Yesterday my blog post was, “How do we get a person to be interested in the distant future?” That was about getting people interested in saving the natural landscape of the entire planet by supporting The Earth Ark Project. It is a very cheap thing to do, and would be a minor US government appropriation, but I haven’t been able to get any interest in other people, even to the point of not being chosen to give a five-minute presentation at the Ignite Bend event. I consider that particular, easily attained goal to be the third most important event in human history. The other two were much more difficult. 1. Evish Selection, 2. Directed species creation, 3. Salvation of existing genetic codes. It appears to be easier to get people to watch a single sporting event, the proceeds of which would create an Earth Ark container, than to get the entire planet of 7 billion people to build a single one. There appears to be zero interest in saving the planet.
Yesterday I met and spoke for an hour with an ex-Boeing 747 pilot. We had a delightful time talking about various events in our aviation careers. He is a fine man and very sane, very physically active and yet he is still smoking and apparently has emphysema. Our mutual friend encouraged him to quit, which without doubt many others have done. Why doesn’t he quit smoking? Many years ago I was visiting my doctor about some minor thing and he was smoking while writing out my prescription. The strange thing about it was that he was facing down with the cigarette in his mouth and the raw smoke curling up into his face. I used to smoke and I found that a nearly impossible thing to do because the smoke really hurts the eyes. Anyway, he was doing it while at the same time it was obvious he was in some other physical discomfort. I found out a day later that he had died shortly after I left the office.
A similar smoking story concerns one of my close friends of several decades ago. In this case it was a woman with advanced degrees in psychology. She was a heavy smoker and by her mid 40s had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I immediately did a search of all the medical literature available at UC Berkeley, because I very much valued this woman’s life. I discovered a study that demonstrated a probable doubling of life expectancy with those people who immediately quit smoking, over those who didn’t. My search took a couple of days back then, but now with a Google search (lung cancer survival research quit smoking) you can get even better information instantly. But the result is the same – Quitting smoking will double survival time of a person diagnosed with lung cancer. I told her about these studies, showed Xeroxes of them to her and did everything I could think of to get her to quit. All to no avail. We had a pre-death party for her and when I left the party, and said goodbye she was sitting on the porch smoking her last cigarette.
The point of this ramble is that if intelligent sane people can not adapt their behavior to obvious risks to their own lives, how can they possibly be concerned in the slightest about humanity’s life-threatening problems?