The Ultimate Discovery

Electricity! This might be the most important book I’ve read in, well, forever. I’ve always been fascinated with the fact that there is only energy, and that all matter is just energy. If we could somehow turn the energy of the universe off, everything would disappear. That blows my mind. And in my book, I talk about Energy as a sort of God, that which gives us life, that which sustains us and IS us – and everything else. So I talk about the fact that God is Everything and Everything is all a part of God.

I’ve been waiting for this book: “We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body’s Bioelectric Code, and what the Future Holds.” The author, Sally Adee, (I believe) coined the term, Electrome, much like the gut Biome, of which we’ve talked about quite a bit recently. She does a deep dive into the history of how we came to understand energy and our bodies and life, with great stories of the scientists and others who worked on this over time, then how every cell has energy, and on and on. I won’t give it away, because it’s really, really interesting.

As our understanding of how electricity manages our body and, as she points out, is a sort of separate nervous system, and what it can already do and what can be possibly done with it in the future, it really feels like I’m reading about the future of medicine wrapped in lots of great stories at the hands of an amazing author. She’s obviously super smart, but makes it not only accessible, but quite the story! If you’re into this sort of thing, I would strongly recommend it. It’s a blast to read and also a glimpse into the future of medicine. We are electric. We need to recognize it and see what we can do with it to better ourselves and our future.

Accounts Payable

“…in 2017 the Kentucky Coal Museum covered its roof with 80 solar panels because the technology saved the organization money.”
Susan Joy Hassol, Scientific American Magazine

There’s something awesome about that, but pretty much how it’s been here in reality. Big corporations have been planning for climate change for decades, the military even longer, but out here in TV land, we ain’t gonna plan for nothin’!

The release of heat trapping gases last year was the highest ever recorded. And there’s really no denying that a climate crisis is upon us as we watch giant storm after giant storm, heat wave after flood after fire rattle the nation and the world. We’ll survive, but we have to agree that mitigating the effects of climate change will be extremely expensive. Like, really fucking expensive – cleaning up after storms, floods and fires, moving homes, people and infrastructure, dealing with the massive migrations away from the equator. If we’re thinking we have border issues now, have a seat and watch this.

So how can we in good conscience pretend that what we’re all doing is still okay, and that we got rights to burn all the fuel we want, whenever we want, and how we want? It’s ludicrous and really, really, really fucking mean to our kids, grandkids, great grandkids and onward. At this point, we are the absolute worst fucking ancestors in the history of the planet.

Yeah, sorry about that whole “earth” thing, kid. Here’s the bill.

Thich Quang Duc and Wynn Alan Bruce

Most people my age and older have some knowledge of, and may have the image (above) seared into their mind of when Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, set himself on fire to protest the police and Vietnamese army’s massacre of Vietnamese people during a celebration that turned into a protest. At the time Vietnam was 90% Buddhist but the current ruler, Ngo Dinh Diem, was Catholic and wanted to “westernize” the nation and so banned the display of religious flags. On May 8, 1963, they celebrated Phat Dan, or the day of the birth of the Buddha, religious flags were displayed, and the massacre ensued. A month later, on June 11, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk who was not at the massacre, sat down in the middle of the same street, began meditating, set himself on fire (doused in gasoline) and sat motionless as he burned to death.

An American photographer happened to be on the scent and got the iconic, jaw-dropping photos that exploded across the globe. Thich Nhat Hanh, another Vietnamese buddhist monk, prolific author and teacher, often brought him up in his writings, and while I never committed the man’s name to memory, I never forgot that image since I saw it as a teenager in the 1970s.

Recently, a blip in my online, 24-hour news feed, filled with stories of mass shootings, war in Ukraine, awful American (and worldwide) politicians and people, and the ongoing, ever-expanding destruction of the planet thanks in large part to human-induced burning of fossil fuels, was something about an American who did something similar in Washington DC. I’m appalled and embarrassed how little attention I paid.

Reading the obituaries in the local paper this morning I stopped cold when I saw: “on the steps of the Supreme Courthouse…”

“Bruce, Wynn Alan
Born in Green Bay WI Aug 25, 1971 and died on Earth Day April 22, 2022 on the steps of the Supreme Courthouse in Washington DC. His father, Douglas Bruce (Holly), mother Martha, stepbrother Eric (Jamie), extended family and friends in Minnesota and Boulder, CO and around the country are greatly saddened by his death but respect and honor his commitment to the issues of climate change and the environment.”

Unless you’ve got your head jammed straight up your ass and/or have been fooled by extremely effective but idiotic right wing media, you understand what is happening right now to our climate due to humankind. I’m human and not at all pretending I’ve been doing much myself. In fact, my passion for doing something about this has been washed away, shall we say, having watched the world (and more importantly, individuals like you and me) do absolutely nothing about it.

Scientists have been warning us for decades, and year after year, the climate has been proving them almost exactly right, but to pretty much no avail. So I’m now at this point hopeless we’ll do much about it and wondering what we’ll do about the consequences. How will we handle the flooding of coastal and inland low lying areas? What will we do about the incredible heat waves that will make many places currently filled with humans uninhabitable? How about the massive fires that will only get worse and worse? Who’s going to pay to rebuild after the super storms keep coming and damaging property, farmland, and infrastructure? And in the current pandemic of xenophobia what will we do with the mass migrations due to heat, flooding, fires, storms and water shortages?

Of course, we’re already paying for increasing storm damage, controlling and putting out growing fires, cleaning up and relocating people after massive flooding, but it’s that last one that I really worry about. Here in the U.S. people are filling their pants because there are 60,000 people at the southern border trying to get into our nation of 330 million people. What about when there are 10, 50 or 100 million people clamoring to get in? What big beautiful wall is going to stop them? How about when the entire population of Southwest U.S. starts running north and east? What happens then?

We’ll see. Then, by the way, is only a few decades out, maybe sooner. But here we sit, doing nothing and not even noticing, when Green Bay’s own, Wynn Alan Bruce, sits down in plain view and burns himself to death in an incredibly brave warning to all of us of what’s coming. Blip.

We think we know

Sentient beings need a brain, right? A nervous system to tell the body what to do in the world. It’s what we know. It’s all we know. But there’s a single-cell slime mold, sans any nervous system, that learns, passes knowledge to other molds, and repairs itself within minutes. No one knows even how to categorize this organism.

It’s been around for millions of years, but we have no idea what it is. Is it an animal? Is it a fungus? It’s capable of memory and adapts its behavior. It solves problems of moving around a labyrinth.

“The blob can navigate without eyes, limbs or wings. When researchers sliced up the organism and sprinkled them in a maze, the blob consolidated into its original form.” And get this: “After introducing the experiment to a new blob and allowing it to merge with another, the new super blob show incredible smarts. ‘Somehow during the merging process, the naive cells learned a behavior for a situation that they themselves had never experienced.'”

Crows taught to fear a particular human will give birth to baby crows that have never seen that human or know anything about it, but know to fear it. What do we know?

Depression and anxiety symptoms linked to reduced information-seeking behavior

Allow me to flip that on its head.

Reduced information-seeking behavior linked to depression and anxiety symptoms.

I was finally diagnosed with adult ADHD at 54 years of age. It explained so fucking much. I always jumped into everything head-first. I never wanted to learn anything officially. So I generally always sucked at things. I’m a drummer! Drum lessons? Nope. … Sell the drums. I’m a bass player, I’m a playwright, I’m a business owner, I’m an accountant, I’m a writer, I’m a social media guy… I was none of those things because I had no patience to really learn them. I just wanted to do them. And I got bored almost immediately. That is classic ADHD behavior.

As an adult I had awful depression and anxiety. From college on, I struggled with both and felt weak and pathetic for having them. I had no right. My life was fine. But the reason I did is because I never prepared for or really learned anything. So I just faked it and that led to serious anxiety; and as I failed, depression.

I never slept very well and so my doc thought I might be bipolar so I met with a psychiatrist. He asked me a bunch of questions and said, “You’re not bipolar, you’ve got classic ADHD.”

After a couple of days of testing, it was confirmed. I treated the ADHD, and the anxiety and depression went away. I was suddenly able to pay attention more, focus better, slow down, know my limitations and what is needed to succeed.

Poof – I’ve still had some anxiety but no depression for over a year. The lack of learning ( information seeking) led to the depression and anxiety. Now I’ve learned how to learn to be happier.

Frankenstein

It’s ten below outside heading toward 20 below. If you’ve not felt that kind of cold, it’s dry; it’s really really dry. Body lotion vanishes like mist in Phoenix. Static electricity loves this kind of dry!

I have to roll up the trash bins so I put on my green puffy down jacket and a wool hat, making sure my headphone cord is on the inside so it doesn’t get caught on anything like the trash bin handles. It’s ten below and that generally means crystal clear. Not a drop of water in that air. There’s a delicate moon, just a sliver, running from 2 to 8 on a clock tip to tip. “You could hang a bucket on that moon,” my grandma Lucia once said about a similar moon at a different time.

It’s beautiful, but it’s also stupid-cold out there so I head back inside. I stop in the entryway and close to door behind me to keep the cold out. I pull off my puffy down jacket. The cord sticks to it and then peels off.

A pack of tiny firecrackers goes off in each ear. Electricity dances between the ear buds and ears. Each feels like one of those electricity balls that makes kids’ hair stand on end when they put their hand on it, but without the glass ball. It hurts! My shirt billows toward the jacket and hangs there for a second . I’m pregnant with static electricity; Marylin Monroe on the sidewalk grate. I shake the sparks from my shirt and throw my crackling hat on the jacket, watching as all around me the energy slowly snaps itself out.

I’ve had more painful shocks from static electricity, but this went on like a fireworks grand finale. I wonder if it’s going to give me any superpowers.