Coming of Age

Many years ago, when mariner was learning about world religions, he learned that the land called Turkey today in another time was the origin of virtually every political and religious principal in the western world. Even revered early Greek poetry and Greek philosophical wisdom is rooted in the Hittite Empire.

The land of Turkey is also called Asia Minor or Anatolia. Anatolia, the cultural name for the area, has been the intersection of civilizations since the beginning of political organization. Babylonian documents note Hittite dominance in the region as early as the 17th century BC. Anatolia was the first region in the world to use iron tools, transforming its culture from Neolithic to Iron Age. These changes occurred between 4500 and 2000 BC. Given the Hittites existed at least by 1800 BC, we’re talking really ancient history – which is the point of this post, that aside from not assassinating each king to make room for another one, generally speaking, there isn’t much that’s original in politics. The last somewhat original idea was in the 18th century when the United States decided to let the citizenry run the country.

Today there is an urgent need to reinvent human culture; computers are forcing us into the future. We have no choice: we are facing new rules, new attitudes and new definitions, ergo new politics. When iron was mastered, it changed war, it changed agriculture, it changed politics, and it changed day-to-day life.

So here we are 3,800 years later. We suffer the end game of two ages at once: fossil fuel and a stable mammalian age, and the beginning of a new age – not iron, computers.[1]

Simple ways a new computer age will be noticed:

Today in 2017, 40 out of 100 car drivers drive alone. Almost as many use transit. Only 4 in 100 carpool. Some say the electric car will save the single passenger preference. Some say the electric car will be controlled by the highway just as traffic lights control traffic today. Cars using major highways may be little more than a seat, a cab and some wheels and be hooked electronically to the car in front and the car in back. Toot-Toot!

Another option mentioned is that a driver will pick up a specially built car at a depot like Hertz. Otherwise, one can drive the old clunker but not very far before one must take light rail.

Already emerging are neighborhoods or converted small towns that are designed to accommodate all the needs of a resident. Cars will be unnecessary within the confines of the neighborhood. Any storefronts that still exist will deliver to the home. Amazon will provide everything else.

One of the significant changes will be the definition of work. We aren’t making all these computers for nothing! Several books have been written about this subject and every significant magazine has published articles. A common observation is a description of the dream of every human being: independence and financial security. The way computers are taking away jobs, we all may be independent so financial security can’t be based on human labor or clock time. Whence one’s income?

Hmm, will one be able to vote from home? Miracles can happen….

Ancient Mariner

[1] Fossil fuel is widely assumed to be the cause of climate change. Carbon emissions certainly have exacerbated global warming but the planet has its own life to live and is by itself growing warmer. Much more damaging, and far enough along that it is irreversible, is the mammalian issue – caused entirely by human practices of blatantly destroying habitat and over consuming food sources like fish. Compared to air pollution, the ocean is in worse shape. We are living our way to the Sixth Extinction.

Dear Mister Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

It is hard to steer a boat in stormy seas. The nations of the world, each and every one, are sailing in extraordinarily stormy seas – each and every one including the United States.

It is especially hard for the United States. Intentionally, the nation was founded with importance given to the spirit of freedom and equality – a new perspective on governance by law that evolved over many centuries of European history. The new perspective paid off with the United States becoming the premier nation of the world – the most powerful, the wealthiest, and the leader of all nations. Some say that the golden years occurred in the middle of the last century. Too soon we have discovered these troubled seas.

We learn from history that humans reorganize themselves according to the circumstances at hand. Some say that in a natural environment we are happiest being members of a tribe. But reality drives a hard bargain. Soon humans had to reorganize into territorial kingdoms. After that, problems were too sophisticated for simple kingdoms. Nations had to be formed usually with authoritarian leadership like Russia and Turkey have at the moment.

However, reality now calls the people of the world to smudge the edges of a nation’s independence. Reality calls not for authoritarians, and not for personal riches that temporarily protect the super wealthy. Reality calls for a global mentality because the problems are too big for individual nations to solve.

Collaboration in economics, population management and planetary behavior is the solution today. Nations are linked together according to the issues they have in common. Today, many issues truly are global – no country can stand alone anymore. The Earth is moving into a new planetary age. It will take all of us participating together to survive.

Blog of the Ancient Mariner

 

Arrived.

Ancient has arrived at an intellectual state not unlike running out of gas in the middle of nowhere; or it may be similar to arriving where one intended but there is nothing to be found; or it may be like arriving in a country ready to have a rich experience but no one speaks your language or cares to communicate.

In a word, Mariner, as Amos before him, euphemistically is retreating to shepherd his sheep.[1] The works of Amos in the Old Testament show that he was influenced by a very large Earthquake (8.0) that occurred north of Israel around 760BC. Amos 3.13-15 states the view of Amos about the collapse of the world:

13 “Hear and testify against the House of Jacob,” says the Lord God, the God of Hosts, 14 “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great house shall come to an end,” says the Lord.RSV In further verses, Amos makes it clear that no one will survive God’s wrath.

Today, we have no impending earthquake that will end civilization; perhaps a volcano may but none of the major volcanoes are due for thousands of years. Nevertheless, something is happening because God’s wrath has begun and moves ever faster.

 

The Dark Age

The model which defines the relationship of the present era to its future is the model of the Dark Ages, which lasted from the fall of Rome to the early years of the Middle Ages (450AD – 1000AD). It was a time when the social structure and ethic of the known western world had fallen into disarray. Governments (and the Church) disavowed responsibility for the underclass and anyone, for that matter, who could not participate in authoritarian power or its oligarchy. In that time, the general public lived a truly impoverished and brutalized life. The wealthy did not feel obligated to care about common folk. Food was scarce and never adequate; disease ran amok; the simplest barter economy was impossible because of abusive taxation; one third of all children died before age five; adults had an average life expectancy in the thirties; common land, where the populace lived, was treated as a permanent war zone where the powerful played constant war to improve personal power and wealth.

Does this sound relevant today?

The characters are the same. The failing cultural morality seems not to be restrained. War with inadequate purpose seems rampant. Governments ever increasingly seek to avoid responsibility for the growing underclasses. The Church lingers in the twentieth century with very little influence on twenty-first century society.

But ‘God’ is not waiting for an ultimate collapse. Even as the US Government denies the reality of global warming, the Earth is moving on to an environment that may not be suitable for humans. It certainly is not suitable for other species. Global leaders and the wealthy may grudgingly recognize that ocean levels are rising enough to be a nuisance. They do not acknowledge that as the Arctic Ocean and its accompanying permafrost melt, a rise of ocean levels to several feet is projected by the end of the century and that will not be the end of it – rising further in future centuries.

The weather is changing as well. The warming oceans evaporate unmeasurable amounts of water into the atmosphere – causing larger and more damaging weather patterns as well as drought zones that occur seemingly without reason.

‘God’ does not patronize authoritarian and otherwise imbalanced societies that disregard simple moral behaviors – behaviors that have deep genetic roots in a species with strong tribal social structures. The current US government reminds the mariner of a group of people grabbing as much wealth as they can before the end comes. ‘God’ will not be deterred.

There are too many humans. Far too many. Why is this? Give credit to man’s inventive abilities which produced the Iron Age, Industrial Age, the Fossil Fuel Age, the Technological Age and the current Age of Automation. Were humans still bound to the nature from which they evolved, there is no question that nature itself would oversee disproportional population. Man often is his own demise.

Even at this moment the US is fading from its leadership of the modern world. China understands global economics and is investing in newly defined trade and financing relationships with other countries that will ease transition from the twentieth century era. The US is doing its level best to return to cultural and fiscal values as they existed in the mid-twentieth century. True, that was the golden age but nothing escapes entropy.

Aside from the biosphere, world economies must change in concept if any country is to survive financially and culturally. Most critical is the relationship between jobs and income. The eight hour work day began in 1856. Accompanied by a concept of hourly wage, it has been the core device for redistribution of wealth ever since. But its role in the economy is waning. If the world population is to survive in any quantifiable measure, job and wage must be separated.

Mariner is confident that we approach dark times. Dark times will prevail longer than we will like; let’s hope not as long as the model from the Middle Ages – 550 years. For the last four years, mariner has probed endless subjects, admonished many for lax insight, and promoted newly required ideas drawn from modern but ignored commentary. Were that we could describe the collapsing world; perhaps even glimpse the edges of our dissolution as we can see the edge of a storm cloud – but each of us is an integral piece of the storm…. We are the storm.

We, the electorate, are the storm and we have no intelligence with which to steer ourselves to pleasant weather. The human species denies several global issues that may well end as Amos predicted.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Apocryphal works say that Amos was killed by the son of Amaziah, priest of Bethel. It further states that before he died, Amos made his way back to his homeland and was buried there.

Potpourri

It has been a while since mariner submitted a post. Apologies. When one ages, there are other responsibilities one is obligated to perform. Primarily, health systems are associated with these responsibilities and have no compassion for other priorities or entertainment. So one must submit.

Except for tiny details, the mariner seems to have fared well. The tiny details will take care of themselves but, alas, he will never play football again. If any good has come from this distraction, it has been that the mariner has been weaned from television news. Not one program has made it for more than a few minutes. It has been pleasant not to have Donald in his life. Mariner’s frustrations about the electorate aside, the best commentary on Donald was published in the May 1st issue of The New Yorker Magazine by its editor, David Remnick. It is by far the most insightful, balanced and true commentary on Donald since his emergence in politics. Mariner implores you to do what you do not want to do: uplink to this article! See:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/01/a-hundred-days-of-trump?mbid=nl_170424_Daily&CNDID=49421095&spMailingID=10881576&spUserID=MTg3Njg2NDM4MTg0S0&spJobID=1141896563&spReportId=MTE0MTg5NjU2MwS2

It is the mariner’s last foreseeable comment about Donald. As far as the mariner is concerned, nothing has been done as long as he remains in office. Many will complain and feign or experience actual pain but until he is removed, they have done nothing and nothing will change, nothing will heal, nothing will move forward. Any complaints, visit your electorate representatives.

The mariner’s attention to the world was slightly diverted during his visit with the health industry (yes, an industry; where else would 30 pills cost $489?). Lying in bed long hours, his mind wandered the halls of his memory to stumble on a factoid he learned in 12th grade Chemistry: there are only three chemicals that will support life: Carbon (us), silicon and Chlorine. This is because these are the only chemicals that can simultaneously bond with Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Phosphorus. All these years this factoid lay on the dusty, cluttered floor of mariner’s memory. It has only occurred to him at this moment that we Carbon-based types have been creating Silicon-based life since 1935: computers and electronic transmissions! So it may be true that computers may one day turn around and bite us to erase the competition from another life form. (It doesn’t pay to lose control of one’s thought processes).

Another odd thought that occurred while watching science shows which replaced news shows, is the phenomenon of Now. The experience of NOW. Mariner knows most readers are not interested in space-time physics but the mariner was freshly intrigued about his perception of NOW when listening to a CSPAN book review by Richard Muller, author of a new book, ‘Now: the Physics of Time.’ Mariner had always perceived NOW as an infinite moment, that is, it crosses the Universe like a wave comes to shore – the same wave for the whole universe, i.e., NOW on a distant star occurred at the same moment as it occurred here on Earth. Muller challenges this thought, saying that NOW is relative, just like Einstein said about relativity. Mariner ordered the book through SILO (State of Iowa Library interlibrary loan); it arrived today. The CSPAN interview can be seen on CSPAN’s website.

Well, this is enough for a first post in a while. Mariner will do his best to restore the potpourri of the past.

Ancient Mariner

 

Blame it on the Weather.

The late winter weather in Iowa has been exceedingly warm. Consequently, many fruiting and ornamental trees have started to waken much too early and are subject to damage if the temperature drops to normal levels before spring really arrives. Weather all over the US has been temperamental this year. We have been conditioned to ponder whether the weather is affected by global warming. Meteorologists suggest that the weather is still just the weather but also suggest that global conditions are changing.

In other words, our major weather patterns still follow familiar seasonal patterns. What may be new are annual averages of temperatures across regions, stronger storms, and near the polar zones more ice and permafrost melting than in the past.

Global warming changes planetary conditions more rapidly than it shifts weather patterns. In the oceans, three significant global circumstances are apparent: (1) Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into the oceans making the water noticeably more acidic – killing coral reefs and shellfish and generally making life difficult for ocean plant life. (2) Melting ice at the poles is altering ocean temperatures to the point that major currents that flow from the tropics toward the poles (e.g. Gulf Stream) are slowing down and further, the sinking cycles which recharge nutrients in the currents as they flow back to the tropics are not as defined as in the past and nutrients behave differently. (3) The change every one hears about is the rising depth of the world’s oceans due to melting icecaps, threatening shorelines by estimates between 9 and 30 feet; current measurements indicate that oceans have risen 3 to 6 inches at an unusually rapid rate.

Most scientists who study the Earth believe no one will alter the impact of global warming. It has been suggested that global warming is on a 2,000 year path that is the Earth’s cycle[1]; humans only have exacerbated the effect. This insight enables some oil-dependent politicians to deny that people cause climate change. In fact, people do – to a damaging degree. People make the next 2,000 years a lot, lot worse than they need be.

The insult added to injury is that H. sapiens is so trashy and disrespectful toward their planet. Elizabeth Kolbert[2] is right: we are the cause of the Sixth Great Extinction. Some thinkers, most notably Stephen Hawking, believe our species will be counted among the extinct.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Ends with major ice age due to orbit tugs from Jupiter and Saturn.

[2] Author of best selling The Sixth Extinction, stating that there have been five major extinctions during Earth’s history that wiped out 90 percent of all living species. Most are aware of the fifth extinction caused by a meteorite that killed off the dinosaurs. Humans are causing the sixth.

Samples that confirm Harari

A few posts ago, mariner introduced the writings of Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned futurist who has provided books, articles, lectures and opinions about how to interpret today’s reality and project the interpretations into mankind’s future. His new book is Homo Deus; he was interviewed in The Atlantic magazine for February 2017.

Harari takes a simplistic view of humanity, saying that humans may think fancy thoughts in the frontal lobe, but human behavior does not roam far from opinions controlled in the Hindbrain (Reptilian Brain). As you might guess from its name, it’s a piece of brain anatomy that we share with reptiles and is the most primitive. It’s in charge of our primal instincts and most basic functions – things like the instincts of survival, dominance, and mating. Freed from obedience to history books alone, Harari can project very broad patterns that are predetermined by the hindbrain. [think Donald]

Harari’s book is one of several new books on our culture, economy, morality and politics that, even as a small amount of material, provides the new core concepts that are driving H. sapiens history today and tomorrow. The handful of books is a fine college ‘major’ that will prepare you for judging new and sometimes disturbing values. Although touted as college material, all the sources are pleasant and frequently entertaining texts.

Mariner includes the above preface to aid in understanding the economic upheaval occurring today. There are two examples: the emergence of oligarchy and the phenomenon of the haves taking as much as they can from the have nots, specifically the Republican health care legislation designed to replace the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare or ACA.

The current emergence of oligarchy was launched by Ronald back in the 1980’s. It has exploded into our culture because of powerful advances in communication technology which naturally give an edge to those who have the resources to leverage rapid information; do not give credit for the healing GDP and historic stock prices to the election of Donald. Unpoliticized economists have long said the economy rises and falls regardless of who is President. Data storage and massive processing capability have allowed corporations to be virtually transportable, cutting costs and sending profits through the roof. Why hasn’t profit been shared with the lower income/little income/no income folks? Generalists say that this is just the cost of new economic growth; Harari says it’s the hindbrain protecting unfocused fears associated with survival and dominance – and sex if it applies. The hindbrain, incidentally, has little ability to manage morality; that’s managed by the limbic system. [think Donald]

This tennis game with the brain is informative but Harari suggests this leads to a troublesome future. It is simpler to ask readers to reflect on Bernie’s comment that 1 percent of the population holds 90 percent of the wealth. Over time, there will be less and less available to sustain this ratio. Overpopulation, diminishing resources, and increased imbalance in the biosphere will take its toll on “unneeded” people.

The second example, the new health bill, shows the same preference by conservatives to squeeze out humans who, not because they aren’t permitted but because they can’t afford the health services – a clear echo of hindbrain decision making. Conservatives rationalize that every resource must contribute to a safer economy or, frankly, it weakens the economy.

These examples are presented with the ideas Harari would utilize. This approach certainly has its detractors. What seems critical to the mariner is that if one takes a fair view of human history, it behaves very much like Harari suggests whatever the historical situation. That being the case, humans are in for some troubling times within a century or so.

Two thoughts predominate: overpopulation (implying disappearing resources) and globally based natural issues; near horizon is the effect of global warming; far effect is a major ice age (not that we have to wait for the ice age, the shift in orbit will catch the attention of tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and disruptive shifts in the weather.

See why some don’t like Yuval Noah Harari? There are no cuddle blankets. However, his no nonsense, no comforting fantasies about political theory and no guarantee about consistency, give us a clear image of the future for Homo sapiens, all things being equal.

Have a nice day.

Ancient Mariner

 

Yuval Noah Harari talks about the Future

Frequent readers know the mariner has three alter egos: Chicken Little, whose fears are a response to imminent events, Amos, a skeptic and critic of human ethic and behavior, and Guru, a futurist, generalist and philosopher at large. Mariner mentions this because this post reflects, to a great extent, mariner’s perception of reality for all three. The post cites a number of quotes from an interview on the Atlantic website with Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned futurist who has provided books, articles, lectures and opinions about how to interpret today’s reality and project the interpretations into mankind’s future.

Read the interview.[1]

Here are some samples:

Derek Thompson: First, work. You have a smart and scary way of looking at the political implications of mass automation. At the end of the 19th century, France, Germany, and Japan offered free health care to their citizens. Their aim was not strictly to make people happy, but to strengthen their army and industrial potential. In other words, welfare was necessary because people were necessary. But you ask the scary question: What happens to welfare in a future where government no longer needs people?

Yuval Harari: It’s a very scary scenario. It’s not science fiction. It’s already happening.

The reason to build all these mass social service systems was to support strong armies and strong economies. Already the most advanced armies don’t need [as many] people. The same might happen in the civilian economy. The problem is motivation: What if the government loses the motivation to help the masses?

In Scandinavia the tradition of the welfare state is so entrenched that perhaps they’ll continue to provide welfare even for masses of useless people. But what about Nigeria, South Africa, and China? They have been encouraged to provide services mostly in the hope of advancing prosperity, [which requires] having a large basis of healthy and smart citizens. But take that away and you might be left with countries with elites who don’t care about the population.

Thompson: Americans might be richer and better educated than they used to be a generation ago, with better health care and superior entertainment options. But the fact of progress doesn’t seem to matter. The story is all that matters. And the victorious Trump story was that America’s cities were falling apart and “I alone can fix it.”

Harari: [White Americans without a college degree] are a declining class within a declining power. The U.S. is losing power compared to the rest of the world, and within the U.S., the Trump voters are losing their status. Even though they are experiencing better conditions, the narrative self which is dominant in most people tells a story of decline, which says that the future will be worse than the present. And most people’s happiness depends on their expectations, not their conditions.

—-

There is a good section on the demise of humans in the future computer age. See the interview.

For the present, however, use it while you have it:

It is not too late in February to select a pleasant day to visit an outdoor place like a park, forest, botanic garden, or walking trail to take in the fresh whiffs of Cancer thaw. While enjoying this pleasure, stop by a restaurant akin to such pleasures.

It has been a long, stressful election season. Discharge some tension by visiting the following website:

http://www.politicalcartoons.com/

Turn off the television for 24 hours and use your phone device only for phone calls – not even texts! Wander around your property to see what’s going on, discover some interesting but small tasks at hand, maybe rummage in the attic or basement. The inner you needs exercise just like your quadriceps do.

Arrange a family gathering perhaps around Memorial Day or Independence Day – include a generation in each direction.

Arrange a summer fête for neighbors.

Be glad you are alive today!

Ancient Mariner

[1] See https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/02/the-post-human-world/517206/?utm_source=nl-atlantic-daily-022117 Also check out Yuval Harari’s new book, Homo Deus. In other words, turning ourselves into gods. There are critics, e.g. see http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/book-review-homo-deus/ however it is difficult to perceive other directions than Harari suggests.

For Richer, For Poorer

Recently, the liberal economists and the conservative economists began expressing growing concern about the same thing: inequality. Virtually every validated and respected futurist, economist, even international banks, agree about the future: money is rushing faster and faster to only three sectors: manufacture of computers/information, international corporations, and banking/investment.

Mariner could toss lots of numbers and names of countries and corporations at the reader; that would take lots of words and trying to grow reader interest in a desert of information.

Though most readers are resistant to watching mariner’s Internet references, he implores the reader, he begs the reader, he insists the reader, he respectfully requests the reader watch an episode of Forward Thinking, “For Richer, For Poorer – the Dangers of Inequality” last broadcast on Bloomberg television June 17, 2016. In your search engine type:

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-17/forward-thinking-for-richer-for-poorer

Watch it in its entirety. It is not fake news; there is no special interest agenda; it is too complicated for politicians – that doesn’t mean it is too complicated for you.

Further, check your current Atlantic magazine for a review of what Donald is doing. Mariner will let Atlantic speak about the Donald in his stead. The reader also can read the articles at www.atlantic.com.

Ancient Mariner

 

Too Smart

As a creature on this planet, we weren’t supposed to be super smart. We were supposed to be the smartest primate, perhaps, but not super smart. We’ve always known it was a mistake. To be honest, as a primate, humans aren’t developed enough intellectually to mess with their biosphere. The Jewish Bible has a story about it; it is carried forward from an older version from ancient Babylon. God built his earthly garden and all that was in it obeyed God without question.

God created two last primates, a man and a woman, who were his pride and joy. In the story, a snake represents improper behavior (If we modernize the myth, the snake represents unexpected genes). The snake encourages the woman to eat a fruit she is not supposed to eat. It is the fruit of the tree of knowledge and awareness of good and evil, that is, ethics and morality on the one hand and disingenuous and immoral behavior on the other. Being aware of intellectual judgment, suddenly the two primates become super smart; they know things only God should know. God’s earthly garden is about to be trashed. Passing centuries have exposed the truth: this primate can’t handle super smartness. Super smartness must coexist with super sensitivity to orderliness – one of four words used to describe God’s presence (love, truth, beauty and order) and required to sustain God’s garden. Had the man and woman also eaten of the tree of Eternal Life in the garden, maybe human history would have been better off.

Physiologically, there is no difference between the human primate and other primates. Habitat is identical consisting of vegetation, insects and meat and similar landscape and weather. Humans behave no differently than other primates except they are a little less demonstrative than chimpanzees and more like silverbacks and gibbons. As a rough comparison, adult simian (ape branch of primate evolution) primates behave like adult humans but demonstrate the comprehension of a five-year old human.

But humans have awareness; we have judgment; we have choice; we can choose disorder.

At first, humans didn’t disturb the biosphere. About 12,000 years ago humans began tinkering with their habitat: seed casting was discovered to increase preferred vegetation; domesticating animals already was part of migrating lifestyles; weapons and tools were made of stone, antler and other natural resources. The first disturbance of the natural environment occurred when humans combined tin with copper to make bronze, then soon after discovered iron and carbon combined make steel. By 7000 BC it was de rigeuer and moral for this super smart primate to use the surface of the Earth willy-nilly for human activities. We have refined this behavior, of course, so that today it is moral to have open tin mines that cover several miles in diameter. Profit making activities like a combined energy zone in Alaska seems perfectly moral to entrepreneurs. The energy zone will cover hundreds of miles and literally destroy several major species of animals by poisoning or destroying habitat.

By human standards, this is acceptable but is it orderly? Are we disregarding the fact that this is God’s garden not ours? Which comes first, God’s intentions[1] or that of a super smart primate who cannot respect the intrinsic requirements for a garden of love, truth, beauty and order? The traditional choice between God and mammon is avoided by the super smart primate; apparently we cannot control our desire for disorder. Perhaps we should not be so smart.

Examples of human disorder abound and will not be listed here. The point is that humans have pretty much destroyed order across the planet. Nowhere, absolutely nowhere the super smart primate has gone, has touched, has tinkered with, remains orderly and functioning properly within this biosphere. But there are signs our disorderliness will not be tolerated much longer in Earth time. The super smart primate emerged six million years ago and by all measures has around 10 thousand years left before the garden will oust all primates. It could have lasted longer in an orderly garden.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Interpret laws belonging to the universe rather than to humans in any theological model that is comfortable. Mariner uses the Judeo-Christian model because it is familiar and practiced widely.

The Real News

Tom Friedman, a prolific writer of politics and economy, has a favorite phrase to describe the behavior of human society. In regards to our attention to really important issues like global warming, environmental destruction, over population and critical resources like water, he says, “Humans are really enjoying the golden age of doing anything we want to the Earth to indulge our overconsumption and indifference about the planet’s resources. It’s like jumping off a tall skyscraper and saying, ‘Look, I’m flying!’ which is enjoyable until the first floor where everything goes splat.”

From the Earth’s perspective, we are easily distracted by bright lights and noise – things like war, Donald, flagrant disregard for the side effects of mass destruction of irretrievable habitat and disruption to the Earth’s sensitive balance of our biosphere. Despite severe warnings from our birth mother, we are trashing ourselves into extinction. “Yes, old news – I’ve heard all this before.” That indifference is the very issue!

We are no more sensitive to the finer threads of existence than our brother monkeys, who in ignorance at least follow the rules. Lust and primitive satisfaction are all we can handle. The dollar bill, an ignorant interpretation of intrinsic value, dominates our self-control. We have no feeling of debt to our planet and in Trumpian fashion, don’t hear what we don’t want to hear.

Our planet is in charge, however, and will tolerate only so much obnoxious abuse and destruction. It will have the last say.

So the primitive and simplistic economy of capitalism – a mistake sanctified only by the industrial age near the end of the 1800’s because it was easy and self-serving – will permit the dollar wealthy to fly in first class to the first floor.

Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in 1517. It wasn’t the first attempt but this time it succeeded. For the first time in western civilization, man’s spiritual core was no longer bound to theological virtue. Western Christianity hadn’t always been the wisest ethical guide, what with wars, murder and intense judgmental abuse but still, it was theological and as such had a place for planet stewardship – if only by reference and not by obligation; Adam and Eve had to alight somewhere.

If one thinks about the entire history of religion and faith covering 12,000 years, one is aware in the beginning that the faith part was more the guide to our ethical lives than mortal achievement. Of course it wasn’t perfect but religion played the role of managing our morals from beyond our petty perimeter of day to day life. Then, it still was God’s world; we had an obligation of some sort to planet stewardship and the living environment on it.

Then steam and oil were discovered and new ways through chemistry and engineering were found to increase the cost to the planet for each human. But the big deal was the discovery of the Americas. Humans had their own brand new planet – a blank canvas that God hadn’t mentioned. Western civilization needed a new bible for this opportunity. In 1904, Max Weber wrote the new bible: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and in 1915 the new testament, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Max Weber was no intellectual slouch; he was well educated and has an impressive bibliography. Max, along with Karl Marx and a few others, emulated Martin Luther in that they opened a new era of human-managed ethics called ‘sociology.’ In very broad terms, according to Guru, ‘sociology’ is a term that implies that human behavior is human-managed behavior.

At that moment in western history, we became our own god. “Why do we behave this way?” Just ask Freud or Yung or Max or Karl – our new set of apostles. What little obligation we had to care for God’s world was replaced by a profit spirited pocketbook in a godless world. It was a Trump moment.

Today, despite many different theologies, disciplines and practices, there is no way for us to reach beyond our belief in our own social behavior. We are our destiny; we need no validation at the Holy Gate.

It was Madeleine Albright who commented, “You can’t expect Congressmen to tackle global issues; they were elected to bring home the goods today.”

The mariner has mentioned in the past many, many times that we are in the midst of great universal change – greater even than just the Earth’s biosphere. We are on increasingly stormy seas. Where is our compass? Is it whatever provides us the most dollars? Is it even more humans? Is it war? What device among us is not tarnished by us? What will give us guidance to focus on issues of humanity and not on issues of our ego? Dare we restore discarded religious virtues cast in a modern perspective? Where is our compass to show us the way to care beyond our simian prerogative?

ADDENDUM – Mariner received an email from his advocacy organization, Food and Water Watch.; a very above board, independent and serious group that looks out for our wellbeing:

Food & Water Watch

Everett,

We just got our hands on Trump's to-do 
list for the EPA - and as expected, it's 
horrifying. Starting today, the Trump 
administration will start trying to methodically 
gut the Environmental Protection Agency.

On inauguration day, the Trump 
Administration took all references to climate 
change off of the White House website. Now, 
they're beginning a months-long rollout of 
budget cuts and roll backs of key regulations 
designed to protect our air, water and climate 
from corporate polluters.
The leaked to-do list makes it clear that 
Trump will follow through on promises to gut 
the agency.
*  The document identifies opportunities to 
cut programs, including $513 million from 
"state and tribal assistance grants," $193 
million from ending climate programs and 
$109 million from "environmental programs 
and management."
*  The administration outlines initiatives 
they want to stop, including "Clean Air Act 
greenhouse gas regulations," clean car 
standards and clean water protections.
*  The to-do list also includes a plan to 
permanently change how the EPA uses 
science to prevent the agency from returning 
to "its bad old ways as soon as an 
establishment administration takes office."

Ancient Mariner