Tag Archives: challenges

You Want to Do What???

I had a dream once that I was held prisoner in a car racing down the highway at extremely high speeds and there was no one behind the wheel. Ok, it was a nightmare. Good morning world, it may be true.

Put on your thinking cap for a moment and try to imagine how you would feel in this scenario:  you are driving down the highway at 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour.  You casually glance to the truck on your right (or left) and realize there is no one behind the wheel. To those of you old enough to remember, this would feel like a Twilight Zone episode. It is not.

Some intrepid souls have decided that it would be cool for an 80,000-pound 18-wheel truck to barrel down the highway, or through your town, with nobody but electronics guiding its path. Not cool!

What started this mind meandering? I recently watched a news article about the future of long-haul trucking. There is a group of people that believe it would be beneficial to have those very large, very powerful trucks controlled by a microchip. A chip. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know my feelings on the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Not a fan. Let’s face it, we’re still trying to figure out our own intelligence, what gives us the hubris to think that we could mechanically create an artificial one? Does anyone remember Frankenstein?

We as human beings are fallible. Wonderful but fallible.  There is an idiot component to our psychological makeup that some people seem to embrace far too much. But we forgive their stupidity. We don’t try to eradicate this stupid gene, perhaps because we all have a small part of it within us. Let’s be honest, in our lives we’ve all done a few stupid things. Of course, I’m not going to admit to it and in my day there were no camera phones to document it. Thank goodness!

The concept of AI is appealing.  Think Star Trek.  As a tool, a resource, yes. Benevolent and under our control.  But running the whole show? It is a catch 22: People are corruptible and fallible; computers are hackable and emotionless. Neither is a perfect solution. A combination? Think Borg. Again, not a solution.  Here is a wild thought:  Let’s work on improving us, our minds, our skills, our cooperation.  Getting our products to market a little earlier is not worth the risk of becoming extinct. Or worse, redundant.

 

A Missed Day

 

Tomorrow is the day,

Start running I will!

Salads for lunch,

Lose weight with no pill!

 

The next thing you know,

Days have gone by,

You missed it again,

You think with a sigh.

 

Tomorrow anew,

My routine begins!

I dedicate my life,

To stop all my sins!

 

But there’s a party tonight,

And a luncheon to do,

Next week I’ll begin,

On making me new.

 

Perhaps the next month,

Would be better to start,

A new way of living,

Ooh I love this new tart!

 

Never forget,

That day that you missed,

Is now gone forever,

Forever dismissed.

The Purpose of Life

You will notice that I didn’t say ‘Meaning of Life”.   Because, quite frankly, the meaning will be different for everyone. And that meaning will be based on what we have experienced of said life. We all want something different out of life. Some want children, to continue their bloodline. Some want success measured perhaps by money or by accolades. Some just want to be happy, the esoteric state that is, once again, different for everyone.

But the purpose of life it’s much easier. In its simplest terms:  it is to live.  That is the purpose of all life. From the lowest form of mold and bacteria to plants and animals. Even fire can be said to have a life as it appears to strive to continue its existence. But fire doesn’t think or feel or plot. Fire simply is. It isn’t vindictive or cruel or mean. But the results left behind are often described that way.

The only ones who truly are cruel and vindictive are people. We are the ones who search for meaning and yet we often pervert that meaning into something dark and evil.  Fortunately, most people look for the good and try to continue that. But as the saying goes: one bad apple can spoil the whole bushel. (I know, I know, I didn’t get that quite right. But the intent is there.)

When I was thinking about this post, I was wondering about the meaning of life. And then it dawned on me, what about the animals of the world? If life has to have a meaning then what about our pets? Do they have meaning? Ask anyone that shares a life with a pet and the answer is an unqualified yes! That is their meaning to us, what about to them?

I am not an animal psychologist or biologist or any kind of ‘gist that relates to the animal world but I have known many. (Mostly four legged, a few two.) From my perspective their concern is food, evacuation and something I call love. I think love exists in the animal world. Some people are uncomfortable using that word when talking about dogs and cats and elephants. Use whatever synonym you want, but even a casual server can see the affection that exists.

Perhaps we need to take a few lessons from our pets. They don’t care about three years from now. They probably don’t care about the next 20 minutes. They care about the now.  I know, I know, people can’t function that way. We need to be aware of our future and how to get there or to make it conform to our desires. But perhaps we also need to be aware of the now and not lose track. Perhaps now becomes the steppingstone to the future. Do it right today and tomorrow may take care of itself.

Jesus Walked With Us

When Jesus walked the earth

Our dear Lord Make it so

A teacher here is needed

So much we need to know

 

We sing His songs of praise

And deep within the words

Is everything we need to know

Just like the morning birds

 

We can walk the world with Him

Resting gently in this place

All it takes is a little Faith

To reach that state of grace

 

To reach that state of grace

All it takes is a little Faith

Resting gently in this place

We can walk the world with Him

 

Just like the morning birds

Is everything we need to know

And deep within the words

We sing His songs of praise

 

So much we need to know

A teacher here is needed

Our dear Lord made it so

When Jesus walked the earth

Lip Service

Now for those of you who know me, this is a warning. I guess basically it’s a warning for everybody. I’m about to have a little rant. Something has recently been brought to my attention again and I wish to vent. You have been warned.

I live my life from the seat of wheelchair. Again, to those of you who follow me you know this. It does not affect the person I am but it can have a great effect on my surroundings. I’m occasionally hampered by steps, by doors and by people. The steps and doors, I just look for another way or sometimes don’t do what I wanted to do. The people, that’s where life gets interesting.

As a child I was painfully shy. I didn’t speak up in class, I wouldn’t look anyone in the eye and I lived my life terrified that someone would speak to me. Obviously, I survived. In High School I joined the drama club by accident and I was given tools to help me deal with my insecurities. I grew to love inhabiting someone else’s psyche. And then this happened.

In my middle 20s I developed multiple sclerosis. As diseases go it really isn’t that awful. I was able to hide it for many years. But eventually it became obvious. The wheelchair is a dead giveaway. With assistance I am still able to continue to have a fulfilling life.  Our government is wonderful at mandating that society assist with disabilities. And for the most part they do comply beautifully. But then there are the other ones.

I went to see a movie a little while ago in a very big, well known Cinema. They said they were wheelchair accessible and technically they are. And here is something I don’t think most people understand. You can be technically correct and still be oh so very wrong. My wheelchair accessed the cinema perfectly but the only spot available to park said wheelchair was so close to the screen that I couldn’t take in the whole image without moving my head. There was no one sitting anywhere near me because no one wants to sit that close to the screen.

Think of sitting in front of your TV. Now think of sitting 3 inches from the screen of your TV.  Are you comfortable? When I mentioned to the manager that this was a problem and asked if there were there any other places for wheelchairs to sit, I was greeted with a shrug. You know the shrug, that raising of the shoulders to the ears that signifies “I don’t give a rat’s ass”. But because no words are exchanged it can be denied.

I did try to watch it. It was a good movie and I really wanted to see it.  I had to wait for it to be on TV where I could actually see the whole screen.

I tried to call the head office (this is a really big organization) and had a hell of a time. No one was terribly interested in what I had to say. It was brought to my attention, quite forcefully, that they had passed all the laws to be fully wheelchair accessible. I asked them if they knew what it meant to be wheelchair friendly. I swear to you, I heard their shoulders go up.

I know that things are significantly better than they used to be for people with disabilities. It will never be perfect. There’ll always be someone that is unsatisfied. I am thankful that I am welcomed in so many places. But sometimes I just want to watch a bloody movie. And in some places that is too much to ask.

There is a movie house I do frequent that goes above and beyond for wheelchairs. It is privately owned by someone who cares.

This is something these big corporations don’t seem to understand: if something benefits me and my wheelchair it also benefits many others. People with canes, walkers, baby carriages. I want to live in a world that is completely inclusive. Perhaps that is only something that is possible when individuals are involved. Corporations spent too much time looking at their  bottom line.

 

Rant completed. Thank you for your attention.

 

Continuity

 

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Things always sound better in French. It is a beautiful, lyrical language. Unfortunately, my ability to speak it is stuck at the high school level. But there are some phrases that most people know.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

We see it again, and again, and again. There were wars when people had only just learned to walk. Then the Middle Ages, the industrial revolution, the modern age, the nuclear age. We can’t seem to stop fighting. Why? If you have something I want, I can just make another. And then we would both have what we want. We live in an age when almost everything is available. I don’t like the way you do things. So, I won’t watch. There’s always a solution to a problem if you’re willing to look for it. But it seems to be easier to hate.

Too many people live in the ‘now’ and are only capable of satisfying the needs they have in this second. They are not capable of seeing a future for us all. And that leads to shortsighted and selfish decisions that hurt other people.

I enjoy living in the ‘now’ and relishing each moment but I am also able to see a future and those working to ensure that the future is tenable. It is the ‘now’ that will dictate the ‘then’. Have I confused you yet?

We want our species to continue. We want all the other species on the planet to continue. We want the planet to continue. But we also want to maintain our lifestyle, to maintain a relationship, to keep getting the coffee we love. (Okay I don’t love coffee but it is the drink of the masses so it works in this context) We like continuity. But to maintain that continuity we must allow change.

I know it seems like I’ve going off my meds or I’m smoking something funny but this does make sense. In order to maintain the lives we have, we cannot sustain the practices we are doing which will ultimately cause a cessation of everything. Does that make sense?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it through my life without too much hardship but it is coming. Our children and our children’s children we’ll be paying the price for our arrogance. Will they have an air to breathe, clean water to drink? Will they have jobs, partnerships, ideals, hope?

By fixing up the present we can guarantee the future. Is that too much to ask?