A massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hits Japan March 11, 2011 and caused an unprecedented tsunami. Having a few family members currently living in Japan, I was carefully monitoring the events all night.
With an earthquake that powerful, I’m certain the tsunami that would follow would be huge, but I never realized it fully until I saw it. When I did see it online, it was unimaginable. I was shaking my head with its monstrosity. It was surreal.
In one footage I saw a guy standing on top of a trailer truck, both his hands on his waist looking outwardly towards the oncoming giant wave carrying mixed debris of ships, houses, cars, and i think… people.
In another scene, an older guy slowly pushes his bicycle onto a road while glancing at the fast rising water behind him. He seemed oblivious to the fact that a few meters behind him, the same mixture of deluge is ready to envelope and bury him.
I wanted to shout at them and say, “Run! Go to higher grounds!” but I know they wouldn’t hear me. Besides, looking at their body movements and facial expressions, even if they could hear me, I had a feeling that they wouldn’t do anything anyway.
It’s like they were frozen or something. I can rule out the idea that they don’t know what was going on, for they can clearly see. Maybe they thought that running would be useless. Or it must be their Japanese bravado that made them to just stand there and stare death in the face, instead of scrambling for safety.
And I thought, what a quandary. What’s going on inside their heads in that few seconds of their lives? And by God, what were they thinking?
After a few more heart-wrenching videos of devastation, the question I try to put forward to those men suddenly takes its turn that now I ask myself…
What the hell are we thinking?
Our modern lives are anchored on one basic tenet, that of convenience. While most of our food and products still come from raw materials that crops our vast agricultural lands, everyday living simply cannot go by without the modern technology that makes it easier. Endless Economy, limitless world? Our thirst for products of need, wants and convenience fuels the advancement of technologies, that in turn keep world economy on pumping.
But our economy is based solely upon the perception of unlimited growth, which by accounts of human history and common sense is entirely false. Still, knowing the market’s tendency to rise and fall wouldn’t make us shy away from the fallacious perceptive idea that its growth is unlimited. Fools we always are.
We live in a time of almost unlimited resources. With the advent of modern machinery capable of more than doubling the means to produce items, the products well outpaces the money and the need to acquire them, ending a lot of these in spoils. Waste.
In search of better opportunities of convenience, our population nevertheless moves toward the center, creating an advance but rapid urbanization that usually maximizes the allowable density for us to still breathe right. All the while the congestion and the machines and all creates the heat that pretty much take away whatever our remaining forests can absorb.
All these to the detriment of our limited resources, energy, and environment.
But we are running out of forests and trees. We are running out of water. The world’s oil pump would only last 45 more years. And we need an alternative ways to harness energy from renewable sources.
Our insatiable thirst for more far outweighs our limited supply to quench it. We need to sustain ourselves. NOW.
We all know that these resources are not infinite. Yet with our selfish quest for profit and personal convenience, we collectively ignore the fact that they are in fact, limited.
For two nights I was dreaming of the devastation I’ve seen on TV. And imagined the faces of those two men facing the massive walls of water. We, the world, are like them.
We are a world suffering from a collective cognitive dissonance.
We are nearing our end of days. We are faced with the truth that we can no longer sustain ourselves. And we continue to deny it for fear that we can not find acceptable answers. But the truth is that we are just plain arrogant to want to change our convenient ways.
Still, ignorance is bliss.