WOW #63

Someone is always trying to control you.  It has been going on for millennia.  I recently came upon an even-rarer-than-usual word which proves it.

ATHANATICS

The use of the word is so uncommon, that it is almost impossible to find in a dictionary or search engine.  The concept has been around for as long as there have been alpha-males who want to inflict their views on others.  The term seems to have arisen about 400 AD, based on Athanasius of Alexandria.

As the Bishop of Alexandria, he used social, political, and religious power to eliminate heresy, and enforce his beliefs about Christian Orthodoxy.  The definitional value is to create an ideal world, although your definition of “ideal” probably greatly differs from whoever seizes the right to impose theirs.  Athanasius’ idea of ideal, was blind obedience, uniformity and conformity – no free thinking allowed.

In Poul Anderson’s World Without Stars, the antithantic prevents age and disease but memories must be artificially edited. In Anderson’s The Boat Of A Million Years, eight mutant immortals survive through history until the athanatics are developed.

In Larry Niven’s Known Space future history, ‘Boosterspice’ extends life indefinitely, and protectors, who have eaten “tree of life,” live until killed.

1970Nigel CalderTechnopolis: Social Control of the Uses of ScienceSimon and Schuster

If only a minority of the athanatic technologies summarized in this book comes to practical fruition in humans — and some of them are mutually contradictory — there will be plenty of moral, legal and political issues to perplex us.

England is perhaps the most athanatic country in the world.  “The Wild” has almost completely been eliminated.  There are still stands of (hardwood) forests, but they are open and welcoming, with paths, trails, tiny roads, and bridges over streams.  It is almost impossible to get lost, in any dangerous sense.

In the developed world, science and technology have done much to make life ideal, but the more we are protected from harm, the more freedom and control of our lives, we lose.  When motorized vehicles were new, they were cumbersome things that required training and knowledge, care and control, to safely operate.  Many attained all of these, but quick and handy transportation meant that far more did not.

In 1906, there were only 8 motor-cars in the entire city of Cincinnati, yet somehow, two of them managed to crash, head-on, into each other.  Soon came control – the requirement for driving licenses, speed limits, stop signs and traffic lights.

Early cars had manual transmissions.  Drivers had to understand gears and clutches.  I very much liked the feel of controlling a ‘standard’.  I did so until cars with gearshifts became so rare that buyers had to pay a premium for them.  All of my motorcycles had gearshifts.  Now, even many motorcycles are equipped with automatic transmissions.  It just takes away the fun, the thrill, of doing it yourself.  I was recently passed by a large motorcycle with its radio blaring, so that the rider could hear it over the wind noise.  I was almost surprised that the rider didn’t have Wi-Fi direct to built-in earphones in his helmet.

The flying cars that we have been promised for almost a century have failed to emerge, because technology has not advanced far enough.  We’ve seen what destruction and chaos inattentive fools can create in two dimensions.  I hate to imagine what they might accomplish in three dimensions.

AI, and self-driving cars are almost perfected.  When that is accomplished, we might move on to individual, self-flying cars.  They might satisfy the general population, who just want to get from place to place.  For archaic fools like me, who still want the feel of doing something, AI is a smothering pillow.  I want to control what my vehicle is doing.  With self-drivers, I can’t start, stop or steer.  I can’t drive 10 MPH over the speed limit if I’m foolishly late.  Even if I could override the controls, the manufacturer put in a black box that will tell Big Brother, and my insurance company, if I did.

The world continues to be safer, tamer, more ‘ideal,’ but, more and more, we end up swaddled in Amazon bubble wrap, protected, but divorced from reality and any chance of adventure.  This may be acceptable to a large percentage of the population, but we still need some who dare, who search, who triumph.  The New World was not discovered or conquered by a boatload of chartered accountants.

WOW #57

Brat

Nobody is totally useless, or wrong all the time. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. While they are often irritating and contradictory, a Christian Apologist recently gave me a new word. He wrote that ‘God is

FROWARD

The eyes do not see. It is the mind which truly sees, and the mind sees what it expects to see. The blogger’s usage of the word kept seeming wrong in his context. I read it three or four times, before I realized that his correctly-spelled word, which meant
willfully contrary; not easily managed
from the concept of ‘to and fro’ – this is not to-ward, it is fro-ward – the negative
was probably being used incorrectly.

I don’t know why a God-believer would describe his Deity with such an adjective. It seems almost as if he were trying to “control God” into doing, or at least meaning, something that supported his views.

Or, perhaps he was just flinging around scholarly, cultured words, in order to appear erudite. I know I do. I’ve just managed to get another whole blog-post out of a word that I don’t expect to ever use (or see) again. This is what happens when Ego runs high, and creativity runs low. I’ll do better next time – I promise!

Crossed Fingers

Wrong For The Right Reasons

dinosaur

A very atypical Christian Apologist published a post where he admitted that he accepted that the Universe came into existence 13.8 Billion years ago, and the Earth and the Solar system coalesced about 4.5 Billion years ago. He believed in Evolution but, desperate to keep his God’s fingers in, he posited a Creator which nudged and guided Earth’s development, until Mankind reached the exalted pinnacle.

***

I could believe in a Creator like this. The 2 problems are; such a being would not need or want, to be worshiped, obeyed, or called “God.” Second, it would not be the omnipotent, create everything in a snap of a non-existent finger, prayer-answering, miracle producing, sin-punishing “God” that most Christians (especially Apologists) believe in.

***

Why would such a being not want to be recognized as what he is: God? And if he made everything to work a certain way, why would he not want us to avoid screwing that order up and breaking things, i.e., obey him?

Also, if he has the power to create all things, which would imply that he has the power to make things be different than they are, wouldn’t this constitute at least some loose sense of “omnipotent”?

***

I am amused, but confused, with your use of the phrase, “loose sense of ‘omnipotent.” This joins ‘a little bit pregnant,’ and ‘partly dead!’ It’s either/or, yes or no, it either is, or it isn’t.

What you have described is a version of the ‘Watchmaker God,’ wind the Universe up, and let it run, or the ‘Power-Steering God,’ which lets existence pilot itself. You have invented a Gardener God. Actually, perhaps ‘He’ is not God. Perhaps ‘It’ is not omnipotent, and is unable to create the Earth and mankind instantly, through ‘magic’, but only through careful tending. Maybe this creature (not ‘The Creator’) is fertilizing and planting Someone else’s garden.

It is not the all-powerful Being, who wants – needs – demands – to be blindly obeyed, and worshipped as “God.” Do ants in an ant farm worship the little boy whose bedroom they are in? Does a tulip pray to the gardener, to become a rose? Would the gardener hear? Or care? Or be willing or capable to do it?? What you have described is not ‘God,’ but merely a being with more knowledge and power than we have – yet.

Why would you specify a predetermined order, and fear altering it? The purpose of doing, is learning. Change, and variety, is good. The wife raised some pepper plants on our deck. In one large planter, along with six jalapenos, we had a big tomato plant, apparently from a seed in the compost. It wasn’t wrong. It didn’t need to be controlled, or corrected. It was an interesting and educational occurrence. Vive le BLT!   😀

Flash Fiction #201

Alien Takeover

PHOTO PROMPT © Penny Gadd

ALIEN TAKEOVER

Apteryx reporting. I have managed to infiltrate the Humans, the ones who believe that they are the greatest species on this planet.

I have disguised myself as a ‘houseplant’ and am hiding in plain view. I plan to remain here for several time periods while I absorb all information about them from things they call books.

I have learned about ‘coding’, how they control their computers. I have begun to understand their social structure by scanning the writings of one of their respected philosophers, a being named Doctor Seuss. They communicate in short, simple groups of words.  Hop on Pop.  😆

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

The U.S. Is NOT A Christian Nation

Capitol Building

I have heard it said many times that America should support a certain principle (usually conservative) because America was founded as a Christian Nation. When I hear this, I immediately wonder where this notion came from. We know that America is clearly not a “Christian” nation, considering the fact that the Constitution never mentions Christianity or Jesus, and the only mention of religion in the text is in the First Amendment where it seeks to respect the free exercise of any particular religion, I find it interesting where this thought came from.

The answer actually resides in the way America was set up. Contrary to what many Christians today believe, the goal of the Constitution was not to proclaim Christianity as the official religion of America, but actually to disorient any notion of that particular thought. The goal of the founding fathers was to establish a country in which a particular religious system was not collectively in cahoots with the established state.

This was one of the main problems in Europe at the time. The Church and the State were linked, causing a whole array of problems to exist. While there were several founding fathers who were in fact Christian, the reality is that their goal was to keep Christianity, or any other religion, from becoming a functioning part of the state.

Ever since the reign of Roman emperor Constantine the Great in the early 4th Century, Christianity has become an institutionalized religion. Let me rephrase that. Christianity has become (in the western world) the institutionalized religion.

Before Constantine, Christianity was far different than we see it now. In fact, it would be difficult to associate it with the modern title of Christianity, considering the differences between it and today’s established, institutionalized religion. Think of the church of Acts. It was a message of beauty. It was a desire to proclaim the beauty of the gospel to all. Many were persecuted, and it consisted of a small following.

The terror of the Roman Empire created little willingness to follow an outlawed religion. But when Constantine converted to Christianity, and it became a part of the state, it was reformulated. It became the dominant religion, and with this, it became the ordering sheriff of its world.

Christianity was no longer about the beautiful gospel message. It became about getting people to behave. It became about attacking those who didn’t agree. It became about war. It became about nationalism and patriotism. It became law and order. It became about God’s chosen people. It became about how to do all the right things to get to heaven and what everyone else should be doing so they won’t go to hell. It was no longer about bringing heaven to earth. No longer was it about the beauty of the gospel.

To see the attempts of Christians to force their religion into the religion of America, is really not a shock. This is what Christianity has been doing for 17 centuries. And sadly, it is largely what Christianity has become.

Flash Fiction #159

Mammon

PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff

 

MAMMON INC.

Buddy Bob was railing about politicians, and how they interfere with our lives, especially financially – laws, rulings, regulations, taxes, duties, levies, tariffs – control our every move, and milk us dry.

I told him that he was right – in a way – but it all started here.  Politicians are just the mouthpiece, the head of the ventriloquist’s dummy.  This is corporate America, the center of the real power behind the throne.

You don’t think Donald Trump got elected on his intellect and wit.  Those aren’t telephone lines coming from those castles; they’re marionette strings, pulled by the puppet-masters.  Speak Donald!  Dance Donald!

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

April A To Z – By way of G

April Challenge

I’ve gone and got to G.  What shall I gab about?   I’ve got it!

Letter G

GUNS, GOD AND GRAVESTONES

Any of you who may feel that all three of the above are connected, haven’t been paying attention to the filing system inside my head.

Colt 1911

I don’t give a shit what the Nervous-Nellie, conservative, reactionary do-gooders claim. Guns don’t kill people! Guns don’t kill people any more than hammers build houses.  People kill people when the wrong people get ahold of guns.  I know of guns that are older than I am, and the only thing they’ve ever done is put holes in pieces of paper.

The wrong people get hold of guns when gutless Gus thinks he hears a burglar, and hides a rifle under the bed, and his 4-year-old ‘pretends’ to shoot the neighbor kid – when an armed Security Guard is too lazy to store his gun in his house, or at least in his car’s trunk, and lets his girlfriend and her 6-year-old use the car, and it slides out from under the front seat – when a lady shopper leaves a loaded, cocked pistol in her purse, next to her child in a shopping cart.

We don’t need ‘Gun Control.’ We need people control! We need  background checks, waiting periods, licensing, gun handling and storage safety training, and – instead of emotional, hand-wringing histrionics – an ongoing campaign like we have for smoking in public, or drunk driving, to get people to think, (Could happen) and take their guns, and their control of them, seriously.

OH GOD

God is!….And all the rest of you are wrong.

In the beginning, God created Man – and immediately, every Man created the God which best suited his selfish needs and mistaken beliefs.

The Muslim God is different from the Jewish God.   The Jewish God is not the same as the Christian God.  The Roman Catholic God is not the same as the God of the Greek Orthodox Church – and neither is the same as the Russian Orthodox God.

The Catholic God differs from the Protestant God, and the God of each of over 42,000 Protestant sects varies widely and wildly from the Catholics’– and from each other. In every case, at least one of them must be wrong.

‘Your God’ is a mean, vicious, vengeful, violent God, who would torture me for eternity for respecting all humans and their rights, even if some of them are gay, whereas ‘my God’ is loving, forgiving and inclusive.

The God of the insecure egotists, ‘sees every sparrow fall,’ but they fail to notice that the Bible doesn’t say anything about Him actually doing anything about it. If a greater being created the universe, It is not the God of the egotists’ dreams. It regards this little ball of rock called Earth like an ant-farm, mildly interesting at times, but not worth interfering with, no matter how much they vainly pray.

None of us have enough brains to know what an infinite ‘God’ thinks and wants, but too many of us also don’t have enough brains to keep our mouth shut, and prove our ignorance.

ENGRAVED IN STONE

I’m not going to get stoned – even though it sometimes looks like I am, when I write.

My maternal grandparents lie side-by-side in a double plot, in the old section of my home-town cemetery. Someone in the family must have had some money.  A four-foot high white marble obelisk sits on a sandstone plinth at their heads, with all biographical data professionally and artistically carved in.

Ever the prepared planner, my Mother arranged and paid for all funeral details long before she and Dad died. They (which may mean she) opted for cremation.  They purchased a single plot, and had their urns buried at each of the top corners.  There’s room for four more urns – two on the sides, and two at the bottom.

In the new cemetery section, the rule is that all gravestones must be flush with the earth, for ease of groundskeeping. They put two small sandstone slabs (about 8” square) over the urns, with only their names, and the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, no dates of birth or death.

Not exactly welcoming the inevitable, but like Mom, knowing that it should be planned for, I recently had a conversation with my younger brother. Since there’s room at Mom and Dad’s plot, did he plan to be cremated and buried with them?

No more religious than I am, he surprised me with a vehement refusal. No cremation for him!  He plans to be buried the old-fashioned way – embalming, body in a coffin, coffin in the ground.  He’s going to buy a single plot, and have a stone about a quarter of the surface area laid over him.

Like my Mother, I am not a believer in physical resurrection. I also want to be cremated.  The whole process, from beginning to end (actually, from my ending, to the delivery of the urn by Amazon drone) is about $2000/$2500.

I see no reason to rob my heirs of what little I can leave them, by purchasing a plot of land I don’t need, and a chunk of stone that, eventually, no-one will visit. I will be given, probably to my daughter, as a bagful of bonemeal fertilizer that she can sprinkle in her garden, and I will be resurrected as a rosebush, or a lilac tree. (Although, with my luck, I’ll come back as crabgrass.)  That’s the true ‘Circle of Life!’