Tag: h.g. wells

George Orwell, Time Travel, and Dinner Companions

Crossposted at Daily Kos

We’ve all, at some point or another in our lives, had this fantasy.  Whether we perceive modern life as too hurried, unsatisfying, devoid of meaning, or we see ourselves as slaves to the demands of technology, some of us yearn for a simpler time when many of the great political, ideological, and literary debates of decades gone by had yet to be settled.  Conflicts or movements of the past in which we picture ourselves an integral part of.  For we are confident that our presence would have resulted in an outcome to our liking.  Great ideas that we wish we’d thought of.  Music that we know we should have recorded.  Inventions we know we were destined to be associated with.  It is the inevitable ‘what if’ question we often think of.  It is the restless explorer in all of us.

RJ Matson, New York Observer, Buy this cartoon

Allow me to indulge in my fantasy below the fold.

Hope, Despair and the Climate Crisis

This is about how we respond to the Climate Crisis and the relentless bad news about it-with despair, or with hope.  I’ll tip my hand and say it is really about how to fight off despair and find hope for the future.

It’s not easy to find hope.  For thanks to the climate crisis, the prospects for a livable future just keep getting worse.

I’ve written many times about the Climate Crisis over the past several years on various community blogs, and I notice several repeated reactions in comments.  Some offer their favorite solutions, or write about what they are doing personally to limit their carbon footprint.  But many responses are more emotional.

 There is fear, partly the product of quite natural denial-not denying the reality of global heating, but staying in denial about it as much as possible, while obsessing on much smaller issues.  There is anger, about how we allowed this to happen, etc. And there is despair: the world is coming to an end, and there’s really nothing we can do about it.

Despair, like anger, is another expression of fear.  But it is not entirely irrational.  How can it be, when we do face the real possibility of catastrophe?  

People have basically two reasons for despair: they believe that in its present state, humanity won’t meet this challenge.  There are too many political, economic and cultural barriers.  Humanity isn’t smart enough yet, mature enough, enlightened enough. And then there’s human nature: greed and fear will overcome.  

The second reason for despair is that resistance is futile: that the tipping points have all been passed, and there’s nothing humanity can do anyway to prevent catastrophe.  

It’s hard to argue with either of these reasons.  They may prove to be true.  But there are also counterarguments to each of them.