Wednesday, November 21, 2012

RUNNING OUT OF GAS

When a neutron bullet hits an atom it begins the process of fission, or splitting the atom. When this happens to a uranium atom, we get a nuclear explosion used in certain types of atomic bombs and nuclear reactors. When the atom splits, additional neutrons are released, splitting more atoms. This continues until all the fuel is exhausted.

 The split parts of the atom move away from each other, until all the fuel is exhausted.

  Visit the Hubble site. There are wonderful advances in space photography. The galaxies and nebulae are beautiful. To me, they strike similarities with the ideas of particles as presented by quantum physicists. The structures of neutrons, photons, electrons, bosons, all the forces could be illustrated in the photographs of other solar systems. The search for the Higgs Boson, aka "The God Particle", is as impassioned as the search for intelligent life on other planets.

 As if what's true above is true below.

 It seems that the more that is learned about science, the greater the divide grows between the scientific community and the religious community. Granted, I have to say by my own observations, that the scientific community has been putting far more dedicated study and objective work into discovery than the modern day church of the last two or three decades. The modern day church's various denominations and sects seem to be bent on sticking their heads in the sand insisting that their particular narrow interpretation of a group of questionably translated books is the way everyone must live. Then when they finally do lift their heads out of the sand, very few people are there.

 The societies of our world in the last decade are experiencing accelerating changes. Much of this change I attribute to the advances in technology. Political leaders and rulers have a harder time controlling their populace with spun facts and outright lies. The truth comes, usually from an anonymous insider, tweeted or facebooked or instagramed out to the world. And while pictures can and do lie via Photoshop, the evidence of tampering seems to come out as instantly as the next set of photos. Plus the live streaming of events supports all the other information that floods our devices. If you give it some effort, you can suss out what's really going on. But you certainly can not rely on television talking heads any more. Except maybe for Jon Stewart.

 Could it be that the technology is the "neutron bullet" that has set the splitting of our societal atomic structures in motion?

 Most of the world's citizens in so-called civilized societies have worked together, for the most part, to maintain the society's civility. World Wars I and II are big examples of this. But since the '60's I believe, this acceleration to split apart has been gathering momentum every year.

 In the U.S., after a presidential election, the party that lost the White House would shake hands and then go back to work addressing the best interests of the people. This didn't happen this year. The leadership in the Republican party was shocked with the result of the election and instead of going back to the people's work, have been running around in a state of panic much like Chicken Little's frenetic claim of the sky falling. Because they did not "win."

 I believe that the country in general has underestimated the depth of anger and feeling of betrayal of those upset Republicans. And this is not going to improve any time soon. Enough numbers of people unhappy with the results are now petitioning for secession.

 The split parts of the atom move away from each other, until all the fuel is exhausted.

 The banking and finance industries no longer serve the financial needs of the general populace. Their focus is only on their own bottom lines and pocketbooks. The aftermath of the government bailouts has not resulted in any substantial benefit to the large numbers of people who lost their homes and savings. Government officials continue to skew the math on unemployment and foreclosure figures.

 The split parts of the atom move away from each other, until all the fuel is exhausted.

  The New York Times says that 50.7 million people in the U.S. are uninsured. This doesn't count the number of people underinsured. Obama care will now go into effect. I have a friend who moved here from England many years ago because England did the same thing to health care that we have just done. In England, according to my friend, when you get seriously ill you are put on a waiting list for treatment. When you finally get to treatment, you are put through a predetermined course that may or may not have anything to do with what ails you. The result is that more people with serious illness are going to die waiting, or running through the predetermined numbers of treatments until the one they really needed is now too late to help. Because health care is no longer run by healers. It is run by financial interests.

 I believe this brings us to the big bullet. This particular issue addresses the fallout of an unspoken neutron bullet that has hit a troubling atom affecting our entire world. It's the elephant in the living room. And I believe it is a bigger neutron bullet than technology.

  Overpopulation. There are too many of us alive today for the earth's resources to support in a viable way. We are putting too much carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere that will not dissipate before becoming toxic to our species and all the animal species on earth.

 Our natural resources will begin to seriously deplete in the next five years. This will impact our economies as well. The only way our planet can sustain any kind of human population is by globalizing our resources. This is what "the powers that be" have been moving toward for a very long time. But in the process, our societies are splitting apart.

 The split parts of the atom move away from each other, until all the fuel is exhausted.

 I believe that it's not just a fiscal cliff we in the U.S. are facing. I believe that our entire way of life is on the precipice of radical change. What we believe, how we interact, our moral compass - it's all going to be different. And I believe this will happen as if overnight. Very soon. If you look at things that are now in your own life, that used to be so very different, you'll get a sense of this.

 In the film "Cloud Atlas" the various societies moved to depletion as we are doing. Yet there was a concerted, expensive and valiant attempt for one visionary to deliver a message of hope and healing - to just one influential person. Just one. Today, my son and I saw "Rise of the Guardians" that carried the same message. Just one believer saved the day. Yet enormous cooperation of joint effort was required to ignite the spark of that one person. In both stories. And maybe this will be our story as well. The stories are important. We best not lose them.

 We might be doomed. We might not. The church is not going to help us. This is clear to me. Science will give us tools, but it will depend on the heart and focus of the use of those tools that will decide whether we're done here or not.

 A bubble is the most beautiful right before it pops. We're close to this.

 The split parts of the atom move away from each other, until all the fuel is exhausted.

 In fusion, as opposed to fission, two or more atomic nuclei form a single heavier nucleus. Heavier elements tend to fuse more easily than lighter ones. Fusion powers the sun and stars. If scientists can figure out how to harness fusion, we'll have an inexhaustible energy source that is environmentally friendly and that produces no greenhouse gases. That'd be great.

 In the meantime though, I still drive my gas powered car and burn my electric lights at night and sit here typing on my electric powered computer, while I consume products created in factories that spew enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

 I am therefore part of the split atom. Exhausting the fuel. As are you. As are most of us.

 Until the fuel is exhausted. Which is very very close.