Its Bicycle Day

April 19, 2013
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From Wikimedia

“April 19, 1943, Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms).

Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann’s condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote…

Bicycle Notes
“… little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …”

In the 1960s it was re-discovered by the baby boom generation and hailed by many as opening the doorways to perception a generation felt where tainted by the quest for money and advertising influence. Commercialization – the transformation of human productivity into centralization of capital (to non-participants in the productive process), because the social awareness cry for many in their teens and twenties during the 1960s and 70s. Often maligned by the non-participants in that social revolution as ‘hippies’ and ‘non-workers’, the most valuable company of this millennium was designed and led by a self-proclaimed ‘hippie’ and experimenter in that culture. Steve Jobs and Apple Computer.

Today’s cultural experimentation with eliminating the influence of televisions and online advertising seems to be headed toward difficulty with ads becoming ever more sub-liminal – that is, side bar ads on ‘free’ web sites, ‘free’ apps in the ‘cloud’ which collect personal and private information and centralize capital from it. Ads are now also, two-directional.

When you watch TV, the TV doesn’t watch you, unless you agreed to put a Nielsen Rating machine in your home. Unlike the days of Broadcast TV, there was no back-channel. Advertisers could only tell what you were interested in by sales. That was customer freedom of choice in the market that drove advertisers to make better products. Today, advertisers are getting 2-way communications. No longer are ads just broadcast to you, but your reaction to them is measured and sent back to the intermediary – Facebook, Google, or the advertiser directly. Two-way ads offer information about you to folks you don’t know. When Facebook says, connect up with all your friends and family, they also mean, but don’t say, connect up with Facebook as your *very best* friend, because Facebook / Google build-in key-press monitoring, text data collection, mouse movement tracking (and with Samsung’s latest ‘innovation’ – tracking your eye movement).

Its insidious, but makes *so* much money for Google, Facebook and others, the economic pressure to do more monitoring and more data collection is overwhelming even those with the best intents in these companies. So shaping your perception is a key power gained by advertisers from Google and Facebook. Its a community trust, and one they say they won’t provide to a duly elected government, but will provide opaquely, to advertisers and economic interests, using some methodology they do not have to reveal, they say. As an independent blog, we don’t get funding from major corporate interests, so we can describe what we observe without concerns about economic impact from our advertisers. Our popularity drives business to them. 🙂

Today, Google is manipulating that popularity with new services like Authorship, and G+ integration, driving up search rankings as you ‘play along’ with their self-interest rules – blog on their G+ pages, give them all your contact names and connections, allow them to deeply inspect your world. For that, they’ll make your business find-able in the Global Google search tool.

Meh, since we’re localizing I don’t really care. 🙂 The trend of Globalization is over. It doesn’t work for people, it works simply for a handful of people. (A great bit of film is the Economics of Happiness)

Clearing the advertising debris from today’s socially aware individual’s view seems to have raised the difficulty beyond the choice to watch tv or not, or use Facebook or Google (the worlds largest advertising companies), and their mobile telephone products/services.

Its seems a child of this millennium will need to find ways to use networking and communications where advertisements are clearly marked. Where privacy is recognized as valuable. And, well, perhaps a place where commonwealth funding produces the services, or participatory users.

How de-coupling from hidden advertising takes place is an area that many are keenly interested in. Google’s fight with FTC and win, proclaiming Google Corporation has the ‘right to free speech’ and therefore can alter its search engine results in any way it feels are in its own interest… has resulted in a collapse of the trust Google built for 10 years, under the claim ‘do no evil’ – implying they would not succumb to their own egos and power desires, *if* folks granted Google’s search engines access to their web sites, and personal data, which Web site developers and users of Google and Facebook’s online services do today.

The exodus from these online services may take place more rapidly than they became popular, when awareness of the motivations to centralize capital in the hands of fewer and fewer people, are demonstrated by Google and Facebook time and again. Non-advertisers like Microsoft and Apple or online services that make ads clear, like Amazon, may be poised to take advantage of the exodus from the ‘hidden’ Advertisers – Google and Facebook have become.

Its a complicated world out there, when the software and services we come to accept – Google and Facebook, become so deeply reaching, and so protected by recent ultra conservative rulings at the Supreme Court (Corporations are Citizens), that the only choice will be de-coupling from them… And signing up for communications systems that are clearly built for the benefit of their users.

If today’s revelations of the entertainment, joy, love, complexity, deep and rich experience Dr. Hofman enjoyed so many years ago on this day are well known, why would we chose to complicate our lives using communications systems that are not honest, clear, and easy to decipher. 🙂 Perhaps we won’t. Its the promise of clearer perceptions, improved communications between people, better transparency that happens as we carefully tread through today’s online services. And its a question investors have to be asking Google and Facebook – what’s next? Improved privacy, or 50 more pages of ULAs (end user agreements)..

I choose to limit the amount of private info I offer in exchange for ‘free’ use of networks. I’ll keep my perceptions as clear as possible. A quick look around any nature trail, a pause in a field of grass, a deep breath near a clean lake or ocean, reminds me of how beautifully complex and simple living is. I hope its that way for you.

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