A brief intermission. A lot has happened.
It’s happened- it’s 2012 ; it’s the future. It’s time.
I speak to you, my fellow ‘young people’, my fellow, oh, eighty-fives through ninety-twos. You know the sort. We remeber distinctly our first old computers, our ensixty-fours- we remember when one went, for example, ‘on the Internet’. We remember the time when we were (how does one say) discrete. When our image, our person, our ‘authentic self’ was tied up directly in the moment that we lived in.
Minus a few insurance databases or bank records, divided by a few celebrities and public figures, a person existed only in one place. If you wanted to know facts about about a person’s life, or their tastes in shoes or experiences, you would have to have asked them. Maybe a very close friend. You could have called the fixed telephone line in their house at the absolute limit, but it was no substitute for the real thing. The earliest that this crazy far-flung intercommunication action-at-distance thing would have been reasonably possible across continents is now about a hundred years past. Call it 1912.
Too obtuse? Consider your options for attaining, say, a Bible in rural Germany in 1512 and then again in 1612. In the first case, you are paying a fortune. You need to pay someone to get your hand on a copy to transcribe, and then pay for someone to survive the task you put put for them. It probably took a long-ass time. A mere hundred years later, you can simply stroll into any Hölybookprinterßhoppe in town and buy a dozen. It took like a day to make. There’s a stack of them, though it is admittedly revised. Now this is a long time ago, but it’s worth reflecting on the astounding ease of the task in 2012.
In 2012, we are in constant communion. Our lives are accessed without our knowledge, we are snared within the Great Web, that web which desribes the sum total of all interactions, convergences, and breaks with all other people, and those peoples’ relationships with each other. We don’t communicate with our voices anymore. We communicate as we breathe. Automatically. We passively communicate more vividly, richly and in detail than any natural display. If my Facebook, or LinkedIn, or G+ or whatever other plumage doesn’t convey enough, you can e-mail me or message or Skype. Fuck 1912.
God-willing, our great-grandchildren will look back on our hopeless bumbling technical helplessness and laugh. Their lives will be so comfortable, I hope, that they will know no want, or fear of the future. But in 2012, one thing is clear. This world, the world of our parents and our grandparents, set in motion by the actions of our great-grandparents who themselves were born in a world with no electricity, roads, or rails, is attacking that of our grandchildren.
Forget ourselves. We are complicit. We are complicit in the consumerist system and all it takes is ten minutes on Facebook or Friendster whatever to confirm my suspicions. We buy things made in China because they’re cheaper, we put things we can’t afford on credit cards. We do not exist outside the destructive system wasting our resources on trinkets and missiles while the biosphere hangs in the balance. It’s ok. We didn’t make this world. We inherited it.
And so, eightyfives through ninetythrees, the only question that is left is what world our great-grandchildren will inherit from us. Whether it is a blasted hellscape or cozy paradise is up to us. We can’t undone what’s been did, but we can stop it. We are the bridge between the century of the Self, which lost its mind in the trenches, and the century of the Whole, which we are now embarking on. Make no mistake- the whole world, not merely our species but the whole of the biosphere itself is in play.
If we are to fight for our greatgrandkids’ inheritance, of cold winter nights following the long languid turning of the leaves, of truly experiencing the real natural world of our own greatgrandparents and forever back, an experience that all people, by virtue of their existence are blessed with.
If we do not strive actively, in every field, to minimize the harm we do to the world, and redirect the existing systems we are responsible for, there will be nothing else. We know that everything, everything in our modern world is unsustainble, and by definition we don’t have long to correct the problem.
In 2012, I will act as part of the Whole, as a Whole being interacting with the whole world, and with trillions of feather touches steering the avalanche away from the town. I will respect and listen to others. I will give freely of my patience. I will try to understand the way the world works now the better to change it. If I do not, or if I am alone, then all is lost.