The world leaders are on the steering wheel. The big money is on the accelerator. The wannabes are hanging onto the gear shift to keep it firmly rooted in D for drive. The experts and the intellectuals are a confusing and unintelligible array of warning lights on the dashboard. The only control stick left is the brake and the only ones that can exert enough pressure to stop this latest model of human ingenuity hurtling off that ever closer cliff is us, the you and me us, and not that mega/supersized nation that stole the letters “us” and capitalised them for everyone.
The problem is most of us are firmly strapped into the back seat. We’re complaining that the air conditioning is broken, we’re arguing what’s the best radio station to listen to and we’re chanting “are we there yet?” We’re too scared to look out the window because when we do catch a glimpse of what’s really going on out there, and to avoid getting car sick, we give up and hope in vain that the people on the steering wheel and the accelerator know what they are doing and are telling us the truth. But the state of anxiety and depression that we find ourselves in betrays even the very cleverest lies we tell ourselves.
All the doors and windows in the vehicle are locked. As much as you might like to think that you are free to get off at any time or place you like you are wrong. We are all on this journey together. In the past you may have been able to abandon ship and sail away to fortuitously crash into another chunk of land ripe for exploitation. But those days are long gone. Us humans are now everywhere and the fate of the planet is the fate of every seven billion plus of us on this crazy ride.
The safety belts that by law strap us firmly and blindly to the seats of oblivion cannot possibly make sense – even to the dimmest witted of us. We know we’re speeding to the edge and we know that Nature will not spare our folly simply because we wear safety gear. We also know that the biggest lie of them all is that everything is basically fine. Our only option is to stop the car before Mother Nature, or worse than that, the very worst of human nature, does. So unbelt that harness and make your way over to the brake pedal. There are quite a lot of us there now putting on what little pressure we can muster. But it’s going to require a hell of lot more of us to bring this filthy chunk of fossil fuelled madness to a halt. Don’t worry about the leaders on the steering wheel, they only know how to turn left or right and mostly only by imperceptible degrees. The maniacs on the accelerator are also a waste of time. They’re so high on the fumes of their own pathological excrement that they’ll kill you in an instant. You can waste a lot of time analysing the red lining needles, the flashing lights and incessant bells and whistles coming from the dashboard of information only to find out what you already know. The brake, yes the brake, fully and promptly applied is the only viable option.
Around here the mood has not yet reached the point where everyday people are taking to the streets because they have had enough or because the shit really has hit the fan. When it gets to that point, and don’t say it will never happen, be prepared to be sprayed with gas and targeted with bullets. Because when the brakes are not put on until the very last minute, that is the best you can expect. And the outcome if the car does manage to avoid plummeting into the abyss will be a vacuum ripe to be filled, not by you and me, but rather by another mob just as bad or even worse than the current drivers, emerging in the dust and stench of burning rubber left after “collapse” or “revolution”. Apathy leads to nothing better than that. We need to apply the brakes and stop the car but we need to do it sooner rather than later so that sanity, and a preservation of the best of human achievement, can prevail.
So what can you and I do to get enough of us onto the brakes to stop this crazy ride. We can stop listening to, and believing, the pack of lies being shoved down our throats every day. Wake up and trust that feeling inside that things are not quite right. Even if our parents, teachers and celebrities, that are sprouting the lies are nice people, they have wrongly decided to accept the current bunch on the steering wheel and thus have succumbed to admit that they do not have the legs or the stomach to stop this madness. They must have also cheated on the drivers licence eye test, because they obviously cannot see the road ahead and therefore rely solely upon the map they were sold by the dudes down there on the accelerator. We also need to refrain in moments of weakness from looking at, or seeking temporary comfort, in that same map – sold to us by the full speed ahead crowd who are pushing pedal to the metal like there is no tomorrow. We must also muster up some courage to challenge the wannabes, up there holding the gear shift in drive, from singing the praises of that map. There will be wannabes in your family, at your workplace, and may even be good friends, but take strength from the indisputability that we are in this car together.
This is my call, to myself and that mob of radicals that I know are out there – who are lamenting the totally upside down world in which we find ourselves dwelling – that we can and ought to put the brakes on now and put ‘em on hard.