• Posted: Jun 26, 2011 21:54:40
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Many years ago on an AOL discussion forum I initiated the topic "Why is there Air?" Initial responses included a few smirks, but the thread eventually developed into a very interesting far ranging discussion that drew in a number of deep thinkers. One early scoff did note the question's previous use by Bill Cosby and stated, "He was right, it's for filling up basketballs."
My response went something like, "And let's say you are right. Suppose an enterprising child with very powerful adoring parents commanded that all air was to be placed inside basketballs. What do you suppose would be left for the rest of us to breathe?" That response got a number of people thinking. Faced with limited resources and serious consequences to and from others, what would be the optimal course to take? What are or should be the ethical, moral, philosophical, social, biological, and physical limitations on human caprice?
This week a report was submitted to the United Nations concerning the state of the world's oceans. It's authors included a range of scientists from the Union for Conservation for Nature and the International Programme on the State of the Oceans. Per the Associated Press, the report concluded: "The health of the world's oceans is declining much faster than originally thought - under siege from pollution, overfishing and other man-made problems. The combination of problems suggests there's a brewing worldwide die-off of species that would rival the previous five mass extinction events in the past 600 million years."
That was disturbing news. It also reminded me of that old discussion thread I initiated and of a book published back in the early 70's entitled The Limits of Growth by the Club of Rome. Look it up. It's an interesting read.
The facts are that no matter how confident we are in our abilities to prevail in competition with our fellows, or how wishful and believing we are that God will step in to save us from the consequences of our own actions and ignorances, in the end the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology will trump whatever we have to offer and steam roll right over us as if we were nothing more than dust in the road. It is entirely up to us to make and maintain a viable place for ourselves in the overall scheme of things. Making use of our brains to coldly learn what we are dealing with and plan a sustainable path for ourselves is one thing we can do. Helping to create and maintain communities of similarly enlightened and committed souls can strengthen and multiply our effectiveness. If we are to survive, we must find a way to cooperate with one another to limit and control the growth of our numbers and the pressures we place upon the environment that gives us life. Nothing we do or don't do is without consequence. No denial or fudging of facts, nor prayerful or complacent wishful thinking, nor act of war, hoarding, or belligerence will likely save us.
Why is there water? Why is there air? They are a test. Pass the test, we survive. Fail, we don't.
Monday, July 13th, 2009
88.8 mm 421 mm