Fallacies of Vision - Manufacturing Change

Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 months ago to Culture
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Over the years I'm feeling anxiety more an more regularly as what I wrote continues to manifest itself in realty. Today this short story from Fallacies of Vision entitled Manufacturing Change is becoming more and more real. How far from this speculation are we really?

Except from:
Fallacies of Vision by Allan J. Ashinoff

Manufacturing Change

Jess Smiley awoke with a dry and bitter taste in his mouth. The foggy recollection of last night’s farewell party at Dunham and Keane, and the several tequila shots his former co-workers talked him into, slowly came into focus.

“Son of a –“He couldn't help but say, as the simple motion of reaching for the water bottle that he routinely kept on his nightstand/end table caused a throbbing explosion of pain inside his skull.

Why the hell did I do this to myself again? He thought.

Slowly, hoping to minimize the pounding in his skull, he pulled himself from his bed, stretched his sinewy frame, and began, with some difficultly, returning his bed to its alternate function - a couch. Although he detested the painfully uncomfortable contraption, which proved equally as tortuous in either of its phases, it was the only way the Department of Social Welfare could fit both pieces of furniture in the tiny 500 square foot apartment they assigned him.
Placing cushions on the couch to finalize its transformation, Jess crossed the apartment and stood in the corner that served as his kitchen nook. As was his routine, he pulled open the drawer below the compact food preparation multi-appliance to retrieve this weeks last food allotment – a sealed silver-foil bag containing two thick four inch meal biscuits, and a single white filter pillow stuffed with just enough ground coffee to make two eight ounce cups. Without thinking, he placed the filter pouch in the appropriate compartment, added the proper amount of water and tapped the coffee machines power button. A few moments later, the smell of coffee began to fill the apartment as a narrow brown stream of steaming liquid began to fill the coffee pot. Jess, his mind still foggy from sleep, waited for the pot to fill half way before he placed the two breakfast biscuits in the microwave component of his multi-appliance and set the timer for twenty seconds. The smell of the warming meal biscuits and the brewing coffee caused Jess’ already queasy stomach to turn.
In his condition, he knew it would be better to eat something light, perhaps a few pieces of toast and with a few glassed of water or juice. But someone in government, no doubt a politician, determined that these dry, nearly flavorless biscuits provided optimal nutrition for a young man of Jess’ age, height, and weight. It didn’t matter if he liked the nutra-bars or if he even considered them palatable. The Federal Health Care System was law. And, because the health and well being of every person was the financial responsibility of the federal government, processes were enacted to ensure the fitness of every citizen. While consumption of the biscuits was not mandatory for anyone not on government assistance, it was commonly considered an act of voluntary compliance to consume them. Personal sacrifice is the cornerstone of the common good. Jess told himself as he washed down the last dry bite of biscuit number two with the last mouthful of his bitter decaf coffee. If eating two of the apple and cinnamon biscuits and drinking organic black decaffeinated coffee each morning offered any chance of changing Jess’’ social status, he was all for it.
Although he was disappointed that the Dunham and Keane Office Supply Distribution Hub didn’t request an extension of his work billet, he really couldn’t be surprised. The Department of Economic Security, because of his father’’s actions and through no fault of his own, classified him as a Floater, a quasi-citizen, a potential miscreant. Until such time he could prove to the Feds that his father’s views and opinions were not his own, he would continue to be denied the rights and benefits entitled to full citizen of the United States –– this was the cost of being the son of Benjamin Smiley, Malcontent.

Over the last three years, beginning the day after his father was taken away, he’d been assigned odd jobs to work: a janitor, a library assistant, a substitute math teacher, a bit assembly line worker, a carnival ride operator, a sanitation worker, an assembler at a foam injection plant, a city bus driver, and, most recently, a warehouse worker at an office supply distribution center. It was an endless and seemingly random procession of jobs based on what the Department of Economic Security determined to be society’s most urgent need. Unfortunately for Jess, it didn’t matter how well he performed his duties, how quickly he worked or how well he got along with his co-workers, a Floater seldom, if ever, remained at any assignment more than its allotted time – typically a few days, a few weeks, but never an entire month. A Floater, because of the potential threat they represented to society, was not entitled to any degree of normalcy or security.

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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 6 months ago
    Brings back thoughts I had about not being able to work at the same company for my working life and retire nicely...naturally I would move up the latter, like I did in most companies I worked, the longest of which was 8 years. Most however, were only a few years in length if that; Aside from business I started and later sold or moved on to something else...always ending back into my mainstay career.

    Yes, I could be called a "Floater" but it wasn't my choice...it's just the way things were for most of us that started our working life in the late 60's.

    Sure glad government wasn't designating what I was to eat everyday...in your story, I would have escaped or killed myself but more likely, government would have gotten to me first.
    I still wonder when they'll show up...Laughing
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  • Posted by mccannon01 6 months ago
    I purchased both on Kindle some time back and enjoyed the read! I recommend others should read them as well.

    This particular example is the one I will always remember the most.
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    • Posted by $ 6 months ago
      Thank you for reading and now the plug. I'm continually growing more concerned as too much of what I wrote as speculative fiction is working its way to reality. IMO we're not very far off from the world of Jess Smiley.
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      • Posted by $ Commander 6 months ago
        1984, Brave New World, Dune..... From your link I'm compelled to put a crowbar in my wallet!

        I used to speculate on gloom and doom. The evil things are easier to essay. I have a reasonable hope in our youngsters. When I interact the electronics go down. I let them know I am going to challenge them to prove me wrong....not to trust what I offer. I tell them I am going to "push" them.....because I care for their future. America! This frogs' not boiled yet!. ......and then they named me Spongebob......
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        • Posted by $ 6 months ago
          Good reads, all. Brave New World considering when it was written is chilling.
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          • Posted by $ Commander 5 months, 3 weeks ago
            I waited to reply until I finished Fallacies" and "Vostok".

            Regarding the titles I posted above; I think you are in good company, made the grade.

            Vostok immediately took me to Greg Bear's "The Forge of God". If I'd not been so intent on my own work / productivity and damning the sequestration, I'd have finished this in a sitting. Sound speculation on science and how the affects extrapolate into human behavior. The only constructive I can add is to deepen the interpersonal relationship development and the expression of the science.

            If /When you finish the story, I'm all in.
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            • Posted by $ 5 months, 3 weeks ago
              Thank you. Family, job, and a game project have stolen much of my focus. It's been too long and my mind is more than ready to work again but this damn faux virus nonsense has my writing haunts all closed and I can't focus sufficiently to write at home.
              Thank you for reading, the positive assessment and the constructive advice.
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              • Posted by $ Commander 5 months, 3 weeks ago
                You're welcome. I am about to undertake authorship for the first time. After 40 years in manufacturing, I'm switching gears, pardon the pun, toward philosophy. Now...to find that "haunt"...I can't remember if I put it in the box marked.....

                Excerpted from Disturbed: Hold onto Memories.
                Take the ones you love and hold them close because there is little time; so now go do the best things in life.....
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