The real problem is not that we are overloaded with too many ideas about what to do. The real problem is that we do not have enough ideas about where we want to go.
Here we are, in the year 2017. With now 25 years of climate-change international agreements behind us, here we are still trying to build oil pipelines and coal mines.
Eighty years ago to the day, the far right was in its ascendancy, and still rising. Hitler was in complete control of Germany, Mussolini had been in charge of a police state in Italy for a decade. But a little to the southwest, in Spain, war had already broken out.
From Russell’s Principles of Social Reconstruction (1916)
On the Eighteenth Brumaire (9 November) 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France. Louis Napoleon did the same in 1851. First as tragedy, then as farce. Tragedy and farce and much more — with vastly greater consequences — have taken place on the Eighteenth Brumaire 2016.
One can take several possible attitudes to the bleakest of certainties about the future.
My story of Bertrand Russell, given at The Laborastory, a monthly science storytelling event in Melbourne.
For those who care about the long term prospects of civilization, the only way out is a radically different system.