User talk: Paine Ellsworth/Philosophy

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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.

Most days I feel like a green leaf that has fallen from its twig to the ground. As long as there is chlorophyll in me – and sunlight shining on me – I shall continue to make oxygen for others to breathe, until I am brown and dry.

red heart with subdued Wikipedia symbols

I like this encyclopedia! When I edit Wikipedia, I feel like I'm giving back because it has given me and continues to give me so much. This reference work gives our readers knowledge, and it gives the many millions of editors a wisdom from working together that just might spread throughout the world. Knowledge and wisdom are found in any good editorial team, and editing Wikipedia is a community effort of staggering proportions. As much as I feel that what I do here is for Wikipedia, I think it is actually just as much for me. If someone were to tell me that the editorial process here has been changed to a private editorial board, and that I could no longer edit Wikipedia, I would miss what I do here terribly. I love that I may be taking part in helping to shape young minds, the minds of the future. And I love that I can do so whenever I want to – without having to cling to a schedule or deadline. Wikipedia is a unique reference work and one that will serve people more and more as it, and they, come of age. Cherish your precious moments here editing Wikipedia, because an opportunity like this comes rarely in a lifetime (Thank You Jimbo), and thank you, reader, for coming with me this far! Now please indulge me just a bit more as my personal philosophy drips and flows over the lip of your cup and into your eyes...

Baby boomers[edit]

I just happen to be one of those fortunate people who was born during a time when we came to be called "boomers". The good we boomers spread seems to make it clear that the adage, "necessity is the mother of invention", is correct. And what is the father? Consumerism – yes, that's the father of invention. There are so many of us boomers who "live long and prosper" thanks to this golden age of "let's invent things that old people need". So our sheer numbers drive a lot of inventions of things that we old people need, such as medical-science inventions. And that will spread good to Generation X and all the rest who grow old after we boomers are just memories. It's a pleasure mon liege! (we expect no thanks.) Younger people will benefit greatly from today's inventions for older people, which means that we boomers have automatically spread the good to up and coming generations. So don't you just love getting older?!

Then there is the "other side" of being a boomer. Yes, there is always a negative to complement the positive. We boomers contributed to the population challenge more than any other generation before or since. There's even a whole navbar about it at {{Population}}. Perhaps like me, you've read a lot about this. Heaven knows, plenty has been written about this gnarly challenge to the human race. So far I haven't read anything about a certain connection I've made. Doesn't mean it's not out there; just means I haven't seen it yet. I'm talking about the connection between the population challenge and women in the workforce. In countries like some in the Americas and Europe, countries where there are more modern views about women in the workforce and where women have come to be more accepted as career workers and are paid almost as much as are men, populations are increasing much less quickly than in other countries. Career women have fewer or no children. They seem to either don't want to divide themselves between their careers and raising children, or they realize how much time it takes to raise one or two children and don't want more children.

In countries where women are still more subjugated by men, where they are supposed to stay home and produce baby after baby, those are the countries that add most to the population challenge. That means more people who need to eat and drink. Water supplies are becoming critical in some places, due in no small part to the population challenge. Don't mean to sound negative, but there may come a time when the faucets must stay off and the water rationed. And food might actually become more scarce. The population challenge is a gnarly one, yes; however, it is a challenge that we must continue to address and find viable, acceptable solutions. Human beings are almost 8 billion strong as of 10:53, 27 December 2022 (UTC). That's risen from 1 billion in 1804 and from about 2½ billion when I was born in 1949. If that's not "get off our duffs"-worthy, then I don't know what is. It was us humans who beat down the global scourge of smallpox, and if we can do that, we can do anything! (Just look at what Jimmy has done with the spread of knowledge! Thank you, eminent one!)


My full name here on Wikipedia is Paine Isaac Ellsworth. "Paine" is a name that sometimes "devolves" into my old Usenet nom, Painius. "Paine Ellsworth" is a pseudonym I use in some of my other writings as well. The name comes from four of my favorite men in this world... "Paine" is the surname of Thomas, "Isaac" is the given name of Newton and Asimov and "Ellsworth" is the given name of the man who raised me, my dad. I prefer to remain silent about my true identity, because I've been on the internet a very long time. The internet is not a place for us to be overly outward. This is not out of dishonesty nor disrespect, this is just a natural way for a writer to write.

The Lone Wolf[edit]

Most wolves run in packs, very social animals. Some wolves are on their own, a lonesome life. There is a wolf within me, a wolf that has taken hold of my present and moved me into my future. I volunteered for duty in Vietnam when that was thought to be the craziest thing. Then I joined the Peace Corps and went to Africa, Ethiopia in East Africa, when that was thought to be a crazy thing, too. Life for me has been and still is a series of adventures, and I've cherished every moment! Don't hate me, and please don't project anything from your life onto mine. There is a lone wolf in all of us. I listened to mine; listen to yours. At any age your inner wolf will make you happy, very happy. Howl at the Moon happy. Find a high spot... and then howooooool 718smiley.svg 🐺

The 'Nam[edit]

Isn't it curious strange how we often get our childlike curiosity whipped, slapped and "matured" out of us? By the time I went into sixth grade my curiosity had dwindled to almost nothing (so much so that I barely passed fifth grade by the skin of my teeth). In seventh grade my mathematics teacher, Miss Dunlap, was somehow able to spur me into a love for the subject that led me from C's and D's to straight A's for the rest of time; however that was a very narrow, specific curiousness. I didn't become curious about things other than math until after I had graduated high school and joined the military. My older brother died in Viet Nam in 1969, so I became very curious about that war. Some would return from the battle and give the opinion, "Oh, it's not so bad," while others came back saying, "Oh man, it's terrible over there!" I became so curious that I volunteered – yes, volunteered – for duty in the 'Nam.

We had to fill out a "dream sheet" in which we requested our desired duty tours, number 1 place, number 2 place and so on. Someone told me that if I really wanted to go over there to Viet Nam, I should not put it down as my first choice. "They'll send you to the psych ward at the hospital," was why, they grinned. Instead, I should put a really great tour, like Germany, down as my first choice and then put Viet Nam down as my second choice. It worked. I spent nearly all of 1971, from 4 January to 1 January 1972 satisfying my curiosity about Viet Nam. And I was stationed maybe a couple hundred klicks north from the spot where my brother had been killed.

< fast-forward to the now > (My all-time favorite film about the war is Platoon.)

It's a curious bit of irony, I think, that my tour in Viet Nam, which I hated forever after I took my first rocket attack, and which put me in intimate contact with herbicides and defoliants like Agent Orange, would furnish disability benefits to me in these present days. "Gooood Morning, Viet Nam!" At least, unlike my brother, my name is not on the wall. That means I've lived long enough to have married an awesome companion, to have reared three unparalleled kids, and for Jimbo and I to have become each other's benefactors! Thank you, my liege.


Peace Corps volunteers who go there call Ethiopia (or Etiopia) "The Big E". I was there 1973–1975, and I spent the time in almost constant fascination! After I had returned from Viet Nam and had left the military, I wondered what would be next for me. Long story short and oddly enough, I used my technical training from the military to be accepted into the Peace Corps. So for me it went from war to peace. I was sent to Ethiopia to train Ethiopians in the maintenance and repair of their one and only TV station in the capital city, Addis Ababa; however, as it turned out that wasn't meant to be. Previous volunteers had done a good job training Ethiopians, so I was instead sent to the village of Harar to teach ninth graders woodworking and basic electricity. It was fascinating that many people – natives, staff and volunteers alike – thought Peace Corps was actually a covert CIA organization. To the people of Harar, I was an agent of the CIA – they actually thought I was a spy! So I spent some time thinking to myself, 'Why would the CIA waste a perfectly good spy in a place like Harar, Ethiopia?'

When we first arrived we were all given Ethiopian names, and mine turned out to be "Degefe" (Deg-eh-fay, with a hard "g" as in "galant" and a long "a" as in "day"). Degefe is an Amharic word that means "supporter". So my friends took great pleasure in calling me "athletic Degefe" for the duration of my stay.

In Harar, I stayed with two smallpox volunteers (yes, they were also thought to be spies), who spent most of their time out in "the bush" looking for signs of the dread disease. After spending weeks out there, they would return with story after story of their journey. And each time, the main story was... no smallpox had been found. They had found chickenpox, monkeypox and a half-dozen or so other similar but less intense diseases, and no smallpox. It turns out that I was in Ethiopia during a time when it was the last great bastion of smallpox, which had been a worldwide scourge eighty years before. About five years after I returned from the big E, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that smallpox no longer existed in the wild, but only in the laboratory so it could be studied. It took about eighty years for people to beat down one of the most fierce and feared diseases in the world – a disease that had killed around a billion people while it burned across this planet! If we can do that, then we can do anything!

While in Ethiopia and while the students were on strike, I came up with a plan to spread the use of electricity throughout the country that was modeled after the successful smallpox eradication program. At the time, my plan was not approved by the Ministry of Education because the emperor, Haile Selassie, had been imprisoned by a military coup, which had taken over the government. The new leaders were executing, shooting(!), ministers and their staff every time we turned around, so the Minister of Education, who was also the head of Peace Corps Ethiopia, would not (understandably) make any changes for fear of getting shot. Fortunately, my plan was designed to work in any developing nation, so the Peace Corps embraced it and adopted it in several other countries. Credit? The credit for the idea and plan means nothing to me. The important thing is that the job gets done. I've never cared for the attention one gets when they "get the credit" for something. But that's just me. Last I heard after several years, in the late 80s – early 90s, was that my plan was being used in Pakistan to bring light and electrical power to the rough rural areas there. That makes me feel "Jim Carrey Good" (with a hard, gutteral G)!

One morning as I stepped out of my room, I saw my little hotel's houseboy sitting on a stoop reading a small book with a bright red cover. Curious, I went over to him and asked, "Tesfaye," (his name), "what is that you are reading so intently?" He looked up at me with a questioning look on his face and handed me the book, and all he said was, "Please do not lose my place." I took the little book and turned it over so I could read the cover while carefully keeping it open to keep Tesfaye's place. The little red book's title was Thoughts of Chairman Mao, the author having been Mao Tse-tung. I handed the little red book back to Tesfaye, carefully keeping his place, thanked him and continued on to my usual breakfast of well-cooked Kitfo tibs. I spent more than a few minutes musing about a 15-year-old Ethiopian boy engrossed in a book on Chinese philosophy that was printed in English. Etiopia never ceased to fascinate me! Soon after, all the students marched around in Mao tunics – ahh well.

When I returned from Africa in 1975, I wondered what would be next for me. War, peace, and then what? For me, the "then what" turned out to be marriage, kids, the Internet, Usenet and, eventually, Wikipedia. And I can never thank Jimmy enough for this opportunity to help shape the minds of people, younger and older, everywhere!

On personal racism[edit]

I learned a lot about racism in the 'Nam and in Etiopia. A few editors once avidly accused me of being a racist in a discussion about renaming the Calumet (pipe) page, which at one time was the title of the Ceremonial pipe article. I made some mistakes in that talk, so looking back, it doesn't surprise me that editors might have gotten the wrong impression of me. After all, like most people my parents and family raised me to be a racist, and I've been fighting the racism in me for most of my life. Yet I still sometimes fall back on those early misteachings. So I try to do all I can to subdue the racism in me. Though I'm not always successful, that doesn't mean that I should stop trying. Racism, some level of belief that people of another race or races are inferior to people of one's own race, is ugly and untenable; it's actually a mystery to me, one that I've never fully understood. Racism takes many forms, and my definition may not be the only one. If you have another way of describing or defining racism, I'd be glad to listen.

On being an admin[edit]

I used to want to be an admin, but not anymore. It is called a "promotion" by some. I've come to view being an admin as a "voluntary demotion". In the military, I fondly remember a group of us lining up across an area. We had to slowly walk across the area picking up cigarette butts, paper, whatever trash was in or near our path. It was called "policing the area". Did you ever see a sergeant or lieutenant or colonel out there with us picking up trash? No. But that's what admins do. Their tools give them the ability to perform janitorial duties, to "police the area". I'd rather keep my high rank as an editor, thank you very much!

To be honest, I do view being an admin as very important. There is one thing about it that I do revere. Admins have been vetted by a significant number of community members. They have earned our trust. To me, that is the best reason for even wanting to be an admin, to show yourself that you have the trust of the Wikipedia community of editors. Most admins are a helpful bunch and have taught me a lot about editing Wikipedia. As a rule, they prove everyday that the trust they have earned is well-placed and well-deserved!

Mind does matter![edit]

Most people appear to think that their mind is limited to their heads. I think that's because most of our five senses are in our heads. Sight, hearing, smelling, tasting – all are located in our head, so it isn't surprising that we tend to limit our mind to our head. Our mind is not really limited to our head. And we have a gateway to help us believe that. Our fifth sense, the sense of touch, of feeling, that is all over our bodies! Our sense of touch and feeling begins with the largest of our body's organs – our skin. That is our gateway, the gateway to believing that our mind is actually throughout our body. Brain's nerve network extends all the way down to the tips of our toes. Brain controls the entire body, sending and receiving sense-of-touch signals head to toes and back. So your mind is not limited to your head. Nor is it limited to just your body. Learn to meditate and find the true extent of your mind. Look around you. Just about everything you can sense was made by somebody. It was once just a thought in someone's mind. It was created and became what you sense before you from thinking. The power of thought, power of mind, is awesome! and not limited in any way. Mind does matter. Cultivate your imagination!

Strive for excellence[edit]

Not perfection. You will never reach perfection. That may be your goal, like shooting for Mars and hitting the Moon. Main target is excellence. For example, on a good day republicans don't want to be fascists, oligarchists or anything too far-right. By the same token, on a good day democrats don't want to be communists, socialists or anything too far-left. People in the United States sooner or later realize that they don't live in a democracy, they live in a republic – a republic that strives to be a democracy. So on that good day the republicans and democrats are very close to one another. Perfection would be to cut it right down the middle, the middle between right and left. I don't know where "striving to be a democracy" will take us; however, we must land very close to the middle to achieve excellence. May we all have an abundance of good days! All of us, even Jimbo. Especially Jimbo!

Death and life[edit]

The illusions of life

From the Wikipedia article about death:

Death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include senescence, predation, malnutrition, disease, suicide, homicide, starvation, dehydration, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury. [...] Death – particularly the death of humans – has commonly been considered a sad or unpleasant occasion, due to the affection for the being that has died and the termination of social and familial bonds with the deceased.

In some cultures, death is perceived as a time for celebration as the deceased enters the afterlife. While I lived in Africa, I observed funeral celebrations that lasted four or five days, with the participants dancing, screaming in rapture and partying the entire time. It was the same for weddings.

From the Wikipedia article about life:

Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that do have biological processes [...] from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.

That is life as we know it, since life here on Earth is the only life we know. Time passes, and life transforms back into death. What were we before we were conceived and born? – not alive. Death is one of the most personal things that happens to us. During life, we make memories, not just for us, but also for those around us, our loved ones, our work associates, all with whom we come into contact will have some memory of us, good or not so good, large or small. After we die, no more new memories.

My philosophy regarding life and death is just this: life's a beach and then you die, and while you're alive the damn sand gets into everything! Hugh Hefner, the Playboy magnate, died this past Wednesday (September 2017). Wouldn't you like to have lived like he did? And yet, as good as his 91 years were, there will be no more new memories of him. On goes the world without him, and someday, on will go the world without me.

E v e r y o n e   w a n t s   t o   l i v e   a   l o n g   l i f e,   b u t   n o b o d y   w a n t s   t o   g e t   o l d.

Body of Love[edit]

We absolutely must love our bodies. Not narcissistically, because more important even than our love for ourselves is our love for others and their love for us. It should follow that we will have difficulty loving others, and even greater difficulty receiving their love if we cannot bring our love home to ourselves. First and foremost, love your body – organs (skin is our largest organ), cells, organelles (make a special place in your heart for your high number of mitos), right down to your living atoms with protons, neutrons, electrons and quarks.

Most of the atoms in your body, in fact most of the atoms in bodies of all living things, are "living atoms". The reason science cannot do what men and women have been doing for millions of years (make life) is because they have yet to discover the difference between the living atoms of a plant or animal and the non-living atoms of, say, a boulder or the dead body of a once-living thing.

There is a fifth force. Scientists seem to have already discovered it, they just don't know it yet. That force is the source of living energy within each of us. It manifests on the atomic level, which is why it hasn't been recognized yet. So there are atoms, likely carbon atoms and perhaps others, that possess this life force and give living things their traits that make them different from non-living things. Carbon atoms that are part of a boulder may or may not contain this living force.

Someday, when scientists recognize and realize this discovery, what they do with this knowledge will either make us or break us. We shall leave that to future generations and hope for the best. So give lots of love to scientists, especially biologists, because there will come a time when they will really need your love. Their choices based upon their level of wisdom will either give us the ability to live and thrive or to wither and die.

Love your mind. The mind is generated by the body, the brain and other parts. It appears to be housed in our heads, but that is probably because four of our five senses, sight, hearing, smell and tasting, begin in our heads. Our minds are not limited to our heads. The rest I'll leave to your self-instruction. Just remember to love your mind, observe it, be friendly with it and love it. You are so much more than your body and mind, so much more. Wisdom to all!

The young guy across the street[edit]

He's just 24 years old, and about a year ago or so he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. It got better for awhile, then we were just informed that hospice has come to their house, and the young guy across the street has just a few days to live. Sorry, but that pisses me off. He won't live to see 25. I got to live to see 60, 65, hell, if I live another year I'll get to see 70! Do you know what pisses me off the most? He's gonna find out what the fuck is happening before I do, and that really pisses me off!>) naaahhh! Bless you m'boy!

Editor's note: the young guy across the street died this morning; may he rest in peace. 18:34, 20 November 2018 (UTC)

What if you could live forever?[edit]

Yes, it sounds like a pipe-dream kind of question, I know, however what if you could live forever – would you? When you think about it, as I have since I'm now in my seventies, it leads to many ramifications. We die to make way for younger generations. Every human being who has ever lived has died or will die. Death is an inevitable part of life. Look at the question more realistically. Medical science has found ways to extend our average lifespans dramatically over the last few hundred years. Suppose they came up with a simple process that would extend your life another fifty years? Would you undergo that process? Who knows what they might achieve within that next fifty years? In another twenty years they might learn how to extend your life another hundred years, and then another two hundred and so on. So it could lead to your living a long, long life. Effectively forever. So would you?

Simply put, people would fall into one of three categories: either they would want to go on living, or they would just want to live to their present end-of-life age, or they would want to end it now, this instant. To mull that over, to consider the question and your answer, can be a very healthy mental exercise, but try not to dwell on it too much. It's not possible yet. Maybe someday, eh? Writing like this often becomes "dated". Maybe it won't be long until my words here become outmoded and humorously old-fashioned? Wouldn't be the first time.

Is life just a show?[edit]

Is life really "real"? or is it just a "show". When I was a little kid, we would go every Friday night to the stock car races at Phillips Field. Just off the #1 turn there was a river, and nearly every week, a race car would crash through the fence off the #1 turn and end up in the river. Almost every week. They never crashed through the fences off the #2, #3 or #4 turns, just the #1 turn. And when the new track, the Golden Gate Speedway, was completed, race cars never crashed through the fences off any turns. There was no river off any turns. It had been a show, wasn't real, just a show to keep people coming back to watch a car "accidently crash" into the river.

So how much of life is real and how much is just a show? I honestly don't know.

History of life[edit]

Back in school, I didn't care for history nor any of the so-called "social studies". After HS graduation, I began to develop a kinship with history, though, and eventually pursued such knowledge avidly. It occurred to me just today that we each have within us a map of the entire history of our lives and the lives of our ancestors, all of them. We call it DNA, or at least that's where it begins. We are still learning how to read the genetic map. Many of the billions of cells in our bodies contain this historical map of our lives.

What exactly is on this gene map? Everything, every detail of our ancestry all the way back to the primordial soup and everything in-between. We share brains, brain cells and other cells with such as fish, reptiles, mammals, primates, neanderthals and modern people. All of us do. We not only show such history in our physical makeup, there are behavioral repercussions of this also. Our survival to this point has involved a great deal of aggressiveness, a great deal of violence. We repress that mostly, because in this day and age we've found and acknowledged that living together in a society and getting along with each other (well... for the most part) has significant survival value.

This has the potential to mean a great deal for us. When scientists begin to decode the genetic instructions found in DNA and in the more ancient RNA, we will begin to understand the history of our life and the lives of our every ancestor. We'll learn in detail about our physical makeup and exactly why it is what it is, as well as our mental and behavioral makeup, which will explain why we do what we do and why we don't do what we don't do. Why do we go here or go there, why don't we go somewhere else? When we know why our ancestors survived where other breeds did not, then we'll have a better handle on how to survive in the present and future. Celebrate! the biologists, my friends, for our fate is in their hands. They are the ones who will eventually be able to tell us how we may become beings who actually live up to the name we have given ourselves... Homo sapiens sapiens or "people who are wise... very wise".

The best way to die[edit]

My philosophy on the best way to die is most vividly described by a news article I read several years ago. The article was about an Australian school teacher who had taken his class on a field trip to the beach. I think it was Bondi Beach in Sydney; could be wrong about that as my memory is as bad as ever. :>) Five of his female students were succumbing to the powerful undertow and were being swept out into the Pacific Ocean. Their teacher swam out to them and managed to bring them all back in to the sandy beach. Then, exhausted by the event, their teacher collapsed on the beach and died of a heart attack.

As I read that news story, I kept thinking, 'What an awesome way to go!' It's doubtful that the teacher thought he would die of a heart attack; however, he did risk his life by challenging that strong undertow to save his charges. He put his life on the line for them, and I cannot think of a better way to die than by saving or trying to save the lives of others. That goes especially for the altruistic saving of young people who have their whole lives ahead of them.

Much has been said about the hallucinogenic venom of a cobra snake, how being bitten is like going on an LSD trip. I've also read about servicemen stationed in Alaska who died standing on a street corner waiting for the walk light to appear. It was so cold that they died standing up frozen to death. You just go to sleep and freeze to death. Those two ways to die do sound appealing, and yet to me, they pale by comparison to one's saving the lives of others, which results in one's death. Of course the chances of one dying that way are pretty small. Yet can think of no better way to go.

Life begins at...?[edit]

There's a tough question with a philosophical background steeped in conjecture. For us, it's pretty simple. Life for us, and I mean all of us (presently more than 7,900,000,000[1] of us plus many and varied forms of other life, mostly plants and animals) begins with the Sun. I think of our star and I am in complete awe. It sits up there in the sky, millions of miles away. The Sun is so large and bright that even from that amazingly long distance, its light bounces off a large planetary rock, the Moon, that has an albedo so smallow it's laughable, and yet the full Moon is still almost bright enough to make us squint a little.

Our Sun is about 93 million miles away, so far that its light and heat radiation take more than 8 minutes to reach us. Its heat and light give us life, energy, growth, water, food and so many things we need to survive and thrive. I find it quite a stretch of coincidence that our planet Earth is just far enough away from the Sun, and yet also just near enough to it, for our lives to exist. If Earth were just a little farther from the Sun, our lives would freeze. Just a little nearer to the Sun and all our water would evaporate. Either way, all life here would cease to exist. So here we are, just the right distance from our Sun to be able to live, procreate, edit Wikipedia, and so on. And so on. Thanks again, Jimmy, for giving us an encyclopedia to edit, to improve, to build!


The cosmos[edit]

Main un-article: on Cosmology
by Ptolemy's time

Beginning first with our Solar System and our Earth, even these will eventually cease to exist. The Solar System and perhaps Earth itself (scientists don't actually know how Earth will end) will "die" in about 5 billion years when the Sun expands into a red giant to ultimately become a white dwarf star. Earth will either be incinerated if it's within the boundaries of the red giant, or it will shoot off into space on a final, cold and lonely journey. Life on Earth suffers an earlier death, however, since in far less time, 1 billion years from now, the Sun will become hot enough to evaporate all water from the Earth – no water means no life (as we know it). Perhaps we will be able to save many species of life by finding younger stellar systems to which we may travel and where we may colonize. Who really knows what we might find during such explorations? This of course depends upon whether or not human beings survive themselves to live long enough to learn long-distance space travel and long-term survival of many species while exploring the galaxy and beyond. So I suppose my philosophy on our place in the Universe is, so far, a decidedly optimistic one, because I firmly believe that we possess the tenacity to survive.

It has been written that all things that begin must also end. Did the Universe really have a beginning? Did life really have a beginning? I wonder!

The Universe! Is it really so hard to believe that there is life, superior life, "out there" somewhere? Is it really so hard to believe that human beings, while surely the top of the food chain and most intelligent life on Earth, are not the superior, most technologically advanced life in the Universe? Look up on a clear night and wonder at the stars you see. They are but a few of all the billions of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Our galaxy is but one of billions of galaxies in the Universe. Are humans the superior-most life in all that expanse?

a moon of Saturn in infrared
Saturn's moon Enceladus in infrared

I personally think that our Universe is infinite in time and space; however, science says no. Scientists tell us that the Universe is not ageless, but instead began about 13.7 billion years ago. They also tell us that our Solar System is a bit younger than that. The Sun and all its planets, satellites and asteroids began about 4.5 billion years ago. That means that the Universe had about 9 billion years to develop intelligent life elsewhere before our Solar System even started! It took about 4.5 billion years for intelligent life to develop here on Earth, and the entire Universe has had at least three times that long to develop intelligent life somewhere else in the great expanse. So why is it so difficult to accept how unlikely it is that human life is the most intelligent life in the Universe? Why is it so hard to accept that a superior, technologically advanced form of life exists somewhere else in the Universe's great expanse?

I have serious doubts about the existence of "spiritual" life; however, I must accept that there is very likely some form of corporeal life in this Universe that is superior to human beings. I like to think of these hypothetical lifeforms as the "powers that be", and I see them as benevolent and as quite possibly our creators. I also have to accept that lifeforms who are superior to us just might not be "life as we know it". Where is Jimbo from again? <<< grin >>>

Nature of light[edit]

Main un-article: Light's nature

Just had a thought about light that I've never read anywhere. The vast majority of light in the Universe is actually invisible and goes unseen by all of us. Think about it. We look up at the stars and we see pinpoints of light. Each light is a star (or planet). Each star emits light and other radiations in all directions; however, the only light we see is the light that comes directly to our eyes. That's worth a repeat: the only light we see is one little ray of light that comes directly to our eyes. All the other light emitted by the stars in all other directions is invisible to us!

If I were in New York and you were in California, and we look up at the full Moon one night, we see pretty much the same Moon. It's in a different position in the sky, but it's the same moonlight, right? Wrong. The source light from the Sun takes about 8 minutes to get to the Moon, bounces off the surface of the Moon, and then takes about a second and a half to get to our eyes. The light you see is made up of different rays than the light I see. I can't see the light rays you see, and you can't see the light rays I see. Heck, if you and I were standing together in the middle of the Sahara desert looking up at the full Moon, the same would be true. If you look over at the area between me and the Moon, you cannot see the rays of light from the Moon that I see. That light is invisible to you. So the vast majority of light goes in all other directions and those light rays are invisible to us! Yo, Jimbo! Do you see the light?

Great Attractor[edit]

This is a bit scary to me. Somewhere on the other side of our Milky Way galaxy, where it's hard to see because the stars and dust of the galaxy obscure it, is something that seems to be attracting and gobbling up stars, galaxies, even whole galaxy clusters. It's called the Great Attractor and is probably the cause of the Dark Flow. Our Sun, Earth and solar system are like a child sitting in the back seat of a very fast car. Our galaxy is headed in the direction of the opposite side of it, and we are like little, blind gnats on the rear windshield. Sometimes it seems that scientists ignore the fact that when we peer out into the cosmos, everything we see happened already, sometimes many, many years ago, and it's all in the past. So when we see whole galaxy clusters rushing headlong, lickety-split into that Great Attractor, I sometimes wonder if they actually realize that those galaxies are probably already gobbled up by the G.A., and that we are likely a lot closer to it than we think we are. I mean, we probably won't get gobbled up today, or even tomorrow or the next day. But it just might happen sooner than we think it will. Scary indeed.


If you've ever had a panic attack, then you have experienced fear in one of its worst forms. At the time, there seems to be no reason nor logic to it. Fear is one of the worst experiences of my life, of anyone's life. Some people think that bravery and courage require a lack of fear, but I say far from it. Courage is the overcoming of one's fear, not the lack of fear. It is deciding that there is something more important than your fear. Seems fear is an important part of the "human equation".

My very first memory of being afraid is when I was six years old and in the first grade. A bunch of us had to get a shot in the arm, a vaccination. We were all lined up and sitting on a bench outside the nurse's office. Every few minutes, a child would come out of the office and we would hear, "Next!" The one next to the door would stand up and go into the office, and the rest of us would scoot down the bench closer to the door. It was my very first vaccination, and I was last in line. Some of the children had been given a shot before, and they were telling their horror stories! So by the time the person before me stood and went into the office and left me alone on the bench, I was extremely fearful and stressed.

Then, the worst possible thing in the world happened! The door opened and the little girl walked out, and I heard "Next!" I stood up, shaking, and slowly walked into the office. In retrospect, the nurse seemed a nice, matronly woman, but I saw her then as a monster! She lifted me up into a high chair and turned around to a counter to prepare my shot. She glanced back at me and asked if I had ever been to a carnival. I said yes, so she asked me if I liked the picture on the wall in front of me. It was a brightly colored painting of a carnival, with a ferris wheel and other carnival stuff, with little children running around. Just after I told her I liked the picture, I heard her say, "Okay, you're done." I turned and looked at her, awestruck! I told the nurse that I hadn't felt a thing! She just smiled and helped me down from the chair, and said, "You can go back to class now." To this day all these many years I have never had a problem with needles, vaccinations, nor with donating blood. And I have the matronly nurse to thank for that. She knew the value of distraction and used it.

The lessons to be learned are that many things we fear are often defined moreso by stories we hear about them rather than by the things themselves, which might actually be nothing to fear at all. And... that being distracted (or distracting yourself) from a strong object of fear can lessen or even nullify any expected bad result. So when you are intimidated and there is no immediate danger, distract yourself some way. Think about Jimbo and this great encyclopedia (unless, of course, they are what make you tremble with fear < heh >).


Why is there a giraffe over in the left wing? That's easy – the giraffe is my favorite animal. One reason is because, like a very few people, a giraffe is not afraid to stick its neck out. There are many other reasons, such as an adult giraffe's ability to kick and break the jaw of a lion when defending its baby. And we won't even mention any reason to like the long, 12-inch length of a giraffe's tongue. Yes, there are many, many reasons to love giraffes! and perhaps even to envy them?! Did Jimmy just lick his ear?


They tried to bury us. They forgot we were seeds. —Ralph Smart

Life is a constant fight for survival, and in that, we may find our meaning. Even when you are at the tippy-top of the food chain, you must still eat and drink. You must hope that the grocery store continues to stock your favorite pot roast or those savory brussel sprouts. Survival and meaning. What would you say if someone asked you to choose between Freud's (will to pleasure) and Adler's (will to power) schools of thought? or between those two and Frankl's (will to meaning) school?

All three schools of psychotherapy must have a certain amount of validity. In fact it is probably the blending of those three Viennese schools that hits closest to the mark. Freud's pleasure principle was based primarily on his studies of animals in zoos rather than in their natural habitat. Is it any wonder that a primate in a zoo with no concerns about his next meal or predators would have only one thing on his mind? And yet Freud's principles were more than moderately successful, which says a lot about today's human beings who live more like zoo animals than like free people!

Adler, who borrowed heavily from Nietche, thought it is the human desire to rise as high as possible in the hierarchies of our day that primarily drives us. And there is much truth in this as well. We see it all around us – people who look a bit like us striving to be a college dean, a state governor or even the leader of a large company or country, who would do just about anything to get what they want. While Nietche and Adler described what appears to be a strong drive in some of us, it does not seem to be that strong a drive in most of us.

So what does drive us? What is the primary force that makes us get up out of bed and go on living another day? Is it sex, is it power, or is it as Frankl taught, a search for meaning in our lives? Or is it a nice blend of all of that? A part of sexual activity that gives meaning is the having of children, little copies of ourselves to carry on our families' names. Many people don't really feel "whole" until they've had and raised a child or three. And one of the truly awesome parts of growing old is to be a grandparent. "Count heads," my father used to say as we left his house after a dinner and get-together. Was he joking? or was he serious about not leaving one of those wild rugrats behind? What does drive us?

The answer changes over time. What drove us when we were teens was not the same thing that drove us in our twenties and fifties. But that's really a cop out, because we want to know what drives us, what moves us everyday, all day, all of us, each and every one? So we must go deeper to find that primary driving force, and that's precisely what Frankl did. He didn't have much choice, though, because he was moved around among four Nazi concentration camps during WWII, and all he could do was to work his ass off and to observe how those people around him were able or not able to cope with their surroundings. That is where he first began to form his "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy" or what he calls logotherapy. His book, Man's Search for Meaning is worth a read or two.

The other day a Reddit editor said to me that I should not tell newcomers, who have just begun meditation, about all the benefits of the practice. He said, "Meditation is its own reward." Now in my world of tinted-glass perception, that led to something I recently heard Ayn Rand say on YouTube in an interview many years ago. It had to do with that old axiom, "Virtue is its own reward." Rand said she would never say that to anyone, indeed she would say the opposite: "Virtue is the only way to properly acquire outside material reward."[1] Something to think about, don't you agree? I mean, if virtue is its own reward, and if we are to be and do good with no expectation of material gain, then how do we feed our faces? How do we sustain ourselves? Seems to me that the only alternative we have to acquire outside material reward is to be non-virtuous! In this case at least, Ayn Rand seems to be very close to the truth. Applied to meditation, one might paraphrase Rand and say, "Meditation is the only way (or at least one way) to acquire inside mental (and even spiritual?) reward." And I see no good reason to keep that a secret from novice meditators! All too often those new to the practice of meditation give up after just a few tries, because the benefits are frequently not experienced overnight. A good, experienced trainer, who can help one get over the "bumps", is essential to one's understanding of meditation, and I seriously doubt that any trainer worth their salt would withhold helpful info from their trainees.

Our search for meaning leads us in interesting directions at times. It led me to volunteer for duty in Viet Nam, and for the Peace Corps in Africa. I have searched for a meaning to life in many places and have lately uncovered that the spread of knowledge is an excellent candidate. Our knowledge is not just from our readings and meanderings, our knowledge also comes from our musings and creations that stem from our readings, our journeys and our conversations with others. Isn't it great to have Wikipedia as an outlet (and inlet) for that knowledge and its spread? Progress here doesn't come from a small group of old men in a cigar-smoke-soaked room who decide what does and does not belong in an encyclopedia. Progress here comes from us, from you and me! Our "cigar-smoke-soaked rooms" are the ones in which we sit in front of our computers and edit these pages! So the deeper meaning of life finds Wikipedia as a vehicle for its expression. And again, thank you Jimmy, more than you know!


Last December (2019), I lost one of my legs. They called it a "guillotine amputation" and eventually a "BTK amputation". There was a connection between this and my exposure to defoliants like Agent Orange while I was stationed in Viet Nam in 1971. So I'm off on a new adventure! Finally received a prosthesis, a new leg with which I've had a love/hate relationship (mostly love as there is so much more mobility when I wear it). Guess now you can call me Pegleg Pete or Pegleg Paine maybe. Doing very well, really. Thank you, Jimmy, for "cooking" up this encyclopedia. It's been a great help to me in my recovery!


Since you can tell a lot about people by the authors they like, I'm probably giving away some secrets here. Simply meaningful...

Three questions[edit]

I practice meditation and auto-hypnosis. In my contemplations during and after meditation, three questions come up time and time again:

  1. If you knew you were going to succeed at whatever you did, what would you do or be?
  2. If you knew you had $100 million dollars in the bank, what would you do or be?
  3. If you knew you only had 6 months left to live, what would you do or be?

Clarity, seek it through your answers to these questions. Don't rush it. If the answers don't come right away, that's okay. Muse about them, ask again later. Your answers can change over time. Seek the clarity of thought gifted to you by these questions.

You might be amazed; you will surely be wakened to who you are deep down inside you. And I know that will be a good thing.

Meditation trains you to live and be in the NOW, in the present moment. And it helps you achieve higher and higher levels of awareness, both of your self and your surroundings. I recommend you find a good trainer and learn how to meditate! Your trainer will help you over any "bumps" in your path. I sincerely hope you will be safe! and spread the good, that your journey is filled with love, true happiness and self-discovery. And may you everyday in every way get better and better!

Of hope[edit]

Nobody has ever found an English word that rhymes with the word "orange". Since I, as Paine Ellsworth, am an unsung poet, I've always wanted to use orange in a poem:

Will come a time I breathe no more,
  Purple, blue and red and orange
  Def'nit'ly dramatic change,
The body dies, oh! spirit soar!
  What is truth? No one is sure.

My mental, physical and spiritual states[edit]

I have hope, much hope for my mental state. When I look back (which I don't do often, because I do cherish this precious present moment and try to stay in it as much as possible), but when I do look back I see things I have done that some would perhaps label psychotic behavior. This present moment seems to help me stay sane. I do wish to maintain my sanity. It's not always easy, though, because I love the adventurous life! Suppose that means instability? How can one be mentally stable and truly enjoy adventure after adventure – how? One thing that keeps ya sane is love. Much to love in this world: children, some grownup people, hyenas, chimps, hills and mountains, the sky day and night, waves slapping the shore, my lover Suze. Lots to love and be grateful for. Plenty to support sanity, well, some of the time.

Not a lot of hope for my physical state. Now in my seventies I've passed the average date of death for males. That's a bit remarkable when you figure in my diabetes, my two "mild" heart attacks that resulted in three stents, and my BTK amputation. Lost the leg just after turning 70yo. See? adventure after adventure.

And my spiritual state? Not a lot of hope there, and fortunately, a tremendous amount of faith. Not favorable to any form of heaven that most people ascribe to. Do like to think of us each holistically, or our whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I've proven that much to myself, although I probably couldn't prove it to you. Just cannot fathom anyone who expects to sit on a cloud with a halo, white toga and a harp. Or spending eternity with dozens of virgins, and so on. Not heaven like those for me. I would prefer a heaven that includes exploration and adventure! Read lots on the subject of death and the afterlife. Have come to the conclusion that if there is an afterlife, and I have faith there is, it will be absolutely nothing like anyone on this planet can imagine – not even myself.

The Twelfth Church[edit]

In the land of Ethiopia there are several churches that were carved out of solid bedrock. These churches, unlike most structures, were built from the top down, down into the ground. There are eleven known churches of Lalibela. Modern-day legend says it took about twenty years to build them. That's not the legend I heard when I lived in Ethiopia. I was told that King Lalibela had his men work on the churches during the day and that angels would work on them during the night. Legend holds that the men were astonished each morning to see how much the angels had done! It took only seven days to build all the churches – seven days! And there were twelve churches. One has yet to be found. The Knights Templar spent a brief time there and hid the Ark of the Covenant in the twelfth church before filling it up with sand. It was meant to be rediscovered when the technology exists to find it. That will happen soon. History, history, shrouded in mystery!

Song of Jimbo[edit]

Let us sing of Jimbo,
  who set out from Twickenham to embark
on a mission that brings the sum of all knowledge
  to every person in this world!

All called him crazed, insane, to think that anything
  he did could result in such a grand endeavor
as an encyclopedia that would shake the very foundations
  of academia and of all things educationale!

Oh! sweet knowledge, Oh! sweeter wisdom,
  let thy faces be seen o'er all the people,
great and greater, for all here are great, and
  none greater than the eyes and ears of creation!

Let the sum of all knowledge continue to climb
  higher and higher as will the number of articles,
Oh minds! Oh hearts! so full of sweet and salty thought,
  Jimbo brings friendship, love, to every suffering spirit!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ayn Rand on Money and Morality – time: 3 1/2 minutes after beginning of video
  2. ^ a b Norman W. Desrosier at Find A Grave


If you're going through some bad times just remember... everything happens for a reason. I don't know what that means, but it sounds good.

Get whatever it is off your chest – go ahead and vent if you want to, either here or there (if here, then please ping me).  Paine

My age[edit]

I turn 69 today. That was my stepdad's second favorite number. His favorite number was 68. Can you guess why? (This was one of my stepdad's favorite jokes.)

Ans: 68 means "you do me and I'll owe you one". Kitty emoji.png what a boner

...everyone wants to live a long life, but nobody wants to get old.

The secret of life[edit]

If you're trying to figure this out, I suggest you get out a sheet of paper and a pencil. At the top of the paper write "Things that I haven't done". Draw a line down the middle of the page and title the left side "That I want to do", and title the right side "That I don't want to do". Then give it some thought – I mean really! give it some thought. And start writing. You'll feel drawn to the things you write in the left column, and you'll really want to go out and do them. As you go along, you may find yourself erasing things on the left side and putting them on the right, and you'll erase things on the right side and put them on the left.

While most everyone else lives out their lives in a mundane, complacent and boring manner, you will do things that they (most everyone else) wouldn't even dream of doing. If they (most everyone else) make it to their 70s and 80s, they'll look back and think what a boring life they've lived. When you are in your 70s and 80s, you'll look back with a very different perspective and opinion. You'll think what a great, venturesome life you've had and are still having! What a great big bunch of adventures! So what's the secret? If you haven't figured it out yet, don't be too concerned. Just do this easy little exercise, and eventually, you'll get it. And remember... nobody in their right mind wants to live on this planet forever... nobody. And nobody does.

Spread the good[edit]

All people in the world do one of three things. They spread evil, or they spread good. The third thing that people do is vastly and by far the most widely done. Most people choose to be complacent. They don't want to become "involved". They think and believe that involvement would complicate their lives, or worse, over-complicate them. So they choose complacency. They think that to fight evil, they would have to deal with it directly, but that is not how evil is overcome. The only effective way to fight evil is to spread the good. There is only so much room in this world, so the more good there is, the less room there can be for the bad. Don't be complacent, which is just a crutch, an excuse. If most people would spread the good, then the bad would dry up and be blown away by the solar wind. Dare to be rare! Spread the good.

So sorry – more poetry[edit]

How are my thoughts useful?
How do my thoughts behave?
Two questions for the ages,
Questions we should save.

Ask yourself these questions
To neutralize your thinking,
They help in so many ways
To stop the pills and drinking.

How ARE your thoughts useful?
How DO your thoughts behave?
Love yourself enough to wait
For answers that you crave.

P.I. Ellsworth - ed. put'r there 04:29, 3 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


One thing about being in my seventies is that I'm allowed to ramble. I do tend to go on and on sometimes, and I want you to know that I hold you in hugely high esteem if you've actually read this far! Those who think they have a right to edit Wikipedia and to do as they please on this project are dead wrong in my book. To edit Wikipedia is a privilege, not a right.


I know what you're thinking... this is some old person, what does he or she have to be optimistic about? As I refill my pillbox I realize that it's an act of optimism. I'm being optimistic about being around next week to take those pills! When you think about it, just about everything we do is an act of optimism. When you go shopping, that's an act of optimism. When you go to work or school, you're optimistic. When you shop, you're optimistic that you'll be around to wear those new clothes or to eat that food you just bought.

So if you're wallowing in pessimism, the way to stop that and to feel and be optimistic is to go and do something. Anything. Eat something. You're optimistic that in a few hours your body will process the food and it will exit in the bathroom. Oops! I'm out of toilet paper! There's an extra roll on the shelf behind me, so I reach for it and replace the old roll in the dispenser. When I'm done I get another roll of tissue from the closet to put on the shelf for next time I run out. As I leave the bathroom I wash my hands and brush my hair. All are acts of optimism. So go and do something. Just about everything you do is an act of optimism. When you are optimistic, there is a good chance that you'll find the right direction to go. And someone once said to the effect that, "When you go in the right direction, all you have to do is move."

Yeah, I'm getting older, and so are we all. Next time someone asks, "Is your glass half-full? or half-empty," be sure to say, "YES!" because it is undeniably both at the same time. To be optimistic does not mean you have to blind yourself to the woes in this world. As darkness is to light, hell is to heaven, yin is to yang, pessimism and optimism are complementary to each other. So it's okay to be pessimistic at times when the world appears to demand it. Just always hang on to your optimistic side, because it's just as much a part of reality.

Here's wishing you great joy and greater happiness. And above all love and, of course, great and durable optimism!


Sources are very helpful. Several sources of power have been touched upon here on this page. You probably already knew many of them, and you might know this one, too. Imagine a baby crying, and Mother comes in to pick up the child, who then stops crying reassured by Mother's touch. There is so much power in a touch. A touch can be physical, and it can also be words, letters put together to touch the mind and heart. A word can be spoken or written down. Hope there are words on this page that have touched you in some good way, the same way that your being here and reading this touches me.

for Suze[edit]

Poor or rich,
Don't matter which;
Rich or poor,
Couldn't love her more.
So thankful for her love returned;
Have no idea how I ever earned
Her sweet affection. Constantly
She proves and gives her love to me.

Un-article see also[edit]


There is no other reference work in the world like Wikipedia! and in most ways that's a good thing!