Sunday, February 19, 2012

End Times: not as happenin' as I thought they'd be




"The planet is fine, the people are fucked. It's us- we're leaving. Pack your bags, folks."
--George Carlin

I promise that this will be my last "environment/world in decline post."

At least for...you know, like 48 hours.

I am still stuck on the theme of my post from Friday.  There are certain members of evangelical Christianity that are indifferent toward or enthusiastic towards environmental destruction and the end of the world.  This has been reinforced by yet another online article that I found, this time regarding nuclear war, entitled "Rolling out the red carpet for the Second Coming with nuclear war."  God has ordained our end.  Ain't that fucking great?

To be fair, there are several bodies of evangelicals fighting for environmental balance and for disarmament.  I am hopeful that they will one day no longer be voices in the wilderness but powerful forces that can no longer be ignored by their greater whole.  I say this because I'm scared.  The end of the world is nowhere near as cool as I thought it would be.

Many times before, I have attributed my change of heart to my middle-aged status.  I now have far more to protect and to potentially lose.  I grow alarmed when I read things such as "scientific fact has little effect on public opinion."    It seems more and more unlikely that people will act en mass to do something about the problems that we face, mainly because doing so will make no money.  That greatest of all American sins.  So in the face of "apocalypse pretty soon," what are my hopeful options?  I mean, besides building bunkers or adopting a "well whattayagonnado" attitude towards the worst case environmental scenario?

Well one hope is The Singularity.  If we're dependent on the environment and the environment is going to hell in a handbasket of our own design, then perhaps one option is cease our dependence on the environment.  Replace vital human parts with cybernetic ones that no longer need clean air or water or to even upload one's self altogether into a computer.   That technology, though advancing by the day, is still a ways off.  The most optimistic estimates that I've seen place it at fifteen years away minimum.  A lot can happen in that time.

What about exoplanetary options?  Moving ourselves out into space?  I believe I can summarize the prevailing thoughts on that notion by a response I was once given by a professor: "It's, how shall we say, f-ed up?"
I respect him and think no less of him for the quote.  He is, after all, merely indicative of a far greater body that shares the opinion.  Where would we come up with the money for such an enterprise?  Where indeed.  Who would want to live out there?  Who indeed (flailing my arms like the geekiest kid in the class and hoping the teacher will pick me.)  It would certainly be a herculean undertaking but if you agree with thinkers such as Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, it is a necessary one.

This is going to sound extraordinarily selfish and  I hope that you'll forgive me.  The fact is that I am old enough to likely to shrug off this mortal coil before the real whirlwind of our environmental short-sightedness hits in forty years or so...that is if I'm unable to take advantage of cybernetic advancements.  Those younger than I will not be so lucky.  To them I say, "Sorry.  I tried."


"It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value."
 --Arthur C. Clarke


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