Jul 2007

I dreamt I argued with myself

“I’m in a bit of turmoil at the moment.”
– Turmoil?
“Yeah… teetering on the edge of full-blown despair, in fact.”
– Hmmm. Nasty place to be teetering. I’ll bet it’s that bloody peak oil again, isn’t it?
“No. Well, not really. It’s more general than that. I’ve been thinking about some of the challenges we face in order to ensure that the future isn’t an extremely unpleasant place for us and our children to live…”
– Sorry, I’ve got to butt in there.
“Why? What did I say?”
– Just that the future might be an unpleasant place to live. The future isn’t a place; it’s a time. And even if you want to get all metaphorical about it, who was it pointed out that we don’t just ‘arrive’ at the future, we ‘build’ it?
“Tim Leary, I think”.
– Well there you go then. Nobody does metaphor like acid-heads.
“Actually, that’s a big part of the problem.”
– What? The ability of LSD to provide a metaphorical perspective to things?
“No! And stop trying to deliberately derail me. It’s the very fact that the future will indeed be a product of modern man. I’m just not sure I trust us to do a good job. In fact, worse than that, I’m starting to think our hands are tied. That the foundations have already been laid, and the job’s a bad one.”
– Jeez, I’m sorry I brought up the building metaphor now.
“Fair enough. To be honest, I usually use the ‘bus heading over the cliff’ image.”
– Ah, but of course. It’s a classic.
“Indeed. Here’s my thing though… I’m starting to get the feeling that when it comes to those big challenges; resource depletion, climate change, biodiversity collapse; that the bus is already in the air. We haven’t hit the ground yet, but attempting to slam on the brakes has become a singularly pointless exercise. May as well convince all the passengers to flap their arms for all the good it’ll do.”
– So what are you saying? We should keep taking those 99cent flights to Las Palmas while we can? Seriously man, if you tell me I’m in that bus waiting to hit the ground, then I’m going to party hard with the few minutes left to me.
“Well, it’s entirely up to you. I’d be lying if I said I honestly believed it’d have a measurable impact should you decide never to fly again. Peak oil is going to stop all that within fifteen years anyway. All of these airport expansions and all that airline investment; it’s the last gasp of a dying industry. And a shocking waste of time, energy and resources given their limited lifespan.”
– So that’s a yes? Let’s all party? I can hardly believe it.
“That’s not what I said and you know it. If we go back to the bus metaphor: We in the industrialised nations all bought our tickets on that bus. And the tickets came with complementary booze and strippers. But we also rounded up most of Africa and large chunks of Asia and stuck them in a badly-ventilated box and tied it to the back of the bus. I guess I just don’t have the stomach for partying when I think about that. But hey, you should enjoy yourself.”
– Miserable bastid.

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