Posted by: Brad Stanford | April 8, 2010

This Came To Pass

If you have ever wondered what it was like living at the turn of the 20th century when the Wright Brothers came to fame; or wondered what the shift from an agrarian-based society to an industrial-based one was like; or have ever wondered how the not-so-starving people made it through a depression, look around. You’re in all three moments all at the same time.

Without any fanfare, the Solar Impulse team had their first flight. This team is planning on flying around the world on solar power. It is an enormous push on the level of learning to fly to begin with. There are just as many ramifications and ripples from this technological feat as there was from the original airplane flights. The fact that most of you reading this don’t know about the Solar Impulse project puts you in the same seat as those in 1903. Most did not know about it for awhile. Few could even imagine the impact on humanity. So now you know how it feels for small groups to accomplish a significant milestone in your lifetime.

(I tend to be a Gustave Whitehead fan when it comes to first flights, but that’s not important to this discussion. The impact of flight on society is the point.)

While the last turn of the century went from agrarian to industrial, this turn of the century is shifting the other direction, but not so harshly. There are many people taking on the responsibility of food production, but not necessarily as a business. Think of it as a Victory Garden from World War II, but this time the garden becomes a permanent fixture. This is mostly a survival move, and partially a rebellious one. There are far too many who understand the roles of governments in controlling the food supply, and the lack of quality in the food. The genetically-modified foods (GMO) debate is getting louder. The depression here in America is making growing your own food a really good and cheap idea. Heirloom seeds are in demand, because the seeds found in those plants can actually reproduce in kind, unlike the engineered one-use seeds that most farmers are sold. Preservatives are just as unpopular as they are unhealthy. The food supply is changing for the better. And more people will have greater access to better food as a result. (I would watch for the government for attempts to regulate personal gardens in the near future, as they try to help their corporate buddies force the status quo of food supply. Maybe even tax them.)

This shift, though, will not eliminate or change the technological nature this time around. This time, technology and food will merge, yielding a new type of industry. And I’m not talking about GMO, I’m talking about using technology to help us track the ebb and flow of the earth, so we can more easily embrace the way it was made to be, and not force our desires upon the earth. There will also be new ways of growing things that do not require soil, and require less water.

So if you want to know what it’s like when the economic base of a country changes, just keep your eyes and ears open for the screaming of the buggy-whip makers as the cars get built, and the sounds of the first noisy cars as they go by. Metaphorically speaking of course.

As we find ourselves with the highest unemployment since World War II, I still see people driving, shopping, and doing life in general. Depression doesn’t mean that all of life everywhere comes to a halt. Depression, to me, exposes waste, injustice, and other areas of improvement. It also exposes those who are eager to take advantage of it, like the banksters who took the bailout money, and the politicians who gave it to them.

Depression also means that none of the attributes of humanity are being used well. When engineers have to wait tables, skilled mechanics are pushing brooms, and artists have no audience, life is in survival mode. Survival mode will bring out the best and the worst of humanity simultaneously. There is an enormous amount of helping hands, and there are an enormous amount of thieves. There are barn raisings, and barn burnings. Depression is a single word whose definition should be “A period in which all the status quo is shaken, mostly to be replaced by a new way of thinking. A micro-renaissance.”

The turn of the century tends to mark a fundamental shift in life on the planet earth. You’re living through one, so look, listen, and smell all you can. Take in the history you are living through, for better or for worse. If better, enjoy it while it lasts. If worse, make up your mind to get to the other side and live through it. As it is said, “This came to pass…”


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