Friday, March 14, 2008

The owl of Minerva takes its flight

I noticed that the price of gas has gone up something like 20 cents since the last time I bought it. And the price of crude oil was up to $110 a barrel the last time I checked. Meanwhile former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist seems to think that Republican leaders are far more concerned about Mexicans swimming the Reo Grand, than they are where our power is going to come from a few years from now. The media is far more interested in former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer play for pay, girl toy Ashley Alexandra Dupre than it is in the fact that the price of coal has reached an astonishing $300 a ton on the international spot market.

People are going to start feeling the pain whenever they pay for natural gas or electricity or make the dread trip to a service station to fill up with gasoline. I recently visited a doctor's office. While I sat in the waiting room, I looked through a car magazine. What struck me most was how much the cars I was looking at were all out of the past. Why would I want a car with a 385 horsepower engine? I could not afford the gas! A form of life is passing, yet no one yet notices. When they do the crisis will begin. We are not there yet. Most of us are still asleep, and many of those who are waking up are still in a dream state. We are in an era of slumber. of waking dreams and of confusion.

What can we say of the idea that the sun and the wind can save us, that these are the future sources of energy? Are these not waking dreams. Where is the evidence that this has been thought through? Where is the evidence that people understand the realities and the cost. When the sun sets and the wind stops blowing, where will the electricity come from? Will we sit shivering in the dark? Surely at that point we will at last awake.

When people start to ask, What has happened to us, it will already be to late. For the world they will be asking about is already going away. The philosopher Hegel once observed:

"Only one word more concerning the desire to teach the world what it ought to be. For such a purpose philosophy at least always comes too late. Philosophy, as the thought of the world, does not appear until reality has completed its formative process, and made itself ready. History thus corroborates the teaching of the conception that only in the maturity of reality does the ideal appear as counterpart to the real, apprehends the real world in its substance, and shapes it into an intellectual kingdom. When philosophy paints its grey in grey, one form of life has become old, and by means of grey it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known. The owl of Minerva, takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering."

Solutions do not come from those forms of life which cannot be rejuvenated. Nor do they come from dreams. Solutions ome by facing our current realities, and putting away our dreams.

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