The Future

Making plans for the long-term is a funny thing. It is almost always out of our control and the universe has a way of throwing us unexpected curveballs, but we humans insist on making plans and pursuing them. This doesn’t seem to be a bad idea as long as you don’t continue down a failed or impossible path because you refuse to reevaluate your plans. I am no different than anyone else in this respect. I make plans… no specifics or expectations but I do try to align myself along a certain path and make preparations for where I think my life is going. This last week was an eye-opener in that respect and I have begun to make more plans for life after the 2-year bicycle ride.

We have all heard the cliche that you should do what you are passionate about. Your career, your life, your happiness can (should?) all be aligned. To be honest, until recently this never really rang true in my life, at least not in a long-term sense. I’ve had jobs in many places but nothing that really kept me passionate or in one place/career for long. I think that may be changing though. I have found what I am passionate about…. sex. Not just having an orgasm (that is awesome too) but about helping people and relationships deal with unhealthy views of sex. Particularly people who don’t fall into traditional orientations. I want to help individuals and couples dealing with the issues that are somewhat unique to LGBT, polyamorous, and sexually open relationships. People who would normally not be able to go to a therapist for fear of being judged, over analyzed, or told they should stop their non-traditional life to find happiness.

Luckily, I have a friend who is interested in going along a similar path. After literally dozens of hours talking we have a little plan… a plan that may shift, alter, and change but it is at least a guideline. While on my bike ride I am going research programs to get into Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in sex, I need to study and take the GRE’s, read all the literature we can get our hands on, and also work on getting any necessary prereq’s out of the way via free online programs or community college online courses. I am confident this can be done while on the trail.

After getting into and finishing a program my friend and I would like to set up a practice together. As a male/female team who has overlapping but different interests I think our practice could be incredibly successful. The end goal isn’t simply a practice in a city though. We would also like to round out our education with yoga and massage therapy, and then put together retreats to peaceful locations that people can sign up for. These retreats could have a variety of uses… single people dealing with sex or body issues, couples looking to bring together more intimacy and exploration, or some other random awesomeness we haven’t solidified. In addition, we may also jointly do some research or write a book or three together. 

All in all, I am excited. It has been a long time since I was really passionate or interested in a particular career or skill set. Hopefully following this path will continue to lead me to a happy life. If people have any recommendations, resources, or whatever I am always open to advice. 

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Extreme Futurist Festival Recap

XFF-2012-v4

What a weekend. On top of the EFF I also had one of my partner’s in town and we went down to visit some of my family down in San Diego. There might be more on that later but before everything slips my brain I want to recap the EFF.

It was an amazing experience. I had a wonderful time and it was incredibly inspirational and thought-provoking for the most part. It also had a slight twinge of crazy and some stuff that I didn’t understand. I guess there are some forms of art that I just don’t get.

So, the good… it was an incredible two days and a very positive time. The vast majority of things were good. There was a diverse group of speakers on a ton of topics but I had my favorites. Aubrey de Grey was the keynote and  his talk on medical advancements and potential for extending life was phenomenal. Alex Peak‘s discussion of gaming and how games can be used to educate the world (and the need for fluency in code) was something that will stick with me for a while and has piqued my interest in code-writing. Kevin Fischer’s talk on cognitive enhancement was probably the most practically informative of the day for me but Anastasia Krylov‘s was my favorite. Anastasia talked about social norms as they apply to relationships and sex in a way that was not confrontational and incredibly enlightening. She is also a gifted speaker who kept things fun the whole time. There were many other speakers that I enjoyed and a full list can be found here.

vortexdome

Vortex Immersion Dome

Another awesome thing about the conference was where the speakers held their talks. It was in something called the Vortex Immersion Dome, a semi-large dome that had projectors on the side to completely surround you with visual and auditory stimulation. The speakers stood in the center which took some getting used to but it worked really well for the conference, particularly Dixon’s Violin performance which was one of the single most amazing things I have ever experienced (seriously, check it out).

It was also really nice to see Brian Doherty speak and Reason Magazine sponsor the event. Many of the discussions had libertarian leanings even if the participants didn’t fully realize it and I think it is important for libertarians to be more socially active outside of the beltway. Futurist, technology, and entertainment conferences are an important audience to reach because they are the future. The future is going to be an information and entertainment economy made possible by technological advancement and libertarians need to be on the front lines showing the best way to advance human development is free from government restrictions.

Now, the bad… I want this blog post to be honest and not everything about the conference was great in my opinion. Most of my criticisms on this point may be biased and oversensitive because I have spent the last few years participating in and running conferences. To be frank, the logistics were a bit sloppy. There were little things like no real process for checking in other than getting a sharpie mark on your hand like a night club, the speaker printout didn’t have any subjects included, and information about a VIP pre-party wasn’t announced until the day before.

There was also a few logistical things that I think are more serious. Mainly, the speaker times and order were changed both days without any real announcement. It was impossible to know when someone was actually going to speak. The speaker time slots were also only 30 minutes which is not enough time for a real discussion of most topics, and there were not any breaks between speakers for food or just to run to the bathroom. The conference organizers also gave the speakers very little notice of when their time was up, during one speaker someone walked in and told the presenter that he had 1 minute without any prior notice causing the speaker to hurry through much of the presentation. There also seemed to be some favoritism played where Aubrey de Grey was basically rushed off the stage during a Q&A session so that a performer who was a friend of the conference organizer could present.

Lastly for the bad, the benefits of being a VIP were not communicated very well. I got a VIP ticket and I still don’t know what exactly I got for that. I was able to see the robot show (which was awesome) but there were not seats, a marked VIP area, or really any way of knowing where we were supposed to be or what the perks were.

It was still an amazing event, I just think logistically there is room for improvement (which is to be expected for a relatively new event).

And, the ugly… these are things that I didn’t understand or enjoy. It is very subjective and really no value should be attributed to it. Primarily, I didn’t understand Lydia Lunch’s performance at all, it may just not be my thing but to me it sounded like a angry verbal presentation of some of the most poorly written blogs from the internet. Many people seemed to get it and love it though, which is fine. There is plenty of room in the future for all types, my type of futurist focus will be more on science and technology instead of art. I originally felt that Lunch was at the conference to perform due to her close relationship with the conference organizers but seeing how many people loved her performance I think it was more than that. She is an artist, I respect her for that even if I don’t get it.

The presentation by Josh Harris also left me baffled and confused. I still don’t know what he was talking about or the point of his talk, and when he said that the “singularities” spoke to him and he presented a homemade video from the late 90’s as proof I was totally lost. He also talked about being on the FBI’s list because of 9/11 and how his life was an art piece and government photos were part of it or something… I really don’t know. I was lost and this was the first presentation I saw so it really scared me that I had convinced some dear friends to purchase tickets to an event that wasn’t what it seemed.

I guess that’s really it. It was a great weekend and I will definitely be there next year.

Extreme Futurist Festival

Today is the Extreme Futurist Festival. a hodgepodge of technology, philosophy, science, and club music. It’s gonna be awesome. As a strong proponent of science and believer that we may see the option for immortality in our lifetime I am really excited. In fact, I’m sitting at work crazy distracted and not able to really get much done.

There is a great line up of speakers including Aubrey de Grey, Brian Doherty (glad to see the libertarians stepping up), Anastasia Krylov, and tons of others. I wish they announced the subject matter of the speakers but with specialists in science, technology, longevity, non-traditional relationships, and a variety of arts it is going to have something for everybody. If you happen to be in the LA area this weekend you should totally check it out. I’m going to be there with a few friends from DC and the more the merrier.

More info can be found here.

The Future of the Grand Old Party

 

There has been much debate within the conservative movement about what to do moving forward. I believe that if the Republican Party is to be viable at all it must make some serious policy positions changes that would actually realign themselves with the small government, Constitutional federalism that they claim to support. Now, I want this to happen because I am a libertarian who does not think the 2-party system will ever allow a third party voice. They control the media, the funding, and the debates. The rules will always change to prevent the Libertarian Party, Green Party, Constitution Party, or any of the other parties that have valid thoughts on the proper position of government. In order for a third party to gain any control the entire Constitution would have to be modified to allow proportional representation.

Anyway, that’s off subject. In order for the GOP to be viable they need to actually do what they say and change policies to reflect their philosophy. These few things I think would help:

  • End the federal war on drugs. Any conservative can easily say “I think drugs are bad, I wouldn’t want drugs legal in my state, but it is not a federal issue. If those hippies in Colorado want to smoke pot the federal government shouldn’t take money from my state to stop them. Let each state deal with the consequences.”
  • Introduce real immigration reform. Free markets means free movement of goods, services, and labor. Work to end the ridiculous process for citizenship and simplify the whole process to allow those who want to work to work within the system
  • Stop talking about marriage. Social issue does NOT equal government issue. The “sanctity of marriage” is not being damaged by it, if you think your love for your spouse is being damaged by someone else’s love then you have personal issues to deal with. Also, if you somehow think that gay marriage will equal pedophilia, beastiality, or whatever you need to really think things through, there is a huge difference between consenting adults entering into an arrangement and an adult trying to marry a non-consenting child, animal, or object.
  • Disobey the 11th commandment. Reagan’s 11th Commandment (Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican) is stupid. If someone says something batshit crazy the GOP should pull funding and call them out for it. Stop circling the wagons in the name of party unity.
  • Actually be small government. That means military cuts and ending crony capitalism. Stop bailing out favored industries, stop subsidizing, stop building bases across the globe, and start actually practicing what you preach.

I think the first four would go a long way to actually helping the GOP be a viable party again that might somewhat reflect libertarian principles, and that’s all I can really hope for. These moves would actually attract younger voters, female voters, and immigrant voters. The era of the old white man running the government is coming to an end, the GOP needs to stop being neo-con corporatism light. If people want big government they will go with the Democratic Party, if they want small government right now they will stay home because the Republicans don’t actually offer a real difference. You can support social conservatives and still not ask for government interference in the bedroom, you can support business without subsidizing it, and you can support a strong national defense without invading every nation which creates more enemies.