Dreams Do Come True

As early as 1999 Milton Friedman remarked of the Internet:

The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash. A method where buying on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A.”

Well it’s here; crypto currencies are here to ease the transition from buyers to sellers without the intervening costs and delays familiar with bank services. That’s not to say I would be pleased to see my bank go. The day Lloyd’s Bank issued  a first cheque book to a young man just starting out was a proud one. I met the manager; he shook my hand and offered some advice on the types of account, where to come for that first car, the first house, when the first baby comes along. . .  It was all so reassuring; so comforting to be respected in that manner.

That was then. That was before customer service was relegated to the ATM and the Debit Card. In truth I no longer long for a chat with the teller or even an hello to the manager. We move too fast for all that now. We need to draw cash 24/7; change flights in Azerbaijan in the middle of the night and make last minute decisions about a gift for the wife. We wanted speed and we have it. Now we want all that without the cost of banking; without paying salaries and building costs and all those bits of paper that festooned out lives since the Gilgamesh and we have it. In the Blockchain we have it

So what now you may ask. Well nothing. Nothing is what now. It’s as nothing as going to the evening market armed either with goats or bananas to trade, or with pieces of eight or plugs of tobacco. Anything goes if the seller of what you want wants what you have. There is no in-between. If you have a crypto on your phone you can transfer the agreed amount to the seller’s phone. Point, click, done. No one else involved: how wonderful but, it’s revolutionary. It’s radical. In one simple step governments lose their grip on your finance. In one simple step banks can go out of business. You can bet they won’t go gently; you can be sure of a rearguard action to save their empires but they will have to adapt to no longer serving as custodian. They are, in one simple step, relegated to secondary services.

Governments, too, are in need  of adapting and some are doing just that.  Japan embraced the Bitcoin from its early innovation. Scandinavia, along with most European nations, have crypto currencies as part of their financial services. The United States have not. The US are in a panic. They are sending out letters warning of dire consequences to those known to have crypto accounts – they’ve even threatened to confiscate passports of law-abiding citizens who do not conform to laws yet to be defined. Such blunt hypocrisy in the face of technological advance has to be seen as Luddite in nature and oppressive in adoption. From whence comes such retarded thinking in a nation so advanced? Could it be from the top: from the pinnacle of industrial and military might? Let’s hope not; let’s hope against all odds that is not the case. Let’s hope the current administration cotton-on to the march of progress, recognize its inevitability and help the world move forward.

 

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Damascus

The chaos of burgeoning civil war had given her the cover she needed to set up camp under the guise of a stall holder in the little bazaar beside the Great Wall. Piece-by-piece she was able bring in, and assemble, her mining equipment, but she would need more than wood and canvas covers when the serious digging started. She peeked out to the open ground beside the mosque to see troops scampering. Then the slapping of gunfire and a soldier fell. Others scampered back to an empty street where they threw themselves against the nearest wall: More gunfire, this time from further away, up a street where she could see people flying into alleys and doorways. She waited: unafraid. This was a common occurrence now: almost daily as the rebel forces grew ever bolder. The prospect of death seemed not to bother them.

The other stall owners were all cowered under shelves and tables as she threaded her way back to her own little corner and dived under the counter to the wooden ladder that took her down to a door in the Great Wall. Through the door were steps, centuries worn, leading down to a cellar where there was the constant sound of dripping water. The floor was made of heavy stone slabs: too heavy to lift, and too thick to break.

She sat in the middle of the room, adopted the lotus position, and let her mind drift for a few seconds before forcing it to go blank. She had perfected the technique under the relentless tuition of Smiling George, the beautiful young monk she thought she had killed on the road in Western China. She had knocked him down with the stolen Hummer while trying to escape from Tor, a ruthless killer in the service of Commander John Conway – then in the service of the Federation of Fossil Fuel Suppliers. Picking up the shaken monk and taking him to his village she hoped to make amends to his family. In practice things went quite differently; his taught her so much more than she could offer them. Besides exploring some hitherto unknown pyramids they had shown her they also taught her how to elevate her mind to higher plain within seconds of entering meditation. Once there, in the areas of consciousness reached by few humans, she could start to connect with the memories of her ancestors. Just before the cataclysm longevity had peaked at 478 years: leaving women with centuries of freedom between bearing, and raising, children. In Egypt, and all across the Arabian Peninsular, language had developed and writing was beginning to move toward a universal format. Food, water, and shelter had long been stabilised, and music was being heard from The Rift Valley to the slopes of the Himalayas. If there was a cloud on that rosy horizon it was population growth which, if unchecked, would require migrations to edge of the warm climate zones because the flood plains would support only finite numbers.

Meira drifted further into her memory banks hoping to find some remnants of Anima. Anima was so elusive: so hard to contact. A day passed, and then a night, while new images surfaced and sank, but she couldn’t find Anima. Anima was key; she had to reach her.

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Dinner with the Air Marshall


. . . She didn’t hear the click of a lock when he closed the door behind him but she knew she was a prisoner here. Deciding against testing to see how much freedom she really had she lay on the bed to sleep, perhaps to dream, to await as events unfold.

She couldn’t be sure if it were part of dream or if she pulling up memories but sounds of the boys twittering were filling her head. She awoke. Unsure of what had happened or, if, anything had happened but there was the feeling of distant discovery running through her. What can this be? What had happened while she slept? She had been somewhere. She had been somewhere far, far, away – too far away to put a label on it. Too far to touch, to identify, to find again even. Where had she been?

“Come in please,” she said when there was a polite tap on the door. The Air Marshall’s face appeared. “Oh, hello. I had been sleeping. Sorry, I was far away.”

“In that case please excuse my for interrupting your slumber.”

“Oh, no, you are not interrupting – I was awake when you knocked.”

He nodded. “I’d like you to join me for dinner – nearby. There’s an hotel with a half decent restaurant quite nearby. Say fifteen minutes?”

“Oh, please, make it five. I never need more than five minutes.”

“Very well than.” He bowed and left.

 

“You are fond of Indian food,” he asked as they sat at a table for four with an immaculate white cloth.

“I am, very much so, although I suspect I’m fond of western Indian food – the sort of Indian food I would prepare.”

“That sounds like the best of both worlds. Let’s hope the food here is to your liking.

465px-Indischer_Maler_des_6._Jahrhunderts_001She had only to eat and to admire the excellent service as it was clear that he had planned the meal carefully, leaving only his probing conversation with which to deal. “Your mother is a friend of the President of India I understand.”

She smiled and nodded.

“Was she was also a friend of the previous President?” She nodded. “And the one before that?” He sat back as she nodded again. “She would be a great age than?”

“Yes,” Meira agreed, “she is – by modern standards.”

“Modern standards being three score and ten?”

“We do a little better than that now. Many live actively into their nineties. Our predecessors – our ancient predecessors, developed lives much longer than currently.”

“How much longer?”

“Six or seven times longer.”

“People lived for six hundred years?”

“Oh yes. Catherine, one of my direct ancestors, was more than seven hundred years old before her body failed her. An amazing woman.”

He thought for a moment of two. “You seem very sure.”

“I am. I’m certain”

“How can you be? Where’s the evidence to support such a view.”

“Oh it’s not a view. It’s a memory. I have much of her memory in my own. That’s what we do, we Matriarchs – we hand down our memories.”

“And archaeological evidence. Where is that to be found?”

“Probably under our feet. This part of the planet was populated by some of the earliest migrants out of the Indus Valley.”

“Surely if it was there it would have been found by now.”

“No. It’ll be far deeper than any archaeologists have ventured. We spend our time counting money – counting costs in monetary terms so the money runs out before the important evidence is revealed. Short term thinking is all we’ve ever done since the cataclysm some twelve thousand years ago.”

“Are you saying that before the cataclysm, before the great floods, there was a more sophisticated society?”

“Oh, yes. Up until that time humans had developed continuously – not linearly you understand – Life has always evolved in fits and starts, but continuously one way or another. We reached the point when the female line began to dominate the leadership around one hundred thousand years ago.” She paused as she read the incredulity passing his eyes.

“At that time,” she continued, “hominids had been in the Indus Valley for eighty thousand years or more – plenty of time to graduate from hunter gatherers to farmers and solar engineers. Much of the apparent mystery surrounding monoliths and megaliths disappears when you realise they were solar devices. They were the earliest attempts to store the heat of the Sun.”

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