Tuesday, September 7, 2010


It's beginning to feel like the human race is now obsessing over planetary statistics and records to the point where we're becoming like the hypochondriac who thinks he is dying every time he discovers a new nonspecific symptom.

The water is trying to kill us with hurricanes, flash floods, blizzards, tsunamis, and avalanches. The air is out to get us with tornadoes. The earth brings landslides, and earthquakes. Fire wants to get us with volcanoes, forest fires, and heat waves. You can throw epidemics, famine, and droughts into the mix. And let's not forget about dangers from space in the form of gamma ray bursts, asteroids, solar flares, and alien invasions.

This is the source of our collective anxiety.

It's no revelation that each and every generation since the beginning of time feels in its gut that it may be the last. The end of the world is always near. Extinction right around the corner. We are, as they say, all terminal.

But our memories are short, and our collection of statistics too recent, only going back a few hundred years at best. We forget that the earth was covered in ice only 20,000 years ago and will be again in time. The Sahara desert was lush and populated as recently as 10,000 years ago. These changes, quite rapid considering the earth is around 4.5 billion years old, are due to cycles, and there is nothing we can to to change them, and no amount of worry is going to help.