Monday, February 7, 2011

What's the harm?

"It's about a society on its way down, and as it falls, it keeps telling itself, 'So far so good... so far so good... so far so good.' It's not how you fall that matters. It's how you land."
La Haine (1995), dir. Mathieu Kassovitz. English from the subtitles. French: "C'est l'histoire d'une société qui tombe et qui au fur et à mesure de sa chute se répète sans cesse pour se rassurer: 'Jusqu'ici tout va bien, jusqu'ici tout va bien, jusqu'ici tout va bien...' L'important c'est pas la chute, c'est l'atterrissage."
     Cf. the population-bomb doomsday-er Paul Ehrlich, on the conservative Julian Simon, who won the famous bet between the two of them:  "Julian Simon is like the guy who jumps off the Empire State Building and says how great things are going so far as he passes the 10th floor" (Cass R. Sunstein, reviewing The bet:  Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and our gamble over earth's future, by Paul Sabin (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2013), in "The battle of two hedgehogs," New York review of books 60, no. 19 (December 5, 2013):  22).

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