I wrote in my last post that I feel our species is headed for our ultimate destruction at an accelerated pace. And I am fine with it. I feel that the way our nature is, there really is nothing we can do to stop it. And that is completely all right with me. If we take a good look at all these things we’ve created in an attempt to discover some sort of meaning in our lives, we will be utterly shocked at how much destruction we’ve caused to the beautiful planet. It was fine for awhile. It really was. There weren’t so many of us, you know? But the accelerated pace at which we have reproduced, a quadrupling of the population in 150 years or so, we have to step back from our printing presses and our construction crews and take a good look at what we have done. We need to see the big picture. How far are we willing to go? How far will Planet Earth let us go? We see the temperatures spiking and it is almost like the Earth has a fever. Our home is getting sick. Yet we keep on clearing out forests and swamps to build minimalls and Wal*Marts. But I don’t think it will be for long.
But I have a distinct feeling the planet will be fine. The people, not so much. The Earth has tried to control our population, but we outsmarted it. We have protection against almost any disease it can throw at us. I’m living proof. A brain tumor growing from birth was an ultimate death sentence 100 years ago. Now, we have overstayed our welcome. And we can’t help ourselves. It is our nature to destroy the world around us for our own gratification. And it is not our fault. We grow up so detached from nature, from the environment, that we view it as something separate from us, something “out there,” instead of in our bones. I can totally see why people don’t have compassion for nature. They haven’t really experienced it very much. Living in cities and apartment complexes is hardly a naturalistic scene. And who even knows what we are doing. Is building more and more plazas and multiplexes going to make us feel better? In the short term, yes. But in the long run, I believe it will be the cause of our extinction.
I’ve heard a statistic, and it may be dated, but it stated that every eight seconds an acre of trees is cut down. Every eight seconds. That’s almost 400,000 acres of trees a year. Trees are vital to most life on Earth. Trees take in carbon dioxide and spit out oxygen for us to breathe. They also absorb a lot of the carbon dioxide from our car emissions and provide shade, a necessary entity. And it’s fine if we cut some trees down on a small scale, but this is ridiculous. But no one ever sees the big picture. You know why? Because no one is a part of the whole thing. It is all compartmentalized. It is like the Manhattan Project. Everyone does their part, but only a select few know the entire blueprint. And our inability to know how to fix this problem, and the amazing apathy about global warming I see every day when I look on message boards or Youtube videos is astounding.
Because of this, we are probably not going to last here on Earth as a civilized species for more than another 100-200 years. The population will reach 10 billion by 2050 and one billion Americans are projected to be living here by 2100. And then, due to our close quarters and unsustainable living practices, something is going to happen. An extinction event. Our life expectancies will go down rapidly, chaos will ensue. There will be a shortage of jobs, a shortage of places to live, a shortage of basically everything. Clean water will come at a premium. And I don’t think we’ll be able to weasel ourselves out of this situation. And that will be the end of us, the observer, the writer, the philosopher. And, like I said before, that is okay. If you look at this problem from the perspective of the entire physical universe, it is like losing less than a grain of sand. “But look at all we’ve accomplished.” It will all turn to dust. Impermanence. Everything is temporary. You cannot get too attached to anything, as it always changes. Seven years from now your body will have replaced every one of your cells.
So, to answer the age-old question “Where are we going?” I must say that we are going to our ultimate demise. It may take awhile, but it is a grim fact nonetheless. But it is the truth. As a species, I think we were too smart for our own good and found a way to control everything around us for a feeling of security that was never fully satisfied. The more land we control, the more we want to control. There is actually someone who bought space on the moon. He claimed the moon. Now real estate is going outside the planet. What does that say about our universe? Pretty soon, to steal a quote from Fight Club, there will be a Planet Starbucks. A Microsoft Galaxy. Just think how pissed the aliens from another galaxy would be if they found out they are now property of Microsoft, Inc. I would be, too.
Some people would say this is a pessimistic take on the state of the world. That is not so. It is basically a factual observation. It is facing the truth of what we have done. It is knowing that our lifestyles are unsustainable. It is knowing what factory farms are doing to our ecosystem. It is simply knowing that something is fucked up. And you can try and put it out of mind, drown out your sorrows with television, which ironically conveys a materialistic lifestyle only attainable by those who are rich far beyond your wildest dreams and only encourages you to buy more things you cannot afford and do not need at the expense of your wallet and the planet. But I don’t have any solutions. I know where we are and I know what we are doing is unsustainable, but no one is going to take this seriously. As the old quote goes, “Human beings cannot bear very much reality.” It will be our utter demise. We spend so much time trying to support a family or whatever else you do and when it comes time to worry about the sustainability of our species, no one has the time, nor the energy to put forth. It is a giant commitment. And everyone else around you is living lavishly while you are recycling aluminum cans and not buying new stuff. People start to talk about how you’ve lost your mind. And you eventually assimilate yourself back into the culture of unsustainability. Just so you can fit in again.
And every time you buy a new thing, a new car, a new stove, you get this feeling of temporary satisfaction, but then you go back down to the state I would call “normal.” And you need to buy something else to get that “high” again. And after you do that, you go down a bit below normal. And now you need more just to sustain that same feeling of satisfaction. And eventually, you have all this stuff in your house and you’re miserable because you are in credit card debt and have a foreclosure on your home. And then you’re living on the streets because you had to have that Hello Kitty desktop organizer/mp3 player. You’ve sold much of the stuff you bought and now you spend your whole life trying to get out of credit card debt, but the wages you get are so low that it seems impossible. And the planet is worse off because of all that wasted stuff you never got to use because you were too busy either working to pay for the stuff or out getting better, newer stuff. And you forgot. You forgot the key to happiness is inside yourself, not out there in some object of your desire. But now you remember. You remember that you no longer need all these things to be okay. You are okay right now. And now is all that really matters because you see the grim future ahead, and do your best to enjoy every passing moment.
And that may be the best we can do right now. Adopt a minimalist lifestyle, do not contribute to the consumption so much. Minimize our “ecological footprint.” Not drive so much, which is not so easy because most cities are designed for driving and not walking. Where I live there aren’t any sidewalks and every grocery store is at least five to ten miles away. But I can only do the best I can right now, but so can everyone else. It may lessen the blow on our species. I don’t want to see us crash and burn so quickly. Stop having so many kids in affluent nations. I can understand a woman giving birth to eight children in Africa because the odds of them all surviving are low. But in America, it is not necessary. Stop at one. This will slow the population growth if everyone does that. But I know what you are thinking. For every person who has one child, six or seven will have more. Yes, I know. But if you spread your message to many people, then maybe they’ll pay it forward to others and the message will spread everywhere. If we cannot control our nature, we can at least try to control our population. The more of us there are, the worse life gets for most of them. That’s all I have to say for today.
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