Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Challenge of Doing What is Right

I was reading an article in Orion magazine, written by the Irish author Paul Kingsnorth, called Life versus the Machine and thought this part was particularly interesting - 
"When I was young, I thought that the world was divided into good and bad people, and that I was one of the good ones. Later, slightly older, I thought it was divided into informed and ignorant people, and that I was one of the informed ones. Older still, though still not nearly old enough, I thought it was divided into Bad Elites and Good Masses, and that since I had no money or power, I must belong to the second category.

For a number of years, I believed that this second category was made up of people who, if they knew the truth about the human massacre of nonhuman life, would demand significant changes to society, and be prepared to make sacrifices accordingly.

 I was an idiot.

Now I think that humans like ease, material comfort, entertainment, and conformity, and they do not like anyone who threatens to take these things away. I think that even the people who say these things should be taken away in order to prevent the collapse of life on Earth do not really mean it."
Being a human he talks about what he has or has not done to reduce his carbon footprint. He then quotes Samuel Beckett saying, "You're on Earth. There's no cure for that."

It's interesting to think about that quote in context of what we can or can't do individually to reduce our carbon footprint vs. what we choose to do individually to reduce our carbon footprint. As humans we'll do whatever we want but while doing that we should not fail to recognize that there is no out there, away from here, where we can go - as Dr. Bronner the soap maker tells us on his soap bottles, we are "all-one" on this "spaceship earth".


And now for something completely different, as they used to say on Monty Python.

Well not completely different but certainly a different perspective on environmentalism. Here's a lecture on a book called Ecofascism - Lessons From the German Experience.

It's one of those easy to misunderstand complex discussions where some might be tempted to think this a rock they can put in their pocket to throw at the next hippie they hear talking about reducing our carbon footprint. 

I'd listen to the whole lecture and do further research if you are interested. 

It does say something about the dangers of moving to the radical extremes of either left or right ideologies. It also confirms the observation that individual humans are complicated and not the simple stereotypes we use to try and understand contemporary or historical individuals or groups of individuals. 

Humans contain lightness and  darkness - as Russell Crowe said in the movie 3:10 to Yuma, "even bad men love their Mamas".