Halloween is just a few short days away, and everyone is getting their fix by watching scary movies and TV shows, reading horror books, decorating, and planning costume parties. If you enjoy the zombie genre, then you might want to give D.K. Neville’s newest novel, “World of the Damned,” a try. It is the first book in D.K. Neville’s new series, “The Chronicles of Thomas Briggs,” and is a good mixture of action, horror, and emotional drama. Unlike most zombie books/movies, the main character is just an average guy who knows nothing about violence and survival. Thomas Briggs and his sister, Mindy, must learn how to survive in a world swarming with the undead, and that often requires the use of brutal (and possibly inhumane) tactics. Their mission seems impossible: traveling from Seattle to Albuquerque to find their parents. They knew it would be dangerous wading through the hordes of zombies, but they had no idea just how horrifying their experience would be. Thomas is forced to change his ways if he wants to keep his sister alive, and his transformation is a drastic one. From benevolent architect to ruthless leader, Thomas Briggs offers the reader an interesting look at how we justify our actions. When there is no governing force in place, who decides how much is too much? How far would you go? World of the Damned sets the stage for the rest of The Chronicles of Thomas Briggs series, and D.K. Neville promises a hell of a ride. Check out the eBook on Amazon: World of the Damned, by D.K. Neville
Darkness calls upon us all, no matter what.
You might be an unfortunate individual with even more unfortunate luck coming your way. Or you could be a rich CEO, who owns two yachts and his own private jet. You could be the greatest scientific mind that the world has ever seen, solving complex formulas and successfully resolving the issues surrounding classical physics and modern quantum physics. Your work could bring about a huge change in how the smartest people in our world do business. You can already smell the Nobel prize. Even so–no matter the miraculous impacts that your decisions and interactions might have on those around you–we cannot forget that we are human. The proverbial timer is ticking down, no matter what your position within society might be. Man is on Earth for but a short while. And what happens when someone has shed their mortal coil? Everything about them disappears. Their brains turn off and every single part of their being is…gone. Well, “gone” as much as we can say with certainty. But there is something left. Something we often forget about. And that part is: Legacy.
Yes, the absolute goal no matter what you do in this life is to leave a legacy behind. Whether or not people will continue interacting with the leftover pieces of “you” (things you drew, painted, composed, sang, played, wrote, or something simple like a life philosophy that you helped others see and follow.) Whatever your medium for creative expansion might be, we have to acknowledge that it is something.
So again, the darkness always wins. No matter what we have done, or how many people we have changed for the better, we will still cease to exist at some point. Even if you believe in carrying on into the afterlife, it still doesn’t negate the fact that your reputation prior to death will continue to impact others for years to come (hopefully). Death itself doesn’t frighten me as much as it used to, but destroying a legacy does. I want to make a difference in the lives of the people who read my books/articles. I want people to promote my works even after I am long gone from this mortal realm. That, dear readers, is my idea of dying a happy death. For it comes to us all…we might as well feel good about the impact we have made upon others. The thoughts that never would have existed, had you not allowed them to see your work. Whether it’s music, or writing, or some other type of creative medium, someone, somewhere likes it and incorporates it into how they view the world around them. That is a true legacy, when you have done things in your lifetime that will cause others to still take an interest in your name. After all, we all seem to be on the same bus, nervously awaiting its final stop.
“Pale death with impartial tread, beats on the poor man’s cottage door and at the palaces of kings.” –Horace
Like a tired and weary traveler, all we desire in life is a moment of rest. A quiet mind and unburdened heart, a destination that is actually within our reach and that rewards us with our desired outcome. But also like the exhausted traveler, we cannot expect those things to find their way to us on their own. We must walk that road to get where we want to go. Decisions must be made, motivation must be found. We cannot assume that comfortable refuge will greet us without striving for it.
We are all tired travelers, and life is but a rough and rocky road. Our destination always seems out of sight until we are nearly upon it. What lies at the end of the road is relatively unknown, no matter what our preconceived hopes may be. There is one thing that is certain, though: If we do not find the drive to continue–or if we do not dream of what we want that destination to be–we will surely never find out. We cannot simply hope that things will be as they should, or that some miraculous stroke of luck will ease our worldly pains. A vision must be had, and action must be taken. A calm state of mind and positive thoughts will only get us so far. Sure, it’s good to avoid melancholy feelings. But doing so will only perpetuate our current situation, and will do nothing to advance us down the road which we are traveling.
Our hopes and dreams are often mired and hard to find. The saying, “Everyone has a dream,” is not always true. For some of us, our destination in life is quite clear. For others, however, it seems nearly impossible to find where they want to be. This makes for a dark road to travel on, indeed, but something can always be done to reveal a promising pursuit. We merely need to explore the world we live in, think on the things we have learned, and always seek to expand our understanding of everything around us. Doing so will eventually reveal a destination, and it will also make inner peace easier to obtain. No matter what happens, one thing in life is certain: We are all suffering from the Human Condition, and we are all tired and weary travelers on a road of seemingly endless distance. Too often we fail to realize that there are many, many others on that road, even if we have differing destinations.
We often think about the things that inspire us. Whether we’re working to accomplish a goal or simply trying to get through life, the people, things, and ideas that inspire us are usually foremost in our thoughts. But what about the inspiration that we invoke in others? It seems that we rarely think about that, or we have already concluded that we aren’t an inspiration for others. Don’t let the latter be true.
It doesn’t take great feats to be an inspiration, so what does it take? Well, let’s take a closer look at the things that inspire us. For me, my inspiration is derived from two things: people and ideas. My grandfather is constantly a great inspiration, and he wasn’t some famous author or philosopher. He was just a man–a very important man, to me–who had conviction and determination. My grandfather was also simple. He didn’t complicate things, and he didn’t partake in dozens of different activities. He was raised on a farm at the tail-end of the Great Depression. He served in the Army during WWII, and was part of the Occupation of Japan. He managed a quarry for many years. Those are the things he did in life. However, he had a great many qualities that I revere. I won’t get into that, but I want to make my point clear: My grandfather was no one famous, yet he is nonetheless a great source of inspiration for me, even in death. Would he have ever thought that he might be someone else’s inspiration? No, probably not. That wasn’t his way.
Other individuals who inspire me are indeed famous: Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Stephen King, Thomas Jefferson, Plato, Epicurus… the list is a lengthy one, and I turn to each of these individuals for inspiration depending on the circumstances. Ideas–or subjects–that inspire me are many, as well, but these are probably the most frequent ones: philosophy, cosmology, history, and physics.
For me, my main purpose is to inspire others. I write because I enjoy the thought of inspiring someone else, whether my work inspires an idea, or a pursuit, or even one positive action. Obviously, not everyone’s primary goal is to inspire those around them, and that’s okay. Just remember, however, that you will always have an impact on the world around you. Bearing that in mind, it is my wish that every individual does what he or she can to be a positive inspiration for others. The butterfly effect is subtle, yet extremely powerful and complex. We stumble through life affecting outcomes that we will never truly realize. That being said, I want you to try something that might be a little different from how you generally perceive your day: Allow the general idea of inspiration to be more present in your mind. Let it come forward in your thoughts, and try to envision how your actions affect the world around you. Think about how much good you can do, simply by demonstrating qualities that others might look up to. What sort of creation might you affect? A beautiful painting, perhaps? A wonderful piece of literature? Even if you indirectly affect just a part of someone’s creation, I think that is cause to be proud. And although we may never know exactly what or whom we inspired, we can at least take comfort in the idea that we are doing all we can to be that inspiration, to light that flame of creativity or well-being.
“I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled [poets] to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.” –Socrates
Humanity has done marvelous, awe-inspiring things. Things that, when you think about it, will bring tears to your eyes. Super glue was invented in 1951. In 1956, the video cassette recorder was invented. In 1961, the Lava Lamp came out. The Lava Lamp isn’t all the rage anymore, super glue is taken for granted, and nobody (practically) uses cassettes anymore. We’ve all moved on to bigger and better things. In 1903, the Wright Brothers flew the first manned, powered flight for just 12 seconds. Only 66 years later–generally far less than a lifetime–the United States launched a rocket into space carrying three astronauts, and Mankind touched down on the Moon. For the first time in the history of Earth, one of its living, breathing organisms looked back at it from its Moon. How amazing it is, to be human.
We seem to take for granted our natural ingenuity and intelligence. Almost 500 years ago, Copernicus was publishing his theory that the world was not the center of the Universe (only to be shot down time and time again by the Catholic Church). Toilets that you could flush were being invented in the 16th century as well. The pocket watch was also invented by Peter Henlein around that time. 500 years before that, the world’s first paper money was made in China. The concept of true north was discovered, also by the Chinese. The horizontal loom began being used. So, here we are…2014. We have the Internet to connect every single person in the world who has access to a computer. We can drive 50 miles to work every morning in the comfort of a climate-controlled, luxury vehicle, and complain the whole way about traffic and how long it takes to get to work. This journey would have taken a man in the 1800s about a day to complete, with multiple horses. 82 years ago, the atom was split for the first time. Since then we have nearly mastered nuclear fission, created laser cutting tools, discovered hundreds of billions of stars and tens of thousands of galaxies, proven evolution (except to those creationist types), discovered the fused chromosome (Chromosome 2) that separates us from the other Great Apes, sent around 500 people into space, discovered successful vaccines for measles, hepatitis A, chickenpox, mumps…the list of human progression goes on and on. Every step of the way, we seem to be advancing faster and faster. The growth of technology has never been slow, by any means, but it seems that today we are taking off at a dead sprint. It is believed that fire began being used in a controlled fashion around 400,000 years ago, but experts believe it wasn’t widely used until around 50 to 100 thousand years ago. While I doubt that early man truly saw the benefits of technological progression, I must say that their (probably) accidental discovery of controlled fire has led us to where we are today. We, as modern humans, have only been around about 200,000 years. That’s fairly short in the evolutionary timeline. Not a whole lot about the world around us has significantly changed in that period of time. Yet, we have progressed further than organisms that have been around for millions of years. There is some level of pride that must be felt with that. We were a genetic accident…nothing more than a random genetic mutation that turned out to be beneficial rather than harmful (harmful is more common). Yet here we are, so-called masters of our world. We have mastered flight. We have traveled all the way around the world without stopping. We have dived into the deepest reaches of our oceans (although only around 6% has been explored). We have sent people to the Moon. We have sent our devices into space, past our own solar system. We have thousands of satellites orbiting our planet (although only a few hundred are operational). Soon, we will send Mankind past the moon, to planets beyond.
How truly awe-inspiring it is, to be fortunate enough to be a part of Mankind.
However, let us not forget all of the horrible atrocities that Mankind is responsible for. With these great things have also came great horrors. We have waged war like this planet has never seen, repeatedly killing each other in a vain attempt to establish dominance. We have killed millions because of their race or creed. We have polluted our oceans and air, which will take hundreds if not thousands of years to fix itself after we’re gone. We have destroyed entire ecosystems, pushing thousands of species to extinction. We have discriminated against members of our own species, simply because they look different. We have bred ignorance among our masses, shoving useless things down their throats instead of educating them. As wonderful as we are, we are also self-destructive. How very sad it is, to be a part of such an amazing species, yet we do such primitive and useless things.
We must encourage ourselves and others to become educated. While we will undoubtedly continue to advance further than we could ever currently comprehend, we must also realize that the possibility of social devolution is very strong. If we continue to encourage ignorance, and continue to encourage the pursuit of counterproductive activities, we could very well push ourselves backwards.
Let us not forget how wonderful it is to be Human, and let us not take that for granted.