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Category: Humans

Fearless
As I have confessed here in the past, there has been a dark turn in my personal philosophy. I am not happy about this change; it has compelled me to re-examine my whole approach to dealing with my fellow man.

Let’s just say that I am not as upbeat and forgiving as I was five years ago — about my neighbor, and by logical extension, about myself. Are humans really this stupid? Well. I may have found a way back from this metaphysical precipice.

One of the chief drivers of my internal shift has been the shocking propensity of my species — fully comprehended by me only recently — to buy into conspiracies as a way of explaining the world. I am troubled by this because it is obvious to me that conspiracies are a very poor way to explain anything. They do exist, but to believe that they could account for any large, complicated phenomenon in our world would defy common sense or clear, rational thought at any level. I won’t use the word stupid, but I am definitely thinking it.

Conspiracies are frightening, as well, because large numbers of my fellow humans are making important decisions (including voting) based on these misguided versions of reality. It’s beginning to seriously spook me.

But as I say, I think I have discovered a path to understanding that might preserve my mental health — and even restore my feelings for my fellow humans. The secret is not to focus on the illogic of these conspiracists, or even on their manifest foolishness. The problem here is not with reason at all, but rather with emotion.

I think I knew that all along, but until a few days ago, I didn’t fully appreciate what it meant. I tend to forget, I guess, that emotion doesn’t operate by the same rules as reason. Logic doesn’t apply, or even common sense. It’s all about what these conspiracists are feeling.

In these times of pandemics, global warming, overpopulation, worldwide human misery…okay, that’s enough. You get the picture. Things are scary these days. Changes are coming at us at an alarming clip. People are afraid. And that’s where conspiracies come in. When it starts to get too scary, people are ready for an explanation — any explanation — that makes the fear go away. It doesn’t matter that the explanation is stupid, because stupid is irrelevant.

I think that’s what was blocking me on this. I couldn’t see how an explanation that involved dark forces beyond our control could possibly make anyone feel better. Being at the mercy of something mysterious and all-powerful is terrifying to me. How could that help? It doesn’t make sense.

But I have been missing the point. It doesn’t have to make sense. It only has to make the fear go away. If it can supply an enemy, even an unseen one, then there is room for anger. Conspiracies, I think, allow us to get mad. Which is way more fun than fear. Whatever works, right?

So that’s my new theory… something like that, anyway. I’m still working on it. One thing I do know is that this theory is making me feel better. A little more forgiving, perhaps. Hey, whatever works.

(THE END IS NEAR: you can still click HERE
and back Head First on Kickstarter. Thanks!)

Having the Last Wordle
I was not yet active on Wordle the day that WATCH sifted through the word-game’s six-guess system. It was, I have heard, a dark day for many wordlers. Countless strings were snapped that day…and in some cases perfection was lost. Forever.

If you are not a Wordle aficionado, I must warn you that it can be addictive. It does not involve the time commitment of a crossword puzzle, or even Sudoku. The average puzzle engagement lasts five minutes start to finish (although today’s took considerably longer — more on that later). But the game calls on a diverse set of resources beyond a mere facility with language. Survival skills come into play, as does the ability to anticipate the actions of people whom you cannot see and have never met. That is to say, reading the thoughts and intentions of the persons who devise the puzzle each day. They are cunning and ruthless.

But the most challenging thing about Wordle is that you come to expect that you will solve it every time you play. And if you don’t, the sting of failure is that much sharper. Unlike a crossword, it is not possible to change an answer. Each 5-letter guess is immutable once it is entered. As with life itself, we must live with our mistakes.

Besides the addiction and the challenge, then, there are psychic effects to contend with. Indeed, if you are not careful, Wordle will lay open your soul like a shucked oyster. I tried to play the game with WATCH as the answer…and failed. Even though it was not a true “live” attempt, I felt the bitter taste of my own unworthiness. Not pleasant, but I think it’s better for me to have known that taste before I experience it in actual combat.

Yes, I am perfect…so far. 44 for 44, but I know that my own dark day will come. In fact, it nearly came this morning with SQUAD. As the minutes ticked by, I could feel the cold fear of my own inadequacy clutching at my throat. The void seemed certain to swallow me up…me and my pathetic ego. I was doomed.

Then, a breakthrough! A panicked, lucky stab…and a wave of pleasure and relief! I would live to see another day of perfection, even though I know it cannot last.

(JUST SO YOU KNOW: you can still click HERE
and back Head First on Kickstarter. Thanks!)
Debuggery
There is some provocative news out this week from the Environmental Protection Agency. If all goes to plan, they will soon be releasing 2.5 billion freshly hatched mosquitoes into our skies here in the homeland.

The creatures will be difficult to distinguish from any of the multitudes of mosquitoes already thriving in North America. One difference, though, is that the new breed will be of a species — aeges anopheles aegypti — that is known to spread dengue, yellow fever, and the dreaded Zika virus.

It is understandable that you would have questions about this program. Why is our government trying to kill us? would head the list, followed by Has the world gone mad? Since you and I trust our government completely, however, we know there must be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this seemingly hare-brained scheme.

And wouldn’t you know it? There is! Thanks to the insect breeders at Oxitec, Ltd., there will be some fine-tuning before the release to God’s Grand Plan. Oxitec’s vast new army of insects will actually be waging war against the even vaster army of their disease-carrying cousins by…mating with them! Passionately, wantonly, indefatigably! In every position imaginable (for a mosquito).

Okay, this still looks like a hare-brained scheme, but there is more to the story. After the mass coupling has taken place and all these fully sated insects have moved on with their lives, something wonderful happens. Our mosquitoes, the ones who were released by the EPA, are free to seek fulfillment in any way they choose. Did I mention that they are all males, by the way? Their co-copulators, for their part, will soon thereafter lay their fertilized eggs someplace moist, and the whole process would ordinarily begin again.

But not this time. The offspring from these unions will all follow in their fathers’ footsteps. That is, they will all be males. And so will their offspring, generation after generation, until there are no more generations because there are no more female mosquitoes.

Fiendishly clever, you’ll have to admit. What’s more, there is another interesting side effect. None of the 2.5 billion EPA mosquitoes will be able to sting you, nor will any of their sons. Not because of genetic manipulation, but because males — whether natural or engineered — do not sting. Only the females thirst for your blood…and infect you with dengue fever or the deadly Zika.

We should be careful here not to blame the females in any way for this. They need our blood as part of their role in the reproductive process. If any mosquitoes are guilty here, then all of them must be. The same goes for those viruses. They’re just doing their jobs…like the dedicated engineers at Oxitec.

I’d say that the whole thing is part of God’s plan, but I cannot. The existence of mosquitoes in the first place is itself proof that He does not exist.
Hope or Fear; I Just Can't Decide
I’ve been getting these little emotional rushes here recently. They’re quite pleasant, but they worry me. I think they might be flashes of hope that things are getting better.

I Know, I know…what in the hell is wrong with me? We’re in the middle of a pandemic, man! Ignorance and cruelty are having their way with the world. Putin is poised to unleash a blitzkrieg into Ukraine and we are on the brink of World War III!

Well, yes. I know all those things, but I can’t help what I feel. Surely cooler heads will prevail, and there will not be a Russian invasion. It would be a lose/lose/lose move, and they’d be nuts not to find a way to climb down from this trumped-up crisis.

And the COVID plague? It’s killed a lot of people, no doubt, but doesn’t it seem like it’s trying to go away now? Sort of? With a little help from us? Maybe omicron will be it, and now we can move on to that new normal we’ve been waiting for.

Okay, now I hear you saying, “Hope is for suckers. chump!” To which I can only say, “Wow. Really, dude?” Don’t we have to consider that our cynicism is just a defense mechanism to protect us from the frightening turn in human behavior? Have we lost all trace of our innocence?

I have come to believe that the surge in cruelty will fade, by the way. People are drawn to it now because they are afraid — the same reason we are drawn to cynicism. But all that is changing. For the better!

At least that is how I am starting to feel. It’s a good feeling, as I say, but it does concern me. I worry that my flanks might be unprotected if I get too swept up in a hope high. I'd be naked, you might say. Any one of those dangers we face could suddenly metastasize and devour me. Putin, the crazy stupids, or the next bad-ass variant coming along could bring me down, and I would be helpless to defend myself.

On the other hand, that would happen no matter how I felt. So what’s the diff? Better to go down smiling, I say.

Assuming my teeth don’t get knocked out.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon