On the front page of Google, they feature a link for us to go vote on various doodles drawn by children in school. Each drawing respresents a wish of theirs for the world. I want to take some time and comment on their wishes.
To: Abigail Kois, age 12, in Walworth NY.
Your doodle was the Google logo, connected by paper clips. And for your wish you wrote:
“What I wish for the world is unity. The theme is represented by connected paper clips in my doodle because they represent unity. Each clip is interconnected much of the way people are.”
I love your wish most of all. But I wonder if you’ll ever fully understand it? I’ve met very few people in this world who do. If you don’t understand what’s dividing the world, you will never understand how to unite them. Most people never learn this in life, but I hope you will.
It won’t come without long studies, and developing your mind. Unity isn’t something that just happens, or some moral duty. It’s a lot harder than just hoping people will be nice to each other, and stop fighting. We have to understand one another in order to be united in the way you’re hoping for. I admire what you strive for, but it’ll take more than a kind heart to change the world.
Philosophers have spent the past several thousand years thinking of how to unite mankind together. Their goal was to find a way of thinking which would unite everyone together, and bring peace. Over a long period of time they developed what’s now known as the scientific mindset. They learned that if men’s minds were to unite, they would have to acknowledge “empirical observation” as the basis for what we consider truth. “Empirical” means that what you consider to be truth is what you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, taste with your tongue, feel with your hands, and smell with your nose.
I’m sure this all sounds very strange to you, yet at the same time, it’s also common sense. I mean, if someone was going to tell you that a giant elephant was in your living room, yet you were in your living room, and you weren’t able to see the elephant, I’m sure you’d find the person telling you that pretty strange. In fact, you’d tell him he’s lying. In other words, what he’s saying is not true. But in this world, people believe a lot of things, even when their beliefs have no evidence to back them.
To give you an example, you may have heard about the Miss America pagaent. Miss California has caused quite a stir over her comments on gay marriage. Though a lot of people think this issue is about gays, and their acceptance in society, it’s really about something deeper.
Miss California is a Christian. To her, truth is what she reads in the Bible, which is their holy book. Her interpretation of the Bible is against homosexuality, and she believes what’s in this book, because to her to have faith in its contents is the utmost duty of a person. She believes, when she fights against gays, she’s doing the will of God in heaven. Also, she believes if she does not fight against gays, she will be punished by God, and possibly even be thrown in eternal torment in hell when she dies.
Now the real argument comes down to whether a person should believe the contents of a book, like the Bible, by blind faith. Especially when it goes against scientific evidence.
Science test after science test shows that your sexual orientation is not a choice. Some guys are attracted to other guys, and they are not attracted to women. When these gay men are put them in laboratories, and are exposed to sexual material, such as nude photos of both sexes, the gay men are not stimulated by pictures of nude women, but ARE stimulated by pictures of nude men.
The same goes for straight guys. They are stimulated by pictures of nude women, but not so by the pictures of nude men.
To Miss California, these gay men are either possessed by demons, or somehow diving into a perverse sort of “sin” when they are attracted to other men. But science shows that this is not a matter of choice. Gay men are born gay, and its embedded in their genetic structure. Scientists have even found the gene combinations in the DNA strands which makes a person gay, or straight.
And think about the word “straight”, versus “gay”. Straight means they’re not bent, and perverted, like a “gay”. Even the words we use to denote sexual orientation are mean spirited.
So to tell gays they’re bad people because they were born a certain way seems stupid. When Miss California appears on the news, and says she was exercising her right to free speech, is that really the issue? Is she free to hate people born a certain way, just because her religion tells her a union between gays is an abomination before her religious deity? Is it alright for her to be stupid, and be unaware of the science studies that have been done?
This gay marriage issue is just one example. There will always be people writing up books, and claiming they are divine, and contain the absolute truth. But how do we know what really is true, when so many different people and books are saying so many different things? We have to do science, and test, and observe patterns. We don’t sit around and guess. We do testing, and confirm whether things are true or not.
Like a lot of things, this issue isn’t just about gays. It’s about whether people should believe in things blindly, or whether they need evidence before we should respect their opinion. It’s more difficult to study and read books, and learn what science tests have been done, whereas it’s very easy to just believe what people tell you, and never investigate it out for yourself. As long as people are lazy, fighting like this will continue to take place.
As for a lot of fighting in the world, the fights are because people are lazy, and do not study or read books. Not all fighting comes from this, but a great deal. As for the unity you’re hoping for, it only comes through education. So stay in school, keep studying, and never quit learning.
There’s a wonderful book I have read, written by a monk who lived in a monastery. A group of reporters visited him and were asking why he rarely left the building. They asked him how was he expected to change the world, sitting around in some room, reading books. They felt he needed to be outside, giving speeches, and traveling the world. Then he said something I’ll never forget.
He said, “Uniting together is more than coming near one another. People travel to one another to fight during a war, but they certainly are not united. Become united in mind, and you’ll also be united in body. But this will only happen if you study.”
His understanding of the world, and people, made him love, and have compassion. That’s really what your connected paper clips are all about. Everytime you learn and understand someone else in this world, and understand their beliefs and why they believe the way they do, you’ll connect your paper clip to theirs. But those connections are a gift only given to those who work for it.
To: Elizabeth Harman, age 16, in Wake Forest, NC
Your doodle represented exploration and creativity, and you wrote:
“What I want for the world is to be a place where your imagination can run free. A place where you are not limited by money or materials or other’s thoughts, but are free to bring the creations of your imagination to life.”
You know Elizabeth, I used to think just like you, until I studied economics. Your wish is admirable, but you haven’t thought about the problem long enough to realize what you’re actually saying. There’s a huge mountain of problems you’re ignoring. You lack a thorough understanding of what money actually is, and why this world you’re wishing for doesn’t exist.
You’re not limited because you lack money. You’re limited because you’re human, and the laws of nature are difficult to overcome. Really, all that money would enable you to do is pay someone else to do all the things you’re not able to accomplish on your own. As you seem to be realizing, people controlling others through monetary systems is slavery. Why should someone have to do what you want the them to, just because you have money to throw at them, and they’re in need? But people are far too quick to blame the monetary system, which isn’t people’s problem 9/10ths of the time.
Maybe you dream of one day creating a movie like those you see in the theaters today. A giant Hollywood blockbuster! Wouldn’t that be nice? But like most people, you probably don’t have money to hire the 3D graphic artists, the actors, the costume creators, the camera men, the digital film editors, and everyone else involved. All you can probably realistically do is type up a screenplay on your computer, and hope a rich person will invest money in your film’s creation.
But if you only had money! So many people think that all their problems would end, if they could only get their hands on money. But imagine if everyone had money. Then what? You’d find a very different world.
All the factory workers, creating all the goods, and processing our food, and other products, would just all go home. They’d all just say, “I’m rich now. I don’t have to work.” Trash men would stop coming and collecting your trash. After all, they’re all rich now too. And mechanics, and repairmen who fix things. They’d all retire as well, because they’d rather be watching the sports game than dealing with that sort of stuff.
Wal-Mart would shut down, because truckers quit driving trucks delivering produce. And the employees all decided to go home as well. Policemen also stay at home, because they’re all rich and retired now.
But now we learn something very important. Everyone has this big wad of money, but since nobody is working anywhere, it can’t buy you anything! In other words, it’s useless.
Money, in and of itself, is not your problem. It’s not most other people’s problem either. The world is your problem. We live in a cruel world. If you read history books, you’ll see that only 200 years ago, people were literally plowing fields with oxen, and working all day long out in the hot sun, just to grow enough food to eat. If you’d been born then, you’d spend all day canning vegetables, cooking food, and doing other duties. You’d have no time for anything. As for me, I’d be out in the fields, miserable.
200 years sounds like a long time to someone your age. But when you get older, you’ll see the years fly by. The last ten years of my life have flown by like nothing at all. Seems like yesterday. Like snapping my finger. Snap those fingers ten times, and a century goes by. My own father lived in a home without electricity, which had an outhouse! All the nice stuff you have… that’s VERRRYYYYY recent.
It’s only VERY recently that there’s been any excess abundance for us to do fun things. The ONLY reason we have this abundance is because of increases in technology. That’s the ONLY reason.
So just like I told Abigail, the only thing that’s going to make life better is for you to keep studying. You, and your classmates have to learn science and technology, and improve things. You have to find better and better ways of taking care of our needs, so we’ll have more free time. Once technology rises to a level where everyone can be provided for without doing much work, that’s when we’ll all be free to have fun doing creative enterprises.
But don’t have unrealistic expectations of our science developments. People see scientists doing some pretty amazing things these days, and think, “Surely we have technology that can provide for everyone easily.” In some ways, yes, but science has a LLLLOOONNNNGGGG way to go. Maybe one day things will be like Star Trek, where people can talk to a computer, and it materialize energy and create you a plate of food. But as of right now, there’s still farmers out there planting crops, digging them up, and loading it in trucks. Those crops are taken to factories, where the food is processed and turned into food. It’s packed up in packages, and shipped to grocery stores. All of that is a HUUUGGGEEEEEEE process involving countless people.
There’s the farmers, the suppliers, the airplane pilots carrying cargo, the truckers, the warehouse workers, the sales clerks, the grocery store employees, the scientists who create the machines, the cars, the airplanes, and all the factory workers who build the cars, airplanes, and what not. There’s the engineers who scouted the land before the building was built. Each warehouse was built by carpenters and construction workers. There’s lumber guys out there chopping down trees, in a lumber mill somewhere. There’s electricians who wired up the lights. There’s scientists at Intel building computer chips for all those gadgets they’re using throughout the process. There’s software developers making the software which organizes it all. All those inventory levels, and project management all have people managing things. The list goes on and on. You have to see beyond money, and see what all these people out there are doing. Money is just a piece of paper with a number printed on it. How is printing up paper, and handing it to people going to make our lives more free? We need our stomachs filled with food, homes to live in, and transportation methods to get around. Until you find ways to take care of all that stuff, we’re not free at all.
On a small scale, our money is manipulated. There are corrupt people at the top, who manipulate our money, which makes their purchasing power more than ours, so that they can order us around, and get things that they want, even though they don’t deserve it. It’s true. But generally speaking, they’re a minor problem. The real problem is the fact that your body needs food, clothing, and shelter. The fact that your body can get sick, and perish so easily. The fact that we age at such an alarming rate, with such a short lifespan. Nature is far more cruel than any tyrant. Watch animal planet. Study the science of our planet’s formation. Even the origin of our universe comes from a chaotic bang.