Friday, July 25, 2014

A Cynic is Either Correct or Pleasantly Surprised

I try to believe the world was somewhat like my parents' world when they were so frustrated with my anti-Vietnam war politics, my long hair, and my antisocial behavior. When I look at the people around me, I try to think that things have not changed that much and that the change that is apparent, the change that frustrates me, is somehow part of a normal pattern.

I try... but I really don't think the world exists in an "everything works out for the best" scenario, that my father was fond of.. while he was frustrated with me at the same time.

I know my father could intuitively feel the danger, for me, his other children, and the world. He served in World War II and he saw the kamikazes. He noted that we had the power to destroy entire cities with one bomb. He intuitively felt this new level of power. The higher the stakes... the worse the danger obviously is. Bubonic plague was not as dangerous as the invention of the nuclear weapon. To use this new power to "shorten" a war was short term thinking in any way I look at it.

Inventing something before someone else does because of fear probably just puts the power in the hands of the already powerful. I doubt there was some guiding principle that gave the power, just as I doubt there is a guiding principle at work now in who has power over someone else.

With all the assault weapons and guns in the world, of course, individual people have more power to change things in the way they alone want things to change. Making it easier to purchase weapons that can kill more people at once, well that just makes it easier for one person to effect a great amount of change. A nuclear weapon, relying on chain reactions for it's explosion, can also create a chain reaction when used. That was the concept of mutually assured destruction. It gives complete power to destroy the world to someone.

Global warming is a process that seems to be unstoppable once started. Perhaps it will be stoppable but to me this is in the same book as "perhaps we are not causing it" and it is a natural thing. "Everything just works out for the best." I just do not believe that and I think my father had his doubts despite this optimistic aphorism.

"Things are different." That is an aphorism I can trust. It is not my father's world. It is not his father's world. I'm sure that there must have been a time when some leader seemed to have as much power as a country today with nuclear weapons. I doubt it was true. Let's say Europe managed to destroy every human being in a massive war in the middle ages. People just fought until plague and pestilence wiped them all out. That is a stretch but let's just stipulate that might have happened. Let's further stipulate that the far east managed to get involved in the massive catastrophe.  We would have the civilizations in the America's to carry on, and eventually they would cross the ocean, etc. 

I guess we might end up with some kind of post apocalyptic paradise that springs out of the troubles we are causing. Global warming probably will not kill everyone. Maybe we should root for global warming as being the best of the two possible apocalypses, and hope it slows us down before we do something even worse.

Perhaps the only hope is that there is some intervening power that makes "everything works out for the best" work. We believe in evolution in this way. The strong survive. Boy, this a great system. Let's base our economic system on the same concept! Capitalism telling us how and where to apply science... wheeee!

Man himself is not doing very well in my eyes with or without that intervening power, be it as it may be. Man's science has created the technology for all these devices that kill others and those that destroy our habitat. I certainly would not want to be the judge of what side effect that creating dynamite might have. Deity status must be a total bummer... I mean when looking at the world as it has become. "Really?!! This is what you call a successful planet for the science fair, Son of Me?"

I just don't know. I wonder what my own father, who might also reside above, might think now that all is revealed. "Is your aphorism correct, Dad?"