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Photo by John Vetterli
Photo by John Vetterli

The state of the planet

The hope of the fifties as soured to the despair of this century. Why is rarely asked. But more important and difficult, is to feel hopeful again, to see a better life ahead that’s peaceful, calm, and joyous, but presently the future looks not only foreboding but hopeless for many if not most of the world’s people. The West didn’t like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Bashar Assad; they managed to get rid of the first two but have failed with Assad, nevertheless, they’ve managed to wreck Syria, which was already suffering badly due to global warming. (They’re all symptoms of our malady, caused by the capitalist system, therefore there’s no cure within that civilised capitalist philosophy.)

The praise we give to the socioeconomic system of capitalism for the western world present standard of living is dangerously misplaced. The idea that any system can provide so much stuff is illusory, our affluence for over half a century was due to the increasing use of fossil fuels particularly oil, now the initial energy sources needed to acquire all energies. Oil isn’t like other finite resource such as copper or iron ore, oil is a vital and primary energy source, it’s used to acquire all minerals, food and other forms of energy, plus it’s the only energy that can transport all of today’s stuff.

Competition is the instigator that produces economic growth in capitalism by using fossil fuels, regardless of people’s needs and our suffering within natures. Nevertheless, competition must keep capitalism on that course until the energy needed to get and process the oil is too close to the energy in that oil. Competition effects and is affected by the economy in three ways, one is accessibility of cheap energy, two is the availability, quality of resources (food and minerals) and three, is the climate, which now is heating up due to that use of energy. Burning fossil fuels changes the composition of the atmosphere, which increases the greenhouse effect that’s heating the planet depleting the ice cover that was reflecting most of the sunlight that’s now absorbed (one of many positive feedbacks).

We must do what the system forces us to do, our decadence

Almost every aspect of capitalism is competitive; its intensity is according to the benefit that can be attained from the availability of its resources, which are uncontrollability exploited beyond their renewability, and nonrenewal are used regardless of their consequences to life including our children. All of which has dramatically increased since the middle of last century supported by an extensive use of cheap oil. But the finiteness of that oil is limiting economic growth and is now in the process of reversing that growth which will intensify the competition to beyond usual social control. The frustrating aspect is that regardless of participants’ awareness of a foreboding future, the intensifying competition eclipses most of the danger from the outcome of what we’re doing. The way we live in societies and its prevailing economic system determines the way we think and see the world, this applies at all times, passed, present, and future. Democracies is now a charade influenced and largely control by a successful use of agnotology, the art of deception by giving the same credence to faults hood as to verified information. People are left with no alternative way to live but to compete to end up the last one alive. We have no alternative way to live because the purpose of education is to support capitalism.

Our schooling has taught us to know so much to fulfil the needs of our master the economy, but it has left us with little understanding of who we are and what part we are or must play in the ecosystem to give the best life for our children. Although we are the most social of all life, yet we compete in almost every aspect in society, it’s a contradiction to our cooperative nature. That competition ensures discrepancies of wealth and power which tends to increase with dishonesty. The more we demand honesty the less we expected it as the intensity of the completion rises. We more and more have competitive relations even within families. This is a gross aberration for any social life and can only lead to ours and life’s demise.

Our civilised capitalist education has condition us to a competitive social life, which is creating increasing unresolvable conflicts of unfairness leading to horrific brutal exchanges devastating nature in the process. We presently are undoing life’s processes in a century. Nature has sequestered carbon for billions of year, thereby maintaining a liveable biosphere; however, releasing so much of that carbon back in the atmosphere in such a short time will overwhelm life’s ability to manage and maintain its biosphere.

There’s no hope of anyone surviving this century, if we maintain the status quo, this’s regardless of the power or wealth that anyone may have, as by then, they may have already headed for the guillotine. As individuals we are powerless even as small communities to exist in global capitalism, we are helpless due to the education and information media. To save ourselves we need everyone specially the powerful ones involved in their survival as well as ours and as the wealthiest are dependent on the multitudes for their security and their offspring’s life, so they in turn must save their life supports. This means that it’s the first time in civilisation we can have a common interest, a primary interest in the survival of everyone and of as much of life to benefit life.

Our incredible adaptability enables people to live in the present alien competitive contrary society, but with much stress. Nevertheless, overwhelmingly we still manage to have concerns for other members of society and even for our competitors due to our nature. To be cooperative within competitive societies that are also competitive between them shows our overwhelming need to cooperate even with the wealthy the people who presently are exploiting the association and manipulating democracies.

Humans are the most adaptable of all life; we have the body, the brain and a social need that force’s us to get on and conform, we can’t live in isolation without sever psychological harm. That’s why we can manage to have a malignant life style. A very small number of the men and possibly less women have little to no feelings for others and they are likely to take the upper hand during violent conflicts, even becoming heroes and are more likely to dominate and once in control, they institute laws and culture to maintain a state of dominance. The way that dominance is carried out throughout civilisation is by changing the role the economy plays in society.

The economy for any life is a combination of knowledge and ability to do and capitalist economy has the greatest knowledge of life and the physical world with an ability to do. That’s the economy is determent by its science (knowledge) and the technology (ability to do is what also limits its knowledge) it attains that within the planet’s available resources and the sun’s light. The control that individual species have in nature is through a medley of competition and cooperation with no species dominating life as we have since capitalism got out of life’s control by using fossil fuels competitively.

The ignorance of the educated to interact with the nature in a fair sustainable way is the cause of our and life’s demise. It’s those few who have had a college education who maintain that state illusoriness that retains the unfair system. However, we are at the end of that road and the only way for anyone to survive is to help each other to live within natures limits, it’s the only way to peace and cooperation, they are essential for our and maybe life’s survival.

Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member

2 Comments

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    A major share of sustaining the environment lies in educated intellectuals idea of fighting capitalism by reducing consumption of fossil fuels and non- renewables and making governments to depend on solar and wind energy by keeping out the oil barons and coal mining mafia. Only consistent pressure on rulers can make environment safer and congenial for living. The mass mobilised forces can only thwart capitalist exploitation of resources and create imbalance in the nature .

    • Lionel Anet says:

      Thanks K SHESHU BABU for your comments. What you say the intellectuals must do is what the aware one have tried or nearly have a century and have gone backwards the situation is now too close to hopelessness to continue going further backwards.
      We need a very efficient economy and a fair distribution of its produce an ideally with less people to consume. This’s impossible within capitalist civilise world; we must accept that civilisation has always been a state of gross unfairness and maintain by violence or the threat of it with an insatiable need to grow. The educated ones have had their education within that milieu from an early age much of the teaching of our history and particularly prehistory were faults. I had the unfortunateness of being dyslectic and had little schooling as I was classed as an idiot, starting to learn about life when I had more ability to discern the information without the need to know it to pass an exam is an advantage to understand instead of knowing.
      The deplorable greedy behaviour of the wealthy is learned and money will not save them this century, they really need to know that. Fighting them will only bring retaliation and maintain their ignorance, which is the problem.