Micah Redding — faith in humanity's future


640px ladder to sky escalera al cielo stairway to heaven

I hear a lot about how our society sells us on consumerist wants, how magazines convince us we look ugly and need to look better, how car commercials make us lust after cars we don’t need, how our whole economy is premised on the empty ideal of keeping up with the Joneses.

This concept has even been extended to Facebook. Facebook, studies say, makes us unhappy by showing other people at their best. This makes us feel like our lives are worse than they are, and we become dissatisfied and unhappy.

I’m sure all this is true, and is a valid critique of our culture.

But there are few times when I’ve felt happier than when I had something big and ambitious to aspire to. In fact, one of my chief disappointments in growing older is that society hasn’t risen to the challenge of giving me new things to base my aspirations on.

Of course, the aspirations I picked up on weren’t things like “have a bigger house”, or “drive a nicer car”. They were more like, “be an epic swordsmen and start your own airline”, or “speak twelve languages and go rock-climbing on the weekends”.

In fact, after being drawn in by all the aspirational lifestyles the magazines were selling, one of the first aspirations I actually ever developed for myself was to be a magazine publisher.

These kinds of aspirations didn’t leave me dissatisfied with my life. Instead, because I knew I could jump in and work towards them, they gave me meaning and purpose, a sense of open-ended possibility, and a pulsing creative energy. They didn’t limit me to some predefined rat race; they showed me the doorway to greater and grander things than I had yet imagined.


lee workman:

We are all locked in to the "anthropocene" destiny, which is very frightening to me, because our culture and its leaders seem to have no clue, and there are no alternatives but to "carry on" with their agenda, which is a methamphetimene addicted economy - it can never slow down enough to secure its gains and stabilize. I read an analogy which I felt was very good: We have just now awakened at the wheel of the bus, with no clue how to drive it, much less which road to take. We (humans) are in control, but clueless. Life will survive even the worst that we can inflict and destroy, but life survives anything, regardless. That is its nature. The point, I guess, is: why must we regress in our own species-destiny? I don't necessarily believe we (humans) have lost the capacty to survive our self-inflicted catastrophe, but I wonder about the quality of the end-result. We would never even know what we had lost, and will never replace it with what we think we have found. But, that may be what's meant to be. I will be long gone before the outcome is determined, but meantime I will continue to doubt the current philosophy of exponential economic growth, based only on massive consumption of stored resources, and directed mainly toward increased consumption to fuel further growth.