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Mark Goulston, M.D. Headshot

Making the World Safe for...?

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Forget democracy, forget socialism, forget tyranny, forget Republican, forget Tea Party, forget Democrat, forget Congress, forget Palestinian, forget Jew.

What we need is to "make the world safe for our great grandchildren."

Louis Brandeis is famously quoted as saying: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." An updated version might be: "the Internet is the best disinfectant."

True that distortions, lies and untruths appear every minute of every day on the Internet, but given its reach and the "possibility" of the truth eventually coming out, the view from the Internet is what is fueling the global uproar against the emperors with no clothes and no scruples and certainly no concern for anyone but themselves.

What the Internet reveals is a world wide "zero sum game" approach to life, and a world that is moving from transactional myopia (get the deal, do the deal, next deal) to transactional blindness and a "networked" generation that is "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore."

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
- Mahatma Gandhi

As I look out at the world I am reminded of divorcing parents who claim to be fighting for what's in the best interest of their children, but whose behavior (often fueled or at least not discouraged by "billable hour hungry" divorce lawyers) is all about not losing to each other. They cannot and will not see what's in the best interest of their children as long as they can't see past their own need to win and not lose at all costs.

With such people as role models to children, is it any wonder why kids reach for junk food, stay hypnotized by their iPhones, hooked on their Facebook and refuse to patiently learn math, science that might help their future, but is just too boring for their gnat attention spans?

Now that the world can see each other and that will only increase*, what is needed is a global outcome that everybody will commit towards achieving. Given that the vast majority of people love and even sacrifice for their children, what would happen if we set as an outcome that the yet to be born great grandchildren of the baby boomer generation (who are still hanging on to power by a thread) are borne into a world with the chance for success, happiness, health and advancement based on their merits, sacrifice vs. entitlements and a planet that is sustainable.

What strategies could we globally commit to that would reach that outcome?

* And BTW, another place that Obama is getting things wrong is that he is focused on the wrong infrastructure. Just as the horse and carriage lost out to the automobile because it refused to realize it was in the transportation business; just as silent movies lost out to sound because they refused to realize they were in the entertainment business, the Internet (i.e. information superhighway) is making highways and superhighways obsolete in the same way as those highways made country roads obsolete (not to mention all the small towns they killed) and in the same way that email, texting and faxing (an about to die advance that had a very short lifespan) have made snail mail a thing of the past. The claims that you can't replace real person contact with Skype or WebEx or that you can't replace the live classroom experience with online classes is increasing seen to be just the death knell of a group of Baby Boomers who refuse to go gently into that good night and must continue to rage against the dawn.

I can see the day where nearly everything is done via the Internet and roads and highways are reserved for transporting food, materials and supplies that support communities and for vacations.