I strive to positively contribute to evolutionary progress in my generation in the most significant way I can.
The things I choose to do satisfy these three criteria:
My role in the universe and the evolution of life is what is most important to me.
I am not a materialistic person, nor am I selfish. Happiness is a means, not an end. I seek to understand and thoughtfully manage my human animal nature, instincts and needs such as sufficient comfort, romance (DNA surviving in next generation), social status (ibid.), dietary desires (natural, not modern), and so on, and try to balance things to maintain maximum health, both mentally and physically. However, all these are just means, not goals or ends. Everything fits into a bigger picture. I strive for maximum productivity in life, both quality and quantity.
Some people have a selfish purpose to just go to heaven, and follow some rules to get there, e.g., following some egomaniac preacher's authority, or some ancient book written in primitive times. I don't believe in that kind of heaven any more than I believe in Santa Claus. I do believe in a holy spirit which is not specific to any particular religion, and consider denominationalism and religious warfare sins.
I am sure of my connection to a holy spirit. I do not follow a particular religion or denomination or dogma. (The closest thing to my outlook would be Buddhism, though I'm not 100% conforming to any of its sects.)
My main longterm project has become this: www.spacesettlement.com -- a website I created for a humanistic project I started in the early 1980s. Its goal is to get life from planet Earth off into outer space, where life will survive self-sufficiently and not dependent on supplies from Earth. I'm not into dreaming, I'm into practical, sustainable ways, even it it's inside balls of steel, glass, mirrors, and/or fiber light cables, and not the most comfortable (but wonderfully romantic if you have the right attitude). My focus is on practical and financially sustainable systems. (However, I realize that romantic visions can sell it into financial sustainability.)
The vision I am an advocate of is a school of thought and work of professionals who I joined for developing space using materials already in space -- asteroids near Earth and lunar material -- not blasting up everything from Earth. For example, the pioneers of America and Australia did not bring their bricks and cement from Europe, but used local materials.
I am convinced that humans on Earth will destroy ourselves by emerging biotechnology or nanotechnology, and that this will happen a lot sooner than most people realize at this time. For the first time in the history of the Earth, a species has the capability to technologically modify viruses, and soon to create virus-like self-replicating "nanites". Competition among drug companies pushes this, including creating more contagious strains in test tubes in order to test drugs. Yes, this has been going on already. It cannot feasibly be controlled. Money desires and wanton selfish greed are part of our DNA, and we will destroy ourselves before we reform our DNA. There are also military interests working on this, but I think those are less a threat than money interests. (Consumers also see genetically modified crops and GMOs (organisms), the tip of the ongoing R&D.) An accident is just waiting to happen. It takes only one.
We are developing the technology to destroy our own species, and this now-new technology will certainly progress in the years to come to dangerous capabilities. It will most likely be a laboratory accident.
A supervirus could kill only our species, or a nanite could wipe out lots of other life on this planet as well, especially animals, and nearly the entire food chain.
I think this will happen in my generation. Actually, I'm sure. But in any case, because the continued existence of our species is on the line, it's our responsibility in this generation to solve this problem in a practical and effective way.
It is not enough to just take care of your family, like a typical mammal. As humans in this generation, we have greater responsibilities. Even as regards your family, it will all be for naught if your children or other descendants are wiped out by new technology in synthetic biology. You have a chance now to do something about it, but there will be no second chance once it happens. You can't turn back the clock, so the time is now to do something.
Sure, in just the last 100 years of all geologic time, humans have already been expanding their population and destroying the environment and species on Earth at an unprecedented and alarming rate, and an ever growing rate, with nice talk but little effective action. The rest of the world would be better off without humans on the planet. We don't take care of it, we consume it and throw it away out of selfish desires. It is the nature of the human animal, our DNA, a hardware problem with no realistic software solution, just like communism doesn't work and we are not like ants.
However, I don't see any other ways that we could destroy ourselves. Not nuclear material nor conventional war nor starvation. It would be only by microscopic viruses or nanites.
I worked hard on space settlement from the early 1980s until around 2001. Most of this work ended when I flat ran out of money and time in 1999, at the age of 40. I staggered along another 2 years on a very low level effort while starting on another business, and had to stop work on space settlement entirely for awhile around the end of 2001.
I had decided that I must quit being a consultant and start a company which would hire employees and run mostly on its own, with me living on its proceeds. I should have done this long ago, but I was too busy alternating consulting with work on space settlement. I needed to invest a few years of my life by focussing on setting up this company. As of 2007, when it looks like I've nearly achieved this, it's been about 8 years since I ran out of money, and 6 years since significant updates to my website.
I still don't have the money to focus on space settlement nearly fulltime, but at least I'm starting to get some spare time to update it and start reaching out again.
I've certainly learned a whole lot about running a company -- and an organization -- from setting up my two companied, hiring and training staff, and all the business and management that goes along with that.
Second to space settlement, I would like to preserve as much life as possible from the planet. Over the past hundred years, our species with its newfound industrial technology, free enterprise economies, and population growth has been transforming this planet and wiping out multiple species every day. If it weren't for my work on space settlement, then I would be supporting environmentalists, but I think their influence will be limited.
Maybe we will wipe out only our own species when we do destroy ourselves. No other species in the food chain needs us (except a few bred dogs and plants). However, we may wreak tremendous damage on the biosphere when the time comes that we destroy ourselves.
I would like to ship as many species off the planet as we can.
However, the first priority is to get our own species self-sufficient and financially strong in space, hence www.spacesettlement.com
The vast majority of people on this planet cannot see much beyond their noses and just don't have the mentality to take much interest, much less do anything serious about it, even if it's just donating a little bit of money as token support. There must be some membership "benefits". Volunteers are notoriously unreliable in nearly all humanistic endeavors. Experience sheds idealistic fantasies in regard to most volunteers.
Before the advent of the web, my effort was on courting wealthy sponsors and strategic partners. As other nonprofits have found, courting wealthy sponsors is time consuming and usually futile.
Strategic partners running humanistic organizations, are often egocentric themselves and see others as competitors to their turf. It takes time to know who the trustworthy leaders are, or could be. It's also interesting to see how people can change with they get attention, money, and power.
Once the internet World Wide Web emerged, I could bypass the centralized media and go straight to the people. Interest and inquiries came in large numbers, but mainly from egotistical time-wasters who just want to feel like they are a part of something cool, but flake out quickly when it comes to doing any serious practical things or chipping in a little bit of cash, though they sure know how to spend money on frivolous things in their personal lives...
I must say that there are a lot of exceptional people who joined my team, but none of them are rich or materialistic. We also need more professional skills and the money to support our efforts.
I know people in large nonprofit organizations who have tried to raise money from very wealthy people on other humanistic projects, some of these organizations being very famous (and who I consulted to), but precious few actually raise enough money to make much of a difference, there is considerable corruption within many of those organizations (not enough good people really committed personally), and there are so many stories of needing to cater to big egos and mindsets only to have the prospective donors enjoy their power by egotistically playing with people but often enjoy saying no.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion around the year 2000 that it's best to start my own businesses, which can then support my time and efforts in developing the space settlement business, and subsequently could financially bootstrap space settlement itself.
I believe there are good philanthropic investors out there, but I just don't have the money required to send a free copy of my book (I self-published the book in 1998) to all of them, nor to research them, nor to travel and meet these people.
www.spacesettlement.com was put on pause while I started my own company and businesses, from 2002 until I started finding time to update it from 2009 onward.
It has been very good experience starting and growing a company successfully in modern human society, and though I haven't gotten rich in doing so, the time has come to apply these skills back to the business of promoting space settlement when time permits because we cannot wait too long to do what we should do in life.
mark-prado.com > Life Purpose
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