Friday, June 11, 2010

Jacques Cousteau's 100th Birthday

"We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."—Jacques-Yves Cousteau

That quote has graced the top of our free desktop wallpaper home page for a very long time now. It is by far my favorite quote. Every time we get another black swan event like Dick Cheney's Katrina down in the gulf, I think of that quote.

Cousteau would, of course, be horrified that his 100th birthday (today) would be marred by this catastrophe. He would be angry at the myopic logic that got us to such a disaster. But, judging from that quote, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be surprised.

Despite the sorrow born of a clear understanding of the terrifying challenges that await us, Captain Cousteau always thought that humanity has a chance, for he believed deeply in the capacity of humans to adapt, to create, to invent solutions that would save the future. This lucid and creative optimism, united with a great affection for life, allowed him to show us paths that many have begun to adopt: the Rights of Future Generations, a holistic and thoughtful long-term approach to risk-taking, the conservation of biodiversity, the determined search for clean energy and especially solar energy, integrated management of large aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, the resolution of problems of intervention between States to establish compatible and effective legal practices in environmental regulation …
I agree we have a chance. But when I see Republicans (and corporatist Democrats), who many people are thinking about voting for, standing up and saying this is not a catastrophe, standing up to defend BP, I come to the conclusion that the chance is minuscule and getting microscopic by the minute. If people can be so guided by their own bigotry and greed that they vote against their own interests for more myopic logic and more resultant absurdities, then what hope can there be that those of us who do have the capacity to adapt, create, and invent solutions will be able to overcome the power and corruption of the ruling corporate class?

1 comment:

Scott Supak said...

Other Cousteau quotes:

"If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect."

"No sooner does man discover intelligence than he tries to involve it in his own stupidity."

"Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans."

"When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself."