The Aftermath of Immortality

The Aftermath of Immortality

We are born, we age and we die. In-between the two significant milestones of what we call life, we seek meaning to this long-lasting event fantasizing about what follows. Is death really the end? Or is it just the beginning of a huge unknown? 

What if there was no end to life?

Let’s assume for a minute that the humanity has found the secret of immortality and death is suddenly off the table for the old, the sick and the unfortunate who are perished every day in freak accidents. The perks of immortality would probably be in the lines of preventing ageing after a certain age and possibly through implementing rapid cell regeneration into our bodies to sustain a never-ending life. Surely, the ultra-wealthy would benefit from it first, but then it would eventually be available for all just like how newly found cures are applied to everyone after a certain time, probably pissing off the ones who had paid high prices for the privilege in the first years. Let’s say that an idealistic scientist made immortality airborne before releasing it to the atmosphere so everyone got the cure for death whether they liked it or not. It’s bad news for the ones with suicidal tendencies as the torment would now be eternal. But, what would happen to the rest of us, what would be in the store for us?

At first, people, especially the old and the sick, would probably celebrate the newfound immortality just like in Jose Saramago’s novel “Death at Intervals”, but soon joy would leave its place to sorrow as clergymen, morticians, life insurance providers, homicide detectives, contract killers and murder mystery writers become needless in society. The first signs of unemployment would spread to every profession eventually as the population starts to grow and retirement becomes a historical notion.

All sources of our eternal fear would eventually cease to exist amongst us, turning fear into a pleasant experience where nothing with grave outcomes takes place. Young daredevil wannabes will find new ways of entertainment as they jump off skyscrapers, run into burning buildings after setting them alight and dashing across streets riddled with drivers racing each other, filming the whole thing for the sake of more social media interactions just before finding out that it was only death that disappeared, not the pain and the long recovery times. Hospitals will be overflooded as a result and healthcare professionals would probably riot in a passive-aggressive manner.

Religions would be wiped out of existence or at least downsized to mini fan clubs with the last of the persistent fanatics working to earn a passage for heaven slowly vanish. With immortality in play, humanity would become their own micro gods. We don’t think God has a god, do we?

Breakthroughs in science and technology would be more frequent as brilliant inventors and scientists continue to benefit from their life-long experience to put on top of what they had already achieved. Soon, the whole universe would be our backyard to explore as manned spacecraft consisting of immortal astronauts chart course for distant stars right after the colonization of the moon by adrenaline junkies on painkiller meds and oxygen tanks, building habitats without any protective gear. Remember! The space is freezing, but what is frozen, can be thawed, just like how it works for frozen chicken in a microwave oven, to minimize the efficiency of the lunar workforce.

Image Credit: NASA

Exploration would not be limited just to space. Hard to reach places on Earth like the bottom of the Mariana trench or the insides of volcanoes would be thoroughly mapped and probably be opened for tourism, eventually ruining the last natural beauties of our planet. On the bright side, new life forms would be discovered.

Education would transform into simplicity of teaching the very basic stuff like the language and the culture as there would be no need for a vast number of specialists on Earth anymore other than for the ones that went off world for exploration.

Language is dynamic, so it would certainly change a great deal. Some expressions and words like “death”, “deathbed”, “murder”, “suicide”, “homicide”, “coffin”, “deadly”, “survival”, “survival of the fittest”, “natural” and all related vocabulary items would disappear, while others shift in meaning over time like the word “alone” would probably be used to describe “with few people in the vicinity” as skyrocketing population growth rate would make sure of that. The word “execute” would lose one of its prime meanings, making it used only for computer commands. New words to express new feelings would emerge as well as a new tense to talk about the very distant but experienced past.

New housing would certainly be a major issue. Some lakes would be dried and some mountains would be flattened to make new space for housing and most of us (mostly the poor) would have to live in vast overcrowded underground dwellings. Satellite estate agents would emerge either selling spots on space junk in Earth’s orbit, rent lunar homes, or advertise Martian blocks of flats for the rich.

Finally, natural resources would become so scarce that we would have to leave our scorched Earth to look for a new home across the galaxy. Luckily, being immortal opens up a large number of options that would have never been possible in history. But, some planet where we wouldn’t have to recycle our pee into drinking water would be swell. Not that we would die of thirst or hunger for that matter, but because how it would make us constantly feel. On the bright side, obesity would be gone forever.

The last thoughts of anyone watching the Earth get smaller from the spaceship monitors would be to try to find a cure to undo the damage of not being able to die. Without and end, life is not so precious after all!

Centuries later, we would have the chance to closely observe how human evolution takes place as we would have lighter bodies having to roam in less gravity for a prolonged time. The ones that couldn’t find a suitable planet to settle would have lighter skin colours and their eyes would probably lose sensitivity to light for better vision. In the end, we would lose our ability to reproduce. Why have tiny versions of ourselves to transfer our experience when we could live forever? Never needing to lactate ever again, female breasts would flatten and disappear, leaving behind only the nipples, very similar to how men are now.  

Doesn’t the word “Immortal” sound much better with more appropriate punctuation and spacing, as in “I’m mortal”?

Longing for Belonging: Why we feel the need to Connect

Longing for Belonging: Why we feel the need to Connect

As soon as we are born, we are unconsciously forced to belong to various groups, concepts, people, places or ideas! It only gets worse as we grow up.

It all starts with gender grouping; the blues versus the pinks. Parents decorate their rooms and buy them tiny toddler clothes matching the relevant color code even before the baby is born. The first toys are distinguishing, too; dolls for girls and die-cast cars, squirt guns or soldiers for boys. No wonder neither gender can truly understand the other later in adulthood as they were never let free enough to share a common experience in earlier play times. Just observe the animal world closest to us! Can you figure out the gender of a nearby stray cat or a dog just by watching them play? Both sexes of both animals seem to be enjoying whether they are playing with a ball of yarn or fetching a thrown stick. Shouldn’t we have chosen different toys for our dear pets of opposite genders?

Image Credit: Smithsonian Magazine

When a baby reaches the age of perception, they are told to behave in certain ways in accordance with the set of unspoken norms of the first group they were forced into. Boys are strong! Boys don’t cry! Girls are princesses! Girls must be pretty! Later, the very same gender group also makes an attempt to choose the child’s future profession. Boys are encouraged to be soldiers, constructors and engineers while girls are chased into professions mostly involving interior design, healthcare and culinary arts. Luckily, more and more occupations are becoming gender-less now, such as teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists and scientists. Perhaps because education, fighting for rights, arts and science are far more vital to fit into one sex… or a group..

Other initial forced groupings include religion and national identity, which solely depends on the geography we are born into…

All contemporary religions promote one God, yet we have numerous religions constantly at cold war with each other! It’s like living on the same old planet, but believing that we live in the multi verse of a distant star. Sadly, the distance among our beliefs is far more than any distant planet we might one day travel to. Again in our nearby surroundings, we don’t observe an organised army of mice (whose DNA is 98% similar to human DNA) marching to destroy a group of chimpanzees (whose DNA is 99% similar to human DNA) just because they want to make them accept that cheese is better than bananas!

We live on one planet, where we share common resources like the air, the seas and oceans and forests, yet there are over 200 countries ready to go to war with each other if a severe conflict takes place, willing to contaminate or even destroy the shared necessities of a better shared future. Militaristic tendencies, diplomatic shenanigans and narcissistic leaders are directing our planet into a gradual demise, but we won’t even care if the group we belong to, is victorious in the end. Most works of science fiction tells us stories about an alien invasion of Earth. Why are we assuming the aliens are so violent, land grabbing fanatics and resource hunters like us? Just like the rat-chimpanzee example previously mentioned, mice won’t form armies to claim land and resources from chimpanzees. They will coexist provided they aren’t each other’s natural prey and predator. On a small note; we share half (about 50%) of our DNA with bananas and we will probably share less with aliens from distant corners of our galaxy, yet we still assume they will visit Earth to conquer it!

The urge to belong into a group or groups never stops and this time it becomes willingly.

We support foreign sports teams across the globe, we vote for a political party even if we don’t agree to most of its projects. We establish fan clubs for certain celebrities, we become activists or pacifists, flat-earthers, heavy metal groupies, Cthulhu worshipers, hard core gamers, conspiracy theorists and more… We were forced into certain groups after we were born and perhaps later in life, we are just trying to expand our options to connect with others. Otherwise, how can a Muslim woman born in the Middle East connect with a Christian man living across the globe?

The lengths we go, just to connect!!!

Dumbing the Herd

Dumbing the Herd

We search for true love and eternal bliss all our lives…

We seek revenge to give us closure when we are wronged…

We try to find comfort in little pleasures amongst the agonies of life…

In short, we are always in pursuit of what is missing in us… what we lack… what we long for…

and sadly…

over the past few decades we have been searching for extraterrestrial “intelligence“, a concept which is becoming more and more alien to us as we advance in science and technology. Weirdly enough, we are becoming dumber as we become scientifically superior, perhaps just because intelligence is no more a prerequisite for survival for us like it used to be throughout our history.

(SETI does the dishes! But, why are they all facing just one (the same) direction? What if all the aliens are behind the hills at the back?)

Contemporary education has become all about implementing brand new methods of spoon-feeding, preparing our children for the future like thoughtless robotic entities. In response, the younger generation is becoming critical at thinking whereas they should be encouraged for the same concept minus the invading preposition. Possessing sponge-like, egg-shelled minds equipped with distinctive skill sets, each valuable asset is being directed into a single path of development, where fish are expected to climb trees and lions to fly. In this system, the monkey excels and becomes our future: marking the next back-step in our evolution.

(It’s not the teacher… It’s the system that hates us!)

Countries aren’t ruled just by governments anymore! They are merely managed in cooperation with the mainstream media. They show us what they believe, not what actually happens. Reporters do the thinking for us and distort the facts upon their liking. In the end, presented with only one option, we are lead to think we are free in believing what we want. Apart from the global or domestic news, we often come across news articles about what certain celebrities did on certain occasions. Our only strength called curiosity is turned into a weakness, as we start wondering which celebrity ate where or who had been dating who in a world where we shouldn’t really care. Usually the dumbest people are presented as role models and we may find ourselves competing for a life of idiocy. Sadly, our closest friends and family often become micro representatives of the mainstream media, acting as catalysts ready to socially outcast us if we are not informed enough on such vital(!) matters.

(It’s not the “what” that matters. It’s the “how”!)

Lastly, a massive blow comes to our intelligence in the entertainment industry; the silver screen, literature, computer, console or mobile games, and social media.

In blockbuster movies, we are easily awed by flashy visual effects and feel blissful by our celebrity crush just appearing in badly written, plot hole infested scripts with no content. How else could we justify the logic of a TV series plot involving a time travel adventure where the world was hit by a disaster 25 years ago, but our heroes choose to go 17 years back in hopes of preventing the global demise. But, who cares as long as the time machine flashes with colourful headlights, makes a weird buzzing sound (when even with today’s technology, my vacuum cleaner is dumb (silent)) and a hot actor is in the lead, saving the world. Or just like in the movie, set more or less 200 years later, the advancement in technology is represented by modified tanning beds that can cure any disease. Everything else is as it is today. What futuristic vision!

(So, you have terminal cancer, eh? 3 days in bed and you’ll be as good as new!)

In bestselling sci-fi novels, we may encounter a distinctively unimaginable(!) alien race from the tenth dimension, complete with humanoid limbs as their fingers linger on the keyboards and humanly actions and behaviours like wiping the sweat from the forehead. Oh boy, they are purely evil, too. What more could do the readers want, as long as they are not mentally challenged and have to think. Seriously, can you guess the title of this best-seller? (I doubt the picture below will give you a hint though.)

(I always felt alien to this world. But, now I might have solid proof: I have fingers and sweat! I am sometimes evil, too.)

The rise of the smart phones was actually the beginning of the downfall of our intelligence. We started relying on them to remember phone numbers (making no more effort in getting use of our memorisation skills), find our way when we get lost (paying no more attention to our surroundings) and post meaningless selfies online to get appreciation from strangers whom we never met (where fake smiles surpassed intelligent dialogues). We also began using them for quality entertainment(!), like engaging with unintelligent pay-to-play games which are falsely advertised and claimed as nearly impossible to beat games. Moreover, players are expected to spend a good deal of money on a regular basis if they want to advance in the game, like hurrying the game clock to achieve a result that they would otherwise get for free in an hour or so. Rushing everything in games and life, gives us much less time to think about the consequences of our actions.

(These two games above look exactly the same. In reality, they are, too! They are both Candy Crush games that have nothing to do with looting or RPG. Besides, how can anyone fail in the examples above?)

Most popular YouTube channels in this era are either the ones that lack original content such as cut-and-paste compilation videos with horrible background music or the ones that follow the ordinary everyday life of celebrity wannabes talking nonsense. As more and more people are satisfied with the end results, no creator has to worry about making more clever and engaging content.

It is true that we have started living in a fast-forward pace, where everything has become easily accessible and we have less time to do any real thinking. But, still…

Why is dumbness being promoted so much?

When what we want is dictated by others and we have the illusion of being happy, we just stop caring and we become much easier to please, thus to be controlled.

P.S: I am sure if this article were a piece on any celebrity, it would get at least twice the engagement!

(I just love how people can be stupid and self-confident at the same time!)
(Yes, why?)

Transforming Education into a Reflex

Transforming Education into a Reflex

We are born and we die, and in between we live a life cycle where we learn stuff to ensure the longevity and the quality of our survival between the above mentioned vital milestones. Learning starts as early as life and ends only when we die. And in seldom cases, learning goes on even after we die (if we donate our cadavers to medical students where they are the ones who do the learning). That’s one of the reasons why learning is so crucial!

Before we begin to learn any of the serious stuff, we activate our built-in reflexes that ensure our survival as babies, like sucking, swallowing, grasping and crawling. That’s basically how babies can breathe, eat and drink and move (crawl) to their mother’s breasts when placed on their stomachs to hold (grasp) the organic milk dispenser and get (suck and swallow) the milk flowing without needing an external instructor, a whiteboard or any homework.

Then, we develop (or can we say learn here?) more complex reflexes, which are basically motor reflexes acquired by repetitive responses like what chain of actions we follow after learning how to ride a bike, or how we jam the brakes when we see an object on our path while speeding. Why we don’t actually think of hitting the brakes rather than just doing it, is what makes this, a reflex. Just think about walking! It would be insane to think about the every step you take; left foot forward, right foot forward… heels first upon contacting the ground, toes springing upward upon leaving the ground…

First-steps
Image source: Healthline

Weirdly enough, most of the time, we don’t have a recollection of the learning processes that we have mastered and became reflexes, like walking. Perhaps it is so, as the learning process took a long time ago and we tend to have little to less memories of our infancy… or perhaps we have undergone a completely different learning process which is way different from how we are taught in traditional schools following outdated norms that have not changed for ages.

Imagine a classroom of 20 or so infants, each having a different cultural background, interest, motivation and tiny, little distractions crawling next to each other… and just one teacher battling to do her job; trying to teach to the middle ground by putting on educative, audiovisual material on play before the students are saved by the bell they have been longing for.

Perhaps, we should find ways to transform learning into a reflex!

On a personal level, what we intend to learn must be turned into fun, we should also ditch our fears of failure and lose our prejudices for an effective learning process.

But, what can be done on a global level?

Learning has to be in the most natural way possible, so we may consider…

… getting rid of prison-cell feeling indoor classrooms with badly styled furniture, as they are not usually comfy enough to keep students focused on the subject matter…

… keeping lesson duration to what’s in focus and shorten or lengthen the duration accordingly. Besides, students lose focus after a certain time…

… having a smaller number of students grouped by their learning styles. It doesn’t take 15 people to change a light-bulb, but somehow educators seem to be expecting the exact outcome. Having less and like-minded students will provide them equal opportunities to actually learn something…

… encouraging students to ask questions. The current education system fails at this as younger students, cooped up in with indifferent peers, often refrain from asking anything, afraid their friends will make fun of them and older students are mostly lectured in giant halls with 100+ other people, where education is always on a tight schedule…

… losing the concept of daily homework, or at least modifying it greatly. As working adults, the happiest and the most productive times at work are when we don’t stay overtime or bring work to home. Think about bringing work home every single day!

… finding alternative ways of rewarding and grading students. In real life, we don’t get grades on our acquired reflexes like walking, etc…

… rewarding creative thinking, questioning and such skills, not having students memorize and copy-paste what the textbook says… Originality denies copy-pasting!


In real life, we can learn a foreign language better when we travel to the target country and immerse with the culture…and weirdly enough what is taught and what is natural can be completely different:

Which line is better when we order a cup of coffee in a cafe abroad?

“Excuse me! I would like to have a cup of coffee, please.” (What is taught)

versus

“Hello! Coffee, please.” (What people actually say)

We can learn about basic math better when we start using money, rather than adding up, subtracting, multiplying or dividing insignificant numbers…

Look at the math problem below that a young student may encounter at school:

“Carol has five eggs and she gives 2 of them to her friend Pedro. How many eggs does Carol have now?”

Math problems at current schools like the one above never work for most students like I was, as I cannot stop myself from trying to figure out other questions unrelated and irrelevant to the real problem such as…

Who are Carol and Pedro?

Why does Carol have eggs in the first place?

Why does she give two to Pedro?

Are they close friends or not?

What will Pedro do with the two eggs he now possesses?

(Perhaps, I am the odd one out here as I have never given or received any eggs from a friend before).

We can learn about world geography better when we start visiting different countries and learning from the source…

We can learn about history better by visiting historical sites rather than reading about them in a textbook accompanied with a crappy image…

textbook
A descriptive image of a place found in an actual textbook!

We can learn about psychology better by interacting with people, and just by listening to them (assuming they would do the same)…

We can learn about biology better by spending some time on farms or by going camping…

We can learn everything better if we live through it! And repetitive, personal experience is what transforms an action into a reflex!

If you think the above methods require loads of money, just think about how much each country annually spends on the outdated education system that doesn’t really teach.

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part 2)

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part 2)

In my previous post, I not only briefly outlined the power of writing, but also raised the question why professional writing is considered so under-rated in every aspect of modern life (I usually get a frown followed by confused looks when I tell people I earn my living as a ghost writer). The misperception towards writers is even worse in the business world.

Thanks to the fruits of the internet and online marketing, brand-new companies are diving into the market every second, but unwillingly maim their newborn brand by having no budget or severe budget cuts in terms of hiring professional writers in promoting their businesses. Of course, it’s much easier to get help from the company CEO’S willing nephew studying at an unrelated department in college or it’s certainly much cheaper to find the resources from the company’s existing work force; an over-ambitious employee who would try anything for a promotion.

However,…

…spending a penny in the right place helps building social branding, having a unique voice and style, being different in a giant pool of competitors…

What’s more?

Implementing SEO into any piece of online text guarantees visibility in search engines and in a way provides free marketing which otherwise can only be bought by excessive expenditure. In the end, companies who hire professional writers save money by spending it in the right way!

Getting professional help in writing related services also helps companies in…

Not becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of their potential or current clients…

chinasub
…and their planes are suspected to be in the sky after taking off!

Professional writers are also expert researchers! Not that this news article published a while ago needs any researching, but still… just imagine what happened to the credibility of the newspaper after a careless reporter writes off such an alluring headline!

Getting their message out loud and clearly…

Even the tiniest flaws like typos, a missing or misplaced punctuation in writing can easily convey your message in a totally undesired way. Just like the case of the missing comma in the sample sentence below:

“Let’s eat Grandma!” versus “Let’s eat, Grandma!”

Imagine the comma-less motto perfectly placed in a poster ad for your newly (de)formed food company!

lets-eat-grandma-zx2kwd
Image credit: Make a meme

Your emerging company would not only be labelled as having cannibalistic tendencies, but it would also bring some unintended mishaps regarding people over a certain age… People get offended for much less…

And typos?

funny_spelling_errors-22
Why sell for less just because of a misplaced letter! Image credit: Pleated Jeans

Giving a unique style / voice to their services or products…

Targeting audience in the right way and making more sales is not an easy task… at least not for those lacking writing skills. Words have immense power and with that power comes great responsibility. And if that power is used in the right way, masses will follow. Any potential customer has the basic ability to correlate product photos with its unnecessary descriptive and factual text regarding its physical appearance that can be seen from the photos themselves. What most production descriptions lack, is that they often fail to convey how that product would make the customer feel. Feelings can hardly be levied otherwise.

Another useful tip about identifying the target audience and writing accordingly is not being compelled to use technical jargon for products intended for kids. It is not the greatest idea although such ads target parents as well… but even so, the parent then has to paraphrase whatever you’re selling to their kid, most probably lacking adequate product or service info.

bears
Product Description: Scoliosis Surgery “Scar Buddy” Awareness 10″ Bear | Handmade Incision Sewn, Spinal Fusion, Titanium, Neurosurgery, Scoliosis Warrior. Image credit and product link: Etsy

I am well aware that the above product and its description is not intended for kids, but still it serves my purpose…

Becoming global and making history…

Did you know that in the original French version of the story, Cindrealla’s slippers were made of fur, not glass? “Vair – fur” and “verre – glass” sound almost alike. A basic misinterpretation of the word still has a huge impact today, but rewriting history does not always turn out to be so positive! (Glass slippers are much more fitting than fur shoes for this story:))

furshoes        glassshoes

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part I)

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part I)

Establishing a shared method of communication is one of the key components of advancement into founding a civilization.

awritin051p1

Speaking, talking, singing, conveying our ideas to others, teaching and learning in a faster way, verbalizing feelings, rallying crowds or manipulating masses… it’s no surprise that the ability to have meaningful, oral communication with others, has put humanity on the top of the planetary food chain and made it possible for us to found an advanced civilization, where much stronger animal species like dinosaurs, bears, lions, and such never could.

Oral communication is always considered the most viable inter-human communication since we were cavemen; talk well to inspire an army into a triumph, beg for votes on a political campaign for a chance to rule the world, or simply express inner feelings to foreplay mating in a ‘civilized’ way.

Sounds the best?

But, for the likes of me (and hopefully for the likes of you when you finish reading this), it can only come after writing. It’s just much more than speeches can ever offer:

  • Oral communication is lost in the present whilst writing can travel forward and backward in time. Or else we wouldn’t be meddling to decipher ancient hieroglyphs or send letters and emails to others for a future read. Writing is the best way of preserving memories, retelling history and transferring knowledge into future generations.
  • Writing grants immortality to its creator as spoken words are scattered in the wind and soon forgotten if not recorded.
  • The unnecessary components of oral communication such as small talk, echo questions and filler words can be mostly avoided unless a dialogue is being mimicked in a work of fiction.
  • Writing requires education of some level at least and that’s all the difference between a toddler mumbling about their needs to their parents and a scholar influencing millions.
  • It’s possible to translate a piece of writing into the reader’s native tongue as no immediate responses are needed.
  • Never forget that ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ and that a sword can cut a blabbermouth. Writing always wins.

 

So, despite all this proof, why do most people underestimate the power of writing in the modern world?

Why is being a writer not considered as a proper job?

Why are the benefits of hiring a professional writer is seen as an asset by only a few selected businesses?

You don’t build the house you live in unless you’re an architect and a bricklayer. Do you?

Would you like to know more?

Then, stay tuned in for the next part of this article coming up soon…

1200px-Calligraphy.malmesbury.bible.arp

Communicating with visitors from outer space: The uncanny resemblance of the Unfamiliar Familiarity…

Communicating with visitors from outer space: The uncanny resemblance of the Unfamiliar Familiarity…

We are born… totally unaware of the world around us; an alien world…
We learn crying first… that’s our first attempt in communication… or attention seeking until we find more effective ways…
Then, we learn to stand on our knees, crawl and finally walk…
In the end, we learn to speak as we complete the totally helpless phase of our infancy. The comms link is finally online…

It takes us years to get familiar with our home world and its humanoid inhabitants. Yet, we are never fully familiar towards other life forms on our planet…

Nobody has communicated with a chicken…
Nobody knows how a potted sunflower truly feels when neglected too long…
Nobody has ever set their eyes upon the creatures living in the deepest parts of our oceans…
Nobody has tried to make a pact with deadly viruses for them not to make us sick… oh wait! Most of us aren’t even aware that viruses aren’t living organisms… but we try to kill these lifeless but contagious pieces of code anyway.

We still know only bits and pieces about the other life forms we coexist with, on our shared planet…

Yet, we seek intelligent life forms in deep space and still believe we can come to terms with these aliens through diplomacy once we find them and form an inter-galactic federation to rule the galaxy peacefully altogether… or crush the destructive, evil ones…

human-alien-02

Before elaborating more on the ways to communicate with aliens, let’s take a short trip into some popular alien encounter plots in the sci-fi world:

A spaceship either makes its way to one of the largest cities in the world, or just crash lands in the suburbs where a small town lies nearby. The aliens’ agenda is always the same wherever they land though: to destroy us or strip our planet off its valuable resources. Then the war for our planet commences…

We beat them 9 out of 10 times. Perhaps because they look like us somehow… an uncanny resemblance of the unfamiliar familiarity: they’re either off-color humanoids, complete with all the limbs etc. Or some variation of earthly creatures like giant bugs or non-aquatic octopuses.

This physical familiarity must be the reason we believe we can communicate so easily with them.

So, let’s make it easier for the mankind and imagine the first aliens we encounter are not only humanoid in form, but also a nearly exact copy of our image. But even then… what makes us think we can understand each other? How easily can we communicate with other people? Can we even completely understand our fellow earthlings?

human-alien
… in a world where,

… men can’t truly understand women…
… archaeologists can’t decipher most ancient writing forms… (such as the Rongorongo of Easter Island)…
… each Earth culture has its own beliefs and values…(even gestures)…

Still not convinced?

Try explaining snowflakes to a young Masai warrior…

or

what an ocean is to someone who has lived in a landlocked country all their life…

Dickie L. Rowbotham

Dickie L. Rowbotham

It’s becoming more and more difficult to stay sane with all this self-isolation going on. So, I decided to write a flash fiction piece; a parody of the corona virus pandemic, main-stream media, social media blabbering, being clueless and the idea of hope. All characters here are fictional and have no relation to real world people or events. Here’s the punchline of the story: “One day, a loser wakes up to discover he made the headlines everywhere during a lethal Pandemic.” You can read the complete story by scrolling down. I would love to see some honest comments! Cheers!

corona-vaccine-reuters

Covered in sweat and feeling a pain of uneasiness in his chest, Dickie woke up almost an hour before his alarm clock set off. He quickly hurried to the bathroom, turned on the tap, squirted some liquid soap onto his palm and began rubbing his hands in the harshest way anybody had ever done. He started silent counting and stopped when he reached 22. Twenty seconds were enough to kill the virus that might have been residing on his hands, but he’d always do a couple of seconds extra just to be on the safe side. He dried his hands with a paper towel and disposed it right away. With the corner of his eye, he checked his paper towel stock sitting proudly on the shelves. Yep, the remaining 37 huge rolls would be more than enough to last him in case paper-towel shortages started. Encouraged by his vast paper towel collection and not feeling well to his usual standards, he turned on the tap for another 22 seconds and peeled more skin off his hands.

It was the beginning of a huge day. The previous week he’d gone to the emergency service of the memorial hospital for Anoroc-91 testing. He had all the symptoms; a mild diarrhea, a little muscle pain especially in the back, dry coughing a couple of times throughout the day, shortness of breath accompanied by a mild fever. He’d waited a couple of days before he went to the hospital for a test as he couldn’t be sure if he was developing symptoms due to his own precautious actions. Since the world has been taken over by this pandemic, he’d completely changed the way he lived his life. He set up the heater at least ten degrees as he was informed by social media that the virus couldn’t survive in higher temperatures. This could be the reason he felt his elevated body heat. His diarrhea could be just because he’d changed his diet to natural Anoroc-repelling food advertised by a well-being specialist he’d been following on Twitter. His shortness of breath could be explained by not taking his protective mask off even when he was home alone. On another note, he was always home alone. Not that he was following strict self isolation techniques, but because he didn’t have any friends. “Darn!” he mumbled to himself. Where did he put the new batch of masks?

The landline phone rang, but he couldn’t get it in time as he was too busy putting on his latex gloves to pick it up. It was too bad that these old models didn’t display missed calls. He was sure though that he missed the call about his test results as his phone only rang three or four times during a full year. And it was only March! Angry to himself, he ditched the gloves into the bin and sanitized the receiver thoroughly to save time for the next ring. He just hoped they would call soon as the wait had already been messing up his nearly non-existent sanity. Not having anything better to do, he turned on his laptop and logged-in to his Twitter account. It was a pity that his cell phone, where he usually checked his messages and social media, was totally wrecked after laying it in alcohol bed for quick sterilization. The coffee table the laptop was on, was just making him bend lower than usual and have back pain after an hour of computer time. But, this time he wasn’t planning on spending more than ten minutes on Twitter, perhaps only a bit longer if he found some new information on the virus itself.

Surprisingly, the Twitter trending topic list had his name on the very top: “#dickielrowbotham”. That was strange. He never thought someone sharing his uncommon full name to be trending. It wasn’t him for sure. He was a nobody. But seriously, how many Dickie L. Rowbothams, down to the middle initial, could be in the whole world? He tapped on the topic and started scrolling down millions of uninformative tweets:

Terence Woodbury, a guy with a profile pic of a slam dunk close-up tweeted: “Don’t be a dick! Be a dickie and save the world! #dickielrowbotham #anoroc-91 #anaroc91 #anaracvirus

The next few tweets were emojis of thumbs-up or closed fists… or combinations of these two with varying smileys.

Another tweet by a certain well-known celebrity, complete with a blue tick next to the name, was saying: “Yay #dickielrowbotham“. It had nearly 90k likes, 28k retweets and nearly as many comments.

Dickie got frustrated as he scrolled down the never-ending tweets. There was not a single tweet giving him an insight on what was happening!

Then, he saw it! A doctor, or at least that was what his username “dr.chadwick8080” implied, had tweeted: “As the acting director of Springwell Memorial Hospital, I can neither confirm nor deny the discovery of immune cells in a suspected patients blood work. It’s just too early for a final verdict and false hope does not help in this case. #dickielrowbotham #anoroc-91 #stayhome

Dr. Chadwick? Springwell Memorial? That was where Dickie had his Anoroc test! The tweet didn’t really seem like it was written by a real doctor, but even if that was true, it was still a weird coincidence.

The phone started ringing while Dickie was still trying to make heads or tails of the whole thing. This time he was quickly on his feet and answered the phone in record time:

“Hello! This is Dickie speaking.” He said with a trembling voice.

“Hello Mr. Rowbotham,” The voice answered. “I am Doctor Richard Chadwick from Springwell Memorial Hospital. I am calling about your blood test results regarding Anoroc-91.”

“Yes?” Dickie said in a shaky tone after a brief pause.

“We have discovered certain antibodies in your blood that prevent the Aronoc virus,” he said. “To put it boldly, you are immune Mr. Rowbotham. We would like to invite you here and run some more tests and perhaps you could be the one saving all of us,” he concluded.

“Wait! Wait! How is it possible that I am just hearing about this now. Twitter is flooding with this ‘new discovery’,” he glared.

“We couldn’t reach you before Mr. Rowbotham!” Dr. Chadwick said calmly.

“Yeah, like 20 minutes ago. And I’ve been staying home since I got tested.” Dickie replied losing the timid tone. “It’s been spreading on Twitter faster than Anoroc ever could. Just tell me how this happened and I might consider coming there.”

Dr. Chadwick cleared his throat before answering. “Your test results came yesterday morning and we… yadda, yadda, yadda…” The doctor spoke some more. but all Dickie could make out from the long technical details were the words: “immune cells”, “antibodies” and “vaccine”. He finally came to Dickie’s initial question. “… and I told my wife about it. I didn’t know she had a whatsapp group of about 80 senior citizens. And the rest is that people have been sharing this story for the past ten hours or so. I am so sorry, but we had to make sure before we contacted you.”

“But, you tweeted as well.”

“I don’t have a Twitter account, Mr. Rowbotham,” he replied. “Please drop by today, as soon as possible.”

“Ok.” Dickie said before hanging up.

He ran his hand through his hair slowly as he could. God, how he missed these simplest actions. Fearing infection, he’d been refraining himself from touching his face or head for the past couple of months. Next, he binned the sanitizers in his house. He hated the smell, besides he didn’t need protection now. And the best of all, he didn’t have to isolate himself in a 2-bedroomed-house anymore. He wasn’t really a people person, but observing them from time to time while seated at a cafe, sipping his latte did make him feel a bit more joyous. Whistling to himself, he got dressed and got out without wearing the usual latex gloves. He walked all the way to the hospital.

It was way more crowded at the front door of the hospital. Media outlets, reporters, ordinary people who didn’t look sick swarmed the steps leading to the entrance. The security guards were not allowing anyone to pass. So, Dickie had to shout from the back to be able to get through:

“Hey! I am Dickie L. Rowbotham. Dr. Chadwick is expecting me!” The clamor instantly ended and every glare was pinned on him in no time.

People made way just enough for him to pass, but kept touching him; rubbing their hands all over him as he got closer to the security guards. Just before he reached the top step, one very attractive blonde held him by the collar, drew him towards her and gave him a firm, longish kiss, possibly with the intentions of healthy droplets transfer… A shortcut to immunity perhaps. A media reporter also made a move with her mike, but was blocked by one of the guards before he could take action. After presenting his ID, Dickie was taken to an empty waiting lounge. 5 minutes later, a couple of doctors showed up and introduced themselves. One was Dr. Chadwick, and the other one, the woman was Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill was the one who spoke:

“Mr. Rowbotham, thank you for coming. We prepared a spacious room exclusive for you,” she smiled.

“A room?” Dickie echoed. “What for?”

“To start working on a cure right away, of course.” Dr. Chadwick said. “Your room has an en-suite bathroom and a marvelous view from its window.”

“No, I won’t be staying!” Dickie said raising his voice. “Just take my blood and let me go.”

“I’m afraid we can’t allow that.” Dr. Chadwick said as he signaled to a couple of orderlies in the distance. “You’re the cure and we’re doing this for the greater good.”

“Noooo!” Dickie shouted as the orderlies began dragging him to his isolated room.

“Don’t worry, the vaccine will be out and approved in less than a couple of years.” Dr. Hill smiled behind her mask. “The clock already started ticking!”

How the Collective Unconscious can Eradicate a Pandemic

How the Collective Unconscious can Eradicate a Pandemic

With the Corona Virus pandemic starting to manipulate our old way of living in terms of social distancing, most of us have confined ourselves in our homes and we have become more dreamers than ever; day-dreaming when the sun is up and plain old dreaming when darkness sets in after we finally get to sleep.

Without being fully aware, we have been dreaming for centuries for various reasons, such as self-healing, entertainment, inspiration and most importantly problem-solving as our minds keep working on a problem in the background while we’re shutting off from the material world.

dreams-problem solving

Here’s a true story about how the needle in a sewing machine was invented after a dream showed Elias Howe, the inventor, how placing a hole on the tip of the needle could solve his automated stitching problem that made the machine useless as the thread incapacitated the needle by winding around it after a short while. In Elias Howe’s dream, he was being surrounded by a tribe of fierce cannibals, poking him with the tips of their spears and… weirdly enough, all the spear tips had small holes in them!

The power of dreams in problem-solving and creativity can be seen in other cases as well, like Mendeleev’s precise categorization of periodic elements, or Einstein’s theory of relativity, which were all inspired by dreams.

So, personal problems can be tackled by each relevant person in their dreams, but how about global problems such as famine, global warming, deforestation, traffic, deadly pandemics?

Do we encounter them in our “personal” dreams?

I believe the answer is “yes”, it’s just that our individual minds are too weak to solve any of the above… unless we work together. It’s a fact that collaboration is most effective in problem solving regardless of being in a dream or not.

The idea of “unconscious collaboration” was first noted by me after watching a Japanese anime series (I remember it as “Stein’s Gate”, but might be mistaken), where a man was telling a friend’s child to do her homework just before going to bed if she wanted to do it more easily. With most of the kids having already done their homework, he said she would be able to tap into the collective unconscious and spend less time and effort to finish it.

And yesterday, I had a weird dream that got me thinking about the coronavirus, the collective unconscious, dream problem-solving, supercomputers and the true potential of our brains! and perhaps aliens!

Here’s my theory!

Think of our brains as individual super-computers

And the collective unconscious as a network database

Dreams as a hub to connect into the network

The Corona Virus as the problem in hand…

Every seemingly unimportant detail logged into the database

Some discarded… some marked as “important”

Until a solution presents itself to an able-minded individual…

network-of-dreamers

This “stream of unconsciousness” kept me thinking how our minds are like supercomputers when we are dreaming. Think about it;

* The human mind works like a computer’s RAM, tackling a problem in dreams until we wake up and have no memory of the dream… just like how RAM is wiped clean after a computer shutdown!

* RAM is computer memory, while REM is our dream memory! See, how similar they are in terms of “lexicality”. (I’m definitely overthinking here :))

* SETI has been using computers all around the world on a voluntary basis, in aid to seek extraterrestrial life with focus on “the more the better”!

* Whether it’s the Corona Virus or a computer virus, viruses are bad and they infect.

* And all computers have users…

Dream on!

A New Perspective on Corona virus, the weather and Social Distancing

A New Perspective on Corona virus, the weather and Social Distancing

It wasn’t before bodies started dropping at an increased rate, people all around the world finally realized how serious the Corona virus pandemic was. We tend not to take things seriously unless it hits directly home. And when it does, we feel we have been sucker-punched for reasons unknown.

coronavirus_image_from_cdc

Catastrophes on this scale tend to teach humanity some invaluable lessons. Japan has become the birthplace of master architects, designing earthquake-proof, durable buildings that bend before break, due to the devastating effects of suffering from years of earth-shaking experience over the centuries. Fierce fires have helped us invent fire extinguishers, foam and strategies to contain them before spreading wildly. Floods likewise. What has the Corona virus taught us, then? Well, it taught a whole generation the importance of personal hygiene and how to wash hands!

wash-hands-with-soap

Sadly, it has also shown us (those who can see) that our education systems fail big time. With extensive spoon-feeding over decades, young minds (but not limited to) never get the chance to develop creative thinking skills, questioning skills or basic reasoning. Here’s a tiny example of what millions of people shared on their social media, spreading false info without bothering to take a minute to think:

“Corona virus threat will be over by summer as it cannot survive over 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 Fahrenheit).”

Sounds reasonable, right? As we’ve been taught to assume viruses don’t like it hot!

But… the average body temperature of a person is around 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit)! Which means it should die out as soon as it makes it’s way into our bodies.

Or…

The fact that Southern hemisphere countries are going through summer while northerners experience winter. As you can see, basic geographical knowledge does not help unless it’s paired with some kind of reasoning.

I am not even going to mention toilet paper hoarders that stockpile to last them decades, the self-quarantine gatherings with 15 or more friends coming from all over the city or some people having the habit of licking their fingertips when they count money, turn pages of a book etc… we seem like we understand… or that we care… but actually, we are all wearing masks, and none of them are for the right reasons.

Let’s focus on the weather a bit more:

sunny-beach

The infection rate in warmer countries are skyrocketing (see Italy, Spain, France and Turkey) while cooler countries are more consistent with the infection rate. There are several reasons for this distinction:

People born in warmer countries have always:

  • Spent a huge proportion of their times outdoors due to the nice weather all year round.
  • Had more outdoor hobbies like swimming etc..
  • Showed their love of people by firm hugs, touches and kisses… (personal space does not exist in some warmer cultures)…
  • Enjoyed large group gatherings…
  • Taken life less seriously…

Now that they have to socially distance themselves from what they had been doing all their lives, they are having difficulty of changing their habits… so, they tend to sneak out and have a day off of their briefest cabin fever experience.

Social distancing can be great for a while (both for us and the world itself) if we stop whining.

We tend to present ourselves to others as what we are not, we lie, hide the truth, get jealous of people without showing them or share useless small talk. Perhaps, it’s time to turn to our inner selves and take a break, focusing on our true needs. This is an opportunity to improve ourselves, which we really didn’t have time before because of extensive socializing.

On the other side of the coin, the pollution over Wuhan, China has dispersed since people stopped going out… the fish in the canals of Venice, Italy have resurfaced again (this needs confirmation)… The world’s taking a break from us. Perhaps, we are the disease and the Earth is just trying to recover.