See “Who Rules?” From “The Death of ‘Nature’” — Medium http://buff.ly/1DN62oa
We are born. At some point we connect perception with memory and begin to mull. When we do, we move from rote to desire.
In time we begin to essay power. By doing this, we get that.
A cry a gurgle a laugh. We become social.
We want what keeps us going.
We sleep and twitch and move to find a comfortable rest.
As we grow, we achieve consciousness and with consciousness comes thought and language and a veritable flood of things to calibrate and organize and understand.
At some point we meet “nature”.
It is what is there that is not us. It is the sum of matter and of motion and of movement. Wind and water, hill and field, insects, creeping things — all things we sense are not ourselves. Sometimes we recoil and see it all as enemy. Other times we embrace it as friend.
We ride and look and there it is. We sleep, wind blows, and there it is.
Finally, we begin to sense that we are consciousness.
Our relationship to what is not made by us becomes a fiction. We are part of everything. It is interactive. It is not to something that is not us.
This was so when the families moved each morning from the Lascaux caves to the ground outside and acted to obtain the things they needed from the surrounding vegetation, the encircling life.
It is so now when we plod a flat road in a corner of Ohio and look up and see a vision in the sky. The boy beside you says, “I’ve seen that on TV.”
Within our lives we’ve seen the more obvious “nature” of a century ago turn into sprawl. We are everywhere. It’s not so much that there are more of us. It’s that wherever we go we’ve already been. The detritus of our past blends with the soil. The rusted hulks of cars blend with the desert sand.
Reality is a vast theater of creativity and death. Termites build cathedrals. Whole species disappear. Life is cheap. Animals eat one another. We eat them.
Passivity envelops us. We desecrate habitually. We build and design with the mentality of children blind to danger.
Let us exemplify.
As I speak, thousands are being exhumed in Nepal following a quake that was inevitable. Massive passivity kept people in harm’s way for centuries with periodic quakes we call tragedies. In reality the deaths are the result of our failure to get out of the way.
Virtually every catastrophe large or small that we attribute to nature may be laid at our feet. Reality does not bite us. We do.
We do not organize the world around values that are meant to serve us.
We create fictional systems to hallow conditions that are demonstrably harmful. We erect philosophies and buttress them with academies that defy simple truth until they become subverted by the very forces they should be addressing in the first place.
What do we really want?
If we live in the path of certain destruction we need either to build in such a way that the effect of upheaval or inundation will be minimal or we choose areas of the planet to live on that are predictably safe.
You say easier said than done.
There are existing ways of redoing the world that make vastly more sense than the oil-sprawl-oligarch model we have been nodding to passively for a century. Such obeisance does not do us proud,
- We could redensify the planet to enable creation of communities of sufficient size to make commerce viable.
- We could halve our investment in armaments and military pursuits and dedicate the savings to the creation of global basic income.
- We could invest in children which is inherently profitable.
- We could adapt a way of thinking that keeps on thinking to reach conclusions that do not end up in conflicts.
- We could ensure that democracy is advanced as the best means of governing in a world where fallibility is pervasive.
Nothing worth doing is going to be easy, but sitting passively while we keep getting hit is not a reasonable alternative.
What we really want is the question. In the next chapters I will seek to outline a few ways to deal effectively with the death of nature.