3 invasion maps that look like games

Map of the Anglo Saxon invasion

The Anglo Saxon invasion in 449 AD.

I think it’s ironic how much maps like these look like they’re mission goals for an in-game campaign, difficulty set to ‘easiest’. I never liked the idea of a few big men deciding over the deaths of hundreds, thousands or even millions of others. It’s absurd and it’s always just about territories, territories we made up throughout history anyway. Above that, we love to interfere with evolutions in our neighbour’s patches. Have a look at this invasion map of the Anglo Saxons in 449AD.

Operation Desert Storm map

A map of the invation of Iraq in the 90’s.

These manufactured and fought-over territories don’t even always work, or just never work. The best contemporary example of that would be Syria. People fighting to find some kind of say in the way they are being ruled, but they are divided among themselves too and other countries are influencing their human people too. Action and reaction, that’s what happened in Iraq in the 90’s.

A map the invasion of Normandy

“Hitler is the rare individual who really did make history – specifically he made it worse.”
― John Green

I just hope one kind of horror never rises again, though with world powers too strong for their own good nowadays, I’m starting to wonder. If such mass murder ever happens on a global scale again, I’d rather die trying to make a difference. Oh and thank you John Green for providing a short but sweet comment on Hitler’s role on the past. It’s almost a message towards today’s world leaders: think about how you will be remembered, for it will be for the actions you take now.

I say, let’s just play a game to settle our differences and forget about pain and hatred. Though duelling used to solve issues on a regular basis in the past, maybe we could stick to online games on a large scale or a good old Risk match! Funny resolutions, instead of drawing invasion maps with deadly consequences.

A Risk game map

This is a game and I prefer it over bloodshed.

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Back to Hakuna Matata in 2014

Carpe Diem was never more popular, the only change is that people call it yolo these days. We live in the moment and choose to forget about any worries. Over time, yolo became linked to everything disrespectful and empty. Have we forgotten about Hakuna Matata?

Hakuna Matata sign

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West

Yolo is easy, too easy. It stands for You Only Live Once, which is undoubtably true, but in people’s minds it lacks finesse. They use the word to express their believe in the fact that if we only live once, we have to be able to do whatever we want. This means we also want to forget about the consequences of our actions and our responsibilities. I won’t say I never exclaimed this statement myself but I came to see the effects of living by this “code”. People lose every respect for each other because there’s always others that clean up the streets after them and if your own goals aren’t met, only jealousy and self-pity are left behind.

What happened to Hakuna Matata? “It means no worries for the rest of your days, it’s a problem-free philosophy” – The Lion King. First of all, this was originally a Swahili phrase meaning “no worries”. It later became popular thanks to Timon and Pumbaa singing about it. You might argue that this phrase means exactly the same as yolo, but that’s not entirely true if you take into account the lessons from the movie. First of all, the lyrics imply no worries for the rest of your days. This means that you have to take the decision that is also in your best interest in the future. Problem-free means we have to truly process the ghosts of our past so we can have true peace of mind. “It ain’t no passing craze!” – The Lion King.

The first thing the movie does when Simba gets older is confront him with the world he left behind. He left rising conflicts unchallenged and chose to find his happiness somewhere else. This backfires in a way that the situation in his future kingdom has only become worse, and he didn’t learn anything about leadership or resolving conflicts. He has to go back and face his fears without a plan and it’ll definitely be no walk in the park. If he wouldn’t go back, more animals would suffer and his paradise too, would soon be in jeopardy.

People should learn others are a part of their life too. No one is an island and every action you take affects those around you and so it affects the ones you love and your own future. Even though we don’t have too much time on this planet, one time can be enough to make your life worth the while. So, let’s go back to Hakuna Matata in 2014.

The Meaning of Christmas

Cthulhu Hungers again (not to be confused with Waltson, so send the hate mail to me please (comment)).

For those who don’t know, which is most people: if you’re European, your ancestors used to sacrifice people to magic trees. They saved their prisoners all year round, and when the winter solstice came, the priests of Odin would hang them from magic oak trees. Thirteen of every animal including people were traditionally hung from the tree, don’t ask me how they did it with the cows, I don’t know. The symbol of Odin was the noose. The priests of Odin would drain the blood from the sacrifices and sprinkle it on the faces of the crowd for a blessing. If you can’t see the parallels to modern Christmas let me take it a little farther for you. This was done so that when Odin flew over the houses of the people on his magic horse with eight legs, he would give them gifts instead of killing them with plague. Oh yeah and everyone hung red and white hallucinogenic mushrooms up to dry then ate em and walked around looking at the pretty lights and crazy stuff flying by in the sky. Because there’s not a lot to do in the middle of winter in Europe except try really hard not to die, most people used to die in winter. The elderly simply got weakened immune systems from low temperatures and malnutrition and were killed by the common cold. Or they didn’t appease Odin with enough mushrooms.

http://metalgaia.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/odin-tree.jpg

HAPPY VIKING MAGIC TREE DAY

A little bit later, a group of people came out of Rome. They called themselves the Christians, and were actually a repackaging of the old Dagon church of the Philistenes, who worshiped Triton, the half human son of Poseidon, the monstrous sea god, in exchange for free fish, fertility, sex, and probably eating lots of mushrooms. The guy who translated the Dead Sea Scrolls was pretty damn sure that the “eating the flesh of Christ” part was actually mushrooms. You may have wondered why communion (literally “to merge with the god”) seems to play such a central role in a Christian service. For some reason, the Romans regarded these people as a bunch of degenerate hippies and tried to feed them to lions and nail them to crosses till they went away, but the movement took over instead by merging perfectly with the Roman gods, Jupiter became Jehovah, both are actually called Giove in Latin.

Did I say it took over perfectly? There was the part where all the soldiers in Rome fought all the other soldiers in Rome and the new emperor Constantine saw a floating cross in the sky that told him he would win if he converted Rome to Christianity. He won the battle and set about grabbing anyone who wouldn’t convert and feeding them to lions and nailing them to crosses instead. That worked pretty well. Then they sent missionairies north to talk to the Odin people and together they concluded that since Odin was nailed to a magic tree and had a son Thor whose symbol is a hammer and looks almost exactly like a cross, they had actually been Christian all along and they had a great time hanging people from trees instead of nailing them to crosses for a while.

Next the bottom fell out of Rome due to rich fools running it into the ground, which happens to every government eventually, and the Holy Christian Church was left to pick up the pieces. Well there were actually two Holy Christian Churches, the Roman one and the one in Constantinople, but Islam would take care of Constantinople later. Catholicism ended up running Europe not because they wanted to, but because no one else was left who knew how to read. Civilization was busy being reset back to zero by Huns, Visigoths, Mongols and other people who copied each other’s business model: ride by, shoot people, burn things, eat things and people, ride away. It worked so well it knocked China and the Middle East back to the stone age and some places have never even recovered. Europe was only saved because the bottom fell out of the Mongol government due to rich people running it into the ground, and everyone had to go home.

So use this season to ponder the meaning of Christmas. You are still alive. You win. That is the only prize there ever was or ever will be, and it used to cost a lot of people hanging from magic trees to get it. We live in fortunate times. As Bill Hicks said, we could end world hunger tomorrow many times over with the trillions we spend on defense, and explore space together. Let’s try to get there before the bottom drops out again!

Thank you for pondering!

 

P.S. this piece is not meant to criticize religion. I personally believe in the reality of a spiritual world and I have great admiration for religion. I wrote this piece because I believe people should study the history of religion and understand it. I believe the problems usually come from intolerance of other people’s beliefs and I see quite a few atheists leaning that way these days, so please do not hang or crucify anyone for not NOT believing in God either. Just keep an eye on anybody trying to sneak up on you with a rope or a hammer especially if there are trees around!

Merry Christmas, Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

We have a right to be free and we shall be free!

There used to be apartheid in South-Africa, then there was Mandela, a present of his time. A Christmas present to millions back in his days. He was an example for humanity because of the sacrifices he made to force the abolishment of racial differences in South-Africa.

Every evolutionary change comes with struggles and a lot of pushing back and forth. Above anything else, Mandela was a personification of the notion of unity that had been growing among people of different ethnicity in those days. He couldn’t have achieved what he did if things hadn’t been incubating for some time up till then. I think everything has a beginning, a middle and an ending and Mandela rose to the occasion to be done with apartheid for once and for all! Don’t get me wrong though. Nelson Mandela was one of the most respectable men the world has ever seen. If it wasn’t for his perseverance…
(Mandela’s Christmas speech)

When real change is at hand, the opposing forces tend to defend their beliefs with any last resorts they can craft. This extreme behavior hints at desperation and will then soon not only undermined by many, it’ll be brought down by legends. I think it is true that most nations showing signs of homophobia nowadays are really trying to defend themselves from Western thought patterns and convictions. I can only hope these violations of human rights will be abolished all over our globe. Very soon, there will be people rising to the occasion and they will try to bring change. We too must be ready to stand our ground and help them achieve the goals our change will inevitably bring!

What’s better than to advocate and support freedom? Frankly, I think the world deserves another Christmas present like Nelson Mandela once was, for people need to be united again!

The Nonexistent Threat of Human Overpopulation

Overpopulation cartoon

There are truly too many of you.

If you know anything you know that many of the richest people in the world like Bill Gates spend a lot of time worrying about human overpopulation. Short version is you can draw a graph with human population curving up and up and up to infinity. Somewhere long before infinity is the amount of resources available on Earth. So there is a problem. For some reason, the solution always involves killing off a large portion of the poor people. In the recent book Inferno by Dan Brown, the DaVinci Code author, there is a retrovirus that just randomly sterilizes one half of Earth’s population, for a marginally better solution.

None of this is necessary. Industrialized countries all over the world have birth rates of almost zero. Theoretically we should be working already to modernize the third world countries as fast as possible, because it’s PROFITABLE. Thus the problem takes care of itself way before the curve passes the line. Because people who live in modernized countries don’t want children, they take away from your time playing video games. Selfishness will save us all.

The only argument that really can be made against this statement is that we need to keep the poor countries poor and non industrialized. First it’s OK to let them suffer. Then it’s OK to just wipe them out. But this is intrinsically a racist argument disguised as an economic one. Just like everything has to add up to an economic growth, which will become unsustainable anyway. Just my opinion. But hey, I believe in aliens so what do I know.

Holocaust memorial in San Fransisco

Warring World, finally fantasy

As I stated two weeks ago, we all know that nature is essential to our existence on this planet, but it can also be one of our worst enemies. Nature generates disasters and diseases. Today, let’s shed a cynical light on the more senseless brother. Human causes of death and despair are omnipresent, and if I bring Final Fantasy X up as an example of natural causes, then Final Fantasy IX comes to mind as an example of the human counterpart.

Kuja artwork Amano

The bringer of war artwork by FFIX’s artist Amano.

The bringer of war

FF IX was Square’s last installment for the first Playstation console. It centers around two worlds, one of which, Terra, is trying to assimilate with Gaia, which is basically the world of humans. The people of Gaia have to die so the souls of Terra can replace them.
“Kuja is a Genome created by Garland in 1776, 24 years prior to the game’s beginning. Garland’s ultimate plan is to assimilate the planet of Gaia with the planet of Terra by replacing the Gaian souls with Terran ones. To accelerate the process Garland created Kuja and sent him to Gaia to encourage war and destruction so people would die quicker and the souls of Gaia could be replaced faster. Thus, it is Kuja’s nature to cause death.” – The Final Fantasy Wiki on Kuja
The way Sin was the face of natural disaster in FF X, Kuja is the face of war in this FF game. It becomes worse. When Kuja finds out all his power was created to be temporary and he is not meant to be the ultimate war-bringer, he loses it and starts his own agenda. He’s a recipe for disaster as he has no sense of morale or consequence, he’s insanely intelligent and his powers are beyond imagination.

The game is full of despair and destruction. Kuja gets involved with the plans of a blood-thirsty queen to rule each of the kingdoms on the continent. He provides her weapons only he can create, called Black Mages. They are soulless puppets capable of using strong magic. That way he wants to lay his hands on the Eidolons, strong creatures that can be summoned. He wants to wield the most powerful one to destroy Terra, as he believes life should not continue to exist without him. This can be seen as an allegory to war in reality. It poses the question if humanity will ever be able to exist without war.

Atomic flower

But there’s hope. The even greater war-bringer Garland created was kidnapped by Kuja and brought to Gaia so he would never rise to the task he was created for. Neither would he ever be a threat to Kuja’s plans. But, he could never have been more wrong. Zidane is the hero of the story. At first, he and his later friends are just trying to survive and find their way in a dangerous world of oaths, thievery, war and magic. They get involved, take a stance and fight a nonsensical enemy whose only goal is to bring destruction and war to an already war-ridden world.

Nuclear explosion, Hiroshima

A power beyond our imagination dropped on Hiroshima.

If you think about it, FFIX can be a prequel to both FFX’s story and its theme. Two worlds/cities fight for dominance and they start a weapon run to overcome each other’s threat. In both cases, leaders get themselves in with powers beyond their control and have to face the consequences in the end. Garland creates the bringer of his own demise and in FFX, the city of Zanarkand creates Sin. A power they could not control and that would keep destroying human civilization over and over again. We, as human beings, try to create stronger weapons than our enemies do. But what would happen if we used all our strongest weapons at the same time? A nuclear disaster would follow. We, as human beings tend to push for more comfort, for longer and better lives, forgetting the importance of nature. It tends to backfire and we have to face a growing amount of natural disasters.
In FFIX, the queen, Kuja and Garland are punished and a story of despair turns into one of hope. In FFX, Sin is destroyed and a story about disaster turns into one of possibilities. Final Fantasy created stories around two of the most lethal forces on our planet and stated that as long as people are willing to challenge reigning powers in our warring world, there’s hope.

Any inspirations you came across recently? Which stories covering this theme can you relate to?

We all know, random victims

You know that I know that we all know how infuriatingly random life can be. And if you don’t know what I mean, take Paul Walker and his good friend as an example. Even better examples are the victims of natural disasters or deadly diseases. Being born in poverty or to abusive parents are just as severe causes for random despair. Even though there will always be a cause or a trigger for every happening, they too are utterly random. They are bigger than all of us.

The same randomness happened to a young Chinese woman, when she was stabbed to death in the street by a random mugger. The reason he turned bloody was that she didn’t just hand over her purse… Why should she? The poem I originally posted on my previous blog called Previous Void, was written from the point of view of someone close to her that was left behind. He or she thinks about how she will fade away because she was too young to have actually made a difference outside their own little world. He thinks about how she would’ve lived is she had just…. (THIS is the link to the youtube video, for the strong of heart.)

Decay

The further in the past
the more time will have passed
The further away
the more it will decay
(Roman occupation is now Ancient)
We don’t try to remember
where it all went
When you became history_
who will ever tell their children
your story?
Please, I beg of you,
can’t you stay any longer?
Run, run for your life!
The further away
the more you will decay
Please, run away
_
There is no and can be no conclusion to this… We all know random victims.