Xoterica 28: The Dark Age

Artemis Sere Xoterica 28 The Dark Age

“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.” (Lee)

As we distance ourselves for protection, re-evaluate the cost of society and modern living, and watch the world sicken around us, our comfortable cores are changing. Realigning to strange, empty highways. Working from shelter. Dodging the paths of others and relying on social media for social connections.

Simply breathing is simply betraying.

Our route as humans is under redirection. Through division. Through suffering. Through climate change. Through rage against the system.

All harmony has been lost. Our doctors and healthcare workers and survival resources risk their lives on the front line, lacking the necessary personal protective equipment I once lauded and promoted. Unemployment could rise to 20% in the country, could be worse if we reach mythic levels. Grocery stores are bare of essentials and comfort now. We hunker down in our hovels waiting for the sky to fall, watching the stocks crash to unforeseen depths and wishing we had chose differently.

Chose pragmatically. Proactively. Protectively.

Please note that I didn't say"conservatively".  We need to spend our resources for human survival, just do it better.

Kingdom of Sorrow

The American Kingdom spends trillions on soldiers, bombers and bullshit annually, and was overwhelmed and undone by an unseen bug in a week or so.

It should be obvious where the real battles lie - deeper inside.

Yet, our fearless leaders call for us to "get back to business", like feudal Kings who have lost patience with their ailing peasants.

The Kingdom requires your supplication and servitude, or the Kingdom as we know it won't survive. It wasn't built to be closed. It wasn't built to stall. It wasn't built to fall.

There seems no end to this. The peasants get a $1200 survival check as pacification, as the King speaks of Churches packed with asymptomatic carriers and prayers alike on Easter. A mass infection event filled with nodding paupers and coughing patients.


Welcome to the New Dark Age - a time of silence, fear and tyranny. The ignorance and barbarism of our early years never really faded, and has been given a fake-tan-kissed face and grace by scepter.

A pulpit from which he can serve lies and twisted truths to his fawning followers.

A self-imbued royalty and piety.

From his gold-plated tower, the Orange King watches, seethes and dismisses all that doesn't suit or serve him.

The Ubiquitous Bugs 

Those of us paying attention knew a virus could destabilize our world, and warned everyone, even published content about it, but did little was done in preparation. Too few dollars spent. Too few people employed (in fact, support staff for emergency preparedness has been fired and reduced under the Orange King).

Too few people taking possible catastrophe seriously.

In 2007-2008, I worked with CIDRAP, Dr. Mike Osterholm, and Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou at the University of Minnesota, providing project support for an Avian Influenza project/center. I wireframed one of their first web experiences, and learned a lot about Infectious Diseases, their hotspots, global highways and public health headaches while working around the topic. Coincidentally, I was forced to leave the job due to reduction in funds for my contract.

However, deep respect of their work in public health and infectious disease prep carried into my professional life at 3M Safety. 

In 2015 - 2016, I built a website for a disposable respirator stockpile management program. You can find the brochure here, but the website has since been taken down, redirected. The proud company I worked for at that time was trying to get ahead of crises like COVID-19. It developed programs with their respiratory products to keep us from reaching the point we're currently at.

Sadly, the program never really took off (ie. few entities took advantage of stockpiling respirators at a reasonable price before the crisis hit), and was eventually de-prioritized, mostly forgotten. I imagine where my life would be now if those health and safety areas I/we championed were ever taken seriously by the masses.

If funding to hospitals and preparedness programs wasn't reduced or cut outright.

If my emergency preparedness blogs and content were ever shared as real warnings and alerts to an aware public.

If resources went toward driving prudence, instead of affluence and arrogance.

If there was less noise and lies, and more truth and clarity.

Massive Attack

Hindsight is 20/20, but historical clarity is worthless if we never learn from our mistakes, and do our best to not repeat them.

Throughout time, human civilization has been rocked by plagues and pandemics. The list is too long and gruesome to recall here, but the COVID-19 pandemic could eventually rank on that list.

As of this writing, we're at

COVID-19 Cases: 428,948 humans
Deaths: 19,152 humans
Recovered: 110,047 humans
Global Population: 7.8 billion humans

Comparatively, this virus shouldn't be worth a sneeze, but it is dangerously contagious and brutal. It will kill more than the common flu before humans have it under control with testing or vaccinations. It will ruin lives. It may ruin my own. The situation should not be taken lightly by anyone, much less our leaders.

Where this goes - and how many future virus storms we'll endure before we get our #humanfirst priorities right - nobody knows. I'm no seer, but that's clear to me.

This isn't a righteous "I told you so" moment; this is recognition of the dark reckoning ahead. I face this painful reckoning and correction, just like the rest of my friends, family and frenemies are.

I did my best as a voice for truth with the platforms I have had and currently control, but truth is irrelevant when lies are in charge. My recession of voice is proof of that consuming void.

Let hope be your flashlight in the coming darkness. 

#xoterica #humanfirst

Artemis Sere Xoterica 28 The Dark Age

Xoterica 24: The Shift

Artemis Sere Xoterica 24: The Shift
“What is” is constantly moving and constantly changing. If one is anchored to a particular view, one will not be able to follow the swift movement of “what is”. (Lee)

2019, by all accounts, was my darkest year. Death if a family member trumps any previous dark spell. Out of the ashes of a ruinous year, much artistic evolution and production arose - not without much pain and sacrifice, without unraveling much of who I have been for a vision of a different me.

I'd be lying if I suggested either identities are at a stable, understood place right now. Still searching for the answers to the questions of what's next, and who am I next. Once the answers fell like clear, pure rain; now, obscurious fog fills the air.

This is not an unfamiliar place, but I am not a familiar person. To myself, or many who claim to have known me. The reality is that few have known the person behind the metaphors, horrific  visages and recent accomplishments and successes.

Friends stay close through highs and lows; acquaintances check in as the hour allows.

That has also been my biggest disappointment of 2019:

as my truths have come forward, my friends who disagree with my messages and positions have stepped backwards, some have receded completely out of my life.

I've greatly sacrificed the harmony of my audience by confronting global problems, nationalism, racism, bigotry and other flaws that are frequent in our fabric of civilization. As a Humanist, my art has always stood for activism; that few knew about my motivations and passions reflects the fact that many were too caught up with my flash to comprehend what they were appreciating.

And so it goes: I look at 2020 with a healthy content calendar, growth goals and an Seretic Studios Patreon to  blow up, but I feel broken. The compass is haywire and the wheels of this vehicle have lost traction. Directional alignment as the polar opposite to current lies and liars has put me in a frustrating position of constantly fighting with my audience for positions that should be common sense.

Fuck it all. Truth: 2020 isn't about me, my goals nor the Art of Artemis Sere. The world needs a different voice in the coming year, one less focused on ego, self-promotion and greed.

2020 is about

  • finding ways to connect, not convert;
  • building bridges, not destruction;
  • empowering harmony and civility, not pushing for civil war, as some in my crowd and the media have discussed over the last year.

I am 100% anti-Trump, have been against the man since the 80s. If you know me, this is no secret. My disdain may seem partisan, but it stretches back farther than recent politics. He was made possible by a stark reality: the underlying current of pure human wisdom (common sense, common decency, common good) is broken, so his loud lies and offensive bullshit win the debate with those who are likewise broken. While I certainly sound "leftist" when it comes to the Trump debate, probably sound righteous to some, I am a Globalist and a Humanist and want to see the best, fair shake for any human, regardless of genealogy, status, caste, community or side of the aisle.

I am the antithesis of Donald Trump, whether I (and you) like it or not.

I had previously targeted 2020 to be my #yearofSerenity. The goal was to highlight my new work "Echoprism" and my Serenity Gallery -- with a share from my work every day of 2020. Instead, I'm going to shift to a content calendar that doesn't focus on me, but focuses on a return to harmony, caring and compassion.

Enter: the #yearofCivility.

I spent some of my "holiday time" this year going through old boxes and trying to minimize my life and footprint even further. While doing so, I came across a box of books that I had stashed away. In this trove of dusty pages and educational artifacts, I found a book that I'd tossed aside as therapeutic fluff: John Sweeney's "Return to Civility", a book published in 2007 by a Twin Cities publisher and Brave New Workshop comedy outfit.

For some reason, the book survived the shifting sands of my life and found it's way to the top of the heap, with relevance as a gem of clarity in this tortured, divided time. The book provides 365 tangible recommendations of how to engage in behaviors that lead to a more civilized balance with this civilization. This endeavor seems more useful, valuable and important right now than Sere and Seretic Studios content.

The Divided States of America will need a constant reminder of what it means to have a civil discourse and equilibrium in 2020, the year we fight to oust Trump and bring back integrity, honesty and trust to our civilized tribe. Yes, these words are distinctly partisan, but also purposeful. The United States has a leader that lacks civility, and  has sewn the seeds of civil, social and personal division in once-promising soil.

2019 may have been my darkest year, but I see charcoal clouds and firewind on the horizon. In 2020, I will try to plant seeds of civility, rather than rage and civil war.

Please join me in helping America return to civility by engaging with the #yearofcivility. More info coming soon.

From Dictionary.com:

civility[ si-vil-i-tee ]

noun, plural   ci·vil·i·ties.

1. courtesy; politeness.

2. a polite action or expression:

3. Archaic. civilization; culture; good breeding.