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Life vs. Afterlife Part 1

This much delayed episode comes to you all the way from China, where I am now, invited here as a Professor & KoGuan Chair of Digital Arts & Design @ Peking University.

This much delayed episode comes to you all the way from China, where I am now, invited here as a Professor & KoGuan Chair of Digital Arts & Design @ Peking University, known as the highest rated academic learning institution of China. Given many tunings I find myself undergoing as a result of this uproot, I trust that those who read my blog, and mostly those who miss it, will forgive the resulting delay. I am certain that such has been even tougher on me than on those back in their familiar settings. And now to the theme of this blog.

History has proven that humans are aggressive, domineering creatures who find it not just challenging but rather impossible to live in a lasting, peaceful and fulfilling coexistence. Our narrative vividly illustrate how every 30 years, more or less, the various political or religious factions or nations or other forms of social collectives, casts, diverse or competing interests, or corporations or conglomerates, end up engaging in hostile discourses, even subversive and adverse takeovers or traditional wars, whether military or not, with either their oppositions or competitor or neighbor or minor countries under adversary's sway.

Subsequently, given various infinite perpetual stresses the global population and interests dictating the ways we coexist, or not, sway, it is truly astounding that we have not, or not yet, triggered an apocalyptic World War III, the mother of them all. This will be the one to see, even if only initially, for given startling technological and scientific innovations our ingenious humanity has attained since 1945, it will be the one to not only surpass but to end it all. So why has it to happen thus far? Personally, I deem that, despite our instinctively aggressive nature, we had actually learned from the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result we, or some of us, have been acutely anxious about potential of alike consequences, but these inconceivably amplified by the insane might of the present nuclear capabilities, or chemical, or biological agents, or Nano technological weapons we have only just began to experiment with, and most of us are not aware or informed about. Guess why? Henceforth, foreseeing how this ingenuity of ours could turn into our complete and utter undoing ,we, or the interests which govern and dictate to us, instead constraint ourselves to uses of the more “traditional”, more conventional tools of obliteration, or self-destruction, yet at the same time secretly continuing experimentation with those others. We exercise, test and then improve all of the tools designed to annihilate our foe(s) by employing them in the more regional conflicts, or lesser, “minor” wars, preferably away from out homelands.

Within the twentieth century alone, the world found itself entangled in two global wars. In them the Western world persistently fought against the Eastern, Capitalism confronted Communism, united Western Europe stood up to the German aggressive tendencies in the World War I, only so that thirty years later the same conflict can be reenacted in the World War II, as German Fascism awoke, befriended by Italian form thereof, and with a gracious support of the Japanese imperialism. Soon after these wars were clinched, the others, such as Korean and Vietnam wars were enacted. War is a big and extremely profitable business.

These regional conflicts have been expanded upon by the lesser in scale, but not in the extend of bloodshed and abomination, feud inflammations in various territories of Africa as well as within the European continent itself. In addition to these a certain constancy has been afforded by the decades long Middle Eastern conflict between the Jews and the Arabs. Having recently returned from the region, I can safely state that no one I had spoken to can foresee a conclusion to it, and I had spoken to many. And if there is a resolution, no one is mentioning or listening to such. Concluding, I am certain to be missing still other conflicts. And for that I bid my insincere apology to the unmentioned and the unmentionable ones.

Twentieth century was culminated with an aggressive attempt, on part of the US, to yet again inject and impose its style of democracy onto the Middle East. The effects of this tardiest initiative have spilled into the current century, blooming in intensity, inflammation and initial consequences that are only now beginning to emerge. These, in turn, initiate new and unforeseen outcomes. And yet they are about to instigate new realities, challenges, conflicts and chain reactions, some of which are now slowly coming into focus, while others remain still veiled in the dense fog enveloping the near yet rather unforeseeable future.

Homo-Sapiens, chiefly the “civilized” and economically well off ones, are greedy creatures. They are rarely fulfilled or satisfied, hence perpetually ravenous for more of anything and everything. In the judgment and perception of the dominant, “civilized world”, more or bigger is better. Such materialistic fortitude has fueled our belligerence while, admittedly, propelling human evolution. We desire further possessions, whether material or monetary, but preferably both, more power, more influence, more jurisdiction, more ownership of anything that can be owned, whether it is land, natural resources, water or underwater, or space above the Earth. We have already bickering over the rights to the Moon, Mars is likely going to be the next. Let’s not forget all the space or meteorites floating throughout it.

As stated earlier, within the second half of the last century, the world, and our existence, were threatened by tensions between the two foremost nuclear powers vying for control over the lesser countries. These can be thought of as satellites. Used as pawns, at least back then, they did not have much say or sway in the duel of the vying giants. Yet they were precious to the greedy and the mighty ones, either for their natural resources, or political, or strategic geographic locations. However, as these minors started to evolve economically, they began to strive for their say and role in the grand ecosystem of this world. They too wanted to be seen as the brokers and players. To fortify their voice and hand, they elected to invest their resources into development of their own military or even nuclear aptitudes. Those countries which are rich in natural resources, desired by and essential to the mighty supremacies, realized that they too can bargain with, or exhort growing influence over the exploitative powers. In this new market the balance of power has begun to shift, becoming unstable and causing a transition into a world of new realities, ecologies and interchange.

As Western economies are beginning to decline, Asian ones swiftly fill the void. Middle East, endowed by its natural assets, is shrewdly spreading its influence as well. Even the smallest countries, some which are economically weak, invest their scant financial resources into development or acquisition of military or nuclear potentials. Then they use such to bargain with the grandest players. The latter, in the name of “non-proliferation”, strive to conserve the global balance befitting their interests. Yet it is becoming perilously obvious that such frail attempts have been doomed to failure. This is amplified by the spineless or otherwise ineffective governments we, the citizens of the world’s greatest powers, so foolishly elect. Years of negotiations, paralleled by numerous warnings and economic blockades, have produced null. As time is ticking by, the ultimate unknown approaches. To be continued.