Light Story 7 — Don’t Look Back
It’s late autumn, and you’re driving down what seems to be an infinitely long road, going straight for kilometers on end as far as the eyes can see. A growing sense of fear is taking over your entire mind: “what if I can’t make it”? It’s quite understandable. Your fuel tank is near empty, the engine makes funny noises, a few warning signals light up from time to time on your dashboard. Why did you have to take that car on this trip? Everyone told you it was the “best” in class, that it would take you to your final destination, and that even if you didn’t like it, there was nothing better anyway. So you accepted without too much resistance, just a vague feeling that it seemed too good to be true.
Now you’re driving down that road. It’s past mid-day and no sign of any place to stop to refuel. The engine looks in a bad shape, or rather, smells in a bad shape. The ventilation system started to spew out the same kind of smell that comes out of your exhaust pipe. If you won’t stall by the side of the road, you may as well die asphyxiated by the toxic fumes. Suddenly, your worse fears materialize. Smoke is now coming out from the engine, and with a loud “bang” it shuts down violently, letting you coast for the last few hundred meters before slowly coming to a definite halt.
You’re desperate and also, quite pissed off. As you open the door to step out, you are greeted by the mixed feeling of finally catching a breath of fresh air, coughing violently after breathing in too much carbon dioxide, and the strong bite of the freezing cold wind. In these conditions, if you don’t get help soon, you will end up dying on the side of the road.
Just then, you notice a sign pointing to an emergency rest area ahead. Given the dense vegetation, you can’t see it, but secretly wish with all your heart that “help”, in whatever shape or form, will be there. You leave your smoking car by the side of the road and walk ahead. As you arrive at the fork leading towards the rest area, you can’t believe your eyes. There is a car parked there, but not just any car. It’s the most beautiful car you’ve ever seen in your life. You didn’t even know such a car existed! It’s brand spanking new, is covered in what looks like solar panels, futuristic looking headlights, if you didn’t know any better, it almost looked like it could fly! As you get closer, you realize that there is no sign of anyone in the vicinity. You head towards the drivers’ door, take a peak inside, and notice that a key is sitting on the front seat. If that wasn’t enough, the car is unlocked. You pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming, but it’s real.
You turn around, and walk back to your wreck of a car, to take all of your belongings and continue on your trip, wondering if all of this wasn’t too good to be true. As you get closer to your car, a sudden surge of rage and anger washes over you. “Why was I given this shitty damn car when I could have been driving the one parked in the emergency area all along? Why didn’t anyone tell me about that model?” You get to your smoking stinky car and a flash impulse traverses your mind. There is a crow bar in the trunk. Why not relieve your anger, let off some steam by beat the shit out of that dump? And so you do, happily starting with snapping the side mirrors off, carefully breaking all of the windows, and remodeling the body to the point the car is unrecognizable. In your psychotic rage, you decide to light the car on fire, as the final blow. You sit there for a while, eating your last left over food, taking advantage of the heat of the fire to keep you warm as the sun sets. You suddenly remember that you forgot to take out the blankets from the trunk, but then again, what do you care. Soon, you’ll be in a brand new car, zipping away happily towards your destination.
Then a flash of light brings you out of your thoughts. Thunder. A storm is coming. You pick up your belongings as the rain starts to fall, thick and heavy. By the time you arrive at the emergency area, you’re soaked. You quickly enter the futuristic looking vehicle, shivering. You put the key into the ignition but nothing happens. You find your small torch light and fumble around for instructions, trying to see what the matter is. Then you stumble upon a button which reads: “solar panel battery charge: off”. The batteries are dead.
The night has now fully set in, a thunderstorm is beating down on you. Even though you are protected from the rain, you are soaked and freezing. Trying to find dry wood to start a fire is out of the question. There is nothing left for you to do but to pray, and hope you’ll make it through the cold night, waiting for the morning sun to charge your batteries and allow you to leave. As you start loosing the sensation in your feet and sink into an eerie sleep, your last thoughts turn to regret. Why did you have to let in to your anger? There was no need for you to “do your old car in”. You could have just thanked it for taking you that far and accept with divine gratitude the brand new car sitting there, seemingly waiting just for you.
This light story is a great metaphor to illustrate the situation we find ourselves in, as humanity. The old crappy car is our current financial, economic and political system, showing cracks on all sides, incapable of finding solutions to growing problems such as climate change, social inequalities, toxic pesticides, energy crisis, water shortages, depletion of soils, political tensions and wars. The “new” car represents all of the new ideas which have the potential to bring humanity into a “golden age” of prosperity and peace.
To name but a few:
The “Relative Theory of Money” and the Duniter crypto-currency: a revolutionary way to change the financial system to allocate resources more efficiently all the while ensuring that all have a minimum “basic income” to live on.
Zero point energy and many other revolutionary research in energy production (notably suppressed technologies): to quickly transition away from a fossil fuel based civilization to a more sustainable one.
However, these transitions won’t happen over night and will take some conscious effort to put in place. At the moment, unfortunately, the priority and “focus” of most people is to criticize the current system, to resist it, to beat it up with a crow bar, just like the old car instead of just “moving on”. We didn’t move away from horse carts and towards cars thanks to the populist “movement against horse manure on the streets” which banned horse carts, but simply because people massively turned towards cars. The proponents of cars didn’t go around burning horse carts and poisoning horses, they just bought cars. And believe it or not, there was plenty of propaganda, in those days, to convince people that such a move would spell the doom of our civilization (it has never been easy to go against the “norm” at any specific point in time). It has brought us this far, now it’s time to make a similar shift. Systems don’t fall because people fight against them, but because people have found a better way and have collectively moved on. Let the light story above be a lesson for all of us: don’t look back on the past. Be thankful for where you are, and concentrate on where you want to go from here. Putting too much effort in beating an already failing system will only delay the transition to existing solutions and will put all of our civilization at critical risk. Let’s move away from being “against” something, and start to be “for” something.
Don’t look back, only forward.