Saturday, December 25, 2004

Must Reading for Christmas

Brent Rassmussen's Midwinter Night's Mare to which he alluded below (fittingly enough as a comment on the Heart Sutra...) deserves wide dissemination...

What will our descendants think of us? Will they view us as barbaric decadent savages, who madly consumed our most precious resource until we finally incinerated what was left with nuclear fire? Will they condemn our glaring stupidity for wasting our energy endowment, and theirs, on winter strawberries and Stealth Bombers? Or will they recognize in themselves stirrings of those same ancestral weaknesses we fell pray to and forgive us, maybe even thank us, for educating future civilizations on yet one more hidden danger facing the talking chimpanzee and his clever tools?

Before finding the sweet black embrace of sleep, I sometimes lie awake in the dark musing. The dichotomy of a sweeping intelligence helplessly overruled by mindless instinct is tragic, is it not? Time and time again we're smart enough to see disaster coming, yet too burdened with the shadows of our ancestors to stop it. Maybe it would be better not to know. Maybe the last T-rex gorging on a duckbill carcass was better off not comprehending the portent of those brilliant meteor showers lighting the very last Cretaceous sky. But we traded the option of blissful ignorance for lucidity with every stone tool knapped, every fire kindled, and with every novel technology teased out of nature. The tragic irony is that individually we talking chimps sport the most prodigious intellect on the planet, but collectively we barely surpass the intelligence of those ancient algal blooms whose metamorphosed corpses have led us into this latest inescapable trap. The die for this generation has already been cast. The fate of our mechanized petrol world is as set in stone as the oil we harvest to run it. The last conscious thought I have before my self awareness dissolves in the forgiving mist is the time table; this isn't a long range forecast of doom our children's children will face. The fun and games begin in less than five years: And nothing will stop it.

Nietzche, that great Christian prophet, said that the power of one's will could be measured by the amount of pain and suffering one could not only endure, but turn to one's advantage.

Seems like there's going to be a lot of will work-outs coming on...

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