Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Is he the future?

   In a striking way, Dr. Stephen Hawking may have been the first of the new breed of human being. He charted new horizons and boundaries in science and left an intellectual imprint that is among the giants of all bipeds who have inhabited this terrestrial ball. He did it of course despite a body that was betrayed by a disease. 
   It was the brain and the spirit of Hawking that lived while his body barely did. That he defied the odds of his demise for a half a century is in itself extraordinary, then we are left stunned by the output of his life, mind stretching output. Hawking defined the point of a human life. The intellect and what we do with it. All of our bodies will fail eventually, either by age or disease and the sum of our existence will derive from the output of our brain and our spirit. What did we do?
    Wealth, fame, athletic accomplishment last for only so long, no manner how grand they may be. Hawking shows us that human spirit and the mind is unlimited.
     Who knows what awaits human kind as we continue to poison and despoil our planet, as disease, famine, and war, continue to threaten as they have through all of history, or as we surrender our mental health to screens, entertainment, commercialization and when materialism erodes spirituality and intellectuality. Regardless of any or of all of the above, Hawking demonstrates true human potential resides in that unique link between the on board human computer-the brain and our uniquely human essence, the spirit. 
      It may be that our progeny will live more as brains, human computers, cyborg fused connections of mechanical bodies. They may live where birth right, disability, illness, are simply complications that are transcended and barely relevant to the power of mind and the capacity of our spirit.
     We are in debt to Stephen Hawking for being a great intellectual power and scientist, but also for overcoming the frailty and certain failure of physical existence by living powered by his mind and spirit. In the vernacular of our age he was the real Super Hero.

     As if we really need another indication, but the dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by social media demonstrates the despicable nature of the person in question. It is the act of a coward, unfit and unqualified and completing lacking of character.  
     The man who occupies the oval office is as far from the standard of a good or worthy human being as we can imagine. He is as far from a Stephen Hawking as light is from dark.
     I am no less convinced of the danger he poses now than when I was first reviled by the slimy way he conducted himself in the republican primary. We had warnings from his previous life. And it was back in the election cycle that dozens of former military, state department, intelligence and political leaders took the unprecedented action of warning the public about him.
    Though he is perhaps the most reviled and unpopular president in history, he has defenders, still.  And so on this day when we mourn Stephen Hawking, the president is a kind of litmus test or bell weather of how far down the road of selfishness, greed, depravity, lack of knowledge and stupidity this nation has stumbled. That is why the extraordinary life of Stephen Hawking is such an inspirational antidote. 
     Hawking is human worthy of celebration. The president is a low life hustler worthy of our contempt. Let's close with one of the president's main stream media friends-of course it's tabloid, just like him.

     Sorry, but we can't accept this regime as normal. It remains a danger to the republic. 

      See you down the trail.


  1. Tom, this blog's header photo certainly applies to this post --Death Valley with a single trail of footprints in the sand. The 23rd Psalm was one of singular significance to me --and to my father; it was read over his coffin in 1960. I have admired Dr. Hawking for a long, long time mainly for what he taught me about the infinite possibilities of the universe, for his humor and of course, his incredible courage. I consider the Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil..." and think my father would have admired him too.

  2. I wonder if trump even knows who Steven Hawking was?

  3. Hi, Tom. Hawking has been one of my intellectual heroes for at least since A Brief History of Time was written. But I have also been conscious of how unique he is, not only in his intellect and insights, but also because he had the resources necessary to survive. (Certainly I do not mean to suggest those resources should not have been available.) But it brings home to me an argument I had one night, shortly after I returned from a convention in San Diego, during which I had taken a day trip the Tijuana. I was struck, while in Mexico (and not for t he first time) how privileged I was to have been born both were and when I was. I felt certain that there were hundreds, probably thousands, of people in Tijuana as intelligent as I, and almost certainly they were harder-working. Yet there I was, relatively rich and comfortable, able to do, by and large, things that I liked doing (both in my job and in my life), assured of a society and culture that would support and protect me.

    The argument was with a guy I didn't know, who said that what I was saying was nonsense.

    And, in some respects I would say the same about Hawking. Surely there are people living in poverty, in destitution, malnourished, sick, with all the intelligence and curiousity and potential Hawking had. And who, if they fall prey to a life-threatening illness, no one will ever know.

    (In a negative way, this applies to the other actor of whom you have written, as well. He succeeded more because of where and when he has lived than because of what he has done.)

    (w/r/t the first comment...Hawking did not walk through the valley of the shadow death alone. I suspect he would have been the first to acknowledge all of the people and all of the technology that made his journey possible.)