I was just reading a bit of The Psychopathology of Everyday Schooling by John Gatto, and came across this quote from Langdon Winner.
Society is composed of persons who cannot design, build, repair, or even operate most of the devices upon which their lives depend.
It dawned on me that not only is this true (consider computers, phones, and electricity) but it is exactly what Y2K was all about. We depend on these things, yet we have practically no control over them. If the supporting systems go down, ours go, too.
So why even talk about a decade-old “crisis” that turned out to be no crisis at all?
That’s exactly why we should look at it!
Remember how much hype there was as the new millennium approached? The fearmongers were everywhere. People stocked up on food and bottled water, learned to can food, installed hand pumps, and researched how to heat their homes with alternative fuels.
Many approached the stroke of midnight that New Year’s Eve with apprehension…and what happened?
We all laughed with relief and assured one another that we really hadn’t thought anything would happen… but it sure was nice to find out we were right!
And what lesson did we learn? We learned that life will go on as usual.
I just began to wonder this morning if all the hype, all the fear and uncertainty of Y2K, was carefully prepared and encouraged to reassure us that we have nothing to fear, that nothing can go wrong. Does a hugely overinflated non-crisis like that make us apt to disbelieve any prediction of another crisis?
For instance, our economy, according to some, is on the brink of disaster. But many people continue on as usual, believing that nothing really serious can possibly happen. Our leaders will fix it before it gets too bad, right? We don’t have to change our lifestyle, because nothing’s going to happen.
What do you think? Have we become complacent? Do we see things clearly or are we living in a rose-tinted world where surely nothing can go too badly wrong?
Have we learned the lesson of Y2K too well?