People are funny. No one seems to love today. It seems that everyone prefers to talk about some other time and place as being more wonderful. I have been trying to guess what people will lock onto as their special time and significant activity. People who were in college during the 60s seem to think the antiwar rallies were what was wonderful and important about their lives. Those who were overseas during that time remember that as most significant. Some of my older friends remember the 30s and to them the design and styling of cars wells up as important and those who were abroad during that war remember it as their significant life adventure. Those who were into computers during the 80s and 90s remember the growth of that power with amazement while seeming to forget it is still in full flow.
One quick way to know where someone’s set point is, is the music they prefer. With the exception of the radio announcer I know who obviously is informed and likes to talk about his broadcast specialty, everyone else seems to value music as somehow defining their core meaning and the place where they were at politically. The Bob Dylan fans still seem to think of him as having some profound insights which they believe everyone else missed but it was the same with Elvis Presley, and Bing Crosby. I remember my father telling me that Crosby was considered so cutting edge that it would be what we would now call raunchy in his early days. But I remember personally that Presley and Dylan were thought well outside of responsible behavior. It is hard to think of White Christmas being sung by Bing Crosby as the king of raunchy in the 30s. But then Presley the king of raunchy in the 50s put out his Christmas Album. And many folks are all sentimental now about Dylan. Of course Michael Jackson, the greatest performer of all time, just died last week and Thriller will no doubt soon have the same sentimentality attached to it that these former greatest of all time performers had after their prime. Who knows maybe those songs will soon come to be associated with the holiday season.
What is happening now and how can we predict the future of what people will consider sentimental? “I know of no other way to predict the future than by observing the past.” And what will be sentimental nostalgia after a while will probably be tattoos. I being an older person am not into tattoos even tho I spend a couple hours most days in my coffee shop sitting right next to Berkeley’s Zebra Tattoo Parlor. But I see college-age people streaming into that place with the same silly enthusiasm for nonsense we all had in our collage years. Perhaps it was ever thus but somehow being really excited about creating new computer chips and programs seems more worthwhile than a butterfly on your butt. But who am I to judge? Well I am me and I judge it not so great.
Several times I have talked to an 18 year old woman, Miranda, working for Greenpeace. She is getting people to support that worthy cause. So, following the trajectory of the earlier people discussed, I would assume that the Ecology movement is going to have a lot of nostalgia fifty years down the road. But, I don’t think it will happen. The down side of the ecology quest and Global Warming prevention and the other associated endeavors is that they are doomed to failure. There is already so much inertia built into those trends that they can’t be turned around before these people reach a time when they should be feeling sentimental nostalgia towards their success with these pursuits. In fifty years when Miranda should be feeling flush with a lifetime of accomplishment the population will have exploded and probably collapsed and the ecological disasters such as global warming will have come and gotten far worse instead of going away and the battles these people are fighting for will have been lost. That is why I support The EarthArk Project, because it has a positive outcome. When a person who is presently young and lives for another fifty years they will be able to point with pride at their accomplishments at having placed some EarthArks in position. At that time these people can feel accomplishment because the EarthArks at that time can do some real good for saving the planet. Whereas those people who are presently struggling with the Global Warming problem will at that not too distant time be filled with gloom and angst because they will certainly have failed. The Earth’s atmosphere will get warmer and the ice will melt and the oceans will rise and although the Greenpeace people are doing a wonderful thing they will be overwhelmed by the inertia of things already in progress.
The EarthArk Project is still defining the goals and strategy but there is one thing which is currently being pursed by lots of people and which I think will have a long term positive payoff and that is blogging, twittering, Facebooking and other cooperative pursuits such as Wikipedia. It has set a new standard for massive cooperation and created a wonderful tool for everyones use and benefit. These new things are available for every person on Earth and everyone can have an very real input for improving the world we all live in.