Monday, July 23, 2012

Mind Capital

Today, I went to a lunch meeting of a local group that has caught my interest. It offers a place to think, and area to come in to work, for a certain amount of days, depending on membership tier. In a way, it reminds me of Second Life on a few levels. By this, I mean back to the earlier days before it was about making money, but providing a space for creative minds to come together and mesh their ideas together to create brand new worlds on a virtual grid. The biggest contrast I see, thus far, is that this real life is a not for profit chartered group, whereas Second Life is a for profit corporation. Both are incorporated, mind you, but they serve quite different purposes.

I'm more comfortable in a not for profit setting. The difficulty of such is that often such incorporated groups are more of a fee for use, and more about seeking larger membership. In contrast, a corporation is more interested in the profit per capita (the profit per head), which is what capitalism runs upon. This is a very important distinction and contrast to consider, and we'll get back to that later.

This is not meant to be a 'capitalism is evil' rant. I happen to believe that capital is important, particularly in a materialistic world where matter, well, matters. But capital is not the end all, be all of who we are, and what we ought to be as a society. I absolutely refuse to believe that counting heads of people and calculating how the lot of them can make a profit for a company, and how much penny pinching and price gouging has to be done to create wealth for a small few masterminds is the end all, be all of being a human being. No, I believe that there is more to life than that – than to be either the cattle or the handlers that cow people into believing we must militantly follow them, be led by them throughout life, and into the final slaughterhouse that they may or may not have in store for the rest of the world. That sort of mindless control of the masses type capital of current capitalist mentality is not what I find important, but a detriment to society. A detriment no less a danger to society than the socialism they scare the world with. A socialism that they helped build, particularly in the industrial age that it comes out of.

The sort of capital that I do find important is that which we all have. In one sense, yes, it is our heads that stand on our shoulders. In another, it's the very essence and mind that our heads hold in our physical bodies, but we've held for a long time is a thing that our very bodies can't contain, and of that which is beyond the material matter that keeps us grounded. It is a certain essence that guides us, or can, if we so choose to use it and are apt to push beyond the boundaries set before us in the material world.

That is the type of capital that no copyright or corporate terms policy has any license or right to even try to contain. The very uniqueness within us, which also flows without, has no limitations, other than our own doubt. And that is what most corporations try to buy and sell us on, whether they choose to advertize it through creature comforts, or warn us with scares on security – and all the while, little by little, chipping away at our freedom and taking away true peace of mind.

But this isn't what I really want to talk about. I would rather talk about opening the mind, and opening worlds. For when we do open our minds, we open them to these new ways of perceiving, unlocking the path to something so vast that we can't fully comprehend it. Of course, when we do, there is also operating for many of us a fear. Most pivotal of fears for me is going through that portal and the potential that, in coming back, people may exploit it – or even I may exploit it. How does one tap into this vastness and find a way to use it for the better of the society they are a part of, to the benefit of the people and the planet that you call home?

When one asks this question, it is where ideas get grounded. It is here that the policies and systems we work in are founded. For while we can have limitless information, we are also at limited capacity to be able to have all this internalized wealth that comes to our heads from the vast externalities of 'mind capital', if you will, be processed by one single person. It's why we all can use a room to think, and room mates to bounce ideas off of. We are social creatures for a reason, and reason dictates that we must socialize to be at our optimal, if not highest levels of performance and personal being.

I'm not saying that we all must create our own Facebook or Twitter accounts and constantly blog. That is something that a good many of us have done as a matter of attempting to fulfill our social needs, with varying results – both good and bad. The quantitative product of these social media companies is not what fulfills us. It's the qualitative productivity that we put into them that matters. And I think that the companies know that to some extent, at least the smart ones that want to continue to stay in business as leaders and innovators, rather than leaches that latch on for the ride until the scheme is no longer profitable for them. And that is where, at least at the core of concept, for profit and not for profit vary the most. That is to say, while both are focused on heads, one looks to the individual and wonders how they could put that head to use in order to produce and serve both the organization and the community. The other just looks at the head and wonders how to manipulate it in order to take as much as is possible or acceptable without too much cause for protest.

This comes back to the difference between not for profit organizations and for profit corporations. Again, they are both incorporated, and run under charters, bylaws, and all that lovely legalese stuff that keeps lawyers in business. However the difference of focus between profit, and something other than profit does matter. I won't argue that for profit businesses can be charitable, and corporations can have a positive impact, when operating under particular guidelines that regulate in a manner to minimize exploitation and greed. But I think not for profits can come into the public with greater advantage when they have a focus less on the bottom line of profit and seek to focus on how best to serve and provide, both for their internal purposes, as well as the externalities that many for profit corporations refuse to consider and brush off as a problem for someone else. Or, worse, these particular corporations that are run by those few power mongers that want to see the demise of 90% of the human population don't give a damn because the intended results serve the purpose of destroying the people they want to be destroyed in the long run.

This is not to say that not for profits are without their own problems. However, as long as they have people at the core of their interest, and this interest is in empowering the people to grow and develop – to tap into that vast mind capital that no one has, nor should even think they have a monopoly on, then at least they are leaning in the right direction.   

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Cat Man Rising

The Cat's Shadow. A pic of a land sculpt I'd been working on in my OpenSim Standalone.

This past Friday night, I went to see Batman Rising. It was ok. I would recommend it to go see, but I wouldn't say it's the greatest Batman movie ever. But it did what it was supposed to for the final in the Christopher Nolan trilogy of the movie franchise. And he, along with the rest of the cast and crew from these past three movies, do leave with a bang, not to mention a movie legacy standard that will be hard for whoever may take up the Dark Knight's cape in the future to surpass.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is some political relevance to the movie. However, I think Rush's comments are that of a complete moron. Seriously, Bane and Bain Capitol? If anything, Bane as the villain could be as much a jab toward the Occupy Movement or Anonymous than Bain Capital and Romney. However, I'd hardly call Romney a Batman figure, he's much more like the politicians and businessmen in the movie – shifty in their loyalty and truth, and mostly driven by greed. I think it would really be hard to picture most of the wealthy in the world as Batman. It would be easier to see much of the top 10% as a James Bond villain that seeks out global domination, even destruction of the world and 90% of its population in attempts to make their delusional utopia a reality.

As it is, I can relate to Batman. Not that I'm rich, but in that being more in the background type. Sure, I can put on a good front – a 'mask' if you will. But, more often than not, I tend to try to take action, but do the best I can to not be seen. And sometimes people don't understand my motives, or get a wrong idea about me. Yet, I'll even use that to my advantage, even to drive me to do better, while still trying to keep out of the lime light.

It's not easy doing this. Sometimes I find myself reclusive, or at least putting myself in a place where I can be reflective and try to recollect and see where I went wrong, or how to improve things. Can't say that I've been successful with this. Not being a multi-billionaire kind of makes it hard to be reclusive, especially when it comes to finding a job in this economy. But I suppose that's the other thing about Batman, is refusing to be shackled to society and seeking a way to counter those that would have it, and your own life's demise – to find a way to be free, and help others find freedom who want it. That, and to strive to prevent freedom from falling into anarchy.

My characters in SL grew to have these same traits. In RP, Midian was Gotham to me. Ioh developed from a samurai cat to an alley cat thug after joining the Catwalkers gang. That eventually developed into Ioh as a 'prince' from a noble line of werecats that may or may not have been themselves a race of ancient genetic experimentation in the Golden Age of the world. The Catwalkers themselves became more of a mob type family, which itself eventually evolved (or devolved?) into somewhat a Jersey Shore meets Melrose Place type drama fest where it was all about personalities and fashion. Lost was what it meant to be an actual Catwalker, living on the rooftops, trying to keep the humans and others not in the group off said rooftops, and somehow manage to keep balance among the Catwalkers, as well as with the city as a whole.

I suppose being a cat almost automatically assumes the trait of being on the darker side of gray in the post apocalyptic world – especially one where cats, and other hybrids are a second class citizen at best. Yet, even with a parallel to Catwoman in that sense, Batman was a greater leaning for Ioh. Maybe it was the oriental background with the samurai trait he came in with. Could be the developing background story that he became orphaned because his parents were killed before his very own eyes in a gruesome pillaging of his first home village. Maybe even the shadowy figure of a dark knight ninja added to the common mix. Or maybe just because they both wore black, armored gear, and had a relatively practical utility belt of features. Who knows?

What I do know is that I related to Christian Bale's portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne, and especially in Dark Knight Rising. Or maybe it's just a matter that the movies reflect transitions for me. Batman Begins came out before I had even heard of SL, but it was no less pivotal in the development of Ioh. The first Matron he knew, Rith, even summarized the dilemma for Ioh when she brought him into the Catwalkers. She noted how that, then, Midian was overrun by all sorts of baddies that had all sorts of weaponry, armor, genetic and biomech enhancements to make it hard to just simply go around hacking and slashing. Enemies could just as easily be within the Catwalkers as they were on the outside. And, just like with Batman, betrayal can be very close, and very good at pretending to be someone who wants to help, even while draining you from the inside out, even trying to rip out your very heart and soul.

All these things did happen until Ioh, and a few other characters I had then were put into exile. They still are to this day. And this is where the comparison contrasts. For unlike the Dark Knight, Ioh doesn't get a chance to rise. He doesn't get to tie up loose ends and move on. At least not in such a fashion as Bruce Wayne is allowed to in the movie. Now, I'm pretty sure I don't want to go back. The Midian that was, is no more. It's essentially a shell of itself. But then, it was never a city to ever be meant to have hope, and was even given the Dante theme for The Inferno of 'abandon all hope.' For many past RPers, that has registered as abandon the RP and forget about hoping to return.

However it be for Ioh, the character, for me and my avatar(s) it's necessary to move on. The Dark Knight Rises at least gives me some closure. And like Bruce Wayne, I hope to step out of the shadows and find something better in life.

And so, here is Ioh, sitting on the highest peak of his homestead on the Open Sim standalone estate. He contemplates what will be of his new life and what he'll do in a new world and how to come to in under a new perspective. His author considers it a new way to create, and further his goal in developing a new world in a new story. This story will be less based on RP, and much more focused on things he could never have in mind within Midian. For that reason alone is it worthwhile to move on from Midian, and out into a brave new world.

Sitting on the highest peak, between the ears of the cat statue.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Making Hair and Using OpenSim Standalone

I sometimes forget I have blog and write about Blogger type things on my Flickr.  This is one of those occasions.  So, if interested in reading more about this, I would suggest to go here:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back on Track - The New Purpose of this Blog

Yes, I deleted the last post.  It no longer serves a purpose, and certainly not the purpose I want for this blog.  "What is the purpose for this blog?" You may ask.  Well, it's always been about updating the activities of my Second Life avatar, Iohannes Crispien, and, even at times, about my alts there.  But now as I move more away from having much of a presence in SL, it shall have to take on a new purpose. It shall always be a blog for my avatars, particularly Iohannes Crispien, but also Jack Corn, my avatar who is my main and only presence on 3rd Rock Grid, which is currently my main grid.  Within 3RG, I have a few projects under way, which I will update as they progress.  I thought of retro-updating on previous progress on these projects, and I may do so to bring people up to speed on what I am doing in 3RG and other grids in the metaverse.  For now, though, all I will say is that I will keep you all posted, and soon.  For now, take care all my friends!

... and even those few enemies that still hang around for some reason. <.<

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Redirection Of Focus On Blogger

It's about time to do something else and make this blog more practical to my current interests.  I don't RP any more, don't hop on SL as much as I used to.  Instead, when I do hop onto a grid, it's usually one of the OS grids.  The top five that I go to are:

1. 3rd Rock Grid - Current home grid.  I have 1/4 land there with 3750 prim allotment for US$20 a month.  Good community, especially for content creators and music/DJ performers.

2. Craft A fairly new grid.  The community is great, and developer friendly.  It is at this point a freebie grid, and the community is not based on commerce, but being open in creation. The only thing that costs money are grids, which are roughly US$25/mo for a public sim and US$35/mo for a private.  However, there are parcels you can rent for 6 months free, sort of like a demo or trial run. The benefits are, though, that you can find a lot of tools and resources to get you started in developing your persona and your world.

3. InWorldz A lot of diverse aspects to this grid.  Mostly a 'tour grid' for me.  Fun events and a lot to explore.

4. Avination Another diverse grid.

5. OS Grid The Open Sim project that started it all.