Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 5 December 2015
The weekend begins with storm number 4, and storm number 4 has to be male and begin with D, so it is called Desmond, I think. I am getting a bit fed up with all this wind. It's not as if we are short of fresh air out here in the provinces.
Rachel has a short post, asking us if we think things are better or worse. If the question is about the standard of living, then materially it has to be better I suppose, but this does not necessarily translate into any meaningful perception of well-being. The only thing that could do that would be a return to the power-cuts of the 60s and 70s, when we sat around in our kitchens with candles, shivering but basking in the sudden cessation of the electrical fields surrounding us produced by ordinary household wiring. I remember that glorious feeling of peace, and that was long before we were all bombarded with microwaves from boosted super-transmitters.
The downside of the universal lifestyle-upgrade of the Western world is incurring the resentment of the so-called developing world, who all want the white goods and computers which we now take for granted, and who all want to burn the vast tonnage of coal they are sitting on in order to power them. We're alright. We had our industrial revolution 200 years ago.
David Attenborough encapsulated the dilemma quite simply: there are too many people in the world now, but it is not morally acceptable to kill off half of them, let alone make the choice as to which half. There are also unpleasant and unexpected side-effects when adopting a one-child policy, as China did many years ago to try and cut down on their ever-increasing population. They recently reversed this policy, having become sickened by the amount of dead female babies turning up on rubbish dumps, and - quite often - in street gutters.
Economic expansion equates to territorial expansion, and as China sets its eyes on Europe, we begin to plan the colonisation of Mars, using the mining of minerals as an economic excuse. I know which is the most realistic.
Years ago, someone came up with a brilliant analogy to do with organic life running out of space.
There is a pebble lying on a forest floor which becomes inhabited with a patch of algae. The algae grows and begins to cover the surface of the pebble. Eventually, it meets itself on the other side of the stone, so it sends its spoors off to another pebble and starts the process all over again - unless there is a forest fire.