The Apostles Creed.

   I believe in God, the Father almighty,
   creator of heaven and earth.
   I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
   who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
   born of the Virgin Mary,
   suffered under Pontius Pilate,
   was crucified, died, and was buried;
   he descended to the dead.
   On the third day he rose again;
   he ascended into heaven,
   he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
   and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
   I believe in the Holy Spirit,
   the holy catholic Church,
   the communion of saints,
   the forgiveness of sins,
   the resurrection of the body,
   and the life everlasting. Amen.

As a boy, I was an acolyte in the Episcopal church. The apostle’s creed was recited out loud at every service. When I was about 15, I realized that I was an acolyte to please my grandmother. By 20, I was a pain-in-the-ass atheist, asking people whether an all-powerful God could strike a match on a wet piece of soap. I came to understand the Holy Communion as a cannibalistic ritual taken from pagan times and that passages in the bible caused the deaths of millions of people.

And now, I do not believe in anything in the Apostles creed; the immaculate conception, the virgin birth, the resurrection, judgment, saints, and the rest. It is a hell of a story, but it is not true. So am I a Christian?  I say yes.

Many years ago I read The Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus. I “got” Jesus. The message is simple: Love, Tolerance and Compassion. That is it. Everything else can be ignored including sin, hell, redemption, and all that other dogmatic stuff.  And “Christians” who are not loving to all, tolerant of all, and compassionate for all, are not following the teachings of Christ.

I have changed to a secular value system, which I think is the trend. As Europe has become more secular in the last 50 years, has it become less moral? It has not. There can be a moral value system based in culture and humanistic values without religion. In fact, many think that religion has a negative net value. YouTube debates on whether religion does more harm than good are fascinating. The anti-religion side usually wins.

While I am not religious associated with dogma,  I am still a seeker of the transcendent and continue to try to seek truth beyond the logical and physical.

And, I am deeply respectful of others’ personal experience and their connection to their personal God or whatever brings them awareness of that which is greater. I remember seeing a Hindu woman turn and leave a shrine of a Goddess and the peaceful expression on her face was the same as those leaving the altar from the Eucharist. You won’t find me arguing with you about your internal experience.  And of course, don’t discount mine either.

So, what are your beliefs? Do they match mine or is there something you want to add?



In an attempt to show that physicalism is not the sole basis of reality,  I have researched a little about parapsychology. By the way, physicalism means relying only on science for the truth.

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal and psychic phenomena which include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, and other paranormal claims. It is identified as pseudoscience and yet continues to be investigated despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research.

The challenge with investigation of these kind of phenomenon is that they are not conducive to the scientific method and are almost entirely anecdotal in nature.

I have listed below examples of parapsychological phenomena with links to Wikipedia articles, all of which debunk them with lots of citations. And there are not many entries that try to rebut their invalidity.

Speaking to and hearing the dead
Demonic Possession
Being possessed by an evil spirit
Living individuals reveal past lives
Moving objects with your mind
Aura Reading
 See light around a body
Near Death Experiences
Remote  viewing and heavenly experiences while almost dead
 Reading others’ minds
 Knowing a specific future event
Remote Viewing
See things beyond one sight
Astral projection
Going to another place without your body
Various forms of ESP
Objects that have magical powers such as or magnetic bracelets, electrical devices

Much of above is believed and practiced by well-intentioned people, but some are frauds and tricksters who do these things for money.

All of us have anecdotal stories that support this stuff, including me. I was transported out of my body to the ceiling when I was 10 years old. My son read my mind when he was three. These are stories, not explanations. And, one story does not make the case for paranormal phenomenon .

Most of  the research is based on “a belief in search of data rather than observation in search of an explanation”. Kinda like creationism.

Near Death experiences are certainly real, but do not demonstrate that there is an afterlife. See this article on the physiology of drugs and NDE’s.

The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge was an offer by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. A version of the challenge was first issued in 1964. Over a thousand people applied to take it, but none have been successful.

Susan Blakemore, parapsychology researcher for 30 years, revealed what she found in researching  paranormal phenomenon. And guess what she found. Nothing! Listen to her interview on Closer to The Truth. She made the statement that if these phenomena were shown to be true, the entirety of science would be upended. Let’s hope that it happens. just for the excitement of it.

There are serious organizations with reputable people who continue to investigate these phenomena. These include:

Institute of Noetic Sciences -Wikipedia
The research reported on their website is sparse.

University of Virginia Institute of Perceptual Studies
Their books are 800 pages and cost $50. Not exactly written to convince a wide audience.

So, does parapsychology prove the premise A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality to be false? I doubt it. However, I am interested in your views, particularly if you can cite specific research that supports any of these phenomena.


Have you ever fallen in love with being alive? A number of years ago I was hiking on Tequille Island in Lake Titicaca, Peru. As I approached a vista from the trail, I had this exquisite feeling of aliveness. I felt connected to everything far beyond my physical body. There was a sense of oneness.

Non Duality describes an experience where your state of consciousness shifts and your sense of self falls away to something larger and expansive. It primarily refers to a state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is ‘transcended’, and awareness is described as ‘centerless’ and ‘without dichotomies’. Although this state of consciousness appears spontaneous for me, it usually is the “result” of prolonged meditative/contemplative practice. One can also experience non duality through a Near Death Experience or psychedelic drugs. Perhaps you’ve experienced the sense of oneness at a time in your life: perhaps a lot.

The essential discovery of all the great spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen, Sufism, Kashmir Shaivism and Judaism, is that experience is not divided into a perceiving subject, an entity known as ‘I,’ and a perceived object,  world or other. There is a Oneness.

Rather than quoting spiritual teachers, here are quotes from physicists.

Einstein said that “reality is an illusion all be a persistent one. Space and time are modes in which we think, not conditions in what we live.”  

Werner Heisenberg, Nobel prize winning physicist stated, “The universe is not only stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think”.

Erwin Schrödinger, Nobel prize winning physicist stated, “ We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us.  We are not inside, we are outside. We are spectators. The reason we think that we are inside in the picture is because our bodies are inside the picture. The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real.”

Now take 4 minutes to listen to this video beginning at 42.00 to 46.37. You will learn that the universe may be an illusion and that it may only exist when it is being observed.

Now let’s come back to non duality.

If everything is just boundless energy, then there really may be no separation.

The apparent separateness between you and the external world is powerful illusion that seems to divide the Oneness of experience into two separate things, when in reality everything is one.

And, when you “awaken” to  this sense of Oneness, there is a dramatic shift in your being. There is happiness, joy, love and transcendence.

There are many non-dualist teachers who suggest that reality is totally subjective and that all matter is only created through awareness, i.e. observation. So rather than the physicalist objective lower right quadrant being the only reality, the non-dualists say that the subjective upper left quadrant is the only reality.

Now, if all of this has not made your head explode, search non duality on the web and learn more. Some teachers include Rupert Spira, Tony Parsons, Jeffery Martin and Tim Freke. And if my musings have really gotten you into this, take the time to hear one of Freke’s lectures.

So, does non duality prove the premise A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality to be false? Well perhaps rather than either/or it should be both/and. Can we entertain the paradox in the same way as Schrödinger’s cat? Two opposites can both be true.

How are you with paradoxes? Can you entertain two conflicting realities?

When have you experienced a sense of oneness? A sense of non duality?


Knock knock, who is inside of you? You have an internal experience of “me”.  You experience feelings when aroused. You are in awe of beauty. You have thoughts, opinions and beliefs. You create and visualize the future. You react internally to the world in hundreds of  subjective ways. Some refer this to this as qualia. It is the part of you that is self aware. Buddhists call it pure awareness. Others call it consciousness. Some say that consciousness is formless.

The “I”, the knowing with which our experience is known, has remained present throughout your life. In that sense “you”, the awareness of you, has not changed.

What is consciousness? And, can it be explained by a physicalist?

“Does consciousness exist outside of the brain/body?. Did consciousness exist 5 million years ago?

The false premise that we are examining is.

A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality.

To the first question, the physicalist would say we don’t know right now, but we will be able to explain it. What we do know is that consciousness and all subjective experience arises from and is dependent on the body and the human body is physical.

To the second question the physicist would say that being that there were no human bodies one million years ago, there was no consciousness. Consciousness does not exist outside of the body.

The challenge for the scientist is that there is nothing we know about the brain and physics which explains consciousness; the subjective experience of “I”.

Consciousness can’t be explained neurologically. Some scientists are exploring whether there may be an answer at the quantum level to explain consciousness. But most think that is a pretty farfetched. The quantum level is millions of time smaller than a neuron and there does not seem to be any more of a quantum connection to neurons and the brain than to other material things.

Now we become unconsciousness though sleep or anesthesia. And neurological scientists can stimulate the neocortex to take us out of consciousness. The brainwaves are there, but there is no integration providing a structure that apparently is required for consciousness.  And that does not really get to any explanation of the experience of love, or beauty.

And how about the subconscious, that part of our consciousness of which we not aware? Scientists have not come even close to providing a neurological explanation of this.

So, consciousness is still a mystery. And if consciousness is special, and we humans seems to think it is, then the fact that it has evolved in the last few thousands of years is a big deal, regardless of how infinitesimal we are in the universe.  The Universe is now becoming conscious of itself. And, maybe this is the only time that it has done so.

Perhaps aspects of consciousness may not be physically based.  And, if not physically based, will survive the dissolution of the body. Perhaps there are individuals who can see a reality beyond physical.

I will explore this concept in the next blog under the name nonduality.

So. do you agree that the understanding of consciousness, your consciousness, might be a factor in proving the premise false?




In the last blog, I stated that the premise that a rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality is false.

Physicalism is the premise that the real world only consists simply of the physical world. Physicalists don’t deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don’t seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they state nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or depend on the physical. And that, theoretically, given enough time,  physicists and scientists will be able to explain everything using physical laws.

The basic idea is we human beings are nothing more than exceedingly complicated biological machines . Consciousness is generated by physiological events and processes in our brains.

So how does one explore whether this foundational premise is false? I am going to look at three ways in future blog posts.

  • Consciousness-subjective experience
  • Parapsychology, i.e. ESP, mind reading, mediums and such
  • Spiritual experience of religious and non-religious people

Let me begin with a perspective. A few years ago, I wrote a book called the Leadership Mastery Map. It categorized leadership subjects according to Ken Wilber’s All Qual Model. The model is a simple but powerful way to explain reality.

Two dichotomies emerge from this model: individual versus collective, and subjective versus objective. By using a 2×2 matrix, we can include all perspectives reality.

The upper left is individual interior subjective which includes inner values, beliefs and internal dynamics, including consciousness.

The lower left quadrant is the collective interior subjective. It is shared values and beliefs of the family, tribe, or nation or any other group.

The upper right quadrant is the exterior individual objective. It consists of one’s physical body and one’s behavior. When a doctor examines you, they are in the upper right quadrant. When you are talking about feelings and beliefs to a psychologist, you are in the upper left quadrant.

The lower right quadrant encompasses everything in the external world.

Physicalism only looks at the right side of the model, the external objective.  In this way it is called reductionist. Some say it does not look at reality from a holistic perspective.

And if you really are into it, go to my talk on Integral Coaching which explains the model.

One more thing. If you really want to begin to understand the mentality of those who focus on the right quadrants (objective) to those who focus on the upper left quadrant (subjective)  go to this fascinating dialogue between  of a physicalist and a spiritual person. Richard Dawkins, biologist and atheist and Satish Kumar, a spiritual teacher and environmental activist have a robust conversation about reality.

Begin at 10.14 when they start talking about spiritual trees and rocks. Listen to how the different perspectives play out.

So how holistically do you look at the world?

While you do reside in all four quadrants, do you put more credibility in one quadrant than the other?



In our continuing discussion of the false foundational premise, here are two more.


The Bible is the living word of God and should be obeyed.

The Bible was written by 40 men. The old testament was written beginning in 400 BC. The new testament was written beginning about 15 years after Jesus died.

The men who wrote the Bible believed that when bad things happened which people didn’t understand, God was angry, or God works in mysterious ways. These bad things included disease and natural disasters.  They believed that when good things happened which they did not understand, they were miracles from God. Now, one has to realize that in those times people didn’t understand a whole lot.

They were men of their times and they did not understand a fraction of what we understand today, such as:

  • How the human body works
  • How the weather works and what causes hurricanes
  • The causes of diseases and as a result the treatment of disease
  • Earthquakes and tsunamis
  • Biology and biological history of creatures on Earth
  • Geology and geological history
  • Celestial events such as meteor showers, eclipses and supernovas.

The Bible is replete with historical, geographical and scientific errors, as well as contradictions.

God’s values, as revealed by the Bible, are not compatible with our value system today. He is an angry vengeful killer. God tells a man to kill his son. He demonstrates his love for Man by allowing his son to be tortured and killed. He tells the elders to stone a woman who  was found to be a non-virgin on her wedding night. He ripped babies out of the wombs of women. He threatens to lay waste to towns and kill everyone including children. Slavery is permissible and it’s OK to beat the slave and even kill them. It’s forbidden for women to have power over or even teach men anything. And the most perplexing for me, God is so needy that he tells man that he must worship and obey him, or he will kill him. The Bible is a very violent book.  

Now the New Testament portrays a loving God, although if you don’t believe in Jesus you are going to be tortured for eternity. And I understand there are many passages in both the Old and New Testaments  that convey great wisdom and provide solace for those who believe. The values expressed by Jesus are wonderful.

The Bible might be the inspiration of men who believed in God, however it is not the word of God, nor should one obey all of it tenants.

“Religious traditions portray holy books as the ‘word of God’. But God doesn’t speak to us. God is the primal silence that speaks through us. All words are human words and conditioned by the human experience of living in time. They are at best partial expressions of a truth that can never be articulated. There is no ‘word of God’, but if there were it would be only one word. And that word is ‘love’.” Tim Freke

So, my contention is that the Foundational Premise that the Bible is the living word of God and should be obeyed is false.  

Now when you are talking to someone who believes that the Bible is the word of God, you will find that they justify their view by quoting the Bible; just the good parts. There is no other way they can have a discussion because that foundational view is essential to their thinking. No wonder you are going to get a fight.


A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality.

Ha! Bet you did not see that coming. Is it false? Hell, I don’t know. A term for this way of thinking is physicalism. The premise is that  all reality is based on material things.

Am I willing to examine whether or not it is false? Of course.

So, what are your thoughts on the Bible?

Am I being too harsh or am I just calling it the way it is?


Some ways of thinking are good and useful. Other ways of thinking are flawed. One factor in flawed thinking is when it’s based on a false foundational premise.

A premise is an assumption upon which an argument or system of thinking is built. An example is the premise that some types of bacteria can cause disease.

A foundational premise is essential to our way of thinking about something. If the premise that the bacteria causes disease is false, the entire structure around our thinking about infectious diseases would crumble.

Here are a couple of examples False Foundational Premises to further clarify what I’m talking about.


The earth is the center of the universe. The sun, planets and stars go around the earth.

This premise was held by man from ancient times to the middle ages. Calculations could be made of the movement of planets; the sun and moon and these calculations were consistent even though the foundational premise was false. This foundational premise was a part of biblical theology of the Catholic church.

Then along comes the astronomer Copernicus in the early 1500’s, who proved otherwise. The earth and planets revolved around the Sun. Did the Church say thanks and shift their theology? No. In the Bible, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth. Critics claimed “the evidence of the senses, the thousand-year consensus of men of science, and the authority of the Bible” makes it wrong.

In the early 1600’s, Galileo then furthered the work of Copernicus and the Church demanded he

“.. .abandon completely… the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing.”

They then tried him for heresy and put him in prison.


The movement and position of the planets has an influence on individual lives and human events.

This premise had been around since 2000 BC. Astrology has been part of a scholarly tradition, and in academic and political circles up until the Twentieth Century. However following the wide-scale adoption of the scientific method, astrology has been challenged successfully on both theoretical and experimental grounds, and has been shown to have no scientific validity or explanatory power. It is a foundational premise that is false.

That being said, surveys show that 25% of Westerners continue to believe that the movement of planets affect their individual lives.

A number of years ago I read Cosmos and Psyche:Intimations of a New World View by Richard Tarnas. Here is my review.

This book is deeply flawed. It foundational premise is utter nonsense. Tarnas has used his vast understanding of the humanities and history and attempted to correlate trends, themes, biographies and events to the movement of planets.

Like all astrologers, he is attempting to merge the scientific and factual using his intuition, seeing correlations and causes and effects when none exist. The intuitive connection between the scientific facts and the “facts” of history simply does not work. The supposed correlations are simply subjective conjecture. And in the final analysis, the overarching question is “so what?”.

I found the book very disappointing in light of his brilliant Passion of the Western Mind.

Now for those who believe in Astrology, the web offers lots of opportunities to get a reading. Try this website. You will get a reading that will tell you a lot of contradictory information about yourself and will be of little value.

So, what is my point? The lesson here is that when you challenge someone’s foundational premise as false, get ready for a fight.  Facts and evidence may not do the trick.

In my next blog I will discuss two more false foundational premises.

Meanwhile, ask yourself. Might I have any false foundational premises in my thinking?

Do you see others basing a whole way of thinking on a false foundational premise?


Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 3.24.41 PM

There are two ways of thinking. One is objective  logical and facts-based way of thinking and the other is subjective intuitive emotional way of thinking. I’ll call the first a thinker and a second an intuitor feeler. My sense is that each individual defaults primarily to one type or the other, with the other type certainly present but to a lesser degree. One has their rational skills dominant and the other has their intuitive skills dominant. It also depends on the how our opinions have been formed. The book The Righteous Mind states that most of our strong opinions about things are brought about by unconscious cultural processes and that we use facts and logic to then justify them.  And, we can be logical and factual around some things and very emotional and intuitive and anti-factual about others. I realize that it is complicated. And of course, however one gets to one’s “truth” is right for them. But it does not make them actually right, particularly when they ignore facts.

But, as you will find as we go along in this blog, my default is toward an objective fact- based approach to thinking about things. And….I have as much bias as the next guy. I guess. And if you see bias  in my writing, I invite you to challenge me.

The scientific method and evidence-based thinking has brought mankind into the modern world and expanded knowledge and ability to improve the quality of our lives beyond measure.

Anti-science thinking generated by other underlying motivations which are not factual or logical are bad. Examples are:

Climate Change
Denying climate change because of an unwillingness to address the economic costs of  to address its issues.

Denying evolutionary theory and a geological record with the adoption of an anti-evolution regime because it contradicts  the creation story in the Bible. Here is Biblical case for the Earth being 6000 years old. Pretty weird. You can decide whether the Earth is 6000 years old or 4.5 billion years old.

Being anti-vaccination because of a totally discredited article was submitted (and now withdrawn) to a medical journal whose author lost his medical license. Said article tied vaccinations with autism.  The consequences are that there are now unnecessary outbreaks of measles.

Genetically Modified Foods
Being anti-GMO even though there is absolutely no evidence that consuming GMO foods has a negative impact on health. The position of anti GMO advocates is that the evidence has not yet been proven GMO’s to be safe, even though humans have been consuming genetically modified foods for hundreds of years. In fact, over 2000 studies have found GM food to be perfectly safe.

These are just a few examples of where evidence, facts and the scientific method are not considered when positions are taken. Opinions treated as facts are still just opinions. And if facts are ignored while only opinions and feelings are used to make decisions, then I have an issue.

How about you? Do you have an issue?


Why am I here? Does the universe have a purpose and does the purpose include us?  “I’m not sure,” says Neil DeGrasse Tyson. “But anyone who expresses a more definitive response to the question is claiming access to knowledge not based in empirical foundations. This remarkably persistent way of thinking, common to most religions and some branches of philosophy, has failed badly in past efforts to understand and thereby predict the operations of the universe and our place within in.” So, we simply don’t know.

“We live in an uncaring universe. Any idea that it was created for our felicity must be nonsense, for each wonder to which we may point is countered by a monstrosity. To believe in the anthropic principle, that the world was created to serve us, in the face of so much suffering, is absurd, indeed it is narcissistic, even infantile.” – Peter Sellick

So how about the purpose of the human race. Does a fish or a giraffe have a purpose, other than to propagate their species? Do humans have a special place among animals and therefore have a purpose?

Well I asked my friend David King about this.  

“That’s easy.  In my humble opinion, the human race (species) has no purpose, nor does any other species.  We alone fret about “purpose” just as we fret about life after death because our development of a complex system of symbols (language) gave us the ability to contemplate things and events beyond the immediate here and now. Another question:  Why is there a universe? I haven’t a clue. Nor do I have a clue about the possibility that there is some creative force or being that’s responsible for the whole thing. Of this I am pretty sure: We are the only species that contemplates these questions.  Does that make us special? I doubt it. Without language, we’d just be another great ape.”

There is more than to this of course. How about meaning?  All of us are searching for meaning. Perhaps we are providing meaning to the universe rather than the universe providing meaning to us. When we see a beautiful galaxy, we are giving it meaning. Without humans it would not be beautiful. Plato might disagree in that he thought that beauty existed “apriori”; that it could be deduced without observation. I tend to believe that prior to humans, there was no beauty. We provide the meaning to the Universe.

And of course, it is a great mystery and as Joseph Campbell says the “mystery of being is beyond all categories of thought.”

In looking at these big questions about my place in the universe, my place in time, and the purpose of human race, I realize that, while providing context, it does little else. While the universe may be impersonal, we are not. As Victor Frankl says. “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”  We each need to provide meaning and purpose to our own lives based on our personal circumstances. It is not necessary for meaning or purpose to come from outside of us.

So, do you provide purpose for your life, or is purpose beyond you?
Do you provide meaning for your life, or does meaning come from beyond you?

The picture below is a photograph of earth and moon from the rings of Saturn. Saturn is 890 million miles from earth. Multiply that by 100,000 and you still wouldn’t even get out of the Milky Way galaxy.


Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 10.47.31 AM

No, I am not saying that I am an historical figure. I was born at a particular time and place and, as Michael Crichton says in his book Timeline, the most significant impact on how you live your life, is the past; when you are born and of course where.

I can’t fathom 13.8 billion years which is the age of the universe. However, I have learned that modern humans, with language and tools, evolved around 70,000 years in what is called the cognitive revolution. The agricultural revolution started only about 12000 years ago and the scientific revolution only 500 years ago. Read Sapiens to get the full story. 

Prior to 70.000 years ago, there were other human species as well as homo sapiens, which is our species of hominids. In March 2016, studies were published that suggest that modern humans bred with hominids, including Denisovans and Neanderthals. This is why many humans, including me, have Neanderthal DNA in our genome. I am going to talk about evolution in other blogs. Enough to say, that evolutionary theory is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence. So modern humans come from evolutionary processes and not that long ago there were multiple human species. So, what does that say about the idea that we are special? And in whose eyes are we special? Am I special?

About 109 billion humans have been alive since the dawn of man. I was born in 1942 along with 1,767,482 other humans in the US. So, by birthday on February 19th, about 242,000 babies had been born in the U.S. I figure that my twin brother Gordon and I were number 242, 0001 and 242, 002. The US population at that time was 135 million and there was about 2 billion people on the planet. Now there are over 7.5 billion. Only 62% of us born in the U.S. that year are still alive.  And when I die, I will join 150,000 of my fellow humans who will die that day.

I was born an identical twin with older sister Gail of Lee and Frances Anderson whose ancestors were all Northern European, mostly Scottish and German. Last year I wrote my parents’ biography. It was a joy to work on it and to get the context for the lives they lived.  If you would like to see it, here it is.

I was born in the midst of a World War II; the biggest most destructive war in the history of mankind. 60 million people died, 3% of the population. In the 20th Century, there were over 160 Million human beings killed through war, genocide and murder by other human beings. This is a staggering number, and a testimony to the complexity of the human condition. The good news is that the first 18 years of the 21st century has not had that kind of devastation, although humans now have the capability of obliterating the entire civilization of the planet with billions of people dying.

Here is a 1996 letter to my son Barry and my parents and the WWII generation.

While born during a war, war did not impact me significantly. I have led a blessed life with a higher standard of living than 99.9% of humans who have ever lived.

I have never been hungry. I have not been ravaged by disease. I have led a relatively economically stable life. I have never truly needed or wanted for anything that was significant. The important material things in life have always come my way. I have not been subjected to violence. And… I am not rich but certainly not poor. I have been treated well due to luck and circumstance. That’s it. Pretty amazing for 76 years.  

The Buddhists say that the quality of your life has been influenced by the “karma” that you generated in your previous life. If so, my previous life generated an incredible amount of generous positive karma.

One’s life also is influenced by the station into to which one is born. Station in this context means societal rank and position, including economic status. I was born into a family of doctors. My father was a doctor as was his father. He had an established medical practice in Jackson Heights New York City. During his lifetime my father provided for us in New York City, during the war and after the war in California where we moved when I was 4 years old. We were not rich, although people thought we were. All doctors were thought to be wealthy.

So, I grew up in a family of smart educated people and was expected to go to college and continue at the station that I was born into and I have basically done that.

During my lifetime, some terrible things have happened in the world and there have also been wonderful things. Amidst wars and famine there has been an ever-evolving level of prosperity.  While there are still many poor and many hungry, fewer people are starving in the world than ever before. Many of the major plagues and epidemics of the past are no more. Modern science has eliminated them. More on that in a later blog.

In addition to an overall increase in the well-being of people, there are fewer people who are oppressed in totalitarian societies and monarchies. And for me, born in the United States, a free and democratic country…well, another example of how I have been blessed.

I don’t know how much longer the human race will continue to exist, but I do know that our time is finite. And of course, so am I.

So, where do you fit into history and time? Do you have the same perspective as I do? Have you been more fortunate or less fortunate?