THE ANTHROPOCENTRIC ANTHROPOCENE SHAM/SCAM
By Dick Dorworth
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Edward O. Wilson
“I don’t like formal gardens. I like wild nature. It’s just the wilderness instinct in me, I guess.”
People whose wilderness instincts haven’t been ground into pabulum by the daily grind and who still know and acknowledge the differences between a forest and a tree farm, a meadow and a lawn, a river with and without dams and the relative values of long-term environmental health and short-term profits, also know that homo sapiens is a part of nature, the ecology and the web of life of Planet Earth. As E.O. Wilson succinctly points out, mankind is neither master of life on earth nor essential to its existence. Members of our species who are incognizant of this reality are, at best, deluded. Words are insufficient to describe those who appear incognizant but in reality are not. Among the many precious, irreplaceable treasures of life, including clear air, clean water, life sustaining seas, mountain glaciers, healthy soil, jungles, forests and democratic economy already being sacrificed to their delusions and addiction to greed are the quality and security of the lives of your grandchildren and mine.
That pisses me off. In my view it should piss off everyone at a deep gut level. Every human, with or without grandchildren, is inextricably connected to everything that lives—past, present and future—and every individual thought, word, action, inaction and standard of integrity affects the whole. I wish for my grandchildren the best of healthy, vibrant, engaged lives guided by wilderness instincts and compassion. Anthropogenic global warming climate change deniers and other adherents of/participants in the anthropocentric anthropocene sham/scam (AASS) don’t give a shit about your grandchildren or mine or about the other irreplaceable treasures of life. Deniers are the 21st century’s mental/emotional/spiritual/ethical descendants of European Medieval inquisitors of the middle ages and the perpetrators of the Salem Witch Trials of 17th century America. These people, literally, do not think twice about sacrificing the living and the unborn to the status quo of dead and discredited superstitions. The AASS’s standards of honesty, intelligence, morality, ethics and compassion are perhaps best exemplified today by Dick Cheney, who was/is happy to take time out from justifying his better known wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve as point man in AASS’s war on reality and scientific consensus.
It’s been 500 years since the inquisition placed Galileo Galilei under house arrest for the rest of his life for the ‘heresy’ of publishing his accurate scientific observations. Galileo, honored today as the “Father” of modern observational astronomy, physics and modern science, observed, among other things, that the Earth moved around the Sun and could not be the center of the universe. This reality was in conflict with “the” church’s dogma that the sun moved around the Earth which was the center of the universe. Galileo’s observations also threatened the anthropocentric delusions about mankind’s place in that universe on which “the” church thrived. The good news in the obtuse, cruel violence of the inquisition is that Galileo got off easy, relatively speaking. The bad news is that anthropocentric craziness is alive and well in the modern world.
500 years later AASS has replaced the inquisition with something more sophisticated and amorphous but just as brutal, stupid, parasitic and destructive to the best potential of mankind and the ecological health of the Earth.
Anthropocentrism is the fallacious idea that human beings are the center of the universe and the most significant creature on Earth. E.O. Wilson puts that self-absorbed idea in perspective.
Officially, the majority of scientists agree that earth is currently in the Holocene (meaning ‘recent whole’) marking the period since the last ice age nearly 12,000 years ago. The so-called Anthropocene is a proposed term for the present geological epoch since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century began to impact the climate and ecosystems of Earth. As such, it is a recognition of the destructive influence humans have had and a backhanded, unintended denial of the deniers, but as currently used it conflates the power of destruction with the gift of creation All of the older and more traditional ‘cenes’, as in Holo, Plio, Oligo and Paleo, took millions of years to form, but the anthropocene sham/scammers don’t have millions of years. 300 years is plenty of time to build an AASS cene for those whose quarterly profit reports, particularly from those extractive/polluting/poisoning industries too well known to need listing, are the center of their universe. Irony weeps.
AASSers have embraced the famous anthropocentric quip/quote by Stewart Brand “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” (Which he later updated to what might be termed the AASS motto: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.”) But a simple deconstruction of Brand’s flippant if tempting solution to, for instance, human caused global climate change reveals it to be a shameless/shameful sham/scam. “We are as gods” is anthropocentrism at its most deluded and dangerous. The natural world, the environment, wilderness and the wild existed on earth for millions of years before human beings appeared. The very concept of God or gods is a recent human invention, a projection of the human mind no one has ever seen and which is a very different reality from the creation of a blade of grass which everyone has seen. “We” cannot create so much as a blade of grass, though since inquisition times we have discovered how to better destroy, genetically modify, domesticate and turn blades of grass (temporarily) into vassals instead of members of the biotic community of the web of life, their rightful place.
We are not as Gods any more than we are as Martians, and we cannot get good at being whatever it is that gods do as we cannot get good at living on Mars. And it is telling that some AASSers are already talking about colonizing Mars after our reign of being as gods on Earth has ended. Details about our future on Mars haven’t been worked out, but we are as good at pretending that details don’t matter as we are not at being as gods.
AASSers cloak themselves in a green mantle synthetically dyed by such organizations as The Nature Conservancy that consistently and oxymoronically insist that nature is dead and gone and that they are protecting nature by the very science and economic policies and dogmas that are killing it. It is worth remembering that the Koch brothers have given millions of dollars to The Nature Conservancy, and the many mantles covering the Koch brothers are the green of money not of grass.
The Anthropocentric Anthropocene Sham/Scam and its supporters like Cheney, the Kochs, the Nature Conservancy and others less well known have allowed greed, dogma, superstition and hubris to blind them to what Lau Tzu pointed out more than 2500 years ago:
“As for those who would take the whole world
To tinker as they see fit,
I observe that they never succeed:
For the world is a sacred vessel
Not made to be altered by man.
The tinker will spoil it;
Usurpers will lose it.”
Don’t lose it. Keep your wilderness instincts along with the world.