My name is Nicholas T. Dahlheim and I am a graduate student based in Queens, NYC who is overeducated and trying desperately to give clarity to a world which is definitely at various times (and sometimes simultaneously) wondrous, terrible, and unfathomably mysterious and bewildering. I hail from Chicago, Illinois originally and even though I now live in New York City, the Midwestern culture and environment in which I grew up has profoundly shaped my life. This background will invariably shine through the perspective I will share with you here on this blog. The mission of this blog is to help me disseminate my ideas and get some of my ideas out there in the virtual public sphere; hopefully, my writing will rise above the cacophony of noise which makes up most of the Internet blogosphere. I’m counting on my readers to help me get my message out, and more importantly I’m counting on my readers to share in the dialogue which is to take place here and help me round out the rough edges of my thoughts and add greater clarity. The purpose of this blog is to examine the underlying truths and realities that are shaping the human experience in this interconnected world at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.
It is my firm belief that humankind is entering a profound existential crisis. This is not to say that human existence, whether over 150,000 years ago when the first Homo Sapiens appeared in the geological evolutionary record up through the modern and now postmodern ages, has experienced many interludes without crisis. The condition of humanity may rather more accurately be characterized as one of constant crisis punctuated by mega-disasters. These mega-disasters have included major wars between tribes, regional powers, small empires, and finally between and within the modern nation-state. At least since the beginning of the appearance of sedentary agriculture in the wake of the Agricultural Revolution at the conclusion of the Neolithic, warfare, struggle, and strife have defined much of human civilized existence. Similarly, famine, pestilence, and pervasive uncertainty have both increased the likelihood of conflict and exacerbated the daily toil of living.
The mission here at The Planetary Observer is to analyze past, present, and future struggles surrounding the organization of human societies—observing this strange world known as Earth. The Planetary Observer seeks to create a measure of critical distance from which a constructive and thoughtful perspective can develop. I hope that The Planetary Observer may come to represent an oasis of thoughtful engagement that can provide relief from the confusion and incoherence which appear to dominate the collective conscience. Having such an oasis parked even now in an obscure corner of the worldwide web can plant seeds whose germination may point the way out of the darkness of this cynical age of decadence, ugliness, and unbelief.