Sunday, June 13, 2010

Doomsday or Bloomsday? It's Up To Us!


Just before Christmas last year I was admitted to the intensive care unit of Sungai Buloh Hospital in a semi-delirious state. Blood tests indicated an extraordinary amount of plasmodia from two different strains of malaria. My body was on the verge of total shutdown, so the doctors induced a 5-day coma while they put me on life support.

I have no memory whatsoever of my artificial state of suspended animation. It was perhaps the closest to death I have ever been. Yet for me it was a truly valuable experience: a close encounter with my own mortality that left me with vivid intimations of immortality.

It took me at least two weeks to regain my strength after I was discharged from the hospital, but during my convalescence I became acutely aware of the poignant fragility of living things - and the ephemerality of the physical world. I saw how easily continents can rise and sink, along with cities, nations, entire species.

What brought me crashing down from my usual state of perfect health was a mere mosquito bite. On a planetary scale, that compares with an oil company's attempt to drill a hole seven miles deep below the sea. To Mother Earth, that's no more than a mosquito bite - but it could prove equally lethal to all life on earth.

Nobody really knows the size of the petroleum deposit beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Unless some ingenious method is devised to plug the undersea borehole, crude oil could be gushing into the Gulf Stream for months, even years. Right now Mother Earth appears to be hemorrhaging unstoppably. Alas, her mineralized blood is extremely toxic to all life-forms - except perhaps a few strains of oleaphagic microbes.

Already, doomsday prophets have made their appearance on YouTube, pointing at Revelation 16:3 ["The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died."]

No matter how you look at it, BP has screwed up big time. As usual, there are many who believe this colossal disaster wasn't just an unfortunate byproduct of insatiable corporate greed and hubris - but that it was deliberately engineered by a consortium of oil interests (read Halliburton and cronies) in a byzantine maneuver to secure some devious advantage. I find that really difficult to believe - that anybody could be so irredeemably evil and absolutely irresponsible. But we've already witnessed how some arrogant entities who enjoy playing god are perfectly capable of culling their livestock, and this is precisely how the ruling elite views the masses, as livestock.

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Even as this potentially terminal eco-apocalypse unfolds, humans continue to be obsessed with their own petty games of ego-driven competition, oneupmanship and sibling rivalry.

Just look at the knee-jerk reactions of those who have bought into UMNO's repugnant doctrine of Malay Supremacy (which, ironically, is almost identical with the Zionist notion that the God of Abraham hand-picked the Jews as the Chosen People who shall rule over all other tribes). In suffering electoral defeat, rather than concede that their political rivals have earned themselves a turn at the wheel, these modified primates have opted to stir up racial and religious tensions in a futile attempt to scare voters into returning them to power.

While two stags lock antlers over a doe in heat, a grinning hunter with a double-barreled shotgun creeps up stealthily through the bushes and begins to take aim. In the animal kingdom as in the human, hormones and pheromones continue to rule. However, there is one significant difference: we humans supposedly have the intellectual capacity to transcend our biological and psychological drives, thereby attaining transcendental awareness - and, ultimately, cosmic consciousness.

The thrust of evolution has taken Homo sapiens sapiens to the point where we must make a conscious choice: to carry on behaving like destructive caterpillars, devouring the leaves of the very plant that supports our existence... or to accept the temporary ego death of pupation, wherein we become willing pupals/pupils of the greatest teacher of them all, Mother Nature, who will lovingly guide us to glorious butterflyhood - and galactic citizenship as mature and sentient beings.


As one who has long taken counsel from the natural world, I have come to appreciate a pile of moss-covered rocks far more than a $15,000 designer couch or even a $15 million gilded throne studded with rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Simplicity is indeed the mark of true mastery. All spiritual guides say the same thing - and have done so for thousands of years - but we still don't seem to get it.

With billions in research grants at the disposal of leading edge scientists, no human laboratory can claim to have created an edible replica of a humble banana - what more a living, breathing, thinking, feeling creature - and I'm not talking about cloning.

And yet our arrogant anthropocentrism and pathological egomania have convinced us that some almighty deity has granted us dominion over the beasts of the field and fowls of the air - indeed all the domains of nature, right down to microbes and viruses.

When an outcry was raised over an animal-testing laboratory to be constructed in Melaka, the chief minister told reporters in all seriousness that God gave men the right to do as we will with animals. The benightedness of that monotheistic and tyrannical viewpoint struck me as the very epitome of what has gone so terribly wrong with the human experiment.

This spiritually retarded chief minister was really just a victim of a crude and barbaric religious doctrine designed to minimize empathy and maximize antipathy - so that rigid boundaries could be drawn between a fictitious Us and an imaginary Them.

A fanatical adherence to notions of Us versus Them inevitably leads to perpetual conflict and warfare. Which, of course, sits perfectly well with weapons manufacturers and their shareholders.


Some folks who have seen James Cameron's latest blockbuster, Avatar, take cynical pride in criticizing his unabashed didacticism. I've read straightfaced putdowns of the movie by Christian apologists who accuse Cameron of depicting Mother Nature as God and corporate adventurism as the Devil. These days, whenever I see talking-head PR execs on TV trying to excuse the inexcusable, they all remind me of the corporate creep Parker Selfridge and the gung-ho killer droid Colonel Quaritch in Avatar who end up destroying the Sacred Tree in their frenzied pursuit of Unobtanium. Only goes to show how beautifully James Cameron succeeded in his mission to alert humanity to what's ultimately at stake.


While a part of me shares the acute anxiety of those in the US (particularly folks living around the Gulf Coast) as to the eventual outcome of BP's monstrously catastrophic blowout, another part actually welcomes the disaster as perhaps the gigantic kick-in-the-butt we need to finally wean ourselves off fossil fuels that poison our habitat.

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Nope, going nuclear is NOT the answer either! Most so-called energy experts parrot the erroneous belief that "we are currently in an energy crisis."

There is absolutely no energy crisis. If there appears to be one it's only because we have been way too prodigal in the way we misuse energy.

Like fish swimming around in a saltwater aquarium, we have forgotten the open sea. Our myopic get-rich-quick schemes benefit nobody - least of all ourselves - and yet we won't hesitate to kill anyone who attempts to stop us.

That's right, folks, we humans will defend our lavish lifestyles to the death - even if it's the last thing we ever do. Some distant day an Aldebaranian anthropologist will describe the demise of our species thus:

"The humanoid Earthians perished as a result of their obstinate addiction to MSG-flavored snacks, fizzy drinks, toxic fumes, and loud noises."

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A BIT OF COMIC RELIEF (courtesy of Paul A. Colby)

2 comments:

semuanya OK kot said...

The genius denialists of climate change - largely American - believe in the god-given right to tear up the environment with "SUV"s or mining equipment. I wonder what they have to say about all this. Is it all just more evil lies? Can some way be found to export this problem to the ungodly communists or the pagans of the 3rd. world?

semuanya OK kot said...

Some of the related bad news:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18927-why-deepwater-oil-spills-do-their-damage-deep-down.html

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2010/06/new-spill-estimate-40000-barre.html

And some of the spin:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18971-bacteria-help-to-clean-up-deepwater-horizon-spill.html

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19016-gulf-leak-biggest-spill-may-not-be-biggest-disaster.html

Apparently, all this could have been averted by a dead-man's switch type of valve costing a couple of million. When Clinton handed over to Bush, it was a requirement. Within a couple of years, it was not.