Sunday, May 16, 2010
Smoke and mirrors
I remember once, talking on the phone to my mom about what was happening in the world at the time (she died in 1993, so it must have been in the late 1980s or early 1990s), her saying to me that big awful changes are coming to the world. She said that she wouldn't live to see it, but I would. That was twenty years ago. What major changes have come about since then?
The first one that comes to mind is how small the world has become. Because of the internet and the changes in the speed of connectivity, cellphones, iPhones and the like, we are constantly connected to the world and what is occurring all over the world. And the world is constantly changing. I tried a few weeks ago to stop reading the news, but I couldn't. Thinking it would make me feel better to take a "news fast," I tried but failed to become disconnected to all that's going on. I'm sitting here at 6:30am on a Sunday morning, still in bed, drinking tea and writing on my laptop, connected to the larger world.
This particular blog was started because I wanted to find out what I still want to accomplish in my life, find out who I am by looking at how I got here. Well, I think I've done that, and I'm looking for a reason to keep on writing here. I've got a few ideas, but the one that keeps coming back up to the surface is the whole idea of the change that's coming, that Mama warned me about, that I feel in my bones.
Part of what's driving it, other than knowing instantly what's happening in Bangkok or Baghdad, is the sheer number of people on the planet today. When I was born, the world population was around 2.5 billion. Next year, the world will pass the 7 billion mark. That's three times the number of people! I can feel it, too. I remember a world that didn't have strip malls as far as the eye can see. In the United States, the population has more than doubled since I was little. Since the change has been gradual, I haven't got any way to measure when it began to feel crowded, but now everywhere seems that way.
In the 1980s, I remember being disgusted at all the beautiful places in Boulder being torn down for apartments and houses to replace open space. I thought it was just in Boulder that it was happening, and I could move somewhere that was more like it used to be. But that's just not true. All those extra people had to have jobs, somewhere to live, places to shop. That is everywhere in the world today.
This all brings me back to the idea of the Wizard of Oz. Although he was in the end a benign entity, I always believed that somebody, somewhere, was in charge. That behind the smoke and mirrors we would find a reason for the insanity that we are going through, worldwide. Today there is a huge catastrophic oil leak that will change my world forever. People are being blown up because of an idea that I just don't understand. There is nobody in charge, and we are all just trying to survive from one day to the next in the best way we know how.