Is There Anybody Out There?

“Donald Trump can do a lot of things I can’t, but he can no more get out of the prison than I can” 

― Daniel Quinn, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, c1992

I’m not really sure when I first became aware of the environmental crisis’. Like watershed health to how wasteful we are, how forests all around the globe are going under the axe, destroying our ability to filter out various toxins our lifestyle accumulates in the earth under our feet. This wasn’t something that was really covered when I went to school, whenever exactly it was I woke up, anyway, until then I was more or less oblivious. Probably around my early 20’s, maybe mid-20’s.

Only thing was though that I didn’t get these pie-in-the-sky daydreams of some utopian future where humanity as a group all at once sing kumbayah and go back to nature, live sustainably, or whatever pipedreams the early environmental movements had. It just didn’t make sense to me. I mean I was born during the summer of love, so I didn’t get all the hippie love age of Aquarius thang.

Made up for it to some degree, but anywho.

And then I read Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. It was one of those books that I had to put down every once in a while and think about what he was saying.

There is no one right way to live.” 

Uh? No right way? But of course there is, or so I thought.

But it didn’t start there, where it started was with this gorilla, and an ad in the paper; “teacher seeks pupil…must have an earnest desire to save the world“.

It told a story of a world I understood, of animals, saying their piece, of mythology and our creation stories, our beliefs and motivations. But it started with a gorilla, asking him a question.

“With gorilla gone, will there be hope for man?” 

Its this narrative we’ve been told that goes back to the bible stories, of humanity being flawed, but Quinn, or Ishmael, this gorilla says that is not true. We are not flawed, it is our story that is flawed, our way of seeing ourselves within the community of life on earth that is flawed.

It’s out of the box thinking I suppose, least out of the box from where I was at the time.

I still have that earnest desire to save the world. Though I remember that it really isn’t the world we are trying to save, it is ourselves. With gorilla gone, will there be hope for man? Yet also, when we are gone will there be hope for gorilla?

See, that’s the point, all of us are tangled up, but ultimately the other goes on, gorilla doesn’t need us, and we don’t necessarily need gorilla – short-term.

“I think what you’re groping for is that people need more than to be scolded, more than to be made to feel stupid and guilty. They need more than a vision of doom. They need a vision of the world and of themselves that inspires them.” 

It opened up a vista of possibilities, of exciting possibilities. Of doing things differently, and not just to save the world, or ourselves, but instead because it made more sense, used fewer resources, and was sustainable. Wind will blow, the sun will shine, rain will fall, and why not utilize them? New solutions to old problems.

Like recycling. What if the manufacturer was responsible for the disposal of the waste from its products? Probably make them more concienctious of how much packaging their products come in. More motivated anyways. Or, consumer product upcycling built right into the purchase of the product. You know, buy a rug and return it when you want a new one and they use that rug to make new rugs. Has the potential to create a whole host of new mesh economies, of small outfits working together, from the manufacturer, to the salesperson, the shipper, recycler, back to the rug manufacturer.

More and more people are becoming aware of this real crisis, not of border security, but a domino effect. We are more and more seeing chain reactions happening all over with giant shifts in the economy, trade, not to mention global climate change that is wreaking havoc on many parts of the world. Trump does no one any favours by promising some stupid wall is going to solve all that ails the United States.

These instabilities create movements, migrations, and old jobs, like coal that sustained a community become unsustainable and many, all over the world, are without a means of housing, feeding, caring for themselves and their families. It is only going to get worse.

The world is changing, and the alt-right, white nationalist movements around the world are the direct backlash to these changes that are taking place, as they pander to fear. Authoritarian leadership is often far more attractive in times of crisis, that take charge style gives comfort in times of uncertainty.

Old ways of doing business are fast becoming obsolete, but major companies and many countries that rely on these industries are not willing to, yet, go in any other direction, have no other direction, and so denial is easier to fund, I suppose. Also, leaders around the world are being bought via the back door by these gigantically wealthy donors, with the intent of having their concerns on regulations and other concerns brought front and centre and that needs to stop.

The past and the future are at war with each other. It is like the dying actions of an animal when they are most dangerous and unpredictable as they thrash about in some last-ditch effort to avoid their inevitable demise.

Old ways of thinking, like industries, thrash and bash about as they fight for their survival.

We are seeing a pivotal change, to our communication, new sources of power and logistics are at the core of any new infrastructure that moves our economy forward into the future, the birth pangs of a third industrial revolution is how one doc I watched recently put it, a major paradigm shift is afoot.

“The laws they make in Washington aren’t put on the books because they work well—they’re put on the books because they represent the one right way to live. You may not have an abortion unless the fetus is threatening your life or was put there by a rapist. There are a lot of people who’d like to see the law read that way. Why? Because that’s the one right way to live. You may drink yourself to death, but if we catch you smoking a marijuana cigarette, it’s the slammer for you, baby, because that’s the one right way. No one gives a damn about whether our laws work well. Working well is beside the point….” 

So that’s the point. If we keep doing the same things we did before we are going to get what we got before. Well, it’s not working. We are wasting precious time, fiddling around with walls and corruption while our world burns. It frustrates me to see what that man has done, offering pablum to the ignorant, mulla to the wealthy, fearmongering to get his way, whatever, be gone already.

Doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Not so easy. Nothing important is generally easy.

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