Saturday, March 12, 2011
Even a broken Gladwell can tell the correct tipping point at least twice an epoch. The 10-centimeter tip occurred in the days prior to the vernal equinox in the 2011th orbit following birth of the translator. A certain amount of irony might be noted that the tip occurred 48 hours before one more artificial slice of experience, change the clocks, refresh the batteries, leap forward leap forward. Ten centimeters might be enough to shift the first day of spring, leap forward leap forward.
The measuring mavens will show the data indicating the degree of subduction of Pacific Plate under North American Plate, but some of us know better. We could watch the sand tsunami in city after city as the days grew longer, taking its debris in Tunis, Cairo, Manama, then experiencing backsurge in Sa'naa and Ras Lanuf. We could feel the ground turn gelatinous under the dome in Madison. ("It feels like we're on an island." "We are on an island, knucklehead.") What is spoken for Sendai becomes Earth Island, the ball that tipped before the spoilsport could take it away and run home. Admit it - after the tragic failures west of Benghazi, after the midnight arrests in Wisconsin, you were thinking, "Wait for it.... wait for it.... wait for it...."
But if tipping points tip, is it cause for new hope or a ten-centimeter false spring? Confession: when a president hires bankers and corrects the State Department spokesman that Pfc. Bradley Manning is being treated just fine thank you very much, I've had my fill of hopey-changey. I anticipate no particular apocalypse, I do not await December 2012, but nor do I expect universal peace and understanding when the axis shifts. Hillary might call it reset, I call it stutter, but is it a stutter with anything to say? Most of the emergent language is unpleasant, a cooling-pump explosion at Fukushima Daiishi, drifting ships in Ishinomaki, one f-stop too close to the action in Crescent City.
This is the year, the decade of the aftershock, payment due, March 19 Super Moons, holding the slightest hope that the ride through one tipping point is enough. Human nature being what it is, the most likely scenario will be laughter, forgetting, ignorance, until the cascade initiates a second cascade, the real subduction. Then Malcolm gets to be right twice, oopsy followed by daisy. It is sunny and warm outside today, I won't fear the isotopes of Fukushima that may be in the air, but just go out and relish the extra spring ten centimeters may bring. But one short sharp shock can make you look like hell in the morning, and the most likely scenario is that this is the first of many.