Tuesday, January 22, 2013

self-destruction human style

Life is only on Earth. And not for long.-- Melancholia, Lars Von Trier


i marvel at optimists. they see a better future where there is none. today's naïve propagandists, optimists are the suckers of the positive/inspirational. be the world at the brink of collapse, they would still regard it as a sign of unabated betterment of humanity. "hope is the last thing you loose," becomes gaia-kitsch of latter days.

if something serves as a model for our proclivity to self-destruct, take our bizarre dependence with bluefin tuna. we obsessed over its red meat to the point of paying $1.76 M for a single fish!

pacific bluefin is down 96% and we still over-fish it. we're so rapacious that 90% of the tuna we consume are young that have not yet reproduced. the more we crave it the more we deplete it the more we crave it.

do we really care? the question is merely rhetorical.

take this crave-and-death quandary, multiply it a thousand fold and you get our global environmental cul-de-sac. optimists love to sell this idea of humans as open-handed, resourceful and inventive. what got us in to this mess? the very tragedy of the commons spurred by greed. we thought of the environment as a "tool," a cultural "construction" and fucked up. on the other hand, let's not pretend we could've done otherwise. the course already started when the first hominid used a flint as a weapon.

so-called western civilization sustains itself at the expense of plundering our planet's non-renewable resources. the connection between human technology and environmental depletion has only increased exponentially with modernity & globalization. modernity's failure to deliver its "promise" of progress, i.e, the elimination of disease, poverty & war, stands now as the leftover of a drained utopia.  

there's a different angle we haven't explored: geological time. within the big picture of geological time, our planet's zoosphere has already experienced changes so traumatic that the bluefin tuna impending extinction pales in comparison. what prevents our future to implode like that of the jurassic, only now the destruction doesn't come from outer space?

suppose there is no way back. suppose this "course" we're in is simply irreversible. in the end, as my friend gene ray puts it, all we get is, 
(...) traces, remnants scattered, lost. Deposited, covered over. Enough time, enough weight on top, and we're squeezed into crude oil. Why fight that? It's sad but not unbeautiful. It's clean, honest. Stark, elegant, precise. You just spit your energy back into the primal fluid.
so, let's face our fuck up calmly. no need for angtsy compunction or wretched drama. there is dignity in peacefully coming to terms with our self-inflicted irrevocable doom.

what's so hard about that?


Emmanuel said...

True sad depressing.

Malagodi said...

Extinction is, of course, entirely possible.

At the same time, this may be an expression of the centuries-old desire for oblivion; what amounts to the nihilist hope, familiar to every addict. It is an odd contradiction and one of the two opposite extremes that the Buddha showed were psychological fabrications. He showed a 'middle way' of disciplined 'no-mind'.

Another more modern possibility is a mixture of East and West, expressed by John Giorno as:

"You gets to stay here forever
And it gets worse,
Beyond your imagination."

Anonymous said...

Good post AT. Thanks for sharing.

Thelma Pierre

Dissey said...

I hope this doesn't mean to bunker down pop corn in hand and wait for apocalypse.

Alfredo Triff said...

tx friends. i share blake's meditation with you:

Little Fly
The summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Hath brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
And art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath.
And the want
Of thought is death.

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live or if I die.

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