Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And then I wrote The Proggy!

The title for The Proggy, an electronic book I wrote, was based on a computer program I had created for my Vector Graphics CPM computer way back in the mid-1980s. Several significant factors were coming together in my life at that time and that book was to some extent a chronology of those events. There was also a good deal of my personal, psychic history in that book together with a copy of the computer program on which that title was based. I offered the book for sale but only as a PDF electronic document, while I simultaneously gave it away for free. I also asked for donations.

I didn't get any sales or donations. I have no idea how many people may have downloaded free copies of that book. I think not many but certainly some did.

Way back in the mid-80s I was just beginning for the first time to write long passages on my own. We had just written and self-published Helen:A Psychic Gift, and I was teaching myself how to use and program in GW Basic on our CPM computer.

I wrote the program that was the basis for my book, The Proggy, on a whim. I had actually conceived a desktop version of the popular Ouija Board and envisioned a floating orb and the graphic associated with that popular psychic tool. I could see thousands of people buying my program on disk.

It never happened.

In part that is because I am not a trained programer and there was no way that I could begin to create a desktop version of a Ouija Board as I had envisioned it. But that didn't stop me from trying. And in doing so along the way I tested what would have become the core of that program had it ever actually been created.

At its core was a computer algorithm or mathematical formula commonly know in geek circles as a random number generator. I simply keyed that generator to an unabridged dictionary. When operated. that program would spit out a series of numbers on a page.

I had filtered those numbers so that they indicated what page in the dictionary to turn to, which column to look at, and how many numbers to count up or down in that column to obtain the word that would answer whatever question I had asked. Sometimes those responses were very profound.

I have told this story before but it is well worth repeating because it is so profound in my humble opinion. A number of people were playing with the program at a party given by one of my sisters. One of these, a young woman, wanted to get a solution to a problem she had, but she refused to tell anyone what her question was. She said that if the program was real it could give her an answer without knowing the question because it should be able to know what she was thinking without her saying it out loud. She pointed out that this would be a better test of the program because the answer would not be influenced by the beliefs and attitudes of the others. She said if they could read the question they might try to filter the words that appeared so that they better represented a legitimate answer.

Undeterred my sister ask the program to answer the woman's question even though it had not been verbalized. It did. And after the women studied the words that resulted they determined that the answer was that she should either examine her boyfriend or have him checked out somehow.

The woman said that the answer was absurd. She then told everyone that the question had been what to do about her reoccurring yeast infection. She had been to the doctor numerous times and had it treated only to have it return with a vengeance. She said her boyfriend had nothing to do with her infection.

To which the women responded that yes indeed he could have everything to do with it. They explained to her that he could be infecting her without his knowledge, and if her doctor did not know she was involved in an active sexual relationship she could have overlooked that possibility in treating the infection in the first place.

The end of the story was she had the boyfriend go to the doctor and found he was the source of her reoccurring problem. The Proggy was absolutely dead on correct in that instance. And it has been dead on correct in other instances too. But there are many times, perhaps most of the time, when it is about as clear as last weeks evaporated mud puddle.

It should come as no surprise that if the energy behind The Proggy comes from a source outside of this consciousness, which I believe it does, then at a minimum it must have the same free will that all of us here have. If it chooses to speak it will. If it chooses not to speak that too will happen. In that event, you can beat on the keys until doomsday and the words that come out will be about as clear a gibberish as you can concoct by scattering the letters of a Scrabble game across the floor.

And that isn't where it ends either. We are the products of our wishes, our desires, our needs and wants. All of those factors enter into the equation when we fire up The Proggy. We want certain answers. We want the issues and problems in our lives resolved. And we want that now.

In my own attempts, it becomes frustrating when the answer I get back refers to a certain kind of organism that lives on rounded stones stuck in the mud at the bottom of an isolated frog pond someplace. And when I continue to ask and receive as many like responses my frustration quickly turns to anger. I end up turning the damn thing off and going for a walk in the park where in my mind I curse the Gods of the universe for their abject disregard of my needs.

The proclivity of those Gods to refuse to speak to me when I question them is not my only frustration when working with the other side that is associated with The Proggy. Sometimes the answers are as clear as can be, or apparently clear, but because they deal with the future it is impossible to know that or to understand what is being said.

Again, my belief system enters into this equation. I believe that nothing on this planet happens by chance. I chuckle under my breath when I hear of this great accomplishment or that which seemingly came about as the result of the efforts by one great human chimpanzee or the other.

Understand that Adolph Hitler came to power because God made it so. He did not come to power because he was a very clever ruthless politician or because groups of individuals gave him that power. Nor did the devil do it. There is no devil.

Understand that I believe God is not the fatherly figure that modern day religions lead us to believe. Understand that I believe it is impossible for any human being to begin to understand who or what God is or what the before and afterlife is all about. Those are all issues that are outside of human being animal perceptiveness, and none of that has happened by accident.

In a word I believe in predestination. And to all of the questions you throw at me based on my beliefs I respond, "Go on ahead, knock yourself out." The kinds of questions I am referring to here are questions like, "Well if there is only predestination, why should I try to be good?

If there is only predestination then why isn't it every man for himself? (In a way isn't it at least kind of like that?)

If there is only predestination, then what reason do I have to...(insert here whatever makes you feel good.)"

And to all of that I answer, "Go ahead, knock yourself out." You are no more in control of any of this than I am or Adolph was. Delude yourself if it makes you feel good.

It is my belief that the great human chimpanzee who is able to do amazing things like leap over tall buildings in a single bound, travel faster than a speeding bullet--does them not because of superhuman endowments but rather because he or she was predestined to do so. The great human chimpanzee, he, she or it as the case may be, is on this merry-go-round atop his, her, or its tiny wooden horse, bobbing up and down right along with the rest of us. They have no more control over the handle that starts and stops the damn thing than any of the rest of us.

To get a real good idea of what this life looks like from the other side go here and watch this video--

Those conditions of predestination explain for myself better than any other factor the deep complexity of trying to own and operate something like The Proggy. It doesn't matter if you determine that the words are random or if they have been carefully selected to convey a message to the recipient, none of us can know the future and still be here as one of the great human chimpanzees on the planet earth.

If what we want is to be the leader of all the other wooden horses on the revolving disk known as the merry-go-round, it is easy to dream and imagine that soon our horse will gain in speed and overtake all of the others on the ring. Seemingly some seem to do that. But if anything ever shows us that we are indeed fixed in place by the metal pole that predetermined our destiny in that contrived race, all of our hope of ever being extracted from the regiment that we are embedded in is dashed. In my humble opinion that is part of the reason that none of us can know the future with clear certainty.

As such over the years and after countless hours of using The Proggy, I have determined it will never really tell us anything specific. From time to time as it chooses, it will prod us and temp us, challenge us in a way to think, act and do some specific things. But if you ask it, "Will he, she or it ever really love me?" You might get told about a certain kind of organism that lives on rounded stones stuck in the mud in the bottom of an isolated frog pond someplace. And you might not even get an answer that is as clear as all of that.

I believe that is the main reason my program and my book about that program never took off even though I gave it away. People want absolutism. No one wants maybe or perhaps as an answer to anything. Nor do people on average wish to think about it or consider all of the possibilities before turning the damn thing off and going for a walk in the park.

A quick look around will always demonstrate that we are indeed at the beginning of the race because all of those other wooden horses are also affixed to that rotating disk by the same kind of metal poles that holds us tightly into the position where we reside. And I can assure you from personal experience that if given the opportunity to exchange positions with any of those other riders the trip would be no more or less exciting than what we are all already experiencing at the moment.

In that respect I must share some answers, one in particular, that I have received many times in the past. It has represented hope for me. I think that in the end that is all The Proggy can ever do for anyone is give them hope. That word for me is Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has represented my Oz to be found at the end of my yellow brick road. It is an impossible place for me to get to given all of the witches that stand in my way. If I were in Amsterdam, a resident of that place, I could marry my same gendered spouse. I would have all of the rights that any other married couple has.

If I lived in Amsterdam there would be a good, universal, state backed medical insurance program which I could participate in, and I would not have to be rich to do so. Imagine good, modern, medical facilitates and prescription drugs at an affordable price. To an old person like myself those things are very important.

And if I lived in Amsterdam I could go buy marijuana if I wanted to do that. I could do that without the fear of being hauled away by the police or labeled a drug addict or be shunned by anyone. I recall the first time I lived in Amsterdam and rented a boat on one of the canals for a few months one spring and summer. My Dutch landlord said to me, "Well drug addicts are one thing but who cares if someone smokes a joint now and then?" That tolerance and respect for some other lifestyle is the epitome of what Amsterdam represents to me.

But every time I got the words Amsterdam or New Holland as a site augury or as a dictionary word I would become angry. Because as it gave me a reason to dream I could also see that practically that place is totally out of my reach. I might indeed be able to immigrate to Amsterdam if I had enough money. I don't and the expense of living there is prohibitive even for the most humble existence. Maybe someday that will change but I have to say I have limited hope given the reality of my personal finances.

I am writing this dissertation on Monday, June 27, 2011. To put that date into perspective allow me to remind you what happened late last Friday night in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation legalizing same gender marriage in the State of New York. To my utter amazement it was voted on and passed in a Republican dominated state legislature.

Then, this morning, while having my morning cup of coffee and reading the world events on Google News I stumbled across the following article,

It is an article that argues for the legalization of drugs as a way of combating drug addiction and reducing the expenses of the war on drugs that by all reasonable observations is failing.

Allow me to quote a small passage from that article,

"The US is closer to ending prohibition on marijuana than at any time since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which first made possessing or selling cannabis illegal in the country.
Unlikely bedfellows Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA) plan to introduce a bill on Thursday that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana. Theirs are not the only voices calling for marijuana to be legalized.

"U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia have also called for a debate on decriminalization.

"The U.S. needs to open a debate," former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, told media at a Global Commission on Drug Policy event earlier this month. "When you have 40 years of a policy that is not bringing results, you have to ask if it's time to change it."

We now have what is commonly referred to as "Obama Care" in the US. Such as it currently is, it is at least a foot in the door toward a good universal health care program for all citizen of the US. With Friday's signature of the Gay Marriage Law in New York who can doubt that the tide has finally turned toward equity for all LGBT citizens in the US? And then there is the article I read this morning on CNBC.

Those three issues have historically led my list of the many reasons why I have always considered Amsterdam to be my Oz of hope. And now all three of those conditions which I consider basic human rights which ought to be extended to all citizens everywhere seem at least vaguely possible within the very country I was born in and where I am a citizen and wherein I can sort of afford to live.

I wonder. Perhaps in a way New Amsterdam was dead on, even though from my position on my particular wooden horse I was unable to see that with any kind of clarity.