A Fabrication by Any Other Name

I prefer books over screens for my entertainment. I scoff at people that find joy in gluing their eyes to a computer screen. Surely reading is a superior way to spend time. To be fair, on closer inspection, just how different is virtual reality from fictional reality?

Human interaction suffers when life is lived predominantly within a computer screen. Yet many times, I get so involved in a book that I dread any human interfering with my turning of the next page. I want to stay in my fictional world. Screens and books are best as solitary endeavors.

I too feel the draw of a world filled with ubiquitous screens. I waste time clicking and scrolling through computer articles and photos. The dog and cat videos make me laugh. But I fear the sway of advertisements that push me to buy what the most powerful social media forces out there are selling. I try to resist this modern siren call.

Besides my Etch-a-Sketch, the television was the only screen I could stare at when I was young. My staring was limited to one-hour per day. And that hour had to be broken in half. So a half hour in the morning, another half hour in the afternoon. Maybe that explains why I read. I could explore fictional (and non-fictional) worlds with the flip of a page.

A flip of a page or a swipe of a screen, are they so different? I’m sure I could be swayed by reading too; that is if I only read one book. A wide and diverse reading list protects independent thinking. Social media lies behind a heavy curtain.

My father took me to the Detroit Institute of Arts one Saturday when I was young. I fell in love with this exciting, brand-new world.

Years later, I took my son and his cousin to the art museum. They were bored to death. I thought the suit of armor exhibits would surely interest them. More boredom. Unlike me, they had already spent hours playing video games and had a broader access to television. Television and computers were part of their school curriculum. How can a bit of paint on a canvas compete with the fast-changing and addictive colors and sounds that run across screens?

And yet, I admit to my own addiction. An addiction to the arrangements of 26 letters across a page. How can I judge others?

Books energize me, too much screen time depresses me. A screen has the power to dull a mind and passively lead a person to buy the ideas and products displayed so attractively on the virtual shelves.

Reading is far more active. A reader interacts with the author, with the stuff already read or experienced creating a solid foundation to build up ideas. Who knows, it can even bring about a change in long-held beliefs. Books breed independence and knowledge building. The ceaseless chatter of information on a computer ends up feeling shallow.

My prejudices lead me to forget that the oral storytelling tradition led to books and then books led to computers. Perhaps this is an inevitable course of events that is not necessarily better or worse, just the progress of imagination. The end of the oral tradition weakened our connection to each other. In turn, we connected with machines. Human to human, human to machine, machine to . . . How does the story end?

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Cold and Heartless

I took a lousy yoga class where the instructor laughed at the students. For one pose, she said she will be the only one that will need a towel. From a sitting position, she bent herself forward and touched her head to the towel on the floor. And then she smirked.

Shortly after this class, I read an article on the internet that stated it is a shame some yoga instructors can’t make a living. I am not ashamed that I will never patronize that lousy teacher again.

I take yoga classes from two excellent instructors now. They are motivational, bring the class peaceful meditative moments, and push each participant to pursue each pose to a safe, effective level. They both make a living as yoga teachers since many students sign up and pay for their classes. They also instruct and get paid for teaching others at how to conduct a yoga class.

When still in school, I overheard a young woman speak to an English professor about becoming an English professor herself. This student was surprisingly good in the field of biology as well as English. She was sure that biology was a more sensible future.

The professor told her not to worry since she was one of the best and the best will be able to compete. The student was a class valedictorian, she was highly driven, and skilled. The teacher encouraged her to enter the competitive field in academia if that was her desire. She pursued her love of English literature and did became a professor.

Don’t believe the lie that you can be whatever you want to be. A grade C- student will not rise to the top of a highly competitive field. Instead find another path, desire is not always destiny. Break your heart early before you complete a degree program and still end up with no viable job prospects. No one may want you except the student-loan debt collectors.

Schools and businesses should coordinate the real-world job market with young people and their the dreams. This will be especially important if college is free for all.

Some fields that require no college are begging for workers. Some of these jobs may provide a good income and satisfaction. It doesn’t hurt to research options.

Life is not fair. Yoga instructors must find balance within the job market.

Doom or Gloom

My parents taught me to have faith in neither God nor man, Alexandria. My inbred skepticism questions faith in science as well.

These paths are not irrelevant to me. I love to go to where physics intersects with poetry. I want nothing more than to be alive long enough to find out what the hell this dark matter and dark energy thing is. Infinity, both in a religious and scientific sense, is incomprehensible and yet I strive for an understanding of it.

But I question whether science can provide a cleaner, more efficient nuclear power plant that will absolve us of the evils of climate change. Solar and wind power come with their own problems. Problems of inefficiency and danger to animal welfare haunt green energy. Fossil fuels won’t last forever and their pollutants are the biggest chunk of the climate change disaster. If we want to continue using the good in technology, we might have to live (or die) with the inherent problems.

Man and machine can no longer live apart. Severing this relationship will cause destruction and suffering. It’s funny, what science has brought about will require an almost religious renunciation.

Both humans and machines consume massive amounts of foodstuffs, whether it be wheat or coal. Or, ironically, corn and corn.

To halt climate change, fuel-guzzling machinery such as airplanes and trucks must quickly come to a point of near elimination. We only need to determine how much and how fast the cuts should be. How many people and machines must be decommissioned? Twelve years is a short time to do this work.

A simpler, less mechanical time is ideal. In turn, the loss of life-prolonging machinery will naturally lower the human population. Less people, less machines, less climate change. There is no other way if the danger is extreme and the cost too high to ignore.

God may be dead, but will faith in a rebirth of matriarchal power save us?

I hope, Alexandria, you chose well when you separate the worthless from the worthwhile. Keep lists, inform on the good and evil among us. I pray to find myself sitting to your right hand.

Now With 50% Less Sarcasm

Alexandria, it makes sense to stop bringing children into a world at the brink of a climate change disaster. Actually, half the problem facing this planet is overpopulation.

The other half of the problem lies in the technology/machine creation that pollutes the earth and dooms the life on its surface. Advancements in technology cut mortality rates for both the very young and the very old. Now the people/machine combination consumes too much. The elimination of machines may also be in our future. But today let’s talk about radical population control on all levels.

You have to admit that less people milling about would do much to get to a healthier planet and provide a more pleasant existence.

By cutting the human population, we can control many evils: traffic jams; piles of garbage; smog; light pollution; personal and international conflicts; strains on infrastructure; rusting junkyards; polluted waters; overconsumption of natural resources. Less people would naturally eliminate many environmental problems. Green energy alone cannot solve the problems of mass consumption. Extreme cuts in flesh and metal are necessary.

The big problem is in the selling of this idea. Your rich friends and enemies won’t want to sacrifice anything. The poorer people won’t believe they have anything to sacrifice. You have to stop overpromising a prosperous future for the constituents. Instead go out there and burst balloons. (Not literally, you know, latex waste.) Sacrifice must be sold.

People think they have the right to reproduce. You have to change this false idea. Immigrants are eager to enter the country and they can replace the falling population rate. Of course, immigrants entering the country must also adhere to strict rules on breeding. America must lead the world in the ultimate goal of massive depopulation.

Scientists estimate that in 50 years, the world population will peak at 9 billion and then begin to decline. By 2100, the world population is estimated to decline to 8.4 billion; still an increase of more than 2 billion people that exist today. Instead of Zero Population Growth, Negative Population Growth should be the norm. Strive for much less than 2.1 children per couple.

Egotism is a human problem. We think the earth is nothing without our life on it. Earth existed billions of years before us and will exist billions of years after us.

Humans created climate change because the machines they created provided many comforts. Humans want to reverse climate change because the dangers now override the comforts. Appeal to our egos. If we don’t cease multiplying our species, no future humans may survive. Keep up the false illusion that human life is worthwhile.

Alexandria, save the human race whether it wants to be saved or not.

High Marx for Effort

Alexandria some of your ideas are so 19th century.

Your concern with deindustrialisation and industrialization contradict each other. Industrialization created the climate change fiasco but you are worried about four decades of deindustrialisation in the United States.

Millions of good, high-wage jobs resurrected in the United States seems to be the antithesis to your basic premises. Manufacturing should be cut and not propped up. Less industry, less factories must be the real goal. Labor unions are a waste of time and resources going forward into the future.

A society based on 19th century technological advances does not reduce greenhouse gases. Solar and wind power is not free from problems that exasperate climate change and quality of life. To meet your goals, you must conserve energy use and act like a tight-fisted hoarder.

Reaching so far back to Karl Marx is perplexing. He was a wealthy, male, German/Jew: kind of a self-contained package of evil. In the future, and to some extent today, everyone will be in control of their own means of production and labor. All we need is an internet connection to a screen in our own little rooms.

Our life blood today flows through the internet. The future will be only more of the same. Wealth can be created and maintained by wifi. The bulk of energy production must be used to supply the appetite of our computers.

Many people work from home. We need a future where everyone works and stays at home, thereby saving energy on transportation, infrastructure, and buildings.

All training and education must come from the internet. A great deal of it does so already. We can demolish all schools and repurpose the material for warehouses housing machines to keep the internet alive. Teachers can move on to do art projects or just enjoy life. Think of the savings in heating and cooling those large number of buildings.

So much of the products we need to live are delivered right to our doors today. We can do better in the future by virtually stopping people from ever having to travel out of their rooms. The internet is the key, it is the only connection we must safeguard. Amazon: the staff of life.

If someone runs short of cash and the government funds aren’t enough, they can turn to the internet. An outrageous act publicized on computer screens already provides individuals with fame and fortune. Alexandria you must be aware of this and use it to advance your noble goals.

Feathering the Green New Deal

Alexandria, do you like Emily Dickinson and birds? I love both. Your Green New Deal heralds renewable energy sources, but my feathered friends are getting mangled and fried by blades and panels. Humans and machines need copious amounts of fuel to survive. If we eliminate even friendly energy sources in order to save the birds, humanity has no hope.

I know birds die from oil, gas and coal power too. They collide with cars, planes, and trains. Perhaps it’s collateral damage. We put bells on cats, how can we warn the birds about our new, green sources of power?

We are putting all our eggs in the one basket of renewable energy. When the future brings more blades and panels, some birds may become endangered. Large raptors like our national bird the Bald Eagle are frequently sliced up in wind turbines. Your next step might be to get rid of this and all other nationalistic symbolisms.

But I like your idea of getting rid of nuclear energy. Nuclear power plant disasters are scary enough. Disposing of radioactive waste is overwhelming.

Technology brought about climate change, I hold little faith that it can get us out of it. Sometimes you must wonder if any industry is moral whether is uses renewable or fossil fuels.

The Population Bomb ends up looking more dangerous than the atomic bomb. Earth needs less people, less machines, less stuff to consume. The implications of this scenario carries an even bleaker future.

Hope is the thing with feathers. Alexandria maybe you could make the turkey our  national bird. Turkeys are slower and even wild ones can’t fly high enough to touch the blades.

Sex and the Green New Deal

Alexandria, I am also horrified at the income inequality gap between men and women. I know your Green New Deal is only a start, and is not fully fleshed out. I suggest you examine a twofold problem when dealing with this pay gap:

1. Young women are choosing to stay home with their children in alarming numbers and delaying careers or foregoing them.

2. Women are still the primary child caregivers and adequate daycare is not universal.

I know young women with degrees, some of those degrees are at a master’s level. Yet they willingly have chosen to let their education stagnate and stay at home with young kids. I see young women without much education also staying at home and not contributing to society with viable jobs and wages. I know of only one young couple that have bucked the trend and decided to keep the husband at home with their children while the wife works.

None of these options are optimal. Laws can be written to keep women in the workforce and make it against the law to aspire only to the degrading position of housewife. Husbands need not sacrifice their prime earning years by staying at home. To solve these problems, we can update and implement ideas from the ancient text “The Republic of Plato.”

Taking a cue from Plato, we can get rid of the unpalatable “Ozzie and Harriet” nuclear family model.

You can do this by:

1. Implementing public nurseries where no child knows their parents and no parent knows their child. Professional child caregivers take care of babies and children therefore solving all daycare issues. Dangerous ideas of religion, gun ownership, and individuality can be eradicated by proper education. It does take a village.

2, Segregate the sexes and share partners. This could solve the problems women encounter before they join the me-too movement. Sexual interaction should be controlled and completely voluntary. Of course today, the sexes must number far more than the two Plato wrote about in his work. All doable.

3. Plato’s Republic consisted of an educated upper class of Philosophers and Warriors that owned no private property. The working class was uneducated and kept their children and possessions since they were minimal and irrelevant to the system. We could elevate the working class and remove their private property and children as well. And once again, provide the proper education.

Alexandria you could become the leader of the Philosopher decision-makers Plato so admired. I cheer you on.