Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Straw(s) that Broke the Camel's Back

Everyone has heard about the straw that broke the camel's back - and perhaps wondered, whose straw was to blame?
Paradoxically the answer is no one's and everyone's.
But that is assuming, of course, that each person placed just a single, or the same number of straws on the camel's back. The answer is rather different if some people place more straws on its back than others.
Let the camel represent Earth's finite carrying capacity, on which each of us has to place a certain number of straws in order to live. Although we do not know exactly how many it can carry, we can be sure that there is a limit - which will be exceeded if increasing numbers of people continue to pile on more and more straws.
Insanely, this is exactly what we are doing. Everyone can pile as many straws onto the camel's back as they have - or can borrow - the money to pay for, and are encouraged to do so, not just by their natural inclinations, but also by a growth-dependent economy and multi-billion dollar credit and advertising industries.
This constitutes what I call the Insanity of Normality, which is difficult to recognise (except in flashes, which we are quickly distracted from and forget about), because we are all so familiar with and dependent on it.

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