My Legacy

I was thinking recently about everything we actually get in life and how that list is often in contradiction with the list of what we want to get in life. More importantly to note, is how the list differs from its’ creation in our youth, to the amended list we create in maturity. (Notice how I expertly dodge the phrase ‘old age’?) Now at the risk of sounding greedy I, like any normal person, want material things. Who doesn’t? Everybody wants the nice home, car, financial security – who aspires to drive a heap, live in a hovel, and spend their lives robbing Peter to pay Paul? What I mean here by ‘what we want’ is the stuff that really matters, the stuff that tugs at our heart-strings, the stuff that makes us laugh out loud, the stuff that makes us proud, and ultimately, the stuff that makes us feel like we’ve made it.

We want to be surrounded by a loving and prolific family. (the not-so-loving family, and we all have that, we can do without) We want good health. We want security, safety, and creature comforts. We even want the little perks (ok, I do) and when we realize, later in life, that we’re not going to get them…..well, it stinks….because we feel we’ve been ripped off. (ok, I do)

I was a good girl. I didn’t cause my parents any grief. I’ve been a good wife, partner and parent, and for the most part, I’ve been a pretty good friend, albeit my circle is small by my choosing. (I really don’t like a lot of people) What I didn’t get a lot of in life, is breaks. Nothing came easily and some things never came at all, and I know from experience others had an easier go of it. Some would say this is the path I chose but let’s face it, I’d have to be stupid to ‘choose’ struggle. So, I’ve decided to modify the final analysis of my accomplishments .

When I die (are you listening family, friends?) I want to be celebrated for all the things I did,,,,,and even the ones I didn’t, and all the neat stuff I meant to give you (it wasn’t my fault I didn’t have the means) because my intention was there. I want you to go through my belongings with optimism. I love colour so remember me as a snappy dresser, not as a garish one. Value my very favourite treasures, like my purses, (just pretend each is an expensive sports car) Divide up my table linens because I love nothing more than a beautifully set table awaiting guests (ok, I have a lot of those) and pretend they are placed in the house I left you (but didn’t because I couldn’t afford to) Copy my best recipes and give them to friends,,,,as gifts,,,,because they are.

Make sure there’s LIVELY music at my funeral, none of that morose church crap that calls us all sinners (then asks for our generosity in the collection plate) and I want flowers, lots and lots of flowers,,,,so many you’re tripping over them. Because anyone who knows me knows I love fresh flowers (they should also know I bought most of my own) and most importantly I want laughter. Reminisce about all the smart things I did, (granted the list could be short here) and all the stupid things I did, and remember how much I laughed, cause it was (is) a lot.

I don’t have a lot in life, not the material things anyway, but I do have a lot ‘of’ life. I can’t drive it, or spend it (On the bright side I also don’t have to clean it) but it’s all made by me, and that is what I share with you. That is what I will leave to you. (sorry, it is non-refundable and has no cash value)  That will be my legacy.

To all the girls I’ve loved before

I cannot stress enough the importance of my friends, especially the female ones because without them life would be very mundane. The men in my life are wonderful too, and very necessary (who else would BBQ or bash the bugs?) but my girlfriends are my lifeline.

While out walking yesterday, I suddenly thought of a woman, Vera, with whom I’d worked back in 1979. She would’ve been in her fifties then, I was 19, and despite the age difference we had so very much in common (hard to imagine, I know) Warm and wonderful memories came flooding back. She was fun and funny, the best boss I ever had, and she could relate to anyone. It’s been about 35 years since I’ve seen her so to have her appear in my minds-eye now is puzzling. When I got home I googled her and saw an obituary advising she’d passed last fall in her mid-nineties and despite my sorrow for the world at losing such a kind soul, I was comforted by my memories of her. Her acceptance of everyone, her zest for life, and her ready laugh was infectious.

Another ‘senior’ who often returns to my thoughts is my Godmother, who also passed in her nineties some 8 years ago. She was kind and gentle, and as a child I adored her. She had a hard life but always managed to celebrate anothers success without jealousy or envy, and despite the hardship and sadness that seemed a part of her daily life, she always managed a smile upon greeting another. She accepted her lot in life begrudging no one, and celebrated the few joys fate granted her with complete gratitude. Her selflessness was admirable.

How lucky am I to have known such wonderful people? And the beauty of it all is that I still have a wealth of wonderful women in my life. Not a week goes by where I don’t make plans to do something with one of my girls. I hike with one, shop with another, play cards with some, and with others I just chat, or eat, or have coffee/wine, because being with them in any way is wonderful.

And those I cannot see regularly (due to proximity) I stay in touch with by phone, text, or email (thank heaven for technology) and my connection to each is often very different. Some make me laugh (my husband knows when I’m on the phone with my sister because it’s 40 minutes of laughter interrupted only by pee breaks), some make me think (I do try to limit my time with these people….makes my head hurt) and others enlighten me.

I wonder if these women know the impact they’ve had on my life, and still do. At some point they forged a bond with me and I hope I bring to them what they bring to me, a sense of belonging, kinship, camaraderie, and fun. Now I won’t discount the value of the men in my life because they too add value, but time with them always comes with expectation. We are together for a reason and once that reason is fulfilled we go in separate directions until the next need arises, usually household or family related. (Don’t misunderstand me, I adore my husband. He cracks me up like only my sister can, and we have fun…but let’s face it, men are work. They need to be fed and cared for, not unlike a hamster. Women on the other hand, make no demands on other women…it’s just fun) With women there is no expectation. We get together just because we want to.

When I reflect on my wealth of friends I love them all, women, men, even the pets I’ve come to love because each has brought me laughter and tears and joy and comfort and support. Life is nothing without friends.

To all the girls I’ve loved before (ok, shameless pilfering from the Willie Nelson song!)……..and still do…….always will. The little ones, middle ones, the oldies, the newbies…..all make it so great.

Here’s to the sisterhood and may there never be a world without women!

More than ever before we welcome the New Year

Well we certainly are seeing out the year much differently than we could’ve imagined, and I suspect all are happy to ring 2020 out.

As I wade through the tinsel and wrap, munching on turkey scraps and gravy (I have a firm resolve to stick to a diet starting in the new year so I’m getting all the left overs in tonight) I can’t help but marvel at the events of this past year. A global pandemic literally changed our world, and while too many lives were lost, I know it could’ve robbed us of so much more. (the glass is still half full, always)

As a society we managed to band together, by staying apart, to preserve each other’s safety. And despite retail closures and limited gatherings, we still managed to find the joy of the season. Hope really is the last to die, and our fellow man really is capable of unconditional love.

That the events of this past year are unprecedented, at least in my lifetime, is an understatement – the last time our world was rocked to this extent was during our parents and grand-parents generation, in1939 with the onset of the 2nd world war. Did they learn anything, other than fear, pain, and loss?  Have we?

I have to say, yes, because I’m nothing if not an optimist. They survived a devastating world war and emerged stronger,,,,, surely we will? We have all witnessed first-hand what mankind is capable of with respect to sacrifice, fear, and suffering in the throes of the Coronavirus. It may not have decimated towns and villages as quickly as bombs and tanks, but loss of life is still loss of life and no less a loss.

I think, like most of us, I learned that what’s really important in life is life. I’ve learned that simple really is best, and that less is more. (I’ve also learned that cranberry sauce isn’t bad on a bagel, in a pinch)  It’s not about the stuff, rather more about the stuffing, and this pandemic has profiled the very ‘stuff’ we are made of, good and bad.

I wonder how this experience will change our habits going forward. Will we forgo the lavish holiday parties and expensive gifts when this is over? (It’s not like we weren’t prone to excess)  Will we exercise more consideration of our fellow man? At the very least I’d like to think we have learned patience, and humility, and acceptance, and kindness, because human life is just that, life, and life doesn’t discriminate… why would we? Just like Scrooge, we should all make a commitment to live each day as though it were Christmas, even in tough times. Let’s hope 2021 brings better things for us all.

                       Love – Peace – Hope……for a better world.

Five is the magic number

Christmas really is for kids. For those of the Christian faith the religious significance is the ‘reason for the season’, but you only have to spend Christmas morning with a child to feel the ultimate joy of the holiday.

My eldest granddaughter is 5 years old and she knows the score. For one month each year she gets to partake of all the holiday indulgences reserved for that one special occasion…….Santa’s arrival. Now she understands that Christmas Day celebrates the birth of baby Jesus, she just prefers to focus on all the other hoopla that accompanies the day (probably because it’s more fun) and who am I to burst her bubble? She will see plenty of ‘serious’ occasions in her lifetime besides I have to admit seeing her pure joy of the season brings out the child in me.

In those ‘in between’ years, when my children were grown but before grandchildren, the holidays were wonderful because we could be together to celebrate. We shopped, wrapped gifts, planned succulent menus, sang carols, gathered with friends, and imbibed in much ‘cheer’. It was fun but it wasn’t magical, though we didn’t know it at the time. It was only when children started entering our lives again that we rejuvenated that wonder and awe for the season.

This year, in particular, brought home the magic of the holidays as it reflected in my granddaughters eyes. At five years of age and the eldest of 4 granddaughters she took it upon herself to educate the others. She’d dive under the tree looking for gifts that bore her name or at least the first letter of their names, then proceeded to show them how to shake and inspect the package. She knew where the stash of chocolates was. She lived for reruns of Frosty the Snowman and sang Jingle Bells full throttle. Most importantly she behaved like never before……because the threat of being on Santas ‘naughty list’ meant potential omission from the ‘gift list’, and that was too big a chance to take.

She followed along to Christmas stories read to her with wide-eyed wonder and complete trust that every word was true. She hung her stocking confident it would be filled, and hand picked the cookies left for Santa. Five really is the magic number. They believe, period. Any comments about ‘no such thing as Santa’ are unfathomable and dismissed as lies. (hard to believe in just 3-4 short years that trust will become suspicion) Wouldn’t you like to just capture that age, that moment, that innocence? (for that matter, wouldn’t you just like to be 5 all over again?)

Life will offer her many realizations not all of them pleasant, so for now, for these brief next few years, I will encourage her fantasy about Santa and Frosty, because this may be one of the few times in her life when she will know complete and utter magic…..and seeing the sweet innocent joy, the anticipation and the excitement that surrounds Santa, almost makes me believe all over again. How can anything that makes you feel like that be bad? Here’s to being a kid at Christmas… matter how old you are.

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Despite a global pandemic we are all managing to find a way to celebrate the holidays. Shoppers are shopping, bakers are baking, and all are mustering up some cheer. We are a hearty bunch and it’s uplifting to witness such optimism.

For me it’s all about the warmth of the season. I love the music and commit myself to watching at least 1 holiday show per day. (ok, I love the hokey stuff) Yesterday was one of those ‘Hallmark’ holiday movies, the kind that play out like a Harlequin romance. Sad girl gets the hunk for Christmas and lives happily ever after, observing that it’s the magic of Christmas that brought her this stud. Now I should point out she too is a looker, young, firm, unwrinkled….hard to believe she’s alone, but there you go. How lucky is she that Mr Hunky Perfect was single and looking for her?  Do you suppose she’d still be happy if he was short, stocky, balding, and sported a speech impediment? (Is anybody ever happy to see a chubby bald guy under the tree,,,, that isn’t in a red suit of course) I guess the idea of the perfect gift is unique to each of us.

I’m at the point in my life when I don’t want ‘stuff’ anymore. In fact, I’ve spent the better part of the past year purging stuff, and fortunately for me (maybe for all?) this pandemic has seriously affected our ability to buy more, yay! You want to impress this Christmas? Make me a home cooked meal…all by yourself. Buy me a good book if you must buy something. Mostly, plan to spend time with me; just to talk, and laugh, and look through old photos or reminisce. Let’s get together for a walk or plan a games night. Let’s do everything we can to enjoy each other’s company because we can….who knew that would be a novelty? (That said, I would not refuse a nice merlot or a BMW…. I have my manners, after all)

As the big day approaches I find myself more and more grateful, for less and less. I guess with age really does come wisdom. This Christmas I am grateful to spend time with family and friends, even under the tight restrictions of Covid. We will Zoom, or text, or talk on the phone, or Facetime,,,,the how doesn’t matter. (truth told you were getting on my nerves anyway, so maybe a little distance is a good thing)

And it doesn’t impede my over indulgence. I will still eat rich food (and since I can’t have you over I’ll eat yours) I’ll stuff myself full of chocolate and cookies, all washed down with a liberal serving of spirits. I will observe the holidays with hope and joy because I know if we do this right, now, I will once again know the joy of holding you in a big warm hug when we are together again…. and isn’t that the best Christmas gift ever?  

Why are we so unforgiving?

Bad things happen. Crimes are committed every day, surgeries are botched, and bad drivers/drunk drivers/fatigued drivers, kill innocent travelers. In an ideal world none of this would happen but it does, and we display a host of reactions; everything from anger and fear to grief and depression, but the most puzzling reaction is that of blame and revenge….because it serves no purpose. Oddly enough it also seems to be the most common reaction.

Recently Nova Scotia suffered a mass shooting, a horrific and unimaginable slaughter of innocent bystanders by what can only be described as a mad man. It was awful, and if we could undo it we would. Our only logical reaction to this should be to allow ourselves to grieve, support those harmed, and learn from it. It seems though, that we are a society bent on revenge, looking to lay blame on someone, something.

RCMP are heavily criticized now for mishandling the situation, but is that fair? They made decisions to withhold certain information in order to avoid public panic. In hind sight perhaps they should’ve made different choices, but they did the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time. No one could’ve imagined how this situation would unfold and had they known they likely would’ve handled it differently. Don’t think that won’t haunt them.

I’ve heard of any number of cases where doctors have botched surgeries; people have come out of it seriously maimed or even died as a result of error. Malpractice suits are laid, licenses are suspended, careers are permanently damaged, and families are grief stricken. And when we put aside our own emotional connection we look to lay blame. Again, is that fair? Surely no doctor goes in to surgery planning to make a mistake.

Car accidents happen but is it fair to crucify the driver who simply erred? (drunk drivers excluded here because that’s preventable) The bad driver doesn’t think he’s bad and the fatigued driver honestly believes they are alert. No one commits these acts with the intention to hurt another. That’s why they call them ‘accidents’.

In any of these scenarios the individuals (police, doctors, private citizens) go into these situations with the best intentions. I have to believe that because we are all only human and so very vulnerable to error. How does pointing the finger of blame help with the healing?  It doesn’t. It’s just vengeful; someone, somewhere has to pay the price, for…. human error.

I listen to the news with a heavy heart and a large dose of sympathy for those targeted with the blame because they have to live not only with the knowledge that they made the wrong choice, (isn’t that enough?) but also with the onslaught of criticism and condemnation from the very people they tried to help.

As humans we are all prone to error and sometimes that error, thanks to our fellow man, is punishable by a lifetime of guilt. It’s counterproductive and often does more damage to humanity in the long term by creating feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence in our professionals. When we should band together in support of each other we instead look to lay blame. It’s a wonder there’s still people willing to go into medicine or law enforcement. Isn’t it time we started forgiving human error?

The damsel in distress

I am not a shrinking violet. I have always taken the bull by the horns; if something needs doing, I do it. If I don’t know how to do it, I figure it out, by reading, or asking, or googling…until I get the information I need to get the job done. I am not afraid of manual labour, nor am I too frail to get my hands dirty, yet I am very much a girly-girl. I cook, sew, shop, and love my clothes, make-up and nail polish, and more importantly, I love to be spoiled occasionally. What woman doesn’t? At the very least I want to be given the same considerations given to those women who aren’t quite as willing as I am to tackle any job,,,,, and therein lies my struggle.

I have a friend who has never pumped her own gas, or mowed a lawn. That’s ‘mans’ work in her opinion, and not something a girl should do, so she doesn’t. She may be capable of performing these tasks but has chosen not to, delegating them to the man of the house and after almost 40 years of marriage he still scrambles to do her bidding. And he’ll often do so with a surprise bunch of flowers, for no reason at all. (where do you find these Patsy’s?) If I told my husband he needed to fill my car with gas before I drive (and by the way, I think it’s ridiculous…if you can drive your own car, you can bloody well gas it up) he’d just tell me to walk, then later ask if my broken arms had mended.

In fact, like really must attract like, because most of my closer female friends are like me, i.e. they are not afraid to look after themselves. Now that’s not to say we don’t want the assistance. Much of it is our way of sharing the workload. (womens liberation wasn’t just about burning our bras) Sometimes it’s our way of helping ease the workload of men and sometimes it’s simply a matter of us finding it easier to just do it rather than wait for another to. I would think men would find that a relief, and maybe they do, but clearly not a relief worth rewarding.

I have been criticized for taking on tasks more suited to a man (small home repairs) but more often than not it’s faster and cheaper for me to try to figure it out on my own. If I can’t, or if the task is beyond my physical scope, I’ll willingly ask for help from a man, but that’s not my first choice because I don’t bear the ‘damsel in distress’ role well. I just don’t see the point in playing the role of helpless female. I do however see the benefits….now because after years of taking the bull by the horns I realized too late that playing the helpless female would’ve yielded me more reward.

In my experience it’s the damsels in distress that get all the attention, all the assistance, and sadly, all the considerations. (A helpless female in stilletto’s and a tight skirt drops her keys in a parking lot and half a dozen men scramble to her aid. I mention at a gathering that I just had a truckload of soil delivered for a garden project I’m tackling and all the able bodied men in the room shrug because they know I can do it alone…I would prefer some willing help but because I’m capable, help will not be forthcoming)

 It seems that in proving myself to be capable I inadvertently labeled myself as ineligible for the small niceties afforded the ‘helpless female’. Because I can do it no one offers assistance when I tackle a job deemed unfeminine. Instead I get ignored and I’m puzzled as to why. I would’ve thought my competency and willingness to share the load would garner me warmth and appreciation but I’m stunned to see just the opposite. Does it somehow emasculate men when women ‘handle’ things without asking for assistance? I would’ve thought the male population would be happy to finally not have to ‘rescue’ the damsel for a change but apparently not.  In fact, I have friends who say they’ve experienced resentment from their male partners when they take on a ‘mans job’.  When did competency become a crime?

Just because a woman can unclog a drain, (by the way, I learned this watching a utube video because I couldn’t afford a plumber) shovel snow, pump her own gas, and paint the living room, doesn’t mean she isn’t deserving of those special considerations; a bouquet of flowers, a door held for her, or an offer to put out the garbage for a change. And when you see another helpless female in need of rescue consider showing some gallantry to the female who makes your  life easier by NOT playing that damsel in distress.

Taking on more than our feminine share isn’t as much a choice as a necessity, one I would think men would appreciate more, but instead we are showered with indifference. It’s too late for me to change but if I had it to do all over again, I’d sit back, relax and play the damsel in distress waiting for my knight in shining armour to rescue me because it’s the only way we capable women will catch a break.

Getting back to basics

The pandemic has forced us all to stay home, more than we are accustomed to, and in doing so many are discovering new hobbies. The recent shortage of yeast and flour tells us there’s a lot of home baking going on. And when I stepped into my local fabric store to pick up some thread, I was surprised to see more people than I’d ever seen in there before. Guess there’s a new population of stitchers, knitters, and crafters in the making?

And you only need to wander through your neighbourhood to see the beautifully landscaped gardens and home improvements, again, new found hobbies, a direct result of people having more time at home with little to do. The pandemic, it seems, has forced us all to get back to basics…and that’s not a bad thing.

Technology has given us simplification, automation and convenience, and in the process it rendered us useless to perform the simple tasks we once did, but this is not new. I can remember the first time it occurred to me that technology wasn’t necessarily the best for society. I was grocery shopping with my 4 year old son (that was 27 years ago) and just after our total rang up on the cash register the power went out and what ensued as a result, was an eye-opener. I gave the cashier $20 cash and my purchases totaled $17.46 – the cashier was stumped. She looked helplessly at the register that under normal circumstances would’ve provided her with the appropriate change. She clearly didn’t know what to do.

After helping her calculate the change due we packed up our groceries and headed home and it was while driving that I realized she probably had little experience with basic math. Schools allow calculators so learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide isn’t the priority it once was on school curriculums. In our quest to advance with technology we took a step back with respect to basic learning. (when you can’t make change from a twenty dollar bill society’s in trouble)

As I continue to navigate life during a pandemic I can’t help but wonder again, if perhaps it was necessary. Maybe we needed this wake-up call; the call to return to basics.

Never in a million years would I wish a pandemic on humanity, but it’s here, and if we can manage to get through it safely AND pick up a few lessons along the way, there is always hope. Isolation has produced some new bakers, writers, gardeners and handymen, and families are spending more time together, quality time. Sometimes maybe we do need to step back physically in order to move forward emotionally and spiritually. I’ve said it before and will say it again…….from something very bad there can bloom something very good. We just need to see where the potential lies.

The little things

I was watching television and a commercial came on where a local farmer was talking about how grateful he was to still be working and supporting his family during the pandemic. He held a beautiful little boy in his arms as he spoke and it made me want to cry.

Earlier in the day, while driving, I heard an appeal for the Salvation Army. Covid has placed more and more people into homelessness and they are asking the public for financial help for the needy. They advised their workers would still be out this holiday season with their collection plates, despite the risk of Covid, because the need is so great,,,,,and again, I felt my eyes well up. (Jeez, I’m turning into such a mushy old lady)

I think, like anyone, I have taken much for granted because I don’t recall being so sensitive to these simple messages of need, and I don’t know if it’s Covid, or sentiment, or age, but I find myself appreciating the ‘little things’ more than before.

There’s a group of young people who beg for money at a local major intersection and I used to ignore them because I wondered as to the sincerity of their ‘need’. I always thought if they were able enough to withstand the elements and the humiliation of begging on street corners they were probably well enough to get a job. Now, I just open my window and hand them money. No judgement, not anymore. I am blessed with a home, a warm bed, food, and a loving family. Who am I to judge the needs of another? And if they are scam artists just looking for an easy ride, so be it – the universe will even things out, with or without me. (That’s not my job) I’m just glad I have what I do.

I wonder, do you ‘see’ the need. Do you ‘feel’ the suffering. Do you, like me, feel the pain? There have been worse ‘blights’ to hit the world, but not in our generation. Are we fully appreciating the impact….because if we are personally unaffected, how can we? Are we honestly, sincerely, doing what we need to do to help our fellow man?

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the emotional impact of the suffering. I see it in the eyes of strangers. I hear it in the pleas of those asking for help, and I feel helpless to do more because I don’t know what to do… I take the time to give thanks. I take the time to appreciate all I do have. I help where I can but often that isn’t enough. I am not wealthy, but I will share with another in need until I can’t. And I will take the time to appreciate all that there is to appreciate. The sunrise, a sale on beef, family, an umbrella in the rain, friends, wine, health, access to medication, life, and all the other stuff we take for granted in a normal world. Even the material stuff, yes, even the stuff we covet deserves thanks,,,,,because we have it. How lucky are we?

Feeling gratitude eases our burden, so just say it,,,to everyone, to no one, to the universe, to God, if you pray to one….. just say it, ‘thank you’.

See, now that didn’t hurt, did it?……bet you feel lighter.

How much knowledge do we need?

I love technology,,,,to a point. It has given us the ability to get a recipe, manage a home repair, find directions, simplify our banking, even get news bulletins up to the moment. But how much do we really need,,,,,before it adversely affects our lives? 

I’ve touched on this subject before but it still really peeves me. You’re in a wonderful conversation with friends, there’s banter and opinion back and forth. This could go on all evening making for some great conversation, great jibes. An issue is at hand and all are charged to enjoy a lively discussion….then someone pulls out a cell phone or an ipad and ‘googles’ the answer to your subject argument then proudly proclaims the answer….and the conversation is dead in the water. (Well wasn’t that fun)  You know, there are times when technology isn’t ,,,,fun. Sometimes it’s a conversation killer stopping a good debate in its’ tracks.

I was reading an article recently about artificial intelligence, a scary thing, but I couldn’t help but marvel (shudder, actually) at the advancements we’ve made. Man has the ability, or so it seems, to simulate the thinking patterns of the human brain. (are we so predictable?)  Moreover, the goal and current challenge of artificial intelligence technology is replicating the ability to reason and problem solve. Think about it, we already have self-driving cars, and it’s proclaimed that they will be better than the human driver. In fact, artificial intelligence boasts the capacity to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human can. So can it create a human replica, a robot?  And if so, am I the only one who doesn’t get this? Why would we want this? (what ever happened to ‘ignorance is bliss?”)

Technology is progressing at alarming rates, not always a good thing, but a proud testament to our ability, ok, I get that. We’re a smart species. There is some research available that supports our ability to create a race of ‘people’ that would by far surpass our own abilities. (Again, why would we want this?)  Is it a question of proving our intelligence?  (Ego?….wouldn’t be the first time man has been propelled by ego) Are we so driven to ‘redevelop’ our species that we are blind to the inevitable repercussions of it?

What happens when that self driving car malfunctions, blows a circuit, looses a gasket? Surely it’s only as reliable as the human who programmed it? What happens when/if that ‘robot’ we created suddenly decides to ‘think outside the box’, chooses a different outcome, and/or turns against its’ creators? In our quest to create the ultimate perfect being we may well nullify our own authority because eventually these ‘man-made’ creations will start to think on their own (so they say) and, dare I say it, take over?

Maybe it’s all hype. Maybe not. There’s a huge library of information available on ‘AI’ (artificial intelligence)volumes in fact,  that will impress,,,,, and shake you to the core, and it all shmecks of a sci-fi movie. At the end of the day it claims to be able to replicate the human race, in a perfected way. The downside is that it can also challenge the human race, because it is perfected. (weird)

Ok, so maybe we have the ability to create a ‘better-than-us’ race. What do we hope to achieve with this? Who’s going to be there to give us notoriety?  The thought that we could one day be ruled by a ‘man-made’ society is frightening, at least to me. Because robots are incapable of love, and kindness, and compassion, and emotion – they are only capable of what they are programmed for… a human, they cannot surely behave in rational human ways. Don’t we need that? These are traits that cannot be replicated. And if robots can in fact be trained to ‘think’ rationally, it follows then that they could also think irrationally, which leaves the option open for them to revolt, retaliate,,,,,,, dominate?

I’m no scientist, no genius, and after reading a few articles and one book on the subject (by no means an authority) I’m sufficiently frightened enough to wonder why, on earth we would ever want to create something that could eventually dominate us. (takes me back to the old ‘Frankenstein’ movies)

I get technology, to a point, because it is a challenge to test our ability, see how far we can get, and it brings endless convenience into our lives; the internet, self check-outs, cell phones (how did we survive all these centuries without them!) By contrast it also eliminates manual labour, leaving more and more unemployed. It adversely affects our socialization skills because we no longer talk face to face, it’s all text, cell, email. And while the internet brings a plethora of information instantly, it also provides an unregulated platform for pedophiles, pornography and scam artists, so technology it seems, is a double edged sword.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned. I like using a cashier to process my purchase, and I gladly answer my land line when someone calls, and while I have had numerous conversations on text or email, my first choice is live, face to face conversation. I enjoy the many benefits of technology, online banking, surfing for recipes or information, or shopping for that hard-to-find item. I get the convenience. I even get the need to ‘prove’ our intelligence. I just wonder if in our quest we aren’t going too far. Do we really need to recreate the human brain, the very one that could conceivably outwit us?

Someone, please, tell me, why would we want this?