Saving the planet: it’s not about credentials, it’s about ideas and vision.
If I had to describe myself in just two words: always thinking.
I would like to have skipped this page entirely — since I would prefer not having to write about myself — but any prospective philanthropic backer willing to consider gifting me seed capital (so I can set those saving the planet “wheels” in motion [e.g. see the Solutions page]) is going to want to know something about me. Right? So here is my attempt to “paint” something of a self-portrait (but with words).
My list of accomplishments is neither long nor impressive. Although I hold a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University (where I studied creative writing and literature), I have been working as a security officer, since 1990. It is easy work (usually, for the most part), it “pays the bills” (for the most part), but moreover, I prefer it over many other types of employment, because it allows me to conserve my mental energy, so I can better focus my thoughts and attention toward whatever projects or mental activity I happen to be engaged in, when I am not at work. I never really doubted that someday I would eventually get to the point where I would be able to quit my job, and immerse myself in my lifelong pursuit of working to “save the planet.” That is the only real career goal I have ever had (too bad there isn’t even a name for it).
Over the years, my choice of employment has left many people who know me, scratching their heads – puzzled over why I wasn’t doing something more up to my intellectual capabilities. Therefore, I found it quite satisfying, when the story of Chris Langan surfaced in the news, after the television show 20/20 began doing research for an on-air report on people with very high IQs. Langan tested as having an extraordinarily high IQ, of at least 195 (an IQ of 195 or higher is exceedingly rare!). He never finished college, often lived on less than $10,000 a year, and worked as a nightclub bouncer – previous employment had included working as a farmhand, construction worker, firefighter and lifeguard. I’m certainly not going to suggest that I think I might have an IQ within his range – I absolutely don’t even for a second think that’s the case – but my situation reminded me of his, in the sense that he, too, chose to have a simple (not too mentally-challenging), low-paying job, so that he could devote his time and attention, when at home, to doing work that he personally considers invaluable or enjoys doing. In other words, he avoided occupations where he would have to take his work home with him, or where he would need to periodically invest time learning new skills. As such, when he is off duty, he is free to spend his time as he chooses.
Incidentally, certain mental qualities (such as one’s imaginativeness, for example) IQ tests can’t measure. About imagination, Albert Einstein famously stated: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Chris Langan expressed similar sentiment, in an article appearing in Newsday (Dennis Brabham, “The Smart Guy,” 21 Aug. 2001: B6), in which he states that his “intellectual self-opinion has very little to do with” IQ scores. He states that it has much more to do with his theories and ideas. I remember also reading something along these same lines – about how creativity is a true measure of genius, and yet no test can truly measure creativity or originality – in one of Marilyn vos Savant’s “Ask Marilyn” columns, in Parade Magazine. Her column’s by-line indicates that she is “listed in the Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame for ‘Highest IQ.’” [It is my understanding that Guinness has since eliminated that category, from its books.]
Many years ago, I once asked myself the following questions: “What do I truly value most in life? What is most important to me?” I was able to fashion my response fairly quickly, and to this day, that formulation hasn’t really changed. The things I value most, are: Nature, Knowledge, Truth, and the Golden Rule.
Gratitude is also something I view as very important; but let me explain precisely what I mean by that. By mere virtue of the fact that we were born (have received the “gift of life”), I believe we ought to feel obligated to lead ethical lives (and ought to be striving towards making the world a much better place). Just as I believe every day should be regarded as Earth Day, I believe every day should be viewed as a day for “Thanksgiving.” This needn’t entail prayer or ritual. Just the mindful awareness that, at any given moment, there are countless things we take for granted. Most of us live far better today, for instance, than did kings and queens of centuries past. Think of just some of the things we constantly take for granted: language (the ability to transform thoughts into words), the fact that we have vocal cords, intellect (the ability to have thoughts), consciousness, agriculture, electricity, antibiotics, anesthesia, literacy, heat, shelter, clothing, indoor plumbing, sewer systems, food, water, artificial light, eyeglasses, music, movies, radio, television, phones, computers, internet, email, emergency services (fire, police, ambulance), teachers, schools, hospitals, the air we breathe, our pets, our family, our senses, memory, and so forth. Even when something is a bone of contention, such as the gasoline-powered automobile, we should still nevertheless appreciate the act of transportation that it provides (the fact that it gets us from point “a” to point “b”). (And we should appreciate all the times we get from point “a” to point “b,” safely.) Think of all the knowledge that we possess. As Richard Dawkins has pointed out, if you were to give Aristotle a tutorial, you would “thrill him to the core of his being.” Imagine seeing today’s world through the eyes of our nation’s founding fathers – who lived back in a time when the average life span was half what ours is today. I don’t believe we express or demonstrate near-adequate appreciation, commensurate for all that we have been given. I completely agree with the adage “To those whom much has been given, much is expected.” And I also believe that we should be very mindful of the fact that every single thing we have, we owe to the fact this planet has the ability to support human life – and this is the only planet we know of, in the entirety of the universe, that is capable of supporting human life. Why can’t we recognize the simple truth in that, and appreciate this planet’s true worth?
Much can also be said about the importance of having a positive attitude and the right frame of mind. To give an example of the power of positive thinking, in my own life, I once achieved a draw in a simultaneous chess exhibition (quite a few years ago), against International Grandmaster Edmar Mednis (who twice, in his career, achieved draws against the future World Chess Champion, Bobby Fischer). A few years earlier, I had also achieved the same result (a draw) against Susan Polgar, who at the time was playing at near-grandmaster strength (and in subsequent years, went on to become the woman’s division World Champion). No matter who my opponent is, I never play with the expectation or assumption that I am going to lose. In my game with Polgar, even after she had a material advantage on my kingside, and a positional advantage on my queenside, and even though she was ranked several categories higher than me (several hundred rating points), I still didn’t let that squash my resolve to prevent her from winning. And I succeeded!
To add more depth and detail to this word portrait, let me turn to a popular personality typing system: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). When I read Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type (by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger) – an international bestseller – I was very impressed. I bought the book because I had periodically heard about MBTI for years, and wanted to see for myself whether it held any promise or validity as a personality-typing system. There was a lot more depth to it than I had anticipated. By the time I finished reading the second chapter, I had discovered that I am what is called “INTP” (which stands for Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving). I found the INTP profile in that chapter to be amazingly precise. For example, in that page-long profile, INTPs are portrayed as “conceptual problem solvers,” who are “intensely intellectual and logical, with flashes of creative brilliance.” It goes on to say that while they are “outwardly quiet, reserved, and detached,” they are “inwardly absorbed in analyzing problems.” The book describes INTPs as being critical and skeptical. They prefer “conversation to be logical and purposeful” and “are usually ingenious and original thinkers, (…) primarily interested in seeing possibilities beyond what is currently known, accepted or obvious.” The book also states that INTPs “think in extremely complex ways,” and “occasionally, their ideas are so complex they have difficulty communicating and making others understand them.”
Part Three of this book lists potential career opportunities for each of the individual personality types. “Ingenious Problem Solvers” is the thumbnail phrase Part Three uses to describe INTPs. The occupation that I find most appealing – among those listed for INTPs – falls under the “Creative” category: “Columnist, critic, commentator.” I would definitely love having a nationally-syndicated column. What better way to establish my credentials as someone singularly capable of leading an effort to save the planet? Disseminating my ideas to a wide audience would also breathe much-needed life into subjects that are almost never discussed. But what newspaper would hire an iconoclastic social critic, with strong anti-consumer-culture opinions? (I don’t think advertisers would appreciate such a perspective.) Incidentally, my overall assessment of the MBTI can be summed up like this: some people see too much relevance in it, some see no relevance in it; I believe its usefulness lies somewhere in between these two extremes.
Another personality typing system, described in Gary Null’s book Who Are You, Really?: Understanding Your Life’s Energy, breaks people down into seven different “energy types” (based upon what he calls “natural life energy”). The chapter on “The Mind-Powered World of Dynamic Assertives,” absolutely describes me to a “T” – virtually every word, every sentence, every paragraph. For example, Null writes that “the be-all and end-all for Dynamic Assertives is ideas.” I can attest to that. In fact, hardly a day ever goes by where I haven’t jotted down some ideas. These ideas can be sparked by something I see as I’m driving, a photo in a newspaper, an article, or an article heading, something someone says, or a new experience. It could be an idea for a patentable invention or product (or a way of improving an existing product), an idea for an architectural design, a shortcut way of doing something, an idea for my “Blueprint for Saving the Planet” book (or the work associated with it), or an idea for a sculpture, or a film, song lyrics, a business idea, an idea for a T-shirt design, a theory, an experiment (or perhaps a way to test a theory or claim), an idea for a book, or for a title for a book, a newly coined word or phrase, or an idea related to whatever project I happen to be working on at the time. I go through thousands and thousands of sheets of four by six inch memo paper a year, in this way (jotting down thoughts and ideas). I keep a stack of memo paper in my bedroom, kitchen, car, by my computer, in the basement, and always take some with me to work, or wherever I go. Without pen and paper, I feel like a fish out of water.
There are a few points worth making here, regarding the above: (a) these jotted-down ideas accumulate at such a pace that I can’t really do anything at all with over ninety-nine percent of them (there is no time to do anything other than just toss them into a drawer); (b) but once I have the funding to be able to intensely focus my time and energy on “saving the planet,” then (b1) the ideas I do generate, should be concentrated more in that particular direction (since that will be where I will be focusing most of my attention), and (b2) I will be more in a position to put those ideas into action; (c) and, additionally, there will also then be things I will probably have time to make room for, that will aid in increasing my level of creativity (the flow of good ideas) – for example: walking (and other forms of exercise), eating better, getting much more sleep (and on a more consistent basis), doing much more reading (I have boxes and boxes of stuff I can’t wait to get to), setting aside some time for socializing (studies show this lengthens lifespan, improves health, and stimulates mental activity), changing surroundings and engaging the mind in challenging new ways (which also stimulates creativity), and, although I have no time for it at all now, in the past I have discovered that simply listening to classical books on tape (while I’m preparing my meals, for instance), substantially improves my ability to think and write (assemble words and thoughts) – therefore, I look forward to getting to the point where I can routinely fit that into my schedule, as well.
Presently, however (or at least until this website is finally up-and-running), I don’t particularly want to increase my level of creativity (because if my level of creativity were to increase significantly beyond the level at which it is at now, then that, I fear, would be much more of a hindrance, than a help – more of a curse, than a blessing [see the second epigraph to the Afterword section]); but once I have the starting capital to act on putting together many of the projects I would like to see come to fruition, then, at that point, ratcheting up my level of creativity is definitely a direction I want to go in.
Here is Null’s “thumbnail description” of a Dynamic Assertive: “the kind of person you could have a conversation with and then write an article about it.” Null writes that Dynamic Assertives “serve as the ‘correctors’ in society.” They are “the people who can identify wrongs and have the courage to correct them. Think of Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Mead, Thoreau, Spinoza. Plato, and Socrates.” They “break the ground for new roads upon which everyone else will eventually travel.” In other words, they are pioneers, trailblazers, iconoclasts, nonconformists. Here are some additional attributes the author associates with the Dynamic Assertive life energy (all of which, I can strongly identify with): they have tremendous raw energy, they are introspective, conceptually creative, non-materialistic, intellectually honest, have a strong disregard for limitations (“one of their most distinctive qualities”), are highly independent, “happy to be loners at times,” and “do not have the same need for permanent relationships.” Indeed, I deeply enjoy the quietude of solitude – for reading, concentration, contemplation – and live my life predominantly as a loner. Solitude, to me, is as natural as sunshine – especially considering how so few people care about this planet, in the same way that I do. The author speculates about one person in a hundred is a Dynamic Assertive. It is worth noting, too, that Dynamic Assertives tend not to be the marrying kind. As the author states, a “Dynamic Assertive’s first relationship is with life (…) they want to dedicate their energy to the life process, not to maintaining a relationship.”
In all of the chapter’s thirty pages, probably the only part that really surprised me, was where Null writes “More than any other energy type, Dynamic Assertives live in the moment. They are spontaneous …” Spontaneous? I had never thought of myself as spontaneous. In fact, it used to annoy me to see how effortlessly people could drop whatever it is they are doing, to accept an invitation to go out to a movie, dinner, or a party. With me, the weight of the problems of the world are too heavy on my mind, to so easily discard my sense of mission to set things right. At the time that I am transcribing this, for example, I would say I probably haven’t been to a movie theater in over twenty-five years, and haven’t played in a chess tournament – which had been one of my greatest pleasures in life – in over fifteen years.
But the more I thought about it, the more I gained a deeper sense of understanding. For example, my financial circumstances, for as long as I can remember, haven’t really afforded me much freedom to be spontaneous. And, having for so many years, cars that are not highway worthy, also contributes to this lack of freedom. But also, I do seriously feel a very strong sense of mission, which I am very faithful to – and that, among other things, keeps me perpetually busy. This also happens to be something the author cautions against: “Remember that there are negative consequences to a self-sacrificing commitment to any cause, no matter how worthy. If you are not careful, you can develop a ‘martyr complex’ … This can kill your spontaneity, joy, and creativity – the driving forces in your life.” Those are wise words. But perhaps the world needs such self-sacrificing commitments, from certain people (such as myself), (a) to counterbalance the freewheeling, insouciant masses, and (b) to compensate for all those people who do have that “energy,” but don’t push themselves – for whatever reasons – to tap into it, in an effective, altruistic way. Think about it, the major problems in the world aren’t going to resolve all by themselves. Just consider these sobering postulates: (a) the problems are very serious (e.g. global warming, deforestation, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity, pollution, overpopulation, the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, and so forth), (b) something needs to be done, (c) nothing substantive is being done, (d) I have little or no faith in our leaders, (e) I have little or no faith that people will put sufficient pressure on their leaders to get them to act on these issues, (f) this assumes that either the people, or their leaders, even know what needs to be done (which I don’t believe at all is the case), and let us not forget (g) that by continuing to ignore these issues, these problems will only get worse, and increasingly more difficult to eventually resolve. And, (h) all of this could be pushing us further to the point where geoengineering might be seen as the only viable option – which, by way of the Law of Unintended Consequences, could wind up being akin to throwing gasoline on a raging fire. Is there anyone, anywhere in the world, who is really addressing (proposing solutions for, or seeking solutions for), all of these problems, in an effective, holistic, substantive way – and where the results obtained, are commensurate with the funding received? (I certainly don’t know of anyone I would place in that category.) And yet doesn’t the world desperately need such people?
As I have stated previously here, and in the Read this first! section, I am a loner. But let me briefly expand on that. Something I read about Albert Einstein – expressed in Einstein’s own words – rings true for me as well (to an extent). Here is what he said:
My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or team work. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my own family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness, and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the years.
Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it, to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs, opinions and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shiftless foundations.
If one were to substitute the phrase “saving the planet,” for “social justice and social responsibility,” then this would ring even truer for me. Additionally, I feel very energetically driven (in a creative, idealistic and intellectual sense), whereas, most people that I meet just don’t appear at all to be anything like that. To put it another way, “isolation” is one way to become “independent of the customs, opinions and prejudices of others,” but another direction one can go in is to attempt to change that milieu altogether — to steadfastly resolve to do all that one can, to change the direction in which mankind is heading. I might feel like I was born ahead of my time, but I also see it as a universal truth that everyone would be better off if they too had been born into a very different world than the world that they were born into. For example, contrary to that axiom “People [in a democracy] get the kind of government that they deserve,” I don’t believe people ever get the kind of government that they deserve — these circumstances are delivered to us by a confluence of myriads of factors that are entirely beyond our control. Still, how many people are really motivated and committed towards changing the way things presently are, in a very big, foundational way?
Some other famous loners throughout history include Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson, John Lennon, and interestingly, Johnny Carson, considered himself a loner. I like how Thoreau put it: “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” According to Anneli S. Rufus, who wrote Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto, as much as 25 percent of the world’s population are loners.
Although I don’t fit the traditional mold of the so-called “people-person,” in a sense, perhaps, I might be more of a people-person than those who are considered as such. How so? I am doing what I am doing, ultimately – all arguments against free will aside – for people. Someone who hasn’t been born yet, or someone who hasn’t been born yet even ten or one hundred thousand years from now, is still a *person (*or will be, someday, assuming we succeed in saving the planet, or prolong its demise long enough for those people, ultimately, to be born).
Although I’ve not played in a chess tournament for quite a few years now, chess has been one of those activities that has brought me the greatest joy in life. The only way to describe it is it’s as if a feeling of immortality takes hold. Time stops. Breathing stops (or it seems that way). All other worries, problems, troubles, cares, concerns … disappear! The whole focus is on that game!
Besides chess, something else I enjoy wrapping my neurons around, are the information-packed pages of the Daily Racing Form. And songwriting, too, is definitely something that I find deeply satisfying, on some level. These three things have something else in common. You might call them “phantom interests.” Because I have never had any real time to devote to these pursuits. But, perhaps, after I have gotten this website up, I will begin to make some room in my life for some of the things I have never had time for (at least, until I can acquire the requisite funding to focus on my real passion in life: saving the planet!).
Putting up this website, and advertising it, accomplishes at least two things: it opens the door to receiving the gift capital I need, in order to be able to begin to move forward; but it also allows me to finally be able to shift the onus onto others. I don’t know how long it will take to receive that funding. Days? Years? But I do know this: In the meantime, it will feel as though much of the weight has finally been lifted from my shoulders. I am ready, and eager, and chomping at the bit, to do my part. But someone else has to step up and do theirs. I can’t begin to really move forward, in a very big way, without the financial freedom to be able to do so. As I say in the Afterword section of this website, “Now the ball is in your court (so to speak). It’s up to you!”
Next, to round out this section, I will begin by giving just a few examples of some of the unique ideas I’ve had over the years. This seems like an apropos addendum, since, to again quote from Gary Null’s book, Who Are You, Really?, “The be-all and end-all for Dynamic Assertives is ideas.” (I’ve tried to steer clear of including ones that are included in the Solutions section). [Note: While it currently seems unlikely that I will be able to find the time for this – I hope I am wrong about that – I have registered the domain name SomeOfMyIdeas.Com [Note: While this domain is “parked” (not being used by me), I have no control over how the domain retailer uses it.], for the explicit purpose of periodically sharing some of my unique ideas.]:
- One big idea involves a strategy that any presidential candidate can implement, to win a presidential election. As far as I know, this strategy has never before been tried. It would be a bold and potentially precedent-setting strategy to implement; and one which I think voters would greatly appreciate and respect.
- A considerably much simpler idea – which I conceived of before the 2000 presidential election, and which, in my opinion, might well have changed the course of history – is an incredibly simple tactic to employ; and the closer the race appears to be (this wouldn’t be effective in other types of races), the more effective this simple tactic would likely be. (The 2000 presidential race would have been perfect for this.) Considering how simple this is to implement, I find it amazing that – to the best of my knowledge – it has never before been tried (and usually the people running do just the opposite).
- This next idea is one which could – if done right (a very big “if”) – revolutionize education in this country, and around the world. I have for a very long time felt that what we need to be doing is assembling a comprehensive collection of digitally recorded classes, in every subject area, taught by the very best of the best, crème de la crème, of the teaching profession. Some of the potential benefits: easing the burden on teachers; lowering property taxes; making classes more interesting; offering more variety; students could easily make up missed classes; economically disadvantaged school districts would have access to teachers their communities otherwise could not afford; college would become much more affordable; it would be an excellent resource for home schooling; it would allow access to a broader spectrum of curriculum than would otherwise be the case (e.g. philosophy, nonviolent conflict resolution, a wider assortment of language classes to choose from, pre-med, an opportunity for high school students to sample college-level classes or vocational classes); this can even be a resource for schools in Third World countries; and could potentially give rise to the dawning of a new renaissance in education, worldwide. (Though we have, in certain respects, been moving somewhat in this direction, over the years, I still haven’t seen anything remotely approaching the full potential of what I envision.)
- I originally conceived of this idea as a way to revolutionize the way many college literature classes are taught, but the very same concept could also extend into high school or junior high school English classes as well. Basically, rather than structure literature classes using an “all or nothing” approach, I would like to see greater flexibility in assigning only certain chapters. Rather than all of Cervantes’ Don Quixiote, why not just a few chapters? Rather than have a room full of students who didn’t do the reading assignment (because it was rather mammoth), why not increase the odds that they will have done the reading assignment, while also reaping the benefits of far greater class participation? One of the goals of literature classes should be to inspire students to become lifelong readers, not turn them away from reading altogether. Such an approach would also allow more individual works to be covered.
- I also have an idea for a very ingenious way of providing extremely low cost day care services, and doing so in such a way that it would benefit society, as a whole, in a multitude of ways.
- I have always been captivated by good architectural design; and I have an idea for a unique architectural concept that I would like to see come to fruition.
- I also have a very unique concept for a film. The concept is so original that as far as I know, it has never before been done.
- I also have a terrific idea for a “sculpture,” that I would like to commission an artist to create. (It would actually be more of an installation setup, designed to be not-so-subtly educational.)
I have long since gotten to the point where I believe that no matter how completely unique and original an idea is, it is only a matter of time before someone else has that same or a similar idea, and (if it is a very good idea) also acts on it. I’ve seen this happen many times, with lots of my ideas. Some examples of this:
- One of my very earliest of noteworthy ideas (that I can recall) – this goes back to when I was in junior high or high school (a time in my life when I was definitely not very creative) – was for a book that would contain clues as to where something very valuable was buried or hidden. Very soon after I had this idea, I saw something similar was already on the market. There have been numerous other such products or books that have come out since then, using basically this same concept.
- Another very old idea of mine was to use television to show the photos of suspects wanted by the police or FBI. I noticed that no one really paid very much attention to the photos hanging in the post office. But if these were shown on television, where over a quarter of a billion pairs of eyes could instantaneously see them, lots of those individuals could be apprehended within days, if not hours. The TV show America’s Most Wanted has proven this point, time and time again.
- Another truly unique idea I had, so very long ago, was for a movie plot with a fictional storyline showing that we never actually went to the moon, but the whole thing was instead staged on something like a Hollywood set (e.g. in order to increase NASA funding). Eventually, I heard about the book Capricorn I (which was later made into a movie). I am not familiar with either the film or the novel, but from what I have read elsewhere, I believe they are somewhat similar (to my idea [at least the part about faking the moon landing]).
- Back when I was a Nassau Community College student, in the early 1980s, I remember sharing one of my ideas with a classmate on the debate team. He was in the military, and he liked the idea. The concept is simple: We used to have a “Department of War,” which later became the “Department of Defense,” but what we need to do, is, in addition to the Department of Defense, also create a “Department of Peace” (a whole new branch of government). It is precisely the sort of thing, which if done right, could have prevented 9/11 from ever happening. It is a bit too involved to get into all of the facets of it here, in this small amount of space (this is a subject which could easily be the topic for an entire book), but the point I wanted to make is that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who ran in the Democratic presidential primaries in 2004 and 2008, has pushed for the creation of a “Department of Peace.” (Truthfully, I’m not sure to what extent his idea resembles mine. I believe his version included a strong domestic component, for example; whereas my original vision, in short, was focused on what might best be described as foreign policy-related initiatives.)
- Another old idea of mine involves the creation of technology that could revolutionize thoroughbred racing in the United States and around the world. I have seen what looks like this very same concept, briefly described in a racing column that was published in The Daily Racing Form. I have also since read about one such system which was being tested, and by now might actually be in full use.
Here is how I had conceived of the idea: In what are called “speed” (or “blitz”) chess tournaments, it is not ordinarily possible to watch the moves, as they are being played much too rapidly. So a special set was designed, with sensors embedded inside the pieces and the board. Similarly, with horse racing, I theorized that sensors could be placed on jockeys’ helmets, and their movements tracked, to allow a complete bird’s-eye view of the entire field of runners. This information could be beamed to HDTV screens, and computer monitors, so everyone – anywhere in the world – can see exactly where every horse is, during every phase of the race, as it’s happening. [This is a separate paragraph that goes with the bullet above.]
Finally, what follows next is a collection of some of my observations and thoughts, on a variety of topics – which seems only fitting, considering this page of my website is titled “About me.” I have assembled these into three sections: those dealing with environmentalism; those dealing with religion (or subjects generally regarded as falling within that domain); and those dealing with either both, or neither, of these subjects. (Note: this above order is not the order in which these sections are presented.)
Incidentally, another reason why I choose to include this material, is because I had bits and pieces left over from when I assembled the first main draft of this website (consisting of things that I had written, and had wanted to include, but couldn’t find a proper place to put them). Therefore, this gives me the opportunity to include some of that material, and to do so in such a way that it does not appear out of place, but rather, enhances, and adds to, the value and understanding of the material presented throughout this website.
And please feel free to quote me (Paul A. Reinicke):
- The next time you hear someone say it is arrogant to think that our species – our highly consumeristic species – can have a measurable impact on this planet, try explaining it to them this way: If everyone alive today, lived out their lives, and then we tallied up all their ages, the grand total (total number of years lived) would be far, far greater, than the estimated age of the entire universe (13-14 billion years); and keep in mind, this period of time (hundreds of billions of years) would not be spread out over those many years, but rather, would be compressed into the lone lifespan, of just one single centenarian.
- What motivates me to care so deeply about the subject I feel most passionate about (saving the planet)? Perhaps it boils down to this: While I don’t necessarily fear death, what I do fear is that someday, when I am on my deathbed, there will still be no real signs of hope that we are heading in the right direction. Seeing some real signs of hope that humankind is at long last finally heading in the right direction, would give me immeasurable solace when I am breathing my last breaths. For all I see now is more and more evidence that we keep running faster and faster, in the opposite direction, towards a very steep cliff.
- Just as the famous quotation of Edmund Burke states “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” it can similarly be stated that all that is necessary for us to succeed in destroying the planet, is for us to be blind or inattentive to the fact that we are doing so.
- We want environmentalism to fit into our definition of what we think environmentalism should be; but nature wants us to fit into its definition of what it thinks we should be. It’s kind of like nature is a round peg, but we’re trying to force it into a square hole; while at the same time, we’re a square hole, but nature needs for us to be a round hole.
- We speak of “global warming,” but what about “global landfilling?” We’ve heard the term “population explosion,” but what about the “pollution explosion?” We’re told there’s an “energy crisis,” but what about the “extinction crisis?” We need to see environmental problems in a “whole-istic” way, and address the oneness of the problem.
- Our number one priority – these days, and in the foreseeable future – needs to be focusing on finding ways to maximize our ability to live harmoniously with nature.
- Saving the planet requires making that goal a daily habit, not deceiving ourselves into believing that infrequent acts of planetary goodwill can do the trick.
- If it is okay for me to own an SUV, then it is okay for everyone to own one. If it is not tenable for everyone to own one, then it is not tenable for me to own one. We don’t like thinking that way, but that is how we should think.
- The Earth doesn’t belong to all of us, it belongs to none of us.
- Rather than capitulate to the demands of society, it is better to capitulate to the demands of posterity. If society is a drop, posterity is an ocean.
- This is the only planet we know of, in the entire universe, capable of supporting life. So why do we treat it as though such planets are a dime a dozen?
- Both “Biosphere II” missions (1991-1994) — funded by billionaire philanthropist Sam Bass — were deemed failed experiments. However, I thought they very effectively demonstrated how completely inept we are at duplicating what this planet does so effortlessly.
- As human population expands and man’s collective voice grows stronger, nature’s voice becomes ever fainter.
- Seeing all the many ways in which we mistreat ourselves and our fellow man, should it be all that surprising that we are mistreating the biosphere as well? Imagine if we all lived by one simple precept: Treat the earth (anthropomorphically speaking), and others, as you would want to be treated.
- Go back five hundred years, and was there anyone who predicted the Apollo moon landing, the advent of computers, artificial intelligence, cell phones, television, airplanes? Some would argue that this provides evidence that man can accomplish feats that surpass even our wildest imagination. I would suggest it is a stupefying example of mankind’s collective lack of prescience. There are two sides to this coin: lack of prescience concerning the marvelous examples of what the human mind is capable of; and lack of prescience concerning the potentially apocalyptic consequences of what the human mind is capable of.
- Talking about the problems is easy; coming up with real solutions isn’t.
- Just as the world we live in today (a world of internet-connected-computers, air travel, Mars rovers, the Hubble telescope, towering skyscrapers, and so forth) was unfathomable to antecedents like our founding fathers, perhaps, similarly, so too is the world that we need to create (to save the planet), unfathomable to those who are alive today.
- What humanity is doing to the planet, religion is doing to humanity; while humanity pollutes the planet, religion pollutes the mind.
- If someone truly believes that to be a nonbeliever is to not appreciate what God has created for us, then isn’t it hypocritical to stand idly by, watching or condoning the systematic destruction and dismantling of everything that they believe God created?
- Science is an infinite quest for knowledge, not a quest for infinite knowledge.
- That same capacity for grandiose optimism, which enables so many people to believe in things like angels, miracles, divine intervention and heaven, might also explain why so many people believe there is no dire need to be concerned about the consequences of things like pollution, climate change, and burgeoning human population.
- Man is an anomaly; but so is a giraffe.
- Beliefs become behavior alibis.
- Any rigidly-held belief has a tendency to establish an ever more entrenched foothold in the mind.
- Changing the world can sometimes be easier than trying to change the mindset of one impenetrably stubborn individual.
- Isn’t it ironic, that while our brain is what sets us apart from all other animals – and in no small measure – very few people genuinely enjoy using it.
- Perhaps one answer as to why humanity fails miserably to live up to its potential, can be found in the fact that in our schools, there is so much fiction that is assigned and discussed, but very little, if any, engagingly-written nonfiction.
- What I would really like to see in politics, is this: If you are going to criticize a member of an opposing political party, then use precisely the exact same languaging you would use, if that person were of the same political party as your own.
- The fact that rape is often regarded as an unavoidable facet of prison life – even something to laugh about – is a national disgrace.
- What if some madman, cult, or rogue nation, were to drop (or threaten to drop) several (or several dozen) nuclear warheads, onto the North and South Poles, simultaneously? And what if that resulting impact could potentially compress a century or more’s worth of global warming, into just one 24-hour period? If that were the case, then even the mere threat to do so, could potentially hold the entire world hostage to any group capable of executing such an act.
- I’ve always considered it ironic, and disturbing, how television can show any number of people being shot, stabbed, punched, beaten, drown, suffocated, run over, pushed out of planes or off of rooftops, beheaded, tortured, machine-gunned, and so forth, but it can’t show two people making love. Even the image of a woman breast-feeding a baby, is deemed too impermissible for broadcast.
- When one reflects upon all the violence that has been perpetrated throughout man’s brief recorded history on this planet – hundreds of millions of men, women and children, shot, stabbed, bombed, beaten, raped, tortured, murdered, butchered – shouldn’t it be regarded as a godsend that there are men who genuinely love other men? Isn’t that infinitely superior to those alternatives described above?
- One of the things that has always struck me, ever since I was very young, is the fact that a world map is divided up into so many different countries. If we are one species, shouldn’t we be able to live on this planet as one species?
- As we are one species, we must eventually get to the point where we live together on this planet as one collective family; and yet, amazingly, I have never heard any discussion on this topic, ever!
- Music lets us experience the sensation of immortality, even if only for some three minutes at a time.
- As go the days, so go the years.
- All of our problems and accomplishments should seem small, when viewed against the backdrop of the universe; yet it is the universe, all too often, that to us appears tiny and insignificant, by comparison.
- If our nonexistence was not cause for dread before we were born, why should it be regarded as such upon our death?
- Free will is simply the name we give atoms and molecules, when they are waltzing in that Grand Ballroom we call consciousness.
- If we do not have free will – and I would argue that we don’t – then in death, what do we really lose? Might this instill in us a liberating awareness that there is very little we stand to lose, since there is very little we actually have?
- “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Those are the words of Teilhard de Chardin. But neither of these two views correctly hits the mark. The simple vanilla truth of the matter is this: we are human beings, having a human experience.
- Most of what I have read can neatly fit into one of these categories: (a) I knew that; (b) that’s ridiculous; or (c) did I really need to know that?
- Technology is a lion; fail to tame it, and it will devour us.
- I once read a Hungarian proverb, which states “The believer is happy; the doubter is wise,” and then immediately scribbled in the margin: “The believer seeks comfort; the doubter seeks truth.” Which offers better prospects for saving the planet: truth-seeking, or pleasure-seeking? And is man basically inclined toward seeking truth, or seeking comfort? Is man basically inclined towards expanding his knowledge of how the world works, or mostly uninterested in engaging in such pursuits?
Lots of environmentalists are of the mindset that all we need to do is be the Paul Reveres, to alert society to the impending doom, and then society will take appropriate action. But what if that basic premise is all wrong? What if people don’t care – don’t care about finding out the truth, don’t care to hear views that run counter to their own, don’t care to concern themselves with environmental issues in general? [This paragraph should be in alignment with the one above it.]
- I am frequently intrigued by the seeming contradiction that there are noted atheists, loudly sounding the alarm about religion, and there are noted environmentalists, loudly sounding the alarm to save the planet, but it seems never the twain shall meet – I don’t know of any personages championing both causes; and yet, I do see the two issues as being connected – both need to be part of a dynamic, complementary approach towards saving the planet.
- To save the planet, part of the challenge is creating a blueprint that can successfully wean people off of, and away from, religion.
- Just because something can’t be disproven, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discounted.
- I find it frustrating when theists state that God might exist, because, after all, you can’t know that God doesn’t exist. One could equally point out, for example, that a sadomasochistic God (one who wants us to harm, or kill, one another) could equally exist, since, after all, we can’t know that such a God doesn’t exist. There are countless things we can’t know. Could you, the reader, be God, and all of this be part of a very long dream, from which you will at some point awaken? Similarly, you can’t know that is not the case.
- If more than three quarters of adults believed Santa Claus exists, wouldn’t you find that deeply disturbing, regardless of whether or not that belief made them happy?
- Ronald Reagan pointed out that “Abortion is only advocated by people who have already been born.” But so too it can be pointed out that abstinence is only advocated by people who have already been born.
- Since in vitro fertilization often results in multiple births, then couldn’t conception sans in vitro fertilization, potentially, be tantamount to having an abortion?
- When a spouse says “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache,” this potentially adds to the ranks of the unborn; and as such, this should be regarded as pro-choice, not pro-life.
- “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache,” could, potentially, have the same exact ramifications as having an abortion. Thus, those hours of pain, are deemed more important than those succeeding generations of descendents who might now not be born. Why isn’t this selfish (in a literal sense) act seen through the same lens through which many view abortion? If someone can choose not to bring a baby into this world because of a headache, why can’t they choose not to bring a baby into this world because they don’t want to endure nine months of pregnancy, and then the pain that is entailed with labor (which can be substantially worse than a headache)?
- Not only am I pro-choice, I would like to see zero human births over the course of the next decade. Perhaps, that might buy us enough time, to think long and hard about what we need to do to change how we live on this planet. Incidentally, ten years is not a long time. Horseshoe crabs, for example, have been around for 400,000,000 years!
- How can anyone call a twenty-four hour day, “intelligent design?”
- If God were on trial, I wouldn’t want to be his attorney.
- Which is more absurdly ridiculous, believing in Santa Clause, or believing in God. One is said to live at the North Pole, manufactures toys, with the aid of elves, then delivers them, with the assistance of flying reindeer. The other is said to have always existed, is omnipotent, created all living things, Earth, and the universe (in six days), is everywhere (all at once), and can see and hear everything. Which is more absurd? It’s like asking which is more of a color, red or blue?
- I find it deeply disconcerting that people keep trying to come up with defenses and rationalizations for clinging tightly to irrational beliefs, rather than assist in the work related to distancing ourselves and society from such beliefs.
- How did life originate on this planet? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; and sometimes a mystery is just a mystery. Why can’t we leave it at that?