Tag: speculation

What Flavor of Future Are You?

I would like to say that the word “razzmatazz” wears jazz hands and sings nothing but Liza Minnelli, which is fine if that’s what a word really wants to do.  I wouldn’t stop my own son from flapping around with jazz hands and singing Liza Minnelli songs though I might beg him to forgo the Liza lashes.

I am thinking it’s much better to sit around imagining my son shimmying around in drag than imagining a world in which the only drag is hunger on the perpetually empty stomach and the violence such poverty engenders.  It’s hard not to fall for the whole apocalypse frame of mind when there’s so much bad-ass shit going down in the world right now.  We have all the elements in place for it: multiple wars, nuclear melt downs (if it happens to them it happens to us simultaneously what with us all living on the same planet and sharing the same atmosphere in which we go round and round), increasing ignorance, decreasing attention to the arts and other civilized pursuits of advancing culture, tensions increasing exponentially, reduced resources creating increased territorial disputes and increased war in which it’s easy to imagine someone is going to set off another nuclear bomb or two.

Americans are famous for pretending to fight wars to keep others from having or being able to use nuclear bombs and there is a direct relationship with this fact and the one that the United States remains the only country in the world that has released that evil on purpose into the atmosphere.

It’s easy to imagine Apocalyptic conditions are upon us and I suppose I’d fall into the trap like a hapless (stupid) Alice down a worm-hole or a rabbit-hole or whatever hole she falls down.*  But I have always looked to history to inform me of my predictions and I can’t help noticing that people have believed the end of the world was upon them since they had thoughts beyond “Ugh!  Big Teeth at 2 o’clock!  Run!”.

I still believe that we’re simply going to experience change and change is difficult to fathom and to accept.  We can’t see around the corner so we’re anticipating the worst most bloody danger we can possibly imagine.  We might be right, but more than likely it is going to feel dire only to the old and maybe the middle aged, while young people will follow the change as an organic part of their life experience.

Maybe a lot of people will die in the execution of great change.  A lot of people died during the 1200’s when people were wiped out in stacks by the plague.  People die.  It’s what we do when we’re not living.

I believe it’s all going to be gradual.  The exit of fossil fuel from our lives will not be dramatic or all at once.  It will leak away steadily as we consume it, some people conscious of their consumption; many adamantly refusing to believe the evidence before them.  People used to think whalebone and whale oil was an indefatigable resource until it got harder and harder to find the whales to kill.  It wasn’t overnight that people looked to alternatives for corsets and lamps.**  Like all resources it took time and it petered out gradually.  The same will happen with oil.

We’ll have it.  Then we’ll have less of it, like we do every single day we depend on it.  The prices will continue to rise.  First the very poor will be out-priced and not be able to run their cars or pay for power in their homes (this already is the case for some people).  Then as time moves forward the oil will drain and drain and drain and eventually the middle class will not be able to afford what oil is left.  There will be the government and the privileged left to divvy it up between them.

Eventually no amount of money will buy you a tank of gas.

We’ll muddle along.  For better or worse.  For richer and definitely for poorer.  Maybe a lot of people will die but anyone who thinks a mere lack of oil or a few nuclear bombs is going to wipe humans off the face of the earth doesn’t know much about our species.

We are like the cockroaches.  It sounds like an insult but in a way it’s a breathtaking compliment to our capacity for adaptation which is the linch pin of our survival as a species.

I can’t let all of this bring me down too far.

I want to know what you all predict for the future.  Tell me.  Will we depend increasingly on nuclear power?  What will we do about all the toxic waste?  How long will that be pretend-viable?  Do you think we’ll come up with safer and better ways to run cars and electricity?  Will solar finally become affordable and durable enough for everyone to buy and use?  When the gasoline is all gone how will we produce solar power?  When all the petroleum is gone what will we make phones and computers out of?  We can recycle some, true, but there’s a finite amount of plastics available for recycling too.

What will life be like in thirty years?  What about a hundred years from now?

I want to hear your thoughts on this because I think people all have different ideas about how things will change.

(The only people who’s opinions I’m not interested in are those that think fossil fuel will never run out and those who don’t believe in global climate change because such people are under serious delusions.)

One of the things that has me thinking a lot about this is watching episodes of MI-5.  The majority of that show is about combating terrorism in London.  Terrorism from Muslims or from anti-Muslim groups.  Often the theme is oil shortages and how politics has a lot to do with obtaining oil and maintaining your access to it.  I love MI-5.  Max keeps telling me that MI-6 is a superior group of spies.  We continue to debate.  MI-5 never had Tom or Lucas.  Or Roz.  That proves everything.

At times like these the best thing you can do is enjoy every scrap of life you can.

*I am not cool enough to like “Alice in Wonderland”.  In fact, I fail to see what the great fascination with that story is.  I dislike it excessively.  I think Alice is not a smart girl.  She’s also just annoying as hell.  Most of my close personal friends are HUGE Alice fans.  I accept this the way I accept that most of my friends like games and fun.

**Looking up whale oil on wikipedia is very interesting.