Thursday, October 20, 2011

Giant-Punk, anyone?

The other evening my mind was tripping through different ideas concerning plots, genre, character names, etc etc. And as I was thinking on the different flavors of *punk* - e.g. steam, cyber, bug punk - I came up with the idea of Giants being utilized as the primary source of power, as opposed to, say, steam.

Without bothering to Google the term, as I don't particularly care to be any more disheartened than I already am this week by discovering 75 people already came up with the same idea and successfully, at that - I've continued to play with this in my head.

Imagine a race of *controlled/enslaved* giants completely utilized by Victorian society. Can't you see a behemoth bracing a bridge across his back, or straining in place to support a skytower? Or pulling a train full of well-bred ladies n' gents across the endless plains?

The more I thought along these lines, the better I honed the concept, the further this picture crystallized in my mind.

Then I thought, by what means are these giants kept subdued and complacently performing their tasks? What are the risks, to society, if any? For it seems that no matter what power source is used, there are always inherent risks ... our own dependency on fossil fuels/combustion and nuclear energy being excellent cases in point. Therefore ... what is the risk factor this fictional society would leave itself open to. The giants, in a certain sense, would be metaphoric for the very real catastrophes we as a species are vulnerable to - that is, in the struggle to utilize vast powers barely held in check by the skin of our collective teeth.

So, besides the obvious hazards of an extremely large and potentially enraged behemoth throwing off his shackles and raining pandemonium on the heads of his Lilliputian captors - what other, perhaps more subtle issues would this fictional people face? What challenges to mores & ethics would divide such a society?

And as humans persist in being such dichotomous thinkers [everything pigeonholed as either yes/no, black/white, up/down, good vs evil], I cannot help but relay the plight of the giants to every other species mankind has somehow managed to bastardize for it's own purposes. No matter how necessary or higher minded, there is no escaping the fact that we have abused and misused the natural order of planet Earth.

Fortunately, or UNfortunately as it truly is, Rhesus monkeys and dairy cattle do not have the intellect or the physical might to free themselves from our dictates. Yet, what about this hypothetical race of giants? What would they do, what would their struggles be and how would they go about exacting revenge upon their captors?

So, no. I haven't and may not ever choose to Google Giant-Punk. I'm sure it's out there, somewhere. Which is a good thing as I'm likely too lazy to ever write such a piece. An idea and a dollar will perhaps buy a cup of coffee these days.

But while I'm thinking and typing away, here is where I'd like to confess that in my more serious moments I frequently turn to the subject, not of giants, but of mores & ethics. The social concensus that determines what is or is not acceptable and under what circumstances.

If one wants to be all-religious about the topic [which I don't], one can say that man was granted *dominion* over the Earth. Some interpret this to mean *guardianship*, but no matter how you slice it - we've done a deplorable job and frankly, I'm ashamed.

Most of us have no idea the far-reaching depth of pain and suffering that occurs in order to bring a meal to the table, or hair coloring/cosmetics to assuage our vanity. Furthermore, we don't want to know, for the knowledge would *taint* our enjoyment of many pleasures.

What is one to do, after all?

To take responsibility, would be my answer. To become a mature species, one that has discovered the means by which it may meet it's needs in harmony with nature. But it's so much easier to go with the flow, and leave such higher-minded efforts to our descendents - those lucky bastards [not].

So back to the theme of giants. Currently, as matters stand in the *real* world, the giants hold full sway - from Wall Street to the International Bankers to the Vatican to the media/superstars to the governments of 9/10ths of our planet's societies.

Egad. When did our basic, primitive *herd* instinct go so awry? How did the primary animal trait of herd behaviour ... alpha leadership, group consensus, mating and procreation ... how did and at what point did we allow such a mess to evolve into something most of us would change in a heartbeat if we only knew how?

Sadly, I think we - as much as the Victorians - allowed comfort and convenience to dictate our mores. We allowed others to think for us. It is a sad fact of life that, while all of us know stealing is wrong, we must have over 500 new laws created by a peer-elected body each and every YEAR to oversee the minitua of one very simple, very basic ideal.

Do no harm.

That's it, no magic, no minister, no president, no teacher, no god is required to enforce/coerce/justify this unbelieveably gentle truth. And yet ...

So that is where my mind wanders, in it's travels here and there. And here I sit, enjoying the comforts and convenience and technology placed before me. It's a strange game, here on planet Earth.

Sometimes, out of sheer boredom or intellectual masturbation, I try to envision what life/society might be like elsewhere in the vastness of the universe. And it is a mighty, mighty big place.

The mathematics of such scope and breadth fairly preclude that complex, intelligent life exists elsewhere. Will we, you and I, live long enough to see this verified? I don't know, but I'd like to hope.

Unless of course, something/someone bigger/faster/stronger/hungrier than we should show up someday claiming *dominion* over humanity. Wouldn't that be a real kicker?

The question begs, who really are the giants here? I imagine it's all a matter of perspective.

*** for some unknown reason, I can't get spell check to work. :P

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