June 1, 2009
The Earth is Hiring (Extended Remix)
I gave Paul Hawken’s “the earth is hiring” commencement speech mixed marks, but I feel like I should upgrade my assessment, because it did one of the best things any piece of rhetoric can do: It started an interesting conversation.
I have never been able to warm to an argument that posits “the Earth” as a central player. The earth is not hiring.
Rather, each graduate will help build a world from the materials left to them from past generations of humans and other living creatures. Their challenge is to work together to build a good world for themselves and for the next generations that will come.
Tim called this the “now do it bigger, and more humble” approach… and I can already tell that this going to become a recurring phrase on Snarkmarket.
But Saheli says:
…but I also think the reason why that too big/more humble canvas doesn’t work for many people is their brains are not widescreen enough to properly count disappearing possibilities; and their engines are not rational enough to abstain from some large source of affection, approval and courtship. By Deifying the Earth and ennumerating Her gifts, Hawken provides that external motivator and waves away the necessity for rationally understanding the dangers of failure. So I understand your critique, but I can see why Hawken’s metaphorical fancy makes more sense for a large class of college graduates.
“Their engines are not rational enough.” What a great phrase.
From there we get into supernova-prevention schemes and the ethics of museum guards with guns. This is a thread you gotta read.