What did we learn this year? Well, not too much.

Observing is not learning. Acting is. But we’re not going to do that. A call for action is sufficient, as long as someone else does it. That much we’ve learned.

Pandemic Time

What used to take several years now takes a fraction of that – including miraculous innovation and profound global disruption. “Five years in 18 months” caused an initial burst of productivity, clarity, and efficiency, but also a train wreck of supply chain disruption, virtual meetings, empty classrooms, and social isolation.

Miracles, Heroes, and Regulators

Miraculous vaccine development turned into shouting matches blurring public health and personal rights. “My body, my choice” had unbounded irony when shouted by far-right ultraconservatives, especially when the right they were looking for was to endanger the lives of others with a highly contagious and virulent disease.

We also really don’t care if we overwork and abuse dedicated professionals. Just call them “heroes” and our responsibility to them has been fulfilled. Helping is a step too far.

Online shopping and independent logistics matter. While private and commercial, they are increasingly essential. It has even been suggested that they be designated as essential utilities and regulated heavily. One thing we haven’t learned is that if we want efficiency, government will find a way to clog any private service. Yet, many live in a deluded state about this.

Delusion and Doom

Speaking of delusion, while we observe climate change, we are taking no meaningful action. Climate change’s grave consequences are obvious, but the best we can muster is something inadequate and meaningless. We are unwilling or unable to do what’s necessary, and that won’t change. We think government might address this issue, but that’s delusional. We are doomed, but at least we know why.

Technology Wins

Technology will save us. That’s a tautology because we have no other option. Solutions to these problems require technologies, materials, and systems that don’t currently exist. Somehow, the disastrous trajectory of climate change and virulent strains of global disease will be interrupted. We all believe that because we are certainly taking no action otherwise.

Technology will save us, and then we can get back to berating and insulting the billionaires who create those saving technologies.

In other words, we haven’t learned anything.

 

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