Waiting for the Big One

The thing about preparing for a big earthquake is that nothing changes.  It’s not like weather – or war, for that matter – where the fronts develop and move, and can be observed.  The probability of a major quake remains the same, and unknown.

The arena of action is not the physical world, it’s the world of people – their agendas, their schedules, the allocation of energy in their lives.  This is a case where the old aphorism is unquestionably true:  It’s not what you know, it’s who.  (Or “whom,” I suppose.)

I’ve been meeting great people and learning a lot about how they make sense of the world.  There are some people who focus intently on the consequences of an earth-shattering quake.  Most of them work for under-funded government departments.  Most of them are trying to convince people to make some preparations in advance, because that’s all you can do.

But they don’t have enough money to meet the threat, because the money has been routed to war-making rather than society-building.  Our bridges are falling down, and there hasn’t even been an earthquake yet!  Meanwhile, more than half the federal budget goes to multi-billion-dollar airplanes and multi-million-dollar cruise missiles, and other such accouterments of late-stage empire.

So the people on the ground are left to do the best they can.  It was ever thus!  Meanwhile, the earth moves – slowly now, and soon with a convulsion that will shake our civilization.  And I meet new people and I learn what they’re doing and I join them.  Because that’s all you can do.

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