Well, it's taxes again and that always puts me in a crappy mood, but I doubt it cheers many. Still, it forces one to take the time to sit down and really sort through the last year and enumerate a lot of things one might often not take the time to put in such detail. For myself, over the last few years with my work in sustainability I've had to put a lot of time in with a calculator in hand--working out in as much detail as I honestly could what it really meant to live a life where the balance of one's activities contribute to an "measureable good" rather than "purely harmful" and I've learned a lot about it. I've learned personally, for sure, that while it takes a serious person sincere effort and significant compromise, it's completely possible and reasonable comfortable to earn an income and live a life confident that one isn't participating in the larger ecocide. I've learned a lot and it's brought me insights and a whole new set of skills-- as well as a vastly more accurate understanding of the dynamics of the systems that we inhabit. It's been a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Nothing, nothing, is more precious than the simple joy of discovery. And while unforgiving of ignorance, ineptitude, or dishonesty, a life of authentic benevolence is pretty rewarding in its own way, if what many might call austere. After a couple of decades of lifestyles that demand such a high level of integrity it simply becomes impossible to kid oneself about stuff anymore, not as a matter of morality but simple fact: one just loses the knack for it.
In that spirit and having set the calculator aside its time to report a important truth. We're fucked.
I mean really fucked.
Now I know I've often been accused of being a doomsdayer, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, I believed that it was going to be difficult indeed to avert the crisis looming from over-population, resource depletion, and climate change-- very difficult in fact, but I hadn't believed it impossible. In fact, I believed that it was possible for courageous individuals to move personally in their own lives towards that goal and in fact set an example that many others, paralyzed in the headlights, might be able to follow. So, that's what I set out to do personally, and that's what I've done now for the last 5 or so years. And in fact my message has been inspirational to many, and convincing as well. But it's been motivational to damned few-- and our culture as a whole has moved even further from solutions to even and ever worse policies-- in fact the rate of destruction has significantly increased. I have been wrong about my fellow man and his grasp on reality and the depth of his love for life and his children. And so, a time comes when it's time to call "abandon ship" -- well, I pride myself on being the kind of sailor(or human being) that would be the first to sound a high water alarm but the last to head for the lifeboats, but that time comes even for me. And, well, fact is, it's here.
So what's that mean? Well, for me personally, different strategies now make sense. Where I had deliberately lived very modestly and frugally I'm force to admit that to do so no longer matters. Whatever I elect to consume will be consumed by the suicidal raving hordes. While I deliberately limited my income to both not contribute to malignant governmental policies and programs and lighten the actual impact of my "earning" to levels I could actually clean up-- I'm forced to admit to do so no longer matters. The hordes will take care of all that too. While I doubt I'll quit planting my trees or stewarding my few acres of forest for whoever or whatever survives this century, I'll do so strictly for and as my own pleasure-- besides, it's now become a habit to think that way and I enjoy the trees. These actions that I had taken in the past are no longer in my mind practical, perhaps not even morally defensible-- as we've entered a world where preservation for much is no longer an option, and we must desperately grasp and protect all of that which we possibly can in whatever manner we might. This is now a triage formula situation. Much must be categorized lost. In this context and again, different strategies are called for--and uncomfortable judgments must be made.
As I see it now, perhaps the most imperiled and endangered parts of the evolutionary wealth of our planet aren't so much rare trees, forests, or ecosystems-- but much to my surprise it is indeed the better and most evolved elements of humanity that is the most threatened. I took for granted that others felt the way I did, and would act how I might see humane. I was wrong about that, and in fact that generosity, honesty, courage, integrity, intelligence-- which might well be claimed to be the highest and most advanced expression of the evolutionary process, and certainly the most precious as it's from here solely comes the valuation of the rest-- it's precisely these elements that are in greatest risk of loss. As we drift further into graver circumstances I see not the best elements of humanity exhibited but more often than not the worst--certainly not noble heroism but rather bestial delusional brutality. Certainly I knew the veneer of civilization was thin, but I did not anticipate it would prove to be so brittle.
So, anyway, stay tuned for the explosion of creative energy that will be my next project, tuned to these necessities, freed of certain constraints. . .
And so sure, there are those who may smugly find themselves satisfied at sneering at my personal admission here, and point to it as a failure. "We knew the ship was lost all along" some might laugh, "there was never any point in even trying to save her." And sure, there may be some slant truth in such a statement, but in fact as we go down together some may discover that my time at work at the pumps and bilges in desperation has conditioned me to be a damn fine swimmer. . .
So I'll chock it up as a personal win, thanks.
Degrowing the Economy - SUBHEAD: It's only one way to avoid climate catastrophe that we find ourselves in the midst of. By Jason Hickle on 18 October 2017 for the P2P Foundation...
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