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Friday, February 7, 2014

Thoughts on the Nye/Ham Debate

I know it has been a couple days since the debate happened, and I know that it has been gone over and in the long run does not really change the face of the issue, but I have had some serious thoughts concerning what happened. Now I haven't written here in a while and the bulk of this text is actually from a Facebook comment I made, but I was prompted to put it here as well. I know I will appear biased, but these are a lot of points in the debate where I feel Ham was given a lot of leeway by Nye that were never addressed and deserve a response.

Frankly, from the start, Ham made me want to pull my hair out. Not even because I disagree with him. One could write an entire book on what was wrong with his presentation... but mainly the fact that all of his arguments against modern science, or "historical science" as YECists call it, could be easily flipped right on their heads. "You weren't there when it happened, so you don't know or you have to read it from books!" Gee, that sounds familiar, Mr Ham. It was sort of one giant string of pot calling the kettle black. Then came his essentially preaching session. You had to listen close, but Ham gave away his real position at least twice(I admit I'm going to be paraphrasing because I'm not going to go fishing through the entire 2.5 hour debate to find the exact quotes).

First was his claim how "historical science" teaches children to be closed minded and hampers critical thinking. You would think that makes sense, until you actually do critically think about his argument and realize he is advocating only "observational science," i.e. believing only what you can see with your naked eye, and then going into his long preach about all the "questions" that the Bible "answers". Basically, that line of argument boiled down to: "we need to teach children Creationism to keep them more open minded and think critically, now here, now let's throw out all these other lines of thought and only study this single book."

The second, that was the most telling to me, was when he questioned Nye over the "meaning of life" if there was no God and Heaven. Basically Ham admitted there that he just didn't like science because he didn't like the idea of there not being an afterlife which I find an incredibly selfish world view, particularly as Ham put it, essentially saying "Well if nothing happens to me after I die, if it's just nothingness and I won't remember anything I did, what was the point?" Yes, you personally will not remember any of your accomplishments if that world-view is true. But that's only if the only thing that matters to you is how you feel personally about what you've done in life. Nevermind the great impacts you might have on the lives of those who live on after you pass, and those who have yet to walk on this Earth. Sir Alexander Fleming has been dead for almost sixty years now, but his discovery of penicillin revolutionized the entire world of medicine and saved, and continues to save, millions of lives. Were I to have made that discovery, even if I knew for an absolute certainty that after my death I was going to just rot in the ground, my consciousness over, I would still be pretty happy that I made an impact and that I would live on in the memories of others.

A third line of argument that Ham presented which I find amusing was Ham's assertion that "just because a majority believe in [modern science] doesn't make it right, and old ideas need to be replaced with new ones." He's right, problem is, once upon a time, his world view was what the majority (at least in the western world) believed. It was that way for approximately a thousand years until modern science came along. Modern science is new, not Ham's stance. Just because he pretends his view is science does not make it so. It's like putting new rims and a bodykit on a 2000 Honda Civic and pretending you're in a Fast and Furious film and it's a "new car." Yeah, it looks newer on the outside, but look underneath and it's still just a 2000 Honda Civic.

I also think Ham miscalculated and misunderstands modern science greatly. I think he leapt on Nye's statements of "I don't know" when asked questions by the audience such as "what was there before the 'Big Bang?'" and "How did consciousness come from matter?" not getting where modern science's mind is on those matters. The same with his answer of "Nothing" to the question "What would make you change your mind?" versus Nye's "evidence." His side of the argument places such a premium on that "faith" and conviction while modern science clearly does not. So while I'm sure Ham, and many of his followers, thought he had pulled the ultimate punch on Nye with his pithy "Well you know, Bill, there *is* a book out there..." lines and his refusal to accept any evidence to dissuade him from his faith, to an obvious majority, it made him appear completely unreasonable versus Nye and probably did much more harm to him than help.

That said, I did feel Nye could have been a lot tougher on Ham, on those points in particular. But I also have to wonder if perhaps Nye did not answer them because he did not feel the need to. And having said that, I disagree with many's assertions that Nye should not have done the debate. I think we've let stances such as Young Earth Creationism get plenty far without a response of some kind. That's how it's creeping back into the debate of being taught in schools, because of modern science's infernal "holier than thou" attitude. It's time for the modern scientific community to wake up, I must say.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Repurposing of Blog

Salutations all!

Well, after some rather turbulent life changes I shall detail momentarily, this blog is going to be remade from a random writings/commentary blog, to a blog documenting my travels through my new home of Dublin, Ireland, and the surrounding Irish world (as well as Europe when I do my other travels)!

The update: Well, after thinking it all out long and hard this summer, I applied to University College Dublin for a Master of Arts in History. Long story short, I got accepted, and after a whirlwind of freakouts and squabbles and begging (mostly over money) I have finally made it. I am just about to go read (and hopefully sign if it is agreeable) a lease on my first apartment too! Unfortunately I've been a bit too busy since I arrived on Tuesday to do much sight-seeing, and the district I'm currently living in is rather high on inner-city shopping centers and rather low on historical interest anyway. The area I'll be moving to however is in Dublin 6 and is a much quieter area outside the main city, so that will be a bit nicer than the hustle and bustle of living in busy Dublin 1!

So stay tuned everyone and hopefully will soon be filling this page up with facts and pics of my adventures in my new home!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Long Time No See and Major Announcement

Hello all! Sorry for being so absent for so long, just stopping in to say that after a year of working on my practice project of "The Adventures of Harriet Potter," I have polished up my skills enough to where I feel confident working on my own original writing again. I have a project in mind and am hammering out the details. If anyone out there has any publishing advice, words of wisdom, etc, please feel free to give it!

The project will be a series of books in the young-adult genre. I'm definitely not ready to make an announcement yet as to plotlines and such until I am sure of what my rights are... don't want to "give someone else" the same idea and have them jump on it before I can actually carry it out, after all...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Food for Thought

Food for thought on the nature of the modern American voting public:

Obama has to prove how exceptional he'll be as president to win popular support.

Romney only has to prove he wouldn't be terrible.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A return, "The Adventures of Harriet Potter," and a defense of fan-fictions

Well, been a while since I did much of well, anything, here on old Blogger.  I have good reason.  Recently, some friends approached me with a proposition. "How would the Harry Potter series have gone differently had the protagonist been female instead of male?" Being a historian by hobby and most interested in subjects like sociology, this was too tempting a project to take on.  I also started doing more research into it as well, and frankly was rather saddened by what I saw.  The article that struck me the most being "The adventures of Harriet Potter would never have done as well as Harry Potter." This pretty much instantly set off my chauvinism detector and it finally put me completely over the edge to actually sit down and write the reimagined world of Harriet Potter.

So, for most of the past year or so, I have been piecing together just how such things would happen. Fortunately, my friends had already done a great deal of the leg work surrounding characters and even numerous new characters as well. So it is simply my job to create a coherent, enjoyable story out of it all.

I know, it usually goes entirely against my principles as a writer to do these sorts of projects. However, my own brother described it to me in a way that killed off all my scruples. He described to me that what I would be doing would be essentially like being a cover band. You play more or less your own version of other peoples' songs to get noticed for your talents. So essentially... yes, that's what fan-fiction writing is. Unfortunately, not many take it nearly seriously enough for it to be taken very seriously by anyone. Unless you know the right place to look...

And so, I've been primarily working on the site where I have now posted six new chapters of my newest project "The Adventures of Harriet Potter: Year One." Yes, I picked "The Adventures of Harriet Potter" specifically after reading that article. And so I'd like to ask you all to please, take the time to stop by, have a look and enjoy a magical world through brand new eye all over again with "The Adventures of Harriet Potter: Year One - Chapter 1 - The Violinist"

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Question of Ethics Alone?

"We've walked away from the high ethics we had during World War II..." That is what Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer recently said on the Dylan Ratigan Show.  Think about that statement, "the high ethics we had..." This was during a discussion on the callousness of our soldiers when engaging targets when civilians are present, what we call: "collateral damage".

This begs me to ask a question: do any of these people actually get their World War II history from anywhere but Saving Private Ryan...?  For as much completely justified condemnation that’s been leveled at Germany for its bombing campaigns against Warsaw and London and other major European cities, those were as nothing compared to the sheer devastation the US and Great Britain wrought back on the cities of Germany and Japan.  Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo were largely wiped out with fire bombings.  Indeed, in one night's firebombing of Tokyo more civilians were killed than in either of the atomic bombings.  Those shattered towns in Normandy that our soldiers were fighting the Germans through in Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers?  It was the British Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Forces that destroyed those towns in the effort to end a war, and drive the Nazi forces out of Europe altogether. 

Now before I get inundated by people trying to claim I'm impugning the honor of our World War II veterans, let me state my stance on warfare.  It is the most horrible enterprise we as humans can engage in.  Yet I will never deny that in many cases, we have very little choice in carrying it out.  World War II was such an instance.  Even if we were initially pulled into the European aspect of the conflict by Hitler's declaration of war on us after our declaration of war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was the end result of years of building animosity between the US and Japan... you get the idea there.  The tapestry of history is so interwoven; it's not hard to see how multiple interpretations can easily come out, and factors forgotten or worse, ignored, in the interest of furthering our own causes.

The soldiers of World War II, and the sailors and airmen, were all following orders, the same as our soldiers, sailors and airmen are today.  The difference is in World War II it was a war we were pulled into, which some will argue is also what happened in Afghanistan, but no one can deny (at least not in a reasonable manner) that Iraq was a war we pursued entirely of our own initiative.  As would be a new war with Iran, whatever the fear-mongers have to say about it.  This aspect of "we were attacked" tends to somehow lend credibility to any actions taken in the course of waging that war, but that does not make it ethical.

Going back to what Ratigan and Lt. Col. Shaffer were talking about, we’re now getting images and videos of our military attacking targets while knowing that civilians are present, and causing harm and death to these same civilians.  When was the last war that we could do so and hardly anyone raised the slightest fuss about it?  When was the last war that indeed, such destruction was in fact welcomed?  World War II.

And it didn’t stop at just German and Japanese cities.  In the lead up to the Normandy campaign, we estimated the bombings we needed to do to try and clear out the cities around the Normandy area for the invasion would kill 100,000 civilians, and even though Allied leaders had trepidation going into it, even a French general said to go ahead, that it was acceptable to carry out this bombing campaign; in the words of that general, "C'est la guerre."[i]  And understand, this was not an accumulated number of people that would die over the course of years, this was the numbers estimated to be killed in a month.  Innocent French civilians, the very people we were fighting to liberate.  "Shoot the hostage," if you will.  The civilians were not the target, but they were in the way of the target.

This is time for me to give another disclaimer.  I am not condoning what happened in the lead-up to the Normandy campaign, I am not condoning what happened to almost every major city in Germany or Japan, and I am certainly not condoning what is happening right now in these videos.  My point is, it doesn't matter what side of an issue you're on, a double standard, is a double standard.  How were we more ethical back then than we are now?  I would argue the exact opposite, that we are far more ethical today than we were back then, based on our current standards.

What else made today's conflicts and World War II different?  Consider the difference between 1940s society and now.  Seventy years ago, it was okay for cartoons to have titles such as "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips."  US planes in WWII were commonly given names like “Nip ‘Nocker,” and “Nip’s Nemesis.” (never mind of course the extremely common practice of suggestive, even outright pornographic portrayals of women on these same planes, but I’ll touch more on that issue later in the article).  The acceptance of such bombing tactics against targets with civilians present went far beyond even just the "necessities of war" in World War II.

In World War II, every German was a Nazi, and every Japanese person was any number of racial slurs you can think of.  Both were dehumanized; evil.  Immediately post Pearl Harbor, as many still remember, many Japanese citizens were rounded up in "containment camps."  After World War II that changed, so drastically that only just over twenty years later there was massive outcry worldwide against our bombing campaigns over North Vietnam.  Something had changed drastically, to where when even racism was still rampant here in the US, far more than it still is today, the massive levels of destruction that were acceptable only a generation before were now intolerable.  The military is in fact made more ethical in its practices because the ethics of the population do not accept such tactics anymore.  And so when a civilian wanders into the target area of a missile strike, we see it, we hear it, and we cry against it; a far cry from World War II ethics.

This highlights another difference, which is media.  During World War II, the best images the average American had of what was being inflicted upon Japan and Germany were taken from the bombers themselves and high-flying reconnaissance planes, thousands to tens of thousands of feet in the air.  And then later during the latter half of 1944 through 1945, when cameras could finally go into these areas, all that was left was the bombed out and hollow skeletons of buildings, not people.  It was forlorn, but did not come close to capturing the true horrors that those people must have gone through at the time of the bombings.  It took the giant mushroom clouds of two atomic blasts for us to finally begin to question this type of warfare, and even then not very much for several decades.  And as I stated in the second paragraph, those weren't even the costliest bombings of the war.  Today we have these crystal-clear images and videos such as Ratigan showed on his program.  We can see what happens, almost as it happens.

The impact of these media changes go all the way back to Vietnam.  Seeing the horrors of the war as it happens has injected far more "morality" and "ethics" into warfare than anything I can think of.  We could never do things like name shows "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" today, after all, just look at the animosity Lowe's received just because it pulled its advertising from the show "All American Muslim."  Even things that can be implied as being racist are deeply scrutinized.  We can no longer dehumanize our "enemies" anymore, civilian or combatant, that's how "unethical" we are today compared to the 1940s. 

On another related subject of our soldiers “unethical” conduct in war and how it flies in the face of this argument of the “high ethics” we had during World War II, is this from Paul Fussell, historian, professor, and World War II veteran.

And of course the brutality was not just on one side.  There was much sadism and cruelty, undeniably racist, on ours.  (It’s worth noting in passing how few hopes blacks could entertain of desegregation and decent treatment when the U.S. Army itself slandered the enemy as “the little brown Jap.”)  Marines and soldiers could augment their view of their own invicibility by possessing a well-washed Japanese skull, and very soon after Guadalcanal it was common to treat surrendering Japanese as handy rifle targets.  Plenty of Japanese gold teeth were extracted – some from still living mouths – with Marine Corps Ka-Bar Knives, and one of E. B. Sledge’s fellow marines went around with a cut-off Japanese hand.[ii]

Think about that.  Are such the actions of “ethical” men?  I do not intend to call what our soldiers do today more ethical, or the actions of WWII era marines and soldiers less ethical, merely to point out how what is happening is not new.  These reports of the desecration of Afghan bodies is really ancient history in the field of military history.  It’s as old as war itself.  Again I do not condone it, merely point it out as a reminder that as ever, war is always a horrible thing, and those horrors need to be considered fully before engaging in it, and how we can be distasteful of when these things happen, but we can hardly be shocked by them.  Now I know some may argue that the events Fussell talks about where carried out against enemy combatants, not civilians, but how is that better?  How is such treatment then still easier to swallow?

Another aspect of this interview I take issue with is calling our soldiers “detached” and claiming how they spoke as if they were "playing a video game".  When again, their language is very little different from that used in World War II.  Take this excerpt from 56th Fighter Group commander Colonel Hubert Zemke discussing aerial combat in World War II in which he was in a one on one dogfight with a German pilot.  “This last dive carried us to 5000 ft, where he began a very slight climbing turn.  My ammunition ran out as I fired at a range of 400 yards with a deflection of a ring and a half.”[iii]  That is rather dry language for a man describing firing eight .50 caliber machine guns (that's bullets 1/2 inch in diameter) at a plane carrying another human being, who was himself trying to get into proper position to try and shoot down or kill Zemke himself.  Indeed, Zemke’s final assessment of the dogfight was: “The entire combat was extremely interesting…”[iv]  And while some may say that is an assessment after the fact, read excerpts from actual in combat radio messages.  The language is always very composed and collected, indeed what I would call mundane.  It’s supposed to be, they’re trained to keep their heads in these situations, not give us Hollywood level entertainment, screaming and swearing and whooping and hollering.  George Lucas combat, I call it.  Meanwhile, actually listen to video game players, particularly online.  Language is erratic, hardly controlled and balanced.  And again, it is the way it has always been, to pretend it is otherwise to criticize soldiers conducting warfare much as it has been done for centuries is disingenuous, I feel. 

And now the last thing I must get straight about my stances on this subject.  I am a liberal, and a Democrat.  I fully admit it.  But I am not a blind-faith liberal.  If I see my side in the wrong, I will call it out, and to me, criticizing our soldiers doing their duty with justifications such as these, is wrong.  Call civilian deaths wrong then and now, which they are, but do not try to misrepresent facts to suit your claims.  It's wrong when conservatives do it, and it's wrong when we do so as well.

Was World War II a more justifiable conflict than the one we are in today and arguably every conflict we've been in since?  Yes, absolutely.  But to say that we were more ethical at a time when the general plan of attack was bomb two belligerent nations into complete submission, including civilians, than we are today is frankly an insult to our men and women in uniform.  It is a trap we have to avoid; it is the same trap the right has fallen into in attacking the left, attacking on so many issues just because they are "liberal".  It is fine to disagree with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but do not start turning on our soldiers just because you finally have the privileged insight into how war is and has been conducted. 

Where I would argue that we need to put considerably more pressure on our military to engage in “ethical” behavior is the treatment of women in the military service.  And our treatment of women in general needs some serious reevaluation as well.  This is by far our darkest black mark.  The innumerable reasons given recently as to why women don’t deserve the same rights as men both in civilian life and in military life is appalling.

Especially when you consider that the only other major military to employ women in such front line combat roles was the Soviet Union.  That the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin was more progressive than we are today is fairly alarming to me.  In the Soviet Union, though they did not serve in overwhelming numbers, women were soldiers, snipers, scouts, fighter and bomber pilots.  One Soviet women’s bomber regiment, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, which performed so well the Germans named them the “Nachthexen,” and after only a year of service the Soviet command reorganized them into the 46th Guards Night Bomber Regiment, recognizing them as an elite unit and several of their members were honored as “Heroes of the Soviet Union.”  These were not back-seat roles they played.  They were not simply nurses and radio operators and secretaries for officers, kept far out of harm’s way.

Indeed, the most hated person on the battlefield the world over is a sniper, and the Soviet Union’s Lyudmila Pavlichenko is listed as having killed over three hundred people during her time as a sniper during World War II.  The closest US women, aside from nurses in the European campaign, some of whom did get captured and become POWs during the Battle of the Bulge, was again, on the planes that our airmen flew over enemy territory with.  Which in itself, considering the nature of such art and depictions does not speak well to the general historical attitude of men in our armed forces towards women.  In the Soviet Union, when token US bombers landed in Soviet held territory, Soviet officers were often appalled by such sights as naked women on these bombers, and ordered them painted over.  No, Soviet women were not bystanders in the war on the Eastern Front.  And to think somehow our women here in the US are less capable of combat, or our men too emotional to handle seeing women in the line of fire, or that women in front-line combat will be more likely to be raped is frankly just absurd.

That is where we need to examine our “ethics” in our military, in the rampant mistreatment of our women in uniform.  And it is also where we need to now examine our ethics as a society, for clearly there it is no better.  I posit that nothing would serve women’s rights more than giving them more combat responsibilities.  Just as it did for African-Americans, and just as it is doing right now for homosexual Americans, the right to die for your country is the strongest right to obtain, and we need to give them that right.

So no, I would disagree that “we’ve walked away from our high ethics during World War II,” and are actually into an area where we have far more of them.  It does not stop atrocities, and we should expect them.  But at the same time we should not allow ourselves to become complacent to them to the extent we start moving back to the mass bombing days and the “they’re all the enemy” days.  It does not excuse the fact that daily women in our armed services are being sexually assaulted by their fellow soldiers.  And that is the point of this article; we have improved, in many ways, but our improvements have shown other areas to improve, and we need to work on them.  But criticizing our soldiers on false information?  That I cannot abide, no matter who’s saying it.

[i] Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1995), 149.
[ii] Paul Fussell, “Thank God for the Atom Bomb”, The New Republic (August 22, 1981).
[iii] Roger A. Freeman, 56th Fighter Group (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2000), 17.
[iv] Ibid.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I am no hero, I am but a man

I am no hero, I am but a man.  I am no Prince Charming.  I have no sword, no shield, and no wild stallion.  I don't have the physical body of a god; I am but mortal and fallible and human; more Grizzly Adams than Adonis; fearful of death and pain.  I have made more mistakes in life already than many have had birthdays, but am fully aware and admit so.  I disbelieve in love, yet daily find myself more full of it than I know what to do with.

I am no hero, I am but a man.  A foolish man, who dares to try and be happy in a world of woe, a world of pain and suffering, a natural world that has consumed us in all our desperate attempts to modernize and deceive ourselves into thinking we've distanced ourselves from it.  We are not distant from it, nature and life and death is all around us constantly.  We will never be rid of it, so long as we are a living and breathing species living on a planet that is life itself.  We are our own hope for the future and our own natural predator; a world in which both sides are equally repugnant to most of us.

I am no hero, I am but a man.  I have hurt people, and had pain done unto me.  I have eaten regret, not merely tasted it; felt and owned up to the feeling of remorse and allowed some to continue to haunt me to this day; knowing that pain is a lesson, a guide to keep me from walking down those paths again.  Even though some are the bitter double edged swords that beg me to question "If I'd only...," "I should have...," "should I have...?" "Could there be another chance...?" That delicate and perilous balance those who understand the subject know so well; that delicate balance between keeping the past fresh in your mind to keep the lessons alive, while trying to keep the other eye on both the present and the future, and the terrible folly of thinking it is possible.

I am no hero, I am but a man.  I am flawed, and human, and mortal.  And I always shall be.  As we all are, and ever shall we be.  This modern and deceitful life pushes us to be a perfection, to be what we are not and cannot ever be.  I say to you deny this force; throw off this artificial and superficial force driving you into such external and painful despair, forcing you to internalize it and believe it comes from within.  Inside you are you, and that is all the perfection you shall ever need to have.

I say to you to own your humanity, to own your mortality, to own your bodies and minds and flaws and mistakes.  Own your past, your present and your future.  Be not selfish in this quest, share that love with others.  Understand that your fellow humans, whether they be homeless on the street or suit clad millionaires, all suffer your same pains and woes and joys and fears.  Because we are all human, we are all a species, together trying to survive.  You must try to help the others that make our species, not the individual of yourself; a species with a great and terrible responsibility.  Then we move ourselves forward, more ourselves to care for the rest of our living brethren as well.  Own our responsibility, own ourselves, own the future; a real future, a real future of progress and the real possibility of happiness.

We do not have this in the world today.  Today we have power and greed, misunderstanding and hatred.  We have death and pains that none should experience.  We have those asking for equality around the world being met with fear and violence.  We desensitize and dehumanize ourselves in a world where such pain and suffering and sadness are made entertainment to us, a spectacle of rape and slaughter and murder a button push away, blinded by the veil of entertainment, never able to realize the horrible truth that there are those in the world to whom these horrors are daily and real, that these horrors are life, not entertainment.

Yet in this modern world, it is words that are the horrifying thing; words are what we ban; are what we ostracize and demonize.  Because words, like these words I'm writing to you all know, are the words that drive us to think and to feel, to awaken the humanity within your hearts to look at the world and go "This is wrong."  The powerful want control of the words, because words are the true power.  Too long have we allowed others to use words to blind us, to guide us and imprison and shackle us.  It is our turn to discover our voice, to discover our own words.  It is by words we demand what's right and expose the artificial world that desensitizes us  all, that makes us internalize our pains and drives us into the obscurity of anonymity.

You are not anonymous in a crowd, a crowd with a voice demanding justice, only alone are you anonymous.  Stand tall my people, stand tall my friends, tell yourselves you are not a hero, you are a human, demanding with your sibling humans what is right and good in the world.  A good world is not an oppressed world, where people use words like value and morals to justify placing limitations on their fellow humans, to justify death and rape and slaughter on any level.  A good world does not deny a species with the ability to choose and think it's right to do so.  Make this a good world, we are all humans of equality, where rights are available to all, not privileged to a few.  Own your pain my fellow siblings of humanity, but do not let it shackle you.  Own your pasts to fix your presents so that you may claim your futures.  Do this my siblings, my kin, and we shall all as one change the world.  Be the unified voice, and in doing so, we shall own our justice.  

I am no hero, I am but a man.  We are no heroes, we are but humans.  We are not individuals, we are a species.  We are not separate, we are equal, and alive in this tiny world we all call home.  It is time to be one, to be the human species, and to be the whole.