<Dec. 9/15> [NTE = near-term extinction; NTHE = near-term human extinction]
The question “Why does it have to be ME writing about the looming extinction of the world as we know it (& ourselves) into the bargain?” came into my mind this morning.
Well, okay, not in exactly those words, but you know what I mean.
Why does it always seem to have to be me who does the inconvenient truth-telling, turning over rocks & uncovering the nasty rot underneath?
Why why why??
Not that I am alone, of course, in talking about the reality of what lies ahead or, uh, doesn’t lie ahead, in a manner of speaking. At least one very fine & wise person has been talking about this for years – that would be Guy McPherson (Nature Bats Last). Others now speaking of it publicly are Carolyn Baker, many of those interviewed on The Lifeboat Hour, Paul Kingsnorth, Extinction Radio … & there are many other NTE resources here.
In other words, I’m in pretty fine company. :)
But most of the people I hang out with (friends, relations, fellow activists) won’t/don’t want to talk about it. The high-profile activists we all know (many of whom I respect greatly, most of the time…) won’t let it pass their lips (though what’s in their minds is no doubt quite a different kettle of fish altogether).
What are we so afraid of?
Are we like the wicked witch of the west from the Wizard of Oz – figuring we’ll dissolve into a puddle if someone throws a bucketful of truth juice on us?
I don’t get it.
I’m also sure some of my friends wonder why I’m always mentioning it in blog postings.
I don’t know! I’m not really sure myself.
Maybe it’s as though I’m living among a family of abusers, & I “just can’t take it anymore.”
Geez. It is kind of a big deal … you know??
Maybe for me it’s sort of like being the relative or friend of a person who has terminal cancer – & she or he & everyone around her/him is putting on a bit of an act, pretending what’s happening is not what’s actually happening. Everyone’s doing this “If we just do this one more thing – this one more round of chemo or radiation, this one new trial drug…”
Busily not facing up to what is really coming. (This happens all the time, of course. I’m familiar with the work of Stephen Jenkinson, just recently read his book Die Wise, have watched the film ‘Griefwalker’ several times, attended one of his workshops back in 2008. Jenkinson outlines very clearly & incredibly eloquently what a “death-phobic” culture we live in … & so it is, so it is.)
I always think, wouldn’t it just be better for everyone if we all just told the truth about this stuff? Boggles my mind thinking of the energy we waste with our songs & dances, pretending otherwise.
Wouldn’t it just be better to say those ultimately freeing words of truth
I/we are done?
& then go on from there?
“Okay. So what do we do now?
What’s important now?
In light of this (sure, admittedly hard to accept) truth?”
I for sure can’t promise anyone that what lies ahead will be pretty, easy or fun. I kind of doubt it’s liable to be any one of those.
Still, what’s to come is what’s to come. It won’t not come just because we have our heads deeply buried in the sand … agreed?
In Going Dark Guy McPherson advises: “If we’re headed for the exit gate in the near term, the question then arises: What shall I do? How shall I live my life? In other words, now that we have knowledge of the near-term demise of our species, then what? There are more than seven billion responses to the latter questions. Recognizing that birth is legal and that we have an opportunity to demonstrate our humanity on the way out the door, I’ve chosen an eyes-wide-open, decidedly counter-cultural approach. I’ve opted out of empire to the maximum possible extent, and I practice and promote a gift economy. Beyond my own actions, I suggest individuals take actions they never previously imagined. I promote resistance against the dominant paradigm, even though – especially though – it appears too late to save our species from near-term extinction. I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?”
What would life/our lives/Life look like if we tried to live every day, to the best of our ability, as though, truly
Only love remains?
I say, why don’t more of us at least give it a bash?
p.s. some may quibble about the likelihood of our going extinct soon. I would invite any skeptics on this to read this monster essay on climate change, on the Nature Bats Last site. It's updated frequently. I dare ya...
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “This may be the last gasp of life on Earth, and what a great last gasp, if we realize we have fallen in love with each other. If you are really in the moment of experiencing our reality, you don’t say “Oh I won’t experience this because it’s not going to last forever!” You’ve got this moment. It’s true for now. We can have a reasoned concern about what is down the track, without necessarily getting hooked on something having to endure.” ~ Joanna Macy
“Yes, it looks bleak. But you are still alive now. You are alive with all the others, in this present moment. And because the truth is speaking in the work, it unlocks the heart. And there’s such a feeling and experience of adventure. It’s like a trumpet call to a great adventure. In all great adventures there comes a time when the little band of heroes feels totally outnumbered and bleak, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings or Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. You learn to say ‘It looks bleak. Big deal, it looks bleak.’” ~ Joanna Macy
“I can say that it is time now to play ‘the end of the world’ symphony. I don’t know what instrument you hold, but you need to play it as best as you can, & find your place in the score. You don’t have to play a solo here. But this is our task now.” – Dr. Sandra Steingraber, in an April 2013 interview with Bill Moyers
“Nature is made up of a vast and detailed complex of living beings doing what they do. Our self-consciousness and our needs are part of that complex. But nature doesn’t need us, and extinction as a concept is something that only humans worry about.” – Paul Kingsnorth in this article
Douglas Adams musing on “intelligent design”: “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”
“When asked what he would do if the world were to end tomorrow, Martin Luther reportedly answered, I would plant an apple tree today.” ~ “Caring for creation: Vision, Hope and Justice,” A Social Statement from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America