In the span of 183 pages, Bruckner deconstructs the arguments presented by Ecologism and those fearful of the Earth’s future. Then, in 3 pages he gives us a “solution” which is to seek out the trailblazers and stimulators among humanity.
Bruckner does make some very interesting claims however. . .
pg. 2 ‘. . . Western humanity, has taken a sudden dislike to itself. We are exasperated by our own proliferation, and can no longer stand ourselves.’
I can empathize with this statement. Given the constant bombardment in the media of of the consequences of our collective consumption and destruction their arises this sense of guilt and shame that comes with simply trying to live anymore. A sort of hyper sensitivity to every action we take in terms of the environment.
At the bottom of pg. 9 Bruckner discusses greed within the context of a free market society. This is an important ingredient to much of the distress that can be attributed to this planet. Much in line with this “cardinal sin” is our selfish nature when it comes to self preservation and the tendency of always putting our individual needs first. As Bruckner discusses, this constant appetite has led to wide spread inequality and disparity.
Question: pg. 12 Do you agree with Bruckner when he states, ‘. . . We are no longer connected because we are no longer separated: we lack the distance to be able to communicate, the depth to be able to sympathize with each other.’
pg. 56 ‘. . . Ecology calls upon us to adopt a rigorous diet in the name of future generations.’
This will never happen. For most of us the idea of restraint and frugality is a thing of the past. In Western life the majority of us live by the mantra: YOLO (You Only Live Once). And why not? We have one fragile chance at happiness and it seems to much to ask of a collective society to concern itself with anything or anyone 40, 50, 60 years out.
Group discussion question: Bruckner, pg. 77 ‘. . . Isn’t it rather our sensitivity to climate disturbances that has become exacerbated?
This line made me grin on pg. 78 ‘. . . The ancients used chicken entrails or the flight of birds to divine the future. We scrutinize the sky to read in it the signs of our destiny: what isn’t global warming in this respect?’
‘Frugality is like honesty, it’s a poor, wretched virtue suitable only for small societies of good, peaceful people who are quite willing to be poor so long as they are not bothered; but in great active nations frugality is an indolent dreamy virtue that does not emloy workers and is consequently very useless in a country devoted to business. What idiot, if he had a good bed, would have slept outside?’
-Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique
A lot of times in my head I think that someone from this time in history, the late 18th century would have little to relate to in our modern society. The quote above I think captures the idea that there is “nothing new under the Sun”. Some of these enlightened philosophers had the game figured out and they understood the way in which the world operated.
One of the key points in the entire book. . .
pg. 177 ‘. . . The contemporary challenge. . . is the following: not renouncing any advantages of development and at the same time not suffering from the collateral damage it does.’
The difficulty is in the collective complexity of society. There are so many actors and players in the game that organizing and executing meaningful solutions are nearly impossible. Just look at the state of our congress in the United States. Our over analysis and failure to do anything is what will lead to future demise if we do not compromise and at least take some measures of new thought and innovation to solve our global issues.
Recommended further Reading. . .
Brave New World: Revisited, by Aldous Huxley
Huxley, in the late 1930’s predicted much of our current state in his second major work ‘Brave New World’. 15 years later he revisited the work in an extended commentary that discussed his perceptions in light of nuclear fission and the events that unfolded after WWII.
The term ‘denial’ has always stood out to me on the climate change discourse. Those who use this word take on a tone of the judge and all knowing power in the universe. It’s caustic and seems to hold one in a state of guilt and accusation.
February 4th, Thomas and I visited the Zion United Church of Christ to better understand the needs of the homeless community and better identify how we can help; providing supplies that are not present at the shelter. We identified gaps that could be filled with our monetary resources. For example, the shelter has no back packs or straps for travelling. With the limited number of homeless in the area, I think a better plan going forward will be to get approval for the SIP grant, purchase the resources that the shelter needs, and ensure these resources are then passed along to those in need. This seems like a better approach than trying to search for the homeless in the community.
The SIP grant has been drafted. All that is needed are the appropriate signatures and then I will be submitting it to the university.