02 June 2006

Toynbee and Lizard Brains

"A possible interpretation is that the Toynbee reference comes from the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector", which alludes to Toynbee's idea that in order to survive, humankind must always rush to meet the future, i.e. believe in a better world, and must always aim far beyond what is practically possible, in order to reach something barely within reach."

Serendipity. I tell you, that stuff should be bottled and sold under the counter... While reading about some strange tile placements in cities around the world, The Jenius came across the quote reproduced above (in the Wikipedia link.) (Oddly enough, despite being a Bradbury fan, I can't remember ever reading the story "The Toynbee Convector." Something to look forward to.)

"...(B)elieve in a better world...always rush to meet the future...always aim far beyond what is practically possible, in order to reach something barely within reach." If Toynbee is right--and I believe he is--then Puerto Rico doesn't measure up to achieving a great future.

Puerto Ricans tend to pay lip service to a better world, and may honestly want one...if someone else builds it for them.

Puerto Ricans don't rush to meet the future, unless it has a "20% OFF!" sign and a "No Payments Until We've Screwed You Royally" sub-offer. Why rush? is the typical attitude, a cavalier cover-up for what is essentially fear. Puerto Ricans fear the future. They cling to the present--or worst, the past--with an almost convulsive grip, latching like voracious lamprey to current misery and not even making a decent effort to look beyond today into tomorrow.

The Fools know this and play the fears constantly, lizard brains texting each other in gutturral cacophony, a fear nerve touched here, another there, until the collective lizard brain shuts down into indifference. If true progress is running at the future, Puerto Ricans prefer advancing towards it in a plastic lawn chair with a neverita of beer at their side. Or in a fetal position. Or with their heads stuck in the oily sands of gossip. And We know what happens to castles built on sand.

To aim far beyond what is practically possible is, to Puerto Ricans, comer mierda, literally, to eat shit. Funny how the single path to extraordinary progress is equated with an act engaged in by the lizard brain.

As a child, I heard a "joke" that lobster fishermen around the world toss lobsters into a basket and cover it to keep the crustaceans inside. But not in Puerto Rico, for here, no lid is needed, as the lobsters in the basket will grab and pull down any so bold as to try to climb out.

I was offended then. I'm offended now, but for very, very different reasons.

And why is The Jenius so--down--on His People at this moment? Because in My finite wisdom, I can see the chances for great progress being picked off, or dropped by the wayside, with clockwork regularity. If some societies collapse from running too hard in the wrong direction, meeting their fate in a painful collision with reality, Puerto Rico will simply fall to sleep with a wet snore, beer can in hand, lawn chair sagging asymetrically, the flickering images on a 58-inch flatscreen TV showing a coward's puppet blathering endlessly about lies and nothing.

And the lizard brain will never know the difference of what could have been.


The Jenius Has Spoken.