Unsung Heroes: Our Black Brothers & Sisters

In the midst of another era of racial and socioeconomic tension, America finds itself yet again divided. Its still to be decided as to how things will play out, but if one thing is for certain, its this: things must change. Folks are going to have to start getting along, or these violent riots and protests are going to rip our nation apart.

There is something lingering, however, that I think needs to be addressed. In my discussions with people on all sides of these issues, I’ve noticed that there is a certain degree of doubt as to how much our society and culture has truly benefited from the contributions of black Americans (and other minorities). While most people I speak to don’t come from the standpoint of looking down on minorities, many do seem to neglect certain contributions they have made, whether intentionally or not.

In light of this, I have decided to put together a list of some great people of color who, throughout our history, have impacted us all in a positive way. Some you may not have heard of, and some you may know quite dearly. The point is to illustrate how important we ALL are in our human quest to create a loving, inclusive society. There is no shortage of white characters who have received recognition, we all know that. So hopefully, by highlighting some of the others, the folks who still seem to foster the “white supremacy” opinion will take a harder look at the reality of this world we share. We’re all trying, people. Love each other – it shouldn’t be that hard, right?

GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

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Many people don’t know this, but GWC, a freed slave turned brilliant scientist, was a monumental influence on Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace, a farmer from Iowa, used GWC’s ideas to enormously boost corn production during World War II, filling increasing needs of our exploding economy.

BASS REEVES

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Bass was the first black US deputy Marshall West of the Mississippi. He basically destroyed outlaws and was an overall bad-ass, for want of a better term. He caught all the bad guys, and even killed 14 people in self defense. Keepin’ all them white folk safe!

BUFFALO SOLDIERS

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The Buffalo Soldiers was a term used for many regiments of black American soldiers who fought in many wars, originating in the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army in 1866. The term came from Native Americans, who thought their hair resembled that of Buffalo hair. They contributed to many great American victories, and served valiantly for their country. The term was used loosely by some to describe all black soldiers, but the history here is important to know. Many of our victories would never have been possible without the brave efforts of what many referred to as the “Negros Cavalry”.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

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Many have probably heard of these fellas, as there is now a big Hollywood movie about them. These guys were the first African American Air Unit in WWII, and went on many selfless missions to fight the good fight. Lot of great sub stories in these guys ranks, too. Check em out!

JOHN ALBERT BURR

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Anyone know a guy who owns a landscaping company? I sure do. Lots. And they can all thank Mr. John Albert Burr for pretty much inventing modern lawn mowing and paving the way for profits! That’s right, you’re looking at the man who invented the rotary lawn mowing blade – U.S. patent #624,749.

PERCY JULIAN

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Percy Julian was one of the most important scientists of the 20th century, making great discoveries in the fields of healthcare, with a focus on synthetic compounds. His work far exceeds my intellectual prowess, but folks should know that many of the compounds we enjoy today in the field of medicine were made possible by him.

ELIJAH MCCOY

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Elijah McCoy was an inventor. A thinker. An innovator. Throughout his life, he made trains more efficient,  improved oil rigs, and even honed steam engines. He was a brilliant man, capable of some of the most efficient thought from an engineering perspective. He even invented a movable ironing board to help make ironing-on-the-go easier. You’re welcome, ladies.

LEWIS LATIMER

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Lewis Latimer was paramount in further perfecting the light bulb. He led efforts installing electric plants in cities such as Philadelphia and Montreal. Without him, the incandescent bulb might not be what it is today. Thanks Lewis!

ROSA PARKS

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Rosa needs no introduction. The only thing I want to say here is that I bet she made the best neighbor EVER. You know, the one who’s always making sure the kids are behaving and aren’t doing anything stupid? Making sure they all got their homework done and came in before dinner time. I imagine that’s how Rosa was. A sweet, nice, lady who stood up (or in this case sat down) for what’s right. We need more of her.

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Now, I could go on and on and on and on with this, but this is the point, in case anyone’s missed it. All of these people did things for the greater good, not for one side or the other. They never berated other people, they just uplifted folks. That’s the direction we need to be moving, everyone. Forward. Up. Not backwards, or down.

A good question to ask yourself if you’re considering making a move in this game of life: what direction will this push people in?

For Better or Worse (Ch 6)

Caution: Creatures may occasionally engage in physical conflict. It is important for the owner of the habitat to pay close attention to how your terrarium’s occupants are grouped. Indicators of impending conflict may include, but are not limited to:

  • Two large groups of inhabitants facing one another in close proximity. Usually preceded by audible squealing of the creatures as a collective.
  •  Aggressive body language, abrupt movement, and loud vocal exchanges (when occurring simultaneously). Individually these behaviors do not necessarily indicate physical conflict. 

**Important**

If your terrarium’s inhabitants group together in close proximity while carrying small, board-like signposts or other tools, separate them immediately. It is recommended you allow two to four hours before removing them from isolation to reintegrate with their fellow inhabitants. This will allow their aggressive emotions to subside, creating a more peaceful environment for your pets! 

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Closing the handbook, the little girl sets her Creature Care Taking Manual back on the bookshelf by her bed after reading it.

“Silly teenie-weenies!” She says, laughing as she turns to look at them from her bed. “See? There’s no need for you guys to fight! It says right here you’ll calm down if you yourselves a little time to blow off the steam.”

Getting up to walk over to the dome, she opens it and removes the partition she’d placed down three hours ago to separate two groups of visibly angry little creatures.

“You guys are so cute.” She says as she watches the two groups slowly make their way toward one another, eventually creating one seamless, teenie-weenie unit.

“Good job! I’m proud of you fellas.” She says.

Shutting the lid, she turns around and leaps into bed, wriggling around until she’s created a little dimple in her wide mattress. Hearing the commotion, her father enters the room to kiss her good night.

“Hello, little one. How was your day?” He asks he as he blows her candle out with his long snout.

“It was good, Daddy! I made my little guys get along.” She says cheerfully, obviously proud of herself for mitigating the conflict. “They we’re fighting over something stupid.”

Laughing and smooching her forehead, the father brushes her hair back before walking to the door.

“Good girl. I’m glad to hear that you’re a peaceful overlord.” He says with a chuckle and a wink.

“I love you Daddy!” The little girl says, shutting her eyes.

“I love you too, sweetie.” Her father whispers with a smile, gently closing the door.

This Terrifying World

So for our new podcast (check it out!), I’m ending each episode with a poem that pertains to each topic we discuss. For tonight’s recording, we’re going to talk about terrorism and the many ways people view it, as well as a historical account of how its evolved. Below is the poem for Episode 4: An Open Discussion About Terrorism.

 

This Terrifying World

Chaos, madness, this deafening place

When quality of life is sadly debased

Around any corner lie those that await

Who wish only harm, that death is your fate

Perhaps for a God, an ideal, or revenge

Perhaps for their loved ones, the dead they avenge

I fear that this terror shall oft persevere

Until the day dawns when we all lend an ear

A time when the world sets pause to the hate

Where perspective arises, and opens the gate

The gate of our minds, our thoughts and our views

When people become people…our difference diffused

Conspiracy

Great writing can change the world. We’ve seen it happen time and time again, from philosophies to constitutions. Knowing this, I try to maintain a constant awareness when it comes to writing. Looking for things that influence me in one way or the other.

I watched a movie today that had an effect. I’m not particularly sure what kind of effect it was, but it was there nonetheless. The movie is called Conspiracy, and tells the tale of the Wannsee Conference. If you’re not a history buff, the Wannsee Conference was the meeting of masterminds behind the German holocaust during WWII. It was the meeting where they decided on their “Final Solution” to the “Jew” problem.

The movie itself was produced by HBO, and the entire plot consists of the 15 member open-table conversation, which is based off of the sole surviving “minutes” document that recorded the meeting. Interested in history or not, I strongly recommend  watching this simply to experience the harsh realities of global elites.

Now, there is a very important message that I would like to convey with this post. The movie, if you have the time to watch, brilliantly illustrates the brutalness and depravity of which the human condition is capable. By simply listening to these actors portray what was a very real event, we begin to understand how far the reaches of human degradation really can go.

This is something I think we all need to call a timeout on. Because think about it: there was a time in our (very recent) history where people actually agreed to KILL OFF AN ENTIRE RACE. It’s easy to look back today and say “well those guys were crazy back then.” But you know what? Back in 1942, they probably said the same thing about people who accepted the Jews. Somehow, some way, these people created a perception and reality where they had convinced the population to turn a blind eye to the extermination of SIX TO ELEVEN MILLION PEOPLE.

6 to 11 Million human beings. Let’s put that in perspective. I live in Nashville, TN. A beautiful, wonderful, friendly town. A town where sometimes I get frustrated because it seems so packed with implants and growth that it makes me want to pull my hair out (the traffic sucks).

Our census puts the entire city’s population at 1.8 million if greater Nashville is included.

That’s a lot of people. And the holocaust ended a number of lives that is equivalent to my ENTIRE city, by threefold. And that’s only if we assume the lowest number. Otherwise were looking at around 6 Nashville’s being helplessly killed.

I want people to understand these things. I want them to realize how important it is to keep the powers that be in check. Because this world, as it exists today, is not a place that we should proud of.

On the Eve: 6

King Jordain

She knows exactly where my heart lies. Buried deep within that sheath of angst, she knows the truth.

She knows I cannot raise my blade to her. This foolhardy campaign is fueled by her insatiable desire for revenge; her misguided malfeasance. Yet reality continues to elude her. The entirety of her army’s morale rests upon the simple assertion that I, King Jordain, committed the treacherous act for which I was accused. Why choose now to invade – does she wish to reunite East with West? Her accusations, ones which she herself believed to be true, were the very catalyst that ripped these lands apart to begin with.

And now, here I sit with the watchful eye above penetrating my soul. On my honor, woman, nothing occurred between the vice-regent and myself those many years ago. This divisive plot was a meticulously crafted story by that scum of a Hand, Ulric. The same Hand who deceived her, my Queen, for all these years. Slicing his throat was the greatest gift our God could ever bestow upon me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We will hold these lands. God willing, we will reunite.  Jocasta shall at last hear the truth.

I Want to Play a Game

I’d like to try a thought experiment.

This might be weird; but just bear with me. You’ll need to pay very close attention to the things you’re about to read. More importantly, you’ll need to truly, truly, visualize and imagine what I’m going to say.

I want you to imagine yourself plugging your ears. Sound strange? Well it shouldn’t, because if you did it right you wouldn’t be able to hear it. Your ears are plugged, remember? Step one, imagine all the sound around you is gone. 

Step two. Think of the smells you’re experiencing. Then, imagine them going away. Close your nostrils if it helps. You can no longer smell.

Three. Cut your tongue out. Not literally! But imagine it disappearing into the same realm your other senses have traveled to. You can taste no more.

Four. You no longer feel anything. Your sense of touch is gone. Poof. Out the door. No more feel.

And last. Five. If you did it right, the only thing you have left….is this. You can see. You can read the words you’re reading right this very moment.

Now – close your eyes. Nothing. You should see, hear, smell, taste, feel….nothing. You should be nothing.

Okay, experiment over! If I had to guess, you’re probably thinking I’m a freaking nutcase right now. I, however, would say no; this is a thought process that has plagued me from the first time I considered it. I really, really want to know if there’s life after death. And no, I don’t want a feelgood story to make myself sleep better at night. I want to actually consider what really happens when we die. 

The above exercise is what I think about. Why don’t I remember anything before I was born? Seriously. Doesn’t this seem sort of obvious? When I was created, I gained the ability, through biological synapses and impulses that I won’t ever understand, to perceive reality. I was given hands, eyes, a nose, tongue, and so on to then be able to process the stimuli that is the universe. 

And you know what? When I’m dead, I bet I lose that ability to sense things. I bet I go right back to the blackness that was before I was born.

Now. Please. If there exists an individual who can tell me, in any logical manner why I should think otherwise, I’m begging you to do so. Because I’m going to be one hundred percent, completely real here: that scares the shit out of me. Wanna know why I quit insurance and write now? Well, here’s why folks. It doesn’t get any more real than this. I honestly believe that when I’m dead, that’s it. I don’t get another go around. So each and every second of my life, I want to make meaningful. And the worst part about this, believe me – the part that hurts the most, is thinking about Mom. That she may not be out there anymore. And that’s why I’m so torn, because the easy thing would be to say yeah of course she’s still there and so on. I really, really, can’t stand thinking this way. 

So. In summation. If someone can give me a rational, real explanation other than “faith” or “you just have to believe” or anything, please for the love of the ironic god I’m trying to find, tell me. 

That is all.

On the Eve: 5

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

An emissary arrived today with a most perplexing message. He hurriedly navigated his way through Clarmont’s cobblestone streets and somehow obtained an audience with Queen Jocasta herself. The dispatch appeared to be one of grave import, as he was quickly ushered into Jocasta’s inner chambers following the delivery. No one yet knows what information was contained in the message.

Morale is still elevated. Tomorrow we meet with Hadrian, who has offered his assistance for our efforts at taking the East. Hadrian may be crass, but his Northern legions will surely add much needed strength to our rallying attack. These lands must again be united, as our Queen is the only hope of rebuilding the future we so desire.

Much planning is required if we are to rise victorious. Perhaps I will ask for an audience with this emissary, seeing what games Jordain attempts to play.

That man is more manipulative than the misleading colors of a chameleon.

 

On the Eve: 4

Favian, Royal Record-Keeper & Historian of the East

The West shall never comprehend the world the way we Easterners do.

What ire could have possibly made Jocasta think she could overtake us? The East and West have co-existed, as agreed, for twelve winters now. Why is she suddenly afflicted with the desire to destroy? I cannot make sense of it.

I desperately long for the sensibility which we enjoyed many years ago. An era of peace. A time when Jordain and Joscasta ruled with the passion and love that this world deserves. Their deep affection for one another poured out over all these lands. It was a time of joy; true, unabridged happiness.

And then that awful, destructive separation. To this very day, I still find pause when asked if my recollections of the event are truly complete. The realm relies on my accounts for candidacy of what transpired, but I shall forever foster my internal doubts. I have written what I know to be true; Jocasta assuming the role of primary aggressor. She betrayed Jordain, this is well known. Yet it is a reluctant truth that confuses, for I still do not fully understand his decision to allow her sovereignty in the West. The splitting of these lands was perhaps a more hurtful dagger than the one Jocasta cast into the heart of my liege through her betrayal.

I have seen families ripped apart. I have witnessed brothers fighting brothers; sons fighting fathers. The darkest depths of depravity, all surfacing in the name of East versus West.

The gaping wound which separates these lands must once again be mended, this much I know. We cannot go on as warring factions.

The clarity of this shines with blinding abundance.

Happy Birthday Shannon!

To our beloved co-worker

shannon

 

Shannon, oh Shannon, where goes the time?

Are you seriously entering year thirty-nine?

I think it’d behoove you to look and go see

If your card has arrived from AARP

Today marks a day that we all often fear

For every birthday adds yet one more year

Not all that bad when we turned twenty five

When nights would run late, we still felt alive

Now our old bones are starting to ache

When nine rolls around we can’t stay awake

But for you, my dear Shannon, at this time and stage

I can say with all truth you look half your age

Like the fanciest cheese; a sweet fine French wine

Your beauty increases and grows lovely with time

So today let’s rejoice and enjoy added worth

As we celebrate this wonderful day of your birth

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 

Dream Always

The last seventeen months of my life have been an absolute whirlwind.

Ever since my Mom passed away, I’ve been relentlessly committed to accomplishing my dream of becoming an author. To the point where I’ve honestly questioned my own sanity. 

Now, all this time later, I find myself so tantalizingly close to fulfilling that dream that I think I’m honestly getting a stomach ulcer. That’s not a joke by any stretch of the word; I’m dead serious.

I spoke to a literary agent today. I was fortunate enough to attend college with her and she responded to a message I’d sent. Our conversation was very encouraging. Basically, I need to gain a somewhat solid following before a big agent or publisher will market me. 

So if you happen to stumble upon this, I would vastly appreciate any support and honest feedback of my writing. 

Much love to you all. And never give up, whatever you want to do. Life is far too short. 

Here is the Amazon link to my book. It is also available if you search “Matt Shao” on Apple iBooks, Google Play, and barnesandnoble.com

Love & Loss: 10

They’re coming.

We don’t know when, but we know. The Germans are launching a counter offensive. We’ve been expecting this for weeks, as it’s crucial that we maintain control of the supply lines. Sicily is too valuable a target, and we should have known they would defend it to the very last man.

Our intelligence officer has intercepted a telegram that we are to be assaulted in the coming days.

My time in this war has given me so much perspective. Some of the things I’ve seen are nightmarishly horrific. Seeing the atrocious ways a human being can treat another human being when under the guise of war is the most terrifying observation I’ve had. This isn’t a world that anyone deserves. I feel the heaviest weight on my heart when I see a little girl be saved from debris, only to find her parents dead from shelling. I feel the weight of the farmers who are being forced to provide rations to the Nazis against their will.

It hurts to think about these things. I must protect Adalasia. That’s the only thing I can hold on to in this world of chaos. She gives me purpose. I love her for that.

Why am I fighting this war? That was a question searing in my head for the longest time. But now I know. I’m fighting this war to preserve the short glimmers of happiness that my Adalasia provides. It’s what were all fighting for.

I love her so much.

Sleep


So I’m currently sitting in bed working on a chapter of my third book in the Continuity series, and I noticed something that made me wonder about this. Mr Baxter, my loyal pup, is laying on his back with his paws stretched out in front of him dead asleep. Snoring like a madman.

I’m looking at him, and suddenly I began to wonder – what if he didn’t need to sleep? A preposterous notion, of course, but one which I can’t help but consider. What if science, someday and somehow, discovered a way to provide humans with the necessary benefits that sleep provides through some other mechanism, be it a drug or otherwise?

So I began thinking about this, and decided to do a little research into why exactly we do, in fact, require sleep.

The easy answer is apparently “we don’t know.” But there are several theories. One, interestingly, was that it evolved as a survival mechanism. Our bodies simply shut down during dark hours when there were predators lurking about, keeping us quiet and thus less likely to be discovered and eaten. This theory I’m skeptical of, but it’s intriguing nonetheless. The most commonly agreed upon idea it seems is that our brains and bodies require downtime to replenish energy and file all the nutrients and whatnot we consumed during the day. Furthering this theory is the notion that our brains have to file and refile the information we absorbed that day, moving and organizing our memories from one lobe of the brain to another. Evidently this is how long and short term memories are reconciled.

But what if we somehow figured out how to do these things in another way? Imagine how absurd the increase in productivity would be and how much life as we know it would change. We would see stores and businesses open 24/7. The concept of a bedroom or even bed would vanish, with the exception of traditionalists who wouldn’t adapt to the new culture. The hotel industry would likely collapse. Everything would change.

In any case, the possibilities are endless. And again, I’m well aware how far fetched this is.

But it’s cool to think about, ya know?

Sleep Theories
More Sleep Theories

Benefits of Sleep

Love & Loss: 9

My attempts to join the fray went unheeded. Father said I was crazy for suggesting such a thing. He says the passions of a baker’s daughter aren’t strong enough for war.

Adam makes it a point to make sure the bakery is well-guarded and equipped for whatever may come through. Or whoever, I should say. The chocolate he brings is always fresh. I adore him for the little things he does for me. We took a walk yesterday, through the market square and over to the theater.There was a play taking place about the American soldiers leaving their homes to come fight the war. Adam and I stood there, motionless, watching the actors and actresses pretend to feel the pain of loss. We did not condemn them. Instead, we applauded their efforts, because we knew that they were going through the very same struggle as we. They have lost loved ones, as we all have.

The pain of losing friends. The pain of losing family. The impact of which I cannot convey. Not through mere words. It must be felt to truly understand. Why must we continue to battle? Why? Will a day without hatred, without malice, without violence ever dawn? I so deeply long for peace, and happiness.

Happiness more so than anything. Oh Adam, how much I love you.

Hate Government? Here’s a Quick Fix

If I end up dead in a ditch somewhere one day, make sure my grave says something along the lines of “Welp…at least he tried.” Because this is assuredly a very unpopular idea to a lot of people. I’m just relying on the fact that I’m currently a nobody in the grand scheme of things. Thank God for that, right?

Anyway, kidding aside.

So this evening I was engaged in one of those wonderfully entertaining Facebook conversations we’re all too familiar with and posted a comment that compelled me to write this, because I want to elaborate on the thought. There’s your disclaimer.
The post went something like this: my respected friend Nick posted something slightly leaning towards the Democratic side, to which an assumed Republican commenter replied “hypocrisy is not bound by aisle”. Cue the obligatory heated partisan dialogue. 

So, being my typical unable-to-keep-my-fingers-idle self, I responded with the following, in the midst of their back-and-forth:  

Let’s just be real here. This whole party/red blue system is antiquated and truthfully, super annoying. In fact I would even go as far as to say this entire government/society structure we still use is outdated.

We have the power to communicate with literally everyone now. We don’t really even need these old corrupt fossils telling us all what we are and aren’t allowed to do anymore. 

Hell, you want to decide if pot should be legal? Here’s an idea – make a freaking online poll with that constituency’s area. Popular vote wins. Bam. Next issue.

We have such potential for an entire new society at our fingertips and we’re still stuck in the past. It frustrates the hell out of me.

Emotionally charged? Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that. Overly simplified? Again, probably. I suppose I temporarily let my frustration of this absurd canyon-sized divide in our country get the best of me. What can I say…I’m human. But for a second, let’s think outside the box and actually consider this. 

What is the absolute fundamental, most foundational of purposes for having elected representatives? Why did we invent the concept of politicians? Because for them to exist in the first place, obviously someone, at some point, had the bright idea of creating them (someone who many of us would probably like to throat punch in retrospect, but you get my point). Easy. They were invented to discuss the various issues facing us fellow human beings, to then draft ideas, and ultimately decide the policies which dictate our reality. In the most simple terms, they were created to represent us, where we otherwise would be unable to represent ourselves.

Now, why did we, as a society, decide that this was the most appropriate, fair system? Simple. Because it was unrealistic to expect that the entire populace could participate in such discussions and decisions. We simply did not have the physical means to fit every human being in a room, spend the time talking, and then the resources to take and tally each vote to decide what the rules of humanity are. That would be absurd, obviously. So we decided that hey, why don’t we vote instead on some dude or dudette who most accurately represents the majority opinion/value system, and then ship them of to a place where other such dude/dudettes can meet, chill for awhile, argue a bunch, and then reluctantly agree on the intended laws of how to be a human. A place, incidentally, that somehow magically became closed off to the rest of us, but that’s a whole other monster I could go on about. So I’ll shut up on that for now.

But this is 2017, folks. We literally live in a time dubbed the Information Age.We have this incredible, beautifully profound ability to communicate now. We can inform ourselves and each other. We can discuss. We can debate. Throw digital rocks at each other. Then, ultimately, we can decide. Or at least we could. If we simply allowed ourselves that luxury. Instead, for some bizarre reason which I honestly cannot figure out, we have not granted ourselves that power. Instead we apparently prefer complaining and being miserable over actually doing anything. Ugh. Anyway.

So why the HELL are we still relying on detached, more-often-than-not silver spoon fed, entitled elites to dictate quite literally ALL of our realities? I’m being deadly serious, folks. WHY? Seriously. I read an article back in college (and I’m not joking) about George W one time. The writer reported that Ole Dunya walked into a grocery store as part of some press event thing to get some stuff. After he finished shopping, he literally did not recognize or even have the slightest clue as to what a self check out system was. Because, and I’m paraphrasing, he’s lived a life full of personal shoppers, drivers probably named Bitterman or Winchester, and had never been exposed to a freaking U-Scan before. And yet somehow these types of folks are supposed to know what we actual, real people have to put up with day to day. Now I can’t attest to the validity of that story, but the point remains. 

I mean let’s be honest. We ALL bitch and moan about corruption. We ALL whine when we see laws passed that quite honestly reflect the interests of NO ONE but well-connected, often self-centered, ego-maniacal control freaks who get off on telling us all what we are and are not allowed to do, at least “legally” (law…another human-fabricated concept that I could go on about, but I digress). WHY?!

In summary.

No government. Massive cooperative policy-making. Collective consciousness. They’re completely foreign, and most likely batshit crazy concepts – I get it. Really, I do. And I do not at all blame anyone who is laughing at me as they read this. After all, our species has had leaders and people willing to make the rules for our entire existence. It’s a completely off the wall, absurd idea. I’m aware. But you know what else was an absurd idea at one time? Gravity. Medicine. Electricity. Airplanes. The wheel. The fact that Earth isn’t the center of the universe. That it was FREAKING ROUND. Oh, and I bet the first genius that decided stairs were the easiest way to climb stuff was laughed out of his cave when he first told his buddies as they chatted over the first fire EVER created. I bet his cave-cronies said he was nuts too. Or at least grunted that he was. Yeah, have fun with the saber tooth tigers out there, moron. We’re gonna keep chilling in our cave as we draw pictures of animals on the wall to entertain ourselves. Don’t get stomped on by a mammoth while you build these “stairs” you speak of. Pff.

But for real. Why in the flat Earth hasn’t this at least been a topic of debate? If nothing else, it might lead to someone else coming up with a better idea. Because let’s be honest…like a billion percent of the people I talk to feel completely abandoned, neglected, or otherwise outright exploited by the status quo. And don’t get me wrong – not all politicians are corrupt. I’m sure plenty of them are genuine, good people who truly want what’s best for us. Maybe even most. Who knows.

But something’s gotta give. The tension and frustration are simply reaching a tipping point, and honestly I’m utterly horrified of what could result. We’ve got to do something differently. 

Either that, or I’m applying to cryogenically freeze myself and be thawed out when this world gets it shit together.

What do you care about? How to literally change everything.

I don’t know why what I’m about to tell you is the case. I can’t explain the strange, even eerie, shifts in my frame of mind that I’ve experienced recently. What I do know, however, is that what I’m about to type is 100% legitimate, real and deadly serious. This is not something I am making up.

I’ve put more thought into what life is all about than ever, as of late. I’ve questioned what my purpose is, and why I’m even here to begin with. Now, for some inexplicable reason, I think I know the answer to that most meaningful, profound question.

That answer is to change the world.

Now understandably, I assume your first reaction to that statement is the thought that this guy’s ego is out of hand, or perhaps that I need to get over myself. And a month ago, I would even agree. But something in my mind has changed. This isn’t even about me. Not at all. On the contrary, it’s about you. 

You see, I no longer care what people’s perception of me is anymore. Because I know, internally, that my only purpose is to make the world one that rewards good, and kindness. Before my Mom died, I admit that I don’t think I was a good person. I was selfish. But now, I know better. My priorities have changed, and I can now consider myself good. And that assured self-awareness completely shields me from having to concern myself with others’ opinion of me. I know who I am. And ultimately, that’s really all that matters. Because caring about people caring about what people think of you are two very different things. 

Anyway, back to changing the world. I doubt anyone would disagree that we live in very corrupt, evil times. So many of the people at the top of society are manipulative, ego-driven monsters that will literally do anything to fuel their status and power. And the ironic part of this is that we have allowed these people to dominate because in all honesty, they’re basically smarter and played their pieces with ingenuous precision.

Now here’s the part that I’m going to try really, really hard to articulate in a way that people understand, because its an extremely deep rooted thought.

We literally have to change our entire value systems if the world is ever going to change. 

Now what do I mean by that? I mean that all of those corrupt people, all of those incredibly smart psychopaths who lack remorse and empathy, have risen to the top because they are playing the game we have created. We have created a society in which money, materials, and otherwise needless luxuries is the key to being perceived as successful. Think about that. The reason people manipulate and deceive is to climb above the rest and appeal to their ego. These people will always exist. They will never go away.

So we have to change the rules. We have to act, behave, and truly believe that real self-worth and happiness is ones ability to be compassionate. To be good. That has to become the currency for how big ones ego can be. After all, these people only desire to be better than others. So if being better means you donated more to charity, or helped the most people, or acted most ethically, then these people will do those things simply because the more they do, the more respected and powerful they will become. After all, why do oil companies, or big pharma, or corporate industries, or anyone for that matter do the things they do? They do it for money. If they couldn’t get rich by doing those things, they wouldn’t do them. They do it because they know people value money, and those with the most money are viewed at as the best. Thus, they do whatever it takes to obtain more of it.

Simply put, we have to control and direct the actions of these people into something that betters the world. Which, funny as it may be since these people think they’re smarter than everyone, is basically outsmarting them and getting them to do what we want – not vice versa like it currently stands today. 

We have to change things, folks. We have to change ourselves, and stop judging people by money, or possessions, or power. We have to all start valuing benevolence, so if you’re truly better than someone, all it means is that you’re a better person and less selfish than they are. Once we change our ways of thinking, it’ll be a fight to who’s the kindest…not the richest.

I really, really hope people get my point here. Because there is nothing in this universe I care more about than making the world a better place, and I will do absolutely whatever it takes to do that. And I think most will understand what I said. I just hope it sparks action. Because the change we all want has to begin with us.

Love & Loss: 5

July, 1943. Sicily.

He is the greatest man I will ever know.

Adam returned today. His first instinct was to barricade the wall, because he knew exactly what artillery strike would be taking place. He came in with that gleaming hair and shimmering smile and told me that he would never let me be harmed. That even though his unit would be bombarding this part of the city, he could not let harm fall to me. He came to me with such love, firmly holding the locks of my hair and kissed me so passionately that I will never forget his grasp. He said he would protect me that night. That he would make sure the bombs landed far away from me. And he did. The bombs landed further away than ever that night.

All because of this Adam…a deeper love I will never find.

Love & Loss: 4

July, 1943. Sicily.

I can’t wait to see her again.

Adalasia. Such a beautiful name. The dry spots on her hands told me that she was one that was willing to take on the burden of work. She was the first to volunteer her service, making sure none that followed had anything that needn’t be done.She cares about  people, I can tell. I watch her as her eyes follow the children of her house, playing and having fun. The smile that takes over her face as she sees how happy they truly are, without a care in the world.

And then the siren rings.

It changes everything. The kids playing on the floor scatter to the trap door that the Father has made. A door that will lead them underground, into a secret room where these feelings of love and happiness are absent. A room that houses the same fear, desperation, and, hopelessness I’ve seen in the towns before.

These people. They’re innocent. They don’t deserve this.

A day must come that changes things. I miss her. Adalasia. If you’re still out there…I love you.

Good & Evil: Chapter 23

He came into my office again today.  

This Mikal, I am sure we have failed him. His attitude deviates so much from that of his peers. He displays behaviors clearly indicative of one who should have been Filed Right. Upon entering, he promptly informed me that the quartermaster of his block was not rationing food properly. At first, I was admittedly tired of the accusation as I assumed it was a ploy to obtain more rations. But what struck me was the fact that once leveled, he was afforded less than before, were he not to bring the mishap to my attention. 

Why did he do this? The commissarie’s oversight was to his benefit. There was nothing to be gained for his exposure of this error. It is most puzzling. I find myself tempted to submit a revaluation request to this ward’s Governor. I believe our system has failed us, and if we are to accept this society in which we live, we must act when we see egregious errors such as this. 

There is much to consider.

Good & Evil: Chapter 21

I miss him. I miss him so, so much. Earlier today I took a walk along the river and sat at the spot Mikal and I used to catch fish. I recall the time he brought me there for an actual picnic…where we could eat outside without worry of the Overseers finding us. 
He set it all up, the crazy boy. We snuck out after curfew and he had everything all planned out. There was even a stocked basket waiting for us when we got to our spot. 

And yet I’m now told that Mikal was fostering sadistic thoughts toward me the whole time, and that’s why he was Filed left. They tell me he doesn’t truly care for me, that he merely pretends so he can have me. It just cannot be! He always respected me. 

Father is pressuring me to obtain a husband. He clearly favors Donovan. I shan’t argue, but I wish so, so deeply that my Mikal would be the one I wed. 

I miss him so much.

Good & Evil: Chapter 18

Oh, Estella.

They’re funny things, these journals. The goal was to obtain the unfiltered thoughts of what’s going on in the heads of individuals. What resulted is a treasure trove of deep seeded, unabridged thought. It really helped those pulling the strings, as being able to purloin entries at will gave them a very accurate picture of public perception. 

But it’s the gray area that I’m most concerned with. Why does Estella think Mikal is evil simply for being deceptive? After all, he only wants to return to a life with the one person he truly loves. Is his manipulation indicative of malice? I think not. Sure, misleading others to obtain things we want is an unavoidable component of the human condition that many people frown upon – but in this case, he just wants a life with his love.

Is that evil?