To: Paul Swann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Susan Ferguson <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: y2k delusions
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 12:42 PM
"All of this means a radical change in the way we think about and do things on this
planet. And this is why I feel optimistic about y2k. It's forcing us to re-assess the
obscene ways in which we exploit each other, our fellow species and the
environment. The folly of 'free' market, hi-tech dependent global capitalism is rearing
up and biting us on the bum. The crass stupidity of the y2k problem might...just
MIGHT... persuade us to look again at the destructive ways in which we've come to
live on this earth and find a better way. But it could turn out to be a painful lesson
to learn, and the more complacent and/or self-centered we are in what little time
remains before the shit starts hitting the fan, the harder will it be."
Paul, you put it most eloquently & succinctly. Precisely my own feelings about the Millennium Bug. In December 1996 I wrote a short piece on y2k for a Malaysian magazine. I'd like to quote a few paras from my article (THREE TWO ONE ZERO: No Time To Lose) as a supplement to your views...
Actually, I am completely baffled by the whole controversy. I would have thought that this was essentially a "software problem." Some techno-wizard at Microsoft or Apple would soon pull a dazzlingly simple $99 solution out of his or her hat in the form of a brandnew universal software programme that would sort it out all down the line - from the humblest electronic notepad to the most ludicrous Frankenstein's Monster Mainframe.
But another part of me is beginning to sense that the Greatest Joke of All Time is about to be played on the human race. We might end up laughing hard enough to split the sides of our illusory economic and political superstructure. I keep seeing flashes of the Laughing Buddha's face, floating in the timelessness of Deep Space like some psilocybin-tripping Cosmic Chesire Cat.
What? You mean it was all a crafty but divine scheme to teach us not to cling to the pseudomysticism of Technology and the ritual worship of Time as the punch-clock of Business-as-Usual? Ah so...
Is the March of Time about to transform into a Tarantella of terror for some and ecstasy for others? Is that why the share market index is jigging like a seismograph in an earthquake? All it takes to shake the money tree is one ambiguous speech in bureaucratic Mumbo-Jumbo by a grey man in a grey suit who works for the US Federal Reserve or the International Monetary Fund. They say TIME IS MONEY. Is that why we seem to be running out of it? Who's stealing it - the Time Bandits? Whilst machine intelligence isn't flexible or smart enough to cope with "minor technical glitches" like the Millennium Bug, the inefficient, organic human mind is able to make quantum leaps of faith into the mysterious realms of poetry and passionate folly - exploring the paradoxical interdimensional interfaces between Time and Timelessness, the ephemeral and the eternal.
What the Millennium Bug or Bomb or Booboo reveals about our fear-and-greed-driven commercial-industrial-military paradigm is simply this: that calendars and clocks do not rule our hearts, even if they rule our minds and, by extension, our computers.
(written 8 Dec 1996, published Jan 1997 in JOURNAL ONE)
HAPPY NEW AEON,
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