Save the planet now!
Save the planet now!
"The task of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much personal integrity as possible; it is to dismantle those systems." -Lierre Keith
To kill the fire?
As I read the post-civilizational scenarios postulated on "Deep Ecological Warfare," I couldn't help comparing them with a series of novels, beginning with _Dies the Fire_, written by Stephen Stirling.
In this speculative fiction, Stirling imagines a freak electrical storm over Nantucket followed by a blinding white flash and a brief blackout experienced by everyone on Earth; starting immediately thereafter, we discover that all electricity and fast combustion are gone, apparently for good. Planes, suddenly without power, crash onto cities and create fireballs that incinerate millions and destroy countless buildings and much of our present infrastructure. Most of the world's population dies off within the first year, as governments collapse and warlords form enclaves that become empires mad for conquest. And technology takes a Great Leap Backward, with the remaining population living in a "neo-medieval" world in which power no longer springs from the barrel of a gun, but from a sword wielded by a strong right arm.
Industry and industrial agriculture implode almost instantaneously, leaving populations either to live by subsistence farming (as the protagonists do) or by appropriating the produce of the farmers and reducing the latter to serfdom (as the villains do). But however terrible the loss of life and universal sufferings that lead to it, the world that emerges is a paradoxically hopeful one, and the reader is left to wonder whether the apocalypse has not also been the sole means of delivering us from our own hands.
Now we look upon a world racing to perdition as pathological ruling elites and institutions under their sway strive to extract from air, land and water every resource that can confer wealth, power and continued technological advancement upon them, with a fine aristocratic disregard for the consequences -- the "negative externalities" -- suffered by the contemned majority, and, eventually, by their own descendants. As this article hammers home, this cannot go on much longer, for the resources become ever scarcer as our populations burgeon at the urging and for the greater profit of the elites, while the ecosystem that sustains all things that live decays apace under the relentless assault of the profit-takers.
This article does offer three (or, by its interpretation, four) compelling scenarios: no resistance, limited resistance, forceful resistance, and the kind of "decisive ecological warfare" that it proposes, and goes on to discuss plausible consequences for each. But like so many other similar exhortations, it fails to account for the real source of all of our problems, which will doom any form of resistance to ineffectuality unless recognized and corrected: pathocracy.
As we have increasingly come to realize, our societies are for the most part controlled by psychopaths, whose malignant narcissism and drive to acquire power and wealth combines with a vacuum of moral intelligence to lead them to behave without real understanding of the consequences of their behavior for themselves and others. Paradoxically, it is precisely these traits that enable them to act with specious decisiveness, to manipulate others, and thereby to become "leaders."
Still worse, this tiny genetically defective minority is Patient Zero in a global moral pandemic. Using their control of the media environment and power to shape popular culture to their will, the pathocrats have infected a large proportion -- perhaps a majority -- of the people of the US and many other countries with their pathological thinking. Thus it is that people who have nothing to gain and everything to lose from perpetuating pathocracy do so unconsciously, having been taught that empathy is weakness and that those who differ from them are less than human; from such thinking spring all the evils that debauch and disfigure our nations.
What must we do about this?
The first step might well be mandatory brain scans for every prospective officeholder or wielder of public authority or private power. Abnormalities in a brain structure called the uncinate fasciculus have been implicated in genetic psychopathy, and if those with such abnormalities are barred from power, then their blandishments will fall unheard, and the moral healing can begin. And from this healing, from this vital spark of empathy renewed, must emerge any hope of deliverance.
From the page:
If you care about life on this planet, and if you believe this culture wonât voluntarily cease to destroy it, how does that belief affect your methods of resistance?
Most people donât know, because most people donât talk about it. Some are too afraid of being called terrorists by those who are murdering the planet. Some believe using the same tactics that have not worked for the last forty years â" whether it be protests or petitions, collaboration with corporations, or window breaking will magically start being effective. Some think a technological solution will appear to make it all go away. Some have pinned their hopes on lifestyle changes, and its corollary, personal change, as if individual behaviors can dismantle systemic problems. And finally, some just have hope â" the groundless, amorphous belief that allows us to keep âoelivingâ these lives while all around us and inside us the destruction grows exponentially. The hard truth is none of this has or will work, ever. Yet these represent the majority of our efforts to save the Earth.