I’m now four hours from Chicago, and without trying to over glamorise the trip, it has been truly wonderful in so many respects: Scenery, fellow passengers, comfort, great pace, and a glimpse of four states and of America, and some of their towns and cities..
Sunset dinner in the dining carriage with an interesting late thirties woman with a 9 month old: She was moving from Los Angeles to a small town in Indiana, after having lived for ten years in New York City, and now totally had enough of the big city values and lifestyle. Moving from NYC she thought California would be better but after trying Los Angeles now, she realised it’s the Big Cities and The System that is ‘the problem’. Being part of a US Navy family, she’d lived many years overseas when she was younger, and ended by saying: “Maybe I shouldn’t be trying Indiana, but rather be leaving America?
At Raton, New Mexico, a huge contingent of boy scouts joined us at and I ended up immersed in conversation with four of them: Sixteen year olds, having just spent two weeks on a wilderness camp. Well, different to my California experience, here I found young people who had a perspective of Nature that was both confused but surprisingly enlightened for their age. Two of the three had travelled overseas the one had even been to South Africa.
When I asked whether they think humans are part of Nature or something special and different, they said they believed we should be part of Nature, but we have drifted away and aren’t anymore. I explored more what Nature is and how it works, and they all agreed without doubt that we should be part of Nature, and as they spoke I saw a real pain in their expressions. Almost like they shouldn’t be saying that as they were breaking a promise that they weren’t to tell anyone that?? My eyes welled up, and I shared with them how sad I find this this fact is, but how great it is that they realise this and were sharing their hearts with me…..
They didn’t know about the extent of our ‘One Point Six and ever increasing’ problem, but as I took them through it they got ‘it’ all straight away, and I sensed a huge shock, but interestingly there was also a desire to explore and understand. Unlike many older people, this exchange seemed free of guilt / denial baggage, and there was almost a sense of excitement of a new unknown they were discovering.
Like I have done many times with the younger generation, I then openly apologised to them for what ‘My Generation’ have done. Almost in mitigation highlighting the fact that we are the first generation to actually have ‘The Facts’ that show us ‘for the first time’ what many generations of society have done. It was now for them to decide what to do, and I shared how I was exploring the unknown myself, how to help and what I should do…?
I then moved the conversation to their personal context? We spent four hours talking through all this and what it could mean for their life / career choices, and this all helped me see that the best thing a young person needs today is to have strong life explorer and a life adventurer skills…. We need a quite different new path, but one that uses the great things from the current path, yet set in a future One Point Zero context, where Nature is Supreme. This requires radical explorers, and extreme adventurers who are fearless for the unknown, and sceptical of passed down truths, and with that mind set the life journey will be Fun, Challenging and Rewarding.
It was a valuable time together for all of us, and I just wondered if any of you reading this have shared One Point Zero with your ‘young adults’ and how you deal with these seemingly difficult discussions. Not having kids, it’s easy for me to have these discussions, but it made me realise that if I did have kids I’d hope they already knew about all this because of my proactive leadership! If they didn’t know then once I knew the One Point Zero story I’d definitely be sharing it and make the sharing and guidance part of my contribution to mitigating my generation’s ‘guilt’… Or maybe ‘ignorance is bliss’ and keep it all away from ‘them’….? I can’t see how that is good for anyone, but…. I don’t know? This is all challenging stuff!
Trumped by Nature is delivering what I envisaged, and if I’d flown from NZ to Minneapolis, it would have just been a day or two, but man I’d never have had the rich and challenging experience I’m currently having…
I’m only one third of the way through the adventure, but already I have no doubt that these three months at the coalface of the One PointZero interface with Society will have a profound impact on decisions once I’m back in New Zealand, and my future activist journey. For now, let the adventure continue….
After three days in Albuquerque, and overloaded with CNN, I felt ready to start the next leg of Trumped by Nature, a US Public Transport experience: Its 27 hours by Amtrak railway to Chicago, then a 9 hour overnight Greyhound bus connection to Minneapolis, just over the Mississippi River from my Blind friend Imi in Wisconsin.
I hear Imi saying to me: “It would have only taken you half a day from San Diego by air: We could have spent a whole lot more days together and it would have been a lot easier for you?” In our past three US adventures (See here) I did do the ‘flying thing’ but this time the adventure includes the goal of me trying to do it within my One Point Zero restraints.
Knowing that “Easier for me” wasn’t the goal I had to remind myself that I’m exploring sustainable travel, and ask myself how I’m doing so far? Well I proudly tell people I’m in the USA, having crossed the Pacific Ocean, with no bigger footprint than if I’d stayed in Nelson, NZ, living a ‘normal life’! But you have just driven 900 miles with Bob in his car, how does that fit in, Howard??
Well I was sort of a hitch-hiker, riding on the back of Bob’s trip to Albuquerque anyway. I can tell you this wasn’t easy, as right up until the last minute I said to Bob: “I ‘d rather take the bus, if you going there just for me, hey?” This was challenging for me, and tested my One Point Zero priority and resolve. In setting out on this ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure, I wanted to experience the coalface of the conflict and here it was again. Bob said he wanted to go anyway, so I took a hitch hiker’s credit, and left him with the full footprint cost?
A foot print that would have amounted to 5% of my annual footprint allowance! Yep, just 3 days of motor car travel with two of us sharing the total footprint. For someone driving solo there and back, or a ‘taxi’ loading the whole footprint onto ‘the passenger’ it would be a scary 20% of their total annual footprint ‘allowance’. The average American drives 13 400 miles a year, and if that’s done alone that person is over their ‘allowance’ just on driving, let alone all the other ‘just living’ footprint generated! Obviously all those miles are not as the only one in the car but I hope you can see the seriousness of ‘our’ problem. The concept of an ‘allowance’ for each one of us is probably totally foreign to many of ‘you’?
The ‘allowance’ here assumes each of us 7.6 billion humans is allocated equal share of Nature’s scarce regenerative bio-capacity. The very bio capacity that we currently need 60% more of and our planet hasn’t got it. One Point Zero is about living within the single planet capacity Nature has available. Back to the ‘allowance’ of this capacity:
As I often get told: “That’s how you (Howard) have decided to allocate that capacity, but I haven’t agreed with that yet!!” That’s true, and wondering if ‘they’ have even accepted the fact that that we are 60% over the capacity, I respond: “Yep, ‘mate’ I accept that and ‘Yep’, I can’t force you to accept how I worked out my capacity allowance, but let me know what planet bio capacity allocation you come up with for You? May be you have a better way that would help me too… ?”
This is challenging stuff, but once I accepted ‘My allocation’ I became surprisingly peaceful and it’s now all a fun exploration of how to do it that fits perfectly with my soul! ‘My allocation’ works out at some 3-5 times lower than what an average developed world citizen uses…..! That’s the extent of ‘Our Challenge’, but I just wish more would see it as OUR challenge….
Travel by train and bus both have very low footprint versus flying and so that’s what this current travel leg to Minneapolis and my friend Imi, is about. (Of course the best footprint is not travelling, but I‘m not giving up on what I love yet!) I’m writing this on Amtrak’s Superliner, but in the non-elite, coach class section, and really enjoying the different experience as the New Mexico terrain changes from semi desert to what I’d call more fertile savannah! Interestingly, all the people I ask why they are going by train, give ‘cost’ and / or ‘just very pleasant’ as the reasons, none about ‘their foot print’.
After arriving in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Imi and I are renting a car to drive from his house in Wisconsin to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota for our two week canoe expedition in its pristine wilderness. The car trip there and back, will be some 800 miles. “Now how does that footprint work for you, Howard?”
For both cost and carbon footprint reasons, we did try to get a bus or lift to the Boundary Waters, but this proved a huge challenge, forcing us into the rental car option, and I had a footprint challenge, that had to be solved.
Well just like the master wheeler dealer, Mr Trump, I came up with a deal. Unlike his one’s which no doubt all increase the planets carbon footprint, and feed his appetite for greed, mine seems footprint legitimate, enables me to be with my buddy, and fits with my soul!
Imi, (Professor Imtiaz Moosa, Head of Philosophy at Wisconsin University, River Falls) is one of the few people of his socio economic class who is a sub One Point Zero-er, and has been for years, even before the concept came up! I’m always interested in how he managed to avoid be sucked into the western consumption, greed and materialism life? His blindness has helped, reduce temptation of visual marketing, but it all started well before he went blind, and is a complex mixture of cultural upbringing, his philosophical explorations, and an ability to belong with himself which means he is not swayed by the ‘fashions’ required to belong to ‘The Crowd’.
From day one on our 2010 Yukon River trip, we just hit it off as two ‘boys’ who value the simple life, and had a pretty common view of Nature, how our planet works and how we humans fit in to it all. Imi sometimes puts me to shame on the simplicity of need, I know that may sounds scary for some of you, but having spent so many months with him in the USA, Canada, Tanzania, and New Zealand, I know Imi is a rare, USA based, icon of low consumption, simplicity of need, and a total abhorrence of conspicuous consumption, and The Good Life ideology.
So in the context of One Point Zero, Imi lives a life that is below ‘the allowance’, and as such is a walking carbon footprint credit!
Imi loves the wilderness, I love the wilderness, Imi and I love sharing time in the wilderness together, and this time I’m constrained by my One Point Zero, ‘allowance’.
I realise Imi has his footprint credit and being blind can’t drive himself to the wilderness? (Yet, amazingly he can navigate me there!) I can help him spend the credit for something we both want, provided I don’t get the footprint loaded on to me? So if he signs ‘my indemnity form’ to say I’m ‘Just his driver’, we have a wonderful win-win-win deal!!
Ha-ha, ‘Donald’ I’m learning from you, man, without paying your rip off ‘University’ tuition fees, but can you see how my deal is all above board and also doesn’t result in some huge footprint generating and Trump enriching result! The carbon fingerprint of a casino is huge, and surely can’t be justified as being necessary for human flourishing in a future One Point Zero world.
Now when Imi reads this he will ‘hit the roof’ as he is an inspiration in independence and self-sufficiency, and so ‘help’ is not a word in his vocabulary! Anyway given our relationship, I know he will understand the whole intent of this Post!
In sharing the above I sense many will conclude that there are much more fun, important, meaningful things than trying to fit my ‘footprint in my allowance’? I could see why one could conclude that, but for me the whole mindful step is the most valuable and one that makes me realise I am part of a home that I should care for and Nature’s system that I should respect. I’m mindful of consequences of my decisions to the planet and my fellow humans, both current and future generations. I know this may sound so cute, stupid or pointless when so many others are not doing this, but I wish I could describe how liberating it feels as I strive to be a mindful, and ‘proper human’, not an arrogant, exploiting, couldn’t care less, anthropocentric one….. And I say that not wanting to come across ‘holier than thou’, but rather from a point of real despair that society can’t see the flaw of its journey to ‘The Facts’ of today.
San Diego to Albuquerque, a drive that most people would say would be boring, and “best you go as fast as you can”….! With mostly a 75 mph highway speed limit, we could have been there in 11 hours! My brother-in-law Bob, had his own ‘business’ to do beyond Albuquerque, and so in my desire to find the soul of the American South West, I was often playing the ‘bad boy’ handbrake. I was never bored….probably over stimulated…so read on:
Eventually it took us 3 days, crossing California, Arizona, and almost halfway across New Mexico: Taking the southern route going west via Tucson, Tombstone, and then before El Paso, heading north from Los Cruces up to Albuquerque. All in all about 900 miles, in desert and semi desert terrain, and dealing with temperatures that topped 45 degree centigrade (115 F) temperatures.
Before we turned to go north the road followed the Mexican border just tens of miles south, and the enormity and the extent of Mr Trump’s wall was blatantly apparent. There were road checkpoints every now and again, and with our obvious non-Mexican roots, we were waived on with little interest. I could see how this vast border and its close proximity to the highway facilitating the temptations of illegal immigration, and how with the cowboys now almost extinct a wall is being contemplated! Or are the cowboys in revival and is Mr Trump the new ‘Cowboy in town’ barging into the comical saloon’…?? (See more below!)
We left San Diego just days after the Dallas shooting, and so as we travelled the USA was busy working out what this all means for them personally and the nations as a whole. Arriving in Tucson on the day of the police officer funerals, President Obama’s funeral speech, and talking with locals and getting a feel for the South West slant on the situation was enlightening. I sensed that adding this developing racial dimension onto the already unpalatable Clinton and Trump picture is moving American and its people into a place they don’t want to be, and one that is fuelling angst and increasingly divisions. (More below.)
With endless flat pains, bordered by impressive mountain ranges, the cactus vegetation was occasionally interrupted by fertile farmlands kept alive by man’s ingenious connections to Nature’s big rivers: The Colorado, Rio Grande being the most notable. We found much evidence of Man’s greed and misunderstanding of Nature where Nature’s arteries had been sucked dry and the dependent communities forced to leave.
To my utter amazement one such community, was named Fairbank, and it was the transportation centre for the bustling silver mining area that formed around the neighbour town of Tombstone.
Tombstone was the scene of the Wyatt Earp shoot outs, a Hollywood movie of the same name, and is a true western cowboy town. With its initial attraction of silver mining no more, it is prospering as a tourist hole, for those with an interest in reliving its past. Over the 35 years span of living in and visiting America, I’ve been to many of old US cowboy towns, but with my more enlightened truth searching mind set Tombstone provided some more shocking truths. (More below)
Soon after our turn to head North we passed through the town named ‘Truth or Consequences’ and I can only but feel that my One Point Zero destiny brought me along this route. To me and Mr Gandhi (“My Life is My Message”), life is just about The Truths, strive to live by them, and dealing with personal integrity the consequences of not living by them.
With my deep One Point Zero thinking time on the ship from New Zealand, followed by the shock of my now two weeks in the US, I feel strongly that Society, The Crowd’, are either being purposely prevented from seeing ‘The Truths’, and or ‘The Crowd’ knows ‘The Truths’ and is in selfish ‘convenient denial’. Either way the situation deeply concerns me as a person who walks his truths, is deeply concerned about the path of Humanity.
So Truth or Consequences had deep meaning for me, and as we passed through Bob was reluctant to stop, as I’d told him the huge Society and America significance these three simple words meant. I’d had a few very disturbing racially scary interactions with people in Tombstone, and I wondered how much America was in Truth denial, and the disturbing consequences are nor revealing themselves all over the American society. Maybe the truth is that hypocrisy prevails….?
These are the times of real aloneness, when one accepts that silence is more productive than discussing the truths. I spent the next hour seemingly staring at the vast desert and straight road ahead, but inside me I wondered whether silence was cowardice, and passive belonging with the lies of ‘The Crowd’ that I seemingly openly detest?
This certainly hadn’t been a boring drive as many had intimated it would be…. Exploring ‘The Truths’ and Consequences of Life and Society, can never be boring… To me: “That is Life!”
We soon arrived into the metropolis of Albuquerque, and in with truly amazing team work, Bob and I explored the city without a map or GPS assistance finding the ‘perfect’ motel for our different needs: Bob would leave early in the morning, and I’d be based for rest and exploring, before joining Amtrak on Sunday for my ‘sustainable’ train trip to Chicago. From there it’s Greyhound to Minneapolis, and my blind friend Imtiaz Moosa.
Tombstones, Truth, Consequences and The Future
In the past seven days there have been two major world ‘atrocities’: The Dallas police killings, and now the Nice, Bastille Day, carnage…..! Then yesterday the Turkish attempted coup. Three weeks ago was Brexit, and a country is left without a vision for its contested liberty, and rather is left dealing with the crisis ‘vision’ of minimising the damage. Next week is the Republican Convention, to anoint a potential world leader who seemingly has a vision but one associated with that of the lone cowboy. In anticipation of ‘another tragic event’, amongst unprecedented security initiatives, Cleveland has prepared jail facilities for almost 1000 new prisoners, and has set up an almost 24 hour court infrastructure that includes 12 judges be able to work 10 hour shifts for the whole week.
All around me, I feel that with all these happenings, The Nation (The whole world?) is on tenterhooks. I suspect that for all of us, these events dig into our souls, but we can react by finding distraction, connecting with lies, or searching for the truths and answers for ourselves? . Using the town of Tombstone for its reflecting tombstone significance There were lots of museums and recreations of the past.
I struggled to find a deeper message than the obvious cowboy shootout story and its link to courage and lawlessness. The devastation of the Apaches, and the once vast indigenous wildlife, seemed to have significance only in their insignificant references, and how they added to the positive picture of domination and violent conflict. I even asked Americans in Tombstone what the real message of Tombstone was about, but I never found anything deep and meaningful forthcoming. Messages that could be used positively for the challenges we have in Society today. In fact the shallow messages I got were all supporting domination, power through technology (guns), and winning at all costs….
I was astounded to find both blatant and inferred unapologetic racism I found as I explored. One shopkeeper epitomises the feelings in her telling me that America needs all the blacks out of the country, and that Obama is the cause of all these racial problems. She told me that ‘all of us’ vote for Trump, and said with clarity and conviction that firstly he will keep the Mexicans out, secondly create jobs “so the lazy blacks have to work”, and thirdly he will make America the dominate power over the world again. I don’t see any value in sharing with you how she described ‘black people’, other than to say it was ‘disgusting’ and reminiscent of the words many white people would have used in South Africa 30 years ago before Mandela took over…..
Having come through apartheid in South Africa and having transformed my whole orientation on racial issues, colonisation, success, and the real value in traditional cultures I see the hindsight value of ‘tombstones’ in helping me understand what was right and what was wrong with the human course of the past.
Changing racially wired minds is almost impossible without some trauma like I had in South Africa driving personal motivation. Sadly I don’t see the appetite for voluntary trauma at either government or personal level, and maybe the serious compromise option is that the country is best reorganised around the racism truths in each area? Whatever the solutions to this difficult challenge, I sense relying on politically correct hypocrisy or denial of the Truths to smooth over a very real humanitarian failing will lead to more bloodshed and withering souls.
Beyond society, My Transformation then went further with a different ‘tombstone’ as my guiding reference: This ‘tombstone’, one larger than a human creation, a transcendental tombstone. With the past twelve years of looking at ‘Nature’s tombstone’, I realise we humans need to look as much back as we look forward for where we need to go….America seems to only want to look forward and forget the deep messages from The Tombstones….
Maybe as One Point Six, moves rapidly to One Point Seven, and One Point Zero becomes more distant reflecting on our ‘mistakes’ of the past is where we need to be spending more time, and we will find that Nature’s tombstone has the most valuable lessons of where we have gone wrong…. The messages will be painful, but each day we don’t that will get more painful to deal with! We need to find our power not in Domination through wealth and technology, but in our wonderful submission to Nature’s rules. Nature doesn’t have cowboys, nor heroes, just intensity to thrive within the rules with all the other players in Only Real The Game on offer!
The Last Supper…!
Before saying our goodbyes, Bob and I had a sentimental ‘last supper’ at a Mexican restaurant nearby our motel, and I was just astounded at the volume of food we were given. Bob could only manage half, and when the waiter came and asked if he wanted to take ‘it’ away, and Bob said “No” I asked the waiter what he would do with ‘it’? In a very matter of fact way he said: “Throw ‘it’ away”. With the waiter having left I turned to Bob and sought his agreement in the culture confronting statement, “That’s disgusting, mate, it really is?” Bob sensed I meant his wastage, but I explained I meant the culture of just loading up servings and all the waste. I looked around and without exaggerating 60% of the people in the restaurant would have qualified as overweight, or significantly overweight… This whole experience wasn’t a once off this aberration, this has been the norm since arriving and a norm I have always experienced in America, but now I have my One Point Zero activist hat on! This story is not about judging the individuals involved. We are all casualties. This is about The Facts that something serious is deeply wrong in The Success that is making all these casualties. It’s almost a crime by ‘the architects’ and I feel sad for the casualties who know no better of what is REALLY wrong.
The planet is suffering, the people are suffering, the blacks and whites are at war, the cowboys are returning, and ‘The Game’ of the world’s most powerful Nation just gets finessed to ‘improve’ it’s not negotiable ‘winning’ formula and definition of Success!
‘Nobody’ is looking back at the message from Tombstones and from Nature and questioning the path ahead, and what could be wrong? Questioning our success is failure? ‘Nobody’ is seeing that the wins are not real for Real Human Success. The more ‘the lies’ continue the more the human soul withers and loses its vital influence on the direction. (Read more here) Maybe this is the strategy of ‘The Architects’?
Man, I struggle with all this, and cannot for the life of me see where I’m going wrong in desiring a One Point Zero world for everyone! This is not about Me, nor Sustainability this is about Living as a ‘proper human’ within Nature’s ‘rules’ for Human Success, Present and Future: A success that is surely the most fundamental criteria for unselfish success for every single human?
If one is God fearing and believes Nature is a creation of God, then maybe God set up Nature as the ultimate ‘test game’ to see if all humans can work together irrespective of social class, culture, or creed to ensure human current and future success and existence.
Surely as an individual knowing living a One point Six life (or maybe even worse a Five Point Zero, wealthy high life?) isn’t going to get that ticket through the Pearly gates. Surely even worse, being a walk the talk for that life and promoting a world that is ever moving outside God’s game is a basis for not even getting a pearly gates interview? Surely the test for each of us irrespective of a desire to enter the pearly gates or not, is whether we individually lived within the resource constraints of the game of Nature?
I hope you feel that this isn’t judgement or criticism but rather a desperate call of despair…..
My time in San Diego has come to an end, in five hours I’ll be saying good bye to my sister Ros, and Jen and Jason, and Bob (my brother-in-law) and I head to Albuquerque. I have just come back from a sunrise, ‘last run’ with my sister, in the state park near where she lives. Real good Sister / Brother bonding that stuff that’s hard to describe, and I felt how I our bond had received some more rich flourishing food.
Over dinner last night we spoke about the intensity of the 9 days we have spent together: how great it has been to be with family who are so different yet just accept each other for who they are. Knowing my intensity and zest for life, combined with a radically different One Point Zero way of life our time together could have been difficult. I thanked them for not only ‘putting up’ with me but allowing Me to be Me, and for Them being Themselves. Our relationship had flourished and yet we had covered some very challenging ground, and we raised glasses filled with local Californian red, and toasted that success we had achieved. Jason and Jen independently arrived later and I was touched when both asked what time I was leaving in the morning as they wanted to be up to say good bye!
My sister and her family live a lifestyle that fits with their ‘wealthy 1%’ Californian status. and live in an icon neighbourhood that appears to me to closer to the 0.5% wealthy in their huge houses and obvious following of the conspicuous consumption ideology: One that I gave up many years ago and now see as a fundamental cause of our One Point Zero problem.
From the time I bicycled up the long driveway up to my sister’s home, I have been in a serious ‘way of life’ conflict. When I set out from New Zealand I knew this was going to be the case, and even discussed the possible ramifications with my sister. I told her that dealing with this conflict is part of what My One Point Zero Challenge is about and also what ‘Trumped by Nature’ was about.
So in many ways I had the support of both Ros and Bob to explore the values conflicts as a family, but I was fully aware that they would probably not know how challenging this would be. I knew that in managing the conflict I would be testing my ‘Walking the Talk’ of a One Point Zero value system and how it could challenge the relationship bonds.
In this context these past nine days have been very intense and have made me see that Our One point Zero Challenge is even more challenging than I thought.
Here in San Diego, I was with family who are real good ‘people’ at heart, and really want to be good citizens of America, good humans within mankind, and good followers of the Christian faith. Yet by the time I left, I sense One Point Zero will still not become anymore a guiding beacon in their lives than before I arrived.
Because of the frank and extensive exploring, both personally and within their community we did, I can see it wasn’t just about Ros and Bob.
If it was just ‘them’ that was ‘the problem’ I wouldn’t be sharing this seemingly intimate family content with you. In the many interactions with members of their community I came across the very same ‘disinterest’ in our One Point Six and growing problem!
In these nine days I was privileged to be given a window into an affluent Californian culture and values system that flies directly in the face of One Point Zero, and has little or no care for that fact.
Knowing the intense discussions we had, and their love and care for me, yet the reluctance to change has been a huge wake up call for me. I knew the whole One Point Zero picture would be confronting and not easy, but I had expected that in us being able to thrash out ‘The Facts’, and eventually connect ‘the human obligation’ within us to doing something about it. But disinterest to change once one knows ‘The Facts‘ and one’s personal contribution to making them worse, was a huge wake up call for me.
Beyond my family time, I have to say from the bottom of my heart that since I have arrived in the USA, I have not met one person who has any remote interest in doing something about Our One Point Zero Challenge. I have had many, many interactions with people, from young to old, some fairly casual, some very intense, and my shock has been the extremely low level of awareness. I compare this to my experience in South Island New Zealand and the high level of awareness I usually encounter, and I am shocked. One of the worst contributors to Our One Point Zero Challengeseems to be the least aware, and the most disinterested.
As I reflect on my 18 months in New Zealand, I realise how really Nature and Planet aware most New Zealanders are. I compare the many discussions regarding how Nature works, Sustainability, Human responsibility, etc., that I have had with school leavers in New Zealand, to the one I had with my San Diego educated nephew, and the gap is enormous. This wasn’t about Jason, my nephew this was seemingly about a society and education system that is void of any interest or priority in these areas. Its early days, and this seems a harsh and impossible conclusion…..
I’m taking this information as early day stock taking information, and as I leave California, the ‘Trumped by Nature’ exploration will move continue with a desperately open mind hoping that my Californian sample was a non-representative outlier!
In closing this post, I wonder how you relate to ‘The Facts‘, and Our One Point Zero Challenge. Maybe you don’t understand it all? Maybe you don’t know why we should care? Maybe you don’t know how trying to live a One Point Zero life would benefit you? Maybe you think I’m mad trying to do it, or that I do it because of some stupid duty, or moral law, and that I’m not doing it because I prefer that way of life, but because I want to suffer? Being with Ros and Bob, it was so clear to me that I have moved so far down a One Point Zero path that I don’t like their life style and much prefer mine. We discussed this and they did agree that they would like to have a simple, ethical life, but the change just seems so huge and impossible….. I said I read into what they are saying as being that they can’t see a good enough reason for them personally to change… This all leads to one’s soul…. I find it hard to believe that anyone can be at one and peaceful with their soul as a human and a member of the broader Humankind, if they are a contributor to the destruction of our home. As ‘The Facts‘ show, most of us who live in the Western world are not just contributors, but the biggest contributors and in many case the leaders of the destruction…..
My simple, small mind, says to me: Once one knows and accepts the above, then starting a journey to Your One Point Zero becomes the path to real Freedom and Belonging with the Soul. A Moral /Ethically based Freedom and Belonging that surely is at, or close to, the highest level one can seek to achieve as a human?
My next Post will be on the America of Now:
How I am feeling America as it deals with the Police shootings, the Presidential elections, etc….. As I explore I’m getting a rich picture of America toady, and its pulse, and I’ll share that with you in the next day or so….
My ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure has entered a new (for me) blogging phase. Maybe you old hand, avid ‘Facebook-ers’ dealt with this a long time ago:
Just so I don’t disappoint you: This blog is not about sharing my everyday life and all its intimate personal experiences. Rather this One Point Zero Blog is part of my work as an activist. The blog is where I share my 3 month ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure experiences only as they relate to this work: Our, My and Your, One Point Zero Challenge. Imagine you blogging your work, and what you would and wouldn’t share….? I’d honestly love to share some of the many dimensions of my time here in San Diego, suffice to say, I’m having a wonderful family, San Diego, and Howard, time!
Wimbledon Today in San Diego
In that restrictive context, I sit here typing this blog to you surrounded by Wimbledon memorabilia, a 2002 photograph of my two nephews with Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Players’ lounge, two huge glass encased Wimbledon Tennis balls, autographed by the world’s top tennis players of the day, and today is Wimbledon Men’s Final day.
I have had hours of reminiscing with my sister of the times she played centre court and her views of Wimbledon, Professional Tennis, and the loneliness of the professional in her day versus the professional today with their big entourages.
Then getting closer to One Point Zero, I press her on our society’s obsession with competition whether she things being paid to win, with the such high stakes of today has ‘turned us’ into a better society? Her husband Bob, as one of the top sports psychologists for many years, joins in the discussion and my loneliness increases as I challenge them both as we explore the truths on the role of Competition and Professional sport in Society today.
When I left society in 2004 on my Journey to the Truths, I vowed to myself was that I was not going to compete again: Competition had made me too focused on the endpoint of winning, and I sensed in the process I had become too rational, almost Machiavellian ‘non-human’, and was missing the learning in the relationship, spiritual and emotional journey dimensions. This was a huge change for me, coming from very competitive orientated family, and then always immersed in the competition of business, and many different competitive sports. I still set goals, but they weren’t about winning, making money, climbing social ladders, and records etc.
As I transformed more I became to see a goal as merely a beacon that defines ‘My Journey’, and actually while this beacon is important in setting the journey, I should be open and prepared to revisit the beacon and maybe move it if the learning indicated that best. The winning that the beacon supposedly stood for was not the idol.
In the twelve years where I dropped my competitive pursuits, society appears to have significantly increased its competitive focus, and the winning at all costs mind set, across business, sport and even at a social status level. Competition has a place in society, but I sense it’s grown too big, and we need to put it ‘back in its place’.
I see the huge problems of Corruption, Drugs / cheating in Sport, unethical Capitalism, and the increasing gap between the rich and poor as all signs that Competition has lost its ‘proper’ place in society. It’s not just the competition it’s how us, The Crowd, the spectators have been sucked into a huge industry that is centred on making money from the ‘entertainment of the competition’. The goal is a greedy capitalist one: How to make the most money, fame and power from ‘The Competition’ and this in the process has disproportionately increased these rewards to the winners, increasing the spiral the point that this is now a major contributor to Our One Point Zero Challenge.
Just like with all other creatures in Nature, Competition should have a natural, and very healthy role to play in the ‘human creature’ society. I believe that readjusting this out of control position of current society is part of what is needed for a Future One Point Zero world.
It was very special riding my bicycle up the driveway into my Sister’s home. And this on 4th of July. It had been a long hot day, and being excluded from the highway arteries I ended up doing quite a few more miles than the ‘lucky’ motorist with GPS navigation would have done. I only got ‘lost’ once, and so there we go the NZ to San Diego leg of Trumped by Nature done as sustainably as I knew how….!
Many have a sense that I’d have been immersed in gridlock traffic most of the way, but I have to say, the roads were very bicycle friendly mostly with generous bicycle lanes, and the last 10km had a great dirt track that I had all to myself. My sister lives about 25 miles NE of downtown, and pretty nice natural area.
Early the day before my sister had asked me if I ate hamburgers, I know trying to find out how serious I was with my commitment to ‘No Meat for One Point Zero’? I had decided to give One Point Zero a rest day, go with the flow and just embrace the warmth and 4th of July hospitality of being with my sister and her family.
True to the 4th July spirit it was full on gourmet BBQ’d hamburgers, and catching up on life in San Diego and in all its stories. It suddenly dawned on me how the Whole American culture is threatened at a very simple level with One Point Zero: Hamburgers, man? Wow, why had that taken me so long to realise that even the smallish step of stopping meat consumption would have a huge impact on America’s fast food business, but even more importantly challenge a key element of American culture.
Well as I am rapidly finding out this US Machine has no intention of changing, and McDonalds don’t seem to feel that a One Point Zero scenario is a threat!
This is what I got from the internet re rankings of vegetarian fast food offering, and how McDonalds stacks up:
McDonald’s doesn’t have much for vegetarians. Their fries are not vegetarian, they don’t have veggie burgers—it’s not even slim pickings, it’s no pickings. They do mention on their website that items can be ordered without meat, so at least there’s that. (This article was from September 2015, maybe since then the company’s Strategy Department have changed things to accommodate a ‘One Point Zero’ business case scenario!
The subjects around the BBQ moved around from the ‘old peoples’ reminiscing to our attempts to find connections beyond the niceties to the passions and interests of the younger generation of Jen and Jason. I was fascinated at what got engagement and what didn’t, and as the subject moved to beef, burgers, and zero point one, I decided to enjoy my rest day’ forgo the One Point Zero stuff, and explore the fun side. Never having had kids, but having been in many parent- young adult social situations, it often hits me how the pace of change in society is creating this huge interest disconnect between generations. All you parents out there will know this much better than me, and I sense many of you have your effective strategies to engage.
Sensing the burger story having run its course, and the disinterest gap growing I decided to throw caution to the wind and explore a bridging interest: I asked if anyone knew about ‘In n’ Out’ and showed them the photo below, and said that the night before I’d stayed in an area of Oceanside that must have been seedy, because right next to my motel was ‘Main Attraction’ Gentlemen’s club, and next to it ‘In ‘n Out’. I told them I’d been and decided to explore, and the logo for In ‘n Out’ was so much more clear in explaining its offering! I saw Jen and Jason, looking at me as though I’m crazy, and Ros and Bob looking at me with “Surely Howard doesn’t go to those places’ look, and then Ros moving as the ‘protective parent wondering “Hey I wonder where this going? I said and when I walked in I saw this sign and then new I was in the best place of the two….:
A burger joint!
Oh well, everybody laughed and all for different reasons, and that was so wonderful to experience. Exploring further Jen and Jason told me that contrary to me thinking it was a one off / small burger chain it was huge, growing and maybe even the coolest of the plethora of burger franchises. Well as an old school simpleton, I suggested that was because of the provocative name and suitably matched logo… The ‘young adults’ were in not quite aligned on that, and in their debate they did confirm that many do see the ‘clever’ conations of the name and Logo and it is discussed by their crowd!! Being a real fan of ‘In n Out’, Jason asked me if I’d ordered their ‘Double-double’ burger? I now know its their special of the specials, and said “Yes, I did too, Jason and it was amazing!” One of the older adults was shaking their head, and “surely you didn’t Howard, I thought you were off beef, because of One Point Zero?” I said to her: Don’t worry sister of course I wandered next door and tried out the ‘competitors ‘In ’n Out’ offering at the Gentleman’s Club! Well that certainly had us all bonded as a family in some bizarre common interest way!
So there you go I did have a full day off……!
Yesterday was back full on living the life and dealing with the challenge of even thinking about being a One Point Zero-er in a society that is so slick and organised that one is so easily swept up in its ‘Two-Point-Zero’ plus momentum…..
I knew ‘Trumped by Nature’ would hit its next challenge in dealing with how my ‘struggle’ for a One-Point-Zero life will conflict with my sister’s and her family life, and we discussed this up front and are ready for open discussion and debate. This is all part of trying to live within society but also aligned with my soul, but then adding the additional family challenge, as my sister is my sister and not just society….! Not that there are huge issues, but where there are way of life conflicts I’m being forced to bring them up and have us talk about them. This has all been very valuable, and we all have learnt a lot and are growing in the process. I’ll share more as appropriate, because managing relationships as one moves to a “Without Nature, we are Nothing” way of life, I have found I hit some fundamental conflicts with Western norms, and this is when the going can get quite painful.
AAAh, life on the Cap Capricorn was so simple hey!
Here I am ‘immersed’ in the spirit of 4th of July, Independence Day.
I decided to reflect on these 230 years and the impact they have had on The World and my life:
“Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.” Wikipedia
America stood then for Freedom, and many Americans that I have ask today and in the recent past, what America stands for still say that same ‘Freedom’.
From my readings, the other belief encapsulated in the spirit of those days was that ‘Every Man is Equal’…..
I can see how these two elements together have created a country where you can’t blame anyone but yourself if you don’t have ‘The Good Life’.
Back then apparently the population was around 2.5 million, but I sense that excluded Native Americans who were scattered all over ‘their country’.
Well we all know the America of Today: The powerhouse country with today a population of some 325 million people. The list is endless of the firsts the country has brought into our world. What America has achieved can only be described as ‘Absolutely Amazing’ in terms of Human Endeavour, and harnessing the full intensity of Human Rational capability.
America had a Vision, and Strategy, a Plan, and went ahead and ‘made it happen’. In my past ‘small world’ of business, where I focused on significant corporate turnarounds and then later start-ups, I always used this ‘Vision, Strategy, and Plan, and then Execute’ approach. In my little worlds I quickly realised that one cannot do great things unless one has the Vision, Strategy and Plan for Great things. As difficult and challenging as getting those three right, the Execution is where the most challenging ‘Human Element’ lies. This requires so many of the attributes an Extreme adventurer requires, and as today I reflect on the path of America and what the ‘Human Element’ behind all that must have been and still is, I am in awe and humbled by my insignificance. I however do see the core Human Element for this Success in myself, and soon to meet my sister in San Diego, I know that these core elements were instilled by our parents.
I found the book ‘The Triple Package: What Really determines Success’ (Jed Rubenfeld and Amy Chua) very useful in helping me understand the spirit and Human traits of the original Visionaries of America, and those that followed in the early days and ‘Made it Happen’. It helped me understand how I pulled my way through the survival times of my life adventures, and what is keeping me fired up for this ‘Toughest of The Tough’, activist path.
That book concedes that its context of “Success” is defined as the “Conventional, Prestige, orientated Success. A success associated with Financial, Material, and Power through Achievement Success. This is the Success of The Western Society and the same Success that has brought the picture of ‘The Facts’.
What we need today is that same Vision, Strategy, Plan but for a New Success’, one that is not competitively exclusive, not based on consumerism, and materialism, nor exploitation of the many for the benefit of the Few. Most of all the Vision needs to put Nature First, Human’s second, and have the huge Challenge of One Point Zero as its highest level context.
Interestingly it would require exactly the same extraordinary Human Capability to deliver the Success that America in the past 230 years has shown is possible from The Human. The simple switch is to change the Vision and aim at a New Success, a Success all humanity can be proud of and one that allows us ALL to belong to our Home, The Planet. I sense 230 years down the road, those around would look with even MORE awe at what humans have done to change the ‘wrong’ course of Humanity back in 2016!
We need help those new leaders to stand up, and to support them at all cost, because unlike back in 1776, there was a blank sheet of paper. We know have a rich set of books, that need to be used to find the truths, so that the new Vision can avoid the same ‘Human Greed’ failing, and see the Ultimate Value of Restraint within a much larger than Human, Nature Context.
There we go….. In 20 minutes I’ll be on the bicycle for the last section of dealing with the enormous Success of Henry Ford’s Vision, Strategy, Plan, and Execution!
And yeah, I’m using a product of Baron Von Drais’s 1817Vision!
If you think I’m finding this all easy to write, I’m not!! Maybe my strange humour is the way I’m dealing with my own challenge. This all challenges My Very Core, and without exaggerating I almost feel sick inside me with the turmoil!
All good though, this is what Human Intensity is about: We need to feel all our human ‘sides’ the dark side of sickness too…. Strangely, sickness means I’m alive!
I REALLY do feel I’m intensely alive, and the spirit still burning max flame, GUYS!
Helmut on and Off I go… Or should I take up that last offer from My Sister to pick me up?????
Quote of the moment:
“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
― Gaylord Nelson founder of Earth Day
Like I’m finding out with my Cap Capricorn experience, maybe what one thinks is a path requiring sacrifice, is not only a path that’s good for the soul, but also one with more ‘pleasure’!
I can’t believe what I have experienced in the past 24 hours.
Twenty four hours ago I was on Cap Capricorn entering Long Beach harbour, and in my ‘home’. I was on the bridge witnessing the most incredible port entry and docking of them all. This was professionalism of the highest level, and Andy Mayer, the Pilot and the leader of the team that did it was so relaxed we were having deep conversations as he was directing the two hour operation!
This involved two sharp 90 degree turns, a 180 degree on the spot rotation of Cap Capricorn with less than 50 metres space all around. Then finally a long reverse up the channel to our berth. Long Beach is quite some maze of a harbour.
Then it was the goodbyes, to all my crew friends, and I have to say the one on one with the captain and the words we exchanged brought welling tears to my eyes. From the deckhands, to the cook, to the officers and The Captain, many gave me warm hugs, and with all I could feel they had really enjoyed having me and I had really enjoyed being with them, in their space. Why would I ever want to fly again….?
With excitement and a wee bit of trepidation I loaded the panniers on the bike and with verbal instruction from more than four people who all were fascinated by my adventure and wanted to help. I set off on the next leg of Trumped by Nature. Was I going to get trumped by Long Beach harbour, the maze of bridges highways all immersed in two oil refineries, and a vast industrial area. Earlier from the ship’s bridge I’d confirmed with Andy the distant sprawl of LA to the north, even Hollywood hill almost direct ahead.
My ‘people Google map’ had brought me lots of stimulating interactions, and three people who loved the One Point Zero story, my sustainable travel goals, and their desire to follow the adventure. As I took them out of their rational worlds, I’d connected to their souls, and them to mine, and I thought back to literally the hundreds of people where I had spiritual connections that started from a seemingly simple functional need: “Excuse me?: Do you know how I get to such and such a place?” We are losing our human and spiritual connection through technology….and so fast I’m not sure Bill Gates’ One Point Zero project make the ‘latest possible start’ deadline!
Thanks Andy, Louis, Jim, for your help, hope you enjoy the journey with me……!
Long Beach and more…
I was soon in Long Beach, in another world of touristic attractions, beaches, and ocean promenades….. A quick stop to capture the old and the new of passenger travel brought me into an emotive hour long conversation with three recreational fisherman.
It also started with a functional question: “Hi guys! What’s the best road to San Diego?” I thought they had seen me park my bike, but clearly they hadn’t: “Just head out east to the I-5 and it’s then just straight 110 miles down to San Diego, brother”. Knowing that wasn’t my route I said: “I’m on a bicycle man and looking for the Oceanside road.” Well that just blew these guys minds, and started a whole story that went to One Point Zero, connecting to the elite and bringing them with us on to the Presidential elections.
Not enough space here but when I said to them that they need to demand some ‘no vote mechanism’ that forces a no election result and a need to go back and find some candidates we want, their eyes lit up shouted in tune: “I hadn’t thought of that? Yeah, man that’s what we need: To be able to say we don’t like any of the candidates and ‘they’ must bring some better ones. I like that, man”. We all know the state of election play in the US at the moment, but feeling their seriousness connection with their country and yet despair in what they saw ahead was moving for me. Sadly each time I think about where this election is at, I feel huge pain at knowing One Point Zero isn’t part of either candidate’s vision or priorities. In Bernie there was some glimpse of hope, but with Trump its full speed ahead on a turbo charged vision for American only anthropocentric success, and for Hilliary it’s just more of the same of the Success that The Facts show isn’t success.
I was finally on Ocean Boulevard, a pleasantly easy ride along the beach, eventually connecting with PCH-1 (Pacific Coast Highway) that took me to Laguna Beach where I’m writing this from.
My Soul feels the Traffic Against ‘Us’
For many people the ride I was on would be a truly amazing ride, but I have to say I didn’t sleep well last night, and as I lay awake listening to my soul. I realised that yesterday was a day when I felt a loneliness I haven’t felt too often before. I was there often riding alongside many cyclists, or passing people walking to the beaches, or sharing coffee snacks with fellow café users, but always I sensed I was the so different one. I tried to strike up conversation but it was as though I was the man from mars, people.
It hit me that I was I was in the middle of an anthropocentric world, it was 4th of July long weekend, and self-indulgent pleasure was the priority. San Francisco is a city, and I don’t expect more, the cities are 100% man’s domain, but here I was immersed in Californian ‘wilderness’,
People everywhere were out ‘in Nature’, but I didn’t get a sense of people belong with Nature they just appeared to be using Nature for their pleasure. Thanks to the state and parks control, it is all a very orderly and no abusive use of Nature, but it wasn’t the feeling I had when I was in the equivalent of the New Zealand, I’d just left. It hit me how huge this change from anthropocentric orientation is going to be….
I’m sad and looking at today to try find strength in my spirit, that same strong spirit I described in my response to Bob’s comments.
It did occur to me that I was maybe over reacting and not dealing with my recent disconnect with heavenly ship life and all the belonging that went with that? I do sense that this is the start of the real extreme Howard adventure: How to deal with going upstream against a huge current that doesn’t even know the old natural river flowed the opposite way, to this human engineered reverse flow canalisation!
OK, there we go: I said you’d get it straight from my heart…. The ups, downs and all of it…!
The view from the porthole at 05h30 this morning is again a new one! Gone is the deep purple of the Pacific Ocean wilderness vista, replaced by a murky Pacific and fog enclosed capsule. Closer to The Porthole my view has expanded we are 500 containers less, and whole bunch of California’s will be thankful their prized NZ lamb and beef has arrived!
In between these changing vistas ‘was’ Oakland and San Francisco!
On arrival we were delayed by port traffic, so only ‘tied’ up at around 10pm on Wednesday, after an amazing experience of coming into the huge expanse of water that forms the perfect natural refuge: San Francisco Bay then ‘sailing’ past, through and under all the human created icons of development, having only the day before written about needing to use technology to spiritualise our world. Wow, this all caught me so much by surprise, as there I was dealing with all what I’d written about so fresh in the spirit of me … and I was now part of ‘it’ all in reality.
The Spiritual / Anthropocentric / Rational Man, conflicts when Society meets Nature, and the Great Chasm lies right before one’s eyes. I’d just left the big blue Wilderness where Nature is seemingly clearly unchallenged, and now was entering Man’s Den: One of the many places on the planet where man has won the local battle. A once intense harbour of Nature, now used brilliantly as a tool for progress, and yet also in the process creating a source of happiness and awe in Man’s eyes!
What am I? Can’t I just share really Who I Am, and My Struggle to Belong?
But in what capacity was I arriving here? Observer, Traitor, Spy for Nature, Tourist, Polemic journalist, or just Howard? To just feel this conflict and it’s tearing of my soul and keep it within? ‘The Crowd’ wants non-confusing ‘truths’ and ones that better medicate their also conflicted spirit? Where are the readers of my blog? Do they want entertainment, the truths, or medication? I sense from the many emails that I found in San Francisco, from you readers, the vote is for my honesty and its uniqueness. So …
I thought about providing ‘modern anthropocentric entertainment’ for ‘you guys’? Tom, my fellow ex-passenger, even offered me a 40 second long GoPro video of the 3 hours ship entry from ‘The big Bridge’ to wharf docking: Interval exposure that I sense shows the ship moving at 100 knots and coming to a ‘will it or won’t it?’, nail biting 1 second stop perfectly alongside the wharf. Miraculously not demolishing it!! All for free, too! Then: A split second, mindful reflection, connecting you to a business opportunity for future ‘roboticising’ such a clearly ‘simple procedure’!
Ha-ha, but where would be the soul in all of that, ‘My Boy’…?
I hear Tom saying: “Don’t worry about soul and that serious stuff, man, you’ll get lots of ‘readers’ with the video, maybe it will even go viral? It’s just about quick entertainment Howard: These people don’t have time, and need instant novelty, mate. And real instant: Even with 40 second clip there maybe someone posting the same scene but cut to only 30 seconds, and so their ship’s 1 second stop will even be more cool, exiting and beat yours! Its tough out there, Mate.”
“Wow, am I in the entertainment business?” I pondered. “No, but Ok, then maybe an activist has to become an entertainer and then use Entertainment, through Technology to ‘Spiritualise The World’?: ‘Without Nature we are Nothing!’ But that then makes it: ‘Without Technology I am Nothing’????
“Tom, mate, isn’t there something missing in all of this?” I ask with serious despair!
Ha-ha, remembering the risk my new One point Zero would involve: I hope this blog is better than that GoPro, and ‘they’ haven’t all left yet?
I decided that Tom’s ‘GoPro route’ was so un-spiritual and so rational for me, that if I went for it I’d have to follow the guys with the T-shirts below: Become a ‘Big Bridge conqueror’ but not for fame and glory, rather to get me to the ‘dive of shame’, jump off point and follow apparently many who have jumped off before me! So, that video is not an option, sorry guys, even I have to lose ya.
We have almost another two months on land ‘together’ before I’m back on the ship. I’ve decided that while I’m immersed in Society on land with you, I’m going to just be authentic Howard, and to share how I really feel as a One Point Zero-er: No t-shirt! Actually ‘no shirt or more! So there we go you’ll get this uniquely confusing naked blog!
Ha-ha, all fun but only if you have read my last post and particularly the part here!
Face to Face with ‘The Big Bridge’
Firstly, as many of you would know there are ‘lots’ of long impressive bridges in this Bay Area: In both The Bridges and their ‘sub spans’. We went under just two spans, the big ones, but I’ll just focus on the most famous one: ‘The Bridge’.
This was about my fifth meeting with ‘The Bridge’. The first was in 1979, and ‘we’ had just bust through the One Point Zero point. Quite scary hey! As a free twenty one year old ‘boy’ I was just focused on adventure and survival. I’d hiked the Grand Canyon, seen a lot of vast America and I had no clue that this had happened and was even an issue, or would become an issue!! From my reading I now do know lots who did know back then there was a serious problem. These were the real lonely activists, and I’m studying them to find out why we haven’t taken notice? I guess if someone had explained the One Point Zero Earth’s concept and asked me what I thought, I’d have said we were at Zero Point Two or so, and I would responded: “What’s the issue, Mate? I’m in Saaan Fraaaancisco, man let’s just forget about any Point Zero’s and have self-indulgent, ‘anthropocentric’ fun!”
This time my meeting with ‘The Bridge’ is a different fun: A real deep, mindful Serious Fun. Back then I seemed to know very clearly my relationship with ‘The Bridge’, little did I know as I got older it would change and become very confusing, hey?!
In 1937 when it was opened, it was the longest span bridge in the world: San Francisco Chronicle reporter Wills O’Brien wrote, “A necklace of surpassing beauty was placed about the lovely throat of San Francisco yesterday.”
In February 16, 1994: The Golden Gate Bridge was named one of the Seven Civil Engineering Wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers, along with the Hoover Dam, Interstate Highway System, Kennedy Space Center, Panama Canal, Trans-Alaska Pipeline and World Trade Center. (Hmmm, one can see what a trophy ‘Mr Laden’ and his team went away with! I wonder what the 2016 ‘Top Seven’ would be?)
January 20, 2010: Travel + Leisure Magazine names the Golden Gate Bridge as one of the World’s Ten Most Amazing Views, along with the Grand Canyon; Manhattan skyline in New York City; The Matterhorn, Switzerland; Cliffs of Moher, Ireland; Paris skyline; Great Wall of China; Machu Picchu, Peru; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; The Tiger’s Nest (or Paro Taktsang Monastery), Bhutan.
This one is confusing: Amazing? How can a human ‘feat’ ever sit alongside nature ‘feat’ as far as “Amazing” goes? This is a struggling anthropocentric ranking mind, at worst it is a commercially inspired singularly anthropocentric mind!!
‘What’ is Alcatraz? Nature or Human or Both?
In this trailing sunrise shot of Alcatraz Island, I sense for most people the evidence of human occupation (and the place of desertion!!) seen in the picture is what makes the island special and maybe ‘amazing’. Maybe for some this picture would have been more ‘amazing’ without that evidence of human interference? Have we lost our sense of difference in ‘submissive awe’ vs. our own ‘self-fulfilling dominant awe’ between human created awe and ‘Nature and Planet’ awe? To me they are incomparable, with Nature’s mystery, scale and complexity at the highest level Spiritual context: Most of Western Society man’s amazing developments merely at a narrow, Rational Human, context. Albeit a very impressive one in the human context of focusing human capability! The challenge is not let the uncontrolled human ego drive a sense of anthropocentric pride, dominance and superiority that in it’s the myopic rational focus blinds us to our higher level submissive spiritual context. For this we need a ‘balancing audit’ that can only be provided by those disconnected from the addictive Power of their Egos and who have Power through their Submission, not through their Domination and Exploitation of all other fellow creatures.
Landing Ashore: Exploring Oakland and San Francisco
Awaking in Oakland to a new tethered dawn, I was confused as whether becoming a tourist would be a worthwhile and soulful experience of not? I decided to just head out and follow my soul’s directives. I gave up on Lonely Planet for this ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure, the ‘How to start exploring San Francisco from The Oakland Container Terminal?’ doesn’t pass the commercially viable, content test!
Not desiring of Google phone exploring directives, I befriended the Pilot who had brought Cap Capricorn in ‘for us’ and he told me about BART the underground from Oakland to downtown San Francisco. The bike would be perfect, although from his animated warnings about container truck traffic I could see he didn’t think so! That just increased my desire to be living as ‘intensely and sustainably’ as I can!
So with now a very excited skip in my step, that had to be restrained as I cautiously negotiated the three storie rope ladder from the upper deck to the wharf. No freedom yet, the terminal security have to come pick me up to take me the exit gate! The quest for freedom and sustainable travel is fraught with system constraints!
Asking my way around I bump into Jim who just happened to be arriving at work to offload Cap Capricorn containers for the day! He tells me the way to the BART station but in genuine concern says: “Please watch it those truckies as they don’t care a f…k for you mate, and the road to Oakland is just full of them all.” Well what a ratchet up from container terminal in New Zealand: This was four lanes either side from the exit, and just container trucks after container truck, and huge ones! I thought of Long Beach ahead and reminded myself: “This is America man and you’d better step up to its challenge. These roads are not for bicycles, and so you’d better ride with that in mind!”
It was about 4 miles of challenge, and it certainly put all senses on full alert. There I was on the now two lane, 7th street. Big trucks almost squeezing me out as the road narrowed, the BART rapid transit rail system running overhead, and trains using it every 3 or four minutes making a huge noise above me. I thought of my friend Imi’s comments about the human noise impacting the albatross; well this was the multi-source human noise of progress impacting severely on an ‘albatross human’! Somehow this was intensity, four of the five capabilities were being highly stimulated in a strange sense of adventure, but the fifth source of intensity connecting to spirituality was screaming out loud: Let’s go back go back to ‘That Ocean’ and The Grand Adventure!
Through further human rational ingenuity I was soon in downtown San Francisco. I was impressed how many BART commuters were travelling with their bicycles. I was soon presented with buses that made me question my One Point Zero strategy. A Zero Emission Bus, that’s even better on the environment than my bicycle? No risk, cheap, and sit back and relax mode, it must run on fresh air? Just great that there are so many eco-friendly buses around, but let’s be truthful guys: Where does the electric power to drive the bus come from? I sound cynical and critical, but our challenge is so huge we cannot afford to let people think that once they sit in an electric bus ‘Our One Point Zero Challenge disappears. We seem to be always trying to make things seem better than the truths, to ease the pain or increase popularity or whatever. One of the fine gentlemen I met below refused to do this his whole life…
I have always thought it’s a great city, as far as cities go, but within minutes I felt a desperate need for over stimulation blinkers. I was shattered as I reflected on the fact that in 1850 the population of San Francisco was just 400 people! Less than 170 years ago….Two generations ago, the bridge was built one generation ago, and we passed One Point Zero less than half a generation ago, and that all made me think back to my favourite shocking energy usage chart and ask: When the big, big ramp up of One Point Six all start? I needed some quite time, and I found another man seeking the same solitude, his name was Mr Gandhi!
Then Mr Mandela appeared, and I was surprised in how many places? Oakland loves him!
Then President Bush…
This was quite profound meeting three people who have significantly impacted our world, but how did One Point Zero fit in..?
Was I becoming too narrowly focused on One Point Zero? Well although these three gentlemen had very different focuses they were all narrow? Well maybe that’s not good, so I decided to ride up the historic tram route next to the trams crowded with tourists, get to the top and then see if the most crooked road in the world could bring me the straight answer to my question?
Amazingly with each turn in that crocked road, I saw more and more how Mr Gandhi, Mr Mandela and Mr Bush fitted into One Point Zero, but that’s for another day’s Big Day Blog!
It had been an intensive trip from Cap Capricorn, and I was hungry. It was a lovely downhill ride from intersection to intersection with the perfect cop, immaculately presented in ‘police shades’ on his perfect Harley ‘Police series’ motorcycle. A SFPD (You know what that stands for I’m sure? The San Francisco equivalent of NYPD: That’s if they could ever contemplate any other PD, having ‘touchability’??) Stuck for a few minutes at one intersection we made eye contact, and I said to him: “Great bike, great package, you look so professional, mate. It must be great riding that machine?” Man I saw the cop unable to hold back his professional pose, and with a huge grin he simply said: “Thank You”. I was on my bicycle and we had bonded like I sense one couldn’t do in a car. These are simple special moments, because he was all ‘it is supposed to be’, and I sensed he knew he was ‘it’, and I found that so simply lovely!
On to Wharf ‘whatever’ where you are ‘supposed to go’ for late lunch…?
A simple clam chowder in a hollowed out sour dough roll, after deciding I’d definitely not eat at this ‘King Anthropocentric’s’ restaurant! To me this exudes a total human’s first, Planet’s for us, rape and pillage, mind set, but I’m sure they never mean it like that. However I sense if they linked up with this retailer in Tauranga, NZ’s apparent ‘cunningness’, Nature and the planet would have to worry!!
Ok this has been a long one, but ‘Serious Fun’ too I hope? We are scheduled to arrive in Long Beach, LA tomorrow at 6am, and whoopee another whole new unknown awaits: I say goodbye to my truly wonderful Cap Capricorn home, get on my bike home, and head off without a map or working mobile phone to my sister in San Diego, some 100 miles (I think?) away. Not sure how long, where I’ll sleep, and maybe most importantly for you, when my next blog will be? I’m going to try my very hardest to get one out from the bicycle saddle somewhere along the way.
Thanks again for all your emails, they make it just that last bit more worthwhile! I’ll be responding to those I haven’t yet soon, and send your thoughts and comments if you don’t want to put them publicly on the blog: email@example.com
Finally Love to ya all from San Francisco… A place to Sail!
The following is a response to Bob Nideffer’s comment below on the blog…
“…I found myself wondering if the focus on 1.0 and sustainability was in part a sham. Was or is it an excuse for you to try and get the world to go back to a more primitive state not so much because we need too and because you believe we won’t be able to solve the problems that would allow continued growth, but because your spirit is aligned with a more primitive world, and that spirit is being threatened. Not an accusation just a question.”
Knowing Bob well, and always enjoying his enlightened and authentic contributions, I have called my response…
Shams and Primitive, Threatened Spirits!
The simple answer to Bob’s ‘Threatened Spirit’ part is: When I was part of Western Society, its Good Life recipe for Success, and the same Society that has delivered ‘The Facts’, my spirit WAS severely threatened!
Over the past decade and more of going through my ‘Anthropocentric reorientation’ I have been liberated and my spirit has grown from strength to strength to the point I feel I can now take on this most extreme One Point Zero Challenge. One that needs the strongest of strong spirits, not a spirit cowering under severe threat! The ability to keep my spirit strong under extremely alone and challenging times is a key asset I see my past twelve year ‘training mission’ has been about.
To be honest like all my extreme adventures, in managing the huge risk I have my ‘back pocket’ plan. This one is a by-product of my transformation and one I know like the back of my hand:
If my spirit does start to seriously falter under ‘the onslaught’ I’ll head back to the life I know, and where I know my spirit can flourish again. In that ‘place’ I know how to live simply yet very richly outside this Society. The same one that is on a serious collision course with Nature, that surely nobody can dispute?
I don’t need ‘that same Society’ to define me, or ‘it’ to give me power, my power comes from my belonging to the antipathy of that Society. My spirit will be continuously nourished as long as I don’t compromise my relationship with Nature. I have to see that ‘it’ is just there for the ‘Arctic’ role ‘it’ plays in providing my extreme adventure. Otherwise the risk of being consumed is too high, and the mission doomed.
Like this first Trumped by Nature step is proving to be, I’m hopeful that I can have a hybrid Nature / Society life that enables my soul to flourish even with the potentially spirit sapping path ahead: Dealing with Society and its conflict with Me and Nature is not going to be easy, by any stretch of the imagination. Once I see my soul not coping, and have tried my absolute best, I’ll move to my ‘back pocket plan’ to avoid the threatened spirit position you describe. But that will be failure, and a decision that I will not take lightly.
Essentially I’m relying on a positive ‘Adventure Vision’ energy rather than a threatened ‘Survival instinct’ sourced energy. I have experienced both sources of energy many times in my life, and both types will be around to be ‘exploited’. The moment that motive and source of energy seems to have reversed permanently, I’ll be ever alert on being prepared to bail the adventure.
Although this pursuit is so very different to my past adventures, in some ways it is ‘just the same’ as there will be times when I come under enormous threat an have to temporarily move to deep survival mode and use that source of energy. The trick is going to be to rise to the challenges through strong spirit, the right ‘spirit food’, and being open to modifying strategy but without compromising the Vision and its source of the primary energy.
I do realise that in having a ‘not too shabby’ Plan B I have potentially a ‘too easy to bail’ option, but in recognising that I’ll be trying to use that to drive more risk taking on the challenging road ahead. Having achieved almost all of my ‘other life goals’, One Point Zero work is now what I HAVE to Do! Not for society, nor because my spirit is under threat, but because I have trained for it and it feels truly life enhancing and connecting to my finely tuned spirit.
I have come in from living ‘in the wilderness’, a place in my soul, where I now truly belong. I have no off spring whose spirit I must help protect from Society’s potentially withering onslaught. No other vested interests in the future that require me to be part of The Crowds lies. I have no need for the systems wealth building machinery. I have ‘Just Enough’ and know how to live with ‘Just Enough’. Essentially I have no need to belong at the expense of my authenticity and integrity for some desperately needed ‘favour’. Also being the unofficial ‘World record holder for Romantic dinner’s for One’, I’m as best prepared as I can be for the rejections, attacks and loneliness ahead! Finally my spirit is in peak condition for the daunting yet exciting adventure ahead! It’s time to get on with it!!!
There we go, not sure if that still passes the Sham test, but at least my spirit and mind are publicly exposed!!
Thanks Bob, for this opportunity to share something that I think is very important: I have taken the time to set this out because I’m hoping it helps ‘you’ look for ‘your’ adventure vision, find ‘your’ sources of energy, and strategy for the ‘spirit management’. I hope you also see how in my approach I’m avoiding the abyss path Bob points to: “…otherwise the challenge seems hopeless and overwhelming.” Lethargy, fear of the spirit being broken, and all the reasons for the spirit not being up to it are what we have to avoid.
Western Society’s Spirit
Maybe in questioning MY threatened spirit, the ‘Spirit of Society’ was inferred….?
Continue reading here and find out about The Bill Gates One Point Zero Challenge, The Great Chasm, and how Religion, Nature and Western Society fit together…