The Insincere Parents

A four-year-old girl needed a life-saving heart operation. To get the best care possible, her parents decided to interview some top surgeons. In a short time, an interview was set up with the first surgeon, and he met them in his office. He shook their hands and beckoned them to sit across from him. He said, “It’s not the most difficult of operations, but I will be happy to answer your questions so you will be at ease about the procedure.”

The wife took out a piece of paper and began asking questions, “First, why did you decide to become a doctor? What were your motives?”

The surgeon paused a second. “Why do you ask?”

The husband answered for her, “We want to make sure that you are operating with the best intentions.”

The surgeon scrutinized them for a moment and said, “Read me some of your other questions. I might be able to answer them all at once.”

The wife began reading, “What is your religion? What are your politics? Are you generous with the money you make? How do you dress and how do you speak?—”

The husband interrupted, “I can already see that he dresses well enough and his grammar is all right, too. Go on, honey.”

She continued. “What is your sexual orientation, and are you promiscuous when you are not working? Are you for or against the environment? Are you for or against for big-business? What is your nationality and from what class of people did you come? Are you—”

“Enough!” ordered the surgeon, “I can answer all your questions at once, by telling you that they are all irrelevant. You’re wasting my time, time that would be better spent in the operating room, saving lives. You are asking all the questions but the rights ones, such as: ‘Do I have the knowledge and skill to operate?’, and ‘What care will she need after the operation?’” He stood up. “I pity your daughter, for it is as likely that you will choose a surgeon who shares your taste in clothes as one who knows how to do heart surgery. Leave my office at once, and I suggest that you don’t waste any surgeon’s time until you’ve learned to be sincere about saving your daughter’s life.” And before they could even get up to leave, he walked out.



For a long time, I tried to satisfy people as to my motives for trying to start a chain reaction of peace and empowerment. But people were thrown off by the global scale of my vision. Because I was attempting something world scale, some people tended to judge me according to world savior or mahatma standards. I know this because I was asked questions on my religious background, my academic background, my personal ethics and half a dozen other things that didn’t really matter.

Eventually I realized that even my motives for why I did the work didn’t matter. For instance, if you had a child who needed an operation, you wouldn’t really care if the surgeon had become a surgeon to please his mother, or to be like his father, or because he wanted prestige, or for the money, or because he admired his family doctor when he was young, or because he liked science, or because he felt it was his calling in life, etc.

In fact, you probably wouldn’t dare to ask these impertinent questions of your doctor or surgeon. In my case, what matters is: “Do I have the knowledge and skill to operate on the world?” Since there is no school of world surgery on Earth, there are no “world surgeon” credentials to be had. So, I will do the next best thing: I will explain the logic of my ideas and methods, and just exactly what makes my upgrades superior to current ideas and methods. (See the “superheroes” page for these upgrades.)

Since I am attempting something extraordinary, a certain amount of curiosity about my background is normal. That’s why I write about my motivations and background elsewhere—to satisfy your curiosity, so that it doesn’t interfere with your ability to learn.

Yes, the parents’ behavior in this story was bizarre and surreal. But many people when confronted with a global plan have asked pretty much the same irrelevant questions. If you are sincere about protecting the future of humanity, or about rescuing people oppressed, or about insuring your own long-range future, I hope you will focus on practical questions, from the general strategy to your own best use.


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