|I was born on 10 May 1934 in
St. Joseph, Missouri as Fred Leonard Bellomy Jr. That makes me 65
years old as I write this in 1999. I'll make this brief, just enough
to satisfy the natural curiosity of anyone who has taken time to
look into my philosophical work... or who has been following my
serendipitous travel adventures since December 2000.
Since early childhood those adults shaping my life repeatedly tried to convince me that I had a "good" mind, something that seemed to contradict abundant evidence to the contrary. But then I've read that people with an inflated sense of their own competence usually aren't and those of us who have doubts, sometimes are. In any case, my nervous system does seem capable of understanding just how little of the vast universe of knowledge I have been able to grasp.
From the time I was first called into the Principal's office for driving a pretty Kindergarten classmate to tears with an unexpected kiss in the sandbox, to the time I was "expelled" for "stealing" a bible from the chapel at the Harding Military Academy just before my ninth birthday, every school grade found me being transferred to a new location one or more times for discipline problems. The pattern continued right on into high school where after two and a half years I permanently dropped out to wander the country in search of some place where I could feel safe and accepted.
Not until I entered junior college in St. Joseph Missouri to play catch up, did I consider education of much relevance. There I learned I could do just about anything I set my mind to, and for the first time actually excelled. The hyper-motivation lasted only through the three years I spent in two different junior colleges. When I arrived at the University of California in Berkeley in 1955 I found academic life more difficult and the demands on my time onerous. Working half time to support my education, I managed rather lackluster academic achievements. Married before my senior year and being worried about eminent draft into the Korean War with a child on the way, I took a job with the Navy as a civilian scientist, as much for the military deferment as the technical challenges.
From the comfortable perspective of a half century later, I can see how inept were my young, poorly educated parents' efforts to help me mature. My mother, widowed when I was thirteen, to her credit explained "We did the best we knew how, but we were young." I suppose we can ask no more of our parents, and take some solace in the knowledge that whatever our shortcomings, our care givers and others must share the blame. With better parents any of us could have been better people. Like my parents before me, I have done the best I could with what tools were bequeathed to me by my culture and genetic heritage.
What I have done with those tools is feed my curiosity about the wonders of the Universe and my place in it. That means I have been studying the work of highly acclaimed writers for most of my adult life, trying to make sense of both the informed and uninformed opinions offered by anyone who claims to have discovered the "truth" about reality and the human condition. It is now abundantly clear that collectively we will never know more than a tiny fraction of the vast body of everything that might be known. Socrates insisted that understanding the limitations of our intellect is a precursor of wisdom. Whatever conclusions I or anyone might be able to reach must forever remain tentative... subject to radical revision when new knowledge or insight demands it.
I do finally see that knowledge and opinion are not the same thing. Thoughtful conversations with good friends make me realize that not everyone agrees on that point. Their "truths" often are not my "truths." So, I'd like to record some of the things I believe to be true in a systematic fashion, in order to better see what it is that I've learned, what I have yet to learn, and more importantly, what may be unknowable by anyone. With any luck, both I and my readers may discover some hidden patterns along the way.
I come to the task of making sense out of my experiences with an education in physics (or natural philosophy as it was known prior to about 1900) from UC Berkeley (circa 1957) followed by many years of post graduate university extension work in engineering / management plus the full curriculum for a general secondary teaching credential at CSUC-Northridge, and many more years of serious independent and classroom study with UC Extension, various Adult Education programs, the best of which is offered by Santa Barbara City College and literally dozens of the magnificent Great Courses (See appended list).
I've had a life long interest in metaphysics with what until now has been a generally reductionistic attitude towards explaining things I observe: every effect has a cause firmly rooted in scientific reality and looking closely at the parts will lead to an understanding of the whole. So, I must confess to a certain degree of bias when trying to untangle the "Religion Verses Science" philosophical controversies. Others frequently do not share my particular beliefs in "what it all means." That's hardly a surprise as even our most respected pundits cannot completely agree on everything. I remain troubled by vigorously promoted opinions supported by controversial information or unsubstantiated beliefs masquerading as infallible "god given" knowledge, "revealed truths."It would appear that I may be destined to live out the rest of my life demanding extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims. Some of my friends think I am too skeptical, that I should lighten up, open myself up more to the value of unorthodox belief systems for which scientific examination is impossible or inappropriate. They may be right and my current research embraces an examination of the personal benefits of irrational beliefs: blind faith.
Next: Magnificent Illusions
Ordinary Reality - Personal Reality - Extraordinary Reality - Ultimate Reality
Mystery - Faith - Wisdom - Peace
I have been studying
(My CD collection - My DVD collection - Completed courses italicized)
Altering the Blueprint – The Ethics of Genetics
American Civil War Disc #1 lost.
Biological Anthropology: An Evolutionary Perspective
Biology: The Science of Life
Black Holes Explained 2nd copy
Buddhism I & II
Darwinian Revolution missing?
Great World Religions: Buddhism 2 copies
History of Ancient Rome Pt 2 only
History of Ancient Rome Mod Scholor
History of Science: 1700–1900 black case (Very good!) Winda
How We Learn 6/15
Joy of Science vol 3-5 only
Machiavelli Collection MP3 (loose CD case)
My Favorite Universe elementary
My Favorite Universe 2nd copy
Optimizing Brain Fitness 5/15
Roots of Religion Missing?
Science and Religion watched?
Science and Religion Missing?
Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It
Shakespeare: The Word and the Action Pt1 only
Shape of Nature (topology)
Wisdom of History watched?
World History: The Fertile Crescent to The American Revolution elementary
World Philosophy 2 copies (1 in sleeve)
Your Best Brain 5/15
CD collection DVD collection Completed courses italicized.