The Physical Immortality of Man, Part One

16 Feb

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By Mike McGee

The purpose of this discussion is to demonstrate scientifically that man is an immortal being. By this statement I mean that the known and proven scientific evidence shows that the physical body of each man is immortal. You and I and all the rest of us are at the least many thousands of years old. We have lived continuously all this time without death.

This statement is limited to the physical body of man. I will be using physical science to demonstrate a physical fact. The discussion does not at all touch on the consciousness of man, or the spirit or soul of man, or the awareness we all have of the world around us. You will find no theology here, and we are not going to look at the “afterlife” or “many lifetimes” as part of the proof of our own immortality. Continue reading

How Much Money is Out there?

18 Dec

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By Mike McGee

There’s a LOT more money floating out there in the United States (as well as in the rest of the world) than what is captured and quantified by the existing monetary measurements of the Federal Reserve (and other central banks). I call the real money and assets not measured by the Federal Reserve the “Second Economy.” Here I will focus on the United States, though the same logic may be applied to any other country which has a robust central banking system. Continue reading

Bush 43’s Biggest Mistake

18 Nov

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By Mike McGee

The biggest mistake made by President George W. Bush was that he did not insist that the US congress impose a temporary war tax or surtax as a way of financing the incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan and the international War on Terror (including Homeland Security) after September 11, 2001.

A cursory review of history shows that at least from the time of the US Civil War in 1861, a temporary war tax or surtax was imposed by the president or by congress to pay for each American war. This includes the relatively insignificant Spanish-American War, when tariffs and other taxes were raised substantially, and temporarily, to pay for that little conflict. Continue reading

Cosmology: The Universe as an Ecosystem

8 Nov

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By Mike McGee

The classical universe may not be in any respect a funnel-shaped box of rocks and gases. The universe, I assert, is likely a complex organic and inorganic ecosystem, a smear which is capable of, and a necessary condition for, maintaining life as we know it here in our own cosmos called earth.

Continue reading

Cosmology: Our Relationship With Light

6 Nov

By Mike McGee

In this discussion of cosmology, we will explore the rather unusual relationship between Man and light, and then discuss how our very indirect relationship with light may compromise many of the “factual” observations of cosmologists. I have arranged each statement so that it is accurate to the point where scientists would generally agree with the truth of each such statement.

We are a light-based species. Almost every aspect of cosmology, as well as everyday life, is dominated by what we can see with our eyes. Even the giant lens of the most powerful telescope is attached either by an eyepiece or a computer screen to a human eye. There are of course some exceptions where electrical waves or cosmic rays are captured by a collector and fed directly into a computer. These waves are for the most part, though, translated into charts which are viewed entirely by the human eye.

The eye, then, is our window to the cosmos as we receive it from cosmologists. Yet does the eye actually receive and visualize light? We cannot really be sure. No one throughout history has ever actually “seen” what input enters the eye. In fact, we cannot be entirely sure that all the input into what we “see” actually comes solely from the eye.

What we “see” with our eyes has no provable relationship to what actually enters the body or the mind through the eye or elsewhere. We are fairly sure that whatever it is that excites the nerves of the eyes is what sends electrical impulses to the visual cortex in the brain, which displays a colorful and informative scene. This is about as much as we can say about the process of “seeing.”

The brightly lit image on the monitor screen of a computer, such as the home page for Windows, is “seen” identically by millions of computer users. Yet absolutely no one can follow the cable back from the monitor screen into the works of the computer and find anything which even remotely resembles the beautiful, colorful and user-friendly light display on the home page screen of the computer monitor. It just isn’t there. All we find at the other end of the monitor cable is hard parts and electrical flow, and stored programs and flowing data in bits and bytes. There is no light inside the hardware of a computer; yet what we see at the other end of the monitor cable is almost entirely light.

This situation with the computer is almost an exact analogy to the process of “seeing” in human beings. The computer monitor is analogous to the visual cortex of the brain, which presents us with a colorful and user-friendly display which helps us to do most of our tasks and move about from place to place, and displays also for us the cosmos, which we presume is high above in the sky.

The optical nerves move electrical impulses from the eyes to the visual cortex, just as the computer monitor cable moves similar electrical impulses from the hardware of the computer to the monitor screen. To be very precise, the visual cortex in our brain is activated by electrical impulses, NOT by light. There may be other processes which participate in activating the visual cortex of the brain, such as hard-wired neural processes and stored memories, yet light is not one of the activating factors.

So, our relationship with light is at best very indirect. We don’t even know for sure if it is light that is activating our visual cortex. We don’t even know for sure what’s out there beyond our optic nerves. Of course we have four other senses, yet all of these senses have the same limitations: we perceive the evidence of all our senses as meditated by neural “cables” which carry only electrical impulses to the centers for perception of each of our senses.

“Let’s imagine what a human body looks like through a microscope…. Molecular cells are moving and the whole body is loosely arranged as if composed of sand…. completely different from the human body we see with our eyes. This is because this pair of human eyes can create false impressions for you; prevent you from seeing such things.” (Li Hongzhi, source unknown)

It is absolutely certain that the “human eyes” have created a false impression, as described in the quote above. It is also absolutely certain that the eyes have prevented us from seeing the actual nature of what is before us. Science cannot dispute the accuracy of the above quote.

“Now some people believe that the physical eyes can see any substance or any object in this world of ours. Therefore, they fall into a rigid notion, believing that what is seen through the eyes is true and real, and they do not believe what they cannot see…. Our eyes have the capacity to stabilize the object in our physical space into the state we have now seen. Actually, it is not in such a state, not even in this space of ours.” (Li Hongzhi, source unknown)

What these quotes don’t address is the assumption that we “see” with our eyes. In fact we “see” with our visual cortex via electrical impulses through the optic nerves, as I have described. Yet the quotes bring out by specific examples the essential point that what we think we “see” is not in any way analogous to what is actually out there.

“People ask how large the universe is…. The inside of the human body from molecules to micro-particles is as large as this universe. It sounds like a tall story. When a person or a life is made, his specially given composition of life and his nature have been already formed in the extremely microcosmic state.” (Li Hongzhi, source unknown)

Yet if there are seven billion people now on earth, and each person is made up of trillions of individual cells and other microcosmic components – as scientists agree is so – then the microcosm (the body) and the macrocosm (the universe) could be identical. Try multiplying seven billion by the reliably estimated 50 trillion cells and 10 x 10^26 molecules in each human body. I am too exhausted by the concept itself to compute this number.

Let’s look very closely at one human being, either you or me. “If we take roughly 2.3 x 10^13 (23 trillion) as the number of molecules in a cell, and roughly 5 x 10^13 (50 trillion) as the number of cells in a human body, we get approximately 10 x 10^26, or 10^27, or one thousand trillion trillion molecules in each individual human body.” (Cite: David C’s computation, at http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091023021908AAGOeL3). Saima at the same source computed an answer in a more poetic way: “The human body consists of about 50 trillion cells, and each cell has about 10,000 times as many molecules as the Milky Way has stars.”

This number is almost unimaginably vast for one person only, either you or me. All these numbers are within the microcosm of each human body on the earth.

And these numbers, multiplied for the seven billion human beings on earth, do not even take into account the fabulous number of individual molecules which make up the inorganic portion of our planet: the earth itself, rocks, soil, water, air and the elements.

Now let us move from the realm of demonstrably stated scientific fact into the more obscure area of theoretical reasoning.

Imagine if you will, if mankind had developed over the past few thousand years with all our senses intact except for our vision. We would reach up and feel the leaves of the trees, and construct theories about how these leaves are the distant reaches of the universe.

We might even in our advanced scientific vision-free society have discovered ways to build ladders which go high into these trees, and construct theories about the even farther distant reaches of the universe, with a treetop as the infinitesimally small source and origin of the universe. Yet all we’d really be doing is touching the things which are around us in everyday life.

It is quite true that each human body is a microcosm of trillions of trillions of cells and more trillions of molecules within these cells, held into place by what may be analogous to gravity. So therefore, it is possible that when cosmologists “see” the universe, what they are actually “seeing” is the microcosm within each human body, or within the confines of the planet earth and its inhabitants. I recognize that this statement is somewhat far out, yet it is not beyond the realm of the possible.

The truth is, the phrase “seeing is believing” is no more than a superstition. “Seeing” is a much more complex process than we normally own up to. The act of “seeing” into the cosmos by cosmologists, and the scientific data drawn therefrom, are open to very many equally probable interpretations.

The current crop of cosmologists should not be too quick to accept the canon inherited from the past. It might even be better if some of these absolutely brilliant and enthusiastic men and women turned their attention to more pressing scientific problems right here on earth; such as the invention of new clean energy sources, for example.

From http://www.mcgeepost.com Copyright © 2013 by Michael H. McGee. All commercial rights reserved. Non-commercial or news and commentary site re-use or re-posting is encouraged. Please feel free to share all or part, hopefully with attribution.

Cosmology: Is it True? Part Two

5 Nov

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Today we’ll look at more supposed proofs of the veracity of the assertions of cosmological scientists regarding the Big Bang, and Black Holes, and other phenomenon beyond the realm of our solar system which are described in the current literature. Particular emphasis will be given to the known qualities of light.

Please, please understand that I am not attacking the reputation of any cosmological scientist, nor am I suggesting any conspiracy among them. Instead, I’m inviting you, the reader, as well as our current crop of cosmological scientists, to look at the subject matter of cosmology in a different way.

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The above photograph is another piece of assumed factual evidence that the universe is exactly the way it’s described by the cosmological scientists: “The Hubble Extreme Deep Field Telescope was completed in September 2012. This photo from the telescope shows, we are told, the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans. Except for the few stars in the foreground, every speck of light in the photo, they say, is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years.” (Wikipedia)

Let’s examine why the quoted description of this photograph cannot possibly be accurate. The tendency of light to diffuse, or to spread out due to a non-flat source of origin, as it travels through any distance, should be enough to prove the fiction of this analysis of the Hubble photo.

When we turn on a light bulb in a room of our house at night, the intensity of the light is always greatest at the source, the center of the light bulb. The intensity of the light diminishes as the glow from the source spreads out across the room. The light from the rounded light bulb source is dispersed over a larger area of space within the room, and so cannot illuminate the distant corners of the room as well as it does the areas closest around the light bulb, due to the rounded dispersal of the quanta of light being emitted. This process is called diffusion.

Let’s now look at a special case of light, the laser. The core property of laser beams is that their emitted light remains tightly focused in a straight line over large distances. In a laser, light is amplified using mirrors until it departs from the source in a “straight line.” This straight line is generated by the amplified light reflecting off of the generally flat surface of the mirror. Since light travels in straight lines unless reflected or refracted, this amplified light reflecting off a flat surface allows a tight concentration of light, with all the individual quanta of light traveling in almost exactly the same direction. The directional beam of light generates a very powerful and useful concentration of the energy of light onto a very small receiving surface.

Nevertheless, the reflective mirror of the laser is not an absolutely flat surface, only a relatively flat surface. There is no technology which will create a reflective surface which is absolutely flat at the atomic level. Thus the laser concentrates straight lines of light over short distances to a target, usually a matter of inches or a few feet. Let’s also assume for the sake of argument that there are some lasers which can adequately concentrate light over a distance of five hundred or a thousand miles.

Lasers use collimated light. This is light whose rays are parallel, and therefore will spread minimally as it propagates. The word is related to “collinear” and implies light that does not disperse with distance (ideally), or that will disperse minimally (in reality). A perfectly collimated beam, with no divergence, cannot be created. The light waves will eventually disperse away from the center of the diameter of the beam over a long distance, due to the lack of flatness of the generating surface and due to the diffusion of the energy of the light wave over space and time.

Laser beams are very important because they remain tightly focused for useful yet short distances. Over the long haul, though, there is enough dispersion of an average half-inch laser beam such that the same exact beam is about 7 kilometers in diameter when it reaches the Moon, and 20 kilometers in diameter when it reflectively returns to Earth. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is about 384,403 km (238,857 miles). http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=34500.0

Let us then compare the light dispersion of this laser over 384,403 km (238,857 miles), the distance from the earth to the moon, with what we see in the above photograph of a telescopic image. The scientific interpreters of the image say that they can see discrete objects in the picture, such as galaxies, which are as old as 13.2 billion years. This stated age actually means that the light in the picture has traveled 13.2 billion light years to reach the optical mirror of our Earth telescope, since light travels over any distance at the speed of light.

Since light tends to move in a straight line, the only way all that light from the galaxy could reach into a telescope on Earth will be if the distant galaxy were absolutely flat and the flat surface was absolutely aimed at the absolutely minuscule speck in the universe known as Earth. Way too many absolutes are required to line up for us to actually be able to see this so-called galaxy far, far away.

A light-year is a unit of length equal to just under 10 trillion kilometers (or about 6 trillion miles). So if what the scientists say is true, the light in the telescope’s picture has traveled 6 trillion times 13.2 billion miles to reach the optical mirror of the telescope here on earth. That works out to the object in the photograph being 79,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away from the telescope which is photographing the so-called galaxy. (That’s 79.2 sextillion miles, by the way.) This means that if the picture is actually from the described “galaxy” then the light from the galaxy must have traveled in an absolutely straight line with no dispersion, for the described distance, in order for us to be able to see it exactly as it was way back then 13.2 billion light years ago. Could this be magical thinking?

As Walt Disney said in the movie Pinocchio (nose grows when you lie): “When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, Anything your heart desires, Will come to you.”

Now if light from a laser disperses from a half-inch beam into a light beam twenty kilometers in diameter over the relatively short distance of 384,000 kilometers, how much more will light from a star or galaxy disperse over a distance of 13.2 billion light years? And this dispersion remains constant only if there are no physical objects or dense fields (such as a Black Hole) or cosmic dust on the path the light takes from origin to destination. Such physical objects or dense fields will cause any light to bounce, or waver, or diffuse or to take some other different track than a straight line.

So, to say that a specific dot of light in our above telescopic image shows the actual appearance of an object which is 13.2 billion light years away (or even a paltry million light years away) is pure poppycock. Dispersion and diffusion, not to mention bouncing and wavering, will have rendered the light emitted by such a theoretically distant object to be no more than a vague film of random light particles scattered throughout the universe. The portion of these diffused and scattered light particles which could be captured by a telescope on the earth is infinitesimal to the extreme, and entirely unseeable.

It is pure fiction for our scientists to say that when they look into a telescope they are seeing actual objects from the deepest of deep space. The intelligent yet untrained millions like me and you are entirely complicit in this fiction, and it cannot exist without our desire to believe. We want to believe that it is so, so that we will feel like we actually know the meaning of the deep night sky which surrounds us and which seems so mysterious. We want to believe that the mysteries of the ages have been solved, and that we live in a time in history when almost everything is knowable. We want ourselves to be placed at the pinnacle of the evolutionary development of not only the earth but of the whole universe. We want to be the Masters of the Universe.

Yet we are not even close to mastering the universe. We are, though, close to mastering the intricacies of our solar system: the sun and the eight (or nine) planets and the asteroids and the comets. All these parts of the solar system are close enough for us to see without being fooled by the optical qualities of light. We’ve actually set foot on the moon, and we’ve sent space probes to land on Mars and to fly by all the planets, and take up-close pictures. We may just have to be satisfied with being masters of our solar system; at least until some thus far unknown technology allows us to extend our physical reach beyond its borders.

Nicolai Copernicus (1473-1543) was probably the first master of our solar system. He didn’t even have a telescope, yet he was able to use Euclidian geometry and arithmetic to chart the observations he had made of the night sky. He was able to distinguish the fixed stars from the moveable planets, chart the relations between these two types of lights in the sky, and chart the relationships between these stars, these planets, the earth, the moon and the sun. His conclusion, that the sun is the center of the solar system, has stood the test of time.

In his book On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, published in 1543, Copernicus gave us an understanding of the universe which we have hardly surpassed to this day: if we limit ourselves to the truth of what we know and what we don’t know, and reject fiction and conjecture. We have added three more planets, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto; and subtracted one planet, Pluto. Yet beyond the realm of our planetary system almost all is still a mystery. Here is the entire universe as Copernicus drew it in his book:

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At some reasonable yet unknown distance beyond the orbit of the outermost planet in the solar system, Copernicus showed, is the “Immobile Sphere of the Fixed Stars.”

Copernicus goes on to say: “But that there are no such appearances [of brightness and irregular movement] among the fixed stars argues that they are at an immense height away, which makes the circle of annual movement or its image disappear from before our eyes since every visible thing has a certain distance beyond which it is no longer seen, as is shown in optics. For by the brilliance of their lights shows that there is a very great distance between Saturn the highest of the planet and the sphere of the fixed stars.” (Emphasis added)

The science of optics has really not changed much in the last four hundred years. We of course know how to make better optical devices. Yet the principles of diffusion and diffraction, and the principle that a light source which is nearer is usually brighter than a light source farther away, remains constant. It is easy to conclude, then, even following the words of Copernicus, that a light source which is supposedly 13.4 billion light years away would be so dim as to be utterly invisible. Even our greatest telescopes could pick up only a few, if any, scatterings of light from a source even “only” a million light years away.

So here is my first entirely facile description of the universe. It is just as Copernicus said it was, a shell of fixed stars set at a fixed distance not too far outside of our solar system, and enclosing our solar system as tightly as the orbit of any planet. The lights from these stars cannot really be too far away from us, or else their light would be dimmed, diffused and diffracted to the point of total soupiness. The enclosing darkness and points of light prevent us from seeing anything beyond the orbit of the fixed stars, so there could be either anything or nothing out beyond this orbit.

And here is my second entirely facile description of the universe. The universe is a smear of dark matter and dark energy, infused with points of light. Dark matter and dark energy move at far in excess of the speed of light, since by definition they have no light, and thus do not have the limitation of the speed of light; and so cannot be seen by us, a species attuned to the energy and frequency of light only. Our solar system and the points of light we can see are spots in the smear which have become congealed like knots in a pine board, and have thus been reduced to the speed of light, which enables us to see them.

In the next parts of this series we will explore the rather unusual relationship between Man and light, and then explore another way of describing the contents of the universe which is perhaps as likely as the current scientific conjectures.

Cosmology: Is it True? Part One

4 Nov

 

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From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

It is patently absurd to believe that it is factually true that “the universe” is a very large and rather static physical object shaped somewhat like a funnel, which began with a singularity occurring 13.74 billion years ago. The Big Bang model of the universe has no basis in fact. The theory of Black Holes is a mathematical construct only. Both the Big Bang and Black Holes are based on questionable theoretical modeling and are supported solely by paper and pencil mathematical computations (or, in more recent years, computer math). They and other similar cosmological fantasies are also supported by our unshakeable faith in the far-seeing ability of a handful of scientists who happen to be very good at telling interesting stories which capture the attention of the public.

In this four-part series I am going to explain why the properties of optics among other things demonstrate the universe could not possibly be a funnel-shaped “box of rocks” as the current scientific canon dictates. I will provide several alternative descriptions of the universe, including that the universe may actually be a smear rather than an “object.”

I will show that what we can see of the smear of the universe could actually be a mixture of organic and non-organic materials. Finally, I will demonstrate that the universe may actually be an ecological system where our solar system is simply an ecological niche. I will show that the universe as an ecological system is not capable of mathematical certainty, and therefore is indeterminate and subject to computational irreducibility. This is a long story. I guarantee it will be worth your while to follow the story to the end.

What we are seeking here is an actual coherent explanation of what we know and what we don’t know about the “universe,” and a coherent view of our place in the “universe.” Perhaps in our quest for coherence, we should keep in mind the possibility that the universe, as well as the vast world within us and without us, remains a mystery. To the extent that we can look at our whole world as a mystery rather than as a solved scientific problem, we will make eventual progress in finding better and more fulfilling ways of living in our bodies, our world, and our universe.

The excitement of the scientific stories of the “discovery” of the nature of the universe has spread around the world over the last hundred years. The Big Bang, Black Holes, the shrinking and expanding universe, objects about to collide with the earth: all these and many more speculative narratives have entered the consciousness of our time. These fictional accounts are now accepted as a fact by people who should certainly know better.

Please let me make clear at the outset that in these comments I am not attacking anyone’s religious beliefs, nor am I describing these religious beliefs as fictional. The Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita and all the other foundational religious texts are what they are, and are worthy, and are based primarily on the faith one has in these ancient foundational texts.

What I am saying is that the texts written primarily by Twentieth Century cosmological scientists are to a great extent fictional, and are written in such a way as to have some of the same attributes as religious texts, yet are not worthy of belief as revealed truth. They are based solely on assumptions, and require faith in order to be believed.

At least Jules Verne had the integrity to declare that his novels such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” were fictional. And when Orson Welles’ radio drama, “War of the Worlds,” in 1938 made millions of people actually believe that we were being invaded by Martians, at least the network had the integrity to follow up with heavy disclaimers about the truth of the show.

It is absolutely necessary for us who are not a part of the initiated priesthood of science to accept the fabulous assertions of our cosmologists based entirely on faith, as there is no other basis for belief. The foundational stories of cosmology were written by such notables as the five cosmic theologians Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Edwin Hubble, Georges Lemaitre, and Stephen Hawking. For us to believe in the current cosmological description of the universe we must believe without question and with faith in these five men’s written texts, a Torah of science, and those of their minor prophets, who are many.

These physicists are the authors of the new cosmological creation stories, and their narratives are largely intended to replace the prior religious creation stories contained in faith-based religious narratives. The writings of these and other scientists are intended to, or have the effect of being, analogous to the writings contained in the five books of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Everyone acknowledges that the writings of the Torah must be accepted on faith and without factual evidence to support them. Why is it that no one seems to recognize that the writings of the five above-named physicists and their minor prophets must also be accepted on faith and without factual evidence to support them?

From Easton’s Dictionary, faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a given statement is true. Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests. Faith is the result of teaching. Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith. Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of the source of the faith.

How do our cosmological physicists of the last hundred years get away with claiming infallibility and dodge the question of faith as a precondition for believing their narratives? First of all, they claim that each of their assertions is entirely based on facts, and as such we must accept the truth. The problem here is that their “factual analyses” are so complex and obscure that only a very few select people can understand them, so everybody in the common population must simply accept that the facts are there. And the truth is: the facts are not there.

This position is not so very unlike the position of the medieval European priesthood. Only a few selected scholars knew Latin, the Bible and all Biblical analysis was in Latin, and all masses and other services were conducted in Latin. Therefore the common people, which meant nearly everyone, were required to rely entirely on the priests and the scholars for an understanding and interpretations of the Christian faith. I don’t know about you, but this seems to me to have been a very unsatisfactory situation, especially since I’m one of the “common people.” Even with my considerable education, I know only a few Latin phrases, such as res ipsa loquitur.

The modern cosmological scientists are therefore claiming much of the same ground as these medieval priests. So we must agree, on faith, that the narrative stories of these cosmologists are true. Such an act of faith requires us common people to exercise our will to come to a place of agreement with these cosmologists. We must willingly assent and choose to believe, even without understanding the essence of what we are choosing to believe in. The ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of the source of the faith.

Are we as a people willing to blindly accept on faith the veracity of Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Edwin Hubble, Georges Lemaitre, Stephen Hawking and their followers, and their very obscure computations and suspect “observations?” We really don’t know these men, or their followers, and we don’t know what was or is in their heart of hearts. We do know that Albert Einstein was a man of noble intentions, yet even he may have inserted some extraneous factors into his Special Theory of Relativity equations to make them balance.

I’m certainly not suggesting any conspiracy among scientists. I expect that they were good guys who were doing the best they could with what they had in front of them. None were deliberately trying to generate a false cosmology. It’s just that one thing got piled onto another, as things tend to do in everyday life as well as in the hallowed halls of scholarship.

Another source of our faith in these cosmological scientists is the award to many of them of the Nobel Prize in physics. If the work receives a Nobel Prize, it must be true. Just remember, though, that the Nobel prizes are generally awarded based on a consensus of scientists who are in the same field. Each of these scientists has a vested interest in preserving the current narrative. Thousands of men and women are frantically publishing academic papers confirming and extending the current narrative. This is just what scientists do. No one should make them out to be either good or bad for doing what they normally do, even if they’re getting it wrong some of the time.

Another source of our faith in these cosmological scientists is that their creation and history of the universe stories are peppered with observations and experiments which they say demonstrate that the facts they are writing about are true. They tell us in a facile way that the computations on which their stories are based are so complex and obscure that we normal people couldn’t possibly understand them. But the observations, experiments, and calculations are there, take our word for it, they say.

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The “cosmic microwave background radiation” shown above is considered by cosmological scientists to be actual evidence and proof of the Big Bang, not subject to interpretation; and looking at it, scientists in the know see the origins of the universe. Hmmm…. All we see when we commoners look at it is a gooey mash-up of irregular forms. We are assured by the storytellers that each of the tiny configurations in this picture contains hard evidence of the Big Bang. Is their heartfelt assurance worthy of our belief? When I look at that picture I see a brightly decorated and slightly deflated beach ball.

This is part one of a series. As the series progresses we’ll look at more supposed proofs of the veracity of the cosmological scientists. Particular emphasis will be given to the known qualities of light. Then I will propose one or more alternate descriptions of the universe outside our solar system, descriptions which are just as likely as those of the current creation scientists.

The Berlin Wall of the East

9 Jul

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

As a patriotic American, I really don’t like to be critical of my country’s foreign policy. I am doing so here, and I regret the necessity to do so. Yet one of the common themes of my writing is that policies and practices which worked in the twentieth century don’t necessarily remain useful in the ongoing progress of the twenty-first century. The Berlin Wall of the East is one such ancient policy which needs to be seriously re-examined to find a more productive and effective way of dealing with our important international relations.

The Korean War ended in in 1953 in a truce, not a peace treaty, and left the Korean Peninsula divided by a heavily fortified border along the 38th Parallel, which divides North Korea and South Korea. This “Berlin Wall of the East” is monitored by the U.N. Command. Washington also stations 28,500 American troops in South Korea to protect its ally against “North Korean aggression.”

The armed border between the Koreas is one of the last remnants of the twentieth-century cold war. It does not belong in the twenty-first century, and the barrier should be torn down. US and UN troops should go home and leave the two Koreas to work out their future together.

The United States was always so angry and upset about the Berlin Wall, built by the Soviet Union to keep the border between East and West Germany fully defended. “Tear down this wall!” was the challenge issued by United States President Ronald Reagan to the Soviet Union, in a speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall in 1987.

Not long after this speech the wall was torn down. There was no cataclysm. Now Germans in the east and west parts of the country work together for common goals. The ravaged eastern part of the country was easily absorbed by the more wealthy western part of Germany.

Yet it is we, the United States, who are so insistent about maintaining the 38th Parallel wall between the two Koreas: predicting catastrophe and chaos if there is any interchange between North and South. We are acting just like the Soviets did in Germany during the European part of the cold war. It’s time to end the mentality that keeps a “war” going even when there is no war.

The United States always seemed to care more about the Europeans, with whom we share a common culture. Our moral outrage was directed toward the Berlin Wall which kept all these Europeans from mixing with one another. When Asians are involved, though, there’s a cultural barrier we can’t see here in the US. We can’t even comprehend the moral outrage of maintaining a “38th Parallel” wall of our own making: keeping a war going that was over by the middle of the twentieth century.

Is it any wonder that the North Koreans sees the United States as a war-like people who only want to keep them from joining the world community? After all, we’re the ones who are keeping up all the barriers. We’re the ones who’ve kept a choke-hold on North Korea for almost sixty years, without any let-up and without any sign of remorse. We claim that they are the “hermit kingdom,” yet we are the ones who keep them isolated, by brute force and major economic sanctions.

Can no one see that dear leader Kim Jong Un wants to be free of the choke-hold of the twentieth century cold war imposed relentlessly by the United States against North Korea? Sure, Kim rattles sabers. He knows as well as we do, though, that the North Korean Army is like blades of grass, easily cut down by the giant lawnmower of the US and South Korea if they attack.

North Korea in land area is about the size of the US state of Mississippi, which has the lowest per capita income of any state in the US. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Mississippi in 2012 was $98 billion dollars.

The total GDP of North Korea during this same period was $28 billion dollars. This almost unimaginable lack of economic activity in North Korea is the best way to understand the inability of North Korea to be a credible military threat to any country. Another way to look at it is to note that the GDP of North Korea is less than 3 per cent of the GDP of South Korea. North Korea at the present time has virtually no financial capacity at all. How can such a nation be such a feared enemy of the United States?

So, everyone knows North Korea does not have even the slightest potential to defeat the US and South Korea in a “war.” It wouldn’t even be a war if the North Koreans took it on themselves to invade South Korea. It would be a one-sided slaughter. The United States knows this, and Kim Jong Un knows this. Why, then, are we keeping up this tawdry twentieth century cold war façade?

The leaders of North Korea have been asking for an end to the cold war 38th Parallel wall for some time. Sin Son Ho, Permanent Representative for North Korea to the U.N., spoke during a press conference on Friday, June 21, 2013 at U.N. headquarters in New York. See http://news.yahoo.com/nkorea-demands-dissolution-un-command-skorea-160628448.html

Ambassador Sin said U.S.-North Korea talks should include replacing the armistice agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. One of the “prerequisite requirements” for establishing “a peace mechanism” to replace the armistice, he said, is the dissolution of the U.S.-led U.N. Command [and by inference dismantling the wall between north and south].

The ambassador said the talks can include “a world without nuclear weapons,” which the United States has already proposed.

But he warned that North Korea will not give up its nuclear “self-defense deterrent” unless the United States “fundamentally and irreversibly abandons its hostile policy and nuclear threat” toward the North and dissolves the U.N. Command [and tears down the wall], “and as long as there are nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.”

I’m aware that South Korea currently has no nuclear weapons. It’s possible that the United States maintains one or more nuclear missile launch sites in South Korea. If there are any, they should be removed immediately, without even waiting for any reciprocity. The US has enough deterrent power in reserve, so that keeping nuclear weapons anywhere on the Korean Peninsula is a dangerously stupid and provocative thing for us to do.

In 1962 we gave the same message as Ambassador Sin is giving to us now, to the Soviets when they tried to move missiles into Cuba. Even though the North Koreans don’t have the same “bully pulpit” that John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan had, it’s clear that in this ideological battle they have the moral high ground, and we are in the same position as the Soviets were back then.

When you get past the angry rhetoric, it’s as if the new “dear leader” Kim Jong Un really does want to reunite the two Koreas. It’s abundantly clear that he has no idea how to govern North Korea. It’s probable that he feels a great weight of responsibility for the welfare of the 25 million people who are suffering under an almost nonexistent government, while their South Korean brethren are living good and prosperous lives. If the 38th Parallel wall is removed it’s likely that the dear leader and his top lieutenants will leave the country and retire in Switzerland or Hong Kong or even in Beijing.

If the wall at the 38th Parallel is taken down, the least likely scenario is that hordes of fierce soldiers will invade from the north. This scenario may have been likely in 1953, or even in 1983. It will not happen now, in the twenty-first century. The Korean peninsula has changed. The rest of the world has changed.

China will not feel threatened by having capitalists moving up the peninsula right to their border. They have the same ability to repel cross-border Korean invaders at this time as we have to repel any invasion of North Korea into South Korea. This was not always so. During much of the late twentieth century they needed a buffer zone between South Korea and their national border.

China has been a full participant in the international configuration which has maintained the isolation of North Korea. With their desire for a buffer zone, they can claim no moral superiority over the United States in the matter of the isolation of North Korea. China is much stronger and more confident at this time in history, and no longer needs such a buffer zone.

It is up to the United States to make the first moves to end the isolation of North Korea. We are the strong man in the area, the one the others fear. Our strength is what gives us the ability to act without trepidation at this time in history. China, now also strong, will support us in ending the isolation of North Korea. Now is the time. Let’s tear down the Berlin Wall of the East, and at last end the cold war and move into the twenty-first century.

Philanthropy: To Boldly Go Private Sector, Part Five

2 Jul

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In Parts One through Four of this series we have set up the nature of the problem with philanthropy and the quest for solutions. It will be easier for you to understand this concluding Part Five if you have read the preceding three parts. They are long, yet worth the effort.

Don’t let your death bequests be the measure of your generosity. “What are you doing for the rest of your life, the north and south and east and west of your life?”

The big challenge is: what do you do with all that money you’ve made. Once you reach a certain level of wealth there’s really not much to spend all that money on but more of the same. There’s been a great accretion in money over the last fifty years, but not any concomitant increase in what you can buy with it.

I’ve generated the term “accretion” to describe the phenomenal growth in the supply of money over the past fifty years. “Inflation” is a specific increase in the level of consumer prices over time.

The massive accretion of the available supply of money has made a lot of new billionaires and multi-millionaires. Yet the value of this vast accretion of money is highly questionable. Once you have your life-line stash set aside, then all the other dollars or euros are almost as useless as measures of “value” as the green leaves on trees, which turn brown and fall off each autumn.

For most wealthy people, those extra accreted green-backs are little more than toys on a board-game. All you can really buy with them is more of the same of what you already have. This is why you’re so eager to give this extra money away to charity at your death. They mean so little to you now except as a score-card. www.thegivingpledge.org is a death list of the wealthy, who with their on-line pledges are erecting their tombstones now.

Yet to the economy as a whole, those leaves on the trees are the foundation of the stability of the United States as a nation, or the stability of whatever nation you are from. Your “toys” are the vital blood and bone of the nation as a whole. Think of this larger picture instead of feeling the uselessness of simply “having.”

I’m not saying twenty first century philanthropy should ignore the rest of the world and focus solely on your own country. What I’m proposing is the well-known truth that a person or a country cannot help another person or country unless the helping person or country is strong and healthy in its own right.

First-world countries around the globe, including the US, are doing great harm to themselves with their own internal financial stability crises. How can a floundering nation actually provide either charitable or market-based solutions for the developing world, if we can’t manage our own markets and put our own people to work? The G-8 and G-20 need to take care of these First Things first, and the rest will follow naturally as a benefit to the whole world.

The first thing you can do to give more meaning to your wealth is to get actively involved, using your money, clout and financial acumen, in working to repair the great debt and liquidity messes which are now plaguing the G-8 and G-20 nations. If 105 billionaires applied themselves to the current financial mess in these nations, in a creative and intelligent way, stability would return to the world markets in a much shorter time than with the current chaos.

Next, “give away” more of your fortune within the private sector. Use some of your personal wealth as tax-deductible grants to your companies to give pay raises and substantial bonuses to your employees – all of them. Owners of Wal-Mart, pay close attention here.  Direct that your companies give pay raises, bonuses, and better benefits out of corporate funds to all the employees in your home country. This increase in wage costs may cause a temporary distortion in stock prices, yet things will settle as your employees are able buy more consumer goods, or pay off student loans faster: or, they get more invigorated with energetic loyalty to their employer and produce better results.

Those at the top who generate the results in your companies are not just the CEO. There are at least five levels down in management where results are either made or lost, plus many technical people who are absolutely critical. All of these management and technical people should have substantial increases in pay and bonuses and benefits, which reflect their critical part in the results obtained.

It is really horrible from a true business point of view that the ignorant public and the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” protesters have made it more difficult for financial employers to give large bonuses to their traders and other executives. Such large payments, and similar activities, are a core part of twenty-first century philanthropy: paying people for the value they bring to the enterprise, rather than bidding salaries and wages solely at the lowest market rate.

Bill Gates has already proven beyond a doubt that paying people more than market wages and bonuses is a turbo-charged wealth creator. Thus he’s one of the harbingers of twenty-first century philanthropy: releasing great sums into the private sector and profiting thereby.

Twenty-first century philanthropy also involves improving tax-paying employment and consumer prospects in the United States (or in your native country, if another). In the last fifty years the United States has virtually ceded the playing field for manufacturing to the rest of the world. Now is the time to take it back.

Those manufacturers in China and Bangladesh and other emerging nations will not have to suffer too much. If they raise the wages in their own factories, then they’ll be able to sell their manufactured products to their own people. If they don’t figure this out, then they will suffer at their own hands. It’s not our problem.

We have no moral obligation to “assist” third world countries by throwing money at them and buying their products, regardless of what Angelina Jolie and George Clooney say. Investments should be made only if they can produce a profit: and twenty-first century philanthropy says we have a “moral obligation” to assist the economy of our own country, which has taken a real beating lately; and our unemployed and poorly paid citizens.

Bill Gates and Larry Ellison and Paul Allen and the other tech billionaires could start building factories inside the United States to make the machinery and equipment which is necessary to build electronic parts. The next step is to build factories in the United States to assemble these electronic parts, and facilities inside the United States to package and distribute the assemblages at a wholesale and retail level.

Intel is already leading the way by chunking more than $10 billion into constructing the one-million-square-foot state of the art Fab 42 plant in Arizona, building another major manufacturing plant in Hillsboro, Ore., and upgrading other facilities in Arizona, Oregon and New Mexico. See http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-03-28-intel-manufacturing.htm .

Intel is going against the grain of twentieth century thinking by not worrying too much about any added costs of making their products inside the United States. They will succeed mightily. They will succeed even more fully if other electronics makers follow their lead and choose the United States as the place to build their manufacturing plants.

The Walton family has up to now succeeded with Wal-Mart primarily by buying manufactured goods from China and other developing countries at the lowest possible price. Then they foist off these cheap goods onto a public which can’t afford to pay more because either their own wages are depressed, or they are out of work or otherwise struggling to make ends meet. This is the classic twentieth-century principle of hollowing out the economy, and then selling cheap to the hollowed out people.

Many of the Walton family members also, admirably, practice twentieth century philanthropy. They set up non-profit foundations, give to local charities around the country, and show a quite decent level of generosity. What I want to do here is to push them, and other retail giants, to look into the possibilities of twenty first century philanthropy as an outlet for their inherent generosity.

It’s definitely not just Wal-Mart. It’s absolutely amazing how many of our sellers of consumer goods are forced by the market to put on their shelves only goods manufactured in developing countries. I was shopping in a local neighborhood Ace Hardware the other day, when I began to look at the labels. I was shocked to see that almost every product on the shelves was manufactured in China. This would not have been the case even five years ago.

Twenty-first century philanthropy for retailers involves, among other things, improving tax-paying employment and consumer prospects in the United States (or in your native country, if another). In the last fifty years the United States, led by Wal-Mart, has virtually ceded the playing field for clothing and other retail goods to the rest of the world. Now is the time to take it back. Wal-Mart will need to lead the way, since no one can really compete with them by being the first to raise wages and prices.

Start, Wal-Mart, with raising wages and benefits for your retail store employees and managers, all the way to the top. Then stop playing games with the grocery business; it’s not your core competency. It will hurt you in the end, but not until it seriously impairs a thousand retail grocery chains. Then set your best and brightest planners and managers to a new task which is absolutely within your core competency, and will represent twenty first century philanthropy.

Since Wal-Mart and Amazon and others know retailing, and already inspect quality and set standards in factories around the world, building and operating manufacturing plants inside the United States should be a no-brainer. Start by building factories inside the United States to manufacture the machinery and equipment which is necessary to install in factories to weave and sew textiles and make rope and plastic goods and other things.

The next step is to build state of the art textile mills and dye houses and cut and sew facilities inside the United States. Also build plastic stamping plants and facilities to make rope and paint and other goods, inside the United States, and facilities inside the United States to package and distribute each of the finished products at a wholesale and retail level.

Knowing something of the company’s supply-chain philosophy, Wal-Mart may be more comfortable with making investments in other enterprises inside the United States to make these products locally and sell them to Wal-Mart. In any event, even if Wal-Mart shrinks temporarily on the retail side, the manufacturing side will increase profits in the long run.

It’s really hard to imagine having “textile mills” in the United States again. I grew up in North Carolina and textile mills were a way of life, and a part of the lifeblood. Now I doubt you could find even one textile mill in North Carolina.

The Walton family members may want to use some of their individual wealth in building or funding these manufacturing plants inside the United States. In any event, put the money to work in a way that will make a difference to your country and your people, and still make a profit.

Kurtis Lockhart, an economist and writer in Vancouver, Canada, says “he truly believes that social enterprises – using market-based solutions to address social problems – will begin to replace traditional philanthropy and conventional corporations in the 21st century.” Although his views may be somewhat extreme, his thesis that “market-based” solutions are necessary is consistent with what we’ve been writing here.

He focuses on third-world countries and how social enterprises may help them. I have a very different focus, however. My focus is that our own country, the United States, will have continuous bumpy economic conditions over the next years unless we apply “market-based” solutions to our own economy. We are a very strong country, yet we are not invulnerable. There’s plenty of kryptonite out there, and we need to get our twenty first century philanthropy in gear sooner, rather than later, to give our country the chance it needs to ride smoothly through the next hundred years.

And only if the United States and the other G-8 and G-20 nations are strong and prosperous, will developing and third-world
nations find any traction in their own serious efforts to move ahead economically. Only the strong can help the weak. It’s that simple.

 

Philanthropy: What To Do In Its Place? Part Four

1 Jul

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In Parts One through Three of this series we have set up the nature of the problem with philanthropy and the quest for solutions. It will be easier for you to understand this Part Four if you have read the preceding three parts. They are long, yet worth the effort.

As we’ve already mentioned, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet have set up a challenge to the wealthy of our time to give away at least half their assets to charitable and other non-profit organizations by gift or bequest. This challenge is described in the Internet site www.thegivingpledge.org . As of now at least 105 billionaires have signed this pledge, which is not binding yet illustrates the generous nature of those signing.

I’ve shown how doing so will unbalance the overall economy even more than it’s now already unbalanced. If this pledge is fulfilled, then the “dead hand” or mortmain burden on the economy will grow to where it becomes stifling to the living, breathing, private enterprise part of the economy.

So therefore I suggest that The Giving Pledge recur to a philosophy which has proven effective through almost three thousand years of history. The pledge should be for billionaires to give away at least ten per cent of their assets to charitable or non-profit purposes; and to find ways to use at least half of their assets to engage in creative yet profit-making projects which involve some degree of risk in return for possibly pumping up their country’s private economic base. Remember that if your country’s economic base falters, your wealth will falter also.

Cease the nineteenth and twentieth century ideas of ensconcing all your generosity in your dead body. Not only is it rather morbid to do so, it deprives you of much present pleasure in the life you have yet to live. We’ll show you how to first feel safe, and then let your generosity drive your daily life. You can make generosity a part of your DNA right now, and for as long as you live. We’ll give you several twenty-first century principles, and many examples, of how this may be done.

A first principle of twenty-first century generosity is to love your government in a tangible way, and pay your taxes. We will again approach the second concept laid out by the greatly respected New York industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper (1791 – 1883) in his 1871 address to Cooper Union students:

The individuals to whose lot these fortunes fall . . . should never lose sight of the fact that they hold them by the will of society expressed in statute law….

Those who are eager to give away charitable money as a “tax dodge,” to prevent the government from getting their greasy hands on their money, are engaged in very short-sighted thinking. It is the very existence of our federal, state and local governments which has made it possible for us to have a stable social and economic society where wealth may be accumulated in vast amounts.

America is still the Land of Opportunity. A strong and stable government, under our Constitution and laws, and our reasonably adequate tax revenues, are the primary basis for the opportunities which are presented to our citizens to make large amounts of money.

Even in other countries such as China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia and the European democracies, there is no certainty of holding onto wealth where the government is weak and unable to generate stability in either daily life or in financial transactions. For a government to be strong requires a steady flow of tax money. (Borrowing alone – issuing government bonds – will not forever preserve the steadiness of our or any other government.)

At least 95 per cent of the 1,342 on the Forbes 2013 list of billionaires operate in countries which have reasonably stable governments and reliable tax revenues. See for yourself at the site:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2013/03/04/inside-the-2013-billionaires-list-facts-and-figures/ . Trust me, though; it was quite tedious to go through that whole list.

If the owners of great wealth continue to be as stingy with taxes as they have been, a weakened central government will undoubtedly take a great toll on their ability to hold this wealth, as time goes by. Step up and pay your taxes as they are due. Stop hiding all your assets in the Caymans or in other tax havens to avoid taxes. Cisco Systems, stop holding all your cash outside the US to avoid paying legitimate taxes on repatriation of the funds.

Don’t try to chisel the tax-man. Don’t fight so hard for loopholes, or to keep tax rates on the rich at super-low levels. Such chiseling is no more than a way of saying that you don’t like our system of government and would rather see it go away. It’s simply not patriotic. If we are going to have a country to be patriotic about, we need to pay the bill.

One who chisels the tax-man is really not much different in philosophy and effect than a communist agitator or a radical militant who wants to destroy us. Such a person is definitely not a patriot. It really irritates me that great flag-wavers want to prevent the government from getting enough tax revenues to avoid having to borrow so much from China. It’s not patriotic; it’s subversive, and contributes to government instability.

Even Carlos Slim Helu, one of the world’s richest men, will not be likely to be able to hold on to his wealth if the Mexican government collapses from want of revenue or descending into chaos. Mexico is one of the countries where the government is unstable and tax revenues are unreliable. The country is almost a war zone. Carlos Slim, watch out. Pay your taxes or you’ll lose your shirt. When your government falls apart, who will be there to sustain the legitimacy of your vast telecom monopoly?

Mr. Slim, look at the example of Bill Gates. Use your influence to help drive out corruption and drug cartels. Lower your monopoly prices, and pay your employees enough for them to live full lives. Acting alone, like Henry Ford did a hundred years ago for the US, you, and you alone, have the power to begin the development of a stable middle class in Mexico.

This change in the direction of stability will not come about from you making charitable contributions. It will come about from your assisting the government and paying taxes; and from using some small part of your wealth as payroll to generate a middle class in your home country. With the current instability in Mexico, you may be in the situation of “use it or lose it.”

Now let’s turn our attention away from taxes and toward the best principles of wealth for the twenty-first century, and how they play into the desire to be charitable. Remember here that we’re talking about those individuals who have considerable personal wealth. We need to show in some details the emotional issues that get in the way of a genuine charitable impulse.

The greatest barrier is fear of loss. This prevents most wealthy persons from being generous in their current use of their wealth for creative and fun profit-making projects. Getting creative and having fun is the anodyne for fear. Focusing on giving away money at death is the handmaiden of fear. So we must go into these two psychological issues before we can get to the fun part of using large sums of money now for creative and pleasurable projects, rather than focusing on death as the trigger for the first outpouring of generosity.

You will NEVER be in a position to intelligently play with or give away your money or any part of it during your lifetime unless you feel more secure in your personal life, and feel free from the possibility of losing everything. Being serious about everything is for fearful and anxious people. When you already have a lot, you can fearlessly use what you have to play with investments or to fund good ideas. You and your family can also freely enjoy the good things in life, as long as you aren’t constantly obsessing about fear of loss.

I’ll bet your wife and children and other relatives will like you much better if you can be more playful and feel more freedom in your life decisions. Then you can bequeath the bulk of your assets to those you love, knowing that they may care more about your purposes and intents than they did when they hated you for always being gone or always being in a foul mood.

I’ll bet that a lot of cocaine use and abuse of uppers, even excess drinking, comes directly from the fear and anxiety about imagined losses. If you can be calmer in general, you won’t need to pump yourself up so much and cause the personal damage attributed to the use of high-voltage drugs and alcohol.

The first principle is that charity begins at home. It’s my experience that most individuals with great personal wealth are always afraid of The Next Thing that will wipe them out and leave them living in a poorhouse. Actually, most people feel this way; it’s fairly normal. However, those with wealth feel it more acutely. They have a serious standard of living to protect, and they are more aware of the vicissitudes of the market place due to having participated in it at a high level.

There are several things Benjamin Graham’s book The Intelligent Investor has to say about the psychology of wealth. The first is a quote from financier Nathan Mayer Rothschild: “It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution to make a great fortune; and when you have got it, it requires ten times as much wit to keep it.”

So the primal psychological burden of wealth is that each person who has actually made a fortune knows, deep in the gut that “when you have got it, it requires ten times as much wit to keep it.” This knowledge is a deep and intractable burden. I’ve got to be ten times as good as I already was, in order to keep what I have. I don’t know if I have that level of drive and intelligence in me. So I face the bleak prospect of ending up losing everything and ending up in the poorhouse, no matter how well I’ve done in the past at wealth-building.

The second psychological burden was identified by Kahneman and Tversky, who have shown in academic studies that the pain of a financial loss is more than twice as intense as the pleasure of an equivalent gain. So once you have it, the prospect of losing it looms twice as large in your emotional makeup as the joys associated with what you’ve already done to create your wealth. This generates a fear that will never to be entirely overcome once you reach the upper reaches of finance.

The third point from Graham’s book is on a more positive note. “The whole point of investing is not to earn more money than average, but to earn enough money to meet your own needs.”  And as your wealth grows, your and your family’s needs increase, and this is normal and natural.

Yet you will always need to keep a distinct focus on meeting the natural needs you and your family have developed due to your increase in wealth. It can keep you looking over your shoulder to make sure that aggressive creditors are not suddenly foreclosing on the wonderful homes you have in New York and Denver and Hong Kong.

So the first point is that each individual person of wealth needs to set up an ultra-stable “life-line” fund, grouped in his or her own name and in the names of family members, or in trust for the same. At a minimum the fund will be $100 million dollars; and the maximum might be ten per cent of individual wealth, i.e. $7 billion equals a life-line of $700 million.

Those with less yet significant total wealth may need to put more than ten per cent in their life-line fund. For example, a person with $50 million would probably want to put $10 million into the fund, or twenty per cent of assets. This may limit his or her future abilities to grow by tying up part of the wealth, yet having a settled mind and a secure sense of the future is well worth the sacrifice.

In any case, this life-line will assure than even if every single dollar of other funds is lost in a major financial debacle or through an imprudent fling with a Bernie Madoff, you and your family will for the rest of your lives have enough to live on, even if not quite at the same level as before. You’ll never be poor again. You’ll never again have to worry about sinking into the poorhouse and begging on the street corner.

The life-line fund should be totally separate from any other assets. The money should be invested only in ultra-safe assets such as government bonds, or whatever other ultra-safe assets you can think of that I don’t know about because I’m not in the business. Don’t let your desire for quick increases guide these investments. The benchmark should be safety of principal only.

Use this life-line only if some enterprise may fail but for a small immediate withdrawal (to be repaid soonest), or if the rest of your fortune goes away or gets tied up in some very damaging way.

After establishing these funds, consider deeply the true promise of these funds, until you are satisfied according to your own feelings that you and your family will never again be without significant resources, no matter how bad your future business ventures go. Then let go of the fear of loss of everything. You’ll be surprised how much anxiety will be eased and fears erased once you’ve conquered your fear of loss and degradation.

I’m sure some of you have already set aside life-line funds, or have significant family trusts. Yet have you gone through the emotional process of lessening your anxiety over the prospect of total loss? One man who seems to operate rather fearlessly is Sir Richard Branson. I don’t know his internal fears though. He may just be putting on a good front.

There is a part two to the formula for protecting your “life-line.” It involves making sure that you or your family cannot incur personal liability for business ventures made with the rest of your money, some of which are bound to go south over time.

Part two involves making sure that all the rest of your money is isolated in separate corporate or partnership or trust forms that do not implicate your personal assets. The only way to be dead-certain that a creditor cannot “pierce the corporate veil” is to make sure that each of the many corporate or other entities you set up are well-funded with part of your remaining money, for the purposes for which they are intended.

Most of the time, when the veil is pierced and personal assets are attached by creditors, it is because an operating company is only a “shell company” with little or no personal funds of the investor at risk. As a wealthy person you have enough money to make sure that each of your working entities is provided with a meaningful share of your money, consistent with the business purpose of the working entity. Then you can borrow more, or issue stock, without fear it will come back against your life-line funds.

A second and equally significant concern must be taken into account. Never, ever, establish a retirement or pension fund for any of your employees, except for special circumstances, where you or your company are guaranteeing the value of the funds or the payout at maturity. Always grant such funds to self-directed employee accounts such as 401k’s, or into separately managed fund accounts that do not impose any performance obligation on the part of yourself or your company.

One thing the twentieth century has demonstrated for certain is that well-intentioned efforts on the part of companies or individuals to guarantee retirement benefits for employees are doomed to failure, and these obligations can bring down even the best-run enterprises. Just don’t do it. Ever. Resist any and all union efforts to impose such an obligation as you would resist walking into the cage of a wild tiger.

Once you’ve established your life-line funds and managed your fear of failure, you can go about being much more creative in the investment of your remaining very sufficient funds. For example, Sir Richard Branson has founded Virgin Galactic, an airline to take people into low space orbit for a fee. I assume he intends to make a profit from this business, yet if he doesn’t, at least he’s had some fun with the resources available to him.

In summary, put a value to your comfort, and protect that value. Then invest for profit in things that are fun or are dear to your deepest longings. We all have inside us a set of half-formed wishes. Often we suppress those wishes out of fear of losing everything we have. It’s a vicious cycle: it’s time you stepped off your self-imposed circular stairway to the stars.

There are many things you can do with your money as a substitute for philanthropy. I’ll give you a few tastes here; then wrap up a comprehensive theory of profit versus philanthropy in the twenty-first century in the next and final part of this series.

Here’s an idea. Set up the first company to build a nuclear-powered desalination plant. Put it on the coast of Texas. Pipelines could carry the potable water from the plant across Texas and Oklahoma and New Mexico, to the areas where drought is most prevalent. Electrical companies have made profits from nuclear generated power. Why shouldn’t nuclear generated fresh water be able to make the same level of profits over time?

Similar nuclear-powered desalination plants could be built in various desert areas of the world, as long as the technology is protected from conversion into explosive nuclear weapons.

Here’s another idea. Buy tangible assets such as buildings from the US or state governments, with the stipulation that the purchase price must be applied against government debt first. At the same time negotiate a long-term lease; say thirty years, which is supported by the full faith and credit of the government.

Or, buy a US airline and turn it into a consistently profitable enterprise. This Holy Grail seems to have eluded most business leaders since the 1940’s.

Here’s another idea. Hire a group of extremely smart individuals, pay them very well, and give each of them a part of the executive authority for your companies or holdings. You will keep control of the big picture and make the moves that are your signature ways of making money that others don’t have.

Yet it’s probable that seventy-five per cent or more of the things you do on a daily basis have little to do with the core competencies which helped generate or hold your fortune. Let the others do these things, and spend more time with your family and friends, and doing those unprofitable things which may be your heart’s desire.

But you must be certain that I am not the best fountain of business ideas which are novel and which might even be fun to work on. Your own business sense is the best guide as to what to do. What I’m demanding is that you release yourself from the fear of loss. Then your own ideas will tumble out, creatively and even playfully at times; and you will have the resources to make them happen.

We’ll continue with more ideas, and cement the relationship between wealth and twenty-first century philanthropy, in the fifth and last installment, at https://mcgeepost.com/2013/07/02/philanthropy-to-boldly-go-private-sector-part-five/