Saturday, October 15, 2011

Invisible Forces

Here's a little shout-out to the people of Occupy Wall Street. Yes, the math is a little wrong (but "We are 67%" doesn't sound quite as nice) and all you right wingers can despair at the disappearance of good ol' self-reliance (while collecting Social Security). I don't know what they stand for--neither does anybody else--but whatever it is, it's not the current system. Unlike the London "street revolutions", which began with a legitimate reason and then descended into chaos and mayhem, the OWS had to earn its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and as such, it will not fade so easily.

Ayn Rand--and yes, I've read both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged--might have thought that venture capitalists could remake the world if it weren't for nosy bureaucrats and that nebulous feeling of compassion. In her simplistic view, businessmen/-women were honest and fair. As anybody who's ever had to so much as return a faulty item should know, in reality, they are anything but. But incorrect conjectures aside, venture capitalists can't remake the world without the little people a)buying their products or b) working to make them. So really, making sure that you're not screwing over the middle class is a good thing.

In the forest, the mycelia that grow in the forest are largely ignored because they just blend in so well with everything else. But they are actually one of the most critical components to the health of the forest, and they are more pervasive than most people realize. For every single mushroom that you see on the forest floor, there is a network of root-like tendrils (hyphae) that can be anywhere from a few square meters to a few square kilometers in width and depth. These powerhouses of the ecosystem basically decompose anything that sits in the soil long enough--thus playing a critical role in keeping the forest alive...or killing it entirely.

In Western democracies, we like to believe that people have the power--after all, they vote for candidates to represent them in the government, and they trust that the government will serve their needs (I guess this makes JFK a Republican, then). It's kind of awe-inspiring to be able to watch them as they take it.

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