No one wants to scale down for the sake of scaling down. Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice is unreasonable. The only people who may buy into such ideas are morally super-austere people, religious or secular, whose belief systems are narrow and limited.
Vision wanted. Must be sustainable but grand. Must involve a game changer and a new horizon. Vicious circles and glossy versions of the same old will not be considered. Pain deemed an acceptable collateral damage. Sacrifice expected.
James Howard Kunstler gives a great talk on how to define our living spaces in a way that tends to our sense of direction, not physical but also temporal. We need spaces that connect our past with our future. Today’s sprawl isn’t the way to go, he says, and neither is a tax crackdown that will enable us to throw more money down the same black hole.
The question is: do we have the wherewithal to seize the future?
A New Horizon
No one wants to scale down for the sake of scaling down. Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice is unreasonable. The only people who buy into it are morally super-austere people, both religious and secular, whose belief systems are narrow and limited to an inflexible, unimaginative way of life. I respect their right to believe what they believe in but want neither to share their views nor live by them. I hope the rest of the world is equally unimpressed by them and unwilling to embrace them.
Fact is, to do away with our unsustainable ways and truly change the paradigm — like the consensus seems to demand — our shift has to be global and grand.
It must also be accompanied by something practical, like a reward. Earthly, not after-lifey — by a new world that will do justice to our progress and potential, making the sacrifice worthwhile.
For this we need a vision of the future that makes sense and reaches beyond our horizon.
Which raises an interesting point about religion in general. When religion talks about the everlasting wonder of the “heavens” or “up above” or “the beyond”, be it in a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Animist context, it may be talking about more than abstract divinity. It may, in fact, be talking about space exploration, its words an allegory (or premonition) on getting our indulgent butts off our seats and doing some ethereal traversing.
I like this notion. It restores my faith in humanity’s ability to see into the future by extrapolating lessons from the past – lessons which we sometimes acquire through hard logic (science and technology), other times through mysterious premonition (religion and spirituality), which we weave into teachings and parables that contain the answers, if only one knows how to read between the lines and, more importantly, act on them.