Posted on January 20, 2008
Filed Under Culture & Technology |
The World Economic Forum, “an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas,” is holding its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 23 - 27. Business leaders, politicians, intellectuals and now bloggers will come together to discuss how to deal with the mess of a world they’ve helped create. Since the organization was formed in 1971, they’ve failed to deal with anything, but warm fuzzy feelings are created when guys like Bono, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton all get on the same stage and reaffirm their commitment to improving the human condition (once they take care of their other business, of course).
In my opinion, the World Economic Forum and its Davos meetings are little more than shams and will never accomplish anything of substance because they don’t really intend to. After all, where there isn’t a will, there isn’t a way, and far too many members of the World Economic Forum seem to be doing pretty damn well with the status quo. Davos is a fun vacation and makes for great PR, nothing more.
But now the World Economic Forum has decided to move its sham into the world of Web 2.0 and is asking the “community” for its help in saving the world using the same bullshit distribution platform presidential hopefuls have been using: . That’s right, you can now upload your response to the question “What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?” and the leaders at Davos are all going to be forced to watch the best ones (I can hear their chuckles and see their eyes rolling now). Even so, I can’t wait to see the videos and the responses that the World Economic Forum is apparently going to provide.
Personally, I think it would make things a whole lot easier if we stopped pretending that people actually care about making the world a better place. It would make the decline of the human race a whole lot more enjoyable if we simply admitted that nobody truly gives a shit about the environment, about developing nations and about all the other “causes” that we’ve created.
Now some of you might think I’m being way too cynical here, and you might even say “But I really do care Drama!” Please. I’ll let one of my favorite comedians, George Carlin, respond:
Haven’t we done enough? We’re so self-important, so self-important. Everybody’s gonna save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails. And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet! We haven’t even learned how to care for one another! We’re going to save the fuckin’ planet? I’m getting tired of that shit! Tired of that shit! I’m tired of fuckin’ Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white bourgeoisie liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos.
Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that someday in the future they might be personally inconvenienced.
Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me. Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet! The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Difference! Difference! The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. It’s been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand, maybe two hundred thousand. And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the conceit to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re going to put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue green ball that’s just afloating around the sun.
The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages. And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are! We’re going away. Pack your shit folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace either. Thank god for that. Maybe a little Styrofoam. Maybe. Little Styrofoam. Planet will be here. We’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.
You want to know how the planet’s doing? Ask those people at Pompeii who are frozen into position from volcanic ash. How the planet’s doing? Want to know if the planet’s alright? Ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. How about those people in Kilauea, Hawaii who build their homes right next to an active volcano and then wonder why they have lava in the living room?
The planet will be here for a long, long, long time after we’re gone and it will heal itself. It will cleanse itself ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover. The earth will be renewed. If it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old philosophical question “Why are we here?” Plastic, assholes! So the plastic is here. Our job is done. We can be phased out now.
And I think that’s really started already, don’t you? I mean to be fair, the planet probably sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And I’m sure the planet will defend itself in the manner of a large organism like a bee hive or an ant colony can muster a defense. I’m sure the planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet trying to defend against this pesky, troublesome species? Let’s see…viruses! Viruses might be good! They seem vulnerable to viruses and viruses are tricky, always mutating, forming new strains, whatever vaccine is developed. Perhaps this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction. Well, that’s a poetic note and it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I?
See I don’t worry about the little things. Bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand, a higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The big electron. The big electron. Whoa whoa whoa. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is, and so are we. For a little while.
So what’s the one thing I think countries, companies and individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008? Leave it the fuck alone! It was a whole lot better before us assholes started doing things to it because we thought we had to make it better and it will be a whole lot better once us assholes can’t meddle with it any further.