And if I make it to March 23 I'll be 77. I am thankful for so much. First of all I am thankful that we did not totally exterminate the Native people we stole this Nation from. I am thankful that having been Catholic until 21 and then a "born again" convert for some years beyond that I now look forward to one day not waking up and no longer existing. I hope my remains do their biological duty and combine with the earth that nourished me all this time. I am thankful that my mom's parents came here as peasants from Lithuania and that my dad's ancestors from Bohemia some time before that. Mom's parents were illiterate. I have a Ph. D. and am a University Professor in spite of the fact that we were working class. The NROTC got me my college education for the simple price of learning to kill for our government. The USMC experience helped me grow in spite of the fact that they never made me into a killing machine and I am thankful I escaped that. Graduate school was paid for by fellowships as was my postdoctoral training. I am thankful to the American people for all of that. Things are different now. Were I growing up at this time I'd probably never had the chance to go on to grad school and a doctorate. We have lost faith in our young and will let them be wasted. Read on below for there is more.
I am thankful that my midshipman cruise at 18 gave me a chance to know a world outside of the USA even if it was only a few days in port in Dublin, London and Guantanamo. When you have experiences like that you are never the same again. Somehow tyhat experience and the taking of my first psychology course told me that Civil Engineering was not what I should be studying.
Now I was very naive in spite of "having seen the world" at 18. I got all turned on by the idea of going to medical school and becoming a psychiatrist. I probably needed one! No one told me that you had to be rich to go to medical school. There were no fellowships. So it was grad school instead and a lifetime of teaching richer people how to be doctors. In a strange way I am also thankful for this. I like research and my contributions over the years in neurophysiology, membrane biophysics, network thermodynamics, cancer chemotherapy, pharmacology, and then finally the complexity theory I do now have been very satisfying. I am the author and editor of books. I published scores of research papers in the best refereed journals. So I think the people's investment in my education paid off many fold for them Too bad young people like me are cut out of a chance now.
I also have to acknowledge the USSR for putting up Sputnik. My education was paid for because of fear not social consciousness. I just happened to be there at the time our country panicked and threw money into science and technology education. I had my choice of six very good fellowships to graduate school. Contrast that with now.
I also have felt the obligation to serve the people who made my life possible. One way was to became a political activist. I did that during the early days of the Vietnam war and became a leader in the movement. I also took time from career building (which is never what I was about) to teach in a little predominantly African American college for a year before teaching at Harvard Medical School. After Harvard I taught at Meharry Medical College and was more in my element there than at Harvard among the very rich.
I am also thankful for family who put up with my ego and and self centered life style. They went through a lot. I now have a companion in my wife who does not tolerate all my nonsense and that I am also thankful for.
So another one of these holidays that tear at my being is upon us and will soon be over so I can relax. The madness of the coming season is the big test. I am not thankful for the greed and neglect of the earth that is so widespread in this country. My new book with Jim Coffman expresses this very well. I ask you to read it. Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens lost touch with reality while transforming the world If you do I will be thankful.