Thursday, 16 February 2012

An Apology

I feel I should make an apology after a brief encounter I've just had with a chap that can only be described as monumental eco-fascist.

I'm well aware I may have come across like this a good few years ago, rejecting any argument that didn’t fit my own, completely out of hand. There was no reasoning with me then. I knew the facts, and everyone else was ignorant to them. How could they possibly agree with me when I had the knowledge, the statistics, the factoids, and the shiny anecdotes? Everything was seen through the back end of a pair of binoculars.

But time wears on. One forgets the statistics over the years, the trivialities of everyday life rear their head and distract you from your righteous cause to save the planet single handed. Coupled with the fading drive to live by your principles, comes a leviathan of futility so gigantic that it’s near impossible to continue being hopeful. Your individual positive action is like pissing in an Olympic sized swimming pool.

Despair, however, is not something to cling to. It is merely one stage in the process of acceptance. You can come at this from many different angles. A discovery of the reality of climate change, peak oil, species extinction…the list goes on. All of them though share a common bond. They are expressions of our might, intelligence, and lack of wisdom as a species.

This is what I’ve come to accept now that I’ve come out on the other side of the storm of facts and figures. We are mere prisoners of our genes, and no amount of enthusiasm for technological progress will get us out of the mess that we created, through technological progress in the first place. The error begets the fix begets the error etc. Therein lies the intelligence of our species, the unparalleled ability to problem solve, whilst simultaneously not having the collective wisdom to see the greater picture.

Following the acceptance that we are only smart animals and nothing more, is a much calmer place. I no longer knee jerk into a combative mode, no longer feel the need to dogmatically stress the importance of my Stalinist antidote to a single environmental issue. I hope I come across these days as more reasonable, and more willing to see others' points of view. All of them are valid in the grand scheme of things, enough for consideration at least, and even more so in the context of the ecological and social collapse we are facing as a civilisation.

So having had a mirror held up to me recently, reflecting a former self, and finding it pretty repulsive, I feel I should offer an apology to anyone that had to deal with such a deeply unpleasant character. I sincerely regret exposing myself in this way and hope you can forgive me for passing through such an asinine phase.