This I Believe

Robert and Lucy - Batavia, Illinois
Entered on January 28, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: environment
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This I Believe

I firmly believe in our species strong capability to muddle through. I think this is a positive not a negative. In fact, I think it is the great underlying strength of the human species. The American Heritage dictionary defines muddle through as “To push on to a favorable outcome in a disorganized way.” Houghton Mifflin defines it as “To progress or perform adequately, especially in difficult circumstances.” We as humans have muddled through for tens of thousands of years. Yes, there have been bad times, but we muddled through those and live in pretty good times. We muddle through our daily lives. There are those rare uber humans that plan everything out and “execute” the plan. However, I have not encountered a happy uber human yet. The world keeps interfering in their plans. I for one am not one of these people. I see my life as going with the flow and trying to take advantage of opportunity when it arrives. There were isolated bits of planning and execution, but in my experience there is no plan that can account for the essential randomness of real life. I have muddled through to a positive outcome, so far. I think I am a pretty good muddler.

When people speak about the end of the human species due to global warming, running out of oil, a really nasty disease, etc I generally respond, that humans have muddled through numerous of these kinds of cataclysms and will probably muddle through again. We as humans do best in a crisis. We have had a lot of practice. Our government has been uniquely designed to efficiently muddle through. Face it, when it loses balance, it does some pretty stupid things. Just look back over the past four years for a good example of an out of balance government. However, when in balance, it doesn’t do really bad or good things. During the 90s one of the great periods of prosperity occurred when the government was balanced with a Democratic President and a Republican Congress. I believe that the United States will do little to combat Global Warming or an oil shortage until there is a crisis. At that point, we will come up with some pretty innovative stuff to help us cope. In other words we will muddle through to a positive outcome. Is it guaranteed? No, but I believe it is likely.

Am I being a pessimist? No, quite the opposite as I believe being an effective muddler is a primary defense against a world that is effectively random and disordered. So hear-hear to the muddlers. You will inherit the earth along with all of its problems and issues and be happy.