Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hic Mundus Infractus

"The world must be broken, I realized, for a boy like me to have to bury a boy like William K" --"What is the What?" by David Eggers about Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese Lost Boy

"Angels on the sideline, baffled and confused. Father blessed them all with reason, and this is what they choose? Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground..." --"Right in Two" by MJK


Things are getting fairly ridiculous, now. Of course, I say "getting" but what I really mean is I'm learning how ridiculous things really are. And it's not like I have a small world-view.

The money-lender, America's modern aristocrat, has decimated financial institutions all over the world. The Treasury Department's solution to the bad debt crippling most of America is to encourage Americans to borrow more.
(On a side note: I've been trying to redefine the class system in America towards something other than income, given the huge disparity between the richest 5% and everyone else. I've decided that Upper Class means that the decisions you make won't really affect you, certainly not as much as how much your decisions will affect others. Middle Class means that all your decisions are very important; you ride the line in the middle, and each choice hugely matters as to whether life will get better, worse, or stay the same. Lower Class means you lose any real power of choice because your options are incredibly limited. This means that a responsible person who may not make that much money may actually be Upper-Middle Class, where general decisions don't matter all that much, allowing a certain amount of financial freedom. It also means that an irresponsible person who makes a good bit of money could quickly find himself Lower Class based on the choices he makes in Middle Class.)

While the world economy spirals deeper into trouble, the prospect of total war in the Middle East continues to loom. But let us not forget that the Middle East does not have a monopoly on violence. There is a horrid situation going on in Africa as well. The power-mongering of warlords and other heads of state resulting in the death and displacement of millions. There is as much a right to call what is happening there genocide as any other instance of it in history. And this is merely examples of the violence occurring on the other side of the world. South America, Central America, the troubled streets of our own country seem full--to the brim sometimes--with people willing, able, and attempting to kill their neighbors.
Can you really look at what is happening to the planet and continue to make the argument that violence solves anything? We merely hasten the extinction of ourselves.

Truly, our arrogance holds no bounds. Our greed and consumption destroy any idea of economy, our hatred and suspicion and violence usurp any idea of government, and our waste and waste of resources are having a disastrous effect on the environment.
I know there is some crazy debate in the scientific community about whether humans have an effect on climate change, but largely the lines are drawn between corporate-sponsored scientists being paid to debunk human induced global warming and the rest of the scientists specializing in climatology who readily affirm that humans effect climate change.
Really, it's a matter of common sense. When you fart, you change the climate of your immediate surroundings--because of the gas coming out of your ass--to have an unpleasant odor. The effect dissipates rather quickly. But imagine the gases and minute particles being injected at a steady rate by power plants, automobiles, factories, airplanes, boats, etc. into a much larger surrounding area. The effect dissipates much more slowly. So, really, pollution is an immediate visual identification of climate change dissipating slowly over time. But that's just the visual (or olfactory, in most cases as well) effects.
A fart has an immediate olfactory effect on the environment in a small area. What we can't see is what happens to the gas you've just expelled from your butt. Where does it go? It doesn't just disappear, it blends into the rest of the gases that make up the air we breathe. That blending is what makes the smell go away.
So while the visual (and other sensual) effects of pollution may lessen and disappear over time, that doesn't mean that the shit we've been pumping into the air has disappeared, it's been mixed in with all the other natural gases of our atmosphere. A steady increase in gases in the atmosphere is going to effect the way our atmosphere behaves, because we are changing its contents. This isn't science, it's common sense. The fact that we can't see or smell or taste of feel the effects immediately does not mean that we never will. Do we really need to test how much pollution we can pump into our atmosphere before we start feeling the changes, or do you think that maybe we should stop now while we still can?
It's a simple answer, but one that doesn't mesh well with greed and our Machievellan sense of capitalism. Because, let's be clear. There is no good reason to pollute our planet. But it happens simply by virtue of us being here. Everybody farts.
So maybe we should do everything we can to lessen our impact on the environment, and the ecosystem, of Earth.

Oh wait. We're a broken world, I forgot. We kill who we want. Step on and over who we want. Steal from whoever we see. Demolish whatever someone else builds. Generally, we make an effort (we make an effort!) to become the worst part of our planet rather than the greatest.
Do you ever wonder if God waited until everything else was created to make humans because he wasn't sure if we were a good idea?
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