Cosmic Utopia on Earth

At midnight all people of our country make a switch, someone who yesterday was a gardener, today becomes an engineer, yesterday’s building contractor becomes a judge, sovereign becomes a teacher, and so on. What remains unchanged is the society as a whole.

In every society of the old type most citizens perform their occupational functions poorly, and still the society does not seize to go on. Someone who is a poor gardener will ruin the garden, and a poor sovereign will ruin the entire country because both have the time to cause damage, time they do not have in our type of society. Furthermore in the old type of society, apart from poor skills, there is additional negative, even destructive effect of individuals’ private wants. Jealousy, egoism, conceit, vanity, want of power, all have a negative effect on the life of the society. This negative influence does not exist in our society. In our world one cannot do things to enrich oneself, or to make longer egoistic plans, hoping to enrich oneself in the long run, because tomorrow one becomes someone else, without knowing today what it will be. Stanislaw Lem

Now, imagine that citizens are drawn at random to advise governments on issues such as the environment, the economy, domestic and international policy, etc, much as jurors are called in to decide the outcomes of judicial cases… Sounds too much like fantasy? Well, look up a concept called Citizen Jury. It already exists. Cosmic utopia landed here on Earth.



Another great folk tale, this one from the Maya:

...farmers who had a cornfield used the alux as a guardian of their crops. It is said that the alux is a clay doll that guards the farmer's field, scaring away thieves and making jokes to all the people who pass by or stop to rest.

When the farmer finishes working the land, he destroys the alux, smashing it to pieces against a rock. In this way, he can freely return to working the land, because it no longer has a guard.

If it is not done this way, the preparation of the land that the alux guards will scarcely have begun when he starts to whistle or throw stones at the farmer whom he thinks is an intruder, which could cause a distraction that cause the farmer to cut his hand or foot with a rake or a machete.

More here

Bath house

Found this interesting piece:

It is said that a long time ago, when they were going to use the bath house for the first time, before anyone went in, they put a dog inside. And it is said, in the event that something bad was found in the bath, the dog was beaten and the evil was removed. Thus the evil would not attach itself to the people and nothing would happen to them.

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There's something somewhere

My neighbor’s kid, a 12 year old who sometimes shovels my snow in the winter, went to a summer camp. His parents, devout Christians, insisted that he must go to a Christian camp, down in the US. He really didn’t want to go. He was raving when he came back. It was the greatest thing ever, chiefly because all kids spent much of their time learning to use different firearms…

It reminds me of a story I read recently on the road:

There are things going on, things that shouldn’t be. […] It’s blossoming everywhere and in every country. […] Youth is what you might call the spearhead of it all. But that’s not really what’s so worrying. They – whoever they are – work through youth. Youth in every country. Youth urged on. Youth chanting slogans, slogans that sound exciting, though they don’t always know what they mean. So easy to start a revolution. That’s natural to youth. All youth has always rebelled. You rebel, you want the world to be different from what it is. But you’re blind too. There are bandages over the eyes of youth. They can’t see where things are taking them. What’s in front of them? And who it is behind them, urging them on? […] They’re not only fancies. That’s what people said about Hitler. Hitler and the Hitler Youth. But it was a long careful preparation. It was a fifth column being planted in different countries all ready for the supermen. The supermen where to be the flower of the German nation. Somebody else is perhaps believing something like that now. There’s something somewhere, and it’s running on the same lines.
Agatha Christie, Passenger to Frankfurt.


Crucial writing step

Q: What’s the difference between a dream about writing and a publishable novel?

A: Several months.

Several months away from the book is how long it takes me to gain the necessary distance to clear my mind in order to determine the state of the novel I am working on. It took several months for me to figure out what has to be done to turn the draft (N-tieth) into the product that will satisfy my writerly and readerly tastes. My novel about the Jesuits in its current form is a good example of a fast-paced thriller, the kind you pick up at an airport. Easy, enjoyable read. But, it’s not what I the writer want to release to the world. It needs more character depth, a slow down if you will. Plot is not everything. Not anymore. This is the book that is supposed to be my transition from thriller to mainstream. Commercial, to be sure, but also one that leaves an impression beyond the momentary thrills. So here I am, rolling my sleeves up and sitting down to what I hope will be the final version.