Location: Arcata CA
Join Date: Jun 2008
Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....
"It is not my purpose to persuade you that we indeed face an environmental, financial, political, energy, soil, medical, or water crisis. Others have done so far more compellingly than I could. Nor is it my aim to inspire you with hope that they may be averted. They cannot be, because the things that must happen to avert them will only happen as their consequence. All present proposals for changing course in time to avert a crash are wildly impractical. My optimism is based on knowing that the definition of "practical" and "possible" will soon change as we collectively hit bottom.
Another way to put it is that my optimism depends on a miracle. No, not a supernatural agency come to save us. What is a miracle? A miracle comes from a new sense of what is possible, born from a surrender of the attempt to manage and control life. In individual experience miracles often happen when life overwhelms us. For an alcoholic, to suggest "just stop drinking" is ludicrous, impossible, unimaginable. It takes a miracle. The changes that need to happen to save the planet are the same. No mainstream politician is proposing them; few are even aware of just how deep the changes must go.
When the above-mentioned crises converge, when we experience acutely and undeniably that the situation is out of control, when the failure of the old regime is utterly transparent, then solutions that appear hopelessly radical today will become matters of common sense.
And this will happen. The timing of each crisis is uncertain, but the forces driving them are inexorable and cannot fail to be expressed sooner or later. Processes set in motion long ago have accelerated past critical mass; we are just beginning to taste their effects. Even if we somehow stopped making new pollution right now, the cumulative effects of existing ecological damage are enough to generate catastrophe. The same inevitability is true in other realms as well: public health, education, finance, and politics. It is already too late. It is only a matter of how soon, how bad, how long. However bad you think it is, it is probably worse. Read books like The Dying of the Trees or Boiling Point if you don't believe me.
Like the Titanic, the momentum of technological society is so huge that even if we reversed the engines and steered hard right now, the short-term and mid-term course of events would not change much. We are on a collision course with nature that can no longer be averted. Yet not only have we done little to brake or steer away from the looming iceberg, we have maintained an oblivious policy of "full speed ahead!" In the United States, Republican policy has been essentially, "What iceberg?" while the Democrats try to change course by a few degreesóbut not so quickly as to spill the drinks on the first class deck. The "practical" proposals and workable compromises on the table are woefully inadequate. One party repudiates the Kyoto Treaty and the other endorses it, but few acknowledge that even that is far too little, far too late. Outside the United States, "developing" countries such as India and China, abetted by Western institutions, stoke the Titanic's furnaces with their headlong industrialization using the old linear model of extraction, processing, consumption, and waste.
And meanwhile, on deck the party continues, as it will continue to continue even after the first crunch reverberates through the ship, even as the icy torrent consumes compartment after compartment. On the top deck the band will play on even as the ship lists and rolls, maintaining a desperate and deadly illusion of normalcy.
At this point the utter bankruptcy of the program of competition, security, and financial independence will begin to become so flagrantly obvious that no one will be able to ignore it. I once read a pessimistic book of the business genre forecasting a polarized society of crime-ridden slums and wealthy walled, gated, fenced, alarmed, guarded communities. The author's advice was to contrive to live in the latter! This is tantamount to climbing to the highest deck of a sinking ship. Everyone speaks of the intensifying competitiveness of the present era, evoking in my mind masses of rats struggling and clawing for the topówhere they will perish but a few minutes later than the rest.
Yes, you can locate yourself as far as possible from the war zones, trash incinerators, toxic waste dumps, smog zones, bad neighborhoods, and other perils of an increasingly toxic world, but sooner or later the converging crises of our era will obliterate all defenses. No matter how diversified your investments, no matter how many guns in your walled compound or cans of food in your basement, the tide of calamity will eventually engulf you. Gates, locks, razor wire and guns can ensure security only temporarily, and a fraudulent, anxious security it is. Eventually we will abandon our bunker mentality and understand that the only security comes through giving, opening, and being at the center of a flux of relationships, not taking more and more for self; security comes not from independence but from interdependence. The survivors will not be those who try to insulate themselves in a fortress, but who are able to give, to help, and to contribute to a community. They will form the basis of a new kind of civilization." Excerpt from Ascent Of Humanity