02 April 2017

Back to blank thoughts

Dear weblog,

Do what you love. Love what you do. What do you love?

My sweetheart received a lockable diary as a gift, and its cover has that first phrase above emblazoned across it. The other two phrases are my own additions: free association. Sorry for starting so shallow. I myself don't need no book to write in. I use this here screen for my blank thoughts. It's an e-passion. (In the olden days, it was common to prefix an "e-" to terms, to signify that the factor in question had been electrified.) People have been recording their private fancies for ages, and yet not one single person has ever cared to read them. Don't let this get you down, though; you never need to justify any act of exhibition – remember Emerson's "Rhodora": beauty is its own excuse for being. …But can blogging be beautiful? It is when YOU do it! (I don't know.)

But what are we gonna do when robots take over all the jobs? (Robots blog the best, profits prove.) I know I've tackled this before, but it's a fun thought, so I'm revisiting it. My dad owned his own trucking business; soon even this shall be mechanized: every vehicle will be a self-driving autobot. But if there's no need for people, then everyone will be jobless and die in the street. Fine. But robots don't need food; so the roboticized agriculture industry will eventually go down. And robots don't wear clothing, so the robo-garment industry will go down. The only industries that will survive are the ones that robots cannot subsist without: plastics, telekinesis, and finance.

Seriously though, the automation of everything is going to create some interesting conditions. Should we consider it a problem, to have all tasks made easy? I say no; I'm unable to think how worldwide leisure would be a bad thing. (But where there's a will there's a way, quoth Laissez-Faire Capitalism.)

When the motorcar became popular, what happened to all the horses? Would I rather, if I were a horse, go back to the days when my kind was necessary and therefore abused, or remain in the present where my kind is deemed superfluous and therefore abused?

Insurance salesmen. Bible salesmen. Countries and companies and oceans and deserts and tax havens. I'm just listing things.

We were going through our apartment's closets yesterday and trying to clear out the junk that we've saved over the years. Do I need to keep all those old cassette tapes? I'm good at renouncing possessions: I'm decidedly not a hoarder; but old tapes beguile me in at least two ways: they either contain rare, professionally released rap albums that are hard to find (even online – I know from trying to search for them) OR they contain our own multi-track recording sessions: disposing these is like amputating one's own limb; or even like dying.

. . . Yet in this life
Lie hid moe thousand deaths . . .

says Vincentio the Duke of Vienna in Measure for Measure.

The evils of sentimental saving. Shall I even have time to listen to all of those old tapes? Maybe it would be better to jettison them, to make room for new interests. I just wish I knew a young artist who would like to use them as source material, to collage them into some next outlandish creation – it seems a shame to place them on top of a garbage heap. So that's my hangup.

To waste; to save… frugality and profligacy…

Little children can leave the house without their briefcase and do just fine: when thirsty, they simply drink from the nearest pond; and they have enough bitcoins in their e-wallet to purchase a brand new suit when the current one gets torn from running thru the woods. Light traveling is made possible by great wealth. You don't even have to lift your own sofas and coffee table to throw them into Tophet.

. . . Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. [Isaiah 30:33]

You can hire others for many kinds of services. You can even hire them to teach your children to read. Is diction still important nowadays? Was it ever? What would happen if a country boy were to attend finishing school? He would become an innovative entrepreneur, a successful billionaire. Then he would become a statesman and either solve or cause all of society's problems. It's a pay-to-play world.

After writing the above, I took a break for a short walk. Now I have returned, and I am ready to give my report:

This morning, the air of the great outdoors felt like the atmosphere of our Frigidaire's crisper drawer. ["Frigidaire is the American consumer and commercial home appliances brand subsidiary of European parent company Electrolux."] There were only two other people taking their exercise at our local lake: one guy was being pulled by his dog, and another guy was thumbing his bright white phone. They were both friendly and smiled as we passed. I noticed that the dock is not yet in the water: it's gasping disassembled on the shore. And I saw a dead goose on the side of the road. And there was trash everywhere. Dead grass, broken glass from car accidents. This city is becoming… That's it: This city is becoming.

P.S.

Last night I paged through a book of Edward Hopper's paintings. I love Hopper. I've heard people criticize him for not being able to paint humans. I don't know if I'd say that he can't paint them; it's true, they often look odd… But would it improve the work if they had been "done correctly"?

P.P.S.

I had a long, heartfelt talk my with boss yesterday. He explained how sometime in the future there will be a giant rack or grid where all the old computer components can be plugged in, thus the total power of all those currently outdated parts will become newly usable: That is (he said) why I save all my old motherboards and RAM sticks and processors.

Yet everyone is worried about the loss of privacy. It's good to be worried (how else will you add one cubit to your stature?); but I wonder about the other side of the playing field also: for consider how the believers and people of faith and pious churchgoers worship a God whom they label OMNISCIENT. What does it mean to be omniscient? It's a little different than being an old English sheep dog. Or a gypsy moth, or white-breasted nuthatch, or an octopus. (I'm recording the names of the beings that I pass, while paging to my desired word in the dictionary. This is one advantage of using a physical volume, as opposed to an online program that only gives you exactly what you want.) The word splits in the middle: OMNI- is from a Latin root meaning "all" and -SCIENT is from a Latin root meaning "to know." …So why is GOD deemed worthy of praise for knowing all of our online activities, whereas the NSA is deemed a nuisance for exactly the same reason! Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on totalitarian thugs. Every soul has her calling in this existence; and there is a time to pray silently in one's closet, and a time to relinquish the contents of one's unspoken future prayers to a searchable database.

Now as I stare at it, I wonder if the latter part of that word omni-scient might not share the same root as our English word SCIENCE. And then I wonder what all the religious fundamentalists, who are anti-science, think about their God being TOTAL-SCIENCE, a super scientist. …But already I can answer my own stupid question: The fundamentalists will say that this has precisely been their point all along: God, true science exactly, does not contain all the notions that mere humans attribute to Him. (Yes, divine science possesses ONLY the male reproductive organ.)

I regret not titling this entry with a phrase that I omitted from the above paragraph: "Boasting the cleanest lab-smock in this universe."

Back to my boss. His kid is living with him right now. He (my boss) fathered a child when he was young, almost right out of high school; so the kid is college-age now. I think he has his first two-year degree and is entering study to obtain a four-year degree. I can't remember what the degrees are officially called – I'm not yet an expert on 21st-century college terminology. Higher education, so-called. …Anyway, the reason I mention my boss's son is that I see him now and then when he visits the office, and I always enjoy chatting with him about stuff. I asked him what he's going to school for, and he answered: Computer programming. Then I asked him why he chose that, and he said: Because my dad is a computer programmer. And then two Saturdays ago I saw him making sketches on a notebook-sized, electronic screen using what appeared to be a plastic, inkless pen; and I asked him how he decided to purchase that type of gizmo, and he said: My dad owns a tablet like this, so I just bought the same. All this intrigues me, because my own relationship with MY father is wholly the opposite: My dad's main love is trucks, and I hate trucks; also my dad salutes the business world with miserliness, whereas I embrace the world of art with reckless extravagance.

In closing, do I have any more impressions to add to my recent posts about my father's funeral? The services were one week ago, today. I guess I've either exhausted my memories, or I'm plain bored of the topic, because I can't think of anything specific. The whole event is clouded by a feeling of annoyance. I thought that funerals and burial services were supposed to comfort the friends and family who remain here in Hell, to succor those who haven't yet made it to the Lucky Land: the sky.

When, lo, there came about them all a great brightness and they beheld the chariot wherein He stood ascend to heaven. And they beheld Him in the chariot, clothed upon in the glory of the brightness, having raiment as of the sun, fair as the moon and terrible that for awe they durst not look upon him. And there came a voice out of heaven, calling: Elijah! Elijah! And he answered with a main cry: Abba! Adonai! And they beheld Him even Him, ben Bloom Elijah, amid clouds of angels ascend to the glory of the brightness at an angle of forty-five degrees over Donohoe's in Little Green Street like a shot off a shovel.

That passage from Joyce's Ulysses just came to mind. It's from the end of the "Cyclops" chapter. If it doesn't perfectly match the current brooding, forgive me.

No, far from being a comfort to the survivors, modern funerals are a type of psychological torment, an endurance test. It's like a giant spanking-machine that you're forced to crawl through; yet instead of giving a whollop, each interval's guard presents an onslaught of feigned sympathy which you must pretend to be thankful for. (I now pity actors.) Right when you want to withdraw from the crowd and quietly meditate, you must greet and conjure labored small-talk with distant relatives and acquaintances from your ancient neighborhood who only recall your shortcomings never your genius.

But I love the carrot cake that is on the long table of refreshments. The frosting tastes good. There are snack nuts to eat as well: you can pour them from a disposable cup into your hand, and bring your hand up to your mouth; or alternately you can tip the cup to your lips and "drink" the nuts directly. Either way, you will accumulate salt granules around your mouth, and fragments of food between your teeth, which, while you visit, can be espied by each new guest. Plus you can use your tongue to caress your molars, so as to wash the debris from them; and this will give your face a funny expression while you attend to your conversation, so that the person you're talking to, whom you won't see again for at least another decade, will remember you in the most uncomfortable light. And when guests who posses only limited mobility ask you to fetch them a lemonade, you can fetch them a lemonade. Also teenagers who've been hauled by their parents like luggage to the service can lie in a gloomy corner of the cafeteria and play games on their portable device, and you can feel jealous.

I wish that all teens would invade the globe and deliver us freedom.

Now let us consider the funeral industry; those folks who make their living off of death: the vendors of coffins, tombstones, embalming services, or the process of cremation; the makers of the clothing that corpses are buried in, or the urns that hold their ashes. No doubt, this racket's shareholders presume that the current age of baby boomers will spike their profits, once they expire. But mark my words: The baby boomers will be the first generation of humans to defy mortality.

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