a long view

started reading a short history of progress [ashop], and as i was saying at the coffee shop, i hold humbly onto a long view that dinosaurs were here 65-220 million years ago, and that life on earth is what? about 2 billion years old? hominids, by contrast, have been around for only about 4 million years, homo  sapiens about 100,000 years, our culture a few thousand years old, the scientific revolution (starting with copernicus) about 600, and post-ww2-war 66 years.

some take this as progress.

where’s life gonna be in 65 million years?

wright writes, ‘our civilization is a great ship … steaming at speed into the future…. we can, i think, plot a wise course between the narrows and bergs looming ahead.’

how serious is this voyage? writing in 2004, he says, ‘i believe we must do this without delay’ although he begins with a quote from ovid (43 bc-17/18 ad). why without delay? ‘because there are too many shipwrecks behind us…. [this ship] is not merely the biggest of all time; it is also the only one left. the future of everything we have accomplished since our intelligence evolved will depend on our actions over the next few years.’

but since 2004, we’ve failed at copenhagen, at durban, at rio; meanwhile, it’s rape and pillage at the tar sands. it seems like we’re steaming full-speed ahead into an iceberg. here today, gone tomorrow? so much for progress, eh? where’s the hope? why make the book into a film (surviving progress) years later? what about the long view?

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