August 26, 2020

The Larger Perspective


I thought this might interest you all: a documentary, now about 10 years old, called "Surviving Progress." It gives a larger perspective to our current American political dilemmas--la longue duree (the long view), as the French would say. There are some silly interviews toward the end, regarding how technology can supposedly save us--which actually fall into the category of what Ronald Wright calls the "progress trap"--but these are countered by a few folks who know better. On a planetary scale, the doc suggests that we have two options: colonize Mars, and fuck that planet up like we did the earth; or become a very different type of human being, right here at home. Switching from limbic system to prefrontal cortex is I guess what the latter option would entail. I can't imagine it, myself: this is the path of those thinkers of a window of about 1,000 years--Christ, Buddha, Socrates, and Confucius--who discovered "second-order thinking," i.e. the type of reflexivity that occurs in meditation, for example. Before you act, you step back and assess what you are doing.

So imagine that you come across a Karen in the midst of a vicious tirade, and you say to her: "This is not helpful behavior, going postal just because a store asked you to put on a mask." Or you say to Shaneka Torres, just as she's about to shell a McDonald's with her machine gun because they forgot to put bacon on her cheeseburger: "Better not, my dear; you'll just wind up in jail for a very long time." What are the odds, really?