A Poisoned Apple
An eerie take on how devices with sinister intent are spoiling life.
The creator of the rather charming but disturbing videos below goes by the handle of GiftsUngiven, and is making some rather eerie commentaries on how there is something very wrong with the world.
She describes herself as “a traditional, Jungian artist, art school dropout” and here, in A Poisoned Apple, she depicts her computer as an Apple Macintosh of yesteryear and explains how it is a “friend” she has come to rely on. However, she begins to question whether it is a device constructed with sinister intent.
I remember old Apple computers very well, actually. The Macintosh Plus of the 1980s, for example, was my introduction to the graphical user interface, or “GUI”, prior to Windows 3.1. Moreover, the Internet (or more specifically the Web) was yet to be born and most computers in use in the home and office at that time were not networked.
Oh, how I long for those days!
I once loved computers specifically because they were an escape from the world. Now, I find myself taking refuge in the world in order to escape computers. I relate very much, therefore, to the work of GiftsUngiven.
The opening scenes of A Poisoned Apple depict a rather famous TV ad from 1984 which plays on the novel by George Orwell of the same name. While she makes a distinction between the world described by Orwell and our modern reality, she articulates her thinking that the Internet, as accessed with her ancient Apple computer, is being used to encourage us to embrace the negative and destructive aspects of life.
Although I am using the Internet here to publish this article and thus, finding it helpful, I share the sense that there is something rotten in our world and computers are in on it.
My early life was filled with so much hope with the year 2000 being eternally, or so it seemed, far off in the glorious future. I never dreamt for a second that the year 2000 would one day come and go.
The year 2000 did arrive however, and it was in this year that I experienced “always-on Internet” for the first time. It was meant to be such a great thing, but I sensed that there was something not quite OK about it. The world now had an “always-on” connection to me.
At the office, for example, I recall checking news websites then re-checking for updates shortly after, while wondering why the hell I was doing it? Back then, most people did not know that behaviours themselves could be addictive, although I’m sure those working on the DARPA Loglife project and Facebook understood this only too well.
In any case, my world was never the same again. My ability to concentrate had been compromised and I became somewhat paranoid that the IT department was monitoring what I was looking at online in work. While it was only regular news websites I was visiting — checking for little updates — I imagined the minutes I spent viewing them being added up and put into a report.
As it happens, I’m currently collaborating with a guy who worked in an IT department during that era, and he confirms that my paranoia was not entirely unjustified.
Now, to go off here on a tangent and come back on a circle: have you heard the idea that those who are spoiling life — you know the satanic elites — have the need to telegraph their intentions to us via movies and other cultural media for some yet unknown metaphysical reason? In this vein, one of my favourite movies happens to be Assassin’s Creed (2016). Its plot centers around a nefarious scheme of the elites to obtain the very Apple of Eden, with which they intend to destroy free-will.
This is pure fiction of course and could never happen, but it’s an interesting aside nevertheless.
In any case, the apple is widely held to be the forbidden fruit* in Genesis which Eve plucked from the Tree of the Knowledge. (Why is it that everybody blames poor Adam?) When Eve reached for the forbidden fruit, however, she was not reaching for knowledge. God permits us knowledge. Knowledge is knowing when the seasons arrive and when to harvest. It is knowing how to cross the oceans and how to travel to the planets. In reaching for the forbidden fruit, what Eve reached for was omniscience — the absolute knowledge of God — and it this which is poison for the human soul.
Although I was once fascinated by AI, I’ve become of aware of the deterministic nature of computers in a way that I was not in early times. Consequently, I would contend now that AI is merely the automation and leveraging of information which, as it happens, primarily concerns behavioural data about us.
It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. ― Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The salient point is that, in a deterministic universe in which all things obey mechanical laws and everything is known, then free-will collapses. There are simply no choices to be made if the future is known with certainty.
This was pondered on by 19th century science with disturbing consequences.
We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at any given moment knew all of the forces that animate nature and the mutual positions of the beings that compose it, if this intellect were vast enough to submit the data to analysis, could condense into a single formula the movement of the greatest bodies of the universe and that of the lightest atom; for such an intellect nothing could be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes. — Pierre Simon Laplace, Essai philosophique sur les probabilités, 1814
I’m not sure GiftsUngiven was making quite this point, but I noted the juxtaposition of Apple Computers with the imagery of The Apple of Eden. Moreover, I certainly associate such symbolism with free-will and its loss. As such, the apple is poisonous indeed — if you grasp it, you will lose something that is literally incalculable.
Toward the end of the video, the question remains, however:
Why would someone want you to embrace every negative, destructive and unnatural aspect of reality? So, in regards to my computer, he’s always been so helpful. But, until recently, I never asked myself why was he always so eager to help me?
In A Lucid Nightmare, she expands on the idea that those who we once trusted may not have our best interests at heart:
GiftsUngiven can be found on multiple platforms, including: Youtube, Odysee and Twitter. I love her work and hope you do too!
Twitter: A quick note to say that given Musk is now running Twitter, I created an account. It’s literally only just gone up, but please do follow: @Kuiper_Zone
(*) The Book of Genesis refers to “forbidden fruit”, though in modern times this is interpreted to be an apple.
Banner Credit: Screenshot from A Poisoned Apple, GiftsUngiven
Her work is thought provoking. The focus on the nihilism is something i need to work on in myself.
Luckily and much to Einsteins annoyance, reality is not deterministic like a conventional computer and so I am optimistic about the reality of my free will: I'm not just a vector of inputs.