At the fitness studio, I thought about what I was doing: lifting weights. I do this regularly to stay in shape, something I have been doing since my first attempts at sport. Because I can no longer find 19 other guys to play lacrosse or 11 to play hockey, not that this is possible where I live, I am reduced to individual exercise. That’s better than nothing.
Today, I wondered what someone from the past, who labored all day, every day to survive, would think of humans exercising muscles for fun or health or to keep busy or for whatever reason. A visit to a fitness studio would astound the visitor, although the scantily clad women would surely appeal to his baser instincts.
The basic animal activity of muscle movement has evolved a long way...
I have written before about humans having to fill the time between birth and death. Sleeping takes up about one third, with standing in lines, eating, socializing, complaining, staring at a television, playing video games, etc. using some of the rest. Working at some job has been a major component of human life, for those lucky enough to have one. Pay has been an issue, but that is not what I talking about here.
Those with money want more and want to share less with those without. Why else would most corporations seek labor-saving methods or move jobs to low-wage countries? More and more jobs are being automated. Most automobiles are now made by robots, with humans adding finishing touches. Machines do not demand wages, health care, or pensions. No machine demands a toilet break, rest break, or lunch break. They do not strike or call in sick. They make no demands. If amazon could, they would have no humans working for the company.
So, my point is: what will people do in the future to keep busy from birth until death if there are no more jobs? How will they earn money for food, clothes, and rent? Where will they get the money to buy the products made by machines? I wonder if the wealthy think about this as they destroy jobs, accumulate ever-greater shares of the world’s wealth, and hide out in gated communities.
(Once again, I am not a communist, merely someone with plenty of time to think...)
Here’s another view:
Today, I took an IQ test in a British newspaper and discovered thatI am not as dumb as I thought. My brain still works. I am able to think logically to solve most problems. I did not achieve a perfect score, but I did well.
After this success, I watch a program on logic. I felt that I should be able to understand what they were talking about. I did...more or less. I try to be logical in all I do, even if I often fail. Human frailty.
The brain and a computer governed by logic. So, I--like all humans--am like a computer. Unfortunately, most humans do not think or act logically. Fortunately, a few intelligent humans give computers their logic. Computers are based upon logic, so humans might fear that computers will replace them. If not programmed by humans, computers don’t work. Or, they can pull the plug or switch off the power. That is a logical conclusion to a not-so logical fear. I think...
The cover of the latest Time caught my attention and made me think.
“America's Pest Problem: It's Time to Cull the Herd
After nearly wiping out many wildlife species 50 years ago, Americans are once again living close--sometimes uncomfortably so--to all kinds of feral creatures. Why wildlife in the U.S. needs stronger management”
Reading the article, I found the following words:
“Whether you're a Walmart employee in Florida wondering what to do with the alligator at your door, a New Yorker with a hawk nesting on your high-rise or an Ohio golfer scattering a flock of Canada geese, you now live, work and play in closer proximity to untamed fauna than any other generation of Americans in more than a century.”
“...painfully controversial to do what experts say must be done: a bunch of these critters need to be killed.”
I am certain that, although none can articulate the feeling, all animals consider humans to be pests. Most were on this earth before humans evolved, but that has not prevented them from being treated like the Native Americans.
Today, my strange thought had to do with temperature.
The weather was unusually pleasant for Germany, although recent Septembers have been pleasant. The temperature was in the 20’s (metric system), but the sun felt hotter.
Let’s say that the outside air temperature was 25 degrees. That’s over 10 degrees less than body temperature (37.5 degrees). My strange thought was to wonder why 25 degrees feels pleasant, while an outside air temperature of 37 degrees is unpleasant. Shouldn’t the human body find an air temperature equal to body temperature to be pleasant? Doesn’t make sense...
Today, I moved dirt in my garden. Some might ask why? At times, I wondered myself why I had decided to renew the dirt in my flower beds. When considering this, it had seemed like a good idea. I found someone to deliver high-quality soil--one and one half tons--for a low price. All I had to do would be to dig out some of the old dirt, move it to some other spot in the garden, and move the new soil from the pile in the drive to the beds. I had a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a high opinion of my ability to perform menial tasks.
As I was pushing one of many wheel barrow loads through the garden from one side of the house to the other, I wondered about man’s tendency to move dirt. Some amounts are huge, some tiny. A child playing in a sandbox falls into this category of human activity. It happens every day all over the world.
This got me wondering about the first human to move dirt, for whatever reason. We know about many firsts in human evolutions, but I doubt that earth moving can be pinned down with accuracy...if any would even bother. I am certain that the first human to move dirt must have been copying animals or bugs, ants in particular. That’s how humans learned about the effect of alcohol, so why not earth moving? The reason is lost in the sands of time (How’s that for a dirt-based metaphor?)
I have a few more days of work ahead of me, which will give my plenty of time to reflect on man’s impact on the planet. That’s what you get when you have a load of dirt dumped in your drive...
I found the following words in John Gray’s The Silence of Animals:
“If there is anything unique about the human animal it is that it has the ability to grow knowledge at an accelerating rate while being chronically incapable of learning from experience.”
If anyone read my post, Evil People, of June 16th, these words ring true.
If anyone doubts what I have written about how wet this Spring was, they should check out news reports from central Europe.
The highest level of Elbe River since someone started keeping track came...and the river continued to rise. Other rivers do not receive as much attention because they are merely “higher” than usual.
A glimpse of news reports displays, once again, man’s inability to thwart nature. Each report shows people filling sandbags and stacking them agains leaking dikes. This is not unlike helicopters dropping water on a raging forest fire. Nature always wins.
My wife is reading a novel, which takes place in India. A discussion about living conditions in that country led us to consider basic characteristics of human beings. Each person strives to achieve the best for him- or herself in the situation in which he or she exists. In some societies, such as in former times in the United States, social mobility was easy. More structured societies, such as India and England, make improvement difficult; humans seek whatever way they can to improve their daily lot, no matter how minimal or legal.
The discussion caused me to recall a television program, which I had seen recently colds and flu. A human does not act any differently than a flu virus, which also uses tricks to survive, thrive, and reproduce. The human body--not unlike how a structured society reacts to anyone wishing to improve or change--attempts to prevent a virus from being successful and/or surviving.
Life on this planet is amazingly similar, whether human, (the baddest animal), animal, plant, or microscopic whatever.
Another aspect of a beach vacation is the opportunity to consider fellow humans. One does occasionally stroll up and down the beach or raise one’s head from reading a book. If so, avoiding the spectacle of human flesh on parade is impossible.
My conclusion is that most people are unattractive. This explains, perhaps, the fascination with film stars, television personalities, professional athletes, fashion models, fake celebrities, etc. with attractive faces and bodies. Some must project that look upon themselves, ignoring what they see in a mirror and imagining that they look better than they do.
When I see some of the specimens parading around in bathing suits, I wonder what people think about themselves and how they could let themselves go. I also wonder what Thai people--generally small, thin, and well-groomed--think about these obese monsters parading around and acting superior. It’s sad...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.