Peace/Unemployment

What is peace. Is it simply a lack of war? Would there be no struggles if we were not allowed to make war? I say that even without violence there would be many struggles of varying degrees. Violence is simply the last-ditch effort to resolve a conflict, or at least that is how it is portrayed. Currently it is used, at least by the United States of America, as our only tool. It is not something we come to after considering every other option. We have the worlds largest military force, and we spend 36.6% of the total expenditure of the world’s total military spending. To match the US in military spending it would take the next nine countries below the US to come to that 36.6% of global spending. I will not say war is never the answer, but I will say the US is going to extremes. Our economy has hit a wall, and currently there are many of us without work. Instead of spending money here at home, we are wasting it on war efforts abroad. Perhaps those in power seek to ensure a better future for all of us, but that to me is merely too optimistic. In times past a war economy always boosted the countries, but that does not seem to be the case, as we have been at war continuously for over a decade. We are employing many Americans in our different branches of military, but soon they are sent home, hopeful that the training they received will allow them to find employment. But that simply is not the case. If you do not spend your time here within the country trying to find employment, working on your resume, or receiving some form of higher education, you will find it difficult to make it in the job market. Even those with the advantages of staying inside the country are finding it difficult to find employment. It seems only those who have already been in these jobs before the crash, are able to find a place for themselves. Until you reach 25 according to statistics do we show a reduction of unemployment. It is still there, and the statistics we are being told of (6.6% unemployment for 2014) is actually (12.7% unemployment for 2014) because they no longer count those who are no longer are looking, or who have been unemployed for longer than a year. We have pushed many of our manufacturing jobs overseas, and there was a good reason for that. The labor costs over there were much lower. It looks as though China will soon have to supply similar benefits that we enjoy here in the states, so that will raise prices. Companies will look elsewhere once more, and have materials made in less wealthy economies. So what can we do at home? Some would say we should each be given a living wage, by taking away some of the overspending we are doing in the military. But I say we need to find something to produce again. We were once the worlds makers, the worlds doers. We have lost that, and we are no longer bringing in the money like we once did. There are fewer jobs, and fewer places for us to expand into. Where does money come from in the first place? It comes from making things, or producing. We could become the worlds farmers, or makers of new technologies. We will be paid for those products, unless everyone else does the same. If that becomes the case, then we will have to become self-sufficient, and only trade amongst ourselves. Or we must expand. I am not saying into other countries, as that would lead to more war, but into space perhaps. Spend that military money on sending out colonies into space. We cannot sustain continuous growth without population growth. We have plenty of land here, but no personal motivation for making more humans. All our eggs are in this one basket, and that is always dangerous. Our country could fall, though unlikely due to having a weaker military. But if we were to be at greater distances from any perceived enemies we would be able to rise up again elsewhere.

Reading over this again, I myself think it is a bit of a ramble, and hard to follow. My initial premise was going to be about how peace can still avail us of the ability to have disagreements without outright war. But apparently I wanted to talk about unemployment. I don’t think I’m going to edit anything, and let it stand. I may not even agree with anything I wrote today, but I think it gives me something to think about. Of course I am always wanting us to get into space, and like I am want to say, not have all our eggs in one basket. Feed back is welcome, and feel free to disagree vehemently, or agree for some reason. I look forward to hearing your take on all of this.

Update – I took the day off from writing, though I may go back and work on the dialogue for the trailer later. And of course I had my Saturday morning pancakes.

“There are stories — legends, really — of the “steady job.” Old-timers gather graduates around the flickering light of a computer monitor and tell stories of how the company used to be, back when a job was for life, not just for the business cycle. … The graduates snicker. A steady job! They’ve never heard of such a thing.” ― Max Barry

– Steven Oaks

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What to do when there is nothing to do

Say we live in a world where all the tasks are taken care of by machines. We are left with little to do, as production is all handled by robots and A.I., what might we do then? At first I think we might suffer greatly. Is there something to working that allows us to continue? I have struggled with writing daily many times, and I find that if I were allowed to do this the rest of my life I might have to find another hobby to fill my time. I am not saying that writing is easy, I am saying lack of any other stimulating work causes me to become more lethargic than I already was. So for reason of necessity I have gone on to work on other things. The garden is one of course, and I get great pleasure from seeing it spring to life. Another is one which I have not spoken of until now. There had been several trees that had been growing up around my fence area. I took it upon myself to remove them with the limited tools I possess. I have a hand saw, and an axe. The axe I tried to use, but I found it unable to chop effectively at the angles allowed me by the obstruction of the chained fence. Soon I felled several small limbs, and was able to begin a pile of wood. It is a large pile, and I am not happy with its appearance either. I do have a wood burning stove in my garage, so I wait for the wood to dry. Perhaps I shall leave it in place until winter, but I was still dissatisfied with it. I began weeding through it looking for sturdy limbs. Finding several to my liking I hacked them apart until they were the shape I desired. Having such limited tools I began fashioning them into several walking sticks. And that is what I do in my time alone, I make walking sticks now. I am lucky to have been given some sandpaper, and I smoothed these unique woods. The only one I am sure of is the mulberry tree that I took out. That one is a yellowish wood, and it is difficult to get smooth. I like its shape, but it has several crack running down its middle. I filled in those cracks with a variety of glues and dry wall patching material, and am nearly satisfied with its work. I think this one will take the most time, as it is the largest of the ones I am working on. The other wood I had is unknown, but the bark fell off easily, and it is very straight. This is my favorite, as it is smooth and heavy in the hands. I feels almost as if I am handling porcelain, and it is a beautiful white color. Another I found was a long twisted piece with several long thorns and branches extending outwards. This was the toughest piece yet, and I have taken several days to remove its bark, and smooth it out. It is perhaps my greatest accomplishment, as it is nearly as smooth as the last one. I started working on another small piece, perhaps fashioning it into a wand, but I am unhappy with its wood, and may leave it behind. There are still more trees around my fence that I may take down, but I have yet to decide if it necessary. And that is what I am doing with my time away from normal everyday work. Eventually I will take pictures and share them with you, but not until I am satisfied with their completion.

Update – 2,000 words written. I am trying to work out a way to wood burn designs on these staffs, but a rounded surface is causing me some trouble transferring flat images to their curvature.

“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” ― Jerome K. Jerome

– Steven Oaks

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Trust

Whom should you trust your security to? Should it be a group of well paid software engineers, or a group of volunteers? Should it be with code that you could examine, or with code that is locked away not to be inspected? Personally I would like to trust more in the opensource community, as anything they put together can be examined by anyone. Perhaps I do not have the knowhow to dissect the intricacies of encryption, but at least I know someone who is not paid to tell me it works can. This is why I am troubled by the inexplicable ceasing of updates to Truecrypt. Truecrypt is/was a way to encrypt files away so as to limit access to them. There was even an audit going on at this time to review their code to guarantee its security that had shown nothing to suppose any horrible lack of security. The timing of this during an era where we live in constant survelance by our own government causes worried thoughts in many, including myself. Something similar happened to Lavabit, which was set up to guarantee secure emails, but was shut down by the government. Nothing has come out to say that this is the case for Truecrypt, but the message to use Microsoft’s Bitlocker seems to run counter intuitive to the opensource nature that Truecrypt was run. As usual this ramble is mere speculation, and personal opinion, but feel free to research both Lavabit and Truecrypt and see the similarities.

Update – 2,000 words written. I worry for a world with no privacy. We all have something to hide, even if it is just access to our Bank Accounts.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ― Benjamin Franklin

– Steven Oaks

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To converse

Who do you surround yourself with?

Those that understand you?

Those that will listen?

What does that do to us?

If there is no dissent

then there is no conversation.

To know more

we must explore

The realm of thought must be ever-changing

to roam far and ever ranging

Those that we disagree with most

we must hold close

And yet if there is no mobility of thought

there is nothing then that can be sought

It becomes an argument with no end

to wills that will not bend

And so we must extract ourself from dogmatic belief.

Immobile in a tower of self-deception

Faith in an attitude without change

causes us to lay blame

Though the fault may be our own

for not using words that are plain

We must push down our belief

and listen with only cold logic

and let that guide us

to a conclusion that we can share

so that we can live in a world

that is in some way less chaotic

Update – 1,000 words written. The abuse of coffee upon myself seems to have caused a more nervous state, than one that is wakeful. Caffeine is no substitute for sleep.

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.” ― Robert Quillen

– Steven Oaks

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Specialization is for insects

 A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. – Robert A. Heinlein

I have always felt this way myself. I think it is best that we all can do multiple things, as that will allow us to be self-sufficient if the need arises. However it seems when it comes to being employed the desired trait is to only possess one skill set. If you are an artist, and wished to hired as such, you must never allow another to know you can write code. This is based solely on personal experience, and those whom I have associated with. Perhaps I am wrong. However when writing your resume we are told to give only details of work experience that is related to the job at hand. It confuses the matter to those who wish to hire you as to where to place you if you have too much experience. Over-qualification is also  an idea that has taken hold in several workplaces. They fear you may be using the job as merely a stepping stone, and you will not be there for the long haul. You must match nearly exactly what they want, otherwise you will not be hired. You must not be too good, or too bad to be considered. My own personal take is that I would want the best and brightest to work with. If they move on, at least I had them for a period of time, and hope they would increase the value of whatever effort I was working on. They would be replaced by similar people, and eventually my hope would be the company would grow into a place where people would not wish to leave. Fear as a motivation for not taking a chance on these people might be the cause for the slowness in which some efforts expand. This has simply been a ramble based upon a conversation I have had recently. Feel free to disagree, argue, or take it to heart. I have cited no sources, and do not expect you to do either. However if you have sources please share them.

Update – 1,000 words written. I took two days off from writing as there was a holiday. Also I was not feeling well. Now I find the words coming slower again. I hope tomorrow will be more productive.

– Steven Oaks

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To Misunderstand

We share the same hope

We share the same goal

That we might be equal

and climb from this darkened hole

The words that we use are different

They cause us strife

this misunderstanding

Pushing us away from each others life

Soon we think that we are enemies

That we might never have been friends

but that is far from the truth

but this is the end

If only we listened

to what we meant

instead we misunderstand

that which was our intent

We are not wrong

both of us care

but what we focus on

seems to not be shared

Update – 2,000 words written. Friends fight, and both lose.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ― George Bernard Shaw

– Steven Oaks

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Hobbies

What are your hobbies? Is my only hobby writing, or do I have others? What is even the purpose of having a hobby? Well I will tell you the purpose is to keep your mind fresh. If you focus all your efforts onto a single thing you will soon find yourself weary of doing that activity. I have bike riding, listening to podcasts, and now a new one. I am unsure I will share that now, as I wish to wait until I have completed working on it. Suffice it to say I have been spending hours in my garage fashioning something. The only problem that arises from this is that I have a hard time focusing on the writing bit. That and I keep myself up at night thinking about how to complete this little project I have set before myself. But that means I have discovered a new passion, and have gained more pleasure from life. Life should always be filled with as much pleasure as you can muster, and now I have left behind much of my anxiety about writing. I still have concerns about whether anyone will purchase the book, but they have lessened. The only reason I worry is because like everyone else I need money to survive. If the book does not sell then I shall be forced to return to the humdrum life of everyday work. That is not something I have ever relished, and I do not wish it on my worst enemy, which I cannot think of a single person to call. I just had this little wish to be a published author, or at the very least write a book. I have written a book, in fact two, and am working on a third, so that is accomplished, However much like any goal when accomplished we tend to expand upon it. There was a time when my goal was to lose weight, and be able to run long distances. When I reached the goal of running 5k easily, and had lost nearly a hundred pounds, I pushed on to do 10k. Suddenly I was much skinnier than anyone thought healthy, but I felt good about it. Perhaps that is unhealthy, and I do worry that I am trying to do something that is larger than I should. But I think the idea of becoming someone people go to find entertaining stories, or even snippets of pleasurable thought, is a good one. I am not at immediate risk of dying because of this goal, though having no income currently causes the inevitable fear of starvation. But again nothing worth trying is free of risk. So find something you enjoy, work on it, and hopefully you’ll be rewarded for it. Even if the reward is simply the pleasure in the task.

Update – 2,000 words written in this ever growing third book. I am happy with life right now. How strange that is.

“Legendary innovators like Franklin, Snow, and Darwin all possess some common intellectual qualities—a certain quickness of mind, unbounded curiosity—but they also share one other defining attribute. They have a lot of hobbies.” ― Steven Johnson

– Steven Oaks

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Once more Sleep

What a waste of time is it to sleep. I could be doing ever so much more if I were able to free myself of the shackles of rest. Ever alert and wakeful ready to face any challenge placed before me. But wait, I would lose those dreams that I enjoy so much. There within my own mind I find so much to talk of. A world of idea’s where new thoughts reveal themselves to me. Might I then lose my ability to tell a tale? To simply come up with new thoughts? I know that when I am unable to sleep I find it even harder to come up with new and interesting things to relate as I write. Last night was a long one, with few periods of actual rest. There were dreams, and they still cling to my mind. Do I remember them? No, but I recall the taste of each one. Friendship and trouble were the themes much as usual. Conflicts with others of course, but always resolved using words. In my own mind nothing can stand against a well argued point. However that is not life, and sometimes you can not rely on words alone to move another. Some action must be applied. I dislike the use of force, so examples must be provided. Words explaining these actions may not be enough, so bring a video, or a physical example of what you wish to show. Philosophies however can not be shown. They can only be talked about relating to how others perceive the world. Disagreements then usually dissolve into physical conflicts if not handled well. Of course anything that breaks another’s autonomy is a cause worth fighting for, but are we not breaking theirs by destroying their lives? Can you break someones autonomy if they are set to destroy themselves though? Suicide is ones choice, and to stop them breaks their autonomy. Of course you can talk with them to see if you can help, as suicide is a permanent solution to what is usually a temporary problem. If you can show that you might be able to save a life, but we each have a right to are own existence. Even if their will is to cease their existence. This goes with all things to me. Drug use, lifestyles, and relationships. We all have the right to decide how we live, and what we do to ourselves. What does this have to do with sleep? Our wills are played out there. Like my will for a world where we can discuss things and resolve issues with words alone. Conflict should not be eliminated, but it should not be physical.

Update – 2,000 words written. Coffee was a little strong today to push aside the tired state my mind was in when I finally crawled my way from bed.

“Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is passed in sleep.” ― George Gordon Byron

– Steven Oaks

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The spice of life

What makes life worth living? Is it doing the same thing over and over again until we die? Of course not, that would be boring. So then it must be experiencing new things. Variety is the spice of life. If I were to merely live the same day over and over without change what would that accomplish? Absolutely nothing. We need to shape the world with change, and we must do that with our own lives. I do not write the same words when I get up in the morning, though I have a routine. Getting up and having breakfast, then imbibing some caffeinated beverage before I sit before a keyboard merely gets my mind ready to express something new. We all feel we are trapped by those routines, but we are set to do something new each day even if it seems otherwise. I had worked in a place where all days seemed much like another for years, and yet I was growing as a person. I had the ability to learn while I worked. Listening to podcasts or audiobooks was a boon to that lifestyle. I then moved on to a job where that was not possible, but I still grew. My drive there was filled with podcasts and audiobooks just the same. Any job that I worked at also offered challenges. I grew by accomplishing, and learning how to do my jobs. We can’t help but grow even if the days are always similar. We are different with each passing moment. We are the variety of life. Inside we morph into even more of ourselves. Looking back at who we were in the past shows that. The younger version of me was always worried about what others thought of me. I was very quiet about my opinions, and always tried to agree with whoever was around me. Now I do not share that same level of fear. I will be honest and state my opinion if asked, and try to understand anyones viewpoint when I disagree. We should not try to force another to think the same way we do. If we do that we live in a stagnant world. No hope of change, or increase in betterment for mankind would be possible. It might be a utopia with no war, but it will be a dead world. We must embrace the strange and unusual to push forward into the ever-increasing complexities of mankind. I hope for a world without war, but that hope is tempered by the idea that we can still disagree, and work differently. There may be duplication of work, but at least there will be work to be done. Fill your life with others who are not like you. Change your mind, and change others. A hate for differences is a hate for progress.

Update – 2,000 words written. A total of 11,000 words for the third book. It seems I may have found the right dosage for coffee. I do not feel out of sorts today.

“Variety may be the spice of life, but consistency pays the bills.” ― Doug Cooper

– Steven Oaks

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