It doesn’t seem a rational reaction to kill the messenger who brought distressing news to the attention of the villagers. It’s a primitive, knee-jerk reaction that releases tension through the very effective means of violence. Warding off bad omens by snuffing out the source of the dark clouds. Short term satisfaction at the expense of viewing reality without blinders on.
Denying that something is real because we don’t like it, then killing the messenger (even if speaking metaphorically at this point)—these are really just two different sides of the same coin. If you have a weak constitution, and the spillage of blood makes you queasy, maybe you just make light of the bitter pill you’re being asked to swallow, casting doubt on the news itself by casting dispersions at the messenger. If you play your part to paint the delivery schmuck as an ineffective boob, maybe your villagers will play along and everything can return to the way it was before somebody rained all over your parade. Either way, you’re chasing down the same troubling demons. Demons being demons, you probably won’t catch them.
Fear makes all of us do strange things. Irrational things. Dumb things. Fear is running the world now. Fear wastes energy, wastes time, causing us to find ourselves in even more dubious and dreadful environs than we would have been had we courageously addressed the things that make us tremble in the first place, rather than hiding from them as though they were merely shadowy figments of our imaginations.
In the case of Climate Change, the reactions to fear run the gamut. In the business sector, the loss of income is the fear. Doing more of what we’ve been overtly warned about is the expression of that fear. It’s the sign of denial. It’s an act of defiance. It allows us to thump our chests in the face of that fear. In a sense, it’s a bold way of saying “I’m still free, and this is how I’ll show you that I’ll continue to do exactly as I please.” Think of the captains of the fossil fuel industry. Their number one priority is profit, not a clean environment. The two are mutually exclusive ambitions.
In the political arena, falling out of favor by delivering the wrong message to your constituents is the fear. Cutting the funding to some pivotal agencies that run counter to your message, gutting their brain trust in the process is the perceived solution to that fear. Think of the current administration running things poorlyin DC. As far as its concerned, the entirety of the Climate Science community could drop dead tomorrow and the world would be a better place for it. Damn science anyway.
I’ve been doing this blog since August. That has given me nearly eight months to learn a massive amount of information regarding Climate Change, and it’s only a drop in the bucket. One thing has become increasingly evident to me: even though Climate Change isn’t supposed to be political…that’s mostly what it is. We aren’t ready to face Climate Change head on, with all our cards on the table, with no more poker face in the game, with no more belief that we can get around this thing, with no more self-deception about having our cakes and eating them too.
No, that day is still a long way off. We’re scared, but only a little bit. To be filled with so much fear that we are humbled in our hearts, humiliated in our souls, horrified by our circumstances and quite ready to fix the mess we’ve made without hesitancy and without caveats, disclaimers, ifs, ands, or buts…that day is probably years off yet.
In my estimation, when Nature has rattled us back to our senses, when we’re finally ready to take the bull by the horns and wrestle it down to the ground, we will already know what it’s like to be viciously trampled and gored, robbed of much of our strength and resolve, surprised time and again at how relentless, how brutal, how strong the world feels now when we try to push back against her. The world has always bent to our will. Now it seems the tables are turned. The laundry list of untenable challenges shows up increasingly in the news.
We’re thirsty, we’re hot, we’re poor, we’re hungry, and we’re fighting harder and harder over less and less. There are too many of us and the resources are running low. We’re sitting in a pan on the burner and the heat’s just barely bumped up. Imagine how it will be when the temperatures get to the places the scientists tell us are coming our way in the very near future.
One day, we will finally hear the wake-up call, but it will already be late in the afternoon, when opportunity for decisive action has largely passed us by. We’ve been asleep at the wheel, and it seems that the happy slumber will go on for a while longer yet.
Thank you, as always, for stopping by!