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Click below for story synopsis and excerpts:
The Lens and the Looker
The Bronze and the Brimstone
The Loved and the Lost


Dear Diary (#4) 

One of the themes I explore in The Verona Trilogy, as well as my novel-in-progress, Between Two Rivers is; was all the warfare over the last ten thousand years necessary or unavoidable, given that much of the poetry, philosophy and religion from away back then talks about love and kindness?

Given that conflict and the consumption of other life forms has been the way of life for hundreds of thousands of years for humans, and hundreds of millions for our animal ancestors, it is then obviously the case that short-term greed is engrained in our natures and genetic makeup. So, how can universal love help, and why do we need it?

Ten thousand years ago was when we humans invented agriculture, and that’s when we turned from hunter gatherers to more sedentary creatures. This in turn led to larger populations, towns, cities, city states, countries, empires, and now . . . now we are on the cusp of creating a planetary society. Within that short time of 3,650,000 days or 500 generations, we also invented religion, money, economies, technologies and philosophies. (that’s a lot in a short time)

All those religions, money, economies, all the technologies and all the philosophies had the potential, and made the promise in later millennia, to build societies which benefited everybody, where surpluses were shared. But right from the beginning, every advance of an invention seemed to concentrate power in fewer and fewer hands. However, somewhere in that ten thousand year period, another concept appeared. That is the concept of universal love. It was expressed in most religions or philosophies as “treat your neighbor as yourself”, the “golden rule”.

Up until a few days ago, I lived in quiet despair about the future of humankind and our planet. I grieved to think that, if the idea of love as being the answer has been around for so long, and it hasn’t taken hold yet, there probably isn’t much hope it will. Our species will probably pollute and undermine the health of our environment until humans, and much of the natural world, goes extinct. Then, while researching and thinking about my new novel, I had an epiphany. It has to do with perspective.  

If our animal need to consume other species has been around for billions of years, humans for hundreds of thousands of years, “civilization” for only ten thousand, and love for a portion of that, (say five millennium) then it is reasonable to look at that five thousand years as a very short time, when compared to billions of years. Given a bit more time, say, a few hundred more years, now that we are close to creating a world society, we just might make it. (Of course, it’s also problematic if human civilization will collapse before we adapt, but that’s another blog. This blog is about hope.)

The trick for me was to stop looking at my life and struggles as the center of all things, and look at myself, my generation, indeed, all generations, as short-term caretakers. For me it was then but a short leap to realize I must change my mindset from one of a consumer (whose ambition is to become a super consumer) and make my actions something that would help bring on a sustainable future, to work in concert (dare I with universal love) with the rest of the world. If enough people adopted that philosophy for a few generations, then maybe we’d get somewhere.

I guess this blog wouldn’t be complete without a definition of universal love. I would suggest, as opposed to the emotional love we have for our families, and especially our children, universal love takes that animal impulse to want to care and provide for your immediate family and asks you to make the adult choice of projecting it onto the rest of the world, recognizing, if you must, that it is actually a self-serving survival strategy. Therefore you have love as cooperation, love as respect, love as helping others, sharing, all the other things the good parts of religion attempt to teach. Oh, and not to forget, love for our environment, which includes all the enormous diversity needed among the plant and animal kingdoms for us to survive — again, self-serving.

Hey, all those religious figures and, I guess, the Beatles were right. Love is the answer. Pass it on, fellow sentient creatures.


  • January 7th, 2014
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