The Red Queen Effect: You Can Choose Running in Place, Holding On to the Past

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Or Watch the Spotlight Shining On the Future

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.” –
– The White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass

red_queen_with_alice

The Big Picture
By Glynn Wilson

What if I told you I can see the future?

No, not in some sort of Biblical way, like the prophets of old. No, I don’t mean in some visionary fashion like Nostradamus claimed.

I’m not talking about extrasensory perception, deja vu or clairvoyance. Not even precognition, although there is a growing body of science to support the idea that ordinary people really do have a sixth sense that can help them “see” the future.

Professor Brian Josephson, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist from Cambridge University, says when people have a feeling of foreboding before traveling by air and then a plane crash occurs, “the evidence seems compelling. What seems to be happening is that information is coming from the future.”

‘In fact, it’s not clear in physics why you can’t see the future. In physics, you certainly cannot completely rule out this effect,” Josephson says. “Virtually all the great scientific formulae which explain how the world works allow information to flow backwards and forwards through time — they can work either way, regardless.”

Other research is exploring something called a superconsciousness. Beyond intuition and remote viewing lies an additional level of perceiving future information, that is. The ability to see the future clearly and with eyes open. Developing the neurological connections between the parts of the brain that “perceive” (generally located in the limbic areas of the brain), and the parts of the brain that “see” (the occipital lobe) requires persistence, patience and repetition of a simple technique that can instantly reveal the accuracy of the “seen” information, according to pioneers of this work.

But I’m not even talking about that. What I’m talking about is the knowledge one can gain from a hyper level of keeping up with what’s going on in the world in the news, in politics and society and in changes in technology, and taking the time to contemplate what it all means as a writer who is able to “synthesize” lots of complicated information and explain in a digestible way for the masses. You can’t get this from sharing pics on Facebook, people.

You might think this would be easier living in one of the world’s great cities or in a more advanced academic community than exists in my home state of Alabama. But perhaps living in a place that is not only years behind the rest of the country and much of the world in fact seems to heighten this ability.

Perhaps it’s sort of like the masters of Russian literature who wrote about a backwards, corrupt government and society in a way that helped bring about dramatic change.

There is an old Russian proverb that can be paraphrased, “A drowning man clutches at straws.”

That could easily be used to characterize what’s happening in Alabama. The Old South is slowly dying. A New South is struggling in fits and starts to rise in its place. But the old, white guys who still control the levers of power here — they are Republicans now, not the old Wallace crowd — can be found grasping at straws at every turn.

Just consider some of the bills now before the Alabama Legislature as it prepares to go into session in a few weeks. In the absence of any creative ideas about how to drag the Alabama economy into the New Millennium, they just try to write new laws to put even more clamps on peoples’ freedoms to preserve a political issue that has worked for them in the past. With hardly a real legislative brain to work with amongst them, they will use state tax money to try to tighten abortion restrictions to make them even harder to get than they are already.

I thought the idea behind the new political “conservatism” was to get the government out of our bedrooms. Yet it is increasingly clear that the real idea is not to expand individual liberty or to make government work better for the people. It is nothing but grasping at straws in the attempt to totally control peoples’ behavior socially to preserve a master-slave style hierarchy and prevent positive change from coming about.

These tea party Republicans even want to amend the antiquated state Constitution to give people a pay cut, but since the traditional, mainstream media in this state simply reports on what those in power say, not the impact it may have on the public, very few people even have a clue about what’s really going on.

But that’s undergoing change as we speak.

Alabama is still run on the basis of a spoils system, meaning no one of merit need apply. Just salute and swear allegiance to the GOP, give them money to run their campaigns, and bring a letter from a preacher at the right church. The Republicans may have replaced the Democrats in running this spoils system, but now it is worse than ever before for the people. The anti-intellectualism runs rampant, even as the number one team in college football is being run on the basis of a theoretical, academic system of success through excellence. What if Nick Saban’s theories for how to develop a team to win football games could be implemented in other areas of life here, like the political system and the way we run government?

It doesn’t take the divine gift of prophesy, or even much of a sixth sense, to look at the changing nature of America’s demographics and what that means for elections to see the future.

That’s why the Republican leadership has wasted so much time, money and effort over the past few years to run off the immigrants. It is ultimately going to prove to be a failed strategy that wastes millions of dollars and damages the state’s image even more than it already has been damaged by its stance of trying to halt the march of civil rights back in the ’60s.

But like I said, I can see the future, and if you look close enough, you can see it too.

We can see what happened in the old Soviet Union by what happened when the wall came down dividing Germany. It’s not just that we can see this in hindsight. There were writers there who had long predicted the fate of Soviet-style Communism.

We see what’s happening in China, and it is not that hard to predict what will happen there in the future as a result.

We can see what happened in the United States in the two national elections in 2008 and 2012, when those old, white men tried one more time to get people to hold onto the past. Who predicted Obama would win in a landslide? Certainly not the Associated Press.

I did.

Electoral College Projections Show President Obama Winning in a Landslide

Certainly no one at The Birmingham News was much good at projecting the future. The Newhouse/Advent/al.com accountants were projecting growth in print operations for another 20 years when they decided to finance a new building in downtown Birmingham. I scoffed at the idea, and was called a nut. Now it’s up for sale along with the new building in Mobile.

Are you ready to listen yet?

Now here’s what I see happening in the future.

For the past eight years come March 28 of this year, I have been not only talking about a revolution in Web publishing, but actively practicing it — and building the economy to support it.

Many of the traditional news organizations that have been around for 100 years or more won’t be able to make the transition, because they are still grasping at straws and clinging to their ink, paper, printing presses and delivery trucks. We don’t need a big building in a fixed location to practice the journalism of the future. I’m banking on the fact that we can do it remotely from anywhere in a Sprinter van.

Yet this is not just about covering events and public affairs in fairly traditional ways and publishing the results on the Web where people can access it over the Internet. When we get the budget together down the road we will also be able to live stream this coverage, something like what C-SPAN has already pioneered doing on cable television and now on the Web.

We have already seen the rapid changes that came about since Ted Turner pushed through the idea of 24-hour-news on cable. That was only about 30 years ago. Nobody believed Ted Turner at first either.

When we get it all together and the people are able to see the damage the Alabama Legislature is doing, and have it explained to them by an experienced journalist who is not afraid to tell it like it is, they too will come around to change. It is just going to take resources and leadership.

According to literary scholars, the Red Queen’s hypothesis, race or the “Red Queen Effect,” as outlined in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, was an evolutionary hypothesis.

“It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place,” the Red Queen said. So the Red Queen Principle is: “For an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.”

The Republican governor and the Republican Supermajority in the Alabama Legislature and the Republican Supreme Court are all locked in a battle to keep running in place, doing everything they possibly can to prevent evolution from occurring. Of course they deny even the existence of such a thing, because that is necessary to maintain their illusion of power like the man behind the curtain in another fairy tale, The Wizard of Oz.

But there is no man who can hide from the public spotlight forever, or fool all of the people all the time.

As Thomas Jefferson said, writing about the press and democracy to John Tyler in 1804:

“No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

The press no longer means something printed with ink on paper by a printing press and delivered on horseback, by train or in a truck. The people will eventually all come around to this new Web Press for news and entertainment, just as they did with radio and television. When they do, even in Alabama, the corrupt will no longer be able to fool the ignorant into keeping them in power.

I see a great light shining through and transforming this place. It is just going to take a little while longer — and a larger budget.

© 2013, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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