Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lost Ones

What the hell happened to all those people that used to be our closest friends??? I must give facebook one ounce of credit for at least making me think about these people. I have so many people in my life that used to be my ‘close’ or ‘best’ friends, but now have very little effect on my actual life. Did these people change, did I change, or will we always have that special bond that drew us together so long ago.

I still remember my best friends from the first stages of my life. The childhood friends of Chesapeake VA that dissolved into the recesses of my memory when I moved away. What happened to them and why do I not really care about what happened to them. Would I still be friends with them today and what does that mean if I did not.

As much as I wonder about these things, I have come to the conclusions that I have accepted on this topic. Friends are like software that make our lives easier. When we were young and just learning that there was a better way to go about living (with friends) we eagerly gobbled them up and associated them into our lives. But the problem is that most young people, and certainly myself, did not have that great of a grasp on who we were and what we were going to grow to be. So we had friends that we grew with, but eventually would outgrow. Friends tend to stay relevant for as long as they share common experiences. High school friends stay close until they leave high school and live different experiences, likewise for college, and life in general. The exception being those individuals that truly form a connection with you, and even then the connection becomes less dependent when your experiences grow apart. I am blessed to have friends that I can depend on for life (most of the people who read this fall into this category) but there are countless others that have been forgotten or left behind from my growth as a person.

I feel like I got sidetracked. So back to software. Our early lives give us Friends v1.0 and since we learn about ourselves in an almost logarithmic curve ( quickly at first and then slower as time goes on) we change through friends very quickly as we grow into maturity. By the time you are in high school you are on like Version 3.2 and are no closer to quitting your nasty habit of friend disposal. That habit probably only ends when you are no longer interested in taking on new friends. I sort of feel like I am there now, I have all the friends that I could possibly need for a lifetime, and I seriously doubt that anyone I meet now would best them in their capacity to compliment me.

But this still does not stop me from wondering about the past about and about these past relationships. Do you simply cut them off when they are no longer a daily part of your life? I don’t think so. At least not for the friendships that are true. A true friend is someone that I can call on, whether I talked to them yesterday or a year ago, and expect them to be there for me (in a reasonable capacity) without question.

I recently contacted an ex named Tanya because I was not sure that if ending that relationship was a good idea. I was doubting one of my fundamental thoughts in life. What is meant to be will be. And talking to her confirmed that I was still not supposed to be with this person. If sometime in the future that should change, so be it, but all I can go on is the fact that we grew apart for a reason.

This is the mindset I apply to friends as well, some friends fall by the wayside and are forgotten, some fall by the wayside and will always be there for you like a good bench on a sports team, and then there are your starting five that are your current dynasty builders. Well this has been more of a rant than anything but so be it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why Dogs Don't Talk Anymore

Once upon a time long, long, ago…

Today marked a momentous event in the history of all Animals, yet this was not an occasion for celebration. This was a moment to make the most important decision in the known history of Animal existence. Representatives from every species was gathered in the Great Meeting Place, and surrounding for miles on end were those that knew the very essence of their existence was riding on the decisions made in that great circle.

This climax cannot be fully appreciated without first seeing how to they got to this great moment in history. The Animals were civilized, in the sense that they were educated, had social structure, advanced technology, yet they had one enduring problem. They could never quite get along. For millennia, different allegiances waged wars against their enemies in bouts that caused the extinction of many species and often had the potential to destroy the planet and all of its inhabitants. With time, these wars became less frequent, but always more intense. In part this was due to the evolving conditions. In the old days, the Bears could only war with those around them, and without weapons of technological advancement, the effect of their scrimmages were slight in the grand scheme of things. These type of scuffles, the Giraffes vs. Elephants, Panda’s vs. Sloth, the Mice vs. Cockroach, were major and persistent on the local scale but had no effect on the overall quality of life on the planet.

But this situation did not last for long. With the advent of instantaneous communication, rapid travel, and weapons of dizzying power, the world changed. At first, these changes brought about a relative peace unseen in generations amongst the Animals. The enemy was no longer the enemy if you knew his first name and could be involved in his life, right? Wrong, for as soon as much as these innovations helped, it was soon discovered that the Animal kingdom was not ready for them. Those that felt powerless and abused no longer had to put up with the oppressive thumb of their overseers. The classic example that sparked The Great Animal Catastrophe came when the Ants armed with Particle Expanders wreaked havoc on the Anteaters and Termites of the world. When the ants simultaneously enlarged themselves in a simultaneous attack, there was no stopping them. There was also no reasoning with them. It was true that their chosen enemies had taken advantage of them for all of history, and it was true that the Anteaters and Termites fully intended to continue to take advantage of them (although with more caution) well into the future. The Ants interested in their own survival coordinated an attack that seemed best for ensuring their survival. When it became apparent that the use of force actually worked, it sparked a chain of similar campaigns across the globe. The Gazelles routed the all powerful Tigers, the Meerkat’s took to the sky against the Eagles, to name a few. By the time the United Council of Animal Affairs authorized the use of force to control the situations, hundreds of millions of Animals had taken their last breath. But this is just one of the many tragedies littered throughout history.

After the Great Catastrophe, the names for wars became useless, for whenever one occurred the damage was so great that written history seldom survived. The use of advanced weaponry was officially banned after the Great Catastrophe, but the Animals had gotten a taste for blood and vengeance that could not be satiated. Weapons in the traditional sense were not required. Strains of viruses that destroyed 99% of life outside of ones species, or altering the temperature so that only the Artic Federation of Animals could survive the conditions, and then there was the case of the intensified solar radiation that nearly wiped out all but the toughest of Insects (the architects behind this attack is still a mystery, but suspicion lies with the Cockroaches). Every time, life bounced back, because time was on their side. Luck and planning allowed the Animal Kingdom to survive the most dire of attacks, but that was no longer sufficient.

This brings us to the developments of the latest century. The Animal Kingdom’s last thousand years has been one of the most unsettling peace. For it is in the subconscious of all that the peace might soon shatter. Thus the Great Proposition was put forward. It was proposed by the most unlikely of all living creatures, Bacteria. Typically left out of the Animal Kingdom in all decisions, it was at the beginning of the last century that they decided to let their consciousness be known. Comprised of thousands if not millions of ‘species’ themselves, they had come to the confounding yet compelling conclusion which came to be known as the Great Propositions. Inside of every member of the Animal Kingdom resided Bacteria, and it was they who spoke the message to each and every living creature on the planet. The message was thus:

“The voice that you are hearing is not a cause for alarm. Please take the time to verify that you are not alone in hearing this message and that you are indeed in control of your faculties. [Many hours pass]. We live inside of you, we are known to you as bacteria, and have been considered a necessary pest for longer than your history can recollect. We are sentient and we are older than even the great Alligators, who were destroyed by the Crocodiles, in the past Great War. We choose to speak to you today because we must. It has been our tradition and greatest tactic for survival to be silent observers in your lives, only communicating amongst ourselves. But this can no longer be sustained. By our collective reasoning, you of the Animal Kingdom will destroy yourselves in a the relative new future. We speak to propose a solution that will save us and you.

You of the Animal Kingdom, have accomplished great things, capable of great good and even greater evil. You have evolved art, technology, medicine, and communications to levels that would amaze previous generations. But you have not evolved the nature of who You are. We speak to You as a collection. Animals as a whole have failed to realize the interconnectedness of your fates and because of this have become prone to destruction. We do not believe that you are capable of evolving in this respect before it is too late, so we propose the only solution we see fit.

You must surrender your consciousness. That which you have always thought distinguishes you from the grass, or air, or water. You have recognized that these are living things, but yet you considered yourself above them. Yet they are not in danger of cumulative extinction. Without consciousness, you will be left with only your instinct and your will to survive. Your sense of ego or deserved status or even a sense of history will be gone, but also will be your sense to harm others when unnecessary or the sense of inadequacy that causes some to seek power. Your lives will be dictated by nature, your sense of happiness and sad will take on new meanings. You will be happy when your needs are met and sad when they are not, life will become infinitely simpler. Death and birth will be cycles determined by the balance of nature. Those that have benefited from the current power structure will likely decrease in abundance, and those that were lost in the fold will regain their natural stance.

The world will become a simpler place for all, and your lives will be changed forever. This decision must be made with the future in mind. Your future offspring and your species as a whole is posed for destruction if you do not choose correctly. Once you choose there is no returning, in fact you will have no recollection of having made this choice. You will simply BE. When you have made a decision, we will speak again.”

Roughly one century of debates has culminated in the group of representatives meeting at the Great Gathering Place. The only thing that seems to be made more certain through time was that the Bacteria was right. Whether it was intentional or not, the Bacteria’s prediction of universal destruction was balanced on this decision. Those that were oppressed by the forces in power had come to the unanimous conclusion that affirming the Great Proposition was the only chance of their survival. Those in power were more reluctant, for they felt they had the most to loose from this agreement. As is the case with power, those with power realized that they were very much outnumbered by those without power. To reject the conclusion of the masses would ignite the war that had boiling beneath the surface for centuries.

The Great Meeting lingered for months, primarily stuck on two issues. Must the decision truly be unanimous, and what happens if we eventually come under the control of an entity with consciousness. The unanimous nature of the decision was relatively easy to handle. It was a clear necessity for unanimity, the only question remained on the enforcement. It was decided that the Bacteria would provide that input. Second, what happens if an entity arrives with consciousness or if it eventually evolves from one of the unconscious. This tougher question was answered with the uncomfortable fact that there was no choice. They were doomed for failure if they failed to accept the Proposition, and a candidate for failure if they accepted it. It was later argued that any sentient creature would have the same cycle as their own history and that eventually they too would have to choose. And like the grass, air and water survived the Animal wars, so would the Animals survive the cycle of the next sentient creature should it get out of control. It was postulated that the air, grass, and water survived because that it was one with Nature and that Nature accepted all those in accordance with it. By returning to Nature, the Animals would always receive its protection and cast out those that did not fit into its designs. It was this notion that convicted the masses. Nature was on the verge of dispelling them because of their inability to assimilate, and it could only be expected that Nature would do the same to any newcomers in the future.

So without much fanfare (for it can hardly be exciting to give up one’s self) the representatives unanimously accepted the Great Proposition.

The Bacteria spoke again shortly after the Great Meeting was disbanded, and explained what was to happen. As it turned out, the Bacteria had the ability to end consciousness at any time they desired, but they wanted to provide the Animals with choice. The Bacteria did not go into detail about the process, but simply stated that at the end of the new year, all Animals would simultaneously lose their consciousness and return to the ways of Nature. The remaining year could be spent in whatever manner was desired, but the decision was irreversible.

The year passed without note, and at the same time, between the old and new year, peace took over the planet. The great structures and buildings faded over the millennia, the signs or technology eroded, and all that was left of the progress were the descendants of those who made them. These animals new not what surrounded them nor its significance, and when the planet had consumed all traces of that era’s existence, nothing was left but the law of Nature gently tending its followers.

Epilogue: Some time down the line, man showed up and screwed everything up again. But Nature will straighten them out too J.

Story Stage of Life

I've got a schedule, I've got ideas, and I want to share them. Its time to enter into the writing stage of life... The only problem being that I generally don't like writing and I suck at it. But I once read a book by Jack Kerouac that had minimal punctuation, capitalisation, or spell checking, and that is regarded as one of the best American novels in the last 100 years. So if I don't have to worry about the formalities of writing, I simply have to develop the skill for telling stories. So practice makes perfect and here goes...