Thursday, February 21, 2008

The end of the world as we know it

Every time I read something by Charles Eisenstein, I love it.  I usually feel like he's saying what I want to say, but I don't even know it. 
Yesterday I read his Waiting for the Big One, and it was no disappointment.  I particularly liked his list of "doom and gloom credentials", which begins with:

First and foremost, I am aware of the environmental crisis: climate change, desertification, coral bleaching, tree death, topsoil erosion, habitat destruction, irreversible loss of biodiversity, toxic and radioactive waste, the PCBs in every living cell, the vast swaths of disappearing rainforests, the dead rivers, lakes and seas, the slag heaps and quarry pits, the living world reduced to profit and pavement.

I am aware of Peak Oil and the dependency of all aspects of our economic infrastructure and food supply on fossil fuels. And I realize that no conventionally-recognized alternative energy source can possibly hope to replace oil and gas any time soon.

and goes on and on.  In my printed copy, this list filled 2 pages.  
A couple years ago I went to an unconventional doctor who claims to be able to ask your electromagnetic aura questions, and get answers.  Things like "is mercury in your body the cause of that skin condition?".  I was sick at one point, and he suggested an antibiotic.  I told him that I try to avoid antibiotics, and so he asked my aura which of several treatments I should choose, to balance my principles & need for treatment.  The answer was grape seed extract.
I have no idea what an "electromagnetic aura" is. I'm generally a rational science-loving type of person, and nothing that he does fits in to my understanding of how the world works.  5 years earlier I would have laughed at him and gone on with my life.  But, thanks largely to Charles Eisenstein's writings, I've learned that there is dramatically more truth than science can find.  Science has strict rules about what it can do, which is fundamental to why science is great, but it's also very limiting.  If we lived our lives relying only on scientifically-proven truths, we would live incomplete lives.  At some point you have to make a decision based on something else.  That something else is "faith", although I hesitate to use the word.  I don't mean "things you believe regardless of contradicting evidence", but "things you believe when evidence can't help".  I can't prove that this doc is a quack; I can't prove that he's able to do what he claims to do.  I know that I need more than what conventional medicine can offer, so I accept what he tells me.
I've been suffering from restless legs since I was a teenager (now it has a name & web sites & there's medication, but for a long time I couldn't even explain it to people around me.)  This doc told me that it was emotional; that I am angry; that the target of my angry is mankind in general; that I am angry that people could act so badly, and allow people to act so badly. 
He's right that I have this anger, but I hadn't really identified it before.  However, when I read through Eisenstein's list yesterday, it suddenly made a lot more sense.  That list is exactly what I am angry about.  He nailed it for me, exactly.  It was an intense experience for me to see the list, and see the complete outline of my frustration.  I plan to read through it again, to see where it takes me.


One Fine Life said...

I find this post very compelling. It's fascinating that you've found a correlation to the doc's opinion of the root of your health problem and the anger you feel towards the destruction of the planet. If it was indeed McCabe, he said something interesting to me as well...because I tend to push for underlying causes, but I did not take his suggestion seriously enough (thus it still hants me).

When I first read the doom and gloom credentials I shamefully thought "oh, no, more of this" (for it is being discussed intently on a message board I'm on, and what becomes tiresome is the sense of glee some seem to feel, as though "the big one" will finally be the affirmation for them...they get to say "I was right, and you all didn't listen"). But then I realized that this is what I am looking for as I grapple to understand the optimism behind what is outlined in the credentials....optimism that will not look like we expect it might. But how else can we move forward, honour the life we have and those who have suffered by finding joy in it and nurturing that, just as we've got to do with the planet. It is human nature to rise up and face rebirth, learning from the destruction. There is something very energizing in knowing things will never be the same within a very short timespan, and tangible evidence is obvious everywhere, bit by bit.

Well, that's just sleepless rambling. It's really something that you are identifying the anger and finding yourself in the right position to explore it. What underlies anger is often sadness. And anger can be such great fuel for assertive action. Something tells me you will find a lot of purpose and direction through this.


tlilley said...

Spock: "History is replete with turning points, Lieutenant. You must have faith."
Valeris: "Faith?"
Spock: "That the universe will unfold as it should."
Valeris: "But is that logical? Surely we must....."
Spock: "Logic, logic, and logic..... Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris, not the end."

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

- Tripp

(PS: you cut all your hair off!)
(PPS: you have kids!)

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