Category: Earth

Nothing Is Balanced

I live in a seedy little village in the midst of fertile farmland. The nearest shopping is about 20 minutes’ drive away, so I go up and down the secondary two-lane several times each week. Enjoying the quiet, scenic drive, I get to thinking. For instance; although there are vast, cultivated fields lining the highway, there are also massive stands of trees. Deciduous and coniferous trees, growing like weeds by the millions.

I remember being unhappy when I learned that a European country, locked in a horrible war, was suffering through a cold winter. The news said people were breaking up their furniture and their house interiors to burn for desperately needed heat and cooking. At the same time, I’m driving along thousands of kilometers of road, and forests sit idle on both sides, proliferating each spring.

It’s out of balance. One society has none, another society has an excessive abundance.

I know a woman of extraordinary beauty, from flowing hair to tiny feet. She’s also wealthy, thanks to a successful father and a successful ex-husband. Unfortunately she is without intelligence. She’s actually stupid. Somehow, it’s out of balance.

I know another woman, plain, poor complexion, rather square torso and stumpy legs. From a simple, working-class family, she works at a menial job, in a windowless space where she is seldom seen or heard from. She’s bright, intelligent, well read and reliable. She’s out of balance, within herself and compared with the stupid beauty.

Some places are flooded with water, other places can’t find water. Some people are starving in streets or in wilderness. Other people have food available on all sides. Some is free, most is inexpensive. There is no balance.

Any of us could go on at length about imbalance. In fact, there is no balance, ever.

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God Could Not Have Done It

Suppose God actually had made everything, there still had to be evolution. Imagine God made caterpillars. Colourful creatures, but did he take the time to give them the DNA to create a chrysalis or a cocoon? Inside those enclosures, some kind of seeming miracle occurs. These cozy enclosures tear open, on schedule, from the inside. Suddenly there’s a butterfly or a moth. What’s next?

Perhaps God wants the balance kept, rather than coat the planet with flying insects, so God dreamed up fish that leap from the water to grasp low-flying insects. For higher-flying creatures, God created bats, to feed on the flying creatures too. It seems God confused his plans a bit. God created birds, to fly. God created mice, to scurry. While developing the mice, God gave some of them wings, which were meant for birds only. Then God gave the bats radar brains with which they ‘feel the location’ of their target, sightlessly.

As a bonus for the bats, God created the flying insects with an irresistible attraction toward lights. The insects gather in swarms around lights, and Papa bat can feed the whole family. We don’t know how much God had to do with the evolution of the electric light and the electricity to light it.

Suppose God created the giraffe. Is the long neck to reach high leaves a good design? The hippopotamus lives mostly immersed in water. It eats underwater plants. Did God design the cute little nostrils that the hippo can keep above water? I think everything evolved, naturally, starting with materials from the Big Bang. Given eternity and infinity, any possible melding of solids, liquids, and gasses is possible.

While canoeing on Georgian Bay in Canada’s Great Lakes, I was sliding through the calm water alongside a tall, flat cliff of solid granite. Over hundreds of years, water had seeped into small cracks in the granite face. During winters, the water in the cracks froze and expanded to push the cracks wider. Eventually, dirt blew into the cracks and filled them with earth. As time passed, cedar tree seeds found their way into that dirt, either by wind or through bird droppings. By the time I was drifting by, a cedar tree about twenty years old had grown horizontally out of a crack in the granite and bent up toward the sun.

God did not do any of that. It is plainly obvious that given time and weather, evolution can cause virtually any circumstance. God did not make the Platypus, a mammal with a duck beak and webbed toes. God did not make the bat, a mammal with wings of skin. God did not make the marsupials like kangaroos and possums that carry their fetuses outside of their uterus and in a tummy pocket instead.

The way the earth became so rich in species is an accident of space and time. The reality of eternity and infinity prove that anything is possible, without God, eventually.

We Are Insignificant

When we consider the sliver of time during which humans have lived, and the even more insignificant time given to each individual, we mean nothing. It’s true that we have pretty much ruined this planet, and that’s about the only thing that’s significant about our tenure.

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This recent photo of exciting events in the universe prove that we mean nothing. It’s a toss up as to whether or not we will continue to evolve and somehow become good, or we will wipe ourselves out with filth or fighting. So don’t worry, you’re as important as a billionaire because a billionaire is no more important than are you. Just imagine Taylor Swift wiping her behind. See? Everyone’s the same, in the end.

We’ve Lost Our Animal Instincts

The burst of green/blue in the atmosphere over Oklahoma is not weather. It’s the mass of  birds that suddenly took off, all together, and headed out of  that state, where they had been gathered. No one  that witnessed it could imagine why. Until a short time later…

 

quake

There was an earthquake. The birds felt it coming and took off. It seems that Oklahoma endures hundreds of little earthquakes per year. This one was larger than most, and the frequency of quakes is increasing.

I once spent a week in Scranton Pennsylvania, a town built on coal mines. Literally, the earth beneath the city is honeycombed with tunnels. From time to time, a few housed drop through their land and settle in a mining tunnel.

What if all the oil drilling, pumping, and  fracking cause Oklahoma City to collapse into the unnaturally altered earth upon which it’s built? Because of greed, it will not stop . Greed is the motivation for almost everything in today’s world. Style, art, and craftsmanship, when one can find them, are subject to marketing and advertising. I believe that an artist is wise to obliterate the thoughts of commercial value to the work. The artist should work to satisfy the self and let the commercial chips fall where they may.

 

 

The Scourge of Society: Packaging and Advertising

The name of the game is to increase net profits in any way you can, while diminishing the strength of the competitors’ brands. Some products come sealed within extremely hard, extremely tough plastics, which enclose a product that might cost less to produce than the cost to produce the packaging. Within the package is advertising, printed in full colour on heavy cardboard. That packaging will be on and in this earth for centuries.

Stores already provide quite handy, advertising covered shopping bags. I’m somewhat familiar with advertising because I spent several decades writing and directing television commercials. While it’s true that in the end the money is in your pocket, as they say, and you get to choose when and why you give it up. Advertising strives to influence your purchase decision. You’re going to need toothpaste anyway, so the advertisers are suggesting you choose this one, not that one. Not the other one either. Choose me! Choose me! I’m new and improved!

Advertising does influence consumers. I was able to create a series of commercials for a sugar free chewing gum that was an obscure brand in its category. As each of the commercials aired, thirteen weeks apart, the sales of the brand escalated until it was running with the top named, market leading brands. People are going to buy gum (for some reason), and advertising can give good reasons to buy THIS gum.

There was a bright young man who worked as a brand manager for a leading brand of cough drops. The target was to increase the profit margin on the brand, even though it was already selling briskly. An increase in profits for an already very profitable brand is not easy to achieve.

The young brand manager had ordered a trainload of sugar long before the order for increased profits had come down from some executive. He had committed to the sugar purchase at a good price, but that wouldn’t show in the profits. He checked the market and found that the price of sugar had almost doubled since he’d agreed on a price with the supplier. The brand manager was able to sell half his trainload of sugar for enough money to keep the remainder almost free, for the factory.

This guy is really smart. He needed an idea on how to cover for the absent quota of sugar without slowing production, and he came up with one: each of the little cough drops has a little dimple in the middle, on both sides. He increased the dimple depth by a millimeter, saved the sugar from it, and profits when right up, as did the young guy.

Our Thick Skinned Planet

To me, the planet Earth is a living thing. The cool shell of the planet is like its skin. I have seen a rock appear as a patch of moss on a riding trail. The following year the rock had risen in the earth enough that the moss withdrew. The year after that, it was a low mound of granite in the grass. Year after year the rock thrust itself more and more out of the earth. After seventeen years one could see that it was a gigantic rock continuing to rise out of the earth, like human skin erupting slowly with a pimple or blackhead. That boulder, which is now about the size of a hay bale, looks like it’s going to push up through the earth and might well be the size of a house before it’s done. Like the visible portion of an iceberg is just ten percent of the whole with ninety percent submerged. That rock might be like that. I could be a mountain coming up out of the riding trail over the next millennium.