Not With A Bang, But With A Snigger

Guess again, you mathematicians
Your equations incomplete.
Forces that you did not count on
That shall cause your plans defeat.
Man's more like to change than die
Though your stats won't tell you why...
(C.J. Cherryh, '40,000 in Gehenna')

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the failure of the failure is that the doomsayers relied on assorted 'metrics' of software analysis to 'prove' the bug was insoluable -- despite the fact that the doomers were, almost to a man, the type who condemned the 'mechanization' of the modern world and the reduction of the human spirit. Yet, in the end, it was the human spirit which triumphed over the cold equations. Imagine that. (Almost makes me regret being a misanthrope. Almost.)

Throughout recorded history, any number of prophets have come forth, bearing calculations, statistics, figures, all pointing to inexorable, inevitable, unavoidable catastrophe -- yet every time, the disaster has been averted, often with a shrug. Malthus. Erlich. Yourdon. All tally up the numbers, note the totals, declare the time and date of the ending of the world -- and all fail.

Humanity is an abomination unto the universe. We are Coyote, we are Loki, we are Hermes, we are the trickster of creation. The gods declare "Heads I win, tails you lose", and we toss the coin regardless, and laugh as it lands on its edge. An ice age comes, and we make fire and wear furs. The ice retreats, and we plant crops. Our numbers grow geometrically, while farmland shrinks, and we still have more food than we can eat -- and, in defiance of the most basic law of life, we have controlled our breeding. (ZPG in the industrial world.)

There would be riots -- but there weren't. The shelves would be empty -- but they aren't. Stocks and planes would both crash -- neither has. A million embedded chips would die, and with them, our power, our heat, our sewage -- but the lights are on, and it's warm, and the toilet flushes. Nothing could stop the disaster -- but the disaster has been stopped.

The gods punish hubris -- but there are no gods but Darwin, and Heinlein is his prophet. The only true sin is the lack of hubris, of failing to dare, of letting fear of failure cause you to fail by default.

We have grown too dependant on technology? But we have always been dependant on technology -- totally, absolutely, completely, for as long as man has been man and for a million years or more before that. From the first sparks of flint to the flames of Apollo is a clear line, undivided and unbroken, an ascending arrow that has not yet, and may never, fall back to Earth. We cannot live without technology, not as individuals, not as a species. To say we are too dependant on technology is to say we are too human.

One man, one mind, can change the world, and there are six billion of us. Nothing is inevitable, nothing is certain, nothing is fixed -- provided that men are free to use their minds. Man, alone of all animals, is not bound by what is. Man can imagine -- and turn tought into reality. A rat can learn to run a maze -- but a human can stand still, see the maze, run his mind down it, across it, run a thousand thousand paths in an instant, then, after his race through pathways of imagination, learn to pole vault over the walls -- or just smash them down. We rewrite the rules of the game, and we have since the time, long ago, when one of our ancestors -- the first creature worthy of the name 'human' -- decided to smash a rock into the head of a predator. At that moment, evolution screamed and fled. We decided, at that point, that we would shape our environment to suit us -- that we would warp the world to our own needs, remake the universe in our image. And we have, and we shall continue to do so. The point at which we do not is the point at which we are no longer human.

(Note:Lizard just deleted six paragraphs of sickeningly self-congratulatoyy nonsense, in which I pulled a muscle patting myself on the back. Narcisisstic rambling available on request, read them if you need incitement to vomit.)

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