Wishlist 2018

If life is a computer-simulation, what changes would you like to see implemented?

From my particular perspective, I would like these aspects altered:
A good night’s sleep every night.
A perfectly functioning physical body.
Increased resources.
Upgraded dwelling.
Light easy travel with family.

In general I’d like to see:
An abundance of safe well-functioning advanced technology.
Worry-free transportation.
Clothing designed to fit flawlessly.
A stable basically futuristic/utopian political climate.

Society-wise, I’d like to see all medical/legal/political and even relationship drama come to a close. Instead of heavy dramatic stuff, I think challenges and competition should come in the form of ever-advancing technology, philosophy, art, athletics, and just creativity in general. There can be exploration of not only space and uncharted regions of the planet, but consciousness and the underlying foundation of existence itself. People often overlook that the Internet was (and still is) a new frontier to be explored and conquered.

P.S. Yes, I do like Star Trek.

Advertisements

Democratic Consensus

People often assume that democracy necessitates a majority-rule system. For instance, two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner — obviously in a majority-rule system the sheep is toast. So, majority-rule is not a sustainable system, the majority would continually exploit the minority. And from the minority perspective, why would they agree to be contributing participants in a society that guarantees their powerlessness? The point of a democracy is for the people, ALL PEOPLE, to have power.

In a well-functioning democracy therefore, the sheep’s voice matters. “Oh you don’t want to be eaten? Then we shall compromise and come to a consensus.” A well-functioning democracy polls the people not to determine a ruling majority, but to listen to the tiniest voice of dissent. If there is no consensus, then there is no democracy, you simply have tyranny of the majority.

Another example: Jim, Carol, and Alice are deciding on what to have for lunch. Jim and Carol vote for a large cheese pizza but Alice is allergic to all dairy ingredients. In a majority-rule system, Alice is screwed. But in a democratic system in which every voice matters, a compromise is reached and Alice receives a palatable meal.

In a well-functioning democracy there are no teams because every voice is heard, there’s no vying for a majority. Every individual has the right to live the life he sees fit. Within a viable democracy, two conditions should be met: society must maintain a belief in everyone’s equality, and secondly, the powerful must sacrifice a portion of their power for the sake of the democracy.

For example, the wolves must respect the sheep’s right to live unmolested while welcoming their participation in society. Additionally, the wolves must not use their power to intimidate and force preferential outcomes. Because of this, rules of civility and equality must be maintained and enforced and checks must be placed on the influence of the powerful.

If a society maintains a tyranny of the majority, it’s a cruel and careless system that is not worthy of upkeep. A sustainable and well-functioning democracy necessitates that every voice is heard and considered.

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.

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.

Labor Day

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Haphazard Historian.

Imagine that there are some people willing to enslave other people for their own gain. Well in fact no imagination is necessary, as we can browse the pages of history (or even current events) to know this to be the case. So we know people can, and will, exploit their fellow man for mere economic advantage.

We know there are some that would do all they can to get as close to slave-like conditions as possible, just to get a bit more. This being the case, what protects workers from such unrepentant greed? What protects those with little-power from hungry wolves waiting to feast?

Answer: the power of the herd, an unshakable union of fellow workers. Without this solidarity, workers are picked off one-by-one as each individual stays silent, threatened by the knowledge that he’ll be next should he utter complaint. Only as a solid whole, a single voice, can these workers hope to overcome the power of greed.

And so, this is the day we set aside as reminder of that ongoing struggle against greed. A greed so nefarious that man would kidnap his fellow man and force his labor, that man would employ children in perilous industry, that man would continuously shave as much as mathematically possible from wages — ever attempting to reach zero.

But it is not this selfishness we must focus on today, it is the unity that opposes it. Throughout history, the bulk of mankind has only ever shown a desire to pitch in, to contribute to community. He wants to work and do right by his neighbor. It is with this spirit, that mankind often bands together whenever foxes attempt to divvy him up.

As a collection of individuals, mankind can be divided. And, it often requires a bit of prodding before the sleeping giant of solidarity awakens to the threat of dismemberment. But in due time, and after much strain, he does wake, and those that dared divide him meet their end.

As workers ourselves, it is our duty to keep an open ear for this call to solidarity — for it is in our best interest, and the interest of industry itself. Fruitful commerce requires a fruitful workforce who in turn become prosperous customers. Industry itself is not the enemy, there’s simply some greed that needs weeding out. And we must all be on the lookout.

Building Structures

You can destroy, rip apart, demolish. But you can’t typically look back at the results in a pleasing way. You see a pitted, scarred landscape. Whereas if you build, and beautifully so, you can look back and be pleased.

In a particular world in Minecraft for instance, I was surveying a landscape that suffered repeated TNT explosions, possibly in the hundreds. It was within a world where some buildings were also warped out of their original shape from random additions. In other words, the world was a mess.

I spent some time trying to fix it up but I could only do so much. What can you do when a preschooler learns about the power of TNT? Let him have his fun I say, it was his world anyway. Eventually though, we should seek a maturity in which we prefer to build bridges rather than destroy them.

Whereas there’s another world I built that I don’t allow anyone else in, called Richtopia. It includes a large pirate ship, an underwater submarine, an ocean-floor base, several mansions, coastal property, an airplane, pyramids, a redstone laboratory in the desert, and of course Sky City, with its famed multi-story glass hotel. I look back on that world with fond remembrance and a bit of pride.

I never much cared for the idea of building a legacy, a monument that would last past my lifetime. I still don’t, but I can at least see that having something significant to look back upon in my old age would be kinda neat. I built that, I’d be able to say. Whereas I most certainly don’t want to look back and say, I laid waste to that.

Social Awareness

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, what does it mean to be woke?

Let’s begin with the Bhagavad Gita and the battle that takes place within. Prior to the battle discontentment reigned over the land, so much so that Krishna (an incarnation of creation itself) pushed for war as a means to rebalance good and evil. Thus, Arjuna the archer became an instrument of Krishna’s will, a destroyer of evil.

So the purpose of becoming woke, as it was in Arjuna’s narrative, is to rebalance the game. Newbs are getting pwned by griefers at an unacceptable rate. In other words, the meek are getting slammed by troublemakers, which ruins gameplay for all. The woke, with their enhanced awareness, are the helpers that aid newcomers while simultaneously squashing flamers with the ban-hammer.

It is well-known that increased moderation is the savior of forums everywhere. An unrestrained comment section is not freedom, but a cesspool collecting the worst of what humanity has to offer. Poop is flushed away, not plopped wherever the pooper pleases, lest everyone steps in it until disease drowns the land.

So the woke really are warriors in a battle to balance justice within society. And as in the narrative of Jesus, pushback and persecution often awaits those that spread love and acceptance. But blessed are the peacemakers for they align themselves with creation itself as they attempt to maintain a pleasant atmosphere within the world.