Thursday, February 23, 2006

We Are Not Helpless...

Click on photo to enlarge

I would like to repeat the closing words of my previous post/rant.

"...there is an 'ism' that might help us find our way out of this abysmal mess.


…a profoundly sustainable and democratic idea, and all we’d need to do is live under the laws of nature."

Yes, life will continue, with or without us, yet living in the time of the sixth great extinction brings a hefty burden of responsibility to the individuals of the so-called self-aware species that is causing it.

And, regardless of whether or not we deserve it, I do believe there's hope for our survival as a species, but not in anything resembling our current numbers, or in anthropocentric systems.

We haven't yet relegated ourselves to the fossil record as of one of the shortest-lived species in earthly evolution.

Again, "where there's life, there's hope".

Dialogue today, about how we got ourselves into this predicament, may contribute sustainable ideas for tomorrows world of far fewer humans, our surviving descendants, who will certainly find themselves facing tough decisions about what kind of future they'll have.

We're capable of critical-thinking, of doing end-result analysis, of learning!

We made mistakes, we've chosen the wrong models and wrong paths, but many would say it's simply human nature to be stupid and self-destructive.

If I believed that I'd rename this blog 'Earth Home Garden Sanitarium - a forum of hopelessness for the chronically deficient'.

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Blogger Lené Gary said...

Great looking frost (and dog!). I'm wanting for more white stuff these days. We haven't had our fair share up here in Vermont.

10:42 AM  
Blogger lauren said...

Thanks for the message of hope today as a follow-up to your nicely written "isms" post. The photo is beautiful and quite poignant.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOu bring up some wonderful points. I agree wholeheartedly that humans are capable of critical thinking. I fear, however, it's a skill that's dramatically underused by the masses.

12:58 PM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

Great photograph.

I'm taking a wait and see approach to our extinction. In the meantime, we're growing as much of our food as we can. Learning to go light.

4:42 PM  
Blogger roger said...

taking up your challenge to be optimistic.....i see no evidence that humans writ large will figure it out. i see our task, those of us who see the unsustainability of the current human endeavor, as survival. i see no way out of a large crash. and a struggle afterwards between, as riane eisler put it, the blade and the chalice. i think it is not enough to lead a virtuous, simple life. we who survive will have to battle the takers, some of whom will also survive, and win.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Jim, I admire what you've done, your knowledge and your attitudes. I agree that biocentrism is the solution.

A question if I may.

I live on ten acres off the grid and am working toward more self-sufficiency and sustainable harmony with my part of the world. As an individual, I'm content and happy with one exception. At present, I struggle with a sense of great frustration. We are headed down a destructive road built by powerful corporations and widespread consumption and ignorance. I feel like an anemic David in a battle with a legion of Goliaths.

My options are 1) bury my head in the sand and be selfishly content in my remaining years and 2) continue to work for change with a hopeless sense of impending failure. I refuse to choose option 1 and option 2 is unacceptable.

I live life with the attitude that I can do anything, endure anything and survive anything – except a sense of hopelessness.

Do you have a third option? How do you handle the frustration of watching the world be destroyed?

8:03 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Great dialogue you've started here Jim; I've been wanting to respond but have not been able to put my thoughts to words that well.

In response to i wonder's question, here's a few lines from one of my favorite poems, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, by Wendell Berry:

So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not yet destroyed...

...Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Gwyn Calvetti said...

Love that photo!

I too have hope for our sad species, but wonder if the huge shift in world view needed can occur without something cataclysmic happening. Critical thinking, though we're capable of it, seems to be a rare commodity these days.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Lene-

We've only had a total of about four inches of snow all winter, so frosty snowscapes have been a rare scene this season. You must have commented right after I posted the photo and just before I added the text. My post and your comment were both made at 10:42 A.M.


Thank you, and while I thought I ended my 'ism' post with a hopeful message, I sense that many took the overall content, and the image of the hat, to be overwhelmingly gloomy, so in my defense I'll quote Thomas Hardy from 1887, "If a better path there be, it begins with a full look at the worst."

And about the photo, thanks very much, I had taken it a few days earlier and thought it fit nicely myself.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

hamel, rd, dpr, i wonder, deb and gwyn-

Thanks for your comments and thought-provoking ideas, and honestly, I don't believe our challenge is to be optimistic, I believe it's too late for a "best possible outcome".
There is nothing optimistic in the inevitible population crash that is coming, but I do believe our challenge, as individuals, is to survive.

Evolutionary biology has shown us that life is self-perpetuating, and that each individual of every species has an intense desire to survive.

So it's only natural that I feel a responsibilty, as a human being, to use every tool given me through evolution, including language and communication, to find a way toward survival for me, my family, and my species.

And what I've learned in the challenge of being a human who wants continue living is that ultimately survival of any species depends on its individuals living within the laws of nature.

Here's some thoughts from Albert Einstein (out of context).

"A human being is part of a whole, the universe. Our task is to free ourselves from the delusion of separateness, to embrace all living creatures, and the whole of nature."

On the "critical thinking" skills of we, the masses, I've been working on that, but my response may end up being a whole new post.

i wonder-

Believe me, I haven't accomplished so much, I'm not living sustainably off the land, and I struggle daily with my own shortcomings and failures.

You are living 'off the grid' and I find that exemplary, and surely the result of many good decisions.

I'm hopeful because I'm alive, because there is much beauty in the world, and even in death I see hope.

I'm not religious, I believe in what I see, and I don't dis-believe in what I can't see.

What I do see is that all life is interconnected, that the earth we walk upon, the food we eat, the very air we breath is the living embodiment of all the lives that came before. That we are literally living and breathing our ancestors, that everything alive today, is in fact, the living breathing culmination of all the lives that came before.

And I see clearly that when I die my atoms and my molecules simply rejoin this marvelous stew of life in some other form, continuing in the ongoing processes of life and evolution.

I see in life, and evolution, a universal consciousness tending toward survival and diversity, so even in death I envision being part of some eternal mysterious journey over which I have absolutely no control, and I find that liberating.

Right now I'm just Jim, a member of the Homo sapiens clan, and my job is to survive, and to live, and, seeing how I've been given a voice, to speak.

But actions still speak louder than words.

3:15 PM  
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6:39 AM  

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