Monday, April 24, 2006

Spaceship Earth

That's my friend Nathan.

Like everyone, I suppose, I do my life the best I can. Probably most of the time there's the sneaking suspicion that "my best ain't good enough." One of the truly wonderful things about the Internet is being exposed, heck, engaging in conversations, with really smart and accomplished people. It gets a little tiresome comparing myself and coming up always short. I'll probably still put myself in comparison anyway, but what's the good in that? I do take pleasure in discovering wonderfully gifted people and in supposing that I have gifts to offer too.

Kevin and Pingting so far are the only ones who've stepped up to donate five bucks for a Party Hat for Potash. The word isn't spreading as far and as fast as I'd hoped. I've made a little trifold brochure about Party Hats for Potash. Even if you're not ready to get a hat for yourself, if you're willing to pass around a brochure for the hats, please email me and I'll send you some trifold brochures so others can find out about them.

Via Susan Mernit's Blog her "Quote of the Day" a while back was from David Winer and link to one of Dave Winer's great posts The Internet as "idea processor"
The value of writing publicly on the Internet is that you can solve problems quickly, by using a network of people who pool what they know to create something larger. When the Internet works this is why it works.
Nathan works really hard to find ways to improve life in his community. He writes me with lots of ideas and issues to think about. Sometimes I feel so inadequate, well because I am, facing all the ideas.

My friend Micheal in Kampala is ill. It's a couple of things: a) malaria, and b) complications of an intestinal blockage. He needs medical care and that takes money.

I want to encourage people like me to develop contacts with real people in the developing world. It's important to have a big-picture view of the challenges we all face in the world today. The problem with such a big-picture view is that problems are so huge and we're all so little, we imagine there's nothing we can do. Robert Rodale had a good insight in his plan for famine prevention that people should "Save Three Lives". We'll care so much more to solve the problems facing us when we know what real people are facing. Together we can find real solutions.

Of course when I suggest to friends that they, for example, develop a correspondence with a student in a far away land, some varient of "I've got enough problems!" is a typical response. Micheal's illness weighs on me, so I know what they mean. When Nathan's brother John was diagnosed with a brain tumor I felt so helpless too. Just because saving the world seems to huge doesn't mean that saving three lives is easy. Oh and I sound like a grandee with this business of saving three lives. The fact of the matter is living is a struggle for all of us everywhere. It's a good thing not to feel too comfortable forgetting how connected all of us are to one another; the life we save maybe our own.

Creating networks to solve problems is a very exciting possiblity that the Internet opens up. I think I've just given myself a pep-talk to put some work into the projects Nathan has sent me to work on recently.

Please email me if you're willing to pass around a few brochures for Party Hats for Potash. The hats are silly, of course they're party hats, but I feel sure people will enjoy wearing one. We're on this spaceship Earth together, so we might as well find ways to have fun together while we're around for the ride.

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