Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Murder of the Gulf and the Death of the World

1. A Knife in the Planet's Jugular

The blood of the Earth is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, one of the world's largest deposits draining as fast as it can through one of the biggest holes we're capable of drilling. This is like the Titanic of oil 'spills', much worse than the Exxon Valdez because at least a supertanker only spills once. This wound is pumping out a supertanker every four days or so and it just keeps coming. It's a fair bet that with the amount that's already spewed out, the Gulf of Mexico is already dead. The Caribbean might not be such a hot vacation spot this year, either. I've heard some people speculate that this might completely wreck every ocean on the planet, and given the state they're in - what with the islands of plastic in both the Pacific and Atlantic, the blooming dead zones, the decimation of fish stocks due to overfishing, fertilizer runoff, and heavy metal toxicity - given all that, who knows? Maybe they're right, and this one event will be enough to push the oceans over the edge and if the oceans go down so does everything else. It'll be the end of the Permian or the end of the Cretaceous all over again, and maybe the biosphere will bounce back but it could take a few tens of millions of years and if anything 'intelligent' manages to evolve again it will have no idea we ever existed ... the thin layer of the Anthropocene will have been erased by the compression of geologic time, and all that will be apparent to the avian scientists of the future will be that the mammalian age came to an abrupt end for reasons no doubt controversial.

Coincidentally enough, right around the same time the Deepwater Horizon blew up a water main broke in Boston, rendering the city water supply unsafe to drink. This was a trifling problem in comparison, and in the end inconvenienced the poor people of Boston for only 72 hours as the pipe was repaired in record time (ordinarily it would have taken weeks, apparently.) The concern for some bacteria was almost touching in its childlike earnestness, given that Boston's water is almost undoubtedly contaminated with the same admixture of drugs - both the legal drugs and the good ones - that have accumulated in every other water supply in the Western world, as well no doubt as some measure of heavy metals and of course, everyone's favorite ingestible tooth-balm, fluoride. Whether the decision of nearby Concord, Massachusetts to ban bottled water had anything to do with the fortuitously timed water supply scare remains a matter of speculation.

However disparate in magnitude, the temporal coincidence of these two incidents, both revolving as they do around sudden mechanical failure and massive pollution of the water, are what Jung might have termed a synchronicity. I'm sure others out there have noted it. Such things are said to be messages from ourselves, to ourselves, interpolated back in time through the medium of the cosmos. It's interesting to speculate along the lines of what, exactly, the message is meant to convey, and certainly there's a lot that could be said about water and our relationship with it but I'll leave that for you to think about (as these synchronous messages are meant personally, for all of us) and move on to some other interesting coincidences such as Gold in Sacks apparently shorting not everything Gulf of Mexico (as originally claimed), but TransOcean's stock (the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon) mere days before the event.

Along similar lines it seems Halliburton bought the company that got the contract to complete a crucial step in the drilling process or something just a couple of weeks before the malfunction. I understand there's lots of money for America's signature disaster capitalism corporation in the capping and the cleanup, as well, which is good I suppose as the rent on office space in Dubai is just outrageous I hear. I'd be tempted to congratulate them on their good fortune but as we all know (or are at any rate endlessly told by those with fortunes) a successful man makes his own luck and you know, when companies like Helliburton and Gold in Sacks get lucky like that real close to one big motherfucker of a disaster well, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

2. Demon Kings and the iZombie Horde

And you will, of course, right or wrong, in accordance or not with all of the observations or, should we say, the more pertinent ones. I have none to share at the moment as relates the Deepwater Horizon incident specifically, nor I think does it much matter. Even if there were a smoking gun somewhere, some proof of deliberate sabotage - and this is highly unlikely, given the ease with which the Deep Horizon could have been sabotaged as it prepared to cap the well and disengage - it would be visible only to those who can bring themselves to entertain the notion that humanity might produce the sort of monster who could do such a thing without blinking. And not just one of them, oh no: a whole horde of demons masquerading as people could be the only possible explanation for an act so foul as to murder an ocean.

That's a scary thing to contemplate, an army of demons, and really it's much easier to just switch the channel on your big screen plasma TV, settle back into your comfy pleather couch in your echoing McMansion and zone out for a bit before you have to get in the car the next day and drive somewhere crowded so you can stumble around amongst the other bloated iZombies. It's been fun but for how much longer is anyone's guess. Say, do you own that car, that home, that couch, that big plasma TV? You do? Congratulations! You're in a very tiny minority.

I'm betting you're leveraged to the hilt to afford this lifestyle. Most everyone is and no shame there, so's the whole country, damn near every country is it's true but yours (if you're an American iZombie) more than any other. You want to look at it geopolitically, America just ran a scam whereby financial institutions like Gold in Sacks auctioned off your garbage paper to the rest of the world in exchange for vast quantities of their stuff and labor, which they credulously gave thinking they were getting rich. Now the fairy gold has turned into sand and they are pissed, although for now they're keeping their seething displeasure as quiet as they can under the theory that it is best to move cautiously when the object of your disapproval has thousands upon thousands of nukes, and that's just for starters.

Of course once GlobalPop cottons on that their temperance hasn't stopped the Hexagram's Pentagon from unleashing a Foursquare Armageddon of Famine, Pestilence, War and Death, well, I don't think they'll hold their tempers much longer from that point on because they will have nothing to lose.

Even as the real economy is in flames, the Pentagon's unholy war machine grows on, unchecked, and even picks up steam. It's keeping the world's anger in check, for now, but it's starting to run out of fuel: the iZombie lifestyle that makes humans so usefully docile also makes them useless for military service, by and large. The military-industrial complex has sucked the heart and soul of America dry so it could demon-strate demonocracy all over the world, or at least in the shittiest parts of it, parts that might have a 'democracy' now, sure, but sure as shit in an open sewer don't have clean drinking water or sometimes running water for that matter, even where they used to.

You'd hope the Yanks would've been smart enough to spend all the wealth they looted from the world on something useful: infrastructure, for instance. But no. Like every other conqueror drunk on their own indomitable success, everything they didn't spend on military hardware they pissed away on a bunch of big useless homes and a plethora of baubles. The baubles will mostly be broken in a couple of years, by which time you'll be too broke to afford replacements, and as for the homes? Hah! You never even really owned them anyways, remember?

It's a good joke, really, though generally people don't laugh much when they get it. Here's the punchline: you (the collective 'you' of the Western world) unleashed your demons upon the world and gave them your blessing to do what needed to be done to keep you well-fed and entertained. They kept their end of the bargain and in the meantime did what demons do, that is to say, murdered, tortured, subverted, seduced, raped, pillaged, and defiled everything in their path. Now those demons have come home to roost, they're turning their beady little eyes upon you and you can almost see their nictitating membranes flickering in excitement as they imagine what they'll soon be able to do with and to you for fun and profit.

3. Unplugging From the Simulation, Awakening into the Dream

Personally I think it's time to unplug. Take out those earbuds, turn off that TV, put down that cell phone, walk away from the screen and re-engage with the world as it is, rather than as it's projected at us (I'm a hypocrite in this as in many other things (when in Rome, after all) so don't beat yourself up over it.) I know we all have our own little subjective views on the world but you can at least care that there is an objective world, a world that we all share and ultimately, are, and while I understand how comforting it is to populate your particular subjective window primarily with colorful entertainment it is time, my friend, to wake the fuck up.

I could say that's because the world's about to eat you but that would be playing off your fear and also, it's probably not going to happen. Not just yet. Who knows? Maybe it can be averted. I suspect enough people regaining possession of their faculties might be able to accomplish that because in the final analysis there is no force so powerful as the finer human faculties. The likelihood that the timestream can be steered around the various oncoming catastrophes is raised considerably for those who harness those faculties, individually, and en masse? Could be quite the trump card.

But really, it's not fear that should motivate us to re-engage with the world. Fear is what has made us disengage from it: separating ourselves from nature as much as possible, going so far in the end as to almost wholly isolate our minds from any direct and unmediated contact with reality itself.

What should motivate you is love. Love for everything that's been, everything that is, everything that is yet to be. The world ends every moment, only to be recreated again, as the whirling vortices of energy and charge called matter oscillate in and out of existence. Each step in time is unique unto itself, and eternal in its way, for it inhabits the only moment of time that is real, the now, and now always is. Every moment is logically dependent on the moment preceding, though the outcome can never be predicted and it is this uncertainty - the knowledge that what happens next is influenced by what we do now, but with wild cards thrown in - that leads to the possibility of a creative influence in events.

4. The Improbable Taste of a Strawberry

Things can happen in a more or less deterministic fashion or not. Kick a rock off a cliff and it will fall to it's smashed doom, but kick a man and maybe he'll manage to grab a branch or a ledge on the way over or down. It's not likely but the possibility remains open, as is shown so often in the final crisis/confrontation scene of so many heroic action movies. Of course a rock can't choose to kick another rock over a cliff, or a human either, but a human can and therein lies the nub of the whole free will, good-and-evil thing that has afflicted our species since its inception.

You can look at the whole development of our species as the ascent of a mountain, an ever-higher peak of improbability as our knowledge, technology, population and resource base have grown to what just a few generations ago would have seemed epic proportions; taking the long view, our species has been engaged in a sweeping epic stretching back into the dim, forgotten epochs of prehistory. So far back as we can look, we see that the narrative is festooned with a wide variety of recurrent themes and dramas, acted out by recurrent historical types or archetypes manifesting in the personalities and behaviour of individual human beings. This is the basic folk wisdom which has been used for prophecy for millenia, embodied in oracles such as tarot or the various astrologies.

The set of archetypal human dramas and personalities is what lends history its self-similar, fractal structure. Self-similarity is likely a property of time itself, expressing itself as it does not just in human history but in the memory of the animal kingdom from whence it came, itself a product of the chemical memory of cells and the photonic memory of matter itself. At all scales, a set of archetypal behaviours and types present themselves, each progressively simplified from the last until ultimately we come to the fundamental on/off oscillatory heartbeat of exists/doesn't exist which underlies the continual happening of every subatomic particle in non/existence. That dichotomy flavors everything that flows out of it, like yin and yang; it expresses itself in new ways at every point in the chain and if you're looking for how some people were able to predict the End of the World with startling accuracy, well there's the mechanism.

And now here we stand, at the top of Mount Improbable or so it seems, and just as some of us are starting to suspect that 'there is more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio....', and that the skies are nothing like the limit, we've been collectively drop-kicked off the edge by an unseen assailant in the dark. Many still think we just tripped and fell (assuming they were sober enough to notice), and just how many will manage to grab on to something on the way over or down? Even if it's just long enough to pick a single strawberry? That's still up in the air. Where there's life there's hope and you're alive yet, aren't you?

I won't lie, it doesn't look good, but remember which mountain peak we're on. Anything can happen up here ... and most of it probably will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is scary. Really good note/article.