Thursday, 11 November 2010

Global catastrophes

Warning:  The following entry has two expletives within the text.

Over the past couple of days I have been reading Global Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction by Bill McGuire.  It really cheered me up no end.  It's a book about all the natural disasters that could end the world as we know it or reduce the human race to a handful of survivors or wipe it out entirely.  The first sections include information on global warming and even if only some of the predictions are correct, it seems as though the human race, in the course of a couple of hundred years of industrial progress, has fucked up the planet for the next few hundred years even if we can reduce global carbon emissions or at least keep them at present levels.  Now why would that cheer me up?  Well, apart from the length of my lifetime, I have absolutely no personal investment in the future of the human race as I have no children and probably never will so while everyone else on the planet is looking to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint, I can have one the size of a blue whale and not have to worry.  What a fantastic gift!

I can look at the whole subject of global warming and the future of the human race from the point of a mere observer which is the default setting of my life anyway and I can laugh at the irony that, despite the technological expertise at our disposal, the technology that is moving most rapidly can do nothing except provide scientists with ever more accurate ways of measuring how fast we're fucking up the planet.

The greatest irony is that the human race has sown the seeds of its own destruction in its efforts to prove itself to be above Nature.  Mankind's arrogance in the face of Nature is astounding.  In the name of speed, greed and profit, the human race has raped the planet for its resources and wiped out entire species with absolutely no thought for the consequences.  Of course, it may not be the natural disasters caused by global warming that finish the human race off because, as our technological sophistication outstrips our wisdom, we'll probably wipe ourselves out long before Nature can do it for us.

The human race is Nature's greatest enigma - so intelligent yet so unutterably stupid.

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