Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#88 / Falling From A Great Height

If we have built our civilization, generation by generation, with each generation standing on the shoulders of the previous generations (and that is certainly an apt metaphor for the situation in which human beings find themselves), then we need to be cautious, as much as celebratory, about our elevated perch.

Existing as we do on the "shoulders of giants," we are a long ways up. If we fall, we're falling from a great height!

This is all in the realm of metaphor, of course, but there must be some reality related to the the image. The stability of our world - the human world that we create - is far more precarious than we like to admit, and the consequences of a failure now (as opposed to earlier, when the shoulders on which we stood were not so high up) is far, far greater. Testimony to the power of the metaphor, falling from a great height, is found in the very popular television series, Mad Men, which incorporates the falling man image as its central theme.

If you want to read up on the reality of falling from a great height, here's a website that will tell you what to do to maximize your chances of survival! Unfortunately, the techniques don't seem to scale up, and I'm not so sure they are much help when we think that it might be our civilization that is in danger of falling.

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