Creative Writing Project Now Available Here

Hi! I’m happy to share an excerpt about my creative writing project from LiveJournal, where it lives.

In the wake of pop culture’s fascination with the multiverse and ‘many-worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics, questions about which (among many other interpretations) are sure to be included in my experimentations. I have fleshed out a backdrop universe for an ongoing — potentially indefinitely — series of stories involving a team of researcher deities creating multiple simulated realities in pursuit of insight about their own, each story exploring various thematic elements and philosophical questions, along with an overarching meta-story about the word in which the researchers exist, as they question whether or not they are also in a simulated reality.

Read more about the writing project here.

Ouroboros Music – TOP 4 (Weekly Update)

DANG! What a week 😅

You know I was listening to that music though!

I fell back on a few comfort picks that have been in my library for a while, and on heavy rotation, but there’s some new-ish stuff here as well. Check out the vibe. In the close-out, I’ll give y’all some insight into my selection process, here.
A couple of honorable mentions as well this week.

1) Langsette – Leatherette:
“Langsette” by Leatherette has been one of my longtime favorites. They have a few other tracks I appreciate but this one is a gem. You don’t come across on like this every day. They struck gold, here.
This song takes us on a captivating, SMOOTH AF journey with its infectious blend of beats, melodies, and surprising voice samples. The track’s groovy bassline and vibrant percussion create an irresistible rhythm that hooks you from the very beginning. Leatherette’s expert production skills shine through, delivering a dynamic and soulful experience that’s perfect for laid-back listening sessions and your evening wind-down lists.

2) Back to the Roots – Makebo, Amonita:
“Back to the Roots” by Makebo and Amonita is a mesmerizing collaboration that immerses listeners in an atmospheric and introspective world. It eases into a very recognizable cover of a very famous song, but I won’t spoil it. As a matter of fact, I came across another piece from an old school artist “Chicane” from the last ’90s/early 2000 era that covers/samples this same song (and might be in the top 4 next week).
The track blends light and breezy progressive house elements with ethereal textures, with some tribal drum elements, creating a captivating sonic landscape. The crescendoing melody and subtle progressions into the sample evoke a sense of nostalgia, and joy, while the infectious groove keeps the energy flowing. It’s a track that invites you to close your eyes, lose yourself in the music, and reconnect with your deepest emotions, or dance happily in feeling “back to the roots.”

3) Reviver (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix) – Lane 8, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs:
Lane 8’s “Reviver” received a stunning remix treatment from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, resulting in a fresh and exhilarating Drum and Bass take on the original. The remix introduces vibrant and uplifting, infectious energy, combining pulsating synths, uplifting melodies, and driving beats. The track seamlessly transitions between moments of euphoria and introspection, creating a balance that keeps you hooked from start to finish. It’s an exposition of what a remix can be, and if you’re familiar with the original (if not check it out and see how different the two are), it really speaks to TEEDs skills as an artist. It’s uplifting, good energy that fills the air with an electrifying vibe and can get you moving, or dialed in for deep work.

4) Radiance – Miru:
“Radiance” by Miru is one of my favorite tracks of all time. I swear this song heals my soul, mind, and body whenever I hear it. This is such a captivating piece that embodies the essence of melodic house and trance that the Anjunadeep label is all about. The track’s ethereal atmosphere, hypnotic arpeggios, and intricate soundscape create a transcendental experience. Miru’s meticulous attention to detail and intricate layering of rich, warm elements add depth and complexity to the composition that can’t be expressed in words. “Radiance” is a journey that takes you through an expansive soundscape and evokes a sense of wonder, and ease, and is just one of those songs that makes you feel like everything is alright, you know? Like seeing a beautiful sunset, summoning a mountain, or slipping into a warm bubble bath. One of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, says “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” This song will get you there.
If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

Honorable mention // Patterns of Eternity – Adriatique:
“Patterns of Eternity” by Adriatique is an honorable mention that deserves some recognition as I’ve been using it to study and focus this week a bit, and I just didn’t feel it could overtake these others that beat it out for listens. The track is a deep, dark, cerebral piece, blending deep melodic elements with a pulsating, driving rhythm. Adriatique is known for these very intricately layered dark prog house tracks with these otherworldly sweeps and transitions, creating an immersive atmosphere that really gets you zoned in (or out). “Patterns of Eternity” takes us on a captivating journey, showcasing the duo’s talent for crafting intricate and emotive electronic music.
There’s one last track I wanted to mention that I was only reminded of because I came across the original and this remix it’s not on Spotify. I had to go to YouTube to find it. I probably have it buried in a thumb drive on MP3 somewhere.

Honorable Mention 2 // Ruhe (Humate Mix) – Schiller:
Schiller’s “Ruhe” is a timeless classic in the electronic music realm, and the Humate remix is a classic remix of the classic original – selected by Sasha & John Digweed in their glory days for the “Communicate” mix, the Humate mix takes it to new heights. It beautifully captures the essence of the original track while infusing it with darker and deeper energy.
The remix masterfully balances moments of tranquility with moments of intensity, building tension and release throughout the track. If y’all kids wanna see how we lived back in the day, give it a listen 👂

This week’s Top 4 playlist is filled with a couple longtime FAVORITE tracks, both of which are very chill and soothing, one high and good energy (non-4×4 track), and one with a nostalgic voice sample. They all captivate the senses and ignite the soul. Each song brings its own unique flavor to the mix, delivering groovy beats, ethereal melodies, and immersive atmospheres. With a mix of funky, soulful, and introspective vibes, this week’s selection is guaranteed to keep you hooked and grooving.

And just to let y’all know a little about this process I’m doing. I have a current selections playlist on my Spotify that I scrub every week. Nothing is allowed to stay on there longer than a month, at which point (or before) I either let it go, or move it to other appropriate playlists and remove it from the current selects. I use (click for my profile) scrobbler to monitor my listens from various sources, and pick the top 4 out of my top listens for that week.

Stay tuned for more musical adventures in the weeks to come!

Rebalancing Society: The Role of Community, Equality, and Capitalism in our Future

The Double Bind

In the ongoing conversation about the structures and systems that govern our societies, there’s a recurring element that often stands as the elephant in the room – the profit motive. It’s a mechanism deeply rooted in our current capitalist framework, but its impact reaches far beyond simple economics. Contrary to what some may argue, it is not the profit motive itself that is the primary driver of all immorality and depersonalization, exploitation, and alienation in capitalism. Rather, the issue lies in how the profit motive and the Nietzschean “will-to-power” have been over-emphasized and allowed to overshadow and become detached from the both the spirit of community, and the principle of fundamental human equality, which is even mentioned in the United States Declaration of Independence.

This is not to suggest that the idea of capitalism ought to be absolved or championed as preferable to the natural social organizations we tend to fall into as humans in small groups — which are, in essence, forms of socialism, and usually non-market socialism as they not typically transactional or mediated by some symbolic representation of value or exchange.

Profit Motive

Consider, for a moment, the principles of positive liberty and equal consideration. These ideals affirm our status as moral beings of equal inherent rights, deserving of dignity and respect in our communal relations. Yet, our capitalist structures seem to frequently undermine these principles as we are reduced to mere cogs in a machine, and wholly dehumanized. The system is inherently amoral, which is not the type of governing system for real humans with human needs and emotions, family bonds, goals, preferentes and desires. Our commitment to equality before the law – regardless of social or financial standing – appears to be threatened by the same forces that drive our economies. This corruption of equal consideration, I propose, is at the heart of human conflict and the primary cause of all our social dysfunction and suffering.

Now, we might be tempted to label capitalism, socialism, communism – essentially every form of human social organization that has ever been put into practice – as flawed and unworthy. While there is no “perfect system” again, it’s not the concepts themselves that are inherently problematic. Rather, it’s their implementation, particularly when detached from the spirit of community, that leads to their corruption and, consequently, our disillusionment with them. But the common ground that many of us have, regardless of what paradigm or quadrant of the political spectrum we are coming from, isn’t what we deeply and truly want for ourselves, and our loved ones. It’s so easy for us to get lost and upset in our disagreements about the best ways to achieve that, especially when what might improve things, for some folks situations would cause others to suffer, or make sacrifices. If we focus more on the fact that we all want the same things, fundamentally, and refocus on that, it’s very plain to see that, labels aside, we’d all enjoy living harmoniously within sustainable, cooperative communities, where every individual enjoys the equal respect, dignity, and opportunity and support to flourish creatively and intellectually, while contributing to a shared, high-quality standard of living that trends upwards. Against all odds, from one perspective, we can consider that this is the story of civilization itself, for better and worse – but it doesn’t and here with this model of capitalism in which we see and directly experience so many issues with the conflict of interest between profit, maximization and human welfare.

Redefining Civilization

Embracing actions and behaviors rooted in this inherently socialist conception of community spirit are crucial for our evolution as a society. They civilize us, affirm life, and foster community building. On the other hand, actions or behaviors detached from this central ethos are akin to wolves in sheep’s clothing, or proverbial foxes in the hen-house. They are a corrupting influence that derails our efforts for developing social harmony and increased cooperation and cohesion.

Interestingly, it is this very corrupting influence that causes civilization to assume a paradoxical role. In its noble quest to be the cure for societal ailments, it has, unfortunately, mutated into the very disease it purports to treat. Civilization, as it develops, appears to be causing more harm than good, for many people, yet greatly benefitting only a few, forcing us to confront an uncomfortable reality. And while this may have always been the case throughout every civilization and social system, throughout history, to say “that’s just the way it is” is, and has always been the biggest cop-out. It’s either a sign of resignation, or worse, I thought terminating cliché repeated by those intent on conserving a system that they feel served and protected by. Suggesting that we ought to abandon efforts to improve quality of life for folks who are suffering because it would inconvenience some who are already well-off is clearly small- minded and counter-productive. Ironically that seems to go against the productive principles of Capitalism itself.

So where do we go from here? It’s clear that change is called for. Working folks on both ends of the spectrum are passionately outraged at being underserved and under appreciated in the way that we are currently doing things. Real sustainable change begins with acknowledging the power of organization – implementing that spirit of community and the principle of equality. If we can rebalance the scales, ensuring that the profit motive and the selfish will-to-power championed by neoliberal economists and neoconservative politicians do not overshadow these essential principles, we can exert pressure on and move towards a more just and inclusive, and FREE world.

Spirit of Community

In essence, it’s time ORGANIZE and engage in projects to reclaim the spirit of community, reinstate equality, and reshape capitalism. Only then can humanity move beyond what Thorstein Veblen called “ the predatory phase of human social development,” (as mentioned by Albert Einstein and his famous essay “Why Socialism?”).

Civilization has always aimed to be the cure for our societal ills, yet the best laid plans of mice and men always fail to take the complexity of human social interactions into account, and it often ends up becoming the disease itself. We need to be gentle in our approaches and allow buffers and flexibility to accommodate these unforeseen, unpredictable outcomes, yet never stop striving for a world that is not just productive but also equitable, just, enjoyable, inclusive, and kind.

Saluting Our Newly Minted Senior and Master Chiefs: A Heartfelt Congrats and a Call to Action

Today is a day of immense pride and joy as we celebrate our brethren who have ascended to the esteemed ranks of Senior and Master Chief. Our hearts are filled with warmth, and our spirits with admiration for your dedication, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to our beloved U.S. Navy.

Being advanced to these honorable ranks is a testament to your resilience, leadership, and unwavering commitment to our cause. You are now stewards of a rich legacy, charged with the duty of mentorship, guidance, and, above all, care for those under your watch.

However, as we bask in this moment of joy and achievement, we must not lose sight of the challenges ahead. Our Navy grapples with critical issues that need our immediate attention. We face an alarming crisis in terms of mental health, retention, and toxic leadership. Our comrades are battling depression, PTSD, and are feeling unheard and unappreciated. These issues have resulted in an unprecedentedly high rate of substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide – much higher than the national average.

We need to be the change that our Navy needs. Leadership can make a world of difference – I’ve seen it firsthand, moving from ship to ship. Some are havens of morale and cohesion, while others are mired in despair. The primary difference? Leadership.

It’s not an easy road ahead, but it’s a road we must walk. Let’s rise to the occasion and fight for our Sailors, or make room for leaders who will. We can’t let our brethren feel like they’re alone like they’re not cared for. We need to be the support they need and deserve.

Let’s take this moment to commit to being a part of the solution. Let’s strive to be empathetic leaders, caring mentors, and a beacon of hope and support for our fellow Sailors. Remember, we can’t change everything overnight, but we can make a difference for our people – ALL OF THEM.

We have the power to turn the tide, to make our Navy a place of pride, support, and resilience. So, to our newly minted Senior and Master Chiefs, I say this – congratulations on your remarkable achievement. You are the torchbearers of change, and I believe in your ability to lead our Navy toward a brighter, healthier, and stronger future.

Below I have included a link to my original message to my Brothers & Sisters in service on their special day, my reflections on the need for, and my charge to provide strong, empathic, servant leadership, and an excerpt from a standard “charge book” charge I have given many newly minted CPOs, which I offer publicly, now.

Read Here

Warm regards, and best wishes to you all.

Very Respectfully,
James R. Foster II
Chief Boatswain’s Mate, USN