Y2K a Decade On

University of Canterbury professor of philosophy, Arts & Letter Daily founder and author of The Art Instinct Denis Dutton writes a New York Times op-ed about the turn of the century at the turn of the decade. “From today’s perspective, the Y2K fiasco seems to be less about technology than about a morbid fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios. Religions from Zoroastrianism to Judaism to Christianity to U.F.O. cults have been built around notions of sin and the world’s end. The Y2K threat resonated with those ideas. Human beings have constructed an enormous, wasteful, unnatural civilization, filled with sin — or, worse in some minds, pollution and environmental waste. Suppose it turned out that a couple of zeros inadvertently left off old computer codes brought crashing down the very civilization computers helped to create. Cosmic justice! Apocalyptic scenarios are a diversion from real problems — poverty, terrorism, broken financial systems – needing intelligent attention. Even something as down-to-earth as the swine-flu scare has seemed at moments to be less about testing our health care system and its emergency readiness than about the fate of a diseased civilization drowning in its own fluids. Turning practical problems into cosmic cataclysms takes us further away from actual solutions.”


Tags: Denis Dutton  New York Times (The)  University of Canterbury  Y2K  

Tackling Hot-Button Liberal Issues in One Swoop

Tackling Hot-Button Liberal Issues in One Swoop

Next year, our country will hold public referendums to decide whether to legalise assisted suicide and recreational marijuana, and separately, lawmakers will consider a bill that would decriminalise abortion. Conflict-averse New…