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11Jan/101

Scarcity of will

US elementary school teachers are pretty efficient when it comes to scaring kids out of their wits with predictions of doom and gloom... A ten years old cannot find Europe on the map, or do long division, or say what WWII was about, but he knows for sure that the world is doomed, that humans destroy the Earth, and it all will be gone by the time he grows up! Progress became a dirty word, science is barely tolerable, and most of the time represents the root of all evil - that's it, when it not entertaining or focused on ecology… (and I am speaking from personal experience)

It is a wonder that some kids still find the will to wake up and face the doomed world another day!

As the saying has it: where there is a will there is a way.  If one to accept it as an axiom (and I do), then the logical conclusion would be that the world would run out of ways only when it runs out of will.

This "doom and gloom" culture constantly underestimates human ingenuity. William Stanley Jevons  in 1865 confidently predicted that the world will run out of coal within a generation; the latest reports tell us that we have more discovered deposits than ever.  Sheikh Yamani, former OPEC oil minister, hit the nail on the head when remarked: “The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones"...

10Jan/100

Flat Mars Society

Avatar  - the latest eye-candy from Hollywood my kids caused me to watch... Despite stunning imagery, the main message is of doubtful value: ignorance is bliss (by the same token, science and industrialization are evil). This is not unlike Gospel’s message “The meek shall inherit the Earth” (Matthew 5:5) which harkens back to Ecclesiastes'  "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" (1:18, King James Bible), Rousseau's theory of Natural Man...  The most recent elaboration could be found in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galapagos where all the sorrows of humankind are traced to "the only true villain in ... story: the oversized human brain".

What is ironic that the same anti-intellectual message is being delivered with ever increasing scientific sophistication of the medium…

As Robert A. Heinlein once remarked (as I remember it):  “Establishment of Flat Mars Society would be surest proof that it became civilized”.