The Tropic of Capricorn now a distant 3rd time memory, we are 180 nm directly west of San Diego, and just 325 nm (400km) to go to that big bridge and Oakland / San Francisco. We are scheduled to ‘hit’ the Golden Gate Bridge around 13h00 tomorrow!! Exciting man, and the guys tell me that the route in is just amazing for its views of Alcatraz, and San Francisco. We are going in to Oakland.
The wind is blowing 30+ knots, and with a 4 m swell and white caps the sea shows this strongest wind to date. We have cut speed down to 11 or so knots, as this is a requirement from 200 nm off the US West coast in ‘mindfulness’ of the Whales! Yippee the Anthropocentrics are weakening!
Also in that vein (or maybe not?): ‘We’ switched fuel from high Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil to low (0.1%) Sulphur, Marine Diesel Oil. This was all done for environmental / emissions reasons. ‘Good boys’, but then I ask: “Why is it OK to pump out emissions in the Big Ocean, but when we get near land we ‘stop’”?
The Pacific Ocean floor is still pretty flat and some 4000 m under us but that will all change soon. The eastern face of the Monterey Canyon will soon be under us and there the ocean floor will very steeply rise up 1000 metres and then more gradually get shallower till San Francisco Bay entrance. Interesting I counted 10 ship wreck sites all around that Bay entrance area. It was obviously a treacherous place in the days before the precise navigation and good weather forecasts of today!
As for life on board I do pick up a tick up in crew morale, and I even commented to Singh the 3rd Officer about the obvious spring in his step! The captain remains ever courteous and stable, telling me how a Captain is never happy until the ship is tied up! Well do I know that hey! Celebrate too soon and Nature will teach you a lesson in complacency!
‘Us’ three passengers are so very different: Hardly seen Eric for days now, he said the dining room and people depress him, so not sure what that all means? Tom is as excited as hell to get on his motorcycle and start his big US Trip, and Howard has been living strange hours, writing and really enjoying the freedom of the prison, almost forgetting we will be in harbour soon! Eric and Tom get off in Oakland and I’ll be on my own to Long Beach. Looking ahead I found out that the ship I’ll be on 23rd August back to New Zealand has both a sauna and indoor pool! Don’t tell that Cruise Ship passenger who wrote that blog yesterday! It’s a slightly older ship, but otherwise similar size to Cap Capricorn, so maybe contrary to what’s happening in Society and the Cruise Ship world, modernisation in the containership world means less pleasure and happiness novelty!
I had been building up for the moment and yesterday I did a 10 kilometre run on the ship! Fifty minutes that started at first light and went through a wonderful sunrise. The dumbbell shaped course went from stern to bow, along the narrow gangway next to all the noisy refrigerate containers, and with two small ‘spiritual circles’ at the fore and after decks. Sixteen laps in all!
Well like everything in life: It’s all about attitude, hey! I thoroughly enjoyed the time, and ALL it had to offer. Best of all my body in its many thankful reactions told me: “Boss, that was good, I feel so much better and can support you more on what you are trying to do! And I hope we do more long runs like those we used to do a few weeks ago!” I’m really pleased with that full intensity breakthrough as now as I end this Pacific Crossing, I definitely feel that Container Ship travel is a viable and One Point Zero friendly travel option for me for the future.
The ship is rocking and rolling a bit more than anytime on this trip, and although nothing significant it did prompt me to ask The Captain if he every feels apprehensive about the integrity of a ship? I could see straight away he does, and he said: Yeah when there are 7 or 8 metre waves around and the ship is not going through the waves but up and over each one he does feel uneasy, not scared or anything like that just a ratchet up in concern and anticipation.
As I looked out over the windswept ocean standing outside on the Bridge level, wind almost full in my face, I imagined being out there alone or maybe with ‘one other’ I felt the intensity of the vulnerability of a small yacht, and mixed pangs went through me, eventually connecting me to the hard to describe need to be in that Grand Adventure. So the conflicts between doing armoured vehicle office work, or high intensity sailing work continue as turmoil within.
I imagine next ‘Now’ post will be just as we leave San Francisco on Thursday 14h00 USA Pacific Time.
Dear committed, uncommitted, just visiting, curious, and not sure what to do ‘One Point Zero-ers’
I think I’m about to come 1st stage committed. Here is MY story…
Saturday morning, 18 June 2016, Papeete Cruise Ship Terminal.
So there I was into my seventh day of my luxury cruise ship holiday. Apparently just around sunrise the ship had docked here in Papeete while I was blissfully asleep, in my 1st class air-conditioned, sound proofed, en-suite cabin. We had a big night at the casino onboard. I lost a bit but that had nothing to do with my sleep in. I just thought there was no rush for breakfast as I’d have a late one in Papeete.
After six glorious and pampered days from New Zealand this was seemingly like another dream indulgent cruise ship holiday and lots more indulgence still ahead.
For now, I was back on terra firma in Papeete, alongside our ship, waiting with the passenger group for the luxury bus that would soon take us to see the delights of Tahiti: “The Pearl shops, the perfume shops, and oh, I also believe the Papeete market, but I may not go there as its probably just for the locals so nothing there for me.” Complimentary French champagne and French orange juice in hand, as we waited for the bus we shared our stories of the blissful decadence of the last five days of ship life.
A guy on a bicycle approached on the road, and strangely he looked like a poor tourist, almost a hippie with his long hair, and then at his age: Why was he riding a bicycle?! He did seem to be riding with purpose, and yet he looked like he’d come from the soul-less container terminal. There was just one ship there: A huge ugly orange one, stacked full of containers. Very industrial, nothing like our beauty which was purpose built for us elite. I wonder where he had been, where he was going, and what was his purpose?
He seemed shocked when he saw us, and pulled up hard on the brakes. Taking out his camera, and then taking a large number of shots of ‘our ship’, my mystery was seemingly solved: He was a poor tourist and clearly he hadn’t seen a ship like ours before? I felt sorry for him that all he would experience of our elite life was fabricated dreams connected to his photos. “He should have seen the inside to make those dreams more real?”, I thought.
But then he parked his bike and without invitation but with continuing purpose he confidently came up and greeted us all with a surprise “Bonjour”, and asking where we had come from? It turned out we had both set off from New Zealand but to my utter amazement he had come on that ugly orange ship!
He must be crew and it was time someone chased him away from us, he didn’t fit with our elite crowd! Yet he seemed to have a presence and power that gave the impression he believed he was above us elite! That unnerved me, and so before things got any worse, I decided to put him in his place: “So you work as crew on the ship then? That must be quite a tough life, and I presume you were hurrying to town as you don’t get much time off your job on the ship? What time do you have to be back at work then?”
In his continuing elitist but now a new unhurried manner, he replied with a confusing clarification: ‘Yes Maam I do work on the ship, but this here is also my work, and I’m heading into Papeete for work too. I work all the time, my life is work, and I love it!” He paused before adding: “I’m trying to help the elite find the real elite?”
It irritated me that this hippie on the bicycle now had my attention, but not just intention absolute intrigue, and I had to reclaim my higher ground: “You, a man on a bicycle, working on a ship, trying to help the elite like me, find the ‘real elite’? Now that sounds pretty presumptuous? How does that work, Sir?” I paid cynical respect, and then hoping to finally dump him I added: “Maybe you should ask us first what its like being elite, and whether we are unhappy being our elite?”
Rather than chase him away, his confidence and elitism seemed to grow with ‘my dump’ and he unapologetically bounced back: “Sorry Maam, I really do know enough about “Your Crowd”, I left them when I was still a junior, and I’m in the Final Frontier of finding the new elite!”
He paused, changing his tone to one of kindred spirit, “I’m also a paying ship passenger, and we both came by ship from New Zealand to Papeete. However while my ticket just cost Me, your ticket cost, You, Me and the Rest of Society!” With a half step move away he then said: “What I’m not sure of is whether you knew that or not?” he must have seen my lack of conviction on an answer, and continued: “And if you did why you never asked me or society whether we were prepared to pay for part of your seemingly hedonistic holiday?” He took a breath and lowered his tone ended in a clarifying tone: “That’s what my work is about, Maam!”
Well I was shocked at this unfounded accusation, but the calmness in which he stated it he allowed me to ask him for clarification: “Please help me understand what you mean?”
“Well Maam the ship that brought you here is purpose built for passengers only, and luxury passenger travel at that. It is what I call a ‘vessels for the old elite‘. If there were none of your crowd, the ship wouldn’t have left New Zealand and the world would have been that bit cleaner place. Not just cleaner but also there would have been a reduced load on Nature’s already 60% overloaded vital regenerative system. It would have been better if you had flown because your cost to me and the Rest of Society would have been some 40% less.” He saw my obvious surprise.
“Do you know that other than a single passenger in a private jet, cruise ships are the most costly way one can travel? When we add up all the elite travelling like that, the cost to me and society in an overloaded Planet is unacceptable. I know because I used to be a bit like you until I knew how much I was costing my fellow humans, and the generations to come.”
I did have inkling that cruise ships were not the most eco-friendly, but I had the money, the time, I bought a valid ticket, and hey one only lives once! But what this elitist hippie was accusing me of was something new to me, and I was lost for words.
Breaking the silence he said, “Apologies Maam, I can see from your reaction this is a shock to you, and you are probably one of the uninformed and genuinely innocent elite, but please go look on this website, and read ‘The Facts’.” He handed me a card with www.one-point-zero.com and “The Facts” written on it.
As he was writing I regained my elitist composure and without appearing to attack him, but at least bring him off his pedestal, I asked: “So why did your passenger ticket only cost You, and not me or Society like you say mine did, when that ship looks much larger and a worse polluter than ours?”
In an impressed, yet caring teaching tone he replied, “Good observation Maam. Yes ‘my ship’ did no doubt contribute a lot more ‘bad stuff to the environment than yours, but my ship is not for passengers, it has another purpose: To take freight from one port to the next. There are only three of us passengers and the ship goes with or without any passengers, uses virtually exactly the same amount of fuel if we passengers are on board or not? In terms of our footprint it’s like we travelled but we didn’t! Does that make sense?” He finished off factually, but clearly intending to end his mission.
It was as if a whole new room had been found in my brain, and I just said to him: “I now understand your work, and how all-consuming it is. Thank you, and good luck!”
Before leaving on his bicycle he said “Lovely to meet you, and when I said maybe it would have been better to fly, I wasn’t promoting flying as a solution! Bon voyage!”
I never thought I’d see him again, and I thought my trip into Papeete would take me straight back into the now of the holiday. However somehow this interaction had deeply affected me and instead of going to the perfume shop, I found an internet café, went on to one-point-zero.com and read ‘The Facts’. I was challenged and went through a whole cocktail of confusing emotions, from hating him, to realising it wasn’t ‘him’, and this was somehow food for my soul. As the day progressed my thoughts drifted back to The Facts, and by the end of the day I’d come out realising that from that day forth my soul knows I have no excuse that: ‘I didn’t know.”
All I have now is a choice of whether to be part of The Crowd, or to do something about my contributory role in the developing picture of ‘The Facts’. After lots of to and fro-ing, I concluded saying ‘I didn’t know’ was not an option my soul could live with, and that profound realisation brought a strange confusion as to whether I had been liberated or imprisoned?
A few days later a feeling of strange liberation started flowing, and without knowing what this means for the future, I know my future won’t be what I thought it may be three days ago. I felt compelled to post this story on the site.
Signing off: Just another human! Now trying to be a REAL human and belonging to Nature and our Planet???
OK, as you must have worked out: This wasn’t a factual interaction, but a ‘faction’ post by Howard designed to capture the realities of the challenges ‘we’ face. The issues around container, cruise ship, and air travel, increasing conflict with ‘others’ and the mind-set challenge we face! Over the years I have had interactions that would fully support the attitude and representations presented above. (Faction being a mixture of fiction and facts!)
And finally I’m also in another personal struggle over what I’d like to do and what One Point Zero will allow me to do:
One of my dreams is to go down to Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia. Actually that was one of the reasons why I bought Allone! But increasingly for a number of reasons I’m starting to accept the disappointing realities that this may not happen. While in Tauranga, NZ I visited ‘Cruiseabout’, a travel agent that focuses only on cruise ship travel, and chatted with the consultant and I picked up this brochure below:
Flippantly I was exploring the possibility of replacing the intensity of an Allone experience with a cruise ship cabin. “Ha-ha, you hypocrite!”, I hear you say!
Well my soul would definitely struggle with that, then the bank account, but more importantly immersing myself in One Point Zero and stuff like this Post above, I could now NEVER do it the cruise ship way! It’s actually quite scary how fast I’m moving along my own One Point Zero journey!! At this stage anyway it doesn’t feel at all like I’m shooting myself in the foot, it really feels like it is JUST THE RIGHT THING TO DO!
While looking through my files for a few facts for above I came across these three graphs. I’d seen those months before, and filed them for this trip, but as I looked at them again, somehow I was even more shocked than I was before. I used the ‘F word’ saying: “Man this has to f’ing stop, why can’t we all see how serious this all is? It is an indictment on all of us who know The Facts and do nothing!” These two graphs have just upped my One Point Zero resolve a few notches more!
Sorry, guys I went on a bit of a rant but these graphs shocked me again! I’m not placing myself on any pedestal, I can see how I fit in to these pictures too. But what is liberating is I’m finally doing something about all this, My own Way of Life and through One Point Zero, even if it’s just me writing to myself!
Somehow this challenge to humanity is almost exciting in its Extreme Challenge objective but more the Chasm Crossing Challenge soon…
Sorry guys, the porthole is no more! I’m looking ahead now and so now the bow is where it all happens!
We will be crossing The Tropic of Cancer later in the day, just 5 days after the directly overhead, midday Sun ‘was there’. Then the next day ‘turning’ to start its six month journey south to Capricorn and passing us out here a few days ago!
Looking ahead can often create expectation and surprises for me, so the change from a looking back Porthole perspective to a looking forward Bow perspective, came with hope and excitement! I was well rewarded, and this Now part of the blog may reflect some of this more future orientation!
Firstly I saw my first man made whale. Yeah, way ahead of my projections and well on the way to making that new planet man has already made a whale: Here is the evidence, right out here in the Pacific:
Yeah leaning out through the one of the huge bow line fairleads I managed to get this shot of the bulb that sticks out ahead of the visible bow of Cap Capricorn. Like a whale on a lead it leads the way underwater reducing the bow wave and improving the fuel consumption.
Putting my camera away and I went back to hanging out of the fairlead hole and visualising it was just me and the ocean: Revitalising my bonding with Nature and its vastness and intensity out here. I slowly forgot the ship ‘behind me’ and took the fullness of the desert ahead all in.
As I looked more and more I saw more and felt and more and more. Soon a flying fish launched out the water some 30m below me, seemingly alarmed by the approaching human whale. The reason why flying fish fly, is to escape their underwater chasing prey, and with 4500 to 5000 m of water underneath and for as far as one can see across the desert there is much for predator fish to want to hang around here. So it must have only been the whale!
Yesterday I saw my first ocean bird life for this trip, and being far off I couldn’t be certain, but I was convinced they were two albatross. That familiar never ending glide as they soar on the swell updrafts, and the disproportionately longer, double jointed wings. Smaller than the southern ones, their size did match the northern hemisphere ones that nest in remoter Hawaii and which I’d seen last year. Always special to see the magical albatross and wonder at the intensity of their seemingly lonesome lives. How their Nature capabilities are so different from my human ones and yet how we both seek lives that use all our creature capability to enable us to rise to the intensity call of Nature’s Grand Adventure.
As I got lost in my ship-less connection, my soul took me back to deeper connection where rather than being ‘entertained’ from a 30m grandstand seat high grandstand seat I had intimate physical ‘experiences’ with flying fish, ocean birds, whales and dolphins: Life as a solo sailor and living intimately with sea came back creating deep emotions within.
Maybe in One Point Zero I’m starting to experience another form of intimate relationship with Nature, maybe it’s all part of the whole intimate relationship, just the ‘Next step’? All I know is I must not stop living my full human intensity, like the albatross was intensely living its full albatross-ness!
One Point Zero does seem like ‘the next step’ connection with Nature, and this ship experience can definitely be part of the future, I’m busy working it all out. This is My One Point Zero Challenge. As I deal with its challenge to keep this full human-ness intensity living, while staying on track for My One Point Zero others may find some clues for where they and society ‘have to go’ if One Point Zero is to be an achievable goal.
Back to the present now! We had another ‘quiet-ish’ few hours yesterday as the engine needed to be shut down to repair the other cylinder injector gaskets. As expected it was just time before all needed replacing and that has now been accomplished and its ‘full speed’ ahead… 75 rpm, and 16 knots! Just on 1000nm to go, and Wednesday midday San Francisco time!
Next up below is one of ‘The ones’ I have been promising you. Its a breakfast so pull up a seat and enjoy it…
YouTube, Entertainment and Exploring
(Note: ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Explorer’ (ing) are used with specific and different intent though out this Post)
A Special Breakfast Aboard
This post has been motivated by a breakfast just over a week ago that I enjoyed with my fellow passenger Tom. It has his permission in my sharing as that is also part of this post’s value. Cap Capricorn had just been tied at the Papeete Container Terminal, and I’d just had the four hours of amazing ‘entertainment’ watching the crew and pilot bring this big ship into the small harbour with the professional precision I described in my post last week. I was on a high having been ‘intimately’ involved in the whole process, and sitting on my own at breakfast. I’m an explorer and this is what I hoped this ship experience would be all about. I was reflecting on all that had happened, what I’d learnt, and how lucky I was to have been part of what I’d just experienced.
Tom arrived looking like he had just woken up and with a hangdog look on his face. I presumed he had slept through the whole spectacle I’d witnessed but I just wrote that off to different things interesting different people and we greeted as the kindred spirits we have become: Today it was to be respect to our Aussie kinship with each giving a “G’day Mate”, and then moving to the safe niceties of the day, as if nothing special had happened since we last ate together.
Tom was born fifty miles from where I grew up in South Africa but the family moved to Australia when he was four: So although he is a ‘pukka Aussie boy’, I feel some kindred bond with his African roots.
In the silence that followed our greeting I mused: I sense Tom is a guy who values intensity over happiness, and yet why had he missed ‘this event’?
In the week on the ship, we had developed a very open and sharing relationship and he seemed to really value the adventure stories and the underlying exploring I shared with him. He is on his first big adventure, the motorcycling is ‘the thing’ and I keep reminding him: “Tom, remember it’s not a motorcycle adventure mate, it’s a life changing exploration you are on and the motorcycle is just the ‘soul-less machine’ for enabling the important part to happen!”
He doesn’t quite get it yet, and probably thinks I’m a bit too philosophical, intense and reflective. I know I’m all of those, and really happy with that and have said to him: “It’s about exploring mate: Who you are, why you here, and how you fit in to yourself, society and this planet?! When I set out I never knew it would be about all that but I did know I was going to Explore. Like I see you now, I thought it was simple ‘Motorcycle Freedom’ I was exploring: To feel the Freedom that comes with the endless wind of travel on my face, but it has turned out to be a spiritual, life changing and ‘Complex Freedom’.”
Being thirty three and having just motorcycled across Australia to get to the ship, and now setting off for a grand world-wide motorcycle adventure, I say to him: “You are lucky mate, you are getting to start Your Great Work quite a few years before I did. Make sure you don’t give up when it gets a bit lonely and go back to the easy life, before that full work is done. If you are open to the exploring I’m talking about you’ll be surprised what happens to you and how your relationship with your motorcycle will change!”
In the context of this frankness and openness of our relationship, back to our breakfast, breaking the brief silence and shaking his head, Tom can’t help share with me his total disgust in himself and explain his guilt:
He’d set his alarm for 4 am to wake up and experience our arrival into Papeete. He had woken, got up did the final checks on the Gopro that he had been telling me for days he was setting up. Then with it pitch dark outside and him feeling tired he decided he’d just have a bit more sleep! He woke up just twenty minutes ago and missed the whole ‘show’. He was openly very angry and disappointed with himself, and I saw it written all over him.
It wasn’t time to tell him what he’d missed, so I went for a high risk, hopefully supportive option: “So Tom, did you get the Gopro footage?”
He perked up: “Yeah I think so, just had a quick look and it looks all OK. Four hours of interval footage that captures us coming in and docking from the bow.” It was more a relieved reply than one of passion and conviction that he had achieved something of high quality and value that he really wanted.
I tried to help him connect to a more passionate conviction. “Hey Tom, that should be special for you? I can see from the last few days this was your top priority, so good you got that done, mate!”
Almost ignoring my support and going back to his disappointed demeanour he asked: “So did you get up and watch it all?”
I hesitated as I thought about what maybe he ‘wanted to hear and what maybe he ‘needed to hear’? Given our very open ‘old guy’ / ‘young guy’ relationship I decided on the ‘need to hear’ route, genuinely thinking that would be Tom’s, ‘want to hear’, one too?
I told him my whole amazing four hour experience, and while he genuinely wanted to hear it all, he got even angrier with himself for sleeping through. I’d read it right: Here WAS an explorer, he was open enough to show me both his passion to really want to explore ‘properly’, and his utter disgust with himself that he had missed it. I’d experienced this confused priorities before myself and consoled him by saying: “Tom you did what you prioritised mate, I listened to you over the past few days, and your priority was the GoPro!” Purposely choosing ‘entertainment’ context I added: “You got the result you ‘wanted’ your Main Show, but it seemed like that consumed you to the point that you missed what I believe for me was the real ‘Main Show’.”
He knew he’d got it wrong, but here was a guy just starting his exploring and wanting to learn, and so at the risk of increasing his pain, but also speeding up his learning I said: “Tom, be honest now, how often will you ever look at the Gopro footage in the next 10 years?” I could see he valued this learning moment, and gave me the honest answer that motivated me to write this whole post: “Aaah, I’ll just stick it up on Facebook and YouTube for my friends to watch, and probably never look at it again!”
Creating an exploring moment for me, I thought to myself: What is the point of a video anyway they will never get what I’m experiencing, and sharing just a video, devalues my experience in their eyes, they see the video footage as all there was, and so nobody really gets anything of true value out of it. It’s for superficial entertainment of others, and maybe to impress them, but Tom wasn’t that sort of guy. Tom isn’t a YouTube sort of guy, but he’d got sucked in like so many others I meet? So many people seem to be posting on YouTube etc, what am I missing? I concluded: This world wants quick and ever increasing instant novelty not deep, meaningful and long lasting exploration. That stressed me, and I wanted to explore WHY, but I was chatting to Tom for now, and we were exploring something together.
I said: “Tom, my ‘Gopro footage’ is in me forever, and it has very little to do with what the images the lens saw, but all to do with what I experienced and felt, mate. The full sensory connection, and then interpreted by my soul. This was a very intense exploration I went through, I felt the dynamics of each of the crew, I felt the cool sweat off the Pilot‘s back, I felt the sense of team, the struggles of the individuals, the trust, the relief.” Tom listened with real interest.
“Strangely too, Tom, I felt my own angst of feeling, part of it, but not part of it: Because in some way maybe I was just a GoPro myself, or maybe I was just having entertainment? I was just an observer. I was experiencing a ‘watching’ exploring experience, I wasn’t the experience, but in intensely ‘watching ’, and being right there on the bridge, and on the ship I was having the best ‘virtual experience’ I could have.” I paused before concluding:
“So I made the very most of the exploring it offered: Focusing on all its rich dynamic, never getting distracted thinking about how I would show others what I was seeing. This was an opportunity for me to learn. Not to learn to dock a ship, or program the GoPro, but rather a chance to learn about life! If I did that well, and added my life experience to this life experience I’d become a bigger person, and as a byproduct, the sharing like I do on my Blog becomes richer and more valuable than some Gopro, gee whizz, amazing use of technology, footage!” He nodded his half bowed head, seemingly in acknowledgement that the point was well taken, and would never be needed again.
I tapped him lovingly on the shoulder and said: “Mate, thanks for opening yourself up like this and allowing me to have a huge exploring and learning experience at breakfast here, I appreciate that a lot! Your open-ness to confront unexpected truths without fear of ridicule will stand you in good stead as you switch to explore more and more!”
Without thought, he responded: “Mate, thank you! You have made me really wake up to what the priorities are and why I’m here, our exchange has been amazing!”
“Tom I really think many others could benefit from what we have just explored, and if you are I agreement I’d like to share it with my readers?”
“Go for it mate!”
So there we go, and there it is!
Back in my ‘cell’, and Bye, as I look back from its Porthole!
Every day is different out here, just like you guys back there, even though you may not think so! You’re spared a picture from ‘The Porthole’ today!
To be honest I haven’t ‘worked’ as hard as this for a number of years! But the whole environment is ‘perfect’ for what I’m doing! Quite strange, but that’s the way it feels in this supposed prison!
Today knowing ‘That bridge’ below is 1790 nm (3300km) and just five days off even caused a bit of angst within: Do I really want to get there and off the ship and all its routine freedom, maybe a few more days would be good!!
We have just passed the closest we will be to Hawaii. The group of islands are some 1200nm directly north west of us. We are currently at 11 degrees North and they sit at 19 degrees N, and San Francisco is way up there at 37 degrees N. We have moved the clock forward twice, an hour each since my last ‘Now’ post. We are now working on Alaska time zone, having passed Anchorage’s 148 W longitude line half a day ago.
Three degrees into the northern hemisphere with me still patiently waiting for Neptune or ‘his Mermaid Fiona’, the weather changed and we had no wind, oppressive heat, grey cloud and on off rain. The Doldrums became a reality. Not very wide, after about 10 hours we were in clearer sky and for the first time a tail wind.
This is all how our amazing planet works hey. It really is all bloody amazing to just see it and feel it all here. Predictable, but not so predictable that we humans can (yet!) entertain building one ourselves! There we go that’s the solution the Mensa, rational optimists, without a spiritual sinew in their bodies are thinking is the solution to wire around the One Point Zero Challenge. With echoes of Jean Paul, I hear them saying: “Just relax Howard, you go have fun, live your life, we have the solution and nothing needs to change: In a few years we will know how to build a new planet. And now cleverer than Nature we will make it much bigger and with a turbo regenerative system not this out dated one!” Ha-ha, man if only ‘they’ knew what fun this all is and SERIOUS fun too!
Yesterday was laundry day: Yeah, life ain’t luxury here. I did my sheets pillow cases, clothes and towels. Great washing machine and drier, and like most boys would do, but also driven by One Point Zero desires, I did it all in one wash and one dry. There we go, the white came out whiter and the colours stayed as colours! Magic machine!
More and more of the crew talking about San Francisco now, and Eric (my fellow passenger) and I had a bottle of wine together last night. He is excited and ready to get going on his motorcycle. One of the officers is hoping his San Francisco based girlfriend is as keen to see him as he is to see her.
I’ll be staying with the ship for the trip down to LA and Long Beach, and not thinking much about terra firma yet!
Pacific Inspirations from Antarctica on ‘Brexit Day’
The Brexit news delivered by a ‘passing tern’ wasn’t the news I wanted to hear…But that’s democracy for you hey!
Forty seven plus percentage of the people have got what they didn’t want, but will just have to accept it! Maybe this should have been done the slow ‘African way’ a decision by consensus or the fast unilaterally route: decision by ‘The Chief’! Ha-ha just reflecting on how such an important decision was made.
The ‘next’ big one coming up soon: To be ‘Clinton-ed or ‘Trump-ed’?
Once again, two quite different consequences, and seemingly another large ‘sub group’ having to accept what it didn’t want? Maybe almost the ‘whole 100%’ don’t want either of the consequences, but there is no other choice? Maybe there should be? How do those imprisoned in virtual democracies exercise their right to stop the process in an orderly way and demand better choice?
Anyway lots more fun on this coming up once I’m back on terra firma travelling in ‘the big place’ where all this is happening…
Having for twelve years now, not been a resident of any country in the world, I am truly ‘just’ a resident of the planet: I have been liberated in my minimal ties or needs from any country, and I identified this perspective as a key and mission critical asset for the One Point Zero Challenge.
As I talk to people I see how this perspective is very different from many who are in some shape or form vested in their primary nation’s interests. At a global leadership level, the inability to confront global truths that compromise national, or coalition group interest, is a huge challenge for a One Point Zero world.
The UN, World Bank, etc are supposed have leadership put The World first but they are all essentially non-executive / advisory organisations that I sense are heavily vested in one nation, or group of nations, or are merely compromised cogs in the machinery of those with the National executive power. Maybe there is some inspiration from a little known, but huge part of our planet.
In 2009 I was intimately exposed to the workings of the least known continent in the world, the largest wilderness in the world, the largest area of the planet that doesn’t work on an anthropocentric value system. Finally a place that is not a democracy but one that almost exclusively relies on consensus decision making: An amazing place called Antarctica and I wanted to intensely experience this remote and huge part of our Planet.
In pursuit of this dream I applied for ‘a job’ as a Base Leader for one of Australia’s three Antarctic Research bases. A twelve month assignment that involves six months of 24 hour daylight and six months of 24 hours darkness.
A tough selection process from more than a hundred applications I made it through the hurdles down to the final seven for three bases. The final ‘shoot out’ involved five intensive, ‘Big Brother type living’ days in a ‘remote place’ outside Hobart, Tasmania. Suffice to say, my expertise in solo exploits and my ‘Romantic Dinners for One’ qualifications got me into trouble, so I didn’t get ‘The job’! The experience was absolutely amazing, and I give full marks to The Australian Antarctic Organisation for their professional and effective process. The Base Manager has extensive and legally onerous Government enforcing responsibilities. Part of the preparation required me to be fully versed in the Antarctic Treaty, and how vast Antarctica operates as an orderly yet ‘nationless’ entity, with written examinations to prove my knowledge and understanding. I saw that this is only piece of our planet like this, a significant piece too, and run successfully for more than 60 years now.
I returned in 2011 and did my solo ski trip and in the many hours of its expansive solitude I used to ponder the lessons and useful applications it may have for the rest of our fragmented, self-interest driven anthropocentric world. This still provides inspiration for my personal work on the design of a New World, part of My One Point Zero Challenge, and with today being Brexit news day, I thought it appropriate I’d share some of my personal work thoughts with you…
I know ‘all of us’ will be wondering what this new Brexit change in the world will mean for The World? Maybe like I have done, use it as an opportunity to further your One Point Zero thinking!
Can you imagine a World Referendum vote on: “Do we go for One Point Zero or Not?”
Man what I struggle with here, is that it should get a close to 100% ‘Yes’ vote, but in the anonymity of the voting process I sense it would turn out a huge majority, ‘No’ vote?
Maybe I’m wrong?
What would the 20% in the graph above vote? And the 60%..? What would you vote? Would it be easier if it was just about ‘Your Nation’? Maybe that makes it easier to vote ‘No’? “What’s the point of just ‘us’ doing it’, when nobody else does it?” Hmmm…
What would it take to get ‘The World’ to agree to a referendum? Would the United Nations be involved? Would they rig the vote?
In Antarctica it would be easy, because ‘The Place’ clearly belongs to ‘the voters’, and the voters have clear and primary responsibility for ‘The Place’.
Wow, now this is all very interesting and thought provoking? Maybe ‘we’ should start a referendum?
Ha-ha, my prison and its wee porthole is either working its magic, or making me crazy, but it certainly feels like the former!
If Antarctica was our ‘whole planet’ I sense ‘The Facts’ would be very pleasant reading, inspiring and witness to real Humanity Success. No Crowd Success, No Consumption Success, No Anthropocentrism, wow: I know it’s not as simple as that, but imagine how ‘we’ would feel reading ‘The Facts’ we are all proud of and that we know inspire the future generations to just follow our recipe and continue ‘our Good Work’? I sense we don’t have that recipe, and maybe in learning about Antarctica we will get closer to one?
The usefulness of the Antarctic comparison will be criticized by its inappropriate, inhospitable ice desert status, minimal human existence, and virtual zero bio capacity comparison?
However in its success and extensive uniqueness, I look beyond these issues to a multinational consensus success that has worked without any ‘Brexits’ for decades. In fact exactly opposite; From the original twelve (?) nations who formed the initial agreement, more and more joined where today I think more than 95% of the world’s Nations are joint signatories.
Also in its success, it is free of greed, war, exploitation, TV, consumer advertising, mobile phones and ATM’s! The real estate industry doesn’t exist, because it’s the only place on this planet where NOBODY, not even Governments can own the land! ‘Anyone’ who happens to be there can build an igloo, but there is no water, power or sewerage infrastructure, and the deal is EVERYTHING you bring in, you takeout. That includes your poo and pee! So don’t expect to make a quick buck on property development, and make sure you have a deal with a ship to take ‘your stuff’ back out!!
It’s also a place where the United Nations are redundant, humanitarian aid not needed, and as there was has never been a tie, that deciding penalty shootout is irrelevant: The Planet comes first and Humans second. So in Antarctica maybe we have a laboratory for an Anthropocentric New World?
Best of all there never has been a Trump, Clinton, Putin, and etc. ‘King of Rock’ in charge. Nor an exorbitant wasteful media effort for wannabee rock stars to step on stage and try and personally destroy the other for that short term status as ‘King of Rock’ (or now Queen!!).
With Antarctica, human ego has been managed, and aspiring rock stars would soon die of loneliness in their crowd-less concerts! Switzerland is an example I know well where ‘Success’ has come without the presence of rock stars… I bet very few of you know who the ‘Top Person is what ‘their title’ is, because they are there to serve rather than become famous! Being a ‘way over’ One Point Zero-er, I think their success goal is wrong, but the point here is that National Success does not need Rock Stars!
That type of Fun aside: Somehow with Antarctica there is an acceptance of our insignificance, and respect for a more spiritual belonging to this part of our planet. There is no need for an elected temporary ‘King of Rock’. Nature is the eternal visionary, setter of values, and it’s just up to ‘ordinary humans’ to agree on interpretation of the unchanging, ‘instructions’. We aren’t competing with Nature, and have seemingly accepted our insignificance, yet also found a new form of globally unified power, and resultant success formula that isn’t evidence elsewhere on the planet.
This is exciting and the basis for hope, hope, and more hope!
I have shared more than I planned but maybe never will there be another ‘Brexit day’ and its appropriateness to The One Point Zero cause.
Quote for today:
“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”
Well of course the difference was just that it was the next day, a different day to the shot before!
Ha-ha, I’d never insult your sense of humour like that.
Actually the difference wast here was no wake in that shot, because we had stopped! The engine had a ‘problem’ and so we wallowed in the big blue going nowhere for 3 hours! The ship’s power was taken away and Nature decided to show how vulnerable we could become: The current took us sideways over the ocean floor, but the ship ‘wandered around’ in an 80 degree to 80 degree, sleepwalk swagger going nowhere relative to the ocean surface. The reduced noise brought up dreams of the ‘sound of sail’, but with two big generators still running the natural silence of sail reminded me we don’t have the silent luxury of Zero Point Zero, solar power!
It took 1 hour for us to ‘glide’ from engine off to the zero knots you see on the control panel picture.
Here are the guys working at flat out, ‘Time is Money’, speed on No 7 cylinder’s leaking injector. Of course no more money for them, but also importantly, no less! And this ‘time’ giving no more for ‘the boss’! Their time urgency just focused on minimising his downtime ‘time’ losses! There’s the capitalism system for ya, hey:
The ‘workers’ have no risk the boss has ‘it all’.
Sometimes ‘he’ wins, but in taking the risk ‘he’ can also lose. In trying to minimising his loss, and having a stable wage in line with their mastery, the workers ‘should’ only be motivated by their journey to increasing their mastery. To be the best at what they do.
The right ‘bosses’ will eventually provide ‘them’ with the extrinsic rewards for their valuable mastery, but the real prize for them is their personal power in their journey of ever increasing mastery.
This is how it should work, but with the gaps between ‘Management’ and ‘worker’ salaries, and the elite and the non-elite at unprecedented levels this risk reward system seems to have lost its once magical balance.
On the surface this may seem like an alignment with Nature’s system, which works on ruthless ‘natural selection’, where the strongest ‘wins’. However like slavery, apartheid and colonialism as one looks deeper, it has a fundamental difference, a human dark side that cannot reconcile Humanity with Nature: ‘Our’ inability to restrain ‘our’ never satiable Greed. Greed for Power, Wealth, Consumption, Novelty, etc, etc in the context of our increasingly unnatural world! Seemingly all aimed at a goal of ‘happiness’, or finding the illusive gate to the ‘path to happiness’?
In all my wanderings on the surface of this planet, I have never seen one example of Greed in Nature or any of its huge number of ‘pieces’. (Taking an anthropocentric perspective, I’m partitioning humans from Nature for this)
I have seen moments of what appears like a greedy feeding frenzies, territory takeover conflicts, etc,: However on reflection these were always temporary, and at most seasonal or a bit longer but not spanning generations like humans are exhibiting. It is only in humans too that the evidence of greed and our inability to restrain ourselves is pervasively self-evident. Over the years, to my utter dismay, I have had many people literally say to me:
“To be greedy is to be Human, that’s what differentiates us Humans from Nature’s others”! Wow, man!!!
I have never seen another ‘creature of nature’ which is not fully and pristinely presented in all its nature given capabilities, and being capable of intensity over all these capabilities. Those that aren’t don’t last long….. The law of Nature! In this consistent presentation they almost seem to know that greed will bring an imbalance: An imbalance that would seemingly take them off their purpose of intensity, and intimate belonging to ‘their system’.
I have never seen evidence of a striving for happiness in Nature? All I have ‘seen’ is rather just vibrancy in living intensely in its Grand Adventure. An adventure that requires each to resist the temptation to nurture some capabilities at the expense of others in pursuit of an ‘outside-team’ goal like happiness or whatever. That would lose their place in Nature’s System and the purpose linked to ‘adventuring’ in its Grand Adventure.
We aren’t fish, elephants, trees, insects etc, we are humans, so yeah maybe we can or were supposed to be different. My sense is we are only as different as a human’s capabilities are specific to our humanness, but our belonging requires us like all other creatures to ‘just’ live intensely and across ALL those capabilities. (The pursuit of Intensity vs Happiness is something that will be the subject of Posts in the future, so if you have comments please fire them off…)
I can tell you that as I write this I have huge emotions coming up, from huge inspiration, excitement, hope to anger and despair. Knowing ‘we are all’ to blame, because greed is so endemic in society, I challenged myself to all my own ‘Greed interfaces’ and how I’m using them, or they are using me? I realised that sometimes that greed is as simple as taking something not because I really need it but because it’s for free! The internet is full of this, almost a new freebie culture: Maybe the next level of moving us towards less conspicuous and more socially acceptable type of greed. I’ll explore this in another post, in my use of the free offerings of Facebook, Google etc.
Knowing there is a capitalist motive behind the free service I sense it will confirm there is a price to pay for this freebie greed. Maybe we as the ‘greedy members’ of The Crowd’ of these big sites are paying a huge One Point Zero price in unknowingly being channelled towards new and newer anthropocentric novelty. Yet further and further away from the real intensity of full human participation creature in Nature’s Grand adventure!
‘Quote’ for The Day
“The proposal has been that no effective restoration of a viable mode of human presence on the planet will take place until such intimate human rapport with the Earth community and the entire functioning of the universe is re-established on an extensive scale. Until this is done the alienation of the human will continue despite the heroic efforts being made towards a nigh benign mode of human activity in relationship to the earth.”
This excerpt from Thomas Berry’s book, ‘The Great Work’ is hugely inspiring.
Walking along the edge of the open Papeete waterfront, passing the ‘waka’ club and all its Polynesian canoes, then past the well maintained picnic area with all the local families enjoy their open air dining time, I was off duty and enjoying Papeete and its many memories for me….. The small craft marina was ahead and I always like to check out the yachts and maybe even get to talk to the any transient yachties.
A guy driving a 30ft open motor cruise pulled up to the wharf and let off three passengers who looked distinctly like visitors like me. Now alone in his boat, as I walked by he looked up and as we made eye contact he said “Bonjour”, and asked how I was in French? I gave him a strong Bonjour back, and a Par-le-vous Anglaise? In a strong French accent he said he did, and clearly wanted talk.
Turns out he was Jean Paul, from Toulouse, I estimate about 45-50 years old. He proudly pointed out that Toulouse was the HQ for Airbus, and also some globally significant satellite company. He had retired early and moved from France to Tahiti to get away from The System, and was now running a ‘hobby’, tourist water taxi business. He soon was positioning himself for offering me a tour of Papeete and pointing to Cap Capricorn I moved the conversation to ships and flying and ‘my work’!
He understood the whole footprint cost of flying thing, and most of The Facts of our Ecological Crisis. It was crystal clear that he taken his view of it all, knew it was serious and significant, and had his strategy for dealing with it. He didn’t rise to any of the debates, in fact going so far as to say I should not worry about taking a container ship, but rather just fly and ‘have fun with life’, the way he was.
To my utter surprise he then asked me if I had kids?
Now 98% of men his age, that I meet have kids, and so I was wondering where this question will lead?
I gave my standard One Point Zero, Howard answer: “No, I have no kids mate. There are too many people in this world……. and turned the question to him: “What about you, do you have kids?”
Surprise, surprise, he said he didn’t and then went on a huge rant about how having kids is the cause of all the problems in the world, and, “All this sustainability stuff you are worrying about wouldn’t be a problem if people didn’t have kids and their kids didn’t have kids.”
The guy quoted population figures and family tree numbers that made me realise this guy has thought deeply about all this. I wish I had recorded some of his quotes as it would have made good content for ‘Our Crowd Success’.
As he took a breath, I butted in leaning forward to shake his hand saying: Good one mate, I don’t often get to meet guys like me who don’t have kids, so glad to meet you. I said I agree the population is a huge problem, but not the main problem, and we should be careful to just hide behind a fact, that is a fact, and there is little we can do about. That’s when he told me his name was Jean Paul. We shook hands again, in a delayed, but now kindred spirit, new introduction.
The handshakes were just enough space for him to start his next level rant aimed at totally destroying my compromise position. He really challenged me as to why, when I don’t have kids, am I’m even worrying about any of this stuff. I sense he thought that in travelling by container ship and adopting a ‘No flying’ stance I was seriously compromising my travel and freedom goals, and with me not having kids well this was absolutely crazy!
The statistics started machine gunning out again, and it all pointed to him defending his view to not worry about any of this society stuff as all the people with kids are to blame and they should be doing what I am doing and they should be paying more taxes to cover the damages etc… But that he has nothing to do with The Problem, nor its solution, becuase its not his problem.
Moving up to a nation / global level he pointed to the Chinese governments controls on family size, how effective they had been and the rest of the world needs to follow suit. This guy was adamant there were solutions and while difficult it was up to those with kids and governments to implement and bear the pain and suffering.
In closing his second rant, he said he long time ago stopped worrying about any of ‘this’ and just does what He needs and wants to give Him the life he wants. He is a good, law abiding citizen, isn’t a taker from the government, makes an honest buck, he has a nice house, his boat, isn’t greedy, but likes the good things in life.
The guy seemed a bit unsettled by my ‘stupid stance’ and ending off with a very paternal and seemingly well-meaning rant about how I was the ‘least responsible’ person for all this, and that I should not worry so much, just forget about it all, and go and have as much fun as possible!
He even ended with ‘Jo-live’! We shook hands and I don’t know why I said “Merci” (Thanks) and added the “au revoir”!
Somehow in this final rant, directed at me, and its ‘liberating directives’, I sensed he was ‘lonely in his views’ and wanted me to join ‘his crowd’. He wasn’t totally at peace with my lack of acceptance of his seemingly easy ‘solution’! We parted ways probably both affected, yet oppositely by the other….
So what does The ‘Parable from Jean Paul’ all mean????
We have all heard these views, options and suggestions, and over the years I have thought deeply about these issues, seeking my own moral / ethical clarity on what could / should be the right way forward.
It was all pretty simple when Freedom was my ‘only’ goal. I made my life decisions for me, and I respected the rights and desires of all others to make their own life decisions as long as they didn’t compromise mine, nor mine theirs. I tried to live within that framework as a simple nature centred human. If someone ‘chose’ a path to be a billionaire and live the High Life which goes with that, well that was their prerogative.
Similarly if someone wanted ten kids they were free to do that provided that they took full responsibility for their decision and all its consequences. I stopped short at being part of charity / humanitarian initiatives that attempted to treat symptoms at a ground level, rather that forcing responsibility back to the root cause.
I was, and still am, totally against initiatives that immobilise individuals, communities or cultures, by forcing unsolicited foreign solutions on people who haven’t identified a problem themselves, or have not taken primary responsibility for its solution.
Essentially I was an Anarchist believing in Freedom for all, or as many as possible. People mustn’t tell me what to do and I won’t tell them what to do. In the process water would find its own level for each of us: Life would be as grand as we made it, and if it wasn’t we only had ourselves to blame! (I hate boxing my personal views into others, but sort of an Ayn Rand view of life, mixed with Oscar Wilde’s: ‘The Soul of man under Socialism’)
A few years back when ‘my facts’ started looking like ‘The Facts’, and the whole ecological challenge became clear this Freedom view for me and the world was shattered. I sensed Freedom without a common moral compass would be disastrous, even worse of a One Point Zero Challenge than we have today. This rocked the very core of me, and while not only forcing me to re-orientate within me, I had to look at how my moral compass that I had for society would be impacted. That debate is still on-going within, but one of the issues was ‘The Crowd’ and with me not having had kids, what my stance would be on ‘The Crowd’ and its huge, past present and future, contributions to ‘Our One Point Zero Challenge’?
In launching One Point Zero, I was without debate that this challenge is for every single human being. None to stand up and say they aren’t responsible because others have done this or that etc. Pro-creating is human, and society needs a future generation. I have no issues with that, but where I sense the debates are going to get heated is when ‘we’ start debating how we share the problem, but more specifically how we divide up the scarcest resource of all: The Bio Regenerative capacity of the planet? That is critically, 70% short today!
The approach I have taken for myself so far in arriving at this ‘No Fly’ decision is that I have accepted that all humans are equal in our right to the use of that capacity and so I divided the total Global Footprint Network Capacity figure by the world population and got my allowance. This is the result, I used in the ‘allowance limits’ I pointed to in my blog of 6 days ago: ‘Fairshare Allowance’.
There will be an arguments against that some will say that’s far too generous as I have been part of a developed world life that has caused all scarcity, others may say it’s far too onerous as I am dependent on 1st world infrastructure and can’t change that, etc, etc…..
This carving up of the scarce capacity is for future debates, but I pop the question to start your debate: Should a billionaire have more than you? What should determine who gets more than the general allocation? Should the elite get more or less, than the average?
All emotionally charged issues, and yeah our Freedom would go sliding away from us! Anyway back to kids and their impact.
At this point in my One Point Zero Challenge, and long before ‘Jean Paul’s Parable’ I have accepted my equal responsibility for the problem up until the time I became fully aware and accepted ‘The Facts’.
I will not take on a reduction in my bio regenerative capacity allowance for any further increase in population beyond 7.6 billion!! That’s my line in the sand! Those who decide to have kids in the future must somehow delve into their personal allowance, don’t ask me to help!
Anyway nobody, not even the Planet, nor one nation, has even near a legal allowance amount, and her the ‘little boy’ is finessing his allowance!
In wrapping this up: This post is about kids and future kids, and One Point Zero: Somehow someone has to do something about The Crowd side of things. I can’t help any more than I have done! Maybe one of you will start up a whole Activist branch of One Point Zero to drive the thinking about how to solve that whole ‘branch’, while the rest of us work on the easier stuff!
Thank You Jean Paul for the interesting ‘Parable’ teaching opportunity!
I hope you are really making the most use of your expansive freedom, being able to travel around kilometres from home. To run the wilds, walk the dog, bicycle your favourite circuit, watch TV, read the paper, grab a pint from the local! Then those green things: I think they are called trees, shrubs and other vegetation! The stuff that not only provide green aesthetic diversity, but also help process Cap Capricorn’s emissions!! And finally: Enjoy the company of your loved ones, and those other special people in your life!
And to your instant retort about my exotic ‘holiday’ I say: “Yes guys and I am really making the most of my armoured vehicle prison! Ha-ha, how we do see, and how we could see our, such different worlds hey! (Little do I know these days, one of you could also be on a container ship reading this! Sorry!”
Maybe it’s because I’m about to meet King Neptune that I’m a bit delirious! Yeah in about 8 hours we’ll cross the equator. My sixth ‘surface crossing’ but an ocean virgin for Neptune! Maybe he will send a mermaid called Fiona instead! I did find it quite special that we are crossing the equator on a solstice, but not sure why that’s special other than that the sun will be exactly those 23.3 degrees to the north above us when we do it!
We have some 2800 nm (5400km) to go to Oakland, and Nature has finally made an impact on our progress. Supposedly in the doldrums with both the ship and my weather pictures showing we should have almost no wind we have had 30 knots directly against us for two days now. There is weather forecasting for you! Add the current of about 0.5 knot and we are down to a pedestrian 13.5 knots! The masters won’t allow engine revs to be increased so there we go they must have a plan for the ‘time is money’ schedule into Oakland!
Last few days have been full of action:
Sunday evening was ship BBQ night! A full on charcoal braai (BBQ) held outside on ‘B’ deck. No need for music as the engine noise almost required us to wear ear plugs! The atmosphere was so very nice, it reminded me of my team building days in the refinery. Alcohol was available but sprinkled amongst coke cans and clearly not presented to encourage excess, and so all very well behaved and orderly. Marian and Tony did an excellent job with the catering, and all in all a wonderful time for everyone!
Yesterday was emergency drill day, and at 15h30 the distress alarm was sounded and we all had to grab out life jackets, immersion suits and head to the muster station next to the port side life boat. Well no life jacket in my room, and so there I was the only ‘crew’ without one, all the others including my two passenger buddies, full kitted out ready to ‘swim’! The fact that mine wasn’t in my room was the source of some management angst, leading to a reprimand for the person responsible for checking all safety gear! We were split into two groups for the two life boats and then into each we went. Phew was it hot in there with 13 guys in a confined space. Next the hatches were closed and the engine started fully simulating the realities. All very professional and an interesting journey into the world of what ifs…?
It’s really hot and humid here on the equator now. It’s OK when you go out on deck as the 30 knot wind off the sea is fairly cool. But exercise in the gym takes a new level of motivation particularly when most of the exercise routine is up and down seven flights of stagnant air stairs! If I was flying not only would I be there by now but I’d be on my bicycle in Nature’s open air gym!
Some of this is tongue in cheek, as I am really using this ‘prison time’ to good effect. I have really been working flat out, although the public products of that work seem pretty small, the mind and writing journey I have been on is quite amazing for my internal intensity.
The freedom from routine, distraction and yet the ability to break the intensity with trips up to the bridge and interesting conversations with the captain and his officers make for a ‘very best of the situation’ mix.
I’m busy with about three papers for posting soon, but here is one that should provide some food for thought in its response to some of the recent comments:
One Point Zero: The Big Ticket Item!
I sense the comment from Bob Nideffer a few days ago, may capture what many people are feeling as one engages with the realities of the One Point Zero, and ‘The Facts’. Not that these are ‘My Facts’, I sense we all knew these Facts already? What I have tried to do is present them in a way that gives focus for ‘The Goal’ at the highest level….: Society and Humanity level. In all my searching I never found this clarity of Global focus.
I only have first-hand experience as to how I have responded to ‘The Facts’, but with my activist hat on, I have spent quite a bit of time trying to relate that to how ‘others’ may react, and what ‘needs to happen’ at a generic human level. It goes without saying that we are all unique humans with unique circumstance, life experience, personalities, beliefs and moral / ethical frameworks. This makes for a difficult challenge in answering the specifics of what should be done by ‘us’? (What are the ‘big Ticket items’? ) Yet without each one of us having our own specifics, specifics (Big Ticket Items) of how we are going to contribute to society moving to a One Point Zero world, nothing will change.
This may be controversial: In the context of my own experience, I’d like to say that while we all feel good when we take on initiatives primarily motivated at ‘helping society or others’ this challenge is different. As Bob points out: This one is so huge and each one of us so small that one will rapidly get swamped and demoralised by the challenge if the primary motivation is: Helping Society.
To me, this whole One Point Zero ‘thing’ is about changing one’s orientation in one’s own life for oneself: Changing it for oneself, Not for society. I sense that the other way around one will lose one’s own life in the process!
This is a bit like stopping smoking, reducing weight etc, we must want ‘it’ for ourselves, and want it badly enough for ourselves that we do ‘something’ about it. This requires each one of us to find that customised ‘something’ what works for us, for the personal goal we individually set for Ourselves. Nobody else! In the process of achieving that goal, I have no doubt that many will reap the benefits of its by-product rewards
In setting up One Point Zero, taking on this ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure , then deciding to share it with ‘you’ I am trying to show you how I have engaged in my goal and its ‘weight reduction’ plan for Me. This is not for society this is for ME, because I want it because it is morally right for My moral framework, and life enhancing for Me! As I have shared elsewhere on this site, it took me a while to get to ‘this place’, and as you can see from MY One Point Zero Challenge, my One Point Zero goals have both a personal, ‘Way of Life’ goal, and an Activist Goal. Both are Life enhancing for ME!
In sharing all this I’m hoping ‘you’ will see the extent of the re-orientation I have gone through and am still going through: A process of me finding my way of dealing with this unprecedented Humanity Challenge and its overwhelming personal context for me a single (and that’s not unmarried!) insignificant human. As Bob points out the ‘The Challenge’ is Huge, and it’s easy to feel powerless, down, turn your back on the truths, and remain with ‘The Crowd’.
However just like I had to deal with my personal power context change from a world of Capitalism to Nature in confronting The Facts another a similar power change is at play. I have had to find personal significance in the context my huge Society Insignificance, as well as dealing with the passive expulsion by ‘The Crowd’! As I found in my journey with Nature, it really IS possible to find huge personal power in finding that Significance within Insignificance, and a different source of Belonging. This is manifested in the commitment to My One Point Zero Challenge. This leads me to answering Bob’s question:
To me the single ‘biggest’ Big Ticket item is changing ones orientation from Anthropocentric to Nature / Planet Centric. I have alluded to this many times so far, but I sense most won’t yet get what I mean and how it’s about Belonging? To me it really has little to do with Global Warming and Sustainability, it is really about: Finding my sense of Belonging with Nature and our Planet.
I realise that this just seems like nice words and philosophical idealisms, linked to sectorial beliefs and maybe just applicable to greenies, outcasts, wanderers, those void of strong societal ties, or whatever? i.e Not for ‘You’! I also realise it requires a debate or common understanding of what constitutes Nature, how our Planet works, what about God, etc…. I have MY truths on those, don’t expect all to agree with mine, but what I see is with a common view of how we ‘Belonging with Nature and the Planet’ we wouldn’t be in the current ‘dwang’ where are in.
Many will say what ‘dwang’ and what ‘Belonging’ problem is ‘he’ inferring? “I have no Belonging needs unmet, and as for “dwang we are in”? Well my life couldn’t be better, and I couldn’t care less about other people’s ‘dwang’, so this “we” is not me??”
Yeah well, separate post coming soon ‘for you Sir!’ So please don’t go away yet! Haha….
As I look back over my One Point Zero journey, and then where it still has to go I see that turning my back on Anthropocentricism was the ‘Big Ticket item’ for me. The switch inside my head, that once flipped, provided a plethora of ‘lesser Big tickets’ that enabled me to sit in society’s huge ‘anthropocentric stadiums’ and see clearly what was ‘wrong’ and what I ‘had to do’!
Initially nobody in their crowds would have known I had a different ticket, or what my ‘strange’ purpose entailed. I was too stunned in dealing with how most of the shows now seemed so meaningless, wrongly directed, and verging on ethical crimes in some cases. It was scary, and initially I felt very alone but then I remembered where my tickets had come from? Their link to The Big Ticket gave me a new found Freedom and sense of Belonging that re-energised me and took both the load and expectation of society Belonging off my shoulders. I could then start understanding my source of true life affirmation and personal purpose in all this.
I was now part of something that was right, but it wasn’t the show in front of me. Using all the lesser Big Tickets attending as many ‘shows’ as I could, the radical paradigm shifts happened while sitting in their very same grand stand seats. Paradigm shifts that seem radical and impossible for the Anthropocentrics, but my switch had long been flipped and these shifts all seem so rational and ‘obvious’ now. My belonging to my new ticket issuer increased to the point that I felt confident to be vocal in sharing its special ticket views.
Many fellow humans were interested even if only to understand my strange orientation on life. Most times as I disengaged I sensed the other human had at least discovered the surprise existence of their own switch and had started questioning its function and use. Watching this discovery happen, sharing my exploring as the new paradigms kick in to my journey is a source of huge fascination and life affirmation.
That’s where I am today, and how I have got to my lesser Big Tickets: My Final Frontier, being To Stop Flying!
In sharing my No Flying struggle I was thinking that many of you will maybe arrive at the conclusion that Flying is one of your Big Tickets too and I’d get some moral support in my challenge as well as swelling the growing crowd of adventure seeking ‘Chasm Crossers’…. ! (More on ‘Crossing the Chasm’ soon…..)
Interestingly the United Nations in re-defining its 2016 goals appears to be right at the point of conflict of over flicking the ‘Anthropocentric switch’ or not. A visit to the website will see that its new ‘Goals for Beyond 2015’ for the first time ever have The Planet first: “Putting Humans and Planet First.” (This, after World leaders meet in New York at the end of October 2015 to agree the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the successor to the Millennium Development Goals.
In my value system, and given the urgency and the seriousness of the One Point Zero Challenge, a first place tie needs ‘extra time’ or a deciding ‘penalty shootout’ to produce the clear first place ‘winner’! This tie seems like a politically expedient cop out…..
Maybe the UN progress is in the evidence of them having clearly found the ‘Big Ticket Switch’, understanding its Significance and even having debated flicking it over or not? Cowardly backing off relying on Anthropocentrics advanced rationality to decide when to switch it back and forth in sync with The Crowds priority needs and their own popularity stakes!
Further in reading on the details under the Planet and the Sustainable Development Goals one will see that the One Point Zero situation of The Facts is not remotely addressed, other than to speed up ‘Our Development Success’ and the move even further away from a One Point Zero goal!! Anthropocentricism at its worst!)
In ending this response I do realise I haven’t provide the quick solution answer to the ‘Big Tickets’ question. We all know there isn’t a quick fix solution and herein lies one of the paradigm changes needed by society if it wants to get to One Point Zero. I hope my response is seen in that context and a genuine attempt to assist with a solution for the despair that I have very much felt myself?
YouTube, Exploring, and being Entertained and “How I deal with The Crowd Truths? By Jean Paul of Papeete.”
Papeete is a recent memory and some 170 nm (300km!) astern of us already.
As I type this I can just see Rangiroa, as we pass less than 5 miles abeam of this the largest atoll of the Tuamotu Archipelago. An oval atoll, some 70 km long, and 35 km wide, comprising of a narrow motu (Un-submerged land) that runs all the way around its perimeter encasing an ocean lake rich in marine life.
I seem to remember that there are or were permanent inhabitants on some of these atolls! It does beg the question of how close or far away from One Point Zero living they would be? Living on a remote ‘island’ in the middle of the South Pacific: What would be your thoughts on their One Point Zero status? (It is a very simple and useful case study for learning about what One Point Zero, and Ecological Sustainability really means.)
I’m sure readers would value you share ‘your facts’, experiences, and emotive rustlings on this blog? Don’t be shy now, OK! (By the way thanks for all the comments so far, emails and Facebook messages, I’ll respond in some way here and directly as appropriate.)
Now heading directly for San Francisco, we have made a 30 degree north course change from the one we had to Tahiti. The wind is up to 30 knots, against us (which is a bit strange!) but being at 15 degrees south, it is just so nice and warm, and the Pacific has that deep purple colour out here. Compliant with the masters’ engine speed instructions, with this wind our speed has dropped from 16.5 knots down to 13 to 14 knots! Maybe the masters in their dominance want us to experience a little less robotic experience and more immersion in Nature’s Grand Adventure!
The arrival into Papeete was so special I give it its own section below:
The Middle of the Pacific: Romance, Happiness and Intensity!
Right now, I am almost in the middle of the South Pacific: It is 3200 nm (5800 km) to the eastern most point of Australia (near Fraser Island, Queensland) which is the Western limit of The Pacific Ocean, and we are 4000 nm (7200 km) from its eastern limit which is the western most point of South America, Punta Parinas in Ecuador. That’s a full 13000 km across of deep blue wilderness, the largest ‘desert’ in area on this planet! This represents about 37 % of the surface of the earth at this latitude band!
Only the big Southern Ocean some has some more limitless claim: Without any east / west boundaries it completely encircles our planet, making it the most free, wildest and restless of all the oceans. Seemingly long forgone the search for paradise, utopia, or increasing happiness it is on a never ending westward journey? Maybe the purpose of this journey void of destination or exploring its restraint is merely ‘the happiness’ of its restless intensity!
I wonder in if the Pacific in its bounded status feels secondary and in awe of the Southern Ocean’s unmatched Freedom. Maybe Freedom is our ultimate desire of as human beings. Our Shocking Success shows that maybe in pursuit of unrestrained Freedom we are increasingly breaking down Nature’s ‘obstacles’, when we should be accepting Nature’s conditional restraint! That’s what a One Point Zero world requires!
Mastery on Show: Our Arrival into Papeete
Definitely not wanting to miss out on the experience of coming into Papeete harbour on a huge container ship, I had a wonderful restless night, and eventually at 4:30am, not able to control my excitement anymore I headed up the two floors to The Bridge. I was just in time to hear over the radio the friendly French accent of the Papeete pilot giving his first contact instruction for the meeting position, where they wanted the access ladder down the side of the ship, and our berth orientation.
We were coming up to the channel between the large island of Tahiti, and the smaller, Tahitians weekend playground island of Moorea. With lots of other craft and a plethora of other potential hazards around, it was time for the ‘masters’ to take their places:
Able Seaman Raghu Komara was the ‘chosen’ Helmsman, and with The Captain they were ‘The Team’ to take us to our meeting point with The Pilot. As ‘we’ anticipated the hazards, the Captain issues course change instructions, like “Zero Five Zero”. To which Raghu would immediately respond with a “Zero Five Zero, Sir” and then purposefully make adjustments on the small Playstation like control handle. Within 20 or so seconds, once he ‘had the new course’ he would call loudly back: “One Five Zero, Sir”. The ‘Sir’, seemingly having no relation to power, domination or his submissiveness: merely reflecting the seriousness of the exercise and his commitment to follow the purely functional instruction to the best of his ability.
A ‘problematic’ yacht either knowingly trying to test its place in the hierarchy or merely being ‘incompetent’ challenge our course for an extended period before the Captain after using many expletives to describe the skipper of the yacht, ordered the 2nd officer to “Give five short blasts on the horn“…. That seemed to work, although it still took a while for the yacht to take make a capitulated course change and retreat from the one-sided conflict. Everyone seemed relieved, and it was a valuable experience for the sailor in me, be able to view the world from this side of the fence!
While all this was happening, the crew was busy doing all the jobs required to have us ready for harbour entry and docking. The big electric bow thruster was commissioned and the pilot access ladder lowered and then checked on its bottom rung requirement to be precisely 1.5 m above water line.
Many course changes later and a reduction in engine speed had us doing 5 knots at the Pilot rendezvous point. The radio call soon came up: “Pilot on board”, and after about 10 minutes the Pilot burst through the Bridge station door full of warm laughter and welcoming hellos. He had a glance around seemed to belong straight away, and then pulled out a piece of paper, which he used to discuss his plan with the Captain. Then to my absolute surprise seemingly without a word exchanged on the matter, he displaced the Captain and started issuing course instructions to Raghu on the wheel. The Captain had been ‘ousted’ but seemed quite relaxed and desiring of his new ‘demotion’ to ‘observer’!
By now it was pre sunrise light and with the Cap Capricorn heading at 5knots on collision course with the island dead ahead seemingly struggling to align it’s self with the two navigation lights marking the small channel opening ahead. I saw Michael the Pilot quickly change to a serious yet very calm demeanour. As the tolerance for error became rapidly less, and the cost of error significantly higher, the instructions to Raghu, went from being compass bearings, to rudder angles: “Ten degrees Port”, Hard Starboard, “Mid-ship” course The tempo of new instructions also increased and the intensity of Michael’s total focus on the task at hand was obvious. As he had planned the Cap Capricorn’s apparent misalignment was perfectly by the wind and tide. With barely 25 metres to spare each side and never changing the full 237 metres passed perfectly on the centreline of the two channel marker buoys. I looked at the coral reefs on either side of the larger channel gap, and was in awe of the professionalism and precision I had just witnessed.
I recalled two years ago when I had brought Allone into the narrower, non-commercial craft, break in the reef a few miles down the coast. That day it was blowing 30 knots and the large swell striking the fringe reef had created wonderful pipeline shaped waves that surfers were clearly enjoying. Lining up for my entry, I picked a swell, and as Allone surfed through the gap in the channel parted waves, I remember looking either way and seeing down inside each tube and the surfer it had entombed. Once through the gap, the water was still idyllic, but I did wonder how ‘Michael and Raghu’ would have managed with Cap Capricorn on a day like that: Somehow I felt with Michael’s calm intensity it would have been no more different to what I had witnessed! He certainly was The Master of the day!
For the ‘all of me’, I was totally enthralled, and as merely a spectator of this truly amazing 3 hour show, I thanked Michael, The Captain, and Roghu for providing me this unique intimate experience.
With the help of a tug, the bow thruster, and the final bit of magic from the ‘Michael and Raghu’ team Cap Capricorn was alongside the wharf without drama. The crew got to work in securing her to the jetty, the container guys started their loading schedule, and I was able to have an informal chat with Michael. He had been a super tanker captain for many years, and now loves this challenge to ‘just do the exciting part’ without having the boredom and monotony of weeks at sea. He appeared so calm that I couldn’t help ask if he found it at all stressful? With a smile that said: “That’s the secret”, he said: “Yes, but you have to keep that inside you!” I then took the photo of him and the Captain, we shook hands and as he walked off his sweat soaked back showed what I thought: This was bloody stressful bringing our big Cap Capricorn into this small harbour, but the man loved being the Master of the Challenge!
Customs took two hours two arrive, but having seen Papeete, I was just happy to download and read the NYT and London Times. I was in no hurry to take off on my bicycle to join all the consumers across the bay! As I read more, I was shocked at what a changing and challenging week it has been out there ‘for you guys’!: The Florida shootings, UK MP shooting, Trump challenges, Democrat regroup, Brexit volatility increasing, Russians banned from Rio, but nothing about Our One Point Zero Challenge!
Customs and Immigration was a non-event, not even a passport stamp, ‘we’ were soon free to explore Papeete. This informality, then having the bicycle and all its attached freedom of being able to hit the ground running (Ha-ha!) in a convenient, yet One Point Zero way made me feel I really could get used to this ‘Ship Travel’! Being at the container depot, it was quite a ride, but an interesting one that took me past a docked cruise ship, and its entire heavy footprint, hedonistic enticements!
Tahiti and Papeete
I hope most of you weren’t expecting this to be the big story of the day?
I loved being back on Tahiti, just feeling its unique Polynesian / French culture mix charm. I sensed from our discussions that my fellow passengers were searching for the idyllic beaches, Tahitian cocktails, ‘beautiful island girls’, crystal clear waters, vast coral reefs, teeming with brightly coloured tropical fish, etc…? Papeete is not like that, and even Tahiti struggles to be like that…? In 2014 I cycled for a week around the main island and across the isthmus to the adjoining island, exploring all it has to offer. This to me is not anything special, the magic of French Polynesia lives in the more remote Society Islands. Tahiti is the first stop, and Papeete the commercial capital and becoming increasingly a clogged up consumption ground. A few days experiencing its French / Polynesian culture, and then it should be used as a gateway for exploring the real gems, the more remote Society islands etc. Papeete is also very expensive, and probably even more so than when I visited in 2014. I was flabbergasted then and again this time: How do the locals afford to live? Almost everything of any significant value or in the supermarket comes from France as expected, and so one can clearly see the economics of the Parent / Child relationship from France’s side, but I can’t see how the long term fundamentals of an adult / adult relationship will work out….
Anyway, I love the Papeete local market and all its authentic offerings, and then just walking around observing and talking to people was fun!
I did get to have a swim in pretty clear water, and saw lots of coral and a few parrot fish: This all part of an illegal, unseen harbour swim not far from the channel entrance Cap Capricorn came through!
There is a strong element of French creativity, anarchism, and aesthetic beauty that pops out all over the place. Add to this the very strong Polynesian origins, and one walks around being presented with almost confused western / island fused ‘novelty’ that is unique and both emotive and thought provoking. I like that. These huge murals are almost graffiti, but appear all over the city on building that present a convenient and eye catching canvas. Here are some examples, and these are huge, as you may be able to see from the one that has a parked car in the foreground.
I guess in these murals my passenger friends may have got some of the Tahitian exotics they expected, but presented in an unexpected media! It was quite strange seeing my first females in almost one week! Gee are we so lucky to have the eternal mystical wonder of male and female diversity that makes for a fundamental richness in our lives!
Finally: Upcoming Attractions!!!
In the next few days I’ll be responding (holistically) to the great open and even challenging comments that have been posted. These debates are what are needed, and I don’t plan on ducking ANY issues!
I just wanted to get this Tahiti over stimulation out of the way…. ‘Same old, same old’ ocean of the next 10 days will allow for lots of focused One Point Zero stuff.
Still coming very soon is my flying journey and how I got to the No Flying decision. (I wonder if you have reflected on your relationship over the years with flying?)
I want to talk about The Facts and how followers may see them, not believe them, reject them, etc…. Also ‘The Facts’ behind The Facts, trying to make it real, practical and tangible for all of us. I have an analogy taking shape that may ‘stir the pot’, but I hope that in in its simple, everyday life way of animating the truths will help us all get our heads around a complex issue.
There is two worthy stories from the past few days that are too long to include today. The One is entitled: “YouTube, Exploring, and being Entertained.” The other is entitled: “How I deal with The Crowd Truths? By Jean Paul of Papeete.”
Just a few teasers for the week ahead, and there is no doubt that there will be whole lot more too…!
Cap Capricorn crosses its name sake: Around midnight last night we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, the southern most ‘turning point’ for the sun’s north / south 12 o’ clock dead overhead journey. It’s always special for me: Yeah another human defined line, but sort of not so as Nature defines it! That 23.3 degree line and its link to our Planet’s axis tilt, so critical for the whole balance and life as know it.
This crossing makes it my 9th surface crossing and the 5th ocean crossing of the Tropic, the other four in yachts, and the land surface ones were a combination of bicycle, motorcycle and car.. There is something special travelling by surface…. And hmmm, there is something special with that high altitude view….. Will i ever see our planet from up there again???? Now that’s challenging my early day commitment!
The days are getting noticeably longer as my friends in NZ are seeing their days shorten with only a few more days for that longest night low point!
Other than moving the clock one hour forward last night, hardly another adjustment has been from the bridge! It seems that Man has delivered a machine that completely takes in its stride Nature’s Grand Adventure. In their seeming randomness the planetary winds and currents now appear almost defeated and without purpose in this huge Pacific Ocean. Let the illusion continue…..
It’s just 340 nm to Papeete, Tahiti now. We’ll be docked for 18 hours, so it will be out with my bicycle and off to see what’s changed since June 2014!
From a pretty flat ocean flow of the past few days, within hours we will be going over another group of sea mounts. Just three this time, with the highest one rising 4000 metres from the sea floor below to be less than 300 m under us…. This one is seemingly a perfect steep conical volcano.
We should be there to meet the Pilot around sunrise tomorrow, and then I’ll watch with fascination as this huge ship is taken through the narrow 100metre wide and 12 metre deep natural channel to its berth inside the confines of Papeete’s compact natural harbour.
Masters, Mastery and Power
There are just two ‘able seamen’ on board: Raghu Komara from India, and Frenando Viray from the Philippines, both over fifty who have years of experience, and it will be up to one of them with the help of a tug to ‘drive’ the big ship into its berth. The officers almost certainly unable to do it as competently themselves, but knowing they have something other critical element to contribute will watch and critique his performance.
Mastery and Masters hey, who are the real Masters in this and where does the Real power lie? Oil Refineries ran the same way, but in the case of the solo adventurer this ‘Power structure’ doesn’t work. In my pursuit of intensity I have always strove to have the most mastery experience and perspectives of both masters. I sense this has helped me step up (or maybe down!!) to my solo pursuits!
Ah it’s so great to be able to reflect on the wonder of life and share with you out here: The choices we make the ‘What’ they produce and the ‘Who’ they ‘find’? What is life, other than a series of choices and adventures just hoping to be edging closer to mastering the understanding of what it is all about? Ha-ha, those two hours of Fiona, just feeling playful and flippant..
Oh that reminds me: All still going good with the plan from that last meeting with Me and Myself!
‘Useless’ facts from My Walkabouts
1. We have a large amount of fresh, openly sacked, New Zealand potatoes and onions on board! I wonder if it is a case of: “Shame on you Yanks, not being able to grow enough for yourselves!?” OR “Well done Kiwis for growing such special potatoes and onions that are in demand in America!
2. It is possible to be a Captain of a ship like Cap Capricorn by the time you are 30!
3. Twenty six year old Yangyan Liu, from China who I told you in the last blog showed me how he checks the refrigerated containers, is on board as a trainee officer, and is paid a mere USD700 a month as he works his butt off trying to prove his worthiness to be a fully commissioned 3rd Officer. With a rare, ever cheerful demeanour he is hopeful that this is his last trainee voyage, but realises that’s in his Masters’ hands.
4. From full speed ahead to the quickest stopping: It will take 7 minutes for the propeller to stop its forward rotation to then reverse direction and start its astern rotation! It’s only at this point that it will start acting as a brake, and start slowing the ship down. ‘They’ couldn’t tell me exactly how long, but actually stopping is still another 10 minutes after the propeller has changed rotation. Quite a few miles would have been covered before stopping! So don’t get in the way of one of these armoured vehicles!
I Fly, You Fly, We all Fly! Just because the Crowd does it, does that mean it’s right?
It’s easy for ME to know why I am on this ship today, and seriously exploring the possibility of a ‘No Flying’ future:
All my life experiences to this decision to resist the wisdom of ‘The Crowd’ and go by ship are part of a rich and complex tapestry that has shaped my soul. Maybe my soul hasn’t been shaped: Maybe the experiences were what I needed to find my way through The Crowd and back to belonging with my authentic human soul?
It’s feels like ‘a calling’: A feeling within that says this is the right thing to be doing. What I am struggling with on the ship is how to share that journey to this decision point with you in a way that’s entertaining and useful for you? The Facts, the motives, the belief changes, etc but in your life context….
Sharing when ‘we’ all have had such different lives, experiences and I guess spiritual beliefs and human souls….? Or do we?
Maybe what’s good for my soul is good for your soul, and is good for all human souls, because that what being a full human is about? Having belonging with our soul which belongs to this planet??? All big questions, maybe simple answers and maybe I’m going where I shouldn’t… Haha!
I sense many may have deleted my first One Point Zero e-letter the moment they saw it had a focus on Sustainability / No Flying adventure. Probably saying: Howard’s lost it, I enjoyed his ‘real’ adventure blogs, but life is too short to worry about all this sustainability ‘crap’…”
That makes me real sad as they are probably the people I would like to ‘engage in debate’ as its’ not about sustainability it’s about us belonging together and to our Planet!
Rather than being down, I thought back to the past and the journey I have come on, and when I would have had the same reaction…? That made me ask myself how and why I have changed, and what is it that is driving me to be seemingly going against the flow of society…? Man that started a whole wonderful journey back to 1964 where my contact with passenger flying journey all began…..
Did you know that in the 24 hours since my last post more than 1400 passenger planes have crossed the North Atlantic, and in 1964 that number may have been one or two?
Being ‘just 59’ and youthful, some of you will be older than me, and some younger than me, hopefully some much younger than me….. I thought it would be interesting for ‘all of us’ to think back to our all very different ‘first ‘passenger aeroplane’ experiences? Maybe someone was even born on a passenger flight or even conceived in the ‘mile high’ club, or had a mother who was/ is a commercial pilot! Move through your life from that first contact to reliving your experiences with aeroplanes and flying right up to today! I have found it quite moving for me already..!
This may help us see why we each have our unique views and beliefs on flying and the role it should or shouldn’t play in our lives today….
So there we go, while you start reflecting on your flying journey I’ll be writing mine for you to read in the next day or so!
In the meantime here are some articles and facts I have found interesting and that have shaped my thinking (I have taken the liberty and inserted ‘One Point Zero’ where I thought appropriate):
Flying in One Point Zero Context
Depending on whom you believe if you are an average person in a developed world country you are probably responsible for between 12 and 18 tonnes of Greenhouse gases a year. (‘How to Live a Low Carbon Life’, by Chris Goodall.)
If you better understand the Global Footprint Network (www.footpintnetwork.org) measurement for ecological sustainability this translates to ‘you’ needing about 5-7 Global Hectares of Planet today.
If you are part of The Elite, and an ‘average elitist’ then your footprint would almost certainly have figures some 2 -4 times of those above! Many celebrities and entrenched icons of the High Life in their totally unrestrained lives would even be orders of magnitude above that.
Who knows, who cares, who should….????
Whether you take recently agreed Green House gas targets for developed countries, or use the Global Footprint Network (GFN) Earth Bio capacity determination, the average ‘allowance’ for each of us 7 Billion for a One Point Zero world, works out at around 3-4 tonnes per person per annum, or on a GFN basis an individual demand of only 1.8 Global Hectares.
Either way, a massive, more than 65%, reduction is required by Ms / Mr Average Citizen Developed Nation, and clearly multiples of 100%’s for those above average! Arguing about the single digits discrepancies in methodologies would be missing the point.
Where does Flying fit in?
Many reputable sources are in agreement that the carbon footprint for passenger flying is about 1 tonne per 5000 km flown economy class. There is almost unanimous agreement that this should be increased 2-3 time to take into account the Nitrous gas or Contrail impacts that relate specifically to high altitude air travel.
This all equates to flying from say London to NYC generating 2 -6 tonnes, or needing some 1.4 to 4.0 Global Hectares. In both cases this single flight pretty much uses ‘all or a lot more’ of our individual ‘allowances’.
But that’s just one flight I’m a Frequent Flyer?
A 6 June 2015 New York Times article by Josh Barro indicates that many Frequent Flyers are now being required to clock 25 000 miles a year to have the basic Frequent Class benefits, while the elite Diamond Class members are doing more than 125 000 miles a year to meet their class minimum. This means these people are ‘responsible’ for a huge 7 up to 35 tonnes a year, or needing from 4 to 24 Global Hectares each. This translates to them needing roughly 2 to 12 planets just to accommodate their Flying footprint! The further obvious and shocking truth is that Frequent Flyer programmes are effectively incentivising our more speedy self-destruction. Maybe in a One Point Zero World there will be a Frequent Non Flyer Programme…!
I have the facts for the Real Elite, and Real Celebrities, the ones who fly in their private jets, or Mr Trump’s ecological bill, flying in that huge Boeing practically alone? The ecological cost is ginormous, and they can’t hide behind the Sin of The Crowd, below!
Does The ‘Sin of the Crowd’, eliminate the sin of the Individual?
Now in all this there is the obvious conclusion that if Howard decides to be ‘a good boy’ and not fly, someone else will fill the plane and so although Howard becomes a good boy, One Point Zero is no closer goal as that plane still takes off and its footprint doesn’t change. Yeah this is where selfless-ness or selfish-ness comes in, and more about that in posts to come. All I want you to know here and now is that I do understand this sneaky argument of hiding behind the Sin of the Crowd!
I’ll let George Monbiot (ww.monbiot.com) give his view on this:
“This huge discretionary ecological cost for of passenger flight in now broadly understood by almost everyone I meet. But it has had no impact whatever on their behaviour. When I challenge my friends about their planned weekend in Rome or their holiday in Florida, they respond with a strange, distant smile and avert their eyes. They just want to enjoy themselves. Who am I to spoil their fun? The moral dissonance is deafening.!”
Howard adds: If we all in the developed nations say it’s not for me to reduce, and the developing world develop to needing remotely what we demand / generate today I can’t help feel that Humanity as a collective and us developed nation citizens as individuals can only feel ashamed at our Success!
Excerpts from ‘How to live a Low Carbon Life’ by Chris Goodall
“The growth of aviation is so clearly incompatible with a ‘One Point Zero’ goal that scientists working in this area simply cannot understand why the governments of the world are failing to hold back the growth.”
The UK’s Independent Advisor for The Sustainable Development Commission said way back in 2004: Governments around the world have failed completely to confront the problem so far.” On the contrary they have done everything they can to encourage further growth in order to promote short term economic growth and development.”
Excerpt from George Monbiot (www.monbeit.com) again:)
Despite the claims the companies make for the democratising effects of cheap travel, 75% of those who use budget airlines are in social classes A, B and C. People with second homes abroad take an average of six return flights a year, while people in classes D and E hardly fly at all: because they can’t afford the holidays, they are responsible for just 6% of flights. Most of the growth, the government envisages, will take place among the wealthiest 10%
Ok, well that’s been quite Fun….. Heavy Fun, but I found it Fun, and I hope you did…?
I’ll be back with my Flying Reflections in a few days…. In between a truly sustainable Tahitian bicycle excursion!
We crossed the human defined 30th parallel last night, I sense Nature didn’t blink an eyelid!
The current out here, after being our quite aggressive 1 knot foe, has switched to being our gentle friend, now helping us along by about 0.5 knots. (Can the sea be our friend, or even our foe? See what Joseph Conrad says below!) After rain and the 20 knot winds yesterday, the rain has left clear skies as we go through a light wind patch associated with an alien localised High Pressure zone. Should be back to full on 20 knot trades tomorrow and the seas are predicted to rise from the 2m of today to around 3.5m. So we shall see….: Just on 1100 nm to go to Tahiti!
The Extreme Adventure: A glimpse of its dark side!
As I write this post from the seeming comfort of my padded leather chair and desk, in my single porthole ‘prison cell’, I’m filled with confusion and turmoil. This is why I prepared for this new One Point Zero adventure as being the most extreme ever, and the journey of the mind has begun…..
Yesterday I sat down to write about some real One Point Zero stuff, trying to connect ‘you’ to the One Point Zero picture I have inside me. Its many scary rooms, corridors and stairways and levels, which maybe only from my perspective, make a cohesive One Point Zero edifice.
It then hit me that there may be nobody is even reading this? Compared to my previous blogs, life and my struggle on the ship vs Africa, South Pole, Siberia, etc maybe seems boring? A struggle that is seemingly from the outside is not even a struggle but a luxury cruise! Then add, the hard to confront, Facts of One Point Zero, and its mission, and maybe I have the basis for a box office flop!
Ha-ha, being a pessimistic realist, and apprentice activist, I have plans for all scenarios, even the “Howard is the only one who reads his blog”, scenario! I realised a while back that one has to do what one loves, and the way one loves doing it, not what you think others want, otherwise’ ‘ya will fail yaself’. This is where it does get scary though….: Thanks to so many followers of my adventures in the past, I have lived ‘snugly’ for many years under the ‘Solo but Not Alone’ banner, but experiencing ‘Solo and Alone’, would be a whole new challenge…….!
Adding to of this, with the novelty of the first few days of ship life behind me, I’m now in the very familiar, yet unfamiliar, adventure capitulation zone. Capitulation is part of all the extreme adventures I have done, and is the point when one finally accepts one’s new life circumstance and moves to loving it, and finding meaning and purpose in all of its ‘Now’. Normally that would be dealing with the, non-leather chair realities of the adventure, but the unfamiliarity of this passive ‘prison cell’ capitulation is new!
Just a Sunrise on the Bridge!
This morning I was up on the bridge at first light and the chief officer was on watch, grumpy and hardly acknowledging me as I walked through the doorway into his domain. It was close to the end of his graveyard watch, and having worked shifts in oil refineries, and then had many years of solo sailing through the night, I knew how he was probably feeling.
Making it worse there was I seemingly an ‘insulated’ passenger, having had a full night’s sleep, and arriving just at the only special moment on his tiring watch! The moment to capture another, undeserved, stolen tourist sunrise for Facebook posting! It was a special sunrise to the point I was surprised he even took his camera out went outside and took ‘the shots’, we all do these days.
I moved to the control panel taking my shots from inside to capture the uniqueness for me, of the bridge panel and the sunset. The captain arrived, and the mood changed to one of warm friendliness as I sense he sees me as adding valued diversity to his ship life. He also had his camera and not knowing my intent said: “You should rather go outside as the windows aren’t clean and will spoil the shot!” The discussion continued to him telling me how this Pacific is a desert, ‘there is nothing out here’!
I didn’t know this, and this was my first sunrise at sea…..???!!
Man I felt a whole range of strong emotions flow inside me as I thought how many vast wilderness I had been in that were so called ‘deserts’ as he was describing? Antarctica probably being the one that caught most memory time, but then for more relevance solo ocean crossings came back vividly. How being alone facing the full intensity of Nature’s Grand adventure is so different to this ship experience.
Through no fault of his own, the captain wouldn’t know that two years ago I had experienced this big ocean desert, the largest in the world, but at the mercy of its elements in a 45ft yacht. Not that it was a particularly difficult trip, just that the intensity of being so small and vulnerable in it was so different to this….
Somehow on this huge ship one feels like all one is doing is reluctantly ‘using this desert’ to get somewhere where ‘someone else’ wants it to be. As I talk to the guys on watch there is just one goal, to get there on time for the boss’s docking schedule. At least three of the senior crew to my amazement, have shared with me they don’t even like the sea, they are scared of it!
I can see how the unpredictable moods and power of the sea, particularly the vastness of this Pacific Ocean can be the source of fearful disinterest, or maybe even a conclusion of pointless belonging with a void of any useful human context.
I truly believe that being such a huge part of our Planet’s surface, like the rest of wild Nature, the more intimately we experience it, the more we can understand it, and belong as full, deserving human inhabitants of our home. The more we understand it all, and how we fit in the more we will see the wrongs of our ways, and the easier the One Point Zero Challenge will become, because like me we’d see the change as exciting and life enhancing!
I can see the Captain loves what he does, and as I explore more I see that his love of the ocean is from some perspective that I do not fully understand? I do wonder whether he has any idea of my perspective, and as we chat I sense he is respectful but doesn’t want to go there to even try to understand. I sense for him I’m crazy taking on the risk and discomfort, he has power and a machine that can ‘take on the sea’, and never lose.
I was feeling like I was with people I should have bonded with, but in reality I was in their world and they didn’t understand the world I had experienced? On this huge ship I almost felt betrayal to Nature and myself that I had opted out for this armoured vehicle option: Rather than being intimately immersed in the Nature’s Grand Adventure?
Why was I doing this? I seemed caught in no person’s land: I didn’t have the intensity and sense of belonging with Nature that goes with sailing, and yet I didn’t have the convenience of crossing ‘this desert’ as quickly as possible (by plane) to get to where I ‘have to go’…? The turmoil didn’t stop there and so back to the Captain:
There seems to be a huge difference in his and my relationship to Nature’s Grand Adventure: Our relative sense of insignificance, vulnerability and depth of intimacy with that Adventure. He uses a huge, sophisticated, armoured vehicle, needing many fellow humans to keep it going and ‘him and them’ protected from the forces of Nature.
I have only used simple, more fragile ones: Often not even having a vehicle, and therein I sense our different perspective on the relationships to Nature lies.
Sadly, I sensed from the passionate discussion we had two nights ago, that in the years gone by he had experienced a much deeper intimacy with the Sea and Nature. I saw his face change as he became animated in bodily expression, transforming into a vibrant, intense human. I could feel his words coming from his soul and the context of this deeper bond with the sea, but one which was now just a memory. He even spoke with some sadness about the changes that have taken place.
Now on the bridge, he shared with me that these days the RPM of the engine of Cap Capricorn of which he is the Captain is set and monitored real time by the ‘Head office Captain’ sitting in Hamburg! In the pursuit of functional efficiency his freedom is fast dissolving into soul-less compliance. This is what is happening in his journey to Success. The modern world in its ever more powerful armoured vehicles and focus on urgency, schedules, and ‘the buck’, has moved his Intimacy with Sea, to being merely a distant memory.
As I pursue my work, the challenging One Point Zero question I ask myself is:
Is this ever increasing armour and amazing logistical success journey part of the path we need to One Point Zero Success? To more and more ‘block out’ the spiritual intensity associated with Nature’s Grand Adventure, and merely use our ocean wilderness for our anthropocentric needs and functional purpose? Maybe ‘we’ are improving a process that is fundamentally flawed? Maybe it is a process that promotes a Way of Life that increases our already too much ‘unfriendliness’ to Nature and our Planet? One that is a contributor to our One Point Zero problem: Both in its ecological footprint cost to deliver, and in its support of our unrestrained demand for convenience and novelty? With every day of increasing unfriendliness to Nature, we are losing our home and our ability to belong!
If the answer is the latter best we search for a whole new Life process that sets us on the One Point Zero course, rather than waste human innovation and genius on increasing the conflict with Nature that will result in our eventual demise.
The Ship for the 1%!
Later on in my day, while doing my perimeter walk I bump into Liu Yangyung, one of the crew from China, and his job is to check every 2 hours that the refrigeration on each refrigerated container is functioning. I ask him to show me how, and I was astounded to see most of the refrigerated containers being kept at minus 25 degrees C or thereabouts. He confirmed that it was meat and fish inside, and the deep freeze is to eliminate any chance of bacterial decay. This is an expensive and footprint heavy import / export process. I wonder who buys this meat imported meat, I then pondered? Oh well obviously: Surely it’s only the ‘1%-ers’ who could afford flesh that is shipped across the Pacific, and kept refrigerated at minus 25 Degrees C for 20+ days. I have probably eaten it many times in the past without blinking an eyelid, maybe seeking its exoticness, having never engaged in the mindfulness step this ship trip is facilitating!
So there we go, another item to add to My One Point Zero Challenge list: No more imported meat or seafood for me! Actually thanks to a strong influence from Fiona, we have both moved almost 100% away from farmed meat for the reasons of its huge ecological footprint of which I am sure most of you are aware, and also its anthropocentric flaw! Yeah, all challenging stuff for the ‘little boy’!
The Sea, Nature and Humans
Continuing on our relationship with Nature, but with different context, I can relate deeply to Joseph Conrad’s words: “The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”
Conrad is seemingly humanising the sea, but I sense beyond an adversarial relationship he points to a mystical synergy between humans and Nature that ascends our human understanding of relationships. The increasing armour of mankind’s ingenuity maybe taking us further away from a spiritual restless accomplice that is linked to our Real Success?
Over the years of exploring how my Definition of Success has changed and how I moved from my anthropocentric, capitalist world void of spiritualism to a world where my very being relied on an understanding and acceptance of my place in Nature, has brought me face to face with the above seemingly flippant idealistic questions. As I have explored more and contextualised the huge shift we need to make to move toward a One Point Zero world, the paradigm shifts behind these questions are seemingly more and more like the imperatives we have to face.
From my little boy, transformed by Nature’s Grand Adventure, perspective: It is very clear that we are aiming at the wrong beacon of Success! One that is taking us further and further away from living intensely as full humans and belonging to Nature and our Planet.
The sooner we see that, and change the beacon, the sooner this amazing human innovation machine can be pointed at Real Success. When that happens, the One Point Zero goal will become an achievable reality. The challenge is for us all to see that where we are aiming is not success, but rather mass annihilation of a brainwashed or mushroomed crowd. Unfortunately the leaders of The Crowd seem so entangled in the power fame, and fortune associated with our journey to the current beacon of Success, that they won’t volunteer to lead us where we really need to be going! It will take all of us to demand from them to step up and show us the way or either step down and fall on their swords.
Now yes, that is a very big statement with huge ramifications from a ‘little boy’!
There we go, it just started with sunrise on the bridge, and it all led to this!
Oh maybe some of the above is because I’m feeling seriously unbalanced with ship life at the moment, and this new capitulation is challenging me?:
‘They’ broke ‘My’ gym. ‘They’ feed me too much! ‘They’ won’t allow me to ‘sail’ the ship! ‘They’ are all males! …. Ha-ha, yeah life on a container ship! So what are you going to do about it Big Howard?
I went up to the bow of the ship, ‘right on the point’, sat and had a serious ‘one on one’ meeting with myself! Yeah, as those that know my claim to hold the world record for ‘Romantic Dinners for One’ would know there used to be ‘Me’ and ‘Myself’ two quite different personas that had many, many romantic dinners together until they became ONE! Well that was years ago and I thought we were ONE, but this ship or maybe the activist pulls are sort of splitting us up again! So yeah the meeting on the bow was good in finding out why, and what is needed to get us ONE again! So action:
1. I skipped lunch today: That felt good and will become the norm now!
2. In place of lunch I did 1 hour of mostly ‘gym-less’ exercise as the equipment is now fully U/S. So running up and down 8 flights of stairs 5 times, then out on the afterdeck for on the spot running. Then a fast walk around the ships perimeter pathway climbing all the caged ladders along the way and up to the various places they go… Then lastly into the gym for bench press and sit ups, as that is all that’s in working order. Felt soooooo much better to be out of the cell and working the body!
3. Decided I have to be brave and just write how I feel to ‘you guys’: Whoever ‘you guys’ are, even if there isn’t a ‘you guy’!
4. Solving the men only problem: I decided to spend two hours tonight and every second night (ha-ha) dreaming of being with Fiona!
Now those that know my love for the 1965(?) book entitled ‘The Ulysses Factor, The Human Need to Explore’, that I have shared before, will know that it says the only way to experience something, is to experience it!: To live it, to deal with its joys, struggles, and mediums. To throw your heart and soul at it, and most of all to be naked in it! No armour or simulators, or tour guide capsules, just you and the experience alone, albeit with others around! One has to feel the full force of the experience on oneself! This is what I volunteered for an intense experience, not hedonistic pleasure or a short cut to happiness!
Well yes, that’s what I feel I am doing at the moment, and I’m trying to share it all, not just the fantasy stuff! Ah, sorry I won’t share those ‘two hours every second day’ with you, but ‘everything else’! As best I can, OK!
Will I stop flying and resort to container ship travel? Well let me have the full Ulysses experience before I answer that! What would help my decision is if JUST two people from my ‘socio-economic’ group would also take up the challenge and commit to a future without flight! (I prepared to listen to less onerous proposals within My One Point Zero Challenge commitment to myself!) Anyway early days yet, we have almost three months to think about it and decide!)
OK, bye from out there in the deep blue yonder desert!