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Today's quote:

Monday, July 10, 2017

No human group has ever figured out how to design its future - and neither will we!

 

As we, the people of the First World, the Romans of the twentieth century, look out across our Earth, we see some signs for hope, many more for despair. Technology proceeds apace, delivering the marvels that knit our world together - the conquering of diseases that plagued every age but ours and the consequent lowering of mortality rates, revolutions in crop yields that continue to feed expanding populations, the contemplated 'information highway' that will soon enable all of us to retrieve information and communicate with one another in ways so instant and complete that they would dazzle those who built the Roman roads, the first great information system.

But that road system became impassable rubble, as the empire was overwhelmed by population explosions beyond its borders. So will ours. Rome's demise instructs us in what inevitably happens when impoverished and rapidly expanding populations, whose ways and values are only dimly understood, press up against a rich and ordered society. More than a billion people in our world today survive on less than $370 a year, while Americans, who constitute five percent of the world's population, purchase fifty percent of its cocaine. If the world's population, which has doubled in our lifetime, doubles again by the middle of the next century [the 21st century; our century], how could anyone hope to escape the catastrophic consequences - the wrath to come? But we turn our backs on such unpleasantness and contemplate the happier prospects of our technological dreams."

So wrote Thomas Cahill in the last chapter of his scholarly book, How the Irish Saved Civilization", published in 1995 and becoming frighten-ing reality in Europe at this very moment.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", said George Santayana. To which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. replied, "I've got news for Mr. Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what.”

Who will save us then?


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