A strange thing happened today, in that my right eyebrow disappeared. It must have happened overnight. I didn’t initially even notice it. I don’t usually pay attention to such things; my grooming usually concentrates on my immaculate hair and impeccable suit. The face tends to take care of itself, you see. A dab of moisturiser, a quick wash, that’s about it. Now, ties on the other hand require far more care. Sometimes I choose a full neck tie, other times a bow tie. The colour and fabric, the precision of the knot – these are all important things, nuances which declare my image far more than a mere facial feature. Maybe it’s about status; I am not sure. It’s not uncommon for me to spend ten or fifteen minutes scrupulously adjusting the knot, neatly positioning it directly between the collars. It was only when I arrived at work that the issue was brought to my attention. (more…)
Do you have morals? Are you a controversy? There’s a bomb on a bus – once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed; if it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do?
You may have noticed that in the past few decades, the unnecessary fraternising between morality and politics has caused issues such as gay marriage, drug use and abortion to be increasingly politically divisive; wedge issues which serve to create solid voting blocs and neatly carve up the electorate. A functional democracy requires three fundamental imperatives: the basic security of the State, and the preservation of both liberty and individualism. The purpose of this series will be to explore the ways in which moral politics and majority rule contradict these fundamental necessities of the State, restricting liberty, causing harm or marginalisation to minorities, and in some cases increasing societal instability. What follows is a call for the reassertion of amoral politics. With morality and personal opinion removed from the equation, such issues may be considered based on rational consideration of objective data, leading to policies which are truly made in the best interest of the State, and with respect for the individual.
We begin with the War on Drugs. The aim here is not to endorse or denounce drug-users; rather, it is to consider whether drugs are a significant enough societal harm to warrant the interference of the State, to examine the dangers the War on Drugs poses to the security and stability of the State, and to argue that if a drug constitutes no significant danger to others, it is not within the State’s domain to interfere with, and is in fact anti-democratic to do so. (more…)
Do you live with regret? Do you struggle to understand why you are how you are and what choices led you to be the way you are? Those of us haunted by the past may have a desire to go back and revisit our decisions; an opportunity perhaps to change our fate, or that of those around us. Or perhaps a chance to jump ahead, to see where our choices will lead us. For Harvey Belfort that exact opportunity was granted. On Tuesday December 23, 2014 he invented a time machine. Having boldly climbed in and travelled one day into the future, he found himself horrified by what he saw. The world had become an unfamiliar catastrophe, and he yearned for answers as to why things had become the way they were. He had then travelled back to the past of Monday December 22, 2014 in search of answers as to how things ever got so bad. It turned out the past was as alien and horrendous as the future. It seemed like things never changed. The past and the future were a mutually reinforcing cycle, a carousel of repetitive events; one with no escape. Harvey wanted off this carousel. And so he had been left with no other choice. He returned in defeat to what had always been his least favourite time: the present. (more…)
We all wonder about the possibilities of the future. Will it be filled with fantastical gadgetry or will we become slaves to our technology? Will we be liberated or dominated by an Orwellian state? Will there be peace or war? Moreover, what kind of people will we be? What choices will we made – and if we could see our future selves, would we want to go back and choose differently?
Harvey Belfort had always despised living in the present, desperately yearning to skip ahead to better days in the hope of answering such questions. On Tuesday 23 December, 2014, Harvey got his wish. Having invented a time machine, Harvey boldly abandoned the present, leaping into the future of Wednesday 24 December, 2014. What he found however was a dystopian nightmare: his mother had aged; there was war in the Middle East; his daily bus pass had expired. What cruel twists of fate had convoluted the future so? How and when did things get so off track as to create such a miserable outcome?
There was only one way to find out.. Harvey had frantically decided to go once again into his time machine. In visiting the past, he might understand the paths humanity had walked, the decisions it had made, the choices which led to a bleak future of despair – he might even be able to prevent it. And so he back he went, as he got in his machine and headed to the past: Monday 22 December, 2014. (more…)
Preceding the Messianic Dialogues, this piece accurately reflects what happened to our protagonist Jesus, as he tried to make his way through a border crossing in Jerusalem in the year 33AD to obtain his bank loan.
A soldier stood vigil at the large concrete checkpoint which guarded the wall cutting through the heart of Jerusalem, the Star of David emblazoned on his helmet. Jesus and Mark approached and the guard took a step towards them.
“Papers, please,” he commanded.
Jesus wore a confused expression, “We just need to get to an appointment on the other side of town.”
“Nobody gets past without papers,” the guard said staunchly.
“I don’t understand, isn’t this all Jerusalem?” (more…)
The Present – 23 December 2014, Tuesday
Harvey Belfort had never been satisfied living in the present. Some people advocate for living in the moment, some romantically remember the past, and some look with anticipation to the future. All Harvey knew was that he didn’t want to be when he was. The present was a prison, unable to explore the path which had led him there and unable to see the possibilities ahead.
At the same time, Harvey was a thoroughly unambitious man. His actions were consistently half-hearted. He would take a sip of tea and then let the cup go cold. He would watch a few minutes of a movie and then turn it off. In fact, he had only fallen into working at Fermilab because he had tumbled into studying physics because he had collapsed into high school mathematics. His lack of ambition was so potent that at 47 Harvey was the oldest “junior” lab assistant in the world, still muddling his way through a twenty-year PhD program. His superiors felt so sorry for Harvey that they actually took the unusual step of assigning two senior lab assistants to work under him, another world first.
In 2013 news had broken that a neutrino receiver at CERN had discovered faster-than-light particles. Although a review of that research had revealed it to be the result of a loose cable, Fermilab had no real use for Harvey and so they assigned him the fruitless task of conducting a review of the review of the initial research. Given that Fermilab’s particle accelerator had been shut down a few years prior, it was an even more futile exercise, and so Harvey had approached the task with the same contemptuous attitude he approached everything occurring in the present. But this day was to be a little different. (more…)
I was just a kid when I was airdropped into Vietnam.
It’s funny, before that I never really paid much attention to how people looked at me. Now, I can’t escape it. The bitterness, the disregard. My leg hurts. They tell me parts of the bullet are still there, to this day. When it’s as cold as it is now, I can almost feel the shards.
It’s hard to hold my hands steady enough to keep the flame alight while it washes over the end of the cigarette dangling from my mouth. The tremors are bad enough on a normal day, let alone in this kind of cold. The street is covered in wet puddles, though it is not raining. They reflect the overcast sky above. (more…)