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January 5, 2007

My New Year's Wish: Let 2 + 2 = 4

By Daniel Geery

Rob Kall asked that we articulate some of our positive visions for the future. Here are a few of mine, but feel free to add your own.


Let 2 plus 2 be 4--not 5, not 3, not 4.1, not 3.9: Four! As in 2 + 2 = 4. Let up be up, let down be down, let white be white, let peace be peace, let war be known as the mass murder that it is; let the world make sense. Let us acknowledge that there are physical, biological, and chemical laws upon which the natural world runs, and let us learn to live with them and not pretend they don't exist. Let truth burst forth in every segment of society, in every political discussion, in every news story, in every workplace, in every classroom, in every courtroom, in every family. Let us use language as if it is connected to reality, and defer to Webster every now and then: a weapon is a weapon, not a "peacekeeper"; torture is torture, not anything else; Let us speak the truth, particularly about imposters: George Bush is a spoiled rich kid with a low IQ and an alcohol damaged brain; a person who never shouldered a responsibility, a member of our species with no conscience, no empathy, no compassion; and thus let us admit that we now have a ten year old in an adult body behaving as a lethal madman in the most powerful position in the world. Let there be no more senseless violence toward one another. Let all weapons be laid to rest, let hatreds cease through serious attempts at understanding. Let there be a Department of Peace. Let there be kindness! Kindness to one another, kindness across borders, kindness amongst cultures, kindness in all religions, kindness on the playground, kindness in place of "road rage." Let those who can't be kind go to special "kindness schools," until they earn a diploma and prove that they know the meaning of kindness, and can demonstrate what is meant by empathy. Let us put children first. First! Ahead of money, ahead of adults, ahead of ideas and ideologies; ahead of business schemes, ahead of political wet dreams, ahead of dumping billions of dollars into sending a handful of humans into the dark night of space. Etc. Let there be no child without water, no child without food, no child without shelter, no child without the essentials for a healthy life. Let schools exist for kids, not kids for schools. Let antiquated curriculums be revamped, so they are meaningful, and so that what we now call hyperactivity or attention deficit or learning disability become things of the past, because schools exist for the people in them, rather than the other way around. Let there be no more than fifteen to twenty kids in a classroom, and even fewer in science classes. Let teachers teach and have fulltime assistants for all other chores, preferably from the ranks of administrators. Let all humans learn some basics in kindergarten, and have those basics reinforced throughout their school years: Share, play fair, don't hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, don't take things that aren't yours, say you're sorry if you hurt somebody, wash your hands before you eat, flush, live a balanced life-learn, think, draw, paint, sing, dance, play and work some every day. When you go out in the world stick together and be friendly; be aware of wonder, like the seed in the cup whose roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, even though we're all like that. Let humans learn early on that goldfish, hamsters and white mice all die, so does the seed in the cup and so do we. Let us spend more time looking around and noticing the world, and observe the beauty in it. Let finding and observing beauty in the world be the highest goal of education. Let humans learn at an early age to treat others as they'd like to be treated themselves (modified version of Robert Fulghum's "All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"). Let there be teen education, real teen education, about real topics. Let us teach about sex and safe sex, and the realities of bearing a child. Let us teach about relations. Let teens learn about comparative religions, unrevised world history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology. Let teens learn about drugs, the differences between them, and how different ones affect us. Let us eliminate gangs and prisons through education. Let us be sure that no child gets past third grade without a love of reading, and some awareness of the vast universe of the written word, accessible through libraries everywhere. Let every graduate of high school, which would include all humans, understand our place in space and time, our uniqueness in our own galaxy, and the fact that our galaxy is just one amongst untold billions of others. Let humans respect nature, and do so on a very deep level. Let us always assume that nature is correct, and that if changes are proposed, the burden of proof is on those who are making the changes, to show that the changes will not be harmful. Let all humans realize we live on a planet, and that we only have one. Let all humans be instilled with an understanding that we are all one species, in spite of our cultural and historical differences. Let there be no adult who doesn't comprehend the basics of evolution and the fundamentals of biology, such as carrying capacity, the oxygen cycle, the importance of oceans, the interconnectedness of all species. Let all humans know that in the fabric of life, all species count. Let us have clean water, clean air, and clean land, all around the earth, everywhere, no exceptions. Let us aim for total sustainability, in energy and resource use. Let everything manufactured be easily recyclable or biodegradable. Let there be no borders between states, countries, nations, except for natural ones, such as rivers or mountains or oceans. Let us use knowledge to restore the Garden of Eden, as it was once on this planet, and turn away from the Hell we have been creating. Let transportation be radically altered, with railroads connecting cities, cars either unnecessary or environmentally friendly. Let free public transportation be readily available in all cities of the world. Let there be bike and rollerblade paths everywhere people need or ought to travel. Let neighborhoods be changed, so they are people friendly, no gates, no fences. No ridiculous mansions, no more suburbs. Let there be abundant parks, playgrounds, nature areas, and ponds and lakes throughout all cities. Let there be no vast expanses of concrete, but trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses everywhere a person might look. Let this world make sense, let humans connect with reality and disengage from unreality. Let "political discussion" revolve around true or false, correct or incorrect, and what is best for the most people. Let there be only qualified people in positions of power, qualified people with a proven track record, people who can converse and explain to others their hard-earned knowledge in understandable ways. Let there be no lawyers in power, but rather scientists, educators, writers, artists, philosophers, mothers, and young people. Many young people. Let us realize that rearranging society is essential and necessary for our survival. Let all people be treated with respect and dignity, let all people be considered of equal inherent worth. Let us abolish money, or if we decide not to do that, let there be a limited range of incomes, so that the top income cannot be more than ten times that of the lowest. Let us recognize that garbage collectors, workers in nursing homes, burger flippers, and used car salesman all play necessary and important roles in society. Let there be many political ideas and parties and means of government that go beyond a two party system. Let there be instant runoff elections, publicly funded. Let there be no money or favors involved in lobbying, let there be open discussion on all issues, with consideration of the best for the most over the longest time as a guiding principle. Let corporations be accountable, not just to the bottom line, but to society and the state of the world. Let us grow past our superstitions. If people wish to have religion, let them keep it to themselves and talk to their god, rather than spouting off about him or her. Let us eliminate human suffering in every way possible. Let there be stem cell research, let there be large sums dedicated to eliminating AIDS, let there be reproductive freedom, let people have the right to die with dignity. Let the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, December 10, 1948, become enforceable law everywhere in the world, no exceptions. Let those rights, which include health and education and the fundamentals of life, be expanded rather than curtailed. Let the war on drugs come to an abrupt and rightful end, with that money being invested in treatment and education programs, and in the production of hemp and other plants that could substitute for forest products in sustainable ways. Let us have military conversion projects, wherein young men and women begin to do good for others around the world, rather than killing them. Let them teach sports to younger children, let them read to them, let them help with farming and cooking and construction around the world. Let them teach how to fix bicycles, make models, color and draw, fish; and how to make friends and to visit the sick and do countless other things that might be helpful in their lives. Let us plan ahead for 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, 50 years, and 100 years. Let us consider the world as we wish it to be several generations hence. Even knowing things will change through technology alone, let us make the effort to develop visions of what we'd like to pass on to future generations. Let there be no leader who cannot articulate his or her vision to the people, in considerable detail. Let no business operate if they refuse to have a real live person available when the phone rings, and let us make sure those who answer the phone know what the hell they're talking about. Let us slow down and reverse the concept of an ever-expanding economy, and at the same time, through education, make efforts to reduce the human population to around two billion, as quickly as we possibly can. Let us work toward and achieve a steady state economy. Let there be no homes or stores with TVs running all the time. Let 25% of all TV programs be educational and another 25% be locally run. Let there be energy efficient appliances everywhere, houses remodeled to be energy efficient, let there be efficient low cost solar collectors on every roof that gets sunlight. Let each person have a carbon allowance, and let all food, appliances, and manufactured items carry carbon and energy labels, so people can understand the relation of their way of life to the planet they live on. Let all media be publicly funded, with the funds freed up from unnecessary military expenditures. Let venomous and hate-inducing media programs be banned, with their advocates being sent to the aforesaid kindness schools. Let idiotic and violent movies be outlawed. Let everyone comprehend that we will indeed perish if we fail to learn to live together. Let each person expand his or her "we group" until the whole world is included. Let all people do constructive things with their lives, things that will help others and give personal satisfaction in the process. Let us eliminate banks, insurance companies, business schools, investment firms, and other parasites of society and replace them with computer programs. Let us produce more of biologists, astronomers, teachers, cooks, green-thinking construction workers, nurses and other health care workers, organic farmers, and so on-roles in which humans help each other, rather than rip each other off. Let Wall Street Journals and Forbes Magazines be used for ceiling insulation. Let no one ever be attacked for speaking the truth, but may they be promptly ostracized for telling lies. Let whistleblowers be encouraged with large bonuses and early retirement. Maybe even golden parachutes. Let no one post another word on the internet without their name behind it, and an email address to respond to. Let us have schools to grow balls for those who can't handle this. Let the people of wisdom speak, be listened to and be heeded. Ava Lowery, Amory Lovins, Helen Thomas, Helen Caldecott, Jeremy Rifkin, Herman Daly, Noam Chomsky, the late Mother Theresa, Dave Brower and Aldo Leopold, would be a small handful that comes to mind; but let the tens or hundreds of thousands of others who've done their homework and demonstrated an interest in the betterment of our species get some press, and be heard and be heeded. Let the world make sense! Much stranger things have happened in the course of history. Let 2 plus 2 be 4--that's all I ask for.

Authors Website:

Authors Bio:

In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly want: I thank those who sent such wonderful comments, even though it forced me to go buy a few larger hats, which were among my top campaign expenses (just kidding).

My forever-to-write novel (now my favorite book for some unfathomable reason), A Summer with Freeman, finally got out the door, via Kindle and CreateSpace. Readers of this site, and anyone else with two or more brain cells who want some "serious humorous relief" may want to check it out:

My family and I lived off the grid in an earth-sheltered, solar powered underground house for 15 years, starting in the early '80s, proving, at least to myself, the feasibility of solar power. Such a feat would be much infinitely easier with off-the-shelf materials available now, though the bureaucracy holding us back is probably worse.

I wrote a book on earth-sheltered solar greenhouses that has many good ideas, but should be condensed from 400 down to 50 pages, with new info from living off the grid. It's on my "to do" list, but you can find used copies kicking around online. Just don't get the one I see for $250, being hawked by some capitalist... well, some capitalist.

I'm 68 with what is now a 26 year old heart--literally, as it was transplanted in 2005 (a virus, they think). This is why I strongly encourage you and everyone else to be an organ donor--and get a heart transplant if you're over 50, unless your name is Dick Cheney.

I may be the only tenured teacher you'll meet who got fired with a perfect teaching record. I spent seven years in court fighting that, only to find out that little guys always lose (; recommended reading if you happen to be a parent, teacher, or concerned citizen).

I managed to get another teaching job, working in a multi-cultural elementary school for ten years (we had well over 20 native tongues when I left, proving to me that we don't need war to get along--no one even got killed there!).

I spent a few thousand hours working on upward-gliding airships, after reading The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed by John McPhee. But I did my modelling in the water, so it took only two years and 5,000 models to get a shape that worked. You can Google "aquaglider" to learn more about these. As far as I know, this invention represents the first alteration of Archimedes'principle, spelled out 2,500 years ago.

"Airside," the water toys evolved into more of a cigar shape, as this was easier to engineer. Also, solar panels now come as thin as half a manila folder, making it possible for airships to be solar powered. You can see one of the four I made in action by Googling "hyperblimp"(along with many related, advanced versions).

Along with others, I was honored to receive a Charles Lindbergh Foundation Award, to use my airships to study right whales off Argentina. Now we just have to make it happen and are long overdue, for reasons that would probably not fit on the internet.

In 2010 I married a beautiful woman who is an excellent writer and editor, in addition to being a gourmet cook, gardener, kind, gentle, warm, funny, spiritual, and extremely loving. We met via "Plenty-of-Fish" and a number of seemingly cosmic connections. Christine wrote Heart Full of Hope, which many readers have raved about, as you may note on Amazon.

I get blitzed reading the news damn near every day, and wonder why I do it, especially when it's the same old shit recycled, just more of it. In spite of Barbara Ehrenreich and reality, I'm a sucker for positive thinking and have read many books on it. I find many many of them insane and the source of much negativity on my part. My favorites these days are by Alan Cohen, who seems to speak my language, and likewise thinks a bit like Albert Einstein did (as do I on this note). Albert: "Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent, in fact, I am religious."

Though I rapidly note that I've kept alive my deceased and "devout atheist" friend's book,

Lastly, kudos to Rob Kall and those who make OEN the site that it is: one of the last bastions of free speech.