Watch me paint “Narrow Way” in 2 minutes (time lapse)
First I’ll talk about the inspiration for this allegorical painting and the astonishing real life poisonous fruit used for the metaphor. Then, we’ll ponder the question, “Are we unpredictable?”
“Inspired by Matthew 7:13-14: ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ (I focused on the paths/roads) But I kept imagining an apple tree in the middle… between the two paths. I couldn’t let go of that image, so I looked it up to see if there was anything that could grow on a tree that is poisonous, that looks like an apple. There IS. It’s called a Manchineel Tree, or “tree of death”. Then I knew what the apple tree image was about. The half that is near the narrow path bears good fruit- red delicious apples. The half near the wide path bears poisonous fruit- in fact, the tree on that side is so poisonous that even being near it can be fatal. The tree that bears good or poisonous fruit also reminds me of the fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’ When we choose the narrow way, we may receive the fruit of the Spirit, which is the secret to a lifetime of happiness- and beyond.”
– from book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas
Let’s talk about what I meant by “Are we unpredictable?. You might recall what I talked about in recent blog posts “Are we free?”, “Let my People Go“, and “Fully Human“, about how we are steered and analyzed by people and entities who wish to control us and profit from us. These practices are common knowledge and easily seen by anyone, but few talk about what we can do about it. Are we powerless? (No!) First we’ll discuss what is going on regarding predicting the future, our future.
What is “predictive programming”, and is it real? Some people believe that the media “forecasts” the future under the guise of fiction or cartoons, as they want to program (brainwash) people into fearing or anticipating and accepting an event that insiders know is planned or expected to happen. If one is rather immune from brainwashing, and seldom watch insipid entertainment anyway, this attempt to mass program the populace is not a highly effective psychological weapon. This (“predicting” events to steer them) isn’t the kind of prediction I’m talking about.
What I want to discuss with you is “predictive behavior modeling”, which IS highly effective and very dangerous. Predictive models are used routinely in marketing (see articles by Forbes and others, there’s plenty of information out there for those who want to explore this further). Data analysts can forecast future trends and behavioral patterns based on our past and current actions. Through AI (artificial intelligence, computers), they can psychologically profile their customers and predict who they can manipulate to buy their product or service. They can then modify their sales plan to specifically target those types of people.
I’ve spoken to you a few times about my futuristic books or art, that were much closer to reality than what I understood at the time. One of the themes in my fiction was predicting criminal behavior in persons who had not yet committed any crimes, and proactively institutionalizing or removing these individuals who have certain characteristics. These characteristics may be based on a combination of factors, such as “a male in his 20’s who has been identified gifted (high IQ), was raised in a single parent household, has been identified by his school counselor as never fitting in socially”. If the personality composite showed a high probability that such a person would eventually be dangerous to society, the police of the future would remove him ahead of any crimes being committed.
Obviously this leaves no room for individuals who are unpredictable, who grow and blossom into strong, healthy, law-abiding citizens who are an asset to society. Nor does it account for redemption, in which a person may have dark intentions in the past but reforms. No, in this scenario, people are “locked in” to whatever psychological condition AI diagnoses them with, indefinitely. It is forever in our database, never to be forgiven, deleted, erased. It is the opposite of the mercy granted to us by God.
How much of what I said above is already happening? Well, AI is absolutely standard practice for marketers. They boast of it and make no secret of their clever use of data scientists to find patterns that identify who is likely to give them the outcomes they want. Few marketing articles raise even the hint of ethical concern for the practice of psychologically analyzing people for the express purpose of getting them to do what they want. Ditto for political parties: they are proud of their use of data to push their candidates over the line (several interviews and articles gush openly about their success in using data mining to win elections).
As for the horrific ramifications of what governments and law agencies might be doing, well, yes, again there is proof and anecdotal evidence of some degree of predictive behavior modeling used against the People. Politicians use it to steer the populace to vote for certain candidates, in a certain direction, or even to stir ideas for changing government completely, possibly even surrendering the sovereignty and style of government – all through manipulation of people who are identified as likely to be easy to program in the direction they want people to go in.
This has very alarming ethical possibilities. Could vulnerable persons be identified and targeted to become patsies, to be used and exploited for criminal demonstrations, uprisings, and violent events meant to trigger a specific response? Is proactive detainment, perhaps through set-ups and unfair policing already occurring? I don’t know. But such practices would be made easier if local policing was abolished in favor of nationalized and globalized policing that would have access to the world government’s database.
There’s no point in giving more examples. There is a database on all of us and it is abused in ways we know about (that have either been proven or that we can see playing out before our very eyes), and in ways we don’t (I am confident this will prove to be true). Whenever power can be corrupted, it is foolish to have blind faith that it won’t be. The database can be accessed by powerful entities, but WE cannot see it. We must demand to have access to our database entries! Disclosure would be a first step toward requiring consent and gaining control over our data.
It is a Crime Against Humanity to psychologically profile people without their knowledge or consent, as this is a form of medical/health experimentation and, in many cases, abuse. The sole intent of this data is often to manipulate and control the populace, and the nefarious by-product of this could lead to removing individuals who are identified as or are predicted to be dissidents.
I can’t give every example of how our data is being used or abused, because I simply don’t know. I doubt anyone is aware of all of it, because some of the abuse could be individual and targeted (such as a low level employee using the database to stalk an ex spouse and use the information to gain leverage in court to get custody of the children). Individual cases of abuse may never be known by anyone other than the perpetrator. Mass abuses of the database may also never be known, as there would surely be an organized cover-up protected by so-called secret government programs that fall under “Classified” information. So, we just don’t know the extent of the ethical abuses against the People, and perhaps never will.
However, we do know a bit about how predictive behavior modeling works, and how AI works. This knowledge can help us protect ourselves. For when we understand how something works, we can learn how to use it to our advantage and make strong decisions that are good for our lives.
In brief, analysts use first level data- the data that you yourself provide, such as when you order a product online and you freely give up your address and your ordering history. This level of data provides a basic level of material, with some clues into your lifestyle and personality. Moving beyond first level data, are data mining and data analysis reports that provide more information. This type of data compiles bits and pieces gleaned from other sources, such as if you have a gym membership or have a pizza app account, what TV shows and movies you stream, what music you listen to, and if you have a library card.
Governments’ psychological profiles on individuals are far more detailed, as they would have access to medical records, military records, educational records, criminal records, property records, and so much more. Imagine combining all of that life history, and adding contact tracing- not only to all of the birth, death, baptism and marriage certificates connected to us, but also to all of our contacts and connections, such as through Facebook and CV contact tracing. Now add to this other things like surveys that our children might be required to take for college or even down to the elementary school level. One such question on my college age child’s survey was if anyone in our household did not comply with… well, I’ll let you fill in that blank.
Basically, all of our behaviors that can be tracked, ARE being tracked. This is how life is in the technological age, but it doesn’t mean that we have to be predictable! Why not change the way that we respond to our environment, our needs, and our spiritual desires? When our church proudly announced that they’d be recording attendance for contract tracing purposes, they seemed completely unaware that some of us may have an issue with that practice. My family and I have not returned since. No, my government does not get to add my religious practices to their database.
When I have the ability to refuse to provide data, I will remain private. Of course every word I’m sharing with you right now is data that is added to my personal history. Data is nearly instantly compiled and searchable. But the difference is, I have CHOSEN to share this blog post. As often as I can, I will control what I share and what I don’t share. I will also be unpredictable.
Let’s revisit Galatians. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” THESE are the behaviors that they can’t predict. These are not the behaviors that come from the predictable heart of man, but are gifts from God. God is not a friend of AI, but the antidote to it.
- When we are predicted to respond in anger, may we respond with self-control.
- When we are predicted to respond in violence, may we respond with gentleness.
- When we are predicted to respond in disloyalty to our families, our neighbors, our communities, and our countries, may we respond with faithfulness.
- When we are predicted to respond in evil, cruelty, and intolerance, may we respond with goodness, kindness, and forbearance.
- When we are predicted to respond in war, despair, and hate, may we respond in peace, joy, and love.
A person of love cannot be steered to hate. It is a free will choice to surrender the fruits of the Spirit and choose the murky faux reality that is meant to harm us for the gain of others. We cannot be tricked into believing that dystopia is utopia when the quiet merciful truth is laid bare in our souls.
Be unpredictable. Plant something that will grow into food that will nourish you. I’m doing some gardening today. At this station in my life, I have only a patio garden, but it is sufficient to bring happiness to my home. There is no barrier so great that we cannot find a way to bring peace and joy to our lives, because those are gifts of the Spirit, not dependent on anything that can be done to us or against us. We must merely be open to receiving it, and then living it.
Live your life in such a way as it would be useless to analyze you. We are complicated human beings of mystery- never forget who we are. We were created with an intricate design and our DNA code is not easily cracked by scientists, as their data is incomplete. Their data omits the Spirit, our souls. They may want us to forget who we are, but we shall vow to never do so!
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