Why I Am A Y2K Optimist

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Pessimism about Y2K remediation and potential Y2K impact can and should be separated from how some of us (me, at least) view the post Y2K future.

Yes, I do expect a depression (delighted if it turns out to be a bump instead). Yes, I don't rule out the possibility of real dark stuff ("plagues") if water systems collapse. Could Russia decide to attack us? Of course. I believe Infomagic's scenario is a highly improbable but still possible outcome, especially if it turns out we were dead wrong about embedded systems. So, I prepare. And prepare some more.

But I am emphatically a Y2K optimist.

Undoubtedly, my optimism stems from my world view (INVITATION to fellow-travelers: see my corresponding thread on Pastor Chris' Y2K forum). That's not a surprise. Our deepest held world views shape our convictions about long-term futures.

Optimism is not necessarily in conflict with realism, either about Y2K's potential impact or the capability of man to do terrible things to other men. However: ... No matter what happens, I expect many millions of people to act heroically and generously.

... I believe Y2K is offering us a rare chance to rethink our relationship to our technologies. That can only be positive.

... Each family that has prepared is that much more able to contribute to their community as a stabler, more productive neighbor. Each community that is speaking "to itself" about Y2K, and many are however haltingly, is gaining something of permanent value.

... and so it goes.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, the power of a single thought or act of creation (call it a meme if you will) can unleash tremendous change in the long run. Fortunately: Shakespeare, Founding Fathers, others. Unfortunately: Marx, Hitler, others.

Out of the GI community may someday come a new thought about choosing, rather than suffering-enduring our technology; about self-sufficiency in combination with community; about ???

That new thought may require several generations to take root. Pushing our way towards such thoughts is, arguably, the real purpose of this forum, though always tacit and in the background.

Should we be so fortunate as to find that thought, it will not build a utopia. But the effort and the hope for it realistically underlies my (our?) Y2K optimism.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), March 28, 1999


Nice post, BigDog. I agree, actually.

Sometimes optimism can be worse on people, if it means they weren't REALLY prepared for the outcome. But it sure does help to have a larger goal, bigger picture, and a positive view of the direction events could lead in.

That being said, there is that saying, "Only optimists kill themselves. Pessimists aren't surprised their life sucks." :-)

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), March 28, 1999.

Big Dog,

Nice thoughts but I've been giving some idle moments to thoughts about the geographical distribution of failure & what that could mean to the future.Cities with power,for instance are going to have a huge advantage over those without and the same goes for water,banks, telecommunication, sewage, hospitals etc.

For instance if Ontario Hydro switches over successfully on 1/1/2000 but New York doesn't,I know where I would relocate my business FAST. You may get many abandoned towns & cities and massive migrations. I think the odds are that today's culture may still thrive in such cities.

-- Chris (griffen@globalnet.co.uk), March 28, 1999.

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