Passing the baton of hubris

“Our Hubris Will Be Our End” (and yet, someone will adapt…):

The thing we humans of the Anthropocene share with the Nanticoke and the Unami-speaking Lenape who used to live on the Delmarva Peninsula, and with the !Kung of the Kalahari, the Yukaghir of Siberia, the medieval Persians, the ancient Mayans, the blue-painted Picts, the Neolithic proto-Chinese Peiligang peoples and the Paleolithic nomads of the Pleistocene Era is precisely our ability to adapt to changing conditions, primarily through the collective use of symbolic reasoning and narrative. Homo sapiens can live almost anywhere on Earth, under almost any conditions; all we need is a story telling us why our lives matter.

I know it, I know it, I think about it all the time when I ponder the next era. But it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, how stupid we can be, in the face of ample evidence on how to prevent it.

In some unknown future, on some strange and novel shore, human beings just like us will adapt to a whole new world. You can see them sitting circled around a fire on the beach, the light flickering on their rapt faces, one telling a story about a mighty civilization doomed by its hubris, an age of wonders long past.

I just hope we leave good books for them, to help them understand it wasn’t inevitable. It never is.

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Human Beings

I remember being a young boy walking to K-Mart, watching litter from convenience store wrappers pile up along the curb, seeing dark smoke puff out of trucks’ exhaust pipes, wondering about the cumulative effects.

The Earth is mighty big, so it would take…how many years for this to matter? Turns out it was already known how many years. But it’s hard to get humans to long-term plan for themselves, or their offspring, much less everyone else who also calls this lone planet home.

A classmate, Wendy, gave a report around 1989 about acid rain, greenhouse gases, and carbon. That report and all of these thoughts stayed with me ever since. In one sense, my life has unfolded in parallel as we’ve watched ourselves screw our future selves.

And everyone who comes afterward.

Helpless feeling. How can one do more when forces with such power and capital so easily delude so many into doing nothing?

Homo Sapiens, in Three Quotes

“Long term, people say we should search for a solution,” he said, “but they don’t want to be the ones to suffer.”

“The Water Wars of Arizona,” New York Times, July 19, 2018

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

–The dipshit, known for decades to be a dipshit, vomiting in 2012, four years before other oblivious/gullible/greedy dipshits helped him become president

“Why take on an intractable problem that would not be detected until this generation of employees was safely retired?”

–Exxon, debating whether to do anything about carbon emissions, in Losing Earth, Part I, The New York Times Magazine (a piece that, it should be noted, is waaaaaay to kind to the GOP and fossil fuel industry which both worked to delay, confuse, and punt the problem)

Hey, as long as you can golf in the freaking Arizona desert while you’re still alive, why bother, right?