Why Science Is Wrong

Science plays a critically important role in our lives. It not only influences the technology we use, it also affects our politics (global warming being but one example), our religion (“Is God just a fantasy?”), our philosophies (“Live today for tomorrow you may die”), even how we think of ourselves both as individuals and as components of the community of all existing things.

Science has done arguably a better job selling itself as a kind of humanistic religion than most religions have done selling themselves in recent decades. In the process, western society has transformed itself into materialistic cultures of doubters, naysayers and acquisitors. We believe nothing is credible unless it can be proven and nothing is of value unless it can be related somehow to money, its acquisition and its spending. While science has not taught this directly, the belief results from the prevailing beliefs and structures of science and their pervasive influence on our lives.

The whole phenomenon of science influencing our lives in ways never intended may harken to our understanding of the human brain. We have two words, brain and mind, which science treats as equivalents. Science can deal with the brain because it’s a sensible part of our physiology, the organ that controls all other organs and the mechanics of our bodies.

Science has no way to comprehend or to deal with the concept of mind. That which it doesn’t understand, science treats as false or non-existent. By treating “mind” and “brain” as equivalents, science remains within its comfort zone. This comfort zone I think of as a box which science has created for itself and defined its own parameters. To science, if it can be explained or studied (preferably proved or potentially proved in the case of theories), a concept is within its comfort zone, thus may be accepted as “real.”

The brain accepts input from the five senses, information that travels along nerves which have specialized for their respective purposes. From this input, according to science, the brain devises its concept of the world around it, even of itself. What we believe we “are” results from the input we receive from others. Thus if others think of us and treat us as stupid or talented, we believe we are stupid or talented. In effect, life and everything in it remains within our brain. We are who we believe we are in our brain and the world is what it is according to what our brain has created as a concept of “what is.”

Moreover, science positions itself as the ultimate authority on “what is,” as it dictates that what science can understand and define should be all that we believe is correct and real. Science, through multiple sources, inputs that message of “provable equals real” into our brains to the point where many believe that only those things which we can detect using our senses are real. Wealth becomes the proof of our success because with it we can demonstrate that our net worth and our possessions show our superiority. Or, in the case of those incapable of or unwilling to accumulate wealth, their level of inferiority or failure.

This way of thinking, in itself, has made us into less important beings. It denies that thought means anything. It completely ignores consciousness because consciousness requires us to deal with what is outside of our brain. It insists that what we cannot sense or prove (hypothesis has little value until there is sufficient evidence to make it into at least a theory) either does not exist (a fantasy) or is of little value (a pastime).

This flies in the face of our experience. Almost every moment of every day we deal with things outside of our brain. Whereas science has us living our whole lives within our brain, our experience tells us that we must deal with things beyond the scope of our body and our brain in order to function. Science says nothing about that because it can’t explain consciousness or anything else that cannot be proved or at least theorized.

Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the double helix of DNA, Francis Crick, called it the Astonishing Hypothesis. “‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules….This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people alive today that it can truly be called astonishing.” In other words, everything we know and understand is a construct of our brain, remaining within our brain, with who we are as individuals confined to our brain. Science teaches this–indirectly if not directly–and we tend to believe it, for the most part.

Mind you, our senses are anything but perfect. A planetarium can reproduce a night sky pattern so similar to what we could see with our eyes at night that we might be tempted to believe (as some ancients did) that the atmosphere is nothing but a screen onto which a projection of stars, planets and the moon has been sent. On the other hand, many people have experienced phenomenon that science calls paranormal (and considers itself generous at that). Despite the fact that many respected individuals have seen UFOs, for example, that cannot be explained by any understood natural or man made phenomenon, science still dubs these as deceptions of the brain.

Because science can reproduce sensations in the brain similar to those experienced by people who have been clinically dead (including seeing a bright light, sparkles and having a feeling of inner peace), then revived, it claims that near death experiences or experiences of having been to heaven then returned are nothing but hallucinations of the brain.

In his book The Sense of Being Stared At and Other Unexplained Powers of the Human Mind, Rupert Sheldrake cites several case studies of people who have sensed that they are being stared at by someone other than those in front of them, then turned around to find someone doing just that, meeting them eye to eye before turning away. Most of us have had such experiences, though science calls them coincidences. For some, that kind of coincidence would be like winning a lottery three times in the same week.

We imagine, science says, false explanations for events that are nothing more than coincidences or events that could be explained otherwise by scientific study. It calls everything that people experience but that science can’t explain paranormal, with their stories being anecdotes, until enough scientists (or “amateur wannabes”) do more extensive research and publish their results, in which situation they become case studies. Even case studies, science maintains, are not the same as proof.

Science has, inadvertently, turned us into beings of the here and now, believing nothing that cannot be explained by what science knows or theorizes today. Science, meanwhile, has told itself that its own theories are fact so often that it accepts its favourite theories as soon-to-be-proven or all-but-proven truths. Theories that go against widely accepted scientific theories receive little attention and much derision when they get some. Theories about gravity, evolution, even Einstein’s relativity have doubters, but they receive little acknowledgement. Yet even Einstein had doubts about some of his work.

The “discovery” of cold fusion by Fleishman and Pons and its subsequent media attention resulted in their careers being trashed, though several scientists support their results today and efforts are being carried out in the US and France to build plants that will produce electricity through fusion at near room temperatures. Science changes its tune (and soon forgets its errors) when evidence proves the preachings of the science establishment to be clearly wrong.We, as societies, have accepted that nothing that cannot be proven or at least supported by our senses can be true. Thus we accept what our brain tells us is fact, but ignore or deny what our mind tells us exists even though it cannot be explained.

Our brain takes in input from the senses, then processes it. However, what we “see” is not within our brain, as science suggests. Our mind projects the results of our thought out beyond our eyes so that what we see is not within our brain but a diorama that is outside of ourself, scenery through which we can negotiate and in which we conduct our lives.

If science cannot cope with what we know are realities, what our experiences tells us are real, we must accept that these are failings and inadequacies of science. It’s not the role of science to make the realities of our lives trivial or inconsequential, but to explain what it can with the limited tools it has developed for itself to work with.

Science is not the arbiter of reality in our lives, merely a tool we can use to explain some parts of our experience. We don’t use a hammer to drive a screw, nor do we deny the screw exists or claim it’s a figment of someone’s imagination because we don’t have a screwdriver. What science can’t do is its own problem, not one to be adopted by all of society.

Science should not determine what we believe is real, only explain what it can about why we understand something as being real. We should not accept the labels science applies to what it cannot explain, words such as paranormal and supernatural, even hallucination, as if science is the sole judge of what is normal, what is natural, what is reality and what is truth.

If science cannot understand the concepts of God, of nature on a global or universal scale, of unusual perceptions of the human brain or of concepts for which it has little or no evidence, that should not give it the right to claim these things don’t exist.

We should not give science that power over us and our lives. We have the potential to be much greater than science would allow is possible. Succumbing to the dictates of science makes us followers, as much as the followers of a false religion or an unmanageable political ideology.

There are some things about life, truths and realities, that we don’t understand. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. It simply means that we can’t explain them.

And that’s just fine. We must not allow science to bully us into believing that they don’t exist or that they are figments of our imagination.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about easy solutions to apparently intractable problems. Those problems can be solved, but not if we keep looking at them in the same old unworkable ways. Those old ways cost us lots of money and cause us much emotional harm.
Learn more at
http://billallin.com Resources:
Sheldrake, R., The Sense of Being Stared At And Other Unexplained Powers of the Human Mind, Crown Publishers, 2003
Crick, F., The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, Simon and Schuster, 1994

Christmas Carols: A Brief History

Though we often think of carols in association with church services, notably in the Christmas season, they began as anything but.

The word carol itself derives from the French carole, which referred in medieval times to a ring-dance. The first Christmas carols were banned from the church because they were festive dances, though there was singing and often accompaniment by musical instruments.

These were frowned upon by the church in the 13th century as holdovers from paganism. Carolers who arrived at a church on Christmas Eve would have to stand outside. As their singing would disturb the somber attitude of the service within the church, the doors were closed against them. Thus began the tradition of carolers strolling to churches, then homes, as people moved around with their singing and dancing, perhaps to keep warm.

The first time that carols were sung in church, it was the priest who sang them, and only the priest. Those in the congregation kept silent, as was the custom where only the priest would sing within the church. In those days, much of the service was sung by the priest, in Latin.

Most carols, then, began apart from church celebrations. Nearly 200 years ago, one of the few times a carol began within a church setting happened in Austria. The church organ broke down on the eve of Christmas, so the service would have no music if the organist and choir leader couldn’t think of something.

Within a short time they had prepared a song which was first sung by two choirmen, accompanied on a guitar by the organist. At least that’s the story, believed now by some to be a folk tale. Silent Night has become the best known and loved carol in Christendom. Today it’s sung in almost every language on the planet. (Follow the link to see some translations from the original German that differ from the words most of us know.)Christmas carols are distinguished from Christmas songs mostly by the reference in carols to Jesus or to something relating directly to Christmas. In other words, the church appropriated the songs it once found offensive, adopted them, then controlled their proliferation.

One of the best known Christmas songs is Jingle Bells. While this song is appropriate for the Christmas season, it originated in the USA for the purpose of being a carol for Thanksgiving. Jingle Bells, it was originally hoped, would become the Thanksgiving carol. While it refers to sleighs and bells and snow, which few Americans see on their Thanksgiving in late November these days, it was more common for winter weather to have begun by that time of year in the past when Europe was still coming out of the Little Ice Age and America itself was colder than it is today.

Go Tell It On The Mountain, written by John W. Work, Jr., began as an African-American spiritual that gave hope to people who had little of it a century ago. Its words have been adapted numerous times by various groups for different settings and purposes, but the music continues to inspire. The song has a theme and the music a style that Europeans took to, so it was adopted by Christians around the world when Britain was home to the world’s largest empire.Carols, many people feel, do something for us that other Christmas songs don’t. They bring back memories of happy times from Christmases past. They always have a positive message and people who know them find it hard to stand by and not join in when others begin to sing them.

Perhaps more than any other feature of the Christmas season, the singing of carols inspires people to what we often call “the true meaning of Christmas,” helping us believe that there is more to Christmas than overloading the credit cards.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children the life skills and knowledge they need to be competent and confident adults, including being inspired by music.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

How Advertising Molds Your Beliefs

The tourist business is overrun with people bored with themselves.
– Joan Clark, An Audience of Chairs

A majority of people on vacation have one of two possible objectives: to relax and have fun doing much the same things they could have done at home (with some adjustments) or to have experiences they can share later with others at home (to have stories to tell and pictures to share).

Many cities position themselves as vacation destinations by advertising the wealth and diversity of their shopping facilities. Vacationers going to these cities spend time shopping for items they could likely have found in their own cities if they had taken the time to look. They spend money wining, dining and entertaining themselves in settings only slightly different from what they could have found at home.

Bus tours usually move at such a pace that passengers don’t have time to learn anything more than they could have learned in an evening on the internet or by watching a few programs on selected specialty television channels. With no lost luggage, broken elevators or arrogant bellhops.

Those who “get away” to warm destinations during their own winter or who go to relaxing places beside water want to unwind from the hectic pace they maintain in their city lives. They could have done much the same activities at home if they had been able to separate themselves mentally and emotionally from their work lives long enough to enjoy the facilities in their own home communities.

If it seems as if I believe that most people live in cities they want to escape from, you’re right. In most countries in the western world, around 85 percent of their population live in urban areas, most in large cities. As of the beginning of 2008, for the first time in human history, more people on our planet will live in cities or similar urban areas than live in rural settings.

We have become a world of city dwellers. Yet most of us know deep down that cities may not be the best places for us to live. We migrate to cities because they have jobs to offer.

We no longer want to do jobs that require hard work, the kind that farmers and those who live in relative wilderness areas must do to survive. Moreover, we don’t have the skills those people need. We have to move to cities where employers will give us jobs and teach us what we need to do them. We get higher education to learn how to learn, not how to do. Yet we only learn the minimum we need.

We don’t want to live lives requiring us to do manual labour, requiring the back more than the brain. Yet most cities dwellers, when studied closely, know so little about what they should know to live successfully, efficiently and comfortably on their income that they waste a good deal of their time and money on purchases and activities that achieve nothing for them. But they make business owners happy.

By doing little that is physically demanding, they gain weight. So they go to exercise clubs, do workouts at home and go running so that they get the kind of physical activity they would have gotten if they worked on a job that required physical effort as well as some thought. They need the exercise to release some of the tension they build up through living stressful lifestyles. Stress being a consequence of “success” in big cities.

Some city folks with enough money buy cottages or cabins, by a lake or somewhere in woods or a rural area. Because they know virtually nothing about living outside a city, they spend money to transform their rural properties into something resembling suburban communities, but with more trees and maybe some water nearby.

Are they bored with themselves, as Joan Clark said? They don’t know. They believe they are doing what they should, meaning that they believe they are living well because they are living the way everyone else in their community lives, doing what they do, spending what they spend, vacationing the way their neighbours vacation.

Bored? They don’t believe they are bored because they’re doing what their social norms tell them they should be doing. They believe they are happy because they do what advertisers tell them they should do to be happy, which happens to be to spend money on the advertised products. They don’t even know if they are truly happy because they don’t have a clear idea of what happiness is. To them, happiness is what they are told it is by advertisers.

People who don’t think for themselves must depend on others to do their thinking for them. Industries do that and tell people what to do, how to act, what to believe, through their advertising. They do this so subtly and with such incredible persistence that few have any idea that their belief systems are being slowly molded different from what any of their ancestors believed.

They aren’t bored, just ask them.

Boring, for sure. It’s a challenge to find anyone in a city with whom to have a truly interesting conversation because most people are conditioned to spew small talk all day long. At parties, they must inhale alcohol and drugs to lose their inhibitions enough that they feel liberated, thus happy, they believe. At these most opportune times to exchange thoughts on worthy subjects, they fill their time with small talk and contrived nonsense.

But they’re not bored and they are happy. Advertisers have told them they aren’t bored and they must be happy if they have bought advertised products. They believe it.

They aren’t bored with themselves because they believe they aren’t bored with themselves. And they believe they aren’t boring. Which demonstrates textbook examples of how people can be made to believe anything if it’s presented to them in an effective manner and shoved at them often enough.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children in ways that will grow them into interesting, vibrant self-sufficient adults.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

Charity Means Giving To Losers

A good heart is better than all the heads in the world.
– Edward Bulwer-Lytton, English novelist, poet, politician (1803-1873)

‘Tis the season of giving as I write this, Christmas, or “the holidays,” the time when we supposedly think more of giving to others than of taking for ourselves. For the Christian part of the world and those countries and cultures that celebrate the gift-giving season along with their Christian (or nominally Christian) neighbours, Christmas is the season of the heart.

Who benefits from this monetary extravagance? Two general groups. One is comprised of people we know who for the most part don’t need what we will give to them. The other would be people we don’t know, usually, the unfortunate, the homeless, those who have lost (or perhaps who never had) the comforts most of us enjoy.

The latter group is society’s losers. We give to people who don’t have the stuff to be financially secure and successful in our world.

Some mammals and birds tend to their sick and injured, but humans are the only species on earth that supports its losers, those who don’t have what it takes to survive on their own in this tough world. Like the rest of us do. In other species, the weak die, but in ours we keep them alive, though in poverty.

Is “a good heart” in Bulwer-Lytton’s quote our lip service to charities that support those that would not survive in any other species? Yes, if the extreme capitalist doctrine that we are fed constantly can be taken at its full value, that’s exactly what charity is. Success, by that standard, is wealth.

Virtually every parent of a young child wants that child to grow up to be happy. They’ll tell that to anyone. But more important is that they be rich, or at least have a substantial enough income that they can support themselves in a style equivalent to the one they were raised in.

Rich people, including some of our movie and sports stars, are the epitome of success in western culture. Let’s get this straight, no rich people are happy. Not really happy. Fake happy, yes. Do you know a happy rich person? They revel in their money, their ability to spend and to impress others. But underneath, most are more miserable than they would like anyone to know. They have money, which they learned and have come to believe is the most important thing in life. But they aren’t truly happy.

They don’t fare any better in their marital relationships than the rest of us. They have few or no real friends, people who care about them and not their money. They may not divorce at quite the same rate as the average, but that’s because their mini-society says that they can afford to have affairs they can pay to cover up. Their friends can be bought and sold. It’s a continuation of the value system of old European nobility.

What about those poor people, the ones the rich consider to be losers? Many of them have more real friends than rich people. The homeless ones live in temporary communities that are far more mutually helpful and supportive than any other in the larger community.

Somehow society missed its opportunity to teach them the knowledge and skills they needed to have to support themselves when they were children. How could that happen? Schools are not designed to teach life skills, they’re structured to teach the knowledge and skills that the biggest employers in the country need. Industries control the school curriculum because they provide the employment that generates the income that supports the nation.

Parents used to teach life skills, as did neighbours and other members of the community. In smaller communities, this is still the case. Kids learn life lessons from their hockey coach, their scout leader or the nice lady who bakes cookies for the kids. Some learn them in the religious institutions their family belongs to. But none of these are dependable in larger cities. In cities, winning–the capitalist mantra–is everything.

As of the beginning of 2008, more people will live in urban areas of the world than in rural settings for the first time in history. Most countries are becoming urbanized, citified. As if this is a good thing. It’s a good thing for industry because it provides a pool of labour for their work force, but it’s not so good for so many communities that have become cultural and social ghettoes. Their primary values are to work and to spend. Just like industry wants.

While industries hold wealth and acquisitiveness as ideals of society, which give us happiness, what most of us miss is that the happiness that industry wants for us is fake. It’s all advertising mind-twisting.

The “losers” of many societies of the world know more about real human values, traditional values, values that work to benefit the community as well as individuals, than those with money.

So let’s continue to support these less fortunate members of our society. They may not have the knowledge or skills that most of us have, but they are perhaps the sole repository of basic human values that industry is trying to brainwash out of us through its persistent advertising.

Or, for the more adventurous among us, get to know some of these people. If you do, you will find that they know stuff you don’t, stuff that could make your life richer. Not your pocketbook, your life. You know, the reason why you’re here. (It’s not really just to work and to spend, you know.)

Consider this. How much will industry care after you die? How will it remember you? Of course it won’t. No one expects that. But so many of us adhere to its preaching about working and spending that we must think industry will offer us its own form of heaven.

But, no. Industry can’t do that. Industry is not just heartless and sociopathic, it’s atheistic. Industry has to be atheistic because it holds money to be its deity. Even industry knows that money is a false god. It just doesn’t bother to tell us because it wants us to believe in that god.

Merry Christmas, dear readers! May the spirit of the man whose birth is celebrated this season fill you with love and charity. May you give of yourself to those who will most appreciate it, not necessarily to those who expect it of you. If you do, your life will be richer for it, especially if you get to know some of the beneficiaries of your giving from the heart.

The head always thinks of itself first. The heart thinks of others. Jesus said.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children the lessons they need to live full lives, as real people not as puppets of industry.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

How To Show Others The Best Of Yourself

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
– William Arthur Ward

People like people who try to bring out the best in them. They may resent the methods used sometimes, but that’s because the two may not have agreed on how the methods should be implemented.

Everyone wants more respect. Most prefer to earn the respect of others if they can. That’s where the helpers or mentors become so valuable. The mentors try to improve their “students” so that the students will deserve greater respect for their skills and accomplishments. What’s not to like about that?

Some people don’t want to go to the trouble that inevitably is involved with reaching for greater heights of skill, knowledge or achievement. If the drive of these people is strong enough, they learn the skills of power management instead. They work to become powerful. They gain the respect that derives from having power, though they can’t receive respect for their knowledge or skills.

US President George W. Bush, for example, endured lots of criticism during his first years in power because of his undistinguished accomplishments in any field of endeavour. However, he overcame that deficit by becoming the (self designated) “war president” which gave him recognition far beyond what he would have received as president of the US because he had the power to invent causes and invade countries, putting them at war with the most powerful nation on earth. That’s power.

President Bush doesn’t have to bring out the best in people, he simply has to have others find them and hire them for his Cabinet. Donald Trump doesn’t have to bring out the best in people, he simply looks for clone-like representations of himself. Young up-and-comers line up in droves to please Mr. Trump because of his power, not because of his ability to improve their skills. President Bush and Mr. Trump have their own best interests in mind rather than the interests of those they employ.

As Ward said, bringing out the best in others has the additional benefit of bringing out the best in ourselves. What he didn’t say but could be a corollary of his quote was that those who bring out the best in others are rarely power mongers. They tend toward the gentle, though their methods sometimes come across as rough. They are often viewed as having “hearts of gold,” no matter what manner of exterior they present.

Those who help others up accomplish more than simply giving them a handout. It’s the “feeding someone a fish versus teaching them to fish” thing. They become better people by helping others become better.

They never wonder what their mission is in life because they fulfill it with their actions. They live by example the lives they wish for others.

In turn, they advance the cause of humanity in ways that power lovers never could.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children the critical lessons of life so that they become competent and confident adults without resorting to the escape methods that incomplete adults today do.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

Getting The Best Out Of People

If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?
Thomas รก Kempis, Roman Catholic monk and author (ca.1380 – July 25, 1471)

It’s so common we could say it’s a part of our human nature. We expect things of others that we don’t expect of ourselves.

Or we expect more of others than we do of ourselves. We allow ourselves the maximum leeway (give ourselves a break) because we understand the circumstances under which we are living and working, but we don’t understand the constraints others have so we don’t give them much slack.

If we could mould another person exactly to our liking, what would that make us? God? Slave owner? Mystic? Magician? Brainwasher? In truth, if we did mould someone exactly the way we would like them to be, that would mean having control over their behaviour, which means over their life. That would be against the law of every country and the moral code of every religion of today.

Rather than being disappointed at how others don’t meet up to our standards to satisfy our needs (even if we are paying for the service), we should celebrate the fact that we have people we can depend on to some extent. Many people have isolated themselves from others so much that they have no one to turn to when they have needs they can’t meet themselves. That’s really a state of helplessness.

We can’t get people to do whatever we want them to do, even if we pay them. However, we can encourage them, coax them along, express the unfortunate state we find ourselves in because the job we want done has not been completed. Encouragement helps. Patience, when it’s demonstrated as patience and not as shutting up and taking what we get, is appreciated.

Three friends who I depend on for various important tasks I can’t do myself–one fixing cars, the second fixing computers, the third doing odd jobs like welding and other skilled projects–routinely take longer than I would like to complete what they do for me. However, by explaining how important the job is to me and attempting to show patience by understanding the time problems they have themselves, I usually get more than I pay for when each job is done. If not, I often get special favours later.

We have no real way of knowing the problems that others live with and the effect these problems have on them. What we can do is to explain the problems that are bothering us and hope that this spurs the others to act on our behalf sooner or more completely. And we can be patient with them when they need it from us.

Every person in our lives, no matter how important they are to us, will eventually disappoint us. No exceptions. However, there is no rule telling us that we have to hold their faults against them. We can achieve more by overlooking their short term disappointments while focussing on the long term benefits we derive from associating with these people.

A saying people have around where I live is: Look at the donut, not at the hole.

Give most people an opportunity to deliver their best for you, even when they are under pressure, and most times they will come through much better than strangers we pay more would. True, we don’t have the opportunity to tell our friends and associates what we really think of them at the time we need to most, but holding back pays of in the long run if we manage our relationships properly. And it builds better relationships.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems
, a book about how, what and when to teach children what they need to know to be competent and confident adults.
Learn more at
http://billallin.com

What We Should Teach Children

One realizes the full importance of time only when there is little of it left. Every man’s greatest capital asset is his unexpired years of productive life.
– Paul Weeks Litchfield, Goodyear executive and ACF Trustee

Though this is perhaps the most famous of the quotes of “P.W.” it’s by no means the only one that people credit to him with fondness. Under his guidance, Goodyear became the largest tire and rubber manufacturer in the world.

Litchfield was one of the first executives of large industries who showed care and compassion for both his employees and his community. Had there been more executives like him, the union movement may never have taken hold because it wouldn’t have been needed.

This quote is something of a lament as he observes a characteristic of human nature over which he seems to feel he has little control. In general, people are careless with their time until they believe they have little of it left.

Read anecdotes of people who have had near death experiences, or “come back from death,” or who have a death sentence ahead of them as a consequence of terminal cancer. Most say that those days were the most precious or their lives.

Not all. I once had a neighbour who was told that he had cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and at least one other affliction (heart problem), any of which were expected to end his life within months or weeks. He went on alcohol and drug binges for days at a time, only recovering long enough to buy more. After about eight months, he realized that he wasn’t about to die, so he cleaned up his life and gave the boot to the leaches who had been drinking and snorting on his dime. He became, for the first time in his life, a good father. His story was the reverse of most.

Too many people live most of their lives as if they subscribe to the “life sucks, then you die” philosophy. Rather than arranging their lives so they accomplish what is important to them and bond more securely with those they love most, they focus on what’s bad in their lives then seek relief in thrills, depression, mental illness, addiction or acquisitiveness.

Once they realize that their escapes have done nothing to improve their lives, often when their end is near (sometimes never), they cast off the crutches and live to the fullest for their remaining days. They live, in effect, their whole lives within a matter of days. And they love those precious days and hours more than anything else they have experienced.

Why do so many people wait that long? Because we don’t teach children the wisdom that we gain over a lifetime. Since children aren’t prepared for the ups and downs of life as they grow through adolescence and into adulthood, they adopt escapes of their own, often the same ones as their parents had before them. Like their parents, they feel the need to experience something positive, even if it’s a drug rush that is followed by a long and agonizing recovery.

No matter how much money a person has, that person cannot buy a day, an hour or a minute of time for life, any more than you or I can. Let’s teach that to our children.

This is not to say that we should teach nihilism, existentialism or some version of “live today for tomorrow we may die” philosophy as they tend to be cast off eventually as unacceptable over a whole lifetime. However, we can teach kids that they need to focus on what is good in their lives instead of what is bad.

They need to know that most times they can increase the good and decrease the bad once they learn how. We can teach that too. They need to know that they should prioritize their lives so that they accomplish what is most important to them, even if they do not accomplish what is less important.

We need to teach them that what benefits industry and politics does not necessarily benefit individuals, that people need to live their own productive lives irrespective of what industries and politicians tell them through their advertising and propaganda campaigns.

We need to teach these messages to young children before they’re old enough to suffer the misfortunes that are visited upon them by life and by devotion to what society’s establishment wants them to do.

Many of us need to realize that what we have believed (what we have been taught) is wrong, that we can teach our children different from the way we were taught and we can improve our own lives by not being puppets to advertisers and professional snake charmers.

That can’t be done in schools because that subject will never make it onto a curriculum. School curriculum is largely controlled by industry: what industry wants, schools provide. That’s how the system works.

If we want our children to learn the value of each day of their lives, we need to teach them that value in our homes and in whatever other activities the kids may be involved with.

It’s up to us. Industry and politicians only teach them how to be followers, believers, sheep.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children the valuable lessons of life they will need to live healthy and successful adult lives.
Learn more at http://billallin.com