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8. ENVIRONMENTAL ACCIDENTS OR ON THE INEVITABILITY OF THE IMPROBABLE PDF Print E-mail
Climate Change

perivallontika 260 ANDR-11We have turned our survival into a fabrication and so we have reduced to a minimum the possibilities for a renewal of the vigour of life. We have conceived our self-destruction. Pleasure has become a fabrication of our mind and not natural sensuousness. We have perverted the concept of freedom and we have imitated it by means of the state of an internalised slavery. We cannot go beyond the fantasy of life and happiness. We constantly repeat the experience of unlivableness and suffer from Mithridatism with doses of psychic death. We are set in motion by laws of objects and not dispositions of subjects. Let us 'celebrate', therefore, the spread of wildernesses, radio-activity, and the pollution of cities.

Making the improbable ... inescapable!

There is something which seems to us unlikely to happen: our destruction, and yet, there is never an awareness of the improbable in the course of its realisation, because our consciousness is alienated by everyday routine, which is a state of rapid accomplishment of the improbable and of neoplastic forces over people.

The next global 'accident' - now that we are talking about it - is nearer than we can imagine, because in the neutron the history of the universe is summed up, because in viruses and small lives, microbes, lies the history of life. The intuition of Langevin in 1934 about constant risky co-existence is now a certainty.

We cannot for long allow the neutron and the genetic codes to be governed by our - morally and psychologically - palaeolithic civilisation. We cannot entrust the history of the universe and of life to our indifference, to the economy, and to the political play-acting which elevates chance and the mire of the passions into a supreme factor.

The improbable does not relieve us of our responsibility, and the pain - however much in our masochistic blindness we do not understand this - for each of our moral mistakes will visit us. We have condensed time in a disastrous way into points, making the improbable an everyday reality.

The Earth has been intolerably oppressed by man, to the point where it has yielded up to him its hidden secrets, which had been guarded for ages. But all the secrets which man has extracted with his hatred and his monstrous fear or with doctrines, with superstitions, nationalisms, and bestial selfishness, but also with hunger, the tyrannising of the many, and the alienation of all, with frontiers, fences, chains, and currencies have within them Pandora's Box and that of Moral Choices.

Either we will reciprocally abrogate our hate and our refined competition, living in peace and brotherhood, or we shall be reciprocally abrogated by death. We have imagined that we have command of death - but this citizen of our bodies is not tamed by property, ignorance, power, the authority of science, the human psychological play-acting of indifference, apathy, and panic. It is only by brotherhood and conscious realisation that the primeval power can be subjugated in the ecological step of evolution.

As to the 'victory' of science, we should recall the words of Brecht. As to the victory of our unconcern, this will be fatal. With the certainty of the improbable we have been overwhelmed by accidents.

Let us analyse this certainty by the use of a specific example, and, then, let us extend it to the probability of ecological disaster, or to the probability of the fateful historical dynamic.

Two months before the Chernobyl accident, the Soviet Life magazine[i] said of the nuclear power plant that "the chances of an accident are 1 in 100,000 years - a model of safety". Two months after this was published, the improbable happened, and 100,000 years were 'condensed' into two months. This is the power of history and of life in the nuclear and industrial age. The numbers of the possibilities - coincidentally - were the same for the Challenger space shuttle.

The hazard of individualist security

The distances of indifference, ignorance, and anonymity do not shelter us from radio-activity, ecological disaster, or the tragic scenario of mankind. Civilisation, lifestyle, mass society, genetics, technology, the use of the neutron, wars, dogmas have awakened in our bodies all the sleeping dragons of catastrophe. The last century had many starting-points which could have served as the beginning of a new calendar, and not only 6 August 1945, proposed by Arthur Koestler.

Our ignorance will not prevent the worst from happening. The distances created by indifference, ignorance, and anonymity give us no protection. We have turned the earth into a school of planetic psychology and ecological sickness. We are absentees - we must break down our alienation by presence. We must not stop out of weariness; fatigue and perplexity is not due to our presence, but to our absence, and are the lactic acid of our day-to-day life, the scum of our alienation. Let us throw some of the sordid usurpers of our presence 'into the bramble patch'.

We live in a state of anxiety, insecurity, disturbance of our psychological and sexual life and relations, in boredom, with a shortage of free time, or incapable of using it creatively; we live the consumer daydream, with the machines, with a level of language without meanings, without joy, with an inflexible civilisation, with an education which we underemploy and use irresponsibly, in an ignorance of the fundamental aspects of our self and of the world, with a chain of futility which we concealed by us behind play-acting occupations, with a constant indifference which is apparent from an encephalogram of a simple computerized, soulless machine; we live under a bombardment of spectacles of every kind, a well-integrated unhealthiness of life due to our own participation too, an ecological catastrophe without precedent. Everything in our life is for the sake of the economy and perforce we serve either as soldiers or as citizens of production, of indulgences in order to create a family and household. Must we be ground down even more? Our psychological and social oppression and dependence know no limits - the remuneration for honesty is meagre, scant, whereas the remuneration of corruption is more than adequate. Our jobs are counterproductive, unemployment is a scourge, the rich become richer - and thus must be debited with their share in the responsibility for economic misery - the professions enter the arena of competition with society and humanity. Pensions are unfair and inadequate, debts are growing, and the real debtors are wealthy. Economic recession, for many reasons, draws closer, while everywhere the undeclared and the absence of transparency creep in, and, in spite of all this, many demagogues proclaim the opposite. The people themselves are the most perfect consumers of demagoguery - which is something they obviously like. Elections have degenerated as the result of the all-powerfulness of an executive of the strong political parties and competing interests; the electoral system is a means of avoidance of our participation. Forms of discrimination intensify and become more pointless and unjust; the mass media act the play of celebrities and nobodies. No country is fair or rational in its economic organisation. We have only the production of warped services and not of goods. Social classes are amalgamated through lucrative corruption available to all, and meritocracy no longer exists - particularly in its moral sense. The 'merit' of politicians and celebrities is usually below zero. We are being bled not only because of the cost of national defence, but because of commissions. The political parties' connections with real needs are minimal, while those with the mechanisms of power are at a maximum. Immunity from punishment triumphs, bureaucracy is bloated, the ineffectiveness of public organisations and paralysis are obvious, and useless knowledge and information overwhelm us.

The greatest 'accident' of all: ignorance of our self

A notional detachment from reality and need dominates, a moral decline and ideological recession, without models, without true economic interests, with responsibilities for everyone, although we live in the nuclear, the electronic, the nanomechanical, and the genetic age. We live in a world of mutual vampirisms where the prophecy of Vlad Tepes deserves prominence, that we shall pay the price of our freedom with our freedom itself. We shall pay with our life itself as a price for life, and, naturally, we shall remain in a void. We can easily strive for pleasure when we cannot live under it. We are a strange species which shows its good sides only in adversities, just like the ancient Greeks who, when they were not threatened by the 'barbarians', the Medes, destroyed themselves. But there is no need for us to ask what will become of us without all this.

What else is the future concealing for us in the silence of 'now'?

That is why we would like to propose a preventive planetic position / responsibility, because the Earth has no emergency exit. How can we trust such sluggish reflexes in the face of the facts? Each individual has within him the greatest 'accident': the fact that he is hardly ever himself and his brotherhood with the world. Amid the abundance of life, in the abundance of presence, we have poverty, enclosedness, and narrowness. The dividing up of people into functional watertight compartments, their specialisation in every possible thing is leading to a declining performance of mankind.

Epilogue

We must explore afresh the potentialities of the human species, this time in the direction of its self, and not in the cannibalistic management of the earth. What is needed is that Dynamic which will liberate inwardness, which will give new limit values to the function of evolution and which will make the function of participatoriness decisive for history.

As human beings, we have never had any understanding of unity and so we always see the obstacle to happiness in others and not in our own self.


Ioannis Zisis, writer



[i] Soviet Life magazine, February 1986.


The above text is part of the essay ENVIRONMENTAL THEORY AS A BASIS FOR A HOLISTIC, SYNTHESIS, AND PLANETIC SCIENCE deals with the need for there to be New Sciences, with different characteristics. The alienation of knowledge from the life of the scientist, the expropriation of its use in society because of the alienation of people and economic and political vested interests, as well as the deficit in knowledge on matters concerning the modern world impose upon us the formulation of the proposal for the development of those New Sciences which will bridge the gap between the alienation of technologies and the psychic depth of life and the human Being.

 

The essay will be published in stages. We believe that by the present series of publications we are contributing to the dialogue on a quest for a sustainable civilisation, looking to the future.

 

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