Tuesday, March 03, 2015
As society changes, so it seems does the subconscious, and I'm a bit leery as to the message mine has been trying to get across to me lately. You see, in the last few weeks, I've noticed a brand new "recurring theme" in my dreams: being lost with a failing/dying GPS or smartphone. Usually it's somewhere in the city or another location I'm vaguely familiar with (at least my dream-mind is) but don't necessarily know how to get around, but sometimes I haven't the slightest idea where I am. Sometimes I'm late for something, adding to the stress levels, and sometimes I'm just scared shitless because of the extra-creepiness of wherever the hell I am. But they're usually similar in one respect: The battery is about to die, and I, for the life of me, cannot get the technology to work properly for whatever reason. That reason ranges from issues with Siri (a very REAL issue my REAL self has in REAL life), or hitting the wrong buttons, or for some reason having an unfamiliar phone. In some dreams, I'm on a bike or scooter for some reason. I don't know.
What I do know is that while yes, it's true I have an utterly piss-poor sense of direction and religiously depend on GPS for any trip that involves a journey of more than three roads, I don't think I have an actual FEAR of being lost, much like I don't really have a fear of being naked or late, despite what my dreams may imply. Which means, much like those other staples of dream-repeats, the whole being-lost-with-technology-of-questionable-quality thing is really just another front for some deeper, less obvious neurosis. But what? Armchair analysts may jump in and say stuff like, "it signifies you feeling lost in life, or your fear of not being in control, or yadda yadda yadda." Which may all be true; I just find it fascinating that my brain has updated it's repertoire for the 21st century, and wonder if any other of the "standard scenarios" were similarly spawned from emerging technology.
For example, many people have dreams in which lights don't work, or it's dark, or for some reason they can't see properly. Was this scenario, in fact, created by the sudden popular use of electric lighting? I also often have dreams in which I can fly. Well, not like Superman up-in-the-sky flying, more like hovering just over the ground. I'm walking down the street, I take a giant step, and just never land, floating all the way to my destination. Could this be a deeply-rooted skewed take on my ancestor's fear of operating that newfangled device called an automobile? Did ancient farmers actually ever dream of being late for something, given that they were really just kinda stuck on their property, or did they start having nightmares about their new aqueduct system suddenly running dry?
We may never know, but it'd be interesting to see how other emerging technologies seep into our subconscious and start affecting our dreams. I hope to one day (er, night) be dreaming about my transporter sending me to the wrong planet.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Yeah, I hated that game.
In the classic Chicken-and-Egg conundrum, I'm not quite sure which came first; my intense and primordial hatred and loathing for strictly-timed mental-aptitude tests which therefore governed the deeply rooted anxiety that game brought out; or the deeply rooted anxiety that game brought out, which in turn fed my intense and primordial hatred and loathing for strictly-timed mental-aptitude tests. In other words, do I despise the game because of what it is (basically a stress test) or do I hate what it is because of the game?
I do find it amusing there's a warning label on the box that simply says, "Choking Hazard...not suitable for children under 3", as if that's the only danger this game poses. I believe it should really say: "Psychological Hazard - may cause aneurysms due to exceedingly-high stress levels... may scar your child for life and cause him/her heightened anxiety when placed in similarly stressful situations down the road.... Side effects may include heightened agitation near clocks, an unnatural fear of geometric shapes, and a constant feeling of being 'rushed'... " To this day I can't play games (board, video, or otherwise) which force players to complete a certain amount of tasks before time runs out. And despite working in the publishing field, the thought of strict deadlines makes my heart palpitate. Sometimes, while working on a desperately-needed layout, I feel as if any minute my keyboard may go BAM!!! and spray key shrapnel everywhere like a Vietnamese booby-trap.
Thank you, Milton Bradley, you sons of a bitch.
(NOTE: Thanks to Steve for the inspiration to write this entry, who somehow was able to recite the entire Perfection jingle on cue.)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
I am by no means a scholar, so anyone expecting a deep philisophical discussion on the political climate of today's world can just skip to the next person's blog. No, this is merely an attempt to straighten out the thoughts in my head, which at this moment involve the means to a Utopian Society, and why humanity's abusive nature will never allow one. But first a prologue to that idea.
I am a big believer in the 'universal balance', the idea that light cannot exist without dark, good without bad, the duality of the cosmos, karma, etc. It is the fundamental Yin-Yang theory, and one of the reasons for getting one tattooed on my leg; the other was to symbolize my personality in general. That's not to say I have a split personality; it's more about the duplicity in my beliefs, the ongoing series of arguements between the devil and angel on my shoulders, with rarely a clear winner. I tend to see both sides of a story as having legitimately good and bad points, with different shades of gray, and have a hard time deciding which side I'm on. In trying to resolve conflicts, both internally as well as externally, rarely do I find one side unequivically right and one side inarguably wrong; to me life has always been a wide spectrum of grays, the trick is to determine which side has the lesser amount of it. Unfortunately human beings are probably the single biggest gray area in the cosmos, which makes them the hardest to figure out and predict. Here's why: the more complex you make a mechanism, the more chances there are for things to go horribly wrong. You see it in cars, you see it in computers, and you see it in living things. A grasshopper is not as likely to maul you unprovoked as a dog would; likewise, a dog is not as likely to imprison members of your family in a power struggle to gain control over the household as, say, some humans might do to a country. The human brain is the single most complex mechanism known to exist, and thus the most unpredictable. Yes there are 'good' people and 'bad' people, (and let's not forget these very concepts are based on perspective) but very few of us are totally 100% saintly (yin) or completely 100% evil (yang). We all have that little spot of contrast within that adds a gray tinge to the mix. It makes for an extremely diverse world.
So what does this have to do with the title of this blog? Well, I often find myself looking around the world and saying to myself, "Well, this sucks". Mostly it's while reading the news. And being me, I frequently try to think of solutions to the various problems I see, if only in hypothetical terms. I ask myself, "What would need to change in order to obtain the level of peace and harmony so often seen in science fiction's version of the future? What do we need more/less of in order to create a Utopian society? What exactly IS the definition of a 'Utopian' society?" Well, a generally accepted perception of the perfect society seems to be one with no crime, no poverty, no disease, no hate, no corruption; where everyone lives harmoniously and no one is left wanting. Where the need for material gain is replaced by the need to improve the society as a whole. And that, I'm sorry to say, will never happen. It's not being pessimistic, it's not being fatalistic; it's being a realist; unfortunately being realistic oftentimes tilts towards the pessimistic side. It will never happen primarily due to the reasons above; There are too many people, with too many different beliefs, that are too set in their own ways. I'll break it down: In order to have a purely Utopian society, you'd have to convince everyone on Earth to:
Have the same ideals, ethics and values;
Have the same beliefs and belief system or at the very least TRULY and TOTALLY believe in religious tolerance.
Have the same perception of justice, and agree on a system of law and a method of enforcing it;
Have the utmost respect for and faith in their fellow man.
Agree on the eventual goal and purpose of humankind.
Living in America, the perverbial melting pot that it is, I see cultural, religious and societal differences every day of my life. As much goodness and kindness as I witness, I've seen an equal amount (if not a significantly higher amount) of people taking advantage of the system, acting as if they are more important than their fellow man, showing no respect to others, having no tolerance for others beliefs, and generally living as though the rules don't apply to them. and that's just in ONE country. So how do we get people to change, to all think the same way? The bigger question is...
First things first.
The 'how' has been a question of the ages. Well if we were starting from scratch, you might say 'religion'. Sure, give everyone a set of standards, a way of thinking, a moral guideline. In theory, a sound idea. In practice.... well, we've all seen how well THAT worked out. Religious differences account for more deaths in human history than probably every disease combined. So what next? Ah, maybe Government. Have a ruling governing body dictate one way to live, what morals to have, the one way to think. I'm sure I don't have to point out how horribly bad THAT idea was, specifically when the Germans had it.
The fact of the matter is, had we as a species evolved together, in one unified society, and developed a moral and ethical way of life together, we may have had a fighting chance to create and maintain a civilization where we all thought and felt the same and had a common goal for our world. Not likely, but possible. Now, however, with our gaping cultural differences, there's no way we as a people can overcome the huge diversity of our species without someone taking charge and forcing it upon us. Which leads to the second question: Should we even try?
Probably not. As was mentioned, forcing a way of life, even a Utopian way of life, on people is still trying to remove their individuality. People would resist, and the only way to ensure the masses act according to utopian doctrine is to have complete control over what they can and can't do, which ultimately defeats the purpose of a utopian society; laws would be so micromanaged as to allow very little personal freedoms.
Conversely, if we remove government involvement completely, we'd have total pandimonium. Everybody doing whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want, wouldn't last a week. Even assumedly rational people who more or less think and behave the same way would eventually come at odds with each other over how to handle the tiniest situation. You simply cannot have any group of people live together without some sort of governing body, someone who decides what is right and wrong for the group.
Thus we come across the Goldilocks Syndrome: Too hot, too lumpy, Too much governing.... Too cold, too soft, too little governing. And 'just right'? Well, that's the big question, isn't it? And the answer is very simple, if disheartening. The answer is: There is no answer. Because everyone has a different opinion on where that sweet spot is, we may never see world peace in the near, or even not-so-near, future. The simple fact that we are such complex organisms gives us the gift of being uniquely different from each other, yet at the same time curses us to see different paths to Utopia, if they care to see it at all.