even death make one ever more aware of the intention of the sword holder. There have been plenty of movies which have shown battles with swords. Akira Kurosawa, http://kurosawamovies.com/main.htm, comes to mind as examples of great battle scenes with blades.
In our late 20th and current 21st century we are being surrounded with a new kind of Sword. The first Sword was introduced to us by the computer. The second version of the sword will be AI, artificial intelligence. We need to learn how to see and feel the implied danger and safety of the computer’s edges. We have all experienced the results of being hacked into: be it our bank accounts, our privacy, the small secrets of friends or our children, etc. In times past, we were hacked into by the “brick and mortar reality, rob a bank or/and put your money into a bank’s vaults. Dig a hole and bury your prizes. But there may come a time when we forget where that hole or rock or tree marker is! Let me See?
We can still do this if we remember. But the virtual reality world has seduced us into buying into the internet cloud, the Drobox’s promise, the USB card and so on. Should our computers go down or get corrupted or hacked into…then we a get a cut and begin a new kind of bleeding or worse yet we can have a stroke, so to speak. 911. Then we learn about the “backup” …the need to find a virtual “hole” to store a copy of the information. So now we can relax and feel secure for the ‘cut’ of the sword. This also come with some possible unforeseen risks but for the price of another hard drive, a flash card or an online ‘vault’ we can feel safe and protected. As my mother would say, get your wallet out.
The oncoming advent of a personal robot slides us into an even more reliable promise. But with this comes many more reliable slashes and cuts. Again the “blade’s sharp edges are not visible to our flesh and blood corporal bodies. Our ‘bodies’, we learn, are extended into outer space, a space not of the Earth but out there? in there? Somewhere. Hello… I see dead people!
You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”
And you may ask yourself, “How do I work this?”
And you may ask yourself, “Where is that large automobile?”
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house”
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife
AI’s, (artificial intelligence) claims it will make life easier, give us more leisure time, creative time. This is one edge of the Sword. The other edge has not quite been exposed yet. We think, we believe we have seen both edges but the ‘cuts’ have not yet been felt. The drops of blood are not yet staining the carpet…to the uninformed that is. How do you feel about a robot feeding your ailing mother or father at every meal? I think I might prefer a Rhesus monkey, something with a heartbeat, two eyes filled with curiosity and affection…I don’t know. I once read that scientists can do a lobotomy on monkeys. At the time of the article the operation could either render the monkey from incapable of either throwing feces or masturbating, but not both. (Circa 1970)
I am not a Luddite by any means, but I would like to know what could happen when the sword’s blade swings back towards me. (My wallet only carries one bandage.) My wife Amy and I watched “Terminator” for the umpteenth time. There are 4 sequels. This movie predates the current AI promises. Will some of us choose or be forced to accept the AI promise or resist AI. AI can render us to become more passive. It can use our power, change our way of thinking. And what of our Spiritual nature. We once used our arms, back and eyes to push or pull a door open. Now we quietly move along a corridor as if we’ve been whisked by an unseen fairy towards our destination, perhaps to use our muscles to carry our shopping bags instead of opening the door.
To be sure AI and Human Intelligence, (HI), will be around for a while until the introduction of the Borg or Swarm technology wakes us up to a fearful conclusion. A digital Plato’s Cave metaphor. Michael Tyson said that everyone has a plan or a dream until they are punched in the face. Now where is that band aide!
I’m just saying…I’m just saying. As my friend Pokey use to say “there’s 3 sides to every story: his side, her side and then the truth. Artificial Intelligence Plus Natural Intelligence…somewhere there must be a Soul. I know let’s design Bots in different models. A Jewish model, comes with assorted color Yarmulke, an Atheists model, a Catholic model. Let’s not forget the LGBT option for that droid and a, what the hell, a Redneck unit, a gender switcher…there is no end is there. Nazi, Communist, African American. Madame we have a stutter option available for the hard of hearing relative. Did you say your child has ADD, no problem we will reprogram Robbie with the latest Lithium Chip? We even have a ‘Dude’ droid. I digress.
In the end I hope it A(I)ll works out for us, but there will be some cuts and severing of limbs so to speak from the Sword. Must be, it’s going to be the result of the unforeseen learning curve. I believe since the introduction of the ‘voice mail’ and push 1 for this and push 2 for that we have eroded our ability to think and speak our thoughts while trying to communicate with other human beings. As of now we aren’t able to look at our human server in the eye, to see a frown on his or her face as she takes our hamburger order at McDonalds. We won’t be able to say ‘how are you’, ‘having a bad day’, ‘I like your hairstyle or tattoo’. Our supermarkets now give us the option of scanning our own grocers at the cost of again shutting us down from communicating to each other at the checkout isle. I believe the more isolated we become the more natural, read Earth changes, disorders will occur. My mother told me in the early 60’s that she noticed the weather changed whenever a new rocket was sent up into space from Cape Canaveral. (I won’t even mention Chemtrails)
In the desert,
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter — bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”
— Stephen Crane
William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America’s Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.
Born in 1941, Hayao Miyazaki grew up in post-World War II Japan as a self-described “physically weak” child. He would go on to steer the helm of some of the world’s most endearing animated masterpieces; Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), and the magical Spirited Away (2001) which holds the honor of being the first Japanese film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges is joined by Larry Hamm, Chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress. They discuss the history of oppression of African Americans in the U.S. and the relentless struggle for racial equality. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at how Americans continue to erase uncomfortable parts of their past.
- (Long pause.) A democracy is a highly interesting form of government, highly significant because it demands so much of individual consciousness, and because it must rest primarily upon a belief in the powers of the individual. It is a tribute to that belief that it has lingered in your country, and operated with such vitality in the face of quite opposing beliefs officially held by both science and religion.The idea [of democracy] expresses the existence of a high idealism — one that demands political and social organizations that are effective to some degree in providing some practical expression of those ideals (emphatically). When those organizations fail and a gulf between idealism and actualized good becomes too great, then such conditions help turn some idealists into fanatics. (Long pause.) Those who follow with great strictness the dictates of either science or religion can switch sides in a moment. The scientist begins tipping tables or whatever, and suddenly disgusted by the limits of scientific knowledge, he turns all of his dedication to what he thinks of as its opposite, or pure intuitive knowledge. Thus, he blocks his reason as fanatically as earlier he blocked his intuitions. The businessman who believed in Darwinian principles and the fight for survival, who justified injustice and perhaps thievery to his ideal of surviving in a competitive world — he suddenly turns into a fundamentalist in religious terms, trying to gain his sense of power now, perhaps, by giving away the wealth he has amassed, all in a tangled attempt to express a natural idealism in a practical world.American democracy arises directly from the birth of Protestantism, for example, and a new kind of venture.(Long pause.) Other democratic societies had existed in the past, but in them democracy was still based on one religious precept, though it might be expressed in different ways — as, for example, in the Greek city-states (in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.). The Holy Roman Empire united a civilization under one religious idea, but the true brotherhood of man can be expressed only by allowing the freedom of man’s thought under the banner of cooperation; and only this will result in the fulfillment of the species, with developments of consciousness that in your terms were latent from the beginning.
Camden is a city, is a metaphor, is a filter, is a fear collector, is a stereotype, is a once upon a time maybe some day, is a nightly news story, is a nightmare, is a dream. The motto of the city of Camden was adopted from a line of a Walt Whitman poem from his Leaves of Grass.
Camden is not invincible, far from it. Instead, it remains only a dream, an etched expectation in the stone of the city hall and the city itself. While the people Whitman loved still live their very real lives, in its neighborhoods and streets, in its tenement buildings and churches, in its playgrounds and backyards.
We went to Camden and spent the day in what has become known as Waterfront South, a former shipbuilding neighborhood, anchored on the corner of Broadway & Ferry by Sacred Heart Church. We spoke with three members of the community, a reluctant landlord storyteller, an urban farmer activist and a firebrand poet priest proclaiming a message of common sense for the common man. And despite the darkness, all three still believe in the dream, invincibility? Nah, survival, restoration, a future…..the future.