One step to freedom one more step in chains

I have been navigating the endlessly complex procedures involved in email security and the disparate and conflicting information and tools. Trying to use software and services that protect my freedom can lead you into very murky territory.

The complexities of adding SSL certificates and verifying them can be a daunting prospect. Ever since I slowly began adopting the advice I found online and around me I have been trying to fathom what kind of person ever pursues such secrecy.

Using free software is surprisingly simple even if a few proprietary services don’t work out of the box. The sticky ground is not the device you use but who’s devices you are talking to and what services they offer.

A personal computer can be just that but in this day and age it a networked device. The more you explore these networks the more find.  If you aren’t content pouring your heart and soul onto the servers of businesses like facebook twitter and google you can quickly shatter your rose tinted spectacles or mirror shades.

Exploring an device and a network leaves you open to all kinds of finds. We quickly learn that so much of the web is automated and did we really ever know why we were drawn to those places and people?

Setting up on your own can lead you to discover so much about computer science and the modern day network society. The real question is what are you running away from and what are you running towards?

Perhaps on the journey you will begin to get a lay of the land. Take the time once in a while to go out of your house without any electronic devices and see how the world feels.

We may talk about smart phone loss anxiety and other phantom psychological symptoms. But are we really talking about losing our automated network. Our recommendations one in a million that are there to help us abject to our day and plan our lives.

Your phone doesn’t rule you but it is a feedback loop and whatever you seek there you will find. Don’t be too surprised if you find more of your kind…

Knowing

It’s almost indefinable as to when someone knows anything because we are fluid and not fixed. Books and all the forms we help fix knowledge into a constant are outside of us and are almost always always static.

The internet is probably the first truly concious knowledge resource. As such we can never know it completely and however deep we go there is always more.

The desire for certainty is exactly the same reason that books like the Bible and Koran have such power over minds. They describe great thinkers and their struggles to teach the divine.

People often prefer to fix this divinity as a certainty and their holy books as constants. Thus god represents our own struggle for not only both certainty and a constant but the extremes of our particular spectrum.

To define it as such the necessity of hell was required. Most of these stories were merely setting the boundaries for an infinite world. I feel that truly enlightened beings are not certain or constant but merely extraordinary people who understand enough to teach in any way they can.

Loki and other trickster gods and goddesses are no more mischievous than some exploits of prophets. Even Jesus visited a wealthy man for a banquet in many guises, was he trolling someone just to find out whether someone was really capable of goodness?

Ultimately all witches shaman prophets goddesses & gods are truly only human navigating the infinite. How we deal with evil is our own chance to teach what it really means to have lived backwards.

Business Vs. Media

Both industries aim to give you what you want as cheaply as they can. That isn’t about giving the profit directly to you. Both depend on secrecy and if not obscurity to function and most importantly they always depend on impulses.

Impulses rule all our purchasing decisions as purchasing requires a link between a conciousness free and fluid world and the trigger of some real world interaction. No matter how much you study or research a purchase you are always at the whim of your own interaction with the fluid and the solid.

Impulse still rules that dividing line. It could be said that politics is a galvanised form of this impulse and voting left or right seems to be the same impulse. It could be said it’s a vote for how much you trust the media you are getting versus the businesses you interact with.

Backslash Forwardslash Minus Dash

I’m keeping busy on so many projects. Keeping my website running and useful is quite a challenge. I haven’t had many leads from hosting a web presence but upkeep is a constant challenge. There seems to be something to do on almost every page. Keeping up with blog posts is always hard.  Maintenance of my devices is also leads to constant exploration and tinkering something that I spend most of my time doing.

The amount of information on different networks is huge . I’m still reliant on face to face interactions to help inspire and network and that can be scary. I have applied for a work study place at Ravensbourne on of my many haunts.

I am definitely missing out on the normality of work or study and I’m not sure where to draw the line with my life online. I have explored so many social networks and now I have come to a place in my life when it’s overwhelming. The constant barrage of information can sometimes be too much. It’s hard to make sense of so much input.

I spent so much of my teens running away from myself. Now I’m not so sure how that really translates. Trying to be true to myself is a very exiting and real possibility but with it comes an added responsibility for myself. Not caring about who I am or what I say or stand for is surprisingly soothing. True liberation comes from knowing yourself and your chains.

Tinker

Over the last few weeks I have been coming into London Hackspace to do what I always do, tinker on my computer and phone. I have been trying to understand my own patterns of interaction with computers and while at a complex level never seem to bear anything tangible in the traditional sense.

I spend hours exploring and installing, testing and tinkering with my device. The critical engineering manifesto  best describes how I see computers and human computer interaction.

I was always fascinated by computer security and although I studied computer science at university I didn’t ever go about teaching myself anything formal.

I was an explorer and it’s strange what you can find in your own computer or on the internet just by being inquisitive. Software doesn’t always have to be about code. I know how to program but computer security comes from the bottom up.

That foundation isn’t assembly language but people. If you are a detective you wouldn’t leap to the most complex of fantastical theories first you would rule out all of the most obvious explanations and then begin to explore the impossible.

I haven’t had a top flight career as a computer security expert but I know more than most. My foundation came from being a user first and most importantly an inquisitive one.

So while I don’t build complex software I know it’s out there, and I know that as free software there are so many tools out there for me to perform any computing task. These tools aren’t for breaking into computers as so many of us are lead to believe but functions that can process our interactions.

As a computer security expert I know that security isn’t about the code. It’s about the intentions of those that want to break the law. So many hackers are put in an awkward legal position simply because they like to explore.

But those evils that lurk on the net and perhaps on our computers are pretty easy to sum up. Most evil manifests through corruption, secrets and lies and the driving force seems to be a desire to torture, steal, murder or rape. Think of a circle, triangle and square.

You may say there are lesser crimes or that assault doesn’t have the full intention of Murder but I think they do in some small way. We all have some guiding force in our interactions and pure evil is just a fairy tail.

So how does this relate to computer security? Well those foundations of crime are all factors in planing and instigating any crime. Some would say only torture and theft could be really exist in a computer but our digital devices are not autonomous.

Abuse on you-tube or piracy on the internet are big business but the fact is that all three of these foundations are out there. Very real people use their computers daily for fun and for work but others turn to these devices to plot and scheme and not just from behind the keyboard.

It took me some time to ever really see the evil around me. It was something for fairy tales and films. We can forget how subtly crime manifests in society.

As a Buddhist I once considered how reincarnation might reinforce habits and behaviour. I thought of a bell curve of the world population with a dividing line marking that crucial point where people either look left or look right.

The population of those lips of the bell are reserved for a very small percentage of very special people. We can’t imprison a quarter of the world population or hopefully less. I haven’t done the actual figures of a quarter population of a lip of a bell curve but hopefully we could always be there to step in.

So after training for so long in a field that might be very lucrative to criminals I’m frozen into a bind where I don’t want to every approach an employer for fear of them being one of them.

I know that I need to find a path into employment with some confidence behind me and for all of the exploring and study I have done I can and will find real world validation.

So many people stood in my way growing up and the worst was myself. I knew I had so much to say but in reality my mind was a mess. It turned out to be a beautiful creative and strangely extremely logical mess but I had to find my own voice.

So many of us are taught by our parents and teachers but in reality we are not receptacles for information. We have to find our own creative and analytical thinking and it’s complex daily interactions in the workplace.

But if you are in an environment where you are being distracted at all corners and by the unknown you have to fight just to be yourself. So this month I have been tinkering like I always have and it’s been exhausting at times but I know that I can something concrete in it as I move forward.

I know that I have priorities that are deceptively simple and they are universal to humankind. I need to keep reminding myself of them every day and to realise that we don’t really need everything, we just need a few pieces of each.

  1. Food
  2. Clothes
  3. Shelter
  4. Tools
  5. Comfort
  6. Love
  7. Sex

If you can remember those, perhaps one a day, then you might find yourself in a better place mentally. You have to be ready to embrace your situation and to work towards each of those goals.

My tinkering keeps me happy in it’s own special way and I know that I am achieving great things day by day. Hopefully they will manifest into something I can call a career and finally break away from the stigma of my mental health.

I can offer so much to the world but if I just let it take and not give I won’t ever have the comfort of real security,

I Make Things & I Break Things

I have a habit of tinkering on projects for years without showing anyone what I’m working on. No sooner have I got something up and running than I then go about systematically taking it apart.

I’m talking about software rather than hardware. Our possessions decay but so to does information. As websites or projects take shape I’m eager to see how they work under pressure. I create a lot of simplistic faults to find out what will stay the course.

These aren’t the actions of a child picking the wings off a fly but rather the natural decay in all things. There is nothing perfect in this world and everything goes just as it was created.

With web based services this can be as simple as changing an email address or picking passwords that are impossible to remember or even worse, both.

The desire for perfection assumes that there is a absolute truth. Like those that invest their entire being into a holy book. We as humans are drawn to perfection. We aspire to be perfect and work hard to be perfect but in truth we can never achieve such things.

So we build our cathedrals and then chip away at them. Perhaps we need something to focus on other than our obsessions but in truth it seems like the universe was built this way.

We can always start again or try to salvage something from the old but we can never have perfection forever. What we do have is a constant state of flux.

Some of us try to simplify the world to such an extent that we deny it’s complexity. That is because we are unwilling to see the divine in the order of the universe rather than whispers through history.

There is nothing certain in this world except change.

Curruption

Power corrupts. As someone who has an understanding of their past lives I can only imagine humanity as a great bell curve of good and evil on either side. Reincarnation is reinforcement. The same could be said for power.

When someone gets power of any sort they often just want to reinforce it according to their doctrine. Corruption and ambition for corruption are the only real reasons for war and political conflict.

Learn to see it everyday.

The Face of Evil

I have been hacking on computers for most of my life. Understanding what that entails sounds rather mundane. I would sit at my computer exploring the operating system and free libre and open source applications for their potential.

I have always been an observer. I have had an interest in photography for most of my life. The theme of my work was often the geometry of found things and the fractal nature of decay.

I shied away from including people in my art for most of my life. I was on a journey that only I really understood. I would walk the cities with my camera and record the beauty in decay.

My Life was much the same. I was decaying every day. All the potential I had had as a precocious child was lost like a great light that had gone out. I would turn to drink and drugs to stretch my perception and to offer myself some sort of comfort.

After years getting harassed by my family and friends for not moving forward I finally did. I transitioned my gender and began to accept who I was. My mental health condition all of the strange and weird experiences I would have day to day and I began to feel happier.

For so long my mental health was defined as something wrong with me. But it wasn’t it was a failure to be me. For all of the strange and weird things that happened to me throughout the years embracing them lead me to find myself.

I realised that it wasn’t just me, the world around me had to shoulder much of the blame. Free will dictates that I could redefine my life at any moment but we often forget how the pull of familiarity can overwhelm us.

No matter how distressing my situation sometimes was the familiar was my worst enemy. The family was the most toxic of those apparently comforting spaces.

A home has to be some sort sanctuary or else we have nothing. However pleasant on the surface my family may have looked I was deeply traumatised by being under that roof.

As I got older I began to piece together that puzzle but found that I really didn’t like what I saw a life that had been spent either in isolation with my computer or in confrontation with my parents.

An only child I was the only prisoner in this eerie cell. Childhood trauma may be hard to remember and to understand but I know now that I have to live by my emotions and my heart tells me to leave them in the dust.

I may be on the verge of destitution but I still have much of what keeps me sane. In fact I have so much more. I can begin to actually see some light at the end of the long dark tunnel.

So I have to ask myself what is it to live despite of yourself? What is it to have no hope for the future? Now that I’m living in a homeless hostel I really am living day to day.

But the more extreme despair is reserved for the people that are determined to undermine and damage my potential. I seem to be a magnet for people with little care for the world or how to achieve anything of value apart from money.

They claw at my heart and soul in their flippancy. I haven’t lot my faith in humanity but I truly know the face of evil lingering in the minds of so many.

I’m not a pessimist I just can’t see the good shining through everyday. I feel like my the polarity is such that I’m doomed to gather the flotsam and jetsam of the decaying cities into my field of vision.

I never wanted this but I think it found me. I was doomed to be in this dystopia because I really was. For all the people that tried to help I know that the picture perfect life my parents painted of my childhood doesn’t read the same way in my recollection.

There was joy of course but it was an undercurrent of something with severe malice. I knew that it was my responsibility to make sense of it when I’m not sure any child could.

The horrors come creeping back to me are vile. And a young mind is so easy to undermine. My parents were always the authority figures in my life and I was always the child. No matter what I did it was a struggle of wills and I the criteria set for defining me as an adult was so far to grasp that I’m sure I couldn’t ever reach it.

But when I found my way out every day I was trailed by the weight of that stench. I still don’t know what happened and I may never know but my journey from here on out is one of clarity in my surroundings. I’m finally not living despite of me but with my whole potential there to grasp.

Maybe one day I will make something of myself to reflect all of that ambition. But I know that I have to fight the battles every day.

The dream life world that blends between the impossible and the brutally physical is now here for me to navigate and to make my own.

I’m still observing and exploring and I need to define my future at some point but now I know I have some friends some support. In a world where the menace isn’t the paranoia hallucinations of delusions but how someone makes me feel I know I just have to pass them by.

Perhaps I’m forced into spending time with people I can’t abide but my hope is that I will be able to see through them and on to a real goal, not the validation of anyone bold enough to claim they have a life for themselves.

My hope is that I will be the one defining the parameters of this world of mine. A subjective experience that is so complex that I can’t even look someone in the eye without wondering how to define something as simple as trust.

I’m moving on and I will find a way to make it out of this hole because I already have, one step at a time.

Poverty + Shame = Solidarity

SOLIDARITY! When the prosperity industry sells us and tells us that the sort of luxury once only afforded to kings and queens is aspirational and within reach to anyone we start to believe it and assume that it is only us that hold us back.

Poverty throughout the ages always featured a battle to keep the masses down whether through ignorance or by force. This still goes on but because the ‘freedom’ of capitalism tries to sell us the notion of our own endeavour being the only thing that holds us back we loose our sense of struggle.

Those in power whether by wealth or influence relish this idea of freedom. While it contains some truth it’s much more powerful as a form of suppression and control. The result is the shame we all feel.

We need to see the Goliath and stand our ground. All this freedom means we loose our fighting spirit, something sold to us by David Cameron at the Conservative Party conference when he celebrated a D-Day Veteran if I remember correctly.

We are so readily sold us our freedom with no real power behind it. Solidarity in poverty is far more powerful. Undermining that struggle is the only thing that prevents a mass movement or revolt.

The Prosperity Industry Today

When universities around the world are burying their students into debt I begin to wonder whether they are merely trading on the history of academic achievement.

Living wage protests at Harvard were started to ensure that cleaning staff get a living wage rather than a minimum wage. The protests highlight the ruthless ambition of the established power of corporations.

When profit is the only goal for a corporation and those protecting the hierarchy of an corporate institution carefully filter out anyone with broader ambitions I wonder whether they are becoming so narrow minded that they would destroy their rich heritage to further financial ambitions at a cost to their communities.

The ability for a corporation to pay a living wage should be the minimum requirement of such an institution. Corporations that are willing only to encourage engagement either as consumers or neglected employers ignores the fact that they are part of a community.

A minimum wage is a good starting point for the global economy but it alienates those living in affluent areas being asked to live in poverty because the minimum wage is national rather than regional.

The perceived benefits afforded to those living in these areas are not realised in the day to day lives of those working a minimum wage. If communities are to encourage prosperity they have to be more than a beacon of hope.

Urban poverty is the result of a promise. Like America once was. We are drawn to those products, areas, institutions and companies that apparently offer us a way out.

In reality we face living in even greater hardship and reinforcing the divide between rich and poor by chasing the concept of wealth rather than providing a service to our community.

Capitalism does not offer you wealth you have to be able to leverage it and those working the minimum wage often feel they have no such leverage so they are drawn only to aspiration.

Those students who campaigned for Harvard to pay a living wage to cleaning and canteen staff may not have realised how vulnerable university students might one day become.

The hope of prosperity is an emotion tied to all sorts of things and when we are drawn to them we may find ourselves in the prosperity industry.

Universities asking for tuition fee’s are no longer there to offer an education to those with most promise. They are part of the prosperity industry.

Corporations with global profits are no longer there to provide for their employers of communities they are there to feed on the ambition that they use to draw us in.

If you are able to do business in a community you should be able to pay a living wage in that community.