criticalvoices

On issues that matter …

Sandy ramblers November 1, 2012

Calamities, especially the natural kind, sprout philosophy it would seem, even if a post-modernist kind, considering the notion of the sheer powerlessness of human beings to deal with them.

Sandy, the Frankenstorm (bless the guys who coin such terms) has uncannily inspired some perverse reactions from nerds (this one is for psycho-social experts to analyze) who spread rumors through fake Twitter messages and posted fake storm photographs on blogs and such. Was it nervous energy on witnessing what seemed like a preview of an end-of-the-world, ‘Day After Tomorrow’ like scenario, I wonder.

Anyway, since the world is still more or less intact and I am here enjoying uninterrupted power (unlike tens of thousands of storm-ravaged New Yorkers and New Jerseyans) I want to be allowed to ramble a bit (this too could be one for those psycho babblers to analyze).

Okay, what triggers this train of thought is the massive power outage in the wake of Sandy – of scenarios where babies in incubators in hospitals and patients on ventilators could be dying; of people suffering extreme heat or cold for want of power; of tons and tons of food being damaged and medicines having to be discarded; of stem cells, embryos, unfertilized ovular eggs, blood in blood banks, transplantable human organs all of them being wasted owing to the power outage… of stranded passengers and of hung up critical computer programming…

Well, you get the idea of course…

Here we are living through what we cockily call the information or technological era, and I wonder how many of us, including the economic stake holders of this era, really ever consider that technology is but a slave of energy or power. Of what use information and communication systems, mass media, social media, Internet, and all those operative words of the times we live in, if there is no power?

So okay, the earth still has some fossil fuels in store, the high seas still have oil and gas, water in rivers is still flowing, and hey, we still can continue to produce corn and when all of these get exhausted, we have an endless supply of energy from the sun and we have nucler power. If that sounds positive, then here’s the dampner – imagine the very real scenario where monster storms and tsunamis are damaging nuclear power plants and the likely fallout.

To philosophize would be taking the easy way out here because hope, fate, destiny seem but mere words when a lot of the suffering caused by elemental nature is accelerated, if not exacerbated by human nature.

Well, since I have lived to not only see another day but also have had the privilege of using devices essentially run on electricity to write this, I guess, I will just take things as they come.

Tomorrow is another day, if at all!

 Srirekha Chakravarty

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