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Nature beautiful and dramatic today under the clouds and in the sunshine ...

The birds are afflicted by all the troubles and sorrows which perpetually afflict humankind.  Although people routinely dismiss the birds as "birdbrains" it is the human brain which generates so many delusions, distractions and sorrows ... humankind perpetually afflicted with an illness which has no cure, an illness so pervasive that humans accept it as "normal" as they look down upon Nature and the living world.

I cannot blame humankind for the horrendous manner in which humans have chosen to live.  If this world indicates anything at all about humankind it is this: Humans don't have free will.  

There are several unhealthy delusions which function as myths of the modern world:

  1. Perpetual population & economic growth is both possible & beneficial.
  1. Humans are smart enough and inventive enough to replace natural systems with technology serving the same purpose, only better.
  1. All problems are solvable.
  1. After conquering the Earth, humans will conquer space.
  1. "Progress" can continue indefinitely into the future.
  1. While our modern civilization is imperfect humans will eventually solve all of these problems and create utopia.
  1. While all of the ancient civilizations collapsed and ceased to exist, our own civilization will last forever.
  1. While all of humankind's closest ancestors went extinct, the Homo sapiens will exist forever.

These myths and delusions have justified the very worst behaviors among humans against each other, against Nature, against All-Life, and against the future.

They are ending now.  These myths and delusions are dying right now, right in front of our eyes.  

When the myths and delusions are gone humankind will suddenly discover that nothing whatsoever is left.

There's no happy ending to this story.  "Happily Ever After ... " is a fairy tale.

David Mathews

Originally posted to dmathew1 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 12:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  wow (0+ / 0-)
    can have the drug you are taking?

    by GlowNZ on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 12:15:50 PM PDT

  •  We have free will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole

    Damn, what a horribly depressing and miserably uninformed diary.

    Yes humans are aggressive, but so are almost all other forms of life.  How many viruses and bacteria end up killing their hosts, even though there is no need? Surely they could have evolved away from murder but it is good enough, so they do it.  They can't really help it, they are hardwired by evolution.

    I'll use the bird kingdom for my example, seeing as how this diary is about birds (and having done dozens of bird diaries myself, I think I'm qualified) this will serve as counterpoint.

    Lots of raptors will kill despite the fact that they are well fed.  Hawks and especially owls can be very vicious, with snowy owls being about as aggressive towards other birds as you can get.  Kestrels have a reputation for killing birds in captivity without eating them, as do some of the other falconiforms.

    One of my favorites are the shrikes, who while not raptors have rapacious tendencies to kill far more than they eat.  It isn't as if they do it with anger and spite, they do it instinctively.  They really can't help it.

    Domestic chickens are derived from a bird that is one of the few cannibalistic birds, and they will peck each other to death.

    Nest parasites such as cowbirds and cuckoos will lay their eggs in nests of other birds.  The mother will try to destroy as many eggs as she can, and those she can't will be destroyed by the chick, who will then eat all the food the hapless parents can bring.  If a human did this we'd be derided about the horrors of this behavior, but in birds we just think of it as another way of life.

    Even the symbol of America the American bald eagle is hardly a model citizen.  They earn most of their living through stealing food.

    The moorhen of your photos is closely related to the common coot, a bird that practices infanticide perhaps more than any other common bird in North America.  That's hardly what we'd consider good behavior.

    In short, we're no worse than most of the animals we share the world with, except we are aware of our faults and try to specifically reduce the damage we do.  When you find a species of bird trying to prevent the extinction of others, let us know.

    •  This is an excellent point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      A lot of people seem to see destructive human activity as unnatural and thus evil.  The real problem is that our behavior is all too 'natural' - it is just not as constrained as the activities of other organisms.

    •  where in the diary does he suggest that we are (0+ / 0-)

      "worse" than most of the animals we share the world with?

      to the contrary, i believe the thesis of this diary is that we are no better than most of the animals we share the world with, but we tell ourselves different.

      which, i wonder, of his enumerated delusions do you think is not a delusion -- and how, i wonder, will you back up your contrary claim without simply asserting some sort of generalized faith in humanity or god or the universal consciousness or whatever.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 02:27:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here (0+ / 0-)

        ...humankind perpetually afflicted with an illness which has no cure, an illness so pervasive that humans accept it as "normal" as they look down upon Nature and the living world.

        We aren't simply evil, we're "diseased".

        BTW people generally capitalize the beginnings of sentences, and proper nouns.

        Humans lives were "Nasty, brutish and short" a hundred years ago, since then our technology and industry has more than doubled average life expectancies. Hunger is now caused by the failure of political systems, rather than actual want of food.  In fact the majority in the west now suffer from overabundance of food.  We have dramatically enhanced the quality of life, the ability for people of all types have the same basic opportunities, and to live more secure, more fulfilling lives. Our viewpoints are much more favorable to true equality now than ever in human history, and we are the first generation that is willing to actively trade possible wealth for a better ecological future for all.

        In essence, almost everything he said was wrong.

        •  yeah -- the illness we're afflicted with is the (0+ / 0-)

          delusion that we're not animals, and that we can solve all of our problems if we just put our minds to it.

          "Hunger is now caused by the failure of political systems." yes. exactly. that's the whole point. our technology has not solved the problem.

          despite all of our "progress", the 20th century represented the apex of humans slaughtering humans -- slaughter on a scale truly incomprehensible. so incomprehensible that after the Great War the French government declined to count the bodies, fearing what the public's response would be. nobody other than fanciful dreamers ("no democracy has ever declared war on another democracy") has yet proposed a realistic political settlement by which this particular tendency might eventually be mitigated, and indeed all evidence suggests that we're currently heading for something even more horrific, as our wild-eyed, senseless, self-indulgent squandering of natural resources comes to haunt us over the next century.

          in the west, you note, "the majority ... suffer from an overabundance of food." i suppose the truth of this statement depends substantially on where you draw the lines that define the west, but beyond that, it also tends to prove, rather than disprove the diarist's essential thesis. what "some" folks in the west suffer from is an overabundance of calories. the actual quality of our nourishment is not, in the opinion of many of us, rising. and even that overabundance of calories is a short-term result. we are not treating the land or the oceans kindly. we have no reason to expect that they can continue to provide all the calories that our technology, in the short-term, has enabled them to provide. putting an electric pump on a well doesn't increase the amount of water available, it only increases the rate at which the available water will be pumped and consumed.

          etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 03:49:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our technology has increased food production (0+ / 0-)

            by an order of magnitude in the last two centuries.  The quality of food is vastly superior than it was in the past, due to the lack of pathogens, refrigeration, and testing.  In the recent past most humans died of infectious diseases.  Now we die primarily of age-related diseases, and accidents. And speaking of the electric pump, almost all industry today is powered by mechanical force, rather than human or animal.  I think that is a great improvement over the past.  Bear in mind that even if we are wasteful we are also able to utilize a much higher percentage of resources today than ever before- and we are recycling materials that in the past were use once and throw away.  We've replaced slash and burn agriculture with more sustainable means, and in "the west" we've retired far more farmland in the last century than we're created.  We get much more yield per acre than in the recent past.

            Sure we abuse many of our ecosystems, but we are more aware of that abuse and are putting in measures to reduce and help rehabilitate.  In the past when we found an agreeable species we exploited it to death.  There are many species both in the developed and underdeveloped world that were hunted into extinction- we don't do that anymore.

            That is a sign of dramatic improvement.

            We aren't perfect, but we are much more aware, much more capable of reducing our damage than every other species on the planet.  And that does make us superior.

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