HomeArticleImpending Planetary Disaster Should Unite Us, Yet We Remain More Divided Than Ever

Impending Planetary Disaster Should Unite Us, Yet We Remain More Divided Than Ever

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Charles Bukowski has a quote: “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

Terrorized and flattened by trivialities, eaten up by nothing. I think about this quote a lot not just as pertains to the inevitability of our individual deaths, but to the looming death of the entire world.

The website Antiwar.com has been doing a good job keeping track of all the many US cold war escalations against Russia and China, which seem to be coming out on a near-daily basis now. Just right off their front page today there’s a story about how the US considering is putting more military aid in Ukraine on the allegation that Russia is plotting an invasion, another about Moscow claiming that US bombers just practiced a simulated nuclear strike on Russia and have have greatly increased their activity along its border, another about Beijing’s anger over increased US war ship activity in the Taiwan Strait, another about Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton’s assurance that Australia would join the US in a war against China to defend Taiwan, and yet another about Beijing and Moscow signing an agreement to deepen their military cooperation to counter hostilities from Washington.

This, along with the myriad symptoms our biosphere is showing us of impending collapse, and we still somehow manage to remain terrorized and flattened by trivialities. Eaten up by nothing.

Divisions and hostilities are hotter than ever, even in those political sectors where people are fully aware of just how bad our ecological situation is and the horrifying realities of cold war nuclear brinkmanship. We should rationally all be coming together at this point in history. Our collective plight alone should make us love each other. But instead we’re at each other’s throats more than ever before.

And it’s not just this ideological faction versus that ideological faction. Even among socialists and anti-imperialists there are subfactions, sub-subfactions and sub-sub-subfactions, all of whom despise each other, and all of those divisions are far worse and far more inflamed in online forums. People will spend months on end engaging in online sniping at others over some perceived difference that would be undetectable by someone with a more mainstream perspective, like that episode of Star Trek where a group of aliens who are black on the right side and white on the left are warring with a group whose colors are the opposite and only they notice the difference. Our precious newfound ability as a species to network and share ideas with each other like never before gets bogged down in petty squabbling instead of organization toward a movement into health.

Part of it is information; because the only large-scale distributors of information in our society are controlled and manipulated by the powerful, most people see very little evidence of just how much trouble the systems sustained by the powerful have gotten us into. Part of it is perspective; because most human behavior is driven by ego, a lot more of our interest and attention goes toward the petty differences between ourselves and other humans than large-scale problems which threaten all of us.

So you’ll see even relatively lucid minds spending their time talking about obscure sectarian disagreements, or about the dangers of political “wokeness”, or about the entirely empty theatrics of mainstream electoral politics, even as the destruction of our entire world dangles above our heads suspended by a rapidly eroding thread.

That alone should make us love each other. That alone should make us focus on what matters. That alone should bring us together to move as one against the globe-dominating forces that are going to end us all if they are not stopped.

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Latest comments

  • Of course man’s world is made of man-made illusions. If you kill your spouse because you think they cheat on you, you put into play a very real process (police investigation, press coverage, audience reactions…) out of a pure illusion. This in itself is remarkable, how the spirit kicks matter’s ass down the road.
    In our forties, for some reason, we suddenly realize that we’re gonna die. Of course we always KNEW we were going to die, like you know that it’s gonna rain because the weather man tells you. It’s a totally different animal when you’re actually caught in the pouring rain. You FEEL it is raining and it has nothing to do with KNOWING it. Same for death. For years you’ve KNOWN you were going to die. You saw people dying around you (didn’t move, didn’t even say hello) and you had various emotions that concerned your relationship with them. But it did not affect your physical integrity. And then one morning, you wake up with the FEELING that you’re going to die, that all this stuff you identify with is going to cease to exist. Forever. Your thoughts, your dreams, your flesh and bones… How is that even possible? And then if you’re not careful, your ego will identify with the planet. It always identifies with stuff bigger than you; a fambly, a neighborhood, a political party, God for the most desperate, who then feel entitled to tell you what He thinks…
    You convince yourself that the end is near, not only for you but for the whole planet and start acting on that illusion. The most striking example is of course Saint John, who wrote a vivid description of this happening, including lambs with eyes behind their heads and other picassoesque visions which tend to suggest he grew some really good weed in his backyard – or shrooms.
    One millennium later, the millennials, inspired by this psychedelic paraphernalia, threw themselves out of windows all over the West because they were convinced the world was coming to an end in the most atrocious manner. And of course we had similar predictions for 2000 and also 2012 because someone who had the same dealer as Saint John read in a Maya calendar that what American street preachers (aka nutcases) had been claiming for years was true.
    As soon as you leave the now, you meet trouble: the past brings depression (remorse, regrets) and the future anxiety. There’s no escaping that, which is why the sage lives in the now as Eckhart Tolle beautifully explains and can be experienced by anybody… right here and now. Tomorrow belongs to no one and its perception is just a projection of the ego.

    • As did Krishnamurti, Meher Baba, Ramana Maharshi, Barry Long, Douglas Harding, Jean Klein, Simone Weil _ _ _

      • Indeed! But Tolle is more massively on YouTube for anyone interested in the experience :o)

        • True Pascal.
          His humility cuts through like a laser.

  • Definitely having problems with my comments being blocked — without any acceptable reasons. Trying again:
    In these times, “the looming death of the entire world” is center stage, over loving one another – because it is overwhelmingly undeniable as a point at which the world has never seen. Can we turn that tide? A quote from Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”
    https://seaclearly.com/2020/11/21/the-times-they-are-a-changin

  • For 17,000 generations of the stone age we never lived in groups of more than 2,ooo people.
    Then we discovered agriculture 400 generations ago, but most people still lived in small rural communities.
    16 Generations ago we discovered science and slowly more and more people moved to towns and cities.

    We have not yet evolved a method of accommodating 8 Billion in a global village to solve global challenges.

    The Chinese and Indians have 1.4 Billion each and seem to live somewhat harmoniously.
    If there is an answer it will come from there.

  • The Star Trek clip puts our human existence in time and space in a more encompassing perspective than we are accustomed to taking. In our science fiction we speculate about our potential grandiose future time lines. However, if we watch the weekly program “Ancient Aliens,” though we may not yet have seen any hard technological evidence for the posited “aliens” we are certainly taught time and again that a myriad of quite accomplished human civilisations arose before us and mostly went extinct.
    ~
    All we find are the ruins of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Inca, Aztecs, Maya and peoples we don’t even bother noting throughout the Eurasian continent. This human existence is all just transitory, ephemeral even. Hardly a blip against a cosmic background of unending and barely understood processes ongoing from the unfathomably huge to the vanishingly miniscule. Likewise time can contract or expand infinitely into units that would only boggle our primitive minds. Within millennia, centuries or maybe only years or mere moments too brief for us to discern, future societies will be picking through the ruins of places like New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, London, Sydney and Perth, studying who we were, how we lived and how we died off.
    ~
    Why do we seem so eager to leave a great abundance of evidence to suggest our demise was caused, foolishly and greedily, by our own hand? And potentially worse yet, that we took the entire rest of the planet’s biosphere, laboriously and precariously fashioned over the course of 4.5 billion years of evolution with us to perdition? Are we so arrogant as to assume that other sentient life in the universe, studying what came of our “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrows creeping into this petty place from day to day till the last syllable of recorded time” will forgive us for a crime of such magnitude?
    ~
    We did not create the planet or its life thereupon, nor even ourselves. We dare not assume the right to annihilate them, especially for the petty reasons we, in our madness, reflexively spout. We need to break the chain wherein it’s the most insane among us that rise to the top and decide the fate of all others, and we need to do it damned fast, before it’s too late and we exist only as ruins, rubble and fossilized bones for others to study and judge.

    • “All we find are the ruins of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Inca, Aztecs, Maya and peoples we don’t even bother noting throughout the Eurasian continent.”

      We in “the West” also never bother noting the ruins and the civilizations that arose and fell on the African continent, outside of those along its northern coast.

  • The use of depleted uranium at all levels of armament constitutes nuclear war. The area exploded remains mortally dangerous. So nuclear war is ongoing. The USA military has tactical nukes they call them. And a battlefield commander will have the decision as to their usage, since the effects of the explosion they say is limited. These weapons are totally deployed right now. If you don’t consider so called depleted uranium as mortally dangerous, then you haven’t see pictures of deformed fetuses aborted out of women in countries invaded and made radioactive.They used to be on you tube.

    • America is shameless in the war crimes it endlessly commits in the service of hubris and greed. However, I am not so naive as to believe that if all the American plutocrats and their multinational enablers were suddenly and magically replaced with third world social justice warriors that anything would really change. The money would simply be funneled into different pockets, because, I am inclined to believe, human nature is probably universal, and both saints and sinners abound depending upon the circumstances. The operating rules for human society, not just the individual people in positions of power, would have to be subject to wholesale change. Anyone care to submit a rough draft for consideration?

      • The irony of it is that the very remedies bring about new problems in keeping with Newton’s third law which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In medicine for instance, disease is a response of the body to an aggression. If you attack it with artificial drugs, you generally provoke side effects which are a response of the body to this new aggression. It’s interesting that the ancient Greeks used the same word, pharmakon, for both drugs and poison – which Hippocrates, in his original oath, expressly refused to use.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath
        Modern medicine does the contrary and attacks this new disease with new drugs. And on and on… The more sophisticated the drugs (which now cost into the hundreds of bucks some of them), the more sophisticated the response, aka new disease, and so they build ever more expensive machines to try and cure the effects of several generations of this process. Modern medicine has specialized in the lucrative art of killing flies with sledgehammers. Of course “modern” people can’t believe this and “trust the science”, bringing about their own destruction while trying to escape it. As Jean Racine put it, life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel.

  • In my experience many poets, artists, writers and musicians seem to have a sixth sense about the human condition.
    Is it because they are sometimes tortured souls themselves, or perhaps they just spend a lot of time pondering the meaning of Life?
    I don’t know about ‘philosopher kings or queens’ but a few creative kings or queens might give us a hope in this hell.

  • Alas we are all not of one mind that considers that which is superfluous and that which is vital.

  • It looks like there is just no way out of it but that I am soon going to have to write up a blog post on the threat of nuclear war, then post a link on Cait’s frog pond.

    Right now, most people are clueless about this issue, as Cait notes. So a post might not get lots of readers. Or maybe it is just the algorithms getting us. Those who are, are hysterical about the danger of such a war.

    I, however, say that the danger of nuclear war is declining. It was at its peak in 2017. Now, as Russian and Chinese defence systems build up and the US declines, it is getting harder for the empire to start any trouble. Their desire to do so is increasing, their ability to do so is declining.

    Any attempt to start a major war would be like; somebody called a war, but nobody showed up.

    Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I will get this out.

    • that assumes the empire is run by rational people though. as those people see their power waning, they may be more prone to do irrational things.

  • “The struggle between the people and the hatred amongst them is being nurtured by very specific interested parties. It is a small, rootless, international clique that is turning people against each other, that does not want them to have peace…” – A.H. 1933

    • People have turned upon each other without any need of outside help from day one. See Cain and Abel.

  • The leaders of China, Russia and the US use threatening language to frighten their respective populations so there will be little objection to the amount of resources spent on war. Russia and China are 1-2 generations ahead of the US in military technology. Both have been attacked for centuries by Western capitalists after resources or markets.The amount they spend is minuscule compared to what the US spends. The difference is that there is no profit involved so it is spent efficiently. China and Russia have no aircraft carriers. They know that carriers are just big easy targets and have ways of sinking them easily.The US military knows this but says nothing. The US politicians know this but pretend it is otherwise.
    Good example: Remember the line that Syria supposedly crossed that led to Trump orchestrating that spectacular night time launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles. The Russians & Syrians were warned so as to avoid retaliation. The designated target was an air base. Only 26 of those expensive missiles hit the large air base. The other 33 were probably redirected back out to sea. The public has not been informed but the military knows. After the drone assassination of the Iranian General Salomeini, the Iranians launched 22 missiles against an air base with warning. All 22 hit the target. An embarrassing comparison that the military has not advertised.
    All loud Kabuki theater. Global Warming is a much bigger and certain impending disaster than nuclear war. I was born in 1942 and have been witness to many such threats. The result has been mostly an increase in the pay of the CEOs of Lockheed Martin and others.

    • “Global Warming is a much bigger and certain impending disaster than nuclear war.” Remember Aesop’s Fables ? “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” has a fine analogue in the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change – which was created to whip up hysteria about future weather past the week or so meteorologists manage to forecast by studying readings and patterns. Without those aids, ‘climatologists;’ claim to know that which won’t happen for decades. Right. At least weathermen have humility sharpened by rapid debunking. ‘Climatologists’ rely on modern replacement analogues for crystal balls and sheep entrails – with absolutely zero verification.

      • this is completely wrong, the science started about 200 years ago.

  • The human urge to destroy, and self-destruct at the same time, seems to be increasing. There is a kind of global madness that manifests in a total loss of perspective and common sense.
    Instead feeble, emotional and illogical arguments are used to do things that threaten the entire planet with extinction, but the people who have the power to stop it are the perpetrators. It infuriates me that an elected government official (Dutton) can blandly state that Australia would participate in a war that could destroy the country – with no suggestion of consulting the people first. Since when does he have the authority to commit us to a war? Or for that matter, the government? That is an example of extreme government overreach and abuse of democracy.
    If it weren’t so horrendous, it would make a good comedy – rather like Peter Seller’s film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
    Sadly, I don’t have much hope for the human race lasting much longer. A tiny minority have put us on a path of destruction, and the vast majority refuse to accept it or do anything to prevent it. This is as much true for climate change as it is for nuclear war.

  • The threat of impending war has forever been a major profit center. Meanwhile, go forth across the USA and try to shop for sundry items while avoiding the “Made in China” label. This probably includes using your cell phone.

    It is not wise to make war against the guys who actually manufacture most of your “stuff”. Be nice. Besides, any such war would have to be approved by Wal-Mart in addition to many other major players.

    Who actually has the most to lose if a local pissing contest becomes a major conflict? Duh, the same guys who actually have the most to lose. Oligarchies have a built in tendency towards ultimate cooperation. Make resorts, not retorts.

    Q. How many tons of popcorn can you make with one medium sized nuke anyway.

    • A good war is a conventional one that spends tons and tons of ammo at taxpayers’ expense that make ding ding in the MIC’s cash register and ideally lasts for ever like in 1984.

  • I wonder politely if this is correctly written: “…about Beijing and China signing an agreement to deepen their military cooperation…”

    • No, it’s a typo. The link is about Russia and China singing an agreement.

    • Yes, clearly this is a Boo boo as Beijing IN CHINA so how can China sign an agreement with one of their principle cities?

      Anyhow, it looks to me like homo sapiens is doomed!
      We have 8 BILLION HUMANS on a FINITE PLANET that could only sustain 500 MILLION without OIL!
      All this noise about “renewables” is to keep the dumb, ignorant masses quiet & spending.
      WHY are people so dumb as to actually believe we can replace declining RESOURCES with a RESOURCE DEPENDENT TECHNOLOGY?

      All those “renewables” are good for is MAKING MORE PROFITS BY BURNING MORE OIL COAL & NATURAL GAS!
      We are suppose to be using LESS fossil resources not MORE!

      California said it’s going to BAN all new ICE vehicles from being sold in Cali by 2030, so by what miracle is Cali going to find the ENERGY to CHARGE ALL THOSE VEHICLES when their already having blackouts & energy SHORTAGES?
      Then are are all those THOUSANDS OF ILLEGAL MIGRANTS marching north, they used VIOLENCE to FORCE their way past Mexican police to get past Mexico’s southern border, will they use VIOLENCE & FORCE to get past our southern border & what if anything will Biden do to stop them?
      Poland had illegal migrants trying to use force to get past their border but they were hit with WATER CANNONS & forced back.
      It’s clear that border wars are building up.
      We and Europe cannot take in more unskilled, poor, needy migrants when we already have MILLIONS of UNEMPLOYED & HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF HOMELESS, THOUSANDS of people DIE here every year from lack of health care, hypothermia & drug overdoses, hundreds die here from RACIST COPS!
      Our RULERS don’t want us to think about just how DOOMED we are, so Biden is releasing OIL from the strategic reserve, OIL that’s suppose to be only used in EMERGENCIES, NOT to keep fuel prices low so he looks good! OPEC is going to REDUCE their “production” to keep prices high, they need the money, frackers need higher prices for their expensive fracked oil.
      Europe is worried that this winter, they could run out of NATURAL GAS!
      If they have a cold winter, they will run out by February. All they need now is hundreds of thousands of ILLEGAL MIGRANTS sneaking into their country.
      What we need is MANDITORY E-VERIFY so no one here illegally can get housing, jobs, education, health care, DRIVERS LICENSES or any social service other than emergency medical care and a COVID vax.

      Sanctuary cities & states need to have ALL federal funds CUT as they are violating federal laws, ignoring the needs of their citizens by allowing illegal immigrants to take OUR JOBS, HOUSING & EDUCATION, we cannot afford THAT!
      This civilization will collapse & soon & life will never be like this again IF we survive the collapse! Climate DISRUPTION could lead to our EXTINCTION!

      • Hey Sheila,

        all I see is bla bla bla BLAB LA BLA blabla BLA bla bla bla BLA BLA BLA blab la bla

        If you have points to make, try to make them so they don’t read like a 14 year old boy suffering his first testosterone overdose.

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