Wednesday, November 07, 2007

life at the end of empire

So, does the title of this essay evoke depression or excitement from you? I watched a movie called What a Way To Go, Life at the End of Empire the other day. The information of the ecological nightmare currently going on is presented in an interesting way, although if you've been paying attention at all, there's not much that is News.

Depressing? Hell, yes. Isn't it depressing to know all the particular facts observed by science that seem to show that our civilized cancer is metastasizing the planet? To know that we are creating a species void that will take hundreds of millions of years to revitalize, messing with weather stability, and that we may leave our children's children with more garbage than anyone could ever deal with? That we are cutting down the forests of our planet--its lungs--at a rapid pace? That our whole system of living in developed countries is based on a finite source, petroleum? And that petroleum production has already peaked? It's all downhill from here, the same slopes whether you're talking about grain production (currently stagnated), oil production, or the value of American dollars.

On the other hand, isn't it exciting that we have the power to change some of this? It may already be too late to stop climate change, but at least we can stop ourselves from chopping down every last tree. The filmmaker stresses that we (as a culture) knew all this was going to happen, and is happening, but IGNORED IT, and now we have, well, look around you. It's kind of depressing, isn't it?

I think about how different things could have, would have been if the world had figured out a new way to live when I was a baby, thirty-some years ago. Maybe we wouldn't be driving species to extinction at a rate of 2000 each day. And then I think of my own child, and I set my jaw and vow, I won't let this happen to my children. I draw the line. I throw in the towel with civilization, with the one-right-way of thinking and doing, with the spoils going to those who are the most ruthless and short-sighted. I can't look into another baby's eyes and continue to go to work like nothing is happening. I can't pretend that I'm not in an abusive relationship--not with my husband, but with my worldview. I am. And I want out.

Then I find myself in the black iron prison. Here is the trick--how to break out of prison when there is no not-prison anymore. How do you get rid of a paradigm of domination, when the only way of getting rid of it--conquering it--transforms you into it? How do you remember what it is like to be a human when all you've known since birth is how to be a robot? How do you bring up your children in a new sort of way, one that fully enables them to see What's Next--how do you do this, when you have no clear idea yourself?

Well, I still find it exciting times. To think that next week, all of America, all of every where that oil flows through our veins, we just take some time and think. We think about what kind of world we'd like to live in, what kind of world we would like to give to our children and grandchildren. We think about what kind of world we are giving to them now, and how our every action supports this global sum that is greater than the parts. We think about how nice it is to talk to people, spend time in the sunshine, touch dirt, eat living food that is not made from petroleum, laugh, relax, sleep. Once upon a time, we were human BEings. It's been so long, but I think if we dream enough, we may remember. We can make it real.

And so, we think. Then we do. We act, true to our selves. We think about our situation clearly and without immature attachments to selfish wants and needs. We forego our comfort for a living breathing planet for our children's children to enjoy. We plant, food of thanksgiving, ambrosia--to nourish our bodies and souls and minds and children. We walk away from the pyramid, and find ourselves in the garden, rejoicing.

If we are quick enough about it, we may never know who could have won the next election.


werebrock said...

you're hopeful. i like that. 'bout to unleash a beatnik storm of hopefulness on this blog- does anyone know how to encouch a GarageBand audio file with html so readers can hear me rant?

sharqi said...

Hey, badge-man, don't mean to blather on, but ya know, down here on the food chain, hope is all we got.

Hakim Baker said...

hmm... hosting audio for free? ... i'd put a podcast or few out there if it seemed easy enough ... i think I read somewhere that googlepages lets you host up to a certain amount of bytes on up to a few different pages ... looking into livejournal for slightly-less-corporate communitarian blogtronization.