31 December 2009

further away from actual solutions. (happy new year)

In today's New York Times Dennis Dutton thinks back to the Y2K scare and mostly makes too much of it but I like this paragraph:

Apocalyptic scenarios are a diversion from real problems — poverty, terrorism, broken financial systems — needing intelligent attention. Even something as down-to-earth as the swine-flu scare has seemed at moments to be less about testing our health care system and its emergency readiness than about the fate of a diseased civilization drowning in its own fluids. We wallow in the idea that one day everything might change in, as St. Paul put it, the “twinkling of an eye” — that a calamity might prove to be the longed-for transformation. But turning practical problems into cosmic cataclysms takes us further away from actual solutions.

Denis Dutton is a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

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