Monday, August 29, 2016

Microstory 396: Transhumanism I

Click here for a list of every step.
Self-actualization

I have a good reason for putting these last few after self-actualization, rather than before, where you might have expected them. The next two are so far beyond what we understand about the world that we can’t truly know how they’ll work in the end. The one after that isn’t really something I personally believe in, but it’s a theoretical step. The last one is something no human has ever witnessed, or really even accurately imagined, in the history of time. I keep bringing up transhumanism because it’s a very important subject to me. I want to discuss it in more depth, and I want to be able to use 793 words to do it. Transhumanism is all about living forever. Some say that this is not true immortality, and that it’s best described as the longevity escape velocity, but no. I have a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, and I’m here to tell you that immortality is a perfectly acceptable word to use in this scenario. Most words have more than one meaning, so stop being so narrow-minded and ignorant just because you’re trying to be trendy. Whew, that wasn’t directed at you, more at my futurist community. The fact of the matter is that there is no real reason for death, or most of the other restrictions we have so far experienced in this world. We don’t know what the mind is, or how to create or move it, but we will. One day, long after artificial intelligence has been created, you will be able to transfer your consciousness to a new substrate. Now, people don’t like this, and they think it goes against God’s will. That’s all well and good, but remember that I don’t worship your God, or any God, so don’t stop me from living as I choose. From my perspective, anyone who chooses a life that ends in death might as well be choosing to kill themselves. Remaining a standard human when more efficient, healthy, and lasting options are available is tantamount to suicide. I mean, you don’t reject antibiotics when you’re sick do you? That would be insane. I wouldn’t respect anyone who does that. I’ve also heard people worry that immortality would render life meaningless, but it won’t. Death does not give life meaning, what you do in life is what gives it meaning. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 5, 2090


Knowing that he was being put through Vin Diesel movies made things easier. Well, it made it so that he always knew how to handle each challenge, but the challenges themselves were extremely difficult and dangerous. He drove a lot of vintage cars. It was the year 2090, and actually very clearly on a different planet, so there was no telling what to call these kinds of cars, or what they were doing there. He would transition to a different location every time one of the challenges was complete. Sometimes he was teleported, but sometimes the next one was put right beside the one before, like walking between two separate movie sets. He didn’t do every single movie, and not in any particular order, but he did get through a heavy chunk of them. Not all of Diesel’s movies were super actiony, but that didn’t seem to matter to The Cleanser. One time he just had to babysit a dysfunctional family of androids who thought they were people for a few hours. The duck was real, though.
At the end of all challenges were the pearly gates. He found that to be quite insulting, but he knew that he couldn’t say anything. There was an eerie chill as he passed through the gates. Nothing stopped him from going through, but he did find it to be frustratingly euphoric. After the gates came a set of marble stairs, on the top of which was a temporal rift waiting to take him somewhere else. He stopped being able to move for a few seconds while in the swirling mix of time and space before it moved him to what looked like a hotel lobby.
“Hello,” a bellhop said from the other side of her counter.
“Hi.”
“Are you checking in?” she asked.
“I’m not sure. I’m looking for something here.”
She adjusted her computer keyboard ever so slightly, indicating that she was ready to type. “Could you describe the thing? Maybe I could help you.”
Meliora strode in from the side and waved the bellhop away. “I’ve got this, Dodeka. Why don’t you take your break?”
Dodeka, the bellhop left through the backdoor.
“Meliora Reaver,” Mateo said as if seeing an old friend. “The last time I saw you, you were sending me back in time to save your mother, Leona from being killed by your father.”
“I’ve seen you on other occasions.”
Mateo looked around. A few people were sitting in the lounge chairs. Others were using courtesy phones. A few kids were in their swimsuits, happily speed walking towards the pool. “Is this Sanctuary?”
“It is, yes.”
“So I’m about to die.”
“Do you want to die?”
“I do not.”
“Good, because you won’t. Not here, anyway.”
“I thought all time travelers died if they came here...except for you and Dave.”
“This is true. But you and Leona are special.”
“Have you met this version of her?”
“The one who has no idea of our connection because she’s from a new timeline? Yes, I meet all my guests.”
“You’re not going to tell her who you are?”
“Would you?”
“Definitely not.”
She nodded. “You’re welcome to stay here, Mister Matic. This is a safe place. The powers that be cannot get to you here. Neither can any choosing one.”
“What’s the literal, actual reason I have access to this place.”
She narrowed her eyes and drew closer. “Believe me when I tell you this, Mateo, I have clue why you’re different. All we know is that you are. That’s why the Cleanser won’t just kill you, and why the powers that be have allowed more loopholes to your pattern than they do for other salmon. We’ve known you in realities you do not recall, and you always prove yourself to be different, but we’ve never uncovered an explanation for it.”
“Okay,” Mateo said to her. “I believe you.”
“Would you like to see my mother?”
“Something tells me that she does not want to see me.”
Meliora shrugged. “I dunno. It’s been years from her perspective. This is an amazing place, if I do say so myself. It’s hard to stay mad when you live here.”
“But it’s hard to get to.”
“Dave and I can skip all that, but yes, I commissioned those challenges to be put there so that choosers couldn’t jump in close to Sanctuary and then just walk in manually.”
“Commissioned who?”
“Boyce, The Rogue. He did it while he was still in Baudin’s chooser body. You never saw him as Baudin. He was nicer back then.”
“Boyce designed it? The one who loves movies? I guess that explains why it was so much like all my other tribulations.”
Meliora laughed. “Yeah, he actually designed the whole hotel. The challenges, however, he designed specifically for you.”
“He did?”
“He knew you liked Vin Diesel movies. He said it was the only way to keep everyone out except for you. I assumed you knew, and he posthumously sent you here like he had always planned on doing.”
“No, the Cleanser put me here.”
“What?” Meliora yelled, surprising a few of the guests. “Did you bring him here?”
“No, he just sent me off on my own.”
“Did he give you anything?”
“Yeah,” Mateo said, presenting his clothes. “He provided my whole wardrobe.”
“Oh my God!” She jumped over to the desk and slammed her palm on the little bell. “Dodeka! Knife! Now!”
Dodeka ran through the door like she was ready for it. She threw a knife at Meliora who caught the business end with her hand.
“Holy crap, be careful!” Mateo cried.
Meliora cut into her own hand even more. Then she started drawing some weird symbol on the wall. “Boyce warded the whole building against trespassers, like they do in the show Supernatural—God, that guy loved TV and movies. You coming here with those tethers broke the wards.” She hovered her hand in front of the strange blood symbol while Dodeka set off an alarm that sent guests scurrying to their rooms. “Just a little, but enough that they could slip in. I have to put everybody on lockdown.” She reeled back. “This is gonna hurt a little bit, but we’ll live.”
Just before she was able to slam her palm on the symbol, a huge blade of some kind flew by and sliced right through Meliora’s hand, dropping it to the ground. Some of her blood shot into Mateo’s face. She didn’t scream in pain, but in anger. “Goddammit!”
Mateo looked back and saw the Cleanser, arm down in follow-through position. “Nailed it,” he said, ever so coolly.
The Blender was standing next to him. “I could have made it cleaner.” Cutting hands off of people was normal to them.
“Ha!” the Cleanser laughed. Good one!”
“All right, bro” the Blender said. “You got your girl. My turn.”
The Cleanser seemed reluctant. He gave Mateo an apologetic look before directing his attention to Meliora. “What room is Leona Delaney in?”
“Fuck you!” Meliora spat back, holding her stump. It was already starting to magically grow back, though.
He pointed violently to Dodeka. “You. Room number.”
“Fuck you!” Dodeka echoed.
“I don’t need either you bitches,” the Cleanser said as a matter of fact. He kept his hand pointed towards Dodeka, letting the space between them ripple. The ripples drew closer to her, threatening to tear her apart like he did to Leona’s stepmother, and like Lucius did to himself and others during the first Gladiator tribulation.
“No!” Mateo commanded, reaching towards the ripples himself. Somehow, completely unexpectedly, the ripples began to dissipate.
Everyone was shocked by this, everyone but Meliora. “Stop now,” she whispered. “Don’t waste it.”
Mateo let go, and so did the Cleanser, no longer focused on killing an innocent Dodeka who was now proceeding to run away.
“You got her blood on your face,” the Cleanser said, menacingly itching his cheek. “I should have been looking out for that.
Mateo looked to Meliora, and then to the Blender, then back to the Cleanser. So that’s what it was. That’s how Future!Leona had shown up with temporal powers. She must have received a blood transfusion from a chooser. Meliora seemed to think it was only temporary, and he didn’t know how much juice he would have left, so he decided to use it wisely. He put on his game face and walked towards the Cleanser.
“No. No, no, no, no, no!” the Cleanser ordered. “Bad salmon. That’s a very bad salmon. Back in your river. Now.”
Mateo took the Cleanser by the shoulder, wrenching them up in their sockets to maintain leverage over him.
He began to whisper to Mateo, but the other two could hear. “You have one chance. If you use the blood the right way—and trust me that not even she will ever give you more, because it’s bad for the choosing one donor—you could free yourself from the chains of time travel. You could be human again. But if you kill me with what little power you have left, you’ll go back to slavery.”
Mateo looked down, pretending to think about it. “I’ll live. But you won’t.”
“Noooo!” the Cleanser screamed again. A bluish light emanated from Mateo’s hands and began to spread up and down the Cleanser’s body. He was helpless to stop it, and then he was just gone.
The Blender looked at him like he was a dumbass. “You do realize that all you did was banish him from Sanctuary, right?”
Mateo looked over to Meliora whose hand was nearly complete. “He was right, I’m not gonna give you more.”
“Then it’ll have to do. Anything to protect Leona.”
She looked at him again like he was unintelligent, but more like a dumb cat who didn’t know what a laser pointer was. “Oh, sweetheart. I’m the one who wants Leona. You signed a contract.”
“To blend her brain, or whatever you call it? You’re still not over that?” Mateo asked. “That was a billion years ago.”
Lightyears,” Meliora corrected.
“All contracts are final.”
“That’s not a real rule. You could just let it go. Even if I had signed something, you’re just a person. You’re a free-thinking individual who could choose to move on. Hell, the word is even in the name of your species.”
“That’s not how I operate.”
“We all need to learn to change. Don’t be so closed-minded.”
“Don’t stall. Where is she?”
“No idea. I just got here.”
She looked behind him. “Melly?”
Meliora was flexing her fingers, testing out her new hand.
“Melly, I’m not like Zef. I’m on the job. You have to give her to me.” She made it sound like this was another rule, but the kind that all choosers had collectively agreed to.
“She’s not wrong,” Meliora said to Mateo. “She’s not supposed to be here, but she made it here by a genuine loophole. Now that she is here, I can’t interfere in her work. Otherwise, I open myself up to real trouble.”
“Meliora, no,” Mateo insisted.
“I’ve no choice.”
“What would your father say? He would want you to protect her at all costs.”
“Not at the risk of his daughter’s life,” she disagreed. “Not at the risk of me.” She nodded to the Blender. “Room 1408.”
“No,” Mateo said through a deep exhale.
The Blender snapped her fingers and instantly apported Leona to the lobby.
“This can’t be good,” Leona said.
The Blender reached up to Leona’s head. “This has been a long time coming.”
“I don’t understand what you’re doing. No, don’t. Stop!”
Ignoring her protests, the Blender placed her fingers on Leona’s temples and let her power surge through her. Leona shuddered and shook. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and drool leaked out of the corners of her mouth. Once the Blender was done, she quickly pulled her arms away and took a couple steps back. They both struggled to catch their breaths.
Mateo stepped over to Leona and placed his hand on her back. “Are you okay? Do you remember me, love?”
She took one look at him before making her own step back while staring into space. And then she screamed. For at least five minutes.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Frenzy: Enter Rabbit Dog Stage Left (Part VII)

Click here for the previous installment...
Click here for the entire story (so far).

I and Thompson, as he shall from now on be referred to as, start running straight for the finish line. It would have been safer and more simplistic to go around the weird pond garden thing, but this is about giving people a show. We have to make it look interesting, which is how we were trained, and every racer agrees to not just get there as fast as possible. We spring from rocks and kick through thick thickets. Burrs desperately try to grapple onto my suit, but it isn’t havin’ none of that. It was designed specifically to prevent that sort of thing. Ah, the future. Is there anything like it?
We cross one main street, and then another. Most people got the memo that this is where the race is happening, so we don’t have to cross at the intersections, but there are still a few drivers there. I stop in the middle of the road to let one pass, but Thompson slides right over the top. He lands on the other side and keeps going as if nothing had happened. He may survive this yet. As I’m running to catch up with him, I realize that we’ve never had any footraces in this event. It just doesn’t happen; everybody’s coming from a different place, everybody’s going to a different place. Keilix once made the suggestion that we pair up so that we could compete with each other directly, but she only said that to me and a few others. Now I’m starting to think how much better it could be if we actually implemented that change.
We run through one neighborhood before coming across a creek. We both jump right into it and keep going like the badasses we are. We say nothing to each other, though. There’s no animosity, and we definitely aren’t friends. We’re just focused and in the zone. Agent Nanny Cam sent a second drone to keep track of Thompson. She is at least okay with him competing, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the council is. I fully expect to run into one of the leaders before we get too far.
Not long after the creek is the highway. Here’s where things get complicated. The reason they map out a path that doesn’t take you straight is because it’s unsafe to go any other way. Lincoln Rutherford’s job as the lawyer is framing the race objectives to make it clear that they don’t condone going off the trail while making it clear that they have no way of stopping it. Fortunately for us, there’s a significant amount of traffic at this juncture that people are not moving fast. They’re doing a bit of construction on both sides so, even with driverless cars, there just aren’t enough lanes to go around. People get out of their cars to cheer. This makes it even safer for us, because even when traffic picks back up, everyone’s stuck. I wave to the fans as I’m running by, but Thompson can’t think about that. He still has to prove himself worthy. I’m mostly worried about what that means for the other children who were disqualified, but weren’t allowed back in simply by not taking no for an answer.
We go through a few more neighborhoods. They’re a little harder to get through because they’ve built tall fences, but we don’t run into any problems with the residents. A few are out watching us, excited for the chance for their fifteen minutes of fame to be broadcast, but most people are either busy, or holed up inside. We end up at a wall to the highway, the other side of which we want to be. Between the backyards of these houses and the wall is an extremely dense forest. There’s no way to know how long the fence goes. Our only chance is going over it. We give each other this look and then simultaneously start scrambling up trees, switching between them as needed. Better-trained Thompson reaches the top faster and disappears.
Unlike the first highway, this one is both busy and unrelenting. It would not be safe to try and cross. This was all a stupid idea. We should have gone forwards to look for an overpass or underpass. Thompson is pacing back and forth on the shoulder, looking for an opening, but I spot a better idea. I consider calling over to him, but choose not to, because this is his mess. I run the wrong direction along the wall. It’s about as thin as a balance beam, which I practice on a lot. This is nothing to me. I hop the gap and start climbing along the metal structure they use for overhead highway signs. I then climb down to run along the median so I can make it to the matching sign structure for the northbound traffic. I get a chance to look back and find that Thompson has made the right call, and is hot on my trail. I should have made sure he did that, though. He could have gotten himself killed, and I would have been responsible for it.
“Wait for me!” he cries out.
“I’m in a race!” I call back, still trying to figure out how to get over this other wall without a bunch of trees.
“I have spring shoes!” he volleys. Okay, that’s a good reason to wait.
I take the time to catch my breath while he’s making his way over the bars and down to me. “Boost me up, and I’ll help you up from the top. No way those spring shoes get you that far.”
Part of our training is to work in teams, even though this is an individual sport. We learn moves and other special tricks together. This one is called The Lonely Diver. It’s an ironic name, because it can’t be done with only one person. With no coordination, he gets down on his hands and knees, leaning his head forward like he’s deep in prayer while I take my position a few yards away.
“Ready?” I ask.
“Pull!” he yells as loud as he can, which is protocol for these kinds of partner moves.
I start running towards him as fast as I can then let one foot land on his back. At just the right moment, he pushes himself away from the ground as hard as he can, letting me fly up to the top of the wall. As a sort of redemption moment from last night when I fell from the fire escape, I manage a tight grip on the top of the wall. I use all my upper-body strength to pull myself up to safety. I can just picture a number of random people at home, watching our feeds and simultaneously shoving their fists in the air with excitement at our success.
The next move is called Social Ladder. I hang the bottom of my legs over the other side, facing Thompson while upside down.
“Ready?” he asks.
“Pull!” I yell back.
He runs for me and uses his spring shoes to jump as high as he can. I catch his armpits with my own so that we’re interlocked. There’s no good position to end up in this, and of course, it always depends on how high up you are, but it’s what you gotta do. He proceeds to use me as a human ladder so that he can make it all the way up to the top. We jump down and land on the ground together, breathing heavily after the harrowing miniature adventure. We give each other another look before breaking the sound barrier and getting back into the race. We run for over three miles just through neighborhoods, and nothing else interesting happens. But then we run into Keilix. Literally.
We don’t fall down this time, but something does fall out of her arms. It’s some weird kind of animal that I don’t recognize at all. I mean, it’s not just a breed of dog I don’t personally know. It looks like something out of a movie about wizards running around looking for mythological creatures with nothing but a suitcase. Okay, so its ears are what stick out the most...upwards, actually. They’re curved like soft tacos, and she’s moving them around out of sync, searching for the best way to listen to her environment. She’s otherwise unmoving, though. And yes, something tells me that it’s a lady; perhaps just the fact that its eyelashes are particularly long, like when Bugs Bunny dresses up as a woman to trick his enemies. The hindlegs are more like a rabbit’s, but the front legs more like a beagle’s. Her muzzle is smushed into her face and you would expect from a rabbit, but then she also has big droopy beagle lips.I seem to remember that rabbits have their eyes on the side, while a beagle’s are more straight forward. Well, this thing’s eyes split the difference between those two poles. Yes, the only right name for this strange creature was Rabbit Dog. It was a rabbit dog.
“What the hell is that thing?” Thompson cries.
Keilix reaches back down and picks up the animal. “It’s a rabbit dog, I guess. Christ, I don’t know.”
“What are you doing with it?” I ask earnestly.
“I just have this need. I have to protect it. I found it hop-running down the street. It wasn’t scared, but it wanted to get away from something behind it. I’ve been running with it ever since.”
“Well, I suppose you’re giving the fans a good show.”
She shakes her head. “I’m not. I’ve not been broadcasting. Look at the drones.”
Both Thompson and I look up at all four drones and see that she’s right. They’re hovering obediently, but the blinking red light from the cameras are off.
“She’s giving off some kind of charge...or something that prevents video from recording.”
“Fascinating,” I say in my best Zachary Quinto impression while petting the rabbit dog.
Thompson is not being subtle about how impatient he is. “Are we gonna stand here all day, or are we gonna race?”
“Go on. We’ve already established that no one can stop you.”
“What is here doing here?” Keilix asks, trying to sound upset, but still enthralled by our new pet.
“Long story,” I answer.
“Hello?” Thompson says indignantly. “I’m still here. I don’t know where the finish line is.”
“Were you just go steal your paper map at some point,” Thompson explains.
I hastily pull the map out of my back pocket, letting it tear before handing it to him. “Here. Go nuts.”
Thompson snatches it from my hand and runs off in our original direction without yet looking at it.
“I have to get back in the race too,” Keilix says. “I’ll be disqualified if I can’t broadcast, but I can’t let this thing go. She needs my help.”
“I’ll take care of her,” I claim.
“Are you sure? I still don’t know what it’s running from.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, taking the little animal in my arms. “I’ll just keep running. It’s what I do.”
“You’ll be disqualified instead.”
I start jogging away. “Who cares?” It’s true that I don’t care anymore. I can feel the weird effect the rabbit dog is having on my empathy, but I can’t stop it, because it’s making me not want to. It’s also making me worry deeply that someone is indeed after us, so I start running hard again.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Microstory 395: Self-actualization

Click here for a list of every step.
Enthusiasm

No one has come up to me and asked what self-actualization is, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Rather, I’m going to do my best at interpreting this Wikipedia article on the subject I have pulled up here in this other tab. It would seem that self-actualization, which is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is less a goal that it is a state. Self-actualization is the culmination of everything good that makes you who you are. To reach this state, you have to understand what kind of person you are, and how others see you. You have to know what you like, and what you don’t like, and how you should change or adapt. You have to let go of your hangups and biases and presumptions and hatred and pessimism and selfishness and greed and, most importantly, your ego. You have to be comfortable with where you are in life, you have to care for others, you have to be honest and reliable, and you have to always give it your best effort. You have to be clear, accepting, understanding, loving, loyal, brave, and compassionate. You have to be self-reliant but helpful to others, intelligent but respectful, thoughtful but spontaneous, prepared by flexible, confident but interested. You have to have a sense of wonder. You have to be able to accept that not everything is in your control, and that not everything will go according to plan. You have to be good. It’s important to recognize that self-actualization is not an end. When you reach enlightenment, and ascend to a higher plane of existence, that’s your end...that is, assuming your spiritual beliefs do not preclude such a thing. It’s very possible to reach a state of self-actualization, but then drop from it, whether by your own hand, or unavoidable complications. This is, not completely, but mostly, another way of describing life itself, except that it must be morally good. You’re always going to have to work at life, and it will always disappoint you. Some psychologists even say that we reach certain peaks of self-actualization all the time. It’s all just a crazy mix of circumstance (read: luck), effort, attitude, introspection, and critical observation. There’s a difference between being self-actualized, and just operating on the notion that you’re pretty swell. This step is not the last. It’s more of a beginning.

Transhumanism I

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Microstory 394: Enthusiasm

Click here for a list of every step.
Honor

Enthusiasm. Wow, I bet you never thought I would be one to support the idea of enthusiasm. Unless you don’t know me, in which case you’re now like, “what is he goin’ on about?” Well, I’m very quiet. I only speak when I got something to say. Unfortunately, since I don’t have as much practice as others, I often say the wrong thing. I don’t have a filter, I just have a mute button. Be careful turning my volume up, because you may not like what you hear. Anyway. Enthusiasm. This is really just the word I chose as a kind of catch-all term for loving life. You can appreciate your work, and you can even have hobbies that you love, but that doesn’t mean you “love life”. The opposite of loving life, mind you, is not being suicidal. That’s a whole different situation there that I won’t get into. Though, I suppose at some point, if I didn’t already, I should have said that you shouldn’t be suicidal. Don’t kill yourself, get help. Loving life is a sort of feeling you have pretty much all the time. Of course you’ll still have problems and challenges, but if you’ve reached this point, it’s going to be a lot harder for people to get you down than it was before, or than it is for others. I would say that I’m an optimistic person, despite what facial expression you see me with (it’s called bitchy resting face, that’s just what I look like). As a futurist, I know both how bad the world is, and how bad it could become, but I also know how great we can be. Man’s fourth greatest day in history was when he looked down and saw clouds. His third greatest day was when he looked down and saw the Earth. His second greatest day was when he looked at a screen and saw the Universe. I’ve heard people lament that we were all born too late to explore the planet, and too soon to explore the stars, but this is not true. This is an exciting time. This is when it all changes. The internet, nanotechnology, longevity, and the intelligence singularity are all going to propel progress at a rate never achieved before. Man’s greatest day has been happening all along; as he looks forward and sees endless possibilities.

Self-actualization

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Microstory 393: Honor

Click here for a list of every step.
Approval

Honor is not something I would personally enjoy, but for many, it’s important. Years ago, I saw an episode of The Boondocks that was set in an alternate reality. It describes a history where Martin Luther King, Jr. was never assassinated. In present day, his ideas are often dismissed, and his acceptance in constant flux. The writers were making the suggestion that he was only able to make things better on a grand scale by his own death. This is a terrible and scary thought, but it is true in many ways. It’s a lot easier to point out the changemakers once they’ve gone, whether they were taken before their time, or not. How many artists were successful during their lifetime compared to those who weren’t? They did exist, and some even lost their fame following their deaths, so don’t think I’m claiming an answer of zero. I’m just saying that it’s safer to respect and honor a notable figure in history, rather than someone of today, because they no longer have a chance to screw it up. We all loved Lance Armstrong until we found out that he had been using performance enhancing pharmaceuticals. Can you imagine if we had immediately put his face on money, or something crazy like that? Honor itself is not a big problem, but I do take issue with idolizing certain figures, and I’m not referring to those who were not as great as we were always taught (I’m looking at you, Christopher Columbus). By honoring particular individuals, or rather by the way we honor them, we often neglect their teachings. Students are assigned projects during Black History Month to teach them why it exists, but these feel like regular assignments, and the lesson can be so easily lost. Instead of merely honoring this one person, maybe we should just think about how they felt. Let’s talk less about what MLK did during his lifetime, and what he went through, and focus more on his words. It’s his words that he wanted you to hear, because his circumstances were out of his control. We do still need to hear about it, so we can understand the kind of world he was living in; I’m just saying we should try to treat him like a teacher. This goes for any other honored individual, including those you know personally.

Enthusiasm

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Microstory 392: Approval

Click here for a list of every step.
Validation

Just because people are listening to what you have to say, and are even agreeing with you, doesn’t mean you’ve been approved. Lots of speakers have seen people nod their heads at their words, but it’s gone no further than that. Many have had great ideas, but these ideas are all but meaningless if they’re not capable of effecting real change. Of course, you only hear about the successful people, because few stay long enough to make a lasting impression. That’s the point. There are exceptions, however. Am I talking about Donald Trump again, you ask? Yes...yes I am. Trump has a lot of voters; a scary amount of them, actually, but he’s only gotten this far on the strength of his own image. People like when famous people try to become famous for something else. Why is this? What is the psychology behind this phenomenon? I don’t know, I don’t have a psychology degree, and that’s not what this blog is about. Trump has no clue what he’s doing. The news relatively recently reported on him asking experts multiple times essentially why the U.S. can’t just go ahead and bomb our enemies. Sounds like a reasonable request if you’re literally a supervillain. He’s not fit to lead our government, and most people recognize this, I really believe that. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he’s going to go away. Because even those who have no intention of voting for him still validate his voice on the regular. Every time you read an article about his latest shenanigans, or every time you write one, you’re giving him the fuel he needs to persist. Hell, even these entries that I’m writing have the potential to keep him in the global conversation. He’s loud and he’s in your face and he just won’t quit, but very few people approve of him. We’re all paying attention to him, whether we like it or not. This is not a healthy practice, and we should be able to recognize it when it happens. Since most don’t know the difference between validation and approval, the truth behind what’s going on becomes distorted and misunderstood. Eventually, this could lead to actual approval, without us even realizing it. That’s how Hitler rose to power, and I don’t mean that jokingly. That’s really how it happened. Trump is campaigning exactly like Adolf Hitler.

Honor