To the Greta Thunberg’s of our World…

We are facing an existential crisis… it will have a massive impact on our lives in the future, but also now, especially in vulnerable communities. And I think that we should wake up, and we should also try to wake the adults up, because they are the ones who — their generation is the ones who are mostly responsible for this crisis, and we need to hold them accountable.

—Greta Thunberg (11 September 2019)

To the Greta Thunberg’s of our World…

Recently I reread Andrey Platonov’s great work The Foundation Pit, and was reminded of his allegory of Russia; its past, and its future. At the end of it when his young protagonist dies, it’s as if the future of all things died with her. In his slight afterward he would say:

“Will our soviet socialist republic perish like Nastya or will she grow up into a whole human being, into a new historical society? This alarming feeling is what constituted the theme of the work, when the author was writing it. The author may have been mistaken to portray in the form of the little girl’s death the end of the socialist generation, but this mistake occurred only as a result of excessive alarm on behalf of something beloved, whose loss is tantamount to the destruction not only of all the past but also of the future.”

I would only add: Will the earth of our extinction event die with the Greta’s of the world? Or shall we confront this event?

In our own age it’s not only a nation, but the earth herself – and, by that, I mean the earth of our bioenvelope within which we and our non-human neighbors and fellow beings all inhabit; that fragile layer of atmosphere in which all life on planet earth – and, possibly, the only life in our galactic cluster, exists. Then I think of young women and men; of children being born even as I write these words, and wonder if like Platonov it is a mistake to portray a young woman, who for all we know is more than correct in her estimation of our dire situation; her mission to commit herself to the great task of forging a link to others of her generation toward a unity of action: – an impossible dream of changing people’s minds, of changing the world’s leaders minds, of changing the structure of harm and ruin that this late economic system of capitalism and modern instrumentalism has wrought upon the planet’s ecosystems; both technology and its ramifications in industry, and the plunder of the last sustainable resources on our planet, that  have cost, and or costing us. Not only that, but we must ask: Is she right in that her generational world, our world of human and non-humans – this earth, might be part of the last generation of living things on planet earth?

Do you know? Are you willing to bet on it not being so? Or do you scoff and laugh and suggest in your comic denialism that cockroaches will still remain to inherit the earth? Or you such a blind bigot of apathy and derision to let all life tilt toward that annihilation and extinction for a mere comic book scenario of cynicism?  Or are you willing to join her and commit to changing your behavior, and the behavior of both national and international regimes, toward decelerating this vast technological behemoth of planetary destruction before it is too late? Or, will you continue in your malaise; scoff such apocalyptic imaginaries, and sit back and do nothing; pretend that nothing is wrong with the world, that the world is not moving toward biotic self-destruction? Are you willing to let your children inherit such cynical and apathetic thoughts of their future? Or will you begin thinking again… allowing yourself to truly gaze upon the existential truth of this vast crisis of life and existence without blinkers, filters, or propaganda; look at the facts of our situation rather than turning away in blind denial? Will you begin to estimate the underlying truths of what is being said by Greta and those of her generation – of their right to a future worth living in? Or will you like so many… deny her of that future; pretend that nothing is wrong, the world will never end; that life will go on? Will you deny the truth staring you in the face?

What will you do?

Even if I presented you with all the facts that the sciences have gathered over the past century would you be one of those to scoff at such facts, deny their truth? What will I do? For me it’s finally time to take a stand, to realize my time is close to the end; and, yet, with what little time (at age 68) I have left I stand with Greta and her generation, those who will inherit the horror of my generations inaction; those who will face the existential terror and horrors to come, because we were too cowardly to face and deal with – sitting back in denial, apathy, and unbelief that what is transpiring – an extinction event beyond anything the earth has seen – is here, now, upon us. It’s time to act, to salvage as best we can what remains; time to act and be a voice, and a body in this time of decision; for it is up to us now, not some future time… but now, to act and do and be a solution rather than a perpetrator. Will you act and do something to change the world for Greta and her generation? Or will you sit back and let them inherit our ruins? Do I hold out much hope that you will? No. But then I don’t believe in hope. I believe in the courage of our hopelessness. Do you?

As a pessimist I don’t expect much anymore… I doubt very many will even read this post, much less comment of add their own thoughts one way or the other. Like Zizek I don’t depend on the Big Other anymore; even the thoughts of others… most people don’t want to commit to anything but their own vein existences. That’s to be expected in this cowardly generation we live in. Most turn a blind eye to almost everything. And when one young person arises in our midst and sticks up for her own and her generations lives and futures. Most sit back in utter silence and do nothing. Sad, but true. Our generations apathy is the cause of this shame. We are leaving the ruins of the future to Greta and her generation. In my own mind I can only offer what little I have and am; these mere fragments of thought and care… what else is there?

Yea, I don’t hold out much hope anymore. Sadly politics has become a self-defeating farce for the rich corporations who support both sides of the spectrum; seeking only a centrist muddle and solution of do nothing as usual. People assume something will be done when nothing will be. Defeatist? Yes. I’m guilty. The working class; the people, want win either way. And, sadly, the young like Greta and her generation will inherit only the dust… and ruins of the vast megamachine as it slowly grinds the earth into bones.

So in the end to I only offer the wisdom of dust? No. Because as in all things it doesn’t matter what I offer, or even think; what matters is what Greta and her own generation do… for in the end it is up to them to force this issue, to awaken themselves from the sickness of modernity and this vast wasteland, to heal the earth and bring a new order out of the chaos of this collapsing world of culture and economics. Only the young can do what we have not. If my hope is no more; the only thing that can be offered is

The Courage of Hopelessness

in the Face of this dark future…

there is nothing else!

The Travails of Wisdom and Sorrow

All words are wearying,
No one is able to speak.

—Qohelet, Ecclesiastes

Rereading the Old Testament after a lifetime I’ve come to realize wisdom and sorrow seem to go hand in hand, the most pessimistic literature of our world reside in Kohelet’s Ketuvim scriptures of Ecclesiastes. Along with The Book of Job which to me at least presents the enormity of our dire position in the face of the unknown and incomprehensible power and terror that is the kenoma or vastation of time, space, and creation; which if the ancient Gnostics (a source of an abiding pessimism!) testate to: the creation of our Universe was also a great catastrophe. This sense of creation-catastrophe stains all that exists within this immanent realm or vicious circle (Nietzsche’s eternal return…).

Always remembering that the Gnostics inverted the Old Testament mythos, making of Yahweh a blind god and demiurge who’d fallen into Time as both its creator and botched maker, while at the same time having exiled the real god into the solitude of the Abyss before creation-fall. This sense that we are cut off and alone in a realm in which the very stones upon which we walk hide the kellipot or evil and energetic intelligences whose endless creativity is the power of blind pleasure-pain (jouissance) that drives the death pulsion in ever- accelerating compulsion toward absolute zero without ever quite reaching it (ergo… Freud’s death-drive that never dies… the zombie truth of our universe as living death and Hades-Hell! The underworld in which we have forgotten our actual lives, having fallen into this dark abyss of eternal night, allured by the beauty of natural existence.). Always dying, always living; cursed to remain through a change that is an eternal metamorphosis in process of monstrous discognition. We need not seek the nightmare, we are its progenitors and secret inheritors.

Born of our own mad designs, we ourselves created this labyrinth from which there is no center or circumference, no escape, no redemption; only the eternal journey through its bad infinity, the labour of an infinite thought in search of its lost idea. If we ever discovered the truth it would obliterate us, send us into that final abyss from which nothing escapes; neither light, nor darkness: the night of nights without outlet. Victims of our own foolish desires we have immersed ourselves in a cosmic game of infinite desire, machines of insatiable pleasure-pain we invent illusions to hide the emptiness and nothingness we are. We speak of love, yet enact hate; martialed to the wars of reality, we enter systems of belief that continue the struggle against all with all – a fanatics dream of never-ending battle in a realm without end. In our time the outer is seeping into our actual and real sleep, disturbing our nightmares and delivering us to the Outside which as we see in the forests, jungles, deserts of the world are all turning to fire within fire: an endless conflagration.

The Final Warning

Merely by existing, people and their dependent animals are responsible for more than ten times the greenhouse gas emissions of all the airline travel in the world.

We do not seem to have the slightest understanding of the seriousness of our plight. Instead, before our thoughts were diverted by the global financial collapse, we seemed lost in an endless round of celebration and congratulation. It was good to recognize the huge efforts of the IPCC with the Nobel Peace Prize and to have a brave ten thousand people make the long journey to Bali as a salutation, but because they failed to see the Earth as alive and responsive they ignored at our peril the extent of its disapproval of all we do. As we hold our meetings and talk of stewardship, Gaia still moves step by step toward the hot state, one that will allow her to continue as the regulator, but where few of us will be alive to meet and talk. Perhaps we were celebrating because the once rather worrying voice of the IPCC now spoke comfortably of consensus and endorsed those mysterious concepts of sustainability and energy that renewed itself. We even thought that this way somehow we could save the planet and grow richer as well, a more pleasing outcome than the uncomfortable truth.

Just think, as I write this in 2008, more than one thousand of the world’s best climate scientists have worked for seventeen years to forecast future climates and have failed to predict the climate of today. I have little confidence in the smooth, rising curve of temperature that modelers predict for the next ninety years. The Earth’s history and simple climate models based on the notion of a live and responsive Earth suggest that sudden change and surprise are more likely. My pessimism is shared by other scientists and openly by the distinguished climate scientist James Hansen, who finds as I do that the evidence now coming from the Earth, together with the knowledge of its history, is gravely disturbing. Most of all I am pessimistic because business and governments both appear to be accepting uncritically a belief that climate change is easily and profitably reversible.

– James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning