Summary: The FM website discusses problems and proposes solutions. On holidays we interrupt our regular (somewhat depressing, hopefully inspirational) service to bring you something different. Today and tomorrow we’ll have good news! On Friday it’s back to usual, showing how the current wave of protests about and by the police is good news (but only for the 1%).
“For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air.”
— Treebeard, speaking in Tolkien’s Return of the King
On the day before Christmas let’s give thanks for what we have. Humanity was born naked and ignorant, bereft of either armor or weapons, on Africa’s Serengeti Plains. We have survived droughts and floods, an ice age and a supervolcano — steadily leaning and developing our strength. For perspective consider this early Holocene Sci-fi, as written by Pat Mathews:
- Shaman: I have foreseen a time when everybody can have all the meat, fat, and sweet stuff they can eat, and they all get fat.
- Chief: You have had a vision of the Happy Hunting Grounds.
- Shaman: It is considered a great and horrible problem! People go out of their way to eat leaves and grass and grains, and work very hard to look lean and brown.
- Chief: You’ve been eating too many of those strange mushrooms, and are seeing everything backward.
We have accomplished great things in the developed nations (with the emerging nations accelerating to catch up): ended slavery, created democracies, and brought rights to the poor, minorities, and women. Above all, our technological progress has created so many singularities (e.g., fire, writing). Consider Dodge City in 1877. Bat Masterson is sheriff, maintaining some semblance of law in the Wild West. Life in Dodge is materially only slightly better from that in an English village of a century before. But social and technological evolution has accelerated to a dizzying pace, and Bat cannot imagine what lies ahead.
Let’s see the year 1877 through the eyes of Bat Masterson …