SCIENCE OF SERENITY: Help solve real problems in the world

Feb 21 • FEATURE BOTTOM, NEWS & VIEWS, Op-EdNo Comments on SCIENCE OF SERENITY: Help solve real problems in the world

“Science doesn’t care who the POTUS is.” That’s my new addition to the old Serenity Prayer. Saying it to myself three or four times a day settles my stomach and adds to my serenity. It also inspired me to get a ticket for the 15th annual Full Belly Fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Coastline Convention Center from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.


For 15 years the Full Belly Project has been solving complex problems by developing simple sustainable technologies. They have cultivated networks of people to distribute solutions, and find more real problems to work on. I’m attracted to this project partly because it is guided by science and powered by people. It’s radical grassroots science—the kind that observes, theorizes from actual facts, screws up stuff, and tries again. It’s not married to a model of how things “should” work. Solving practical problems together is a refreshing approach in a social world that seems endlessly locked in rigid abstract ideological battles.

Even more refreshing is how people aren’t “human resources” or “assets,” but just plain folks with a variety of back stories and political belief systems. Although a fair amount of folks lean a little left, Full Belly is not owned and operated by the Church of Liberalism. People who learned carpentry to build sets for Shakespeare and have “Coexist” bumper stickers on their VW can volunteer and collaborate to solve problems here and abroad. Anyone who wants to really “Make America Great” can donate sweat equity or lose dollar bills, but help solve real-world problems using radical science.

For me, one reason it’s important to contribute to efforts like Full Belly is because in the month since this Republican-owned regime opened for business, it may seem science has failed. It may seem the very fabric of the universe has somehow been torn apart, and we’ve been warped into a parallel universe designed by Sinclair Lewis or George Orwell. Maybe it’s a parallel universe in which science itself is part of the great liberal illuminati conspiracy spearheaded by “the press.” Maybe it’s a parallel universe where democracy has failed, and the missiles are already fired up and ready to go at anyone who disagrees with our POTUS and his decision to invade (enemy to be named later).

Despite a series of chaotic executive Tweets, science still doesn’t care who the POTUS is. Gravity still holds things together; the speed of light is still constant; man-made climate change is real; smoking is still linked to diseases; moderate exercise and a plant-based diet are still healthier than Happy Meals and Netflix binges; and even though time is still relative, a Super Bowl has two halves, and you actually have to show up for the second half to win one. (There is no alternative fact, Falcons fans.) And our Full Belly Project still relies on people to use radical science and actual facts to solve real-world problems.

Those actual facts add to my serenity. There does seem to be a science to serenity. Part of serenity is learning to steer away from things we can’t control, and maybe not wasting our emotional and cognitive capital on things that are ineffective. It’s easy to get caught up in conspiracy theories and the chaos of this Republican-owned regime. It’s easy to counter a rage-filled rant with another rage-filled rant in the comment section of a post that will slip into the past before the cock tweets thrice.

Rage rants are ineffective and antimatter to serenity. Rage, denial or inaction won’t bring us peace of mind. Being mindful of what’s going on and doing what we can, as peacefully as possible, seem to get us a lot closer to effective activism and personal serenity. Write congressmen, clog phone lines (for or against issues), march and organize, listen with openness and respect to other people, and resist opposing ideas. Do something, then let the flurry of tweet-storms shift into the background or stay in the Oval Office where they belong.

After all, science still rules, spring training is upon us, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” and the Cubbies are still World Series Champs!

Full Belly Feast
Sat., Feb. 25, 6 p.m.
Coastline Conference Center
501 Nutt St.
Tickets: $50; tables: $400

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