Will Technology Mean an Eventual Loss of Privacy and Even Individuality in the Future?

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While predicting the future is always a bit tricky, we can make assumptions based on current social trends and technological innovations. I encourage readers to consider how life has changed in recent years and imagine how things may look in 2045.  Also, check out my YouTube channel at the end of the article.

Who could ask for a better late July day in Portland?  The sun is out, there is a cool breeze and, well, its my 30th birthday in a week.  I was born in this city on August 3rd, 2015 and have lived here all my life. My name is Cynthia Livingston and here is my story.

My wife and I live in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland. She is a children’s skills facilitator, formerly known as a teacher, and I am a fertility specialist with our local state hospital.  I know, it is really unusual to have a married couple both employed after the economic equalization laws went into effect ten years ago. You see, since most occupations were automated it was necessary to provide a base salary, set to sustain an individual at a comfortable, but not extravagant, level of life.  As both Maria and I desire children, unlike most young people nowadays, we felt it necessary to both work and be able to afford an apartment large enough for a family.

Oh, just a second…okay, there. Maria sent me a message via my optic implant to pick up a few items at the grocer.  My implant is multi-purpose as it also contains all my identity codes for unlocking doors, paying bills, and connection to the net – and its wired into the outer layer of my cerebral cortex as well.  Since my left eye was not as strong as my right I chose to have it integrated into the implant. It is not as if I cannot use my eye anymore, I just rarely disable the unit except when going to sleep, so I am constantly connected to the internet. Also, whenever I want, I can fully connect my thoughts with Maria’s and, when I choose, others in our social network.  There are no such things as secrets anymore…the concept of privacy is, well, somewhat outdated.  Of course, its just like getting used to being continuously connected online with the optic implant, one must learn to assemble their thoughts in a coherent pattern or else others in your network might find you a rather thought-fragmented person.

Maria and I have been married for five years. We met in college and have never been apart since. The concept of sexuality is far different than when people assigned you into fixed roles due to anatomy.  Attraction and gender is recognized as far more complex than that.  So few people think anything of how people choose to express themselves in a sexual or romantic sense.  And while I dated a few guys in the past, it was no problem establishing a relationship with Maria.

And thank goodness for attitudes having evolved since the turn of the century. With all the advancements in synthetic sexual companions in recent years few males are interested in human relationships of any kind anyway.  And as a woman can either avail themselves of eugenic sperm donors, or, if rich enough, can have fertility treatments to be able to have a baby with another woman, women set incredibly high standards for males who want more out of life than guaranteed income, gaming, synthetic sexual companions and virtual worlds.  However, such retro-men usually join into a poly-amorous relationship with several women.   It sounds a bit complicated for my taste, or Maria’s, so we are content to be more traditional.

Well, here I am at the store.  I remember as a child when some people still used physical money.  Those days are long past.  All one has to do is get their groceries and when you walk out the door it is all registered in your implant.  And shopping is so much easier than in the old days.  Every time one uses the toilet an analysis is made of your overall health and metabolic needs. Anyone who gets income supplement, which is almost everyone, is required to purchase items that fall within their optimal caloric and nutritional needs. And with the adoption of mandatory exercise requirements we not only have environmental sustainability reached, but also eradicated obesity in 2035.  Even the men who rarely come out of their apartments remain in good health, which reduces societal expenditures lifestyle-related conditions.

Maria thought we might have a get-together with friends this weekend. Of course, that does not mean any guests at our place, not in the physical sense.  We will merely allow access and merge into each other’s minds.  It can be quite liberating to be cognitively and emotionally intimate with others.  The last get-together was highly enlightening and involved every aspect of connection as Maria and I, and six friends from her work, left the connection running even after, well, you get the picture. The combined sensations left Maria and I totally exhausted the next day.

So anyway, here I am, after taking the light rail to Beaverton.  The freeways the train passes over are almost free of cars as few people can afford the cost and taxes of owning an actual private vehicle.  Environmental sustainability goals have been met and exceeded in recent years.

As I enter my apartment I notice that Maria has turned the interactive wall paper to an ocean scene.  There is a breeze from the electrical unit timed through the grid to come on only when people are present, and combined with a sea scent aroma scent everything yields to a realistic atmosphere.  Maria enters from the kitchen and gives me a kiss. She missed me and has had a difficult day. No, she did not tell me orally, in fact, we have not spoken to each other in the conventional sense for almost six months. We merely use the mind connection. She thought it would be a challenge to take a vow of silence for a while in our relationship and concentrate on our authentic emotions – besides, in her line of work she gets exhausted having to speak to students all day.

I heard a trends forecaster predict that maybe in the next generation the spoken word might be phased out entirely…even distinct individuality. In fact, some people are taking part in pilot projects in which they turn their entire behavioral systems over to a computer interface.  Maria thinks it might be fun to take part once it goes out to the public, though I am not so sure.  I mean, I viewed a discussion panel featuring people who had temporarily been taken off the connection.  According to the participants when you are plugged in, you are still conscious but more as a spectator as the computer takes over every aspect of your life, thus making your body and autonomic portions of your brain into a super-efficient avatar. One participant said she lacked the self-discipline to take up bodybuilding and reach her desired outcomes, but she let the system take over for almost a year; and she wound up with incredible results.  She didn’t have to bring herself to exercise, she just did it. And while her body and brain worked independent of her conscious thought, she still enjoyed all physical sensations as if she were the one who chose them. In fact, she said once the testing program finished she would make the interface permanent.  I don’t know, I just feel like taking away my free will might be going a bit too far, but Maria notes that when we have babies then we would be able to get a great nights sleep and take care of their needs too. We shall see. Maybe it might be interesting to go on auto-pilot for a few months to test it out. And Maria and I would still have our thoughts connected as we are now.  We’ll see.

As stated earlier I work at a fertility clinic.  That makes it easier to schedule an appointment for insemination. And as I will have the first baby, and my most fertile day is projected to be on my birthday, Maria thought it the perfect way to celebrate.  I have access codes to several donors, one in Norway, one Ireland and one in Spain. I have gone on an online date, so to speak, with each and will make the final decision this weekend. I thought, since Maria’s family originates from El Salvador, and as we decided we would use the same donor for my kids, and her kids, the man from Spain would be the perfect choice. However, she had a red-headed great-grandmother, and she likes my auburn hair, so she thought the man in Ireland would be good since he had red hair and we both found him charming.  So despite her having black hair there is still a chance for her and I both to have red-headed kids. Oh, and we decided to look to a European donor as we never actually wanted to run into the man in person.

Maria and I are a bit traditional to say the least.  We could have opted for genetic alterations of the fertilized egg…after all, then she could insure whatever hair or eye color she wanted.  It is a bit expensive, but our concern is the long-term results and the first generation of designer babies are only in their teens currently.  We could also have opted for stem cell modifications.  That is really expensive but we could have extracted an egg cell from Maria and some of my stem cells could have been modified to develop into sperm. Then with IVF I would be the father and her the mother. However, we opted for going the old-fashioned method and merely using the same donor so all our kids, our goal being four in total, are biologically related.

It is hard to say if we will be able to afford a large family and save up for life extension.  So far it is quite expensive to reverse aging with nano implants, and requires close monitoring by medical personnel the first three months of rejuvenation, but hopefully in 30 or 40 years the cost will be lower, and the mortality risk eliminated. The government was concerned with the class tensions that could result from some people being able to go from 70 or 80 to 20-something, so they created a lottery and, based on your societal contribution scores, you have a chance of winning free treatments.  We buy tickets each week, just in case we were to get lucky. Then again, as long as both of us continue in fields that automation cannot easily replace, we can save up over time and have a good chance of affording the opportunity.

Some might ask why anyone would want to have a second chance of being young again.  A lot has changed from our childhood until today and by the time our children are our age it is expected that changes will be of an even greater magnitude. We feel that it would be fantastic to see all the wonders of the future and experience them to the fullest.  Life is indeed interesting and stimulating, and the more time the better.

Check out and subscribe to my You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3XJz3ZkzIW5sjpaaX3pp2Q

If you like science fiction that provokes thought in regards to where our society may heading then please check out my novel, “The Destiny of Our Past.”  https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Our-Past-Michael-Cross-ebook/dp/B01MY4WASN

The Psychology of Social Collapse and Civil War

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It is clearly not easy for man to give up the satisfaction of this inclination to aggression. They do not feel comfortable without it. The advantage which a comparatively small cultural group offers of allowing this instinct an outlet in the form of hostility against intruders is not to be despised. It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness.”
Sigmund Freud: Civilization and its Discontents.

Ever find yourself angry at a brother, sister, parent or cousin? Sometimes the emotions can get you seeing red but then a while later you have put the differences aside? Yes, we tend to have far more long-term toleration to our close relatives. And generally, even if we do have differences with them we would still tear into a non-relative who attacked them.
Studies in anthropology and psychology indicate that genetics bond people, and the closer the relative the more likely we will connect with them – some research shows that people tend to form friendships with people who share similar genetic patterns. Even psychopaths can be extremely loyal to first-degree relatives (their children, for example) and I integrate that concept into my science fiction thriller “The Destiny of Our Past” in which the pre-flood elite bloodlines form a lethal bond against the rest of the human race (check link at the end of this article). The point is, loyalty to family appears to be hard-wired into us.
So what about other people, people we have no relations to? Again, it appears that the more we share in common with others (beyond genes) the more we can relate to them and thus feel a stronger connection with them. This can explain tribal societies and even the extension to clans and their sense of unity. However, we no longer live in a world in which we tend to identify with tribe or clan. So what is it that bonds a nation together, such as the USA, made up of a wide variety of peoples and beliefs? Well, let’s take a close look.
When we are small children we automatically bond and identify with our parents, siblings and immediate extended family. They are our world, our safety and beyond genetics we are taught to get along with them, to love them and that we are to be loyal to them. As already noted, even if a sibling is irritating if someone outside the family tries to pick on them we are praised for standing up to a bully in their defense. However, we are also taught by parents early on who are the “us” group and the “thems.” We are told that we are different, for instance, from people with a different religion. We learn to bond to a new extended family of sorts – those who share our beliefs. However, it does not stop there. We eventually learn what social class, sub-group, political system/party are also part of the “us” group. We learn what traits and practices we share with our culturally-extended family. Oh but wait, it also goes on to what nation we are born into. So all-in-all a complex web of connections bind the individual to the whole; some close to the center of the web, with others at the periphery, but nevertheless in a nation we feel a sense of belonging and unity with others under our flag.
Why united?
Just like the family unit we tend to be far more tolerant of our perceived connections than those on the outside. However, this could be seen as a form of what could be called “false ego projection.” The individual perceives stronger connections to people seen as identifying with their values and aspirations. They project a kinship onto people who are from their nation, belong to their religion or maybe even who support their favorite sports team. Others may seem as rivals, or outsiders, but as long as the general culture teaches a sense of tolerance then any hostilities may only take the form of competing high school students egging each others cars during the homecoming game or a Baptist father urging his daughter not to date a Mormon guy she has a crush on. Yet in these cases all the people see each other as Americans and feel a sense of shared identity at that level. So maybe the father wants his daughter to date a guy in their religion but would have no problem having the Mormon teen’s father as their family doctor.
Problem is, what happens when tolerance collapses?
Let’s look at what happened in the Balkans in the 1990s. When Tito was in charge he held what was then Yugoslavia together as a nation. The various ethnic and religious groups got along as they were united as one nation. However, when communism fell, and Yugoslavia no longer had a central unifying authority, people who had existed together for quite some time broke into factions based on more identifiable group identies such as religion and ethnicity. We see what happened when leaders emerged on all sides that magnified the differences between groups which eventually led to massive bloodshed.
So could it happen in the USA?

One variable that tends to facilitate tolerance and cooperation between people is economic prosperity. If people have a job that occupies their time, but also provides them and their families with resources to live as they desire, they tend to be satisfied with life. Security usually leads to people not making a big deal about differences – even at the political level. And for most of the past century, the political differences between Americans has been minor when compared to many nations. However, things appear to be changing.The tremors on the fault lines.

The political fracturing of the American population did not begin in 2016 – one can see evidence of its evolution in 2012 and even further back. However, the rivalries, or what some call the “culture war,” became really apparent in 2016 where we saw the intensity of economic differences between urban areas of the nation and suburban/rural intensify. And since then we see a growing distrust between groups of Americans. Many no longer trust politicians, and while they may support the ones they feel agree with them, the “loyal opposition” ideal has given way to demonization of those they don’t agree with.

Few people hold high regard for the media, which in times past was biased, everyone knew that, but people felt it was mostly trying to be fair. Neither liberal or conservative feel that way anymore. And politics has even entered sports, entertainment and other areas of life that tended to give people a form of non-political escapism from everyday stresses in life.

So polite political discourse and respect for those with differing viewpoints has almost vanished. If one sits down and talks politics with people it matters not whether they are Democrats or Republicans, they are more likely to describe the other side in ways that are more characteristic of how people in times of war describe the enemy country. Some on the left have even gone so far as to label those on the right as traitors and puppets of Russia. However, those on the right often see the left in the same regards as the movie “The Hunger Games” where the rich in Capital City exploit and repress the masses; and you can add to this the idea the “elite” are at war with the religious and cultural values of those they consider as “flyover” territory inhabitants. And the fissures are growing.
Could it get worse?
For the most part Americans still enjoy a very comfortable existence. So while they may release a lot of hostility against political adversaries on social media not too many want a societal breakdown. However, if the economy were to collapse one could easily see that change. Society could easily fracture and people no longer see each other in the more abstract sense as “Americans.” And while it might not look like the Civil War we read about in history books it could be more a neighbor against neighbor situation. And with a real, or perceived, breakdown whatever might be left of the infrastructure could collapse, leading to more competition between networks of people who, by then, would see other networks as enemy forces.
Freud believed that civilization was held together by a thin thread but once it was broken then savagery would follow. And ironically, the more modern and complex a society is the more fragile it might be. When the chains that binds the aggressive urges (family, religion, community, nation and supportive institutions in-between) are in place people tend to be fairly tolerant of each other. Yet modern societies of today tend to minimize the importance of traditional institutions; we see less marriage and childbirth, people not as active in their religion, little community involvement and more a sense of being defined by what one is able to afford to buy. Yet, as stated earlier, what happens when the sense of being economically secure, as well as advancing, disintegrates?
Hopefully we can restore a sense of people having civil discourse on issues, being willing to cooperate, and not so quick to break into warring camps. The alternative is something that would merely result in needless bloodshed, much of our infrastructure damaged and the winner being the one with the most power. One thing is for sure, the winner would be unlikely to give up power once it was secured and what might evolve from there is anyone’s guess.
* As I promised here is the link to my newest science fiction thriller, “The Destiny of Our Past.” See if you can ever think of the era of Noah quite the same way after reading it.
https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Our-Past-Michael-Cross-ebook/dp/B01MY4WASN

Shall We Trust Authority or Challenge It?

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As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.” Bertrand Russell

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why are people so gullible? Why do they believe something just because they see it on the “news” or in print?” One could take this further and ask why many people trust politicians and media pundits at face value rather than employ analysis and skepticism? Sadly,  while many people in power and/or influence are inclined to twist the truth (or lie) to gain an objective a large percentage of the public are just as inclined to put trust in them when they do it. So why do so many continue to trust?

In regards to politicians and media I have noted in prior articles that two of the most popular occupations for attracting people with psychopathic traits are media and politics.  Such people are practically born with the ability to manipulate. They often are blessed with high charisma, engaging personalities and no sense of guilt. They can look at you directly and lie, or employ half-truths and innuendo, in a most engaging manner.  I illustrate this in my science fiction thriller “The Destiny of Our Past” (link: https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Our-Past-Michael-Cross-ebook/dp/B01MY4WASN ) in which the ruling elite use media, sporting events and education to manipulate the masses with the end-desire to destroy them. Of course not all politicians and media personalities are high in these traits, but too many are.

So again, why do so many people place trust in media and politicians? If you ask the hypothetical “man on the street” they will generally say they don’t. Yet that same man will go home and turn on the TV set for hours each day. It seems contradictory…unless you understand human psychology. You see, we are not only conditioned by society and media itself to believe what we see and hear, we may be biologically programmed to do so.  Humans are tribal by nature; our ancestors survived, not by running off to the jungle or prairie and living on their own, but rather belonging to complex social groups. This gave both security from outside threats but also access to sexual partners to pass on their genes. Of course such structures are hierarchical by nature and only a few people wound up at the apex of the pyramid of command. It furthered one’s ability to survive and reproduce to conform to what you were told by the leaders since challenging him/them might mean social exclusion (less chancing of mating), exile (even less chance of mating) or death (no chance of mating).  Thus, compliance became a positive trait for survival and more compliant people passed on their genes (and inclinations) to future generations.

So what of today you ask? Well, combine this genetic inclination to follow the crowd with modern technology and you those at the apex of the pyramid convey their messages 24/7 on your screen (TV, computer, phone, etc.). They are with you more than Big Brother was in “1984.” Yet unlike a totalitarian state a free society relies on persuasion to get people to do things – and we generally obey who we trust.

In regards to TV news it conveys authority no matter what people may wish to believe. People  want to trust the pretty young woman or distinguished gentleman who gives the news. They must be trustworthy or they would not have such a position of power, right? And the institution that gave them this power must be even more powerful – just look at the size of such a multinational corporate entity…who are you and I to challenge it, right?

And then there are the politicians that get chosen to convey their views – again, people at the apex of the pyramid gaining even more legitimacy by being held up as experts by the media elite. Who dares challenge them? Everything from their titles to their attire say “I am authority, believe!”

And of course there is no reason for the experts in their studios, or guests from government or other powerful institutions, to actually lie. They can lead people on with innuendo or speculation and thanks to “gestalt theory” the listener will fill in the blanks, and come to the desired conclusion the politician wants.  A perfect example is when certain politicians led people to believe Iraq was responsible for 9-11 or that they had weapons of mass destruction.  They never actually said “Iraq took down the towers” but by speaking about 9-11 and then mentioning Saddam, they had to know people would see the two as related.

And yet this presents an irony. People at the cognitive level know they are being manipulated but at the sub-conscious level they want to trust those in power.  This can create what is known as cognitive dissonance in which one can believe two contradictory things at once.  This can therefore lead to people feeling anxious and even hostile if the authority figures of society are challenged.  For example, you have a parent who says the media lies, but watches the news on TV and changes the conversation when you ask why she or he spends so much time doing it when they say they do not believe what is being broadcast.

Then again have you ever tried to share information with someone and they dismiss you outright because they have not read it in a large newspaper or seen it on the news? Even if you bring up the psychology employed to alter society they do not want to believe they can be influenced by subtle manipulation. So many will immediately dismiss your information even if you have documentation straight from those who admit to employing subtle programs to alter values and behavior.  Such is the nature of conformity to, and basic belief in, the foundations of the society a person lives in. This of course is true in all societies today.

So what can we do? Maybe ask people why the TV news picks the stories they do, or the limited viewpoints they present. Maybe ask them who benefits from what is being said and what might be the agenda behind it then.  What we should strive for is analytical skills, no, not cynicism but rather analysis where one probes a bit deeper than what is being presented on face value.

It is interesting that if you say people should “question authority” they will rarely recognize the term originates from Benjamin Franklin, the guy on the hundred dollar bill.  He wanted people to challenge the assumptions of his time, and thus helped create the United States of America. Fast forward to this day and no, it is not easy, as Nietzsche noted, to go against the tribe but in an era of mass communications which utilize advanced psychology to create consensus and conformity it is essential to encourage far more independent thinking.

Is my (fill in the blank) a Psychopath?

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“The Virtuous  man contends himself with dreaming that which the wicked man does in actual life.” Sigmund Freud

I have been interviewed on broadcasts on the subject of psychopathy. It is actually an interesting topic – especially as it applies to world finance and politics. Many people believe the Hollywood (fake) presentation that psychopaths are deranged misfits plotting murders in their basement apartment, or if intelligent, cooking the brains of one of their victims while a Beethoven symphony is playing in the background.  This is not reality: and while psychopaths are over-represented in prisons so too are they over-represented in the chambers where laws are drafted, debated and passed.  They are more likely to wear an expensive tailor-made suit or fashionable dress than an orange prison jump-suit.

Of course if you are familiar with my podcast or YouTube channel (I have interviewed pro-social psychopaths as well as experts in the field) you probably understand why psychopaths excel in all walks of life.  However, I have received mail or comments posted on my website and video site asking many questions such as:

  • “Is my boyfriend a psychopath?” Or “How can one tell their boyfriend is a psychopath?”
  • On the flip side, “Is my girlfriend a psychopath?”
  • Then there are the questions such as, “How can I tell if my husband is a psychopath?”
  • And yes, “How can I tell if my wife is a psychopath?”
  • “Is my boss a psychopath?”
  • “What can I do if my child is a psychopath?”
  • Or, “Is there a way to tell if I am a psychopath?”
  • “Can a psychopath be a good Christian?”
  • “Is my dad a psychopath?”
  • “Is my mother a psychopath?”
  • “Are psychopaths reptilians?”

Let me just say I would never attempt to give anyone personal advice in this area. They can get the facts about the personality traits, but any diagnosis needs to be done in a clinical setting.  The reptilian thing I tend to ignore, although I have always had a special fondness for lizards and turtles.

All these questions tend to show that many people believe someone close to them may be a psychopath. However, I would speculate that most are not.  If you are familiar with my science fiction novel, “The Destiny of Our Past” ( Link here at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng  ) I present two prototypical psychopathic characters; Enlil, a corporate leader and head of the society’s intelligence services who conspires to have Noah of Biblical fame assassinated and Ninhursag, a high priestess and mother to one of the protagonists in the story. Both these people are charming (trait  #1), devoid of empathy (trait #2), feel no guilt (3), need for stimulation and prone to boredom (4), are grandiose (5) and highly sexual (6). I could go on, but here are some of the major components to psychopathic personality.

For someone to have enough of these traits, plus others on standard psychopathic profile determinations, it is actually not that common in the human population. Perhaps 1% of females and 3% of males would be able to qualify as psychopaths. So while it may be tempting to say that someone who has done us wrong must be a psychopath, one must remember that most are just regular people.  In fact people high in empathy can be hurtful to others, and their actions, even if done for what they consider good causes, can bring as much harm as psychopaths.

So are all the people who feel they are victims of psychopaths wrong? No, they are not. One can safely assume many really were (or are) involved with a psychopath, and many are not pro-social in their actions. However, the majority of people hurt by a lover, friend, etc.  likely got taken advantage of or abused by someone who would not be diagnosed in a professional setting.

The impacts of psychopaths cannot be underestimated.  Many fill positions of power in our governments, corporate leadership, entertainment, and media. And these people are generally charismatic and manipulative individuals who can do a lot of damage. Yet we tend to adore them. Ironically, the traits that make up psychopathy tend to be the traits that we admire at the societal level, and are attracted to at the interpersonal level. The irony is that while they may be as gorgeous and alluring as a rose, the rose has thorns that can pierce us if we are not careful.

Yet what do we do if indeed we are married to a psychopath, have a child who is, or if a parent is a psychopath? That can be a tough one to figure out. However, I will note that even if the person was a psychopath not all psychopaths are bad people; many were raised in good homes and focus their competitive drives in legitimate areas of life…for instance in business or in academia.  That is what I meant above by “pro-social” psychopaths. Just because someone might have quite a few of the traits does not mean they are going to be mean or disloyal to you.  I just want to make that clear.  However, one should be weary of handing over too much power to anyone: be it a relationship or in government.

I would encourage people who want to know more about psychopathy to check out my website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3XJz3ZkzIW5sjpaaX3pp2Q  Here I have both analyses of psychopaths as well as interviews with experts in the field.  It is an interesting topic for study and once you understand how it affects people and society it at least gives you some insights into many of the issues facing us today.

 

An Affluent Dystopian Future? How Possible Could That Be?

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“Affluence separates people. Poverty knits ‘em together.”

Ray Charles

Ask yourself: what image comes to mind when someone uses the term “dystopian” or “totalitarian?” Do you picture a dark, gloomy, impoverished society as existed in the classic, “1984?” Do you think of men with black uniforms and guns patrolling the dark streets; ready to shoot down anyone who dares to question the authority of the government? I think most of us are programmed to see totalitarianism and low quality of material life as going hand-in-hand. However, I would propose that one could easily have a totalitarian dystopian system in which affluence actually facilitates the ruling-class’s grip on the society.

In my recently published novel, “The Destiny of Our Past” (Amazon link here:  http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng ) I present a society where affluence is indeed employed to not just control the masses, but with the goal of eventually exterminating them. Technology allows people all the vices they can imagine, religion is tightly regulated by the state (only existing for ritual) and people enjoy abundance. The catch is that all aspects of life, including reproduction, are under control of the governing elite bloodline families. Getting pregnant without being granted permission is a capital offense.

In reality only a small percentage of any people are highly motivated to take part in determining the direction of the society. Most appear to want freedom but, if given the choice would choose watching TV rather than taking any risks by standing up for their values.  Maslow and his famous “hierarchy of needs” pyramid notes that while the apex of fulfillment may be transcendence or enlightenment the base is physiological needs; and most people cease to climb the hypothetical ladder past safety, belonging (social network) and esteem.  Of course there would be those who would start the climb once survival needs are met; but to prevent this  the elite could create or encourage distractions to make sure power stays concentrated within the government. And while most people think technology is an ally of freedom, it really isn’t. It is neutral and who controls the technology is what matters.

There is no reason to believe that a totalitarian system could not evolve in the future that controlled people’s behavior, and even thought, far more efficient than any system in the past.  Look at today and how people are obsessed with sports, celebrity gossip and what is the “cool” show on TV. It is almost like the era presented in “ideocracy” where the hit show is “Ow My Balls” where a guy takes kicks to his testicles.  And yes there are people who really believe “reality shows” are real.  However, such entertainment, aside from making money for corporations, keeps the masses occupied.

And what of relationships? Marriage rates are lower in the USA than ever before. Marriage at least gives you someone to relate to on a permanent basis, someone to sacrifice for, and ideally someone to start a family with. However we already see many young men (more so than women) substituting pornography and/or gaming for true relationships. And soon we will have advanced virtual reality and sex robots that will most certainly have a devastating effect on family formation.  Yet again, more distractions which will keep people focused on anything but what the government is doing. Maybe a future system will elevate pornography to high art status, but ban political speech; and would that many people protest?

Oh, and robotics and how they will affect the workplace…and freedom. Already we have people advancing the idea of a guaranteed income. Sounds great on the surface; robots put people out of work but we place a tax on the items created to distribute to the unemployed masses to buy the goods produced by robots and generate money to distribute back to the unemployed masses and on and on. Yet do you think people would be given enough money to buy a suburban home with five bedrooms and own two cars? I doubt it. So envision instead a typical single man, and most would be single, with a small apartment in the city who uses public transportation to get around when necessary. He comes home from a local sports event and his walls are all covered in interactive panels. His sex robot greets him wearing his favorite attire and brings him artificial coffee, and asks who won the game. He turns on a beach scene on the panels and he relaxes as his robot listens and interacts with full interest for his favorite team. Afterwards she approaches him and…well, time for intimacy. A female counterpart gets home and switches her panels to a forest scene. Suddenly someone rings her app. A droid is at her door with a box. It is from the central fertility agency. She searched online for quite some time before she found the perfect donor. The fertility agency computer system guarantees what the child will look like based on the male and her DNA. She relaxes on the couch and follows the instructions on how to go about the insemination. Afterwards she calls the two women in her polyamorous network and discusses having both over for dinner. Her wives are both three months pregnant with the same donor.

Such a system would easily maintain a harmonious, but controlled, society. Every aspect of life could be regulated, but the goal would be to give people what they want in order to be pacified.  Sure there would be people who might not want to live in such a system, and they would be allowed to live outside the general society, much the same way Amish or polygamist Mormons do today. And as long as they would not threaten thy powers-that-be they could be tolerated; sort of the way the Prophet Noah is presented in my novel – he and his followers are mocked in the media, but allowed to build their boat undisturbed.

 

How the Sexual Revolution Affects Politics Even Today.

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“The price of civilization is instinctive renunciation.”  Sigmund Freud

“Sexual freedom, sexual liberation. A modern delusion. We are hierarchical animals. Sweep one hierarchy away, and another one will take its place, perhaps less palatable than the first.”   Camille Paglia

With the possible exception of television nothing influenced the course of society in the USA and Europe in modern times more than the birth control pill. Yep, it’s true. And its appearance on the market in the 1960s came at just the right time for those who desired radical changes in traditional society. These generally left-leaning intellectuals had recognized the power of sexuality to drive not just reproduction, but also people’s basic ideas on how society should be structured. So to understand where we are today we must look back on not just the “sexual liberation” of the Sexual Revolution, but also its deeper implications.

In my recent science fiction novel, “The Destiny of Our Pasthttp://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng the ruling bloodline families employ sexual indulgence as a means of social integration, but also to pacify and distract the masses from their ultimate aim – their eventual extinction. Sex is a powerful tool. Freud recognized in “Civilization and its Discontents” that unleashed libido would threaten the foundations of society which were, after all, based on repression of sex and aggression. To have a successful civilization one must subjugate the animal instincts and direct them into socially acceptable pursuits, including marriage and reproduction.

Of course the inverse could be true, as one of Freud’s students recognized. Wilhelm Reich believed sexual repression was responsible for authoritarian society. Even the traditional family was a microcosm of such repression that contributed to the functioning of the society. So in a sense the family unit that Freud felt was vital was recognized as a cell in the body politic. A formula to change society would be to unleash the dam that Freud felt was vital to maintain social order. Others, particularly on the political left, who felt their message of economic change was being rejected by the working and middle classes, saw sex as the means to bring the assumptions of society into question. So following the notion of “the personal is the political” they sought to encourage a more liberated view of sexuality, and the advent of the pill found many young people more than willing to step out of the norms of their parents and grandparents generations; not primarily for any political reason but rather as a means for fun and exploration. Little did they realize that they were taking part in a movement that fell right into the desires of those wishing to make more changes than how many people one could have sex with on a spring break.

So as academia and entertainment presented a whole new world of possibilities to young people, and as birth control such as the pill became more available, we saw the experimental phase of the 1960s and early 1970s take hold. The Freudian super-ego (rules of proper behavior) was now in direct competition with the id (pleasure principal). So in a sense tradition (traditional family norms, religion and customs) were at war with pleasure, excitement and the youthful desire to push boundaries.

Of course there are a variety of mechanisms the human mind can employ when faced with the conflict that occurs between the super-ego and the id. And as guilt generally develops when people break norms set by parents, religious figures and society one easy way to deal with it is to renounce the sources of the guilt, which of course were pillars holding up the general society. And while we may look back on the hippie era as a societal expression of freedom and liberation from constraints, it was not just hippies that began to adopt the new patterns of thinking. So even as people traded love beads for business suits and designer purses the social order was seeing the inevitable division; many people deciding against social institutions such as marriage and raising children, some questioning religion and many who had embraced the new values gravitated to politics.

The early 1970s saw the emergence of various schools of feminist thought that challenged gender role assumptions, the legalization of pornography as well as abortion in the USA and much of Europe. This was a major cultural shift for the western world. And in places such as the United States the political landscape would be changed forever. Before the 1972 Democratic Convention there was not that much difference between Republicans and Democrats, and social issues were not even on the table. After the split in the Democratic Party between conservatives and generally younger liberals the seeds of a re-alignment were planted. Younger Democrats took more the center stage, chipping away at the southern Democrats. The last time the latter would have a major influence was in the election of jimmy Carter in 1976.

Yet by the late 1970s social issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and gay rights had become political issues. Southerners began to gravitate to the Republican Party more and more, and as the party shifted to a more conservative stance on social issues by 1980 some of the eastern, more liberal Republicans, began to lose power. And while groups like “Moral Majority” gained influence Reagan’s broad appeal kept the social liberal/fiscal conservative Republicans and the social conservative newer Republicans in the party. However, in time, the Republican Party began to evolve into the party associated with tradition, conservative religion and patriotism while the Democratic Party became more the party of new directions and maybe “patriotism-light.” Re-alignment was inevitable.

Today we see Republicans connecting more with traditional families and middle-America while Democrats do better with single people living in urban areas. And in a sense, they live in far different worlds than one-another with different views on foundational values…which in many respects is based on their differences on cultural expectations rooted in family models and thus human sexuality (although few conservatives will admit it). Republicans now win areas with more traditional views (smaller cities and rural areas) and Democrats win in large urban areas and university towns.

And yet has sexual liberation provided a new utopian dream beyond perhaps winning this round of the culture wars. And ironically enough, many of conservatives may state opposition to new, liberal values, but most have incorporated aspects of the new norms – for instance how many young conservatives want families of four or more kids in western society? It depends on how you look at it where we are at todayin regards to utopianism. Do we have an egalitarian society that men and women can work harmoniously together to build a better future or do we have a growing rift between the sexes, leading to record-low marriages and birthrates? If we truly have respect for each other’s merits why do we still have advertising that aims to cut us down, build up our fears, and sell us a false hope of perfection and admiration? And one could argue that codes against speech on campuses, almost entirely a manifestation of the left, are creating a climate of authoritarianism. None other than former president Barack Obama gave a speech where he urged students to remain open to debate and allowing people to share ideas.

So overall the impact of the 1960s revolution of ideas and behaviors is probably where one must look back on to find out how we wound up where we are today. Biology makes people and psychology determines how and if people get made and what views they will grow up with. Yet what we must remember is that as Paglia states, humans are hierarchical creatures, and while even if the forces of more conservative thought would eventually just fade away wouldn’t we expect the architects of the new world order that would come into being to fashion a society that would wind up just as strict and uncompromising as the one that Reich was opposed to back in the early 20th Century? Sure, the rules might be different—but they would still be rules. And maybe, as in a dystopian nightmare scenario, sexuality would become a component in insuring compliance to the aims of that state.

The 6 Stages of the Evolution of Robots. Will We Become Cyborgs in the End?

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“Unless mankind redesigns itself by changing our DNA through altering our genetic makeup, computer-generated robots will take over our world.”  Stephan Hawking

Robots are going to take all our jobs!  We see headlines to this effect almost every day. Robots will be our new lovers! Fans of “Westworld” might find that plausible.  Robots are going to destroy humanity! Well, more than a few scientists have presented this as a dystopian view of the future.  Overall, all these predictions may come about.  It is my belief that we will, before we reach utopia, dystopia or the fulfilment of a sexual fantasy world, see six stages in regards to robotic revolution.

In my science fiction thriller, “The Destiny of Our Past” http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng  the society there banned robots in favor of creating lab-grown humans for simple maintenance jobs or sexual slavery.  These people have no parents, thus they are denied human rights and safeguards.  However, when it comes to technology we have a ways to go before we can choose between organic and synthetic workers.

So what about the possible route to synthetics replacing our workforce?

Stage 1:  Yes, we are in Stage 1 in regards to robotics.  Remember the scene in Terminator 1 where Arnold is chasing Sarah Conner in the factory and encounters a primitive assembly-arm robotic device.  It is as if he is looking back at a primitive ancestor.  For the most part we are still at this level.  Our robots are more hydraulic, can be used to assemble items, and are mainly programmed to do simple tasks.  They have at this point replaced many factory workers who used to pick up car doors and bolt them onto a car, or some similar task, but we are most likely at the end of this stage.

Stage 2: We are seeing this more at the experimental level now, but it will come in soon.  To get more versatility we will have to have better mobile energy packs and more flexibility – already we are seeing material that is less like the gears on your car and more like muscle tissue being developed.  Add to this at least rudimentary problem-solving skills and here is where you will see robots resembling the ones in “I,Robot” working with people.   Naturally these machines will be far stronger than humans and will do heavy construction tasks.  Humans will still be necessary for more precision work.

Stage 3:  Here is where artificial intelligence advances and production of human-like robots begins.  At this point we will see robots taking over more service-oriented jobs.  People generally want to see human faces when they enter an establishment.  When robots begin to look more like us, blink their eyes, speak like us, we will adapt to synthetic servants.  These will be used to take care of the kids or cater to people who have more carnal wishes in mind.  Pornography has fueled much of the developments in computer graphics and people’s desire for human substitutes or additional companions will undoubtedly accelerate the development of robots that will look more, feel more, and act more and more, like humans.

Stage 4:  By this point just about any job will be handled by robots, and artificial intelligence will have advanced to the stage that you have robots more akin to the fictional “Westworld.” Here is when robots replace fashion models, nurses, doctors, teachers and pretty much all professionals. In fact, our military may by this point be entirely robotic.  Naturally this may tip the balance of power from population to the ability to manufacture stronger and more intelligent soldiers and pilots.

Stage 5:  We invented machines to enhance our ability to produce more items in our economy.  Once we reach stage 5 people may still want to feel equal to their replacements.  This is when people will electively choose augmentation be it replacing healthy limbs, organs or neural tissue with superior synthetic alternatives.  By this time we may see a guaranteed wage that will be financed by taxes on items built by robots but bought by people.  Here we may also see eugenics play a major role in humanity as the birthrate will collapse due to the “living wage” as it will be called will not afford you the big house in the suburbs with a yard, dog and two cars.  As many males will turn to synthetic alternatives to real women, and most people will live in small urban apartments, we may see a form of polyamory where women merely find one male to network with, sharing his reproductive services with several other women, or merely turn to donations to have their one child.  Governments will encourage these social developments because people will be unnecessary for the economy. Of course by this time we may see advances in virtual reality programs that allow single people to spend their spare time in worlds where their imaginations are the limit.  Again, I believe more males than females would opt for this life.

Stage 6:  By this time computers will do all our inventing, all our planning; and all our work will be accomplished by robots that look, and act, just like us.  Here is where people may take the next step to replace humanity itself.  Some scientists have speculated that our first encounter with an alien species will be with robots as other civilizations will have gone through the evolution I have described.  Sure, people may be born fully human but once they reach adulthood the idea of staying 100% organic may lose its appeal as peers become superior through trading in limbs, organs or entire bodies for synthetic replacement.  And what if people find a way to download the brain into a synthetic version?  The entire body might then be disposable.

So will there be hold-outs who refuse to alter themselves; futuristic hippies? I am sure there will be, but the benefits of integrating into a society where you no longer have to work or train for an occupation, and still get money, though at a price, will be enticing to most.  And would one feel the same way for their wife or husband if all that existed of the person that you originally met was some brain tissue encased in an artificial cranium and maybe some reproductive cells frozen for possible use at a later date?  Before the end of this century we may find out.

Genetically Engineering Our Destiny?

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“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

Unknown author

A scene all too familiar to fans of science fiction movies is a mad scientist working on a project that society would see as unethical. He or she usually is successful, only to unleash a series of events that the symbolic hero of the film must counter or destroy.  The lesson conveyed to an audience? Well, fear of taking curiosity and exploration too far.

There are many ethical questions we are going to face in the near future in regards to the science of genetic engineering.  As we advance in our knowledge of how DNA operates, what genetic combinations give us specific personality traits, intelligence, aptitudes and physical abilities we will also be able to manipulate those blueprints.  It is safe to say that we are nearing the end of regular man-meets-woman, they form a relationship, have sex and create a child based on a random pairing of a particular egg and sperm cell.  In the future conception will be conducted in the laboratory, with nothing left to chance. Designing our children will be the next step of the industrial revolution in which we use tools to determine who our children will be and what traits they will possess.

I deal with this issue in my new book “Destiny of Our Past,” (follow link here: http://amzn.to/2jzfyNE) a science fiction detective thriller set in the age of Noah. And no, it is not a book in which Noah is an interacting character, rather he is a scientist who is known to people in the society for rejecting the extent people have used genetic engineering to create what some might consider a dystopian world, while others would see it as utopian. Longevity is measured in centuries, not decades, one can mix human and animal DNA to create hybrids or chimeras, agricultural production insures all people have ample food and nobody lives in poverty. However, due to these advances the ruling elite bloodlines have established a police state that has all the trappings of democracy…but is anything but.

So how far would we take genetic engineering, and what would be the impacts on society?  Take for example two traits people admire, intelligence and beauty. If only 10% of couples chose to undertake designing their children with these attributes what would be the result? Well, those children as they grew up would be envied for their appearance as well as their success in academics and later in life. They would have incredible advantages, and others would decide that nature’s way of making babies was obsolete and decide designing their children was no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Then again, maybe we would see a eugenic division develop in society in which those who availed themselves of such technologies would become almost superhuman while those who either could not afford such technologies, or who had a philosophical objection to it, would be at a great disadvantage in the competition that is life.

And what of enhanced longevity?  Eventually we will be able to identify which genes are responsible for aging as we know it. The next step will be to either alter the actions of those genes or compensate for aging of the human body.  How would that change our entire social structure? Well, for one thing, and as envisioned in my book, the state might decide to regulate all reproduction so as not to create overpopulation. And if the government can decide when you can have a child, and how many, then they would likely control all other aspects of human life as well. Some would welcome this if prosperity were also and attribute of the society. Of course the elite would undoubtedly exempt themselves from the rules, as elite always do, but as long as the people enjoyed bread, circuses and seemingly endless youth I doubt many would object.

And lastly, what of crossing species? Some scientists have predicted that the future could see any of the mythical species of Greek or Sumerian lore actually be possible to create. Who would not be curious as to what it would be like to create a centaur or mermaid? Yeah, ethics…but wouldn’t our current views evolve over time as the possibilities of creation of new life could be endless? Scientists could make creation itself a new art form held back only by human ingenuity.  Oh wait, now we get to those interesting references to this sort of thing, found in the Book of Jasher, claiming this was the reason for the flood.  Maybe the idea of a science fiction novel set in those days is not so far-fetched after all?

The science of genetic engineering is advancing at a rapid rate and so the possibilities will indeed be limited only by what we know at different stages of the assentation to full mastery over the blueprints of life. What would humans do once they attained such abilities? Again, the possibilities will be infinite.

What Constitutes a “Conspiracy?”

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Conspiracy:  “The activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.”
Cambridge Dictionary

Since the entrance of the internet onto the center stage of human consciousness the term “conspiracy” has mushroomed. What used to be the domain of small groups (left and right wing), and what used to be topics one might find in a newsletter left on a campus table, or leaflet in front of a post office, are now topics that captivate the minds of…well, just about everyone. Just ask a 14 year-old what they think of “the Illuminati.” They will probably at least know about the eye of providence or even something about various fraternal societies.  Many people have views that deviate from the standard 9-11 narrative. And who could forget the term “vast right wing conspiracy” term created by Hillary in the 1990s, and now replaced with allegations of…well, you get the point. So are there conspiracies? That depends.

My new book, “Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power” delves into this. The anti-heroine, a former vigilante serial killer, Melanie Lindberg, is elected to congress. However, soon after her arrival she gets an invitation from a powerful business leader to visit his estate. Soon she discovers that she is in the midst of some of the most powerful people in the world, all members of a secret society, with perks of power, sex, freedom from laws normal people must follow and revolving around engineering a new world order.  As long as she is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, she can have it all. More detailed description here:

http://amzn.to/2ijEBAe

So is it fantasy? Is it reality? Well, some people have asked if I might be closer to such topics than merely academic.  Then again, if I were, wouldn’t that mean I would want to keep it secret?

Of course, if we were to define conspiracy within the context of people joining together and promoting an agenda, without the public knowing or consenting, then this goes on all the time.  Edward Bernays, the father of modern PR and advertising, noted decades ago:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Are you a woman? If so you probably shave your legs, underarms and, well, let’s just concentrate there.  Why do you and the vast majority of western women do this? Would you believe it all started with a magazine back in 1915 making the case as clothing styles became more revealing? Of course who came up with the idea to show off more of the body? Yep, fashion designers. So a combination of designers, media, and later, lingerie and finally porn finished off most body hair on women, as well as many men, in recent years.  Want more examples? How about what we define as “breakfast foods” or proper table manners? These have their origins, but few people know of them. Even something as personal as reproduction; most western people saw the ideal family as 3 or 4 kids back in the early 1960s. What changed? Well, many will say it was economics but there are far poorer nations with much higher birthrates than we see today in the US and western world in general.  What changed is that those in a position of power, with great influence on media, education, etc. re-educated people as to how they should view the ideal. And now that is so institutionalized that all it needs is reinforcement. These are all examples of Bernays observations of how things really work.

So how do those in a position of influence get us to do what they want us to do? Sure it can involve education, but as psychiatrist and marketer Clotaire Rapaille has noted,“Emotions are the keys to learning, the keys to imprinting. The stronger the emotion, the more clearly the experience is learned.” http://bit.ly/2hr23i3 He has also stated, “I don’t care what you are going to tell me I don’t care. Give me the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins.” http://to.pbs.org/1xDCDyR  What Rapaille refers to is that humans may say they make decisions based on rational motives and outcomes, a cost-benefit analysis, but in reality they are governed by instinctive drives and emotions. The people that Bernays refers to as the “invisible government” realize this, so when they undertake a program of changing people’s attitudes, and thus, behaviors, they know the way to do this is to use emotional strategies. And what if the changes desired run counter to sub conscious drives, i.e. the desire to reproduce? Then you need to re-define the goals, shape them, and then allow societal pressure, as people adopt the new ideals, to work (people do tend to want to conform as it is psychologically easier than to rebel). So model the behavior on popular TV shows (small families, marriage in the 30s rather than early 20s, people putting career goals first, etc.) and in one generation people will adopt the new norm. And as some societies that initially sought to reduce birthrates have discovered, now that the rates are far lower than they ever expected them to go, getting people to suddenly want to have more children is going to be a very difficult undertaking.

Once a target behavior is reached, once it is institutionalized, people will force conformity on each other.  If you are a woman just try to stop shaving your legs and underarms, and see what happens. You will probably get people question your intent and motives, especially other women, and you will obviously get stares at the beach. And of course people will seek to categorize you, as in if you are a hippie or vegan or whatever. What if you decide you would like to have a family of four or five children? Again, you will be questioned, your behavior becoming a defining point of how people judge you, and they will seek to categorize you, as in if you are merely making a large family out of some sort of conformity to a religious dictate.  Or you can try eating pizza for breakfast. You see, no matter what, when you break from the norm, people will question you. People feel comfort in conforming and your non-conformity makes them uncomfortable.

So overall, do conspiracies exist? Actually, yes. They may or may not take on the sorts that one sees in a movie like “Eyes Wide Shut” but undoubtedly those who have a great deal of access to media and other important avenues of social engineering capabilities are able to change how we view life, view each other, and even what we see as “proper” within our own existence.  Knowing this, and the techniques involved, at least can give one an easier ability to break from conformity within the society, and not feel anxiety and fear when living outside the norms created by those in power.

The Price of Power

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Imagine this for a plot to a psychological thriller: A politically ambitious heroine finds herself thrust into the world of national politics. She has a rather violent past she must conceal, as well as a rather, well, complicated family structure that, too, must be kept secret. At the same time she gains the assistance and mentorship of a Mormon man who just happens to be a retired CIA assassin. And on top of that her first day in Congress she tangles with a sexist congressman bent on putting her in her place. Of course things really get interesting when she gains the attention of a mysterious financier who is quite generous, but expects a great deal in return.

Before anyone attempts to read into this any sort of commentary into American politics this book has been in pre-publication mode for a couple of years.  So as they say, “All characters and events are fictitious.”  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive right into the sequel in the “Freedom from Conscience” series: “Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power.”

Melanie Lindberg is a classic anti-heroine. She started out an outcast in high school who is introduced into vigilante serial killing by her teacher and two friends. As the series develops she gains her degree in psychology, gets back into trying to rid society of undesirables, winds up gaining and losing friends and lovers as she confronts a series of evil adversaries, and eventually finds herself winning a seat to the US Congress (and thus the focus of the new sequel).  A note: Each book stands on its own and one does not need to have read all the previous works to get into the storyline. Some people say they have started with the newest book and then read the others in descending order.

What really makes this book unique, aside from portraying women in the dominant roles throughout the novel, is the introduction of the character William Livingston, father of Malin Livingston, a critical component of the struggle that will occur in the story. He holds a leading position in a secret society, “The Pegasus Symposium,” which is comprised of the most powerful men and women in the world. For some reason he has taken a strong interest in Melanie and insists on her joining the organization. Of course what he offers her is guaranteed power and influence, but at a terrible price.

As for his daughter Malin, she befriends Melanie, and attempts to introduce her to a new world far removed from Melanie’s impoverished childhood or her middle-class life before her election. Malin is not happy, despite her privileged upbringing. Yet once both meet they form an instant connection.  The conflict Melanie faces as she attempts to juggle her family responsibilities, her new position, and Malin form the basis of the story’s emotional appeal as Melanie is faced with temptations that she never could ever have dreamed possible.  And throughout the story you are teased with the question as to why Melanie is being maneuvered ever-so-closer to William Livingston’s desires for her, as well as Malin’s.

One could say this story takes on the elements of a Greek tragedy, but I cannot say which one it connects to the most without giving away a major component to the developments which take place. Traditional readers will enjoy the roller coaster of the mind it takes one on, people who like mystery will appreciate the various sub-plot streams that eventually come together, people into conspiracies and politics will probably be asking, “How does the author know, this…is he Illuminati?” and people who like philosophy and psychology will appreciate the way Melanie’s character has to grapple with deep aspects of the individual’s relationship to society and vice versa.  If power is defined as, “The ability to direct or influence other people and the course of events” then who of us is truly free in a modern, complex world? For further information on this book check here:

Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power: https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Conscience-Price-Power-5/dp/1612967701/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479639866&sr=1-2&keywords=freedom+from+conscience+the+price+of+power