When I Was Young I Had High Hopes for the World But …

Ode to a civilization lost

Glen Hendrix


Dinosaur cake — courtesy Wikimedia Commons

When I was young, I was so proud of humanity. All of us. We were going places. To space. To the stars. To new and glorious destinations.

I love dinosaurs. I hate their passing. We weren’t going to be like them. We weren’t going to let anything stop us. Not even an asteroid. Mankind would last two hundred million years at least—35 million years longer than the dinosaurs. Maybe even see the Sun go nova in five billion years. We would be safe in our habitats beyond Jupiter or in another solar system.

Nothing was impossible. Love would conquer all. Our sins would be forgiven. Jet packs and flying cars for everyone. A vaccine for old age. No more sorrow. No more tears. We would all live forever.

My hopes for humanity were a foment of nothing. A bright, shiny carriage full of folly and folderol. A child’s fantasy.

As an adult my expectations were tempered, but I never thought they would be shattered, soaked in napalm, set ablaze, and the ashes flattened by steamrollers.

First the realization infinite growth was impossible. Then the understanding capitalism wasn’t going to give it up. Then climate change and the implication of fossil fuels in climate change. Then the understanding fossil…