Sunday, September 10, 2017

erase the blackboard

I suppose it's an old-fart's plaint, this image that came to mind this morning ... of the grade-school days when, at the end of all those academic throes, some child would be assigned to erase the huge blackboard at the front of the room. Math, English, science, geography ... all the hard work that had filled the space, been erased, been written over, been improved ... during the day would be eradicated.

The eradication might be half-baked and accomplished with erasers, which would leave behind a sheen of not-quite-clean dust ... OR ... a wet cloth might be applied and eradicate figures, letters, outlines, dust and whatever all else and take the blackboard back to a black tabula rasa. Black, black, black. Clean and new, as if it had never been used.

These days -- specifically today -- I wonder if someone might not just eradicate everything and begin again. No more Donald Trump and his ill-educated tap-dancing; no more North Korean playtime threat; no more multiple hurricanes swirling in and around the Caribbean; no more additional troops to Afghanistan; no more military equipment for police departments around the country; no more hard-luck stories of coal miners or others trying to get by; no more Democrats or Republicans; no more TED talks ...

Erase it all and begin again ... assuming I'm around and have not been likewise erased.


  1. We are designed to erase naturally after some odd years, if accident or illness hasn't beat the clock to it. Nature may be erasing us as a species, or perhaps we're erasing ourselves. Life, in my opinion, comes with conscious self awareness, and it is persistent. Were we erased collectively, I imagine something like us would follow.

    Or perhaps life will evolve to exist in machine form, with conscious self awareness as the defining trait of being alive. Will that life function as a part of a hive? Will it retain survival instincts? Will it be as messed up as us? Perhaps it is a natural evolutionary step and will be an improvement.

    We're creating lives at a logarithmic rate that threatens our viability. How god like. And what would be unnatural about shifting from the sloppiness of biology to more durable materials with fewer maintenance problems. We shouldn't presume that AI would lack the curiosity to learn and explore. I seem to recall that that was what Captain Kirk considered the defining trait of humanity.

  2. Thanks for jogging my memory, Adam. I remember blackboards and the felt erasers we designated after-schoolers would clap clean out an open window. Once a week our mother superior would wipe the dust away with a damp cloth, then lay out long white chalk for another round of lessons. One of her blackboard endeavors was teaching us penmanship, compliments of Mr.Palmer. For that I have been grateful all my life.