Watching the fabric of civilization begin to unravel and the genocide unfold in Rwanda in 1994, Doug Matheson witnessed major societal convulsions. He saw a lesser example of the same in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1980-81. Being present during this type of chaos could be considered a misfortune, but, from a learning perspective, he has turned it into an opportunity.
The process of really learning from life requires at least: careful observation, honest questioning and weighing of evidence, and a willingness to change your mind when warranted. In short, this means being willing to move beyond what you happen to believe. Matheson grew up the child of missionaries with a clearly defined set of beliefs. Learning to question, to analyze, to re-evaluate, to think, to change, to grow, has been a life-long process for him.
Applying the learned habits from his career as a science educator to honestly evaluating humanity’s current circumstances and challenges has led him to cease being a silent citizen. He points out that our times are a strange mix of privilege and peril. In filling what he sees as all of our roles as responsible adults to “leave a decent, stable, and enjoyable world to future generations,” he draws on an unusually diverse life experience.
Besides Lebanon and Rwanda, he has also lived in Canada, India, Singapore, and France. Applying thinking, not just believing, to this breadth of life experience has given him insight into how America is perceived around the world, the mix of distortion and reality behind those perceptions, the results of our actions in the world, and much about the broader human circumstance.
As a no-longer-silent citizen of the United States, he brings the same objective thinking to a number of critical internal political matters. He’s honest, and therefore not always politically correct.