If the modern age were written in biblical style, what would the serpent whisper to women, gays, minorities and most of all, our children.
How about “This paradise isn’t as good as it should be?”
I woke up late, mostly because it was a busy weekend and I went to bed late (and no writing or covers done, which means I need to do double today. Ah well.) And while I was stumbling around the kitchen in a state of lack of caffeine (it’s sad) Dan was in the family room, exercising and (as one does — even me — while exercising) watching some random movie. Where a kid was prattling on and on about how we need to change the world, because the world needs changing.
This is one of those aphorisms that those of us who grew up in the shadow of the boomers heard our entire life. “You’re going to grow up to change the world.” “We all should change the world” “the world needs to change.” Or in the language of teenagers at all times and everywhere, throwing fits at their parents, “Why did you bring me into this messed up world?”
Perhaps it’s a sign I’m getting older — and people should most surely get off my lawn — or perhaps it was the utter lack of caffeine, but I stopped in the middle of the kitchen thinking “Why?” “Why is the world so bad?” “And in what way should we change it?” “Or does it matter? Should we just generically change it, like one can change ones haircolor to candyfloss pink, because it’s not our natural color?”
Look, the way the left — supposedly the children of materialistic Marxism — rage at the world, (and more and more the flesh, and the creatively interpreted devil) you’d think they’re an heresy not of main stream Christianity but of gnosticism. (Oh, wait, I’ve watched (accidentally) some of their supernatural stylings. Um.) This world is an evil evil place and salvation comes from changing it. Which in practicality, on purpose or not translates to “we have to destroy the world in order to save it.”
Yeah, I can hear the read till offended contingent now “You only think the world is perfect, because you’re racissss sexisssss homophobic, and you have privilege and–” Can it. Also stay quiet while the adults talk.
No one is saying the world is perfect. Of course the world isn’t. It is a material place, inhabited by material beings. Your body isn’t perfect, either. It is a commonplace to say we’re all dying. It’s not exactly true. Some of us are still growing. But yeah, the minute you stop growing, your body starts breaking down. Does that sound like perfect to you? Also we’re built on the frame of great apes, who come with their own impulses, ideas and issues which often interfere with what our rational selves want to do. For instance take this weekend (and last.) I was going to finish editing a short novel and write three short stories. Instead there were issues with household and real life things. Net words produced, zero. And no, my rational self is not happy about it. The ape isn’t either. She’s not had a nice walk in two days and she didn’t do anything fun, and she’s cranky.
So? Multiply that by however many of us you think there are. I’m pegging it at 6 billion and likely less, but the UN has been adding up imaginary people based on the imaginary counts of countries that can’t be trusted to tell you where their borders are, so who knows?
Whichever way, there’s a lot of us. And we all have issues with ourselves, which leads to issues with each other, which leads…
The world isn’t perfect. No one said it was.
That said 90% of the people who want to “change the world” want to do so by telling everyone else what to do. Ignoring that they themselves are also not perfect, and more likely than not are appallingly ignorant of the real world out there.
When people — rightly — said the spectacle of Greta Thunberg apostrophizing adult in public was ridiculous, the older left rose up to say at least she was fighting for change.
So she was. Well, she was scolding for change. But one must ask: Why is the change she was championing a good thing?
Don’t warble back about “we’re going extinct.” or “Great extinction” or “we only have twelve years.” Not only is that complete nonsense, even according to the UN who are masters of raising fear in order to gain power (in fact it is their only talent.) but it is patent nonsense. If this were undisputed and provable truth, if the data weren’t stupidly massaged, if the Earth hadn’t been way warmer (without our interference) in the past, if we could agree on what is causing (was causing. We’re in a pause or maybe heading down. Like the population numbers it’s hard to tell because some people LIKE fear. It gives them power) warming, and it were obvious (and no lefties, it’s not because we don’t get big words. Some of us were raised on big words.) there would have been a scientist explaining to the UN what needed to be done and why, instead of a middle school girl with cognitive issues pointing her finger and asking how they dared.
Instead pause and think about what Greta really was advocating — which I’m sure the older boomers saying “quite right” have never done — to stop this runaway global warming and extinction she’s been told is coming.
I’m sure the benign elderly boomers saying “She is bringing change” in tones like “What beautiful cheeks this child has” think it’s all about the west living a vegan lifestyle (let’s talk about how bad for the environment that would be, since real veganism will kill real humans. Growing what’s needed and processing it for a healthy diet is far worse than meat. Never mind.) wearing “natural” clothing, recycling, not driving more than you have to, and “living in harmony with nature.”
Somewhere in the back of their minds when they hear Greta Thunberg what is playing is “This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius.”
While if in fact what Greta Thunberg was demanding to stop the catastrophe she imagines is bearing down on us was the death of maybe 5 1/2 of those billions. Why? Well, because you can’t stop carbon emissions and travel (do you have any idea how interconnected our world is?) without stopping food production, distribution, processing. What you get is the four horsemen: War, famine, pestilence and assuredly Death in the end.
More importantly, the west getting “low water” washers (we’re going to talk about it in the future. Their next eruption of crazy is about water. I’ve started to see articles about “living in a post water US”. As someone who had to teach the water cycle to teachers before, I’m here to tell you these arrant idiots think the water is used once and disappears. Also, apparently it’s going to stop raining. Also if there were a real crisis, they apparently miss we have very advanced filtration tech, for ocean water if needed. Argh.) or stopping using straws, or stopping having children (which most of the west is doing anyway) is not going to cause the change Greta demands. To do that India and China would have to stop their industrialization cold, and most of them would have to die. In fact, the remnants of humanity would have to go back to living in the stone age.
To stop the fears of a kid who was told the world is a terrible place and about to end.
Or, you know, we could tell her the truth. The truth is that we live in a world that — however many — supports the most people it’s ever supported, in the most comfort these uppity great apes have ever enjoyed. Even in the third world, life is markedly better than it was fifty or a hundred years ago.
This doesn’t mean that the world is perfect. It doesn’t mean no child goes to be hungry (Venezuela. I’m sure lots of children go to bed hungry in Venezuela. In the US? Oh, there might be a couple hundred in a country of three hundred million. No, the childhood hunger survey is not indicative of anything except insanity. But even in a country as rich as comfortable as the US there are horrible parents, abused children, etc. You can’t stop that. Great Apes.)
In the first world, where little Greta grew up,we are ridiculously, amazingly wealthy. Kings of the past would look at us in envy. We eat well… more than we need. Most of us have closets stuffed with warm and comfortable clothes. Those in true need are spoiled for choice of charities distributing winter clothing right now. Those tight on money — some writers don’t get paid regularly, you know? Free lancer and all. (because I’m still uncaffeinated it occurs to me that free-lancer’s meaning is not far from the denotation if not the connotation of ronin. I now want a headband to wear while writing that says ronin writer.) — can shop thrift stores (and trust me, half the stuff I buy is new, because stores dump last year’s unsold stock for a deduction. Heck, since I lost some weight (need to lose more, yes) I can buy expensive brand closing either new or perhaps worn once.)
Actually we’re a pretty good case study because though we’ve made pretty good money most of our lives (with some truly disgustingly low points) we have weird priorities. So we tend to buy our clothes, furniture and often tech (unless needed for work) and always cars downstream at second, third or fourth (one of those cars!) hand, while blowing our money on books, courses education and yes often houses (but that’s an investment which usually — couple of exceptions — pays off.) And living downstream of the cutting edge of society, we’ve, except for those disgusting exceptions of a couple years here and there, not lived badly at all. Way better than anyone around me while I was growing up, in fact. So far up, in fact, that my grandmother would be speechless. She was often overcome by houses with running hot and water and said “what luxury” at things that we find downmarket now. And that ladies and gentlemen is living mostly on second hand stuff.
Our time can afford people who aren’t particularly outstanding in their careers (though I like to think both of us are good) a life that would make kings in the 19th century cry and stomp in envy.
But we’ve ruined Greta’s dreams and her childhood and apparently those of a lot of their cohort, by not killing the more populous areas of the third world that are just now industrializing.
It never seems to occur to these world changers that if someone had changed the world to their ideal before they were born, they’d likely never have been born. Or they’d have died of something (hospitals require energy. And transport. And innovation. All of which require modern tech) when they were infants. Or if they were lucky enough to be born and alive now, they’d likely be handicapped by issues borne of those diseases and malnutrition.
The Green New Deal (I automatically type it in Green Nude Heel and then have to wonder what is wrong with the words. I need caffeine) is a ticket to exactly that kind of medieval horror-show world.
Already we’re letting the “world changers” aka rebels without a clue play havoc with our infrastructure and energy supply to the point that they’re trying to drive us there on the installment plan.
And all why?
King of the past looking at the lives of commoners now would say “Surely that’s paradise.”
Ah, but is the paradise paradisical enough? Was Greta Thunberg’s childhood exactly as cossetted and pampered as she can imagine? Are we living in harmony with nature and is everyone perfectly happy in the perfectly amazing Earth which hands us everything we need with Rousseaunian promptness? Is love free? Is food organic? Does our hair flow in the breeze?
Eat this apple, and it will be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Which like a hippie commune will be dirty, verminous and an ecological disaster. But hey, at least you’ll have changed the world, right?
Changing the world is easy. In fact, you can’t stop from doing it. However you live, the world is going to be changed by your being here. Yes, even if you go to a mountain fastness and become a hermit. You’ll either require helicopter rescue and cost us millions, or some idiot will write books about your life to inspire other idiots to do the same to “save the Earth.”
So, instead of thinking of changing the world by telling others how to live, think on how to change the world by how YOU live, and what you dedicate your (yes, all too short) life to.
The world didn’t get where it is by people doing nothing. If that were the case, yes, we’d still be living in Greta’s paradise and being chased around by tigers, whenever we fell from our tree. (But not saber tooth tigers. Their extinction has nothing to do with us, and it would have happened anyway.)
Does childhood poverty appall you? Well, you’re spoiled for choice. Get out there and work at easier to grow, better and more abundant crops (yes, GMO. Suck it. We’ve been genetically modifying plants and animals since there’s been agriculture, and maybe before.) Invent industrial processes that are easier and less polluting. Work at computer apps that make it easier to shop with less waste. Heck, create more efficient engines. Oh, and work at coming up with cures for diseases, since a lot of poverty, childhood and not, comes from disease.
Is your talent more people than science? Work at removing the boot from people’s necks, both the governmental boot and that of culture. Countries where the individual can’t benefit from his/her toil are mired in perpetual poverty. It doesn’t matter if the stuff you create goes to your ne’er do well politicians or your ne’er do well relatives. And it doesn’t matter how good it would be if everyone shared. In practicality, common property is distributed poverty. It also kills innovation and the ability to save. That “capital” that Marx hated? That’s the surplus you save/invest for the bad years. Marx didn’t know that because he was, in point of fact, a useless grifter.
And if like me your talent is just the ability to entertain people and (as a stretch goal) make them think? Well, that helps too. Or at least it’s an honorable way of making a living.
Heck, even those who clean houses for a living (and if you think that’s low-skilled you’ve never done it well) are changing the world for the better. Clean houses are healthier. And it frees other people to do things who might free other people to do things which in the end might lead to someone having the leisure and resources to create… something really big. An interstellar drive. A virtually free form of energy that even the greens can’t object to. Wheat that grows on practically nothing. Who knows? Such miracles have happened in the past.
Want to change the world? You will. But make sure you’re changing it by building, creating, doing. Not by sitting around stomping your feet and demanding everyone do as you say.
Because on the other side of that vision that makes Extinction Rebellion stop commuters on their way to work lies the wilderness, and no way back to paradise.