~ PROLOGUE ~ HOW I MET THE CLIMATE ~ THE MEANING OF SCIENCE ~ THE STATE OF THE CLIMATE ~ BEGINNING
ONE CHANCE ~ TRIBES ~ SENTIENCE ~
~ AGONY ~ LETTER TO PRESIDENT REIF OF MIT
WHO IS AT FAULT ~ CRITIQUE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ~
WORLD CLIMATE AUTHORITY ~ A BIT OF BIO ~ APOLLO 8 ~ EPILOGUE
THE QUESTIONS SEEM TO CHANGE every twenty minutes. Much of what had been in the back of my mind for decades has been kicked to the front. I have screamed quite a bit, often out loud. It is too much to bear.
I have been reading a book on the history of homo sapiens. A few hundred million years of life, death, and everything you can think of. There must have been joy too. Hunter-gatherers seemed to have had a good life in some places and at some times. I read a book called The Old Way by Janet Collins. She was a little girl when she and her father who was president of Raytheon and other family lived for two years in the early '50's with a tribe in Africa. I recommend it. Talk about moving your horizon.
I have been to heaven ten feet from a string quartet playing the first note of a Mozart quartet. I have been to hell or purgatory or whatever in an ER withdrawing from 20 or 39 years on a benzodiazapien that I should have had for only 30 days. Not my choice. A big shot research doctor kept prescribing it when the data was already out that this was a bad idea. The benzo (librium or valium) eventually replaces the anti-anxiety cells in your brain and when you come off it, even over a half year, the cells don't reform and wild anxiety starts to set in until you can no longer write a paragraph, hold your hands steady enough to type and then think you may start harming the people around you. So off to the ER and they give me a script for an antihytieme and send me home and an hour later I am back for a two day stay in the psych ward.
I am lying in an ER bed floating in and out of a dream or dillusion or illusion that I am in the afterlife with a universe of stars against a black background and a man in blue watching me. The only part of me that was there was my pure terror and I imagined my terror was destined for an eternity drifting in this void. Could just my terror and my consciousness go on like this forever.
Then I would drift back into some kind of connection with reality and plead for a nurse to come talk with me. But mostly they were too busy talking to each other, and I would drift back into the void, Pleading did little good face to face with a nurse at her desk doing nothing.
Then a cat scan of my brain to see if there was a tumer. Call after call to my wife and my doctor brother in law at 4 am until they finally give me a benzo and in 20 minutes I feel ok, or almost ok. Then up to the psyc ward.In my drifting in the void I asked if the universe was friendly or not. Could it commit me to this forever. That is terror on top of terror.
After two nights in the psych ward an incompetant psycharist says it's my restless leg medicine and sends me home with no prescription.Next morning back to a bigger ER and an appointment with an utterly incompetant nurse practictioner ts who let me go home without benzos and then two more trips to the ER. Another incompetant psychrisist. Then two feeling that death was surrounding my home. Is it concievable that terror could exist without a body but conected to a life, and go on forever? In my mind it might be and perhaps the inspiration for a new kind of horror film. Just a Dr. Benzo making millions of exestential terrors.
I have woundered thousands of times why it is so easy to kill and that became another nightmare when current events became incomprehensibly real in Yemen in Existence III. And I wonder what would happen if everyone were taught to play Bach on the cello well enough to make music. I can do it (barely) on the piano with Chopin. To me making music or art of any kind, including a good conversation, is to seek out the secrets of the universe. But to experience it you have to know it and that takes teachers and work. Read the words by Yo Yo Ma in Existence III about how hard it is. I have played Chopin pieces thousands of times with my miniscule ability to get to the music and to get to talk to Chopin and, I think, the universe. But if all you know is how to drop a guided bomb or mow with a Kalisnikov, then you will never make music and talk to that part of the universe.
I think that ideologies are handcuffs. If you carry chains in your mind, then you cannot learn and if you cannot learn you cannot create and if you cannot create you cannot build reciprocities and join with others to learn to make music over lunch.
The ideology of the great free market can lead one to riches for good or just to gigantic corrupting wealth within which your soul is burried or intoumed.
For me life is sentience, that incredible experience that happens between your ears, an experience science cannot begin to explain.
Have you ever thought about how you are seeing, experienceing your surroundings. There are two little, perhaps 1/2 inch, upside down images on your retinas and that is all you have to work with. But the visual part of your brain constructs your experience of everything. It is utterly miriculous and yet so familiar that the idea of perhaps the most amazing phenomenon (but also including your hearing) in the universe, gravitational waves be damned.
I think the purpose of the universe is sentience-our experience of the universe-because I cannot think of a greater or more valueable miracle because it makes our experience of all other miricles possible. Including that first note of the Mozart string quartet. Or watching our son smile after 28 years including a journey from Russia at 4, ADHD and other barriers, and now grinning in eckstasy as he out of the blue prepares a fabulous dinner for us, that also leaves me trembling for it is such a joy and there are so many Kalishnikovs. And Susan, who makes life possible sharing in the joy and making me possible. And more...taking his joy and giving it to me again with her own added to it. My god! And Donald wants to sell $650 billion worth of guided bombs and such to Saudi Arabia to give work to Americans in armament factories in Tucson, where my tiny fine art printing comany had its angle investors and I visited often, not knowing what was nearby. Donald, for sure, has never experienced Mozart or Bach or I think even joy. For to experience joy you have to think broardly and deeply, consciously or unconsckously never having learned to learn.
And so he holds the keys to the kingdom, and takes our industrial wealth to bomb farmers in Yemen rather than cleaning the holy blanket that keeps us warm and cool. Perhaps he will turn over the keys in time to keep the river of carbon dioxide from flooding the world.