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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Superior Choice

Whole Earth

Joe Bageant writes eloquently on the Obvious Emergency that is being downplayed by the elites:
Those pagans who allowed themselves to feel and not just intellectualize about the earth's condition, and those scientists who did not require computer modeling to do simple subtraction, recognized that these are the most challenging of times in human history, "challenging" being a polite term for the fact that that humanity is gonna die off big time, if not sooner, then later. Call it the secular version of The End Times.

But not much later, in light of the brief span Homo sapiens hath shat, frolicked, killed and exceeded their MasterCard limits upon the earth, which is less than a second in geological time. Already we are on the way out because we did not have the common sense of lizards, which lasted tens of millions of years longer without so much as a calculator, much less computerized eco models.


When forced to look at catastrophe on this order of magnitude, we either go numb in shock or look in delusion to something bigger, or at least something with more grandeur than Mother Nature flushing humanity down the toilet. Otherwise, one must accept the both ugly and the weirdly beautiful prospect of oblivion. Meanwhile, we begin too late to "make better choices." Grim choices that do nothing but postpone the inevitable, which are called better ones and sold to us to make ourselves feel better about our toxicity. Burn corn in your gas tank. Go green, with the help of Monsanto. But not many can be concerned even with the matter of better choices...

Still, there is choice available, even a superior choice -- the moral one. Accept the truth and act upon it. Take direct action to eliminate human suffering, and likewise to
eliminate our own comfort. We can say no to scorched babies in Iraq. We can refuse to drive at all and refuse to participate in a dead society gone shopping. We can quit being so addicted to the rationality and embrace the spirit. Rationality simply turns back on itself like a mobius strip. Too much thinking, too much cleverness on the monkey's part leads it to believe it can come up with rational solutions for what ration itself hath wrought. [emphasis mine]
That last bit is very Krishnamurtian. It is precisely our ability to be so clever which has enabled us to exploit our envirnoment beyond the bounds of its ability to replenish (which, realistically, boils down to the rate at which the energy of the sun enters our ecosystem.) It is cleverness unbounded, and it is profoundly foolish not to see that this cleverness is always destructive without the temperance of respect for that which brings us into being in the first place.

A moral choice. Al Gore last Sunday:
This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong. Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.
Back to Joe:
All the green energy sources and eating right and voting right cannot fix what has been irretrievably ruined, but only make life amid the ruination slightly more bearable. Species gluttony is nearly over and we've eaten the earth and pissed upon its bones...

So we postpone transformation through truth, and stick with what has always worked -- empire and consumption. And we twiddle our lives away thorough insignificant fretting about mortgages and health care and political parties and pretend the whole of American life is not a disconnect. Hell, all of Western culture has become a disconnect. Somebody needs to tell the Europeans too; progressive Americans give them entirely too much credit for the small positive variation in their cultures and ours. We both get away with it only so long as the oil and the entertainment last.
Ah, yes. This, in fact, is the only place where morality even has a chance to raise its voice: After "the oil and the entertainment" have dried up. Otherwise, we are too gassed-up and amused to really consider morality in our life.

Morality is not adhering to accepted social norms or to the delicate sensibilities of civilization. That is mere contract-making. Morality is not obsessive attention to what constitutes acceptable manifestations of sexuality - that is adolescently masturbatory on a popular scale, and I place that under "the entertainment."

What is morality? As Krishnamurti might have put it, morality only comes into being when all other activity stops.

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