Monthly Archives: September 2006

Modern Industrial Civilization

I just wanted to provide you with some words from one of the greatest intellects of our time, Noam Chomsky:

Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain; which is accepted legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation.

Now, it's been long understood, very well, that a society that is based upon this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it's possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.

At this stage of history, one of two things is possible: either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others, or alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control.

As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must — namely, to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena.

The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may be essential to survival.

Noam Chomsky is a smart man. I think about stuff like what he said here a lot. I worry about it a lot. Hopefully we can listen to Chomsky and learn from him. He has a better understanding of humans than most.

MINI Coopers aren't small

Proof that people who say MINI Coopers are small don't know what they're talking about…

They can fit 21 people!

Atlantis launched

About time!

Stupid weather.

Somehow they managed to get Atlantis launched on a weekend, though, so I could watch it live on NASA TV. However I thought the Russians were only going to let us launch through Friday. I wasn't able to find any information about further negotiation that allowed a launch today, but NASA did it anyway. *shrug*

I wish they could have launched a few weeks ago, then I would have been able to see the shuttle in the sky in the evenings, but now I don't pass under the orbit at the appropriate times of day anymore, so I can't see it. Oh well, there will be opportunities on future missions.

By the way, I've noticed that this journal has become very space-oriented. I didn't really intend for that to be the case. I'll try to think of something else to write about next 🙂