Monday, April 13, 2015

Leif on Philosophy and Climate Change

Tonight while I was looking for some other information I happened again, after all these years, on this short essay that Leif wrote to on the MySpace blog of the love of his life, J. He sent it to me for comment on February 16, 2008, just over seven weeks before he died. He took a very cynical view of humanity. I found it interesting that he took on what he saw as a coming apocalypse caused by global warming.

The photo was actually taken in August 2003, long before he wrote this piece, but the direct stare seems to me to go with his statements. He was wearing his new SCA armor.

I hope his vision of the future of humanity does not come true, and I am not so sanguine about the survival of the industrial world, but I do think we are in for a lot of horror.

Leif on Philosophy & Climate Change
Read Kant. He has many ideas, some a bit unrealistic, but among his best thoughts is  his idea of peace through conflict, that  eventually through war and competition and  resolved conflict world peace will be achieved because the costs of war with a trading partner will be too great to bear and it will be  unacceptable.

Over the years I have studied philosophy, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, and have learned one thing. None of these guys had the answers. Truth is a jig-saw puzzle, and at best Marx, Kant, Freud, Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, et al, contributed a piece.

Another is that truth is very subjective. What you might find appalling is just fine to others, and those others might find your ideas equally appalling. I have always enjoyed the stark contrast between your excessively compassionate quest to save the world and my ruthless Machiavellian disregard for it. 

Being a bit of an evolutionary and social darwinist, I look forward to the coming apocalypse of global warming. It will be a glorious catastrophe which will either doom mankind or propel us into the next level of enlightenment. I see this as quite possibly the greatest thing that can happen to man, a mass extinction which will disproportionately affect the parts of the world which are least able to embrace a more intelligent way of living.   

The industrialized world, which is principally in northern latitudes, is already pushing to go green and is more likely to survive the climate change. Many of the corporations which plague the industrialized world will go bankrupt as the economy collapses. 

The humans which survive will be smarter and, most importantly, FEWER. Billions will die in China, India, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Oil will quickly become unimportant and religious conflicts with oil-rich Muslims will become a thing of the past as they cease to matter. The survivors will be in a position to continue the next chapter of human development from a much more enlightened perspective.

This is, of course, very politically incorrect, but then the PC are like idiots playing chess. They can't see the pieces on the board for the game itself. People can't see past what’s right in front of them. Like my 12-year-old niece playing chess with me at Christmas was fully convinced that she had defeated me and that I was either not trying or not very smart when I allowed her to take my queen early in the game. Later, when I mated her king she could not understand where she went wrong. The difference is the long view. When considering any action you must look down the slippery slope and see how it may snowball into other changes covered by the law of unexpected consequences.

Anyway, enough dark proselytizing for one day. - Leif (February 16, 2008)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Seven Years Without Leif

As a teen and adult Leif was such a towering presence in our lives, both emotionally and physically, the tallest member of our entire extended family, it's hard to realize that even though he was bigger than his friends and classmates, he must have felt small and vulnerable in the world as children do.

I haven't written any posts on this blog in some time, because it's hard to find new things to say after all these years, and repeating the same things doesn't seem to make much sense. I also wanted "new" photos of him to post.

Today it is seven years since we found his lifeless body in his apartment in Tampa. We had spent a terrifying 24 hours wondering where he was and what had happened to him, hoping he was all right somewhere because he didn't answer his phones or email, and had not showed up for work on April 9th. Should we have gone to his apartment on the 9th? It wouldn't have made any difference in saving him, as he was already dead. We didn't want to accept that possibility as long as we could hope that he was alive somewhere and just not communicating . . . which happened from time to time.

I still wonder about how it happened and why. It doesn't matter how many reasons we can find, there's nothing we can point to that made it happen just then. Why does someone finally make such an awful decision? I still wonder whether it could have been an accident, as the detective on the scene  said, rather than the suicide the medical examiner declared. I still wonder how a man so well trained in weaponry could have been so foolish as to put a loaded gun to his head and pull the trigger unless he meant it. We will never have those answers.

But it is somehow wonderful to open a box of old slides and find a "new" photo of him we haven't seen in 34 years. Back in those days, we took slides because they were cheaper than prints, and then we would only print the very best ones for our photo albums. A lot of slides really weren't print quality, or we had several that were similar and just picked the best one to print. But now, some of those that aren't really suitable for printing are wonderful to look at.

I realize more and more that our visual memories are so determined by our photos and looking at them over the years. They help to fix the pictures in our minds, and it is hard to recall how other things actually looked. I always wondered how people could say they were forgetting how some deceased loved one looked, but I can understand it if they didn't have photos they could go back to and fix in their minds. The photos also help to recall events surrounding them.

I pulled a few out of some boxes of slides Peter W. took during our years in Japan and scanned some. This was one of my favorites. What a beautiful child Leif was! I no longer remember where in Japan this was taken, though the box says it was in July 1981. Leif would have been six and a half years old. I don't remember the Mickey Mouse baseball shirt, either, but that beautiful little face I remember! The cute boy who needed a haircut I remember.

One thing that amazed me looking at these photos of him at that age was how much he looked like his niece Aly at that age. I'd never seen that before.

I wish I had time to haul out all our slides and scan all the ones of our family. Someday. There will be a lot of memories there.

For today, my memory is with Leif, the years we shared with him, and the years that have gone by without him. He will be missed every day of our lives.