In the C.S.Lewis classic, “The Great Divorce”, people are transported from a grey, foggy, conflict ridden, endlessly repetitive, unreal world, across a great chasm into reality. A hard, stark, beautiful, ultimate reality. These “ghosts” from an fuzzy vague world collide with the intensity of a true reality. Grass so real it hurts to walk on it. Fruit on the trees so real the ghosts can barely pick it up. Water so real you can walk on it.
Some are open to explore and discover this reality, encouraged by others who have gone before. Others are petrified and rush to return to their misty, drab, conflicting world, believing it to be better, or at least safer. Many are confused by what they discover. Blinded by irrational institutional beliefs, they cannot even begin to see what lies before them. Chained by fears that have grown greater than themselves, they are powerless to move forward. Many encounter in stark contrast the real consequence of the choices they have made and the insanity of the world they have been living in. Some courageously move forward becoming more real as they do so. Others turn away to return to the comfort of their own deceptions.
The Great Divorce. The enormous separation between our perceptions of the world, and reality. Our endlessly repetitive arguments, conflicts, discussions. Our blindness to see the consequences of our actions, the outworkings of our groundless beliefs. At times it feels like COP17 epitomizes this great divorce. The stark reality is out there, we see glimpses of it from our air-conditioned venues but others experience it far more acutely. And yet the endless arguments and talking continues. Side event after side event, rooms half filled by sleepy delegates. Talking head follows talking head saying… nothing real. With apologies to King Solomon: “Meaningless meaningless, all this stuff of men is meaningless… real meaning can only be found in acknowledging reality.”
As we walk into another day of COP17 I really hope that something of reality can begin to break into that grey, foggy, conflict ridden, deception filled, and endlessly repetitive world.
Endnote: While the conclusion seems dire and depressing, for a glimpse of hope I would recommend reading the far superior piece of writing by the same name referenced in the first sentence of this scrap of awkward prose.