Can there be monsters living
In a monstrous world?
Would you see them?
Would you know them?
And if I am one of them?
The snows drifts are growing cold
Their same color growing old.
The walls of my lair are growing taller
Or am I growing smaller?
Better have an answer
If you dare to enter.
Would you recognize evil living
In a hellish world?
Would you see it?
Would you know it?
And if I am part of it?
Can you name me a place
Where monsters don’t get first place?
Survival made us so horrible,
Living made us so terrible,
Success made it all bearable,
Conscience made it unsolvable,
All punctuated by ice cap melting,
Forest fire burning,
So many wars raging
And I’ve made money at it
Can it all justify it?
Could you change this world
If you are afraid?
Could you change my world
If you are afraid?
I see you walking against the monsters
Because you dare – Because you care.
Our peppery breath is already clouding your march
Across your path,
Forming a sunken arch,
Becoming a long stretched out rope
Accross your path.
Your only defense: short thin hope.
For the first time, I fear this first time,
That it will be your last time.
What if monsters have a name?
Would you give the devil my name?
Ooh I wish you’d see me,
Ooh I wish you’d look at me
Swimming in my sea of shame,
Holding on to good deeds floating surface deep,
Fearing the depths of what you shall reap.
But what if monsters could have a last dream?
What if monsters could not reign supreme?
I’d ask; would you measure the weight of my soul?
I’d ask; would you count the beats of my heart?
Could you find forgiveness; put me on parole?
Or would you sit in judgment,
Judge and Witness,
Unburdened by all this sentiment,
My guilt having driven you as far as Olympus,
Our two worlds so far apart
Unreachable for my many sins so unforgiveable.
I am beyond redemption;
I have put a cross on this.
I am beyond attention;
I am pretty much nailed to this.
It’s the only way you could you change the world,
It’s the only way you could you change your world,
Please, forget my monster world,
Please, you don’t have to inherit my monster world,
I usually don’t share my thoughts after a poem. I don’t write poems to be read. In the worlds, where sometimes I must navigate, I have to hold my breath. And in those times I used poetry to not fully suffocate.
Those closest to me don’t even know I write this stuff. But then my very rational mind would state: Can they be close to you if you put distance between you and them. Some of you would say yes and others no and I would ask: “How can you answer when we have not even defined the notion of distance.” I love creating puzzles.
I have a very mathematical mind. I love building mathematical models to model what I observe. I was trained, by me and others in a very rigorous Newtonian way of thinking. As a result, me and religion don’t get along. I only see truth if I have measured and experimented on it. There are no mysteries. There is what has not been measured yet and what we are not able to measure yet.
As I observe the world trying to quantitavely define whether this world is evil or good, as an objective observer, I must conclude that it is absolutely and inherently evil. You may not agree but the experiments are there to prove it.
As a marine biologist, computer programmer and mathematician I could easily built a commercial sustainable model for the exploitation of any biological resource but why don’t they work? I could present this model to 100 persons sitting in 100 different rooms telling them here is a model where you will receive 100% of the initial resource over the next 20 years allowing the other 99 persons to receive the same thing and allowing all of you to make a good living for those 20 years or you can push that red button and the one who pushes it the fastest gets all of the resource available today making him filthy rich while the 99 get nothing and will never get anything meaning they will not be able to provide for their family. If you run this experiment, you will find that in all cases one person will push the red button and in most cases 99 people will push the red button. Only one person will refuse. There are many variations of this experiment.
Once I understood this principle, I decided to use my skills in finance. If I am to waste my time and skills, I would rather waste it on something I did not like. But I became a pain in the ass at executive meetings. My boss finally took me aside and said to me: “Here is your problem Richard. You are looking and worrying about the next 10 years. We are only interested in the next 90 days.” Dealing with investors, they will always select short term results over long term results even if the choice is really between catastrophic failure and sustainability for the moment you end up in the winner’s circle.
I became involved in fraud investigation and my Newtonian training and thinking was a perfect match to follow a thread across anonymous dummy corporations, financial reports… I tried to understand fraud by measuring and experimentation until someone working on the regulator side pointed out to me I had it all wrong. There is no right or wrong. We are not there to protect; we are there to enforce order. There is no honest person. Such a thing does not exist. An honest person is someone who has not yet been presented the right opportunity to be dishonest. Our role is a role of deterrence. When that opportunity presents itself, this person has to choose honesty because the cost will be greater than the benefit of being dishonest. We don’t care about the 1% that cannot be deterred; it is part of this order.” This explained to me why regulators are oblivious to large frauds such as Madoff. It is not their priority.
However in a Newtonian way, what I was hearing made sense in a pervasive way. If honesty was the higher state of order and predictability then under the law of entropy there could only be a gradual decline towards disorder/dishonesty. Unless new energy was added to the system through deterrence. Was science bringing me back to religious dogma such as the nature of sin? I did not like this thought.
This explains why when I tried to obtain justice for someone who was clearly innocent, I was getting nowhere. Since there is no difference between an honest person and dishonest person, in terms of deterrence, guilt versus innocence, does it matter? In fact going after an honest person may be a very effective deterrent. Admitting that an error was committed is not in the best interest of deterrence.
So the world was evil, and this evil world took a good shot at me. At the end of it I was left with nothing, no belief and my Newtonian way of seeing the world did not compute anymore. I was lucky to be alive; I had my wife, my two sons and that was pretty much it. So I had to rebuild myself and a system of reference which I could use to make sense of the world again. When faced with trauma, many people gravitate towards religion. It’s all right but it is not me. I was still not interested in religion or god. Sorry folks. I still believe if I was put on this earth, it is not to figure out God but to figure out myself first. I simply could not let go of science. My scientific approach did let me down but was there another approach? And by pure chance I came across Quantum theory. I knew Quantum theory before but somehow I had censored it preferring to believe that this stuff was for the Einstein of this world.
Quantum theory has thought me that objectivity should always be considered suspicious. You are never separate from what you observe. What you observe; observes you back. What you experiment on changes you. Newtonian thinking is based on a system of belief that can be changed, proved wrong or destroyed while Quantum theory brings out the concept of faith (not as defined by religion), a faith that can bend but cannot be destroyed . The particle and the wave or both at the same time coexisting… (When I say destroyed, I don’t want to give the impression I am violating the first law of thermodynamics. When I say destroyed it means a transformation rending the result unusable by me.)
Quantum theory has not redeemed me nor does it provide me with all of the answers. It just offers me a path. One day soon, I will journey to one of those spiritual place, probably native in origin, and I’ll sit within the circle and I will look at the stars, close my eyes designing my own little Copenhagen experiment where the wavefunction of this world is an equal probability of a good world and an evil world all coexisting in the same time and space. If when I open my eyes, I still see an evil world, I will not be upset or shocked. If I am unable to see a good world, it is because it has yet to manifest itself in this experiment or future experiments. Under quantum theory this is the definition of faith and conscience.
Am I right of wrong? Don’t have a clue. I am not writing this to enlighten. I have no enlightenment to offer. So why did I write this? I just needed to take a bigger breath than usual before I get back in dealing with some of the nasty people and business I often find myself engaged in legal battles with. That’s all. I am not trying to make a better world. That’s beyond me. Just trying to stop it from being any worst. Just that statement shows you that while I am on the path I have far to go…Enough breathing, this should buy me a few months of silence.