Each year Dawn or Doom seems to generate some of its own vocabulary. Three years ago, the takeaway was Wisdoom. Two years ago, we were entertained by the speaker who inadvertently changed the conference name to The Dawn of Doom. Last year there was the registrant who wrote to confirm the exact dates of "The Doom and Gloom Event." And this year, we were charmed by the participant eagerly anticipating her presentation at "Dawn to Doom"!
To help set the tone . . .
1. Two poems:
The Poem of the Future
The poem of the future will be smaller.
It will fit in the palm of your hand,
on your wrist, in your ear.
The poem of the future will not need
bulky batteries or cumbersome wires.
It will be powered by moonlight and weed.
The poem of the future will be automatic.
It will go for months without routine maintenance.
It will be faster, smoother, with a digital tick.
The poem of the future will be lighter.
It will be made of plastics and exotic metals.
It will be available in hundreds of shapes and colors.
The poem of the future will make our lives true.
It will perform in a second what it takes
the poem of the present a day to do.
The poem of the future will talk to us.
It will say things like “Buy IBM,” and ” Friend me,”
and “Pulvis et umbra sumus.”
["We are but dust and shadows." ~ Horace]
Only This Morning
In a hundred trillion years --
an actual number
though we can't begin
to grasp it -- the last traces
of our universe will be not
even a memory
with no memory to lament it.
The last dust of the last star
will not drift in the great nothing
out of which everything we love
or imagine eventually comes.
Yet every day, every four hours
around the clock, Debbie prepares
her goat’s-milk mix
for the orphaned filly
who sucks down all three liters of it,
gratefully, it seems,
as if it matters more
than anything in the universe—
and it does—at this moment
while the sun is still
four hours from rising
on the only day that matters.
2. A song:
In The Year 2525
In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find
In the year 3535
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today
In the year 4545
You ain't gonna need your teeth, won't need your eyes
You won't find a thing to chew
Nobody's gonna look at you
In the year 5555
Your arms hangin' limp at your sides
Your legs got nothin' to do
Some machine's doin' that for you
In the year 6565
Ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube
In the year 7510
If God's a-coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He'll look around Himself and say
"Guess it's time for the Judgement Day"
In the year 8510
God is gonna shake His mighty head
He'll either say, "I'm pleased where man has been"
Or tear it down, and start again
In the year 9595
I'm kinda wonderin' if man is gonna be alive
He's taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain't put back nothing
Now it's been ten thousand years, man has cried a billion tears
For what, he never knew, now man's reign is through
But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight
So very far away, maybe it's only yesterday
3. An animation:
"Why Alien Life Would be our Doom: The Great Filter"
with our crossword puzzles and romantic novels."
4. Becoming Wise from Krista Tippett:
"I’m not surprised by the fact that inexplicable and terrible things happen in a cosmos as complicated as ours, with sentient beings like us running the show. But I am emboldened by the fact that surprise is the only constant. We are never really running the show, never really in control, and nothing will go quite as we imagined it. Our highest ambitions will be off, but so will our worst prognostications. I am emboldened by the puzzling, redemptive truth to which each and every one of my conversations has added nuance, that we are made by what would break us . . .
And what is true for individuals is true for peoples. Our problems are not more harrowing than the ravaging depressions and wars of a century ago. But our economic, demographic, and ecological challenges are in fact existential. I think we sense this in our bones, though it’s not a story with commonly agreed-upon contours. Our global crises, the magnitude of the stakes for which we are playing, could signal the end of civilization as we’ve known it. Or they might be precisely the impetus human beings perversely need to do the real work at hand: to directly and wisely address the human condition and begin to grow it up."
5. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.:
"During the past three wars, the right of technology to increase in power and scope was unquestionably, in point of national survival, almost a divine right. Americans owe their lives to superior machines, techniques, organization, and managers and engineers. For these means of surviving the wars . . . I thank God. But we cannot win good lives for ourselves in peacetime by the same methods we used to win battles in wartime. The problems of peace are altogether more subtle" (p 301; more on my book blog).
6. Previous Dawn or Doom Posts:
Smart Beautiful City
Dawn or Doom Comes 'Round Once More
AI is Easy
Dawn of Doom
Dawn or Doom2
Dawn or Doom?
DAWN . . .