Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Fall of the Empire

Isaac Asimov's Foundation books rank as my favorite science fiction series. They also make me wonder about time travel and extra-terrestrial visitation. I am continually amazed at what Asimov wrote in the late 1940's. Incredible.

Anyway, Foundation came to mind today as Sally and I talked about the multiple experiences of ineptitude and carelessness we have witnessed during the course of our move. That conversation was prompted by our standing in the Comcast office waiting to return the extra modem and connectivity kit shipped to us. We then returned home to await the exchange of our trash container, which took more than two weeks to obtain, was initially delivered to the wrong address, and then came in the wrong size. I can't begin to summarize the amazing promises and excuses I have heard from the customer service people at Waste Management.

There have been other instances - too many to recount. People don't listen, don't care, or are out of their depth. The private sector has proven worse than the public. Non-profits have done the best, by far.

The Foundation connection? A theme in the original Foundation story is that the great Galactic Empire is falling. The evidence is in the decline of infrastructure, but even moreso, in the inability or unwillingness of anyone to recognize or address the problem. That's often how I feel about our world. It's broken, and we possess neither the willingness or the ability to change it.

As the sign at the Portland Occupy camp expressed it: Everything is fine... Keep shopping.

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