This World, That World

Watch my talk “Not Soy Fast: The Silent March of the multinational GM Soy industry” Tuesday at 12h45pm CET, 6h45 EST. Streaming from one of these links.

Inside we are several thousand, over the past 3 days, shuffling about the Berliner Congress Center. Some for the first time, some for the third time, and many for the 25th time. The voices are loud and plentiful, people waving a laptop in one hand, planting them in front of neighbors to show them something they’re working on. A whole line of guys in one corner all have those Madonna headsets, though none of them has said a word in the last 30 minutes. The flying object guys connect their flying objects to various sockets, an occasional test to see how the take off would look or the propellers are spinning. They don’t notice the Italian hacker walking around in his flowing robe with a bottle of grappa and a stack of plastic cups for anyone who wants to partake. He comes over to the group of people I am with, Austrian, Canadian, and American hackivists… we partake in the grappa.

It is a bizarre and lovely story, especially as I tell it thus far. Yet when I turn around and glance out the window at Berlin… when I think beyond Berlin, beyond Germany.. out there in the world.. the world shakes once again, and not in a good way. Starving migrants picked up in Malta, only to be shipped back into more suffering. Bombs fall on Gaza, outrage throughout the middle east and the world. The president of Somalia, an almost invisible figure at this point, resigns. Burma makes oil deals with China, 2008 is declared one of the top 3 worst years in history for natural disasters.

And all the while we’re in here. We’re teaching and learning and laughing and sleeping. Pushing the limits of possibility or just pushing the limits of our own bodies with lack of sleep. Wander the halls and sit in the lecture rooms, you would say it is an exciting and intelligent world out there. But out there, people are suffering, people are killing each other, the world is still broken. But we’re in here, where life is an adventure.

Goodbye day 3 of the 25th Chaos Communication Congress. I hope day 4 brings less suffering for the world and more curiosity and knowledge for us.


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2 thoughts on “This World, That World

  • December 30, 2008 at 9:45 am
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    It’s very calming to see atleast someone pointing out the ambiguity of our western Americanized society. Way to often we gather and feast ourselves on our intellectual ingenuity on events like the 25c3. We proclaim our openness and excellence on fields that don’t matter at all and forget that we are only able to, because noone else can afford it. We give others “knowlegde”, “grappa” and “candy” without actual loosing anything and therfore our so called kindness is not even a gesture anymore. We speak a lot, we moan even more, we wear protest shirts and if we have good weather we enqueue ourselfs in a far ahead announced and authorized silent protest march, but we don’t act in any meaningful sense. This kind of self-masturbation from our so called leftist intellectual elite is staggering and keeps as in a world of numbness where 300 killed Palestinians or 1m starved Africans are a just matter of unread feed items next to football and the finance crisis. I don’t expect full time assembly line workers to lay the ground for a new foundation or even review our current system, but what about all those thousands of hours brilliancy wasted @ 25C3 from all those people with enough free time? Where are all those Che Guevaras 2.0 that see the grievances, argue about it and act on it? Do we really think that we can change – for the first time in history – our system by arguing about the rights of the common folks with politicians or the bourgeoisie in an actual debate or by elections? Do we think that separation of powers will protect us?

    I mean, why are individuals able to create enormous virtual worlds with thousands of PCs, but we are unable to thing of another system we actual live in? Why we try to break every possible technical system and try to prevent new surveillance methods on a very high level, but with a few acceptions, we do not even attempt to break out of our old social instilled and self made jails? Why we value IT and economics students very high these days and historians are threatened with extinction? Why we praise Lord Gates and Jobs and dont even dare to second guess their accumulation of billions from a moral standpoint? If we do, why we dont act on it and continue to buy their products and make and listen to podcasts about them?

    It’s very astonishing that most of us live in a society, where the law still protects us from torture and other harsh assaults from the government, but we act like we are more afraid and enslaved as every third world nation citizen, because we fear that “they” can take our freedom and gagdets. We should work on that and keep our eyes open for the real and interesting stuff.

    Thank you for the reminder, the self-criticism, excuse my mundane rant and please give us hell on your talk Mark 🙂

    • January 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm
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      Thank you Mark, and Anno Nymouse for both of your thoughtful comments. I was at 25C3, and so I agree with all of the above from up close. But rather than simply rail against the outrageous inadequacies of the human psyche, our cultural and personal inability to distinguish between what is important and what is trivial in the world ‘out there’… let’s do something about it.

      I was at 25C3 in an attempt to attract people like Mark and you Anno to assist in a project I am calling Hackers4Earth. I have reserved the .com and .org forms, and have grabbed hackers4earth@gmail.com as well. I did a 20 minute interview with Mark at the 25C3 conference, which I look forward to getting in podcast when he has a chance to edit it. I am humbled and grateful for the function that Mark is performing for us all.

      But I also encourage you, Anno, and anyone else who picks up this thread, to email me at hackers4earth@gmail.com to talk about getting involved in the project. It will be fascinating and fun I believe, and will be going for the jugular in terms of the effect it is intended to have on one of the MOST important, largely unnoticed or downplayed catastrophe’s in the making of our present age… the potential for us to endanger our own species with extinction, along with most or all of life on Earth. There can be no higher goal at present, in my humble opinion, than to work on this goal… to awaken the public and thereby the governments of the world to the deadline for action, which is December 2009 in Copenhagen.

      There is much I cannot include about this project in the short space of this reply. So I only hope I can entice you (whoever is reading this) to get involved. You can contribute as little or as much of your time and inspiration as you like.

      For the Earth,
      StuartGaia

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