Tag Archives: passage of time

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.

 

Religion for Seniors

 

Lord I have a problem,

I pray you’ll lend a hand!

It seems I’ve lost my way again.

I don’t know where I stand!

 

I can’t remember where I am,

Or what I need to do.

I am sitting in a church,

As I was drawn to you.

 

I’m afraid I have to say dear Lord,

That book we use each day?

The print is now so very small,

I don’t know what to say.

 

My memory is getting fuzzy,

I forget some things, you know.

Perhaps a little help is needed,

Before it’s time to go.

 

As a child I knelt with glee,

And said your prayers each day.

But now my knees are aching,

For relief is what I pray!

 

I live by your commandments,

I learned when I was young.

I sing your songs of praise,

But it sounds like devil’s tongue!

 

Soon will be my time to rest.

I pray it’s at your feet,

There is one more tiny thing,

Let’s not be quick to meet!

In the Year Two Thousand

 

We are shifting into a new culture

Different customs and arts

Embryos raised outside the womb

Buying a fetus in a supermarket

Perhaps carbon copies of ourselves

Breeding races of polka-dot people

With red eyes and green tongues

Producing choice babies

That harbour superior brains

Prime hearing and vision

Becoming unrivalled athletes

At a tender age.

We want science to rid us of

Human defects

We don’t want freaks in our new society

We eliminate diseases or hide them

From the public

While scientific advancement produces

More difficulties

Whether social or psychological

We want science to unburden the public

The gift of better physical health

Could be accompanied by emotional agony

And these are not science fiction fantasies anymore

But real dilemmas

We may be trapped in our future nightmare.

We are going to have to invent new politics

With new ideas and quests

We are playing with explosives

New technologies are so powerful

That they alone could abolish society

We can’t suffer governments to reign free anymore

For they own society

We crave a movement for authenticity

Not actors as politicians

For technology is a shock

To our nervous systems and our politics

It slowly destroys our roots.

People are beginning a search for a leader

A saviour to piece our world back together

A saviour like the one named Hitler

Society will never be as it once was

Because society is in error.

Future shock hits the old harder and sooner

For they breathe familiarity

They could once give good advice

Because in the past the future

Resembled what came before

Now we face a future that is similar

To neither the past nor the present

Both young and old will have to brave

The pressures of the future

As we walk blinded into darkness…..

 

 

 

I wrote this when I was in high school in the mid 70’s after reading Alvin Toffler’s ‘Future Shock’.

Lesson Learned

But is it?  As a species we have only been aware for a short time.  Archeology and anthropology are disciplines that delve into the scientific study of human activity.  I am sure some would say we have progressed amazingly fast but perhaps too fast.  We barely have time to understand our innovations before they are replaced by something better, faster, stronger . . .

In the seventies I wrote a poem called “In The Year Two Thousand”.  It was probably written for an English Class.  I don’t remember how it was received but it stayed with me.  Just a few lines:

We are playing with explosives

New technologies are so powerful

That they alone could abolish society

We are so excited by the next ‘new’ thing we don’t stop to question what we are doing.  That may be a mistake.  If your boat springs a leak, fix that before you invent a new propulsion system.

We have survived World Wars, pandemics, and terrorists’ attacks and we are still here. Why have we not fixed the issues that led to these problems?  Hatred, poverty, diseases are rampant and yet we are excited by a new phone.   A phone.  Yes, it does allow us to keep in touch with each other and it is a great tool.  I am afraid it has become a tether.

It really is only one section of society that is connected to the cell phone. A great deal of our world has neither the technology or the resources to support that technology. A great deal of our world is only concerned with living. They are concerned with finding enough food and shelter and safety. We have become complacent in far too much of our world. With complacency comes arrogance.

But we live in a world that is rich with resources. We live in a world that is wealthy beyond belief with raw talent. There is such an incredible beauty here right in front of us and yet too many focus solely on a 4 x 6” screen with pretty lights. Have we gotten our priorities skewed?

More than any other era, we are living in a time when almost anything is possible. Almost. There is one thing that seems to be lacking, the one thing that could change our world immeasurably, one thing.  And it is not something brand-new. It is not something exotic and rare. Will. One little word. The problem is it is more than just a word. It is action, it is a force and it is an idea. And we all know there is no greater weapon then an idea. Once it is entrenched it cannot be stopped.

But our will has been subverted by pretty shining things that distract us from the problems we need to fix.

Both young and old will have to brave

The pressures of the future

As we walk blinded into darkness…..

 

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.

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?

I Have Forgotten

 

I think I have forgotten

Some memories from my past

So many decades have gone by

I knew they wouldn’t last

 

I’m standing in the kitchen

There’s something I must do

I know that I would do it

If I only knew

 

I hope the ones not kept

Are the ones I’d like to lose

There’s the time I let it out

That is one I’d choose!

 

I think I’ll keep that time

That kinda made me laugh

Oh, then there is the meeting

I had with that giraffe!

 

Maybe I’ll remember

The fun times I have had

So many things that I have done

Things that made me glad

 

I’m standing in the bedroom

And I don’t remember why

Silly little memories

Seem to have gone bye

 

The reason I’m forgetting

May be me getting old

All the years behind me

And my future’s going gold

 

Every day’s a new day

When I’ve forgotten all the rest

Every day is wonderful

And still I think I’m blessed!

I Like Ketchup!

There I said it. It may make me a pariah but I like ketchup.  I like French fries and potato chips, hot chocolate with whipped cream and full milk. I don’t like half fat soy almond substitute.  And speaking of soy… how do they milk it? Do they have teeny tiny ants bent down pulling on a soybean’s gourds? Ha ha ha

I understand the need to eat healthy. I understand it, I don’t necessarily subscribe to it. I ate salads in my 20s and 30s, I drank caffeine free tea. I exercised and was frugal with my sweets. But I never lost the desire for gastronomical pleasure. I never lost the joy of sinking my teeth into a great big, juicy steak. I love red meat! I am so tired of hearing about how bad white bread is when I ate it throughout my entire childhood. I ate fried foods, butter, whole milk . . . The list is endless of things that are now considered bad. Maybe a little bad is good.

We are so caught up with what we should do, that we sometimes forget that everything we think is bad was at one time, considered good. In the future, the things that are considered to be good for you now could end up on that bad list. We keep changing our minds as to the validity of everything around us and then somebody will have a random thought and decide to make it a ‘thing’.  They will then scream loudly across the social media about how good/bad said item is and it will be picked up by other people who believe deeply in the person that screams the loudest. And then we will have a new ‘thing’.

We make snap decisions about everything around us and then swear up and down that it’s the truth. What is the truth? What I believe to be the truth may simply be my perception. Another person may believe the truth to be something else. Yes, I know science can prove one way or the other but even then, there is a bias. Many years ago, a scientific analysis was done on city water that was considered to be the cleanest in the United States. Tests came back and said that that water caused cancer. Thank goodness this was before social media. Because it was proven, eventually, to be inaccurate.  The area that was served by the water was so large there were simply more people.  More people, more cancer. But they didn’t take that into account. The water did not cause cancer. Fortunately, hysteria did not ensue.

Social media is a wonderful tool. It can also be a dangerous platform. Remember the squeaky wheel? People tend to believe whoever is screaming the loudest for the longest period of time. The truth is not the issue.

 

Death of a Flake

 

 

He swirls into the room

Unmindful of the stares

People stepping back

He goes where he would

Oblivious to all

But his own desires.

But then,

Something ahead

He turns

Perhaps in fear

And falters

Slowly he succumbs

Down he drops

Darting left

Twisting right

Is there no escape?

Will no one help?

Alone he falls,

Alone he dies.

A single flake of snow

Fireside.