About Me

If I had to describe myself in two words: always thinking.

[This page was updated on Nov. 11, 2020.]

I would much prefer not having to write about myself, but since any prospective philanthropic backer willing to consider gifting me funding would want to know something about me, here’s my attempt to “paint” something of a self-portrait.

I hold a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University — where I studied English. But since graduating, I have mostly worked as a security officer.

My dream has always been to get to the point where I can quit my job and immerse myself fully in my lifelong pursuit of working to ‘save the planet.’ That is the only real “career” goal I’ve ever had.

Over the years, my choice of employment has left many people who know me puzzled. That is why I was so pleased when the story of Chris Langan surfaced in the news. The television show 20/20, was planning to do a segment on people with high IQs when they learned of Langan. His IQ was measured at being at least 195. And yet, remarkably, he had 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 not suggesting I have an IQ within his range – I don’t – 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 he considers important.

“Imagination,” the late Albert Einstein famously stated, “is more important than knowledge.” And Langan might agree. In an article appearing in Newsday (Dennis Brabham, “The Smart Guy,” Aug. 21, 2001), Langan states that his “intellectual self-opinion has very little to do with” IQ scores. He states it has much more to do with his theories and ideas. Marilyn vos Savant — who used to be listen in The Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame for ‘Highest IQ’ (until that category was discontinued) — similarly stated in one of her “Ask Marilyn” columns in Parade magazine, that creativity and originality are better measures of genius. She also pointed out that IQ tests don’t measure those qualities.

Why do I bring this up? Because lots of my ideas and strategies that relate to saving the planet, I’ve never heard suggested or mentioned before by anyone. They’re completely original. And yet, they also look quite promising — in terms of their potential for addressing some of the most pressing problems humankind is up against. But also, I bring this up to make the point that I think we need to expand our thinking where it comes to what constitutes “credentials.”

For example, consider Tony Robbins. I don’t know what he charges nowadays, but I remember hearing him say decades ago that his charge for private consultations was $10,000 an hour. His credentials? He received no further formal education beyond earning a high school diploma.

How can that be? Simple. He learned what he learned on his own. I can relate to being an autodidact. Because I tend to be a loner and my biggest joy is going through stacks of newspapers. My favorite sections being the New York Times’s Sunday Review and Book Review sections. I love reading. And I love coming up with great ideas.

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, against International Grandmaster Edmar Mednis. And years earlier, achieved the same result against Susan Polgar. (This was well before she gained the title of Women’s World Champion.) No matter who my opponent is, I never play with the expectation or assumption that I am going to lose. In fact, in my game with Polgar, even though I had blundered away a pawn in just the first few moves, I didn’t let that squash my resolve to prevent her from winning. And I succeeded!

To add more depth and detail to this “self portrait,” let me turn to a popular personality typing system: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Upon finishing the second chapter of the international bestseller Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type (by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger), I discovered that I am what is called an “INTP” (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving). The INTP profile struck me as remarkably precise. 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 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 Do What You Are lists potential career opportunities for each of the sixteen personality types. “Ingenious Problem Solvers,” is the thumbnail phrase Part Three uses to describe INTPs. The occupation I find most appealing, among those listed for INTPs, falls under the “Creative” category: “Columnist, critic, commentator.” Having a nationally-syndicated column would be a perfect way to establish my credentials as someone capable of leading an effort to save the planet. And 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? And is the public, in general, ready for such honesty? Incidentally, my overall assessment of the MBTI can be summed up this way: some 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 Null 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 certainly attest to that. In fact, hardly a day ever goes by where I haven’t jotted down numerous ideas. These ideas can be sparked by anything from seeing something as I’m driving, or a photo, an article, an article heading, something someone says, something I hear on the radio, or sometimes they simply come to me out of the clear blue. It could be an idea for an invention, a way of improving an existing product, a shortcut way of doing something, an idea for a blog post topic, or something related to one of the book ideas I have, or it could be an idea for a sculpture, a film, a song lyrics-related idea, an idea for a T-shirt design, a theory, a way to test a theory or claim, a neologism, 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 that may prove potentially useful in the future.

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 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 cherish the quietude of solitude – for reading, concentration, contemplation – and live my life predominantly as a loner. The author speculates that about one person in a hundred is a Dynamic Assertive. Dynamic Assertives also tend not to be the marrying kind. For 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 caught me off guard was where Null writes “More than any other energy type, Dynamic Assertives live in the moment. They are spontaneous …” Huh? Spontaneous? I had never really considered myself spontaneous. In fact, it used to annoy me how effortlessly people could drop whatever it is they happen to be doing, to accept an invitation to go out to a movie, dinner, party, or whatever. After all, the problems of the world aren’t going to fix themselves. There’s much work to be done!

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, hadn’t really afforded me much freedom to be spontaneous. For many years, I had cars that I didn’t even deem highway worthy.

But still, while that may be true, I have indeed always felt a strong sense of mission; which happens to be something Null 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 self-sacrificing commitments from 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, loss of biodiversity, pollution, overpopulation, desertification, proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, etc.),

(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 is the case), and let us not forget

(g) that by continuing to ignore these issues, these problems 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 some day 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 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, I am a loner. But let me briefly expand on that. Anneli S. Rufus, author of Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto, speculates that up to 25 percent of the world’s population are loners. Some of the 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. Howard Stern has also described himself as being a loner. I like how Thoreau put it: “I never round the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Do you know who else was a loner? See if you can guess who said this:

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.

Give up? Those are the words of Albert Einstein. Describing himself.

Putting up this website and advertising it, accomplishes at least two things: (a) it opens the door toward receiving the philanthropic funding I need, in order to be able to begin to move forward with my strategies and plans for saving the planet; but (b) 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 funding. Days? Years? It’s also possible that day will never come. But this I do know: It now feel as though a weight has been lifted off 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, without funding. As I’ve stated in the Afterword section of this website, “Now, the ball is in your court — it’s up to you!”

 

To round out this page, I have assembled a collection of some of my thoughts and observations on a  variety of topics. Feel free to quote me (Paul A. Reinicke):

    • Next time you hear someone expressing doubt that our species could be the cause of climate change, try explaining it to them this way: If everyone alive today lived out their lives and we tallied up their ages, that grand total would be far, far greater than the actual age of the universe itself: and keep in mind, this period of time (hundreds of billions of years) wouldn’t be spread out over those many years, but would be compressed into the lone lifespan of just one centenarian.
    • What motivates me to care so deeply about this subject I feel most passionate about (saving the planet)? Perhaps it boils down to this: I don’t fear death, but I do fear that someday, when I am on my deathbed and breathing my last breaths, there will still be no real signs of hope that we are finally 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 just more and more evidence that we’re running faster and faster, towards that fateful cliff.
    • Just as the famous quotation of Edmund Burke states “All that is necessary for evil to triumph,” according to the late Edmund Burke, “is for good men to do nothing.” Similarly, all that is necessary for us to succeed in destroying the planet, is for us to be sufficiently blind and inattentive to the fact we are doing so.
    • 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 holistic sense, and address the oneness of the problem.
    • Our number one priority, 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 infrequent acts of planetary goodwill can do the trick.
    • If it is okay for me to own an SUV, it is okay for everyone to own one; but 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 the way we must think.
    • Rather than capitulate to the insatiable demands of a consumer society, we need to think in terms of capitulating to the demands of posterity. Because society is a drop, while posterity is an ocean.
    • Both “Biosphere II” missions 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 the human population expands and man’s collective voice grows stronger, nature’s voice becomes ever fainter.
    • Imagine if we all lived by one simple precept: Treat the earth (anthropomorphically speaking), and others, as you would want to be treated.
    • Five hundred years, was there anyone who predicted the Apollo moon landing, the advent of computers, artificial intelligence, cell phones, television, airplanes? Some would argue this provides evidence 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.
    • 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 nation’s 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 — humanity pollutes the planet, while religion pollutes the mind.
    • If someone truly believes that to be a nonbeliever is to not appreciate what God has created for us, 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.
    • Any rigidly-held belief, has a tendency to establish an ever more entrenched foothold in the mind.
    • 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, use the same wording you would choose to use if that person were of the same political party as your own.
    • 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 wouldn’t even the mere threat to do so,  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 and hundreds of millions of men, women and children, shot, stabbed, bombed, beaten, raped, tortured, murdered, butchered – why isn’t it regarded as a godsend that there are men who genuinely love other men?
    • 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 all be able to live on this planet as one species?
    • As we are one species, we must eventually evolve to the point where we can 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 or so at a time.
    • 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 the name we give to atoms and molecules, when they are waltzing in that Grand Ballroom we call consciousness.
    • If we don’t have free will – and I would argue that we don’t – then in death, what do we really lose? Might this liberating thought, instill in us, the liberating awareness that there is very little we stand to lose, since there is very little we actually have, in the first place?
    • “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 read neatly fits into one of these categories: (a) I knew that;  (b) that’s ridiculous; or (c) why do I need to know that?
    • Technology is a lion;  fail to tame it, and we become lunch.
    • I once read a Hungarian proverb, which states “The believer is happy; the doubter is wise,” and immediately scribbled in the margin: “The believer seeks comfort; the doubter seeks truth.” Now ask yourself, which offers better prospects for saving the planet, truth-seeking, or pleasure-seeking? And is man more inclined towards seeking truth, or seeking comfort?
    • 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 just don’t care — don’t care about finding out the truth, don’t care to hear views that run counter to their own, and don’t care to concern themselves with environmental issues in general?
    • 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 individuals who are championing both causes; and yet, I do see the two issues as being intertwined – 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, away from, and out of the jaws of religion.
    • 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 kill or harm one another) could equally exist, since, after all, we can’t know that type of God doesn’t exist. There are countless things we can’t know. Could you, the reader, be God, and all of what’s happening right now be part of a very long dream, from which you will one day awaken? You can’t know that’s not the case.
    • Just because something can’t be disproven, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discounted.
    • If three quarters of adults believed in the existence of Santa Claus, 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.
    • If in vitro fertilization often results in multiple births, could conception sans in vitro fertilization potentially be considered 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; so shouldn’t that be regarded as pro-choice?
    • Not only am I pro-choice, I would like to see zero births over the course of the next decade. Perhaps, that might buy us enough time, as we think long and hard about what we need to do, to sufficiently change how we’re living on this planet. And ten years is not a long time.  Horseshoe crabs, for example,  have been around for some 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 Her 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; sometimes a mystery is just a mystery. Why not leave it at that?
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •