Monday, September 11, 2006

Forward Thinking

It is important to remember and pay respects on a day like 9/11. It is a sad day and the memory of that event highlights the danger of our age. We live in a time of uncertainty(although all times are uncertain) in which terrorism, nuclear power, global warming and degradation of the environment offer a wide spectrum of possible calamities.

It is easy to get carried away with pessimism, it is also easy to become frightened of the future. Although I harbor fears, I am very optimistic about humanity and the progress we will make. Many things could go wrong, but I think there are many things that will go right.

Here are a couple of things I'm optimistic about...

The United States will soon truly turn the corner on the issue of global warming and could possibly take major steps in the right direction on this issue. This would give further impetus for countries like India and China to follow the US's lead, especially on issues like cutting carbon emissions. As it stands, how could those developing countries consider cutting carbon emissions when a country like the US has yet to take a stand.

The continuing development and implementation of renewable energy sources brings so much promise. Who knows, there could be other ways to create energy that we haven't even touched on, I think I read about the possible use of magnetic fields to create energy the other day. That's cool, and seriously, humans are smart. And stupid too, I mean, if you can create nuclear bombs, come on, can't you create some magic way to make energy that costs nothing and has no negative externalities. Do it, do it NOW! That would be a loose quote of a line Arnold Scharwzenneger used in one of those Predator movies.

Although terrorism makes it seem like the world is splitting apart, we live in an age where varying cultures are much closer to each other(because of computers, tv, airplanes). Maybe enhanced communications between different parts of the world(and all different strata of society) will be a good thing. I think it is. Call me naive on this point, but I still like the idea. Awwwww. I can see it now, all different sorts of people holding hands and supremely happy because the internet showed us the path to peace and love. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not actually a hippy.

People like Bill Gates are making a difference(I know, it's fun to hate Microsoft but give this guy respect on this). Although it could be argued their money should be used at home for people who suffer(the amazing lack of care and funds for those with mental problems in the US comes to mind), 2 cents in Africa goes way further than it does here. Hopefully there will be a day in the future where little children don't die by the thousands from a variety of diseases, and actually get a chance at living a decent life. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is chipping a dent in this colossal endeavour.

There are lots of people that CARE, and many people who want to make a difference. I hope and believe in a future not of zero sum gains, but a world in which all societies gain, in which we all stand to gain if someone else does well.

Maybe living standards will improve across all countries and societies because of new discoveries in energy, medical advances, anything really, you name it, and there is promise. Hopefully improvements will not be limited to the most developed nations, as they tend to be, but improvements will touch all countries and allow higher standards of living for everyone.

What can I say? I'm a sappy optimist.

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