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The Messiahs of Hope Assure Us Everything Will Be OK in the End. But It Won't

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/02/messiahs-hope-assure-us-everything-will-be-ok-end-it-wont

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From Hedges:

There is one human story. Dressed in new clothing and using new tools, we endlessly relive it. If we still read philosophy, literature, history, poetry and theology we would not be surprised that greed, hedonism and hubris have easily defeated empathy and reason.

My poetry guru Robert Graves also has a “there is one human story” thesis, of a deeper, ambiguous, and radical feminist nature…

I’m rooting for Hedges. I wish he could get to a space where he doesn’t sound like he’s talking down to his readers. He has so much to say, I think, but he finds himself stuck in a despairing tone which is not likely to usefully connect with anyone. Hopefully, it’s therapeutic for him, or for someone.

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“. . . to cheaply extract resources and abuse cheap labor. “ ( I am told there is no such thing as cheap labor. . .)

“ The human population rapidly climbed to over 7 billion.” (I am told that this is not a problem.)

Where would all that so called cheap labor come from? I dunno.

“This schizophrenic existence is a form of emotional abuse.” (Now this I completely agree with.)

“. . . confront the starkness of the human condition . . . there is certain to be mass death . . .” I will put this in a song and sing it to the kindergarteners.

I want to start a family and have a big house in the suburbs. It’s the American dream ya know.

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We must create a New Cultural Story based on ultimate reality not misunderstandings and fallacies .
Our New guiding principle must be …We Are All One …Life is Prime Value.
Beliefs create Behaviours.

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The truth Chris Hedges portrays is hard to accept.

“There is nothing new to our story. The flagrant lies and imbecilities of the inept and corrupt leader. The inability to halt the costly, endless wars and curb the gargantuan expenditures on the military. The looting of a beleaguered populace by the rich. The destruction of the ecosystem. The decay and abandonment of a once-efficient infrastructure. The implosion of the institutions, from education to diplomacy, that sustain a functioning state. The world has seen it before. It is the familiar disease of the end of a civilization. At first it is grimly entertaining, even amid the mounting suffering. But no one will be laughing at the end.”

"the messiahs of hope assure us that all will be right in the end. Only it won’t. We will not be able to adapt. Those who sell you the false hope that we can adapt are as self-deluded as those who brand global warming a hoax. "

There will be no salvation from above. The carny evangelist hucksters prey on floundering people but are not emissaries of god or his son, they sell fantasy for profit. Jesus will not “come-back” and :“fix” everything man hath wrought! That should be obvious to even the most deluded slave, but tragically appears not.

Men have fouled and destroyed his nest along with all of ours, along with all the countless species we exterminate daily and habitat we/they destroy, and now man must lay in it, there is no fixing the enormity of the destruction that expands and accelerates daily as the greed-driven morally and intellectually bankrupt who dominate life on Earth thru wealth, not wisdom, rush to squeeze the last drops from what once was.

" We have allowed the depraved to become death, the destroyer of all our world " - And still we argue, dither, and deny, such is the fate of humankind

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Glad S.Pinker made it to the top of the list. He is one of the thousands that show how Academia has sold out big in the US.

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A thought provoking piece, with a tincture of Calvinism.

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Pinker is prominent in large part precisely because he is thoroughly unrepresentative of academia.

Where does the knowledge come from that supports Hedges’ view of the future? Academia.

Why are the Republicans dismantling the university system and crippling scientific input into governance? Hint: it’s not because academia is supplying them with what they want.

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Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m going to stock up on aluminum foil so I can wear it over my skull when the temps start to become lethal. Hey, may even start a movement and save most folks from getting scorched.

Sadly, I actually have a better chance of selling this absurd solution to the crisis than I do of moving people to take the hard steps needed to actually make a dent in the problem, but I guess it’s no more absurd, not to mention being hugely destructive, than religions which have long taught that man has dominion over Earth and all its creatures and that we humans are the chosen ones. Oh, yeah, you can be sure that a large part of western civilization will cling to this one, right to the bitter end. So much for human “intelligence”.

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Gotta love the concept of 325 million fingers, all desperately tapping touchscreens, trying to trigger dopamine, endorphins any relief from the HORROR, with retail therapy? “Any fool can delude the unwary with base falsehood. While the CHAMPION liar adheres scrupulously to incontrovertible fact?”
Αἰθαλίδης son of Hermes, herald of the Argonauts

I wonder, if each time we hit “Confirm Order” on Amazon, we’d hear the screams of the indentured serf, poisoned child, or a displaced worker… or received a literal spray of fentanyl from the display… NEVERMIND! Oh well, back to Labor Day™ sales!

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no more than 3% to 5% of the population need be engaged to challenge despotic power.

and …

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

  • Frederick Douglass
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Chris Hedges, although he is the ever-present dark Messiah as it were, nonetheless brings a clear, realistic message to the forefront. He yet again describes what our world is, in many ways, really turning into. I personally believe there is nothing wrong with “hope”; however, hope can allow one to acquiesce the work of making things change to someone else. So be hopeful, but we must never allow that hope to arrest our desire to do whatever we can. Hope alone, without action, can render us all impotent.

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I am nauseated by the way Steven Pinker, and the late Hans Rosling, have minimized the threats of climate change and global disparities in order to spin their ‘objective’ thesis. This mindset negates the reality that, for many people outside of the ‘developed’ world, and people of color everywhere, there continues to be a trend toward continued perpetuity of an unacceptable quality of life. Unfortunately many engineers and scientists, have come to wholeheartedly embrace the ‘world is getting better’ propaganda.

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Pinker is prominent in large part precisely because he is thoroughly unrepresentative of academia.

I’ve found an enthusiastic embrace of Pinker in several university engineering programs. In some, professors show some of Pinker’s TED talks as part of introductory classes.

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I wish Hedges would do more homework and less sermonizing. (Yes, I know he went to semimary, that may be the problem.) Yes, the rapid rise in CO2 emissions started during the Industrial Revolution (that is, when capitalism starts its dominance.) However, emissions didn’t start their “hockey stick” (the way it looks on a graph) acceleration until the Post War period. In fact the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere was as great since 1980 to now as it was from 1750 to 1980. Scientists are now generally agreeing that our new epoch, the Anthropocene, started around 1950. What happens around 1950? The US becomes a global empire, dominating the world.It creates the Saudi dynasty placing them at the helm of a manufactured country sitting on vast oil reserves. The extraction and consumption of fossil fuels expands exponentially. This was done, by the actions of oligarchs. Human nature had little to with this.

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  1. Big Oil has FIVE TIMES the declared reserves needed to raise global temps 2 degrees C !!

  2. Tipping points and feedback loops kick in around that time, according to the (amazingly accurate thus far) computer modeling projections.

  3. If humanity lacks the awareness, urgency or will to stop the Big Oil profit-to-the-stockholders-CEO bonuses… loop…as is implied by Chris Hedges in his well written article… then we are , in fact doomed… all that is debatable , is the ‘when’, the end will come…

  4. IF there is any glimmer of hope in new technologies ( I just saw a study purporting to have successfully extracted hydrogen from fracking while leaving untouched the methane and carbon, for example… or water turbines on a massive scale , etc… it STILL will not be in time… UNLESS the MICC( military industrial corporate complex) is slowed from our carbon addiction…

  5. So , to his point, that the powerful dominate and dictate … you will never get the masses mobilized to cause action , IF you SEDATE them with ’ do your part and ride your bike ( or plant a tree, skip a burger, recycle) … blah, blah…to allow them live under the ILLUSION that all is going to be OK with relatively painless changes… ONLY by informing the sedated , of how DIRE AND URGENT the problem is… do we have any hope to right the ship in time… and that glimmer of hope is slipping away
    rapidly…

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Air travel, concrete Interstates & strip malls, Green revolution, monoculture grain fed, fast food ruminants sho’nuff assisted white-flight suburban sprawl; by which time redlined coal-fired streetcar suburbs had spawned all us boomers. I’m thinking there’s enough responsibility to go around? We were taught the clathrate gun hypothesis WAY over a half century ago.

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He’s calling humanity out, and his despairing tone, unlikely to connect is sort of his point. It’s a straight no chaser approach to pointing out abject failure, induced by the passivity of hope

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How many of the reasons you list are top down? Eisenhower’s Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 created the infrastructure for suburbia and an automobile-based society (supported enthusiastically by oil/gas, rubber and construction companies). Air travel came out military aircraft. The Green Revolution was the beginning of Big Ag, or food production controlled by Big Business. White flight and redlining was promoted by the banks. Consumerism was and is driven by advertising ( a $trillion dollar per year industry btw). These massively important historical and environmentally disastrous developments were the result of decisions made by corporate CEO’s and political elites. Not one of these can be laid at the feet of average Americans. Almost all of them promote increased use of fossil fuels (including plastics).
That’s not by accident or by consumer demand.

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Welcome to the fray! Hope in our current situation is just plain stupid. It’s like your house is on fire, and you “hope” help will come to put the fire out. A rational human, even knowing he can’t do much, would grab the garden hose at the very least in an effort to reduce the damage to his home before the fire trucks arrive.

Even though we have been screaming the alarm that the Earth is on fire, I don’t see any fire trucks on the horizon that will save humanity or the living Earth. Our only hope is to act NOW. At least we will go down while fighting the good fight. And that in and of itself is massively empowering. Especially if you have comrades in arms that fight with you.