Sunday, July 12, 2009

Three Score Years, and Homeward Bound

On July 12, 1949, after four hours of struggle, I entered this world at 4:29 in the afternoon. The doctor proclaimed me "normal," a condition I have striven to maintain over the ensuing 60 years.

It's been an interesting ride these six decades, from the optimism of the 50s, the 60s Revolution, which I mostly missed, through the MADness of the Cold War, and the even madder madness of the Reagan Right-Wing Revulsion, a brief respite of hope, then the grinding intellectual poverty of the Bush fascist regime, still lingering despite political changes in Washington.

I feel I've grown into my aspirations of curmudgeonliness and have now fully arrived. My expectations have been realized, and despite another era of hope, not yet fulfilled, I see no meaningful change on the horizon.

If I take care of my body, I should have another twenty years or so left to appreciate the great human comedy. I fully expect to see environmental conditions deteriorate worldwide during that time, resulting in deteriorating human conditions, and, thus, increased human strife, misery and woe, and increased destruction of the natural world.

"Twas ever thus," quoth Mr. Natural. I see no reason to expect that human beings will suddenly develop intelligence and common sense, at least not in time to make any difference to climate change and Peak Oil, the twin spectres looming over all, mostly unappreciated. If we upright bipeds had any real intelligence, we'd drop this insane social system based on greed and the folly of economists, scrap private automobiles, re-create a real system of public transportation, call all our soldiers and missionaries home to rebuild, refurbish and recycle the technological dead ends lying about the place. Plenty of work for everyone, no need for anyone to stand on the dole que. Plenty of food and housing to go around, in sufficiency.

This, of course, will never happen, so we are left with the alternative, which is to charge full bore toward the abyss with our eyes closed, praying for the best outcome.

When I think of what's to come, I'm glad I was born in 1949, young enough to peer out over the edge, too old to experience the sudden, fatal stop at the bottom.