Arbitrary dates have meaning only to us humans, but they nonetheless strike meaning into everything else, like fire to metal, and this is more obviously true at the start of a new year when once again I tell myself I will, among other good deeds, read the entire Bible, not just the occasional verse, not only the parables or proverbs, but also Kings and Leviticus, all of it, start to finish, and while the date of the new year and the resolution that preceded it are full of meaning and intent, execution is more like a tiny boat tossed about in rough waters, the captain doing all he can to just not sink, but I did make it through several chapters of Genesis — and, really, the opening of the Bible is the very best part — and I read about Cain and Abel, the planet’s first children, and how Cain in a fit of jealousy — a trait humans are born with but which others can be taught — murdered his brother Abel, and as usual what stood out to me about that story, and I accept this as both a personal strength and failing, is that technology now — or soon will — make Cain’s punishment literally available to all of us, all on our own, God’s intervention not necessary, for if you recall from Genesis, God’s punishment to Cain is not to take his life but instead to make him a vagabond farmer to be viewed with scorn by all who see him, but it is Cain’s retort to God that is even more surprising than this, as Cain states that with God’s hate upon him everyone he meets with will try to kill him, upon which God’s still more surprising retort is not to prevent Cain from being murdered, not technically, but rather to place a “mark” upon Cain — and this is the important part — a mark which, should a person try and kill him, that person will receive a “sevenfold” level of God’s vengeance upon himself, suffering seven times worse than Cain’s, and I realize that we can do this now, or at least we can in the very near future, in the form of a wearable blood chit or tattoo of some sort, whereby the wearable or tattoo may not be visible to the naked eye, for example, but it glows when viewed through a screen or perhaps causes every nearby connected thing — IoT — to respond differently, and maybe such a mark can be used for both punishments and rewards, so that if a group of people are out with friends, for example, and are stopped by a gunman, his gun — no doubt also connected to the web — can alert him that the tall man, second from the left, hails from a very wealthy family and if the gunman doesn’t harm him he will be sent a very handsome reward — already placed in escrow — and I wonder if perhaps this could be used to prevent rape — of certain people — or even if “smart bullets” and “smart bombs” can be connected to the same internet which holds this wearable chit data so that when a terrorist sprays an airport lobby the bullet headed for Innocent Bystander C drops harmlessly to the floor, which maybe physics makes this example not possible but I still think that the mark of Cain is now one more technology we are encroaching upon, the Bible is a makers guide after all, and not all we make will reflect our best, some will acknowledge our very worst.

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