Something to Think About:  What is Controlling You?
Passion for Change

Something to Think About: What is Controlling You?

Rosemary Jackson  •  

For the Masses

Rome revealed through the history channeling eyes of Mary Beard in SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome is unlike any ancient civilization course that you have ever taken. We all know a thing or two about Romans and Mary Beard challenges all those myths that we have absorbed as spectacular lies. Cleopatra’s suicide by snake bite, Caligula’s trademark debauchery, Nero’s fiddling while Rome burned, debunked one after the other.

What we’re left with is a view inside the daily life of a Roman. True, most of Beard’s disseminated knowledge focuses on various well known historical figures and Roman institutions like Romulus and Remus, but she laces together the everyday fun of learning about what it meant to walk down a street in an ancient Roman city. Garbage was everywhere as there was no waste collection or management of any kind. The poor lived right next to the rich and all suffered from skin and other ailments caused by the lack of sanitation. The glorious baths were seething cauldrons of infection and well, you can imagine.

And then there was the extraordinary control of the masses by the privileged elite. Management came in many forms. The ‘bread and circuses’ meant to refocus the human herd’s ponderings away from their sufferings. Or the extreme regulation of dice and gambling so that the populace would not get too much money in their ignorant pockets. Slaves were subjected to flagrant beatings so they wouldn’t challenge their place in society.

The medium to low-income elements of the population lived without redress of loss or theft or victimization of any kind. To find help, the ordinary people turned to their gods and to magic. Curses and prayers have been found inscribed on tablets that had been thrown into magical waters. The Oracles of Astrampsychus is a book which “contained a numbered list of ninety-two questions that someone might want to ask of a fortune teller, plus a list of more than a thousand possible answers.” By following the directions, you could figure out which of the thousand answers applied to the question you chose to ask.

To Be Controlled

All societies build control into their civilizations. But in a one-time republic like Rome or our current democracy, the control can take a more subtle approach. "Propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to the totalitarian state,” Noam Chomsky famously commented. For us in our media driven, social networking culture, the control can be invisibly insidious. And found on many levels including government, academia, and other structured institutions.

Rewriting history, moving past legacy tools, seeing what’s really there can be frustrating and exhausting. But there is also a freshness in revelation and in understanding what’s real. Beard’s reexamination of the Roman period allows for the Roman humanity to shine through, creating an understanding of the actual legacy that we have derived from that empire. Beard asks us to think about our perceptions. would also like you to think about your perceptions of decision making in the unconventional shale well lifecycle. Legacy tools like type curves and simulators are only giving you a part of the real story. The full truth of shale lies in the use of a geomechanical understanding of the reservoir that pulls together the whole story of stress states, earth modeling, proppant intensities, treating pressures from pad design to completions.

The controlling nature of tools that you’ve always used, of ways that you’ve always done the job are holding the industry back from rewriting the story of shale. With an AI technology like that takes the engineer or scientist from beginning to end of the well lifecycle with high levels of confidence and accuracy, shale becomes economic, the myths are debunked, and the new understanding of the reservoir provides clear choices free from historic limitations.

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