Again, I hope you get my attempt at humor in the titles to these articles. They refer, in my version of phonetic spelling, to Tonto’s frequent answer to The Lone Ranger’s questions. And as the titles suggest, the articles will consist of random collections of questions. They range from pure silliness to more serious issues of philosophy and science. Some I’ve thought about for years, some are more recent, and I won’t be surprised if I think of new ones as I write. The creative process is like that. It’s also possible that I’ll answer my own question while trying to verbalize it. The creative process is like that too. I really hope that it happens. If it does, I’ll write about my answer as well.
Questions, questions everywhere, but I do wonder if anyone cares.
1. I loved reading Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem, as well as the beautiful tribute to it by Rush in 2112. In the book, however, society had devolved to the point where candles were amongst their greatest accomplishments. This was because they had rejected the philosophical basis on which a technological society must stand. In contrast, 2112 described a society dominated by a ruling class that used technology to enforce the same philosophical denials found in Anthem. This issue is important to me because I see signs of the same type of devolution happening in the real world, as evidenced by the dwindling numbers of young people taking up careers in the very disciplines used to build our modern world. Now, having an electronics background and a continuing interest in computers, I know that self-maintaining systems could one day become a reality. So my question is this: Could such a philosophically backwards society as that described in 2112 ever exist?
2. Ever since reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, I have been intrigued by the motor invented by the character John Galt, which ran on energy drawn directly from the Earth’s atmosphere. The few people I’ve discussed this with have all responded that such a device was impossible. But mankind has a long history of accomplishing things previously thought to be impossible. So I’m not so easily dissuaded. The way I see it, what we call ’weather’ is just nature’s rather chaotic way of seeking to balance the enormous energies produced by the even more enormous forces at work in, on, and around our planet. And if you’ve ever seen lightning you know that tapping into those energies is possible. The Earth does it thousands of times a day. Given that, wouldn’t you agree that it would be worthwhile to do some research into what could possibly be an unlimited source of energy and a way of taming the weather?
3. Now I believe that a person has an inviolate right to do anything with his money he wants, but I have been seeing almost the same ads asking for help for the starving kids of the world since I was a poor kid myself. Yet there seems to be more starving kids in the world than ever before. What’s up with that? I thought we’d figured out what causes kids.
4. This ’question’ is inspired by the TV show The Mentalist, which is on as I write. The way the main character, Jane(?), uses keen observation and deductive reasoning to solve mysteries puts him on par with Mr. Holmes himself. The particular thing that inspired me to rush to the keyboard was the response he gave when a cop mistakenly, and with typical disdain, referred to him as “that Psychic she’d heard about.” I suppose the writers thought that the air of mysticism they cloak the guy in adds more appeal to the show, but having him answer, “There are no such things as Psychics.” was just the perfect touch. Perfect because I feel like I’ve spent my entire life fighting to stay sane while drowning in a virtual sea of mysticism and superstition. Now with all this in mind, just how do you think that I have ’known,’ since I was a kid in the 70’s, that we were headed for both religion-inspired warfare and economic disaster? And trust me, we ain’t seen nothing yet. I really hope I’m wrong, but I haven’t been so far.
5. There was recent news that a Chinese company will soon market an electric car at roughly half the price of the much heralded Chevy Volt. The company’s automotive venture stems from it’s roots in the manufacture of, believe it or not, cell phone batteries! Could it be that we’d have been better off investing in Eveready rather than bailing out the auto industry? Maybe they could call their new car The Energizer Bunny! It keeps going and going…
6. On the subject of driving, wouldn’t a reckless driver be more accurately described as a ’wreckfull’ driver? Okay, my spell checker kind of spoiled this one a little. I actually thought the word was spelled ’wreckless.’ But damn it, the principle still matters!
7. On the subject of misused words, why do we call a someone who works hard to care for the things most important to him ’selfless’ and someone who apparently couldn’t care less ’selfish.’ Why if I didn’t know better… Hey wait. I don’t know better! Someone is trying to steal my self. Doe! That’s like the soul, right?
8. Regardless of how I may feel about the military or my experiences therein, it still pisses me of to hear people toss around words like ’service’ and ’sacrifice’ as if their experiences could in any way meet the definitions known all too well by those who have either survived, or have lost loved one to, real suffering. Just what do people think those words mean?
9. If a mother calls it a ’sacrifice’ to buy her kid new shoes for school instead of new kicks for herself to go clubbing, doesn’t that mean that she values her kicks more than she values her kid?
10. If harm to any part harms the whole, then why do we consider it a ’duty’ to give ’til it hurts?
I want ice water.