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Cutting Through Polluted Public Discourse


Cutting Through Polluted Public Discourse

David Suzuki

“We’re not going to get off fossil fuels overnight!” How many times have you heard that? Over the decades I’ve been hearing it, we’ve increased exploration and development, continued to build infrastructure that locks us in to fossil fuels for years to come, increased greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and failed to conserve energy and develop clean energy to the extent necessary to prevent catastrophic global climate change. At some point, the phrase just becomes an excuse for procrastination.


I believe it’s Louisiana where a new law is being considered that would impose severe civil and criminal penalties on people protesting fracking, pipelines and other fossil fuel operations by civil disobedience. As I remember, the wording elevates these commercial ventures to the status of “critical infrastructure.”

But if you ask the protestors, they’re struggling to protect rivers and wetlands—which are the REAL “critical infrastructure.” Skewed thinking and skewed language go hand in hand in the pursuit of profit at any cost.


Today is Trump’s National Day of Prayer. Can he guess what we’re all praying for?


Everybody except Trump will be praying for something today.

The closest Trump gets to prayer is the second hand prayer he is subjected to when Pence is around.


I’ve heard Trump prays that the Propecia he takes everyday never stops working, and it allows him to get a little “stiffy” long enough for him to rub one out.

  1. global warming
  2. biodiversity loss
  3. population growth
  4. pollution
  5. outdated economic systems

items 2 through 4 from the above list of challenges contribute to the #1 challenge, global warming. of course, challenge #3 refers to human population growth which promotes loss of biodiversity and pollution. i’m pretty sure that item #5, “outdated economic systems” refers specifically to capitalism. although any economic philosophy that focuses only on advancing humanity’s standard of living will destroy the commons and promote more war.

“John Locke stated his belief, in his Second Treatise, that nature on its own provides little of value to society; he provides the implication that the labour expended in the creation of goods gives them their value. This is used as supporting evidence for the interpretation of Locke’s labour theory of property as a labour theory of value, in his implication that goods produced by nature are of little value, unless combined with labour in their production and that labour is what gives goods their value.”

oh, i so strongly disagree with locke! do we not understand that without physics, without Nature nothing would exist? what utter arrogance! our anthropocentric belief that our species has the god given mission to control Nature for the monetary benefit of the human race is now in the process of destroying “our” earth. “our” here refers to every plant, animal and the rocks themselves. geoengineering? as long as humans fail to appreciate the whole we will continue on this warrior path to self destruction.

“Scientists at the Berlin Social Science Research Centre suggest creating “a new international climate engineering agency to coordinate countries’ efforts and manage research funding.” Because some geoengineering is likely unavoidable, that’s a good idea. But rather than rationalizing our continued use of fossil fuels in the false belief that technology will enable us to carry on with our destructive ways, we really need governments, scientists and industry to start taking climate change and greenhouse gas emissions seriously. We can’t just engineer our way out of the problem.” –David Suzuki


I love David Suzuki. But does he really think the heart of the problem is uncivil discourse? That, if we’re all just polite and our arguments well-reasoned, it will counteract the neoliberal economic ecocide that is ascendant and accelerating? “Polluted public discourse” is a symptom; unbridled capitalism underwriting plutocracy is the disease. [See also Amazon.]


Just in yesterday from the National Snow and
Ice Data Center’s Arctic Sea Ice News:

As averaged over the Arctic Ocean (Figure 4d), the multiyear ice cover during week nine has declined from 61 percent in 1984 to 14 percent in 2018, the least amount of multiyear ice recorded. In addition, only 1 percent of the ice cover is five years or older, also the least amount recorded. This is rather striking since September 2017 did not set a new record low minimum extent.

Note particularly the graphs ‘a’ and ‘b’ in the section:

Large reductions in multiyear ice in the 2017 to 2018 winter

Multi-Year Ice near extinction ?


Dr. Suzuki ROCKS!


We truly now live in an Orwellian world my friend.


Let me save you all the suspense. We as humans will do little to stop Climate Change. Expect the absolute worst possibilities and plan accordingly. In the end we are nothing but a blight that destroys every thing we touch.


Icebreaking ships. Future shipping, drilling…and war lanes.


Yeah, that he gets instructions on how to use a condom?


Civil discourse or the lack thereof is indeed a major part of the problem, not because it is uncivil, but because in terms of function, it is not discourse.

Functional discourse involves discussion all around, so that individuals work out what part they do or do not have for themselves in a larger schema involving many people–even up to the quantities of people required to respond to global warming, conceivably.

Discourse failing, the responses of individual actors and smaller coalitions do not coordinate, and often fail to make sense.

I’d say that’s right where we are, with lots of disinformation, and more atomized angst than sensible action.


Dr. Suzuki, I’ve been moved by your work. By your voice. By the way you stand, by the kindness you seem moved by.

So it is with deepest respect that I offer the following responses to this piece of yours.

Dr. Suzuki, one cannot ameliorate the Sixth Mass Extinction by “cutting” through polluted discourse, publicly or privately.

For it is the cognitive mind—the relatively young cognitive mind raised to the lonely, alienated pinnacle of all evolution by the human ego—that loves to CUT! And this is the villain who has given us the Sixth Mass Extinction.

Earth/spirit, body/mind, female/male, object/subject, even right/wrong—all these are seen as warring opposites by the (unintegrated, egoic, uninititated) cognitive mind. It is the cognitive mind’s egocentric Self-ignorance that sees these partners in the dance of creation as inevitable, eternal enemies.

It is that mind that invariably CUTS!

It is that mind that spawns all pollution.

Logic dictates that further cutting won’t solve this problem.

Therefore, to propose more of this cutting is only to propose a continuation of mind’s endless war.

To propose a “new and better” war to end all war…haven’t we heard that from mental supremacists before?

To Truly end war—the only hope for our survival—we must grok where this egocentric fixation on cutting came from, what genuine need this habit arose to meet, and how the habit can change. In other words, we need to grok how our genuine need can be more delightfully met through other means.

You, like many modern scientists, seem bewildered by the “incivility” that so characterizes our collective discourse these days. But there are many good scientists here who do not find this phenomenon surprising in the least.

Do you even recognize us as scientists, Dr. Suzuki? Or do you continue to regard modernity’s science as having a special, even unique, claim on Truth?

I observe that professional scientists of modernity are relatively poorly equipped to lead our current transformational process. For modernity’s science has risen to its position of status and authority through claiming a privileged relation to the Truth on the basis of its special “objectivity.” This has been a marvelously effective strategy for achieving material rewards for generations of scientists!

It has also led to our present paradigm-incommensurability impasse, (Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolution) which you nicely describe here.

As you note, we can all See that a quick and complete transformation from dependence on fossil fuels to another basis for daily material life is now required.

But it seems that no one can figure out how to actually do this!

So we almost all wring our hands, make excuses, and blame one another, while the Sixth Mass Extinction accelerates exponentially!

We go on looking for “new and better” solutions—in the same old place, in the same old way, we’ve been looking. Why should the results surprise any scientist of Common Sense?

We’re caught in mental supremacy, Dr. Suzuki. We can’t see, from within that immature egocentric mind’s structuring paradigmatic constraints, how to go beyond.

So we just keep doing what we’ve been doing, although even mind cannot now help but recognize that IT’S NOT WORKING!

Yes, it is only logical that modernity’s professional scientists are most often of little help here.

For modernity’s science is the favorite child of mental supremacy. Modernity’s science is the apotheosis of egocentric mind.

Modernity’s science begins from within the perception that we humans (and/or white humans, and/or male humans) are the only subjects here.

Modernity’s science has always acted as if it is our human “nature,” (read: fixed/immutable/static) and thus “right” (ditto) to treat everything else as an “object”.

Modernity’s science has therefore, quite naturally, gone on to cut everything else into smaller and smaller pieces in a fundamentally misguided, but tremendously “successful” attempt to “understand” everything—all from within mind’s existing habits of self-perception.

(Does this sound like narcissism? That’s because it is.)

Modernity’s scientists have always conflated understanding with manipulation, Dr. Suzuki.

Modernity’s science, the egocentric mind’s sharpest scalpel, inevitably ends by cutting the world itself, Life itself, into pieces. It ends by annihilating everyone, including us.

Modenity’s scientists are mental supremacy’s High Priest/esses, Dr. Suzuki.

Certain that they themselves have cut through the pollution of religiosity, they have instead served as agents for a “new and better” religion. The cult of a Nihilistic God. God Mind. God Money.

This has been True despite the fact that most scientists have, of course, had nothing but the best intentions.

We all Know the saying about good intentions. We’re living out the Truth of it now…

I appreciate your contributions, Dr. Suzuki. You read as a gentle, caring person, and I cherish that way of being wherever I encounter it.

But again with all due respect, there are other kinds of scientists who’ve long been hard at work here on Earth who’ve always groked how we can all move immediately to a more ecocentric way of moving, perceiving, feeling and acting.

There are other types of scientists here who’ve long been dissed, silenced and demonized—not to mention, murdered in droves, all over Earth—by modernity’s professional scientists. By good people like yourself.

It is this other type of scientist who now holds the key to transforming this Mass Extinction into Total Regeneration.

When the professional scientists of modernity humbly and persistently call for help, asking forgiveness for your collective crimes against such hard-working but dishonored scientists of other stripes, you will hear from us!

But not until then. For not until then will you be able to hear these voices that offer you—and everyone—True peace. Right now, and progressively.

I pray that you are ready to lead modernity’s professional scientists in the direction of Truth and Reconciliation today, Dr. Suzuki.

For a voice like yours has great, and righteous, power to move people’s hearts. And it is the heart that holds the golden key.