Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hubris (part II)

In a previous post entitled “Hubris” I discussed the ramifications of a leader who gets himself elected and then governs against the will of his people. We’re seeing this so often now – even in our own country. Granted, the first mistake was ours. This is not to say that we are now collectively responsible for all that follows. If we were to go to a store, for instance, and buy a product that is subpar or even dangerous, we are not obligated to go back to that store again even if this store should still exist and compel us to do so. Yet, every day we pile on increasing layers of outrage at our government’s handling of things.

A parent is different from a pal. Pals bear no responsibility towards each other. Parents do. They are instrumental as role models for their children. They are responsible for their safety. This is not something that demands regulation. It’s instinctual and hardly ever fails. In our last presidential election, we have essentially chosen a pal to lead us – someone we could see ourselves sitting at a bar with and having too many drinks – from Facebook no less!

From my own experience with LSD (during my college days), I learned of the 'perfect moment'; that it is next to impossible for any one person to screw things up; that no matter what we do (or neglect to do), the sun will still rise every morning and the birds will still fly north or south depending on the season; that our personal imprint on life would forever be perfectly balanced by the imprint of another. This lesson taught me to relax and not to take myself so seriously, and simply enjoy the gift of life for its own sake.

This would eventually translate into my fervent belief that mankind is too puny to destroy the planet, as many of my generation claim. From my perspective, I could see that what is commonly referred to as the ‘green movement’ is primarily politically driven. With what’s currently happening in Japan, I’ve been forced to retreat from my earlier position and concede that we, as a species, may have overstepped a dangerous threshold.

What a kindly, wild-haired gentleman with his Princeton chalkboard unleashed may well represent a power that is beyond mere men’s ken to contain. I tend now to side with the ‘greens’ in their reflex jihad against nuclear power. It is a hallmark of men to make mistakes, any fallout from which (up till now) has been capable of being well absorbed within the larger fabric.

Nuclear seems somehow different – a departure from the norm - and yet, if history is a guide, there is no turning back. We happily allow the madmen of Iran and the children of Pakistan at the controls. If it is possible for Japan – by all accounts one of the most sober and disciplined populations on earth – to run afoul of it, we must clearly take a second look at our general policy of indifference toward this particular subject.

Our indifference is hardly blind. It stems from the enormity of the task ahead: getting the genie back into the bottle. Many will say it can’t be done. Yet, even with the very real potential of the birds raining from the sky and the sun circling endlessly around an blind planet, it seems we cannot afford not to try.

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