After Robert Ebert saw Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, this is what he had to say:

In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.

Global Warming is real

That is not the question. No matter how much oil companies try to throw uncertainty into the arguement, the facts stand for themselves. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Climatecrisis.net has a section on how you can take action. Real simple actions like switching incadescent light bulbs, turning down the thermostat in the winter by 2 degrees and more.

And if you don’t take action, if you ignore this issue, if we as a people choose not to face this issue, we will face another question. And that is from our children and grandchildren. And that question is:

Why didn’t you do anything?

The Washington Post has a great story on how money really can’t buy happiness.

A wealth of data in recent decades has shown that once personal wealth exceeds about $12,000 a year, more money produces virtually no increase in life satisfaction. From 1958 to 1987, for example, income in Japan grew fivefold, but researchers could find no corresponding increase in happiness.

The journal Science reported last week yet more evidence and another theory about why wealth does not make people happy: “The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory,” one of its studies concluded. “People with above-average income . . . are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities.”

The only good reason I can think of for trying to make lots of money is to give it to charity, the way Warren Buffet has.

I’ve always believed this, and I’m glad that I’ve now got more proof for it.  I think true happiness isn’t from money but from having great friends, a stable family life, good health, and the satisfaction of working hard on things that are meaningful to you.

This article is even more important in the face of growing consumption hurting the planet, outlined in One With Nineveh.  People with higher incomes are almost always consuming more than those with less.  Why try to make more money to consume more if it’s not going to make you happy or help the planet?

Save the world by: focuysing less on making money and more on doing things you enjoy.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : An Inquiry Into Values (Mass Market Paperback)
by Robert M. Pirsig

Synopsis: An autobiographical story of a man and his 13-year old son take a cross country motorcycle trip across the Midwest. Along the way he reflects deeply on philosophy, Zen, the struggle between art and technology and the nature of reality.

Summary: This is one of the most famous popular philosophy books out there. The sparse story line is merely a way for the author to reflect on his ideas. The narrator, Pirsig, tells us how he suffered a psychotic break earlier in his life. His persona before the break he calls “Phaderus”, supposedly meaning “wolf” in Greek.

Throughout the story, the narrator goes into long ruminations, what he calls Chataquas about various topics. He talks about how he is really into maintaining his bike, but his friends who ride motorcycles, are not. They don’t like thinking about the systems and technology behind it. Eventually this discussion leads to the ideas of romantic versus classic views of the world and objective versus subjective thinking. The narrator tells us how Phaderus grappled with this huge ideas, eventually combining Eastern and Western philosophies.

It stems from the idea of Quality. What is it? How do you define Quality? You know its there, but you can’t say what it is. The reason this is, according to the narrator that Quality is pre-intellectual. It is not that objects produce or inherently have Quality. It is that we perceive Quality, and that produces our ideas of the objects. A rather complicated and deep discussion of this follows.

He also talks about other topics such as stuckness, gumption, peace of mind, and the lack of caring in this world. Caring is what produces Quality.

Takeaway: Subjectivity and objectivity are two faces of the same coin. In order to produce Quality, you must care about what you are doing and have gumption.