To The Max

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When we get there, what do you want?

What do you want a robot to do for you? What can you imagine?

Insert yourself into the best-case future scenario. There is an electro-mechanical servant in every household with the means and the desire to have one. They are as mobile and skilled as humans, and only just a little bit stronger. They don’t sleep, but they have to be plugged in, to recharge the batteries.

You can tell the robot what to do. Program it, so to speak. It may come with some preprogrammed abilities and you’ll have to set the parameters. The limits.

There are restrictions. You can’t tell it to do anything criminal. You can tell it to do anything you want within the lawful and reasonable. It can do anything it’s built to do. Your robot can do the laundry or do the shopping. Your robot can clean the toilet or clean your backyard swimming pool. If it’s built to withstand the elements, it could remove snow from the top of your car or from your driveway.

Whatever you don’t want to do, you could have the robot do. Whatever task is too disgusting or repetitive, you can program the robot to do that task.

Insert yourself into the best future you can possibly imagine. What does it look like? What do you see? Do you see yourself with a personal household-variety robot? Does it make your dinner? Does it choose what’s for dinner?

Whatever you imagine, take it to the max.

Sparky Boom Boom

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This year’s American celebration of burning things and exploding things (known as the fourth of July, or Independence Day) was particularly difficult for those with PTSD. Mainly it was because the “big” shows were canceled, and every single freedom-loving American was thinking the same thing:

“I’ll do my own fireworks show.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Every single American ran their own million dollar lights-in-the-sky show.

Now we’re all broke and we smell like smoke.

Seriously though, if you want proof, look at the INSANE Fireworks over Los Angeles — Drone Footage 2020 And this was in a state where fireworks were illegal. Imagine the states where purchasing and lighting exploding shells was legal.

The minor legal problem became one of massive proportions for the unfortunate few who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I heard one man say, “How much money did you burn tonight?!” I read one veteran’s comment on Twitter: “When are those f_____s gonna run out of fireworks???” I heard stories of neighbors having fist fights. Yelling at each other,

“It’s after midnight!”

“It’s a free country!”

Well, if it’s any consolation whatsoever to the sufferer of PTSD, America truly is a free country. And the reason it remains free is because of the soldier who put his or her life on the line for the average citizen. Just think about it, my veteran friend, the average citizen can break the law and shoot off cannons over Los Angeles on account of your bravery, your sacrifice, your selfless devotion. Thank you.

And consider this my citizen friend: you can enjoy the freedom of the ridiculously tame, sparky boom boom, pretend firefight, on account of someone like my veteran friend who endured an actual, real-life, deadly firefight. You should thank that veteran. Saying thanks is the least you could do.

In related news, a friend of mine said her dog, who is too big to fit under her bed, managed to wedge himself under her bed. Her dog was afraid of the incredible amount of fireworks, so he squeezed under to find shelter. To get him out later, she had to lift the bed off of the frightened pooch. Funny story, unless you think of it in comparison with the suffering ex-military who have a similar reaction. They may not hide under the bed, but they do have that sort of anxiety, filling them with a renewed sense of dread.

So, if you’re an average American citizen, you might want to think a little more about that phrase, “It’s a free country.” Maybe you should talk to your veteran neighbors and find out why the country is free. Will you ask? Find out if your neighbor has anxiety on the fourth of July, if so why, and don’t be afraid to ask if there’s anything you can do to help them overcome their anxiety.

It may be fun for you to “‘splode the sparky boom booms”, but for them it could be a bit more serious.

Balance

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Balance, it has been said, requires at least three points of contact. They say, “Take the stool, for example. The lowly stool is a short, backless seat; a platform with legs.”

How many legs? They claim there must be at least three. Two is not enough to keep the stool from tipping. One is ridiculous. Or so they claim.

There really are such things as one-legged stools. Arguably, the one-legged stool does have three legs, because the person sitting on the stool adds their two legs to the mix. Balance.

Submit the argument: balance is only connection. It doesn’t require numbers. The power of three, the strength of triangles is proven, doesn’t need to be argued. But a stool has balance whether someone sits on it or not. Even a one-legged stool can come to rest without someone adding their legs to balance it. It will find its own balance if left to gravity. It may even be balanced if it rests on the flat seat.

One point of contact, perfectly balanced.

A human doesn’t have three legs. Humans can balance themselves on one toe. Three toes aren’t necessary. One is enough, at least one is enough if you’re a ballerina. So maybe balance isn’t so much about engineering and physics and math, but a bit more about connection. Contact.

A soldier in a parade can find the balance of his rifle. He can spin it like a baton, throw it in the air, catch it and continue the spin. How? Not with three points of connection, but by finding the point of balance.

Also, I think it’s important to notice that the point of balance is not necessarily in the center. A one-legged stool may work better if the leg is centered. A human may try to center their weight over the single toe. Not everything, however, balances from the center. Having equal sides does not absolutely ensure balance.

An egg will rest on a flat surface with more of it apparently on one side. The yolk will fill the shell in such a way as to “find” balance. It won’t look as if it’s centered or balanced, though it will be.

With the physics of balance as a backdrop, the metaphor for life is that finding balance is merely finding connection. Finding a center is not critical to finding balance. Mimicking a stool is not critical to finding life balance.

Life balance, in my estimation, is discovered when we make contact. Even if we’re only connected by a toe, we’re still connected. After the contact comes balance, not before.

Proof is in the way we land when we’re thrown. Like the rifle, the baton, or even the egg, whether we bounce or break or continue the spin depends on how well we’re balanced.

The Quiet, Peaceful Places

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Live your life in the chaos of the city. Find solace in the quiet, peaceful places.

There where nature is active, peace can be found in the simpler movements. A pool of water attracts life of all kinds: the small and quick, the verdant, or the large and lumbering.

Lose your life in the chaos of the city. Find it again in the quiet, peaceful places.

In the burbling sounds of a slow stream, find the meditation of the soul. The mind follows, addresses itself in complimentary phrases. Heart becomes whole.

Get to the place that is more like you than the you you left behind. Find solace, find yourself.

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Live life in the city of chaos. You didn’t even know you were lost.

Get out. Take a hike. How long is your patience? Watch the growth of a tree. Ask yourself, “How long will I live? How long will this tree live? Why do trees live so much longer than me? Is it because they take their time?” Trees don’t rush anything.

Live in the chaos, but don’t be the chaos. Be the better you. Be in the scene but not of the scene. Enjoy the peace you know is out there. Take it with you. Take pictures. Collect memories.

Take easy breaths of sweet nature. Nothing cleaner than the smell of the natural places. It’s the smell of living things. It smells green. The air is pleasant and it truly feels better than the mechanical air of the city. Clean air goes in the lungs in great gulps, like water quenches thirst, like food cures hunger.

Expel the chaos. Live in a camera, live in nature.

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Live again. Be born again in the quiet, peaceful places.

Attention

It’s a wonder any blogs ever get new posts. I’m amazed at all those who continue to do their thing. Because really, how many more things are there to do besides this? Half a million? Twenty thousand? Forty bazillion?

Even one thousand different activities can be too many. How do we manage to stay safe from seagulls who want to peck out our eyes? How do we choose to occupy our time? How do you choose between one good thing and another equally good thing? And how many times do the not so good things take over your attention?

Speaking for myself, I get carried away by the pleasant distractions often enough. There are easier paths: watch a movie, play a video game, scroll through digital media. None of those are productive at all. They are the actions of a consumer. I end up consuming something someone else created.

That sort of action makes me feel less than human. Is it sane to think one’s humanity is defined by how much one creates? It sounded a little bit insane to me just then. But then again, I know I’m not the only workaholic out there. I know people who are always repairing cars or fixing houses or making new things out of wood and metal.

Despite the world being filled with distractions, those who work really hard will always have the ability to focus on their current project and ignore the sparkly sideshows.

Meanwhile, the people who are fascinated by their cell phones will have birds peck their eyes out—because they weren’t paying attention to the world around them.