Tom Black is successful software entrepreneur who sold his business and enjoys elaborate house projects in retirement. He’s renovating his kitchen, building am impressive screening room and installing a terraced garden with outdoor lighting display at his hillside home. All at the same time. He’s also taking care of his former partner recovering from recent neurosurgery and extending support to other family members. Most importantly, he’s driving his BMWi3 electric car. “I’ve never had a car like this. I have withdrawal if I don’t drive it every day. It’s the most fun car ever.”
We took a Saturday night spin to Petra Mediterranean Pizza; I can attest the car is fun. We enjoyed our pizza and beer outside on a warm October night, the two oldest guys at this college hangout. Over a couple of slices, another aspect of Tom emerged: the meditative Buddhist. Our conversation ricocheted between Western and Eastern sensibilities. A few of Tom’s most fascinating perspectives:
“Our nature requires us to do things, to act. Humans always know the right thing to do. We often act outside that nature, yet still we know. It shows up in dreams, in illness. Pay me now or pay me later. It will always cost more later. We cannot be happy unless we give.
“We are creating a society where people can’t concentrate. It’s a sad thing to see someone running through the mountains with their iPod on.
“In 1775, eighty percent of potential voter’s could read and understand the thoughts contained in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Now, 39% of Americans in a recent poll said the sun revolved around the earth.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I see tomorrow as one hundred million years from now. We will still be here. We are infants. We will make many, mistakes, and many more. We are too established to completely wipe out the species. It’s going to take a long time to see evolution. I don’t know how we’ll evolve, but we will. Individual humans will live for thousands of years. The beginning of life will be our whole lifetime now. The older we get, the longer we live, the fewer mistakes we will make.
“Societies work better as our age gets longer. Spread it out to thousands of years and our knowledge and wisdom will be great. We have solutions for the problems confronting us now: food; energy; resources for 7.5 billion people. We don’t have the political will to implement what we know.
“Don’t get me wrong, there will be great suffering along the way, The U.S. will disappear. We will move toward a one-world government. That will be painful; it will only happen through war. But we will survive. We will flourish.”