>>> On 2/2/2008 at 9:44 PM, Ray Ballou <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Vince, I am glad you share your point of view, and I enjoy the nostalgia you
> find in it
Ray, I think you and I might have differing points of view. :-)
But, in all my babbling, I may have left something unclear: I was NOT being nostalgic. Nostalgia is a longing for the past. Talking about the past does not necessarily indicate a desire for its return. Rather, my concern is with the present and the future. My concern is that we consider carefully how we move into that future, not simply latching on to every new idea, every new technology, coming down the pike.
> I am not interested in any of the previous years systems or models. Not
> windows 3.0 not a 1979 Buick Skylark. Nor unpasteurized milk. . .
I, also, am not interested in Windows 3.0 (3.1 was vastly better), but I'm not much interested in Windows Vista either. I was never interested in a Buick Sklark of any vintage, but neither am I interested in owning a Hummer (though I am interested in taxing the hell out of such obscenities). I don't usually drink unpasteurized milk, but I'm not sure I want my milk full of bovine growth hormone either.
I could go on, but you get the idea (at least I hope you do). There's a difference between bringing back the past and being selective about the future. We can't put the genie back in the bottle, but we damn well need to keep him from running amok.
When we look at possibilities for the future, should we ignore ideas from the past simply because they are old? For instance: most of us now believe that global warming is a serious issue. Should we dismiss the idea of hydropower because it's been around for a couple of thousand years? Because it's a couple of hundred years old, should we refuse to consider the railroad as a substitute for masses of private cars clogging our highways in urban areas?
I read an article in the NYT a few years ago about the inhabitants of an island somewhere in Malaysia, I think, having problems with their food supply. For centuries, they had relied on village shamans to decide when to plant, when to irrigate, etc. In the 1970's, the "Green Revolution" came to the island and the boys from Monsanto convinced the folks that they'd achieve "better living through chemistry". And, for a while, they did. They had more food than they knew what to do with. Literally. But then the water supply started to dry up, crop yields plummeted and people were worse off than they had been before Monsanto improved their lives.
Finally, several years ago, one of our aid organizations sent in a team of people using high-powered computers capable of doing sophisticated models of the climate and crop system of the island. Based on those models, they came up with a plan which could (and did) fix the problems. What they came up with was almost identical to what the shamans had been doing for all those centuries. One of those "previous year's systems."
Now, I am not one of those deniers of the benefits of the "Green Revolution." It may well have saved the lives of millions of people. My point is that the newest and sexiest isn't *always* the best. And, in some cases, increased productivity can be a disaster.
> We might just be spending too much time smelling the roses and not enough
> time cultivating them.
And we might be cultivating new roses that don't smell at all.