A rant in e minor sharp
While doing research on a “reflection on sentience, self-awareness and their possible existence in non-biological forms”, I came across the following information, admittedly in a Wikipedia article (a starting point for research rather than a reliable source). I share it because so much of the information we receive lacks context, perhaps deliberately, in order to manipulate such information for electoral, rather than merely political purposes, i.e., to manipulate us into perpetuating specific power blocs, in most cases, apparently, neoliberal systems using neoconservative tactics for their own selfish ends, regardless of the costs to others (the Ukraine being today’s most glaring example).
Because of the nature of the following information, I hasten to indicate that I am very environmentally conscious and not a climate change denier (admittedly phrasing designed to rebuke and belittle those who deny the existence of climate change). I am admittedly a true leftist (not the faux variant of purported liberal or purported progressive so often referenced by the corporate media and most traditional political parties today) but I do not react with my eyes tightly shut and ears carefully plugged so that my mind can remain tightly closed.
Anyway, … according to the following quote from a generic article on the evolution of our planet (which can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Earth): “It is estimated that 99 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, over five billion [of them ] have gone extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million are documented, but over 86 percent have not been described. However, it was recently claimed that 1 trillion species currently live on Earth, with only one-thousandth of one percent described.”
We humans today are for the most part antievolutionary in our own interactions, in our ethics and in our morals, rejecting nature’s postulates concerning “survival of the fittest” which have been historically espoused by fellow humans we find reprehensible (most recently the Nazis and their “ilk” (admittedly a negatively charged description). Thus we reject discarding the infirm and handicapped and seek, through social means, to level the playing field apparently established by nature, seeking, for example, to eliminate the relevance of health, gender and racial differences. We are also seemingly antievolutionary with respect to avoiding natural factors that lead to species extinction in the animal and vegetable realms.
I admit that, emotionally and intellectually, I am in accord with those antievolutionary beliefs. But, the information cited above concerns me. I have to admit that we, who claim to love Gaia and respect and seek to protect nature, seem to be doing so in total opposition to historical “natural” tendencies, in essence, having decided that we know better than nature, and that we are more moral than nature, and that our role in the scheme of things, is to correct nature’s erroneous tendencies, a job we are not doing very well, perhaps, because rather than having attained a real consensus, we are hopelessly polarized, pulling in myriad opposing directions, and, like confused lemmings, seemingly heading desperately towards our doom as a species. Perhaps a doom that nature will relish.
Still, I love our species and, as an individual, intend to do what I can to avoid what, to an outside observer (were there any), would seem our obvious fate should we prove unable to somehow drastically change directions. That leads me to reflect that most of our current philosophies and strongly held beliefs need a fundamental reevaluation, one based not on what we wish were true, but on unvarnished truth.
I frequently write concerning the fallacies of popular beliefs concerning the nature of “logic”, interpretations where “logic is perceived of as a method of proving accuracy, when, in truth, it is just the middle of a quasi-mathematical equation that may be reflected as follows: premises + facts x logic = conclusions. If any of the components are defective, the equation is not only useless, but dangerous. The two elements most likely to be defective are premises and facts. But even when defective, it has a self-correcting empirical aspect, if we just face reality. If the “conclusion” arrived at does not pan out despite the accurate us of the logic component, then we know that either the premises or the facts were inaccurate, and we should acknowledge that we need to go back to the metaphorical drawing board. Unfortunately, that is something we as humans are loath to do, having an almost instinctive aversion to admitting we’ve been wrong. Mistakes, when recognized and properly analyzed, are the best tools for approximating verity, they are the best teachers and probably our most valuable experiences. But they are a tool we ignore, which leads us as a species to where we find ourselves: a myopic race towards a suicidal dead end.
That may well be what one of our most brilliant and flexibly minded geniuses meant when he described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Something especially dangerous in what passes for democracy but which is in reality, merely a means to keep us pacified while the worst among us keep us controlled. Imagine a purported libertarian system where opinions are tightly controlled through censorship purportedly essential in a quest for accuracy? Well, perhaps “imagine” was a poor choice of words. That is exactly where our currently trendy, “woke, feel-good, virtue-signaling cancel culture has us. And, we will never find new alternative solutions to our myriad problems by closing as many minds as possible, by punishing and ridiculing alternative viewpoints, by destroying what passes for history in favor of narratives we find more palatable.
One of the things that I find most frustrating in our quest to resolve our problems is that there is no dearth of viable solutions, only of the will to implement them. Solutions are, like many useful inventions, patented, not to be used but to be warehoused in a suicidal quest for a profitable income stream; a delusional pivot towards living for the moment and, as French King Luis XV is reputed to have said: let our descendants face the storm, something Luis XVI and his family certainly experienced during the French Revolution.
It is vastly understating the case to describe our current means of communication through corporate and social media as “problematic”. It is the poison designed to destroy those best able to lead us towards equity and justice and peace and sustainable economics, and thus those mediums are all too likely to assure that we will not be around all that much longer, that we won’t be around to muck up nature’s slow but steady pace towards its own goals and aspirations, with or without us.
Something on which to ponder as we are collectively drawn along to our own perdition.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.