November 4, 2019: After five years, my second novel is complete. What I wish I hadn’t learned:

I discovered long ago a common thread in art and science that keeps me coming back to both. Those equations that lift off the page to reveal nature, possessing what physicists call “beauty,” are like the brushstroke that ties the painting together or the stage scene that clicks. They all provide a sense of awe. Writing can be like that. But, like the other forms of art and science, only after colossal exertion, and only on occasion. So it was that my self-imposed schedule of one book every five years has produced a second.

But writing has a dark side. This second book took 2226 hours to write. While I don’t record research time, I estimate approximately another 2000 hours. And that’s where the danger is, which I'll get to in a moment. Funny I didn’t realize that after the first book. Such research is required to predict as accurately and plausibly as possible the future of 2057 when the story in book two commences. Historical, philosophical, and geopolitical facts laced together by the nebulous nature of human psychology make both accuracy and plausibly, 40 years hence, a tall order, and why it took me 4000 hours to do it. Whether I succeeded is up to the reader to decide.

With plausibility of a future America in mind, there are several scenes that make me wonder if the reader may suspect the author as mad. Yet, in each of those acts, a significant or majority fraction of details (depending on the scene) are a matter of yesterday’s news. I even added where possible the place and dates to pique the reader’s memory or offer a reference to check these realities online. The remaining extrapolations are a bare extension from what we already have. Who in America just a few decades ago could imagine we would distinguish ourselves as the mass shooting capital of the world? Where, by late 2019, we suffered more mass shootings than there were days in the year by then. [1] Americans now take this as normal. The people cry for corrective measures and Congress promises to do so. All then returns to normal as we go about our daily lives hopeful our loved ones or ourselves aren't shot today, prepared to shout into the void again tomorrow. What should we expect in four decades when this second novel takes place? While some may find political and social evolution in America addressed in this book as bizarre, disconcerting or offensive, I’m not writing children’s books. I’m striving to make these novels not merely entertaining in whatever way people find the fall of civilization entertaining, but in an attempt to predict the future.

Given that a subtopic of this series hinges on the eventual collapse of planet Earth under human assault, I had to study current calamities around the globe and their cause in detail. Like hundreds of massive fires that torched Alaska and Siberia after a record series of hot years, including 50°F above average during Alaska’s winter (6 years in a row). Soot from those fires blanketed Greenland’s ice sheet to accelerate its loss by elevated solar absorption, expanding disruption of the Gulf Stream with 197 billion tons of melt in July of 2019 alone. [2] The Arctic ice cap continues to shrink to record lows as animals that depend on it blink out of existence due to lost habitat and hunting grounds now too far away to reach. While the lower 48 periodically freezes in another drifted Polar Vortex, then floods much of the country, both the result of a failing Jet Stream. All as human CO2 emissions driving manmade global warming responsible for these disasters reach new highs. [3] After the 5th Great Extinction sealed by an asteroid impact 66 million years ago, the 6th Great Extinction continues unabated in this, our Anthropocene, driven by liars and ineptitude. [4] What I wish I hadn’t learned.

Research into political aspects revealed the now visible retreat of Western Civilization—in America, masked by paper dollars. After three decades of China Shock, I understand the populist motivation but oppose the self-destructive response. For a significant fraction of Americans to endorse a criminal monster in flagrant violation of the Founder’s rules for this republic and the teachings of Jesus many of them claim to follow, is to doom liberty for eventual tyranny and lose the soul of this nation. But as my main character states, “To make things right is not so gratifying as to make things worse.” We’ve seen worse done through daily violation of Western civilization’s fundamental element—the rule of law—with the brazen glee of a thin-skinned 5-year old and his bootlickers holding the highest offices in the land. Who could have imagined in 2016 that conspiracy theorists and sympathizers or affiliates of the Ku Klux Klan and Neo Nazi’s supported by Breitbart News who likewise support Trump and vise versa would be welcomed by the White House? [5] The very Right-wing fanaticism my father enlisted in WWII to defend this nation against, now embraced. If it weren’t enough to witness three years of blatant immorality practiced by a draft-dodging adulterer, malignant liar, and money fleecing thief, we also witnessed the colipase of American Christianity through a sector of it which sponsors all of this. [6] American Christians on the Idol-supporting Right are now Christian by assertion alone. What I wish I hadn’t learned. Though I did find a silver lining: fortunately for them, this subset of true Christianity in America doesn’t read and or believe their scriptures, lest they find what Judas did for his betrayal. All of this informed the book's trajectory, and assists plausibility in those scenes otherwise strained without it.

Added to this chain of real-life calamities was the bombshell work by Patrick J. Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed. Deneen, lauded by opposing camps from The America Conservative to Barack Obama, shows that the seeds of our demise were planted from and within the very Founding itself. A point I’ve tried to make in my own books, though without the more historically traceable, step-by-step coherence allowed by Deneen’s non-fiction. I also wasn't so sure of it until he put all the pieces together for me. Through his analysis, what we see now, Left and Right, are distortions of Enlightenment liberalism’s promise to the point of eviscerating the entire project. Not because something went wrong, but because classical Founding liberalism worked so impossibly well. America’s failure was destiny.

Wonder if I can unlearn that?

Finally, since the main character in my books must discover a more complete definition of humanity, beyond the natural man of Enlightenment approximations (for proper governance), so did I. My investigations into the evolution of human psychology, political philosophy, and the arch of civilizations was more than a revelation, it was horrifying. In one of my earliest blog posts here in March of 2015, I wrote, “…whether it be the miraculous mechanics of the living cell or the brightest shinning quasar, few things compare to the lavish spectrum of marvels that humans produce.” I meant that as a complement. Less than half joking, I think now I was wrong. As a physicist having studied as a hobby the nature of quasars, I feel confident enough in their behavior to say their incomprehensible destructiveness is nothing so dangerous as what our race threatens. It’s no wonder our Founders struggled so mightily to find a form of governance of, by, and for unstable humans. The research I performed for this book, to aid predictions of the future, based on our past and present, changed me. I’ll never view the human race the same again. For those who dare to read this book, I hope they won’t either. Not to decimate their lofty views of America once deserved by the Greatest Generation, now dead, but to contribute, however small, to that call to morality, reason, truth, and justice now emerging around the globe from the miasma of modernity. [7]

From my seat in witness to this spectacle, 2019 caps what appears to have been a fulcrum to lever not the US alone into the gales of a perfect storm of planetary and political meltdown, but the Western world with it. It was in this miasmatic atmosphere that this second novel was completed, The Worst of Things: America In The 21st Century. The intersection of these perfect dual storms is what it’s about. While it is second in The Father trilogy, it can stand alone as a prologue summarizes book one.

Until next time, January 6, 2020.

[1] JASON SILVERSTEIN, There have been more mass shootings than days this year, CBS NEWS, SEPTEMBER 1, 2019
[2] Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, The Greenland ice sheet poured 197 billion tons of water into the North Atlantic in July alone, Washington Post, August 3, 2019
[3] Eleanor Imster and Deborah Byrd, Atmospheric CO2 hits record high in May 2019, EarthSky, June 17, 2019
[4] Do liars believe they’re free of consequences of their lies and ineptitude?
[5] Dylan Byers, Two Breitbart staffers join Trump administration , CNNMoney, January 25, 2017
[6] EMMA GREEN, Why Some Christians ‘Love the Meanest Parts’ of Trump, AUG 18, 2019
[7] Allana Akhtar and Juliana Kaplan, A world on fire: Here are all the major protests happening around the globe right now, AUG 18, 2019, Oct 22, 2019
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Published on November 04, 2019 18:16
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