Welcome to the Third Millennium and

Cowell's Corner




The Shape of Things to Come



I don't really have a rant this year.  With so many things to rant about who can pick just one?  So this will be more speculative.

We live in a complex complicated world, which is getting more so every moment.  I fear that complications are increasing exponentially.  Which means at some point, the complexity will skyrocket and spiral completely out of control.  In other words, we've got a ton of problems in this world, with no clear idea how to solve them.  And they're liable to keep getting worse until the you know what finally hits the fan.

There are optimists and pessimists in this world.  Also pseudo-optimists.  These tend to be people in authority who will  paint any false but rosy picture necessary to remain in power.  They will have you believe that we are so smart that no matter how complicated things are, or severe our problems get, we'll be able to figure a way out.  So take the good times and with the bad, the wheat with the chaff, and don't worry; things will work out, they always do.  True, until they don't, and then that's that.  And it's all over for Team Earth except for perhaps cockroaches and Keith Richards ;-)

Truth is, we may be way to smart for our own good.  We are ingenuous enough to develop complicated and complex tools (not just implements but technology, ideas, concepts, etc.) but not genius enough to keep them simple enough to control.  We forget (or ignore) the fact that every tool has two edges that cut both ways:  good and bad, light and dark.  Any brilliant tool for progress can just as easily become a nightmare weapon of destruction.  It's the dark side, turning ploughshares into swords, that really complicates things.  Sometimes this happens due to ignorance, but it's often by design.  That's why we are living in a world conflicted by global warming, superbugs, dictatorships, religious fanatics, massive debt, and global crime syndicates.   The list is endless and it just seems to get worse.

So what's the solution?  The person who comes up with a solution that everyone can and will agree to will go down as the Person of the 21st Century.  I have only this to offer.  We need to perfect our system of education, worldwide.  By education I do not mean simply book learning.  I mean the whole process of rearing a child from a homo sapiens infant:  genetically programmed to be needy, greedy, and self centered, to an adult Human Being that realizes all men should be brothers and work together in harmony, practices the golden rule, and does the right thing because it's the right thing to do.  If we ever achieve this goal, layers of complication will simply melt away, and those that remain, we can control by all working together.


Diversion 1:  Republicans love to mention this quote, which they often attribute to Jefferson (as if he were infallible):  "He who governs best governs least," as a justification to limit government so that Big Business can take over the world.  Actually, the quote is apocryphal.  And they conveniently always neglect to mention the second part of the quote:  "because its people discipline themselves."  You can't enjoy the former without the latter.  Perfect the system of education for everyone and you could pretty much get rid of government.  But it has to be everyone, otherwise, virtue will remain its own punishment.

Diversion 2:  Regarding exponential growth:  a rumor has floated about for years that if you invested a penny in a savings account when Christ was born, your savings account would now be worth more than the total wealth of the world.  True or False?


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