Speaking My Mind

Pretty much everything I write here and elsewhere, is designed to make people aware that the world we have now, the kind of society we have grown to know, the ongoing progressive advancement of our cultural, scientific and technological achievements, leading us to a better world in which everyone can share and enjoy the benefits of our endeavours (or somebody’s endeavours, foresight, organisational skills and wealth), are merely temporary illusions subject to change and decay, simply because of the basis on which they have been built.

Further, the purpose behind the things I write, is to hopefully make it clear that there can be no such thing as endless progress, endless growth, endless achievement, endless wealth, even endless debt.  All of which are again simply temporary illusions (except for endless debt, which is just a fools paradise).

I have no personal viewpoint that through my writing about these things anything is going to change about the way other people generally perceive the situation. Anything, that is, until the change and decay in the man-made world around us becomes indisputable or blindingly obvious.  And even then there will be those that will argue all of that can be overcome by human ingenuity or the decay itself is only a temporary setback to progress.

That people broadly do not perceive these things to be a problem requiring thought or attention, or that there is any sort of necessity for us to call a halt to progress or to change anything about the way we live as a society, is a dilemma.

There is no readily available or foreseeable answer to this dilemma.  Even though a growing number of people, many of them either disillusioned insiders or some kind of fringe-dweller, on a mission to promote some idea or other that will be the magic cure, if only everybody would see it and get on board, it’s not going to happen.  I have long realised that is the case.  The development of humanity doesn’t work that way.  It never has.

Oh, yes, I know there have been past revolutions of thought and deed that have sought to alter the way things are in some particular part of the world, and finding out that the revolutionary changes they were able to make, actually resulted in nothing lasting or even turned out to be much like what they had intended them to be.  There has never been, and I doubt there ever will be, a worldwide awakening that will join everyone’s hands in common purpose to solve a problem that is unsolvable by any other means.  By any other means at our disposal, at any rate.

Oh yes, I am sure there will be proposals from already rich and powerful organisations with solutions that would do the trick in their estimation or in their publicly declared position, when in reality their only abiding interest is to make more money and to prolong the current state of affairs or to turn those things to be even more in their favour, for as long as they can.  They are very good at doing that.  They have been practicing those tactics for several decades already, if not longer, quite successfully.

And so, what’s the answer?  And is it worth my while continuing to try to raise awareness in this way?

Well, whether it is worth my while or not, in terms of personal satisfaction nothing more, to keep on telling the story as I have been for a few years now, I will most likely continue to do so.  Though I confess to getting tired, weary, and increasingly saddened by the prospects of those things that I see unfolding for the generations now coming to maturity, those that are still embryonic and those as yet unthought of.  Still I expect that I will continue to try to tell it as I see it, as best I can, while I can.

The Answer?  Well, there is none.  At least not until the current world build has been destroyed, and a time of rebuilding commences.  That will be the time for the ideas of the fringe-dwellers and the disillusioned experts, if such remain, to come to the fore.  Otherwise it will be a case of starting from scratch and digging up past knowledge, just as we have done (perhaps with a little help), and as probably those bygone civilisations that came before us also needed to do.

There is not a single shred of hope that by thought or deed mankind can collectively change their world from what it has become to something better and hopefully more lasting and workable to the benefit of all nature, without such an upheaval as will be necessary to do away with all things both visible and invisible, which together form human culture and society today.  Not a single shred of hope.  There is ample evidence though that we can, intentionally or otherwise, make things much worse.

So, let’s look forward to, and perhaps lend a helping hand (for what that’s worth) to bringing on that breaking down period, before it makes a future rebuild all but impossible.

The only effective way that I know of to bring the current system down, is to shun it.  The system needs you and your input for its very survival.

Aarrgh!  Forget the previous two paragraphs.  I was just reverting to the sort of wishful thinking that I have been trying to dispel with this post.  A classical example of what will never work.  Forget it.  Well, you could do it if it makes you happy.  Better to do something than sit around moping about the situation.  But do it if you must, knowing that it will make not the slightest difference to the outcome.  It will take forces much more powerful than we can now or at any time in the past, generate by our own efforts, individually or collectively.  Our only hope is to rely on natural forces and the limiting factors of physical existence to come into play on our behalf or, more appropriately, to preserve nature.

I Am An Abject Failure

I am an abject failure.

I do not say this from some depressed state, some suicidal thought, some tendency to self-flagellate.  It is not some morbid attempt to heap shit on myself.

It is simply that I recognise my own limitations, my unfulfilled hopes and desires.  It is an acknowledgement that my vision is greater than my capability or strength to describe it or to bring it to a state of realisation.  It is an acceptance that the task is too great and I am not among those great persons who have taken on insurmountable tasks and somehow accomplished them.

Taking a stand on anything that lays outside of the normal, restrictive and increasingly shrinking thought patterns of a society intent on pursuing fatuous and frivolous goals of personal happiness, comfort and wealth, carries consequent risk of being perceived as raving lunacy, perversion, or some dangerous threat to the status quo, which should be extinguished or removed from sight to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the flow.

To these charges I must plead guilty.  I must also from time to time re-evaluate my reasons for taking a stand on ideas that are not generally held but which I see as being of great importance for me and all humanity.  Does ridicule or ignorance (in the sense of being ignored) bother or hurt me or sway my views?  Am I expecting to achieve some sort of success?  Or do I do this simply because it seems the right thing to do, whatever the consequences?  Should I continue, or just sit back quietly and watch?  Should I respond to my feelings, or suppress them?  Should I try to fit in, or continue to be some kind of mysterious and awkward enigma?  Essentially, do I care what other people think of me?

I will answer only the last question here, by saying “Some, but not much.”

The dashboard here on my blog is littered with unfinished and unpublished posts that I was at some stage influenced or inflamed to begin but for some reason did not complete or felt the need to withhold from publication.  Then again, so many of my aroused thoughts and so much of my accumulated knowledge never gets to the point of actually being committed to writing in the first place.

Diligently pursuing an idea or project to conclusion is quite exhausting and there is only so much that an individual person can do.

But I do what I can.  Failure, or not.

What happened to bring me to this place?

Well, I guess it was a confluence of many things culminating with my reading this morning the latest article from George Monbiot, ‘Loss Adjustment’ here on the Permaculture Research Institute website.

George begins the article with a very pertinent question –

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means?

That is my problem.  I am privileged to be among the few who do have a clear vision of what that means.  To take just one aspect, simply stated, it means that even with the best will in the world, climate change is not something that can be adapted to whilst still retaining a semblance of modern life.

How on Earth do you go about explaining that concept to people in particular and the world in general?  How?  Even if people and the world wanted to know, the message is not something that they would willingly and wholeheartedly accept.  The concept itself leads to a turmoil of world upheaval such as no-one would ever have contemplated in their wildest dreams or nightmares.

That in essence is my dilemma.

George quotes the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, as I also did, somewhere, recently –

“An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

George further partially quotes Leopold in saying that –

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.

I also feel something of that world of wounds, that agony, that torment, of watching on a daily basis the inevitable events not only of climate collapse but ecological collapse, economic collapse and societal collapse, playing out on the world stage in front of my very eyes.  Expecting soon to add to that exposure the dreadful, awful, sight of population collapse as a direct or indirect result of those events.

Sometimes the enormity of it all becomes quite overwhelming and one feels infinitesimally small and insignificant in comparison.

Climate Change Adaptation?

Climate Change Adaptation?

Is there really nothing we can do?

It is true that we can do some tinkering around the edges.  At least the wealthy nations may be able to do that.  But what about everyone else?

There is the possibility of constructing a few sea walls, strengthening structures, making homes more ‘climate resilient’, rolling out more ‘renewables’, among other things that may have been placed under consideration.  However, all this activity displays is a basic inability to grasp the parameters of what climate change means for our world.

Whatever adaptation activity is undertaken, there remains the dual-headed dilemma of 1) do we attempt to stop or reduce the human activity feeding climate change first, or at the same time?  And 2) if we do either one of those things, or even if we don’t, where is all the wealth and physical resources going to come from to enable us to effectively adapt current systems, if effective adaptation were in fact possible?

Take one example.  Two thirds of all the world’s cities with 5 million or more inhabitants, lay in coastal regions that will be effected by sea level rise and will need to be relocated at some stage, whether that be in the next few years or before the end of the century.  Can you imagine the enormity of that task?  Abandoning land and infrastructure, re-housing the population, perhaps several billion people, and rebuilding the very valuable and costly infrastructure on which many more people have previously relied.  The potential cost is literally staggering.  Another description would be ‘impossible’.  There is just not the wealth and resources necessary to accomplish such a task.

Take another example.  How is the world going to feed itself?  Pretty much all of the global food growing regions will become incapable of producing food, either at all or in such reduced amounts as to render the total food supply grossly inadequate for even current population levels.  Many of these regions are already feeling the impacts of climate change.  One in eight people already have inadequate access to food.  Then there is the question of more migration away from these areas with consequent loss of land and infrastructure and these ‘food bowl’ areas include much of central US, most of Australia, central Africa, southern Europe and parts of China.  Desertification will become a huge issue over time and is already under way.

There is no means of adaptation to these issues.  They entail a getting out and a going somewhere else.  If a somewhere else can be found, is acceptable to those already living there and, importantly, is capable of sustaining the influx of additional souls.  On top of that, unless this process occurs very soon while transport infrastructure is still available, for most it will be undertaken on foot, carrying whatever they can on their backs.

Does that make the picture a little clearer?  Well, it is not the whole picture of course.  Many other perils await, such as diminished availability of water, increased risk of disease, resource conflicts, slavery, abuse and death.

On the whole I think a policy of adaptation, in the terms that it is currently viewed, stands little chance of any success and will most likely be seen to be a complete waste of time, energy and resources in the long term.  Although, building infrastructure appears to be the new flavour of the month among politicians who continue to seek means of resuscitating their ailing economies and increasing jobs.  They could better spend their time dismantling the complex societal structure we have built and preparing for something much smaller and simpler.  They won’t of course and future history will play out as it inevitably will as business continues as usual.  Any other course of action would require them to face full on to what portends to be a very insecure and perilous period ahead.

Perceived inadequacy and failure

Reviewing these supremely important concepts causes a certain overshadowing of my feelings of inadequacy and failure to communicate them effectively.

I remain undaunted by my inadequacy and unafraid of my failure to do so.

One day, soon, I expect to see a vindication of my feeble attempts.  May they have assisted someone, somewhere, to be more ready for that day than they otherwise may have been.