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.


  1. Aimee says:

    I can’t stand “Alice in Wonderland,” either. Boring, loopy, and just not for me.

    I don’t have well-defined thoughts about how the human race will deal with the lack of fossil fuels when that time comes, but I believe this: Things in general will get worse, probably very MUCH worse. Then, they will get better. MUCH, much better. People will have a true enlightenment…in a couple hundred years, I think. Love, peace & understanding will be more than a hippie, new-age slogan or a liberal, tree-hugger’s wish; it will become a true goal for the majority of the people on the planet.

    I’m excited to get to that point (and yes, I believe we’ll be here for it…just not in our current bodies).

  2. Ann says:

    Alice is not for me, either. I do love the Jabberwocky, though. Oh, yes.

    As for how things will be with less petroleum/energy in general, I think we can look to poorer countries for the answer. Eastern European countries don’t have the buying power that richer countries have, so go on with life using way less power. Bicycles are used much more often. People use electric much more sparingly. I think that at least half of the answer to the energy question is everybody using way less now. Right now. They call it conservation, but no politician will touch it because most Americans want to use more (of everything) not less. So, politically it’s the kiss of death. But, Jimmy Carter was right…turn down the thermostat, turn off the lights, put on sweaters, etc. It maybe be even more than half of the answer. I could add loads more to this, but won’t bore you. Thanks for bringing it up. I think it’s a very important question. I also think that more can be done with less.

  3. angelina says:

    Ann- you DON’T bore me!!!!! I want to know what people are thinking about this. I’ve spent the last year writing a novel that is speculating what the future in my own county will be like and it’s a funny place to have my head. I actually think I’ve written more optimistically than I meant to, I may change that a little. I also think using, buying, wasting less is vital. I work on it but I’m not nearly where I want to be with regards to consumption. It doesn’t depress me to turn the thermostat down. We’re now so used to keeping the house between 58 and 60 I am really too warm when it gets up to 65. Jimmy Carter is an amazing guy. He may have been too peace loving and gentle to have been a great president but he has done nothing but shine since then.

  4. angelina says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like Alice. I have so many friends who love it and I don’t want to take away their enjoyment but I’m happy not to be alone with my dislike of it. I want your version of the future, that’s for sure. It’s what I hope for, it’s what I want for everyone and if there’s such a thing as individual power then I hope to use mine towards that peaceful outcome after the really tough times. I’ll enjoy it in whatever body I’m in- and even if I have no body after this one, if I was simply the dirt and the daisies and the dust I think I’d feel that kind of change and enjoy it.

  5. Adam Szydel says:

    Ann was a hard act to follow when she said: “I think more can be done with less.” For us–on the eve of Passover, with house cleaning the vogue–I’d want to add that: a WHOLE LOT more can be done with a WHOLE LOT LESS! Not being ancient Egyptians (who can take it with them to the afterlife), I find myself barely able to move in a house full of collectables, half of which we’ll give to the needy. Now, if the rest of the world followed suit, there’d be no 3rd world countries and we could close down at least half of those smoke-belching factories for the next 10 years or so. But that’s where we run into our 1rst conundrum; having dealt with our largesse, we’ll also have to recycle the workers that produce it. And how do we deal with our archaic MORE economy, whose very existence depends on mass production, mass consumption, and planned obsolescence?

    Solar, wind, and hybrid-electric are certainly the way to go–once we’ve convinced those gansters running our fossil feul industries. But why not an entirely different source of pollution free energy–the next great revolution in the wake of our computer technology! However, no chick can be born without breaking its shell; and even the minutest change can lead to mayhem and war–which reminds me of the 2012 apocalypse!

    Only a madman would prefer a cataclysm to your (Angelina’s) “gradual change”. But what frightens me isn’t an alighnment of planets, or those doomsday prophets: The Mayans, Nostradamus, book of Revelations, arrival or return of Messiah, or even Iran’s MADHI or 12th Imam (they were only people–right?). No! What scares me is the real possibility of a SELF-FULFILLING prophecy. With so many people believing it, preparing for it, and even praying for it; we could bring it on ourselves. And my only succor is that old saying: “What man proposes, God (our Universe) disposes!” I’d also love to be around when all these soothsayers and would be Messiahs fall flat on their prophetical asses.

    So there it is, an entire lecture on Ann’s pithy analysis. Be well, stay high, and know that you remain in our thoughts despite the vast expanse of space and mind that separates us/ Adam

  6. angelina says:

    Father- you bring up some very good points, ones that I hate to think about but are none-the-less very good. It is entirely possible that fervent people on all sides of the apocalyptic table might, in lieu of the apocalypse showing up at all, force the issue. I actually wasn’t thinking about that when calculating my own scenario. Some very bad things may happen.

    The personal tactic I take is addressing things in my own life, which is the only place I can make real change. If my thoughts and actions and writings might inspire others that’s a real benefit, but the main thing is to concern myself with what I’m doing about all this. We aren’t heavy consumers at this time and that feels good. We just don’t shop that often and the last two laptops I bought were used. More out of less is a great theme. It has surprising rewards as well.

    I too would like to see the prophesies fail and watch the soothsayers eat dirt. Lots and lots of good thoughts, father. I wish that we could join you, Miri, and Noam for Seder. It’s been years since I’ve participated in one and it would be so wonderful for Max to experience it and to meet all of you. So lots of love and good thoughts to you and the family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.