Friday, January 13, 2006


Sci-fi/futurist Bruce Sterling's State of the World 2006 on the Well:
"Apocalypse is an intellectual vice. If civilization collapses or takes a major hit, it's gonna be like living in New Orleans now, only on a planetary scale. New Orleans took its nightmare scenario and now they're arguing about real-estate. We don't have no New Orleans. We've got a wrecked New Orleans. Furthermore, next year we may well have a re-wrecked New Orleans. It may be that watching New Orleans get wrecked is the new normal.

If half of New Orleans had drowned and we'd had to bury them all, that would have been very scarifying and traumatizing, but by now, they would STILL be talking about real-estate. In Hiroshima they talk about real estate. Outside Dachau they talk about real-estate. If the ecosystem collapses and half of us die along with Kurt Vonnegut, the survivors, which means half of us, will have to deal with the
consequences for the rest of our lives. Talking about "Apocalypse" gets us absolutely nowhere. It just means we're talking about something unthinkable with theological terms, as if God would end the world for us because our imagination lacks capacity. Even if you're a Christian you ought to recognize that demanding an Apocalypse doesn't make it so; you're not the Boss, you don't get to end history on your own say-so.

We need to get over talking about Utopia and Oblivion. Those are the kinds of mental blinkers that got us into this mess in the first place."
Sterling also has some interesting opinions about the future of China, boho culture, extreme weather events, Kurt Vonnegut's fatalism and Korean hip-hop. Check it out.