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In 1956, in Lord of the Flies, William Golding predicted that humanity is in the process of destroying the world. The choir boys were a composite of the human condition, and as a group they were fundamentally evil. They were tribal carnivores with short-term goals. They cared nothing about the health of the island itself. At the end of the book, the island was wasted and moribund, except for the intervention of a mysterious sea captain who arrives in the nick of time.

The composite humanity wasn’t all bad, tough. One character played a minor role except that he was the first to be killed. Simon represented reason, even to the extent of being mystical. He was the one who said, “Maybe we are the beastie.” It was Simon who wanted the littl’uns to break out of the voodoo clench of the animal desires of the Freudian id.

The book stayed on my mind for many years. By 1970, I was enchanted by the hope of Hippyism. In spite of the Viet Nam War, I was thrilled with life and the chance of breaking out of life-stifling conventionality. For me it was sex, grass and classical music. I had sanguine hope for humanity. If we could only develop species consciousness, control population growth and broaden our understanding the human condition, we could create a paradise on Earth.

It was then that I wrote my popular poem that was published in the Village Voice and read on the radio by a prominent dj named Rosco.

Simon

I am Simon who walks between your conscience and your animal self. You met me the first time you took a step on the earth, spoke a word and looked up at the stars in the night.

I was with you when you learned of fire, found shelter in a cave, and expressed an idea with a symbol.

I gave you Art, beauty and love and freed you from ignorance and fear, only to be slain many times by those who will not know themselves.

But I shall never die! For the forces that gave me life are very strong.

I am the fetus that resides in the womb of your mind.


Last week I read an essay that changed everything. The eminent scientist, James Lovelock, was a friend and neighbor of William Golding. It was Golding who coined the term and helped develop the Gaia Hypothesis. In his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia, James Lovelock asserts that in GW, “warming” is too soft a word. Global Calefaction (my neologism) is much more accurate. The poisons that mankind has unleashed on the oceans, forests, deserts and atmosphere have spun out of control. There is no bringing Gaia back. The harm we’re done: the melting of the polar caps and glaciers all over the world; the turning of the oceans to acid, the Soylent Green scenario, which gives precious phytoplankton no chance; the release of methane from the vast tracks of permafrost in Siberia and Greenland.

In 1909, the celebrants of New Year’s Eve had no idea of the cataclysm and tribulation waiting just a few years away. That was when the population of our wonderful planet was 1.5 billion. Now the Earth’s population is 6.7 billion. That’s a quadrupling. At that rate, by the end of this century our planet would be the home of close to 30 billion. NO WAY. Gaia is at her carrying capacity right now.

To tell the truth I blame religion for the destruction of Planet Earth. Religion has diverted and perverted the love and respect that was rightfully owed to Gaia, the mother of us all, to imaginary deities that do absolutely nothing except provide ecclesiastic alphas with a life free from toil and manual labor, and rank and file members the hope that life has some meaning. If the leaders of the world throughout history loved Nature the way I do, Global Calefaction never would have happened.

My favorite line from Mirror Reversal is oh so poignant, sad and true:

What a cruel ironic cosmic joke! Books written by goat herders and fishermen, determining the destiny of mankind and the entire planet.

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Comment by Richard Goscicki on July 15, 2009 at 3:41pm
Clarence, there can't be anyevidence of extinction by rational creatures becuase humans are the first conscious beings. Carl Sagan says that prehaps there were many ET societies that failed to arise from a 0 rated planet (they get their energy from decaying materials) to a 1 (they procure their energy from the nearest star).

There's been five previous extinctions on the planet before the present one. We are in the middle of the sixth. Of all the previous extinctions, planetary conditions were the cause. The last, the K-T Event for instance, probably was caused by a meteor that landed in the Yucatan. This is the first extinction to be self-inflicted.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on July 15, 2009 at 9:31am
Richard wrote: am I going too far by blaming religion for the near extinction of humanity

No, I don't think so. What felch wrote.
Comment by Clarence Dember on July 15, 2009 at 9:01am
I don't see the evidence that rational cultures go extinct by themselves. There has got to be a cataclysm of some kind and geologically speaking things change.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on July 14, 2009 at 2:26am
Well said, K. For me it’s sex, grass and classical music. Whatever blows your skirt up.

Here’s a little tidbit to consider. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by the 2030s, the majority of citizens in the country will be Spanish speaking. Figure with 20 million illegals entering in the last years of the Bush Administration, each couple procreating about five times, that’s 50 million right there. Add to that the tens of millions already here. Seria bien apprender esa idioma.

Also, with the blessings of Allah and the Holy Prophet (God Bless His Name) Europe will be predominantly Muslim.
Comment by K. Walker on July 14, 2009 at 12:34am
That drastic need for change is forcing us humans to begin the process of smart energy use but as Karen Carpenter said it back in the 70's, we've only just begun. Yes, for sure limiting households to one child will help out but like you say above Richard, we must do more and so solar energy and electric cars and electric producing windmills, on it goes - will help for a better tomorrow. Until that time, a time none of us will be around, it's best to just live life to the fullest.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on July 13, 2009 at 10:14pm
I'm afraid Gaia is the one to set things straight. Religion is the most important thing is billions of people's lives. They're not going to change. It doesn't look good.

Another factor is that the U.S. is 5% of the world's population and uses 25% of its energy. There has to be a drastic change in lifestyle not just restraint in the Maternity Ward.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on July 13, 2009 at 10:39am
Thanks for the clarification. I'm a pretty unique individual and difficult to compare to anyone. I love that Duke Ellington story because it shows a smart answer to adversity. Not anger, not violence but creativity.

Méabh, what I need to know about the essay is, am I going too far by blaming religion for the near extinction of humanity? I can defend my position with many strong arguments. Killing freethinkers and scientists during the Inquisition, for example. Check out the story of Lucilio Vanini. The man was a genius and they burned him at the stake.

Encouraging reckless reproduction such that Homo sapiens is causing the sixth great extinction. We lose 125 species every day.

I could go on and on. I believe these are important considerations.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on July 13, 2009 at 10:06am
Richard, I wasn't saying that you rant, and no... I don't consider most poetry ranting. My comment about ranting was specific to a woman who I felt to be iconic of many of the goddess- Gaia-type-environmentalists I've met.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on July 13, 2009 at 2:30am
Moi, rant? I don't even like to look at tattoos. Do you consider poetry ranting?

You remind me of a story. In the mid-50s, Duke Ellington had just played all night in a grand Atlanta hotel. He really packed them in and the music was broadcasted all over the country. At the end of the night when everything was closing up, the hotel manager told Duke and the band to stay at the all-Negro hotel a few blocks away.

On the way out, a reporter asked him how it felt being told he couldn’t stay in the hotel where he’d just put on such a great show. The Duke said, “What can I do? I pout and go home and write me some blues.”

I write some poetry and essays on my blog. That’s my response to injustice.

A pregnant pause is a pretty good idea, methinks, and I blame religion for overpopulation. I’m just trying to connect some dots. If it’s a rant, mea culpa
Comment by Little Name Atheist on July 13, 2009 at 1:17am
felch wrote: I've met an awful lot of environmentalists with the zeal of genuine religious loons, and Lovelock's writings are treated as sacred texts.

Me too. I even knew a woman who had a representation of "Gaia" tattooed on her entire back. Personally, I think her money would have been better spent paying her bills, or paying back her friends, or maybe even as a donation to an environmental group. She ranted an awful lot of doom and gloom, but I don't remember seeing her do anything more than rant.

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