The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is a once-in-ten-generations kind of project. It will be remembered either for saving the human race or for being the most colossal waste of effort in human history. All the wealthy countries are pouring cash into this giant energy-donut, and its acronym (ITER) has an “I-love-sci-fi-but-the-kind-that-stars-Bruce-Willis” Latin translation: “the way.”
The general consensus is that this project is exciting, stimulating, interesting, and potentially world-altering, but all I can think about is the poor schmuck (Stefano Chiocchio) who has to integrate all the parts being brought in — already built — from all the member countries to the already-built giant donut that’s going to become a manmade star on earth. His life is, for all intents and purposes, over. In the spare hours he is not actively working, his mind spins around the enormous, complex problem he’s solving, not just for the good of the company, but for the good of all mankind. No way this guy has a relaxing coffee with his wife on Sunday morning.
Stefano, unfortunately for him, has become a linchpin in THE MARCH OF HUMAN HISTORY — the teleological kind that’s written about in the past tense with full knowledge of where we ended up.
I think I’d rather be a rapid than the river itself. Grand aspirations of “being part of something” are really not me. Probably, I’m just too selfish. When I recognize the power Stefano has to improve…nay, to CREATE the conditions for billions upon billions of lives, part of me is in awe, astounded, appreciative, etc. Another part of me, though (and this appears to be the part that makes my own personal decisions much of the time), starts a slow-clap, can’t be bothered to follow through, and goes to stand by the fire and pet the dog.