David Pax
author

Blog

The Tense Present

Wars, terrorist attacks, global warming, corrupt politicians, we are surrounded by bad news all the time. Fiction can be an escape from the fears that surround us, an idealized world where the problems of the characters are resolved in a satisfying conclusion. It is important that we have the escape of fiction, as communication technology delivers more and more news of terrible events directly to our phones and tablets and televisions.

It is also important that, where possible, we make a difference in our world.

That's the foundation of Like Lisa, one way of making a difference in the world. Lisa is a fictional character, drawn from many influences, inspired by many people. She is brave, and caring, and passionate about her art and the people she has chosen to represent. When she is tested by the Spacer invasion of Tirimba, Lisa has to find the strength to keep going through a chaotic evacuation, Spacer attacks, and the struggle to survive deep in a mine. Lisa's struggles resonate with people who have faced their own struggles, and survived them. Links to people who have shown the same sort of courage and resilience in real life that Lisa shows in Without Gravity are celebrated in the Like Lisa list.

If we want to live in a future that has all the promise science fiction offers, it will take cooperation. The time of great single inventions has come and gone. For example, there is no need to invent the electric grid, Edison has done that, and Westinghouse and Telsa improved it. There is a need for constant invention and improvement of the grid, though. While individuals had the original ideas, the modern grid is the work of thousands of people who contribute their skills to deliver safe and reliable power. Working together, the electric grid is improved every day by people who create the future using computer technologies and advanced power controls. Technologies that were science fiction just a few decades ago are reality today thanks to all the people who worked together to make them real.

Cooperation itself is not new to the human story. The entire history of modern humans is a story of cooperation, starting with the early humans on the African savannahs cooperating to form the first human communities. New understanding of the human brain is pointing toward neurological mechanisms that reinforce cooperation. Reward mechanisms in the brain provide equal reinforcement for a gift giver and receiver, while the activities such as negotiation can increase stress hormones and supress the immune system. Our brains evolved to reward cooperative behavior simply because cooperation is a powerful survival mechanism.

We live in a tense present. It is easy to succumb to fear, to let the complex challenges of our twenty-first century world intimidate us. In the end though, I believe that people like Lisa Madison will help us all endure, survive, and finally succeed at making this world a place where everyone has opportunities to live and grow in peace.

If you know someone who has fought hard to make a difference in their community please contact me at davidpaxauthor@gmail.com. Fiction can inspire great stories. Real people can create great results.