Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Enormous Talent:

Heroes II

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 10, 2023

"Lots of people have talked about taking that step into the unknown. Taking that step into the unknown is actually a lot less courageous than taking a step from  the unknown."
"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place."
"I'm inspired to write a new essay - it will differentiate between what we are known for doing, and who we are known for being."
... Laurence Platt texting with his daughter Alexandra Lindsey Doyle
"Grief can be the garden of compassion."
... Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī aka Rūmī
"Talent: a former weight and unit of currency, used especially by the ancient Romans and Greeks"
... Google search result
This essay, Enormous Talent: Heroes II, is the companion piece to Heroes.

It is also the prequel to Behind The Commentary And The Debate And The Opinions.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Doyle who inspired this conversation, and to Paige Rose PhD who contributed material.

Be a hero. Not the old  kind of hero who privately builds a submersible and goes to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the ocean's deepest point (it's 7 miles down). Not the old kind of hero who privately builds a rocket to get people to Mars to colonize the "red" planet. Be a new  kind of hero. End world hunger.

Estimates of the cost of ending world hunger range from $7 billion to $36 billion a year. To emphasize an inconvenient truth, let's investigate only the lower figure. $7 billion provides the 42 million people facing famine with one life-saving nutrition-packed meal a day for an entire year. One meal costs the UN World Food Program as little as 43¢ x 42 million people x 365 days a year = $6.6 billion ie a $7 billion ante covers it with $400 million to spare. [source: oxfam]

Oh, but wait: isn't $7 billion an impossible  amount of money? Actually no, it's not. In the light of the following two facts, it's chump change, chickenfeed.

One, over only the past two years, the top 1% of the world's richest people have raked in nearly twice as much new  wealth as the rest of the entire planet combined, their fortune soaring by $26 trillion  while the others (the impoverished-by-comparison bottom 99%) saw a return of only $16 trillion. [source: oxfam]

Two, a tax of less than 5%  on the world's multi-millionaires and billionaires raises $1.7 trillion a year, a smidgen of which amply covers the $7 billion tab for ending world hunger, and the remainder of which easily lifts 2 billion people out of poverty, funds all shortfalls on existing humanitarian appeals, supports poorer countries being ravaged by climate impacts, and delivers universal healthcare / social protection for everyone living in poorer countries. [source: oxfam]

A knee-jerk spring-loaded rubber-band response (which translates to "a not clearly or fully thought through response") to either or both of those two facts, is "Oh, soak the rich  again, is it?". Actually no, it's not - not unless you regard the tax that goeswith (as Alan Watts may have said) renewing your vehicle registration to pay for road maintenance / repair, as "soak the motorist". Here's the truth: once you've got your first $1 billion stashed under your mattress, paying the grocery bill is no longer a problem. A less than 5% tax to pay for ending world hunger is like a tax to fill potholes: everyone  is better off for it.

What we're up against isn't the feasibility of the path to or the benefits of ending world hunger. People of good will everywhere are already aware it can and should be done. No, what we're up against is a paradigm. It's a paradigm in which we live. It's the paradigm of "a you or  me world". And world hunger can not be ended in "a you or me world". But it can  be ended in a "a you and  me world" - and that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

The old kind of hero, the one who builds a submersible and goes to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, or the one who builds a rocket to get people to Mars to colonize the place, will long be acknowledged for their doing. The new kind of heroes ("Heroes II" - if you will), the ones who invent the possibility of ending world hunger and then turn that possibility into reality (and we all now know it's not even that hard to do) will long be acknowledged for their being.

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