Biography of the Writer
Do not put faith in traditions even
though they have been accepted for long generations and in many
countries. Do not believe a thing
because many repeat it. Do not
accept a thing on the authority of one or another of the Sages of old, nor
on the grounds that a statement is found in the books. Never believe
anything you yourselves have imagined, thinking that a God has inspired it.
Believe nothing merely on the authority of your teachers or the
priests. After examination, believe
that which you have tested for yourselves and have found reasonable, which
is in conformity with your well-being and that of others.
Alive – Rodger Walsh ‘84
The sage advice from The
Buddhist is as important now as it was when written. Actually, it is even more important now
because there is strong evidence that elements of our inherited paradigm nation
states blindly follow, indeed, that all civilizations living on our common
planet follows, are leading us into grave danger. It is time to question the beliefs and common
customs that we have grown up to think of as “normal”, beliefs that create
the framework of our society’s current paradigm.
Comment on certainty:
Throughout this draft I may make statements about this or that
as though they were fact. This means
that they are currently fact for me as I understand it from my personal
journey. Nevertheless, like all
“facts” they are subjective and others may disagree or see the matter
differently. And since knowledge is
never cast in stone, facts are always subject to change if enough evidence
indicates they are not correct. Many
accepted facts of the scientific world today are quite different from facts
50 or 100 or 1000 years ago. But throughout
all ages people have needed a comfort zone of basic beliefs about who we are and why they are the way they appear to
be. Before science solved some of
the riddles of life and nature, various religions gave stabilizing answers
and behavioural guidelines. In some cases, long held beliefs take
precedence over conflicts with science even when scientific conclusions can
be demonstrated consistently. Such
is the nature of deeply held beliefs whether pertaining to religion,
evolution or economics.
Parts of my personal road
It seems that I have been a sceptic from a very young
age. I never really believed in
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Catholic teachings in my childhood –
although I pretended I did for a long time.
I went to college, married, had 3 children and worked with a variety
of companies. These included ground
geophysical surveys, air crew in aerial photographic survey in the Canadian
arctic and South America, and for a few years I headed maintenance of a
data center at RCAF station Cold Lake Alberta. While associated with the RCAF I did some
special projects for them involving system analysis. For about 20 years I owned/operated an
aircraft electronics sales and service organization at Dorval International
Airport in Montreal: during that time I became president of the Canadian
section of the, Aircraft Electronics
Association, for two years. I
also held personal maintenance contracts for products emerging on the
leading edge of the digital age - of the ‘70s era. XX In most of these endeavours my job was to analyze systems that were not
working properly, and fix them: I was a systems troubleshooter.
I sold the Montreal
company and moved back to Ontario, returning to a company I’d worked for
much earlier. Here I was involved
with design/development of, and marketing of, automatic test equipment for
navigation and communications systems for airline transport aircraft – many
of these still in use today (We called the product line Iris, Greek goddess of communications). That company product line was sold to a
US company. I declined an offer to work in US and experienced the
uncertainty of unemployment for the first time. Not long after that I accepted an offer
with Transport Canada as an Airworthiness Inspector where I remained until
retirement in 2001.
My adulthood was during the euphoric era of rapid exponential
growth and opportunity.
I was a believer in free enterprise, capitalism – even the
Reagan/Thatcher deregulationism did not faze me –
Why not let corporations just run free!
Along the way I experienced close and personal encounters with
alcohol addiction on a couple of occasions.
This was my introduction to the study of human nature, and the
strange behavioural anomalies within individuals
It was not until my late 50’s that I began to question our
government’s foundational quest of everlasting economic growth. My first inkling that not all was well in
our marvellous expanding world,
was the result of “tuning-in” one day, to the recurring debate of, “where
can the city of Toronto find landfill sites to take their ever increasing
garbage?” Infinite growth in volume of garbage, VS diminishing areas suitable
or willing to take it. Soon
after that pensive moment it became clear that this fundamental conflict of
“infinite growth VS diminishing resources” applied on
So I began to read about energy, demographics, ecology and
related areas. When I first read
Lovelock’s description of the systems of Gaia it was very meaningful to me
as it cleared the fog on many areas of interactive systems that make up the
world we live in. Whether or not
Lovelock’s description is scientifically accurate, like other “facts”, it
seemed reasonable and insightful to me: perhaps because of my background
working in various aspects of integrated dynamic systems.
When I began to see how vast and threatening the human
predicament actually had become, my interest in psychology was renewed in
an effort to try to understand: Why would “homo sapiens”, the smart animal,
be driving ourselves
toward our own extinction? (The human predicament is a term coined
by the Club Of Rome)
After a couple of years communicating with a few professors
and authors in psychology, religion and ecological issues I began to study
economics and monetary systems. It
seems this subject is one of the primary drivers of our common
problem. It appeared that the global
system of human civilization had serious faults, so I decided to make a
personal project of troubleshooting the human/Gaia relationship.
In 199 I completed a manuscript titled, A 21st Century Steward’s Handbook. The final effort coached by professor
Richard Slaughter (in Australia) past president of the World Future Society.
After selling about 500 locally made copies it was accepted for
publishing by a publisher in UK, but the company closed for reasons
unknown. The chapters are now on web
in pdf, on my home page.
While waiting for the book to emerge (but never did), I had a
summary article published in the Journal, Futures, distributed by Elserver (See
Abstract of, A Troubleshooter’s Analysis of the
media bring us news of wars, political scandal, ecological disasters, space
explorations, religious edicts, economic good or bad news and major league
sports scores. These appear to be humanity's most pressing issues. But
beneath these issues lies a pervasive matter, an issue close to, but
inhibited from, the conscious mind and the feeling heart of most humans—the
spectre of possible human extinction. It has been
pointed out time and again by individuals and scientific groups that
exponential population and industrial growth leads directly to the end of
planet Earth's ability to sustain human life. It seems that we do not know
how to stop this growth, so we do not talk about it. A troubleshooter
concludes that we could learn to talk about it, and we could stop this
This abstract remains generally suitable for Paradigm Junction, except we now
propose a potential solution.
In order to encourage conversations about our future, during
gestation of the first manuscript I started an organization called the Gaia Preservation Coalition [link
below]. For a few years we had
bi-monthly meetings in Toronto. Now,
two decades later this organization communicates via a Yahoo email listserver and we have a web page. We have had no significant initiatives to
date. The directors, from various
countries, and many others discuss global issues on an email list server.
GPC CORE PURPOSE
To be a gathering place for people
Consciously acknowledge the human
Predicament and who seek with others
Resolution through the creation and
Exploration of ideas and actions that
Humanity toward a more harmonious
Relationship within Gaia.
In the past dozen years I continued reading and discussing our
issues, and have had articles published in various journals. These are listed in my personal web home
page, noted below. Eventually I
mentally arrived at conclusions about how current global events may lead to
appropriate opportunities that could enable a new beginning. To that end in the spring of 2017 I
completed MOOC course on
cryptocurrencies. If others find it
reasonable, we must be prepared to use a narrow window of opportunity
if/when it opens.
In the past few years growing ecological and financial anxiety
has led to many new localization initiatives and organizations: and also
economic reform organizations. They
have emerged with recognition that our familiar paradigm is about to
change, and that existing political infrastructure is unlikely/unable to
make appropriate changes. Perhaps
20% now recognize the need for major change? Perhaps this 20% would become a social
tipping point if a viable alternate were on the horizon?
These growing calls for change give hope!
Next to: The
Link to home page of Don Chisholm http://members.kos.net/donchism/index.htm
To Gaia Preservation Coalition http://gaiapc.ca/