Cultural Suicide: Musings from a Mind with too Little to Do

Due to my current circumstances, I have a lot of solitary time to think; just let my mind wander.  In my past life, I have always been busy – too busy!  I started work outside the home at 14; until I retired, I was never out of work for even an hour.  I was given very significant freedom and responsibilities beginning around 10.  If my parents did what they did (wide-ranging permission) when I was growing up, today, there would be a cell with their name on it.  As the benefactor of that freedom, my life has been richer than a more restrictive one would have been. 

Designed by Committee - The Yugo

My thoughts at that time were advanced from my chronological age.  As an only child, during the age of no TV to entertain us, I had to entertain myself; I did so by letting my mind wander, much like the environment surrounding A.A. Milne’s “House at Poo Corners”.  I would go to ‘My Woods’ for 12 hours straight; unattended, and free to experience nature in its purest form.  I LOVED it! 

It is said that a wandering mind is the devil’s playground; I don’t subscribe to that concept.  An empty mind, if nurtured and fertilized properly by: learning, environment, inspiration, and TIME – is a very productive human petri dish. 

So, now I am back to “The Days of Poo”.  Lynn and I always watched the clouds in the sky, visualizing what we could visualize.  I still do so, but I’m not just looking for shapes; I am looking for Lynn.  And I write; I write what I am thinking and I write what I’ve experienced.  Some of what I write about is about “The Human Condition”, merged with current events, and I don’t really like all that I see.  One of those thoughts is about Armageddon, not in the religious or biblical sense – in rational (what could happen to Society if there is one too many nuts, or if a really big asteroid has our name on it) manner.

The End of the World?

Are we prepared for such an eventually – No!  We were better prepared in the 1950’s, only because Armageddon had a face – the old Soviet Union.  We could touch that, we knew what it meant, and we knew that one day our sunrise might not be the sunrise that we usually experienced every morning.  Today, I suppose Armageddon’s face is something from Asia, It could be red, it could be sandy, it could be a number of things, and that’s the problem!  If it doesn’t have a definable face, it is out of our collective minds.  Well, get a clue, our greater society.  We should be thinking about survivability; what steps can we take TODAY, to make our society less vulnerable to threats, whatever form they might take. 

What is a society?  I believe that it is the collective works of mankind, and how that knowledge binds people together – and tears them apart.  What is knowledge?  It is the collective thoughts from the beginning of the human being’s life on Earth, what is remembered and what is recorded.  Unfortunately, there are significant gaps in that Knowledge Timeline.  Books were burned, much has been lost to natural disasters, and when the Storytellers told their stories, nobody wrote down what they said!

We are faced with a looming disaster of the first order; a disaster for our children, and the children of their children.  It is irretrievable and it is happening as you read this humble post.  It is the irrational dependence on Digital Media storage.  A very thoughtful guy, who happens to be my book designer, Walt Shiel, Managing Partner of Five Rainbow Services, wrote a thoughtful post to his personal blog back in 2009.  We share some history.  I too, bought and built my first computer in 1978.  I began working with them at work in 1968.  I have soldered resistors into bakelite boards.  I too used cards and paper tape.  My first programming was done through the 16 switches on the front of a Sperry minicomputer that drove the Computer-Aided Drafting system for which I was responsible.

Technology has been my life, and it has been a very good life.  So, when Walt talks about our growing vulnerabilities I complete agree with his premise. 

Everything, I mean Everything is dependent on “One’s” and “Zero’s” in our digital servants.  And, Our Everything has the potential to disappear in a flash of an ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP).  That means that everything that has been put into digital format has the potential to disappear, irretrievably. Of course, when it went into the computer, the originals were destroyed! You may argue that we have CD drives, but they don’t help us at all if all the transistors and all the storage devices in the world are instantly destroyed, not to mention all of their manufacturing infrastructure – and the knowledge to rebuild them!

For a little perspective, I urge you to read his post, Digital-Only Books Are Cultural Suicide.  He makes some pretty good points about Creativity as well.  I would argue that Creativity is best nurtured by a single creator, and then brought to fruition by collaboration.  The graphic at the top of this post is the result of ‘Creation by Committee’!  Me, I’m heading back to My 30-acre woods.

 Photo Credits:


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