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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Slow Down World

Did it ever occur to you that the world moves too fast? I mean too fast for human comprehension. Think about all of the things going on in this world. Most of them, if we're honest, look like problems. Starvation, poverty, pollution, wars, natural disasters, disease, economic problems. The list just goes on and on.

I'd really like to think about all of it. My honest desire is to fully process my thinking in all of these areas. You know --- give each situation and dilemma its "day in court" in my mind, so to speak. Perhaps if each thing could individually be thought out, we would have more brilliant solutions to these situations and circumstances that look so much like problems. But I find there are too many of them, and they come way to fast for me to handle them. My brain just doesn't have the compute capacity to process all these inputs in such short periods of time.

I sense that most people have this same problem. Maybe they wish for more time to think about things. But I suspect that many of us just choose not to think about them. Perhaps we figure ignorance is bliss. Or maybe we conclude that there's nothing we can do, so why waste time thinking about it. (Would that really be a waste of time?)

To be sure, there are situations and dilemmas and circumstances in the world today which man can do little about. Tsunami's and earthquakes might come to mind. Drought is a good one. It seems to be totally in the hands of God - leaving mankind with no responsibility whatsoever. Is that really accurate? Are we truly helpless when it comes to tsunami's and earthquakes and droughts? Or is it possible that we've been given the intelligence to do something --- and we just choose not to do it?

Let's look at tsunami disasters. They've been going on since the recording of time. Yet millions upon millions of people live in low-lying coastal areas that are sure to be wiped out by them. I know, we built cities near water because of transportation. But do we not have the wherewithal to withdraw those cities now --- and just don't think it's worth it? Do we not have the capacity to build tsunami-proof buildings now --- and just don't think it would be too expensive?

Earthquakes are another. I was in northern California a few years ago, in a business meeting on a high floor in a skyscraper. An earthquake hit. The building swayed and we could hear the elevators banging against the shafts. It was unnerving. But the building was undamaged. Life resumed within minutes. Couldn't we build all buildings that way? Are we not smart enough to build infrastructure to withstand earthquakes --- or do we just not think it's cost-justified?

It seems to me that mankind takes risks, based on the calculation of cost and probability. Sometimes those risks don't pay off. But I suspect that sometimes our ignorance overwhelms the situation. I'd like to see more thought given to the cost of drought --- and the cost of addressing it with technology and strategy. I'd like to see more consideration given to earthquakes and hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Perhaps I have more faith in mankind than I should. But I believe we probably have the collective intelligence to solve way more of the worlds problems than we do. I'm just not smart enough to do it by myself!

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