The way to truly understand something is to understand how it began.
Soon a person's precise genetic data will be augmented by an extraordinary wealth of other digital data ... The outcome will be nothing short of a new "science of individuality," one that defines individuals "at a more granular and molecular level than ever imaginable."
Some may be exhilarated at the prospect of their physicians' knowing them so intimately. Others may be moved to reflect that just as they are more than their demographics, they are also far more than the sum of their various granules.
The great downside to this beautiful, free web that we have is that you have to sell your digital self in order to access it. That's the game, and there is substantial money in it.
Every move you make on the Internet is worth some tiny amount to someone, and a panoply of companies want to make sure that no step along your Internet journey goes unmonetized.
If and when that wall breaks down, the numbers may overwhelm the name. The unconsciously created profile may mean more than the examined self I've sought to build.
For all the trillions of dollars spent in the name of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, the only freedom we really seem to want is the freedom to choose our own form of slavery.
David Foster Wallace:
Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
Drone warfare and the IMF are variations on a theme: decisions taken from a great height, with disregard for consequences on the ground.
The question is this: those people down there, are they really people? It's a question about for whose sake this world exists.
Someone in soft, casual clothes in a featureless building in Nevada presses a button, and the question disappears.
Country music is a bulwark against cultural change, a reminder that "what you see is what you get," a means of keeping the charge of enchantment in "the little things" that make up the texture of the every day, and a way of literally broadcasting the emotional and cultural centrality of the conventional big-ticket experiences that make a life a life.
A lot of country music these days is culture war, but it's more bomb shelter than bomb.