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Guy Cicero —  07/20/2021 — Leave a comment

Does this man ever run out of energy? I sure hope not.

Back in 2013, I waxed prosaically about my respect for Jeff Bezos and how he revolutionized the book business. As we know, he has gone on to revolutionize every business on Earth, it would seem, and now has taken to space. He says his life’s work from here on, as he exits his day-to-day role at Amazon, is to preserve the planet, move dirty industries to space, and make the world cleaner, greener, and safer.

OK, I think he can do it.

He calls for unifiers and the end to villifiers. No argument there. Admittedly, he has just returned from the edge of space and he’s still a bit high. But is there any reason to think he can’t or shouldn’t keep on to his vision? I don’t think so. Shouldn’t we all be doing the same?

Of course, there is backlash to this space adventure. The same backlash for the same reasons that afflicted NASA space programs in the 60s, and the 70s, and the 80s, etc. And all for good reason. We do need to spend until it hurts on housing, jobs, education, and healthcare services for all, and especially for the poor, whose numbers today are growing when they should be on the way to oblivion. But we also need to keep pushing the innovation envelope so that we can take advantage of what science is learning, and so we can shine a light on corrupting, destructive influences like crooked politicians, evil hackers, and greedy-at-all-costs business leaders.

Jeff Bezos may be the devil du jour who many love to criticize just because he keeps doing what he does so well. But I admire his energy and drive to better-ness. I’ve benefited in many ways from his projects and hope my descendants will enjoy a cleaner Earth because of what’s on his To Do list. Hope he leaves the space travel to others from now on.

My preference for a long time has been to work from home…

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Guy Cicero —  11/03/2017 — Leave a comment

Last evening, we heard a David Brooks lecture nearby that confirmed our appreciation for what he says and how he says it. We’re big fans. He gave a preview of his next book, an assessment of, among other things, what needs to happen to make it through our current “slough of despond” to our next phase as a culture and community. As usual, he draws a compelling conclusion based on solid history and analysis, and delivered with humor and accessibility.

The “we’re all in this together” generation that fought and emerged humbled from World War II yielded in the 60s to the “free to be you and me” generation that in the 80s and 90s spawned the “what does anything mean?” generation. We parents said “be free” and “go be you.” Be free to do what, exactly? They are yearning to know who they are; they are lonely and unconnected to institutions and beliefs of the past. And it’s not their fault. The imperative for their futures is to become embedded in communities, causes, relationships that they will commit to and build their lives in and around.

Brooks says he now understands that the 2016 election wasn’t about the usual big government/small government issue that has characterized the essence of the Democratic and Republican philosophies since forever. 2016 was about the growing gap between those who are relatively globalistic, progressive, forward-looking and technology-enabled (generally college-educated) and others who are relatively protectionistic, reactionary, tradition-bound and technology-phobic (generally high-school educated). I sensed this schism as early as the 80s in Silicon Valley as I participated in building the new world and read on the news about the dissolution of the steel and other industries in the rust belt. The divided forces of progress and regress were catalyzed by Trump, for and against, and in the end, guess what? A wrinkle in our election rules, which are unlike any other country’s election rules, allowed the underdogs to carry the day. (I mean here the combined impact of generations of gerrymandering, the edge effects of the electoral college system, and the aggregated disenchantment of lots and lots of voters, for a variety of reasons.)

New communities need forming based on new ideas about proximity. Who is my friend and neighbor? After 42 years of moving, staying awhile, and moving on, from one coast to the other and then to the middle, my wife and I are only really proximate, connected and committed, to people and groups that are far away, Facebook friends and family, and not the next-door neighbors. But I remain optimistic about it all. Recent tragedies, man-made and nature-borne have shown every time that people do feel connected, that they will create, almost instantaneously, communities of help and support, where none existed minutes before. At the crucial moments, we are suddenly all in this together, again.