The Third Industrial Revolution

21 08 2018

I belong to a degrowth group on facebook. The owner of this group posted a link to a youtube video titled “The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy”. I downloaded it sight unseen so that I could watch it on my TV while it’s Jeremy_Rifkinpissing down with rain outside and I frankly have nothing else better to do……. luckily for those up North in terrible drought, we’ll be sending some your way next weekend. I’ve never liked Jeremy Rifkin’s crazy ideas, and had I realised he was the star attraction of this film, I probably would not have downloaded it in the first place, but having done so, and under the abovemnetioned weather conditions, I went ahead anyway……

The first half hour was for me the best part, because he clearly explains – with some crucial left out items – why we’re in deep shit. What really leaves me flumoxed is how someone who clearly understands thermodynamics and entropy cannot come to grips with their repercussions.

A ‘Third Industrial Revolution’ Would Seal Our Fate — Why Jeremy Rifkin is Dead Wrong

For me, it was extraordinarily hard to find where to start my criticism — not because of the lack of strength of his arguments, but simply because it is just plain hard to even know where to start! Explaining in the face of such universal ignorance of simple ecological limits and boundaries, and for such a long (1 3/4 hours) presentation, I fear I may ramble a bit during this difficult essay.

While I hope this post won’t offend anyone, I just think that some of us have to speak up to show him and his admirers that our generation blindly following his progressivist ideas  – at least not in its entirety – is almost as dumb as doing nothing at all…..

His ideas are not ‘radically new’. they are just a new version of the same old ‘more is better’ paradigm — more technology, more energy, more people, more jobs, more work, more impact, more control. He is after all a business man, and his main problem is that he simply doesn’t get the growth problem…. Maybe we have to try something that really is completely new:

Small is better. Simple is better. Local is better. Independent is better.

Less technology, less pollution, fewer cars (to be fair, he does say we’ll reduce the number of cars by 85%), fewer airplanes,  highways, fewer shopping malls, less noise, less trade, less work, less destruction, less disruption, less control, less worries… This doesn’t sound so bad after all, does it? But it is the complete opposite of what Rifkin has in mind for this world……

He makes it quite clear that in his ‘radically’ new economy, everything is smart. Smart phones, smart vehicles, smart roads and smart houses…..  he talks of retrofitting houses, which I know from experience does not work. Once you’ve built a lemon, a lemon it remains. That’s why I’m going through all the hassles of building my own…

There are serious concerns, expressed many times in this very blog, about the environmental impact that such changes would bring about. As far as we know it is highly unlikely that we have sufficient reserves of resources for producing so called “green/clean” technologies, on a global scale, good enough to replace the current, all-encompassing, fossil fuel-based system……

From what I saw in the video, there will be markets, corporations, stocks, products, consumers, factories, roads, cars, drones, workers, bosses, currency, more debts, taxes, laws — which all seems an awful lot like the system we currently have…. A truly ‘radical’ new economy would, surely, not see the exact same elements as its predecessor?

Rifkin forgets that there already was a “sharing economy”, usually referred to as ‘gift economy’ by anthropologists, and that this original sharing economy lasted for over 95% of our species’ two-hundred-thousand-years existence here on Earth. Ironically, this ancient economic system happens to be the closest to a sustainable form of economy that we have ever known. No resource was overexploited, no ecosystem disrupted and absolutely no pollution resulted….  and most of that was the result of infinitesimally smaller population numbers.

While it’s obvious Rifkin has some understanding of science, he remains an economist after all! Here are some of his failings as I see them…..

Chemistry

Chemistry matters because when we look at the periodic table of elements, we see all there is in our world. In the whole Universe actually… There are only 118 elements available to us. And we will never find replacements for those elements, they simply do not exist…… Of increasing interest are 17 different Rare Earth Elements (REE’s), elements 57–71 (the lanthanides) and scandium and yttrium, most of which are used to create solar panels, batteries, magnets, displays and touchscreens, hardware and other advanced technological appliances.

Figure 1. Slide by Alicia Valero showing that almost the entire periodic table of elements is used for computers.

To obtain them we have to rape and pillage the biosphere. This puts us into a predicament that Rifkin fails to address.  Those elements are used because of their unique and desirable qualities, such as the ability to absorb certain wavelengths (particularly efficient in the case of solar panels), produce strong magnets for the massive generators used in wind turbines, and colorful lights for the displays of our mobile phones, computers and TV’s.

Of the 17 REE’s, the only one that is not found in smartphones is the radioactive promethium! I guess the line is drawn at putting radioactive stuff to one’s ear….. Modern smartphones contain almost three quarters of all the elements in the periodic table, and all of them are essential for those devices to function. It is chemically not possible to create something like a smartphone without certain elements; and it is impossible to obtain those elements without destroying vast swaths of the already battered environment.

Geology

From a geological point of view Rifkin’s plans are highly unlikely. We simply don’t have enough resources left to do any of his proposed ‘revolutions’ in the realms of energy and communication.

Biology

Overshoot is what happens when a species follows simple biological laws: if you increase the food availability of any species, its population will increase, period. This is what we humans have done for the past 10,000 years, since the widespread adoption of agriculture. As a result of the food surplus that industrial agriculture creates (as opposed to the “just-enough” food quantity obtained by foragers), human population exploded. The biggest increase in human population was directly caused by the “Green” Revolution, when fossil fuelled chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides were first used on a continental scale. It was like agriculture on steroids…..

I didn’t realise Rifkin was a vegetarian/vegan activist until watching this. He yet again displays his ignorance of the difference between industrial animal husbandry and regenerative agriculture, which, in my not so humble opinion, will be the third revolution…. Maybe someone needs to invent smart cows! Just kidding…….

The fact that Rifkin fails to adequately address overpopulation is reason enough for me to question his competence.

Ecology

Ecosystems function best and are at their most stable, resilient and effective when all components stay within their naturally imposed limits. From an ecological view, anthropocentrism has no foundation whatsoever. Instead of controlling our environment, we would have to let go of all control and hand the reins back to Mother Nature…… Ecosystems are networks (Rifkin, fond of technological and digital metaphors, would probably call them an ‘Internet’!) that seem resilient even when they suffer severe damage. But once a ‘tipping point’ is reached, like human overshoot, collapse is rapid and ruthless. The first of those tipping points might be reached as soon as the 2020’s mark, with increasingly extreme weather events threatening breadbasket regions around the world. Rifkin’s assertion that we have forty years to fix the mess just blew me away…..

Like it or not, we are inevitably a part of the ecosystem surrounding us, whether we act like it or not. Everything we do – and nothing we do is sustainable – has a direct impact on our immediate environment. Thanks to globalization, ecosystems are now impacted on a global scale.

The extraction and processing of REM’s needed to produce all our technology is directlysamarco connected to the destruction of ecosystems all around the globe. Several major ecological catastrophes were directly caused by the mining and extraction of REE’s, such as the Samarco tailings dam collapse (2015) in Brazil or the silicon tetrachloride spill by a solar energy company in Henan province, China (2008). As implied by  recent, peer reviewed study (paywall) in the prestigious journal Nature, there is no reason to believe that this risk is going to decrease if global demand rises as predicted by all involved scholars and institutions.

Green Clean Smart technology

It should be obvious by now, especially to all followers of this blog, that neither solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric facilities, and electric cars, nor smartphones, computers and other high-tech gadgets come even close to being what might be termed “green” or “clean”. But what Rifkin proposes is nothing short of megalomania.

Smartphones (smart vehicles, smart roads, smart houses, smart toilets and any other ‘smart’ gadget), computers, televisions, electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels, lasers, camera lenses, missiles and numerous other technologies all contain a broad spectrum of rare earth elements (REE’s), without which the production of those gadgets would be utterly impossible (strictly chemically speaking). The production and use of ‘screens’ technology alone, according to Jancovici, consumes one third of all the electricity produced worldwide….. The growth of renewables cannot even keep up with the growth of the internet.

Rifkin makes much ado about a meeting he had with Angela Merkel – herself a scientist – and the amount of renewable energy deployed in Germany, claiming Germany gets 30% of its electricity from these technologies. This isn’t even true…. it might be correct on paper, and on perfect days even more might be generated, but his hopium filled rhetoric would have you believe his dream is already happening…..  it isn’t. The recent demolition of a historic church to clear the way for the expansion of an open-cast brown coal mine has outraged locals in western Germany and environmentalists, as politicians moot giving up their own clean energy targets…….

Many of the minerals needed to produce smartphones and electric vehicles are considered ‘conflict minerals’ and are mined under slave-like conditions in Congo and other ‘undeveloped’ countries. The most common conflict minerals, cassiterite (a byproduct of tin mining), wolframite (extracted from tungsten), coltan (extracted from tantalum), cobalt, and gold ore, are all mined in eastern Congo. There is ample evidence to assume that Western corporations have a high economic interest in the region remaining unstable, since they get much better prices for the minerals desperately needed for the production of mobile phones, laptops, and other digital technology

It is impossible to produce even a single smartphone without causing enormous damage to the biosphere in the process. As the graphic above shows (click on it for a larger view), the materials and compounds come from all corners of the world and have to be transported conveniently and cheaply for the industry to continue to function properly and profitably. Container vessels are the backbone of the global economy, and without them nothing would function. They can’t be replaced with anything “renewable”, since no electric engine has as yet been invented that can move such masses over distances longer than 80km!!  The 16 biggest container ships (out of a total of about 100,000 vessels) produce as much pollution as all the cars in the world….

In case you’ve never heard this before, the shipping lobby works hard to hide and downplay their impact on climate breakdown from the public.  The UN body that polices the world’s shipping business, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has been absent without leave when it comes to avoiding or even addressing pollution caused by those ships.  By international law, nobody is allowed to burn the thick, sulphur-laden fuel  called bunker oil,  yet the shipping industry does not have to comply with that law. And sulphur is far from being the only pollutant. Every year it is estimated that container vessels belch out one billion tons of CO2 , as much as the entire aviation industry……. click on image for larger view.

Deindustrialise or perish

When we take a careful look at our species’ short history, it becomes obvious in which direction we must go. We got along quite well before people started thinking that they were better than other creatures, and better than their fellow men, the new mindset that emerged after the Agricultural Revolution……..entropy

If we want to stop pathological behavior, pollution, destruction, violence, chronic depression and mental health problems, discontent, and exploitation, if we want to share real things, communicate meaningfully, live in harmony with the biosphere, and nurture the world around us, we have to recognize our true Nature:  The Nature within us, the Wilderness that still lays deep in our heart, and the Nature and the Wilderness that are still around us, the biosphere, at the edges of the wastelands we’ve created and in between the cracks in the asphalt and the concrete we’ve coated the living Earth with, and that they are actually the same.


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29 responses

21 08 2018
MargfromTassie

Thanks for this excellent article Mike. You have taught me so much over the years.
Optimism bias and hopium have a lot to answer for. If Governments worldwide ( and the public) had taken all the warmings and emerging data seriously years ago, we might be in a better position today. Or maybe not -given that civilisations with growing populations are inherently unsustainable.
Btw, I linked to the article on those ‘smart’ toilets. Unreal! I was reading aloud to my husband about the $10,000 toilet and he said that for that price, it should also be able to shit for you 🙂

21 08 2018
psile

Deindustrialise and perish! There, fixed it for you. Simplification will go hand in hand with dieoff. There can be no other outcome.

22 08 2018
Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

“Deindustrialise and perish!” That’s true for overpopulated countries only – the ones that rely the most on food imports to sustain their cities. Underpopulated countries with good farmland won’t have this problem. Examples: Paraguay & Uruguay.

22 08 2018
psile

The world is one interconnected complex now, no country can stand alone for long. All modern states will collapse at some stage, and whole populations will simply disappear. Will there be survivors? Sure, but it will depend on luck, more than anything else. Places, be it countries, or homesteads, which are relatively better off will be overrun during the course of events.

22 08 2018
Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Borders will close…

23 08 2018
psile

Oh really? Don’t make me laugh. The state will be lucky to be answering the telephone by then.

23 08 2018
Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Well, Russia is under-industrialsied and underpopulated considering its surface areas – good luck if you think you are going to go and loot them for food when you run out of resources because you over-populated and over-industrialized your lands – wherever you are.

There are many countries that are able to revert back to more basic living. because they did not over-industrialize or they hardly industrialized at all – if you think they are all just going to throw open their doors you are the one having a laugh. It’s very subjective and simplistic to think the whole world is in the same boat as the first world.

There are huge variations in population density, natural resources, arable land for agriculture, community spirit (or lack therefore), level of self-sufficiency, debt-levels, military/defense power, etc, etc. Time will tell how it will all play off, but it won’t be a universal world-wide collapse everywhere equally all at the same time in the same way.

23 08 2018
psile

We’re all in the same boat mate, since, except for perhaps a few thousand untouched Indians in the Amazon forest, everyone is reliant on fossil fuels for their existence. Don’t kid yourself otherwise. You’ll sleep better.

23 08 2018
Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Yes, it’s back to basics for all of us soon-ish, but some of us will cope with it better than others. Fossil fuels won’t disappear completely, but will likely only be used for critical needs. I’m ready. Haven’t owned a car in my life. Walking and cycling is fine by me.

23 08 2018
psile

So Russia is industrialized? You clearly haven’t been keeping up with current eves. Did you not witness the level of complexity and sophistication on display during the recent Word Cup, for instance?

You must be American to believe that modern Russia is the old Soviet one of breadlines, and sweaty singlets.

Also the population of the country is rising. Improving living standards has led to a baby boom, and people also want to enter Russia as migrants, as opposed to trying to flee it, during the gulag days.

So the pampered, domesticated denizens of modern industrialised countries will just go to growing cabbages in their front yards. And there won’t problem obtaining, seeds, or fertliser, or insecticide, without the fossil fuel based infrastructure that supplies or manufactures it?

If I cut myself, I’ll still be able to safely pop on over to the doctors and then the pharmacy, in my car, on a level road, to obtain life saving antibiotics?

When the financial system collapses where will the credit to keep things going come from?

Now, without a doubt there will be some variation in the impact of collapse across geographies. Some of which for the reasons you’ve stated. But ultimately it can only be a predicament that can be delayed, not solved. We are far too into overshoot for their to be any other outcome. the world is too full and too degraded by humans for it be otherwise.

https://i1.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/16/5025385/slides/slide_7.jpg?zoom=2

23 08 2018
Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Agreed with your last paragraph and even the poorest, least developed nations will be affected. Russia too, not that its poor, as you mentioned – I’m well aware of how it has modernized in recent decades. But, in a -return-to-agriculture scenario they have the land for that. How would Singapore fare in such a scenario? Nevertheless, it may be better to head for the hills – literally. Although not quite yet.

Having said that – we have time to build resilient communities in advance – we should get cracking.

23 08 2018
Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

The world’s biggest problem is urbanization:
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.RUR.TOTL.ZS

24 08 2018
psile

The word’s biggest problem is there are too many human beings on it. Every day there are more people born than all of the great apes living on the Earth put together.

Since we cannot rein in our numbers, nature will do it for us, in the time honoured way. Disease, starvation and violence. What it cannot finish, the radioactive waste from 400 nuclear reactors and their byproducts across the globe will.

21 08 2018
foodnstuff

Sounds like the only thing that isn’t smart is Rifkin himself!

21 08 2018
foodnstuff

Which degrowth group are you in?

21 08 2018
22 08 2018
Paul

Who is going to vote for any politician proposing de-growth? It simply won’t happen voluntarily.
It’ll only happen when it’s forced on us.

23 08 2018
James

Love your last paragraph Mike. Keep strong everybody

23 08 2018
Jonathan Maddox

Me too actually. I concur with most of the sentiment, just not the technical detail!

23 08 2018
Jonathan Maddox

Oh Mike. You mean well but this is riddled with errors.

Phones use “all but one of the rare earths” because chemically similar elements are often interchangeable in use, and hard to separate, not because they are each vital in their own right. In most of the uses of rare earths — I hesitate to say “all” but it must be close — they *improve* performance over more cheaply available resources, they are not essential. Phones and computers would be bigger and heavier without them, screens less bright and power consumption a little higher. Electric motors and generators weigh more without rare earths … that is all. Rare earths are *not* used in solar PV at all; a correction I’ve made on your page before. Rare earths see a lot of other industrial uses that have nothing to do with fancy electronics or renewable electricity generation.

Neither of the two ecological disasters you blame on rare earths, involved rare earths. One was a tailings spill from an *iron ore* mine. It wasn’t especially toxic in the chemical sense, it just swept away villages, drowned or buried alive 20 people, left hundreds of others homeless, and dumped millions of tonnes of sediment into a river, choking its wildlife. Pollution for sure, but it’s a matter of mud where it doesn’t belong, not poison.

The other was not rare earth metals but *silicon* (and, at the rate of manually dumped buckets per day, trivial in scale compared with today’s vast solar silicon industry, which does not dump silicon tetrachloride but recycles it). While that dumping was grossly irresponsible, it’s nowhere near as bad as the article you link makes out either: nobody was killed, and it’s not at all true that the land can never be touched again as one protester claims. It will be a while before it can be used for agriculture again, but never is a very long while. Silicon tetrachloride breaks down on contact with water into harmless silicon oxides and dangerous hydrochloric acid; the acid is dangerous but readily diluted, highly mobile in water and neutralised quite rapidly, forming salts as it reacts with other minerals. Apart from the short-term acid burn risk this chemical is not much more dangerous than salt or cement.

Actual rare earth mines do have some horrid chemical and radioactive waste issues (the tailings are rich in thorium) but — for once — you didn’t even mention Baotou.

As for shipping emissions: the metrics on which ships pollute worse than cars are sulfur and soot, because ships burn the cheapest, heaviest, dirtiest bunker oil available. European regulations now oblige ships to burn cleaner fuel close to European population centres and it makes a huge difference. The big diesel engines producing this soot are actually very efficient in thermal terms, and shipping things slowly in large accumulations is also efficient; the greenhouse emissions (as opposed to soot or sulfur emissions) of ocean shipping are definitely not worse than those of cars. Marine fuel accounts for less than 4% of current petroleum demand; less than a tenth as much as road transport (50%) and little more than half as much as aviation.

I’m sure there are other errors above but I’d have to go digging through your other blog posts for your sources, which usually include videos, to identify them. I read and argue for pleasure but I don’t actually enjoy watching videos of talking heads making gross exaggerations.

27 08 2018
mikestasse

You keep saying rare earths are not used in solar, but I keep finding SO MANY references that disagree, I couldn’t even think about listing them. Just the electronic control systems alone employ heaps of the stuff…… even my brushless cordless drill has some in there somewhere!

16 09 2018
Jonathan Maddox

Silicon solar PV cells really do only contain silicon, phosphorus, boron. Rare earths aren’t an ingredient. I’m not certain whether electronic control systems and inverters contain rare earths, but I know they aren’t a necessary ingredient.

I can think of exactly one place where rare earths might have some relevance to PV and that’s as optical frequency multipliers in multi-junction concentrating cells. I don’t think any such things are made outside research labs. They are widely used in research laser equipment and at the industrial scale in optic fibre communications, but that’s not PV.

I would guess that your MANY references disagreeing on this point are for the most part repeating one another, and that the starting point might be someone’s simple misunderstanding of what a rare earth is.

Some other PV chemistries do contain some rare and toxic things: cadmium, tellurium, selenium, arsenic, nickel. Those are niche applications though — and the elements in question are not rare earth metal elements.

As for your cordless drill, I have no doubt it uses rare earths: drills have electric motors and batteries. NiMH batteries were popular for a while until lithium took over; those have rare earths. The power/weight ratio of a rare earth fixed magnet motor is better than most other varieties of electric motor, so it’s no surprise that they’re chosen for most portable equipment.

6 09 2018
Idiocracy

Thanks Mike, that was great!

And fuck Monopoly Man Rifkin and his insanely grandiose ideas!

I think you’ve said it best before with the pithy statement – NOTHING we do is sustainable!

If that’s not your starting point for “solutions”, you’re on the wrong track!

7 10 2018
Michael

Just discovered this blog and am going through the back long. The entire site is absolutely wonderful. Howdy from across the strait in mind bending excessive Melbourne!

I am so glad to see this break down of this film/doco (whatever it is). I completely agree with you on all the points made. First third is great, second third is hopium fueled nonsense based on wishful thinking about computers, third part is just question time that is fairly bland.

We have to remember that Rifkin had a book in 1995 called “The end of work” about how we would all be living a life of luxury as automation was about to sweep across the work place. 23 years later and it still hasn’t happened and I think “The Third industrial Revolution” will be remembered the same except in the 1%-2% percent of the privileged world that get some thing vaguely like it while the rest of it burns.

10 10 2018
Andre Charles Piver

Degrowth = re-localization and reweaving the fabric of local material interdependence rather than lots of sharing of ideology (group think = the fragile illusion of belonging but the alienating false convenience of material individualism on the ground) vs. the sharing economy. Real belonging.

25 11 2018
mark sommers

Back in the 1980’s, you couldn’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about Rifkin attacking Biotechnology. He filed a ton of lawsuits against it. His main complaint was that Scientists were rushing to use this technology without having a formal discussion on it’s safety and impact on society and the enviorment. He raised concerns and issues and warned of unforeseen consequences. But now,with his Third Industrial Revolution, Rifkin’s doing the
exact opposite. He’s getting people all excited and anxious to make the switch to renewable energy. The problem here is that Rifkin’s not raising concerns and issues with renewable energy like he did with Biotechnology. He’s not questioning the cost and safety of hydrogen and battery storage and the toxic
materials and chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of solar panels.

11 12 2018
Virginia

Your entire argument is old news and more critically, you loose all credibility by your statement early on “As far as we know it is highly unlikely that we have sufficient reserves of resources for producing so called “green/clean” technologies, on a global scale, good enough to replace the current, all-encompassing, fossil fuel-based system……”

Renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal and tidal sources are literally unlimited. And that is the truth as far as everyone knows sir!

The development of off the grid energy that Rifkin refers to is so affordable that it is being put into practice in India and Africa where industrial era infrastructure is lacking, leap frogging having to maintain and or upgrade antiquated power grids. The European Union, China, Canada and other nations are replacing infrastructure reliance upon carbon and nuclear fuels rapidly.

Pontificating and expounding here as you unfold your fallacious logic is almost laughable, were it not so egregious that you are yet another mouthpiece for denouncing the most powerful, sustainable and sane technological evolution which is absolutely necessary for non reliance upon dirty carbon fuels and that will quite literally protect humanity from self extinction in a remarkably short time.

Reasoning based upon limited resources has been precisely what has driven insane practices such as fracking. Technologies meanwhile are evolving utilizing biological components for example are only one method of reducing the need to mine and extract minerals utized in renewable energy.

You are happily becoming as obsolete sir as the rest of the lemmings running toward the cliff of extinction via claims that renewable energy resources are even remotely as disfunctional as reliance upon carbon or nuclear fuels as evidenced by global climate events, scientific measures and irrefutably precise logic.

You can only fool some of the people some of the time for so long. The truth sir, is all coming out in the open and ready to override sophomoric debate.

11 12 2018
mikestasse

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

11 12 2018
mikestasse

Virginia, you will be so disappointed with the future….

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