Table of Contents

David Wen Riccardi-Zhu


Email: dwrz@dwrz.net

Phone: +1-347-560-3979



2.1 CV


3.1 What does it mean to ask a question?

3.1.1 Notes

  1. 20161001

    An initial exploration.

    Reference: Richard Feynman: Why?

    1. Fundamentally, this is one of the questions that runs into a bootstrapping problem.

      It is difficult to answer this question without setting up a context.

      The inquirer and their mind, the possession of knowledge, and language are all important elements of an answer.

      The problem is that all these elements also run into "bootstrapping" problems.

      For example, one probably cannot explain language without using language.

    2. Another problem is the phrasing of this question. Perhaps it is not a good phrasing.

      (As an aside, part of answering this question may require distinguishing between "good" and "bad" questions. Form, content, etc.)

      In particular, the word "mean" is problematic.

      What exactly is being asked? Asking for a description.

      Is that a problem?

      Maybe the Q&A format itself is problematic.

    3. Setting aside fundamental issues, an attempt at a brief description:

      1. A question presumes an inquirer.

        Common human experience seems to suggest that only conscious life-forms capable of language and recollection are able to ask questions.

      2. For an honest question, the presumption is that the asker has something that they do not know, or fully understand.

        A question begins to specify or delimit a larger area of unknown to something more specific (thinking in terms of Venn diagrams).

        To answer a question is to replace what is unknown or "poorly known" with knowledge.

        The question may be answered in full, or only partially, thereby revealing finer distinctions in what is not known.

      3. A question is asked using language and is answered using language.

        Language is used to convey and carry knowledge.

3.1.2 Attempted Answer

3.2 What is reality?

3.2.1 Notes

3.2.2 Attempted Answer

3.3 How should I live my life?

3.3.1 Notes

3.3.2 Attempted Answer


4.1 2014

4.1.1 20141114

"Today is the day, and this is the hour."

I have long puzzled how it is that the heartbreaking and near-terrifying nature of our ecological crisis is treated casually by and large, when not completely neglected or ignored by a generally sleepwalking populace.

A planetary crisis embraces everything from the personal and social to worldwide, but in spite of an occasional flurry of lip service and “let’s pretends” concerning the avalanche of disasters we are perpetrating, most of our gestures (a bit of recycling, a bit less driving, turning down the heat or AC, sending a check to the Sierra Club) seem to serve only to relieve our guilty conscience or mask our growing feeling of impotence. Nothing much is happening, at any rate, to halt our downward plunge.

Perhaps our tendency to screen out and play ostrich is because the rape of our Earth is simply too huge and awful a predicament, encompassing forces far beyond our personal control (and, it seems with a bit of reflection, everyone else’s, since no one is in control).

[O]ur current crisis has a history spanning thousands of years. We but echo forces of thought long since put into motion, woven into our very neural processes of brain.

An inherited cultural mind-set building over millennia lies behind our ever increasing acts of violence to our Earth—and one another.

We are so wrapped up in our personal pursuits, simply “getting by,” or “making it” in the world, that it’s hard to step back and consider the consequences of ordinary daily actions unconsciously accepted as the norm.

Why read such stuff, you might ask, if the situation is as grim as the experts claim? Why not eat, drink, and be merry, gathering the few rosebuds we may, since tomorrow . . . ? You should read on because a citizenry informed by superficial three-minute sound bites at best responds superficially.

Books on the coming ecological collapse are appearing at an increasing rate, of course, while scientific groups plead with governments, industries, and consumers to heed the signs. All to absolutely no avail. Many of us addressing critical issues of the day preach only to the converted (no one else listens) while the great machine, now grown to the status of “global economy,” plunges faster toward a precipice.

A new viewpoint, a new way of looking, seeing, and presenting the garish facts that should be so self-evident, has long been called for, as a practical way of responding effectively has long been needed. And this is precisely what Thom Hartmann presents here: he makes clear how the impoverishment and decline of the human spirit is at the root of our disease, that these roots are hardly new, but have grown for millennia, and that only a new cultural image of ourselves and life itself will bail us out. We hear ad nauseam of “the new paradigm” emerging in the sciences, but a rediscovery of a very ancient paradigm, that of the sacredness of everyday life, the sanctity of every life-form, of our living Earth, ourselves and each other, alone can turn the tide. And we are not going to be given this image via television or the Internet.

So the last part of this book is not just a call for personal responsibility, a rather vague abstraction, but offers a powerful and articulate “prescription for behavior” even the least of us can follow, both to discover within us this ancient but ever-new image of life, and live that image out. Here is a call for action any and all of us can undertake, to our own personal enrichment, spiritual awakening or renewal, and peace of mind, as well as restoration of our planet.

Surely we grow tired of “wake-up calls” to action, but this is one we ignore to the peril of ourselves, our children and their children, and this beautiful Earth given to our charge. I thought, on reading Jerry Mander’s masterpiece In the Absence of the Sacred, which pointed in the same direction Hartmann takes, that I was informed on the ecological issue, but my eyes were opened to new perspectives in The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight.

And don’t rest on your virtuous laurels with a couple of benevolent gestures (as I tend to do). Keep it up—the deterioration we have helped spin ever faster will not readily abate. Huge forces are in motion. Huge commitment is called for.

On hearing of the slaughter of elephants in Africa, my then-11-year-old daughter, newly possessed of that straightforward and clear logic of the young, and so unable to grasp the murderous irrationality of adults, paced the floor weeping and crying out, “How can they do that? How?”—then turned, pointed to me, and admonished: “And you just sit there!”

What could I say, when I could have done something, but knew not of the means. The following pages, after remarkable insights into the nature of the ills befalling us, offers as even more remarkable means, an outline for concrete action of an unusual and unexpected sort. And even I, here in my seventh decade toward wherever, can do something indeed, as can you. So, as my daughter would say: “Don’t just sit there, do something!” Promote this book and live its message. Now. Today is the day, and this is the hour.

(Joseph Chilton Pearce, Forward to Thom Hartmann’s The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight).


5.1 RZ

5.2 Marine Corps

Author: David Wen Riccardi-Zhu

Created: 2016-10-01 Sat 02:00