Does anything positive ever evolve when one questions the social traditions, habits, or patterns of a Life widely considered typical within her personal communal microcosm, which prepares her to think more independently? Is it propitious energy to wonder if the unconscious repeated actions of a community are salubrious to an individual or to the community itself, or if they are even necessary? Is it socially responsible to question authority, especially when it is so obviously detrimental to individual existence or the existence of groups of people who are different and are thereby considered unworthy by them who have somehow acquired the usurped authority? In a Democracy, is one a traitor to question a nefarious elected leader especially when the leader lies to his constituency in order to execute illegal activities like, let’s just say, preemptively attacking a sovereign nation without justifiable cause?
I’ve often heard the aphorism, “Individuals can be intelligent; it’s groups of people who are dangerous.” An easy example of this adage is the cult, and as I sit back and view the contemporary terrestrial milieu by which I’m surrounded, I see very easily that the majority of individuals I observe, including myself, are, in fact, automatons unconsciously reacting to the ubiquitous stimuli of daily existence, blindly following myriad examples of questionable human behavior that propagate mass appeal through uncensored social media overseeing the childish proclivity of granting the immediate egocentric satisfaction of acquiring specious baubles and trinkets, depleting planetary resources without replenishing them while desperately seeking immediate solutions to complex problems without exploring the possible pernicious results that may not be recognized until a time in the future when the casual decisions will have been forgotten or irrelevant to the desperate immediacy at that expected although ambiguous time of cataclysmic result—the metaphoric sheep blindingly following an assumed beneficent shepherd, the group of liberal dilettantes who decide not to immunize their children for measles and who inadvertently create pockets of infection when the disease was thought to have been eradicated, the cult of Christian Conservatism that distracts its victims away from community and towards the coddling of the soi disant intellectual and moral superiority of the individual.
I recall my first questioning of what was, in retrospect, the dogmatic pursuit of cultic influence. In third grade, I, as a Catholic, was preparing for the sacrament of Communion. In the Catholic tradition it is believed that the bread and wine served in the ecclesiastic ceremony celebrating Jesus’ last supper with his disciples actually turns into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and there’s even a word for it: transubstantiation. The nun conducting the lessons asked a small group of us if the transformation would cause the bread and wine to taste differently. As I was but a child, I naturally thought that if wine actually turned into blood and a thin, bread-like wafer actually turned into the body of a man, then they would both taste significantly different. Forget about the horrors of cannibalism, which I too easily ignored because of the magic of faith, I figured that a hamburger, which, to me, was meat—or what I considered would be similar to the body of a human—would taste significantly different than a rather tasteless wafer. The same with the wine and blood. In my defense, at the time, my mind was filled with childlike bewilderment, so instead of worrying about the veracity of what was lectured to me, I probably began wondering immediately about something else, like whether or not a fly loops or flips over when landing upside-down on the ceiling.
Obviously, the question of transubstantiation made a lasting impression on my young mind, lingering in a remote address of my inner psyche, patiently waiting to tickle my curiosity once again in futuristic cogitation along with supernumerary other flash-thoughts that are even now still eagerly awaiting the flood of thought-thaw, desperate for rumination.
Albert Einstein is reputed to have said that Evil succeeds when good people do nothing to stop it, and as I slowly trudge through my allotted four-score life span, I fully understand how apathy or disinterest can lead to this conclusion, how turning a blind eye from reality can bring about the downfall of an empire; it’s happened throughout human history but can be best exemplified by the acceptance of Hitler’s atrocities by a majority of the German population who had no desire to get involved. Like a hapless ovine flock, black and brown sheep are led to the abattoir while the remaining white flock blindly ruminate… or daydream in sunny pastures about how beneficent their shepherd is by preserving their lives while destroying the others who are inferred to be somehow less superior—the survivors (unaffected) choose to believe that they are the shepherd’s chosen and thereby deserve absolution. Whether or not this blind, unjustifiable, egocentric attitude is arrogance or childish innocence, it is still unconscionable asocial behavior that reeks with the pungent hubris of a televangelist’s asking his followers to refrain from buying prescription drugs or food so that they may tithe to his multi-million dollar institution.
Ignoring obvious hypocrisies has been around for millennia, but today’s blinding indifference even branches out to negatively affect politically salient groups who ignore scientifically predicted mass social destruction. As I write this, the government of the nation to which I am geographically bound, the most powerful nation on the planet, the only country to use nuclear weapons of mass destruction against a perceived enemy, is fighting internally about Climate Control, which isn’t inherently insipid, but approaching the conflict from a bipartisan aspect is the most puerile thing I can think of. The very saddest aspect of this debate is that each side is approaching the problem from a woefully inefficient prospective: they are debating whether or not climate change is caused by humanity. The fact that climate change is occurring is not debated. Let me repeat: the fact that climate change is occurring is NOT debated! Our planet is turning into a medium-sized star-orbiting rock that is slowly becoming uninhabitable for our species! And instead of guiding our national directive toward a solution to the problem, we are debating its origin. That seems insane to me. May I suggest that we solve the problem first, then look back to uncover where and how it began?
Humanity is not powerful enough to destroy the planet, only itself. Regardless of the events that have brought into motion the symptoms of climate change, the planet is dramatically transforming. Scientists world-wide agree that the planet is going through a process of warming never experienced in human history, but the planet has been extant for about 4.6 billion years (give or take a few months), modern human is estimated at only 20,000 years. This means that the planet Earth lived 4,599,980,000 years before Homo sapiens ever climbed down from the trees! Within that time frame, the planet went through many changes: from a molten rock surface to a surface completely covered with ice and every variant in-between. The Earth is still changing, evolving. Again, the planet’s morphing is not disputed; instead of investigating what has caused these life-threatening changes, the question should be what are we going to do about it?
Seems to me that there are only three answers: We can change some habits of energy acquisition that scientists strongly suggest will counter the effects of global warming, a.k.a. go green! We can attempt to build hermetically sealed biospheres within which we can maintain a fabricated terrestrial environment conducive to our species’ salubrity; or we can do nothing and try to survive the predicted cataclysm.
What it then boils down to is the arrogance of the terrestrial citizens of the planet. If we do nothing, then the planet will change, evolve, becoming uninhabitable for the human organism. Ultimately, insidiously, these changes will cause the planet to no longer support our species in its current manifestation, which will either become extinct or will evolve, along with the planet, into a new species or subspecies of humanity. That’s pretty straight forward, but it directly contradicts the fantasies of millions who irrationally believe that the human being has already developed its potential, that humanity is created in the image of an omniscient, omnipotent puissance, that, in fact, humanity is the nexus between “God Almighty” and the rest of the vast Universe. Unmalleable. Perfect?
Let’s move on.
I imagine that we may have the technology available to create hermetically sealed biospheres that could continue to support humanity in its current organic manifestation without evolutionary change, but biospheres are artificially terrestrial, and if the planet’s predicted chaotic atmospheric violence doesn’t destroy these fabricated environments, our species will begin to errantly believe that our organic evolution is unnecessary; it’s easy to believe that en masse arrogance will encourage a feeling of invulnerability. We, as a species, would then have to maintain mobile hermetically sealed environments in order to explore the very vast Universe, as we do now with rockets and the International Space Station, but that seems to encourage a lack of humility that nourishes the egocentric
feeling that humanity is the center of all creation, which is ridiculous.
Homo sapiens is a species of modern man that has evolved symbiotically with the planet Earth but within a very insignificant timeframe considering how very long the planet has been extant and with regards to the dramatic changes undergone by the planet before the terrestrial introduction of the human element. Seems to me that our human organic bodies have evolved to exist exclusively on this planet or on other celestial bodies with atmospheric properties almost exactly complimentary with our planet’s current conditions. How much less than one percent of the vast Universe is that? Even within the comparably insignificant solar system in which we reside, Earth is the only planet upon which humanity can exist naked… Earth, one of, arguably, eight planets, the fourth smallest existing within an orbit around our sun with four additional “Super Giant” planets much more massively significant and with many moons that are also more interesting.
The most effective course to take against Global Warming is, of course, to change our social habits, but I don’t see that happening unless dramatic changes evolve in planetary collective thinking… and by collective thinking, I’m strongly suggesting that we begin to think globally instead of regionally, a utilitarian, terrestrial emphasis instead of along national, man-made boundaries. We need to stop razing the planet of its carbon-based resources that make an insignificant number of folks ludicrously wealthy while enslaving the majority into lifestyles that sustain the status quo. We need to embrace renewable energy before we become an extinct side note in some extraterrestrial archeological investigation.
Unfortunately, we are not ready to sacrifice our perceived individual rights for the good of humanity; that would, correctly, be called social but would be errantly labeled socialism… and we are brainwashed against socialism, plus our current world leaders exclusively attempt to make the world safer for the protection of their treasures instead of seeking solutions to terrestrial concerns, so our species’ ultimate destiny is extinction. We will all be gone in 1,000 years. In 10,000 years we will either be totally forgotten or will be a fable taught to younger extraterrestrial generations about the follies of avarice.
I’d like to think that humanity is smart enough to realize that we terrestrial citizenry are doomed unless we make major changes, but Einstein was right. Duh? Evil succeeds when good people do nothing to stop it. And the noted aphorism still rings, supplementing Pythagorean Universal Harmony: Individuals can be intelligent; it’s groups of people who are dangerous. In this moment in the history of mankind, as insignificant as it is, our terrestrial interests are deliberately obfuscated for the interests of oligarchic megalomaniacal comfort, which may be the event horizon of our species’ existence, the point of no return.
Russell (Rusty) Allen Taylor
March 18, 2015