I receive hundreds of messages every day. And a few telephone calls. All demanding my immediate response.
Every message is an emergency, for the sender. It is assumed that I will be the alert firefighter from my former lifetime, ever-ready to meet the next challenge with zest. And, since it’s the first time you’ve seen a fire, I must act as though it were the first emergency ever!
Just to be clear: I do have a life. Please don’t tell anyone. I’m trying to keep it a secret.
Then there are the never-ending attacks. And hate mail. And death
threats promises. Too little time to sleep. Too little time to eat. No time to hike in the wilderness.
Not for income. I have none. Certainly not for power. Certainly not for prestige. Long ago, I gave up each of those.
Inexplicably, I’m not motivated by the usual suspects. Rather, I’m motivated by evidence. It’ll have to suffice, despite the poor pay.
I am not complaining. After all, I am allowed to provide service, thus satisfying what others have called my servant’s heart. With no effort on my part, I get to be a white man in a culture that conveys enormous privilege to every white man. And, unlike most people who look like me, I recognize the enormity of the privilege. Unlike most people who look like me, I try not to benefit from the privilege.
With this essay, I am not complaining. Rather, I’m taking advantage of another opportunity for social criticism. Most members of society intensely dislike these minor efforts of mine. But I can’t seem to help myself. I’m reminded of a line from George Orwell: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”
That’s my so-called life, such as it is. Every day, people ask some variation of the same few questions, as exemplified below.
Have you seen this story/video/podcast/interview?
My response: Yes. When it was first released, a few days ago. I’ve received a message similar to yours twenty times since then. And thanks for passing it along.
What’s your reaction to this story [link to story usually attached]?
My partial response: Civilization is an omnicidal heat engine. Nearly everybody I know loves it, even though it’s killing practically all life on Earth, including us. And shortly after it’s gone, we’ll all die. What’s not to love?
These questions are being asked for the first time, of course. And being answered for the hundredth time. This all reminds me of a line I used in my classrooms, a few sessions into the semester. I always waited until we knew each other well enough to insure my words could be heard with the intended humor. “I’m sure you’ve heard there’s no such thing as a stupid question. The question you just asked belies that old canard.”
Sometimes my sense of busy-ness overwhelms my sense of humanity. I’m not proud of myself when it happens.
Sometimes my impatience is displayed with people unwilling to use an online search engine. I’m not particularly proud of myself when this happens, either. Being human is a difficult trick, especially when it involves humaneness.
What’s the matter with civilization?
Thanks for asking. Most people won’t even question this set of living arrangements. Ever.
The short answer: What’s not the matter with civilization?
The longer answer: Civilization enables human-population overshoot to continue. Ditto for fouling the air and spoiling the water. And washing away the soil. And furthering the Sixth Great Extinction. So that a few will have much. What’s not to love? (Yes, I repeat myself.)
Do you really believe forces within the United States government — or any other government in the “first world” — would purposely harm members of its citizenry?
Are you unfamiliar with history? Does the term, “false flag” mean anything to you? Are you familiar with psychopathy? Are you aware that the people pulling the strings of empire don’t care about you and me?
Do you really question the official narrative in the wake of the latest terrorist attack?
Who do you think created the “terrorists” and funded their attacks? Who do you think benefits from a fearful populace? Perhaps you’re unacquainted with the term, “follow the money.”
Why do you question the official narrative promulgated by the mainstream media?
Do you not understand the power and money behind the official narrative?
Do you honestly believe our own government would kill citizens of this country?
Are you completely ignorant? Insane? Stupid? Naive? Except as pawns in the infinite-growth paradigm, you and I don’t matter to the people in power. We are cannon fodder, useful only to further the power of others, and used primarily to that end.
Don’t you believe wars are fought to defend the innocent people in “first world” nations?
Do you not understand the difference between war and conquest? Do you not understand why the most lethal group of people in the history of the world might not be interested in pursuing peace? Who do you think benefits from a fearful populace? Who do you think benefits from military action?
Imagine, for example, a de-population scenario involving all, or nearly all, inhabitants of North America. Horrifying, you say, and therefore implausible. Or is it?
It’s implausible for those who believe the official narrative put out by the corporate government and its corporate press. But if you believe the official narrative from, for example, Pearl Harbor, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or the events of 11 September 2001, then I suspect you’re the type of drone the corporations love. You may as well return to your television instead of reading the remainder of this essay.
Here’s what the United States government knew about abrupt climate change in 2003, based on a document I used for teaching courses for several years after it was published: “As famine, disease, and weather-related disasters strike due to the abrupt climate change, many countries’ needs will exceed their carrying capacity. This will create a sense of desperation, which is likely to lead to offensive aggression in order to reclaim balance.”
We know, based on secret 1948 report on covert biowarfare, that the United States “is particularly vulnerable” to covert germ attack because enemy agents “are present already in this country [and] there is no control exercised over the movements of people.” Although this report emphasized the threat to America, the report called for offensive capability: “Biological agents would appear to be well adapted to subversive use since very small amounts of such agents can be effective” … “A significant portion of the human population within selected target areas may be killed or incapacitated.”
We also know that the United States government planned “a wholesale slaughter of much of the planet’s population.” That was 1956, and the proposed killer tech was nuclear weapons. They were aimed at the Soviet Union, but there’s no reason to believe contemporary “leaders” value Americans more than other consumers.
We also know, based on a report from 27 December 2015, “a US military defense laboratory at Dugway Proving Grounds mailed anthrax to South Korea at least fifteen times prior to the previously acknowledged March, 2015 delivery.” South Korea is allegedly one of our allies. The government lied about mailing anthrax and at least one other biological weapon to South Korea.
We know the system teeters on the brink. When money doesn’t matter, the rules will change. To start, the powerful will lose their power. We know industrial civilization benefits a few humans at the expense of many humans and non-human life on Earth. Available evidence indicates habitat for humans will be eliminated when the house of cards finally falls. If those pulling the strings of empire know what we know, why would they not attempt to eliminate a large proportion of the human population on this continent?
Ethics? Surely you jest.
Let’s take this scenario a step further along the path of the four horsemen. The proverbial powers-that-be know what we know, and a lot more. They will be able to determine, faster than you and me, when collapse has been triggered. Rather than allowing events to play out by themselves — hence allowing a vast majority of the people on the continent to die soon thereafter from dehydration, starvation, and suicide — perhaps these wealthy CEOs would prefer to kill a lot of people directly and swiftly to preserve a few spots for themselves. Ultimately, they’ll die, of course. Ultimately the nuclear facilities will melt down and the dust will choke their lungs and the food will run out and the wells will run dry. But these are the kind of people who are willing to spend squillions to survive a few days longer. These are the kind of people who knowingly wound and kill dozens of other people for a few extra digits in the bank account. These are the kind of people whose sense of entitlement exceeds their sense of fairness. They’ll take without giving. They’ll kill without compunction.
Why would they not? They know the consequences of their behavior. They know others die so that they can live richly. Taking a few more steps along the path of FUJIGM* is instinctual. It’s how they arrived at their lofty positions within civilization.
Lest you believe they’re worried about the catastrophic meltdown of nuclear facilities, fear not. Death via lethal mutations will require a few generations to fully manifest. These people are motivated to persist a few more years. They’re not particularly concerned about future generations. After all, they’ve already killed their own children.
In many ways, every day is the same for them, too. Maybe they’ll appreciate an opportunity to take their murderous games up another notch.
This scenario requires only general awareness, a few facts, and elementary logic. As a result, it’s well beyond the comprehension of the typical American.
“Aren’t you scared of what will happen?”
No. But my life is such a mess I welcome death. I need the rest.
So far, killing this messenger is merely figurative. But many truth-tellers have been murdered for relaying messages. I should be so lucky.
I’m not kidding. One of the consequences of walking away from enormous privilege, at least for me, is no longer having an interest in hanging onto a tortured life. Tortured by knowledge. And perhaps wisdom, contrary to the voices of my critics.
I’m familiar with Oscar Wilde’s line: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” I use humor at every opportunity. But my sense of humor is hardly applicable to everybody, and — Stage 6 aside, much less Stage 7 — I no longer care. I’m firmly in the camp of Giordano Bruno, as I explained more than eight years ago:
I am reminded of the Catholic Church’s treatment of my long-time hero, Giordano Bruno, which gave Galileo reason to recant in the face of astronomical truth. Trapped and captured by the Inquisition, Bruno was periodically interrogated during eight years of torture-laden imprisonment. Refusing to abandon the Copernican view that Earth orbits the sun instead of the converse Aristotelean (and, more importantly at the time, Catholic) view, Bruno was tongue-tied (literally) and burned alive in February of 1600. Legend, which is seldom true but which nicely embellishes a good story, has him spending his last words assailing the Church because its fear of the truth exceeded his fear of death.
I don’t fear the Church, not even when today’s version of the Church is the police state. Beyond my reputation for truth-telling about civilization and its results, I have nothing at stake (pun intended).
Back to the daily grind, then. Apparently I love it more than I’m letting on. Why else would I forge on, forgoing the pursuit of happiness? It’s unclear to what extent I’m capable of that pursuit. And so far I’ve been quite unimpressed with the fleeting happiness I’ve managed to corral. But, at least so far, I am not complaining.
*FUJIGM: Fuck U Jack, I’ve Got Mine
Unless you’re irritated because I responded to you abruptly, or not at all, this essay is not targeted at you. Please don’t take it personally. And remember: I am not complaining.
Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. To catch us live, tune in every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here. We’re on Stitcher, too.
As always, the schedule of topics for forthcoming episodes of the radio show is posted beneath the tab at the top of the page titled, “Radio Archive and Recent Video.” Please help us out, especially with episodes that focus on criticism of so-called climate scientists. The next one of those will address the work of Katharine Hayhoe on 5 January 2016.
Yesterday’s show was a call-in show based on our conversation with Mark Austin last week. Mike and Guy laid the groundwork for callers with an extensive introduction. We wrapped the show with an update about climate change.
McPherson is scheduled to deliver a webinar at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, 27 January 2016: The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: How Net Energy Decline Interacts with Abrupt Climate Change
Please note that the long, often-updated climate-change summary and update has been removed from the regular posts and placed within a tab at the top of the page. It can be read in three parts, and comments are no longer allowed. Big thanks to Niels van der Wolk for his work on this revision.
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