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Archive for the ‘On Reli’ Category

In 1880, the philosopher Thomas Malthus made a prediction that is now affecting our society in ways he couldn’t foresee, but are eeirily similar to his general theory on population control.  When you remove war, plague and other problems, population growth will skyrocket, unless a natural disaster occurs.  Taken alone, this is an excellent argument for space colonization and exploration.  We need to re-examine what is important in life, and put the world’s fabulous wealth to work on it.

Malthus theorized that population growth would soon overwhelm the planet’s resources, then overused and depleted resources would be insufficient to supply the world; therefore, people would die off.  He calculated that technology and resources expand arithmetically, but people grow geometrically.  Geometric growth is the old double a dollar trick: if you take a dollar, then double it, double it again, and keep doubling it everyday, you would have over a million dollars within a month.  It’s a straightforward mathematical progression, and when applied to our population, it’s easy to see that there will be too many humans for this Earth to sustain if we keep increasing our population the at the current rate.  Longer life through better medicine adds to the problem.  Here’s how it applies to literature and writers. 

In the Victorian age, there were a great many readers, and every writer, if they were able to create something worth reading, would stand a good chance of being published.  Today, there are thousands of writers out of work, just because publishers are inundated with manuscripts and have the luxury of selecting only the very best.  It could be argued that some of the so called “great” writers of the past wouldn’t stand up to the numerous rejection slips every author receives before someone decides to take a chance and publish their book.  There are many other reasons the Victorian age produced so many new ideas and so many new authors, but the main reason was an empty playing field, and an audience thirsting for new and bizarre ideas.  Now the playing field is packed, the benches and stadium  crowded, along with the dressing room and the parking lot.  It’s hard to find an original idea that is truly unique, because with so many minds thinking of every permutation and every twist and turn, it is hard to come up with something fresh and original.  Some say that’s why
Hollywood does so many re-makes of old ideas.  With so many people writing free blogs, or publishing their stories for free on certain websites, it’s hard to get a publisher to pay good money for a story.  That is, if they actually get a frustrated talented author to withstand the long wait lists and offer a story that is fresh and interesting.  It really begs the question, why do we read what we read.  Will anyone ever read this?  Chances are, with the countless, unknown and possibly excellent blogs clogging the internet, no one ever will.  People read less books today.  TV and the internet changed the dynamics in ways we are still studying.

Another factor is society’s overall success and increasing level of education.  To get a half decent job, you need education.  Today, it is quite common for someone to possess B.A., Master’s Degree or PhD.  That means a greater proportion of our society can write, and write well.  With a hulking pile of unread and well written manuscripts clogging an Editor’s “in basket”, it’s quite possible that some of the well known writers of the past would not be published today.  Perhaps their story lacks sparkle, their writing style is trite and outdated, or the author couldn’t deal with the countless rejection slips that are now part of the job.  Based on this, what was published in the past might not be published today.  A loss to literature?  Not quite.  We have literature coming out our ying-yang, and a book about talking animals discussing their political situation, although clever and satirical, doesn’t sound like a real page turner.  Sorry George Orwell, but Animal Farm might not pass muster and end up in some rejected file.  Possibly.  Television, radio and the Internet are changing our society in ways that will not be fully understood until some future date.  Perhaps when sociologists have had the time to read everything and make an original conclusion.  

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The religious wars have always been with us.  And they are here today. Everywhere.  Unless reason prevails, they will be the downfall of our society.  This has been predicted in ancient writings, and part of our everyday “war on terrorism”.  And we think we are an enlightened society?  We made some technological advances, but need to deal with the true nature of man; the consequences are world war.

There are Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists, and now the Catholic old school has stepped in again. They’ve already removed any “innocent” mention of religion from all schools, and now the clerics from several African Nations want the early hominid bones found by Dr. Leaky pulled from major display and relegated to a backroom. It seems they want to quash all references to evolution. I imagine Darwin will become a banned writer and labeled an atheistic madman.
No one our society is so backward. Everytime science begins to impose reason, the old “dark ages” thinking is resurrected. I believe God wanted us to understand the world, his creation, and not live in darkness.

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