1998 , 2007 Greg Kaiser

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Pyramid

      The purpose of blocks stacked as a pyramid is to support the top block, the n=1 up there. Each subsequent layer is made of n=depth squared blocks and you are near the center of the 910th layer, you are buried under or surrounded by more than 250 million blocks. Looking about you can see only parts of a dozen or so other blocks around, above and below. Only the block at the top has a very good notion of what the structure is all about. Extract yourself from the pyramid and walk around it. See it from all sides. Fly over it. Enjoy the view. Don't divert your attempt to gain perspective by trying to count the blocks.
      Don't expend energy trying to climb to the top. A monumental waste of time with an abysmally low probability of success.
      The pyramid poorly serves most of its blocks. It should be dismantled and the summation of n squared layers of blocks encouraged to seek associations that are more to their own benefit and liking. They were coerced into believing the pyramid is best for them. They fear for their existence if they are not so formed. It is unfortunate that most blocks foolishly believe a pyramid to be the only reliable structure. Freedom scares them. When one does complain it is told to look below at a layer that bears more than its does; to be grateful for its position and jealous only of its peers. They are not permitted to look up and relate what they see. Occasionally one is taken up and this is sufficient to satisfy the remainder that there exists an opportunity for upward mobility.
      There is never much room near the top. Victor harbors hope. He knows there's little probability he'll ever be employed again as an engineer. Hell, there's only a 0.4 probability of minimum wage day labor on any given day. If he "gets out," it means exhausting his body and time and getting barely enough to survive and not enough to rent a room. What's worse is the surrender of dignity and autonomy required by the job shop and the temporary employer. The maintenence of self esteem is sufficient reason to depend on begging. At least panhandlers and welfare recipients can delude themselves into believing they are defrauding the system and therefore superior to their benefactors. But that's not altogether efficient since publication of such notions tends to interfere with the ability to get handouts. In any case, a moderate amount of self respect is required to allow Victor to create an independent means of survival. That is what he hopes for.
      The only survival society provides for him at present is based on begging, scarce and growing scarcer social services and slave labor. The "post modern" internationalism means less for most and more for the few. He is superfluous in America since the jobs have gone to cheap labor countries overseas. (Though where, ultimately the products will be sold when the plastic gets too heavy to pass around, he thinks is a mystery.) So he's on his own and must self generate the confidence necessary to create the means to acquire the necessities of survival. What is that means to be?
      Victor doesn't have high probability options. He believes he must simultaneously work at a number of possibilities. As an engineer he designed and programmed communications devices among other computer related activities. In his spare time he created PC applications, especially for his children. He did job related technical writing and played with prose and poetry at home. In the past twelve months he's taught himself HTML and some JavaScript while exploring the web and developing several (free) homepages. He works by using public access machines, mostly in libraries. The inventory of his resources includes an aging 486 powered by photovoltaic panels. These he keeps at a campsite fifty miles from Tucson and ten miles from pavement.
      While in his retreat he writes prose, poetry and windows applications. Of course there is no phone or internet access. That's what he goes to Tucson to get. Not to mention money for food. You can only eat so many jackrabbits before you begin to miss the peanut butter and baloney sandwiches from the free kitchen. A strange sort of cabin fever but it helps him to remember his commitment to humanity. The most likely payoffs he can see, and they're not very likely, are attached to his writing and programming. He offers both for free on the net, publishing on his own pages. He asks for handouts to support continued activity. This cyber-panhandling scheme hasn't payed much yet but he's only been at it a month or so. If he gets kicked out of the library it will increase his difficulties. The problems of the homeless are painful to themselves and apparently to the middle class as well. Victor has become aware most people don't care to see him. Some tell themselves they are trying to help as they scheme to get rid of him, with an offering of good advice about where he can go. Officiousness is the bane of the post modern world.

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Encourage me and help me to continue to survive and write!


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