I recently saw a movie that got me thinking by asking a multitude of ambiguous questions. The idea is clear. Let’s imagine, if WE could get a glimpse of the future and we’re frightened by what WE saw. What would WE do with that information? Go to politicians or the heads of industries with statistics, research, facts, data? Good luck. The only facts they won’t challenge are the ones that keep the wheels greased and the dollars rolling. If the probability of wide spread annihilation kept filling the minds, would WE would ignore it or accept it?
The only way to stop it is to show it and scare people straight. What person wouldn’t be galvanized by the idea of destruction of everything they’ve ever known or loved and want to save civilization? How would people respond to imminent doom? They would gobble it up like a chocolate éclair. They wouldn’t fear their demise, they would repackage it. The idea is expressed and even admired as video games, books, TV shows and movies and WE wholeheartedly embrace it.
There are magnitudes of civil disobediences, starvation AND obesity. What kind of world has this become? The butterflies disappear, glaciers melt, water poisoned by algae blooms WE have created all around us and WE won’t take the hint. The “canary in the coal mine” dies in front of OUR eyes. In every moment there is the possibility of a better future. Instead WE dwell on it, redesign ourselves for it. It’s as if we’re on the Titanic, see the iceberg and steer for it anyway. Why? Is it because WE want to sink? Are we too blind to see the iceberg or are we too resilient and naïve to act?
These are the questions I ponder. Doomsday may not lurk around the corner or shadow OUR near future but what about generations to come? How late is too late to act and how seriously do WE believe these allegations?
This got me thinking about my favorite TV show and the late Carl Sagan, a hero of mine. "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."