Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ponderings about now and the future

Here are some thoughts I wrote down while flying on a plane recently just after reading about the last ever NASA shuttle mission taking off...  (Update and clarification - the quoted text is what I wrote myself that day on a scrap of paper, so I am quoting myself.)

"Nobody dares to think big anymore, to dream about the future of mankind.  There is no more manned space exploration, no more belief in world peace and prosperity.

Instead we hunker down, focus on our families and homes, and we distrust politicians, government, and the future.  We can pickles, grow vegetables, save money, are happy to have any kind of job at all, and become more and more disillusioned with how the world works.

We mentally run away from the scary reality of joblessness, climate and weather disasters, the latest reports of food-borne illnesses or worldly disasters by focusing on the small and the personal - update Facebook, take a photo and post it on Flickr, and write about our kids on our blogs.  Or follow 'reality' shows on TV as entertainment, shows that are as far removed from reality as you can get.  

You want a reality show?  Follow a newly graduated PhD trying to get a job.  Or a person trying to communicate with a mortgage broker or customer service rep from GE. Or survive a several day blackout during an ice storm in New Jersey, without electricity, internet, or cell phones.  Most people would despair.   

People use their iphones and other smart internet-connected toys as teddy bears and security blankets to feel relevant, safe and comfortable, but this is so far from the real truth as you can get. This need for false connectedness is like a drug that make you waste your time and not be part of the real reality.

People are desperate, disillusioned, depressed, degraded and (sometimes) deranged. Nobody, except the fools and the overoptimistic, believes that the future is better than now.  And now is not really good in the world."

So, what do we do about this?  How do we make the world a better place?  I hear people all the time say: "There is nothing we can do", "The politicians will never change anything".   But we have to do something or we are just giving up, right?  But what?  The first step is to recognize problems and then to talk about them and then do something about them.  But do what?  I don't know.  I live in a country where the common sense doesn't seem welcome among politicians anymore.

Note - the text above are about general people, not about any particular persons or families.   I am describing the realities I see, not criticizing anybody for feeling a certain way. Believe me, I understand the despairs. But maybe our motto should be "Get real" or "Be real".  That would be a good thing.

1 comment:

EH said...

Oh, this is really food for thought LS,and I believe you share these thoughts with many other intellectuals.

I have thought about this too, but with another angle.
How many today in the advanced technical society feel content? I would say that people in general are less and less happy, because they don´t feel gratitude over what they have when their basic needs are filled.
This is a personal challenge too, to find a happy life. No one can fix that for you, nothing that can be bought, sold or given away.

In society's struggle for growth we are told that bigger is better, and if more then merrier. But it couldn't be more wrong.

There is another flow in society too, made by people and not economy. The flow of recycle, reuse and repair, of second hand stores, ecological and local food. Here in Sweden were are mostly 2-3 generations away from farmers and I believe the happiness of growing runs deep in our veins.

But as long as the" market" tells us that bigger is better the farmer stands back. And of course, in the old Sweden, more was certainly an insurance for bad times. That was the way to prosper and people strived to reach a better life.

NASA will certainly go back to space sometime, but I think the national space programs are less important and a cooperation over the world is set in place for new space travels. Lets do this together. U.S. might need the money for their people right now. And sometimes money have been used for unnecessary things. Like inventing an ink pen than works in space, the russians just used a pencil instead!

I hope you will all seek the happyness and feel content in your lifes. See the good in life even in the small things.