I Make Long Facebook Statuses

A long time ago in an internet far away, Facebook limited the number of characters you could use in your status. Seriously, if you exceeded the arbitrary and astonishingly short length the company thought was necessary to convey a complete thought, you’d receive a dialog box rather coldly stating that your status was too long.

This was much to my chagrin, but like the baby elephant tied to the stump I was trained to keep my Facebook statuses short and sweet long after they removed the restrictions and allowed posts long enough to overrun all known civilization.

Lately, however, I find the length of my posts to be creeping back up there into the stratosphere. Fifty words. A hundred. I believe I recently published my first 200 word post the other day. And, you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that!

Facebook had long been marred down by mindless link-sharing and endless advertisements, a necessary evil due to the fact that everyone’s on it and we’re all waking around with smartphones growing out of our left wrists. I am but one individual, but perhaps I can do my part in attempting to turn the tide. To make Facebook a place of contemplative philosophy, not trite expressions that do nothing for nobody. A place of individual art and photography, not another dreadful meme affixed to a cutting opinion.

We’re all sick with a virus that we keep on catching, unwilling to sanitize the problem for fear we might lose our high technology as a consequence. But our disease is making us bitter, and making us see the world, or rather a digital symbol of it, as an ugly place.

So I will make long Facebook statuses, even if they don’t get any “likes.” (Though strangely, they often do.) I’m done caring about little red numbers at the top of my screen. My hope is that you are at that point too, because if you are, you can be a part of making things better. Post a long Facebook status. Post something original. Post a video of you doing something cool. Whatever you want to do, just post something different that the link-bait fueled mess bludgeoning us with opinions that the lowest-tier social media has become. People are better than that.

The Best Times in Life

The best times in life are not when you’re trying to make money to satisfy the American dream. It’s not the times when the hustle and bustle of life causes you to run around spastically, trying with all your might to satisfy your responsibilities. This world’s riches my be the endgame of the majority of life’s denizens, but it does not render true contentment. The best times in life are the simplest. Continue reading

Baby Menus

boypiano

We have the technology…

To overcome the natural randomness that we as a race know as reproduction. But does that mean we should use it?

As the human story rolls on, we are beginning to understand the secrets behind our own genetics. This leverages an opportunity to manipulate our traits and genes. In short, we can control a child’s features.

It is painfully simple to understand the basics behind this process. Just mix and match DNA in a dish until you come up with 23 optimal chromosomes. Inseminate the woman, and boom. You’ve got yourself a baby menu. Something you can use to select the perfect traits for your brand new son or daughter.

Male. Tall. Athletic. Smart. Social. 
Female. Blond. Attractive. Smart. Musical.  

All these traits can be in your perfect offspring, if the price is right. I firmly believe that if genetic engineering in this form was legal, that we’d already be dealing with genetically enhanced children functioning in society.

So what happens if and when we allow this type of technology in our society? Several things will happen.

It will provide an unfair advantage for these special children.

We as a society are just now getting comfortable finding productive places for the people that don’t measure up to everyone else physically or mentally. Heck, even I often feel challenged simply because I can be a little slow to grasp something or I’m not nearly as athletic as most. I can only imagine what people with real disorders must face. 

Customized children would immediately shift the playing field. Suddenly these children would be at the top of the list to get jobs. Being genetically enhanced would be a requirement for the most prestigious positions. 

Imagine working hard and going to school for eight years to get your doctorate. Suddenly the person beside you reveals that he did it in four. What’s more, he’s already got a position with one of the most recognized businesses in America. 

It will create an even greater divide between the poor and the rich.

This would be a real problem with American society. I’m all for capitalism, but genetic engineering is taking it too far. 

This procedure is doubtless very expensive, and only the richest could afford it. This would allow the rich to only get richer. It would force the poor to remain in low paying jobs that only normal people could be qualified for. This would do more than just reinforce American governmental values. It would fracture America. 

Discrimination will be a serious problem.

We are a species that passionately loves to tell the difference in things. Let me give you the short list.

Race, gender, age, sexuality, religion, geographic location, income level, physical features, tattoos and piercings, even favorite sports teams.

Genetic enhancement will be at the front of that list. It will influence a person’s social status, their income level, and whether they’ll get a political position. 

How do you craft a soul?

I will argue that people have a soul until I’m blue in the face. Why? Well, why do most people argue about something. Typically it’s because they are slightly insecure about something. So I guess that makes me slightly insecure that there’s some component of a life that transcends the physical universe and exists in eternity. A soul, in short.

But whether a soul exists or not, the question must be addressed: are these people really human? If something as simple as a laboratory can create a life, does it really count as consciousness? 

What to do? What to do?

There are some very good uses for genetic research. I’ve heard of scientists using a persons own cells to regrow lost limbs. I’ve heard of children being cured of infancy diseases. I’ve even heard of treatments for cancer based on genetic research. 

But just because we have the capability to do something doesn’t mean it needs to be done. This is too much power. We never need to be able to allow a person to pick and choose that characteristics of his or her offspring. We never need to grow children beyond the natural birthing process.

Use these technologies to cure disease and make the world a more wonderful place, yes, but don’t mess with order. Let people be people.

We can still travel forward as a society without checking out every attractive looking town we see along the way. With the city of Baby Menus, it’s probably best if we just move right along.

[Thanks Myra Boulware for suggesting this topic!]

 

The Diminishment of Independence

skrillex-updates

Culture. A collection of ideas and actions shared by a community of people. Culture is, in my opinion, one of the greatest advancements of human beings. Even greater, I feel, are the people who are willing to explore cultures that are different than their own. But what I’m talking about today is not culture as much as it is assimilation. 

We as Americans are becoming a culture of followers, it seems. We are losing our independence. 

We use the same social media, which you probably used to come to this blog. We shop at the same stores. We use the same phones. We watch the same TV. 

I’m seeing a lot less self-determination and a lot more of a herd mentality that I thought human beings abandoned long ago. I don’t want us to be a society of “hipsters,” no, but I do want us to be more than simply the common denominator of humanity. I want us to think for ourselves, and not let the corrupting power of a few smart people define us. 

The world is a complicated interweaving of ideas and knowledge, and if we don’t know how to think for ourselves, I fear that that world will simply fall apart. Think for yourself. Don’t let someone else do it for you. Don’t just take what you get from society or advertising or the media or even preachers. Recover your independence.