The Domination Era

A Philosophic Ramble

by Wayne Slingluff


Book Details

The Mystery and Wisdom of Consciousness in the Scientific Age

21st-century people live and understand the world around them in ways that are vastly different from generations past. We have information about every aspect of life that is knowable to science, and how it fits with everything else. The physical universe is fully modeled, and we have an overview of history and of time. We use our understanding to create immensely powerful technology in an instantly interconnected world. But despite all of this, individual human lives unfold as unpredictably as they always have. We rarely control our current circumstances or our future, and we experience dreams, emotions, meaning, and highly subjective realities that lie beyond logical study. Human consciousness is flexible; without flinching, we accept contradiction, infinity, eternity, and the unknowable. The Domination Era: A Philosophic Ramble explores the intangible elements of human experience as they intersect with the crowded, global, scientific civilization we live in. With topics ranging from the philosophical implications of historic cycles and maps to musings about the wisdom and memory of animals, this penetrating and thought-provoking book will give you a different perspective on the world around you now, and the world as it has always been.


Book Excerpt

Humans build silly rock piles that are awesome.
Chartres Cathedral is an example of numerous magnificent human constructions. We could as easily discuss the Pyramids of Egypt, Palaces of Southeast Asia, ruins in the Yucatan, skyscrapers in Shanghai. Humans build monuments on a scale and grandeur unknown throughout nature. They are scattered on landscapes everywhere we have been, from all the times we have been there.
Chartres is selected because it lies in Western Europe at the cusp of the takeoff to the Domination Era _ near that arbitrary year of 1400 CE when the world began to cease to appear ancient and started to become what it now is.
Chartres is not quite of that ancient world, yet not quite modern, with a strange kind of foggy Western outlook struggling through the heavy medieval veils. One thousand years later, it is still revered, still heavily visited, still awesome.
The cathedral was constructed in response to a religious vision. Cynics point out that it was also like a modern athletic stadium _ the town would attract the money of pilgrims, the church would collect offerings, the local artisans and the regional architects and suppliers all benefited from the monetary stimulus, and even the donors felt they might be buying their way into heaven. That may be true enough. People are contradictory and complex, and often do amazing things for many logical and illogical reasons. Nevertheless the actual form of the cathedral and its creative driving unity represent a tribute to our imagination.
Look at the accomplishment. On a nondescript plain, stones were cut from a quarry, transported, shaped, stacked impossibly high; sand was melted with special impurities, blown and flattened, cut into small pieces, and inserted for story telling windows; specially located ores were smelted, treated, cast, forged, and hammered into supports for glass or stone. Naturalists liken human architecture to the efforts of the bower bird and its pretty nest _ put that nest next to Chartres and laugh the laugh of the gods.
As amazing as the structure itself is the fact that it was the result of many people working together over many generations. Social insects create complex environments, but they disappear when the queen dies. Coral builds huge reefs, but those are mindless byproducts of its necessary environmental requirements. Everything except human constructions is short term and immediate. Besides, not content with having completed the shell, people fill the building with more perishable and rare treasures, protected from the elements and other people. After all this time, Chartres is still a wonder _ and still for all practical purposes useless.
All of these monuments have been denigrated as odes to folly and illusion. Ozymandias sneers in the desert at blowing sands. And they truly do represent effort and time and blood and sweat and treasure “wasted” on impermanence. But they are simultaneously a magnificent testament to rationality, planning, learning, cooperation, and practicality, for they could not have been created otherwise. They continue to be an awesome inspirational story and presence, affecting anyone who encounters them.
Simply for achievements such as Chartres, humans hold a high place in the universe. Chartres, of course, is simply one of many, much that we still do, both in the concrete and also in the abstract worlds. They should help us maintain a proper sense of value for our entire species, and for every person who ever lived.


About the Author

Wayne Slingluff

Wayne Slingluff is a happily retired software engineer who has done nothing more consequential than raising a family, paying taxes, and fully experiencing life. He has lived on Long Island with his wife for the past thirty years, and enjoys periodic day trips to New York City.


Also by Wayne Slingluff

My Bike Tour in France Remembered
Babylon With Ghost