Thursday, September 28, 2023

#271 / We Will Never Run Out


"Hubris." You know that word? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "hubris" means "exaggerated pride or self-confidence." So, how would you classify the following headline, gleaned from the July 21, 2023 edition of The Wall Street Journal?

Some might consider the headline just quoted as "hubristic" in the extreme. Apparently, the editors of The Wall Street Journal don't think so (or maybe they just don't care about glorying in their hubris), but that headline gave me the shivers. That attitude, I think, would doom us to destruction.
It is my idea that we live, ultimately, in the "Natural World," a place into which we have rather mysteriously appeared. You can picture that familiar image of the Earth, taken from space, to get an idea of what that "World of Nature" means to me. I do sometimes call it "The World God Made." The key point, for me, is that we did NOT make the world upon which we ultimately rely for everything we do, and which, by its very nature, is a world of limits. 
Mostly, of course, most directly, we live in a world that we have created. That is a world created by human effort, and that we continue to "un-create" and "re-create," time and time again. This is that "Human World" that is our most immediate reality. To build our human world, we rely on the World of Nature - and now we learn, from Marian L. Tupy and David Deutsch, and their column in The Wall Street Journal, that the resources we need to sustain our own creations are not "limited" in any way. 
I have utilized this blog, previously, to cite to one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, a song about the discovery of America. The song is entitled, "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream." In many ways, "America" is an apt metaphor for the larger "Human World," a world that is initially discovered in what was thought of as a "state of nature," and is then transformed by human action into what it is, today.
In Dylan's song, Dylan arrives on the Mayflower, right at the start of the song, and he leaves, at the end of the song, as Columbus arrives to discover America. Dylan's dream, in other words, is just as confused and confusing as most of our dreams really are - and just as confused as the reality we dream about. What comes first in time is last in the dream, but if we stick with the song we can get the main idea. 
My favorite lines come at the end of the song, as Dylan speaks to Columbus. Dylan is leaving the scene, and is welcoming Columbus, as follows: 
The funniest thing was
When I was leavin’ the bay
I saw three ships a-sailin’
They were all heading my way
I asked the captain what his name was
And how come he didn’t drive a truck
He said his name was Columbus
I just said, “Good luck”
The idea that we don't have to worry about limits? Well, .... 

I just say, "Good Luck."
Image Credit: 

1 comment:

  1. Ignorance of natural resource limits is pervasive in what is called civilization. It's the whole basis of the global, consumer based, growth at any cost economy, and the political systems that deploy it.

    It seems there is no way to dispel this ignorance, despite sometimes desperate attempts by many for several centuries. Perhaps, the only route to change is complete collapse, as some believe to be inevitable.

    That which cannot go on forever, stops.


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