Keep Your Mouth Shut

My Daddy once told me that unless a man had something useful to say, he should keep his mouth shut. As most of you realize if you know me, or have read my writing it’s obvious that I should keep my mouth shut most of the time. I just can’t help it though, useful or not I have to say what I think.

What I am opening my mouth (or keyboard literally) to talk about today is hope. That’s right, hope. I have to have it. It has to be there, like a piece of driftwood in the vast ocean when you are drowning. Something to grab hold of and stay afloat. My hope is for the future. The future in which I will be missing, but my children and grandchildren and whatever descendants that I may be blessed with (who will never know I existed,) will know.

Right now, it kind of looks bleak, and that is why I have to have hope. I don’t think there is any way that the members of my generation, the baby boomers, can fix the mess that we are in now. It’s not just one mess, but MANY different messes going on simultaneously which make things so complex.

There are the changing demographics of the entire world. People of different races and cultures are traveling far and wide in this day and age and settling in places their ancestors would never have imagined. As they do this, they become familiar with each other and one thing leads to another and you have relationships being built between these members of different races and cultures. Some still try to stick with their own cultures, but inevitably I believe will fail. The children of the future will probably look like all the beautiful little biracial and multiracial children we see running around. I think at some point there won’t be any black, yellow, red and white anymore. There will be one color and one international culture at some point. I don’t know how far in the future that this may occur, and I don’t know if mankind can keep from destroying each other first with nuclear weapons but if they can then that’s one thing I think will happen. It will be a huge challenge for our descendants who are at the “transitional” stage. (Or maybe that’s where we ARE now?) It could well be that the future inhabitants of this planet will “ease” into this situation so gradually that no one will ever know it’s happening until it’s upon them. I don’t think it will be a bad thing either. One of things that continually breeds discontent, distrust and war is the difference between people’s race and culture. If there IS not difference then they will have to find something else to fight about. Maybe they won’t be able to.

There is the quickly changing face of technology. I would have NEVER in my wildest dreams as a child imagined the world as it is today. There have been so many advances in the last 50 years that it makes the 1950’s seem like the Stone Ages. What we take for granted every day now, would have seemed like a trick of magic back then. Computers will continue to advance and now that robotics IS actually taking off like Isaac Asimov thought it would, our descendants can look forward to a world where the physical part of living will become easier and easier.

There will be issues that come up, ethical issues, which will challenge the very core of the morals of our society. What about a computer program that can store the “essence” of a person on a program, and come up with a “virtual” person who is exactly like the person who is dying. Anyone ever seen the movie “Freejack” with old Mick Jagger? That’s science fiction still, BUT so was Jules Verne back in the late 19th century. It may not be that a person’s “essence” can be stored on a computer and then put back into another person’s body. I am not sure it will ever get to that point. BUT to create a “virtual” person with the knowledge and character of a real live person is but a few steps away from becoming a reality. You can “store” Grandma or Grandpa on the handy dandy virtual person program, and pull them up to talk to any time you want. How would you like that? Kind of a spooky thought isn’t it? Yet, right now people who play the high tech computer games that generate “characters” to play through (the avatar type games) are already interacting in a very close knit way with these “quasi-people.” You can give them character traits, physical characteristics, and other things which make them “almost” seem human. It’s only a few steps away until you can do the same thing with your dear Uncle Bob, believe me. Soulless, yes. Interaction there will be. There could also be a use for this type of program to reduce overpopulation, in that people who are not allowed, or don’t want to have a “real” live child, can have a virtual child which they can “raise” from a baby all the way up through adulthood. The cost would be quite a bit cheaper to raise this type of “child” too.

Medically speaking, the people who can make it 20 or 30 more years are likely to be able to live practically as long as they want. With the research and discoveries in genetics that are now taking place, it won’t be long until the genes that cause “aging” as we know it, will be discovered and neutralized. People who are well off enough financially will be able to benefit from this expensive technology and beat “the system” Dick Cheney may actually still be here in the year 2100! Arrrr…?

I think that many diseases which afflict people such as cancer, heart disease, and all the big killers will be beaten. People will have to be run over by a Fire Truck in order to die. That’s about the only thing which will do it. However, I am sure there will be a lot of volunteers to be “uploaded” into the computer program which I mentioned in the previous paragraph. After all, who REALLY wants to live forever? And you probably will still have the old aches and pains that won’t go away. (Maybe not, they may have something for that too) Besides, you might be able to do things on that computer program you could NEVER do in real life, like fight dragons, or fly.

That would be a hoot, right?

Hmmmmm…..

Like a Thief in the Night

This was the last night I prayed. It’s been some time.

Jesus said when he returns he will come “as a thief in the night”.

Remember Christ says, “When I come, it will surprise you like a thief! But God will bless you, if you are awake and ready. Then you won’t have to walk around naked and be ashamed.”

Suppose he does just that, and returns in the dead of night, in secret, but… only comes into the hearts and minds of those people who really, truly are his followers. Those who are really, truly ready to receive him, his knowledge and power. He would know which ones, because it’s easy for him to read our hearts. He knows what’s really there, regardless of what we present to the world as being our true selves. Many are presenting selves that are not true.

Suppose they, or we are “caught up” spiritually, and don’t physically disappear, but instead are “raptured” while in our sleep? Changed and transformed to wake as new beings.
Suppose then, believers wake up as totally different beings. Spiritual, supernatural beings capable of changing anything and everything about the world around them, including people, animals, plants, the oceans, the mountains and the air.
Suppose that we or they, really are the inheritors of the Earth, as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “The meek shall inherit the earth.” An inheritance… as in something which is left behind by a person who is no longer there, for their heirs to take as their own property, and do with it as they will.

A new earth.

A new heaven and a new earth. Brand new, unspoiled, teeming with life and beauty. Imagine the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen and then multiply it by a thousand times. That’s the kind of newness and beauty I am talking about. That’s the kind of newness and beauty which I saw.

This was a dream that I dreamt last night and I woke up startled! I was not yet changed into that spiritual being which I wanted to be, but I wanted to be ready to be changed.
I thought about it for a long while. I said a prayer that I might be ready if that wonderful dream ever becomes a reality.
Then, I turned back over and went back to sleep and had another dream.

I woke up again this morning early and got up to exercise for an hour and thought about that dream again. It’s totally antithetical to the type of dreams I usually have. It’s unusual for it to have stayed so long in my brain.

I wondered where in the world the impetus came from for that dream. It’s the last time I have prayed. I won’t say how long that’s been.

Musical Interlude

We have one of those Amazon “Alexas” and from time to time I’ll holler “Alexa play songs from: ” and then just choose an artist I want to hear and she’ll start playing the songs. I asked for songs by the group “Chicago” today while we were in the kitchen messing around. I’ve always loved them. In my list of favorite groups they would have to be #2 behind the Beatles. I’ve always loved their songs…especially with the brass in the background. It always makes me a little sad at the same time too, though. Hearing that “band sound” always reminds me of a lost opportunity to do something I really wanted to do.
I always loved music when I was a kid. I sang, and played guitar and I could “pick up” tunes and play the chords for them and sing just “by ear” I never learned to read music though….still haven’t.

In the seventh grade in school, in the spring time was the time for band tryouts for the next year. I always wanted to be in the band. I’d looked forward to it for several years leading up to that time when I might be able to join. I did all the sign up stuff and tryouts on the instruments and was told that my instrument would be…..a clarinet. A clarinet? That was a surprise, as I’d always supposed I’d be a trumpet guy, and I liked the fact that there were only three buttons on top of a trumpet. The damn clarinet looked like something from outer space with all of those buttons and places to press down.

I gave it a try though, and I finally got some sound out of it. So, we then went on to have some practices. They put a sheet of simple music in front of me, and after going over what it meant a couple of times, we had to try and play. I couldn’t discern heads or tails out of that sheet of music with all of it’s notes and squiggles and dots. Other people didn’t seem to be having as much trouble as I was having, so I figured it was me. I was such a dummy I couldn’t learn to read music. I was deficient.

I followed along for a couple of weeks by ear. If I heard it once or twice through I could replicate the melody pretty closely. I wanted to ask about the music though. I wanted to get somebody to teach me how to understand it…how to “read” the music. I was too embarrassed to ask the band director though. I got increasingly frustrated as we got new music. Finally, a few days before school was out, I went to the office and dropped out of the band.

In hindsight, I wish I had asked for help, and if not I wish I had stuck with it even without asking. I think I could have “faked it” good enough to stay in the band, because once I learn a tune…I don’t forget it. Maybe if I had stayed until band camp the next year, they would have stuck me on the bass drum…cause I was a big guy. Maybe if the band director had just a little more perception about what was going on with me. I supposed it wasn’t meant to be though. At least I got to try. My poor Paula wanted to play in the band at her school in Maryland, but didn’t know what to do to sign up. They had nobody there to even ask them if they wanted to play…no adviser or teacher to guide them in how to sign up for band. She was too shy to ask around and find out.

So as I listen to the brass play in the background on “Saturday in the Park” I wonder what might have been if I’d been a little more assertive, and if someone had been there to tell my wife, “this is how you sign up for band” Maybe we’d have ended up in an orchestra or something!

We lived band careers vicariously through all of our children and our grandchildren, I suppose…..but it would have been nice to have been a “part” of something during my High School years. I never was….

I guess there are advantages to being a “lone wolf” too……. I’m not sure exactly what they are yet though.

Where are the Aliens?

I read an article yesterday about aliens, and the possibility of alien life. It included information about a theory called the “Fermi Paradox” named after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. It basically states that if the Universe is full of life…then where are the aliens?

I thought it was a pretty good question. Our planet and solar system are fairly new in terms of the age of the universe. Fermi figured it would take a dedicated Imperial civilization “only” about 10 million years, given decent rocket technology, to conquer an entire galaxy. Why then, aren’t there joints like the interstellar bar in Star Wars all over the place. There are a lot of explanations, one of which is: we are the only ones home. We’re the whole ball of wax, the ball game. Wouldn’t that be something?

If we were the only advanced civilization in the known Universe, wouldn’t it be incumbent on us, wouldn’t it be our sole imperative, to reach out to the stars and populate this empty Universe?

Is it the purpose for which we will can even were created, if we were created? And even if we weren’t, shouldn’t we be obsessed with doing it?

Isn’t it a shame that we Earthlings are trapped by our own biases and prejudices here on our own planet. Isn’t it shameful, with so many Earth like planets having been discovered out there in the last few years, that we’ve barely even explored our own moon, and just scratched the surface of our other planets?

Hopefully in the coming decades as AI becomes more prevalent we will find someway to “boldly go where no man has gone before”.