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Free fallin’

Free fallin’

free fall“Falling is just like flying, except there’s a more permanent destination.”1

I love that quote. Ever since I heard it, it kind of stuck in my head, sloshing around like melted snow. It is true, in its own way – skydivers know that best of all. But it also hints at something more, some deeper meaning. I don’t know whether the author really thought about this being misconstrued as a metaphor for life. But I like to think that he did; he just refused to explore it further, just letting it dangle there, for the world to see.

Oh yes, we think we’re flying. Some higher, some lower, some faster, some slower. Look at us go. Look at us, flapping those arms, going through the motions! Look at those fluffy clouds, man! Ground? What ground? We can see no ground from up here, and anyway, for us, the ground is just some theoretical abstraction that those folks of a philosophical persuasion thought up. Why, they say we’re all going to hit it sooner or later, and it’s “goodbye, flying” from there on.

Other folks say you’ve got to keep light while you’re travelling, ‘cause when you hit that ground, you’re going under! But just keep light and then, well, there’s a chance you’d bounce right back up, all the way to heaven. There’s even folks saying you just hop like a frog, depending on your baggage, and that your purpose in life is to get just the right weight to stop altogether.

As for myself, I know we all are falling. I’m guessing I’m about half way down, give or take a few years. If all goes well, that is, and I don’t hit some Everest. Like an idiot. If I steer free of mountain ranges in general. Who knows, maybe I’ll find me some good old chasm and ride this thing down for all it’s worth. Hey, if I’m really lucky, there might be some zero gravity zone at the end of it.2 But I don’t get my hopes up. All I’m aiming for are some nice barrel rolls along the way.

So. Wasn’t that a waste of a good metaphor? *ahem*. Welcome aboard Air Destiny. Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

  1. This is what Steven Moffat, one of the great screenwriters of our age, tells us in the – quite grand, to be honest – finale of the second series of “Sherlock”, a modern take of Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved character. []
  2. That would be what some of you good folks are calling “The Singularity”. Kind of like a Heaven for nerds. []

The right to vote

The right to vote

vote Why am I required to pass a written test, a field test and a medical examination in order to be allowed to drive, but in order to vote the only requirement I should satisfy is being able to breathe?

Seriously. I could be drunk or high while getting in that booth and helping decide who’s going to run the country. Nobody cares. I could be mentally unstable, illiterate or with an IQ of a shoe. I could be an evil overlord. I bet if Lord Vader would show up at the polling station, they’d hand him a card if the photo in his passport would match his breathing mask. Hell, he’d probably be in the run.

The very least you should be required to know before voting is where is your guy positioned in the political spectrum. Wait, let me make this easy. Where does he/she says they’re positioned. Plus maybe their main political ideas on three major topics, like the economy, the social services and the external affairs. People that vote for a party candidate just because it’s a family/tribe/neighbourhood tradition should be turned back from the door. People that vote for that selfsame candidate just because they like their hair should be kicked to the curb – and never allowed to vote again.

And while I’m at it: electronic vote. We wants it. And don’t give me that online security crap either; if investment funds trust a secured Internet connection with millions of dollars’ worth of transaction each and every day, you should be able to get me a secure way to send you 1024 bits of info every four years or so. It even ties up nicely with my earlier proposal; you can just make a nice online questionnaire as a prerequisite to voting.

Make voting easy and make it count. Maybe then politics will stop being such a dirty word.