Blogs and blog-like communications shared with friends

2020|5|15

From: Ray Gangarosa

Subject: Re: The Monkey Business Illusion

2020|5|15   text message exchange with Friend#6

Ray Gangarosa:

Hi Friend#6

   I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. 

   I am looking for a conservative friend who can explore how progressives and conservatives might reconcile their differences. I have been developing a conceptual and analytical framework based on the mathematics of multicellular life that has deep spiritual implications for setting up a universal theological conversation about what’s important in life and civilization. Christian principles, like the Trinity, the body of Christ, and the kingdom of God play prominent roles in the physics, yet I view all of human civilization as a whole in which all religions might accept the physics as a given and differentiate into their own roles. Although I approach these matters from a scientific, not evangelical, perspective, that concept meshes with how Christian missionaries see converted populations contributing to the body of Christ according to their own unique cultural backgrounds. 

   Even more to the point in our tribalistically hyper-polarized society, I see distinct roles for progressives, conservatives, and minorities that seem to be recapitulating the paths of endoderm, ectoderm, and mesoderm in embryogenesis. Current events and relationships suggest that our civilization has developed only to the stage of a 16-18 day old human embryo. This interpretation is consistent with a simple induction proof that the multilevel principles of multicellular life should generalize to all higher levels. 

   It also suggests that our polarization represents the last throes of the unicellular-like “sleepwalking” existence that becomes untenable when an embryo develops multicellular-like capabilities, e.g., instantaneous worldwide communication technologies — and weapons of mass destruction. Under that interpretation, the clashes between progressives and conservatives should resolve quickly when both come to realize they are both just playing different — but utterly essential — roles. 

   I am trying to write a blog called “The prodigal species”. However, I am stymied by a combination of steep learning curves for the unfamiliar technologies of website design, the need to simplify ideas that are still growing, and an unfamiliar writing medium that prominently involves hypertext links. 

   A number of my other friends have been interested in my ideas to varying degrees, but almost all are progressives. I started this exploration in a conversation with a great friend from engineering graduate school, Friend#4, who was a perfect combination of a lifelong evangelical, a conservative who hated Donald Trump, and a deeply committed environmentalist, but sadly, he died in December. 

   There is one caveat that might give you pause for participating — I see Donald Trump as purely evil, the personification and enculturation of everything that humanity has been doing wrong, and the evil twin of the pandemic coronavirus. In fact, my theory explains how God could have set up Trump’s generation of autocratic rulers to mismanage the coronavirus pandemic, as a cautionary example to future generations that dictators and dictator wannabes should be held personally responsible for preventable harm they cause by flouting democratic norms. When dictators can be sued personally for capricious policies that circumvent such protective norms, humanity could set up additional protective financial disincentives that would discourage autocrats from “serving” in government — thereby purging the institution of dictatorship from human civilization at this critical historical inflection point. 

   If you have problems with my writing about that premise, we may have a no-go situation. Nonetheless, I think we can talk our way through any potential impasses, even if neither of us budges from our positions. Despite any ideological differences we might have, I would welcome your participation. 

   Sorry about the long text message. Give my regards to [your wife]. Feel free to share this message with her, especially if you think she might object to your participation. 

Take care and stay safe, 

Ray G

Friend#6:

I’m open.  

I’m into Jordan Peterson , blend of conservative and liberal beliefs .

His highly vetted personality test “understand yourself” gave me guidance on what parts of me guide my points of view . I’m happy to share those insights with you. 

Seeing pts today 

More latter.

Ps my little brother is toxic on Trump, it makes it very difficult to converse with him. 

Eg : I think HRC is a very bad person , but I don’t see her as evil.

2020|5|15   continued — email exchange with Friend#6

From: Friend#6

Subject: Monkey Business Illusion

From: Ray Gangarosa

Hilarious! I miscounted only one pass and subliminally noticed the player leaving, but missed the gorilla! 

Sent from my iPhone

From: Friend#6

Subject: Re: Monkey Business Illusion

That one experiment , knocked me off my horse enough to realize I perceive less than I see. 

Three “eye witnesses” do see different things, and all may be a better truth, if combined.

Subject: Re: Monkey Business Illusion

Hi again, Friend #6

Do you remember this (literally!) cut-and-paste scroll that you inspired? See the preceding story that testifies to your contribution. Do you know any immunologists who might critique whether this reinterpretation of the literature of the late 1970s, based on my insights from electrical engineering and graduate studies of biological systems, has any relevance today? 

best wishes, 

Ray G

Attachment: “Feedback circuits in the immune system, by Ray Gangarosa, ca. 1978 — scans of a pre-computer-era physically cut-and-pasted scroll 2020|4|17.docx”

Subject: Re: Monkey Business Illusion

Is way cool that you saved that. 

I think ID was your real calling.

Back then flow charts and feed back loops were a foreign language in medicine. 

I do think that , most body systems can be better understood by mapping out possible pathways and important feed back regulators . BME and engineering in general is having that effect, on medical thinking these last 30 yrs.  Do you get any opportunity to interact with GT/emory BME, they look for project advisors each year to help the teams do their “sr capstone design”. You would be a great inspiration to a student group. As you know the school is top tier. 

To this day my Sr AE formula for , Doppler shift , to infer B/P and velocity of vascular flow goes undeveloped .  Think on the arcane way we measure B/P in this day and age, when we really need vascular flexibility, flow, and pressure wave profile to understand the health of the vascular tree. 

Thanks for sharing. 

Abbreviations Friend#6 used: BME = biomedical engineering, GT = Georgia Tech, B/P = blood pressure, 

Sr = senior, AE = aerospace engineering?

Subject: Re: Monkey Business Illusion

Hi Friend#6

I am sharing my latest notebook with a small group of friends and relatives to help critique my distillation of these ideas into blogs for public audiences. It’s about 420 pages since March 5, but I will offer instructions how to focus on it. I’d like to include you in that select group, if you’re willing. Joining comes with no preconceived expectations or obligations — whatever observations you contribute would be most welcome. 

I have identified a recurrent pattern for all levels of multicellular existence, based on how life must solve the equations that chemical affinities unfold: A. first at the level of a physiological platform for higher-level “thought” of some kind, B. then in “hardware”, and C. then in “software”, and (etc.) then, via mathematical induction, to ever yet-higher levels, extending to all aspects of human civilization. 

That pattern is: 

1. linear anticipatory control (using a feedforward model)

2. bilinear, bilateral interactions (contact inhibition)

3. multilinear generalized interactions

4. linear anticipation of higher-level operation

This is a bottom-up, looking down perspective of multicellular life, as we see our cells — or as God might see us. 

I also have a sketch of a top-down, looking up perspective, based on a multilevel generalization of the Golden Rule: “Be a good citizen of higher levels the way you would want your cells to be good citizens of your own body.” This is a description of how we should exert responsibility collectively — the essential feature of multicellularity, which is the defining feature of early embryogenesis and the mandate for our era. 

Although these ideas have academic potential, my fervent hope for now is that this perspective crystallizes and resolves the tensions between ideological poles in our society. That is the essence of the scientific/theological conversation we need to start having at this critical inflection point in our civilization. 

Take care and stay safe, 

Ray G

2020|5|17 continued out of chronological sequence — email to Friend#6, copied to other friends

From: Ray Gangarosa

Subject: a long response that I propose might be the start of a blog between progressive and conservative viewpoints

Hi Friend#6

I could not begin to evaluate Jordan Peterson’s perspective after just a brief exposure. However, I appreciate his efforts to make sense resolving the tensions of the Cold War so early in the process, when it was so toxic in so many ways and so few people were doing anything about it. For a brief time when I was working with the Emory Ethics Center during the 1990s, I was involved with Brad Shore’s Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life, so I can appreciate where Peterson is coming from with his myth-and-tradition-oriented approach. 

However, I think all such bottom-up approaches have the disadvantage of being anthropocentric. Ultimately, I think myths and rituals are too fraught with ambiguity and limited to interpretation. As I’ll mention below, that’s my major beef with those who take the Bible to be literally true. And that’s why I’ve concentrated on developing a theory that is founded on the mathematics of life and then extended it to the responsibilities our souls have for the consequences of our actions during life that ripple through civilization after us. 

To get quickly to my own point (because I see retrospectively how long this email is!), I have identified both bottom-up and top-down views of how multicellular life must work. The bottom-up, looking down, view represents how we see our cells functioning within our own bodies, and is based on the mathematics of life as it expresses the unfolding of chemical reactions. The top-down, looking up, view represents how we must behave as cells in the body of Christ, based on a generalization of the Golden Rule: “Serve higher levels above you as you would have you own cells serve you to protect your own health.” I think both formulations, working together, lend themselves to deep physical principles, mathematical analysis, and engineering design, for a new kind of “clinical public health” on vast timescales that highlight issues of foundational theological importance. You are taking the first position and I am taking the second one — and I see them as both being necessary and complementary. 

Taking the top-down, looking up viewpoint, I believe that life is not about us humans, but rather what our civilization can bring to the future of life on earth in the way of order, awareness, compassion, and wisdom. That’s why, compared to Jordan Peterson and Brad Shore, I prefer the path that Barbara Marx Hubbard took, starting in the early 1970s, also in response to the madness of Mutual Assured Destruction that was built into the philosophy of the Cold War: she developed the notion of “conscious social evolution”. That’s an unfortunate choice of words, since fundamentalists and conservatives have chosen to pick a fight with Darwinian evolution. Biological evolution is evil in a very real way, but that’s no reason to deny its existence, which spawns all kinds of other propagating denials of reality. I see that God intends that the brutal aimlessness of biological evolution ultimately be replaced by the rational emulation of life’s plan in (what I call) “conscious civilizational design”. The advantage of that perspective is that it is top-down, at least in principle, so it allows us to hold a “God’s-eye view” of ourselves, humanity as a whole, human civilization, and the path of life on earth — as a matter of understanding God’s plans for all those things. And although conservatives also rant and rave about “social engineering”, they wouldn’t do so in the setting of responding to God’s will, especially if the science of theology and the theology of science gave us better ways to discern it. After all, before fundamentalism got entangled in its misguided fight against Darwinism — which has led it along a path of denying reality more and more, until it does so at nearly every turn — the very purpose of fundamentalism at its inception during the 19th century was (irony of ironies!) to reconcile science and (biblical) theology! Obviously, nobody alive remembers those distant origins! 

Ray, I’ve always admired your moral stands, especially with vegetarianism. For a 10-year period in my life, until I got a whole bunch of carnivorous pets, I became a vegan, in large part belatedly inspired by your example. Now that the last of my dogs has died, I’m thinking about going back again to vegetarianism or veganism permanently. The salience of zoonotic diseases with the coronavirus pandemic brings that issue into sharp focus as a civilizational imperative. 

However, I have a slightly different view about abortion, based on how I see that conservatives, especially fundamentalists, have hijacked American democracy and undermined democracies around the world with an unyielding, self-righteous stand on abortion that now, under Trumpism, compels them to abandon every principle they’ve ever held up as being “foundational and bedrock”. In fact, it’s almost as though God has led conservatives along the path of the frog in the pot on the stove, giving them every opportunity to jump out when their ideas became untenable, yet they persist in going further and further along an increasingly unjustifiable position and trajectory. 

Let me also say that I am about as close as a person who is not a virgin, a monk, or a priest can get to a neutral observer on the points of sexuality, birth control, and abortion. Although I lived through the sexual revolution, it never affected me much. The women in my family have rather consistently been more remarkable than those I’ve considered dating who would also be interested in me, and on a few other occasions, I was so preoccupied with what I was doing that I didn’t pursue promising relationships. As a result, I have not found a lifelong relationship in a woman whom I found attractive at a time when I felt free to act on my emotions. I also have no interest whatever in gay sex and adhere to high moral standards in love relationships that screen out a lot of possible sexual opportunities, obviously most notably, casual sex and extramarital affairs. Thus, although I keep contraceptives by my bedside just in case an exception arises that might change my life, I’ve been celibate most of the 69 years I’ve been alive, except during a few handfuls of brief interludes. And although I fantasized about intimacy early in my life, my lifelong solitude has proved to be an expansive palette for creativity, allowing me to explore the mathematics of life and civilization and record my observations in full detail. 

I see abortion as a personal sin for which each individual must answer to God and to the aborted fetus, but not a civilizational sin for which society must get involved. Not having intruded on other people’s intimate relationships, I feel qualified to maintain that it’s not society’s business to intrude on what emotionally and relationally balanced, consenting adults do behind closed doors. Even more to the point of my perspective looking up toward higher levels, there is much more reason to look at how civilization is functioning — which may actually compel better birth control under current circumstances — than to advocate for what I consider to be some kind of manufactured doctrine of that every fetus has a right to be born. After all, even nature offers no guarantees against miscarriage. My theory of civilizational design has identified seven very specific civilizational sins that are very different from what fundamentalists and conservatives criticize (which, as you’ll surmise below and hear in future conversations, I believe Donald Trump has committed in spades): 

ignorance | stupidity || 

corruption | exploitation || 

duplicity | treachery || 

existential threat

There is good reason, even from the standpoint of biblical literalism, not to take strong stands at a civilizational level against abortion (although that would by no means preclude those who oppose abortion from advancing moral and theological arguments at the individual level to persuade women not to have them). Silphium, a powerful aphrodisiac, contraceptive, and abortifacient, was so widely and influentially used in ancient times in the Mediterranean basin that its heart-shaped fruit has become a symbol of love in our time, two to three millennia later! It was worth its weight in silver, and the Greek colony in Tunisia where it was cultivated imprinted images of the silphium plant on its currency. The Romans harvested it to extinction. The last sprig of silphium was given to Nero, about the time its use had already dwindled into oblivion. 

All the time silphium was in widespread use, the Bible was being written, throughout the same region, by about 40 different authors. Not one of them said a peep about the sin of abortion, even though it must have been widely and openly practiced at the time. There were antiabortion screeds circulating at the time, but not one of them made it into the biblical canon. In its earliest surviving form, the Hippocratic oath incorporated an antiabortion clause in the fifth century CE, but by then, the Roman Catholic Church may have been exerting its influence on the subject. 

From the standpoint of biblical literalism, the authors in question clearly chose to ignore this issue — and certainly did not embrace the unambiguous, uncompromising stand that antiabortion activists/zealots have taken in our era. In the patriarchal society of that time, it’s very likely that a rich and powerful man who impregnated a woman might wield that power by commanding her to abort an unwanted fetus. It’s also conceivable that the authors of the Bible didn’t feel they could swim against that tide, even if they felt compassion for a slighted woman and a life she might have been forced to end — but they clearly had bigger fish to fry. I think the authors of the Bible also saw, as I do, that life is not about human existence, but rather about building the kingdom of God. 

My youngest brother, Paul, and I see eye to eye on most issues. He is also in public health and has done great work teaching epidemiology to undergraduates and helping the homeless in his city, Charleston, South Carolina. His attitude is simply, if you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. I’m okay with people believing that, on either side of the issue — even though I think the argument will not stop there in the end. Eventually, when we have better theological tools, a more robust public discourse, and fewer other challenges of higher priority, future generations can deal with abortion — perhaps just as a matter of having really good universal birth control. 

By contrast, my middle brother, Gene Jr., became a fundamentalist 40 years ago and has delved into biblical literalism with a vengeance, reading through the Bible at least once every year since then. I have tried to open up a dialog between our sincerely held progressive and conservative viewpoints to offer a healing example to our society, world, and civilization. I have explored the Bible for the last three years in a study group at a progressive Episcopalian church, and in the first three months of this year, I finished a one-year Bible study curriculum and highlighted passages relevant to my own explorations and positions. However, try as I may, I cannot communicate through Gene’s infinite wall of fatalism and negativity. His attitude is that prophesy holds that human self-governance will lead to growing chaos until Christ comes to save us from ourselves. I cannot convince him that it’s irresponsible to do nothing about humanity’s pervasive dysfunction just because he thinks the end times may be near. I see Gene’s nihilistic viewpoint as an abdication of responsibility to ourselves, to our world, to our civilization, to our planet, to the future of life on it, and to God Himself. Even though Gene and I get along very well personally, we cannot carry out a philosophical or theological conversation other than just tolerating each other’s positions. 

On the other hand, I never begrudged those who took advantage of the sexual revolution their enjoyment, their opportunities, or their explorations. I wished for it to transform my life, but it never did. However, I witnessed another effect it had: it made people much more aware of interdependencies. Excepting those who got addicted to drugs, I think hippies learned more about life than did biblical literalists. The counterculture, the Age of Aquarius, cannabis, and even LSD trips weren’t such bad things in the long run of civilizational timescales. 

Now, having identified purposes for life and civilization that have come into much sharper focus with the coronavirus pandemic, I see that God has led humanity along a trajectory that shows the sexual revolution and the pro-choice movement also had specific purposes. God has quenched the sexual revolution in a brilliant civilizational maneuver that no human engineer could have designed, with the pandemic imperative of social distancing and sheltering in place. It’s no longer a matter of messy sexually transmitted diseases that can make you infertile or give you a terrible chronic disease; respiratory viruses can stop your breathing permanently within a few days! And if, as with the Spanish flu of 1918-19, the virus takes a turn toward greater virulence, sexual promiscuity may die, too. A whole generation going through sheltering-in-place and home schooling will surely have an entirely different attitude toward sexual intimacy. 

I see a much different bottom line than do fundamentalists. Specifically, as I’ve stated several times, 

Life is not about us. 

All our perceptions are anthropocentric. 

Anthropocentrism leads to confusion.

We cannot leave nature out of our worldview. 

Myths and rituals are a good example of these pitfalls, especially since they focus criticism on biblical literalism. We have to step outside ourselves to see past the contradictions that anthropocentrism will inevitably generate when push comes to shove, as consequences of our collective actions compel nature to respond with corrective feedback. 

What is the nature of nature’s “corrective feedback”? In broad outline, life has four different optimization modes: (1) the myopic gradient search of prokaryotes that is likely to get stuck at suboptimal local valleys far from the global optimum; (2) the more sophisticated parallel genetic searches that multicellular organisms undertake as individuals acting repeatedly from different starting points; (3) the forest-fire-like destructive annealing search of viruses that eradicates all existing structure; and (4) the cooperative search within the physiological internal milieu of multicellular life that builds on shared infrastructures and commitment to the advancement of the whole. 

The latter regime offers spectacular advantages but requires great discipline. Our own bodies show that cooperative search is possible but highlight just how much responsibility is required to make it feasible. Until now, humanity could only have dreamed of structuring our civilization around cooperative search. We’re just too frail and greedy as individuals pursuing our own interests. 

Nonetheless, I believe God has a higher purpose for human civilization that involves making the transition to multicellular cooperative search modes. It is the antidote to the aimless brutality of natural selection. All of life has been waiting for humanity to get the message that the cooperative operating mode should take over on earth. An embryo forgets its multicellular roots and embarks on what looks like the path of a unicellular colony, until the multicellular tools it also unfolds make unicellular life untenable. The bottom-up version of my theory includes a mathematical induction proof that all lifelike processes at all levels, including that of our civilization as a whole, should follow the same pattern. 

In terms of the science of theology, the Holy Spirit, “the Lord and giver of life”, is what others call Gaia — the massive supercomputer of the biosphere that mediates life’s trajectory on earth. The Holy Spirit is, as the name implies, both powerful and frail, giving back whatever we put into life — until holding onto our civilizational sins will cause us to induce “civilizational birth defects” — kludgy designs that will limit the ultimate capabilities of human civilization, the prospects of all future generations, and the path of life on our fragile planet. Those concerns will influence a lot more people in equally or even more salient ways than the “unborn babies” that antiabortionists are trying to save — especially given sensitivity to initial conditions that apply at this pivotal inflection point in human history. 

Built into all of life is the principle of apoptosis — programmed cell death — without which no life would be possible. Our own mortality assures there will be room and resources for future generations. And by the same token, birth control, which fundamentalists also once condemned (and some still do), is necessary to suppress the human population to within the bounds of the earth’s carrying capacity. I see abortion as being a form of apoptosis uncomfortably close to the far end of the spectrum that raises difficult moral questions — not like genocide or holocaust, but one that would ideally be folded into birth control. Ultimately, the challenge of life is that life’s enthusiasm tends to exceed the earth’s carrying capacity. 

The way to address that challenge is with a theological discourse. What I think that discourse will show is that abortion is an issue, but not now, when humanity needs to make a far more important and compelling transition to multicellular existence. The transformation that will follow will set up a theological discourse in which the abortion issue can be properly addressed. What we are seeing, from echoes of the intensifying and accelerating contradictions of conservatism, is a reverberation chamber anticipating a debate whose time has not yet come. 

Conservatives have an important role to play in civilization — analogous to the ectoderm that will become the nervous system and skin, they will look to humanity’s future and steer our multicellular-like civilization after it is “born”. By contrast, progressives are fulfilling the role of endoderm, which looks to the present by forming the digestive tract. Neglected and oppressed populations, like minorities and immigrants, form the mesoderm, which, in the unfolding embryo recalls the past of its genetic plan, to form the musculoskeletal system and internal organs. 

But if humanity is forming our embryonic civilization in the image of God, we need to think of its design as developing in a uterus, not in an egg or as a free-living larval form. That means both progressives and conservatives don’t have immediate roles and need primarily to develop the structures that will become useful after some kind of birth event (which I think might even relate to purging COVID-19 from the human population through a synchronized worldwide lockdown, which I discussed elsewhere). 

The “civilizational organism’s” development first needs to acknowledge past injustices that suppressed development of essential organs and structures, thereby freeing itself for the super-cooperation needed for multicellular life. I think the developing world will emerge with herd immunity before the developed world because the coronavirus will sweep through its populations essentially unchecked. The Renaissance emerged after the Black Death because peasants who survived had great bargaining power to set their own wages, thereby challenging the tottering power structure that had previously existed. Similarly, developing nations will call the shots and dominate the world economy even as the developed nations are still crippled by lockdowns. 

What progressives need to minister to the needs of the organism’s present nutrition is efficient extraction of resources and a powerful circulatory system formed primarily by the mesoderm (especially the heart and blood vessels). Stated another way, to attain effective multicellular distribution of nutrients throughout the body, an efficient circulatory system has to substitute for Marxist wealth redistribution theory. We’re already seeing such prototypes of delivery systems replace brick-and-mortar stores at the outset of the coronavirus era. Under those circumstances, all the judgmental clutter and clatter of Marxism can be seen as limitations of the unicellular framework in which economic arguments have heretofore been posed. And from there, humanity can get down to the business of designing a fully-developed circulatory system — and ultimately appreciating that the associated physics and theology are intimately linked. 

And what conservatives will need to steer the “civilizational organism” responsibly is a sense of pain — which I interpret in terms of regret for having supported Trumpism. Both in the embryo and in our civilization, the pattern is that the ectoderm gets ahead of itself in development and has to undergo a period of retrenchment. The embryonic ectoderm is preoccupied with forming the neural tube like a colonial unicellular organism, even as the endoderm and mesoderm seem to have gotten the message that the genetic plan is that of a multicellular structure. I think right after that, the nervous system starts connecting pain fibers between its central and peripheral nodes. 

I think that delayed linkage of pain fibers translates into conservatives developing regret for having taken humanity down a dangerous path that has threatened democracies here and abroad. Donald Trump is a false prophet and civilizational threat, who personifies and enculturates everything that humanity has been doing wrong. It’s not a coincidence that Trump has become so prolific spewing his hateful, moronic tweets to tens of millions of followers and the whole world to bypass the news media’s incisive criticism of his autocratic inclinations and policies. Future generations won’t believe how anyone could have followed and empowered such a detestable person, with most conservatives also acknowledging even before he was elected that he didn’t have the temperament for the most responsible position on the planet at such a crucial time in human history! 

God has set Trump up to mismanage the coronavirus pandemic so he will have nothing to show for his arrogance and complete lack of fear of God in the presence of God’s greatest form of wrath: a plague, i.e., exponential growth of a deadly pathogen. Trump had every opportunity to show penance for his dissolute life, inheriting a tremendous economy and full control of government, but God knew the evil in his soul. A resurgence of the 1918 influenza pandemic was inevitable, and it came on Trump’s watch, when God knew he would blow it, big-time. George W. Bush and Barack Obama set up the plans for handling pandemics, but Trump, with his racist, malignant intent to denigrate his immediate predecessors and hype his own dubious “accomplishments”, insisted on doing things his own way. And so, true to form, Trump let the cat out of the bag, by dismantling those preparedness infrastructures, coddling Xi Xiaoping’s own mismanagement of the outbreak, denying the then-still-preventable outbreak as a hoax, and then saddling others (his vice president and the states’ governors) with the responsibility for managing the pandemic so he could blame the consequences of his outbreak maladministration on them. 

That’s why and how divine providence intervened in the 2016 election to let Trump win. The buildup of dysfunction from humanity’s encroachment on our natural environment needed one final push to make one last lesson evident before humanity realized we have to design our civilization consciously: we have to purge the institution of dictatorship from human civilization permanently, by holding authoritarian leaders personally accountable for the harm they do to vulnerable populations that they scapegoat by circumventing democratic norms. God set Trump up to do what he had done all his life: to brag about how he was managing his spectacular inheritance, only to go bankrupt, over and over again. 

For conservatives who have resisted blaming Trump all this time, look how God has spoken to put Trump down and chastise him for his incessant bragging. And so, Trump cannot claim to have won the popular vote without fabricating unsubstantiated stories of voter fraud. He cheated in the election by using foreign assistance obtained illegally through computer hacking, even if he wasn’t competent enough to collaborate in a criminal conspiracy. He dismantled our government and installed sycophants who were incapable of managing crises. Then Trump helped precipitate the crisis of the century by shredding preparedness infrastructures and standing by as his then-good-buddy-and-fellow-dictator, Xi Xiaoping, let coronavirus out of the bag. And now he has Depression-level unemployment, an economy that cannot function without killing hundreds of thousands of people, and a stock market that has dropped to levels within Obama’s range, which only hangs on to its value because there’s no better place to put money. At a time when anyone selected with a dart and a phone book could unite our nation by expressing a tiny modicum of sympathy, Trump continues to divide us, even suggesting that all his major political opponents (Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama) should be jailed. He knows what a weak, feckless person he is, but to distract people from his own failures, he dangles bright fabricated objects, raises phony issues, accuses others of his own wrongdoing, and plays the victim even as thousands of others are dying. Obama’s handling of the Ebolavirus outbreaks and the pandemic playbook he left behind established that the coronavirus pandemic could have been prevented, but God needed a kleptocrat and dictator wannabe to mismanage it so future generations could enforce that governance by tweeting and bullying would never again be allowed. 

How could God have “set Trump up” in that way? Isn’t that an anthropocentric, anthropomorphic view of nature, life, and civilization? 

Well, not entirely. Thinking of the interface between human civilization and the natural environment as a vastly complex optimization occurring as an arms war over vast timescales, we can see how nature would have reacted as human technologies made our pervasive encroachments ever more efficient and effective — and, ultimately, ever more hazardous to the future of life on earth. In distant historical (e.g., biblical) times, the gradient searches of bacteria were sufficient checks on human overpopulation and encroachment to match ancient technologies. Thus, plagues of bacterial pathogens, like Yersinia pestis and cholera were sufficient through the 19th century to assert nature’s control of the earth’s life support systems. 

However, when water and sanitation infrastructures allowed almost unlimited growth of huge cities, while antibiotics have controlled infections at the individual clinical level, and even as vaccination strategies have eradicated the worst of DNA viruses, smallpox and (almost) polio, nature’s control has waned. A century of world wars kept the human population in check to some extent, but weapons technologies were then quickly redeployed to assert humanity’s control over the planet’s life support systems. 

We get a powerful appreciation of the teleonomic purposiveness of life in realizing that meanwhile, RNA viruses have also been probing humanity’s defenses over many centuries. While influenza-like illnesses were reported in ancient times, the last few centuries, when human technologies have accelerated, also mark accelerations of episodic respiratory RNA virus pandemics. 

In our information age, we now have new ways to understand how viruses work — messages on social media can “go viral”. Actually, we will get an even better understanding of viral pathogenesis when we analyze Trump’s rise to power, his modes of communication, and his administration’s policies — he has commandeered our government by resurrecting our nation’s original sins, pitting our internal tensions against each other, hijacking the levers of power, and (I would argue) trying to kill the character of our souls. 

Now that we get to the coronavirus phase of Trump’s attempt to impose his own form of dictatorship, we can see that he has botched everything he tried to do. He tried to assert savage, laissez-faire capitalism; the economy under coronavirus will require massive subsidies to keep people at home, at least during disease flare-ups. He tried to dismantle almost all regulations to turn the economy into a runaway train; now we will need a whole new plethora of regulations directed at keeping us safe from a pandemic pathogen. Trump tried to sabotage our conscience by scapegoating immigrant and poor populations; now we must exert new kinds of care for each other’s fates or we will feel the scourge of pandemic disease together. Trump tried to eradicate any sense of interdependency, especially on an international scale, only to unleash the ultimate manifestation of interdependency: a deadly pandemic plague. 

Progressives have been loath to accuse Trump of responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic, but when we allow ourselves to enter the discourse with theological arguments of our own, that conclusion is inescapable. It’s not enough to note that Trump has made the United States a pitiable country, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and a weak sister to South Korea’s highly effective parallel track — if Trump had left CDC boots on the ground in China, had not dismantled pandemic preparedness like the Chernobyl reactor “test” that destroyed it, had pursued normal international relations, and had not tried to set up a cabal of kleptocratic dictators, there would not be a coronavirus pandemic now. 

I think of Trump as the evil twin of the coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus is unthinking; Trump shows his calculated guilt with virtually every tweet. He is a civilizational virus, using an optimization strategy that resembles a forest fire, demolishing every structure in front of him instead of building an economy’s infrastructures. If you don’t believe he was that, as progressives have realized all along, see how his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic has brought that out in him. As I said, God knew his malignant personality and set him up to fail in precisely that way. God needed for us to see that dictators and those who respect them are the civilizational equivalent of viruses! 

It’s not enough for progressive believers to sit on the sidelines and let fundamentalists hijack Christianity. As just the first step in going astray, their views are not consistent with reality. Parts of the Bible have great weight and truth, but they describe a different era that was static. Our own era has had its own static aspects, as illustrated by the surprise that has accompanied pandemic disease. However, conservatives should not be allowed a monopoly on theological concepts, discourse, and doctrine. Now that I have identified how physics raises fundamental theological issues, there can be a level playing field and a two-way discourse. 

That can only be good for conservatives and fundamentalists, too, They have gotten intellectually and spiritually lazy, thinking they had the moral high ground by saving unborn babies, as Donald Trump terrorized immigrants and separated their families, lied constantly to save himself from the consequences of his own wrongdoing and maladministration, trashed every aspect of our government (prominently including the judiciary, as conservatives will also soon come to rue), compromised our planet’s life support system, and jeopardized the future of life on earth. Conservatives and fundamentalists have been allowed to wallow in their own self-righteousness so long without a theological sparring partner that they cannot see their own hypocrisy in following a false prophet, a dictator wannabe, probably (given that he made himself such a bad credit risk and nobody else would have co-signed his $2 billion in loans over the last 30 years) a foreign puppet — and even an outright civilizational threat, despite the fact that many of them imagined we are in the end times, when we need to combat the Antichrist! They have been covering for Trump too long as he trashed one foundational conservative principle, biblical mandate, and Christian doctrine after another. Their own souls are on the hook for the propagating consequences of Trump’s misguided policies, including the deportation of hundreds of thousands of blameless immigrants, first into limbo and then into great peril of the coronavirus without having any support structures. In the end, fundamentalists and conservatives will experience nothing but regret for having followed someone their own gut feelings told them was totally unsuitable for any kind of leadership role. They thought about how Trump’s large Twitter following would help them save unborn babies but neglected the harm that their substandard leader would do to God’s kingdom. And I think they will realize God was not on their side as they went down that rabbit hole leading up to and then following through with Trump. 

That digression into everything Trump gets back to my claim that conservatives need to develop the pain fibers of our embryonic civilization. The long litany I just listed is just a down payment on the penance that will emerge after Trump is out of the picture. After the Trump administration has safely crashed and burned, never-Trumpers will reassert sanity in the Republican party. Trump was the personification and enculturation of the unicellular paradigm, which he then implemented in a spasm of viral destructiveness — both of which God and nature abhor as the antithesis of human civilization. That is reason enough for humanity to associate pain with our experience of Trumpism. 

The next stage of embryogenesis for our civilization involves undoing the last vestiges of the unicellular paradigm and its viral implementations. All the unicellular-like aspects of libertarianism, Republicanism, and Trumpism must be replaced by awareness of what conservatism offers a multicellular-like civilization — the higher-level awareness required to steer and navigate human civilization patiently over long timescales. To get to that awareness, the Bible is no longer enough — we must look to inspiration in nature | life | and civilization. I think time will tell that conservatism must take a very different direction from the static view that biblical literalism proposes. 

That is very different from the view of conservatism you articulated, Ray. You’ve pointed out that you hold a combination of liberal and conservative views, which is much to your credit. I hope to clarify what conservatism means after it must reject Trumpism and lead us into a new era with a multicellular-like civilization. 

My “Ray G” version of civilizational design focuses on a top-down, looking up, view that allows us to discern what God seems to want from human civilization and (as a higher-level generalization of the Golden Rule) how we should behave to emulate cells that do a good job keeping our own bodies healthy. If I may be so bold as to interpret for you, your “Friend#6” version of civilizational compassion seems to feature a bottom-up, looking down, view of the conventional Golden Rule: Do unto others — e.g., animals, fetuses, other people — as you would have them do unto you. 

I think both views are absolutely necessary and perfectly complementary. I think this analysis sets up a Jefferson/Adams-like discussion of our differences that you proposed. I hope it can also project them into the future, as human civilization advances from unicellular-like sleepwalking to multicellular-like conscious civilizational design. I think all the issues that conservatives and progressives raise are valid — they just need to be laid out on a timeline that is feasible for human civilization to implement. 

I apologize that we may disagree on the details and interpretations of Trump and Trumpism. However, otherwise, is this a fair comparison between our two perspectives? Have I done justice to your viewpoint? Do you think this is a good direction to take? 

In any case, I want to thank you for taking on this dialog. It has sharpened my thinking a great deal already, not least in clarifying my understanding of the mathematics of my own top-down, upward-looking, perspective (which I’m still exploring with renewed intensity now). 

I’ve taken the liberty of leaving off our past conversation so I can copy people who have expressed an interest in my theory. At some point as we gain steam, I would also like to share our conversations with my Bible study group. Perhaps with your inputs and some editing, I could post them on my website. I think our conversation is reaching the caliber of what I want to convey in my blogs as a healing dialog between sincerely held, committed progressive and conservative protagonists. Feel free to restrict or expand your responses as you see fit — and let me know whether or not you’d like to go in the directions I’ve proposed. 

As I often have to do, I apologize for a very long-winded email — 7 pages in 10-point Times New Roman font! I guess this amounts to a pulmonary function test to condition my lungs for the coronavirus era! 

Best wishes, 

Ray G

2020|5|17   email exchanges with Friend#6

Subject: “El Shaddai & Thy Word”  Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith Pt. 1 (Carey’s Demo)

https://youtu.be/QoOc5QLVHk0

Problem solving . ( this coming Fridays , question) 
I’m asked by local church leaders , when can they go back to normal. 
It seems particularly evil that this virus attacks that group, in its meetings and its funerals , in the heart of the most loyal members. 
The church , will not fail , that I am sure, (what is the Church) 
“The Word” ,,,, Latin … Logos ,,,, God’s method of creation , the Bible teaches. 
(Why truth matters in an existential way)  

It is said, singing , is saying it twice. 

This is a classic , AE , conceptual block busting …. you and I , space , time travelers , are faced with a problem which has to be solved to get the ship back off the planet. The teacher might list several items, you might have which could be tools. You are not limited to them, nor to use them in their intended or traditional way. 

Is there a work around , for this virus, which would have us not worship . 

Ray

Dad’s Ipad

Subject: Is He Worthy – Shane & Shane (Lyrics) 

Brother this moves me to the core. 

https://youtu.be/1pBeDoSlUnU

Dad’s Ipad

Subject: Re: “El Shaddai & Thy Word”  Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith Pt. 1 (Carey’s Demo)

Hi Friend#6

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous songs by Amy Grant and Shane & Shane. I haven’t been listening much to Christian music even since I got deeply into Christianity myself, but obviously I should. 

At some point, I’ll share music of my favorite contemporary folk singer, Vienna Teng — but not after the two videos you sent! Her secularly oriented music would seem out of place against the three songs you shared. 

I have a few questions and observations about what you wrote below: 

  • What does AE stand for?? I saw that you used the abbreviation before and thought you might have meant “aerospace engineering” but now I see obviously not, from what you wrote below. 
  • In my mode of thinking, top-down and looking up toward God’s plan for humanity and our civilization, the notions of problems, solutions, and (especially) work-arounds lead to separated, fragmented efforts that yield suboptimal results. Maybe that’s another disadvantage of individualistic interpretations of scriptures, with all the variability and ambiguity that such interpretations can take on. Therefore, I think of much broader, civilization-level challenges, designs, and (avoiding) kludges. 
  • However, for your bottom-up and looking down operating mode, problem-solving is perfectly appropriate. [Actually, I’m pretty good at problem-solving and miss it very much!] 
  • We shouldn’t think of the coronavirus as evil. It has no consciousness and can exert no intent. Its attacks are purely automatic. 
  • Even from an anthropocentric viewpoint, if archaic viruses had not inserted themselves in the genomes of our long-distant ancestors, probably causing awful diseases along the way, life could not have evolved with the body plans, brains, and minds that we now have. 
  • Furthermore, pandemics are part of the human experience. We’ve just shielded ourselves from it with antibiotics and public health interventions, but what we’re experiencing now is a connection with our own past. That itself has value for gaining perspective. The Renaissance arose naturally from the Black Death, although those who went through the pandemic didn’t live to see the transformation. Our challenge is to accelerate that process so we get through to the other side before too long. 
  • There is a a way for us to purge the coronavirus from the human population within a few incubation periods — a matter of months at most — with simultaneous, synchronized, worldwide lockdowns. Maybe that’s the “workaround” you were describing — but I think of it in as a much more foundational act. Before you talk with the church elders, let me know if I haven’t sent you that essay and I’ll email it right away. 
  • As I write these observations about the human experience, I thought of a Vienna Teng performance that actually is relevant. She wrote the music to a play, entitled “The fourth messenger”, that retells the story of Buddha from the standpoint of a modern woman. I’ve found that Buddhism has great insight into psychology, human culture, and the dynamics of life. This video was the premier of the play, when she sang the role of that Buddha character counseling a woman with cancer. It might address the concerns of the church leaders you’ve been counseling: 
  • Maybe our job is getting the ship back ON the planet! 

Best wishes, 

Ray G

2020|5|18   email exchange with Friend#6

Subject: Breakfast today

A picture containing bottle, table, cup, coffee

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From: Ray Gangarosa

Subject: Re: Breakfast today

In the Continuing Saga of Dr. Lassie, there’s a pitched marketing battle between the evil Burger Death empire and our protagonists’ favorite fast junk food restaurant, Taco Gruel. The marketing lines go, “Taco Gruel was started in the 14th century by the Hun brothers: Attila, Tortilla, and Fajita the Huns, after they decided there was more money in the Mexican restaurant business than in plundering and pillaging. [Their names all rhyme, of course] But don’t tell anybody!! In every authentic Mexican burrito, fajita, or chimichanga smoothie is Taco Gruel junk food restaurant’s secret ingredient: rich, thick, English porridge!” 

“Wow, Lassie, every time I hear a Taco Gruel commercial, my mouth waters like crazy! Let’s go share a chimichanga smoothie right now!” 

I always thought that was a joke, Ray, but I should have known you would actually eat Taco Gruel for breakfast! 

Sent from my iPhone

From: Friend#6

Now that is the great Gangarosa humor I know.

From: Ray Gangarosa

I guess the only question that remains, to complete the comparison with my mental image from the Dr. Lassie Adventures, is whether you customarily share your Taco Gruel breakfast with a dog, who’s lapping it up as you drink from the cup with a straw! 

From: Friend#6

Naw 

Corbin was a carnivore , 

Him no eat silly beans. 

From: Ray Gangarosa

What’s the point in being a vegetarian yourself if your carnivorous pets are chomping away at the planet? 

From: Friend#6

Well as. You know , dogs rule. 

( though he really was happy just mooching my food. I miss him dearly)

Good morning, Friend#6

I don’t have the mathematics of life ready. This may take a while — hopefully just a matter of days. 

Here is your Vienna Teng musical selection, which is from the premier screening of The fourth messenger, hilariously portraying the pitfalls of meditation: 

“Monkey Mind” from The Fourth Messengerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnXgwALiuoM

And here is Tomas Pueyo’s guide to pandemic management that I mentioned yesterday: 

Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance. What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Timehttps://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56

P.S. 

I see that these recommendations clash profoundly with the “Dear Mr. President” letter you emailed this morning. We should discuss these issues sometime after you’ve seen the scope of my theory of civilizational evolution. Things look very different when you design and implement human life | society | and civilization inside a multicellular-like civilization than it does now in our unicellular-like society. 

Have a great day! 

Best wishes and stay safe, 

Ray G

2020|5|19   continued out of chronological sequence — my response to Friend#6, copied to other friends

Hi Friend#6

I’m up a bit later than usual this morning. I had a headache yesterday that’s better today, along with a facial rash then, and I’ve been wondering if I might be in a prodromal phase of COVID-19. I’ve had none of the other typical symptoms. Nonetheless, I’m socially isolating for now and making preparations to save my archives. Yesterday I also briefed a friend about the physics of life that I’ve discovered. Except for a very slight headache that has improved considerably over the last day, I feel fine, but if worse comes to worst, I want my work to continue after me. 

Regarding your text message conversation this morning, as I see it from an epidemiologist’s view, the issue of masks is a probabilistic one. If we can shave a little bit off the transmission probability, that may make the difference between an R0 < 1, which will cause the epidemic to extinguish itself, and R0 > 1, which will continue growing. 

I saw last night on a brilliant analysis by Rachel Maddow that the White House has been ignoring every aspect of epidemiology (including the fact that R0 ≫ 1 for this pandemic) and basing its decision to open up the economy on a “cubic model” derived about a month ago that simply fits past data to Donald Trump’s expectation, purely from magical thinking, that the curve for deaths and new cases will just magically go to zero by Memorial Day (next week). That model is blowing up from its clash with reality. 

And the mismatch between the model and reality puts healthcare workers in the crosshairs of a runaway epidemic, soon to blow up also. Outside of the 3-state NY-NJ-CT area that has recovered from the recent intense flare-up, new cases in the rest of the United States are increasing linearly — and then superimposing the potential for exponential growth of severe cases that need intensive care and ventilator support. With the cautions of social distancing partially suspended, I’m worried about you, being on the front lines. Furthermore, Georgia is a worst-case scenario. I don’t know your medical history or physical condition, but your age and possibly also your body mass index may put you in a very high-risk group. Take care of yourself as you care for your patients. 

Now to match the selections you’ve sent me recently, here’s some music that I love, from Vienna Teng — also known as the dedicated environmental problem-solver, Cynthia Shih. In her day job, she spearheads a special team on innovative communities with the elite nongovernmental organization MacKenzie.org. 

This song, and the long introduction she gives to describe it, reminds me of my parents’ relationship, as it might have been when they were young and trying to figure out if they were right for each other: 

1. Pencil sketchhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppyAqYCCsZw&app=desktop

This song illustrates how good she is with performance technologies — and poetry! — as she insinuates slyly and creepily, about what our consumer technologies are doing to us, our society, and, yes, our civilization: 

2. The hymn of Acxiomhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJyheSPtjoU

This song was composed by the Cynthia Shih side of Vienna Teng: 

3. Drivehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmax2X3wDls

I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do! 

Take care and stay safe! 

Ray G

2020|5|20   email to Friend#6, copied to other friends

Subject: important points I forgot to make

Good morning, Friend#6

Here is your morning musical interlude: 

First another Vienna Teng song, showcasing amazing technological prowess, with an introduction that we geeks-turned-activists can readily appreciate: 

Vienna Teng In Concert: Whatever You Want (w/intro):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4wzzLkwAog

And then a live Arlo Guthrie performance (You know perfectly well what’s coming, so I don’t have to warn you!): 

Arlo Guthrie – The Garden Song – 1987: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QTj45cTB4U

There’s another thing I forgot to mention in my comments about your video advising low-risk populations how to manage the coronavirus pandemic. It’s based on this really brilliant article by Tomas Pueyo: “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now”: 

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

  • It’s not enough just for high-risk groups to practice social distancing. 
  • Even though younger people aren’t at as much risk, even their mortality is about 40 times higher if supportive medical care has to be rationed. 
  • Healthcare providers on the front lines are also especially vulnerable under rationing conditions, especially now, when personal protective equipment is scarce and can’t be discarded after every use. Exhausted healthcare providers cannot give the best care, thereby exacerbating the deleterious effects of rationing. 
  • Against the crush of exponential growth of a deadly disease, we can’t get behind the curve. Once the peak becomes obvious, it’s too late, and lots of people will have died. 
  • The nations that are doing worst in this epidemic — the United States, Russia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom — all have Trump-like leaders (Trump, Putin, Bolsanaro, and Johnson) who characteristically deny reality, sow divisions, and underemphasize planning. 
  • We should have stockpiled massive amounts of needed equipment and practiced a synchronized nationwide lockdown to “hammer down” the virus. We can start over with such an approach if people insist on it: “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.” 
  • Deaths will have much more impact on the economy than lost revenues. The loss of the expertise of irreplaceable people, especially healthcare providers, will create shortages and all sorts of “cultural amnesia”. 
  • Education might suffer by loss of face-to-face contact with teachers and other students, but then again, might benefit from creative development of new technologies that allow everybody access to really great teachers. 
  • I think, at a critical juncture in human history, God is showing us that virus-like leaders are worse than viral pandemics. Over most of history, pandemics inspired fear of God. God has put in power a cohort of dictators who show no such respect even in the face of nature’s most fearsome force — deadly pandemic disease — to humble them and all those who have empowered and followed them. 
  • I also think this course of events is a message that those in whom God has invested a lifetime of cultural interactions have more value to Him than the theoretical lives of unborn babies, for whom a manufactured theological doctrine has empowered dictator wannabes and undermined democracies throughout the world. What this pandemic could do, if we are not careful, is simulate the cruel practice of slaughtering elephant herds and leaving the surviving calves in confusion and grief to grow up as psychotic rogues. 

I thought you implied in your remarks that some people are trying to bully our country into a kind of sustained lockdown. I think, until we fully get our act together, it’s wise to put the economy into a kind of “medically-induced coma” so it can come out on the other side of our preparation with good medical results, the fewest possible deaths, and an intact world community. 

This discussion doesn’t consider what’s going to happen in developing countries. It’s so tragic that we prepared so badly for ourselves and cannot exert leadership helping them. International relationships after this pandemic are going to be far less favorable to our position, especially because developing nations will attain herd immunity the hard way, long before we do. We should be prepared to counter their anger at us by providing technological assistance, e.g., inexpensive “Raspberry Pi” computers for every person on earth, so they can pull the whole international community of this economic depression. The days of denying global dependency are over, contradicted by pandemic, global economic decline, and a thorough retrospective critique of Trump’s folly after his administration has safely crashed and burned. 

Ultimately, we can purge coronavirus from the human population by ending our encroachments that spawn zoonotic diseases, vaccination, and global synchronized lockdowns. We have to be patient, recognize what we’re up against, and ultimately preserve our values, not our carefree but now obsolete routines. 

Stay well and safe, 

Ray G

2020|5|20   continued — Friend#6’s response

From: Friend#6

Subject: Re: important points I forgot to make

How bout some push pull.  On a few items.

I’ll use //// for my thoughts since i don’t do fonts well.

There’s another thing I forgot to mention in my comments about your video advising low-risk populations how to manage the coronavirus pandemic. It’s based on this really brilliant article by Tomas Pueyo: “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now”:

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

·       It’s not enough just for high-risk groups to practice social distancing. 

//// high risk groups in my care have to do absolute avoidance , way more than social distancing . I had to get the national guard into my ALF when the HD balked , after a thoughtless hospitalist d/c a pt with pending viral status . I was not willing to wait 1 day.  Compare to some states gov’s who forced known infected pts into Sr living. Accounting for half the deaths. 

·       Even though younger people aren’t at as much risk, even their mortality is about 40 times higher if supportive medical care has to be rationed. 

//// I just have not seen this in practice

·       Healthcare providers on the front lines are also especially vulnerable under rationing conditions, especially now, when personal protective equipment is scarce and can’t be discarded after every use. Exhausted healthcare providers cannot give the best care, thereby exacerbating the deleterious effects of rationing. 

//// agree , but in an early antibody screen in NYC , county residents had 16% + rate, of them health care workers had 6%+ . Indicating nurses and Drs understand how to defend better, or social distancing in practice fails, or both. 

·       Against the crush of exponential growth of a deadly disease, we can’t get behind the curve. Once the peak becomes obvious, it’s too late, and lots of people will have died. 

·       The nations that are doing worst in this epidemic — the United States, Russia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom — all have Trump-like leaders (Trump, Putin, Bolsanaro, and Johnson) who characteristically deny reality, sow divisions, and underemphasize planning. 

//// take out the Sr living deaths , USA has very good numbers. 

·       We should have stockpiled massive amounts of needed equipment and practiced a synchronized nationwide lockdown to “hammer down” the virus. We can start over with such an approach if people insist on it: “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.” 

//// agree and Bush , gave a speech recommending , neither he nor Obama prepared for.  And this is not that hard. GT IE is the top ranked program in the world and made a name for itself on just in time inventory . I’m impressed current task force stepped up to muster those methods.  

·       Deaths will have much more impact on the economy than lost revenues. The loss of the expertise of irreplaceable people, especially healthcare providers, will create shortages and all sorts of “cultural amnesia”. 

//// we disagree , respectfully . I have to consider all treatment side effects, including economic when I write an Rx. If the pt can’t afford it , they will not Benifit , if they try and it bankrupts them I have lost the pt. Their are superior  drugs my pts can not afford . I am on 2 such. I have 7 stints and an ablation , glad I can afford , and angry my ins co , does all it can to NOT pay.

·       Education might suffer by loss of face-to-face contact with teachers and other students, but then again, might benefit from creative development of new technologies that allow everybody access to really great teachers. 

//// agree , and this is to the risk of those colleges teaching underwater basket weaving and grievance studies. We as a country need to weed out these extended summer camps with their massive indebtedness and useless degrees. We are a bit biased having gone to a serious Institute . Did you know 10 years ago Forbes business , did a study of graduate earnings and GT was the #1 of all universities for future earnings / cost of degree. 

·       I think, at a critical juncture in human history, God is showing us that virus-like leaders are worse than viral pandemics. Over most of history, pandemics inspired fear of God. God has put in power a cohort of dictators who show no such respect even in the face of nature’s most fearsome force — deadly pandemic disease — to humble them and all those who have empowered and followed them. 

//// I agree , and rethought after your last email. I should not consider an act of nature as evil. If one steps off a cliff , gravity will have its way. I should reflect more on how the “church” of believers can find communion and worship in the natural world , as more dangers arrive. I remind my pts we live on a beautiful but deadly planet . I see my job as more how to help them navigate danger. 

·       I also think this course of events is a message that those whom God has invested a lifetime of cultural interactions have more value to Him than the theoretical lives of unborn babies, for whom a manufactured theological doctrine has empowered dictator wannabes and undermined democracies throughout the world. What this pandemic could do, if we are not careful, is simulate the cruel practice of slaughtering elephant herds and leaving the surviving calves in confusion and grief to grow up as psychotic rogues. 

I thought you implied in your remarks that some people are trying to bully our country into a kind of sustained lockdown. I think, until we fully get our act together, it’s wise to put the economy into a kind of “medically-induced coma” so it can come out on the other side of our preparation with good medical results, the fewest possible deaths, and an intact world community. 

//// I’m seeing increase calls to suicide hot lines, delayed diagnosis of Ca, unmanaged diabetes …. these effects will take a year to , look back on.

This discussion doesn’t consider what’s going to happen in developing countries. It’s so tragic that we prepared so badly for ourselves and cannot exert leadership helping them. International relationships after this pandemic are going to be far less favorable to our position, especially because developing nations will attain herd immunity the hard way, long before we do. We should be prepared to counter their anger at us by providing technological assistance, e.g., inexpensive “Raspberry Pi” computers for every person on earth, so they can pull the whole international community of this economic depression. The days of denying global dependency are over, contradicted by pandemic, global economic decline, and a thorough retrospective critique of Trump’s folly after his administration has safely crashed and burned. 

//// one thing Trump has done is crush the notion of relying on a country founded on Communism . I was lulled into thinking  they would grow out of that unfree state with time. Now I see a hundred thousand chinise  students a year here , have no chance to change dictators ruling over a billion souls. And I have no heart with our trillions of debt. Going on as the worlds policeman. 

Ultimately, we can purge coronavirus from the human population by ending our encroachments that spawn zoonotic diseases, vaccination, and global synchronized lockdowns. We have to be patient, recognize what we’re up against, and ultimately preserve our values, not our carefree but now obsolete routines.

Stay well and safe, 

//// you two. And let your brethren breath free. 

Ray G

From: Ray Gangarosa

Hi again, Friend#6

Good comments. I see you points and agree, at least in part, with some, maybe even all of them. We don’t need to go back and forth debating these issues. But you understand, Don’t you, that my remarks are directed primarily to protect physicians like you who, unlike me, are working on the front lines? 

And, as I said in the previous response, if we keep raising animals for meat on a massive scale in squalid factory farms, if Africans keep eating monkeys, and if Chinese keep eating bats and civets and pangolins (or whatever else), then it’s just a matter of time before some completely unmanageable RNA virus comes to get us, economic depression, mental depression, suicide hot lines, and all. 

COVID-19 was a merciful shot across our bow. God is telling us, by signaling through nature’s tools, that we’re the ones acting like a virus, technology can’t protect us from natural selection pressures, and if we don’t start behaving like a good citizen in the biosphere, He — and ever more virulent RNA viruses — will cull our ranks to a size the planet can manage. And that process, of intensifying pandemic diseases, would wreak havoc with human culture, society, and civilization, turning us even more tribalistically against each other. 

You have been doing the right thing all your adult life with your vegetarian diet, and I’ve always admired you for that. What concerns me is that you’re sending a message to those who are healthy that puts your own life at risk, because they will interpret that to mean, “It won’t affect me or the pandemic if I go back to (nearly) normal”. People will naturally let precautions slip, as you noted about advice not to touch your face. 

It’s interesting that you used the term “push-pull”, because if a “push” of relieved “low risk people” become a crush of an unmanageable outbreak that swamps rural Georgia clinics and hospitals, the virus will exert a “pull” that will first take the elderly patients through rationing, who can no longer be protected. And then it will come for the healthcare providers. 

Pandemics are a force of nature. Throughout history, they’ve been rightly feared. We don’t yet have that fear, even though we know this virus is comparable to the 1918 pathogen that spawned one of the worst pandemics in history. Our technologies are not protective. We have epidemiological tools that work well, but we’re not using them. Instead some people are disseminating really dangerous conspiracy theories.

And your life, my good lifelong friend, is at as much risk as anybody’s. One patient’s cough or sneeze, even through a mask, could end your life in a week or so, if — or should I say when? — a crush of COVID patients hits your corner of Georgia. 

Pandemics are a force of nature, and historically, people who lived through them found that out too late, with deep regret. What we think early, before the virus adapts to local conditions and hits in force, will tend to lull us into complacency. By the time exponential growth and doubling times of 2-3 days hits, those on the front lines will be overwhelmed and everyone will be filled with regret, but the virus will keep on coming until we change our behavior. And this virus, or one that follows, will get worse. Lacking any genetic machinery for error checking its own genome, it mutates on a daily schedule. 

As an epidemiologist who has studied these things in great detail, I can say with considerable authority that our anthropocentrism is a danger to us, especially now, in the midst of a pandemic. Cultures that did really well in purging the virus from island nations were like Taiwan, who had experience with SARS, didn’t trust the Chinese, and had cultural and economic barriers in place; and New Zealand, which has a truly enlightened female president who was willing to take on the small synchronized lockdown for enough incubation periods required to purge the virus from all their residents at the outset before many deaths occurred. 

You don’t have to respond again; I’ve said everything I need to unless conditions change. My longtime friend, Friend#3, reinforced the positions I already had as an epidemiologist. Tomorrow I’ll send another article by Tomas Pueyo that Friend#3 recommended (which I already had), entitled “The hammer and the dance”, which outlines, practically and thoroughly, how to manage pandemics, even those that might be more intractable than coronavirus currently is. Pueyo is a young engineer who has made himself an expert on epidemiology through conscientious self-study. [In the Dr. Lassie Adventures, my own alter ego makes a cameo appearance as the author of the self-help book, “How to finally quit always trying to keep improving yourself all the damn time!!!!!!!”] Whatever your viewpoint is on this pandemic, I think you’ll find Pueyo’s article (if not my unwritten book!) useful, instructive, and well-written. 

Of course, I’d welcome further responses to that article, but you’re off the hook to convince me that I‘ve influenced your opinions. Unless your response to that article compels me to respond again, I’d be happy to let you have the last word and leave it at that. I’m not trying to nag, just to warn. Just think about what I’ve said. 

Starting tomorrow, I’ll go back to my blogs. I hope to cover the mathematics of life. I think you’ll like that! 

By the way, Arlo Guthrie reminds me of you, especially in his audience participation mode. Any comments about the songs I’ve sent? As you can see from the numbers of views, those are very rare performances! 

Your (concerned) friend,

Ray

Sent from my iPhone

2020|5|20   email exchange with Friend#6

[obviously referring to Vienna Teng]

From: Friend#6

Subject: Neda by Pardis Sabeti and Thousand Days

She reminds me of Pardis Sabeti.

This was done around the time of the student uprisings in Iran 8 years ago. 

Friend#6’s cell phone

Subject: Re: Neda by Pardis Sabeti and Thousand Days

At your suggestion some years ago, I downloaded all the songs that A Thousand Days recorded. 

I hadn’t seen this video. It’s very powerful! 

Ray G

Sent from my iPhone

2020|5|23

From: Friend#6

Subject: Frustration

Ray G

I remember as young engineers , in med school voicing our concerns to each other, 

On the lack of discipline of our new field of study Had in math processes / and application. I remember a red faced physiology professor , when I confronted him after a class where he had put an “Impressive “ integral on the chalk board , which 90% of the students had no basic knowledge of, he put up wrong , and only 2 or 3 of my class had enough math back ground to catch the mistake. 

Our engineering roots are based in the hard sciences , which sought to find numerically quantifiable relationships. Every year I served on the GT/BME advisory board, we as industry members asked the question of the facility , “are the students getting enough math foundations”. Biomedical is so broad , and far reaching as a new engineering discipline, course work was crowding out math courses. 

Here the world is faced with a deadly epidemic , and scientist ,those in charge ,

Are not requiring , precision in reporting of data.  Precision of measurement is core to the scientific method .

You are much closer to that field than I , with your CDC connections.

1) Is it happening , and I don’t see. ?

2)Or is it the usual gov , sloppy , I’m in power you listen to me , dumb ass approach to life?

3)or the roots of medicine , as a liberal arts approach to study, with no math foundations.?

To model an epidemic one has to Make initial assumptions and guess the infectivity and lethality (and other variables)of the agent.

Once data is available ,  To refine the model , and redirect planning , one has to have CLEAN data. The USA death certificate process is with out any uniformality , and should not be used in any scientific paper.

I am financially conservative 

, socially liberal

, libertarian against big government

But intolerant of one thing, bad science. 

All of science , begins with precision of measurement . 

Can you give me hope, some one near the top of the CDC has any clue how a simple circuit works and is diagramed . Or are we just “war gaming” , want-a-be generals. 

(No offense to the military , this Memorial Day weekend)

Friend#6

From: Friend#6

Thought of the day.
We may not be on the same boat , but we are all in the same storm. 
Friend#6

From: Ray Gangarosa

Perfect observation! I’m just writing about that in my response to your “frustration” and will incorporate it in my discussion. You’re really great at these volleyball-like setups!

From: Ray GangarosaWhat I have so far, before breaking for dinner. Comments and suggestions welcome. To be continued. 

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