Friday, July 17, 2020

The Great Reset Is An Engineered Genocide: The Amerindian Shows How That Works Out...,

technologyreview |  “The traditional forms of living a good life were going to be destroyed,” writes Lear. “But there was spiritual backing for the thought that new good forms of living would arise for the Crow, if only they would adhere to the virtues of the chickadee.”

Today the Crow—just like the Sioux, the Navajo, the Potawatomi, and numerous other native peoples— live in communities that struggle with poverty, suicide, and unemployment. But these communities are also home to poets, historians, singers, dancers, and thinkers committed to indigenous cultural flourishing. The point here is not to glamorize indigenous closeness to “nature,” or to indulge a naive longing for lost hunter-warrior values, but to ask what we might learn from courageous and intelligent people who survived cultural and ecological catastrophe.

Like Plenty Coups, we face the destruction of our conceptual reality. Catastrophic levels of global warming are practically inevitable at this point, and one way or another this will bring about the end of life as we know it.

So we have to confront two distinct challenges. The first is whether we might curtail the worst possibilities of climate change and stave off human extinction by limiting greenhouse-gas emissions and decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The second is whether we will be able to transition to a new way of life in the world we’ve made. Meeting the latter challenge demands mourning what we have already lost, learning from history, finding a realistic way forward, and committing to an idea of human flourishing beyond any hope of knowing what form that flourishing will take. “This is a daunting form of commitment,” Lear writes, for it is a commitment “to a goodness in the world that transcends one’s current ability to grasp what it is.”

It is not clear that we moderns possess the psychological and spiritual resources to meet this challenge. Coming to terms with the situation as it stands has already proved the struggle of a generation, and the outcome still remains obscure. Successfully answering this existential challenge may not even matter at all unless we immediately see substantial reductions in global carbon emissions: recent research suggests that at atmospheric carbon dioxide levels around 1,200 parts per million, which we are on track to hit sometime in the next century, changes in atmospheric turbulence may dissipate clouds that reflect sunlight from the subtropics, adding as much as 8 °C warming on top of the more than 4 °C warming already expected by that point. That much warming, that quickly—12 °C within a hundred years—would be such an abrupt and radical environmental shift that it’s difficult to imagine a large, warm-blooded mammalian apex predator like Homo sapiens surviving in significant numbers. Such a crisis could create a population bottleneck like other, prehistoric bottlenecks, as many billions of people die, or it could mean the end of our species. There’s no real way to know what will happen except by looking at roughly similar catastrophes in the past, which have left the Earth a graveyard of failed species. We burn some of them to drive our cars.

Nevertheless, the fact that our situation offers no good prospects does not absolve us of the obligation to find a way forward. Our apocalypse is happening day by day, and our greatest challenge is learning to live with this truth while remaining committed to some as-yet-unimaginable form of future human flourishing—to live with radical hope. Despite decades of failure, a disheartening track record, ongoing paralysis, a social order geared toward consumption and distraction, and the strong possibility that our great-grandchildren may be the last generation of humans ever to live on planet Earth, we must go on. We have no choice.