Jan 29, 2010 | Davos, Switzerland
Jan 29, 2010

Davos could use some children. There is a strange irony in all of this talk about how the future will be while none of it includes the people who will actually be the future. It is like binding the whole world to an arranged marriage that is rational but largely loveless, designed by parents who are simultaneously in control of and out of touch with the times. When you spend your life in private cars and boardrooms, it is hard to know what is happening outside in the street, and it is too dangerous for you to go and see for yourself, because the streets don't have security except for the snipers and the weather can quickly turn nasty.

The youngest people you see are perched in shop windows, and they are not people but dolls, who are much more cooperative anyway, and don't speak out so much. This is why it is good to go to the local high school, to be back among ordinary people and especially teens, who are trying so hard to discover who it is they are going to be. You know their explorations are honest and they don't want much except to understand themselves, even though they don't yet know that's what they're trying to do, which is what makes it beautiful.

They were there to hear Muhammad Yunis, who won the peace prize in 2006 for his work with Grameen Bank, and his major message was not to follow the rules just because they are rules, but only if they are good.

"Teachers say go to class, get good grades so you can get a good college, get a degree so you can get a good job, so you can work for a corporation, so you can make a lot of money for the person who owns the company. That's it. Nothing else. Is that all life is for? I said no. It is not to make money. It is to help people," he said to raucous applause.

This was a nice message, and he was smiling and laughing and saying very wise things, and everybody loved him. I always like to see how someone everyone loves behaves after he leaves the stage, and whether he is somebody else. The media asked him questions he didn't want to answer, and he was not so smily then, but spoke in a low voice that was frustrated and curt. Outside in the snow he put on his hat and asked them to turn off the camera. He had a North Face jacket, and he looked like a regular guy.

At night there was the Google party, which is the party everyone wants to get into, but where they are very strict at the door, and only let you in if you are young and / or famous in that particular Googley way.

At the Google party the adults became kids, breathing from flavored oxygen tubes, ordering drinks from acrobatic bartenders, eating sushi served by waiters wearing wetsuits who were dripping water onto the floor, and rocking out on rainbow Twister dance floors to loudly lip-synched music. As it got later things got wilder, and people paired off into young and / or famous couples, before grabbing their coats and heading out through metal detectors into the night, where the moon was full and the brightest it will be in 2010, making the Alps all purple until the clouds came in, which happened sooner than it should have.