Op-Ed: ‘Take One Step More’ in spite of short-sighted people who have lost the power of ideas

My motto for the rest of my life is ‘Take One Step More’.

I’ve been sickened by what has happened in the community where a vocal few can disrupt a process of transparency concerning a world class idea. I wrote a letter to the editor called ‘I’m Ashamed of Myself” It was written with tears in my eyes. The Museum, Town and County has worked so hard on this idea. It’s terrible to see it disappear before it has had a hearing. Bruce Power thinks so too, but they don’t want to go where there is such vocal opposition. But is the opposition so powerful?

I’ve been inundated with comments from friends that they agree with me. The Saugeen Times has received many more letters according to Sandy Lindsay’s Editorial Innovation Institute – the Big Picture .

Guess what? Many of the notes that I’ve received from residents in Southampton say they love the idea of the Institute, but don’t want to ruffle the feathers of the vocal few, so don’t use my name, they say. You see what I’m saying? The people are afraid of being somehow blackballed. If they have a business in town, they don’t want to lose customers.

That is not healthy. I’ve never been afraid of people’s ideas. Ideas will not point a gun at me, shoot at me, hit me over the head with a monkey wrench or pull a knife. They are good people who disagree with me. I’m worried about the fear that others feel, however. The short-sighted minority has carried out a coup, but they have lost the power of ideas.

It amazes me. I was for the Deep Geological Repository and, because of that, I was at odds with some in the community. I never took it personally and I hope they are all still my friends. I never feared them and I don’t think they feared me.  I worked hard to learn the facts.

My chagrin is about the protests now. It is about not believing that people could be so short-sighted.

I was so discouraged. I became restless and could not sleep, but I want to take one more step of many to come. I worked the entire weekend trying to help. I wrote a long note to Freeman Dyson inviting him to come next summer to the Bruce County Museum and give a lecture. A mini-Institute happening. I wrote some mathematics to capture his attention. That’s the way I met Dr. Eli Maor. I sent him ideas.

∑S(n)/ns = √ζ = Π(1+S(p)/ps+S(p2s)/p2s+S(p3s)/p3s+….)

Last summer Dr. Maor came for his fourth visit and Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute came in force. They all toured the Town and area. I spent most of one Sunday with Dr. Neil Turok and his wife. They toured Chantry Island and the Museum. Neil is one of the world’s leading physicists and was a close collaborator of the late Steven Hawking.

I could just feel the campus of ideas take shape …. Museum, School, Innovation Institute and Art School. Now we have been cut off by short-sighted people who did not bother to listen and work with the planners.

He expressed great interest in G. C. Huston Public School.  You may wonder why Turok would be interested in a grade school that works with First Nations children. Guess What? He concentrated on that specific aspect in talking to me.

He is the head of the Perimeter Institute for Advanced Physics in Waterloo. It is Canada’s Jewel and much admired world-wide. He wants to make a connection with First Nations Elders and Children. He wants to sit with them and hear their world view. He does not want to impose his view of reality, but he wants to learn theirs. He is a cosmologist. He is a human rights advocate having come from South Africa and apartheid.

So, I worked all weekend to bring another world class mind to Southampton. I may not be successful, but I refuse to give up. I will take one more step and take it again and again until I am of no use.

I don’t think the naysayers really understand what a force they have stirred to action. I’ve never seen such passion in those I trust and admire. They want to take a further step. Read Sandy Lindsay’s editorial  and the many Letters to the Editor on Saugeen Times … you can feel the ire of the people who are so upset and who, by the way, make up the majority.