May 4, 1999

Views From Metropolis

1999

Wendy M. Pfeiffer

Part 15 in a Series

I am enjoying the most spectacular jello. It's a beautiful color of pink,
and fairly sparkles with flavor. It arrived in a handy single-serving
container, perfect in its simplicity. Its label provides extensive information
on nutritional value and content. It was very cheap and convenient to obtain.

It is the sum of all things.

I've been sensing the presence of these "all things," but could not find
tangible expression for them until today. Until this spectacular jello.

It would be easy to believe that the world is going to hell in a
handbasket. Kosovo and Columbine spring to mind. Has humanity really sunk so
low? These children, the products of our best efforts, can they be any worse?
In a world where we can clone a sheep, can we not stop a madman? Surely, here
at the brink of destiny, we should have eliminated senseless killing. How can
it be that the leading cause of death in U.S. children under age 12 is homicide?
It would be easy to see this as a sign of the impending end of all things we
value.

I've never been an optimist. My glass is eternally half-empty, and the
plan, no matter how lofty, is always fraught with flagrant flaws. I'm the
naysayer, the cynic, the Beat poet in the wrong decade. So, before I write this
next part, I'll ask those of you who know me well to sit down. Take a deep
breath. There now: let's proceed.

You see, I believe that this impending new Millenium is the start of all
things new. It is goodness, and positive destiny, and the embodiment of hope.
It is not the end of things as we know it. It is not disaster's chasm or the
edge of the end of the age of Man. I am thrilled to be alive here, and now, as
this person, at this Crossroads.

We are living in amazing times! This day, this month, and this year
represent the highest level of achievement for humanity in recorded history. We
are, collectively, better fed, better educated, better housed, better understood
and better protected than ever before. This year in Los Angeles, air pollution
is at its lowest level in 50 years. Worldwide, 94% of pregnancies result in
live births. There are fewer active wars and fewer deaths from war worldwide
than at any other time in recorded history. We find cures for disease at the
rate of one cure per week: a 1200% increase over any other decade in history.

And no discussion of the heights we've achieved would be complete without a
discussion of William Gibson. We are living in the future he envisioned, but
with some differences. The technology is better and the ills are lesser. Our
energies aren't sucked dry by the Matrix. Our energies are focused on the
Masses. We have unparalled choices, not unparalleled programs. We are growing
and changing, collectively, into something stronger and better. We are happier
than ever, and our technology is helping all that. Gibson's vision is
vindicated, but the venom is vanishing.

This is our Age of Aquarius.

I have come to learn something. The something is simple. The something is
this: attitude is everything. When my attitude is positive, my world is good.
I am happy. When my attitude is negative, my world is bad. I am unhappy. It
is a recursive algorithm, but its solution is simple: Be Happy.

I'm talking to you: yes YOU! Stop whatever you're doing right now. Grab
a digital alarm clock or a perfectly baked scone or a telephone receiver or a
shoelace, or a container of pink jello, and look at it. Admire its simplicity.
Admire the incredible system of knowledge and empowerment and distribution which
created this moment. This thing in your hand is the reality of this Crossroads.
It is the sum of all things. Feel its power. It is the power of the new
Millenium. It is in your hands.

At least, that's the view from here.


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