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


On Aspiring To Do Something Worthwhile

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

July 11, 2021

"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." ... 
"Choose a problem that's worth your time. World hunger is worth your time. Making a million dollars isn't." ... Sandra "Sandy" Bernasek (1951 - 2018), Landmark Forum Leader, quoted by the Pittsburgh City Paper

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." ... Carl Sagan

According to the World Bank, ending hunger by 2025 through select nutrition interventions will cost a mere $7 billion a year.


$7 billion a year to end world hunger by 2025 is a cursory look at one possible scenario.

Do your own research to find out more specific numbers, variables, and scenarios, all of which can be found freely online.


$7 billion a year to end world hunger by 2025 requires a total of $28 billion. Contrast this with the net worth of the richest person on Earth, of $200 billion. The one billion people who live in hunger, could be fed in less than four years with a mere 15% of that one person's colossal net worth, and still leave a staggering $170 billion in their wallet, surely enough for them to buy groceries and even the occasional frappuccino.

That's enough to give you the sense of how off  our priorities are for the future of humanity here on Earth. Oh, and I did do some research looking for the total cost of the recent privately built plane-to-the-edge-of-space, but I couldn't find an estimate anywhere online. I'm assuming it's a number that would take a sizable chunk out of the $28 billion it would cost to end world hunger, if not cover it entirely, with change to spare. But that's only my guess. What I say with certainty is: not too many of the one billion people living in hunger, are standing in line for tickets for commercial space tourism, which are on sale for a quarter of a million dollars a pop.

And in case you're thinking it's just one man who's off in his priorities for the future of humanity here on Earth (and his priorities for spending his croesan  wealth), it's not: it's you and I, it's our entire world system, a system geared to a "you or  me" world not to a "you and  me" world. I'm sorry but it's not just him: it's all of us.

To be sure, if it weren't for space exploration, the world wouldn't have velcro  and other nowadays all-too-common items that were invented and / or developed in service to it. The thing is when we come back down to Earth, it's not only still the same old place: more pronounced, it's still the same old context. If I aspired to do something worthwhile (I mean really  worthwhile), it would be to shift the context  within which we all live. That's how you make a profound, lasting difference - not just for a few wealthy space tourists, but for humanity at large.

Like millions of people over the world, I watched the voyage of the space-plane on TV today. I was 30% inspired, delighted, I even applauded (it is  a phenomenal achievement) ... and 70% meh! - as in "Great, but when you come back down, there'll still be one billion people living in hunger, something you can't fix with velcro.".

Hunger is solvable. If we can send six tourists to space and back, we can solve it. If I aspired to do something worthwhile, it would be to shift the context in which the possibility of a world that works for everyone, can show up. Without such a shift, tourists to space will still be returning home to one billion hungry people down here.

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