by LJ Frank
Of late my radio remains turned off while driving. I prefer the wind from an open window and the comfort of my thoughts and the meditation of an emerging horizon beyond the stretches of open plains. noxious landfills, fields of grain, high tech-cities, homeless encampments, scenic vistas and sculptured hills.
Insights on social media with a percentage of apologies afterwards for speaking too soon and misplacing wisdom for a tweak leaves an ambiguous taste in the mouth. Being in sync with culture and its meanings is a complicated affair. Guilt is an uncertain detour in life with legal, philosophical, and theological connotations. I have yet to appreciate intolerance. What are the mitigating circumstances that requires one to express a need or concern upfront to address a negative? What do we do to ourselves in the name of disinformation? The writer of Ecclesiastes acknowledged the human predicament, regardless, whether one is a theist, agnostic, or atheist.
Then again, my laundry list of wrongs and rights is substantial. Let me just say this – the manipulations, betrayals, political lies, falsehoods, the cowardice of self-perceived elites, the thoroughbred building designs that were sent to committees and politicized in an unrecognizable creature birthed to satisfy those with the power of the purse and contractors that wanted to substitute quality for an extra dollar, the smokescreens, hidden agendas, the pat on the back looking for the soft spot, the unnecessary deaths of friends and family in battle, destroyed hospital records…the list is obscene and only a part of the unfinished canvas – all is political in the world of work, play, academia and even family and yet, awards, achievements, the degrees, the honors and more so the friendships, the love, the joys, and simple everyday smile and words of encouragement, giving and receiving, help assuage and offer a balance to the intrigues. Yet if there were no rewards, physical or otherwise, the honest friendship and gladness of you being alive would suffice. And, literally, anything can act as a detour and instill a fresh philosophical outlook.
With that said, I feel obliged to offer the following thoughts about a machine that symbolizes my freedom of movement affecting my patterns of thought. It’s all rather simple.
In some ways I have adapted and become the machines that I use every day. I am attached to my computer to express my thoughts, my intelligent phone to connect to other machines and humans, and my car that provides me the capability to move about. And now that I noticed it’s approaching 200,000 miles while driving across the country, I speculated on the future of the human and machine relationship.
My 2009 sports car has taken me to places too far to travel by horseback, biking or hiking and I am decreasingly fond of flying in the crowded and expensive space of today’s passenger jets. Although sailboats remain an option. The thing is, I prefer to be the “pilot” even with a patch over one eye….to experience intimately and firsthand the lay of the land and the fragrance of the air and the ocean. My car is symbolic of my perception of freedom of movement even if misleading. But my car like me is aging – agilely as possible. Albeit, we inadvertently have hit a few potholes and detours in our lives amid sunshine and storm but who hasn’t?
Sustainability of the body and mind whether human or machine varies. My machine adapts with proper maintenance as does my mind and body. I have few expectations for an afterlife. For my car or for myself. Still, I don’t know in all certainty regarding humans. Could there be for example a holistic blending of resurrection and reincarnation? And will humans and machines become mere extensions of each other with memories stored in a specialized library developed in the future?
If another opportunity at life with soil beneath my feet, a blue sky above and a person to share the journey with became available in the same or different body, would I take it? As I reach different destinations in living, self-honesty insinuates itself in my heart, sometimes brutally, and other times with forgiveness.