by Satish Musunuru
Geophilia is a moving commentary on the multitude of existential crises facing humanity and the planet.
I’m a former engineer living in Silicon Valley. I left my job at Google to research, ponder over and write about the larger issues of Civilization and Technological progress in the context of climate change, ecocide, species collapse and impending near-term extinction.
The dominant narrative of modern Civilization is about ever faster growth and change, glamorization of risk-taking and mastery over nature supposedly leading to a technological utopia. If only we could have that next breakthrough in Nanotechnology or Genetic Engineering, and we could solve all of the world’s problems … so goes the mainstream thinking in Silicon Valley. Contrast this with how we humans have lived for over 99% of our history on the planet. Misunderstood by forward-looking modern man as savage, brutish and barbaric, our ancestors (since all of us are descended from tribal peoples) actually lived rather plentiful lives in harmonious balance with the land that they inherently considered themselves to be part of.
In Geophilia, I present this contrast between older tribal cultures and our younger culture that we call Civilization. The powerful imagery, set to instrumental music makes for a melancholy piece of art that reaches into the viewer as it honors Mother Earth.
Having been trained as an engineer, when I bring my critical thinking skills to bear on the issue of climate change, I find myself in agreement with the analysis and interpretation of Guy McPherson. My ex-colleagues at Google are quite bullish on the promise of Technology but I am under no such illusion. When we really delve into the famous Albert Bartlett quote (“the greatest shortcoming of the human race is its inability to understand the exponential function”), we’d realize that abrupt climate change leading to near-term extinction is not only likely, it’s inevitable.
Check out my writing at www.goingkuku.com, where I explore the issues of Civilization and Technology, and attempt to make sense of the human condition in the age of the extremes. I recommend starting with this blog post where I tie together several themes into a cohesive narrative that explains the times we live in.
We can approach the human experience in this hour as witnesses and observers as we deal with the depressing discoveries we are making on an almost daily basis. After all, we didn’t choose to be born!