SOS #73    J. Morris Hicks    (10-4-20)  
Misdirected, Under-Leveraged Genius of Elon
Instead of building rockets and electric cars, the world desperately needs for the brilliant genius of Elon Musk to be focused on sweeping systemic changes to our way of living in the developed world. 

I am convinced that we must radically change our modern lifestyles to the extent that the natural biosphere actually begins to improve because of our presence. As this photo suggests, we have a mammoth task on our hands. 

In Outcry, we described one example of what a totally redesigned way of life might look, using today's technology. We had hoped that that single vision would help to spark a robust conversation about the desperate "need" to do whatever it takes for humanity to get right with nature.  

So far, that robust conversation is not happening. And, now we are rapidly running out of time. In my opinion, what the world needs is one, exceptionally well-qualified leader. 

To that end, I have concluded that Elon Musk is a prime candidate for that role. He is one, of a very rare group of individuals, who possesses the requisite knowledge, vision, tools, AI savvy, experience, wealth and fame to truly make a huge difference in a hurry. This SOS Memo is aimed at getting his attention.

As for the degree of systemic changes that are necessary to ensure our longterm survival as a species, no one knows for sure. Dr. James Lovelock says that "the Earth must actually improve because of our presence, or we will die off."

As we concluded in Outcry, we're probably talking about the need to remove over 80% of the damage that is now being inflicted on the natural world by humanity and all of the other animals that we've created/bred to serve us. If it turns out to be only 70%, then that's a good thing -- because it's always better to treat Mother Nature with more deference than she demands.  

Back to the brilliance of Elon Musk. Last week, I listened to a 48-minute "conversation" -- a podcast interview conducted by Kara Swisher of the NY Times. It featured this quote from Mr. Musk, "A.I. Doesn't Need to Hate Us to Destroy Us." As the tagline states:

The billionaire entrepreneur talks space-faring civilization, battery-powered everything and computer chips in your skull. 

But he does not talk about any kind of lifestyle solution that is going to save most of the one billion children who will be born on this planet in the next seven years. 

And I believe that his failure to unleash his incredibly rare brainpower on that basic goal is a tragedy of epic proportions -- when it comes to the future of humanity. 

Elon Musk and Kara Swisher of the NY Times

As one of his biggest fans, I have long been disappointed with his lack of focus on the far more practical and essential process of figuring out how we can live sustainably on this planet. 

He keeps talking about our place in the cosmos but not so much about how the eight billion of us who are living here now will survive climate change. Even David Attenborough is now taking that topic very seriously -- as I reported last week. 

Wouldn't it be great if Elon would spend time with Sir David in addition to engaging with some of the still living "big picture" scientists that we covered in Chapter 4 of OutcryPeople like James Lovelock, E.O. Wilson, Peter Wadhams, Stephen Emmott, T. Colin Campbell and others. 

Link to complete pdf of Chapter 4 in Outcry

I sincerely believe that Elon Musk has one of the greatest practical minds in the history of humanity -- but I am continually disturbed by his apparent lack of interest in unleashing that superior mind on the only project that matters far more than any other -- saving our species in the near term. 

In the 16-minute documentary below, the casual viewer gets a rare glimpse inside the mind of Elon Musk as he approaches virtually any problem or business opportunity.  

It is entitled "The Scientist Behind the CEO and How Elon Musk Teaches Himself." 

If you don't have time to watch this film right now, then just take a moment to skim over some of my notes that I made while watching it:

This video takes a look at how Elon Musk sees the world through a scientific mind and how his scientific way of life fuels his businesses.

Elon says that he approaches things with a physics framework even when it comes to understanding the future.

When he was a kid, he would read up to ten hours a day, saying he was raised by books. He even read two sets of encyclopedias which gave him a good view of how different things could be connected. 

His formal education includes a degree in physics and one in economics. He began, but did not complete, a PhD in material sciences and physics. 

At ten years old, he got his first computer that came with workbook lessons on programming in BASIC, lessons designed to take six months. But not Elon, he stayed up for three days straight -- finishing the entire six month course in a fraction of the recommended time.

At SpaceX, Elon hired experts in their fields and figured he could absorb their knowledge by quizzing each engineer about every specific part of the rocket that they were working on. One employee said that Elon would quiz you until he had learned 90% of what you know -- as he quickly became an aerospace expert beyond what most people had ever seen.

A true "big picture" scientist and engineer. Elon expects everyone in his employ to be somewhat of an engineer. They need to have at least a basic understanding of how the whole rocket or car actually workJust because an engineer has a deep expertise in their specialized area of the rocket or car, they won't be able to tell if the work that they are doing, the ideas and the improvements they come up with, are for the good of the product as a whole unless they know how the whole machine works. 

He says that about 80% of his time is spent on engineering and design, not media or business related things. At SpaceX, he has a CEO for the day-to-day workings of the business, so that he can focus on designing the rockets and motivating the engineering teams. 

Elon's philosophy. If you want to understand and predict the future, then learn the thinking behind physics. He says that he tries to use the tools of physics as much as possible and that using physics is a good framework for thinking. 

He says that the toughest thing to do is to figure out what questions to ask -- concluding that once you have the right questions, then the best answers become available. 

He recommends Richard Feynman's "Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics" in which he concludes that the definition of science is that the test of knowledge is experiment and imagination -- the latter of which is key in coming up with the ideas and and theories to experiment with in the first place.

This can all be seen with SpaceX's public test launches as they keep trying out new things that push innovation in the space industry.

The Bottom Line. Based on his incredible record, I have concluded that Elon Musk is an extremely rare person who would be exceptionally successful in almost ANY endeavor that he might choose to tackle. 

Unfortunately for the world's human citizens, he has only chosen to tackle projects that have commercial value within the "eternal growth" global economy in which we are now living. Yes, an eternal growth economy that must be replaced by one that answers first to Mother Nature. 

Information from Chapter 11 of Outcry 

And that's why, I have concluded that his incredible genius to date has been so misdirected and under-leveraged. It's because his many spectacular successes have brought us no closer to solving our near-term sustainability crisis.  

The good news is that his many successful projects have demonstrated that Elon Musk would likely be successful in almost any challenge he chose to tackle -- whether or not there was any commercial reward based on our current way of "keeping score" (economy in place) on planet Earth.

For all the children of the world, please help us get a copy of this SOS Memo in his hands. You can find a link to an online version (of this SOS Memo dated 10-4-20) on this page of my website

Circulate it widely and encourage others to do the same. Contact me directly at the email below if you would like to discuss. 

Let's do all that we can to get this world class athlete on the world's most crucially important playing field.

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks


PS: For a highly informative 44-slide pictorial tour of Outcry, just click here. Also, check out this July 2020 news about the remarkable James Lovelock, who at age 101, now says that "he AND our biosphere are in the final 1% of their lives." Hopefully, he is wrong about both predictions.

Also, let's talk.To help jumpstart a  global conversation 
that I keep encouraging, I am now offering to conduct private Zoom conferences free of charge to groups of almost any size. I look forward to Zooming with you and your group sometime soon. 

Send me an email and let's get started.

In preparation for those sessions, I have developed a one-hour format consisting of an opening statement followed by a 20-minute slide show and then ending with a discussion and Q&A with the attendees. The sessions you organize will be far more interesting and productive if attendees have read Outcry in advance.

Our book, for a host of environmental reasons, is only available as an e-book on Amazon. As such, it contains hyperlinks to hundreds of references and videos, is less expensive, does not kill any trees and does not have to be manufactured and delivered. 

You can join my mailing list and/or find all of my previous postings by visiting the SOS Memos page on my websiteHere are a few of them where you can see how my vision has evolved since that first "creative idea" on 9-21-18:

As always, I am just trying to spark a global conversation about what is needed. By sharing a vision of what I believe is possible, I hope to influence others to think bigger, better and bolder. 

As for speaking, I continue to search for mainstream audiences who may have an interest in learning more about a realistically hopeful vision for our future - and their role in making that vision come true.

In the months ahead, I will continue to focus on the urgent need for a totally reinvented greening of our civilization - beginning with a model in the USA that could be applied globally over the next fifty years. 

Upcoming talks: There are lots of open dates on my calendar and I look forward to the opportunity of tailoring my presentation to best suit an audience you may have in mind: 

Universities, churches,  book groups, legislative bodies, think-tanks, environmental organizations, alumni associations, leadership clubs, PTA's, family, neighbors 
and/or civic groups who may appreciate a message of reality and hope for our future. 

Please let me hear from you directly regarding any ideas or questions you may have.

What else can you do to help? Three things:

1. Live as greenly as possible while doing all that you can to raise the awareness of "big picture" solutions that are crucially necessary for saving our civilization.

2. Share this BSB and my "Mama Ain't Happy" BSB with prominent journalists, thought leaders and/or elected officials whom you respect. They need to learn a lot more about the many reasons why Mama ain't happy.

3. Here are a few more GRATOLA-related blogs that you can share with your most powerful friends, leaders, journalists and movie producers.

Click here for links to all blogs and SOS Memos since 2016

Until next time, just remember...

Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.

This SOS Memo series was created by:

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks 
CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC

I welcome your feedback and/or questions at:

In the past two years, I have spoken at a VegFest in
Fort Myers, at in Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, a Plant Powered Manhattan event in New York, at a lakeside health conference in South Haven, Michigan, in Buffalo, NY, at the University of Scranton, at Dr. Fuhrman's Golden Gate Health Getaway in California and at the Healthy World Sedona Health and Sustainability Conference in AZ.

To schedule a presentation at a venue near you, please contact me at

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Moonglow J. Morris Hicks

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