Who Killed the Electric Car?

From www.WantToKnow.info: A poignant new documentary asks who killed GM’s promising electric car project? A new documentary released June 28 in New York and Los Angeles, appropriately titled Who Killed The Electric Car? tries in Clue-like fashion to figure out why GM pulled the plug on its EV1 electric vehicle program, which by most accounts was approaching success when the first prototype was introduced in the mid-1990s. “It was a revolutionary, modern car, requiring no gas, no oil changes, no mufflers, and rare brake maintenance,” according to a synopsis of the film. In the 1990s a strict clean-air mandate introduced in California that called for zero-emission vehicles was what led GM to introduce the EV1. Eventually that California mandate got watered down from “zero” to “low” emissions, and the automakers decided to literally blow up their EV programs. GM, which leased out the EV1 cars it produced, called them all back after California changed its policy. The cars were crushed and shredded. Who were the people leasing these vehicles? Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and Ted Danson, among others, many of whom appear in the movie and talk favourably about their electric cars. If the implications of an advance means loss of future business to a paradigm, the key players of that paradigm will lobby to kill it. The paradigm? Big oil. Similarly, the auto industry has an interest in perpetuating the manufacture of vehicles that require routine, costly maintenance.

Note: For more information and showing times on the highly revealing Who Killed The Electric Car, visit www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com. For even deeper information www.WantToKnow.info/newenergysources

Mercury Retrograde

Hello, readers and fellow bloggers. Usually I like to post little articles or info here but I’ve been busy and distracted lately, so I thought I’d write a short personal entry. We’ve had company this summer; it was nice to see everyone but it kind of zaps my otherwise ‘thoughtful’ energy. Also all kinds of weird things have been going on. Some friends have told me Mercury has been in retrograde since July 4 – I’m not huge into astrology and usually don’t follow these things, but I have to say things have been WEIRD – one thing after another. People getting strange illnesses, cars getting stolen, other various run-ins with traffic tickets and confrontations with authority, relationship weirdness and just basically bad vibes. As my husband puts it, there is a disturbance in the Force! Current events in the Middle East, the earthquake/tsunami, and the heat wave/power outages are just other examples of how things seem to swirl together to create a feeling of general unease.

I have been concentrating on staying centered and unaffected, but it’s not easy. Simple, maybe, but not easy. I’ve been trying to stay under the radar and not make any big movements or decisions, at least until Mercury does its thing, I think it’s until July 28. Again, not that I put all my faith there but hey, better safe than sorry. Maybe I’ll be more inspired next month! Anyone else out there had a weird month?

“The Master observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. His heart is open as the sky.” –TTC #12

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, writer, educator and composer who lived from 1861 until 1941. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 with his collection of poems, “Gitanjali”. One of his songs is still the national anthem of India. He exchanged letters and ideas with many other influential people of his time, including Gandhi and Einstein. I would like to offer one of his letters here, written from his school in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India on 26 October 1917, to his friend in England, artist William Rothenstein, for I believe it contains wisdom and relevance to today’s world.

My Dearest Friend,

It has given me a deep pleasure to know that my last three books you like. I had my fear that my American lectures, especially those about nationalism, might give offence to my readers in England. Possibly to some extent they have done so. But most of the reviews that I have seen in your papers are extremely mild. Some critics have taxed me with having misunderstood the meaning of the word ‘nation’. I suppose it is one of those words whose meaning is still in its process of formation. If you really mean by that word the peoples who have the consciousness of a common tradition and aspiration then why do you exclude us Bengalis from its category? For you are never tired of reminding us that we do not belong to a nation. When we try to understand you we find that our tradition and aspiration are of a different character from yours – it is more religious and social than political. Therefore it seems to me that the word nation in its meaning carries a special emphasis upon its political character. Politics becomes aggressively self-conscious when it sets itself in antagonism against other peoples, specially when it extends its dominion among alien races. This convulsive intensity of consciousness is productive of strength but not of health. The rapid growth of nationalism in Europe begins with her period of foreign exploration and exploitation. Its brilliance shines in contrast upon the dark background of the subjection of other peoples. Certainly it is based upon the idea of competition, conflict and conquest and not that of cooperation. The unselfish people have not completely lost their self, only the selfish ones put stronger emphasis upon it and thus have a special designation. And the people with an aggressively emphatic politics is a nation. The [professional man] has very often a special attitude of mind. There he feels an intense satisfaction if he can sell a lame horse at a price which is dear even for a sound one. Because in [his] profession [a] man has no other object before him but success. He may have an exalted standard of life in his private capacity and yet as a professional man his conduct may go entirely against that standard, without disturbing his appetite for dinner. Therefore it is not unusual to find rapacious landlords who are extravagant in their generosity. That grasping professional attitude of mind makes a nation of a people when it furiously pursues success and takes it to be a sign of sentimentalism to budge an inch from its reckless path of power at the dictates of humanity. What I have said in my lectures is that such an attitude of mind in a whole people of a country, such constant self-idolatry by all kinds of ritualism and human sacrifice must go against moral providence of the world ending at least in a catastrophe.

By some unexpected freak of fate I was caught in a dust storm of our politics. I have just come out of it nearly choked to death. I am more convinced than ever that a poet might do worse than write mere verses. Try to be true to yourself by all means but not to be truer which is a hollow temptation set in our path by moral teachers.

Give my love to [your] dear children and tell them not to grow too fast before I come to see them. Because that will be unfair to me who can only grow older without growing at all.

Ever yours

Rabindranath Tagore

Tao Te Ching

If you want to be a great leader,
You must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
And the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have,
The less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
The less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
The less self-reliant people will be.

There fore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
And people become honest.
I let go of economics,
And people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
And people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
And the good becomes common as grass. -#57

Lao Tzu says it so much better than I could. One imagines our world is too far gone now to try not-doing – and yet, we can all learn from this wisdom, and dream of a better world.