I’m the type of guy who just naturally mentally runs worst case scenarios thru far, far, in advance so I will know my best options well before having to put them into effect. So, for example, I knew that if the political reality had ever reached a certain level of “Dick Cheny/Carl Rove-ness I would have had to migrate to another country.
I knew this back when They were just beginning to torture people in my name. So, too, do I know that if, as one of my scenarios runs out as I fear it might, a scenario in which one of the two Presidents to follow Obama turns the United States into a dictatorship, I will have to do something. With M.S. as advanced as it is, I have no acceptable plans as to what action I would take, but that is largely irrelevant, in any case.
What I’m trying to say here is that I am much more comfortable being in the space of having a lot of options that never see the light of choice than I am in being in the position of ever having to make a choice without having been given enough time to think about possible implications. Unfortunately, many who observe this behavior confuse this with worrying unnecessarily. The trick,of course, is to value being prepared for he eventuality more than the joy that comes with the surprise of realizing the shit is already engaging with the metal blades on the fan.
That said, it’s something of a problem with having to deal with both that kind of reaction and the often accompanying distress felt by those who would generally not be aware of whatever it is that my mind tends to be dwelling on during my encounter with them. So, for example, my wife went thru a lot of anxiety because I shared with her my fear of a need to flee this country in the face of a Cheney dominated U.S. As you probably have noticed, it may very well have become just that, but I have not left the country. It is much easier, often, to think certain kinds of reactions than to execute them. And, believe me, it only gets harder as you get older.
Current crises are so numerous that I might be thought of as merely ahead of my time. Of course my go to paranoia has long been climate change (starting with nuclear winter in 1986), but recently ebola has caught everyone’s attention. Difficulty is that there seems little that can be done in the event the epidemic goes pandemic, which it may yet very well do.
But maybe we can, at least, use what has gone down in Dallas in the last twenty-two days as a jumping off place for a most important idea I feel most people do not easily understand when I mention it in the discussion of climate change. The topic of exponential growth is virtually always misunderstood or, at least, badly underestimated by the layman. I often also call this “positive feedback.”
In the ebola epidemic the power of growth under exponential conditions may be effectively examined. There were only two confirmed (as of this date) cases of ebola contracted thru contact in the United States. From those two cases and the third who flew into Dallas from Liberia with ebola, there were more than two hundred people who had to be watched for possible spread of the disease. We may have dodged a bullet by none of them having been infected, but just think about it for a minute. If the nurse that was running a low grade fever on the cruise ship had turned out to be infected, the number of possible vectors would have instantly exceeded five thousand,
That gives some idea of the power of a positive feedback loop, and it’s exactly what worries me so much about climate change.