THINKING ABOUT SOCIETAL DIVISIONS

Well, I’m feeling a tad bit under the water…er…the weather today. But that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling awesome. Wait. That’s literally what that means. Anyways, I was thinking about all the content that exists on the Internet, and how little of it we actually know. I mean, think of all the memes you know. Or…don’t know. There are so many memes. Like so many. Seriously, do you think you know them all? I certainly don’t.

Which made me think about how divisive the Internet can be. We all know there is a separation between the news people read. The right reads Breitbart, the left reads Huffpost. Whether or not one is based in fake news and the other is based in reality, there is a split between what people read. Which indicates to me that we are split into sectors in the world. And it makes me curious if people have always been that way. Like, for how long have we drawn lines? That’s what countries are based on, right? Just lines that say “don’t cross this if you aren’t from here.” Before that, we had tribal lines, right? Like…I’m from tribe x and you are from tribe y. We’ve been erecting borders between each other for literally thousands of years.

Which makes me curious of how people dealt with lines before today. I mean, tribes obviously had wars, and those didn’t really end well. To me, that means one of two things. Either, we are a species incapable of change in this manner, in the sense that we are incapable of rising above our animal instincts to kill people who get in our way. OR we just haven’t gotten there yet. Do I have a clue as to what it is? Nope. But I do think that there is strong evidence that shows we haven’t gotten there yet. Firstly, we’ve developed systems to prevent illegal activity. The police are an obvious aspect, though to me it is clear that some amount of reformation needs to occur before it can actually be successful. Laws are another example, though these too are imperfect, since they can be twisted or divided in a way that favors certain groups.

So how do we move forward? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the best way to move forward is to try new things. Big border walls? Not really a knew thing. Strong armed, charismatic leaders? Not really a knew thing. A system that promotes the well being of the economic elite? Not really a knew thing. But that’s just my two cents. What do you think?

 

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Happy birthday America (also to my younger brother, so I’ll be keeping this short today)! These days have been a wild ride. Being American this year means something different than it meant last year. This year, it means that you likely do not support the current president of the United States. It also likely means that many of the political decisions being made are not in the best interest of the common man. Which, ironically, is the backbone of any good society. When the lower and middle class (AKA the bulk of a society) is doing well, there is no need for revolution. Revolution is the bane of an established country.

That being said, it is also a boon to refurbishing a failing system, and with all the political power that various corporate entities carry, it might be a good thing for America to re-experience its own revolution of thought, especially speak that the revolution that birthed this country was heavily focused on the little guys. It was about standing up to the corporation that was the British Empire. It wasn’t about putting American businesses first, but rather giving the businesses of America a shining city on a hill to display their wares equally.

That is the kind of America we need to go back to—one open to revolutionary ideology, with compassion for the commoner. Not some business-centered bull, that would suppress news media. The core of a country isn’t its corporations, but the people inside them everyday, making sure the lights come on in the morning.

——

 

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FEAR VS. LOVE

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to talk to you all about power. I have been watching House of Cards over the weekend, because I was deathly sick with something, and was bedridden pretty much the whole time. Anyways, if you have not seen it, House of Cards is a show about a politician named Frank Underwood, who uses his political prowess to rise to power, subverting the traditional means of democracy. He uses anything from intimidation to extortion to get what he wants. When people do not give him what he wants, he will not hesitate to take them out. That’s the basic idea of the show.

Now, these are all traits of a dictator, and they are pretty static concepts when said broadly (like I just did). Let’s take the famous Machiavellian quote “it is better to be feared than loved” and consider it for a moment. It’s certainly true, right? At least, for a leader. Beowulf is a famous example, who was loved by his countrymen but also, deep down, feared as well. Seriously, in the story of Beowulf, kingdoms much bigger than his refused to challenge his because he was so feared. There are many literary examples of this, but even historically it’s true as well. Stalin is perhaps the best example of fear. Stalin was an awful guy who ruled with an iron fist, but nobody questioned his title, even though it was undeserved. Those who did…well…added to the death count.

Of course, fear fails. Not immediately, but eventually. Nearly every revolution was born because someone stopped being afraid. Or rather, many someones. Eventually, someone slips through the cracks, and starts a movements that ends the regime. Whether another regime replaces that regime is a different story, but it can be said that the power of one individual runs out eventually, no matter how much they are feared.

Love, on the other hand, is ineffective for individual leaders. Certainly, it is good if a monarchy is loved, because there is less likelihood for the want of a revolution, but it is impossible for a monarch to please everyone. It’s part of why presidential approval ratings are typically not in the nineties. However, it is good for leaders to be loved in communal societies. When the focus is not on the one, but rather the collective, then the need for love increases. Typically, these societies do not have one individual “king,” and if they do have some sort of leader, that leader is not considered superior to their group. Rather, these groups need love because they need to be able to work together and discuss, constructively, the different avenues to success. Without discussion, no progress would be made.

I bring this up because we live in extremely divisive times. It seems that nobody wants to sit down and talk to each other, rather they rally behind their leader of choice, and hope to dominate the opposition. Which is unfortunate, because I think what made America great is the community. The idea that we can be individuals, but united by a single goal. Not a person, but a goal: each other. That’s something I think we need to get back to.

——

 

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THE DISCOVERY OF THE SKYFISH

Once in a blue moon, the skyfish appears,

But only to those who go to wander—

And even the wanderers do not see

The glory that is in His great visage.

 

He first caught my eye after the Spring rain,

When the sweet showers of April sunk in

To combat the drought March brought to the roots.

He was hiding at the edge of my sight

Behind blinding rays of the newborn sun,

But because I chose to shield my gaze

He granted me the knowledge known only

To those who see both the Heavens and Earth.

 

It was knowledge that no words could describe,

For in all the words that fill my journals

I have chipped away but a small pebble

From a mountain that dwarfs King Everest.

And yet I have been given this sentence,

Which knows no beginning and has no end:

To make His word—that is, the word of God—

Into a word that humans understand.

 

But with the volumes of books I have writ

More and more people have turned to my cause.

They have found His glory; His clouded scales,

And for the first time, Man has found its peace.

No children cry for their long dead fathers;

No wives waiting for their husband’s return.

There’s no violence against those who are queer—

For to the skyfish we are all mere kelp.

We all live, and breath, and bleed the same way,

Even if not all of us appear green.

 

But the quiet that fell over the Earth

Is a silence that I have found eerie.

——

 

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THE FORK

The drive home from work takes a short while. Some twenty minutes. It’s nothing special—I certainly wouldn’t write home about it. For the past few weeks, there has been a construction crew on one corner, where the road forks into east and west. I had never seen the construction crew working—I assumed they worked late at night, after I had left, or early in the morning, before I arrived. But today, things were different. As I was coming along the curve of the road that leads up to the fork, a construction worker with a large, abrasive red stop sign jumped out in front of oncoming traffic. The blue Toyota Prius that was three cars in front of me, slammed on their breaks, which caused the following cars ahead of me to do the same. I, like the cars in the lane parallel to us, did the same, and we came to a stop about fifty feet from the fork.

The construction worker was dressed in the abhorrent orange vest that they wear for their safety, with a pair of intimidating shades. It would not have appeared quite so bad if he had not had such a smug grin on his face—like he had done this solely to ruin the waning hours of our day. What was worse, is that there was a tractor with a towing cable tied to it backing up from between the fork—in that space where, if you were to drive full speed through, you would eventually hit a tree. Traffic was dead stopped, and the lanes were backing up. Still, this guy stood there with a grin on his face.

Now, I could not fault him—I mean, it is his job and he probably knows it better than I do. But the tractor was in the left lane—the one to head west. I was in the right lane, which heads east. There was a full five feet between the tractor and the lane—plenty of space to fit by. In fact he should have only stopped the left lane. I felt a twinge of anger inside me. The roar of horns behind us did nothing to calm me down, either. The incessant BEEP-BEEP BEEEEEEEEP of the horns was infuriating. I was looking around—behind me, ahead, to the sides—looking for a way out. And finding none.

Apparently, I was not alone in this feeling. In a surprising burst of speed, the blue Prius shot forward. The construction worker looked on in horror as the little machine whizzed by him. It was like the floodgates of a dam had been flung open, and our whole lane surged forward with waves of anger. But it didn’t stop there. We rounded the corner going faster—faster around the corner than we had ever gone before. Sixty, seventy, eighty miles per hour! We shot through the red light like a bullet (the blue Prius had not been quite so lucky. Its entry was met with a crater into a white Honda Civic. But small losses are needed for revolution. We sped and sped and sped like a herd of beasts through the road, until finally I came to my turn off point. I realized that I could not make my turn, and terror took hold. I was no longer the pack of noble animals coursing against the flood of a cruel system. I had become the wolf—the cruel, malicious hunter who decimated everything in my path.

——

 

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DYSTOPIA

“And we’ve returned for another exciting adventure!” The neon green man yelled out from the billboard screen. Exciting indeed, I thought to myself dryly. I was walking along the sidewalk on a dreary Monday, with the sky threatening to break above us. Like myself, everyone was dressed in gray. Gray shirts, gray shoes, gray pants, even gray scarves. I mean, certainly, not everyone was dressed in gray, but it had the gray feel to it. You know, when everyone looks so boringly the same? A couple people had preemptively put their umbrella’s up—though I wonder whether that’s because they expected the rain, or were simply too oblivious to realize that it was not falling yet. I could hear phones buzzing (nobody ever set their phone to ring anymore—who could really take the looks of wonder from strangers when an unexpected song burst out? This was no Disney movie).

I, personally, do not own a phone. Not that it’s a bad idea, but I do not have much reason for it. My family died out a few years back—my mom died after a bout with brain cancer, and I never met my father. If I need to contact friends I know I will see them at work. Work. Everyday, everybody would pile onto the tram and—what? No no no, the tram. There’s no cars where I live. There is the work space and the living space. Each tram travels along a massive circular railing, roughly 8 feet from the ground, with break points at each living space, and at each workstation. To save time, the chairs of the trams fall out and drop people from their seat onto a padded surface. This initially was a problem, until people realized (or rather, were told) that they did not need all the extra baggage they carried. There were printers at work, and everyone’s documents were paired between their workstation and their home. And besides, who has time to do anything special like that anymore? It’s not as though we had energy to do anything after we got off work at night.

After people got off the tram, they would walk through the narrow walkway back to their home. Roads were disposed of quite a while ago—they just took up too much space. The living spaces were already at their maximum safety height—at least, maximum in terms of cost efficiency to safety ratios. And the people had grown so obese that they were losing functionality sooner. A short walk to home on our own time was a little trade for both our health and government time. Still, I feel bad for the eighties. They live nearly ten miles away from the nearest tram stop. But, that’s punishment for low efficiency units.

I live in the fifteens. Fifteens are a great lot. They’re far enough away that the air is still crisp, but not so far that it’s a voyage to Tram Stop #3. There’s no “early to work” or “late to work” anymore. People come and go as they please. The companies decided it would be more freeing to do that. But there is a minimum work efficiency barrier, and in the even that it is not met the companies and the government have taken measures to motivate people to get back to work. They will limit warm water, leisurely Internet access, and reduce the quality of food flavor. Consistently low efficiency units are moved further away until they fix their problem—assuming their space hasn’t been reassigned yet. The fifteens are pretty high—I have worked quite hard to earn my flat. It even has a couch. You never really realize what it’s like to not have a couch until you sprawl out on one.

But enough thought about home. The walk to work from the tram station—Tram Station #92, to be precise—is quite a sight. The busy lights, the gray masses of men and women. It’s really something to look at. Everyone has a screen in their face, protective glasses on to keep the light from frying their eyes over time—early blindness was a sign of systematic inefficiency. The air was moist, yet as always it was nearly odorless. The light scent of rose petals wafted through the air. I’m told somewhere, a higher up has the last garden in the sector, and that we are lucky they leave the window open for us to smell it. Though, truth be told, I’m almost certain they simply pump the scent into the airwaves. Otherwise that would be a vacation attraction.

——

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CARDBOARD KID

I’m a cardboard kid.
I’m faded brown on one side
And printed white on the other.
I’m exactly what they wanted me to be
They made me out of leftovers
And drew a smile on me.
They separated me from the collective
With an industrial grade X-Acto knife.
And they played with me
To fulfill their amusement
Until they found out cardboard
Was weak and flimsy.
My legs were bent and broken,
My arms were torn apart
And I was cast aside
Like all the rest of the cardboard.
Yet I’m still a cardboard kid
With cardboard dream
And cardboard feelings
But to them I was just a play thing.
And that’s why they cut out another one.

BREAK TIME! (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Flying

He’s riding the wind

On the backs of his people

Hoping to succeed.

 

Stuck

Someone spilled the glue

And now the table is stuck.

Just like we all are.

 

The Office

“Please, DO THE MAIL,”

Read the orange sign at my desk

As the clock strikes ten.

 

Break Time!

The ducklings waddle.

They’re on their way to the pond

For a brief respite.

 

The Next Bill Gates

His shirt had a stain,

And his hair was in a mess,

Not fit for the job.

GO VOTE

Hello everyone,

 

Alright, I’ve decided to take a bit of time today to impress upon my growing readership the importance of voting (like no doubt every other website is doing right now as well). People always talk about how you should go vote, and that is super important that you go vote. Even if you are voting between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. I don’t see voting quite the same way as I think most people do, especially not the people who say that “it is your duty to go vote as a citizen.”

Voting is a decision. And, like everything else in this life, it starts with the choice of yes or no. Do you want to get off the computer to go vote or not? Well, I’ll start with reasons for not. First, neither candidate appeals to you in any remote way. In all honesty, I have no clue how this could happen, but for arguments sake lets roll with it. Lets say that you think that the only answer to all of our problems exists in putting the whole world into a black hole in space. I don’t think any candidate wants to solve problems that way, so that’s an example of this (I suppose). Hungry? Black hole it. Annoyed with the neighbors? Black hole them. It doesn’t make much sense does it. But, in this instance voting is irrelevant because you will not get any aspect of life that you want out of the choices.

The next reason not to vote is that a person doesn’t have time to. And I don’t mean “I don’t have time to” people. I mean “I work from 4 am to 11 pm with a 30 minute lunch break” people. That’s a pretty feasible excuse, and it’s a problem with society, but it’s a reality. The last reason I can see is that you simply don’t want to participate in the world as we know it. I think of monks in off the grid areas when I think of this, but the people who are completely out of touch and unaffected by the rest of the world, and do not care how the world outside of their space deals with everything, and knows their space will not be enclosed upon in their lifetimes. To be honest, those are all the reasons I can see to not vote, but again, it is your choice to vote. Let’s get into the reason why.

The reason is simple. The person elected will change how the country works and, and this is the important part, that will impact your life. “But these candidates both suck” is an excuse I hear often. So? Doesn’t one suck more than the other? Life doesn’t always give good options. Sometimes it’s jail or death. Sometimes its college ruled paper or wide ruled paper. Sometimes it’s a 10 hour shift or a 12 hour shift. Neither choice is good, or even exciting, in some points in life. But they will have an impact on you. They might start a world war. Or not start one when it needs to be started. This is the simple reality that we live in. And it’s easy to find something to agree with a candidate on. One person want’s to limit the people entering the country, one person wants to expand the minimum wage. Neither of those matter to the average person? I doubt it.

One of the things that I can understand that make voting hard is a hierarchy of values. Maybe you think that Donald Trump’s border security pitch is ideal, but you think that Hilary Clinton’s position on wages is also ideal. How do you choose? Well, which is more important? This is called a hierarchy of values. And they can be the tough choices, but they are choices that you need to make in life—life doesn’t make choosing easy every time. But if you do not choose, then things end up worse for you when the ideal you eventually decided was secondary, but could not decide when voting was happening, wins. Maybe you feel like your vote doesn’t matter. It does. Because while one drop of water does not make an ocean, without any rainfall the sea would be empty. And every drop, from the first to the trillionth, adds depth to its waters. So please. Go vote.

SPREAD THIS MESSAGE!

I can’t talk long, they’re coming for me. All I can hope for is that you will get this message. What you see around you is an illusion. Everything around you is an illusion. You can catch it slipping every once in a while. Like when you walk through a door and forget what you were doing, or when you have a sudden twitch in you eye. Or that weird buzzing that feels like your phone had vibrated, but it was just a spasm in your leg.

Why do you think, when you look through a mirror, there is always someone looking back at you? Do you ever smile because that person was smiling back? But if they are you, then who are you? Which one of you is really “you?” You see, they’ve hidden reality from you, behind computer screens and American dreams. It’s to keep your eyes away from what’s really there, to keep your mind from seeing through the lies and deception.

They’ve divided us mentally by our race, our sex, our social class, and so on. It’s ever changing to keep up as we get ever closer to understanding. And then they divide us physically. They’ll put oceans between families and walls between landscapes. There are no borders to humankind, yet we have borders between one another. Ask yourself, who put them there?

I ask, no no, I beg of you, please take this message down. Memorize it, take it to heart- we must stand up. Stand up against the enemy. Spread this message, make it the spark that starts the roaring fire for us all. Wake us up. Please!