Many people can get behind the idea of a cataclysmic revolution that will reduce civilization to a smoking ruin overnight, and many others can get behind the idea of a day-long festival of prayer and meditation that will make civilization melt away into nothing like the Wicked Witch of the West. But the idea of undermining civilization's foundations and sapping its titanic strength incrementally as a rewarding, lifelong process is a bit of a shocker.
My high school physics teacher, when talking about mass, said that if you should ever confront a locomotive creeping down the tracks at an inch a second, your intuition will tell you that you can stop it easily just by sticking our your hand. But, even though it's traveling only an inch a second, your intuition is wrong, because its enormous mass will keep on moving forward as if you weren't even there. This is the way it is with our civilization. It has the momentum of two hundred human generations behind it. Its crushing forward movement isn't going to be stopped in a moment, but every hand pressed against it reduces its momentum infinitesimally--and the more hands that are applied to the task, the sooner it will be stopped in its tracks.
Friday, September 05, 2008
A Sense of Urgency
I wonder if the words below, that came from this interview, make people feel like that undermining the very foundations of our civilization is doable and rewarding?