In a wide-ranging discussion
with "loose-synapse" thinker, Lawrence Weschler -- the New Yorker
writer and author, most recently, of "Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences
" -- talks about his plan to make global warming the focus of the Chicago Humanities Festival
, for which he serves as director. He tells the Morning News
's Robert Birnbaum:
One reason I took on this job in Chicago is—each year they have a different theme—this year the theme is going to be “Peace and War.” It wasn’t my choice but I can easily live with that. I get to choose next year, and what I want to do is call it “Climate of Concern.” And I want to talk about global warming, but not the science of it and not the politics of it. I want the top people in the country. I want the Philip Roths and the E.L. Doctorows. I want Anne Hamilton. I want people to come and talk about, “Is this happening? Is this for real?” I am convinced that global warming is the thing at the forefront of all of our thinking, constantly. In the mode of, “Don’t think about that.” In the mode of, “Take two steps and then pull away.” Any thought you have about it goes two or three steps and then it stops.
I confess I'm not entirely sure what he's trying to say there, except perhaps that global warming has seeped into the collective consciousness to such an extent that it demands to be talked about in a less technical, more (for lack of a better term) humanistic way. We have warming on the brain, in other words, but it hasn't made it to our lips. And the reason is it's just too big and frightening to put into words. In the mode of, "Is this really the end of the world as we know it?" Weschler again:
This was not the first time we have thought we were living at of the end of the world. But having said that, something is going on.