At last I’m back home! Sorry for being out of touch for so long.
The first part of the trip was attending the Electric Universe (EU) conference in Phoenix, in late June – the worst possible time to be in Phoenix. Much too hot (and so the venue costs are at a minimum). I really enjoyed the conference. The EU community is relatively small, so pretty much everyone doing research in the field was there. The feeling of ‘making history’ was in the air. It was like being in the circle around Copernicus or Galileo, when the the world was beginning to understand that the Earth went around the Sun.
As with the Copernican model before it, the EU model is quite obviously correct – if one looks at the evidence objectively. In both cases the model took (is taking) a long time to be accepted, and in both cases the reason has to do with what we might call ‘establishment momentum’, or ‘mental momentum’ generally, rather than lack of evidence.
Such a conference attracts iconoclasts of many flavors, not just those focusing on the EU model itself. I had many fascinating discussions with people who were doing independent research/thinking in a variety of fields. I’ll mention one of those, a fellow named Peter Moddel. He had just published a book called Making Sense, which I highly recommend. Not easy however. Lots of novel and deep ideas about how perception works, and about the meaning of ‘self’.
My own talk was of course iconoclastic, in that I totally reject the nonsense about CO2 being a cause of climate change. At this particular conference, however, my thesis was seen as obvious common sense. The talk went over very well. I made my slides simple and understandable. Many people approached me afterwards and expressed their appreciation.
The thesis, as I’ve said before, is that climate change is an entirely natural phenomenon, and in particular it is an electrical phenomenon. Climate change is determined by variations in the current that powers the Sun – a current that comes in from the center of our galaxy, enters the Sun at its poles, goes out over the plane of the solar system, and enters the Earth at its poles (seen as northern and southern lights – aurora). More or less the same arguments are presented in this article.
When the conference was over I flew to San Francisco, picked up a rental car, and drove down to Palo Alto, where I spent most of the next three months. I was staying with my long-time musician friend Gary, and his partner Jena. They have a camper in their driveway and that served as my own private bedroom. I joined with them for meals and activities, basically becoming a third family member for the duration. Among other things, we made lots of music together. It is really wonderful to have friends who are that close, compatible, and welcoming. Love & hugs to Gary & Jena!
My Silicon Valley friends, my two grown children, and my three grandchildren all live in or near Palo Alto, and of course I spent a lot of time visiting with them. However, despite having fantastic hosts, and family and friends in the vicinity, three months was way too long to be away from home.
As time wore on, I felt more and more like a lost soul, a stranger in a strange land. All that traffic, and everyone so busy, so unlike my little town of Wexford, where I can walk everywhere, don’t own or miss a car, and I can always find people who have time to chat and visit.
From my base in Palo Alto I embarked on various excursions, including a high school reunion and a visit to my siblings on Kauai. I visited Sergio Lub and gave a talk on my current activist ideas. I also visited Skunk Ranch in the Trinity mountains, where Brian Hill is pursuing a project of restoring a forested area to its natural state as a productive ecosystem. I continued north to Eugene, where I spent some time with Tom Atlee of Co-Intelligence Institute. Then came a 3-day retreat near Portland that I had helped organized.
The retreat was a follow up to the ideas expressed in this posting from last April: Empowered communities: a quest nearing its end?. In that (highly optimistic) posting I identified three phases of activity, which if combined in the same community, might lead toward what I call an empowered/self-governing community. To the retreat I invited people who were doing very promising work related to each of the three phases.
I was hoping we’d get around to talking about the potential synergy of these people’s work, the possibility of creating empowered communities. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. We had enough time for everyone to tell about themselves and their work, and that was about it. And if we did have more time, I’m not sure the conversation would have gone where I wanted it to go. What next? Don’t know yet. Thinking about it.
After the retreat I drove up to Seattle and visited with Bill Aal, an activist/consultant/organizer in that area, and a long-time friend. Had some very interesting conversations with Bill, and his wife (then fiancé) Elle. I was explaining my ideas about community empowerment, and she said, “You’re talking about utopia”. To which I replied, “The way I see it, it’s either utopia or its tyranny; there’s no in-between”.
Of course that’s an exaggeration. There is lots of in-between. But in a systems sense, we either have local self-governance or else we have hierarchical systems. And hierarchies always tend toward centralization and the eventual usurpation of power by some clique.
With all of this traveling, while flying, driving, or waiting, I had lots of opportunity to listen to recorded books from audible.com. Thus I finally tackled War and Peace, which I totally loved, but would not have been able to follow in printed form. Also enjoyed a novel by Turgenev (Torrents of Spring), Cloud Atlas, several titles from Alice Munro, and the first two books in the series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
In the non-fiction realm I was impressed with Jimmy Carter’s A Full Life and I really like audible’s Great Courses series. I highly recommend The Vikings, The Story of Human Language, Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and The Medieval World. While War and Peace sits at the top of my fiction favorites, the top of my non-fiction favorites is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.
Nietzsche, to my surprise, turned out to be the only philosopher that makes real sense to me. One might say he deconstructs all other philosophers by putting belief in a psychological context, and humanity in a context of animal evolution. By being intentionally polemical in his writing, he has been grossly mis-interpreted by many.
The Khan book was not just about Genghis the conquerer, but equally about the creative genius of Genghis and his descendants as regards governmental forms, economics, technological innovation, secular societies, religious tolerance, international trade, and in other domains. Their influence was very important in bringing about The Renaissance in Europe, and they anticipated the dynamics of globalization by many centuries.
that’s all folks,