Ecological Analysis (in English)
It's not the globe but humanity's Eco-world, the eco-system we live IN - not ON, which rides the globe's surface as a passenger and which, besides maybe averagely over-warming and probably undergoing SOME significant irregularity of climate patterns, has DEFINITELY been (probably-fatally) disrupted by too many people and their toxic clutter.
(a treatise on science-related language abuse)
Language does matter. You were taught as a child (maybe you forgot) that Planet Earth (our home globe) has been cooling ever since it was first formed of molten stuff. And it probably still is. Hey! Look it up somewhere else on the net under something like Earth's molten core. I don't like teaching you things that everybody (except flat-Earthers, religious fundamentalists, and Al Gore), already knows.
And while you're at it, now that your minders have changed their one-phrase (global warming) story to another one-phrase (climate change) story, instead of just jumping up and down and shouting the new phrase back at them like temporarily mindless football fans, surf past all the blog-boards occupying the internet to some credible sources and look up the currently anointed p.c. slogan, climate change, too.
Maybe you'll find out (or maybe you won't) that it's truer than the more fanciful slogan, global warming; maybe you'll learn some details that are inconvenient to your minders - maybe that neither global surface warming nor climatic irregularity is general now but is so far only multi-local; maybe that, while they aren't general now, they will be; maybe that they are alarmingly multi-local now but will be less so in the future ; maybe that they are temporary or sporadic or who knows; MAYBE that there's not really any comprehensive world-wide network of temperature and weather observation stations constantly or carefully monitoring enough data to prove any of the above; and maybe you'll put one over on your minders and learn the important thing: that possibly profound surface warming and/or climate irregularity are NOT everything going wrong with the eco-system but just examples of a wider range (MUCH MORE IMPORTANT AS A RANGE THAN SEPARATELY) of parallel catastrophes most of which your minders' rich bosses don't want you to think about all at once, for fear you'll turn against growth itself, an attitude shift that would be bad for business.
Maybe there'll be another essay about global warming or climate change further down this page. But right now my subject isn't one or two buzz phrases. My subject now is more comprehensively ALL the obvious real and really important stuff being cunningly or stupidly covered up by embedded media, political leaders, teachers, sloganeering pseudo progressives, and even language-challenged scientists (consciously or unconsciously for the sake of business), very much through (among other blind strategies) language abuse.
Language does matter a LOT. In fact, believe it or not (pay serious attention to THIS, Stephen Hawking), LANGUAGE (the English language, anyway) is the highest form of math! Coherent analysis and subsequent understanding by rational real-world-dwelling humans, including about subjects that language-challenged scientists believe are stuck in their esoteric incoherent numbers game, REALLY depend not on arithmetic but on language + sensory experience - on things like definition, syntax, grammar, paragraph structure, organized presentation PLUS, of course, honest observation.
In fact, THE INTEGERS OF MATH ARE ONLY ICONIC SYMBOLS FOR VERBAL AND VISUAL CONCEPTS, which can't be well or easily understood without translation back into words or images - a difficult feat for language challenged mathematicians. But, in fact, meticulously coherent articulation PLUS obvious correlation with real-world experience can provide those who can read, write, speak, listen and think logically with VERBAL equations that add up to (i.e. EQUAL) definite credibility and sometimes perfectly obvious validity, as is being proven, sentence after sentence, on this website. I'm talking about a thinking procedure, which, for communication purposes,if not more exact, is a more sensible and therefore a better (i.e. more effective) process than math, which I've been calling conceptual math, but which I should perhaps call VERBAL math.
Language is VERY important, and language ABUSE, which is rampant in news reporting, presidential speeches, religious literature, slogans waved at demonstrations, and incoherent books about even more incoherent science (written by people like Stephen Hawking who claims arithmetic has replaced language based philosophy but is ironically trying to translate his arithmetic into imitation language-based philosophy to make it clear - he thinks) not only confuses listeners and readers, it obscures and discounts the importance of logic itself, literally balling logic and metaphysics up together into a near indivisible mess leading to things like the (objectively speaking) idiotic belief (a religious belief, really) that THE universe is expanding and that TIME began with what's injudiciously and very presumptuously called THE one and only "big bang."
Meanwhile, more down-to-Earth language abuse opens the door to the stupid environmental skepticism of right-wing and red-neck half-smart smart-alecs, AND to the cunning sales pitches of establishment con-men like Al Gore, who are selling you, not science, but themselves + entrepreneurial (light-bulb) environmentalism, which, while it will sell merchandise, won't resolve (dubious) global warming(sic)
OR (the improved but still inadequate pc buzz phrase) climate change
OR (somewhat accurately but still incompletely speaking) eco-world warming here and there and maybe on average everywhere
OR (finally both accurate, complete, perfectly coherent and THEREFORE apparently critically important BUT not yet mentionable by growth loving news media straining to be the last to get the growth-unfriendly news) eco-system decay and distortion due to overgrowth of the human race and their encampment and including but not limited to climatic irregularity which, along with ozone holes and probably other factors, is causing the world's ice caps and glaciers to melt, and which, combined with an array of other eco-catastrophes, has over-all more-importantly ALSO already led us INto
THE COMPREHENSIVE COLLAPSE OF THE ECO-SYSTEM,
which is happening RIGHT NOW, without ANY sensible response from the world's overly business-interested and horribly language-challenged governments OR even from supposed environmentalists who theatrically boldly, very simplistically confront those they call "climate-change deniers" (sometimes the illiterate idiots say "climate deniers" -JH(F)C!) every day but who appear (to me) to be too politically correctly shy themselves to confront big-business governments OR their fellow citizens with the much more apparently TRUE (or certainly just as apparently true, if you wish, though I think that's a literally silly qualification) REALITY (which THEY seem to be obediently denying to appease the business-owned government and media who dominate them and who don't want anyone questioning business-critical GROWTH) that the eco-WORLD we live in is comprehensively collapsing due to OVERGROWTH of human population, habitat, business, and technology - collapsing slowly to the eye, maybe, but definitely collapsing. Collapsing IS the judiciously selected correct English word.
The words world and end
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
This is what I've been telling you
This is what I AM telling you
This is what I'll keep telling you
It's whimper time
Read the following sentence just as a sentence, not as a message from me to you, but just as an example of a simple sentence, to read and take note of your own reaction.
It's the end of the world.
I'm certain you had no trouble reading that sentence. It's short, only six words, each word only one syllable, each word familiar and evocative, and the six words together dramatic. Furthermore, you've seen it many times before. So you've had practice reading it and practice perceiving its tone and impact. Now (without throwing up your hands and crying, "omagawd! It's 41 words") try to read the next sentence in the same way, just as a sentence, to read and take note of your own reaction.
Right now, our world, not the planet we live ON but the eco-world we live WITHIN and are part of, the ecosystem that rides the planet like a passenger in transit, as we do, is collapsing - NOT blowing to bits - collapsing.
Here. I'll make it easier for you. Read the following slo-o-owly, one word at a time, pausing between lines:
not the planet we live ON but the eco-world we live WITHIN
and are part of,
the ecosystem that rides the planet like a passenger in transit,
as we do,
- NOT blowing to bits
This is about a choice of words. Any pairing of the words world and end, has connotations of shrill lunacy. This is arbitrary, of course, possibly part of a tacitly vigilant community defense against con men, and maybe (better) an intelligent reaction to apocalyptic mysticism that IS loony. But it may have become (worse) a defense against environmental realism. Anyway, it's there. Anyone who speaks of the end of the world has some explaining to do.
But there's nothing wrong with explaining things, is there.
People are shy of references to "the end of the world," thanks to the nutcases among us. But the solution isn't language abuse that, besides being vague, is probably inaccurate. like the phrase global warming or the slogan, Save our planet! The solution is to clarify the point.
There's nothing wrong with the word world in an ecological discussion, if it's understood to mean the eco-world and not the planet or some vague Biblical region. Instead of the word end, I could use the very modern and technologically acceptable word crash, since it currently sounds more objective, though, unfortunately, it still means end, which is a better word, as long as it's understood, in an ecological context, to mean NOT exploding or vanishing but collapsing, functionally failing (as human hearts often do, thus ENDING human lives), or (better) mutating and twisting into something else so unfriendly to human life as to be either very possibly, or probably, or eventually or virtually fatal to all but artificially capsulized humans, i.e. the end of the world, as we used to know it and still need to have it, for humanity.
Is such a thing as an end (a functional death) of the eco-world we live in possible? Think! Many rational folks think Mars was once inhabitable by beings like us, but now it apparently isn't. If it was, it has changed. There's still a planet there, but no eco-system like ours exists there now, so if life like ours ever flourished there, the eco-world in which it flourished crashed, and it makes sense to use the word ended as a synonym for crashed. If there were ever people like us on Mars, their world ended.
Even if a robotic probe were to discover Martians (if there were ever any such thing as Martians) still living enclosed in underground plastic bubbles (i.e. mechanically sustained artificial miniature eco-systems), such as current technology would probably allow Earth scientists to set up for Earthlings now, it would be illogical and possibly insane to say that the Martian world, still being OK for a few such capsulized beings, may not have ended after all. If there were ever Martians breathing under the open sky, even if there are still Martians buried alive in underground malls, the Martian world has ended.
And what conceivably could have happened on Mars, even if it didn't happen there, can happen and indeed IS happening on Earth. Since the eco-world that hosts humans on Earth is still hanging on - lingering - it might seem more appropriate to say it is endING - crashING. But it also makes sense to call it done for, beyond the point of no return, racing toward total eco-collapse with nothing being done to stop it, and therefore as good as ended.
Did I just say the world has already ended?
(some words you need to get clear and some thoughts you need to think)
World: a noun objectively referring not necessarily to the planet on which we live but, in this discussion, to the gestalt, the Eco-system in which we live.
End: a verb that may objectively follow a noun that is or is not ending, will or will not end, or has or has not ended.
Examples of usage: The world of the Apache has ended. The world of the eskimo is ending. The world of the Amazon Indian is about to end. The world of the dodo bird and the California grizzly have already ended. The world of the buffalo has ended but some specimens survive in artificial environments that may fool them. The worlds of the polar bear and all tiger species have almost reached the same point. Animal-rights activists who want the zoos closed and their prisoners released back into their own wild worlds are kidding themselves; all those worlds are ending ahead of their doomed former inhabitants. And so, I'm not just suggesting but telling you, is the world of humans.
A series of relevant scenarios, going forth and back
1. A still living human lump, sitting forever in a heavily shuttered den watching old Tarzan movies on his computer monitor can forget what isn't outside anymore, go passively nuts, and think the image of trees and animals on the screen is the world still going on, even though a peek though the blinds would show him nothing but junky cars parked along a littered street.
2. Rats living always in a laboratory maze can think the maze is the world still going on, even if the maze has been stowed in a spaceship that escaped with the rats and the last living maze attendant (who is still watching old Tarzan movies on the ship's computer) just before a comet smashed their home planet to space dust.
3. The comet can miss the planet and destroy the spaceship, and the planet can go on without any human survivors. Or, there doesn't have to be a comet. A planet, as all its vegetable and animal species vanish, its seas turn to acid, its aquifers dry up or turn to salt water, and its atmosphere turns to gas, and all its last computer power-packs die, can become uninhabitable for most known biological species.
4. A poisonous or airless condition on the planet's surface can go on, as it does on other planets, virtually forever.
THERE'S NO POINT COUNTING SCENARIOS ANY FURTHER INTO THE FUTURE, SO, COUNTING FROM A SLIGHTLY EARLIER POINT BACKWARD TOWARD THE PRESENT, THE FOLLOWING SERIES OF SCENARIOS IS ALSO OBJECTIVELY VALID:
3. A residual system of small underground plastic bubbles with artificial air and food and water synthesizing plants, housing living clusters and work centers, all connected by plastic transit tubes can go on existing beneath the surface of a dead (already ecologically ended) world.
2. (before 3) A limited group of small surviving cities enclosed like shopping malls can exist on the surface of a dying planet, their populations fed and watered by large enclosed greenhouses and always frantically pumping water purification plants, workers moving between points in sealed vehicles carrying oxygen tanks.
1. (before 2) The current grotesquely transitional phase, a vast network of Oaklands and Fresnos connected by 8-lane freeways and separated by always growing "developed" (the most insidious euphemism in the language) agricultural, pasture, residential, and recreational tracts, the remaining space between them constantly being gobbled up by more and more "development," may be able to go on without plastic covers for longer than I think.
But, logically, and I do mean logically, the world in which a finally rational civilized beautiful one-world eco-sane socialist state could have made life really good for everyone has already ended, and the best Brand X alternative we ever had for that is long ended and literally UNRETRIEVABLE. Period.
Some facts you may not know or may be trying to forget
Lie to yourselves. Don't lie to me. With only a bit over 80 years, not even a century, of memory, I (and really anyone much over 50) can easily remember a world that was so much better than this one that it's reasonable to think of IT as THE world we've been cheated out of - that's gone - ended - and of the rapidly withering world we have left as a daily uglier substitute ever more rapidly "developing" away, too. That's an objective fact.
And these are objective facts. When I was a boy, I could lie on my belly next to a mountain stream, put my face in the running water and drink it, and nobody would warn me off. Why not? That recently, we all drank water out of the tap. Did you know that?
When I got my first driver's license, most of the roads in California were winding two-lane (or narrower) roads and cities were sensibly represented on maps as dots or little circles; freeways were a novelty and only Los Angeles and the Bay Area had begun ominously bloating. I'm not lying. It wasn't until well after WWII that the word went out that all the water in the world was contaminated and a tightly capped water bottle found on a plane that had crashed in the Sahara only 10 years before was declared the only naturally clean water on Earth. Are you straining to consider this paragraph an exaggeration? Don't you know it was the veterans of WWII who STARTED growing the monster Los Angeles?
The phrase EVER MORE RAPIDLY "developing" away means something. Just over 500 years ago, Columbus didn't even realize he was fleeing west ahead of "development." But James Fenimore Cooper, only 350 years after Columbus, saw the creeping rot, the insane over-killing of game, the reckless clearing of land, as a clear menace, though a menace Natty Bumppo (or Daniel Boone) could still easily run ahead of by going west. Only 125 years after that, John Steinbeck saw that the end of the "west" as a concept had arrived and that there was nowhere left to spoil. But John Steinbeck was an early contemporary of MINE. He only died in 1968, when I was 32. Try reading his 1937 description of Highway 101 in "Of Mice and Men." When I first drove it 15 years later at 16 (about 60 years ago), that road hadn't changed a lot since George and Lennie's day, except there was a lot more traffic. But only 60 years after that, almost all the connecting highways which, in Steinbeck's day were two lane roads you could SPEED along with your window open sucking in clean air, are now 2-4 lanes each way and growing and often jammed to a smoggy stop.
Smog, when I was in high school about 60 years ago, was believed to be an oddity found ONLY in Los Angeles, due to a peculiar land formation. Along roads I first followed through Mexico and Central America less than 30 years ago, when it was hard to avoid running over wild life and all-day stretches of thick jungle were still there, I'm now lucky to see a buzzard or an occasional acre of natural forest. The tiny California beach town of less than 1500 people I started growing up in is now jammed together with 7 other also-once-small towns into a metropolitan sprawl that looks (from the freeway speeding past) like part of Los Angeles.
Embedded mathematicians may have convinced you that the explosion of "development" is over, and that the population that is obviously still growing faster and faster is now shrinking, and that conditions that are obviously getting worse are going to get better - somehow. So, you may think I'm a misinformed crazy man to tell you they're either lying or dizzily miscalculating for their corporate, growth loving bosses, and that even US population is certainly now far bigger than they're telling us. But I'm not crazy. That's the visible reality in front of my eyes and yours, and you know it. And, even if you have your hands tightly over your eyes, what do you think the ones who always smile, the ones who like to be thought visionary but who want to keep their friends, mean, when, without explaining themselves, they use phrases like tipping point and before it's too late and even slogans like Save the Planet!? Hmm? What do they mean? You know what they mean. Of course, you do. Even they secretly know what they mean. And I've known for 60-65 years what they're so late getting around to meaning, so I'm not going to coddle you.
I know that a completely different and better world - the world I grew up in - has certainly already ended, and the warped-world mess I live in now is itself much more rapidly clogging, decaying and ending, too.
Of ants, men, otters and eco-collapse and words like stupid
"The Hellstrom Chronicle," a 1971 movie with an amazing magnified view, started out looking through an "electron" microscope at various tiny horrors but ended up looking with editorial dread only at ants. Audience paranoia was deliberately provoked by pushing people's faces impossibly close to their war with ants, and by apparently scientifically proving that the ants would eventually prevail and take over the world.
It was an impressive movie that successfully helped its audience scare themselves stupid, a little like the way anti-environment media hype today helps commercial fishermen (who constantly haul in huge net-loads of fish at a time and indiscriminately scrape tons of whatever life gets in their way off the sea bottom) to blame the disappearance of shellfish on a few hundred barely surviving otters.
To put it mildly, OH BOY, have Dr. Hellstrom and the anti-environmental media and fishermen framed the wrong Godzillas!
The ant population of today's twilight eco-world is certainly holding out more successfully than the sea otter population and may (or may not) have even grown since 1971, but it's gotta be hard (though clearly not impossible for embedded media) to pretend that the always pesky ants are more menacing than humans, given that each human is a million X bigger than an ant and, en-monstrous-masse, ONLY SINCE 1971 (when they were already 25 X too numerous), humans have not only more than doubled in numbers, but, through excess technology, have become very possibly a million X more destructive than ants, otters, and all other predator species combined.
To be fair, the fictitious Dr. Hellstrom's unfilmed expectation was that ants would be free to take over the world only AFTER humans succeed in killing themselves and everything else off, a disaster he, like me, was expecting not long after 1971 - a still credible forecast, since it hasn't been that long!! and my own prediction 22 years earlier (1950), that the final collapse of the eco-world humans were trying so hard to destroy would be plainly happening by right about now, is obviously coming true in spades - aces and eights.
Stop and think a bit (actually on your own without embedded media help). Only 10,000 years ago, neolithic humans, though just about to break free of their place in a still natural eco-system, had about the same presence and ecological weight as tigers and pigeons and otters and ants. They destroyed and contributed, just like all the other species, all of which were out to get each other then, as they are now, yet somehow co-existed in a balanced way - birds, beasts, viruses, plants, fish, insects and humans.
But to maintain that brutal but effective dynamic, there had to continue to be more healthy air, earth and water than grass; more grass than grass eaters; and more grass eaters than carnivores and omnivores. More little fish than big fish, that is. The base of the pyramid of life had to STAY far broader than its apex. And it did. In those days, there was wall-to-wall clean air, earth, and water, zillions of immaculate grass blades, millions of grass-eaters, and hundreds of thousands of carnivores and omnivores including humans, and, except in the immediate vicinity of recently invented human camp fires, the air was clear, the water was clean, the earth, even while it did its job as a routine shit filter was pristine. And to keep things that way, all that was required of the apex-dwelling elements was that they had to keep living and dying (keep surviving and NOT surviving) at proportionally the same rate as the base-dwelling elements.
Since then, ants may have contributed something to the warping of balance, though I don't know what. It's true they aren't cooperatively being backed into corners and disappearing, like bears and tigers, deers and antelopes, and all the fish in the sea; or paved over and turned into sand and salt like grasslands and rainforests; or bottled like all the fresh water in the world. But their contrary survival rate is passive. It's humans, who 10,000 years ago only destroyed and contributed their part, who are now actively destroying a million times their part and, except for a few over-celebrated restorative gestures, are contributing mainly toxic wastes and ugly high-rises, and who, instead of going on surviving and not surviving at a sustainable rate, have grown from maybe 7 hundred thousand then to 70 thousand times a hundred thousand now.
And, thanks certainly to mankind (not to ants or otters) the SKY is now poisonously dirty, the ocean is getting that way, the soil is turning into the wrong chemicals, and this is where I stop being indisputably objective and start "name-calling."
Actually the rest of this is objective, too. It may be impolite to use words like stupid, but stupid is a real word with real meaning, and sometimes it's inaccurate and even offensively NON objective NOT to use it.
To go on stubbornly pretending that all the indisputable contemporary human destructiveness objectively reported here is part of a natural, cyclical process that has nothing to do with human population growth IS stupid. Even to timidly, diplomatically acknowledge or hint that (since some people think so) humans (still without even whispering about population growth) MAY have something to do with what humans obviously DO is too hypocritical to call merely hypocritical. Objectively speaking, it's stupid, and any independent thinker with a functioning brain who talks like that should wash his mouth out with soap.
To pretend to think that a relentless DAILY gain of 300,000 gobbling human heads - the YEARLY plopping down on the Earth's surface of the equivalent of 365 MORE cities as big and ugly as Stockton - is only mathematically interesting and entrepreneurially challenging - or that, even though there are obviously already too many people for current levels of poisonous excess technology to accommodate, all that's needed is enough MORE poisonous technology to feed the too many already existing people so they can then blissfully add even MORE is criminally stupid.
And stupid is a cautious adjective to describe the pretense that we NEED to KEEP the growth rate going to have WHAT? Enough MORE dirt-poor farm workers to feed even MORE people? Enough MORE young taxpayers to support MORE old people? Enough MORE soldiers to outnumber and shoot back at all the additional "enemy" soldiers? Enough MORE suckers to keep the profits flowing to a growing number of con-men? To avoid missing another unborn Einstein to join me crying out in the growing intellectual darkness? To obey God's order to "go forth and multiply? To triumphantly out-number the ants?
STUPID isn't an objective ENOUGH or impolite ENOUGH word for it. The objective and appropriately impolite word is insane.
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