Sunday, July 4, 2010


Hal Pepinsky,,
Independence Day 2010
I struggle to imagine a better future for our heirs. It is abundantly clear, now as ever, that history cannot be reversed. As my late statistics mentor Les Wilkins taught me, life processes are stochastic. I’d go a step further and venture a guess that stochastic processes seldom repeat themselves. We might as well let go of making plans work to adapt to globally profound changes in the human condition. I’m sorry, President Obama, our national economic growth has peaked. Consumer confidence will no longer determine how many of us eat and sleep in relative personal security. Improving our capacity to kill without being killed will not increase our national security. Noblesse is never obliged forever. I confess that I declined to register to vote when I picked up my first Ohio driver’s license last week. I don’t want the hassle of being called to jury duty; I get no thrill out of getting to deliberate other people’s fates in secrecy.
So what’s there to be hopeful about? In my part of the world, counties outside major cities are largely depopulated. At farmer’s markets as even in news accounts, even in cities, people are moving toward growing food for themselves and their local communities. At the Worthington farmer’s market yesterday morning, cloth bags were for sale celebrating being a locavore. In native Americana and in intentional communities from the onset of European settlement thrive, and in our time, are multiplying.
These forms of development evolve in countless incubators, where people out of need or conviction invent new forms. I learned long ago that it is folly to strategize social change. I think Darwin is right in his stochastic theory that the most diverse species and ecosystems most survive. That is a law of nature, it is our karma. I see no point in moralizing or laying blame in any of our human conditions. I simply believe the super-rich as families and for-profit corporations will fail to survive. I’m hopeful.
On the sad side, the end times of belief in human exceptionalism will remain ugly. The poor will die and suffer first; the rich will most rapidly adapt (as former Communists did politically in Eastern Europe). It will become uglier. Because humanity has concentrated on increasing personal life expectancy, we as a species have become a plague of locusts on survival of species generally in our earthly ecosystem. I think we can only aggravate this loss and suffering by strategizing to reverse it. I am hopeful that our surviving heirs will come to live in a better place, personally and socially. It will surely be a humbler place for humanity. I remain hopeful.
Love and peace--Hal

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