25 September 2016

A Slow Implosion

If you watch the news -- and even if you don't -- you might be noticing that we're a society, a culture in slow motion implosion ... causing the breakdown of ecosystems. We are imploding. We are re-enacting the fall of Rome in some sort of collective death wish. And Rome wasn't ruined in a day.

What led to the fall of Rome?
  • decadence
  • corruption
  • depravity
  • lead poisoning (Flint, Michigan, anyone?)
  • violence and killing for entertainment
  • killing off biodiversity
Sound familiar? Their solution? Bread and circuses. Keep the masses numbed and dumbed, and carry on ruining things. (They don't call them Roman ruins for nothing!) We're following in Rome's footsteps, but this time we're threatening the ability of the entire biosphere to support life.

I know there were Romans who knew and saw what was happening. But the majority? They must have been doing the Roman equivalent of Facebook, shopping at the mall, and crack cocaine. 

So I dunno.
The aggression and fear that arise in response to perceived threats are some of the most intense emotions we ever experience. For human society to function at all, these instinctive reactions have to be carefully managed and channeled. Outbreaks of panic and hate are dangerous, but lower levels of aggression and fear help keep a population controllable and productive. Restrained aggression keeps people suspicious of collective action and working hard to overcome their fellows, while constant, generalized anxiety keeps people servile, unwilling to take risks, and yearning for comfort from whatever quarter, whether the dulling sameness of herd thought or the dumb security of consumer goods. 
— Roy Scranton, from Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (and found in Adbusters, Post - West issue, 2016)
By the way ... that slow implosion? It's picking up speed. Do you know where the emergency exits are?

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?