HELEN CALDICOTT'S SICK "PHILOSOPHY"
BULIMIA IS NOT THE ANSWER
A note to the backward-looking, anal-obsessive Dr.Helen Caldicott
What we perceive as life, is a thermodynamic process. It has a front end, a reactive gut, and a back end. At the front end it seeks or takes in local energy, in its gut it "uses" the energy, and at the back it releases processed, depleted material. In short it eats, it respirates, and it defecates. Because this is the innate nature of all life, there cannot be any life which leaves no waste. In terms of individual creatures, or individual species, waste can be either innocuous, distasteful, or eventually poisonous, when enough has accumulated. However in planetary terms, there is no place for the concept of waste.The accretion of various processed and/or depleted materials by one species, simply sets the stage for Darwin's evolutionary laws to result in another more parsimonious species that lives on the richly deposited life-resources, once viewed as useless, by the older, obsolete life form making them.
The methane-breathing hordes of the pre-Cambrian left their oxygen "waste" for today's species to savor as the essence of life itself. The guano-producing creatures who gave us our phosphate deposits provided rich fertilizer for our farms. The numberless shelled creatures of long ago have given us our limestone continents, and even more numerous bacteria, our fossil fuels. Coral reefs are an ongoing depositing, visible to our eyes, but typical of the wider pattern of life itself.
In planetary terms, therefore, there can never be an ideal steady state. The planet's essence is not static. Change is paramount. Whatever exists now, is a moment's flicker in an eons-old fire, a fire that consumes the planet eternally, or until the sun burns out and goes cold. A species, like coral, that inhabits, uses, and forever changes the place it inhabits, is not committing a "sin of pollution".The birds or bats who "foul" their islands or their caves with guano are not guilty of malicious "bad housekeeping". Bird species, and bat species need not apologize to Gaia for their guano. In fact it is their gift to Gaia, to make of it a new beginning, which Gaia always has done. By giving back their gift of evolved, changed Gaian essence, these creatures have both embodied Gaia, and done her good work for her. In fact it is their planetary duty to process what they find, and leave it changed. If it were not Gaia's wish that these species exist, they would not have arisen. The evolutionary path trod by their ancestor and precursor species led to their existence, by the self same process they engage in now, it has never changed, and if we think it has been "good" in the past, we are forced to accept the long vision that it is also "good" now, as it happens before our eyes.
So then why do many among us view the "man-guano" we produce as evil? Why, uniquely among all creatures that ever existed, or ever could exist, why must homo sapiens sapiens leave exactly zero evidence of ever having lived as a Gaian creation, breathing in, but not breathing out, eating but never defecating, living, but never leaving any gift behind for future species? As a nest-builder, mankind leaves his version of a coral reef in his infrastructure, his cities, his dams, his huge garbage middens, sources of great archaeological richness. Is the coral itself now to dismantle each reef, at the end of each creature's tiny life, to leave the ocean "just as they found it"? ( What might be an efficient policy for a public hiking trail can be a monstrous crime, when applied to humanity as a whole).
It is a delusion. It is a futile wish, a desire for false one-ended perfection, an effort to assuage a self-invented guilt by penitent abstention, self-denial, species-denial, history-denial, and finally life-denial. It is born in an ignorance of just what living species are, and thus what they are constrained to do. It is an imaginary delusion that mankind is a god, and therefore not subject to the eternal scientific, thermodynamic , and Gaian rules that determine planetary evolution. At its lowest and most embarrassing level, it is a simple wish to not have any anus. Were mankind changeable into the "perfected" creature many greenists propose as our ethical next step, it would be a creature that would simply never leave any waste. We would breathe in oxygen, but never breathe out CO2.... We might eat food (Vegan, as they would advise us).... but we would use it entirely, and thus never emit any urine, feces, buildings, or other lasting evidence of having processed the Gaian surround. It's a crock.
In a sustainability framework, this new anus-free human race would be ideal. Free of the guilt of "fouling" our planet, we could simply grow less in numbers on a continual basis, until we were rightly seen once again as food for other species, who would then eat us, and deposit us as THEIR waste, in the end.
So-- sustainability,... far from being a high moral concept, a way to successfully find our "true station" on the planet, is none of these things, but in fact is an ill-conceived self-mutilation. Stasis is not only an impossibility in a living thermodynamic surround, to seek it eventually stunts the expansive impulse describing the host creature as vital, current, and processing on behalf of the planet, and twists current existence into a refusal to process on behalf of Gaia, a delinquent posture of false altruism, never giving back, and thus interrupting evolution itself, in a megalomanic desire to preserve humankind's flickering instant as an eternal "sustainable" set- piece, and the races to come after be damned.....
Sustainability is therefore a monstrous hubris, born of self-deification, and over-mentalization. In point of fact there is a single sustainable condition, well known to all. That condition is death. By pathological mentalization, some young women imagine their bodies to need constant reduction, and so they abstain from food, or purge when they do eat, in an effort to achieve an unreachable, delusive "perfect" state, a state that in the end, untreated, will very certainly turn out to be their own death. In exactly analogous fashion, "Sustainability" is preached as an end to the very techniques that have led to mankind's current flourishing condition, a state of great health and vitality the world over, overrunning new habitats at every turn , an obviously successful adaptive episode, processing the planet's heritage fully and joyously, urging us instead to take up new, less fruitful, less expansive, less responsive, more isolating strategies---- for what purpose? That the planet may be denied our existence as who we truly are, as who the planet itself has evolved us to be, and be given a wan, mentalized, mutilated, bulimic ideal in its stead?
It stems from the bipolar nature of human thinking. In ancient languages, the words for up, & down, or for hot & cold are the same word. Only their use denotes which of the paired concepts is meant each time it is spoken. Thus we dream in opposites, always opposing. Since we seem successful, and happiness is reachable now for billions, unhappiness must also exist, in exactly equal measure. Maybe it does, or maybe it does not. Reality is not the issue. Perception of "balance" in the human mind is the great quest, and in this mentalization, greenists seek what is unfindable. They seek balance in an unbalanced , dynamic, evolving reality, and it is not to be found. In fact, the only true "balanced" condition vis-a-vis life, is the absence of life, either non-existence, or death. That a mentalization seeks balance and finds death, is a great human conundrum, dealt with in differing ways by Buddha, Christ, and the pagans. Buddha urges each to seek his own mental death, Christ invites us to worship his proxy death, and the pagans simply kill each other for the honor and the blood thrill.
Thus sustainability, as a philosophy, mines the same human quirk as Buddhism, much in vogue in the West, and infects media with invitations to mass bulimic purgings on all sides. The West, rejecting its worn-out Christianity, heartily embraces its new crypto-buddhist task, and purges en-masse, still forced to attain great individual freedom & wealth, but guilt-ridden about it unless it is bought off by some visible self-mutilation, be it a piercing, declasse clothes, or the refusal to eat meat. These mutilations must occur under the gaze of the less fortunate, to have best emotional effect. As an internal reactive mentalization, it can be viewed as a superstition, or a comforting delusion. Since it works against the very success tactics used by 99% of the human race, it is false, and if pursued relentlessly, it is evil. Muslims correctly regard it as an end-stage pathology, a sin, and thus a need for conversion to Islam.
Thus those who tell us coal use emits CO2, and nuclear power results in spent fuel are spouting a banality, as if it were big news, simply for the way it makes them feel. Forgetting to look forward, where our destiny lies, they turn back, to decry our own back-end, our waste-depositing apparatus, and, focused tightly on the anus-of-mankind to the exclusion of all else, they catalog the droppings, with great and obsessive fascination, urging the entire species to fear their own leavings, never realizing that the race, and the planet, are done with it, and need to move on, despite it.
This article proposes no new strategy to move forward, except that full acceptance of all aspects of human endeavor will be required, barring nothing, in order to fully process our Gaian surround,
and that looking back has been taught to us from ancient times as a mistake, one that turned Lot's wife to a pillar of salt.
tags: Indian Point, nuclear, helen caldicott, bulimia is not the answer
Posted by FEED BURNER at 17.4.07