I am officially voicing my support for asking space journalists to cease and desist from likening lunar landing craft to spiders. In the late fifties and early sixties they may have looked remotely like twisted versions of arachnids. Now, peeps, come on–they look like lunar-landers. Let’s look at why: first, it’s cultural and linguistic; lunar-landers have been on paper in sci-fi pulp magazines since the forties–and in blueprints & in the form of mock-ups since the fifties; and we had real ones from the sixties onward-which flew in space and went to the moon! Second, it’s mental: lunar-landers are a real fixture of the public mind and are so unique an artifact that they have earned their place in our cognition as a source item to be likened to, instead of being an oddity to have some other thing held up to identify them. They aren’t novel, anymore–so they don’t need the help of animal similarities. Finally–thirdly and furthermore, spiders have eight legs, not four or five, are oblong, and possess a low center of gravity. They are squat, not tall and ungainly, and they have legs that protrude from low center points–not from vertical attachment spots that look like ladders. The comparison was original and helpful, once; it’s not, any more. It’s silly, illogical, misleading, and cliche.
We now have eighty-nine (378) signatures supporting a ban on private campaign finance in America. Your signature–if you are an American citizen–is badly needed. When we attained fifty signatures, http://moveon.org wrote me a letter saying they would support me in sending me to my representatives to deliver this petition. I thanked Move On, but said that I would want at least a thousand signatures as a start to show Americans were serious about this issue. Indeed, we would need hundreds of thousands to move congress and the senate, if not millions. However, a thousand would show that is possible.
Thank you to signer #89: Ms. Dana N. of Provence from Alamosa, CO, who signed this petition on Nov 13, 2014. And, Thank you to signer #88: Mr. Gary Lamble from Escondido, CA, who signed this petition on Nov 13, 2014. Mr. Lamble had this to say: “The Seemingly Impossible Dream, but we need publicly funded campaigns and a ban on private contributions of any amount.”
Publicly-funded campaigns and a ban on private campaign finance will make all candidates equal in how much and when they speak to us. A system involving a set amount of funds for election–an equal amount for all candidates–would also take the corruption out of politics and out of our electoral system, ensuring that no corporation or individuals could curie favor with statesmen and thus undermine the electorate. Finally, it would put representation fairly in the hands of all constituents–unless a candidate wanted to favor an individual or group more than others–according to his or her conscience; then voters could decide whether to tolerate that or not–at the polls.
Right now we have an auction system, a system of bribery, and a system wherein even moral, good-natured, and honest statesmen must compromise their values to satisfy their financiers, so they wind up being bought by those sponsors and taking away our rights to have our voices heard and our wanted policies implemented.
Especially in a time of global climate change–to say nothing of issues related to healthcare, gun violence, education, infrastructure, banking, and foreign policy–we need a government that answers to all citizens, not just to wealthy oil and pharmaceutical companies.
Take back your dignity, take back fair elections, and restore democracy to America–for Americans and the world. We are one dangerous nation, to our own citizens, and the citizens of other nations, without it.
There is no place for oligarchy on Earth now. Sign to ban private campaign finance and put the power of the American people back in the hands of the American people–where it belongs.
Thomas Jefferson said democracy would end when the government fell into the hands of moneyed institutions and corporations. That is what happened a long time ago. Is there any doubt in your mind that if we accomplished a majority of support for fair politics like this, that we would not be able to solve our problems, instead of spending decade after decade of just complaining about it?
It took thirteen billion years for the human race to arrive, and here we are on a planet that occupies a “Goldilocks Zone” of miraculous perfection–a planet that has no habitable neighbors for light years.
We are, quite simply, the greatest accomplishment known to us in the universe, and we achieved enlightenment and industry in only the last several thousand years. However, we are steady on a violent and irresponsible course of self-destruction, and causing great pain and suffering along the way.
We inhabit a world that shows a ‘universe-defying’ diversity of life, in a solar system devoid of such. We are just beginning –as a space faring species, but space travel should be for knowledge… however–more and more, it seems it is going to have to be for survival–which is a shame of epochal proportions.
We must save our species and as many others as we can. We must dramatically alert more of the world–China, India, and the already biosphere-tanking mega-polluters: America, Europe, and Australia… to the urgency of this cause, not just its fact of being.
We must garner a level of ubiquitous agreement on the awareness of what I call the Veritas Maximus, or Maximum Truth, and we must dispel the misinformation obscuring it.
We must make it common in most minds–if not all–the inconvenient and devastating reality now apparent to those angels of humanity among us–the honest and ingenious scientists slaving over the data and research; we and our civilization are in grave danger, through over-consumption, over-production, and the production & consumption of the wrong things; and we are fast focused on minutia that is distracting us from our own survival, as the sustenance of that survival is literally going up in smoke.
In fifty years of SETI, no one has reached out to us. In thirteen and a half billion years of universal existence, no race has found the ability and/or interest to be able to travel to this part of the universe, or–they are unknown to us. For all we know, we are alone, however improbable that may seem. Alone, yet magnificent… a brilliant candle in a vast ocean of darkness, and alas, we are about to be snuffed out.
WHAT IS REALLY PRECISELY RIGHT & WRONG with HUMANITY
Instantly, upon waking this morning, I realized that the most frustrating aspect of human society is not inability; it’s inanity.
Humanity is not without high compassion, intelligence, vast creativity, and endless resources (if you choose the right ones!)… on this planet or in our part of the solar system; we don’t have a personal or species-wide death-wish… not consciously, anyway–but we certainly act like it!
Our problem is… we do almost everything… conflict resolution, education, industry, economics, and environmental management; energy procurement & usage… food production, recycling, waste-management and governance; infrastructure, and health & human services, even love and recreation… in inefficient, dangerous, unfair, and plainly stupid ways.
We mean well–but we act unwell. The human race is not collectively working in its own best interest.
We aren’t stupid; we aren’t intentionally cruel (most of us, any way); we are–practically speaking–ignorant, lazy, reckless, selfish, unconsciously unkind… and in a dream world.
As Elon Musk put it whilst talking about the ways we power the planet and our transportation: ‘Why are we even doing the experiment?’, and by ‘the experiment’, he’d meant the enormously foolish, uncertain, and dangerous practice of taking ‘what was buried deep in the Earth for millions of years and putting it into the atmosphere.’ He is an enormously polite gentleman genius, so he didn’t say it, but he meant, ‘we are really stupid for doing it!’ And he is superlatively correct. He knows the biosphere is not a liberal agenda. It is our space suit. And we are smoking in it and doing doo-doo in it.
Of all the elements.. in our dis-ease… that I just referred to, the most problematic is one I didn’t mention, and it is both what keeps us going and what is killing us. It is belief.
Too many people are kept–and keep themselves–selfish, ignorant, inactive, unproductive and doing the wrong things–things which are literally destroying us (something most of the scientists, poets, and artists have known for a long time), because of their erroneous faith-based notion that “everything is going to be all right”. I and tens of thousands of scientists have got news for you: No, it isn’t. The tsunamis, hurricanes, growing deserts, increasing droughts, melting ice sheets, acidification and deadening of the ocean, over-greenhousing of the atmosphere, advancing evolution of virus mutations resistant to antibiotics, and the petrochemical induced mutations in sea and animal life is the cataclysmic and horrifying proof of that. And those sensationalized, near-pop-culture-level aspects of the environmental crisis which do not comprise the whole list of issues by far…all have interlocking, exponentially digressive and out of control degenerative effects of their own, and so on, adinfinitum. Everything’s connected, dude.
And in the face of the manageable challenges of daily, private, and public life, many people can be heard proving the hopelessness that Dr. Chomsky says the average man feels politically…when he says, ‘there’s nothing you can do about it.’ And need we be reminded that in the most capable nation on Earth, half the government is in active revolution against anything progressive, to the extent that they shut down that government.
Those two obvious fallacies–‘everything is going to be all right’, and ‘there’s nothing you can do about it’, are our enormous hurdles to overcome, and more than anything else, they are made almost monumental next to the problem of over-paid government which is standing in the way of solutions and actively trying to make it worse, because they are afraid of “socialism” and a progressive president.
Some of the richest and most comfortable among us, and some of those in government they influence, have a vested interest in keeping the conversation from commencing, let alone inspiring solutions. Look at the US Congress. Look at your neighbor who buys an SUV, a jet ski, a large car for joy-riding….
These factors–if anything–will contribute more to the very real possibility of ending our species (or at least society in a decent, livable world) more than the biosphere-related challenges we face and must solve if we don’t want to be racing to find another planet to live on before five hundred years passes.
And so, the environmental challenges and these hurdles of ignorance, laziness, fantasy, and obfuscation making them more difficult –will possibly make it so we must seek refuge on other worlds–not out of a sense of exploration, beauty, and righteous curiosity, but to continue our progeny, to survive! Dr. Stephen Hawking thinks so, too! That’s no small-minded or insignificant opinion.
The solution is, we have to get most everyone on the same page in– certain areas of scientific understanding, human potential, compassion, and responsibility… and most of us who are thinking and compassionate know precisely what the titles of those pages are, and the scientists know what’s on them.
The tragic element in all this is, too many people and groups of people either ‘aren’t reading’, or they are spending too much time reading the wrong things (out of fear and ego), or they don’t want to know what the real score is.
And the shame is, many of us who do know what is really critical right now are too afraid to break the truth to those we love or to strangers. We don’t want to look worried, disharmonious, socially disquiet, or rude. As Alain de Botton suggests, ‘we don’t talk to each other’, at least not about what matters. The house is on fire, but we’d rather talk about the drapes. We are too afraid.
When was the last time, upon making a new acquaintance and getting through the small-talk, you asked something like, ‘what do you think of the president’s health care initiative?’, or ‘how do you feel about global climate change?’
In the least, if you don’t want to disturb the decorum (why should such talk do that, anyway?), or the delirium with new acquaintances, can you discuss what matters with friends? You may think, ‘who am I to think about, let alone, discuss such big issues?’ Well, who are you not to?
You are a human being, a member of the most capable species on the planet, that’s who you are, and you have a huge effect–when measured with your fellows–on the planet and other people.
You are a human soul, with a conscious mind. Nelson Mandela pointed out that we must not be small. ‘Who are you not to be great?’ he asked, encouraging us to realize that The Divine did not make us to be small and saying that we validate and encourage no one by doing so. We inspire others to be great in being great ourselves.
I ask you, my dear reader, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ Are you going to finish this article by thinking, ‘this writer is just angry, a complainer, someone who isn’t happy in his life?’ You’d be wrong…
In the words of Peter Gabriel, in the anthem, “Biko”, about assassinated South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, “And the eyes of the world are watching now… watching now.” And now they are the eyes of those suffering, in our time-suffering the ravages of hunger, disease, poverty, war, climate change–and inaction;
They are the eyes of the children of tomorrow–the eyes of your children and grandchildren.
Take care, and for humanity’s sake, use your imagination, think, and take action, now.
WITHOUT HYPER-VIGILANT PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, GOVERNMENT RUNS AMOK:
This is from a discussion with a friend who feels government is morally groundless and should not have authority over what we do:Friend, I am not saying you’re stupid; you quite obviously aren’t. I don’t think you are, either. Smart People can say and do stupid things, however–but I’m not even saying that about you; what I am saying is we need people sent to examine what we do with the physical world–in business related to food, medicine, and energy production, otherwise we get Tylenol that poisons people, chemotherapy that increases cancer growth, cigarettes with polonium 210 in them, as well as arsenic, and other harmful poisons in them, faulty nuclear reactor constructions, oil spills, oil-over-use, wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric UNDER-use, no emissions controls, etc., etc. This means oversight and regulation; WE decide on the parameters of that oversight and regulation, and we have our representatives pass the laws related to it–to protect us(!).
Look at fracking (!). It’s insane. Look at coal-production (which bleeds more nuclear radiation into the environment than nuclear power); Look at oil-procurement (and the wars necessary for it!); Look at nuclear power; It is said that given the conditions of the damaged Tepco reactors in Japan, right now, if they have a Richter 7-earthquake in the next two years–and the chances of that are above 95%–Japan may be finished (!). I read yesterday that the contamination of the Fukushima reactors could end life on the planet–or in the northern hemisphere. This is corporate (and government) failure (but without government regulation, I don’t think we would even be here, right now).
We can’t wait for years and years–decades even, to see the harmful results of greed, ignorance, and stupidity in business, any more–waiting for consumer-awareness to remedy the problems that stem from business manipulating the environment and what we drink, eat, and breathe doesn’t help.
The average person is too busy, not expert enough in the sciences, and has a pseudo-religious, and fantastical cum delusional outlook: ‘Nothing really bad is going to happen (to me).’ THAT’S A BIG PART OF WHAT GOT US WHERE WE ARE.We have DESTROYED the healthy progression of the biosphere and our health and evolution within it, letting business do what it wants (!); government, too, actually. However, government still has the power to regulate business, and we are a part of that.
Despite government’s failures, the answer is not to scrap government. Bush & Reaganomics, Deregulation… these are why we are where we are economically and environmentally. We need to reform government. But getting rid of it means every money-hungry fool with capital can do what he wants to us and the planet. We must be aware of the issues associated with what we learn from good scientists, and we must be telling our servants in government what they need to be doing to keep our species and other species thriving. Those other species (and the natural meteorological and geological processes they are a part of) are our biosphere. And it takes regulations to keep our biosphere and our food supplies healthy–because the average person is not yet cognitively advanced enough to care about that, especially when s/he can benefit enormously–financially–bu ignoring that.Friend, you lived in Korea. You saw what an ignorant population does to itself with little or no regulations (Ours is no different, but regarding different issues): At virtually every construction site I passed in Korea, workers burned trash–more as a tradition and a way to save on waste-removal–and that trash included plastics; I smelled burning plastics all the time. That is one example, only one.
IT IS MAN’s TENDENCY TO BE LAZY, on top of his hurry to do right in order to survive (and now to survive exceedingly well); it is man’s tendency to be ignorant and naturally greedy–especially in this age. Unchecked, man will–as is abundantly obvious with global climate change–destroy his environment and everything in it. And yes, it is government that has been a part of this, due to the slow growth of our understanding of the natural world, but yes, also due to our inaction on the issue, the corruption of the political process, and because of corporate corruption and bigger concerns over economics than over human and planetary health.
But no regulations, no oversight, and no penalties for abuse and we would have a situation ten times worse than what we have. Do you remember leaded gasoline? I do! It’s illegal now. If it weren’t, do you think you would not be inhaling its deadly derivative vapors in a country where the average conservative doesn’t care about health-care? Where there is still a fight against agreeing on a decent hourly wage? Where, without legislation, children would still be working in sweatshops and there would be no labor standards, health standards, and non-discrimination laws?And people need to start understanding science. That’s partially what’s been wrong too; people are too ignorant or too busy (or both) to know their foods, cigarettes, and power sources are killing not only themselves, but everyone else.Cigarettes, nuclear power, hydrogenated oils, harmful additives, and pesticides in foods, fossil fuels, the over-production and unsafe disposal of plastics, and other deleterious products and practices of business need to be outlawed–outright. And stupid, immoral, and/or ignorant business isn’t the only culprit;Our government and other nation-state governments completely irradiated all of us and the entire planet with upwards of 800 nuclear bomb tests; you, the reader have radioactive strontium 90 in your body because of it.The choice is ours; we must be more involved in our government, and when it doesn’t do what’s healthy and good for us & future generations, we must bar the members in it who are responsible from ever seeking office again, perhaps even jail them.The problem is you, the reader, if you think the government is your daddy; It isn’t; The government is the staff, and you are the management. If you don’t want that job, you don’t deserve democracy and you don’t deserve anything better than what you get.