The Romans had a god for it. His name was Ianus. He came into being when the world came into being. He is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He looks to the past as well as to the future. He presides over the beginning and the end of conficts, and over change more generally, including trade. Ianus used to be highly respected, but oblivion was in his future. Pictured here is a statue kept in Vatican City (Source).  3

Me too, I am an old fogey, but at a mere 92 years of age just a smartypants by comparison. As for the future, for humanity that looks grim. To me, anyway. Unless drastic changes occur—and occur soon. Changes, to begin with, in human behavior.  4

It isn't likely that people will survive long by running along the same track as that of an oncoming train. Better jump to the side without arguing at length just where to jump. To avoid jumping into quicksand or a swamp, we best ask experts in relevant disciplines for their advice. That is what two of my previous pieces are about, "A good day (in perilous times)" and "Mikado." Sure, those pieces may not be entirely correct, but by and large, I think, they are.  5

It is evident that there exists a strong resistance to my way of thinking. And to the thinking of an increasing number of young people. And to the thinking of many scientists. That resistance, it appears, comes from super-rich people who believe that money will see them through climatic adversity. They will be disappointed.  6

Matthew 19:24 reports Jesus as saying "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" Same can be found in Mark and Luke. Nice aphorism, but leaving the world with minds at loggerheads.  7

Legend of the Gordian Knot has it that whoever shows himself capable of undoing it would also be able to conquer all of Asia. Hearing this, Alexander the Great drew his sword and sliced the knot in half. Nice story, but leaving the world with a pile of loose ends.  8

I am rambling again, but rambling or not, what do we do with our loose ends? Or Mikado sticks, remember?  9

For Canada, I think we would be best served with our elected government acting on the advice of the best combination of the most capable senators our country has available. Or something along those lines. That, plus a capable foreign relations service to help steer other countries in this direction. Big job; little time.  10

Am I unrelistic? Come up with a better proposal. But for now, let me try to get some idea of what working with those loose ends involves and how that might benefit us. It just may be that this attempt will also give birth to a better way of going about things.  11

Here again is a list of issues that need to be dealt with. Topping it:

      pollution killing off our foodchain,
      climate change,
      large-scale burning of our forests,
      nuclear warfare.

Those require international co-operation and I'll bypass them for now. Next we have:

      artificial intelligence and robotics,
      mass migrations of people,
      fear and hatred among population groups,
      poor judgement by people and governments,
      poor appreciation of good citizenship,
      corrupted media,
      inadequate education,

and so forth.  

Canada is a democracy. Hence, it is vital that we have a well-informed electorate to encourage our government to get on with the job, and do so without partisan-motivated interference. Two issues here:

      • How do we ensure that our electorate is well-informed?
      • How do we avoid partisan interference in the job our government should be committed to do?  

That first issue might be split into two parts: short-term and long-term. For the short term we need reliable media. For the long-term we need to critically review our educational system and make improvements where needed.  14

The second issue calls for a critical assessment of the motivation(s) that led to the establishment of each of our political parties. Whose interests are they meant to serve? This question brings up another conundrum: how do we deal with parties' use of propaganda to enlarge their slice of the popular vote. Kind of reminds me of the proverbial fox being put in charge of the hen-house.  15

The issue of propaganda is, to my mind, strongly tied up with popular fear and consequential hatred. Propaganda exploits people's sentiments, Fear and hatred are right now a worldwide phenomenon, spread by media and an abuse of the internet. The media know well that bad news sells which, in turn, attracts advertising.  16

Here are some glimpses of the world as it has been unfolding this week.  17

Extracted from the Pope's 2019 "Urbe et orbi" Christmas address: "It is injustice that makes them [Lybians] cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps." "It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference."  18

Walls of indifference? Worse than that, I think. Walls of outright antagonism. Why? Job insecurity? I'm guessing. I scanned the internet to at first find some tiresome opinion pieces. But then I came across an article in YaleGlobal Online: "Job and Cultural Insecurity, More Than Inequality, Fuels Populism" by an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. It's worth reading in full. Personally, it made me think more clearly about what is involved. And in particular that we should take a hard look at job security and universal basic income supplements.  19

Universal basic income supplements? Another can of worms come to think of all those who try to "work the system."  20

Scanning the internet some more, we find many a measure has been taken or is being undertaken to combat climate change, but also that such actions are still far too slow in the coming.  21

Mark Carney, formerly Governor of the Bank of Canada, then Governor of the Bank of England, ties finance to climate change. He recently said that adding up all the investments in fossil fuel by pension funds out there is consistent with a global warming by 3.7–3.8° C. That is almost triple the 1.5° climatologists allow and, hence, those financial assets are doomed to become worthless (Ref.). You might want to check what the holdings are of your own pension fund.  22

Mr Carney told those pooh-poohing the consensus on climate change, "We can't afford on this one to have selective information, spin, misdirection ... because we are all in on it." Which brings us back to the need for trustworthy media and trustworthy political campaigners.  23

Propaganda, selective information, spin, misdirection .... Think of artificial intelligence and robotics. Propaganda highlights the jobs those technologies create. Misdirecting us from the massive job losses they bring about.  24

Clearly, we badly need a change in climate! We need a climate of truth and trust.  24

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