Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why I fast - Attention must be paid

I am a bit scared now for my own health and safety, being somewhat weakened by 66 fast days this year, with about 30 in the past 100 days or so.

Because...

I started a fast about 12 hours ago, one that may end badly for me personally. I am asking for some attention to be paid. I am seeking answers.

I believe that this proposal that calls for payments by polluting industries to the people, and payments by those who take natural resources, could solve two of our greatest problems threatening the stability and sustainability of civilization. Many small problems would disappear.

This proposal would mean the economy would become focused on increasing efficiency in use of energy and other resources (to the extent necessary to bring the reality, in terms of resource depletion and other environmental impacts, into line with what the people want). And it would bring an end to extreme poverty.

The proposal is being allowed to languish. I find this fact very disturbing; so much so that I have not been able to give a normal answer to 'How you doing?' for about six years now, seeing as I do that people are willing to neglect a profoundly important proposal. (Perhaps I, too, would be thoroughly uninterested in carrying this idea forward if I were not the author of the proposal. Well, by whatever quirk of nature or accident, I am the author of a proposal, and I am VERY interest in that to which silence and inaction are common responses. The inclination of most people is to let these ideas languish.)

I am asking that the two professors at Assumption College, (Hickey or Kantarelis, one or another of them) say what they meant when they declined to share this proposal to a larger audience because it was said to be contrary to human nature. What changes in human nature would be needed (from what to what)? What did I write that caused them to hold this view? I would be happy to celebrate hearing from either of them on these questions by breaking fast.

(These professors took a substantial sum of money and invited me to their academic conference on the understanding that they would give an honest evaluation of a paper that elaborated on my ideas and then decide whether to publish. Truth be told, they did not specifically tell me that they would give a review. But I think the assumption is always that there will be honest dealings, and it is generally understood that there will be feedback (which there was) in the case of rejection of a paper. The problem is, though, that their critique, "change in human nature" is so vague as to be (shall I say?) inscrutable. Not analyzable. What change? And there was no reference to text, even after repeated emails to the two men (there was no reply at all) even to this date [12-24, late PM, latest update] to show what in the paper brought them to that conclusion. Common human decency requires honesty and courtesy. Where is it? I may be about to die for something I believe to be profoundly important. Nothing that anyone has said has caused me to waiver from that conviction. So be it, if need be. But if there is a fatal flaw, if there is a requirement for a not merely improbable but also highly implausible change to happen, if the proposal is not realistic or feasible, then surly I don't want to die for a flawed proposal. That would be a sad waste of a good life.)

Also, if ANY other person sees a fatal flaw in this proposal, PLEASE alert me! That would be a relief. I will not sacrifice my life for a flawed proposal. I only feel so strongly about this because I believe it to be important. If it is flawed, it can be let go.

OR

If anyone, ANYONE, is aware of a better proposal for achieving these goals, PLEASE let me know. I will not sacrifice my life for a second-rate proposal.

OR

Someone show me some sign, some evidence, that these ideas are to be part of the public discourse. Where is that conversation happening? When is that conversation happening? The hour is late.

OR

If MANY people were to tell me that these goals are not important and that it is not worth pursuing changes that would be difficult to bring about, then I might celebrate our self-indulgent toboggan ride toward collapse with a bit of fruit... Not the outcome I would prefer. I prefer to think that I live in a society made up of people who really are concerned about these problems and goals. I mention this maybe as a way of inviting people to 'look at it squarely. These are important goals!'

(I feel certain that a small group of people could, if they chose to do so, make a topic part of the public discourse, at least in a local area...)


What news media and universities are not telling us: Systemic flaws are not reported

If a reporter or editor were to respond to this critique by resolving to remedy this blind spot in the reporting and publicly committing to doing so (or if they would tell me where the critique linked above is flawed) I would also be ready to end this fast. I would not feel a need to sacrifice my life to bring some topics and ideas to the public consciousness if those topics are being addressed in normal reporting, as they should be.