Skip to main content

To my 7 billion closest friends

The headlines tell me that the human population will hit 7 billion any day now so I thought I’d take a moment to say hello and, yay I’m happy for the company!

But I’m sad that so many of us are having such a hard time.  And by hard time I’m talking about extreme poverty to the point of starving to death.  Not to get overly techno about this, but the way I’m thinking about this uses this image: if every human were a streaming-media node feeding data into a network, even taking into account all the alleluias and birthday parties, sex, drugs and rock n roll, the aggregated data stream would be dominated by pain and misery.

And it doesn’t make me feel any better that some of you are living high on the hog because you one percenters are causing so much of the suffering in the first place.  Okay, that’s my own political bias showing through and this is supposed to be a cheerful message to all of us and I got off on kind of a downer note so forget I wrote any of this.

Anyway, on the bright side, I note that the human population a few tens of thousands of years ago was down to 600 or so breeding adults and we almost got completely wiped.  From that point it took forty or fifty thousand years to the year 1800 to reach the first billion, then only 200 years to get to seven billion.  We rock!

Some people – mostly uptight people with mortgages and 401K’s – take a dim view of so many of us competing for their houses and retirement accounts.  They do the arithmetic of taking all known assets and resources and dividing that by 7 billion.  They end up with a much thinner piece of the pie than they started out with.   These folk would generally like it if a few billion of us would kindly step off the planet, or at least make do with a much thinner slice of the pie.  Needless to say these guys are not into the humans-as-streaming-media-nodes concept, and don’t really want to plug into the cool music of aggregated humanity etcetera.

But they overlook something very hopeful.  The Earth will soon accommodate 7 billion of the most intelligent beings in the known Universe.  Man, talk about cognitive surplus! The thing we’ve got to work on first is how to work on this together.

This is a technological question, but also more a political one, if you get what I’m saying.  I’m not going to go off on a rant about that here, but give it some thought as you spend your day.  A lot of the people in possession of wealth and power have attained all that by discouraging the idea that we’re all in it together.

So you might have to think in secret. But you can be thinking about ways for all humans to hook into the big data stream and work together while pretending to watch Fox News or whatever. It's a very secret, underground thing I’m talking about, and trust me, I’m in on it so I’m not turning you in.  But don’t be smiling when you come up with a bright idea because that’s a sure sign of subversive activity.

I wish we could all pitch in so we could get something when the 7 billionth human is born.  Wouldn’t it be great to show up at the door with a truck load of Huggies and big old Cadillac for mom?  If we all pitched in just one cent, that would come out to $70 million!  That's almost as much as some lower level CEOs make in a whole year!  And more than an adequate slice of the pie for the rest of us.

So Happy Birthday, whoever, whenever, and wherever you may be!

H. Doug Matsuoka
27 October 2011


Popular posts from this blog

Love, Truth, and Action: John Kelly's 3 requirements for activists

[I found this essay, originally published in 1997 and simply titled, "Save Our Surf" at Hawaiian Sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele's Hawaii-Nation website. I have retitled it and added headings and illustrations. All illustrations are from the University of Hawaii's digital collection of Kelly's pamphlets, posters, and photos. The are from protests and demonstrations dating back to the 1960's. 

Kelly's Save Our Surf (SOS) group started in the late 1960's in an effort to protect surfing and fishing sites that were being threatened by corporate development. Not only was SOS successful in those efforts, it helped create legislation protecting our natural resources, and was behind the creation of the first inventory of the public use of Hawaii's shoreline on all islands. — H. Doug Matsuoka]

Love, Truth, and Action
by John Kelly

One often hears dismay over differences among the various [Hawaiian] sovereignty movements today. We belie…

How I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb

I think my boss at work (a Honolulu nonprofit) is a littled miffed at me. When the incoming ballistic missile warning came in over everyone’s phone this morning, she texted that she had just had training on this and for us to, “stay indoors, preferably on the floor away from windows.” I texted back that I was going to post, “still time to donate” on our website.
I live in a wooden house with windows facing Honolulu International Airport, Hickam Air Force Base, and Pearl Harbor. Given even a sub-megaton airburst at several thousand feet, and that the fatalities from atomic weapons come from the flash, not the blast (the flash of nuclear energy and not the explosive force), I’d be a memory before my body could experience any misgivings about the situation.
My boss is a quarter century younger than I am and lacks the dubious benefit of having lived through the Cold War with the Soviet Union (check history books for those guys). The American national doctrine against nuclear war with the…

What The City Doesn’t Want You To Know About Thomas Square

[This article was originally published by CivilBeat on July 21, 2016. I'm reprinting it with video clips. Doug]

The City of Honolulu plans to close Thomas Square on Aug. 15 for six months and re-open it in February 2017 as something completely different, according to its master plan. Although city officials have unveiled grandiose plans concerning a drastic makeover, there are a number of troubling things they are trying to keep under cover:

1. It will no longer be a public park. The master plan calls for Thomas Square to be transferred from the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, where it is a public park, to its Department of Enterprise Services. What is it? The department runs the Blaisdell Center, the Waikiki Shell, the zoo and the public golf courses. By way of a memo dated April 28 from the city’s enterprise chief Guy Kaulukukui to the state’s head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the city asked the state to make changes to allow a change of purpose for…