Anchor for this item posted by Bernard Tremblay at Saturday, May 25, 2002; Saturday, May 25, 2002

Stable Sanity
Lead up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the environmental timeline
Over the last forty years, the scientific warnings have continued to grow in severity and urgency, but progress on making change has remained painstakingly slow. And new international challenges--terrorist attacks, military responses, and mounting tensions around the world--threaten to derail any momentum to address chronic environmental problems.

Through our governments, local and federal, corporations tell us what we need and deserve. Through entertainment media and news, corporations tells us what we want and think. And in the workplace, corporations tell us, through our bosses, what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and even what we'll be paid to do it. Now, on the face of it that seems unjust to me, but I see something more worrisome here: where, in our daily lives, are we able to develope as individuals so that we can properly engage our world as citizens, as people, as human beings? What I see looks to me like a peculiar sort of slavery. The catch is that, so long as those making the decisions are personally gaining by millions of dollars (the arithmetic is astonishing), they aren't likely to heed even the fact that the planet itself is dieing. But one of the consequences of this death spiral is that we are losing the common sense we need to make the decisions that have to be made.
A better world needs to be built. And a betterworld can be built by our re-creation of human community; not only is that the best way: it's the only way.

There's something I haven't quite worked through: the psychology of self-delusion is fairly complex, and there are a couple of steps that need to be treated with the best of the new science, because they involve the re-entrant dynamical systems that go on when we make a decision in the moment. The point is, all the ideology we are fed that allow us to get away with saying, "There's nothing I can do!" ... none of it is compelleing; the ideology we're fed is actually offered to us, we actually aren't force-fed. We may be submerged in it, but ... when you go swimming, you're submerged in the water, but you don't inhale it! Some people drown, but just the fact of _being in the water_ isn't an excuse, not nearly. So, why do people buy into the ideology, then? Laziness? fear? sloth?
My best guess is that nobody wants to stand out from their friends. My best guess is that the price of authenticity is seen as too high to pay, especially since the "payoff" isn't certain. So it may be partly laziness and sloth (I know a lot about laziness and sloth, from personal experience). And it may be fear, as well. But basically, it's something that combines all of these plus pessimism: it's the dishonesty of the sneak thief. It seems that the majority of our citizens think they can get away with just scamming and faking their way through life and things will turn out ok. And it certainly isn't thought out more than that, because it ain't rocket-science to see that this isn't a recipe for happiness. Material pleasure, perhaps, and some sort of security, but not happiness. Maybe the world is only as good as we make ourselves. Something like that.