Friday, September 04, 2020

"Humankind Cannot Bear Very Much Reality"
                                                                                                                      - T.S.Elliot

I'm just starting Thomas Homer-Dixon's latest, "Commanding Hope." From the first taste I think this could be a very important book to help each of us shape our response to the crises that already best us and those that will unfold in the decades ahead.

THD argues that, without hope, we have no chance of leaving a viable world for our children and grandchildren.  He sees hope as the engine of change. The author doesn't downplay any of the threats we face, the consequences that could befall us or the odds that even our best efforts may not succeed. However ignoring these realities, denying reality or succumbing to wishful thinking and false hope increase the likelihood of worst possible outcomes. These are selfish coping mechanisms that shirk our responsibility to future generations for the dangerous world we have bequeathed to them.

Homer-Dixon writes that "honesty and hope are often in tension with each other. ...Researchers have found that people, groups, organizations and societies find it enormously hard to imagine and prepare for bad outcomes. ...Yet today, in the context of nuclear war, an escalating climate emergency, rising authoritarianism and the like, the immediate comfort such dishonest gives us comes at an astounding price."

His premise is that hope cannot effect change except if it comes from a foundation of reality. False hope is self-defeat.


Anonymous said...

There are those of us who can look at truth and know if people hope things become better are only deluding themselves. Then there are those who think people are mentally unhealthy if they speak of truth two much. Is it not correct that the
Liberal Government is duty bound to collect on behalf of the the Canadian people back taxes owed to the Canadian government by people who have hidden their money overseas without paying their taxes to the Canadian government? When l worked overseas l had to register as a non-resident. In other words I was required to forfeit part of my CCP years as well as lose time toward OAC even though there was an agreement between Canada and South Korean Government. That was the Harper goverment.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Anon, I think there are a good many of us in a condition of emotional overload.

the salamander said...

Homer Dixon reminds of sitting among old farmers, infantry or fishermen/women who really know their shit.. They been there done it got the T-shirt and the tattoo.. By remaining quiet and listening.. wondrous perspectives can land like dragonflies and sting ya.. and your eyes open wider.. Must track down a copy of his latest.. Oracles & wisdoms are in short supply.. pundits and posturers though are everywhere.. thanks for the tip

Sorry.. but I have to run.. Dragons to slay..

The Disaffected Lib said...

Hi, Sal. Good to hear from you. I wondered if you had fallen off the face of the Earth.

You put me on to THD. That led me to buy "The Upside of Down," that I recently moved to my "must read again" pile. When "Commanding Hope" appeared on the horizon I went for the Kindle version. I signed up. Two chapters in and I knew it was money well spent.

So, where have you been hiding?

the salamander said...

.. some communications just evaporate.. down the rabbit hole & never to reappear.. all is OK here to the east.. though devices increasingly have failing batteries, are no longer supported re Blogger commenting.. plus we engage in lengthy foreplay and wild sex for hours.. (its exhausting ! my lips are sealed)

Once we cease and desist on the wild sex.. Boss plans to make the Grazie 'Capri' pasta.. Its a fab cookbook I often give as prezzy.. Baby clam.. Have had it over a dozen times.. with linguini.. Grazie is a Yonge n just north of Eglinton fixture.. astonishing el dente.. Boss favours the Bolagnese.. and we favor the caesar salad with wedges of Parmesan, heavy on anchovy.. boiled egg

We walk cross Yonge.. watch a sexy movie.. go home, walk the f'n dawgs
and the wild sex continues..

I am also prone to exaggerating ..