Le Deluge – David Pascoe
When I was a wee, young creature – not so wee as Wee Dave – shortly after I learned to read, I discovered the world was going to end, and there was nothing I (or any of us, I learned) could do about it. The Coming Ice Age was coming! The world was going to freeze, probably solid, my young (and febrile) mind suggested. Earth would be this glittering ball of ice, with people frozen like Otzi or woolly mammoths.
Either that, or the world would go MAD, and everything would disappear in flashes of nuclear light as Slim Pickins destroyed Moscow. Except for the people who survived
and got superpowers and got to enjoy nuclear winter like in that classic of post-apocalyptic literature, The Road.
And then the Berlin Wall came down (I remember that) and the USSR kinda fell apart, and the world wasn’t going to end. For a while. Then Kevin Costner made a movie and suddenly the seas were rising, and the plains baking and everything was going to burn up, because Glow-Ball Worming!! Or something. It was a few years ago, now.
Only, apparently, that just isn’t so, despite pretty heavy coverage from, well, everybody. Our very own, um, Guy in the White House was just down in Florida recently
playing golf giving a speech about the fact that the climate changes. (I’m stunned, me. And here I thought climate was static. Always were, always gonna be, kinda thingy. Well, you live and learn, I’m given to understand.) This is bad, we’re told, and it will result in great badness. There were also a few jokes, some laughter, and then His Majesty the Bossman jetted off to Rio for dancing and then Paris to meet up with Al-Gor for a party where they burned barrels of kerosene to propitiate the fire demons. Crazy thing, Earth Day.
So the world’s still going to end. I mean, there were the recently televised (in the same way the Revolution won’t be, Komrade) peaceful demonstrations in Baltimore. And some more in Seattle, celebrating May Day, though I’m given to understand that party got shut down by the local police. Spoilsports.
Speaking of Baltimore, and it’s recently unpleasantness, it seems the insipid hordes of social media were working to inflame the already … flaming … um, to cause greater violence between
rioters peaceful protestors and Charm City’s finest. Pictures of dead police (later identified as being from countries other than the US) and inflammatory comments. Looks like Twitter’s good for something, after all.
So the world’s falling apart, again, still. Do we have anything to hope for? Well, the Navy Research Lab has succeeded in creating transparent aluminum. There actually seems to be something to the EmDrive, though nobody seems to understand why the thing produces thrust. (Me? I want my reactionless drive. If it works, we can use it to get off this rock.) More importantly, people are pushing back against the Narrative of the Powers That Be, and the True Believers of same are getting more and more outrageous in their attempts to retain power. Meanwhile, the very causes for which they so stridently campaign are starting to eat them. Witness the restaurants in Seattle closing, the independent stores in San Francisco looking desperately for some way to cut costs.
So, per the title, are we about to get swamped? No, not really. Things are lousy, right now. They’ve been bad before, and they’ll be bad again. Is the singularity about to erupt, propelling humanity to a new, permanent golden age? Maybe, but I doubt it. I’m hoping I get my own personal spaceship before I die. We’ll see what happens. The reality is that civilization is a long, long game. The kind that takes generations to play out. It’s why we work, and why we have children. Why we take such pains in raising them. We do what we can, every damn day, and we do it together, with whom we choose (that’s actually politics, no matter what lie some tired, old baggage tries to peddle you). This game often a slog, and a tiring one. Fortunate, then that we have proof that the Blessed Ichor is going to keep us around long enough to win it.