Monday, January 05, 2009

It Happened

By Michael Akerib, Rusconsult

We are December 6, 2040, and therefore ten years into what was called post-humanity. Great changes have taken place, but humans still exist in flesh and blood. What did change was the time – space relationship. No one was quite sure what had induced this change but it certainly had happened. For one thing, shadows of men that had lived in the past, however distant, started appearing in a haphazard manner. From the little information that had been collected from them – communication was definitely difficult – it appeared that souls were transformed into dark matter and that the widening hole in the earth’s electro-magnetic field allowed some of these souls to pass through it and appear briefly on earth. Only historians, anthropologists and paleontologists, and a few other scholars, seemed particularly interested in these contacts. With one exception – the appearance on December 6 of Saint Nicolas, bearing gifts.

Christmas is no longer celebrated and was replaced by the appearance of Saint Nicolas on Moscow’s Red Square where a single gift was given to humanity which was represented by the President of the World Council – individual countries had ceased to exist in 2020 when a series of volcanic explosions, and the ensuing near-ice-age that had ensued, required an urgent global reaction which no single country was able to fund, particularly since the bankruptcy of the United States in the early years of the century.

Saint Nicholas, was part of an extremely narrow elite that was able to time travel into the future and this is where the presents he brought originated.

Among the gifts he had brought in the past was a map with the location of major oilfields that had been missed by the oil producers, the genome of the perfect child of the future and a remedy allowing humans to drink unlimited quantities of alcohol without exhibiting the symptoms of alcoholic intoxication. December 6 had thus become the most important day of the calendar.

A large part of the world’s population was watching the events on Red Square, sitting in their armchair and watching the images of the event on their wall-to-wall computer screens.

Saint Nicholas appeared in front of St Basil’s Cathedral in the usual flash of brilliant light that characterized him. He held under his arm a gigantic roll of paper which he handed over to the President – a man of Aborigine extraction, one of the few survivors of the Big Australian Drought that had killed a large part of the population in the period between 2015 and 2020.

The exchange was very brief and was followed by several months of total silence by the authorities as to the nature of the gift. Rumors and plot theories abounded.

It was only after the President resigned, committed suicide and was replaced by a joint council, as in the early days of global government, that the content of the roll was disclosed.

It was the genealogical tree of humanity. Every single human ever born, going back to the first group of six humans that appeared in Africa, had his place in this gigantic tree.

The authorities underlined the large number of links that, over the centuries, linked the peoples of the earth. It justified the existence of a global government since humans had, with very few exceptions, mixed intensively. It proved nationalities were an invention that had had its usefulness in the past but that modern humans were a truly one and united species.

Only a very limited number of officials were let into the one element that was not disclosed to the public at large. The genealogic tree continued into the future and indicated clearly the sex, name and birth date of the children that would be born in the coming years. In the coming ten years.
It ended abruptly on December 6, 2050.

The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report

Findings of the Global Study on Women, Beauty and Well-Being

September 2004

Dr. Nancy Etcoff – Harvard University
Dr. Susie Orbach – London School of Economics
Dr. Jennifer Scott – StrategyOne
Heidi D’Agostino – StrategyOne
Commissioned by Dove, a Unilever Beauty Brand

The report can be downloaded - click here



The Real Truth About Beauty study is the first attempt to both “deconstruct” and “reconstruct”
women’s perceptions of female beauty using applied research across ten countries. It shows that
women globally hold remarkably similar views on beauty (with the exception of Japanese
women on some measures).

The study demonstrates that authentic beauty is a concept lodged in women’s hearts and minds
and seldom articulated in popular culture or affirmed in the mass media. As such, it remains
unrealized and unclaimed. This idea of beauty appears to have been replaced by a narrower
definition that is largely located in limited ideals of physical appearance. It appears that the word
“beauty” has – in many ways – become functionally defined as “physical attractiveness.” This
definition of beauty is powerfully communicated through the mass media and has been
assimilated through popular culture. It is this ideal that many women measure themselves
against and aspire to attain. However, because this ideal is extremely difficult to achieve,
women find it difficult to think of themselves as beautiful. This can contribute to unhappiness
and low self-esteem and self-worth – especially among those women (often younger) who are
more likely to take their cues from popular culture.

This study clearly outlines the components of true beauty and affirms that, while they include
physical attractiveness, they also include happiness, kindness, wisdom, dignity, love, authenticity
and self-realization. Through this study, the possibilities for the beautiful to be known, found
and represented have been infinitely extended. The ways in which female beauty can move us
have been profoundly deepened.

Just as women lay some of the blame for the perpetuation of inauthentic beauty on popular
culture and the mass media, they also believe that that the latter can be a force for reconfiguring
the former so that true beauty becomes the new standard – with unprecedented power to open
minds and move emotions.

True beauty will not be driven by theory or ideology, but by its resonance in the hearts and
minds of those who encounter it. This study has given women the opportunity to speak about
what it can be. However, its articulation is the obligation of those who speak to women around
the world about their beauty every hour of every day – in the visual images and words of the
mass media. Their challenge is to know true beauty when they feel it and to faithfully represent
it in the ways in which they speak about it.