Saturday, April 30, 2016

And To Round Up The Week

Yet one more reminder of our collective folly:


  1. Our folly, Lorne, is rooted in human nature. Jared Diamond describes it as the culmination of a couple of human traits. One is our ability to forget.

    Diamond uses the example of a guy in Colorado whose daily commute takes him past a spectacularly beautiful mountain valleu vista. One day he notices earthmoving equipment by the side of the road as he passes. Within six months they've slapped up a shopping mall that obscures that vista. At first he misses it but, before long, his memory fades and the sight of the mall becomes his new normal. Diamond calls this "landscape amnesia."

    The companion problem is related to fatalism. We become inured to increasingly difficult or dangerous situations. The level of threat or discomfort we're willing to tolerate increases as the condition worsens. This is the essence of the "boiling frog" syndrome. People have a demonstrated ability to put up with harmful conditions until it's too late to act.

    We become like Dark Ages peasants toiling our fields knowing that, some day, raiders may come pouring over the hill to slaughter our men, savage our women and pillage our hamlet. If you accept a general powerlessness to avert the outcome, it's easier to lapse into resignation.

    1. And sadly, Mound, most of the power structures of the world want us to feel that general powerlessness and resignation.