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“As the flight begins, all is well. Our would–be airman has been pushed off the edge of the cliff and is pedaling away, and the wings of his craft are flapping like crazy. He’s feeling wonderful, ecstatic. He’s experiencing the freedom of the air. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that this craft is aerodynamically incapable of flight. It simply isn’t in compliance with the laws that make flight possible—but he would laugh if you told him this, He’s never heard of such laws, knows nothing about them. He would point at those flapping wings and say, ‘See? Just like a bird!’ Nevertheless, whatever he thinks, he’s not in flight. He’s an unsupported object falling toward the center of the earth. He’s not in flight, he’s in free fall. Are you with me so far?”
“Fortunately—or, rather, unfortunately for our airman—he chose a very high cliff to launch his craft from. His disillusionment is a long way off in time and space. There he is in free fall, feeling wonderful and congratulating himself on his triumph. He’s like the man in the joke who jumps out of a ninetieth–floor window on a bet. As he passes the tenth floor, he says to himself, ‘Well, so far so good!’
“There he is in free fall, experiencing the exhilaration of what he takes to be flight. From his great height he can see for miles around, and one thing he sees puzzles him: The floor of the valley is dotted with craft just like his—not crashed, simply abandoned. ‘Why,’ he wonders, ‘aren’t these craft in the air instead of sitting on the ground? What sort of fools would abandon their aircraft when they could be enjoying the freedom of the air?’ Ah well, the behavioral quirks of less talented, earthbound mortals are none of his concern. However, looking down into the valley has brought something else to his attention. He doesn’t seem to be maintaining his altitude. In fact, the earth seems to be rising up toward him. Well, he’s not very worried about that. After all, his flight has been a complete success up to now, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t go on being a success. He just has to pedal a little harder, that’s all.
“So far so good. He thinks with amusement of those who predicted that his flight would end in disaster, broken bones, and death. Here he is, he’s come all this way, and he hasn’t even gotten a bruise, much less a broken bone. But then he looks down again, and what he sees really disturbs him. The law of gravity is catching up to him at the rate of thirty–two feet per second per second—at an accelerating rate. The ground is now rushing up toward him in an alarming way. He’s disturbed but far from desperate. ‘My craft has brought me this far in safety,’ he tells himself. ‘I just have to keep going.’ And so he starts pedaling with all his might. Which of course does him no good at all, because his craft simply isn’t in accord with the laws of aerodynamics. Even if he had the power of a thousand men in his legs—ten thousand, a million—that craft is not going to achieve flight. That craft is doomed—and so is he unless he abandons it.”
“Right. I see what you’re saying, but I don’t see the connection with what we’re talking about here.”
Ishmael nodded. “Here is the connection. Ten thousand years ago, the people of your culture embarked on a similar flight: a civilizational flight. Their craft wasn’t designed according to any theory at all. Like our imaginary airman, they were totally unaware that there is a law that must be complied with in order to achieve civilizational flight. They didn’t even wonder about it. They wanted the freedom of the air, and so they pushed off in the first contraption that came to hand: the Taker Thunderbolt.
“At first all was well. In fact, all was terrific. The Takers were pedaling away and the wings of their craft were flapping beautifully. They felt wonderful, exhilarated. They were experiencing the freedom of the air: freedom from restraints that bind and limit the rest of the biological community. And with that freedom came marvels—all the things you mentioned the other day: urbanization, technology, literacy, mathematics, science.
“Their flight could never end, it could only go on becoming more and more exciting. They couldn’t know, couldn’t even have guessed that, like our hapless airman, they were in the air but not in flight. They were in free fall, because their craft was simply not in compliance with the law that makes flight possible. But their disillusionment is far away in the future, and so they’re pedaling away and having a wonderful time. Like our airman, they see strange sights in the course of their fall. They see the remains of craft very like their own—not destroyed, merely abandoned—by the Maya, by the Hohokam, by the Anasazi, by the peoples of the Hopewell cult, to mention only a few
of those found here in the New World. ‘Why,’ they wonder, ‘are these craft on the ground instead of in the air? Why would any people prefer to be earthbound when they could have the freedom of the air, as we do?’ It’s beyond comprehension, an unfathomable mystery.
“Ah well, the vagaries of such foolish people are nothing to the Takers. They’re pedaling away and having a wonderful time. They’re not going to abandon their craft. They’re going to enjoy the freedom of the air forever. But alas, a law is catching up to them. They don’t know such a law even exists, but this ignorance affords them no protection from its effects. This is a law as unforgiving as the law of gravity, and it’s catching up to them in exactly the same way the law of gravity caught up to our airman: at an accelerating rate.
“Some gloomy nineteenth–century thinkers, like Robert Wallace and Thomas Robert Malthus, look down. A thousand years before, even five hundred years before, they would probably have noticed nothing. But now what they see alarms them. It’s as though the ground is rushing up to meet them—as though they are going to crash. They do some figuring and say, ‘If we go on this way, we’re going to be in big trouble in the not–too–distant future.’ The other Takers shrug their predictions off. ‘We’ve come all this enormous way and haven’t even received so much as a scratch. It’s true the ground seems to be rising up to meet us, but that just means we’ll have to pedal a little harder. Not to worry.’ Nevertheless, just as was predicted, famine soon becomes a routine condition of life in many parts of the Taker Thunderbolt—and the Takers have to pedal even harder and more efficiently than before. But oddly enough, the harder and more efficiently they pedal, the worse conditions become. Very strange. Peter Farb calls it a paradox: ‘Intensification of production to feed an increased population leads to a still greater increase in population.’ ‘Never mind,’ the Takers said. ‘We’ll just have to put some people pedaling away on a reliable method of birth control. Then the Taker Thunderbolt will fly forever.’
“But such simple answers aren’t enough to reassure the people of your culture nowadays. Everyone is looking down, and it’s obvious that the ground is rushing up toward you—and rushing up faster every year. Basic ecological and planetary systems are being impacted by the Taker Thunderbolt, and that impact increases in intensity every year. Basic, irreplaceable resources are being devoured every year—and they’re being devoured more greedily every year. Whole species are disappearing as a result of your encroachment—and they’re disappearing in greater numbers every year. Pessimists—or it may be that they’re realists—look down and say,.
Originally posted by baseball101
reply to post by wonderworld
those are truly saddening numbers ... how can people go and spend billions/trillions of dollars of people's money (that most don't want them to spend it on) and not give 2 sh**'s about the starving and undernourished of the countries far and wide, including their own?
let us not forget the millions/billions of dollars put into war profiteers pockets to fund never ending wars, that could be used to feed the starving.
Wana know what's really scary? That's not the people's money. That is money borrowed at 30% adjusted for inflation. Our money has been pissed away already.
edit: for grammar
[edit on 3-6-2009 by baseball101]
Originally posted by VelmaLu
Do you know what is the real problem behind population control? It's RELIGION. . . particularly Catholicism and Christianity.
Our beef comes from Iowa, fed by Nebraska corn. Our grapes come from Chile, our bananas from Honduras, our olive oil from Sicily, our apple juice—not from Washington State but all the way from China. Modern society has relieved us of the burden of growing, harvesting, even preparing our daily bread, in exchange for the burden of simply paying for it. Only when prices rise do we take notice. And the consequences of our inattention are profound...
Such agflation hits the poorest billion people on the planet the hardest, since they typically spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food....
World meat consumption is expected to double by 2050.
Over the long-term, the rising global population will be a fundamental driver of the rising price of food. Last year, Ban Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, predicted that world food production had to increase by half by 2030 to meet rising demand. Then there is global warming. Dry places are getting dryer and wet places are getting wetter and this is playing havoc with farming. (I see this happening firsthand)
South America has suffered from a protracted drought this year and many crops have failed. Changing weather patterns are likely to mean this will continue.
Personal self restraint is the issue. Something both Christianity and Catholicism address.