Ignorancegreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I have so much of it, I could give it away all day and still have plenty left. Ignorant people are afraid of science. When the Inquisitors, who were the intelligencia of their day, ordered scientists and witches to be burned at the stake, they did not force the population to go and witness it. The people knew that it was withcraft that brought sickness and death. Some of those witches were healers and prophets. They did not trust the science of their day. In the 1930's we saw all the Frankenstein movies. Again a reflection of "science gone mad". People of that day in their hearts did not trust all the newfangled things that were being developed around them all of a sudden. Again in the 50s. All of those grade B movies of mutated ants, rats, worms and on and on. Again a fascination with "science gone mad" Most recently, when you would think we knew better, New Age stuff. Crystals, energy vortexes in Sedona and Santa Fe, Global warming, Wicken, Health foods, Vampirism, Gnosticism and yes, even Conspiracy theories. (Have I left anyone out?) In my ignorance, I have concluded that we just don't trust our masters. We feel that things have gotten beyond our control. To get it back we buy food and guns. Don't get me wrong, I have food and lots of guns. It makes me feel "In Control". Our technology has grown way beyond our natural ability to catch up. Mao Tse Tung, when asked what effect the French revolution has had on society? Answered, "It is too soon to tell" On several occasions, I like many Soldiers, Firefighters, Policemen and even football players have been asked to, "Hang it all out" I honest and truly, would recall a line from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. "A coward dies many times before his death. The valiant die but once." I am trying to apply everything I know to this new situation. Some of it works and some of it does not work. Am I superstitious and frightened by "Science gone mad"? Sure I am. Can anyone think of a hokier "B" movie story line than, "The revolt of the computers?" I think that the proof is that there are at least two movies coming out in 1999 about y2k.
-- Bill Solorzano (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 22, 1998
Ignorance is part of the human condition. Don't apologize- we all have more than our share though most are unwilling to admit it. The trick is to keep it from being a fatal affliction.
It's been around for a while. Kipling commemorated it in the poem below. The first time I saw it I had goosebumps, and it still produces that effect. Here it is again for new forum attendees.
I looked for any commentary or literary criticism I could find on it and still have seen nothing. Many years ago schoolchildren had copybooks into which they laboriously copied the day's lessons for further study later- I suppose this predated textbooks, thus the reference here. The rest seems pretty self explanatory. Enjoy, poetry lovers.
----------------------------------- The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by Rudyard Kipling (1919)
As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn: But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision, and Breadth of Mind, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace, Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place, But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch, They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings; So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. And when we disarmed They sold us delivered and bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife) Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selective Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew, And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four-- And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man-- There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:-- That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool's finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
-- Lee P. Lapin (email@example.com), July 22, 1998.
Thank you so much for Kipling's poem. I would not have known it but for you. Thanks again.
-- Bill Solorzano (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 22, 1998.
Something to file away...
"Ignorance is expensive."
-- Pastor Chris (email@example.com), July 22, 1998.
Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, some only gargle.
-- Barb-Douglas (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 22, 1998.
The writers of "science fiction", always in the forefront of political satire and social commentary,have had spooky computers run-amok stories since before computers really had all our eggs in one basket.
Seems to me that Planet Earth's problem is in trusting so-called experts of economics who said: hey,...no problem,...expansion can happen forever...more of everything and right now please (in defiance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, I might add)....California is drowning in "development"...the "masters" are determined to make California the next "third world nation". More people on non-renewable resources, particularly water. The book I mentioned in an earlier post..."The End of Affluence" was written in 1974...when Y2K was just a glimmer in programmers' eyes...
I want no "masters", either the mythical ones I was schooled in so that I would be well-conditioned and accepting of slavery and lemminghood...nor the worldly "masters" that people keep running off to the ballot box to elect, like lemmings, over and over.
I read once that the true definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results each time...
Unchecked development and economic growth run amok has toppled every government in recorded history...seems nobody listened to Santayana when he said something about the failure to learn from history was a guarantee for countless insane repetitions.
So far the rant...and Thanks Bill for the great kick-off.
-- Donna Barthuley (email@example.com), July 22, 1998.
Nothing wrong with ignorance. We each are ignorant of much more than we are knowledgeable. Ignorance is merely not knowing about something. However, not WANTING to know about something is "stupid." And in this lies true evil.
Ignorance, stupidity, apathy, and denial---The first consisting of lack of exposure to information the second of lack of capacity to absorb it, and the third and fourth of having the information but lacking the conviction or optimism or fortitude to act on it.
"If ignorance is bliss, then why aren't more people happy?"
-- Hallyx (Hallyx@aol.com), July 23, 1998.
Wow. I'm speechless. Great postings from the very beginning. Thanks Bill, thanks Lee, thanks Donna. It's nice to spend a moment in the philosophical side of this mess and move away from the insulting exchanges that are becoming more frequent on this forum.
My personal faith in literature, writers, artists, etc. has been restored--that Kipling, in 1919, wrote something so relevant, prophetic, poetic, for 1998. I just keep trying to tell myself that long before there was TECHNOLOGY there was literature, music, dancing, education, and so on.
It's so hard to function in the madness of our society and the larger world. Thanks again, everyone here, for the breather.
-- Bill Currier (Pookahrini@aol.com), July 23, 1998.
I've always though there were two sorts of ignorance: the sort where you don't know, and the sort where you know that you don't know.
The latter sort can be considered wisdom in, say, a manager: it means that he either educates himself when necessary or makes sure he can and does trust the person he pays to know in his stead.
Y2K will be a mess or worse, because the second sort of ignorance is rare. Especially so, from what I've read and heard, amongst managers.
-- Nigel Arnot (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 23, 1998.