I am who I am by chance of geographical coordinates of birth and parental genome; we are indisputably a product of our environment. I was born on a military base, in the political blue state of Maryland, a Roman Catholic in the year the Korean War ended, the structure and composition of DNA was serendipitously discovered, and the death of the horrific dictator of Russia, Joseph Stalin.
If I had to isolate the culture memes that profoundly sculpted my personality, it would be the quadrumvirate Catholicism, surfing, theory of Evolution, and the Marine Corp.
My mother insisted on a Catholic christening; apparently – a newborn does not have any say so in this matter – and, that I attend a parochial Catholic school, wherein my father the Mormon, was complicit and conceded: a prudent man. Ironically, some of the ecumenical dogma seeded, and what propagated became the core of whom, I am, which is cropped to a natural world Christian ethic of the golden rule and you are your brother’s keeper. This budding philosophy has blossom into the political persuasion of a Liberal Democrat: the secular brother’s keeper.
The implicit adage inspirations come in many forms bares veracity with the link between surfing and the choice in my academic discipline of study. During the 60’s, Pop was an Air Force sergeant, station at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. The beach of the Atlantic Ocean, the metaphorical street corner where scantily clad girls hung out and ogled surfers, was a ten minute walk from the house. I don’t claimed to have a 150 IQ, but I quickly assessed what I had to do to curry attention of the sea foam Venuses. I contrite, I was a cad; but, in my defense, I was a bipedal sea squirt of testosterone. Regardless of my original intent to learn the sport of the ancient Hawaiians; as a planktonic larvae sea squirt inevitable metamorphoses into the sessile adult, there was a transfiguration of my attention from the Coppertone tan sea nymphs to an academic pursuit in Marine Biology studying the ocean’s ecosystem and its denizens: an enlightenment spurred by the rapture of the majestic ocean, and Rachel Carson’s provocative book, Silent Spring.
The screening tool I employ to interpret environmental perturbations is inextricably integrated to the paradigm of the theory of evolution, which is propelled by natural selection, the elementary mechanism that adroitly gleaned ancestral disrobed DNA with the omnipotent power to replicate and give birth to the vast diversity of animal and plant organisms of old that beget the relatives of contemporary. This profoundly structured my cognitive framing of the natural world: It divulged my humble station in the universe, the galaxy, and planet earth; united me with all living creatures with a genetic fellowship to include, the fossil dead; and, dispelled myths and superstitions that guaranteed creditability to divine intervention explicating natural phenomena. The triggering of my cognitive unconscious to employ empirical reason to interpret sensorial perceptions of the natural world commenced with graduate work in environmental sciences and came into fruition with an evolution class and the supplemental reading of a book, Ever Since Darwin, by Stephen Jay Gould.
My engaging demeanor is the byproduct of my stint in the Corp. The Marines have a unique, non-corporate commiserating style of indoctrinating leadership. This attribute was instilled, not taught: your very essence and every sinewy fiber were imbued with the command presence of confidence which consequently exuded from every epidermal pore. It was a practice that incorporated a compassionate management of personnel; in which, a philosophical rapport with subordinates was a chimera of a family fealty run business and, ”you are your brothers’ keeper”.
Let me be clear, I am politically a populist, liberal democrat, a science agnostic, and an atheist –and, for you readers that take solace in faith, thank you ever so much for taking the time to read my humble ramblings, but fare warning, you might find them provocative. I genuinely wish that the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent anthropodeity implicated by the scripture of the monotheistic religions existed, but, the apocalyptic four: war, poverty, pestilence, and avarice suggest otherwise