I Can’t Do It

I have kept my stylus to myself lately, because I just cannot deal with your so-called systems of government.

Some rulers are interesting, such as Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great who conquered everything in site before he died at age 32. Some are bizarre, such as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (who hated being called Caligula) or China’s Jin Hui Di. Others were just evil, like Stalin and Hitler. Even with all their faults (maybe because of them) these leaders were, at least, interesting.

On the other hand, the current cast of the play, “Modern Earth and It’s Leaders” is just plain bad theater. It’s boring and the characters are all one-dimensional. I’m not so fond of the script, either, and recommend it be completely rewritten.

Please, for the sake of posterity, either rewrite the tale and recast the entire troupe or close the show. Farce does not work with these players, all of whom take themselves far too seriously for comedy. For the record, I’m not fond of tragedies.

I cannot write about something if it is not at least minimally interesting.

 

Everything I Tell You Is a Lie

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Star Trek, “I, Mudd”

Living for millennia, it’s easy to get bored (or is it boored?). In your era, give or take a couple of hundred years, such things as television and streaming data are easier for me to assimilate than printed material. I confess I love music, but it’s difficult to convert it from your plane of existence to mine. However, I do, somehow, manage (if you’ve got eternity on your side, it makes more sense). For what it’s worth, I particularly like Mozart and The Beatles.

On your television, in the original Star Trek television series there was an episode on a planet, controlled by artificial intelligence. Kirk introduces the android who is the hub for all the others to the concept of lying. Kirk tells him that everything Harry Mudd says [Gotta love the character!] is a lie.

Mudd then calmly tells him, “I’m lying.”

The android gets caught in a do-loop and self destructs.

Based on your television of half a century ago, I have to wonder if you reached that point before you got starships.

 

Cowards

In my millennia, I have observed many cowards. Every one of them disgusts me.

I can understand the man, woman, or child who hides from a threat. That is survival. To confront every challenge without having the ability to prevail is foolish. Even a strong army retreats for strategic advantage. The failure to do so is “Winning the battle, but losing the war.”

I cannot contain my disgust with those who enter a school or place of worship in order to do harm. It’s a one-sided interaction. The aggressor is heavily armed, armored, and has the advantage of surprise. The victims are unprepared, innocent, intending to learn or worship–not to engage in war.

The perpetrators have no honor and certainly no courage.

If, when they arrived at their target, they were met with one–even one–other who was equally armed and equally prepared, they would run away because they would know they would lose.

Unfortunately, the media acknowledges their desire for publicity, showing their names and faces on the news. Their friends, family, and anyone else available are interviewed on camera. All of these images and sounds are played and replayed until the next big news story comes along.

For hundreds, indeed, thousands of years, I’ve advised people to see these losers for what they are. They are bullies–nothing more. If you want to meet one, just shovel out the stables. They will be what stinks the worst.

Mob Mentality

There is a phenomenon in which people who normally know and adhere to their values change when in the company of an emotionally charged group. Over the past millennia, I’ve seen it far too often. Call it “peer pressure”, “groupthink”, or “mob mentality”, it doesn’t matter.

Since most people in your time are not scholars of history, I won’t use an obscure example, but one with which most of you are familiar. Nevertheless, the same interaction has recurred time after time–the living do not learn, so it is up to those of us who are gone to explain.

In an ancient land with no BBC, no cable, no wi-fi, a man approaches a village. A murmur passes through the crowd. “This is the ONE that we’ve been waiting for! He is the one!”

The people run together and a crowd forms and welcomes him. “Hail to our hope! Hail to our future! Hail to military victory!”

But it is not Alexander, or Caesar, Hitler, or Stalin. It is an itinerant teacher who has asked for nothing; who has accepted only a place to sleep and a shared meal.

As he approaches, the people line the streets.

“You are what we’ve prayed for! You are the best–Holy, Holy, Holy (holiest, the third order of holy). We wave palms over your head! We lay our cloaks for you to walk over. You are THE one.”

A few days later, in the middle of the night, a kangaroo court is held to condemn the same man to death. The mob, this time, cries “Crucify him.”

Was it the same people?

Think.

 

 

Fact and Fiction

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams

If something is a reasonably accurate representation of reality, it is a fact. As humans, we’re incapable of observing, remembering, and then stating any event with 100 percent accuracy, even though most people try.

However, if you tell a lie, that’s what it is.

If you repeatedly tell a lie, it remains a lie.

If you get a million people to repeat your lie, it still remains a lie. It does not become a fact.

You may be able to kiss a frog and have it become a prince, but a lie is a lie is a lie.

It’s not a difficult concept, so why do so many people find it impossible to understand?

Are You Being Targeted?

I’m glad I died long before humans and computers began consorting. I never claimed victory in my search for an honest man–although, then again, was I honest when I said I was searching?

In any case, in your time, Facebook, video games, Twitter, and the computer thingie du jour draw you in like flies to a jar of honey. Even worse, you go willingly. Pity.

What if they worked together–or are working together? Google and Amazon know what you want. Facebook knows almost everything else.

But, what if one of the search engines or bots (they’re really the same) tracked your ability–or inability–to separate fact from fiction? If you readily believe the various conspiracy theories without adequate facts to support that belief?

There would be lots of money to be made by selling lists of such people to advertisers, scam artists, and (of course) all of the Nigerian Princes who are trying to get their inheritance.

Fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault. Fool me three times and I’m an easy target.

Hey! This magic potion will make you rich!

Decivilization

Death and destruction has always been fascinating–for observers, not participants. Crucifixion, hanging–especially when accompanied by drawing and quartering, and beheadings of any type have always been crowd pleasers. The brutality of man against man could draw a crowd, amuse it, and leave it calling for more.

In your twentieth century, there was the term “like watching a train wreck.” It’s nigh on impossible for anyone to turn away because a train wreck is factually as well as literally, extraordinary.

I understand that. I may not approve, but I understand it. The observers don’t set out with the intent of seeing carnage, but happen to be there when it does.

On the other hand, when Facebook (which I also do not understand) has to remove 1.5 million–MILLION–videos showing the slaughter of people trying to pray in New Zealand, I’m astounded. Actually, I’m disgusted. A man who lived in a sewer and treated others the way I did is not easily disgusted.

In the millennia from my time to yours, it would be reasonable to expect to see some small amount of societal progress. Instead, people in the twenty-first century can easily put Emperors Tiberius, Nero, and Caligula to shame.