The Art of Living With Looming Climate Catastrophe

There is not going to be much science footnoting/linking mania here – any reasonable person, with some degree of reading skill and analytic integrity knows that climate catastrophe is human destiny. Not for all in the same way, not for all at the same time, but it is the backdrop to social reality – climate “change” and its attendant social crises are to be the sum of all human fears, in our lifetime, in our future, out from the realms of scientific speculation and committee reports, into the common fate of humanity.

This social reality is being resisted, at all levels, particularity by artists both popular and esoteric, and by the academy, by governments, by lowly bloggers and extemporizing feted banquet names. “Resisted” in many senses of the word  – “resisted” as the default truth to our notions of social thought, “resisted” as a worthy locus for non-scientific popular communication, “resisted” as any form of death should be.

Where, then, is the conscious mind to torn? Not to the blandishments of “change” repackaged by the Greens. Humanity has been industrializing its economic exchanges for centuries now, with the extent of the damage from that genetic impulse to build and assemble now coming into basic everyday common view. This is not a difficult assignment of comprehension: obviously smoke and chemicals have to go somewhere once emitted. What idiot could not have foreseen the bill to be paid from mass combustion? What level of imbecilic anti-humanism does a denier of such elemental logic as carbon energy=habitat destruction have to reach?

No,  humanity  has not one ounce of  “sustainability” in its social and economic practices. The supertankers have already been made, along with the next decade’s worth of automobiles, along with every plastic Dollar Left store child’s toy. along with every other invested-in, money-generating, socially necessary carbon-based form of transportation, medicine, medical implement, foodstuff, trinket, musket, Elvis-painting frame, cigarette, IPhone – that’s all in place, completely,  all over the world, hoarded by the world’s rich, but extended by global trans-national capital to the world’s not-dead-yet poor too, in limited forms.

That hypercarbon world is not “them”  – it is us, as well, even the would-be Thoreuvians, even the most off-the-grid Luddites. This is our world, every day until the rest of our days, and so to read our alleged geniuses of prior humanity, those Enlightenment pantheonistas, is to be engaged with the blind and the deluded. There’s no climate catastrophe in Shakespeare, very, very little in Lewis Mumford, not much in any classical education, very little in the movies or in recorded song. These antecedents were Enlightenment positivists, all sworn to a faith in human technological governing capability, to the alleged grandeur of collective human possibility.   Who could be a social nihilist then in the face of such conglomerated futurism? Only the most direly-afflicted of depressed or suicidal thinkers like Cioran or Nietschze, and history has rejected them as lunatic outsiders.

Yet we, the inhabitors of the eco-legacy of  our progenitors- all the Industrial Age smoke, all the Industrial Age chemical swill, now the Technological Age of plateau-reached supersystemic carbon pollution, will be the annotators of the new age of ineluctable climate catastrophe. The certainties of science will not be of much help – we will need to acquire a popular mentality and popular culture  of how to live and think  with this rejection of prior forms of social truth.

Humans are not good at dealing with threatening social reality, so it is going to be a difficult experience balancing knowledge of fated climate catastrophe with individual purpose, and so there will be an overabundance of  avoidant murmurings, bloggings, time-wastings, book conjurings, and inabilities.  There’s not much need to be pulling intellectual rank, though, and not here at FSN –  we are all trying to get ready, and should be able to listen to what expressive others can manufacture, in low carbon server farm  form, on the screens of our time.

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