Letter to an Awakening Friend (long)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Last week, a very dear DGI friend (with no access to computers) went through some personal stuff that made him realize that he was holding some unacknowledged fears about Y2K. The following is a letter I wrote to him in response. (It echoes much of whats being said in the thread below entitled To all of you who listen to me. Im posting this letter as a separate thread because it is long and because I didnt want to distract from the discussion there.) I decided to share this letter with readers here, even though its really quite personal, because I think it may reflect what many are feeling. Forum readers are family, after all. By the way, to those of you who sometimes email to ask whether you may use excerpts of my stuff, unless you plan to publish it for profit, please go ahead. Now, my letter...
I keep remembering you saying that wed have to talk about y2k now that you experienced your personal drill, an insight into the fears you feel that you have been holding unconsciously, despite your conscious belief that enough has been repaired to prevent major disruptions.
This late in the game, it really makes no sense for us to debate what the odds may be of any particular scenario. It will be what it will be, regardless of our opinions.
For what its worth, my read is that the consensus among the best-informed seems to be that we will experience local and perhaps regional power failures. Much depends, initially, on how many, how widespread, where they are located (Central Iowa, for instance, isnt as problematic, as, say, Southern California), and how prolonged they are. The other two legs of the iron triangle, the international banking system, and telecommunications, are vital, too, and not entirely on solid ground. Significant failure in any of these systems will quickly exacerbate failures in other systems. But lets say we luck out and they continue to function, even if crippled, and attempts at crisis management are fairly successful. We still dont know what it will mean that 44% of the Fortune 1000 havent finished remediation of their mission critical systems, or what the impact of failures in 40% of small businesses will be. We dont know what it will mean when 1% of embedded systems falter, causing 1,000 times more failures than the normal rate. We dont know how quickly a decrease of 10-15% of our imported oila best case numberwill impact us. We dont know how failures will cascade across significant industries such as airfreight, rail transport, shipping, chemicals, agriculture, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. We dont know what the impact will be of 85% of all small and medium chemical plants not being ready.
We dont know how quickly failures abroad will affect us, or how other nations will respond to catastrophic failures. Will we escape nuclear accidents? Terrorism on our own soil? International war? We dont know about cyberterrorism, or about the 40,000-200,000 computer viruses set to go off at rollover (FBIs figures).
We do know that only a tiny percentage of the population is prepared for a loss of power lasting longer than a day--in mid-winter here--let alone for disruption in the food supply chain, or failure of sewage and water supplies. We know no plans exist to shelter and feed the bulk of the population. We know the chain groceries have only a three-day supply of food on their shelves. We know that if there are significant widespread disruptions that people will be psychologically stunned.
Given the situation, it seems to me that anxiety is a hardly a neurotic response. The threats are real. The world is going to change, significantly, in 50 days from the day I pen these words, and in the months that follow.
The reports that mainstream media unfailingly fails to mention are not optimistic.
Personally, Im feeling rather fatalistic at this point. Im barely more prepared than the most oblivious among us for serious disruptions. Like everyone else, Ill have to depend on my ingenuity, that of my fellows, and the grace of God.
I really have no idea what to tell you about your newly discovered unconscious fears. Ive been struggling with the emotions of this for 18 months: the agonizing sorrow, the bitterness, the helplessness, the surreality of it, the anticipatory grief, the crumbling of entire systems of idealistic belief, the astonishment at the misrepresentation of it by those we trust to lead us and to give us truthful information, the outrage over the level of mass psychological manipulation, the horror at the inevitable global suffering, the soul-deep sadness over the inevitable death of so many worthwhile dreams and so much progress in so many fields, the aloneness, isolation, and alienation. I cant tell you how to process it all in fifty short daysfewer by the time you read this letter. Maybe the best I can tell you is to let sleeping dogs lie and just keep believing that the effects will be negligible and the course of the future hardly altered by it all, maybe made even better here in the good ol USA, what with the flight to quality the phenomenon could produce. (I apologize for the sarcasm; its just that this dream seems so futile that it breaks my heart.)
I can tell you that I have come to realize that love between people, regardless of the shape it takes, lives beyond time. And I can tell you that there is peace in that knowing.
I feel blessed just to have been given the gift of life, to have been fortunate enough to have had a loving home, a good education, two wonderful sons, a healthy body, an intelligent mind, and a prosperous and relatively free country as my homeland.
I have my regrets and disappointments and all the lessons that came with them. Ive been blessed with several rich friendships that have spanned decades of my life and a few of shorter length that are shining jewels nonetheless.
Ive had a wonderful variety of work. I have lived in several states and traveled through more of them. Ive developed a broad assortment of skills.
Im not afraid of dying. And while I dont relish losing friends and loved ones to death, I know that grief is survivable, that eventually one learns the truth that love binds us beyond the grave to those we have loved, and have yet to love.
How we will fare, any of us, in the months to come I cannot say. But then one never can. The journey here is a transitory one, regardless.
I know that we will do the best we can with whatever circumstances unfold in the coming year. I know that on the other side, we will still love each other, whether we the world we currently know continues to exist recognizably or not. I know that each of us tangibly feels the others friendship whether were able to communicate tangibly or not, and that it will help to see each of us through to the end, however our individual endings might come, or when.
I like to think that Im resourceful and strong. I feel as up for the challenge spiritually and mentally as I can imagine being. Im geared to survive if survival is possible, and to step up to the next rung on the ladder if it comes to that.
A knowing inside us softly whispers that we are eternal beings. The illusion of mortality falls away at its sound. And living as if each day may be our earthly last has always seemed a wise idea, too, a worthy goal, however short we fall from its realization.
So, my friend, thats my evenings reflection on it all. May the sharing of it bring you some comfort. Celebrate beauty and kindness, dear, wherever you may chance to find them. And know that I love you, no matter what.
...I love you forum members, too. Thanks for your companionship as we travel this path, towards greater knowing, greater truth. And deep thanks to those who grant us this bandwidth.
-- Faith Weaver (email@example.com), November 15, 1999
Very nicely put. I hope those words bring comfort to you, as well as your friend.
46 days remain.
-- Dennis (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 1999.
We love you...
-- mabel (email@example.com), November 15, 1999.
Tears. As usual, when you write profound things, Faith. Well done.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 1999.
Damn it Faith !! I am already visually impaired. How am I supposed to read the rest of the forum with tears in my eyes?????? Well said, Dear. We love you too. Taz
-- Taz (Taz@aol.com), November 15, 1999.
An eloquent post that will make most of those with ant heart take time to pause and reflect. I think what makes most people uncomfortable with Y2k is that self-assessment comes in to play. It makes people look at themselves and their life...and some don't like what they see. You reap what you sow in life, be it your job, family, or spiritual matters. Anything you say, think or do creates consequences, large or small, that affect you and others around you.
It was great to see you in Ann Arbor with the others that attended, Faith :-)
-- Tim (email@example.com), November 15, 1999.
Faith, my friend,...Sally and I thank you for posting this here.
-- Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 16, 1999.