View From a Distant Planet

Astronomers recently discovered a sun with a group of planets revolving around it. What made news was that the planets were twice as old as our Earth and yet appeared to be in the “Goldilocks” range where life could develop. Imagine how life has progressed here on Earth. Modern man has only been here for a very small fraction of the time life has existed on this planet. Now think of life evolving from this point on for several more millions of years, assuming we don’t blow ourselves up first or have a stray astroid smash into the planet.

We’re taught that species make changes in order to improve their survival rates. Two novels that touched on this topic and did wonderful jobs are Childhood’s End and Darwin’s Radio. Both showed humanity making a profound and rapid transformation. I’m more inclined to think that the transformation will take place over a greater timeframe so that each generation will not be aware of the subtle changes. If you leaped forward a thousand years or so, though, you’d notice marked differences.

What kind of changes? I believe that we have barely touched the abilities we have. Lucy is a recent movie that touches on that subject. We treat most diseases today by giving patients poison and hoping that the poison kills the disease before it kills the patients. That approach should change within the next hundred years. I expect science to give more credence to the mental powers we possess. Take auras, for example. Why shouldn’t some people have a greater range of vision and be able to see certain energy patterns that most people can’t see? Take the body’s immune system. Someday we should be able to summon our own immune system and order it to fight or not fight certain attacks. Remember that inflammation is the result of our body attacking cells it should not attack. Remember also that inflation leads to a variety of major diseases today.

As we learn to control our minds more, we might discover that all these New Age reports of people leaving their bodies and having out-of-body experiences might have some merit. Apparently the U.S. government and the Soviet Union used to use people with high ESP scores to visit highly secure sites without actually physically traveling to them. Telepathy is another mental ability that our government has explored. Let’s assume that these are abilities that gradually will be routine for most people as we evolve.

Either people will become smart enough to realize the dangers of pollution and clean up the world, or they will learn to adapt to such an environment or die. It’s easy to speculate about all three possibilities, and they all make excellent science fiction novel plots.

Unlike some science fiction novels and movies, I don’t see human’s evolving to have larger heads because there is no way that human females could carry such babies to term or deliver them without dying in childbirth. Rather, we’ll just learn to unlock the currently unused cranial capacity.

Ultimately we might no longer need a physical Internet with routers (sorry, Cisco) or servers (sorry HP, IBM, and Dell). Our mental capabilities might extend to the point that we could communicate using telepathy. I believe we could ultimately become a post-industrial and post-services economy where there really is no need for poverty or disease.

The problem that needs to be solved, though, is human nature. Put a few humans together and they ultimately begin to squabble and fight over territory and power. How do we change human nature without taking away a certain amount of aggressiveness that humanity needs to push it to strive for the stars and for new discoveries and inventions? You wouldn’t want to see that trait bred out completely when people are able to order up their children so that they have perfect noses, no tendency to develop baldness or obesity, and perfect complexions.

The Bill Belichick Way

I just found a NYT article from 2007 in which the New England Patriot’s coach denies spying on the New York Jets. Despite his emphatic denials, the league found him guilty. Now he’s back to denying a new transgression. What’s interesting is that very few people outside of New England believe him or his quarterback.

If you read some of the comments people have posted about the ongoing story about Patriot footballs being softened against NFL policy, you might be shocked, shocked I say by the tone and venom of New England fans. Their state of denial takes many forms:

“Everyone does it so big deal.”

“We won and would have won anyway, so what does it matter?”

“The Seahawks use drugs –that’s much more serious.”

“No one can prove the coach or quarterback knew, so let’s forget it.”

“The team is really made now and will crush true Seahawks.”

So, the general gist of these remarks is that everyone does it, and that it makes it acceptable. Also, if you break a rule and you’re not convicted with overwhelming evidence, then you’re innocent.

I was thinking how this tempest in a teapot reflects what is happening in other areas of our lives such as politics and literature. Politicians will blatantly lie even when someone like John Stewart produces video to show them lying. What’s the normal reaction when caught? “I misspoke.” When the Senate shifted to the Republicans, the party line was “see how we improved the economy,” despite the fact that senate Republicans did everything they possibly could do to ruin the economy so they could blame President Obama. I also can think of at least two politicians who recently were caught plagiarizing material. They weren’t even apologetic.

Writers today plagiarize and then shrug their shoulders when they are caught. The father and son who claimed the young boy saw Jesus during a near death experience, admitted the boy had lied several years ago, but they didn’t offer to return all the money gained from book and movie sales.

What we have today is a slippery slope because most people no longer subscribe to the idea of absolutes (Thou shall not ever….). Instead, they rely on situational ethics. “I generally don’t lie but it’s okay to lie to my boss because he’s an SOB.” Students tell themselves “I generally don’t cheat, but Professor Jones is so unreasonable that he’s forcing me to cheat to avoid failing.”

The result of all these cases where people are caught in their own lies and avoid apologizing is that many people are becoming more cynical; “Well, of course he lied or copied his speech from someone else; everyone does that sort of thing.” This kind of growing cynicism is bad for our country and for democracy in general because it encourages politicians to lie even more in their ads. What’s the worst thing that could happen if they are caught? They simply say they misspoke.

A Quantum Universe

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Albert Einstein

I’ve been doing a very deep dive on the topic of quantum physics, particularly the idea of a multiverse. Fun reading? No, but it’s research for my next science fiction novel. I should clarify that I have completed Alien Love, but it is not as yet contracted although a couple of publishers have shown some interest. My sequel to Silent Partner, A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer, has been signed by Pen-L and should be published sometime in 2015. So, my yet unnamed new science fiction novel is just starting to percolate in my head.

Every book is different. With this one I have managed to figure out an ending and a beginning, so the real work in constructing the various scenes that constitute the plot is just in the beginning phase. The book is the most ambitious one I’ve undertaken because it requires me to build a number of complex characters since one of the themes is that small decisions have enormous consequences in our lives because we all have positive and negative elements in our characters. It doesn’t take much to push someone’s darker impulses to the front; conversely, a person might avoid going down a dark path if he makes what appears to be a very small decision. Let’s say he doesn’t go to a particular social event where he would have met a charismatic criminal type who would unduly influence him.

There also is the belief in quantum physics that while we perceive events in chronological order, they do not necessarily occur that way. It’s possible that all events in past, present, and future exist simultaneously. Try wrapping your head around that idea!

So, I almost feel like an observer watching myself work on blocking out this new novel. Meanwhile, it is an exciting time because people are still voting on my novel as part of the Kindle Scout program.