... if you have to manage without something you can't manage without?
I'm reading a book now which is partly set in 1970s Stockholm (Skygge by Karin Alvtegen). The main character in that part of the book is a left wing intellectual, an author, and he's sometimes thinking that it's inappropriate that they have a housekeeper. You know, a servant. Which was becoming increasingly more frowned upon in the circles that he's moving in, in that period in Sweden. And it's also disturbing to him because he has a working class background himself, even though he's wealthy now, so he sort of sees his parents in this woman who's working for his family, and he's uneasy thinking that someone who 'is' his parents, in some ways, is his servant. But what are you gonna do, because, is his conclusion, 'they can't manage without her'. That is so messed up. What a thought that is. OK, they can't manage without her. So what if they woke up one day and she was gone? Would they all fall over dead? Would they starve in the kitchen? Would their house fill up with trash and dirt and they would have no idea what to do? Obviously not. It would be more of a hassle for them, but obviously they would manage.
Especially since this guy's wife doesn't work and mostly sits around the house reading, but that's another story.
So, following on from this, another thought. I've been watching this documentary series, Vår ære og vår makt, that's been showing on NRK this month. It's been interesting, at least relatively so ... it's a four-part series that tries to answer the question of how Norway, this tiny nation, could become such a superpower in shipping through so many years. I'm not sure I see how this really ought to have taken four hours to find out - I mean, the answer should be obvious to anyone with half a brain and a basic knowledge of modern Norwegian history. But there was a lot of interesting footage and a number of interesting interviews, so I'm not complaining. Here's my point:
In this episode - like at least one of the previous episodes - ancient shipping magnate Fred. Olsen was interviewed. You know, Monty Burns from The Simpsons? In this clip he was asked about the environmental impact of shipping. Because as you may know, these huge ocean-going freighters are the worst polluters there are. Seriously. Forget about passenger jets, no contest. It's the freight ships that are the real baddies. So Olsen was asked about how this form of transport can be made more environmentally friendly. And when he answered, he started with saying Well, we have to use oil. Then he went on to explain how energy use could be cut down in various ways. But what an interesting way to open.
We have to use oil. That's the only feasible way we can power these ships, we have to use oil. That's the kind of thing that sets my mind ticking. I so wonder how much Olsen has thought about this issue. Because - OK, oil is the only way in which the necessary amount of energy can be produced to drive these enourmous ships. So that's what we have to do. But the fact of the matter ... an even more basic fact than We have to use oil ... is that at one point, and I think that point may be closer than almost anyone on this planet is aware of, there will simply be no more oil to use. So it won't matter that we need it. It won't matter that it's our only option. There just won't be any. o_O
Olsen is old - past 80 - so he won't be around to see this. But I'm still young, I'm only 33. Statistically speaking, I have almost five decades still to live. It's going to be really interesting.
2 weeks ago