Neptune BBQ, Lifeboat and The Big Ticket

The Now

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!

Uganda Motor Cycle Equator 2013
Uganda Motor Cycle Equator 2013
...and a Land based Neptune!
…and a Land based Neptune!

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!

BBQ on deck!
BBQ on deck!
 First slice for The Captain and served by The Baker!
First slice for The Captain and served by The Baker!

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…?

Thirteen of us stepped through there!
Thirteen of us stepped through there!
Inside the Lifeboat before it filled up.
Inside the Lifeboat before it filled up.

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?

Upcoming Attractions:

 YouTube, Exploring, and being Entertained  and  “How I deal with The Crowd Truths? By Jean Paul of Papeete.”

Ever changing Vista. Same Porthole different Place different Movie
Ever changing Vista. Same Porthole different Place different Movie

One thought on “Neptune BBQ, Lifeboat and The Big Ticket”

  1. Howard, very thoughtful blog. I really enjoyed the point about how there is personal satisfaction and meaning in doing the right thing, that it enhances your sense of belongingness, that it is not about wasting your life to do good for the planet. Now, I confess, I was a little confused by the idea of big and little tickets. I think I get it. Howard, I am impressed how sure footed and clear you are; these ideas have really grown in you.

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