Shrinking Possibilities

at 10:43 PM
Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

The world looks a lot different to Mac Clayton now, and that’s not just because the world is different now.

Oh, my goodness, the world is so messed up. It’s enough to make me want to go off somewhere and forget about it all.

I can do that now. The work I do is portable. I could live at the beach or in a mountain cabin. No one would care.

That may sound like the musings of someone who is a little depressed, or of an old man viewing his mortality. They’re kind of the same thing, I think.

I wonder how I made it this long without getting discouraged. The world isn’t objectively worse off now. Were not in the middle of the Depression or WW II. There’s a lot of poverty, a lot of economic inequality, but by and large more people around the world are better off than ever. Climate change is coming at us like the asteroid at the dinosaurs, that could be worse.


When I was young, two things were different—about me, not the world. First, I was boundlessly optimistic, on behalf of myself and mankind. Second, I was busy. Working, raising a family, all that nose-to-the-grindstone stuff. I took Watergate and Reagan in stride. When the Berlin Wall came down, I said, “Of course it did. That kind of repression never lasts.”

But some kind of repression is always with us, it seems. I don’t need to give you a list. Everyone has their own. We are beleaguered by the Democrats or the Republicans, the right or the left, corruption or political tyrants.

The world is the same, but I’m different now. I want to be hopeful, but I’m chastened by the realization that human nature, in all its glory and greed, is unlikely to change. And so the world, fundamentally, is unlikely to change.

We are born egocentric. It’s the way we survive. It’s too bad we have to grow up. It was a lot cheerier in that long-ago world of just me and endless possibilities.

With a Perspective, I’m Mac Clayton.

Mac Clayton contemplates possibilities from his home on the Peninsula.