Analogies of vulnerability

It is so hard to convey to people the risks we face.

I don’t think human nature is much cop at admitting these sorts of vulnerabilities. Without getting all evolutionary psychology on your ass, I don’t think it’s something that was selected for.

We (a thin sliver of rich people, primarily but not exclusively in ‘the West’) are having FAR too much fun to worry

And we are very much encouraged NOT to look at the dangers ahead. And everything around us, the cars, the lights, the permanent global summertime, it all looks so solid. And our leaders are not (publically) panicking. So it would be stupid to panic. We look into other people’s eyes, and they’re not panicking…

a) Tightrope
“You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years.” Bertrand Russell (A quote I remember from reading -25 years ago, Desmond Bagley’s “The Tightrope Men”.)

b) Juggling chainsaws
The brave and well-co-ordinated among us might perhaps learn to juggle two or three chainsaws, but juggling twelve? Even if you were the goddess Shiva, you’d be thinking about whether the task was ‘armless or not…

c) A giant game of Jenga
The first few you pull out, no problem. But the tower gets wonkier and wonkier. You have to judge carefully which block to aim to remove and then a) be right and b) have a very steady hand to execute your plan. But no matter how skilful you are, the game gets harder and harder the further you go…

But then, why do you want others to wake up? Is it so your misery has company? Or do you have an idea for how we get “out” of this mess, and you need more people to make that happen?

link to other posts jumping out of a plane with a bedsheet

To Read
Ulrich Beck Risk Society

Addendum. I was having a discussion with someone about people who can accept a certain amount of the facts about how fubarred we are as a species, but not the Whole Of It. I think people oscillate – here’s a bit of what I wrote –

Or they can, on a good (!?) day tiptoe past the Second Denial, then find it too terrifying (and to quote the Jackson Browne song “Running on Empty” – look around for the friends I knew before they grew, looking into their eyes, I see them running too.)

For instance, I really really struggled to read/accept Robert Patterson’s latest post, even though I agree, and am a big fan of the Titanic metaphor. I think we (or at least I – it’s presumptuous for me to claim I know what you’re like) underestimate just how hard it is to go beyond the second denial and not regress.

Have you seen “The Day After” – I got it from the library, having not watched it since 1983 when it came out. I remember bits of it vividly, but there’s a very clever bit that passed me by. One of the characters is a 19 year old or so girl, who was going to get married the next day, and has been “acting up” – clashing with her father (coded as the sturdy American yeoman). But as she heads to their basement, she’s clutching … her teddy bear. We regress, we retreat, from the full horror of it…


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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