Friday, April 07, 2006

Comfortable unto death

Robert L. Heilbroner - An Inquiry into the Human Prospect

Heilbroner - We have to stop growing and even slow things down.  We aren’t going to do it of our own free will, it will take catastrophes.  He envisions a world in which the public takes precedence over the private, much like Huxley’s Brave New World.  

A good quote:
“When men can generally acquiesce in, even relish, the destruction of their living contemporaries, when they can regard with indifference or irritation the fate of those who live in slums, rot in prison, or starve in lands that have meaning only insofar as they are vacation resorts, why should they be expected to take the painful actions needed to prevent the destruction of future generations whose faces they will never live to see?” (Heilbroner, 638)  

You know, I can’t get past that quote, it reminds me too much of development work.  It just doesn’t seem to matter to “comfortable” people that their neighbour is starving.  The quote reminds me of high school algebra.  When you graph a formula you need three points to verify the line and you can predict the values from anywhere along the line, it even shows where the line is heading.  Well Heilbroner has verified the line and the trajectory that humanity has chosen doesn’t look promising.

He goes on to say that the only way to change is to regain the will to live.  Comfort has become more important than life because we have to strive for comfort, living comes easy.  So maybe some catastrophes will make us start thinking about surviving again, because that is where we are at.  

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