PRIVACY, FREEDOM, AND ISOLATION - 04.27.2022
April 27, 2022
Good Wednesday morning! I'm novelist Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMANN SERIES posts.
Many of us thought this would be a year of post-Covid normalization. Covid keeps coming up with new strains, and then we got a war on our hands. It looks like both may last for a long time. 2022 has turned out to be a fraught period of geopolitical realignments, persistent supply disruptions, and financial market volatility, all against the background of surging inflationary pressures.
Being in the "Media Capital of the World," it's interesting to watch what is happening with the streaming wars. Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers, and CNN+ lasted for less than a month. Stay tuned, as this is just the beginning of major changes.
News that Elon Musk, the world's wealthiest man, purchased Twitter rocked the Internet on Monday. The sale impacted the stock market, prompted hand-wringing in Congress, sparked U.S. and European regulatory questions, and is the primary topic of discussion in the political world, where social media megaphones are loved and loathed. Musk has indicated, "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated." it's going to be interesting to see how this works out. The problem is, should limitations be placed on "Free Speech" to prevent harm to others? Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, suggested that when he said, "You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater." There need to be some checks on free speech, but who will be the checker??? Elon Musk???
Why do people like Elon Musk want to go to space? To get away from the things that are happening in 2022. Plus, I can think of several other answers such as curiosity, scientific interest, financial gain (mining, tourism), human survival, prestige, or escape.
Elon Musk has said he wants to establish humans on Mars to ensure "the continuance of consciousness as we know it" in the event Earth is ravaged and ruined by something drastic like nuclear war.
Jeff Bezos has said he went to space for scientific research and to develop new technologies.
China has expanded its Belt and Road Initiative to include the "final frontier – space" to gain prestige.
The leader of a European drug cartel who has billions of dollars wants to set up headquarters in space to avoid the long arm of law enforcement.
In my novel SKYWARD, the Bowman Twins and their clique plan to colonize space and find a "new earth." They recognize early on that their plan impacts privacy and freedom and results in isolation from the past. They explain to their future colonists or Lunarites about the honor of being selected, why they will be chipped, partnered, given specific assignments, and what will be guaranteed to them by the Bowman Colony.
While 90-year-old William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," proves age, strength, or specialized knowledge does not present a problem in going to space, the Bowman's selection process severely limits who can join their Colony. Discrimination abounds, but not because of skin tone or ethnic background. Instead, it's based on age (25 to 48), being in good physical and mental condition, having a STEM education, not having strong ties to some form of a tribe (religious, sexual, or political), and being fertile.
The being fertile part stems from their research that indicated it is easier to populate a moon colony through birth than putting people into powerful rockets that have to escape the Earth's gravity and thick atmosphere. The birth thing had them contemplate sending up more females than males. But, after much philosophical discussion, they decided like God, an Adam and Eve combination would present fewer future problems. There was a lot of humor during this discussion with the thought that maybe God didn't think exactly that. It was also agreed that the millennial concept of friends with benefits would apply. There was no need for marriage. Instead, the concept of partnering would be established at the outset. Partners would not be assigned by the Bowman team. Instead, they would be informed that they must select a partner to get on the moon flight roster during the training process.
Chris Bowman stood on the stage before the latest group of trainees. "The Bowman Moon Colony will provide an exceptional life for its Lunarites. But, it is one where the freedom and privacy you are used to here on Earth are compromised.
Suppose you meet the needed qualifications and decide to join the moon colony. In that case, a tiny microchip will be inserted into your back. This microchip will communicate with the Colony's supercomputer to provide medical and location information. It will also open doors for you and make seamless payments from your financial account. On the subject of your financial account, everyone will be credited with a salary for their specified work assignment. That amount is equal for everyone. Additionally, everyone is provided with living quarters, meals, and healthcare. All transportation and communications are also provided for free.
The Bowman Colony will have one-hundred percent employment. Each of you will be given a specified assignment. All assignments are essential to the Colony's survival. But, unlike Earth, if you can figure a way to convert your specified assignment to being done by a mechanical, robotic, and/or artificial intelligence process, then do so. We want all tasks to be done by these methods. You are all highly educated, and we want you to advance how the Colony operates. We want you to be constantly thinking. We encourage thinking and research time so you can develop things. Remember, no matter what you are assigned to do, you get paid the same amount and get the same benefits.
On the living quarters, note that you will be sharing a small apartment with your selected partner. Basically, everyone's living quarters will be the same except for Overseers, whose apartments are connected to their place of work. They will have additional space for work or visitors. Should you have children, we hope you do; they will be housed initially in a nursery unit and then a dormitory facility. More on that later.
You need to understand that while the moon is reasonably sizable, the living space for humans is relatively confined and subject to numerous hazards. For these and for safety reasons, your lifestyle will change. So, we will become close friends with little or no privacy. But, we have an essential purpose, and I believe we will be living an extraordinary life."
Because my principal characters in SKYWARD involve the millennial and Z generations, my eyes gleam onto articles about them. Here's what they have picked up this week. According to a research article by three professors in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in 2020. It killed more in this age range than vehicle crashes, drug overdoses, or cancer.
LINKEDIN NEWS reported that Gen Z might be the "most accomplished" generation. But a major wellness study shows it's also been the loneliest one – even before COVID-19. Research cited by the BUSINESS INSIDER indicates that the root cause for Gen Z's social isolation is how they were brought up by their parents. According to the Survey Center of the AMERICA LIFE REPORT, only 38% of Gen Z said they ate meals every day with their family growing up. "Dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits," says the FAMILY DINNER PROJECT.
A CDC report indicates an escalation in rates of depression, self-harm, and suicide has been described among young people. There has been a 51% increase in suspected suicide attempts among young girls in 2021.
New research by the SURVEY CENTER ON AMERICAN LIFE found that 56% of Gen Z's regularly felt lonely during childhood compared to 24% of baby boomers. The report indicates that much of this is due to the wildly different experiences growing up. And the decisions that their parents made.
I know some of you will not believe this, but generally, I'm an optimist. But, this post has a definite pessimistic feel. It's the feeling of my characters in SKYWARD.
My next post will deal with the Bowman Colony Rules and Guidelines and the Philosophique.
Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
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Copyright©2022 by Richard V. Rupp