The Laughing Cow
There comes a time, when the operation of the machine is so odious, that you cannot even tacitly participate. You've got to place your body on the gears, the levers, all the apparatus, and you've got to indicate to those who own it, and those who run it, that unless you are free, the machine will be prevented from working at all - Mario Savio
I don't mean to blog for therapy, but I think I should mention, following the last post, that I feel lighter now for having posted it. That jumble of impressions had been bearing down on me for a while, and though trying to bring them to coherence was hard, now that I've found a place to put them, I don't carry their weight in the same way.
Which isn't to say I'm all of a sudden John Q Pangloss. Pessimists may be assured I still hold our position to be hopeless. With the great methane sinks of the Arctic starting to vent, and the prospect of a massive assault on Iran approaching stupefying inevitability, what else could I think? I don't regard it as excessive to believe we've reached the end, regardless of the end having been anticipated since the beginning. It's unlikely that the sky will roll up like parchment one day and that will be that. We'll probably go on living well beyond the end, marking each incremental degradation as the New Normal, and with the dust of death settled on every sweet thing. (In other words, less The Omega Man, more Children of Men.)
And perhaps, if hopelessness is where this story ends, it's where we can begin to write another.
Derrick Jensen, in an issue of Orion magazine from last Spring (and also discussed here on the RI forum), wrote that "the most common words I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, 'We're fucked'":
Frankly, I don't have much hope. But I think that's a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.
Many people are afraid to feel despair. They fear that if they allow themselves to perceive how desperate our situation really is, they must then be perpetually miserable. They forget that it is possible to feel many things at once. They also forget that despair is an entirely appropriate response to a desperate situation. Many people probably also fear that if they allow themselves to perceive how desperate things are, they may be forced to do something about it.
And when you quit relying on hope, and instead begin to protect the people, things, and places you love, you become very dangerous indeed to those in power. In case you're wondering, that's a very good thing.
Perhaps some Democrats who pinned their hopes on the 2006 midterms, only to see the disgrace of "non-binding resolutions" at least one war too late, will die to hope and become dangerous to the System of Control. Most have already picked up the stakes of their hope and moved them downfield to 2008. Until we're hopeless nothing will change, except for the worse, and the world's circumstance will become even less tractable.
What do we do, when hope dies? If are programmed, then we become the virus. If we are food, then we become the toxin. If we are cattle, then we protect our calves. If we are hunted, then we rear up and kick the hunter in his own damned head.
As Kipling, of all people, said, We are the taint in the blood. We had better be.
By the way, since the comments field here has become difficult slogging lately, I've opened a thread on the RI forum for any who care to remark on this post in a moderated environment.