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Monday, 6 December 2010
Mind at Play

Mind at Play was the title of a book by Stephen Gaskin, who founded the rather metastatic commune known as "The Farm," which was quirky even for a commune in the 1970s. 

The book was nothing special, really; I reviewed it for the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate back when my "day job" was with the Louisiana State Capitol Police.  Gaskin did what he set out to do, explain his philosophy and describe what he and the others in the Farm were up to, and on that level his book succeeded. 

(Perhaps my mildly sour attitude toward Stephen Gaskin and his works is partly informed by the fact that a girl with whom I'd been infatuated early in my college career went off to join his commune, which meant she was no longer available to me.  So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut said.)

But I loved the title of that book.  Mind at play.  What a concept.

That's why I love the Internet, computers, and electronics in general.  Since I was a kid, I loved the idea of telephones, radio and television - that property of being able to be here and there at the same time.  It's almost preternatural to be able to be remotely present, when you think about it, and our entire technological base moves us in that direction.  Increasingly, many of us are here and there at the same time.  Our minds are, to an extent, now free to roam at will.

I'm in the kitchen of my son's home in south Louisiana, about forty miles west of New Orleans.  At the same time, I am even now updating a blog which (I hope) friends from all over the world will read, because it's linked to posts of mine in Wikipedia, some of my other online work, the Clarion West Writers Workshop (with whom I have no formal relationship as yet, but I'm hoping), and other places.

(I really revived this blog after a long gestation because it's a clean slate on which I can write.  My first post was an appreciation of John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar as a work of futurism, so it was a good place to start talking about science, science fiction, and other things about which I'm at least mildly passionate.)

Earlier, I checked my bank balance back in Denver, where I live; checked my Email; downloaded directions to my sister's place a hundred miles or so away so I can visit some of my siblings later today, and have had the novel (to me) experience of watching movies over my son's video game console through Netflix. 

Among other things, I renewed my acquaintance last night with the original BBC television version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I maintain still is head and shoulders better than the Hollywood version.  (Who the hell decided that Mos Def was a good cast for Ford Prefect, anyway?)

Of course, the Internet can be used for evil as well, as my grandson showed me by introducing me to the animated series based on Spaceballs.  No technology has just one moral side.  Sometimes our minds can wind up in strange places, indeed.

Posted by V.P. Frickey at 7:42 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2011 8:21 PM EDT
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