It feels to me like everything I do is or should be in recognition of the terrible, awesome changes we are inflicting on the planet Earth. A huge segement of humanity is either in denial or has no conscious recognition of the enormity of what is occurring; and the rest of us tend to stray because we have personal exigencies and practicalities to deal with: children, infirm relatives, money woes. The economic system, which is as dysfunctional as one would expect given the global catastrophe underway, squeezes us, manipulating, cajoling, acculturating and extorting to gain our complicity in its radical course. It is so successful that usually we don't know we are being mentally massaged into a conformist sculpture of acceptable yet neurotic, stressed-out, self-centered, petty behavior.
This is where the world of advertising, which is the psychological weapon of the world of corporations, wants us to be.
How many of us even think how strange it is to refer to Nature’s vast beauty as nothing but a “resource”? Or to talk about interaction with the Great Miracle of Creation as nothing but “consumption”? The mathematical quantification, so useful to the powerful and avaricious, acts as both euphemism and catalyst for the specious argument. “We must expand more, consume more, multiply more, rush more, compete more, fight more.” And so we push as fast as we can through this great metamorphosis of the Earth. From the viewpoint of a passenger in an airplane, the damage is transformative to the horizon.
How many of us even think us about how incredible it is that, at night, a lattice of bright lights coats the surface of the planet as far as one can see, from a vantage of 10,000 feet? Do we even think, anymore, about how strange it is that only a hundred years ago, this urban monstrosity we call “Los Angeles” did not exist?
I just can’t stop thinking about that ... and similar things. And I feel, like a good introvert--the sort of introvert who likes to observe but not plunge into the social fray--that I am the only one.
I’m not obviously. And much of my time, I too flee into escapism, or my novel, or poetry, or talking with the few close people I have in my life. In my opinion, a great cataclysm has already occurred, the mass extinction is well underway. Even if we avoid more upheaval, the sort that tears civilization apart, or threatens to, we have already acted with intolerable selfishness as a species. Rarely do I hear anyone in the mainstream media admit this, or even acknowledge this as a possibility. TV’s squawk by the billions across hundreds of channels, all of it avoiding the truth. Billions of squawking boxes strewn in squares across the North American Continent, which once hosted herds of millions of free-roaming buffalo--and that was in 1850, less than two hundred years ago. Two hundred years is a mere blip on the scale of the geological clock.
Anyway, yeah, amazing denial. An electronic Tower of Babel. We are so much the stupid herd heading for a cliff--a cliff we dug out and made for ourselves, while denying it all the while.
I probably sound like a teenager (thank god for the young!). I often say to myself: “How stupid, blind, greedy and willful we have become.” Of course, on the surface I am saying nothing more than my essayological opponents say. Each side blames the other. Does it matter who is correct? I think it does. Either global warming is primarly human-caused or it isn’t. Either the predictions made by scientists about the future damage caused by GW, based on lots of solid research, are reasonable and sound, or they are the product of a liberal conspiracy, as many on the right not only claim but fulminate with zealous fervor. One side is correct, the other isn’t. If enough of those who are currently wrong don’t change their minds, those of us who are currently correct cannot initiate transformative progress. If one hand of a body starts to build a house, but the other hand takes every piece of lumber away, even as it gets positioned, no house will rise. There will be no shelter from the storm.
I have become so absorbed in the enormity of the time we live in, it is very hard for me to 'play the game' enough to keep sane and stable. I try. I do try. I also try not to. It's a tug of war between webs of thoughts and needs I barely understand.