Tag Archives: climate change

We’ve got our Backs Against the Wall

                                            [short story, by Sha’Tara]

James Macken closes down his netbook and goes looking for his daughter.  Twelve year old Ellie or “Elle” Macken is leaning on the railing of the cabin’s small patio, looking intently into the night sky.  There is no moon and the stars, this high in the Coast Mountains, shine brightly.  Despite a light breeze blowing from the west, the summer night remains warm. 

His voice breaks the night’s silence, “Elle?”

“I’m over here, dad.”

James walks over to her and leans on the railing, his face following where she was staring.  “What’s up there, Elle?”

“ I don’t know, dad.  I just feel so funny, so detached, all of a sudden.”

“Funny, like how?”  He isn’t joking or pretending.  He’d learned long ago to take his daughter very seriously or else.  She was already a very deep thinker, or perhaps more of a thinking machine.  Her thoughts are her reality.

“Well it’s like this.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly about my future… well really, the future of this world, and however I extrapolate my thoughts on it, I don’t seem able to picture any sane, safe, comfortable or desirable future.  OK, so here we are, out here almost by ourselves in these mountainous wilds and it’s really nice.  Don’t get me wrong, dad, I love it here, and I’m very grateful that you got us this place where I can spend some of my summer vacations, and I wish mom was alive and with us now… but this is an illusion, isn’t it?  We’ve got our backs against the wall, haven’t we?”

“I should understand you by now, Elle, but what exactly do you mean?”

“I mean, dad, this planet has no future as long as mankind, as “we” continue to take over and basically eat it alive.  We are a disease, dad, can’t you see?” 

James Macken is no fool.  He knows exactly what his daughter is saying and he’d be the last person to contradict her observations.  In a purely technical sense, she is correct: man is destroying the world, the only world he knows, or can have on which to live.  Man is destroying his own living space without the least hope of gaining access to another should this one become unlivable.  But he’s a forty-two year old research scientist while his child is but a twelve year old who has yet to commit to any discipline.  She’s expressing her emotions about what she sees, hears and reads.  He’s thinking that perhaps with puberty in the offing she’ll give more attention to another side of life: romance, and girl stuff.  But then, some never do, and based on her IQ scores it could well be that Elle may not pay much attention to that side of life.  

“I’m not certain you’re giving us a chance here, Elle.  Not everybody is a destroyer of nature.”

“Of course I know that, dad.  Most of my teachers are quite keen on making us aware of the problems this world is facing in the immediate future – that being my future – but you know?  Most of the kids just smirk, or laugh, or ask really dumb questions, especially when we discuss climate change, for example.  People really don’t care, dad.  And you know what’s the saddest part?  Those who make the laws, the politicians; those who sell stuff, the corporations, it’s the “don’t care” crowd they rely on for votes and consuming!  So, how can anything change?  How can anything get better?”

“You care, don’t you?  There must be others like you in your school?”

“Not many.  What if we were one in a hundred – what sort of balance is that?  We can talk but then we’re made fun of and ostracized.  Most kids can’t go it alone, dad.  They need friends and they’ll do almost anything to have friends.  So, statistically, the “don’t care” crowd, being the vast majority, forms the winning pool and those who care stop caring to fit in.”

“Sometimes when I listen to you, I think you were born old, Elle.  I love you, you know that, don’t you?” 

She puts her arm around his waist and looks in his face; “I know dad.  I know.  But I’m growing up fast and soon I’ll be on my own, having to live with myself.  I’ll be the product of my own thoughts and I’ll have to confront a world that is totally alien to the way I think.  You know what dad?  I’m truly scared.  So scared that often I think I should just, you know, call it quits and leave…”

“Elle!”

“I’m being totally honest with you dad.  When mom died, I nearly did it; I wanted so to follow her.  But you were there, as you’re here, and I didn’t want to leave you behind and I knew you wouldn’t come after us, so I stayed.  But for two years I haven’t been able to shake the idea that perhaps I would be much better off if I died.  How can I really live if I can’t see a future for myself?  What’s to live for, dad?  All the things I love and care about are being killed and destroyed.  The world, my piece of the world, is becoming noisier, dirtier and more dangerous all the time.  Something’s so wrong.  There’s what they call “degeneracy” happening all around and the more of that there is, it’s like stepping in swamp mud, you don’t know how deep you’ll sink or if you’ll be swallowed whole.  On top of that you’re getting older too, and you will die and then I’ll have nobody, nobody at all.  That’s not a challenge to me, that’s a nightmare.”

“You’re not alone in that, Elle.  But I think you’re both, over-thinking, and under-thinking this whole thing.  Isn’t it possible that in a couple of years you’ll fall in love with a boy who is really nice – can’t imagine you falling for some cretin – and he’ll become your world for a while?  Then you’ll go to college and find some subjects you really like, pursue a career and then meet the man you will want to marry.  Likely you will have kids and you’ll have your own family, make your own world.”

She sighs and leans into him.  He can feel her vulnerability, wishing he had something better to offer her.  “I’ve thought about that dad.  It’s soothing sometimes but it changes nothing.  When I speak of the future, I mean “the” future, not just something I’ll carve out and struggle to keep for myself.  How could I, in conscience, have kids if I can’t give them a real future?  That would be horribly irresponsible of me.  I have to be sure and what I’m sure of isn’t conducive to a peaceful and safe life.  There’s something seriously wrong with all of our lives; with our life as a people, and I really hate it that I’m one of the very few who can see this, and actually cares about it.  I don’t like being alone but I have no choice, see?  And what if I found someone who thought like me, was like me, how could we ever have a happy life knowing, and living with, what we know?  What would be the point of trying to live together if we decided to spend all our time fighting for causes that take us away from each other, or worse, that land us in jail?”

“I’ll be totally honest with you too, Elle.  I truly don’t know.  I know that I love you deeply.  You’re all that I have left of Amber, of your mother, and you’re so like her in many ways, but so different in others.  I admire your intelligence even though it makes it very challenging for me to keep up with you.  I think I’ll stop trying to do that, just try to be your friend for now.  What you say about leaving breaks my heart, but I know you know that.  So instead of panicking about what you may decide to do with your life… I’ll make a friend’s pact with you.  Hear me out and let me know if we have a deal.  If you come to the end of your road, and you are convinced it is the end, I promise not to stand in your way.  You can even tell me that you are leaving, and I’ll let you go.  I won’t help you, and I don’t want to know the details, but I promise to honor your choices, your decisions and most certainly, your memory.  In this, our private world, Elle, you are no longer a child.  Make your own choices and I will support you as best I can.  Deal?”

“Oh, dad, no one can ever have had a better father.  I love you too; I can feel that so deeply.”  And in between deep sobs, she finally managed to say, “We have a deal, dad.  Thank you for giving me my freedom to choose.” 

 

 

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Is Technology just a Local Phenomenon in the Realm of Magic?

Is Technology just a Local Phenomenon in the Realm of Magic?
                 [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Despite the proliferation of fantasy writing and in movies, magic it would appear is long gone from the realm of mainstream teaching and belief.  People still go through some of the motions of ancient rituals based on magic (or call it mythology) but those rituals have been rendered quite mindless, being but tools in the hands of money grabbers to fool and despoil the public.  We (well, some) celebrate “special” days like Christmas, Valentine’s Day,  St Patrick’s Day, Easter, just to name a very few, the names changing from language to language but all based on myths whose sources go back into prehistory.  These modern celebrations aren’t about magic; they’re about feel good and pleasure.  They’re about getting stuff, eating stuff, partying, families getting together to fight, get drunk or stoned and generally have a rip-roaring good time.  Their ancient power has been excised; that having been done deliberately and “with malice aforethought.”

Which brings me to the theme point: technology in the realm of magic.  Earthians may have been stripped of their sense of the magical; it may have been crushed under the jack-booted “Crusaders” of male-dominated Religions; it may have been denigrated by the new official religion called Science, but it wasn’t destroyed.  “Magic is the lifeblood of the universe” as quoted from the movie “Willow” and it doesn’t go away just because a group of pathetic priests and madmen decide to do away with it so they can wield all the power and render billions of people powerless within their blood-soaked hands.  Magic morphs into any number of forms, either to survive on a world, or to exercise some control without being unmasked and its purveyors such “witches” of the past and in today’s parlance, “conspiracy theorists” or worse, traitors or “terrorists.” 

Magic is alive and well on planet earth, only it has become black magic, and its magicians and mages are students and workers of the blackest of arts.  Magic has morphed and ensconced itself in man’s technology. 

Like magic, technology isn’t evil (or necessarily a black art) in itself.  That is entirely dependent upon the wielders of the magic cum technology.  Greedy, sociopathic, narcissist, hate-filled people designing and using technology will spread mayhem and destruction in its wake.  Of that there can be no doubt. 

Here’s a question: can well-meaning magicians wield this magic to do good?  I suppose it depends on individual power and motive.  Medical science has gone to the dark side: can a doctor working within that reality or established  order (or should I say disorder), prescribe poisonous or addictive drugs, or give profit-motivated advice to  grind more “patients” through his clinic in one day, do good?  Some will say yes, some no.  And that’s the problem: where’s the needed assurance?  

So, if technology is a form of morphed magic, what can we deduce from that knowledge?

We know, or certainly we should know, that magic requires balance.  When magic is thrown out of balance, as we’ve seen time and again through history, we’ve reaped plagues, wars, famines, revolutions, bloody religious intolerance, pogroms, genocides and even natural catastrophes.  Put simply, magic has consequences.   

Therefore, since our technology is completely out of sync with the natural order of things, and man (the species) itself gone off the rails in choosing to live an artificial lifestyle totally dependent upon this out-of-balance technology, what else can we expect but but consequences to follow?  Life magic will go as far as nature or the environment allows and it will suddenly and inexorably sweep back its arm and nothing that man does (or doesn’t do) will matter an iota.

I think we are now seeing the beginning of that sweeping back through climate change.  It’s interesting how two forces have synced to create this condition.  At first it was called global warming and it was unilaterally blamed on man’s use of fossil fuels.  As it was analyzed by scientists and observers globally, the consensus swung and it was believed then that the phenomenon had two causes: natural, as in a cyclical planetary climate change combined with anthropocentric pollution.  No longer just global warming but global climate upset.  Whatever it’s called, what is experienced world-wide is an upset in climate patterns we had become used to.  We have entered the crucible of a pull-back state of change: black magic changing back into white magic. 

Man’s use of black magic though technology, has had countless effects on the environment.  Some of that black magic, beyond extraction and burning of fuels includes radiation from nuclear powered plants, ships, submarines and dirty nukes in war, and from their ubiquitous wastes.  Some takes the form of forests stripped to expose thin soils that can only grow crops with liberal doses of chemicals: fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.  These then run off into open and underground water systems and poison all the waters of the planet, not just some: all of them.  No one is immune from this systematic poisoning of the world’s waters.  Of course there’s also the destruction of the forests themselves, which are the lungs of the planet as a living organism.  Then there’s the hardly-ever mentioned toll of pollution from endless warring.

Black magic, all of that.  Black magic brings entropy and chaos.  As the pressure of chaos from change is increasingly felt, will the black magicians stop and allow nature to balance itself?  Not a chance.  Black mages never “come back” once they’re trapped by their own evil powers.  They can only push that much harder to maintain their own version of balance of terror, which is no balance at all. 

We think we understand “balance of terror.”   We’ve felt it during the so-called Cold War between the two empires: the USA versus the USSR or if you prefer, Fascist Capitalism versus Communist Capitalism.  When the USSR magicians lowered their shields it wasn’t to end the terror but to confuse; to blind the black mages of America into believing they were the last remaining ones on the planet; that they had all the magic; that they could roam the planet, oppress, extort, kill at will with no one left to oppose them.  But that USSR black magic only morphed from a mighty single empire or head into many lesser bodies, many lesser heads like the legendary Hydra.  By now USA black mages know they were outfoxed because of their blind greed but they can no longer back out of their relentlessly expanding wars. They’ve gone to the mattresses in a last-ditch effort to hold on to a power they can no longer control.   

Thanks to modern thinking: the denial of magic and denigration of mythology as having any “real” significance in history, there is no Hercules to slay the Hydra.  That modern day Hydra will defeat the last black magic empire, and only after the necessary destruction has taken place will a hero arise to finally crush the Hydra’s power and cleanse the world with her passing.  Only then, after billions have died in horrible conditions; after all this modern black arts technology is destroyed, will Magic re-awaken on earth and balance the scales, as it is meant to be. 

Then… “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”