November 24, 2010

On the bright side...

In yesterday's post, I speculated darkly on whether modern civilization is heading towards some kind of major downturn due to inaction on climate change and such. Since this is Thanksgiving week and all, I thought it only fitting to give a shout out to a look at the bright side of disasters.

Recently a friend loaned me a copy of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disasters by Rebecca Solnit. The author makes the interesting argument that sometimes when disasters happen, people respond with the courage, compassion, generosity, mutual aid and solidarity all too rarely seen in ordinary life.

I've noticed something like that in less drastic interruptions of ordinary life, such as major snowstorms, power outages and floods. As unpleasant as such things can be, people often come together in amazing ways and can have a good time doing it.

So even if things get bad, which I hope they won't, it might not be all bad all the time. I guess we can be thankful for that.

NOTE: I'm off this week. Posts will appear as usual but without the links and comments.

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