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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro


There are several things I don’t understand. Well, actually, the things I don’t understand would fill a good-size book. There are scientific phenomena I do not understand, such as nuclear physics or quantum mechanics or Vasiliev equations. The latter, by the way, are consistent gauge invariant nonlinear equations whose linearization over a specific vacuum solution describes free massless higher-spin fields on anti-de Sitter space . . . an understanding of anti-de Sitter space being, of course, common knowledge. But the lack of understanding addressed here has to do with the human psyche. Why do people embrace thought patterns, and consequent actions, that are simply nonsensible? Three examples:

Number 1. People persist in not getting along with each other. This happens at every level, but my focus here is relationships between countries. Antagonism between sovereign states, most particularly the big powers, keeps the whole world on edge. There are enough nuclear warheads ready for launch to destroy human life on the planet. It used to be call MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – although the term seems to have fallen into disuse. Why don’t the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea (those with nucs) realize the mutual benefit of cooperating (starting with destroying all nuclear bombs) rather than competing?

I live on a neighborhood cul-de-sac with seven residences. It would be horrifying if all seven of us exhibited hate for one another and armed our residences with AR-15s and hand grenades ready for use. Our peaceful coexistence is of benefit to all of us. Why can’t we operate with that mindset on the international community level?

Number 2. Greed. This one baffles me beyond comprehension. It’s no secret that the U.S. is an oligarchy, namely, a country ruled by the filthy rich. (As is much the same in most countries.) And there appears to be a common philosophical outlook among the multi-millionaires and billionaires: more is never enough. When someone has more – way more – than enough, why does he or she feel the need for more and more and more and more? Top-tier professional athletes turn up their noses at paltry $10M/yr. offerings and corporate CEOs garner unimaginable wealth (Peloton Interactive Inc. CEO Barry McCarthy’s 2023 compensation = $168 million). Being WAY overfed, over-housed, and over-toyed wouldn’t be a concern if there were no starving children in the world. But our country (as one among many) is loath to put limits on personal wealth for the betterment of the whole national community. Maybe it’s just my ignorance or stupidity, but I simply cannot understand why anyone in the U.S. could not live comfortably and happily with, say, a half million annual income. Or, to be overly generous, a million.

Number 3. Self-destructiveness. Why do people persist in activities and lifestyles that are obviously deleterious to oneself when they know this is the case? Smoking, drug abuse (alcohol the leader of the pack), gluttony, and poor diet, to name a few. We only get one body, and we only get it once. It would seem to be common sense to work at taking as good a care of that body as possible. Self-care – doing, or not doing, what benefits oneself – applies holistically. Attending to care of the body needs to be accompanied by care of the mind and spirit. Doing the things that foster physical, mental, and spiritual health result in a sense of well-being that absolutely enhances life. So why do people neglect such self-care . . . or consistently act in ways that lead to a degraded life experience?

Yes, yes . . . a team of psychiatrists could educate me with hours of posited erudite answers to the above questions. But I believe that in the end I’d still be confused. Nature and nurture play their obvious roles in producing the negativity addressed above. But in spite of the myriad of factors impinging on hostility, greed, and self-destruction, it IS possible to recognize when circumstances need to be challenged and changed . . . and to work at turning the negatives into positives. If I ever need nudging in that direction, please do.

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