Tag Archives: end of civilisation

The North Korean Nuclear Fiasco

I note the opinion piece by Ralph Peters (supposedly a Fox News “Strategic Analyst”) in the New York Times of 4th September 2017 who states; “ better a million dead North Koreans than a thousand dead Americans.” and ‘We cannot allow moral relativism to butcher Americans. We must deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. And in the real world, the greatest immorality in war is not killing the enemy. The greatest immorality would be for our country to lose. “

This I believe, truly reflects the brain-dead amoral stance of many Americans in Washington.

After the United States; having committed a horrific genocide in the Korean War of more than 20% of the North Korean population (without apology and without compensation) , refusing to sign a peace treaty,  conducting annual large scale war maneuvers on the North Korean border, threats of nuclear annihilation and “ decapitation’ of its leaders, it is somewhat less than surprising that North Korea feels itself threatened by this  ongoing military aggression from the United States, and chooses to defend itself with nuclear weapons.

We see an ongoing 60 year propaganda war against the North Koreans; with the South Korean military and their intelligence units fully colluding with their US masters to ramp up the anti North Korean rhetoric along with the former Japanese brutal colonists of Korea .

We see the ongoing media mockery of their leaders (just as was done to ‘educate’ the American public in the value of ‘taking out” (in true Hollywood B movie style), Saddam Hussein, Ghaddafi and any other leaders the Americans want to ‘decapitate’.

The United States has a more than a century long tradition of unbelievable barbarity and acts of aggression against countries and states that do not comply with its economic interests.

Combined with this infantile bully-boy approach goes a mindset devoid of morality and ethics, let alone any sign of intelligent behaviour. Group-think in Washington allows itself to believe anything that one of its so-called ‘think’ tanks wants it to believe; as long as the price is right of course. The United States is perhaps unique among 21st century nations in having its international policies sold to the highest bidder; be it Israeli sympathisers, Saudis, Qataris,U.K business interests or Japanese and South Korean business ones.

One might think that as the “exceptional empire’ rapidly draws to a sudden close,  policy makers in Washington might start to realise that it might pay to start being somewhat less belligerent and genocidal in their approach to other countries in the hope they might be able to, in the future escape the clutches of the International War Crimes tribunal- but no…

As the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin  recently noted: “It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia. But there is nothing we can do about this; this is the level of political culture among the American establishment. As for the American people, America is truly a great nation if the Americans can put up with so many politically uncivilized people in their government.

We are told that North Korea is the ‘hermit kingdom’ yet strangely it is not the North Koreans who want to be isolated- rather it is the United States who needs them isolated. We are told that North Korea starves its population and its economic systems are inefficient and laughable- yet strangely we are again not told about the impact of international sanctions starving its children or how the North Koreans have achieved technological breakthroughs in nuclear and rocket technology faster than any other country before them.

I do not applaud any country acquiring nuclear weapons or long range rockets, yet there is total logic in North Korea pursuing those goals against a relentless and evil aggressor; the United State of America. A country that refuses to negotiate, that constantly threatens ( and not just DonaldTrump) fire and fury, and frankly power that the world has never seen.”. – a direct allusion to first strike nuclear aggression.

We see a completely corrupt and evil empire threatening a poor and small country again and again for more than fifty years with obliteration (again). And strangely the United Nations (including even Russia and China in their stupidity) once again approve another round of sanctions on North Korean for trying to maintain its existence against this unpredictable entity that is the war state of America.

We are told by Nikki Haley the United States ambassador for war at the United Nations saying somewhat ludicrously, even for her, that Kim Jong Un is ‘begging for war” http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/04/politics/haley-north-korea-united-nations/index.html

China must certainly be aware that all these posturings and threats by the United States are designed to ensure South Korea agrees (with little prompting from its military who are hand in glove with the US military) to install more antimissile technology like THAAD, which is primarily designed to remove any threat from a Chinese missile strike at the US or its off-shore bases– allowing the US a first strike capability on China.

Let us not gloss over the significant shortcomings of the North Korean regime; UN reports of political prisoner ‘gulags’ are likely to be true ,at least to some extent. However the South Korean military and business interests and U.S propaganda machines have been very effective over many years at ‘disinformation’ on North Korea and a significant number of paid ‘defectors’ , so many allegations must be taken with a large grain of salt. However this likely savagery by the North Koreans pales into comparison with that wreaked by the United States, not only on Korea , but across the globe over the past 100 years and more in the pursuit of profit.

As the U.S. well knows, the more pressure both externally and internally they can apply to undermine a nation, the more defensive, paranoid and extreme becomes those states’ reactions to those internal and external threats; which in turn, fuels the American propaganda war.

The ONLY solution therefore to these current events is negotiation. The very rational interim agreement proposed by the Russian and Chinese governments for North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme in exchange for the US and South Korea stopping its military threats to North Korea has been supported in principle by the North Koreans but dismissed without a consideration by the United States. . However as every country knows that has negotiated in good faith with the United States; the U.S. government,  as the Plains Indians found out to their cost, ‘speak with ‘forked tongue’ as Paul Craig Roberts notes in his disturbing article on the ‘cleansing’ of American history.


Links

https://www.vox.com/world/2017/8/29/16079076/north-korea-maps

http://www.newantarctica.com/mad-sad-and-bad-north-korea/

http://nypost.com/2017/09/04/we-need-to-destroy-north-korea-before-its-too-late/

https://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

http://thediplomat.com/2017/03/whats-the-big-deal-about-these-us-south-korea-military-exercises/

https://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-business/south-korea-chaotic-corrupt-defense-policy/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisons_in_North_Korea

http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_15_02_04_dilorenzo.pdf

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/08/21/trump-american-history-assassinated/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/26/how-park-geun-hye-influences-thaad-deployment-in-south-korea.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_under_Japanese_rule

The Great Acceleration….

Our current epoch has now come to be known as the ‘Anthropocene’  for the impacts man has had on our planetary environment. It is also called “The Great Acceleration..”;  being the sixth  event in the life of this  planet  where species loss has become so pervasive and devastating.

A May 2017 study for the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America was entitled “Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines”.  The paper notes in conclusion that: “The massive loss of populations is already damaging the services ecosystems provide to (human) civilization…Thus, we emphasize that the sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short, probably two or three decades at most.. All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life. .” In other words, without the survival of significant complex bio-systems of multiple species, each with sustainable population numbers, humans too are rapidly headed towards extinction.

While  we talk  (and talk) about global  warming, what we also ignore is the combined impacts of  man-made emissions into the atmosphere  with the steady  destruction of the biosphere  through human “progress’  –   the literal cancer of inert dead non-organic edifices being  built  over the top and at the expense  of  the natural  world that make up  humans’  cities and towns  and transportation systems,  agribusiness destroying countless wilderness  areas into  single species ‘dead’  environments, the ongoing deforestation of native habitats, increasing  wildfires, needless human consumption,  acidification and over-fishing of the oceans, human over-population,  meat-production, war,   pollution, global  warming, water-loss ..  the list goes on  and on…  Incrementally, humans are destroying the liveability for all species on the planet at an ever increasing rate, with carbon monoxide production being just one aspect of our ongoing destruction of this planet.

Wikileaks notesAt present, the rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the “base” or historically typical rate of extinction (in terms of the natural evolution of the planet)[14][15][16] and also the current rate of extinction is, therefore, 10 to 100 times higher than any of the previous mass extinctions in the history of Earth.

What is urgently needed is a recognition of this fact by humans, and an understanding that the model of human’ progress’ we have espoused for the past few thousand years is killing our planet. An understanding that all life- regardless of species, is inherently sacred and our  mutual survival is intertwined, and that  consequently  human ‘needs’  must be balanced against  the rights of other species. One small step to delay or even possibly reverse this destruction,  is the urgent massive scale planting of native vegetation in every possible locality and an end to our model of human  “progress”.


Links

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114.full

Supporting appendix to  Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

Scientists Say Sixth Mass Extinction Is Under Way

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction

Gaia and the Joys of Collective Psychosis

In Ukraine we see good Ukraine citizens believing that  ‘slant-eyed’  Russians ( perhaps Mongols from  the 12th century?)  have invaded their peaceful country, and along with a tiny number of Ukrainian traitors, have managed to  fend off the advances of the peace-loving Kiev government army  and  neo-nazi Right Sektor militias to return Eastern Ukraine to the fold. We need no  evidence-  we simply know that this is the case.

In Syria, every  good Sunni  knows that  it was Assad’s government that created ISIS;  where else could it have come from? -in order   that  evil  Shi-ite Persians and Lebanese  Hezbollah  could invade their country.  Clearly Sunni Saudi Arabia and their Wahabbist   crazies had nothing to do  with it!

In America every  good Democrat  knows that  it was only because of Russian intervention and ‘hacking’  that  Donald Trump  won  the election. How else could he have won?

And in the U.K. and in Poland the Russians are coming,  if they  are not already here! Russia’s aging  long range bombers and their sole smoking  aircraft  carrier are ready  at any moment to bring apocalyptic doom to  those good democratic shores..

I  am once again  reminded of my great great  grandfather’s time here in sleepy New Zealand, when  in  the 1890s, a  Russian Empire rust-bucket of a warship  managed to creep  this far south in  the Pacific to  to cause chaos and concern amongst us gentle white folks.  Vast  sums were raised to buy ( from British  armament factories) long range   guns to  install  on every  headland to  forestall  the imminent threat of a Russian  invasion. The Russo-Japanese brief  naval  and land army  altercation of 1904 was to  quickly prove how much  of a threat those Russian  warships  and armed forces actually were..

So-  those are  a few tangible examples of collective pyschosis –  how we as humans can so  easily be swayed into  believing an alternative reality-  because everyone else is believing it too.

However –  much much bigger than  those relatively small  events,  is humankind’s current conviction (since at  least the ‘industrial  revolution’) that  destroying all  of the  living things on this planet is ‘progress’ .  And, decade after decade, each  one of the remaining indigenous cultures have been sucked into  this ‘word-view’  that  we  humans must   produce things  to  make us humans happy and  ‘progress somewhere’ . Every one of the material things that  we produce  comes at  the expense of another living thing…

The evidence is very much out there-  and has been increasingly obvious over the past fifty years,  that  we as humans are  incrementally, and  at an ever faster pace ,  destroying the capacity of this planet to provide a sustainable habitat to not only ourselves, but  to  all of earth’s living things. But  we are still  ‘locked in’  to  ‘progress’  –  destroying  life for another bauble that will inevitably  self-destruct in  a few  months or years…

Perhaps, just perhaps, if we had had a slow motion time-lapse video which had showed   the world’s life steadily being steadily and rapidly drained away over the past 2000  years –  year upon year  –  then just maybe we might have done something about it.  Instead, we talk  about it;  we pretend that our machines of ‘progress’  can  redress the problems,  when the reality is that only other life, other species, can  reverse the  apocalypse-  if we have time.

And  that  – as we  all  know-  is not going to happen. Because human ‘progress’ its believed,   is going to  save us with more technology, more  ‘progress’  (and  more destruction of living things)…

A mammoth global  campaign to  plant and grow trees everywhere –  to revert  all  our feedstock lands to  forest, to plant trees on  every  available inch  of land  that is not absolutely necessary  to provide  humans with  a meagre  vegetable diet;  might permit this planet to  survive as a living entity….but the odds look  very very slim….Trees not only once almost  entirely covered the landmass of our little planet,  they provided a home for a huge biodiversity of other plants  insects and animals that  kept our planet viable  flexible  and   adaptable to  climactic and other  planetary  changes. That capacity to  adapt through  species diversification  is now being squeezed from  this planet.

Lovelock had it right the first time.  Our planet is  indeed a  single living entity –  Gaia -composed of  millions of different living  interlocking entities-  much  the same way as the human organism functions.

We are killing her…


Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Japanese_War

https://ourworldindata.org/forest-cover/#very-long-term-perspective-on-deforestation-in-specific-regions

Reclaiming the Earth- The Mapuche Dilemma

As the Earth  rapidly approaches the point where  the  trajectory  towards  intense global  warming and  near total species  loss becomes inevitable, we now, more than ever, need the wisdom  of the indigenous peoples’  connection with  nature and acknowledgement of the reality that  the earth is   a living entity;  to  save our planet. It may  already  be too  late- but we need to  try!

Nothing;  despite all  the research  and  incremental  indelible evidence  of  ever-increasing species extinction , has changed our current trajectory  of devastating the planet for a few cheap  baubles. We appear to be locked into  an  insane path of self-destruction which  takes the rest of the planet  with us. Have we reached the ‘tipping-point’? – we will  not know until it is too  late.

That is not to  say  the indigenous peoples like the Mapuche of southern  Chile or Maori  in New Zealand or the other still surviving remnants of indigenous cultures , have  all the answers, or are even  innocent of harming the planet themselves. But they  do have a philosophy  and  wisdom  from  the past which  acknowledges the reality that,  as just  one more species on this planet ,  humans are inextricably linked to  what  we   strangely call “nature’  -ie our fellow living things.  And  that we are also solidly linked to  all the non-sentient elements of this world.

 

Mapuche Shaman’s Drum; Courtesy of the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/patagonia/177322.html

If we are to  survive as a species;  if the planet  is to  survive,  we must  restore this fundamental  core understanding to all humans – without  which we will  most certainly perish- if not within  decades,  then  certainly within  this  new  two centuries.

Our first and immediate step  is to restore power and authority to those cultures who  do in  fact  respect  the earth  and all  its living inhabitants  above  “progress’  and the production of  commodities. The next is to  produce a world wide covenant that  values other species  as equal  to our own and our obligation as a species to  truly become protective guardians of this living planet, given our  unique capacity to  manipulate our environment.

We must let the voice of all  those cultures who  call  us back  to  our roots -to be heard,  respected and  urgently responded to.

The shaman’s drum calls  us back  to  our re-connection with our  world.

 

 

 

 


Links

https://www.rt.com/in-motion/374127-mapuche-demand-release-prisoners/

https://www.google.com/url?hl=en-GB&q=http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Groups-Demand-Freedom-of-Mapuche-Leader-in-Chile-20161212-0024.html&source=gmail&ust=1484889158716000&usg=AFQjCNFxrOXHP7sSOc1tFMtFjA-Ne4bFnQ

http://www.mapuche-nation.org/english/html/news/n-66.htm

Our People Are Unstoppable’: Chile’s Jailed Indigenous Mapuche

 

The Self-destruction of Western Societies?

The recent  ‘terrorist’ bombings in European  cities  may need to be  looked at from  a wider  perspective. Is this increasing wave of violence on urban  communities a signal of a deeper malaise?

The ‘terrorists’  who  have perpetrated these attacks  over the past few years ( ie not just  “ISIS’  inspired  killings);  have inevitably be enacted by  dispossessed angry young men   who  predominantly  have no  clear ideology of much  longstanding.  While they  have often attributed the rationale for their attacks to  some formal ideology  like ISIS, I suspect  that   any ideological  excuse would have sufficed for them. The recent killings by  those who  stated their motivations  were in  the name of Allah  and ISIS, were almost all by young men  who  had lacked any consistent  commitment to  Muslim  practice; ie not regularly attending a mosque, and indulged in drinking, drugs , gambling etc.

This indicates that  the rationale for the killing did not come from  idealogical  sources, but rather from their own anger and hurt about their own life experiences.  Undoubtedly however, the  last few years  of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other similar extremist  groups espousing the glories of  the killing of innocents,  have provided a focus  and a ‘rationale’   for that  anger and blood-lust.

This process might be likened to  the Christian  crusades   to  the “Holy Lands” in mediaeval  times, when  Europeans  from  all  walks of life joined  armies  to  supposedly ‘free”  the Holy Lands from  Saracen tyranny, but in  fact used that  license  to indulge in  vast  amounts of rape, pillage and  terror  of  local  populations,   both on their journeys to  Palestine through  Europe and the Middle East , but also  within  Palestine  itself.

What is different this time around however, is that  this is an internal  self-immolation of societies and almost a global  one: predominantly by  young men  who  were born  within European  societies, but at  the same time alienated from them.

What  we see then, is a political  response to these multiple deaths  which labels them as “terrorists’  attacks rather than  an  epidemic of murder/-suicides by  young angry  and hurting men.

Instead of addressing the root causes of that anger;  alienation from  society,  loneliness, poverty,  drugs and perceived inequalities and injustices;  Western  governments have increasingly focussed on more and more draconian responses to  these murders;  an action which   further legitimizes the  imaginary  ideological  fervour of more and more  young men.

As in  the United States, the  political  response is to further  militarise police forces and restrict  human rights and freedoms, and thereby  increase the likelihood of inappropriate and unjust responses by  the ‘authorities’  to  legitimate  community  conflict  situations. It is plain  that such  actions lead only to  community disintegration.

One might therefore  argue that  the actions by  both parties are symptomatic of a global  community in decline; in  a state of self-immolation, as it  unconsciously acknowledges the  multiple absurd paradoxes of our  global consumer society whilst  we inexorably head towards   an unliveable over-heated  and species depleted  planet.

 

 

The Beginning of the End of ‘Progress’ ?

The Baltic Dry  Index,  which  measures the price of shipping  dry  goods globally, has dropped to  its lowest  known point in  the past few days at 402. Other indicators too are pointing to  a rapid downturn in export shipping volumes.

ClipboarBDI12-1-16

On its own,  the BDI low  index may  reflect  nothing more than  an oversupply of shipping ,  but taken  with other data  measures, indications are that international   trade is slowing at a rapid rate globally.

If this is the case, then  we are likely to see a further deterioration in commodity prices, particularly oil prices, as demand slumps, an increase in  unemployment in  the industrial  sectors globally and an increasing shrinkage in  consumer spending.

And naturally, that  decrease i   trade globally is simply because people are buying less! Here’s a neat  little Bloomberg graph  which  shows  the trend for retail  sales in the United States.. People simply seem to be buying less ‘stuff’

Because the human world’s current survival  culture is predicated on  continuous growth  in  production of things, such  a reversal  will have significant implications for poverty, hopelessness and hunger in  the short to medium term.  It will  require no  less than  a massive restructuring of what  it means to be human  on this planet, for us all  to  get  to  a state of sustainable equilibrium, and to  finally recognise our equality with  the other species we co-habit the world with.

On the bright side, the  elimination of ‘growth’ or even a reversal  in growth, will  be a significant bonus to the world’s environment.  marsThe diminishing need to  use more coal  and gas, to  mine more  minerals, to  build more cities, dwellings  and transport networks and  consume more generally, will  mean less of what  is left of our natural  environment will  become despoiled.

As the ‘Geography of Transport Systems ‘ notes succinctly, there are many factors which influence the BDI price; lowering  oil prices for ships ( bunker oil), too  many ships in the market and lastly and likely most significantly, lowering demand for  bulk  goods. OIl process are approximately 40% of the price and there certainly has been  a glut in   bulk tankers, but we also  know bulk  commodity prices  ( iron ore, copper etc etc) have dropped precipitously due to   much  reduced demand from  primarily China. But a drop of this magnitude foretells something much  bigger in  the wind…


 

Postscript

And here’s the BDI at 29th January …

BalticDry29-1-16

And even  Bloomberg might be coming to  a similar consensus as of 29th  January…

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-01-28/shipping-news-says-world-economy-is-toast

 

 

Links

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/can-economic-growth-last/

http://www.global-briefing.org/2012/07/the-steady-state-economy-life-after-growth/

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue57/Trainer57.pdf

http://robertdfeinman.com/society/no_growth.html

http://www.americanshipper.com/Main/News/Drewry_Container_shipping_companies_to_lose_5b_in_62624.aspx?source=MostPopul

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/more-bad-news-for-ocean-trade-116011300352_1.htmlar

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-11/nothing-moving-baltic-dry-crashes-insiders-warn-commerce-has-come-halt

http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/baltic-sea-index-hits-all-time-low-as-shipping-crisis-deepens/

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article53707.html

The Whimper…

T.S. Eliot’s famous poem, The Hollow Men, ends with the following lines…

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

A recent study,  led by   applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and using   new statistical modelling methods, predicts that this  current civilization will likely collapse in  another twenty to  fifty years. The study   draws analogies with past human  civilizations;  the Assyrian, Roman, Mayan, Minoan,  the various  Chinese empires…. We can assume that  like us;  the populations of those civilizations had every reason to believe their civilization was unique and would last  forever. While civilisational  collapse is quite rare, characterised by  entire ways of life, systems of thought, cultural values and worldviews disappearing,  political  collapse occurs frequently ( eg empires and kingdoms disintegrating).  What  appears likely to  happen in our modern context,  given  the confluence of a number of catastrophic events, is civilisational  collapse.

While this particular study  has been  sharply critiqued by  journalists and  scientists  alike for its simplicity and generalisations ; the  broad conclusion that,  as Paul Simon aptly put it ,”everything put together falls apart” , is  a healthy  reminder of human hubris.

The single most important  story   unfolding in  not-so-slow-motion  on this planet  is the  ongoing  destruction of the natural  world  in  the name of “progress”  and “growth” (ie  consuming ever more “stuff”) by  humans;  ,  which  will  in the near  future,  significantly negatively impact  on this species. Despite our insistence to the contrary, humans are entirely reliant on other species for our survival.  It is a  given that is blindly ignored by  politicians, businesspeople and businesses  and all  those with  a current stake in  the way  our “civilization’  currently works ( ie all of us).

As key  resources become more expensive to  extract,  the world economy (which is apparently now the full extent of this ‘civilization’) begins to contract  and distort .  And as the gap  between rich and poor widens,  the “have-nots” increasingly demand in  more and more violent ways,  their right to  a slice of the pie. As the oceans and  atmospheric temperatures rise,  so  do the pressures on  our artificial nation-states. As we progressively and rapidly eliminate species after species to produce more things,  to make “progress”;  our chances of long term survival  as a species are being rapidly reduced.   Our civilization demands that  we assume that  we have an infinite volume  of resources to  consume for  the infinite future in  a closed planetary  system –  a small  contradiction in  terms!   We are indeed heading for the perfect  storm.

Study  after academic  study shows that the more we  gain from  a civilization’s  prosperity,  the more we are blind to its failings and contradictions and its  inevitable fall. This  tunnel vision says , that ‘if I am  doing well out of this catastrophe then it cant be a catastrophe at all!’

Homo  sapiens  pride themselves on their remarkable intelligence; their capacity to manipulate their environment for their own ends. They appear unable to grasp  that  that  self-definition process of  appropriating everything  good, intelligent and wonderful  to  human attributes,  is simply  the result of their blinded vision.  If by  definition, species that manipulate their environment  are determined to be superior to all other species;  then lo-and-behold!- homo sapiens are superior beings! Because homo sapiens are above all other traits,  social  beings,  all of us have an intensely strong need to  “fit in”,  to belong to the group. Agreeing with other people on ‘our’ group’s   thought processes and paradigms is an essential part of this togetherness. However, agreement does not  it make it truth.

Thus, it does not matter that the capacity to manipulate the environment for the benefit of our species and at  the expense of all other species on  this planet might not be quite such an intelligent thing to do, given that  the environmental devastation and species  destruction is largely for homo sapiens’ short term  pleasures, power  and baubles.

Were we to  say  that  a species that can  sustain itself  easily and efficiently without damaging its environment in  the process, were  more ‘worthy’ beings than other species ;  then homo sapiens would not be registering on  the short-list!

Over the millenia, homo sapiens have  been able to convince themselves  that  people of other cultures, or colour,  or background are inferior to one’s own culture because of this self-defining process.  Using the same intellectual process,  the more different another species is from ourselves, the  less worthy , less  intelligent, more expendable and worthy of our  exploitation and destruction that species becomes.   The more differentiated from our species the “other” is,  the easier it is to  dismiss its inherent traits and qualities and its right to life. However on our ever smaller blue planet,  we no  longer have the luxury to differentiate between  “them’  and ‘us”.

How much easier then is it  to dismiss the equality of other species with ourselves when their characteristics, strengths and skills are so different from homo sapiens, and when it  is so  much to our benefit to be able to kill  and exploit other species without moral qualms.

As Henry  Gee also points out succinctly in his Guardian  article , each  species’ particular traits or “strengths” are  based purely on, firstly, what  biological  mechanisms of sense are available to  them ,and secondly, how they use those senses to  that  species’ best  advantage. Homo sapiens  may not value our sense of smell  because its not a particularly efficient sensing mechanism in  homo sapiens, but you can bet  a dog does!

The capacity for self-delusion in our  species is immense. Witness the largely American  driven  anti- climate -change camp. Of course we cannot be  destroying our planet with C02 through  industrialization, because capitalism and owning the means of production   is the reason  for our being!  – after all, aren’t we, the US consumer, the greatest people on  earth because our nation is   the epitome of capitalism?

As another example of  collective self-deception, Seth Klarman, the manager of the $27billion hedge fund, the Baupost Group, recently  remarked on the similarities of the world’s banking system to the ‘Truman Show’, the late nineties Hollywood film, where the lead character  “lives a seemingly charmed world, snuggled comfortably into an American suburbia of white picket fences and crisply cut lawns. But gradually Truman starts to notice something is not quite right. He is actually trapped inside a film set controlled by hidden directors, and discovers to his horror that he is the unknowing star of the world’s most popular reality TV show.”  In one of the more blatant  nuances of reality shifting homo  sapiens have acquiesced to,  our  financial  system  is in  essence simply one of “smoke and mirrors” -the manipulation of facts and figures designed  to  obscure reason and reality;  a fragile house of cards.

The dreaded "black swan"!
                                  The dreaded “black swan”!

One key point of difference with previous human civilizations  around the world  is that  our current  civilization is a global one; each  of the parts are inextricably connected.  Apart from  a few small tribes in   isolated areas, every one of us has bought in to  this unique  method of environmental  destruction. Thus  when this civilization collapses -(and it is a “when” and not an “if” ), that collapse will be both  more  rapid and more global; there will not be another model of homo sapien civilization around for the  survivors to pin their hopes on. The other significant difference with other previous human civilizations is this current one’s geographical  reach.  Vast  areas of the planet have now  been laid waste in  the name of human progress.

So, while the modelling conducted by  Safa Motesharrei  may be flawed, it does provide an opportunity for  serious debate about the direction this global  civilisation of ours is taking us..

 


 

Links

Did Nasa fund ‘civilisation collapse’ study, or not?

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)

About that Popular Guardian Story on the Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Plotting the Downfall  of Society-Peter Turchin Book Review

A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation

Crisis of Civilisation 

So, after the IPCC report, which bit of the world are you prepared to lose? | GeorgeMonbiot