New Lands

When things get cramped, humanity goes exploring, discovering new lands to disperse into. Yet what happens when there’s no place left to go? Well amazingly, new territories appear on the map. Columbus thought he’d find India traveling across the ocean, but oops, something just happened to be in the way, a giant continent. And so a swarm of people left the density of Europe for the relative openness of the Americas. Coincidence?

Well what’s left today? The forests? Oceans? Mars? Cyberspace? All of the above? Solar and battery technology along with satellite and radio communications will make moving away from population centers more doable. And with advancing rocket technology, colonies on Mars are becoming more feasible. As for cyberspace, much of my life already takes place online, a virtual existence — why bother to leave the house at all?

In cyberspace, I can browse the endless aisles of Amazon. I can watch shows catering to my particular personality. I can read the compiled works of human literature. I can video-chat with my mom who’s hundreds of miles away. I can control giant battling robots. And these worlds intersect when people you meet online manifest in-person or when packages arrive or when your heart races from a rather intense online-battle.

But new land doesn’t come cheap does it? There’s always a bit of struggle, no? Whether it’s legislative control, corporate hegemony, restricted bandwidth, technological limitations, griefers, hackers — whatever form it may be. But what game comes without challenge — overcoming obstacles is the entire point of many games. So, the things that get in our way are just part of the fun.

We must consider that not everyone left the Old World for the New, so we shouldn’t expect old ways to be overwritten by the new. Ideally, we should all support each other’s right to go in the direction we choose. Just because we don’t like a certain path, we shouldn’t attempt to shut it down. If people want to live in the forests, in the ocean, on Mars, in cyberspace, or wherever and however they want — then good for them.

By the way, such an obvious pattern of constant realm-expansion should serve as evidence of life’s artificiality. For those of us too tightly wound, we should use these little reminders as reason not to take life too seriously — it’s for entertainment purposes only. There’s always something newer and bigger around the corner. Lack isn’t real, there’s nothing physical confining us. Relax and enjoy the show.

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Great Again

My mother was a kid in the 1950s. She lived with her divorced mom and felt self-conscious about not having a dad around. She was considered fat and as an adult she was always following the latest fad diets. She knew some neighbors but nowadays she knows even more and feels safer than ever. Her biggest fear as a kid was being kidnapped, she had some incident with a guy asking her to find his lost puppy. She was born around the time WWII was ending, a little before the first nuclear bomb was detonated over a city full of people. She saw the end of laws that specifically persecuted the descendants of slaves, although it didn’t really mean much to her. When she was a young adult her peers were being drafted into a war they didn’t support. A president during her young-adulthood was assassinated in office and a later one was disgraced out of office.

I find it strange whenever I hear people claiming things were better in the past. I wouldn’t trade the Internet era for any time in recent history. When I grew up, my biggest aggravation was the unrepentant reruns the TV would air, especially compiled clip-shows of the current season’s episodes. Being the 80s, I did consider global thermo-nuclear war a viable threat too.

When people complain about social media, I find it odd. My childhood consisted mostly of sitting alone in my house watching TV reruns. Calling someone on their house-phone was torture, as anyone could answer, or it could be a busy-signal, or the person wasn’t home — it was inconvenience-cubed. I like the connectedness of today, the new content, I like watching shows whenever I want. And when I was a kid, I just assumed I hated music because I disliked what the radio played — it turns out I like music now that I can select what I want to hear.

When I wanted a specific book, I had to ask the bookstore to order it for me and then wait until they called. When I ordered stuff from a catalog (toys, trinkets, clothes, whatever), I tore out the order-form, meticulously filled it in, mailed it along with my mother’s check, then waited three weeks until the check cleared and the item arrived in the mail. When I missed an episode of my favorite show I waited weeks until it aired again as a rerun. When I wanted to watch a movie I had to go to the movie theater to watch it, that is until video rentals became a thing, then I could choose from a selection of crappy movies because that’s all they had in stock.

I love mobile-phones. When I was a kid, you just showed up hoping other people would be there. If you had the wrong time and your mom dropped you off, you were outta luck. Incessant waiting without knowing was a thing. It was nerve-wracking, what if no one came, what if I had the wrong date, I’d be stuck.

When I thought of cities when I was a kid, I pictured violent crime, gangs, graffiti, vandalism, riots, pollution. When I think of cities today I picture culinary adventures, tech hubs, gentrification, and hipsters. When I thought of Europe as a kid, I thought of spies and cold-war stuff, iron-curtains and oppressed peoples, hijackings, bombings, post-war aftermath, and bad food. Nowadays when I think of Europe I picture modern well-taken-care-of citizens in charming old-world settings. When I thought of nature, I pictured endless litter and toxic dumping. Nowadays I picture beautiful beaches and well-maintained woods.

In my opinion anyway, this is the best it’s been (there’s even robots on Mars!) — screw the haters that say otherwise.

Lost in Darkness

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Wandering Monk.

When I think of the Garden of Eden, I don’t think of man’s expulsion as physical, but perception based. In other words, man remained in the general proximity but began interpreting his surroundings as unpleasant, seeing the good as gross. And likewise, man’s entrance into Heaven is the realignment of his perception, seeing only good.

Biblically then, the teachings of Jesus are the light by which man finds his way back to paradise. By abandoning brutish negativity and adopting limitless forgiveness, man releases his grip on darkness and opens his heart to the light. Eden surrounds, but man can only appreciate this when he’s open to receive.

There are those that walk a resplendent earth with an open heart and those that crawl upon a desolate rock, closed-off to the beauty. Heaven is here, but so is Hell. We choose our experience by the love and acceptance we maintain within.

Stuck on Start

It’s odd that self-exploration is a thing. We literally explore every aspect of ourselves. What’s it like to be human? How does this feel? Why does it feel that way? How do I control this crazy contraption? Why am I thinking these thoughts? How do I better align with my circumstances?

We’re not immersed in the game of life, we’re still stuck staring at the piece we’re playing as. Why is it this color? Why this shape? What moves can I make? What effect do other players’ pieces have? Is it my turn? Can I go yet? It’s strange to feel like you’re still on start, waiting for the opportunity to begin.

But we don’t want to mess up, do we? We have to find our groove though. Just move forward and let the chips fall where they may. Yet we’ve no idea what to do with ourself, no direction in which to head. Although, a game is a simple affair, just rolling dice and proceeding on a preset path. Just take your turn, move forward one space at a time.

I suppose that’s all we can do, move ahead one step at a time. But it’s not enough to mechanically move, we must lose ourself in the game’s narrative, pretending we’ve got a vested interest in our progress. It’s just a lighthearted investment though, like any game of pretend, we simply perform as our character.

P.S. Yet who’s to say humanness isn’t a path in and of itself? Traveling the far reaches of the globe or traveling the far reaches of the mind, it’s all exploration, an activity to occupy our attention. All this time you’ve imagined yourself stuck on start, but you’ve been playing all along, the inner mystery is just part of the fun.

Health Standards

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Alien on Earth.

From generation to generation, culture to culture, what constitutes a healthy diet varies — yet all these groups lived normal relatively healthy lives. The common factor is not what they ate, not the actual ingredients, but only the belief in the nutritiousness of what they consumed. Therefore, healthfulness is a state maintained in the mind.

Even within my own lifetime, dietary fashion changed drastically. What I consumed as a child, I’d consider straight-up poisonous today. But who’s to say what I eat today won’t be considered unhealthy by the time I’m elderly. Exercise is another activity that follows trends, as types and vigorousness change with the times.

The point being, that we should not seek to mold ourselves to the latest “healthy” fashions, feeling inadequate when we can’t keep up — we should instead set the bar at a standard we can meet and believe ourself healthy when we do. There are cigarette smokers for instance, that believed it a curative substance, and you know what? They did just fine.

Persuade one of these smokers that what they’re doing is harmful? Boom, some will quit and die soon after, convinced they poisoned themselves. We do no service to anyone by convincing them they’re engaged in self-harm. We’re not helping by forcing a lifestyle that doesn’t fit. And we’re ignoring history to believe ourselves knowers of absolute truth.

Universal Sum

Nothingness can’t create somethingness. There was at least some potentiality, some force that existed prior to the universe. So either the universe eternally existed in its current form or it was formed from some creative power. This means that something has always existed – a force powerful enough to create or perpetually sustain this world has always been present.

And this force isn’t quite balanced, or else nothing would bother to manifest. There’s a tilt toward the positive – a foundation exists and remains in a constant state of creation. Randomness is a ridiculous assumption since we can plainly perceive an underlying conveyer belt of production churning out well-structured forms.

So the interesting bit to consider, is that it appears something is creating all of this on purpose. And again, not randomly, as the entities being created fit neatly within a narrative of sorts. What gives the artificiality away, is the manufactured drama, it’s too obvious once perceived. Little troupes of players acting out their little skits.

But why? Well why does anyone play? To have fun of course, to entertain oneself. A force powerful enough to create and sustain a universe has no need to learn. Boredom is the universal enemy of every child, so to stave it off he plays. He creates grand worlds full of characters with all sorts of roles and narratives.

And while engaged in play, he suspends belief, every figurine provided a unique personality. Some fight, some get along, yet all autonomous, separated by a compartmentalized imagination. But in actuality, all stem from a single source – at their core, every character draws from the common-knowledge of the puppeteer.