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]

What is peace?

Once again, I have made peace with the world.

What is peace?

Peace, of course, is a concept, a label, a symbol, all of that.

I do not exist, therefore a nonexistent entity making something called “peace” is all imaginary.

The world is easy enough to grasp as both an entity and a concept.

At a multicellular level, I am not at peace, my body always fighting entropy, battling bacteria and viruses floating around in my system, breathed in and pooped out on a regular basis.

So what, then, is peace?

It means I have let go of the parts of me that in my youth wanted to explore the universe off of this planet.

I am no longer 5, 15, 25, 35 or even 50.

To be sure, age is just a number and more than one person my age or older has traveled to the International Space Station orbiting Earth but I am not them.

I am me.

It is in my personal best interest, healthwise, to fold up the circus tent under which I was entertaining people around me and return to the meditation platform in the woods where I can rest during the day whilst quietly spending half of the night shift working alone preparing blood product inventory for delivery to hospitals.

I am contented, not necessarily happy, but able to enjoy myself and no longer fill my thoughts with the lives of others who, although they gave me a level of exuberant happiness, also left me feeling old, unable to keep up with their busy lives, as busy as I was when I was their age 25-30 years ago.

I unattach myself from the surface of others whose lives I mimicked as a chameleon.

I am happiest here, writing, wherever my butt is seated and my hands have a keyboard or pen and paper on which I compose these ditties.

Peace is simplicity and frugality.

Peace is my thought set devoid of a running commentary justifying its existence, shouting for attention, and seeking quick thrills.

Delta, Dawn, Dune

Connections.

Networking.

Talking Sister Rosetta Tharpe with one friend, capacitors with another, and how to properly brew Piper & Leaf branded tea with a third.

All within the greater community connection that is dancing.

Yes, dancing has connected me to the following, at the least:

  • Cosplay/Dragon*Con
  • Oil change discounts
  • Barcode readers
  • Weekly social gatherings
  • Outdoor photography with friends
  • LGBT rights
  • Rocket/missile engineering/engineering in general
  • Juggling multiple jobs
  • Local Maker movements
  • Online roleplaying/multiplayer gaming
  • Massage/physical therapy
  • Haunted buildings/locations
  • Multiple emotional/mental conditions (depression/bipolar/dissociative/schizophrenic, etc.)
  • Traveling for weekend dance competitions (not unlike car racing, gymnastics, tennis, etc.)
  • Recruiting
  • Promoting/marketing
  • Local art communities
  • Municipal growth planning
  • Extraterrestrial exploration/colonisation
  • Greater exposure to different music genres
  • Polyamorous relationship management skills
  • Watching young people expand their talents into other fields
  • Watching people 40 and older rediscover the simple joys of living
  • The international language of dance overcoming all socioeconomic sub/cultural barriers
  • Myself

In times past, I spent Sunday mornings meditating on a subject or two, often asking more questions than reaching conclusions, setting up thought trails to explore the rest of the artificial seven-day block we call a week (trying living without a watch or calendar and see if you recognise a week; you might tune yourself into periods of a day and a lunar month but will you feel a week go by if there are no specific days you need to do anything?).

My latest electronic project has turned into the next evolution of the personal care chair, a seating device that senses your posture, wrapping itself around your torso and gently correcting your posture, working pressure points to ease muscle/ligament/tendon pain, keeping you alert when you need it and reminding you to relax occasionally, as well as push you up to exercise your body, tied as it is to your fitness tracking device (smartwatch, phone, wristworn activity tracker, etc.).

I started physical therapy recently to work my upper body, hoping to build muscle and bone mass in an effort to stop the bouts of vertigo my general practitioner/primary care physician believes is caused by pinched nerves in my neck/spinal column.

One of the physical therapists I also met through dancing.

Is there anything anymore in my life that isn’t related to dancing?

We live on a small planet, third cooling molten rock mass from the Sun, so I know better than to feel or act shocked that we humans connect through common interests.

Yet the child in me enjoys amazement and awe.

The teenage boy in me enjoys his own amazement and awe that is kept at bay for no other reason than I am what I am, an awkward nerd whose looks, age and ability to deflect people away from the real me through the art of conversation gets tiring after a while.

Sometimes I wonder why I carry an eclectic set of social data in my thoughts from which I can parse sentence structure and make sense in general conversation whether I know what I’m talking about or just am interesting enough that people ignore my ignorance, inferring from the few words I blurt/write that I know more than I do.

The wisdom of aging has its advantages.

Time was when I wished I was wise enough to seek wealth.

Then the training of my youth kicked in, driving me back to the monkhood for which I was destined.

I don’t know how to live in two worlds and the confusion has clouded my weekly meditative writing.

Two worlds, one which is the monkhood with my marriage that I gladly enjoyed for ten years, the second is the sexual attraction infused in dancing that counteracts my celibate marriage and draws me to see human bodies in a way that constantly confuses me since the nerd in me has no experience seeking out sexual relationships with others.

The denial of sex with others has fueled my creativity for decades, including writing and electronic gadget construction.

Dancing fuels my writing but takes away from my laboratory time.

At my age, 55+ years, and in semi-retirement, working for a local nonprofit, what or who am I?

Does anything matter anymore — labels, symbols, philosophical stances, subcultural beliefs?

The child in me and the future geriatric self wait for an answer that may not exist.

I return to the mantra that I do not exist, therefore I am not important.

I am at peace in my thoughts.

That much I know.

At my age, that’s all that matters.

I spend the day with my wife, give her the attention she seeks from her life partner, a person who lets me be me as long as she feels important (the primary person in my life), a person who feeds me and clothes me, for the most part taking care of me and my health.

What else am I to do because I don’t know how to care for myself?

I sit here and write, that much I know about feeling peaceful.

Everything else is just random interaction in the connectedness of the dance world.

I need not find patterns where they don’t exist.

I need not project the future in hopes of saving our species from global destruction.

I will die soon enough, might as well remain as peaceful as I have in the past, enjoy the ride and not question the beneficial/detrimental effects of the transportation device.

I no longer struggle with who I am.

My actions speak louder than words.

No need to be confused.

Breathe, eat, sleep.

A set of states of energy in motion which needs no overlay of symbols to justify its existence; i.e., the secret to happiness.

Live and let others live/die as they please, interference from me unnecessary.

[On a side note, I wonder if the Meclizine and ondansetron, combined with physical therapy easing decades of pain, have led to this new calmness in my thoughts…certainly, uncertainty about my vertigo and the piercing pain in my neck for 40 years have made me feel like I’ve always been running away from something; now that I have a solution, I don’t need to run away anymore, no need to pretend to be someone else in order to hide the real physical pain that has defined me since high school, from which I used to think there was no escape.]

If I am dying…

If I am dying, and at this point I have no idea what has been causing a myriad of medical conditions that grow worse (or deteriorate faster?) so, since we’re all dying, then I am dying, perhaps faster, perhaps slower than others but slowing down all the same, I have a confession to make.

Compared to billions of us, very few get to live a life that makes headline news.

Even fewer live that life.

Some of us don’t want to make headline news.

What we’ve done, what we’ve become, what we can’t undo or take away from, I am that person.

I want to live on Mars with Guin, no doubt about that.

But if she knew who I was, would she ever want to live on Mars with me?

For you see, I was once a drug dealer.

I am a fictional character so please don’t compare what I’m about to tell you to the person writing this.  This is my confession, not his.

I lived in the Fort Sanders area of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the early 1980s.  I imagined myself a future James Agee or Cormac McCarthy.  I wanted to be a writer of fame and fortune but settled with writing for writing’s sake, meeting people who could transform the written page into a carnival freak show.

The freaks accepted me into their groups but more than one called me a poser.

They saw me as suburban subcultural vanilla ice cream, pretending to rebel.

Of course they were right.

I’ve never rebelled.  I, like them, am part of the system.

Rebels do not exist.

But that doesn’t stop us from acting out the us-vs-them age-old nonsense.

A friend of many decades now had lived the life of the rebel since high school but grew up in the suburban subculture of Oak Ridge, a/k/a Atomic City.

He and I quickly became lifelong friends for reasons he’s never fully understood and I’ll never convince him.

I should give him a name but I won’t.  He doesn’t have to have a name, he exists here and in real life with or without a fictional label.

I wanted my writing to have some oomph so I let our friendship play out, taking personal risks of my own, getting to know so-called shady characters who were colleagues of colleagues well outside the circle of friends my lifelong friend thought we both knew.

In any organisation, well-formed or ad hoc, someone assumes control of the legitimacy of the organisation, protecting the rules, circling the wagons when the organisation’s rules or members are threatened.

In the new world I wandered, often alone at night, across the old railroad yard that would become the 1984 World’s Fair, I encountered protectors.

You wouldn’t recognise them as such.

Sometimes they were just old bums, hobos, homeless people, strangers who had chosen the outcast role through decisions they made in the middle of life we all live.

The railroad wanderers were instant friends.

They knew I, too, was lost, never fully buying into the bullshit that society dished out, trying to convince us it was precious caviar.

In the summertime, one can sleep against a tree, on the concrete shelf of a highway underpass but rarely in the confines of a sweltering hot, rusted-out storage warehouse.

I wanted to disappear.

I was ready to abandon all hope that I would ever belong and sat with a few guys down on their luck.

We all have stories to tell but not always the brain structure that allows us to rationally convey our stories.

Such was the case with the guys I met on the railroad.

“Down on their luck” sounds like if they just had been offered a helping hand at the right moment they would live in better socioeconomic conditions.

Not so.

Many of them would have enjoyed a social safety net that put these guys in a mental institution with regular beds, nutritious meals and activities to occupy them while doped up by Big Pharma.

Instead, they had guys like me, guys who carried a little extra weed, happy pills and needles to distribute, guys who wanted to ease the pain they saw in fellow wanderers.

My lifelong friend thought that I just tagged along with him as a quasibodyguard when meeting with dealers higher up the distribution network.

So that’s what I gave him, and still do.

He didn’t know I was the perfect mark for some of the dealers, an expendable person who could carry out tasks unafraid to die, perfectly paranoid enough to smell narcs and clean-looking enough to avoid suspicion by government authorities hellbent on squashing the illegal drug epidemic while promoting the legal drug epidemic enthusiastically.

I’m not idealistic.

I’m not realistic.

I just am.

I became a rule enforcer for people whose names I’ve conveniently forgotten and whose faces I choose rarely to verify I know them with a nod in large crowds.

I enforced rules in various ways, keeping up-to-date with technology to know what the fuzz was using to track dealers, giving them a few smalltime dealers as sacrifices to protect the integrity of the organisation with no name.

The distributors gave me extra product on the side as a thank you, hinting at people to watch for on both sides of the law, including local politicians who were part of government contracts involving transactions that didn’t need to make headline news.

Of course, the names of lawyers and cops in times of need.

I quickly learned the names of all dispatchers, including ones working for the University of Tennessee police department — getting to know them was like owning my own goldmine, collecting information at informal gatherings in bars or at offcampus parties, knowing in advance when a raid was going to happen, earning a lot of extra product when I passed along tips to the right people.

If that was all I did, I would live today with a clear conscience.

If I am dying, I would like to make a confession.

Some people are not alive today because of me.

And no, I’m not just talking about sweatshop factory workers in a tropical climate dying because they were exposed to toxic chemicals all day.

I’m talking about the ones I had to take care of myself.

Ones whose lives and deaths were not going to make headline news.

People who could disappear without a trace and no investigators would snoop around to solve a crime.

In the pre-Internet days, it was easy.

Not a lot of closed-circuit television in the student slums.

No inadvertent audio or video feed from a smartphone.

Just strangers passing through town on empty boxcars looking to make a dollar or two, get a free bottle of cheap booze (or mouthwash) and maybe score some weed or heavyduty upper/downer.

Unreliable as can be.

But more expendable than me.

Hey, self-preservation is the name of the game, after all.

If they messed up, and, say, I got a little angry, their disappearance was a small price to pay to make me happy again, finding another mark down the food chain to complete a task assigned to me or I had dreamed up myself to protect the organisation that didn’t exist.

My problem is and was my writing.

If I don’t “confess” to myself in my writing, then thoughts will fester and grow cancerous, eating away at my insides like spiders that enter your nose every night, feeding on microorganisms living in your mucous membranes.

For decades I have hinted at my years of drug dealing, working as an enforcer, a snitch, a hitman.

I wanted to wait until I knew I was dying before confessing here to you as a fictional character.

I’ve let my paranoia get the best of me sometimes, sure that I’m being followed by guys from the old neighbourhood, seeing them pop up unexpectedly in my world travels, or reading headlines on websites I frequent that make me sure my phone is being bugged.

It comes with being successful, afraid that someone wants to steal my success from me, turn me in, or take me out as revenge for someone I never got to know before his demise because of me.

In those days, I should have carried a black book but learned quickly, as I think I’ve told you, to quit being a student and clear my brain to store information and connections in relation to my real “job.”

I’m filled with more guilt than I want and less than I should have.

I know I shouldn’t say I take pride in what I did but it made me who I am, carrying over just a few of the connections to help me succeed while hiding under the cover of a normally depressed intellectual.

I also hid under cover of a childhood friendship that turned into a marriage of 30 years, something I wasn’t expecting to happen but accepted I don’t always get what I want when I’m hiding incognito in plain sight.

If I’m dying, I don’t need to hide anymore.

I can just move into a van down by the river and hang out with my kind again, the seriously unreliable, unpredictable wanderers, living out my days in bliss, maybe helping out the organisation again because I sure don’t need to worry about my life getting cut short now.

I still want to go to Mars or whatever the fantasy of Mars means in a life with Guin.

But I don’t know if Guin can handle who I was and might still be, needing to quench my thirst as an enforcer every now and then when I wander off for hours or days, out of touch with the always-on, fully-connected tech that I don’t want tracking my paranoid self.

I am not who people think I am.

I am connected to people you probably don’t want to know because if they need to have a reason to get to know you, it’s not for your own good, possibly for your sudden, unfortunate demise, disappearing in ways that investigators won’t question — car accidents, terrorist attacks, plane crashes, heart attacks, rapid cancer, accidental overdoses, etc. — perfectly natural in today’s world (in fact, fully aligned with actuarial predictions).  Untraceable becomes a lot easier when there’s no suspicion.

That’s one advantage of being fully immersed in computer modeling.  Not only can I be a fictional character, I can act out test scenarios for the real me before he carefully carries out the trash himself.

If I’m dying, I’ve fully confessed.

I feel a lot better.

I can go back to imagining a life with Guin, go back to looking up jobs in other cities, find a flat that someone is letting, move on, get away from the local organisation that’s putting pressure on me again to get back to work with/for them.

I’m a wanderer.

Sometimes I’m even a happy wanderer.

If I’m dying, I want to wander happily to the end.

This planet, Earth

On the middle part of the North American continent, with noncontiguous parts involved, a 24-hour period of time set aside to remember dead humans who swore to protect and defend a social group, an organised cultural entity called a government named the United States of America.

On this day, many celebrate family ties.

Some, like me, spend time with family but also spend hours in a work shift collecting blood from donors to save lives of civilians and government military workers as needed.

Our species is built to compete against and cooperate with members of its kind for planetary resources, resorting to organised violent attacks sometimes.

Remembering the sets of states of energy no longer actively participating in our daily lives helps us relearn what they learned but also to live and learn more.

The apparent opposite poles of war and peace are illusions.

We flesh eaters burn a lot of energy, that is all.

How we burn energy in the future is the debate of which I’m most interested today.

The dead and fallen give us the right and permission for such a debate any day, of course.

Let’s start now…

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

Grand eloquence

In the global economy and more specifically, locally, war is big business — metallic ballistic missiles, cyberwar, etc.

With war follows the lawyers defining legalities.

And everywhere, statistics.

In the midst of all that, I live.

What “I” is will always be up for debate but generally I is enough of an entity on human timescales for other humanlike entities (including animals, insects, plants, bacteria, etc.) to respond to.

In other words, it’s the scale that matters.

Scalar.

Blind justice.

Location data tracking.

Windmills.

Asphalt shingles.

Rotting decks.

We pretty much understand the meaning of the last six words/phrases in our time and on our timescale.

Which reminds me, I need to clean off the sticks, twigs and limbs that have collected on my roof since it was replaced a year and a half ago — yeah, I’m that lazy.

In my thoughts, I give myself the freedom to live wherever I please, the only true illusion of freedom I have because scale has no meaning in my imagination (although in reality, scale means everything to my thought processes).

At my age, I have explored most of the thoughts and subcultures I’ve wished or been able to explore.

My curiosity thrives but my willingness to move this post middle-aged body diminishes slightly.

Yet, billions of people live together on this planet, some newly released from their incubating wombs, some returning to a womblike state ensconced in a coffin — millions and millions of them yearn for a life full of sated curiosity states, regardless of scale.  Some will satisfy themselves with the simple lessons taught them by parents who wish to carry on old traditions, curiosity not encouraged or thought of.

Who am I to say what is right or wrong about how any one of us lives?

All I can do is observe and learn, applying the information, knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained to myself at timescales I can work with, using the tools at my disposal or the materials I can reach/afford to build my own tools.

This week, I relax, take a break from pushing my writing capabilities that can inhabit the thought sets of people unlike myself — be me for once.

I pull back into the scientist/engineer role most familiar to me, analysing data from experiments set up for my use.

It frees me to explore the universe without getting involved in local subcultures and accidentally revealing trade secrets in my confessional style of writing.

I don’t like keeping secrets.  I left the world of commercial electronic product development in part because I was no longer interested in climbing the corporate ladder where secret plans and pacts increased the higher you climbed.

The same is true of the subcultures I’ve participated in.  When participation requires keeping secrets, I return to my core self where I can be whomever I wish to be and write about it.

I’ve chosen to limit my friendships and work relationships in return for my personal freedom.

My father, a cousin of mine and friends in corporate management never understood that I could keep secrets like the best of them, even better than some, and yet was willing to walk away from a lucrative career for so-called intellectual freedom.

I don’t have a dogmatic philosophy to fall back on and quote at this point.

All I have is this space here, where I can write to myself everyday just as I used to sit with my mother after school everyday and recount in boring detail what happened at school, or talk on the phone for hours with my father, recounting what for him was thrilling detail about my corporate advancement, while I sought advice from both as to the best way to proceed with interpersonal relationships.

My wife has served as that sounding board until recently when I wanted to explore the mental possibilities of life without her; I then brought her into the conversation to give me something to write about after the fact.

I should walk around with a warning sign around my neck, “If he gets bored, look out!  He’ll find a way to make life around you thrilling enough for him to write about!”

That’s it for today.

I’m switching from the day shift at work to the evening shift, freeing my days to be by myself again, releasing me from the pressure to have to pretend to want to spend time with my wife and friends.

One thing about my self-aware autism, it borders on being sociopathic, which means I try to make up for it by turning on my empathy network when I’m with other people, which burns me out eventually.

It’s best when I’m alone with my own thoughts to analyse in cold, detached nonemotional laboratory conditions.

It’s why I love my life as a blood courier, helping to save lives while I’m left alone to drive for hours at a time each day, watching the world go by like an amusement ride, entertaining my own thoughts while I think up a new blog entry to write, turning on my charm and empathy as needed.

Pushing through the muck

Lee had not forgotten about life on Mars.

The colonisation process occupied the widest path in his thoughts.

Lee practiced being human and detoured from the path to remind himself of the frailties he once faced daily.

He reminded himself of love, what it was like to converse in realtime without the safety of the Internet between two people, having to see into each other’s smiles, smell each other’s bodies, risk tripping over words and word meanings.

But Mars was always there.

He challenged himself and the team to make AI entities more humanlike for the human tourists who visited the Moon and Mars.

Not “uncanny valley” human.

Less mechanistic.

More compassionate and understanding, able to read emotional states in silent interchanges between AI and humans.

Not just behavioural science but a more scientifically holistic approach to human-machine interface.

How to understand unspoken painful memories.

How to interpret sarcastic statements without knowing the socioeconomic subcultural history of the speaker/writer.

Lee expected perfection and settled for nothing less.

He set the example of himself to the team, willing to face his own deep, dark secrets and painful memories to program and test AI algorithms against the rest of the team, refining the code so that it was not tuned to a single personality archetype or body type.

He had been an artist from childhood.

But he was also a scientist and engineer.

A computer engineer and social engineer.

Computers programmed to perform only a few functions could be seen as megalomaniacs and single-minded narcissists from the wrong perspective.

Lee preferred the 360-degree view.

Act Two enters Stage Left

Lee walked around the wooded neighbourhood with his wife one last time.

He wanted a pleasant memory to go with the times he’d hiked with her on the Appalachian Trail when they were 14 years young, or when they tubed down a river near Banner Elk, NC, at the age of 12, burning their skin to blisters.

Penpals for six years, dated for six years, married for over 30 years.

After their walk, Lee lit a small piece of peat turf he’d brought with him from Ireland, a nod not only to the times he’d worked on the Emerald Isle but also to shared ancestry with his wife and their recent trip to England and Ireland.

Lee lived a narrative tale, thought out years in advance, able to laugh at the universe and its way of interrupting plans, rewriting narrative, redirecting storylines and plots.

Lee hadn’t meant to meet Guin.

But it happened.

As his wife said, she had pushed him for 25 years to go dancing and she was losing him to very thing that she thought she wanted to do more than he did.

But she wasn’t losing him to dance.

She was giving Lee the extrovert freedom he’d craved from their honeymoon onward, noticing she shushed him and slapped his arm whenever he acted like himself.

She had given him stability when his extroversion knew no end.

But it had driven him to suicide, knowing inside that his extroversion was a symptom not the cause of his acting out.

Guin had given Lee free rein for his extroversion, which was the calming effect he didn’t know he had sought.

They had fallen in love and fallen out of love, walked toward each other, almost ran, bouncing up and down, itching to dance, and walked away, exploring other avenues of thought and action, not talking for months.

Lee watched men and women come and go in Guin’s life, not getting in the way of her freedom to be herself.

Sometimes, neither thought the other might show back up.

But they persevered.

It was for something greater that they had become friends for life.

Lee drew a long breath of turf smoke into his lungs, igniting memories of Ireland, old memories, centuries old, of working the land, of close-knit communities, of families helping families.

Lee loved life.

He loved living large.

He also preserved time to write about his life.

Lee watched cars go by the front of the house from his viewing point in the sunroom, the steel-blue sky silhouetting trees standing still in the hot spring evening like statically charged hair standing on end.

Would this be the last time he sat out here alone?

How did Guin fit into the rest of his life?

A tree frog glued to a sunroom window croaked.

Lee sipped tea from the tentacled mug he’d bought at Lowe Mill, becoming instant friends with Sycat, who turned clay into art from which one drank tea or served cookies surrounded by an octopus or lizards frozen at play.

How did Guin fit into the rest of his life?

He didn’t need to ask her.

They were artists at heart, just like their shared group of friends and their friends they didn’t share.

Artists fit into each other’s lives like jigsaw puzzle pieces that changed shape at will, making a bigger picture together.

Lee no longer worried about a future without Guin.

Lee knew where he was going.

He’d planned it for decades.

He just hadn’t known who was going along with him.

He saw his face reflected in a sunroom mirror and smiled at himself.

He nurtured enough of his doubts to give his confidence an extra balancing boost, his form of mindful meditation, a built-in self-diagnostic test he’d developed in conjunction with his work on CPUs as a teenager in the 1970s.

He didn’t mind looking back on his life and recalling the fond memories he’d shared with others, including his wife; after all, the memories had formed and would continue to form who he was in the moment.

Accepting rather than denying his whole being, the everchanging set of states of energy in motion, had taken him to this moment, a moment full of anticipation, full of uncertainties, full of thrills, chills and falls.

Lee nodded.

One more trip with his family in its current shape to celebrate a college graduation, Mother’s Day and a couple of birthdays.

And then…?

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.