Friday, January 16, 2015

Learned Helplessness

Again, as I’ve reported endlessly on this blog, research shows that the Earth is on the edge of tremendous collapse, a global shock for biodiversity and climate.  Here is the latest:

One article is about mass extinction in the oceans and the other discusses nine different “planetary boundaries” that we have crossed or will.  Both sets of researchers indicate we can reverse some of the effects, if we act.  The real problem is getting humanity to act.  It is already clear that mass extinction, by itself, doesn’t faze us.  Harsh change to the Earth’s ecosystems, as already demonstrated, doesn’t faze us.  We just adapt without questioning to the new despoiled surrounds.  But now scientists are saying, even emphasizing, that the tremendous changes will threaten civilization.  So the question becomes, Will humanity act even to save itself, given all the rationally supported evidence for the case?
What is the other side saying?  Those who think we don’t have to worry much?  Do they have a reasonable case?  Meet the New Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:  James Inhofe (R), Oklahoma.  What does he say about global warming?  You can read his 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax:  How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future--but the title gives it away.  What is his argument?  The Bible.  He quotes Genesis and says God would not allow humans to radically alter His Creation.

Inhofe’s presence as Chair of this powerful environmental policy committee provides a barometer for the mindset of the American people.  And America is still the ‘great’ Empire.

If you even skim the articles at the links above, and you’re not in denial, you will get really, really sad.  A lot of people are preoccupied with important things:  medical problems in the family, raising children, struggling to subsist, and so on.  Totally understandable.  What is not understandable is all the denial.  For instance, immersing so completely in sports or the latest fashion vogue that you ignore the larger scene. 

Snapshot:  buying something Made In China and stuffing it in a plastic bag to take home.  We all ought to think about WHY we are doing this.   Where do all those plastic bags go?  Under what conditions are products manufactured in China?  How does that affect the workers, the culture, the environment.  There is a tremendous web of causal interconnections that we Americans fail to see when we buy Made In China, or go to McDonald's and buy a hamburger & etc. & etc. & etc.

Everything we buy contributes to larger consequences that, yes, do come back to bite us.

As you might have noticed in the paragraph on Inhofe above, the deniers are virulent.  They claim that America is threatened by environmentalists/scientists, and that we must keep buying buying buying--especially if it involves the oil industry.  On Inhofe again:

These days, the oil and gas industry is his top source of campaign money. But don’t tell him he’s been bought: “Anytime someone asks me how much money I get from the oil industry, I always tell them the same thing,” he said, smiling. “Not enough.”

So, people like me are the hated ones.  We are the anti-Americans.  We are the scum of society, because we are against freedom, against capitalism, and we spread vicious lies and so are (in effect) traitors.  This hate-mongering is very important for the mass control of right wing minds. 

Denial is all around us.  US = us.  Turn on the TV and you get mindless pablum.  Bread and circuses.  Same with other media (music seems somewhat better than the others, except country music of course).  This is the daily reality in the Empire, denial and lack of understanding.  Willful lack of care.  

 A lot of the time, I hide too.

I’m going to right now and see what the #1 story is.... (and is pretty liberal.  It does put in good pieces, now and then).... let’s see... purely random...

Here are the top five:

1.  Map Shows Crime Trends (a real estate company helps homebuyers find safe neighborhoods)

2. European Anti-Terror Raids (more than two dozen suspects detained)

3. GOP’s Tech Challenge (how to help the right wing with their fundraising)

4. Flesh-colored jumpsuit a fashion miss  (Gwyneth Paltrow wears a bad dress)

5. Giant Shark Closes Beach (what it says)

So, there you have it.  Yahoo, which sometimes posts good pieces, usually doesn’t.  Citizens who browse get smacked with a great plethora of fluff and distraction.  Note the presence of Republican fundraising issues, right in our faces.  Note the emphasis on crime and terrorism  (fear-mongering, the companion of hate-mongering).   And so on.

(note:  terrorism, civil unrest and war are likely to escalate as living conditions deteriorate.  Like rats in a maze, we'll begin to gnaw on each other.  The rats had the maze imposed on them.  In our case, we're building our own maze, and with great efficiency).

To anyone facing these issues with honesty--you're a hero!  It’s mentally titanic to read that humanity is in the process of collapsing the ecosystems--and civilization--and then--then--to open an internet browser, or turn on TV,  or just go out somewhere in public (maybe nearby the friendly yellow arches) and see our failure to face what we need to face.

As for me, I feel depressed, contained, constricted.  I wish I could scream.  I think I’m suffering from learned helplessness.


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