Category Archives: Society

Dystektopia

Momma Path straightened up from her work in her garden and tapped the screen attached to her wrist. Down the road, she’d heard the driverless shuttle squeak to a stop and expected young Nicholas to come running up and around the house to find her minding her rows. When he didn’t show, the GPS pinpointing his Patch-Trak flashed his location—cousin Ben’s house across the small Appalachian valley.

Oh, that’s right, Friday night at Ben’s.

Despite the shift to being a Ward-State, the country’s school calendar remained stuck in the 1800’s. Summer became a free-for-all and Momma Path’s large farmhouse and barn transformed into school-age-mayhem central. One more week and Nick and the others will finally help me sow our greens and victuals.

At eighty, Polenna Path had, as most folks who shared her geriatric tendencies, benefited from guv’ment’s research and subsequent distributions of “health-gevity” programs. “Healthy to the end,” had been their chorus. Little had they realized, that for most, the end now came much later in life. Her morning ritual included twenty minutes of exercise and scrounging through her weekly Ward package looking for the bright-yellow blister packs and gulping her dose along with a peanut-butter protein bar that came as standard fare.

She set fists to hips and regarded her plot. A quarter acre cordoned off from the deer and rabbits, tilled to uniform rows, with the heads of corn and squash seedlings leaning toward the early June sun. When her wrist chimed, instead of glancing at the screen she spoke openly.

“Who is it?”

A guv-droid voice, sounding like the historical filmstar Julie Andrews, spoke, “The caller is Regina Walker, Ben’s mother enroute from her residence.”

“Accept. Reggie, how are you dear? I hope Nicholas is behaving himself. I’m sure those two are bracing themselves for next week. I only…”

“Momma Path, what do you mean? I thought Ben and Nick were going to spend the night at your place. I see Ben’s tracker, he’s right there on your front porch.”

~~~

100 years into the future, technology’s promise has been fulfilled. A form of UBI, Universal Basic Income, has been implemented, funded by the incredible advancements of work automation. The United States has become the fifth nation to implement the Ward-State. Those who wish it can work as they like, educate themselves as they see fit, pursue pastimes and the arts to their heart’s desire, in a word, retire. Ward benefits include medication, food and a stipend for housing, clothing and sundry needs.

Capitalism’s strangle hold on the working-poor has given way to government managed communalism. The financial cast system continues to influence the lofty regions of political office where only the richest of the rich believe they still hold sway. In general, however, corporate entities innovated themselves out of their own profits — they automated themselves out of existence.

Momma Path has witnessed the change. She welcomed the release of worry yet still distrusts the surveillance state she knows watches her every move. Today, that distrust proved critical.

 

 


Bow to your overlord: DNA

Just a brief “you should read this” note about Tim Urban’s Wait but Why site (a continual classic) and a series he’s been producing about society.

The Story of Us: Full Series

It takes hours to read, thoroughly, but worth the payoff. He exposes some clever, insightful glimpses into human behavior, couched in a Twinkie-consumable format.

I recommend it.

My personal favorite, a topic I’ve mentioned here before, DNA is our master.


Wouldn’t it be fun – to believe

In anything.

Everything.

It doesn’t matter what. Believe in fairies, pink elephants, ET, fusion, equality or Gods (take your pick). Believing is what matters. It’s the charm that tingles your bones. It’s the glitter in your eyes, the spur that kicks you out of bed in the morning. Believing—in anything—would be a relief, a welcome relief, to this vacuous hole that sucks continuously at my spirit.

Well, not so continuously. Sporadically, now, I’d say. From time to time. Why this inconsistency? It’s a cycle. Times are better for me right now. I’m afforded a respectable distance from the Absurdly Universal Void that beckons all matter and energy. I’ve got other things to occupy my mind, like Stewie the Stoic and Seneca’s bloviating blathering about death and age and Epicurus. (Seriously, Seneca wants to “do” Epicurus, if you know what I mean.)

And, not that I *believe* in anything at the moment (otherwise, you know…), but I can *imagine* believing, slipping a ladder rung or two down the “I’ve discovered Oblivion and it is me” climb I’ve taken up to the elevated view of The Nothing.

Down here, where the believers live, I’d imagine that they are happier than I am (generally). They have purpose, regardless of how futile it undoubtedly is, (they don’t care—or know—how futile). A Purpose is what they live for. Why they wake up. Why they brush their teeth and put on shoes and kiss their children. They Believe.

I think that would be fun. Sometimes, I even think I’d like to abandon this Nietzschean view of existence and join them. But…

Once you’ve seen The Nothing, you can’t unsee it.

But, you can ignore it. Find alternate diversions to take up your time. Archery, cats, archery & cats, knitting, knitting cats. You get the picture.

There are thousands of diversions one can adopt. And, for a time, believe in them, their purpose, their reason for existence… shhh, don’t say it, The Nothing is listening.


Who am I-I am who

I used to bound joyously over the pages of the ancient 1990’s internet, discovering this and that, delighting in what I found, where I meandered.

That ability, that nostalgic stumbling is long gone—swallowed by the ugly corporate-ness that the internet has become. But there are times when serendipity prevails and the blog-o-sphere renders a hitherto unknown flashback to a better, more innocent time.

This is one of those times.

http://www.aiportraits.com is a clever, engaging trip into self-indulgent evocative portraiture. Below you’ll find me, portrayed as only a computer can see me. Can you dwell into my soul? Can you sense my stoic crawling along philosophy’s garden walk?

Give it a try. It’s a fascinating way to re-imagine oneself in another age, another life, pursued by unknown lovers or enemies.


WordPress: What’s up with India?

Anybody else notice this?

I don’t pay much (any?) attention to these wordpress stats, but recently I happened to take a peek and behold, India is leading the hits. All last month and the months previous, too.

How many of you are from India? Do chime in. Let us know what’s up with you and your lives.

[This last week…]

WhatsUpWithIndia


Stewie the Stoic: Squandering time

StewieTheStoic002

[Quotes courtesy of Seneca]


Stewie the Stoic: Possessions

StewieTheStoic003

[Quotes provide by Seneca]