Monday, March 1, 2010

Deadly Disparity

Maybe because it's Monday, I don't know, but I'm really not bubbly today. I think, though, the real reason is this piece that was referenced in a Buzz entry earlier today. What really brings me down is realizing to my chagrin that I pretty much agreed with the overall contention in this article, just as did the original Buzz poster. Neither of us liked how it made us feel, but there's nothing really to be done about it. In a nutshell, it's this: the dreadful problems confronting humankind, and especially the portion of it that lives here in the U.S., are virtually insoluble. Here's the key idea:

. . . it’s more honest, and potentially effective, to acknowledge how massive the obstacles that need to be overcome really are. We must not only recognize that the world’s resources distributed in a profoundly unjust way and the systems in which we live are fundamentally unsustainable ecologically, but also understand there’s no guarantee that this state of affairs can be reversed or even substantially slowed down. There are, in fact, lots of reasons to suspect that many of our fundamental problems have no solutions, at least no solutions in any framework we currently understand.
What it all boils down to, I think, is just a crushing, unsustainable burden of disparities. Salvation for us all lies in the wisdom of the ancients: moderation in all things. Emphasis on the ALL. Because what the course of our history as a species has revealed is that unless there's moderation in everything, there will not be moderation in anything. But there is no cure for the greed and blindness of humans. We have so aggressively ignored this wisdom that we have, I greatly fear, passed the point of no return.

Disparity, not moderation, in all things; that's what we have. Start with the obvious. Too many mouths to feed. Disparity between population and ability of planet to sustain it. We live on a planet that groans under the ravages of too many people. Way too many. All these people must eat, and that elemental fact is helping destroy us. Let's face it: we're raping Mother Earth every day. Clear cutting rain forests for timber and crop land, dumping our shit--literal and figurative--into the oceans and rivers and streams till they choke. How many species of fish have now arrived at the point where their very survival, much less their ability to help sustain human life, is in question? Our industry, so bloated, rapacious, and destructive, extends to every corner of the globe, spews waste into the air that affects the weather of the entire globe and all its ecosystems. There's fundamental disparity between rich nations and poor, and little inclination by the former to understand how their fates are inextricably bound. Disparity of power keeps the military of the strongest constantly beating up on the weak. Thus it has ever been, but now in the state of his evolution, man has come to the point where it's possible for him to destroy not only himself but the world he lives in. Where war has become a permanent condition . . . the Beast must be fed.

We seem well on our way to assuring the demise of civilization as we know it. The signs of coming catastrophe are everywhere: a small number of sinfully rich, vast numbers of poor and hopeless; waste on colossal scale: of resources; of raw materials, of potential for billions; of lives, so many lives. The rule of violence. The rule of ignorance. The rule of death.

You have no idea how profoundly sad this makes me. I think of my children, my grandchildren, all the wonderful young people in my family, all the young ones I know. None of them deserve what we're leaving them with.
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