>> Sunday, November 15, 2009
*Steps on soapbox*
It's that time of the week again. Today, I want to talk about something that really bothers me, frightens me, something I think we're going to have to lick if we're ever going to amount to much as a species, bearing in mind that I equate "amounting to much" to a species hanging out in the long run as a vital part of the ecosystem rather than equating it with destroying the world as we know it and leaving big "beautiful monuments" to show we were once here for whatever species follow.
Peter O'Toole was in a movie a few decades back where he played a dirty old coot of the scientific variety. It occurs to me that O'Toole, even though he's looking positively cadaverous, might be playing an old lech even as we speak. But I digress. In this movie ("The Creator"), he spoke of something he called "the big picture."
Countering this notion of a "big picture," i.e. working and striving toward something bigger than oneself for the sake of the big picture is what seems to be prevailing attitude in this country (the US): me, me, me, now, now, now.
People want everyone to have health coverage - just as long as it doesn't affect their own insurance or change their taxes. Making homes and cars more energy efficient is good for the whole world - and the long term finances of the individuals making the switch - but it costs money now.
Show examples, even proof, that demonstrates better ways of doing things, ways to reduce errors, increase productivity, positively impact the environment, save money, help people for minimal cost and effort, and such efforts are met with suspicion and contempt. Frequently those responses aren't for real costs or efforts or inconveniences but the perceived possibility that inconveniences might occur.
We sit quietly by complaining about special interests buying politicians, yet we refuse to fix the system, punish the politicians willing to be bought (sadly, most of them apparently) or those spending money like water to serve their own interests at the rest of our expenses.
Thing is, we're proud of being individuals and the intelligence that sets us apart from "the animals" - but the big strength, the thing that really makes humans so powerful is our ability to work in a community for the greater good - the big picture as it were. If we're going to fulfill our potential, we're going to have think beyond our interests here and now. We're going to have to embrace the big picture for ourselves and our children. We've been running up a tab in a hundred different ways. Sometimes soon, it will be last call and someone will have to pay the bill.
A little big picture thinking today can take that tab down a size or two and give our children the tools and foundation they'll need to clean up our messes. Otherwise, we can hardly blame them if they're crushed by problems they had nothing to do with creating.
At least, that's how I see it.
*Steps of soapbox*
P.S. And, yes, 50K+ words in 30 days. Who knew?