“Setting fire to dead stuff”

Every year on The Well, Bruce Sterling does an “overview of Things in General, the State of the World, Where We Have Been and Where We are Tending.” I’ve cherry-picked a few thoughts from the latest installment:

“I always knew the “War on Terror” bubble would go.  It’s gone. Nobody misses it.  It got no burial.  I knew it was gonna be replaced by another development that seemed much more burningly urgent than terror Terror TERROR, but I had a hard time figuring out what vast, abject fright that might be. Now I know.  Welcome to 2009!”

“You know what’s truly weird about any financial crisis? WE MADE IT UP.  Currency, money, finance, they’re all social inventions.  When the sun comes up in the morning it’s shining on the same physical landscape, all the atoms are in place.”

“The sheer galling come-down of watching the Bottom Line, the Almighty Dollar, revealed as a papier-mache pinata.  It’s like somebody burned their church.”

“I keep remembering the half-stunned, half-irritated looks on the faces of those car execs when they were chided for flying their company jets to Washington to beg.  I felt sorrow for them.  Truly.  These guys are the captains of American industry at the top of the food chain.  Of course they fly corporate jets.  Corporate jets were *invented* for guys like the board of General Motors.  And now they’re getting skewered for that by a bunch of punk-ass Congressmen they can usually buy and sell?”

“Practically everything we do in our civilization is directly predicated on setting fire to dead stuff.”

“People don’t have to solve every problem in the world in order to be happy.  People will always have problems. People ARE problems.  People become happy when they have something coherent to be enthusiastic about.  People need to LOOK AND FEEL they’re solving some of mankind’s many problems.  People can’t stumble around in public like blacked-out alcoholics, then have some jerk like Phil Gramm tell them to buck up.”

“When you can’t imagine how things are going to change, that doesn’t mean that nothing will change.  It means that things will change in ways that are unimaginable.”

One thought on ““Setting fire to dead stuff”

  1. Insightful, thanks for sharing. I would add that governments of men are also social inventions. The sun shines perfectly without them.

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