The Dodo Bird

Must have been paradise the island of Mauritius,

Before Homo Sapiens landed on its shores.

Bringing with them exotic knowledge of calculus,

As well as rats, dogs, and Oh no! domestic boars.

 

Along with the island’s other plentiful fauna,

The dodo bird never seemed to get lost,

Among its towering and oh so beautiful flora,

Until nightfall when it was time to roost.

 

Man and dog started to hunt the ill-fated bird,

While the rats scampered around to steal its eggs.

The hogs thought the dodo bird looked absurd,

What with its useless wings and stubby legs.

 

It was sad how the bird instantly disappeared,

Never to return to his hallowed place of birth.

The law of the jungle is still loudly heard,

The smart survives and the weak hits the dirt.

 

 

 

On Leadership

On Leadership is the title of one of the essays in my just recently published book “It’s All About Something”. The following is a synopsis:

          “Leadership is a quest of men seeking to find themselves and in so doing, they shape the lives of other people.”

 

          The above definition of leadership could be construed to mean that the effects one person has on other people are simply the unintended result of that person’s search for his identity and destiny. I disagree with this particular formulation of leadership because of its passive tone and egocentric direction.

          Great leaders throughout the ages have shared a common wisdom that transcended time and space—the wisdom of perseverance. They inherently understood that their episodic defeats were necessary impediments, what I’d call learning hindrances, in the road towards realization of the common good. They showed uncommon grace and dignity in the face of those defeats; they were able to rise again after facing what seemed insurmountable odds and overwhelming adversities. In the process, they became stronger because they firmly defined who they were, and what they wanted to do. In the end they made a distinct difference in the lives of the people who followed them.

          In my view,  a leader’s vision to be meaningful must be  heavily tinged with wisdom. For authority to be effective, it must aim for unfettered human development and contentment. A wise and visionary leader is one who uses his authority like a knife with a sharp edge–fitter to polish than to bruise. A steadfast leader is one who agitates and shakes and follows the adage: “A mixture that is not shaken soon decomposes.” He is happiest when demanding for and getting unexplored ideas; he is at his best when proposing new solutions to old problems; he is  at his most constructive when creating new paradigms.

          A visionary and wise leader must be very creative, pouncing on unanticipated opportunities, eliminating what are merely fashionable  and replacing them with the supremely unthinkable. In the process, he could say without a tinge of bravado and hubris, that his creative juices were all the more stimulated to flow when faced with the potential for imminent destruction.

P.S. I have applied the above criteria to Obama’s leadership style and found it tenuous and vacuous. I am similarly applying it to Trump’s leadership prerogative, and he seems to be on the road to becoming a consequential leader. Only space-time continuum could tell.

——A. Villarasa

Book Publishing

The process of getting a book published via self-publishing companies seemed simple enough, but in reality, exhaustively complicated and  severely expensive. My own experience had become an eye-opening tutorial when I decide to publish my first book titled “It’s All About Something”, a collection of essays that deal with subjects ranging from family, friendship, career, philosophy, physics and anything else in between that had an impact, negative or positive, on my life’s journey.

I submitted the book manuscript sometime in July 2017. After a preliminary review by one of the editors it was accepted to be published. It went through several editing processes. I proposed the book cover which was accepted;  the content galley was designed including the photos that I  provided which would accompany each essay. I reviewed the author introduction (written by a close friend), book cover, and interior galley including the photos and article formats, then I gave the approval to go ahead with the printing. They sent me the paper back, hard cover, and kindle versions for my final review. In December 2017, the book was finally made available to various online book sellers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Xlibris.

I insisted that the book be professionally reviewed as soon as possible. This was started when I sent the publisher the final installment payment  for the service which they then remitted to the Pacific Book Review and the US Review of Books. It was completed  3 months after publication. The wait was well worth it because the book earned positive reviews from both. I then insisted that a synopsis of both reviews be printed on the back cover.

The publisher suggested multiple marketing strategies with their corresponding expensive price tags.  I signed on to most of them thinking that it was important for the book to be introduced to potential readers. Some of the marketing process have been completed including a web site, alexvillarasa.com that would direct the readers to take a closer look at the book, as well as a you tube book video, an audio recording of my radio interview, and the two book reviews mentioned above. It also included a video of my interview by Palm Springs magazine when I was voted one of the top 100 doctors in the Coachella Valley. A press release was also sent to various radio, TV and newspaper outlets all over the country.

Additionally, the book was displayed at several book festivals i.e Tucson Festival of Books, Los Angeles Book Exposition and the Book Exposition of America, held in New York. It would also be displayed internationally, in China, Mexico and Europe.  Several marketing strategies are still in the works including advertising campaigns in Publisher’s Weekly magazine and New York Times. A book review by Kirkus is also forthcoming as well as translation of the book by a scriptwriter for the purpose of presenting it to Hollywood producers.

Some folks (family, friends and acquaintances) have read the book and have given it a thumbs-up sign. The eternal hope of course is for a wider swath of readers to give it their attention and send similar thumbs-up approval.

 

Are we alone in the Universe

The existence of a multiverse i.e multiple (perhaps millions)  other universes, aside from ours has been proposed by cosmologists based on the idea that an existing universe might develop an “initiating impulse” that could lead to another universe, and another via what they term as “quantum fluctuations”. They think that our own universe came about from a fluctuation (the Big Bang) that happened in another universe, and that perhaps our own universe have “given birth” to other universes via the same process. Interesting, but as theories go, this one needs a lot of empirical fine tuning.

In our own universe, with millions of galaxies inhabiting its space-time continuum, what are the probabilities that we are not alone.  The impression by some is that the probabilities are enormous to the point of exhilaration in some quarters who extoll the idea that there is nothing special about us humans in the grand scheme of things in as much as there are other living and perhaps more intelligent/sentient beings (extra-terrestrials) out there percolating in their own cosmic environment.

A very astute middle-schooler once asked: If there are millions upon millions of ETs out there, why have we not heard from them?”

Assuming that there are more than quite a few of them have advanced civilization, much more advanced than ours and are therefore capable of communicating in whatever manner or form….why haven’t they. We, on our part have sent quite a few signals out there just over the past 40 years or so, but no takers. Why?

Some cosmologists have suggested a possible explanation. These advanced civilization may have self-destructed because they could not deal with the enormous burden of progressing or advancing their civilization to the ultimate path of glory, what ever that means. So they devalued, degraded and essentially self-destructed. A course that we might follow if we continue the atheistically propagated objectivism, reductionism, nihilism and anarchism that now pervade our cultural milieu.

Sentience

A very perceptive astrophysicist once said: The universe is fine tuned for life, on the other hand it is sentient life that is  fine tuned for the universe.”

I tend to agree with this statement. I have always thought that  sentient life  was created and fine tuned by a transcendent entity (God), but for what purpose you might ask.  If His creation exist without life….. specifically sentient life that could perceive, experience, interpret and witness it, what good would his creation be? Certainly, if no sentient being knows that the universe exist, it would just be a “cold,dead space” just out there with neither usefulness nor timeliness.

A counter-argument was proposed by a nihilist when he said: “Life is just a tiny blip. Sentient life does not make a hoot of a difference. Our sun will go whether we get to acknowledge it or not. The universe like everything else had a beginning and will have an end. We are irrelevant to any of it.”

I find his argument problematic for one simple reason. The act of creating implies purpose and purpose implies that whatever was created had to be experienced by those with the ability to do so ie sentient beings, otherwise creating becomes an exercise in futility. I certainly don’t think God is into acts of futility.