By Lawrence Urban
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton
What is it about life, and living things, in the ways they communicate to one another in a non-verbal manner? We humans look in the eyes of other people when they speak. Whereas animals, domestic or wild, look at the eyes when confronted.
We sense life, maybe intelligence, in the ‘being’ of another animal.
I don’t know where to look when I talk to a rock. (And, yes, sometimes I do.)
Life senses life.
Julie and I went out to dinner. It was a Saturday evening, and we expected the restaurant to be crowded, so made reservations for seven o’clock. Parking on Central Avenue near The University of New Mexico is always an iffy proposition, and this night was no exception. We ended up three blocks away from the restaurant, Manteuccis, on a side street in front of closed retail businesses.
It was early December, a cold, and stiff wind blew in our faces as we walked, heads tucked in our collars. We arrived at the restaurant, and despite a busy night, we had only a ten-minute wait before being seated. A little over an hour and a half later, we were heading back to where we’d parked, heads pulled into our coats, and walking swiftly against the coldness.
We turned the corner to where our car was parked and were confronted with two police cars in the street, lights flashing.
A man was splayed on the sidewalk next to our car on his back, limbs at odd angles. Dead.
So, what am I getting at? What brought about this small commentary on the state of human interaction?
No mistaking it. There was no mistaking the lifelessness, the stillness. Something was easily perceived by the senses that life no longer was present. And his eyes weren’t drawn to mine, nor mine to his. A dead giveaway (oops, sorry). There was no cosmic connection interlocking our sense of ‘being’ with the force of nature. Perhaps this led ancient man to perceive a spirit, a soul, something having left the body. Whatever, there was something different. The connection was gone.
I was stopped in my tracks unable, or just unwilling, to move for a moment.
Some time ago, our writing group, Transcendent Authors, was asked to give our opinion on the impact of Artificial Intelligence, AI for short. Specifically, as it concerns the arts: movie making; novel writing; painting; poetry; etc. Do we welcome it? Dread it? Fear it?
Let me make this simple. I’ve never seen a painting or read a book created by Artificial Intelligence. It may be interesting to read or even beautiful to see. But I don’t anticipate ‘loving’ it.
Artificial Intelligence shouldn’t be having ideas.
When I look at Vincent Van Gogh’s A Starry Night, or Edvard Munch’s The Scream, or read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, I feel that cosmic connection. This was created by a fellow human being!
I feel that person!
I sense their heart beating and can feel their hands moving over the canvas, over typewriter keys, their imaginations finding what to do next.
Is AI quicker?
Let it stick to mathematical functions. Could it take me an extraordinarily long time to write a novel? Years, even? I’m okay with that.
If I need help counting all the money I make from sales of the aforementioned book, don’t worry AI, I’ll call you if I need you.
Humans sometimes torment themselves when creating, pouring sweat and tears and occasionally blood into their efforts. Unlike unfeeling robots, we ride the roller coaster of stress, depression, and elation. And in the end? Is all worth it. Absolutely.
So, I’m sorry, AI. I fear we’re not going to get along. If I see you lying on the street, I’ll probably step over you and go on my way.
Beware fellow humans, lest we forget the HAL 9000.
Lawrence Urban Lawrence Urban, a retired Federal Government employee and resides in New Mexico with his spouse, Julie, and his six dogs.
Writing has been very important to him, his entire life. Over the years he found his favorite genre to write in is detective mystery, however he has been known to write horror and science fiction.
The love for detective mystery he says comes from his mother, also an author. She was an avid reader of the genre and kept a complete set of Nero Wolfe hard cover books on their family bookshelf. Growing up with her love of the detective mysteries set the stage for him to write them, too.
He and his mother are not the only authors in the family, his son Kevin, and another son is a writer, one day he hopes we’ll hear from him, too. It was through Kevin that Lawrence met the team of authors at Transcendent Authors and became a part of them.
Since then Lawrence has authored short stories in the first four anthologies of the Seasons series, Autumn— An Anthology and Spring—The Unexpected, Winter– An End and a Promise, and Summer — When Doors Open.
A personal wish he has for everyone who picks up one of the anthologies from Transcendent Authors is to enjoy their efforts.
You can contact him through www.transcendent-authors.com
SUMMER IS HERE!
Are you ready for this?
Doors open for you to walk through and discover what’s on the other side.
Or maybe you walk out into the garden or yard and sit with a book in hand, an iced tea or lemonade on a little side table next to you. You take a sip now and then to beat back the heat. The umbrella over your head shades you from the scorching sun, and a breeze softly blows across your brow until a golf ball lands with a thump right next to your lounge chair, inches from hitting you!
Standing up, you check yourself to make sure it really missed you, and then you turn your eyes, focusing on the golf cart zipping your way with two laughing men in it. That is until they spot you holding the florescent yellow golf ball in your hand.
By the time they get to your fence, you are throwing up their ball and down one handed, glaring at them.