Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 2413

When Dash and I were out on our walk this morning, we passed a message written in chalk on the sidewalk. It got me wondering what hope actually meant to me. I hope that Dot will be with us for another year. I hope that Janet stays healthy and happy. I hope I won't run out of money before I die. My hopes are pretty basic and almost exclusively centered around the small world I live in. I never hope for world peace or a winning lottery ticket. That's rainbows and unicorns stuff. I'm a realist. If you've ever been a part of a dysfunctional family, or a member of a homeowner's association you understand how difficult it is to get along on even the most basic level. Neighbors become mired in petty arguments about barking dogs and trees on the property line. 50% of all marriages end in divorce. If our cities and states and individual countries are so divided, how can we ever expect the entire world to come together. It has never happened in human history.

My sister is a historian and one of the smartest people I know. I remember her telling me once that one of the most productive periods in history was when the great Italian city states flourished in Europe. These small city states were extremely competitive and were constantly at war with each other. Since the city states were so small, they couldn't do much damage on a global scale. The competition between the states was good. It created great wealth and played a major role in the Renaissance. Art, science, and philosophy all flourished during this period of time. It was only when countries got larger and decided to expand their influence by conquering other countries that the world started to get screwed up. The rise of the British Empire probably caused a lot of the problems we see today.

Humans are not a friendly species. Great White Sharks and Cobras are puppy dogs compared to us. This is why I've never been a fan of globalization. To survive, we need small redundant systems, so that if one element of society fails, it doesn't take down everyone else with them. The Internet is a redundant system. If a server goes down, information will bypass the trouble and find another route to its destination. There is no master hub that controls the entire Internet. Politicians don't seem to understand the beauty of this model though. They keep trying to make things bigger. The United Nations, The European Union, NATO, and it appears even The United States of America, all appear to be completely unable to bring people together on any lasting basis. I have very little hope that we are ever going to get it right.

None of this really bothers me though, since I seldom venture more than five miles from my house. My philosophy has always been "I'll leave you alone if you leave me alone." As long as the Zombie Apocalypse doesn't begin until five years after I'm dead, I'm fine.

I got an early start on my chores today because it was so hot outside. When I was using the automated checkout aisle at the grocery store, I couldn't get the bar code reader to work. It would beep when I pointed it at items in my cart, but nothing would show up on the register. This must be a common problem, because it didn't take long before an employee noticed me trying to read the UPC code on my strawberries over and over again and came over and rebooted the machine. Turn it off and then turn it on again seems to be the universal solution for everything these days. It's really too bad we can't just reboot the entire world.

Jewel is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day