Sunday, September 11, 2005

If you don't learn from history...

I don't usually write at the weekend, especially one when I am under threat of serious sighing from our Chiefs of Stuff and Prose & Comms if I do not get down my shed and make something. 


But things conspire to thwart me. 50% of my shed time was lost by spending most of yesterday picking my kids up from a birthday party in a neighbouring village. A small matter of floods, landslides, closed motorways and jobsworths blocking access to 'their’ town for some odd notion that failed to compute, or turn out to be justified, when it came to getting to my kids. How the 4x4 brigade must have giggled, even though it is of course all their fault it's all happening.


Anyway, as I at last prepare to head for the shed, I was idly watching a BBC programme that seemed to be about predictions from the 60's, and coverage of them (how I miss Tomorrow's World). It featured fascinating insights from a variety of folks, including a set of 9-year-olds from a London comprehensive who were frankly outstanding in terms of intellect, creativity and expression. Don't tell me an ‘education, education, education’, education has resulted in a better, er, education.


But there was one contributor whose thoughts really resonated: Isaac Asimov.


He'd been asked what he saw come the end of the century. Basically he focused on population control and all that failing to address it would lead to in the next 50 years. He mentioned a bunch of stuff including pollution and its consequences, famine, wars of desperation. But he said that really was a most pessimistic view because he was sure we'd sort it.


Well, we're here. And guess what. He was right. And he was wrong.


Sadly all has happened just the way he said it could. And it’s because we haven't, are not, and it doesn't look like we will address the big issues first, if at all.