Sunday, 14 February 2010

Overwhelmed by overwhelming overwhelmingness

Another banality that occurred to me this morning: Few of us like to feel overwhelmed and at the mercy of forces we don't understand/can't control. And as children, that's mostly what we endure- we are told when to go to bed, what to where, what to eat. [See Stephen Jay Gould on why kids are fascinated by big lumbering brainless dinosaurs] Becoming an adult, you get to “choose” these things yourself (though often the choices you make are within the narrow bounds set by advertisers, but the crucial thing- for my rhetorical purpose- is that you feel free.)

And you get to stay an adult, with luck, until advanced old age crumbles that independence away from you and you get patronised by some NHS stooge a third of your age.

But look, here comes climate change. A huge force, arbitrary and beyond control and bargaining with that will take away so many of the 'free choices' - air travel, bling - that we deploy to tell ourselves and each other that we are now adults. [It's bad enough if for those willing to concede that some social problems need collective solutions. For staunch 'individualists' who hates the messiness of mass society, then it must be doubly hell.]
And so, like a teenager with a parent lecturing us, we turn up the volume on our iPod and say (to ourselves) “yeah, whatever.”