Above are links to my essays. Underlined blue phrases in the essays are links to related materials. At the end of most essays is a date and a version number, reflecting the most recent revision.
Many of the shorter essays are also available formatted for printing as a leaflet; that version is also linked at the bottom of the essay page. Listed below are the LEAFLETS, in reverse chronological order of most recent revision.
I have made some of my essays into VIDEOS — i.e., the essays are the transcripts of the videos. Those are listed below, again in reverse chronological order. Some older essays have been removed from this website because their content overlaps too much with newer material, but most older videos still can still be found on my youtube page.
I took the name “LeftyMathProf” in my email and web pages because I’m a retired mathematics professor, and politically I’m a leftist, and because for many people apparently it is impossible to spell or pronounce my real name (Eric Schechter, pronounced erik shektur).
When I was young, I believed math was important, that math was the language of science, that math could explain everything. But around the age of 55 I began to see what most people know by age ten: The most important questions of our lives contain no math at all. For instance:
Climatologists use math to predict things like how fast the temperature will rise. But the really important question is, how can we get society to listen to the climatologists?
Economists use math to figure out how the people in power can maximize their profits. But the really important question is, what should we be trying to maximize instead (the happiness of society), and how can we get society to switch its priorities over to that?
In my essays, I generally try to avoid statistics and other facts that are not already known to everyone, facts that people might or might not believe. Instead I try to use facts that everyone can see all around us all the time, but which people need to see in a new way. I think the ideal essay is one that persuades you not by showing you new information, but by showing you a new way of understanding information you already had, a way that makes more sense to you. It’s like putting on a pair of prescription eyeglasses for your first time. You’re looking at things that you’ve been seeing all your life, but suddenly you’re seeing them in a new way; what was unclear before is now clear. There is no doubt in your mind that this new way of seeing things is better than the old way. That is what I’m trying to achieve.
I’m about as far to the left as one can go. I’m an eco-anarcho-commie and a draft dodger, and proud of it. I’m a Lennonist — that’s not Vladimir Lenin, but rather John Lennon:
“Imagine no possessions …
Imagine all the people sharing all the world …”
(Just to clarify, “anarchy” does not mean “chaos and destruction,” though that’s what our ruling class will try to tell you it means. Rather, “an”+”archy” means “no”+”rulers,” or “no hierarchy.” Hierarchy causes concentration of power, and the Stanford Prison Experiment proved that power corrupts. The alternative to hierarchy is horizontal networking, kind of like Facebook. It’s the opposite of dictatorship. And “commie” does not mean dictatorship, though that is what the capitalists will claim it means. Rather, “communism” means “no capitalists.” It means sharing, with or without dictatorship. Evidently, I must mean the kind without dictatorship, since I am also advocating anarchy.)
But I’m in favor of voluntary cultural change, not coercion, and I think that’s what Lennon meant by his refrain, “I hope someday you’ll join us.” Anarchism (horizontal networking), like peace, cannot be forced upon people. It requires consensus, and can only be achieved through inspiration and education.
Pictured at right is me, holding up a sign. The text says “CAPITALISM IS CRUEL,” and then in smaller print “we can do better,” and finally in still smaller print in parentheses, “ask me for a leaflet.”
Best wishes to you and yours in the great changes that are coming soon to all of us.