dé·jà vu: (dā’zhä vōō’) n. An impression of having seen or experienced something before
Last year, at the Earth Dialogues Summit in Jerusalem, I rediscovered my past.
The summit was essentially a series of talks given by some very interesting people, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Noel Pearson, Tim Costello and many more. Their message was clear – if the civilisation we all inhabit continues the way it’s headed, a crash is inevitable. Which is a message I’d been receiving from Will for years. About 20 years actually. But like most people when confronted with such news, I denied it.
Will, for those who haven’t met him (and that’s most of you), has two modes of belief when it comes to this topic. When he’s an pessimist, he thinks Mother Nature is gunna come along, slap us down, and put us in our place. And it’ll be fucken ugly. When he’s feeling optimistic, he thinks we’ve got the potential to avoid the ugly bits, if we extract our digit in a manner rapid.
For a long time, I tended to fall into the mindset of most people who Will talks to – I’d give some of his ideas credence, but most of them are so stark raving mad that I’d ignore them. But Will talks. And talks and talks and talks. Being his friend for twenty years means I’ve learnt to switch off when he’s going on, and on, and on. But even though I turn off, and most of what he says washes over me, the way the waves wash over a rock on the shore, what he says must soak in. Because sometimes, the larger world will throw up something and it’ll register in my brain “Will predicted that ten years ago”.
So here I was at the Earth Dialogues last year, and people of the calibre of Gorby were speaking Will’s words. And executives of large companies. And high-level politicians. And bureaucrats. All saying things Will had been saying for years, and had been scoffed at for.
Since then, and it’s been almost a year now, the message has begun to be reinforced. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. ABC’s Four Corners’ report on Peak Oil. Numerous media articles.
So I’ve been revisiting twenty years of talks with Will, and what they mean. And the direction my life’s gone, and where it should go next.