Monday, May 27, 2024


What Kind of World Will We Leave Behind?


I have been personally examining the possibilities that may lie ahead for the human species in the years ahead by attempting to extrapolate the more immediate impact of the kind of communal decisions and choices being made throughout the world during the current era. In this examination, I have chosen to look at what I consider to be a so-called “worst case scenario.”


From the perspective of the global political environment, I see some disturbing tendencies. There seems to be an unsettling rise in the popularity of autocratic rulers who have openly expressed a blatant attraction to fascistic principles even within the Western-style democracies. Important examples of this trend are evident in the policies and pronouncements of such leaders as Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Vladimir Putin of Russia. These leaders are currently involved in brutal and ongoing wars against avowed enemies that barely disguise an effort to expand their dominion.

These wars are taking such horrendous tolls on the lives of their powerless foes – the Palestinians in the case of Israel and the Ukrainians in the case of Russia. The toll of this savage aggression endured by ordinary citizens in each instance is sadly reminiscent of the behavior of the Third Reich during World War II. In addition, the popularity of Donal Trump in the United States as the 2024 Presidential election approaches is surprising and notable especially in regard to his often-stated affinity towards autocratic rule in place of adherence to the rule of law, and political democracy.

The underling reasons for the popular support for autocratic rulers and repressive policies and political agendas is complex and multi-faceted. However, it is my contention, that the essential driver for such tendencies is fear, and that fear arises from an internal sense of instability and uncertainty regarding the future for those who have assumed that they hold dominant positions within the social order.

In many ways this unfolding of events is terribly reminiscent of the cycle of the rise and fall of human civilizations that echo throughout human history. The unfortunate tragedy of these kinds of historic events in the present technological era is that so much is at stake in regard to the immediate future of the human species.

Autocratic rule does not bode well for the future state of humanity for a variety of reasons. The foremost of these is that the lie is used to supplant a striving for truth - the unmitigated use of falsehoods and propaganda to propel forward an arbitrary and inherently dangerous agenda is a proven tactic to purposefully exploit the underlying fear and uncertainty of the population. We have seen this in the case of Netanyahu who has allowed lawlessness on the part of Israeli settlers to terrorize unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank and elsewhere often resorting to burning down houses and shooting innocent individuals with total impunity, held Palestinians captive in Gaza for the last sixteen years and committed terrible atrocities against ordinary Palestinians in Gaza with merciless bombardment, resulting in tens of thousands of needless deaths, provoking mayhem and the likelihood of terrible famine in much of that very crowded region. We have seen the insidious nature of autocratic rule on the part of Vladimir Putin in Russia in his relentless pursuit of incorporating by violent means the Ukraine sovereignty into the Russian empire. Lastly we have seen the repeated use of the lie and callous and provocative propaganda during the presidency of Donal Trump who has more or less embraced a clearly racist ideology and who has contributed to the tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the midst of the COVID pandemic by downplaying the severity of the onslaught of the disease - disregarding the advice of public health experts and who proudly proclaimed that Climate Change is a hoax. This trend towards autocratic rule and its accompanying social and political repression is not isolated to the above examples – in fact, it seems to be a worldwide phenomenon.


If this trend continues throughout the human world, then the voices of peace, social and economic justice, equality of opportunity, reason and intellectual pursuits would be effectively muted and suppressed. The ultimate consequences of this predilection towards obeisance to autocratic rule and governance would prove to be unsustainable in the long term.

As has been repeatedly demonstrated in human history, pursuits of the intellect, science and broad-based thinking would be profoundly discouraged. As a result, the absolute need to address the overweening issue of Climate Change would have no traction. As a matter of fact, the conditions that contribute to this human-created problem would be seriously exacerbated. Climatologists have periodically enumerated the new reality that would emerge on planet earth if their warnings go unheeded. This would include the fact that regions of the earth that are inhabited by hundreds of millions of humans would be essentially unlivable due to the extreme heat and humidity. These would include regions in the Middle East, Asia, especially India and the African continent.

Should this calamitous situation become a reality, it would mean the forced emigration of huge populations of humans – the kind of migration that would certainly provoke horrendous conflict and would engender an unsustainable living environment for a substantial portion of the earth’s human population. This kind of impact precipitated by Climate Change is a major one, but certainly not the only ramification of unfettered and calamitous change. Others include the impact of rising temperatures in the world’s oceans leading to the probable extinction or diminishment of many species of marine life that currently provide a necessary protein source for many animal species including Homo sapiens. In addition, the change in climate would precipitate savage and unrelenting storms in many regions on the planet resulting in additional stress upon human survival.

The collective impact of these alterations on the living planet would likely result in the gradual and ineluctable diminution of the human population, ultimately resulting in and end to the technological age due to the degradation of the advanced infrastructure that is required to sustain it.


If this kind of scenario actually unfolds, the severely diminished human populations would most likely coalesce into tribal relationships over the ensuing generations. The lifestyles of these “New Humans” would conform to earlier neolithic ways of living if the state of the local natural environment supports agriculture or be more likened to a paleolithic culture should the local environment support a hunter/gatherer style of living. The net result would be a rich variety of tribal societies that may or not come into conflict depending upon the degree of competition for survival. In any case, the memories associated with technologically-based human civilization would gradually fade from communal recognition. In a sense, the human species would have been rebooted. It would take a prolonged interval of time before the living world fully rebounded from the trauma of human-caused environmental degradation. How humanity would evolve in such a setting is difficult to imagine.


Keep in mind that this vision is entirely speculative, and, of course, it is conceivable that humans in the current era could make choices that would significantly alter the future for the benefit of all creatures on this most remarkable planet. It is also conceivable that the ultimate outcome of a failure to act responsively in attempting to avert this kind of calamity may not be as dramatic or catastrophic as this bleak scenario describes. However, the future that does enfold will most likely result in a scale of pain and suffering that would have been totally avoidable if only humanity acted intelligently and cooperatively to avert a disheartening future. In the final analysis it is up to all of us to take significant action at the present time for the sake of future generations.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Remember the Children

Remember the children

crushed and obliterated

under the weight of 2000 pound bombs

screaming from the sky

dispatched by uncaring machines of death.


Remember the children of

Israel and

Somalia

Yemen

the Sudan

Nicaragua

Honduras

victimized by

insidious bigotry,

religious differences that

seem so oblivious

to the suffering they engender.


Remember the children of the present

and the future

who live in a world

that offers no relief,

no respite

from the cruelty of their captors,

from endless punishment

over which they have no control.


Remember the children

suffering needlessly

for no good reason.


Remember the children

denied the capacity to thrive and grow

for they are our lost treasures

consumed by the raw power of hate.


Remember the children for

they hold in their feeble hands the

ultimate fate of humanity.


Remember the children

to forget is to

consign ourselves to an abysmal future

devoid of compassion and love

leaving us with an uncaring and brutal world.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Ode to Existence Revisited

 

As the hours and days and weeks and months and years move me along life’s relentless journey, I have been contemplating during those precious moments of solitude the nature of existence.

Ode to Existence Revisited


Enmeshed and so often, entrapped

within this human world

distraction the norm,

conversation distilled into

a kind of relentless babble

born on the wings of bits and bytes,

joy equated with pleasure

and childish excitement,

happiness to be forever

pursued and hoarded like treasure,

a synthetic world of trinkets

and idle possessions,

heirlooms acquired,

building vast fortunes

of synthetic and finite illusions,

all with no consequence

all with little meaning.



And yet,

the reality of existence

moves along its

indefatigable path,

within the boundaries of

the wondrous cosmos.



Surrounded by the matrix

of the living world,

passengers aboard this fabulous spaceship

Earth,

caressed by capricious winds,

greeted by morning mist,

tossed upon perilous water,

enlivened by sunlight,

subdued by nightfall,

intimidated by fearsome storm,

forever surprised by the intrinsic beauty

delicate intricacies of nature’s tendrils

that reach into every corner and crevice,

every delicate spring blossom,

every blade of undulating grass,

every tree no matter how massive or

diminished,

every creature within its domain,

every idle thought that triggers

perception,

every substantive or meaningless dream.



Surrounded by this most amazing

universe,

this most fabulous galaxy

decorating the heavens with

innumerable stars,

witness to the dance of the planets,

subtleties of light and dark,

to the wild configurations of

shape and form and texture and color.



Blessed with this most awesome capability

of the sentient mind

to uncover the mysteries of

the nature of things,

to explore the vast and inner terrain of

self,

to find meaning,

to explore possibilities,

to appreciate detail and

discover function,

to search for truth

and find it,

to know peace

and appreciate the essence of love.



Life is a voyage and a journey,

bounded by explosive birth

and the finality of death,

constrained by the

vagaries and vicissitudes

of unfolding time,

life is to be affirmed

by wrapped attention,

life is to be possessed

from moment to moment and

neither squandered nor abandoned.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Shadows of War

            Darkness once again falls

heavily upon this tiresome human world.

Shadows of war

propelled by ridiculous dreams of dominance and empire

sustained by minds

unable to see the horrid future they project,

unwilling to embrace the pain and suffering

they inflict,

unreceptive to the laments of mothers

over the children forever lost to the shrill

call of bombs and bullets

as explosions rip through the fabric of neighborhoods,

unrepentant for the death they distribute

to the innocent like candy,

for all the blood and bones and carnage,

for all the wrecked lives and distorted hatred

injected into the future,

unable to embrace all of humanity as equals,

ever ready to crawl into bed

with hollow and pointless death.

Shadows of war,

a long and tiresome story

revisited again and again

the litany long,

the dark foreboding song always the same,

the list seeming endless,

stretching back

to the very beginnings of

civilization.

How long can Homo sapiens endure?

how long can the natural world

upon which we depend

sustain us?

when we choose

chaos over harmony

needless death and unimagined suffering

over love and life,

darkness over light,

stupidity over real intelligence

over and over again.

Darkness once again falls

heavily upon this tiresome human world.

Ode to the Elusive Peace of Mind

I wish to say farewell

to all trivial considerations,

all venal and self-serving dreams,

all of ego’s darlings

piled up like so many useless magazines

cluttering the thoroughfares of the mind.

 

I wish to terminate the leases

of all the shabby and unwanted tenants that

occupy the precious real estate within

my neuronal wonder.

 

I wish to finally release all the hostages

reminiscent of bygone desires and

missed opportunities,

they take far too much succor to retain.

 

I wish to welcome all of

life’s truly wondrous aspects,

of nature’s magnificent presence

and finally let all of existence consume me

within the grasp of perfect peace.


Saturday, December 31, 2022

A Hopeful Dream

Truth no longer a whisperbut a flood of clarity,
guns and all weapons of
bad intention or ill feeling
reduced to their base metals
and fashioned into implements of healing,
all who are hungry
are fed,
all who are afraid
are reassured,
all who are pariahs
brought into the human fold,
all who are filled with the bile of hatred
cajoled with sweetness and caring,
all who suffer needlessly
from their own lack of faith in themselves
see the blazing light of true wisdom,
all who have hearts weighted by greed
free themselves from the onerous weight of possessions,
all who love ignorance
witness the rapture and wonder of learning,
all who usurp themselves and others with power,
come to recognize their own impotence,
all who are crippled and torn apart by disease
see their true worth,
artists and lovers of knowledge and thought
are finally appreciated,
all without homes
find shelter in the heart of humanity,
all who are fractured
made whole,
all who are obsessed by race or creed
are freed of their limitations,
all limited and pernicious ideas
fall to oblivion from their own weight,
all who are demagogues
find a life of true service,
all ideas born of avarice and rooted in war
are finally dead,
all embrace all
as members of the human family.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Pathetic Emperors of Greed

 

At this moment in time (the winter of 2022) as the year nears its end, certain individuals of the male persuasion - supposedly worth billions of dollars - are regularly depicted in the news. These individuals are particularly vociferous and manage to project their personalities into the public consciousness with a stunning regularity. This has inspired me to create the following piece entitled,

Pathetic Emperors of Greed


Within the formidable shadow of

accumulated wealth

these two bit emperors

surrounded by their phalanx of

bodyguards and

sycophants ever ready with

meaningless phrases and shallow praise,

inject their toxic venom into the

public space to perpetually remind us all

of the rarified space they occupy.



From shallow mind to

slimy tongue

they elaborate lies

implausible fictions

deleterious conclusions

based upon nothing of substance,

designed to foster hatred

upset balance

foster confusion

incite turmoil.



These preposterous idiots

enamored of themselves

forever admiring their

reflections in silver mirrors

their constant companions,

bathing in their own stupidity,

emersed in the chaos they engender,

murdering empathy

compassion and

the common good

with utmost precision,

suggesting violence,

inciting hatred in

confused minds.



These pathetic emperors

of their shallow kingdoms,

embrace an image of themselves

within their tortured and

infantile minds,

without real substance

frantically attempting to

smother their desperate aloneness,

and the perpetual fear of their

monumental inadequacies.



These pathetic emperors of greed

steeped in the fallacy of their

exaggerated importance

carry the insatiable urge

to constantly remind us all of their

inspired presence,

like hapless juveniles they

insinuate themselves into the public space.


Like all the petty tyrants that

preceded them

they demand unequivocal attention

threaten the peace and

should be thoroughly and completely ignored.