Friday, October 8, 2021

Real Places

Hiking the foothills of the Rocky Mountains I found my very being especially present in this amazing space. Below me lay a glacial lake glinting azure in the afternoon sun. Two amazing yet sadly dwindling glaciers melting in the Autumn of the Anthropocene Era stretch beside me. And in the distance snow-capped summits soar several thousand feet higher than me yet loom deceptively at eye level.

What also looms in the moment is the importance we give to the heres and theres of where we have been. Many times I have recounted with friends the countries, states and cities that we have visited, alongside storied memories. In fact, Idaho and Oregon remain in my unvisited state list and these two names beckon me to visit them, and yet they are just names of boundaried land. These expansive places were roamed upon by native peoples for millennia past and by native sentient creatures for eons well before a relatively ephemeral United States claimed and configured them into surveyed property entities. 

My point is that places like Idaho and Oregon (and Colorado), beautiful as the land within their drawn lines may be, are abstract concepts that sometimes align with mountain ridges, river centerlines and ocean edges. Might we forget for a moment that humans attempt to force ownership upon every square foot of the Earth? Might we envision the more interesting demarcations that Nature has drawn without any consultation of the local zoning departments?

Earth is the most obvious discreet place that transcends human labeling. Even though a handful of humans have escaped her gravity, the global environment is one planetary place all Earthlings call home.

Next, one might suggest Continents as definitive places here on Earth; however, they are but convenient manipulations of human perception. Better that we ascribe tectonic plates as the foremost geologic subdivisions. These sliding masses have discreet edges that diverge and converge, yet are locational entities that are ever more real than whimsical continents.  

Living spaces are another inherent, real location from the perspective of all Earthlings. Those places where conditions are right to support the various tapestries of life. These biomes are even more fluid than tectonic plates, shifting with the seasons and with sentient and instinctive territory movement. Human Earthlings wander with their chattel creatures anywhere they please, making us think twice about our evolutionary origins and the limits other Earthling species have in their long term survival.

Many other discreet, concrete places could be compiled. Elemental, matter phase, temperate, pressurized, photonic, radioactive, lunar influenced, seismic, et al. So many paradigms to overlook unless you are immersed in a particular scientific study or attentive to a momentary contemplation.  To be sure the variety of real places within Earth are indifferent to our human opinions. And yet the fact we can find those real places special, demonstrates our species is capable of recognizing beauty even when it doesn't rely on a connection to our self-perceived specialness--quite the ironic feeling.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

On the Impact of Large Populations

When it comes down to it majorities do rule, often with little care for minorities. Except of course when powerful minorities dominate. One might be tempted to associate these principles within human communities alone where politics and tribalism have run rampant throughout human history. Alas, the numbers game reaches well beyond petty societal squabbles, international militancy, and all the human relationship modalities in between.

The fact that Hydrogen and Helium have remained the most abundant elements in the observable Universe for billions of years demonstrates how the population of inert matter domination affects things significantly. Thus we have stars, that in time create rarer elements and the possibilities for rarer molecules and eventually the rarest assemblies of life and organized information.

Here on Earth, the dominant population of homo sapiens has become so successful via natural selection intertwined with human sacredness that a steamroller effect has decimated the diversity around us. When one travels one sees the profligacy of humanity in all the infrastructure that has been built to support higher populations of humans at the expense of the populations of everything else.

Perhaps human populations are plateauing, and perhaps human culture is gradually recognizing the implicit sacredness of other species and of the natural places that are special even if not a single human benefits from them. Sadly, much of the damage is done and the heart of a thriving, populous humanity has many centuries of decimating momentum ahead. 

All the more reason as individuals to minimize our impact while harvesting the experience of a minimalist life. Which is to say a large population multiplied by less exploitive behaviors will reduce the harm somewhat. Consolation psychology is one refuge for minorities everywhere.

Still it is possible that minority influencers might corral the herd toward better choices, choices that can result in a healthier planet from all perspectives.

Monday, August 23, 2021

A Military Transformation

One might observe that the military forces of the world have a single age old mission: protect the citizenry. 

One might also observe the militaries of the world have failed at this single mission now for many decades. Perhaps they simply have been fighting the wrong wars with the wrong attitude. Case in point, arguably the attack on September 11, 2001 was the only sizable foreign attack on the US in the past fifty years; horribly 3,000 US citizens died and the military couldn't prevent it. In the military aftermath, trillions of dollars were spent and tens of thousands of civilian casualties inflicted to counter this threat. Yet, from Iraq to Afghanistan, the only people with smiles on their faces was the industrial war complex as they swim in profits. Sadly, America has been sold that violence is the solution.

In my imagined neartopia, the armed forces will be significantly transformed. Massive navies, air forces, and infantries simply are a thing of the past. Were the nations of the world to unify under a NATO style world force they could enforce the occasional unruliness of undemocratic uprisings and warlord insurgencies. This is no easy task, but if accomplished the dream of deploying appropriate resources to actually protect citizens could be implemented.

Give the hundreds of thousands lost to Covid-19, the first new military branch I'd start is the Bio-Corp. With America's armed forces minimized our country alone would have near unlimited resources to actually addresses Nature's ongoing pathogenic attacks on our citizenry. The Bio-Corps could effectively prepare and mobilize for these outbreaks and contain them, saving millions of lives every year worldwide from would-be virus and bacterial pandemics.

Being that it is the 21st Century, next in line, I'd create a Cyber-Corps. This military branch would actively securing data transactions and intellectual property across the world. Utilizing all the modern technologies including block-chain, a single stable world currency and contract clearing house could be established that would eliminate all corrupt and criminal transactions. In the end a trust in human value exchanges around the world could be tied to actual benefit to the planet, rather than economic hubris. 

Finally, an Eco-Corps would be essential. This military branch would battle against the human destruction that has devastated the world climate, eradicated thousands of wildlife species, and generally endangered the health of the planet. Countless lives, human and non-human, would see increased safety and improved life experience were we to deploy a fully funded environmental force. 

My scheme is of course a But if tomorrow we were to retire the majority of military infrastructure, we could see real benefit across the world. We are now fighting each other for a short term taste of vestigial superiority, and a false sense of security. Our resources and our time would be much better spent directing efforts toward the real enemies that are killing our planet and our fellow humans along with it. 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Putting the Care into Communication

In essence, relationships are about communication and the effects that result therefrom. This applies from the lowliest quark interaction to grandest galactic interconnections. Somewhere in between, human relationships invoke the experience brought together by our minds and bodies.  When these complex systems interact, our lives may bloom or wither to varying degrees. 

Recognizing the human system as complex is important; millions of evolutionary years have gone into programming much of our base reactions. Nevertheless, we are not a prisoner to our natural origins; maturity in communication arises from learning and experience.  This does not mean maturity ignores base feelings; instead, it involves integrating emotional sensation and intellectual experience into the whole of being.

Feelings, in particular, may blind one in the moment. The desire to fight or take flight can be irresistible when negative feelings arise. Walking away for a short time may be the best action when emotions become overwhelming. Take a short period to reflect, and factor in your base and higher responses with what you perceive is meaningful to the other person. Don't let the fear of confrontation derail the process for too long, as such silences can suffocate the other in feelings of abandonment. Even leaving a note to indicate you care and just need some time to process can be a significant part of a mature initial response.  

Understanding your triggers and trying to understand those of your counterpart can be part of this contemplation. Whether a friendship or a romance is on the line, using deep empathy in the communication process can assist you to see the joy and pain potentials on both sides. Take this useful information and integrate it into conversation. Sometimes the communication method itself can be a trigger, as some people are less comfortable having such intense conversations in real time. An exchange of written thoughts can serve as an ice breaking mechanism. If your connection is purely online or remote, this may suffice, but ultimately the conversation should manifest as closely and as in-person as both parties feel comfortable. To that end, the ongoing relationship level reflection the mutuality that is desired on both sides.

Sometimes communication fails, usually derailing on one side. This effectively cuts the communication line, and can cause distress, especially for the one who feels they had no choice in it. Conscious or not, this is effectively a demonstration of power, not compassion. Ideally, a respectful resolution of issues between both parties is the desired outcome, permitting the relationship to continue or subsided. Alas, this isn't always the case, and an unresolved dispute may leave one or both people feeling hurt. When this type of impasse is reached one mature option could be to make a compassionate gesture wishing the other well. It may seem trite, but all can benefit if kindness gets the final word in a final farewell.

In the end, relationships are about sharing with those around us. If we share memes that are joyful and rational, the world will tend to copy and spread those good memes.  Each of us is part of and participant to the imperfect Universe, that we may wax within it with earnest intention. As such, our intentions have significant inertia to overcome and significant opportunity. If we make an effort to care and understand we will not only get better at it, we just might sway the hearts of others for the better as well. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Mission Achievement 101

Born into a world of complication we each pursue a personal journey. Projecting our vision, uplifted by our talents and within the constraints of our life we pursue a many fold path perhaps to change the world a tad, perhaps to create something amazing, or in the very least to construct experiences that feel satisfying.

Who can say what has stirred the bottom our individual visions, but ourselves. Traditions passed down for generations, an inspiring documentary or fictional account, a well reasoned desire to be part of a positive civilization. The variety of sources humans draw upon to fuel their life works is endless. One might even speculate the cause effect chain recedes atomically back to the moment of the Big Bang. Yet in our mortal lives we are touched most by our experiences, and the unique combination of thoughts and feelings that underlie the daily objectives we pursue.

How we pursue those dreams is also a unique mix of skill, available resources, especially time, and the constraints before us. In many cases we hone our perceived talents and then apply them to our vision as we can. For many if not most, the practicality of living within modern society takes first priority. The learning and skill achievement guided out of necessity to feed ourselves and the choice to pursue a family or acquire property or support a community. Education of many varieties serve as the matrix that scaffolds the pyramid of nested abilities that each human erects for themselves. To what extent each individual pursues their dreams both real and phantom, will be judged directly and indirectly by society, ones community and ones self.  

Accomplishing things in life is like so many things, a personal endeavor. There is no set linear progression or protocol standard than can ensure success. Nations, religions, self-help books, and academic institutions make those promises all the time, and to a degree may deliver. Ultimately, the individual must step forward, perhaps climbing the stairs of established societal patterns, or perhaps bouldering up a hillside not yet explored. In all likelihood, each of us will find our own path, garnering our skills along the way to sculpt a life full of positive experience that we can call our own.

Seize the day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Marriage Between Earth and Humankind

The civilization we're born into sets expectations. It's essentially an arranged marriage from the start. From an economic perspective the traditional hope has been that each human will play a proactive part in the regional pyramid scheme. The human hegemony on Earth has only been active for a few thousand years and yet total domination by our species is pretty much in place. Promises of pleasure, prestige, and power have all contributed to the ongoing proliferation of humankind. 

At the evolutionary level our bodies tell us to survive using all tools possible. At the family level procreation and loving respect fuel the drive. At the community level competition and tribalism incentivize our efforts. At the regional level nation state engines rally its people to produce at ever increasing rates to secrete opiates that entertain and empower the primal mind and collective.

As such, to date individuals generally ride currents of influence from all these traditional sources. Love of gods, of government, of family, of wealth, of career are all vertebrae of the backbone of civilization. If our goal is to build and sustain heaven on Earth, a biodiverse, planetary environment within which all Life can thrive, then the human hegemony model must be designed. Evolution moves too slow.

To achieve that end, civilization and the human mind need a metamorphosis. Imagine a world where each human is educated to the fullest with the end goal to contribute to a healthy planet; a world where every vocation plays its part in reaching and maintaining an Earthly paradise of living things. 

Who am I kidding, Civilization and Evolution are in cahoots. Humanity is the ultimate invasive species, spawning and consuming at every turn. Each human a cancer cell bent on its own salvation. The Earth is at the mercy of a paradigm that eschews compassion and reason for self gain and tribal pursuits.

It may take a few thousand more years, but it's a pretty good bet that we'll trash the ecosystem, and take ourselves with it. It's been a good run, and the Earth has the unwitting resolve to survive its divorce from humankind. In a few tens of million years, the Anthropocentric Epoch will a layer of sediment under a freshly evolving new order.