Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts on the Tsunami of Modern Technology and Myopia

An interchange inspired by the On Point/NPR broadcast on the nuclear plant challenges being dealt with by the Japanese people after the recent earthquakes and tsunami:


“ANY technology, for energy or any other purpose, that leaves as residue TOXIC WASTE, is inherently flawed, no matter what the $aving$ are. Your experts handily dodged the deeper question posed to THEM about their way of spinning this human tragedy....a tragedy lived out by the mere presence of so many working nuclear plants right now. This issue goes beyond energy, beyond electricity and balance sheets. Because we can pretty up the picture doesn't mean that there is not a deep tear in the underlying canvas. Nuclear power is a horrible mistake in principle and a sad statement of modern myopic arrogance in practice.”

Cory (in reply to Ukumbwa)
“Fine, what is your solution? Do you propose a candle lit agrarian society?”

“Cory, unluckily, your questions point to that myopia I speak of. Most people who espouse the modern mistake have no real clue as to what the options are. You seem to want to define humanity by its tools and that is a modern mistake. We have much to learn from the longer history of indigeny on this earth as opposed to the short time that modernity has been making it's grand mistakes. And if this is about ME having a solution, then we are wrong again, though I may be able to voice the generalities of human genius. That human genius does not belong to me. Our modern problem is one of simple math. These technological and social choices do not add up. And to get to your "point", if we actually were adult enough to do the math and live as though we were actually world citizens in a delicately balanced universal eco-system, as all indigenous cultures have recognized, we might just find that living in candle-lit agrarian societies IS the way to avoid the serious and deep disease and stress states that modernity has so "proudly" created and, at least, that we may have to seriously rethink and retool and pull away from many of the functionally flawed technologies that the academic/scientific/corporatist complex has created and championed. What if candle lit agrarian societies actually WERE the best way to live on the earth in a sustainable and peaceful fashion? Would you have the maturity to let go of your modern technologies to live in a way that would suggest respect and love for future generations....say, seven generations or so?

Your question is actually, though, such a limiting and desperate reach for the "blue pill". It feels comfortable to be able to lie back in the ideological "asendency" of modern thought and pseudo-convenience. The lives of privilege we lead are the result of lives and eco-systems oppressed in other areas...we live at the behest of enviro-benefit displacement. There is a core inside of us that know that this can not continue any longer, no matter what people with nice titles and letters after their name say (and I have a few of those letters myself). We have yet to sit down and come to terms with the real effects of our actions in this world...as a modern social group. And when (or if?) we do, we may just find out that a radically different way of being is required if we aspire to be able to look our children in the eyes and be able to tell them that we've done our best, that the world we're handing over to them is a safe world. We can't do that right now and you know that. We all know that.

If we continue on this path, our children will curse us as they consider looking into the eyes of their own children. We are making deep mistakes. There are traditional ways of being on this earth that are tested by time and the sanity and groundedness of the creators of those traditions. Those ways are manifold. Though there may yet be some usable ways of being and creating and relating that come out of the modern experiment, history shows us that those indigenous traditions are the most reliable. We must learn to adapt them to our current realities in these challenging times.

And if that means candles, then we better figure out why all the bee populations are decreasing so drastically.”

We can only hope that the multi-level tragedy in Japan comes to a healing and consciousness-raising resolution that is a lesson for all of us. May the dead find solace in our continued work to increase the quality of life on all levels for all people, so that none of them may have died in vain.

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