A Reformed Optimist

“Everything will work out in the end and, if it doesn’t, it is not the end.” This was a theme in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) but attributed to Paul Coelho and John Lennon much earlier.

I am an inveterate optimist, but I am reconsidering my inclinations.  Look how we have handled things lately. Kurt Anderson’s Evil Geniuses (2020) provides a compelling commentary on “recent history.” Economic inequality has increased enormously — by design. Almost all the growth in wealth has gone to the top few percent of our population. Lots of people are very frustrated.

The pandemic has exposed much of this inequality in terms of who loses jobs and who gets sick and dies. The government has avoided being honest, not wanting to affect elections. Pandemic protections have become an issue of freedom and masculinity.

The big challenge is waiting in the wings. Climate change has led to global warming, and the impacts of global warming have included intense hurricanes, broad flooding, and pervasive wildfires.  Nature – physics, chemistry, etc. — underlying all of this does not watch CNN and Fox. Nature just does what it does.

We know what to do to mitigate global warming and mitigate the impacts of global warming. We simply are unwilling do this. The key players want to win elections, lubricated by massive funds from lobbyists. The fact that they are destroying civilization is ok with them, as long as it does not happen while they are in office.

Of course, the Earth will be fine for quite some time. It has endured meteor impacts, ice ages, widespread plagues and, most significantly, the impacts of creative people aspiring for personal benefits.  Maybe this is the central idea.  The Earth will be ok without us.  Civilization will have been just a blip across the millennia. Then, we are gone, like the squirrels sallied from your attic, and everything works out in the end.

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