Spending our genius

I published this post in February 2014. The parade photo is from the 2015 4th of July parade in Huntington Beach, California. We are still guilty of theft. I am reminded of this every time I see a beggar on a median strip.



Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. 

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.—President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953

We were given the answer more than 60 years ago by a man who understood war. He was well respected, and trusted, and could get an audience with anyone he wanted to see. I am especially struck by his reference to spending our genius. We squander genius in this nation in our schools, workplaces, and in the rigid dogma of many of our churches. All three types of organizations are convinced that questions are irrelevant because they already have all the answers.

We seem to disregard the costs of spending our genius on the wrong things. My Facebook newsfeed contains a lot of silliness. Maybe that is what Facebook is supposed to do. It still makes me wonder how it might be more useful.

plane relicTelevision consists almost entirely of silliness. How much creative genius is misdirected to support this fluff? Most business managers consider creativity to be a digression from the “real” work employees are paid to do.

What would happen if we put our mental resources, including imagination, to work doing useful things such as establishing peace and order in the world? Might we eliminate homelessness? Could we generate companies like Apple at a faster rate than we do now? Could we find a way to make friends with quarrelsome nations? Could we end our own quarreling?

I have great faith in genius. If you do, I encourage you to speak up on the subject, and to express your own genius. Women are currently far ahead of us men in this regard.

My special thanks to Eve Marie Ross who posted the Eisenhower quote on Facebook yesterday, and it became my inspiration for this post.

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