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Great Dragons Of Cyberspace
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Matthew Paris
 

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Post Sat Jan 24, 2004 4:46 pm - Great Dragons Of Cyberspace
If one of the three blind men in the famous story of a trio of eyeless elephant explicators has only grasped the elephantís tail, knowledge of merely the tail of any great beast is better than having guessed nothing at all.
This is not a Chinese prove but it should be. The Chinese, sagacious in their mythology as many makers of such wisdom embedded in fantasy are, are quick to tell us that dragons are imaginary beats, fearsome as they appear, lethal as they have been to many terrified and awed populations in the past.
Their horrific aspect has a way of instilling panic and anxiety in us; their very teeth can grow into infinite children no less venomous, their tail can mash us apparently and reduce us to trash but they are creatures of cloud and vapor for all their thunderous roars and demands for virgins outside the town walls. Chinese paintings of dragons often haven air of cosmic amusement proper to the specter of an appalling illusion that produces woes from real momentary shivers to death.
The West in the past few centuries has dismissed mythic language and its parables generally as the folk lore of the savage and superstitious. A few explorers have gleaned some of the meanings of the old tales; yet their harvests have often merely amused us or given us some new sensation such as we garner when attending the opera.
Our dragons and metaphysical beings arenít less unprovable and illusory in their existence in the West but we donít normally consign them to other worlds although we place them as squarely where we canít find them, in the future.
If one lives a few decades of adult life when becomes familiar with the modern methods of wafting these dragons into the sky. They prey upon hopes and terrors that are impossible to remedy, they set up businesses to elicit funds to solve these intractable dilemmas with some persuasion, law, pill diet, sport or action, revenge on ultimate enemies, ultimately end up like the old Vatican, as a proprietors of a bank.
One might list a few of these fabled modern animals at the risk of annoying the dupes who still believe in them.


1. The whole world will be connected by highways, rendered torporous and satisfied by plastic material riches. It will live in a utopia of balanced measured pleasures that will by its very benign satiety prevent war and even domestic bellicosity.
2. The unruly, greedy, amoral and murderous nature of politicks and economics will be replaced imminently or at least sometime in the future by a socially engineered system of equality run by selfless and moral humanistic scientists.

3. Sex, drugs and rock and roll will bring a redemptive world to us of slightly sated epicurean with their unprecedented capacity to execute innumerable acts of instant pleasure. If they donít do that, at least they will make marginally amusing restaurant and dental office music. Martyrdom by a heroin overdose after a life of revels and nihilism should enlist or sympathy and even our guilt that the perished saints expiring by these means, often millionaires and erotically sated, werenít happier than they were.
4. There will be a generation that will get through life without major loss, sorrow, rue and haunting of the present by the raging ghosts of yesterday.
5. With the right teachers and benign spirits in education, the schooling of children by adults will no longer be at least partially adversarial, difficult, laden with puerile anger and terror. Everybody deserves an education, even people on Death Row. Certainly every kid needs and should get one. It should be one without fear, pain, effort or challenge.
6. Human life is so intensely valuable that it is the duty of every state to pay for the mere existence and comfort of anyone living in it; the obligation of taxpayers is to pay the state to run its institutions that can promote such levies of importance and value.
7. Material comforts and affluence will solve most of our problems and make us at least moderately and tolerably content, even happy. If eon doesnít experience such felicity from these simple anodynes to poverty and misery one simply hasnít acquired enough comfort or money.
8. Some drugs that injure you are criminal poisons offered to the public by scoundrels that should be jailed. Other drugs that injure you, cause cancer, emphysema and heart failure should be monitored and licensed but are run not by felons but corporate millionaires of a vaguer character.
A third group of drugs that also injure and kill, once banned constitutionally as odiums to morals and character, are licensed by experts and are a prestigious and legitimate pillar of our sophisticated culture.
9. Doctors have an infallible science; they are always or almost always right about their diagnosis of oneís illnesses.
10. The world wants, should want or doesnít have the sense to want, take your choice, democracy, Christianity, Islam, Communism or a vegetarian diet. When they do most or all of the worldís woes will be solved.
11. Families and family life are the source of all the worldís ills. If they were replaced with experts, professionals and social engineers we would all do better.
12. If we expend our sexual tastes we will find ourselves in a delightful circus of erotic acts taken up with no risks that will allow us to live happily and embrace infinite and delectable erotic sensations from impersonal skilled amarants with impunity. 13. Therapy will cure the inner chancres of pain that eat at us daily and make us irritable to nuts. If one doesnít find such remedies over a lifetime of expensive repair to oneís spirit from any modern hierophants or their vaporous cures, one hasnít had the luck to meet the right bishop or monk and the right therapy.
14. There are passions so noble, pious and moral that they do nothing but good; they cannot lead to injury, indifference, obsession, scorn, rue or detached civility
15. .Interest, honor and morals are three names for the same thing.

16. We are justified in most or all of the injures we have done to others, but others are not similarly legitimized by law, equity and God.
17. The United Nations will bring peace to a world bloody with nationalism, imperial faith systems and scurvy tribalism.
19.. Women are less bellicose, more compassionate, more intelligent in important ways than men. Giving women privilege and even rule in a society will advance our species as tyranny by men never did.
20. Lithography will bring cheap and beautiful visual art into every Western home, transforming domestic life into a cheap and beautiful museum. A generation of get artists will rise to meet these needs of the West for such adornment to home that will change the aesthetic value of tapestry hangings by Leonardo da Vinci in Renaissance palaces did once.
21. There is a laboratory running by gelded and selfless scientists working for saintly colleges and pharmaceutical companies in Manitoba or Mongolia that is consistently giving us revelatory truths about human begins and the cosmos they derive from studies of rats as well as statistical norms they have culled from impeccable sources just out of view, often equally saintly scientists traveling through the South Sea islands and Patagonian jungles in search of information about the ur-life of our species though that life probably happened several million years ago.


Yowie!


Well, those are a few of the large and trivial contemporary dragons that have haunted my age as surely as other times have been effectively inspired to real terror, martyrdom, wars, and various other angaria not the least of which was the condition of general folly that any successful cozening of dupes inspires in its prey.
Itís been no different in the eddies of cyberspace. It contains as many dunces and fools as the gulls of Ur or ancient Atlantis. It has as many priests as a Vatican convention. It makes the same sort of promises to the rubes as a revival meeting in a tent filled with sweaty odors and the incomprehensible cries in tongues of the afflicted on crutches in Tennessee.
Computers with their implicit promises of a new world with as yet unborn monsters trading our natal soil have been rife with the news of the full color manifestations of such dragons. The real changes in our lives have given credence to the ones that never happened and probably never will happen.
These sketches of dragons werenít presented to me by the inmates of an insane asylum; they were all notions and persuasions of people whom our society regards as intelligent, educated, clever and sagacious about the world as the medieval clerics of the West were in their time. Sometimes they were advanced by wise men on tenure in our colleges.
Since I am an Artist the ones that have piqued me particularly will probably seem trivial to others. I will produce a comparable list of the dragons of cyberspace that seem to me most piquant, funny or intriguing.


1.The stock market will never decline dramatically or crash because computer databases tell firms instantly what their markets and limits of production have to be to the penny , thus obviating any discovery that one has been overly optimistic has been afterwards is stifled by over-production.
2. Computer dating services with their access to an immense database and their talent for spotting affinities with detailed information are able to link us with the most felicitously amusing and charming erotic mates, amarants in bed, allies out of it, likely to be our stable companions and bed partners more effectively than our own social circles can, our romantic huggers have previously or lately inspired us or marriage brokers and benign but naive family members have advised us.
3. Doctors can now diagnose the illnesses of patients with heightened accuracy if given the right information about their patients and the history of their symptoms with the use of computer databases. In fact they never have to see them personally again to make these infallible analyses.
4. Addictions to video and computer games are intelligent obsessions without of us, less injurious to the spirit and body than opium, booze or gambling.
5.Computers will advance the Arts to the point of crating a whole Renaissance based on options they offer that make the production of Art both easier to make and distribute;
armed with options for execution not previously available by the old methods, they will the old arts seem coarse and primitive. 6. Word processors and the Internet will arm the whole of the West and those who read English on the planet on all levels with libraries of great books, old and new. Their walls will be covered with masterpieces of the past and present. Their music will be at once all the treasures of perished ages and sounds that delight the ear, are astonishing for their novelty as well as their beauty.
7. Innumerable acts of life from sewing to defecating will be enhanced by the precise analytical engines of computers. Every seeing machine and toilet will be equipped with one.
8. With their scenario style investigations of alterative possibilities of the future in a tree-like expansion from the present, computers will be able to tell us all or at least some of our probable future as individuals and as a species. It will predict political events as leaders and their mignons have never been able to do.
9. Nobody will be reading paper books anymore within a generation. There is a vast army now kids learning to read on monitors who will scorn books as we would the clay styluses of the Babylonians, the papyrus scrolls of the Egyptians, the astrolabe of the Arabs and Ernest Hemingwayís typewriter for tools worthy of their modernity.
10. Educational computer programs will revolutionaries schooling, offering kids growing up in the age of computers more knowledge, all without pain.
11. E-Books are going to replace paper books and even work processors as the preferred vehicle of reading.

12. Companies selling physical items such as Amazon are somehow exempt from, have bypassed or have mastered in some new way, a kind of mail order enterprise different in style and maw from the kind Sears Roebuck championed in the ps and long afterwards. Itís better to buy from these modern apostles of a new way of shopping than personal and local stores and firms with which one might have some personal acquaintance and check.
13. Computers arenít instruments helping to dumb down a hapless populace of gawking materialists as television is; they will raise the intelligence of those who use them because they require intelligence. Using computers alone is a sign that one is at least above average as a thinker.
14. All the people put out of work by computers will find another job; if they donít, thatís progress.
15. All the people who canít fix their machines anymore become they are run by computers, not the old cogs and bolts, are better off helpless. Hey, thatís progress too!


We all have our favorite dragons. I certainly havenít listed all of the vaporous beasts that fly through the air to astound us with their great claws and horrendous breath of fire. I would guess that every time thee is a new invention in the future we will see a new flock of dragons flying toward us in the distance.
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