Click on photo to enlarge - photo credit unknown, image courtesy of Erv Nichols
"Take the rag away from your face, now is the time for your tears"
from 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll' © 1964 Bob Dylan
It's way past time we took the rags away from our eyes and looked directly into the horrific reality of our petroleum addiction.
Ours is an insidious addiction, mostly hidden from us beneath layers of lifelong denial, which enables us to mindlessly murder our mother, the living earth, with the sick vengeance of a deranged serial killer.
We talk a good line though, like so many addicts in denial do, claiming to care most deeply about our families and the environment, about freedom, democracy and the quality of life. But our actions speak much louder than our words, and those actions prove us to be hopelessly dependent upon the destructive extraction and consumption of the world's ever more scarce resources, a cultural co-dependency created over a dozen or so decades by mixing great quantities of oil with our short-sighted desire for comfort, convenience, self-gratification and security.
Our habitual dependency upon this ever more frenzied oil-driven civilization of reckless consumption has undermined democracy and freedom at home and around the world. It's destroying our environment and ruining the future, not only for our children, but for every species on earth. So we lie to ourselves when we say we care about these things above all, because it's obvious that what we really care about is stuff.
We want a continual fix of stuff; more, bigger, cheaper, labor-saving, convenient, stylish, sexy stuff!
Americans are fond of the term, "Put your money where your mouth is", and we do exactly that. Just look at the billions of dollars you and I have squandered on the destruction of Iraq in our country's futile attempt to monopolize their oil.
Our former president said, "the American way of life is not up for negotiation", and we've forcefully demonstrated that anyone who gets in our way is totally screwed.
As we display increasingly antisocial behavior in our relationships with the other people and species we share the planet with, we reveal that, in fact, we have become a psychotic/psychopathic civilization, a species of sociopathic ecocidal maniacs to put it bluntly.
Yes, I mean all of us! The symptoms of psychosis are clearly defined; a loss of contact with reality, grandiose delusional beliefs, paranoia, defensive aggression, thought disorders, hallucinations and antisocial behavior.
Our disease is systemic throughout society, a classic substance-induced psychosis resulting from our 150 year addiction to petroleum and its associated derivatives.
We can no longer imagine living without our daily fix of oil even though every shot we take further destroys the world which made our lives possible in the first place.
Through our addiction to this cheap abundant (although quite temporary) energy packed substance, we've fooled ourselves into believing we're super-beings, exempt from the laws of nature and the limits to growth. In other words we have lost contact with reality.
Under the influence of the happy-juice we call oil we've experienced a euphoric rush that has kept us obliviously stoned for a century and a half, which by comparison, leaves the high from any other addictive substance paling to utter insignificance.
The manic hyperactivity induced by that rush of oil into the arteries of our society allowed us, in very short order, to transform our primal insecurities, and our creative wet dreams, into a monstrous civilization whose monolithic edifices will stand for centuries as eroding monuments to the ostentatious arrogance of a narcissistic species gone mad with self-absorption, over-consumption, and obsessive compulsive disorders.
We have deluded ourselves into the grandiose belief that this pile-of-crap civilization we've plastered across the planet is a modern miracle, evidence of our manifest destiny as masters of the universe.
We Americans make up only about 4.5% of the world population yet we consume 25% of the world's resources. We are the world's number one trash producers, generating 40% of humanity's trash, and we're number two in climate altering CO2 emissions (just recently displaced from #1 by China), responsible for over 20% of global atmospheric accumulations.
We are---and have been for over a century---the development model for a civilization that has spawned the 6th greatest extinction episode in the 4.5 billion year history of earth and it is estimated that we are now losing around 200 species a day, or 70,000 species a year, through habitat loss and the pollution of ecosystems.
You and I are the ones responsible for this latest round of extinctions; for the climate change happening now; for the melting of the polar caps and glaciers; for the coming rise in sea levels, and the subsequent displacement and homelessness of billions of human beings.
We may also be primarily responsible for the very existence of those unsustainable billions of people because of increases in the world food supply created by our development of an international industrial/agribusiness model.
A model completely dependent upon the petrochemicals used for fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, a model which also requires the production & maintenance of gargantuan fleets of farm equipment and transportation networks to produce those agricultural products and get them to markets around the globe.
All of this has unleashed global-wide opportunities of unprecedented magnitude for greedy profiteering by a select few at the expense of everyone and everything else. So, as a matter of course, the world economy is now managed by a gang of legalized thugs & racketeers, rivaled in greed and ruthlessness only by illegal drug cartels, fundamentalist religious fanatics, and an emerging flotilla of Somalian pirates.
"Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king"
from Sweetheart Like You - © 1983 Bob Dylan
Capitalism is a Ponzi/Pyramid Scheme which robs the larger populace of the commons to benefit a handful of elites, where obscene profits perpetuate unlimited growth on a finite planet. One of the results has been the contemporary hallucination that our destruction of the planet somehow makes us wealthy.
The wealth of America is now nothing but an imaginary bubble kept aloft by the printing of money, which becomes ever more worthless by the moment. Before long that debt bubble is going to burst into flames like the Hindenburg Blimp, as we might gather from the precedents unfolding in Iceland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain (not to mention California---the 5th largest economy in the world---which is essentially bankrupt).
The perpetual wars we're now waging have deepened not only our national debt, but our national paranoia as well, resulting in over 6,700 military installations--- bases, warehouses, or support facilities in nearly 150 countries (under the guise of defending freedom & democracy)---all to enforce our world dominance and gain control of dwindling resources in the interest of "national security", or what I call our assumed national supremacy.
Meanwhile, here in the "land of the free, the home of the brave", we have the highest per-capita imprisonment rate in the world, 25% of the incarcerated human beings on planet earth are behind bars right here in the good ol' USA.
Is this the definition of Democracy and Freedom?
Is this what the Statue of Liberty stands for?
We all know better...
True freedom lies in the unspoiled bounty of nature where all species are created equal, where those who can't, or won't, adapt to the limits of their environment eventually perish.
We're so deep in denial of our collective addiction that we've kept shooting petroleum into the bloodstream of our lives without facing those limits until we have, quite suddenly, found ourselves up against a wall, with the limits of our ecosystems staring us in the face, point blank.
Perhaps this will wake us up, most addicts need to bottom out before they can face reality and attempt some sort of recovery, but sometimes it's too late for that, when the damage is beyond repair.
So, go ahead my fellow addicts...
Drill Baby Drill!
Buy Baby Buy!
Drive Baby Drive!
Kill Baby Kill!
...but beware, our chickens are coming home to roost.
My name is Jim, I'm in recovery from the Petroleum Age*
Labels: anti-corporate, climate change, disasters, earth, ecology, environmentalism, global warming, observations, peak oil, politics, pollution, progress?, rants, social commentary