Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
another culture would endure, for the world that matered to them, the
world that supplied them with their core system of beliefs and concerns,
had vanished.
Our dilemma is a litle like theirs: eventually, when we realize that no
one can escape the future we have created, we too will have to doubt our
core system of beliefs. But this time, no one will have defeated us; we will
not be imprisoned, nor will we be the losers of the Cold War. We will
have defeated ourselves . That event will at once distress us, since we will
indeed be stuck on an Earth we never hoped to see, but it will also give
us some hope, since as the agents of our own undoing, we would still pre-
sumably have the chance to do something about it. At once perpetrators
and victims, we'll endure a crisis, to be sure, but we will still be confident
we can face the crisis on our own terms, find means of adaptation, or dis-
cover some style of living on.
But too much confidence in this respect will be illusory. Until this
point in our histories, we could take for granted that if we foresaw a dan-
ger to our collective lives, we could take action and ward it off. If we did
something, we would see results . But if our societies fail to act soon and
those positive feedback loops kick in, we will enter a truly bizarre condi-
tion. At that moment, if it has not already taken place, we will discover
that the future we dread will arrive no mater what we do in the present . In
that strange hour, the future will become at once inevitable and alien; it
will bring about devastating events even if we atempt to prevent them.
Where we could once shape the future in some fashion, in that
moment we will discover that the future has become estranged: that
future, as well, will be in ruins. Of course, our actions even in that
moment will continue to have an effect: they might prevent an even more
devastating future from taking place or might save various aspects of the
planet for later generations. But they will be too litle and too late to pre-
vent a wrenching change for all the world's cultures.
The possibility that we might cross those tipping points without
knowing it makes our situation uncanny. If we do make that transition, it
will take place silently, without notice—as if we are on board a ship that
has been struck and will eventually sink even though we heard nothing of
that blow and the band plays on. In a case like that, the events determin-
ing the future will have arrived already, while we carried on, oblivious.
Search WWH ::

Custom Search