There is an old preacher’s story about two frogs who fell into a vat of milk at a dairy. The first frog was very smart and instantly concluded the situation was hopeless. “The walls of the vat are too tall. The dairy workers are off for the weekend, and we can only swim for a few hours.” Resigning to his fate, the smart frog relaxed and drowned. The other frog kept pumping her legs. That Monday morning when the dairy workers found her, she was floating on a pad of butter.
When we look at the current situation in the world, it would be easy to play the role of the first frog. Our economy still appears to squeak like an old balloon about to pop. The rich nations block any real progress on climate change, and there is no reason to believe that developing nations will show any more foresight than did we. It is hard to argue with a pessimist these days.
At the same time, out of the margins of the world, a revolution has arisen. Workers with almost no political power, organized to take over their factories. Unschooled farmers have co-operated to build new economies that experts could not imagine in their old models.
I am inspired by the story of the band that continued to play as the Titanic sunk. Those were people who knew what it means to be a human being. We all die. Species die. Planets die. The only question is whether we will be at our post when that day comes. But the irony is that politics are not always logical. We have no idea what will happen as a result of such activism.
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. As we head into what logic tells us will be our apocalyptic demise, who knows what results might come from individuals living by universal principles and collective action? Like frogs in a vat of milk, we introduce new possibilities when we keep churning.