Food For Thought
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Reflections of the 20th Century
December 28th, 1999
by columnist
David Lawrence Dewey

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In a recent USA WEEKEND survey, readers were asked to vote on the top news stories of the century. Men voted that dropping the bomb on Hiroshima in World War II was the top news story. Women on the other hand voted that the discovery of penicillin was the top news story. These choices were probably influenced on a biological level by hormones. Males are the protectors. Females provide nurturing. This biological influence impacts a great deal upon our thinking. For example, those under 35 in the survey felt the sinking of the Titanic and the fall of the Berlin Wall were more significant than Japan bombing Pearl Harbor and the coverage of the first man walking on the moon. This reflects a change in the difference of values and beliefs the different age groups have. And that change I believe has affected the outcome of certain major events in the 20th Century. Keeping that in mind, let's take a look at some of the events of this century.

In 1903, the Wright brothers flew the first airplane. Here we find man wanting to reach the heavens, possibly in hopes of finding God.

In 1905, Einstein gives mankind his theory of relativity to ponder. Here we find the elevation of mankind's mental processes in the areas of science.

The 1906 fire in San Francisco levels the city. Plastic is born in 1909. Here we find that plastics provide untold new comforts in day to day living.

In 1911, Standard Oil is broken up as a monopoly.

In 1912, the Titanic sinks.

Here we find arrogance of man thinking they could build something that could never sink. Did mankind become arrogant, thinking they had become mental giants in technology?

In 1913, Ford creates the assembly line.

Thus began the beginning of George Orwell's 1984 society, mechanical labor to replace working men.

In 1914, World War One began. Here we find greed. Mankind fighting over little pieces of land in the Balkans because of religious indifferences. This was not anything new. Battles over religious indifferences have been going on for 2,500 years. This is pure stupidity.

In 1917, the communists took over Russia. Here we find mankind rejecting God. The leaders of communism proclaim that religion is simply the opium, (drug) of the masses.

During 1918, the flu epidemic kills 20 million worldwide. In 1925, there is the infamous Scopes trial, creation vs evolution. Here we find mankind questioning if there really is a God.

In 1925, 25 million die from starvation in Russia.

In 1928, the antibiotic Penicillin is discovered. Here we find healing. This was truly the most important event of the century. Without this discovery, untold millions would have died from simple infections worldwide.

In 1933, FDR's New Deal brought about the rebuilding of a nation.

In 1937, television was born. Here we find a new way of communicating creating the means of mass communications, opening the doors for self proclaimed saviors of a race.

In 1945, the Nazi Holocaust begins World War II. Here we find evil in its most perverse form.

In 1945, the U.S. drops the first atomic bomb. Here we find total destruction in its' purest form. Interesting, this led to the formation of the United Nations in 1945 for unification and the U.S. passed the GI Bill of Rights.

In 1946, the world's first computer, the ENIAC was built as well as the transistor in 1948. Here find the beginning of the shifting of emotions to a machine.

Then in 1949, Mao gives birth to communist China. Here we find a society believing that the whole is more important that the individual. NATO is also established that same year.

Let's look at the progression of the above events and the key mental processes associated with them. Mankind went from trying to find God, to elevating his mental processes, to living in untold new comforts, to rebuilding, but then becoming arrogant. We then saw the beginning of an Orwellian society and millions died from starvation. This then led to greed, then to the stupidity of religious indifferences, of rejecting God. Next, mankind began questioning if there truly is a God. This led to the opening of new forms of communication which led to scientific discoveries of healing. Then evil jump on the wagon causing destruction and inhumanity to mankind. This lead to unification to protect against mankind of destroying himself. Finally this lead to the dependence on machines resulting in the loss of man to feel or care for his fellow man in believing that the whole was more important than the one. The outcome was a need for unification again for protection, thus NATO was formed. And this was just the first half of the century.

Mankind began the second half of the century with another World War. However, its' called the Korean War because not all of mankind was involved in the issue being fought over.

In 1950, the U.S., basically by herself, defends South Korea. In 1953, the structure of DNA is discovered. Here we find the blueprint of creation.

In 1958, 20 Million Chinese die from starvation in China.

In 1955 Alabama, the civil rights issue begins because of a bus ride.

In 1957 the Soviets launch the first satellite into space.

In 1959, the computer chip is invented.

In 1962, the Berlin wall goes up, dividing a nation.

During 1960, birth control pills start becoming widely used.

In 1962, Gagarin from Russia is the first man in space, touching the heavens, feeling the breath of God. The same year, Scott Glenn is the first American in space.

In 1962, there is a world crisis, missiles in Cuba. That same year, Silent Spring warns of severe ecology and environmental damage worldwide. The first hint of the dangers of global warming. Woman activist, Friedan speaks out for women's rights in 1963. That same year, JFK Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas.

In 1964, the U.S. Congress passes the Civil Rights act. The Beatles begin their world tour in 1964. That same year, smoking is found to cause cancer.

In 1965, the U.S. Congress passes the voting act while escalating the war in Viet Nam.

In 1968, Martin Luther King, father of the civil rights issues is killed. Robert F. Kennedy is also killed the same year. Riots at the Democratic Convention in 1968 are seen.

In 1973, Roe vs. Wade battles the issue over the right to life issues, newborns, when do they have a soul? That same year, U.S. troops begin leaving South Vietnam after protests across the U.S. and the Watergate scandal causes Nixon to resign in 1974.

Jimmy Carter in 1978 gives back the Panama Canal after costing the U.S. taxpayer over 18 billion dollars since its construction and operation.

Bill Gates started Microsoft in 1975 and North Vietnam takes Saigon the same year.

The Apple computer invented in 1977 provides the first home use of computers for consumers.

The first test tube baby is born in 1978.

The AIDS virus, HIV is identified in 1985. Untold millions will die prematurely.

In 1985, Gorbachev begins glasnost with the U.S.

In 1986, the Chernobyl reactor in Russia causes worldwide panic over radiation poisoning. That same year, the Space Shuttle, Challenger explodes before reaching the heavens.

In 1989, the World Wide Web is given birth and Berlin Wall falls.

During 1991 , the world sees the death of the communist nation, Soviet Russia.

Apartheid ends in South Africa in 1993.

During 1997, the Mars pathfinder sends back the first photos of Mars and scientists clone the first sheep.

President Clinton is impeached in 1998.

In 1999, Hollywood bid farewell to such greats as George C. Scott, who refused an Oscar for his signature portrayal of Gen. George Patton and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who directed such classics as "Dr. Strangelove" and "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The following actors and actresses also passed away in 1999. Victor Mature, the tall, dark and handsome Hollywood leading man remembered for his roles in such Biblical epics as "Samson and Delilah" and "The Robe." Susan Strasberg, 60. Actress and daughter of "Method" acting coach Lee Strasberg. Susan Strasberg played Anne Frank on Broadway and was close friend of screen siren Marilyn Monroe. DeForest Kelley, 79. Beloved by generations of "Star Trek" fans for his portrayal of Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the ship's doctor on the USS Enterprise. Peggy Cass, the actress who played Agnes Gooch in "Auntie Mame." Peggy was also a panelist on "To Tell the Truth." Dirk Bogarde, British star of such films as "Death in Venice." He alienated many fans when he played a homosexual lawyer in "The Victim," the first British movie to dare to deal with the problems of gay men in public life. Country star Hank Snow, jazzmen Grover Washington Jr. and Al Hirt and the last of the singing cowboys, Rex Allen passed away in 1999. Singers, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, and Anita Carter also passed away. I mention these talented artisans because their gifts to mankind also influenced mankind in many ways.

And here we go again.

1999 is ending with hostages aboard a jet because of religious differences. Yet, there may be a true peace found in the Middle East someday. However, we have candidates dishing out the same old story..."tell me what you want to hear, then when I get in office I'll do as I please." Several Congressmen who ran in the last election on the basis that they would only stay in office one term have suddenly changed their minds. Could it be the outstanding outside benefits that go with the job that makes it so lucrative? And people are still homeless and hungry in America, the richest country on earth. How did they manage to do that? Or I should say, why have they allowed to happen.

There sure is alot of christian preaching going on in America but I sure do not see many walking the talk! And finally ending it all in 1999, is the Y2K crisis. I wonder how many corporations are going to make billions off the fear of a Y2K major event occurring because of in my opinion....the whole thing is hype. I do not believe we will have any major Y2K events. And then there are those I believe that will use this hype to create havoc. Hasn't anyone gotten tired of this all?

If you compare the second half of this century to the first half, what do you find wrong with the picture. One sees the same thing repeating himself. And now, we find ourselves at the close of 1999, the end of the century. Has mankind truly learned anything from the past? I believe in some areas it has. However, in some areas it has taken a couple of steps backwards. In my opinion, mankind has the ability to truly make this a heaven on earth. The problem is when will he wake up to the fact that he can. My main concern today is what is occuring to the planet in terms of premature climate change that man is causing do to increase carbon emissions. Also what man is doing in raping the planet of natural resources and damaging them. I feel strongly that unless man starts to address these issues, serious changes in the weather, premature warming of the planet will occur and the ice caps could very well melt causing massive flooding. In other parts of the world, you will see severe droughts instead. But mankind is not concerned about that I feel. GREED has become the God of the world and unless mankind is not careful, it will destroy itself and this planet. Some may say I am a doomsayer, but I am simply seeing the handwriting on the wall, which I feel there are not too many Americans that are paying attention to the handwriting on the wall.

I leave you this one thought for the new century. Do we want to repeat the same things in this next century? I know I don't. The difference will be in how badly we desire not to do it over again. The desire that should guide us is a simple statement made eons ago. "Love thy fellow man as I would love myself." The problem is, how many truly love themselves? For if mankind truly loved themselves, they would not create the inhumanity to mankind that they have. I hope we can all make a difference in this new century by erasing inhumanity to mankind off the face of the earth. There is no room in my opinion for anything less!

Have a Happy New Year! See you next year.

~ David Lawrence Dewey ~

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