Saturday, December 11, 2021

Coronavirus, Climate Crises, and Social Change

 Issac Asimov encapsulated where we sit "Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. 

Human society is speeding pell-mell toward a cataclysmic cliff. It's a path that probably began at the end of the Dark Ages.  Ironically, while science helped usher in The Enlightenment and pulled civilization out of the abyss, science also supplied the grist for the next crash and burn.  As quickly as it resurrected (Western) civilization, the society started down a gentle downward slope. The forces of power, greed, accumulation, avarice, violence -- all elements that humanity has still not discovered how to curb in itself -- latched onto each scientific jump forward and either weaponized progress or commoditized it. Now, some 500 years later, the slope is no longer gentle but becoming steeper by the year, heading us downward at an increasingly terrifying speed. Depending on which scientist you listen to, we may have already passed the point of no return; other scientists think we still have some time to correct; Pollyanna's serve tea and communion bread and say, "Don't worry about a thing dearies." It is like human beings to "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, and to hum loudly to avoid thinking about challenging circumstances.

I am observing that as the coronavirus pandemic takes firmer hold and as natural disasters appear increasingly severe that human society in the United States grows increasingly prone to accepting dystopian visions of the future. Political scientists have noted that every human society that has experienced (or believed in) scarcity of resources has turned toward an authoritarian form of government in search of a savior.  Yet, rather than see the wealthy class's greed/power/avarice/violence for what it is costing us all, a majority long for a return to the same ("Make America Great Again") practices that got us in this apocalyptic predicament, to begin with. This is insanity writ gigantic. Society and the earth need healers & therapists - lots of them to stem the tide.

Several "interventions" are needed to inject any potential into rescuing us from Dark Ages II. 
  1. The masses must pull back on their consumer spending.  Consumer spending is sucking the life out of the planet.  It is burning up natural resources at an incredible pace, and Mother Nature cannot regenerate fast enough to keep up.  Continual "growth" in economics scores a zero on sustainability.
  2. Life in general, but human in particular, needs a deep infusion of the sacred. A big part of the reason Americans are not totally beside themselves in anguish over 800,000 dead from a now preventable viral pandemic is that the majority of death have been among the oldest in our society who are viewed as "dead weight," "of no value as labor," "just old geezers."  America is a country that has no apparent interest in addressing gun deaths -- 19,379 in 2020 alone, with a large number of the dead being school children. As respect for life declines, so does the will to see the value in a neighbor or a fellow citizen. And the loss of each one's contribution to the success and good of the whole subtracts so much from our potential.
  3. Take personal/domestic charge of one's electrical needs.  Take advantage of tax breaks and incentives to put in solar power or wind.  This begins to stem the tide of fossil fuel power generation.
  4. Vote.  For candidates who will advocate for a saner, earth-friendly, anti-violence, truly pro-life (not pro-fetus!) set of governmental policies at local, state, and federal levels. 
 These are just the beginning but are immensely important. 


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