Tag Archives: society

Can we please hold off on anymore human foolishness for a bit?


We are SO close to a post labor, perhaps even post death world, technologically.

But, here we are.  The number of powder kegs that lead to World War 3 or some other nightmare scenario that are just laying about are terrifying.

Syria.  The China thing.  North Korea shot a missile from a sub.  People are still arguing over the whole color/gender thing.  People are killing people for their religion, ethnicity, etc.

We can be past all of this.  We can, as a species, get past this…  freaking childishness.

Then there’s the other side of things.  There’s commercial spaceflight.  There’s a plan to mine asteroids.  Genetics is doing amazing things, and it’s claimed human cloning is possible.  Artificial intelligence is becoming.  Computational speeds and abilities are insane.  There are driverless vehicles starting to go onto the roads.  Somebody woke someone’s brain up with an ultrasound recently.

I mean, dude. We are RIGHT THERE!  So close we can taste… Utopia.  Space colonization and moving industry, power production, even most of the species, off planet.  Clinical immortality is just down the block.  An end to a need for human labor is really in our faces.

We could be the generation that moves us to and through the technological and industrial and societal revolution that’s upon us, or we can muck it all up over stupidity.

I don’t know if there’s anything I can do, except to try to be a positive influence on those around me.  Maybe you have greater power or money or… whatever, in which case, any help to get us all through this would help.  Maybe you don’t. If you can do nothing else, make someone’s day a little easier.  Help if you can.  Be kind.

Maybe that’s what we need.  Everything goes viral and people embrace it.  I wonder if we could make kindness viral as well.

Try it.  Go tell someone random that it will all be okay.  That they are worthy of happiness.  That it’s okay to believe things or not, as long as you don’t harm anyone else over them.  Let your deity or whatever ism you hold dear take care of that.

If we can all just stop the fighting and hatred, our kids will be able to truly become, and their kids may never know sadness or war or mental illness, maybe even death.

#dontkillthefuture

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Storm warning…


storm-clouds-over-empty-road-16_9-nf4he4

The Gathering Storm

It’s funny. I grew up in the country, so I learned a lot about the ways mother nature will warn you that there’s any kind of bad weather coming. Little things that you only notice if you take the time to be still, quiet, and look at the world around you. I’ve learned to trust those little signs of a coming storm. I might not get as much notice as I would from computer models and weather forecasters, but generally, if I pay attention and look at those little signs, I know whether I’ll need an umbrella or sunglasses on any given day.

Lately, though, I’ve seen something different. Something that’s maybe a part of nature, yet a part of mankind. Something that seems to definitely exist in the United States right now, as well as other parts of the world. There’s a feeling, a sensation, a low rumble that seems to be something people don’t talk about much, but they all quietly acknowledge it’s there.

There’s a storm coming.

It wasn’t all that long ago when I noticed the first gusts of the storm in the tree tops. People arguing about political things, right versus left, big government versus small, that sort of thing. The folks that were on television, the folks that told most people what and how to think about things, they seemed to be arguing, upset about how things were, how things should change, how bad stuff was. People in real life tended to parrot what they heard from them, but that was about as far as things went.

Now, the wind has changed a bit. The gusts that were makin’ the tops of the trees sway back and forth are now down here, at ground level. Folks are noticing that maybe what they were told by those folks wasn’t all true. There’s nothing stable to lean against or hold onto in the wind. People are gettin’ blown around a bit, and they know things aren’t quite right anymore. The trust is gone, and folks are nervous.

There’s a storm coming.

When a thunderstorm comes in, one of the things I notice is the way the air smells. It smells like wet dirt and grass and leaves all mixed up. It’s a smell that’s easy to miss, and gets blown away by the wind. It’s like the way folks in the United States are most entertained by other people’s trouble, and imaginations of apocalypse. Think of all the big movies and such that have been around recently, and you’ll find that a good portion of them, a good portion of the popular ones, have been about the end of the world or dystopian societies. It’s not something you think too much about, most of the time, unless you’re keeping your ear to the ground.

It’s like people have not just lost hope, but they’re secretly thinking about what to do when the world they know has passed on. It’s as if the clouds are dark and heavy with big ol’ raindrops, waitin’ to be driven down by the winds, and the sun is only shining through in a few distant spots, the breaks in the clouds that are slowly coming together as the storm comes along.

There’s a storm coming.

Before a storm rolls in, I’ll see the cows lay down together, the birds will go quiet. I’ll notice that there are more turtles up on higher ground. Odd little behaviors they really only do when some kind of weather is on the wind. People are doing similar things, looking around a little more, going amongst those that are close to them to talk low about things that are going on, but keepin’ that smile on when they’re out with other folks. People are being careful what they say around other people, careful what they post online, trying not to be noticed as the storm rolls in, hoping it will blow over them, leave them unscathed.

There’s a storm coming.

I notice that before a storm, some folks feel aches and pains in old wounds, like their body is telling them to get under cover before it happens again. It’s funny how a lot of wounds that should be healed by now are being dragged up and out into the open, causing pain and hate among people that otherwise wouldn’t worry about it so much.

It’s like the air before a thunderstorm. That air is electric, like there’s an unseen bit of electricity that makes you a feel kind of small and even a bit jumpy. I like that feeling in nature, it’s one of my favorite times when a storm rolls in and the air gets quiet, and even the bugs seem like they’re looking for cover. This feeling is different, though, and it seems like people are noticing it. There’s things going on up north in Connecticut right now that would have been unheard of in times past. There’s folks acting against other folks because of things that really have nothing to do with them, things that make people hate each other. There’s rumblings in the distance, like lightning that flashes in the sky before the first hint of rain, revolutions and such in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, military posturing in China, warnings and arguing between the US and Russia.

There’s a storm coming.

One of the things that I have always noticed is the way people talk about an oncoming storm. Plain, simple, country talk about how bad it might or might not be, and what to do about it before it comes. More and more, I keep coming across people from all different walks of life that, while they might disagree about just about everything else, agre on a few things. They agree that congress is just about useless. They agree that not only do they have issues with the president, but that the choices available in the past haven’t been worth the spit to talk about. They agree that something is about to happen, and it’s time to get ready for whatever it may be.

People are scared of whatever is coming. Bankers are offing themselves for no apparent reason. There’s talk about money being weird and how many ways things can suddenly go wrong. People are thinking about what to do when the storm comes, whether they have shelter for the storm, and who they might go to should the storm overwhelm them.

There’s a storm coming.

It’s all the little things put together. I don’t know if we’re going to get a misty soak followed by rainbows and birds singin’ on the wind. I don’t know if it will be one of those storms that blows a bit, makes some noise, and moves on, leaving the day more hot and humid than when it began. It could be a short downpour, what we call around here a “gully washer”, one that almost seems to clean things up a bit, or a tornado that will just plow everything down in it’s path.

I hope it’s a light mist, personally, or maybe a short gully washer that won’t last too long, and afterwards things will just seem better for awhile. It’s hard to say, though. I’m not sure whther it’s time to just get out the umbrella and keep it handy, or whether to check around to see where some good root cellars are to make it through.

I hope it’s just a shower, and we’ll all get to go play in the puddles afterwards. Maybe it will be, and everything will be fine. It may be that we all have to come together afterwards and try to clean up the mess left behind, though.

All I know is what I see and what I feel, and what I know is that it feels like there’s a storm coming. I hope we can all go out and play in the puddles when it’s over, but we should all be ready to go and help clean up the mess if it’s somethin’ worse.

www.cracked.com/article_20819_5-disturbing-reasons-not-to-trust-news-from-reporter.html

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/12/17/trust-in-congress-gallups-to-single-digits/

www.cbsnews.com/news/most-americans-disappointed-in-obamas-presidency-poll-says/

www.coolage.in/2014/02/27/the-ukraine-crisis/

www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/02/23/maduro-seeks-venezuela-peace-conference/5760543/

www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/25/us-afghanistan-usa-obama-idUSBREA101B420140225

rt.com/usa/us-military-cuts-budget-423

www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/350486/news/world/china-says-decision-on-new-air-defense-zone-depends-on-threat

www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/us-warns-russia-military-drills-ukraine-border

www.cnbc.com/id/101450365

 

If you liked the way this was written, check out my e-book, “Fairy Ring”.  Only 2.99 and found here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I7YXGLG

 

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New Life, Inc. Begin Again! (a story)


pt-waiting-room

 

I wanted to write something today and so I wrote this.  Tell me what you think.

*****************************************

“Welcome to New Life, Incorporated!” exclaimed the handsome young woman behind the counter.

Thomas looked around the storefront business.  A simple enough office, with calm to the eyes eggshell painted walls and the obligatory office art.  Nothing screamed, “UNUSUAL!” in the room.  A small counter with an attractive attendee.  A few chairs.  A coffee table with reading material seemingly purchased by a fishing enthusiast turned soap opera lover.  The carpet a mild gray, with the chair upholstery to match.

Just an average office.

Thomas had been drawn to the store by the slogan out front, stenciled on a simple plywood board painted white that read, “Don’t like your life?  Start again with NEW LIFE!”

“Ahem, hello,” Thomas coughed, almost timidly.

The woman smiled.  She was attractive, but not quite beautiful.  A noticable woman for her long red hair and animated green eyes, if nothing else.  Average body, not distracting in any way.  Her smile relaxed from her original apparent excitement to something more casual.

“I know what you’re thinking, sir.  Were you just curious about the shop, or are you actively interested in a new life?” her eyes twinkled knowingly as she said it.

Thomas relaxed.  “How about we just call it curiosity for now.  Do you have a hand out or anything that I could look over?”

The woman’s smile turned tragic as she said,”I’m sorry, but we haven’t gotten any of our pamphlets in yet.  I could give you a card with the web address, or if you have a few minutes I could just try to explain a bit about it to you.”  The smile returned in full force as she said,”To be honest, this store is brand new, and you’re the first potential customer.  I don’t have anything else to do right now, so it’d be a nice way to kill time, for me.”

Thomas chuckled.  “Pretty, friendly, and wants a few minutes of my time? Why not?” he thought.  Aloud, Thomas said, “Sure thing, I got nowhere to be right now, anyway.”

The woman’s eyes widened a bit, “Oh, that’s just great!  Well, sit down in one of those chairs over there and I’ll come sit with you.  Do you need something to drink or anything?”

“Naw, but thank you, miss…?”

The woman stood up, revealing that she was above average in height.  Her dark green dress draped to just below her knees, revealing sensible shoes.  Her pale skin, almost albino, made the color of her dress and hair and eyes just that much more vibrant.

“How about you just call me Maddy?  What’s your name?” she asked, approaching and sticking out her hand.

Thomas took it in his.  A delicate hand, soft and warm in his.  The sensation made him smile.  “Thomas,” he said.

They sat together, near enough to be conspirators or old friends.  Maddy turned and regarded him, “Well, Thomas, I’m going to give it to you straight.  I’ll practice my ‘pitch’ and you try to answer honestly.  If you like any of our services offered, I’ll give you a nice discount on it for being so kind, ok?”

Thomas nodded, internally laughing.  Salespeople always tried to sell, he supposed.

Maddy straightened, locking eyes with him. “Well, we offer a number of services.  If you were having a hard time in your life and wanted to try to fix them yourself, we offer life coaching, therapy, and even have an in-house psychiatrist, if that would help.”

Thomas looked at her, “This a mental health place or something?  I didn’t notice any Doctors names or anything.”

“No, that’s not our primary focus here,” she smiled.  “We offer far more variety of options than any traditional office of that sort.”

“Oh yeah?  Like what?” Thomas asked, intrigued now.

“Well, if you don’t have any mental health issues, we also offer the opportunity to begin a new life with a new identity, with options ranging from a simple change of identity to complete synthetic reincarnation,” Maddy’s eyes twinkled, her voice lowering as she said the words.

Thomas was nonplussed.  “Complete synthro-what?” he said.

“Complete synthetic reincarnation.  Let me tell you about it, ok?”

“Ok, but it sounds impossible, and I’m not religious,” said Thomas.

Maddy laughed a silvery little chuckle, “Nonono.  This has nothing to do with religion or anything.”

“Ok, so tell me about it,” Thomas urged.

“Well, we take a complete and thorough map of your brain, all the neurons and such.  We then do a few simple, non-invasive tests to map your memories and thought processes to the right neural pathways and their related genetics.  We then use advanced techniques to transfer your knowledge and memories, the ones you choose, to electronic form.  After that, we build a synthetic life form of whatever age you choose, from birth to age 25 with an informationally empty brain, using your genetic code as a blueprint, but allowing some random processes to effect the end result…” Maddy began.

“Wait a second.  You make a clone of me?” asked Thomas.

“Not an exact clone.  We just make one that is genetically different enough to be similar.  It’s a new body, completely.  We can even customize certain things for you, if you choose,” she smiled.

“What if I chose to be a child?”

Maddy looked at Thomas, “Then we would implant you as a fetus into the next available candidate.  They would raise you to adulthood.”

Thomas thought for a second, and said,”What about my memories, my knowledge?  What about my expertise?”

“All of those things could be input into your brain.  There might be some degradation if you chose that route, as a brain is still forming at that point, and not fully developed, but your aptitudes and general knowledge would definitely carry over.  You’d have to relearn your body and how to control and use it, but your knowledge would remain.”

Thomas’ mind spun.  This was impossible, a fairy tale. “Are you pullin’ my leg?”

Maddy laughed, “Not at all.  We have successfully done it over fifty times now.  The oldest of them is now thirteen and studying aeronautics at MIT.”

“What happens to all the ‘old’ stuff?”  Thomas asked skeptically.

“That’s why it’s a ‘new’ life.  All property and assets transfer to us.  You are declared deceased, and your body is delivered to the hospital of your choice with no signs of life.”

Thomas started at that.  “You kill people?” he asked, aghast.

“Only the body, Thomas.  Only the old you.  Your mind, your awareness, is all transferred to the new you.”  Maddy said softly.  “That’s why we have the mental health team on staff, there’s no point in transferring a person with a mental illness unless that is the absolute last resort, but it’s a definite improvement to suicide, don’t you think?”

Thomas paused.  It made sense, in a strange way.  The idea was like a flame to kindling in Thomas’ mind.

“How much?” he asked.

“Like I said, all worldly possessions are transferred to us, with the exception of twenty five percent that can beallocated to beneficiaries.  The amount of knowledge transferred is then based on your net worth, and there are grants for special considerations.  Extreme valor, intellect, that sort of thing.”

Thomas pursed his lips.  “Ok, so what’s the minimum for a full transfer to a fetus state with full knowledge?”

Maddy winked.  “I mentioned a discount, so for you, Thomas, and only because you have been so nice, I’ll offer you the full package if your net worth is greater than fifty thousand dollars.  That’s a ninety-nine percent discount, and we’d be using any viable organs to make up the cost difference.”  Maddy paused. “Of course, you’d have to do it now.  Today.  This is a one time offer, because that way we could claim you as our first success at this location,” She whispered conspiratorially.

Thomas thought.  At forty five years old, he had lived a decent life.  He had a son about to start college, and his wife had recently died.  His life insurance would keep his son taken care of for the immediate future, and his car, his baby, was almost enough to cover the cost by itself.

“Why not?” he said aloud.

Maddy smiled brilliantly.  “Really?  Oh my goodness, Thomas, I’m so excited, for both of us!  My first sale!” She exclaimed, standing.

Thomas stood.  He smiled at her exuberance and joy and said, “Ok, so where do I sign?”

*****************************

 

I think this could turn into an interesting story.  It smacks of several interesting philosophical and religious questions pertaining to identity and the soul.  Let me know what you think!

 

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The nature of evil…


Thinkin’…

What goes through the mind of someone who does evil things?

I don’t mean your everyday evil, the guy who stabs a man for the few dollars that may be in his pocket. I don’t even mean the spectacular evils of Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer.

I mean people like Stalin. Hitler. Pol Pot. Mengele. They commit atrocities that go beyond the scope of imagination for most people, but how in the world do they get there?

Are they born to it? I can’t imagine a child saying,”When I grow up I want to have millions killed,” or,”I want to perform medical experiments on unwilling people.”

I can’t help but think to myself that these people start with an idea, a great idea. They want to make the world a better place somehow, to improve their lives, the lives of their people or even just perhaps their families.

They start with nothing bu the best of intentions, and then something happens. They find someone, some person or group standing in their way and “those” people are now, in their eyes, evil. The world would be a better place without “them”.

But, even to get to that mindset, that place, you have to start earlier. You need a great idea, of course. Then you need a concept that “they” are different and “they” are wrong and “they” have to be stopped… and eventually “they” have to be stopped. “At any cost…”. “They” can be put to use in whatever way will make “our” lives better.

It all starts with that concept. “We” and “They”. “Us” and Them”.

Watch yourself in your thoughts, in your goals and dreams and your pursuit of them. Be mindful of who “they” are, to you. The greater your goal, the grander and more powerful the idea, the greater lengths you’ll go to accomplish them.

In order to save “us” you have to defeat “them”. Everything that follows from that thought is a matter of degrees.

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