The Naked Display of Abandon in Shanghai was a Signal to The Next Generation
It’s not because Tesla’s stock is at a high. It’s not because SpaceX is passing milestone after milestone. Elon Musk is on a mission, and it’s the same one we all need to be on, starting now: to save the world.
There’s a kind of liberation in facing death, like the movie protagonist racing in a stolen car, chased by the killer bad guy, not worried about the tires or how much fuel is being used: it’s adrenaline pumping survival mode, right here, right now.
And yet, with the metaphorical woman of his dreams (who is actually us and the planet) in the passenger seat, the protagonist, and all of us vicariously, feels more alive, in what could be his final moments, than in all his life to this point.
That’s why he’s dancing.
Many say 2019 was the year that the Climate Crisis, formerly known as global warming, could no longer be doubted by any sane or unbiased person. A few dozen catastrophic, clearly anomalous weather events will do that.
And now, as the new decade dawns, Australia burns and #WWIII trends on Twitter, we are all starting to feel like we are in that stolen car.
Elon Musk is a little different from the rest of us. Not because of his money or success or brains or celebrity. Because he has been on this mission for practically his entire life.
And now we need to join him.
Tesla is and always has been on a mission. Not to “dominate” the EV sector of the auto industry, as is so often written. Not to achieve success as measured by profit or cash flow positions. It’s on an energy mission . See it’s stated for all to see on its twitter account:
So many constantly trumpet the refrain that solving the climate crisis is all about austerity and sacrifice, and certainly there will be plenty of that.
And the deniers say that changing the system is not worth it if there is even a minuscule chance that we are not doomed. Really? How much Exxon stock do you own ? But what it will really take is a revolution in thought and the contagious motivation of an entire generation. And humans are not prophylactically inclined !
It’s Elon Musk and Tesla’s genius, shared with Apple that they understand that you can change the world if people are moved by aspirational, beautiful, sexy dreams of a better life. Not some granola style golf cart of functionality.
An iPhone is the best, most powerful hand held computing device ever imagined and, oh yes, it’s a sexy, sleek fashion statement that you can love with all your heart as well. Ditto on the last part for every Tesla also, from the Model 3 to the Cybertruck.
That mission is bigger than being a car maker, or battery manufacturer or even tech design firm. It’s a mission to replace the current, suicidal, Fossil Fuel based infrastructure with a sustainable one. Worldwide. Right now. Before it’s too late to matter.
Companies that have a higher mission than just “profit for shareholders” have not just a higher moral ground from which to operate but a true motivation that literally pulses like a beating heart throughout the enterprise. Often overlooked is the mission that Steve Jobs imbued into the soul of Apple and the higher mission of providing the best tools that technology is capable of.
Looking forward, for perhaps the first time in human history, the challenges are sharply defined, as are the methods and players in the game. Massive evil forces, created by humans must be countered by small and also equally massive forces just as human, oriented toward a better world and more, the best of all possible worlds.
In truth, within the total devotion and capitulation to a higher mission lies freedom, inner peace and, ultimately success and prosperity, potentially for us all.
Not a hard choice when compared to pain, suffering and, ultimately the extinction of all life on this planet.
In short, it’s Utopia or Oblivion, folks.
So, thank you Elon Musk, for showing us the steps to the dance, and for having the bravery to show us with those awkward, unselfconscious moves that, you too, are learning as you go.
Now we all just need to apply ourselves, like Greta Thunberg inviting Meatloaf to examine scientific evidence, to the task of finding the joy in changing everything that’s wrong with our world, starting with the energy infrastructure, and replacing it with a better, cleaner, less tainted one.
There is a paradox here, though. See it? If we are running for our lives from the most fearsome danger we’ve ever faced, and we are not concerned about money, power or the trappings of fame, then why does it sometimes seem like a better life is so close we can almost reach out and touch it?
Because that’s the secret. If we did all dance like Elon, devote ourselves to a higher cause, and put aside our worldly squabbles over money, power and fame, maybe, just maybe, we will survive and prosper, beyond all our imaginings. And that stolen car? It’s a Tesla Roadster hitting on maximum torque in Ludicrous mode.
And with every discovery shared, solution compounded and mission surpassed, we can escape together and let go of the past’s villainous errors. With luck to find a future worth all our hopes and dreams.
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