Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Apocalypse Now"

I am an apocalyptic thinker by nature. I don't know how I got this way as I had a quite happy childhood, but my mind naturally trends toward the possibility of civilization-ending disaster. I think maybe it has to do with my first childhood fit about the finality of death, which came when i was 9 years old, trying to get to sleep the day after touring a small exhibit on the Holocaust at a local church. I remember distinctly the thought that this was a horror my mother could not take away, even though she managed to comfort me enough that I fell asleep. And it wasn't just my own death, although that was part of it. It was the possible death of millions.

Tonight I saw that Al Gore movie., presenting its three irrefutable, irreconcilable truths:
1. The tragedy is already in motion.
2. Its predictable consequence is the end of civilization.
3. The solutions are already known.

Irreconcilable. Except with immediate action.

Ps. Here is Bill Moyers giving a gloomy commencement speech:
"We're sorry. We're really sorry for the mess you're inheriting. We are sorry for the war in Iraq. For the huge debts you will have to pay for without getting a new social infrastructure in return. We're sorry for the polarized country. The corporate scandals. The corrupt politics. Our imperiled democracy. We're sorry for the sprawl and our addiction to oil and for all those toxins in the environment. Sorry about all this, class of 2006. Good luck cleaning it up."

You're going to have your hands full, frankly. I don't need to tell you of the gloomy scenarios being written for your time. Three books on my desk right now question whether human beings will even survive the 21st century. Just listen to their titles: "The Long Emergency: Surviving the Convergence Catastrophe"; "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed"; "The Winds of Change: Weather and the Destruction of Civilizations."

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