The great works

As I have stated, 2022 will be, in all likelihood, the last full year I’ll get to see. Thus, it may be my last chance to plan for something that could take a whole year.

I want to leave something behind, some proof that I created more than I destroyed. I want to make something that will outlive me. Since the most obvious and most honorable method of securing a man’s legacy is denied to me, I had to find something else. The end result is this: four Great Works.

These are longer-term projects that, in my opinion, have the best chance of enduring not only after 2022, but after I’m gone from this earth. They’re not easy. They’re not simple. And that’s the whole point.

The First Work

First among the works is the one I’m doing for, well, work. The platform is called Alana, named after my boss’s newborn daughter, Basically, think of it as a social network for car owners and buyers. You sign up through your local dealership or an invitation, and the first step is a kind of personality profile, the same as you’d find on, say, a dating site. After that, you get a set of vehicle models best matching your profile, and you get to like or dislike each of them until you’re left with only a few “top” matches. Then, you get to see actual inventory, and possibly even buy a new car online, if you’re so inclined.

That’s the gist of it. In truth, there are a lot of other things going on behind the scenes. And the list keeps on growing, because Brandon (the CEO) is at least my equal when it comes to off-the-wall ideas. But that’s one of the things I like most about him. That, and how he’s the kind of person who always encourages everyone around him to be their best. (He’s part of the reason why I consider my expiration date to be in the future, rather than the present.)

Alana could take forever. It’s open-ended, and there’s always something new to add. I’ve been working at it for over 2 months now, and I sometimes feel that I’ve made no progress whatsoever. Some of that comes from the very…fluid requirements of the project. Some stems from my lack of self-esteem. Beyond those, however, it’s just big. It’s the biggest software project I’ve ever developed, and the development is, for the time being, a one-man show.

If I can get this thing launched, and get all the main features working, I’ll consider it a success. Sure, I’d like it to go viral and become the Facebook/Instagram/Tinder/whatever of cars, but I’ll be happy just knowing that people are using it, that someone, somewhere, found exactly what they were looking for because of me.

The Second Work

I’ve already launched this one, but it needs far more content, and the “real” thing can’t start until 2022. To put it simply: I’m running for office. Specifically, I intend to be on the ballot for the Tennessee State House of Representatives, 27th District in the 2022 general election.

I’m an independent. I don’t want celebrity endorsements or help from PACs. In fact, I’d reject both of those without a second thought. What I want is to see this state (and, ideally, this country, but let’s start small) get back on the right track.

Tennessee has been leading the pack in a lot of good ways recently. We passed one of the toughest anti-SLAPP laws in the nation a few years back, allowing people to speak freely, without fear of lawsuits designed only to bankrupt them. In 2021, we outlawed the teaching in schools of Critical Race Theory, the anti-American and anti-Enlightenment doctrine that is so prevalent in the US today. We returned to Constitutional Carry, meaning that the 2nd Amendment actually exists here again. And only a few weeks ago, our governor signed into law a statewide ban on vaccine mandates, including the enforcement of federal mandates within the state.

Those are all great. They make Tennessee a shining beacon of liberty in a world plagued by tyranny. But I think we can do even better. I also think today’s partisan politics won’t let that happen, so that’s why I’m throwing my hat into the ring. If nothing else, I can set a better example through my words and actions.

The Third Work

Setting a better example is behind the third work, as well. Here, it’s not so much a political system as a philosophical one. I’ve mentioned “technetism” a few times in recent months, but I want to flesh out the concept in 2022.

At its core, technetism is nothing more than humanism divorced from the atheistic additions it has gathered. It’s almost impossible to find Christian humanists these days, but it’s certainly possible, in my view, to be a Christian technetist. The same goes for, say, Islam or Buddhism. Or even atheism, really. All that matters is that you see humanity as something to preserve, rather than destroy.

I have actually written a 20,000-word introductory monograph, called The Prison of Ignorance, which I would like to edit and publish in 2022. This, as I see it, becomes the first step in creating the “technetic” school of thought. There will also be an accompanying site, where I’ll talk in more depth about what the philosophy is, what it means, and how others can become a part of it. (In my wildest dreams, there’s even a technetism podcast. I’d planned to start that all the way back in April, but…well, you know.)

The Fourth Work

When I came up with the idea of Great Works, I promised myself that I wouldn’t include any of my books. There are too many of those, and they just aren’t great enough. Or that’s how I see it. None of my novels will ever be classics in the sense of Lord of the Rings or Ender’s Game. They won’t get turned into TV shows like The Expanse, much as I would love for that to happen. Except for the handful of extant copies, most of my stories will vanish once I’m gone, so I needed something else.

Well, there is something I could do. The Orphans of the Stars series has taken a turn in its fifth installment, and it has led me down the digression of SETI. Writing about humanity’s first (known) contact with an advanced alien species made me wonder what that would really be like. Not just the questions of what they look like, what they eat, and whether they would wonder the same about us, but the communication aspect. How do we communicate with people who aren’t even human?

I’ve been learning about that recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s possible, and in a way that so many of the “universal” messages don’t take into account. Most of those tend to focus on only one part of communication, one branch of knowledge. They’re fixated on math and physics, for example, or they worry too much about creating a functionally perfect system that ends up being useless for conveying information.

What we need is an interdisciplinary approach, something that combines mathematics and the hard sciences with linguistic, psychological, and even anthropological knowledge to create a more well-rounded method of communication. Something that represents human beings above all, emphasizing our intelligence and sentience while not getting bogged down in proving it.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m willing to call that the fourth and final Great Work of 2022. Nothing in the world—nothing I can realistically achieve, rather—would make me happier than the knowledge that something I created has become an ambassador for mankind. And everyone needs a quixotic quest. Everyone needs a windmill to tilt at.

This can be mine, because I’ve spent 38 years reaching for things I can’t have, fantasizing about futures that will never be, wishing I could touch the stars in some way. There’s nobody better to try it, if you ask me.

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