For my birthday last week, my wife and daughter bought me a nice tea pot and some decent tea; the latter something I’m now rediscovering the joys of. Yet, this morning my feelings, that the world is a very sad place at the moment, are difficult to avoid. However (please not the use of the adverb at the start of a sentence, Mr Gove), is it any better or worse than it has been in the past? Well, the answer to that question is a bit like the story of the person who jumped off the top of a skyscraper. As he passed a window on the 10th floor, someone asked him how it was going. To which he replied, “So far, so good”.
Now I am very aware that I’m one of, what I call, the “lucky generation” who lived through the 60’s and, it could said, “never had it so good”. So, from that background, I do feel that the current generation are missing out on, what was, a more cohesive society with a great deal more radicalism, optimism and hope. Note the three qualities contained in that description. At the time, however, we were also living through the cold war and experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis, which came as close to nuclear war as we’re ever likely to get, short, of course, of the real thing.
I contrast this with the current situation where there is, seemingly, unending austerity and religious fundamentalists who believe in an afterlife that is paradise. Moreover, these latter have access to nuclear weapons. That chills me and not in the way that that word is now used. I also think about a climate change scenario that involves a “tipping point” and possible sea level rises of six metres and, even, my heart sinks. Yet, would I turn the clock back?
The answer to that is a simple “no”. This is based on, what I feel is, a very clear sense of history, a sheer wonder at the universe we live in and a belief in the inherent decency of the vast majority of the people I come into contact with. Anyway, if my knowledge of the laws physics is any good (memo to self, check that one out with grandson, Chris, studying this at uni) time is irreversible, so we have no choice.
However, (see, Mr Gove, I’ve done it twice just to annoy you) memo to humanity. We are now, according to reports, experiencing the sixth great extinction. We also know that Mother Nature doesn’t care whether or not any particular species actually exists or not. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, therefore, in the short time we each have on this planet, to do our best to STOP FUCKING IT UP!
Another memo to self. Make cup of tea and keep going.