For all the small spliters of optimism from the Paris COP-21 talks (and symbols and rhetoric do matter), the whole process reminded me of Bertolt Brecht’s poem “Swansong,“ published earlier this year in The Guradian. Brecht wrote it about the long shadow of nuclear war, but physics has multiple ways of dealing with hubris.
Swansong, by Bertolt Brecht
- Let the last inscription then run
- (That broken slab without readers):
The planet is going to burst,
Those it bred will destroy it.
As a way of living together we merely thought up capitalism.
Thinking of physics, we thought up rather more:
A way of dying together.
(Translation by John Willett)
The image at the top of the post is from the Brandalism project, and is used with thanks. It hacked Paris poster sites at the start of the Paris conference and replaced the posters with new images.