Mysticism has proven an insufficient foundation for conserving nature. Ultimately, I suspect it will prove inadequate for saving humanity as well. Although we could blame the lying clowns who represent us, the politicians merely reflect the populace, and therefore contemporary zeitgeist. Like it or not, the politicians we elect are six flights below the lowest common denominator in large part because we cannot reason our way up the stairs.
Reason is the basis for understanding the material world. Mysticism has proven an insufficient foundation for dealing with peak oil and runaway greenhouse. As such, I suspect it will prove inadequate for saving humanity. Whether or not we’re worth saving is a separate issue.
Dubya should be justifying his lust for war by invoking this Jeffersonian line in every speech: “In war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them.”
Our last best chance to make it through the ever-tightening bottleneck is to bring down civilization. Although Peak Oil will bring down civilization within the next decade, maybe sooner, we can and should hasten the collapse along.
We have, to the maximum possible extent allowed by our intellect and never-ending desire, consumed the planet and therefore traded in tomorrow for today. And we keep making these choices, every day, choosing dams over salmon, oil over whales, cars over polar bears, death over life.
It is not at all clear that humanity can be saved (or, for that matter, is worth saving). Evolution drives us to breed, drives to procreate, and drives us to accumulate resources. Evolution always pushes us toward the brink, and culture piles on, hurling us into the abyss. Nietzsche was correct about our lack of free will — as Gray points out in Straw Dogs — free will is an illusion. It’s not merely the foam on the beer: it’s the last bubble of foam, the one that just popped. It’s no surprise, then, that we are sleepwalking into the future, or that the future is a lethal cliff.