Friday, November 17, 2006


Maybe I tend to be too cynical, but, as Lily Tomlin said: "no matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up." I know that the media tends to focus on negative news, and that good things are happening in some places; but everywhere I look there are telltale signs that human civilization is hosed. A few examples from the recent headlines:

  • In 2005, 35.1 million people in the United States were "food insecure" (a government term for spinning the term "hungry"), meaning that they didn't have enough food for an active, healthy life.
  • The number of Oregon school children who are homeless increased by 16% last year compared to the previous year, to a total of 13,159.
  • Siberian bears are not hibernating, Arctic sea ice is at very low levels, Arctic sea temperatures are warmer than historically, shrubs are taking over large areas of Arctic tundra, and permafrost isn't very "perma" anymore - all signs of global warming.
  • The Deputy Ambassador of the United Kingdom is traveling through California, Oregon and Washington looking for state and municipal partners to combat global warming. The British have given up looking to the Bush White House for leadership on this issue.
  • President George W. Bush thinks that the U.S. A. can win the Iraq war if "we don't quit" like we did in Viet Nam.
  • Genocide continues unabated in Darfur as the world watches.
  • The U.S. foreign policy in relation to nations such as Iran and North Korea is to call them names, refuse to talk to them, and crank up the machines of war.
  • Israel and Hamas continue to throw explosives at each other.
  • And finally, people are camping on the sidewalks in front of retail stores - for days - in order to purchase the new $600 Playstation 3 video game console.
Walking around the city of Jerusalem last month reminded me that human civilizations have been around for many thousands of years. But we don't seem to learn anything from history. Why is it that humans cannot get past what seem to be the most basic and troublesome behaviors of hate, mistrust, intolerance and greed? One would think that a species that has evolved such tremendous mental capacities could find its way out of primitive thinking and destructive behaviors. But then, one would have to think!


  1. Actually, I believe we do learn things. While the world is still full of problems, and it seems the items for our being "hosed" are definitely an obstruction to peace, justice and the security of Life on this planet, I believe that the following aspects of human evolution and history can be used to make a difference:

    1. Slavery is abhorrent and against international and many national laws. Does this mean it is ended? No, but it means we can use the laws to work to end it. Again and again if necessary.

    2. We have had a constitution and Bill of Rights that allows us to state our ideas freely. Do we need to fight to reinstate rights? Yes, but we've done it before. Remember, we did defeat Joseph McCarthy.
    In the former U.S.S.R., and it's satellites there was a movement that dissolved oppression. Are there multiple other problems? Yes, but we are working on these and will continue to need to.

    3. Many peoples of the world are going to pressure the U.S. to comply with the treaty re: Global Warming.

    4. Our most recent election in this country gives evidence that even with the media being consolidated, you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

    5.The goodness of the author and many of the people of the world is also present. The kindness, ethics and devotion to making a better world is also a force.

    6. Hope needs to be present to overcome despair. Take hope!


  2. Paul;
    I read your blog for the first time. My wife Karin has been telling me what a gifted writer you are and how you have looked at issues as old as history with fresh eyes. I AGREE. I wish you well on your blog and hope we can get together sometime soon.