When past predictions of future catastrophic events like ice sheet melt, spreading tropical diseases, and forest fragmentation start to become reality while no substantial means to prevent them from happening has ever been implemented, you begin to question the phrase so often bandied about that “it’s never too late.” It never was too late decades ago and we’re still holding out on that hope. Despite any techno-utopian fantasies you hear in the news, economic activity and growth are still linked to CO2 emissions. Until this fundamental truth is dealt with, we’ll all be spinning our wheels and wringing our hands over our continued descent into ecological and societal collapse. Perhaps this is part of the reason I have not blogged recently. As Leonard Nimoy expressed in his last twitter message, I think I’ll try to enjoy the here and now while I’m alive…
The following is a guest post by commenter BP:
The majority of people visiting collapse and post-peak sites are Caucasian, disillusioned, with a slimmer majority subset being male; in other words, representatives though not participating members of the failing power elite. If these collapsitarians did wield real power, they wouldn’t be deeply dissatisfied with the present social arrangement and secretly hoping for an honest to goodness smokin’ homecookin’ cracklin’ good ole’ fashioned apocalypse to happen in their lifetime. You know, just to spice things up a little bit and provide some entertainment because industrial living can be such a boooooring, regimented drag, man. Tick tock. Time to get up, time to eat, go to work, come home, go to sleep, wake up, rinse and repeat. Even regularity in our shitting is considered desirable in this totalizing system. Watches are slave driving devices – a shackle – your very own drill sergeant and task master all rolled into one convenient portable sleek wrapped modern design. Little wonder you have so many suit and tie clean-cut preppie American Psycho types with their rictus eternally sun shining grins (everything’s alright, everything’s fine, everything’s okay) resorting to extremes: bungee jumping, sky diving, narcotics and gambling, binge eating, binge shopping, binge TV watching, auto-erotic asphyxiation, any and all manner of titillation and stimulation just to get a rise. We’ve been dulled and sanitized, tamed and neutralized. The demographic comprising most of the power elite also happens to be the one most likely to become serial killers preying on their own species. If you live in a foreign land you might argue there’s no difference between Ted Bundy and the president. Either way, it’s another fun-filled pet project to while away the hours with. But I don’t want to give anyone any ideas, and I won’t be held accountable for what you do when you turn off your addictive electronic stimulus delivery systems aka computers tonight, even though we excel at passing responsibility onto something else. The lengths people will go… And these are the lucky ones who still have jobs. YAY!! I don’t even want to imagine life on the other side – we’ll all get there soon enough. Why spoil the surprise?
So raise your hands if you’re waiting for a giant or gradual (does it really matter?) clusterfuck that results in a significant reduction in our species’ numbers, because whatever you think is likely, it’s a necessary precursor to what ever comes next. The table has already been set and our carcass is the main dish.
Now that you’ve had your fill, how about some desert? I have a thought experiment that shouldn’t take too much time. Suppose you’ve decided to kill yourself. You’ve set a date, (a week from tomorrow), a time (midnight), thoroughly planned the method (hanging), bought the needed supplies (rope – duh!), and are dead set on following through. How, if any, would your life change in the time remaining? I’ll indulge in some fantasy since there doesn’t seem to be enough of that going around and Star Wars isn’t out until December. For starters, you could max out your credit and buy that car you’ve always fancied – you know, the one that runs on limited gasoline? You could also screw a few whores and not worry about contracting a venereal disease or what you’d have to say to your wife. Gorge on that chocolate cake and go for seconds topped with ice cream this time, downed with cola and chased with both pizza and hamburgers for desert. Why not? Fuck blood pressure, you’re going to die anyway. Then after your attention deficit disorder kicks in, you could switch to watching porn, wasting time playing Modern Warfare while eating Doritos and not feel one ounce of guilt that you could be doing something more with your life. Consume shit you don’t need to your heart’s content without any second thoughts! After all, ecologically speaking, we’re consumers! Let’s take a moment to give Capitalism some credit. It found a way to manipulate our basic human nature for its own ends and boy has it ever worked. Nothing has mobilized humanity – not pharaohs, despots, kings nor gods – like the wage economy. The best part about the whole affair is you can live without consequences because, in case you forgot, you’ll be dead in a week. Sound familiar? It’s a rarity these days when ideas and reality coincide. Yep, you guessed it. That’s exactly what our species has been doing – living large like there’s no tomorrow – and it’s hastening our eventual collective suicide.
And is that such a bad thing? There’s way too much despair, self-pitying, and despondent anger on these websites. Outside of our narrow anthropocentric perspective, the human race’s demise might even be cause for celebration. If that’s too much, at least it needn’t be mournful. After all, our history on this planet has proven that, if nothing else, we’re two legged, genocide-wreaking, blood-thirsty assassins. The only species that kills for fun, whether it be bipeds, quadrupeds or any other number of peds, we’ve obliterated them all. I’m confused by all this concern about surviving in a post industrial world. Are our souls (if we even have them) really worth saving? Even if a band of hardy survivors manages to achieve some semblance of harmony with their environment, sooner or later some marauding horde is going to come along, fuck things up, steal their shit, and rape their women. Hey, we’ve had a good ride. Nothing lasts forever. Time for something else to take a turn so we can join the dinosaurs. We aren’t going to change or magically turn into peaceful, loving breathren. That’s simply more wishful thinking, a romanticization of a few mythological hunter and gatherer tribes of the past projected onto the future. The reality is we rape, love, murder, bully, give and take, enslave, create music, art, math, and take pleasure in sadism (see UFC, boxing, WWE, Clausewitzian Warfare aka NFL, the latest scandal, the natural disaster channel aka The Weather Network/CNN and your generic horror movie and cop drama), all of which is hard-wired into our DNA. The human race is folly and cleverness stuffed into a complex paradoxical package. There’s no shame in that. I don’t see the point in worrying over what’s out of our control and what can’t be changed. It’s better to laugh than cry and maybe that’s all we can do. Time to stop demonizing the species.
And isn’t it also time we accept ourselves as natural? Our criticism of all the havoc we’re wreaking on the planet implies we’re outside, removed from nature; ironic since this divide is also acknowledged as part of the problem. Nature – ‘The Environment’ – is something we act upon – not a part of. Bullshit. We’re terrestial, carbon-based omnivores. There’s not an ounce of artificiality about us. That includes the products of our actions like the much-maligned villainous scoundrel PLASTIC. Dah, dah, dah, daaahhh. So what if humans synthesized 22 out of 117 periodic elements? That manipulation, as the word implies, came at our own hands with existing elements crashing together in high-speed accelerators. A polar bear – that sacred symbol for the ineffectual environmental movement – and its particular combination of constituent elements didn’t occur naturally on Earth for most of the planet’s history either. It will soon return to that condition in short order. And what of the indignant protest that plastic doesn’t degrade? Be patient. If our species lasts long enough, which I doubt, it might get to witness that little miracle. After all, a lot can happen in the next few billion years. Making the case that plastic is natural is not to say it isn’t disruptive. Any new arrival on the scene disrupts the existing order. Some things more than others. But it still derives from the Earth, doesn’t it? And so do we. And eventually, that’s where we’ll end up – 6 feet under. Maybe it’s better if that happens sooner rather than later. But it’s going to happen one way or the other regardless the constant declarations of ‘we have to do this…,’ or ‘if we don’t do that…,’ I hear on forums, in the news, at home. We’re good at giving ultimatums that we’ll never see through. Every day there’s a new resolution and self-imposed limitation proclaimed with the most dire urgency. The truth is we don’t have to do anything. The Earth will correct a wayward entity and return to balance. The catch is the new stasis doesn’t have to include us. Even if we could do something, it’s too little, too late. So do yourself a favor, enjoy your life and stop worrying so much. Maybe even laugh once and awhile. If you want to plant a tree – do it. If you don’t – knock yourself out. There are no imperatives. We’ve been unduly harsh on ourselves. Trying to be judge, jury, and executioner is just too damn exhausting. Well, my watch tells me it’s time to go to bed. Just another day in the life of the species… Tick Tock, Tick Tock.