ColGlobe At The Spoof

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Thirty years after I am dead and gone and turned to worm food, someone is liable to stumble on this commentary. They may be the first person to to read it, in fact. I don't think I have a lot of loyal readers.

In a nutshell, and I've said it before, the world as we know it is screwed. People have lost touch with reality, and reality is not working out the way we had always expected it would be. Something needs to be done approximately 25 years ago, and the only things that is being done is valuable resources are being wasted to debate what needs to be done.

Twenty years ago, the leading scientists of the world stood up and and told us all that something needed to be done, and it needed to be done soon. This is documented. It was in all the papers of the time. The uproar lasted exactly long enough for the influence of big business to squelch the publicity. What was meant to be a snowball gaining momentum was laughed off in the plenty of the times.

Near we are, a score of years farther down the line, not even a blink of a cosmic eye, and there is indisputable proof that our poles are melting. Beaches are not eroding 50 years from now, they are eroding right now, and local weathermen pass it off as "unusually high tides."

Folks, you can take your blinders off any time you get ready. If you don't wake up and take notice pretty soon, it is going to be too late for us to do any good. Some of the best minds in the world think it already is. Look at what is happening in the world, and start connecting the dots.. they are really big dots and you have to work pretty hard not to see the big picture.

  • Nearly every week, some foodstuff or other is recalled due to contamination.
  • World military forces are drawing in on the expansive oil fields of the Middle East.
  • Ice at the planet's poles is melting faster than anyone had expected.
  • Ordinary people are becoming mass murderers in whims of fantasy.

How about some more bad news:
If we eliminated 100% of our human carbon emissions tomorrow, every last bit, it would still be 25 to 50 years before the things we have already pumped into out atmosphere have had their full effect. Let me repeart that, in case the are Doctorates reading: If emissions completely stopped tomorrow, it would still be 50 years before the damage stopped increasing. Think about that very carefully, because it is important.

Think of the carbon emission phenomenon as peak oil in reverse. The theory of peak oil says that you reach a peak production, and then the availability constantly drops off from that point onward. For carbon emissions, if they suddenly drop off, it will still be 50 years before the peak is reached, at which time the slow decline would begin.

Anything we do to the atmosphere today is being done to treat conditions that we put into motion at about the same time as those first scientists were trying to raise the alarm. We are DECADES from dealing with the emissions that were released while I have been writing this. 

If you don't get the point by now, the odds are good that you never will.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Society: The Crazy Years

Some days, when I am feeling a bit more optimistic about humanity, I think you have all lost your minds. I don't hold it against you, because I don't think anyone is intentionally out of touch with reality, but it does make me cautious when I am forced to move around in the world. Your insanity frightens me, because it is an unpredictable insanity, and I have no way of guessing who might crack next, or in what direction they will go when they snap.

Half a century ago, a science fiction writer laid out a timeline of humanity, and labeled the years during the last decades of the 20th century and throughout the 21st as "The Crazy Years." During this period of time, according to Heinlein's timeline, all manner of strange behavior becomes the norm. John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up is based around the year 2010, and is filled with false "news" articles about people doing things which you and I might find completely insane, if not for the fact that those same things are happening in the daily news every day, for the same reasons that Brunner blamed them on more than 30 years ago. For him, these were not the Crazy Years, they were the end result of a society that was unsoundly based to begin with.

Any way you look at it, television stars who kill their spouses and then themselves is not normal. Exploding bombs anywhere, at any time, in protest of the loss of life is not exactly rational thought. The logic required to abduct a child escapes me. So much of what my fellow humans are capable of is based on unstable thoughts and actions that I have little choice but to admit that we have entered, for better or worse, the Crazy Years.

There is no cure for the behavior of the Crazy Years. It will play itself out an a billion minor deceits and major debacles, it will create alliances and topple the beliefs of thousands of years. And we have instances in our history that show us how it will finish out. The Fall of Rome was the culmination of another cycle of Crazy Years, and the debauchery and bloodthirst of the Empire's final decades were only symptoms of a disease that rippled throughout the entire society. Later, a second wave of Crazy Years, or perhaps the final dredges of the Roman Collapse, swept through Europe, eradicating knowledge and science in its path, and ushering in a period in our history that is simply referred to as the Dark Ages.

Are we really in the Crazy Years? Of course not. The books that forecast that period of time are purely fictional, and have no basis in fact. Never mind that the man who wrote them was also one of a very small group invited to help establish mankind's first voyages into space. Crazy Years are a fantasy.

Most adults get out of bed every day and work 40 hours or more every week, simply to give the fruits of their labors away, and start a fresh week in the same position as the previous one finished. And nobody seems to think there is anything wrong with that picture. Nobody seems to question that so much of their lives are being used to support the whims and maneuverings of the rich and powerful. My friends, I don't care what Bruce Hornsby had to say on the subject, this is most definitely NOT "just the way it is."

I have some bad news for those of you who have led sheltered lives and not had to experience the truth: There is absolutely nothing you can do that cannot be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. Nothing. Not your health, your family, your home, or your education. Everything you can imagine can be ripped away from by a single blown tire, or an errant bolt of lightning. You are not safe, and you are definitely not protected, and there is no amount of money you can earn that will provide safety or protection. Luckily, most of you will never have to experience anything worse than the loss of a friend, but that doesn't make total loss any less tragic for those who are devastated by it regardless of their effort to prevent disaster.

Are we living in the Crazy Years? Nope. Nothing wrong here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Writing: The Secret Society

Let's talk about me for a minute. ~ Alan Parsons Project

I write for a living. Whoop-de-do. Another writer who can't seem to put together a best-seller, lurking a little to the limbo side of being an author. It is not the fact that I put together words which makes me a member of that elite group, but more a factor of the words I am paid to weave. I write product reviews and how-to articles for the most part. I teach you how things are done the right way, and why you should buy this product instead of that one. It is not a glitzy occupation on the surface.

But underneath, I have my fingers on the very wheels of capitalistic society. With a few clicks of my mouse and several tens of thousands of key presses, I tell you what you want, and convince you of what you don't want. I mix facts and fantasy in a way that makes it difficult to separate the two, and dish it out a few hundred words at a time, not as the gospel truth, but as something more basic. I give people without confidence the desire to make something of themselves, and encourage people who will never use them to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment that is destined to collect dust and do little else.

That is how I am a member of that select group. Without ever seeing it happening, I somehow went from being one of us, to being part of the mystical them who makes the rules and decides the fads. And I do it off the top of my head, often in the very wee hours of the night.

Who else is a member of this elite club? I have no idea. I have talked to a few of us, but most of those I have talked to really aren't moving and shaking anything except their own egos. And the ones who are helping to shape what society sees.. they don't realize it any more than I did for a the first year. We are such a top-secret organization that we don't even know who the other members are. Less than 1% of us even realize what it is we are doing.

I read a book some years back by a man named Clive Barker. If you want to read some quality storytelling, Mr. barker is one of the best. He doesn't seem to know the difference between the words procrastinate and prevaricate ( an error that I have noticed in several of his books), but other than that one flaw, I have found very little in his tales that is mediocre, and nothing that is poorly told. But I brought him up to present an example.

The book in question is titled, The Great and Secret Show, and centers around the fantastical notion that the dead letters office of the post office contains an intricate collection of conversations and hopeless searches for some corner of reality that lies somehow just beyond comprehension. The story becomes much more fantastical as it unfolds, but this basic notion gave me reason to stop and ponder, and my conclusion is that the writers of the world are only another facet of that great and secret show. We do not exist in some alternate reality, but we are in the business of creating them on a regular basis for others. We add the scent of lemons on a summer afternoon, and sprinkle a light mist of pollen on the branches of trees on spring mornings. We define the way a particular dog barks, and set words to the music that soothes the heart of savage beasts.

Writers are not creatures of other dimensions, or demi-gods of this one, as the characters in that book, but we are the closest thing to it that exists in the world, so far as even "they" know. Without us, your world would be less colorful, your meals would be less tasty, and everything you do would have less meaning. Those things are defined by people like me. We don't even have to know anything about them in order to make them real, we simply imagine them into existence, and pour them on a cold screen where they congeal into something that almost looks like the real thing.

I cannot speak for other writers, but I have a very strong suspicion that those of us who belong to the club write, not because we want to, but because we somehow have to. We write for the same reason most people eat, or sleep or breathe.. we do it because we have no choice. Myself, I can set down my pen or close OpenOffice any time I want to, but I can't walk awy from it. Somehwere farther along the path, I will return to gluing together random words. If I don't write, something inside me becomes constipated, and I find myself having more and more trouble keeping fresh thoughts flowing, because I have not set others to rest. Ghosts of concepts wake me up from a sound sleep, and tell me that I have something I need to do. I write for the same reason a lizard catches flies.. because it is what I exist to do. And that is the qualification that I think defines our special club.. people who don't write from choice, but from necessity.