Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Edward Snowden: Public Enemy or People's Hero?

I'm aware that due to PRISM, I will be flagged by the United States government for merely mentioning Edward Snowden's name. What will look even worse, is that I'm posting an article about him and sharing it to various forms of social media. I know this because of his crime. His "leak." Julian Assange. Bradley Manning. Names of a similar sort. Purported to be the public enemy, just as Snowden is now. We are told to be afraid of people with such innocuous looks, but such is the era of our existance. The internet age- an age of mass sharing, and instant information... where the greatest crime is the leaking of a few choice words. In Snowden's case... there were a lot more than a few. 

Traditionally, the men who disclosed sensitive material were called spies, and had been rightfully punished for their espionage. Committing treason out of greed. In these cases however, a monetary transaction had always been involved. Interestingly enough., Snowden  did NOT receive a reward for his actions. All he did was air the United State's dirty laundry to dry in front of the public eye. Seemingly.

Hmm... that doesn't seem like the an act of a villain-- knowingly destroy one's own life with virtually no gain. Is it truly wrong to share with the public just how far their government has gone to infringe on their privacy? It certainly seems selfless-- suicidally so. Is it treason? To the government, yes, yes it is. They see his actions as kicking a hornet's nest, causing internal and external unrest. The US government loses a tremendous amount of translucence and face. Worst of all, the leak compromises the programs and secrets that the government would argue were kept under wraps for the good of the country. To truth seekers, however, this is an act of heroism. The freedom of speech is a right Americans grow up learning to be an innate value. Why should our government be allowed to act in secret? What gives them the right to spy on our internet actions? Or listen to our phone calls? Why should we be caught in a net cast to catch terrorists? How the government guarantee that the "accidental" collection of our personal information will be discarded and not be used in a malicious and manipulative way?   

The answer is complicated.

How you perceive the integrity of Snowden's character really pivots on what you define to be right or wrong, where your values lie and your opinion on how strong government's arm should be.  On one hand, his leak could cripples the government's ability to collect data to prevent terrorist activity. On the other, it could also hamper the government's ability to infringe on the rights of the innocent. (Aka, you and I.) Is it even necessary? While it is true that terrorist attacks on our home soil post-911 are few and far in between, but it is also true that we have the government to thank for that. But was it their invasive policies that brought that about? Or was it just the wake-up call, 9-11 itself?The Patriot Act was easily passed around the time the Towers fell. The danger was real. Fear was fresh. But now, the danger is relatively lessened, yet the stiff policies remain. But that's just part of it. A small part of the uncertainty that contributes to the complexity of the situation and make the judgement of Snowden's actions such a hard call. 

So how can we ever find an answer to all the questions, add them up and make that call? Honestly, we can't accurately given the convulsed mess of lies, misinformation and what not. But I was taught to never accept defeat, so we shall press on. When you are faced with that which you cannot, you find that which you can. To put it less theatrically, do the best thing you can manage to do. So, in this instance, we tackle the jackpot question. If we can't answer them all, we answer the biggest and best one of them all. And that's whether or not Snowden committed a crime, or is simply expressing his freedom of speech.  

Wikileaks is an organization founded on the principal that all information should be free. This puts them at odds with pretty much every government on the face of the world.Why? Because secrets are the lubricant that allow each nation's higher ups to squeeze by smoothly. It's the grease that gets those questionable policies through, and the duct tape that plugs the holes of the government's blunders-- ethical or otherwise. While it's all well and good to say, "I think there should be no secrets!" it's extremely naive. Honesty is not the best policy, especially when you have to walk the world's thinnest tight rope when it comes to foreign relations. Other countries are sensitive lot, and the most minor upset could be the difference between an enemy and an ally. 

From an individual's perspective, most of our government's decisions don't make sense. Why should we ship out billions of dollars to other countries, especially when we are in debt? Why do we have to raise taxes and cut social programs? Why does the military need so much money? So many questions. The government faces a trillion daily. Governments are expected to answer all of them, otherwise they are accused of failing at their job. It's easy for us to question the government's actions-- challenge the faceless foe. Rise up against the man. (Well, easy in talk I mean.) But we don't have those responsibilities on our lap, do we? 

I'm not saying the government is always doing the right things. Nor am I not accusing them of being forever in the wrong. The same goes for Snowden. He's a human. Not a demon. Not an angel. Is it wrong to rebel and question? No, it's healthy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's... necessary. Is it right to meddle in matters greater than you? Probably not. So what am I saying? Which side am I taking? What's my point? What is the answer to the big question? Was he right or wrong!? Both. Or neither? Bah! How the hell should I know? My gut tells me to cheer for the guy because I don't like being watched without my consent, yet my head tells me to let the government to do their thing since I can't even fathom the gravity of the situation. 

I guess you could say I'm on the fence, but I'm by no means neutral-- make no mistake. Regardless of whether or not Edward Snowden's actions are right or wrong... he is not an evil man. He not an Osama Bin Laden. He's a a man with opinions and a genuine desire to do what he thinks is right. He is an American, just like me. Hell, he even looks a little like me!

 Beyond my gut and my head, there's a third party that helps me do my thinking-- and it settles the deadlocks between my head and gut. That breaker of ties is my heart, and it's been telling me Edward Snowden is a hero. Yes, government does need to maintain quite a few secrets to keep it going-- but there is a limit. There's a line they cannot cross, and they cannot cross it because of who they--no, WE-- are. The United States of America, a land birthed from the union of liberty and justice-- delivered by a revolution from tyranny. We can never become that which we defied, nor should we ever deny ourselves of the freedoms that constitute for our very existence. 

The USA prides itself as the land of the brave, and Edward Snow is being just that. He's not affiliated with terrorist groups. This won't destroy our country. Have the floodgates opened? Has anarchy broke loose? Have any of the American people, civilians, been harmed by this leak? No, no it hasn't, and no, they haven't. The government's shield of secrecy has been shattered, and we the people are BETTER for it. They can still force these online companies to fork over our information, but now we know about it. We know there's an eye on our shoulder. Who cares if the enemy knows? If anything, it might just ward them off. 

Of course, it's never good to listen to your heart is it, so I guess the real answer to the question will never be found-- at least not by me. Hero or villain, Snowden's integrity weighs on your perspective on a great many factors. So many, that it might just be impossible to tell. 

As for me, I will applaud Mr. Snowden for the size of his balls-- for their massive size is the only thing I can be certain of. I wish him luck in his quest to elude the US government. He'll need all of it... and then some.   

- B

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Creation of Creativity

I've put a lot of thought into my thoughts, rather unsurprisingly. The real shock though, is that with almost all my writing hardly any planning is involved. Before I write anything there's always some sort of epiphany. A spark of inspiration. My novel ideas come at the oddest times, in the simplest of places-- seemingly brought on by nothing in particular.

I owe it all to my creativity.

So where does it come from? Those who have read my work often echo that question. How does my mind come up with such unique and interesting stuff? Why am I able to create fantasy from nothingness? Well, I think it's just an innate ability. Not to sound arrogant or anything. Creativity is something, I believe, you either have or you don't. As long as your parents didn't quash your playful spirit during your youth, your imagination should grow with you.

Honestly, I think I owe much of my creativity to the video games I played as a kid. As lame that might sound to some people, it really isn't something to be ashamed of. Day after day, my budding brain found itself dropped into colorful worlds brimming with whimsy and awe. Challenges awaited me at every corner, constantly testing my patience and bolstering my critical thinking ability. The many silent protagonists whose shoes I filled served as my role models, and the villains I faced became my teachers. Beyond fostering my love for adventure and storytelling, video games showed me the importance of fighting for what you believe in... and your love.

But there's certainly other factors. To say I owe all my creativity to shunning the outside word and playing videogames would just be unfair. Toys, movies and TV shows also had their hand in the creation of my creativity. My love for detective stories started with a cartoon that I absolutely adored and watched over and over. (later to be discovered as an anime- and a Miyzaki one at that). Sherlock Hound, it was called. It starred the cast of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in a re-imagining of the classic tales. The only difference? They were cast as humanoid dogs! By extension, my favorite Disney movie became The Great Mouse Detective. Same concept, only with mice. Can you guess what my favorite show is now? HINT: No, it's not that god awful show Elementary where Watson is an Asian woman and Moriarty is Irene Adler...   It's the BBC hit SHERLOCK. Love me some Mofat writing!


But I digress.

Creativity is not formed solely in childhood though. It's formed by how you respond to your average day-to-day. All throughout my life I would constantly be thinking of fascinating and unreal alternatives about scenarios and such. I love fabricating identities to complete strangers, or messing around with friends. I make weird characters and cool stories up for no other purpose than to amuse myself. Acting them out and telling them (respectively), just so I can see the reactions on the faces of others. Now that I'm a writer, I don't feed the need to hoodwink random people, getting my fill of creative expression and then some. But my creativity grows nevertheless. Writing boosts my creativity exponentially.

So don't display, if you find your brain trapped in concrete. The path to seeing the abstract is a zany zigzag, and it runs beside the straight path we walk day to day. It's just a hop away and a hop back, so don't be afraid to create some creativity every now and then.

- B        

Friday, July 26, 2013

[CYBORGEOUS] #1. (New Teen Fiction/ Drama, SciFi Novella)

WARNING! This story is written in the style of Teen Fiction, and as such uses profanity, violence.. etc. If you don't like that sort of thing... give this a pass.

ONE OFF: #1: The Eris Named Ankaa 

The loss of our lives would reverse the fate of so many others. That was the sole purpose of the project. That's what we were told, at least. Now, with the pretenses proven false, our parents' naivety seems all the clearer. Or was it greed? My mother and father, like those of the others, were given the ultimate choice. Asked to sacrifice their first born's for the betterment of the human race. N.U.-U.-Corp, placing themselves in the place of God himself-- echoing his harsh demands upon Issac. Yet the demands weren't all too harsh... Well, for them. Our parents donated their walking, bald corpses for the "cause." That cause being an undisclosed amount of cash. None of us knew what price our respective sets of parental units paid, but it didn't matter. To a true parent, the life of their child is off the table. Non-negotiable.

At first, I told myself they did it for genuine reasons... The amount of time I had left versus the cost of keeping me alive wasn't a fair figure. I even believed the delusion that they were genuinely interested in curing the world of my fatal ailment... But that died away. Along with the rest of my innocence... and my compassion. In the end, I fostered my hatred for them, just as I was expected to. Harvesting my spite as inspiration.  

But I suppose I should be less vague... Who am I? What did they do to me? What am I now? What became of me, and how did I get fucking even? All good questions, and ones I intend to answer. Honestly, I'm not sure where to begin...


Ah, I guess I'll begin there... It's a decent starting point.

Hold on, let me transfer the memory.



LOADING... 100%.




Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Final Stage of Human Evolution

You can learn far more from the internet than you could from any school. Then again, the internet stores that information for us... infinitely and indefinitely, so what purpose do we have for learning? I suppose in the future, when the human mind is officially linked up with its ever-growing digital cloud of information (i.e. the world wide web) there will be none. Only the application.

It's my understanding that intellect has often been measured in one's retention and memorization at entry level education, with critical and creative problem solving pushed to the advanced classes-- ones which a large chunk of the population are denied participation in. If the future indeed features an all-knowing humanity, eliminated of the need to actively retain or seek out data... then we truly are standing at the precipice of our race's ultimate, and perhaps final stage in evolution.

With all the truths reaped from mankind's existence readily available at our fingertips, we have become our own gods-- omniscient. The efficiency and innovation will increase at an exponential rate. Hypergrowth, a technological leap of currently unfathomable heights.

We will become immortal within this very century, mark my words. Evolution is all but certain, but the cost is still beyond my scope. Can a world of gods thrive? Or will we be consumed by our own ingenuity? As humanity's darkness, its evil... a force not to be underestimated, especially when amplified by this forthcoming evolution.

Needless to say, these are the kinds of things that concern me, and lately I've been left wondering if others ponder such things as well. What say you, my readers?

What is your vision of the future, and where shall you fall in it?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back in Action

Sorry for the long wait, I'm going to be resuming the blog! I needed time off to focus on my book and clear my head. (Not to mention deal with a pesky plagiarizer!) Look forward to more of the same and the introduction of the new. Hope you didn't forget about me, and I can't wait to write more for you!

- B

"The feel of fate against my cheeks."

I can taste my dreams. The flavor is success and it's incompatible. Impeccable and inspiring. I'm in awe of my fate transpiring.
I like
Feel it
in my bones my brain and my soul... whatever that is
It's that universal oneness
And our means to an end
This life, while good, is the calm before the storm
and only through my hardest work can I ride the winds
Live in my beautiful tornado that is my passion
With you, or without my heart.
No option but writing
No other choice but you
Nothing exists but this
and your kiss
as far as I'm concerned