The real Twilight Zone

I am a bit overdue for a post.  Sorry.  My only excuse is so unlike me as to be unbelievable.  I am not so sure I have anything to say……..

.…doooooo………dooooooooo….doooooooo..dooooooooooo  (image of Rod Serling looms in digital fashion in the background)

Part of the reason is that I am busy doing work and getting ready for spring.  Part of it is that I have a small, temporary eye infection and it inhibits screen work.  But the largest part of this writer’s malaise is a mild state of confusion re topics.  Whales and Ravens?  Politics?  Building? 


I am just reading Al Gore’s book, The Future, and it is, so far, kinda bleak.  My kinda book, really, but this one is dark.  Ugly dark.  Seems we are all likely doomed.  All to Hell doomed. Globalization, computerization, robotization and wealth inequality together with climate change and we are soon about to enter the perfect storm.  This kinda thing somewhat dampens one’s plans for the future, ya know?

Well, it changes them, anyway.  Gore is saying that the playing field is altering.  And altering quickly and radically.  What we have come to know as ‘normal life’ is going to change.  He claims this is not a prediction but rather a report on what is already happening.  It is changing.  Most of us just don’t know it yet.

I won’t bore you with the details.  Suffice it to say, he overwhelms you with information and so far, it is convincing.  I have no idea what the answer is – I am only 1/3 of the way through the book.

But one factoid made me think…………seems we were stone carvers and spear-chuckers for some 200,000 years before we learned to plant a garden.  Then we were ‘agriculturists’ for 8,000 years before we made some machines to ramp up production of consumer goods.  The Industrial Revolution is only 200 years old and it is already being replaced by the Digital Age (read: computer, robot, no-need-for-humans era).

That part is not hard to follow.  We are rapidly changing the way we cover the basics of life.  He cites 3-D printers as being the forerunners of Star-Trek based ‘replicators’ and that we can all expect to have one relatively soon.  Those of us who can afford to buy them, that is.  He is easy to understand.  We are changing so fast as to be caught confused and unaware. And many will be caught poor.

I get it.  So far, so bleak.

But think of this very minor point: when we chucked spears, we did so outside.  When we planted rice, maize and wheat, we did so outside.  When we began making model T’s and big screen TV’s, we moved inside and went to the park or the beach on the weekends.  A little bit of outside.  Maybe.  But when we work online, shop online and are soon to ‘produce’ entirely online, we are not outside in the fresh air at all.  In fact, there are a number (in the hundreds of thousands) of people who seemingly never leave their screen ever.  They have full-time lives online.

That can’t be good.  Put aside for the moment the matter of money and all that crap.  Forget about your RRSPs and 401Ks and financial plans for a minute.  Waddabout your body?  Doesn’t that need some basic attention?

I just read that one in three Americans die with some form of dementia.  They do not necessarily die from some form of dementia but they have it when they go.  Not good.  And we all know of the increasing prevalence of cancer and heart disease. Maybe we should spend a bit more time outside doing some basic healthy, physical, natural things?  It is definitely healthier and more fun even if it does not add to your aggregate wealth.

More importantly, perhaps, and according to Al Gore (so far in the book, anyway), being able to live simply and off the land may be a requirement for survival in the very near future.  Seems the elites and the robots won’t have a great deal of need for the billions of people that used to provide cheap labour.  Not anymore, anyway.  They just won’t need us.

And, honestly?  I am hoping to not need them!



8 thoughts on “The real Twilight Zone

  1. Thanks for the gorey details but it just don’t wash and here is why. Al was out pecking in the garden and an acorn fell his head, “Oh my God the sky is falling, I must head off to the book publisher and cash in.” And off Chicken Little(I mean big Al) went to spread his doom and gloom and cash in asap before the big dumper
    arrived.There have been five mass extinction events throughout Earth’s history with up to 95% of all life going extinct. Sadly, some how the pessimists always survived. If Big Al is right then you are doing all you can do and if he is wrong then at least you have been entertained.


  2. I like to think that the survivalist aspect of my life off the grid is the littlest part. Very small. I prefer to think of the lifestyle as simply interesting, challenging and educating – not to mention beautiful and healthy. And very real. But there is a smidge of Fortress Dave involved. I know that. Reading Gore made me think that, however small it might be, it might also be essential. We’ll see.
    I agree that there is an element of Chicken Little in Gore but I also think most of it is largely true. The sky is falling. Well, getting thicker with emissions at the very least. Some of the doom is correct. Where I agree with you is that some of it isn’t. And I have no idea where to draw the line.


  3. Dave you do have it right and you are ahead of most people. I do not think you are a pessimist to any degree. With that caveat firmly in mind let’s look at Spengler. Spengler’s pessimistic predictions about the inevitable decline of the West gained many acolytes in the interwar years. Why? What is severed by pessimism? I wish I knew. “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: if you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.” I think hope endures.


    • Survival is served by pessimism. Presumably the pessimist is better prepared for the worst like the ant and the optimist is caught by surprise. And dies like the grasshopper. The ying to that yang is that the pessimist lives in the shadows and suffers fears instead of living in the sunshine and enjoying life.
      I confess that I have a tendency toward the pessimistic but have learned to live like the optimist. And I enjoy most everything. Now. When I was younger, I did not.
      But that is not really the point: The real point is trying to know what is true regardless of whether it is a sunny or dark truth. Truth-finding and telling is the challenge and not one I am equipped for. I believe almost everything a pretty woman says, for instance. Especially flattery (rare as it is). And I have a tendency to take the written word over the spoken. Those are crippling disadvantages in the hunt for the truth, I can assure you.


  4. I think the optimist prepares more because of his optimism…he has reason to prepare. The grasshopper is not an optimist, he really is a pessimist. In his fatalistic state of mind he parties all summer expecting to be dead before long. If grasshopper had been optimistic he would have known that he had much to live for and would have prepared for living. It’s Chicken Little’s fatalism that encourages hunkering down in a vile submissive attitude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable in the minds of pessimists but for optimists not so much. Warren Buffett was buying stocks as the sky was falling in ’08.


  5. Dave, I haven’t bought into the global warming thing. It seems that when you listen to either side of the argument, the facts are twisted to prove their side. I believe that hydrocarbon emissions created by human activities are certainly detrimental to the Ozone layer but are a very small part of the overall sources both man made and natural. The measurements of change are taken over a very short period of time and do not prove us to be in a warming period. In fact several sources have claimed that the earth is actually in a cooling period. These cooling theories are valid for a short period of time as well. I don’t know who to believe. I have a unique ability to monitor sea level because I have spent the last 30 years hauling large boats out of the water for bottom painting and other services on the east coast of the US. During that time, there has been no difference in the level of the ocean. I can tell by the amount of water available for hauling boats. The boats retain the same draft and if sea level was rising, there would be more water for the process. Al Gore is a huckster that is making significant bucks by promoting global warming and other causes. His own record on reducing emissions is abysmal. He lives in a mega mansion and flies all over the world in a large jet liner promoting his global warming theories while contributing to it in a large way at the same time.


    • ” I don’t know who to believe.” I know that feeling well. In fact, I have almost come to the conclusion that they are all lying in some way or another. But the politics of the issue does not alter the truth of it – whatever the truth is. I have no idea, really. But, for what it is worth, I believe that we are undergoing climate change. NOT necessarily warming or cooling but change. I believe the patterns are changing and, like you, I am using my eyes and local environment to persuade me. Up here, the local climate is changing. And it is getting warmer. You can tell by the salmon. They went north a few years ago. You can tell by the jellyfish – they came in droves. The list goes on. Frankly….the change is easier to live with, actually. We don’t seem to get any snow. No freeze-ups. Gardening is better. Practically Hawaii. But north of us the forest fires are bigger, the bug infestations are worse and the polar bears have no ice. Man’s fault? Probably. All those petro emissions have to do something. Al Gore on a jetliner?! Of course Al is on a jet! Bush Two is still declaring victory in Iraq, Bubba is servicing interns and Voldemort is probably still shooting his friends in the face. SOME things never change!


  6. Huckster is the best term. If a buck can be made out of it then follow the money. Remember the oil crisis of the 80’s that had the world running out oil? Thirty years later we have oil but pay through the nose for it. Climate is cyclical but no one knows how to predict the cycles. Cold spring this year was warm spring last year. It’s a snafu for sure. One ironic point about climate change deniers is that for a group that does not believe in science they sure seem to need a lot of scientific proof supporting climate change. Just saying.


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