The Kids Know – We Live in a Dystopia

We live in a time of uncertainty, fear, and ignorance about the problems facing society, nations, and the planet. We live in a time of instantaneous communication, often leading to distrust, polarization, and superficiality. Science – and especially its derived technologies – has given us immense powers to cause physical and psychological change, destruction, chaos, and even self-annihilation.  Single individuals can now wield immense power, be it for terrorism, ideology, or personal gain.

We no longer have societally-sanctioned rites of passage for citizens, such as the Eleusinian rites practiced in ancient Greece. We constrain and often condemn most means of expanding consciousness and mental well being. We have decreased moral, ethical, and civics education in our public schools due to state legislatures and parents arguing that such education is not ‘appropriate’.

Youth are concerned with the societal and planetary problems and issues which their adult parents seem unable to address. Youth are concerned about the deteriorating state of the planet and of its societies – and very concerned for their own future.

Music, poetry, literature, and drama are effective means of expanding consciousness, presenting realities, and empowering empathy and creativity. Protest songs come immediately to mind. Novels have been especially effective: Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Sinclair’s The Jungle, and Huxley’s not very well known Island.

We are attracted to novels, songs, and theatre addressing these challenges. Young adult novels and films dealing with dystopian as well as utopian systems are particularly popular today.

Media which deal with critical thinking, reality, cognitive liberty, creativity, and empathy are especially needed to help reorient our current states of distrust, fear, uncertainty, and ignorance. Specific examples include Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (followed by his more Utopian Island), Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, and many, many more – including attempts to treat impending dystopia:  State Change – A Chemical Fantasy ( www.statechange.us ) ‘uses’ biochemistry to ‘treat’ empathy deficit disorder (EDD) and ideology paralysis.

Talk with your kids. They read, they know, they fear.

 Andrade IBE 4-2017 Keynote Slides final4reducedpdf

Andrade Keynote Address Press Release: IBE 2017 conference:

Press Release  — for immediate release

Institute for Biological Engineering 2017 Annual Conference

Salt Palace and Downtown Marriott, Salt Lake City, Utah 

Mar. 30 – April 1, 2017

Biological Engineers Urged to confront Ignorance, BS, and Lies

Biological engineers are being urged to combat ignorance, BS, and outright lies at their annual meeting this week in Salt Lake City. The 17th annual conference is at the downtown Marriott Hotel and Salt Palace Convention Center Thursday through Saturday, April 1.

One of the keynote speakers is Joseph Andrade, a University of Utah Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and a 2012 candidate for Utah’s District 2 US Congress seat. He lost that election to Representative Chris Stewart.

Andrade, retired from biological engineering research and teaching, is now a novelist. He self-published and released State Change – a chemical and political fantasy last year, well before the 2016 elections.

“A group of aging activists selects well known political ideologues and subjects them to clandestine (and illegal) revelation engineering,” he explains, ‘including Utah’s Congressional delegation.” He smiles.

His keynote talk builds upon the novel and upon his earlier Congressional run – to empower biological engineers to get more involved in science education, in politics, and in running for public office. He suggests his colleagues use social media to confront ignorance, BS, and lies.

The talk is in Ballroom A, Salt Palace Convention Center, 11:15 am this Saturday, April 1. Here are the slides from the talk:

Andrade IBE 4-2017 Keynote Slides final4reducedpdf

Rubio, Trump, and Fathers’ Day – Tom’s Mass and Catholic Youth

Bill, Jay, and I were celebrating their identical August birthday dates at the Roasting Company – on a warm, clear but semi-dirty air day.

 

“Bill said you wrote Rubio a Father’s Day letter?” Jay asked.

“I did, and submitted it to the Miami paper and Buzzfeed. Miami Herald didn’t pick it up but it is at BuzzFeed.”

https://www.buzzfeed.com/joeandrade/rubio-running-fatherly-advice-2ezak

“What did you advise him?” Jay continued.

“Look at the BuzzFeed link. Advices number 1 – 5 are still very valid and relevant; only Advice #6  (Run, Marco, run) is now outdated – he’s running.”

“But Trump may take him down,” Bill said.

“Yes, hopefully. Patrick Murphy, currently in the House  representing Florida 18, is coming on strong.”

“If Rubio takes your advice, he might win,” Jay said.

“I hope not,” Bill added. “For all the reasons in State Change.”

“He’s unlikely to take my advice,” I said. “He’s too young, naive, arrogant – unless one of his kids sees the letter and really gets to him.”

“Or Jeanette,” Bill said.

“Yes, or Jeanette.”

We sipped our coffees and tea (Jay) silently for a few minutes.

“Did you get to Tom’s memorial Mass?” Bill asked. “I didn’t.”

“Yes, it was at St. Ambrose’s – a beautiful church with an incredible organ and sound system.”

“I thought you didn’t like organ music,” Jay said.

“Normally not, but this sound was really incredible, majestic, spiritual. The priests mentioned Tom towards the end – they recognized several people, as well as Tom. Carrie told me they’ll have a memorial – recognition – event later in the year. I’ll keep you posted.”

“And did you hear about the new Pope Francis High School – in Springfield, Mass?” Bill asked. “Two existing schools merged – the students recommended the new name. Some of the older parishioners were very critical, according to the USA Today story, today.”

“As long as the kids – the youth – get it, we may muddle through the mess created by all those adults – even Catholic youth,” Jay said.

“Why not a letter to the school paper, encouraging the kids to read State Change, and its take on Francis and the Encyclical?”

“I’m on it,” I said.

“Cheers,” Jay said. We finished our drinks, toasting Tom, Pope Francis, and Springfield’s Catholic youth.