World Goal

“No battle was ever won according to plan, but no battle was ever won without one.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Another version

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Since it’s a near year the topic of New Year’s Resolutions might be on some people’s minds but if you are serious about attaining your goals you won’t wait for an arbitrary start date. You should set them as soon as you are able to articulate them and get started.  What are your goals? If you ask most people this question they probably won’t have a very good answer. In fact I do not have perfect goals set at this point but I am developing them.

Since it seems the next 11 months will be filled with politics I can also link that in here. Politicians are really just running on what their goals are. Unfortunately they all seem to have very vague goals. Politicians are generally focused on getting elected which is just a popularity contest. As some scientists are seeming to discover, people are not smart enough for democracy to work and it doesn’t seem as if any of Plato’s Philosopher Kings are in our future.  

Our biggest goal for the world should be providing security to each person, the security to prosper independently or in collaboration with each other. People should get the opportunity to seek any position they desire. There will be people who don’t reach their goals but the fact that they got the opportunity to try is the important thing.

On a positive note according to  Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth in 2001 1.1 billion of 6.1 billion (18%) people lived in extreme poverty whereas in 1981 1.5 billion of 4.4 billion (34%) people in the world were in extreme poverty. The positive note here is that there are fewer people in poverty now and the percent is also lower.

This is a good start but it also seems to be slow progress to me. I believe with more dedication on our part (the rich of the world and if you are reading this on a computer and live in the US you can consider yourself rich, check the Global Rich List if you think you aren’t)  we could help others prosper much quicker, certainly before the end of my lifetime (which should be over 50 years) but hopefully in 20 years or less (that’s my specific goal).

Sure this is a large goal and it’s much larger than any one person. The good news is we aren’t in this alone. We are all in this together. Let’s take the historic example of another seemingly incredible goal with a short deadline, going to the moon.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” – JFK

See the power of a goal? A problem is if we don’t know where we are, we can’t know where we are going. Most people are so wrapped up in the day to day of their lives. For some this is imperative. They have to worry about where their next meal will come from. For others their daily worry is how their stock market holdings will play out or how soon they can buy their next car or see their next movie or their upcoming vacation. Which group are you in?

The good news is that as shown above, we are on a good path and just by looking around you will see that education is pervading. You can learn more today for free than you could ever learn in the past, even if you traveled the whole world. There are free classes online from MIT. There are channels dedicated to teaching on a more fun level. There is also Wikipedia.

There are also plenty of local, national and international organizations dedicated to helping others escape the cycle of poverty. The sad thing is that these organizations are often underfunded. It’s more fun to play with cars (my own personal vice) or other things, than spend your time helping other.

It is only by bringing our collective brain power to bear on the challenges of those who have not that we can bring the whole of society forward.

Will Trade Dirt bike For Prosperity For All

Today I had something taken from me. Well really it was taken from my father as he purchased it for me many years ago. He was more wronged than I was.
I had a 2001 Honda XR80 in the back of my truck in the parking lot where I live. It’s a small bike. Much too small for my 215 lb self. I had brought it back to Iowa to fix up so my younger brother could enjoy it as I had when I was younger.
I remember the day my dad brought it home. I don’t remember the day exactly, but I was about 12 (2001-1989) and it was a Christmas present for my brother (a year younger than I) and myself. I remember there wasn’t to much snow on the ground yet so we were able to ride it in the field. We were throwing snow everywhere! Snow rooster tails!

Eventually we bought another older (1980’s vintage) XR80 off the internet so my brother and I could ride together. I am sure we rode around quite a bit but I only distinctly remember one time. We were both going through this field with tall grass. He was off to my right. The grass was pretty tall so we couldn’t really see what was in front of our tires. He ended up hitting a stump or piece of wood that happened to be in the middle of the field. I distinctly remember looking to my right and seeing him seated on the dirt bike in a normal position, except the bike had the wheels straight up and his head was near the ground. Don’t ask me how that happened but it was there. Of course shortly after that moment in time, everything unraveled rather quickly. The bike maintained more momentum as it was heavier and went farther, which was fine as luckily it didn’t land on him. He landed on the ground and we walked the bikes home. We even had a baseball game that night. I’m pretty sure he had some memory loss from that incident.

Over the years the bike had deteriorated. I had acquired a larger CR125 and enjoyed riding that with a friend who also had a 125cc dirt bike. They are much more powerful than an 80cc. I had brought it to Iowa one time and had tried to fix it up some so my much younger brother (14 ish years younger) could ride it. It was only semi successful. It at least ran but didn’t idle good and unfortunately he never got to ride it like we had as kids.

I was home for Easter weekend, 2015 (a few days ago as I write this) and had decided it was time again to fix up the bike for perhaps another attempt to have my younger brother a dirt bike to ride. I loaded it up and drove it back to Iowa with me. I live in an apartment complex on the North West side of Cedar Falls, by all accounts one of the best parts of the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. I came home the night of 4-8-2015 and noticed that my dirt bike was not in the back of the truck where I had left it since returning Sunday (4-5-2015). It’d been there a total of 3 days and it had been stolen. I have even left my bigger dirt bike in the back of my truck over night before. Now I’d be pretty hesitant to do that!

This is honestly one of the first acts of crime that has been perpetrated against me. I can honestly say I was pretty confused. I called the police and told them something was stolen and I was calling them because “That’s what you do when you have something stolen.” They asked me my address and sent a guy out to look at the crime scene. We didn’t find much. They even left the pretty sweet tie down’s I have in the truck? Why? Idk.

Anyway, I’ve got pretty low expectations for getting that back. I’m not really the loser here as I never paid for the bike. I sure feel bad for my father who just wanted to buy something nice for his sons all those years ago and it was well appreciated, used and loved. But now the joy that was going to go to some future kid, maybe my brother, maybe some kids I have yet to meet that I was hoping to introduce to the joys of dirt bikes, will not be realized.

What will become of that bike? What was the motive of the person who stole it? I can only hope that they stole it for a “good” reason. Were they stealing it because they can’t afford a dirt bike for their own kids? If that’s the case I wish they would have asked if they could have borrowed it instead. I have read about 90% of the way through “Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth” as of today and one sentence really resonated with me.

“It is utterly clear to me that the highest priority need of world society at the present moment is a realistic economic accounting system which will rectify, for instance, such nonsense as the fact that a top toolmaker in India, the highest paid of all craftsmen, gets only as much per month for his work in India as he could earn per day for the same work if he were employed in Detroit, Michigan.” P112 Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth”  R. Buckminster Fuller

Did the person who stole my dirt bike feel that he didn’t have any other option to get money than to steal my property? How can we rectify that?

I have yet to read this book “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. diamandis and Steven Kotler but from what I’ve gleaned thus far from the back cover is that they are arguing that we have the capability to fulfill everyone in this world’s basic needs through application of current technology. I agree with that assessment completely.

How to address this issue of inequality is another problem. I make more money than the average household in the USA. Because of this I am able to save for retirement, give to charity and purchase unnecessary toys and take fun trips. How to help distribute my income so that everyone can live in peace is something I’ve been trying to understand for a while. One of the issues is that we as a society have made it shameful and hard to ask for help. We value independence over just about anything. We see it as a strength not to have to ask others for help. This is good in that it does make us stronger, but it is bad when at times we do need help we are unable to ask for it. Often when we ask people do look down on us or feel pity for us. Neither of those are helpful reactions. We should work to identify why someone is in a bad situation and help them out of it, not think lowly of them for it. We’re all in this together.

Ultimately I’m upset that my dirt bike was stolen, not because of the money, but because of what it meant to me. The love and joy my father had purchasing it and giving it to his sons who were equally or more joyful at having such a fun new toy, like nothing they had had before. I guess the people who stole it decided that they needed it more than me, and it’s sad our world is like that. Please help me make the world a place where no one feels the need to steal.