III. Home Sweet Home. Going, Going, Going, Gone.
Portrait of a "president" who knows nothing of what he should know.
1. Climate change, as it has in the past, is moving faster than scientists have predicted.
2. Carbon dioxide is the highest it has been in 5 million years.
3. The atmosphere is hotter than it has been in the last 5000 years.
4. It has just been discovered that Canadian ice fields are melting 70 years sooner than expected.
5. The president's climate policies go against the findings of vertually every scientist in the world.
6. If climate change is not stopped immediately by all nations the earth will be destroyed by "thermal runaway," or exponential temperature rise.
7. The president of the United States has already said he would welcome foreign intervention in order to be relected. This makes him a traitor.
8. The president is cruel to children. He is irrational about hurting people.
9. The president lies whenever it is convenient for him.
10. Lying is how the president brings the conversation down to his level so no rational decisions can ever be made.
The earth was a gift of stunning beauty and bounty that gave us the wherewithal to feed our families, heat our living spaces, to grow food and everything else necessary for us to experience life.
In gratitude we have destroyed millions of species, strip mined, dumped garbage and poisons, polluted the land, rivers lakes and streams, and now the entire ocean. And after billions of years during which our species evolved and multiplied we have, in less than 200 years, put the planet and everything that lives here on the edge of destruction.
Perhaps worst of all, knowing all that we know about heating the climate we have at this moment human beings rich beyond measure, knowing the harm they are causing, searching for and promoting the carbon fuels that are adding to the air more of the carbon dioxide that forms the blanket that is making the planet overheat.
Of course it is not just climate that humans have destroyed mindlessly. For power, religion and countless irrational reasons our leaders lead us to cause enormous harm to each other. Why is a mystery except to say it is in our nature, but perhaps in a kind of cruel justice the earth is meting out punishment to the point that one day we may all feel the pain of heat, disease, flooding, fire, drought and war as we fight for the last inhabitable scraps of land, with the tragedy that those who fought for the earth will die also.
When I look at the night sky or at photographs of stars through telescopes, my sense of awe now fails me. It has been replaced by a deep sense of dread.
We have failed as human beings to pay attention.
There are seven things that have failed or are failing: 1. climate, 2. democratic government, 3. relationships, 4. science, 5. truth, 6. life, 7. hope.
Donald Trump and conservative ideologues have capitalized on our failure to understand and demand truth. The window to save the planet from climate catastrophe has gotten smaller and smaller. It may have passed us without our realizing it.
If there is hope it will be the 2020 elections which must give us an honest president and congress. Honesty here includes not just to tell the truth as we know it but to work to the limits of our capacity to find the truth. Because of its importance I will speak of climate first and then of the other items. Our last chance is the 2020 election. We need a good president (the opposite of Donald) and majorities in the house and the senate.
Then, we must launch a cleansing of our democracy and our economic system in order to provide the means to mobilize our resources to reduce our emissions and to clense the air. This will be like the mobilization after the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor in 1941 except it will be infinitly more important and possibly many or many many times larger.
The first step will be to clear the fog that prevents us from seeing what is there but rather seeing what we want to see.
Something has happened to our civilization where deception of ourselves by ourselves has replaced truth. I believe it is inherent in what and how we teach, that we teach about truth and the evolution and psychology of humanity as it was conceived decades or centuries ago.
After seven years at MIT I knew no more about the nature of man than I did when I started. I did not know why religions existed or that each religion needed to prove it was the religion, when in fact I have come to believe none is the real religion. Books from a thousand years ago or more were not going to teach us about the universe, about life, about relationships or why we exist at all. Science would teach us much more, but not the final answer either for there are no final answer even though we have found the Higgs boson and detected gravity waves. But my, what stunning accomplishments for men and women for whom the truth is everything.
Sports and computer games occupy our minds more than whether the earth will continue to exist.
So what are we going to do, let the sea rise, disease and starvation spread, temperatures become life-threating or worse, that the temperature runs away because there is no longer anything we can do.
We must throw ideologies and religion aside and pursue truth so tell us what to do. And to do it within the pincipal of reciprocity so it is fair to everyone. In a government of the people, by the people and for the people the government must do some things collectively because otherwise only the rich have resources and the rich take over the land and we have a govermment for the few. It has already happened and the ideology of low taxes places the worth of the enjoyment of the rich as more imporant than the life of a sick child, or the suffering of the many for the enjoyment of a few.
The small government, low tax attitutde is that we do not want to solve probleems, even if it is to fix a bridge that is falling down, and even more important to advance our quality of life.
Science is most useful because it deals with the reality of what is and not what one wishes it to be. And when extended furhter to relationships between people it comes to reciprocity: that we are all reponsible for each other.