September ’22: Adapt Together
Adaptation is one of the fundamentals of life. We adapt, minute by minute, to our immediate surroundings. We adapt, day by day, to our general environment. We adapt, year by year, to our culture, our nation, our species, and our technologies.
With each layer of adaptation, we get closer to uncovering how freakishly chaotic our existence really is and how quickly it can change.
The first fusion plant might fire up in the next 10 years. By then, we’ll be mining the moon for helium-3 and stellar archeology, using spintronic laptops to pilot lunar robots.
In less than 5 years, the machines you use will know you by touch. Not just your fingerprint, but your inner workings.
These technological changes are coming and ‘what was’ was never designed to adapt to these many changes, this quickly.
To put it in perspective, neoliberalism, as a concept, is almost one hundred years old. It hasn’t fundamentally changed, though it’s sometimes called globalization and other times corporatocracy. It still survives, regardless of the reasons to set it on fire. While technology has facilitated the spread of globalization, it has also illuminated its failures. So much so, that the next generation has already rejected it’s premises.
It’s enough to make one wonder if, to paraphrase the great Hunter S. Thompson, we have already seen the high water mark of globalism and capitalism, and now the wave is rolling backwards.
It may be that our species’ legacy turns out to be facilitating our own self destruction in spite of all our amazing achievements. After all, we are toying with the mechanics of deep sea mining even after we’ve seen what comes of fiddling with environments we barely understand.
And yet we continue to press onward, treating the world as a stable system, not a steadily more chaotic system.
So how do we adapt in the midst of all this chaos? The data is irrefutable: if we all just get along, we won’t all die.
We must assume the best of each other and strive to repair the mistakes of the past. We must set policies to rebalance the old imbalances. We must engage in more humane and humanistic politics. And while policy and politics are absurd ways of processing reality, it’s what we got.
We won’t have a plastic-free world soon, but fully cyclical plastics are a damn fine way to bridge the gap. We won’t have perfectly fossil-fuel-less economies, but we will find a use for the scars they left.
We will find ways to use what we need to protect what we have. And even more ways to do more with less.
We will build a better future with the bones of the past. We will learn to understand both sides of the discussion, without permitting convenient lies. We will try to use capitalism to fix what capitalism broke. And while the road away from fossil fuel still needs fossil fuels, we’ll be better off without it.
And why will we do all this? Because we … not you, not I, but we … we are all in this together.