It’s been one crisis after another around here lately. It’s this screwed up system we have here that is bought and paid for by rich oligarchs who don’t give a s— about how much damage they cause as long as their bottom line keeps increasing. You can parade out all the intellectual thinkers you want(Suzuki) but nothing’s gonna change until there is a sea-change by the people. We can only take so much.
Oh, thank you. A breath of fresh air amid the fetid nay-saying and nihilism rampant in these pages.
To what aspects of “this . . . system” are you referring? Or were you just venting, which is OK but often confusing.
I just explained that in the previous sentence. What is your purpose here if all you can do is dissect our opinions and throw out your defense of the “screwed up system”. There, figure it out again.
Do you mean Eccles book “How the Self Controls its Brain”? I actually have a small connection to Eccles in that area - as he often quoted, and was in frequent contact, with Benjamin Libet who I worked with in designing and analyzing some influential studies he conducted on the subconscious mind in the 70s and 80s.
"We have no end of solutions to crises, but systemic change is required to overcome the short-sighted greed that sent us speeding down this path,” so said David Suzuki. End solutions to human crisis events are possible, but there is an end which looks less luxurious thankfully hopefully an end to crude wastefulness and opulent disregard for environmental impact and resilience.
Good interview (imo)
Why it’s time to think about human extinction | Dr David Suzuki
"Can the damage we’ve done to the planet be reversed? Is extinction of the human race imminent? We talk about population control, the importance of renewable energy and discuss what we can do right now in our own lives that can actually make a difference.
This is for anyone who cares about the future of mankind.
Why humanity has only got 1 minute left to live
Humans are the only species that don’t care about their own children
Educate yourself on politics or don’t complain about the government
Can we be saved from our own extinction?
A final challenge for entrepreneurs
Oh–OK. Clearly, venting.
Q: Where on earth do you get the idea that I am DEFENDING any particle of whatever “system” you have in mind?
There is only one possible solution to humanitys on going demise .
It’s a spiritual solution,understanding our Oneness with each other and that everything is connected …from there the solutions will appear from no-where to now-here the dominos will be set in motion.We will suddenly begin to see what we must do to make our planet work for the highest good of all not just for the interests of the rich and powerful .
We will all want it this way .
All For One And One For All.
The Golden rule will finally be practised not just a fleeting statement .
We have tried & seen FAIL miserably:
“Trickle down economics” ~ total failure!
Deregulation of banks & businesses. Fail!
Propping up oil & gas, while NOT doing same for “alternative energies”.
Private, for profit health care/ insurance. (How did they help us with pandemic?) Fail!
Massive (grotesque!) funding of Defense Dept. that is NOT about defense. It is a “War & Killing Dept.” Pure & simple!
We have bailed out those “too big to fail” & they didn’t change.
Let them fail!
Business mergers ~ Let markets decide. Fail!
Campaign funding “reform” ~ FAIL! (Electoral College is also a big fail!)
Tax cuts for the very wealthy… Epic fail!
Positive changes from top, down. Fail!
Seems to me that changes, new ideas, tolerance, saving evironment & climate change…& definitely, consumer economics & real wage growth – must come from the bottom, up!
Grassroots, not status quo, is where change for thr better comes from!
The Establishment does not “change course” unless forced to do so. And most often, not until too late. We don’t have the luxury of time to wait for them to catch up. It is up to us all!
No disagreement with everything you wrote.
But my question is, of course, so what is he, and we SUPPOSED to do? In actual reality… not in some social/eco warrior fantasy novel?
I am at a loss. Spouse and I have spent our entire adult lives, working fairly society enhancing jobs, trying to raise two good kids, living a modest life and spending a fair portion of our time trying to support progressive local candidates with our time and money, trying to educate family, friends and community on the important issues facing the country and the planet, protesting, calling writing and all the rest.
I certainly do not think our little efforts of one family would or should change anything but I see lots of people doing what we are doing and yet the needle has , if we face pure unadulterated reality, moved to things getting exponentially worse… A few bright lights flash occasionally but nothing holds and rebound seems worse than before the bit of light…
What can anyone seemingly do including Suzuki?
Get a few monuments torn down, a few flags changed, a few kids out of detention while in a week triple that amount maybe locked up, an environmental law changes for the better whilst ten more awful things are done in the same day…
We keep trying to move forward and stay involved in the fight to do better but more and more the doom is just enveloping us and sapping our energy. Spouse and I are realizing we are, aided by the pandemic now, just starting to retreat , if you will, into our little zone conserving our energies now just for the survival of our little circle of home and family/good friends …
I see many public activists like Suzuki somewhere on this spectrum. Eventually the teaching and preaching and educating by him and others is realized to be falling on deaf ears… as we spiral ever downward…
What a thoughtful reply – thanks so much!!!
Lately I find myself in the unaccustomed position of being the optimist in the room, for once – but only because it’s becoming increasingly obvious we need to start over again, “organizing its powers in such form” as the old slave-flesh merchant wrote. And the actual room is a small one to be the optimist in. I don’t have a more exalted political guru in my life than Sister Angela, who says she never thought she’d live to see this day. That has me convinced: We’re watching and working with something real.
My impatience with Suzuki is simple: Name the oppressors, if you care, because these public-pirate academic partnerships that putative enviros like McK are corrupted with haven’t gotten us anywhere, have they? It’s rude to suggest the possibility of casual, look-the-other-way corruption suffusing beloved institutions like the ivy-covered walls of privileged academia, but look at the mess, really: professors for sale all over the place. In that context, and with the suspicious presence of WWF plugs to boot, I have an idea why Suzuki doesn’t mention enemies: for the same reason McK doesn’t: because he’s sold out to them, he’s neck-deep in public-pirate partnerships, building better tomorrows.
In that context, if that’s what he’s doing, it’s not complicated to suggest that he might stop it, that if he weren’t working with predatory organizations like WWF he wouldn’t have so much trouble speaking certain essential truths: such as who’s been doing this to us. My question to Suzuki boils down to “Which side are you on?” Essays like this one are counter-productively ambiguous, imho.
You posit a deeper question about what people should do in general. I can only answer for myself. I’ve had very heavy disorientation in my life, and gotten in the habit of flailing for solid foot- and hand-holds as I scrabble along. There are always limitless intervening priorities, but my devotional exercise – for which some time each day must be reserved – is understanding this point in history, taking in what I can about my temporal reality, here in Richmond, CA. If they haven’t yet entirely paved over “Albany Hill” where I used to walk, there were profoundly timeless grinding bowls for acorns worn into serpentine outcrops there. Staring into that contact with original inhabitants, and feeling the connection to today, that’s where I want to be – though I’m not sure what I mean to do when I get there.
Upon reflection on your words I see what you are saying about Suzuki and Co. and it was eye opening. You have altered the lens with which I will be looking at these people going forward.
As well as your quite profound thoughts about placing your thoughts about yourself and your place as part of the timestream to gain perspective and optimism . Sorry if my interpretation of what I hear you saying sounds goofy- I don’t seem to have the facility with words I did in my youth but I think I do get it. And will be trying to find that kind of perspective .
Thanks Aleph, I always find your thoughts valuable.
Here is something that I learned from this and that is how things have changed. I think it most telling when serpentine changed from a simple tool to an indication it is commonly found in an area that produces gold, to a state rock, and then a misunderstood mineral. There is a lesson here.
Edited: I should have included your source as a touch stone…a nice touch.
Very funny, fern. That brought a chuckle.
I really like rocks, they all have a history, I have a large chrysoprase (a relative of serpentine) that is like an old friend. I have to be reminded they have amusement too. Thanks
That’s very interesting about Libet, thank you.
I am such an idiot today with malapropisms, I screwed up the title in question:
The Self and Its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism (with Sir John C. Eccles), 1977
I remembered Mind for Self, because that’s really the intersection of Popper and Eccles’ dialectic: pretty close to the physical barrier between the self-hood of a cognitive mind and the dance of chemically or electrically excited nerve cells. My lockdown partner quibbles with overuse of the modifier “literally” – this philosophical slash neurophysical moon-dive of a book is almost literally mind-blowing, imho.
The two of them, Sir Karl and Sir Jack, diverge quite a bit on basic philosophical questions. Unexpectedly, Karl Popper strikes me as the more scrupulously scientific, not as beguiled by humanistic hunches as Jack Eccles. I guess it seems ironic to me because Eccles is more intimate with impenetrable neurological mysteries, but less epistemically awed by such mysteries than Popper.
What are we supposed to do? There may be a means for redirecting industrial manufacture away from those which require long-distance travel and transport of material goods and finished products. The global economy must begin to phase down to be replaced with local and regional economies supported by state and national economies. The most important scales of economy are local and (metropolitan area) regional because they must address insane traffic which will only be made worse with “driverless” car nonsense. GM’s new ads predicting “Zero accidents and Zero traffic congestion” is pure deceitful marketing. Daimler Truck wants us to believe their electric model rig isn’t a colossal waste of battery resources. These corporations can be taken to court, but just proving their schemes are absurd would be enough an embarrassment to get their attention. We may need to “nationalize” the railroads to build operable reliable Amtrak service. If Warren Buffet doesn’t like it, tough. His BNSF RR is the king of Coal/Oil/Gas shipment. He owes us.
You missed my mention of ‘realistically‘ . Good ideas though of course. They just won’t happen without a collapse or revolution.