Our lives hang by a thread. Some people die because a door that should have been locked wasn’t locked, others because they were from Minnesota. Random stuff happens. As individuals in the prosperous West, with clean water, antibiotics, surgery, and all the rest of the things that technoscience has wrought, we can assume we will live out our threescore and ten (plus a bit).
As a species of course, we deny our precarious and historically unique situation even more vigorously. Or rather, we prosperous Westeners pretend we have transcended nature and her silly messy limits. (After all, all this talk of fragility – and its step-brother neediness – is a real buzzkill.)
We need to realise there is a sword over our heads. We need to do it very very quickly. A Damoclean conversion you might say. But, of course, we won’t. So it goes.
Cultural Capital Converter
Damascene Conversion – From the conversion of St. Paul to Christianity on the road to Damascus.
Sword of Damocles – “The sword of Damocles is frequently used in allusion to this tale, epitomizing the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. More generally, it is used to denote the sense of foreboding engendered by a precarious situation.”
Btw – a google search of “Damoclean conversion” found only 7 examples, and they all seem to be solecisms for Damascene conversion…