Our Knifedge

Ranger and I are in heavy counseling lately. A return to Florida, where commercialism reigns, is suddenly hard. Tasmania seems a world apart.

Our conversation goes like this:

Ranger: “So you don’t agree with what the president on anything, and you cringe at the stuff he says. Why not just let it go and vote him out on the next election? The beauty of a democracy is that a mistake like this can be made, and then we all go on and recover from it.”

Me: “Maybe we won’t recover. What I am beginning to understand is that we live on the knife-edge. I had long assumed that the arc of history was on my side: that slowly increasing world-wide prosperity, food supplies, and education were the keys to making the world a better place. I believed that this same arc of history vindicated those of us who believed in education, especially improving education for girls, was the answer to the horrifying number of people being born…. enough so that we would gain control of the raw numbers of people and see a decline in birthrate commensurate with women’s economic and education levels.”

Ranger:”So you blame Trump for the fact that you no longer believe that?”

Me: “Trump is just the canary in the coal mine, if I can use that image. It’s what he represents that I find so difficult. He stands for crass commercialism, appears to have zero empathy, has no control over his emotions or his tongue. He stands for the glitzy veneer, the patent medicine show man who cons people into buying his snake oil and then laughs when it is proven ineffective. So I am discouraged that he came along just when I believed

Tonight we will witness the blood moon. I will replace this total eclipse with that, provided the clouds allow me. The knife-edge is here, in nature, in our ability to see it, in our vulnerability.
Tonight we will witness the blood moon. I will replace this total eclipse with that, provided the clouds allow me. The knife-edge is here, in nature, in our ability to see it, in our vulnerability.
the arc of history was pushing everyone towards the same values I hold. I thought we were getting kinder and gentler, more compassionate, with everyone’s boat rising.”

Ranger: “And that’s not the case? Isn’t overall poverty in the world being reduced? Isn’t that arc of history doing exactly what you outline as desirable?”

Me: “But that’s exactly the point! Maybe this knife-edge we are on will cleave toward those higher values, but maybe not…. maybe we are witnessing the demise of the human race while ‘Rome burns.’ The fossil fuel industry peaked in the mid-1970’s, and since then we exploit nature to continue to have a life style based on its consumption, no matter at what cost to the environment. It would appear that humans are willing to seize short term pleasure and damn the future.”

Ranger: “Excuse me, but that isn’t anything new. So why are you fussing about it when it’s always been the case that power corrupts and people strive to gather more for themselves. Unless you can give me something to keep me awake here, I’m going off to take a nap.”