Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Body Earth

This post sucks.
I am trying to resolve the apparent fact that acting in a humane manner is actually shortsighted and self-destructive. I can't seem to shake the idea that the terrible disasters which befall humanity are actually good for the planet, and ultimately humanity itself. The Body Earth is infected with a virus called Humanity. Global warming is the Body Earth's reaction to a deadly virus. In the past Mother Earth cleansed herself of this virulent sickness (humanity) with Ice or Plague but now the virus may have the upper hand.
Arthur C. Clark's monolith is found on the tectonically static surface on the moon. There inscribed in long forgotten symbols is a description of forbidden fruit; it is black and slippery. We call it oil. But the earth was doomed before the internal combustion engine. Doomed even before the birth of humanity; because we are not other than the earth. Just as the earth is not other than the sun. The sun is of the stars and we all are but stardust.
Here are some questions I am trying to resolve:
What is my carbon footprint? Every step I take is a carbon step. It is not greed or some other evil impulse that has led us to this eve of destruction. Unless the quest for self-elucidation is evil. How many of us would be willing to live strictly within daylight hours? The expression of humanity itself is carbon generative. In that quest, even in its infancy, are the seeds of self destruction.
We know that the presence of humanity in great numbers brings about the destruction of the planet. What blindness do we suffer which impels us to save our fellow man-despite the preponderance of evidence that we would be better off without so many of him. What is the quality of shortsighted self-destruction we value so much.
When a great disaster befalls an intensely populated part of the earth should we not count our blessings? Should we not see it as stroke toward the greater good of planetary balance and health? Can we deny our secret emotional alliance with Scrooge when he dares say: " .... the sick, they should hurry up and die and decrease the excess population."?
But where is our "brave" speech when someone close to us is threatened or, God forbid, it is our own lives that are in the balance. Do we then see the benefit that one less soul ( our own) will have upon the planet. No! It is unfair and unjust that we should die so soon or without fulfilling the the promise of our lives. But what about all those hundreds of thousands other people that were just washed away. Didn't their lives also have promise? Or at the very least, aren't they allowed the same attachment to their lives we have to ours? Well, thankfully we did not know any of those people so, in that case, its one for our side or, the planet's side, hee...hee.
But wait! What to do now...the end is upon us; you and most importantly me. Oh God! This this not fair; I was supposed to live a full life. Now it appears to fullness of my life is the diminution of the planet and thereby the diminution of my prospects as well. What a drag, I'm beginning to feel inhibited. Everything I do costs something to the planet. What happened to all those phony scientist and talk show hosts that were telling us there was no "Global Warming". Oh Jesus, even Bush, the world's greatest provider of misinformation, lies and regressive philosophies now is admitting there is a problem. Where is a human to hide? And talk about regressive philosophies; what about the Catholic Church? Who do you think is a cause of greater pollution - Exon Mobile or the Pope? Well, do the math and consider cause and effect in the equation.
What price is our humanity. Is our humanity indeed in conflict with our own best interests. Can we afford to feed the hungry, save the poor, express our humanity. Would it not be better to let those in need die, and when we are also in need, die quickly ourselves. Of what use can we be when we are old in diapers expressing nothing but shit, piss and methane. Of what price humanity-and who will pay ?
And yet more questions and a few answers:
Who does pay ? Who has always paid ? When family Homininae slaughtered family Elephantidae in Siberia and North America, who paid ? Was it the Woolly Mammoth that paid for the perpetuation of humanity? What did the mammoths get for it and the bigger question - was it a good deal for the planet? Has the human family ever been a good deal for the planet ? Other families have found a way of enhancing the planet. Their lives contribute to the betterment of others. The family Canidae contribute to the herds of deer they hunt by thinning out their old and sick and preventing the herds from overgrazing. In turn what they leave is food for smaller animals and eventually birds and finally worms. The wolf's life is integral to the health of its environment. And trees, who can deny the helpful nature of trees. But we humans, it seems, would prefer to give nothing back. We would even sequester our dead bodies from anything that might find them useful. Who do we think we are? What do we think we are? And if we are not who we think we are; then will not someone or something will pay for our ignorant behavior?
Are we humans really so unique? If we reduce this question to simple parts, as in the actions of the Homininae toward the Elephantidae 6000 years ago, perhaps we can extract the essence of our place in the universe. At that point it would seem we were not so different from our animal cousins. At first glance a tribe of humans would look much like a pack of dogs. But there were differences. Or were there? We need to exclude intentions and tactics because those were close to, or the same as, our canine brothers. Anthropologist like to point the manufacturing of tools or the walking on two legs as the dividing line between man and beast. Other scientists say the basis for of humanity lies in brain size I'm not talking about fire and basic tools because those were effects not causes and we can see by the histories of stone age men acquisitions of those attributes did not tip the environmental balance. So what is the difference between a stone age man and a woolly mammoth? For that matter whats the difference between modern man and an amoeba ? Well for one, we outsmarted the woolly mammoth but on the other hand there are some one celled creatures that have come close to doing us in. Then what is it that makes us different; what makes us so destructive compared to the rest of life on this planet?
A good question for cosmologists is: How long does it take a fertile planet (a planet that can initiate and sustain life) to produce intelligent life? And then the likely follow up question is: how long before that planet self destructs? But the first question should be : What is Intelligent Life? How do you define intelligent life? I would propose that it has to do with thought. Specifically the ability to see thought as other than self. The distance between thought and self in a life form is the difference between reaction and responsibility. Of life on this planet, humans are the only beings that possess this ability, that is what makes us unique. The fact that we don't all exercise this ability is a form of ignorance. This is why in the Mahamudra tradition Human life is considered: Precious. Human life is an opportunity and the opportunity is very close at hand. It is as close as your next thought.
We tend to believe there is a difference between life and matter. When Einstein realized there was no absolute difference between energy and matter we failed to see the ramifications this had on our concepts of life. The physicists were at the lecture but the biologists were out to lunch. So what we have is: Energy Matter Life (L) Intelligence (I) and of course THE SPEED OF LIGHT (C2). Those are the basics right?
E = MC2
D = L + IC2
The reason I can still get away with this reckoning is that Intelligence has not figure a way to infuse life into matter therefore, as of yet, Life remains as pure a concept as energy, matter or THE SPEED OF LIGHT. By the way E ( energy) is the same as destruction (D) because when matter is destroyed when it becomes energy.
Is not the true measure of a footprint the effect that footprint, carbon or otherwise. Who's actions create the greater amount of carbon in the long run - the Big Oil executive that commutes to work in an SUV or the guy that helps to save a thousand people in Myanmar? Environmentalism has become the new religion with every bit as much irrational arbitrary belief and ritual as any other religion. Is the humane nature in humanity its ultimate downfall. If our goal is to save the planet, will we not need to examine all our impulses - even the ones we think of as noble. If we truly wanted to be effective at saving the planet, wouldn't the best way be to bomb China and India back to the stone age then conquer Brazil and make the Amazon Basin a big national park. Then,crush all the cars in America and Europe and outlaw any artificial light. That might work; but I don't think we would be ready when the asteroid heads our way.
All religions have origins. When we trace the origin of Environmentalism we find the Jainism the Indian spiritual , religious, philosophical tradition that dates to 9Th century B.C. Because Jains believe that everything is alive, in some sense, and that many beings possess a soul, great care and awareness is required in going about one's business in the world. Jainism is a religious tradition in which all life is considered worthy of respect and it emphasises this equality of all life, advocating the protection of the smallest creatures. Jainism encourages spiritual independence (in the sense of relying on and cultivating one's own personal wisdom) and self-control