Earth Moves

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

John wheeled himself closer to the edge. The windows’d gone in the last quake. People were always on about being careful, but what did it matter now? The world was literally falling apart. Might as well have a good view.

Grit crunched behind him.

He spun. Sarah Jenks, the fittest bird in the block. “What are you—?”

“Always envied how alive you were.” She stepped closer. “I never had the guts. Doesn’t seem much point in being careful any more. And didn’t want to die without telling you you’ve got a sexy laugh.”

They didn’t feel the earth move.

Why Oppose When You Can Embrace?

Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.

– Franklin Pierce Adams

I understand the desire to prevent someone from gaining power, to seek the path of least danger, but if the system isn’t producing candidates you can vote for then you need the system to change. And how do you achieve change by doing the safest thing?

Or to put it another way, as Herodotus says, each part of a binary contains its opposite: so a vote for Labour is a vote for the Conservatives.

Therefore, I’ll be voting for the world I want rather than against only one of the ones I don’t.

Destined to Fail

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You hear the jokes about spam email every day. Double-glaze your manhood. Gain longer Nigerian Prince.

And the worst are about psychic readings. Writes itself really.

I’ll let you into a secret. Psychics invented spam.

Think about it: it’s illegal in the UK and many other countries to sell genuine mediumship or other magical powers unless you can prove it works (at which point you might as well drive yourself to the nearest government blacksite).

Think about it: communication with a one-in-ten-million success rate. Who’s going to look for the real thing in there if they aren’t destined to look?

Prior Unreasoning

There’s a famous aphorism “Do what I say, not what I do” which is often trotted out either to show one person or everyone is a hypocrite when it comes to morals. And, whichever interpretation you favour, it’s hard to deny that it’s often much easier to suggest a moral choice from the comfort of an armchair than it is to make a moral choice in the moment. The harder question is whether or not someone should be judged harshly for these deviations from higher morals.

The answer to which might begin with whether they are truly choices. As this talk by Robert Saplosky shows, the choice might have been rigged decades earlier:

Feud

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Una the Deep Miaowing sat upon the highest of high spots in Ut-Garden. Fugl Bloody-Shirt’s raids became more common by the day. She must prepare herself.

Legs drawn up, she wrapped herself in her tail. She had lain in wait. She had left and then returned hoping to catch him glutted with spoils. Yet each time, he had slipped away as if he knew she was close.

There must be an answer. Strength of self filled her, but inspiration did not.

Standing silently below, Jaspar Fuzzy-Breeks marvelled at the brilliance of her strategies, but wondered why she spoke them aloud.

The Miracle of the Mundane

On Saturday, I played another rather excellent session of 7th Seas LARP. During the course of that, my character ended up in an interesting conversation with a priest over whether miracles were inexplicable and obvious events, or tiny changes deliberately hidden behind rationale explanation to not compromise our free will. The priest remained adamant that they were son et lumière, glorious in their imperviousness to logic, and things moved on.

However, this morning, I went to look up something in my dictionary of quotations and it opened on this quote:

I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.

– Khaled Hosseini

Which made me wonder: is the miracle in neither the obvious defiance of natural law nor the hidden influence that we can interpret either way, but in the moment when we are living rather than waiting.

Or perhaps I’ve read too much Colin Wilson.

Oranges to Applications

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What was it like during the Transition?

When the Sorn told us we belonged to their Empire, we fought back.

Throw that orange at the wall as hard as you can.

Imagine the wall’s a Sorn Integrator and the orange is our best weapon.

Now imagine the wall sucks up that mess and spits out a clean power source while explaining our customs can be maintained.

The Sorn gave each nation 3 months to surrender. Most did.

Don’t know if America intended to defy them; but turned out the Sorn didn’t understand localisation so the US disappeared on day 37.