(Or “The decline and fall of the human empire”)
It has been my feeling for some time now that we are going to be the deciding factor in our survival. If the Animal Kingdom has any sense they will turn and attack now before we completely wreck the world and make it totally uninhabitable for any life forms. We are the ones taking away their lives and their environments therefore, wipe us out. The ozone layer will be better off as will the plant, animal micro-organisms lives… We are the waste of space; we are the main contributors to the shit heap that the world is becoming due to our negligence and wasteful lifestyles. I am not talking about restrictive procreation programmes or genocide on a selective basis; I am talking about the complete annihilation of the human race for the greater good of the planet and its other inhabitants.
I do not, truly, have a death wish… I am merely thinking of how we can save the world now. I read a book recently “The end of the Wild” by Stephen Meyer, who, in a well worded fashion essentially states, it is too late. We have wrecked the world and whilst we can and must take steps and measures now to save the planet as a whole, ultimately it will only be slowing the process down. In order to make these changes the human race needs to make a radical shift in their attitudes. Step away from consumerist behaviours and excess wastage and go back more to our roots as civilisation.
We have the audacity to label ourselves as civilised and indeed look down on those who are not up to our ‘standards’, those who we would consider primitive because they do not have technology or the ability for instantaneous gratification of whatever description, for living within their means and alongside (as opposed to fighting against) their environments, yet they are the people who will suffer because WE have damaged their world beyond repair, not them, their behaviours are extremely ecological and environmentally friendly, but us and our ‘civilised’ ways. Personally I think that makes them the civilised ones and us the ‘savages’.
There are arguments that this type of behaviour is what is leading to the extinction of, or at the very least aiding in the lowering numbers of tribes etc, it isn’t, it’s us encroaching upon their ways, their culture, their livelihoods and their environment. A most deplorable action that certainly does not make us civilised.
The dictionary (actually word web) defines civilised as:
- “Having a high state of culture and development both sociological and technological”
- “Marked by refinement n taste and manners”
For all intents and purposes the Western world society conforms to this definition… of course it does, we wrote the definition (yet another piece of unprecedented audacity) and separated ourselves quickly from those who are and those who aren’t.
The following quotes strike me as particularly pertinent in this matter of separation between what is civilised and what isn’t.
“Civilisation degrades the many to exalt the few.”
Amos Bronson Alcott (1799 – 1888), Table Talk (1877)
“Civilisation is a methid of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.”
Jane Addams (1860 – 1935), Speech, Honolulu (1933)
In which case why are those without technology and other types of considered development civilised? Is it simply because somebody said “They aren’t”?
“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilisation”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
Lovely Mr Emerson has put my point across far more succinctly than I was managing to do, we will indeed bring about the death of ourselves due to our ‘civilisation’ such a wonderful thing to aspire to, just so we can bring about the end.
It is not simply the human race that is at fault, there are cogs within the whole mechanism, such as; Big Business, the media, advertising… all are focused on making us desire things that we would never have thought of or needed if they hadn’t come up with the idea and the marketing ploys behind them in the first place. They are so busy making us want STUFF that does not further our life satisfaction, certainly not in the long term anyway. We are back to instant gratification.
Have people not read “The Lorax”? It may well be a children’s allegory about environmentalism by Dr Seuss but it should be required reading non-the-less. Never dismiss something simply because of the demographic it is aimed at.
I am not claiming that there aren’t things that I own or desire, far from it I am sure, but I do avoid all forms of advertising like the plague. I don’t have a television and refuse to primarily on the grounds that I don’t want to be advertised AT. Also there is nothing I actually want to watch, I cannot cope with the drivel that is reality TV shows and House makeovers etc, but that is a subject to be broached another time. So, I don’t watch television, I don’t buy magazines (or read them at the stands, or in the staffroom etc) all so I can avoid something that I never asked to be bombarded and assaulted with in the first place. This makes us civilised? Again advertising is another subject to be looked at later.
Suggested reading: (and I completely understand the irony of recommended reading, I suppose that in itself is a form of advertising… it might actually be an unavoidable prospect)
- The Lorax Dr Seuss
- The Gospel according to Larry Janet Tashjian
- The end of the wild Stephen Meyer