Rocket’s Red Glare

On the eve of the 4th of July, when families gather for fireworks displays, when piles of flavoured shaved ice become snowcones, where am I?

Standing in line for a sugar high in front of a community college math, science and CIS building, waiting for the US Space & Rocket Center to host a fireworks celebration of a new nation’s independence.

On a planet, what is national independence?

Don’t we breathe the same air?

Wisdom is what wisdom gives, often takes

In a world of humour — working with, hanging out with younger people — I want my jokes within blog posts and my likes within social media to prevent them from repeating what I’ve done if they can learn it faster some other way.

[Instead of telling them what to do or preaching to them…]

My nephew’s accomplishments are a prime example — figuring out international relations without working in business for 25 years — excerpt below:

“This was my first time to visit the UN. Actually, my first time in New York City.  Working with the United Nations has been a dream of mine since I was a young boy. 

. . .

“Now I understand people, not documents, protect human rights.  International governance works when purveyor of rights–people–are vigilant and unrelenting in the protection of their dignity.  For those who may not have the opportunity to self-advocate, such as persons with disabilities, we must not put words in their mouths or patronizingly speak for them.  They can speak for themselves. We, the able-bodied population, must offer our louder megaphones to them to ensure their voices find expression.  The UN works when we, the global community, work with institutions of all levels–local, regional, national, and international–to ensure “no one is left behind” in the pursuit of a world enshrining human dignity and respect.  The UN is indeed an ideal but people have the real power.  Realistic idealism, in this regard, may be the optimal method to promote and protect human rights.  We, the people, owe it to all members of society to remain vigilant, purposeful, and passionate in our advocacy. The tireless self-advocacy of persons with disabilities at the 10th anniversary of the CRPD is a poignant reminder that apathy and indifference has no home in even the most marginalized populations.  As a student of human rights and a global citizen at large, this experience changed me for the better.”

Too repetitious?

“Certain subjects begin to repeat themselves: dogs chase the Google Street View car in Peru and Russia, while a dog in Chile just stares as the car goes by; workers by the side of the road wear bright orange uniforms in one country, bright orange ones in another.” [ from the New Yorker, An Agoraphobic Photographer’s Virtual Travels, on Google Street View, by Andrea Denhoed]

Recognition

Mr. Hawking,

We don’t talk to each other but your words reach me all the same.

I understand your concern about humanity’s future.

The solar system doesn’t care, it will go on even if civilisation collapses in this millennia-long expansion of our species’ boom/bust cycle.

We may not be the civilisation that expands into the galaxy.

I hope we are but it’s not a requirement, only a possibility.

We may just send probes that float out past the solar system.

It’s not enough, you and I want more human space exploration, but our species wants more, too — refrigerated/processed food, quick(er)/automated transportation devices and holidays away from home.

Who’s going to sacrifice their beachfront megaresort moneymaker (and high social/economic/environmental infrastructure cost) for a Martian R&D outpost?

Which offshore cash-rich corporation will volunteer to pay more taxes to fund space exploration rather than reward stockholders?

Who’s going to tell little Johnny that he’s not going to get his own all-terrain vehicle because it burns polluting fossil fuel and tears up land where a rare flower grows?

That, Stephen, is the dilemma we face when the commoners are bombarded with mimd-numbing political/sports/entertainment news from birth.

I love science and engineering but it’s never an easy sell, especially when Chicken Little is crying, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

Let’s show the people how space colonisation is an integral positive part of the entertainment network and they’ll play along without batting an eye.

Sincerely,

Rick

Is it already too late for humans? Or is it never too late?

Whether sitting in an ivory tower or the Eiffel Tower, one understands that the meditative stance is the trance one achieved long ago.

Detaching human names from accomplishments, ideas and pronouncements, one observes the local phenomena of fractal spinoffs in a single solar system and nods in agreement with oneself that all is as it should be.

In one’s life, briefer than a wooden match burns to light a candle, one learns that being busy is not the same as goal-oriented activity.

One’s goals include lighting a candle for every human one knows and two for every human one does not know.

Do lumens illuminate?

What are names?

Only labels or symbols?

If an infant is assigned the name 345#%9*0hoj4;ls’, what is the effect on that person’s life?

Is your name a password?  To open/access what?

What is language?

The Sun speaks to the balls of rock and gas circling it in a language of its own star class within the larger class of celestial bodies in motion.

We make headway in social changes using our own unwritten languages, forging agreements in thin air, in brightly-lit spaces and dark, dank rooms.

Two ideas in opposition meld when mutual benefit is found in the right bullet points.

Violence is not inherent in the system, simply a carryover of our barbarian, animalistic behaviours when civilisation was still in its infancy — it will be part of our civilisation for many, many more generations to come, no doubt, coded in our genetic traits such as “fight or flight”.

Changing the topic, the subject, the object of inequality is a choice we make, deciding where the imbalance of the flow of natural resources is, finding its weighted center and shifting it first in our thoughts and then in our physical actions.

Working with those whom we perceive are pushing the inequality on us is not always the first choice in our tendency to see violence and resistance as part of the natural order.

We can choose to be Sisyphus or the boulder.  We can take the boulder away from Sisyphus and replace it with an idea whose weight is determined by its impact on others, giving Sisyphus a new meaning while performing the same task.

The best way to address inequality: change the rules of the game, change the playing field or choosing not to play?

What if the word inequality itself is a misnomer?

What if one side falls into the trap of believing it’s supposed to play the role of victim or victor?

In the competition and cooperation for the use of natural resources — locally limited, nearly universally unlimited — one makes choices, one has opportunity costs, sunk costs and hidden costs.

Avoid doublespeak in one’s thoughts to directly address the concept of inequality.

Use one’s language to understand the core issues, listening to the description of the core issues in the languages of others to see where the language barrier is the strongest and sometimes only core issue.

Inequality is a concept.

Equality is a work in progress, the daily interaction that requires nothing more than understanding we who use this language are humans sharing the same genetic code.

The Bore Wars

The Emperor Ming: Klytus, I’m bored. What plaything can you offer me today?

Klytus: An obscure body in the S-K system, Your Majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet… Earth.
The Emperor Ming: How peaceful it looks.
[He activates a console, and watches as earthquakes, floods, etc., start to occur. They both get a good laugh out of it.]

Klytus: Most effective, Your Majesty. Will you destroy this, uh, Earth?
The Emperor Ming: Later. I like to play with things a while… before annihilation. [laughs evilly]