"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Climate Change, Siva The Destroyer, And More Beach Time - Why Worry?

Climate Change is off the front pages.  Other than Chicken Little worriers most people have lost interest.  The world is not us against them in some epic Ramayana battle - man the Environmental Destroyer against Gaia, the Earth - but one integrated unit.  Man acts and is acted upon in a universal swirl of cause and effect.

The Trimurti is the trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism, in which the cosmic functions of creation, preservation, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities - Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.  The universe is an eternally changing place.  There is no Utopia, good and evil are only relative, life's bits and pieces are all interchangeable in the larger scope of things, and attempts to engineer change, to put a human stamp on the inevitable cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction are vain and misplaced. 

The Hindu tradition perceives the existence of cyclical nature of the universe and everything within it. The cosmos follows one cycle within a framework of cycles. It may have been created and reach an end, but it represents only one turn in the perpetual "wheel of time", which revolves infinitely through successive cycles of creation and destruction. Within this cycle of creation and destruction of the universe, the soul (atman) also undergoes its own version of cycle called samsara, the cycle of rebirth in which individual souls are repeatedly reincarnated (Based on the Rig Veda 10:129, 1-7)


Yet environmentalists refute this millennia-old notion.  Of course positive change and progress towards a better, more verdant, peaceful world is possible; and only our lack of commitment stands in the way.  Man is indeed the enemy of the Earth, not simply a part of it. 

Yet Nature has had and will always have its way.  Man, currently atop the phylogenetic pyramid may through his own environmental priorities wipe out thousands of species, but he as a species may be wiped out as well.  

The lesson of unintended consequences has not been learned by Westerners, but Hindus understood the folly of arrogant assumption five thousand years ago when the Aryans first came down from the steppes to Mohenjo-Daro.

Given this perspective it is hard not to be amused by the St. Vitus's dance of environmentalism; and why climate change comes and goes off the front page with regularity.  It is not nor will ever be the existential crisis it has been made out to be. Human adaptation to universal cycles is fitting - neither arrogantly presumptuous that Man can control them, nor defeatist.  Agriculture will simply move to northern Saskatchewan and Siberia.  

New York will be a neo-Venice with extensive canals and wetlands, Miamians will live high on stilts. 

DNA recombination will make adaptation to higher temperatures and protection from UV rays the norm.  Settlements may move underground or to Arctic and Antarctic regions. Digestive, nerve, musculo-skeletal, cognitive, and physiological systems will all be in play.  Lungs will be adapted to high levels of carbon dioxide, thinner oxygen, and thicker methane.  Hearts and arterial systems reconfigured to take on newly-moderated blood flow.  Brain power will be augmented to parse the slightest fissure in knowledge and make sense out of it. 

In all the kerfuffle about climate change and the predictable either-or sides taken about it, adaptation and human adaptability is always ignored.  Regardless of how the climate is changing, human societies will figure out ways to live within it.  In the long term, a la Siva the Destroyer and the Hindu Trimurti, human life will come and go, replaced by this or that ad infinitum; but for the time being life on earth will not be the miserable, intolerable existence environmentalists would like us to believe it is.  More beach time is the operational meme.  

Who ever said that human beings will not evolve? Of course they will, perhaps not in the environmentally incremental way that Darwin envisioned, but in quantum leaps.  Whoever said that the cockroach, the shark, and all other species that have navigated their way through millennia without  change should be the model for human evolution? 

‘Post-human’ is the term used to describe the life form that will result thanks to scientific modification.  The term, however, is not quite accurate.   Genetically-modified, part-organic and part-non-organic human beings will certainly not resemble the creatures of today, for they will have simply evolved, albeit it through a more deliberate, focused an efficient means than Darwin ever imagined, to a more modern, capable, resilient, and powerful form.

What currently defines human beings – cognitive, intelligent, sentient, imaginative, spiritual, and creative – will still be appropriate and meaningful but more expansive, with more potential, and with more promise.

No amount of global warming, Ice Age cooling, or variant climate change will be of any consequence.  Just as agriculturalists are genetically modifying plants to be resistant to drought, pests, and soil depletion; so will human engineers be able to modify the human genome to adapt to environmental conditions.

Cities will not have to be changed to accommodate global warming.  Human beings will change.  The ability to thrive in water, to breathe different compositions of air, and to live well in either colder or warmer climates will be easily programmed.  Environmentalism will die as a movement, and human modification will be the focus of all attention.

Human evolution is nothing if not a history of adaptation in a war of competing biological and social interests.  No sooner were major epidemic diseases eliminated when new ones emerged.  HIV, Ebola, and Zika are only the latest incursions of the micro-biological world; and there will certainly be others.  Now that microorganisms have developed a resistance to even the most powerful antibiotics, there is sure to be an epidemic of non-treatable infections until gene therapy reaches the market.

Every scientific advance has in it the seeds of destruction, since in an increasingly complex world, everything has consequences.  Man and nature will continue to dynamically interact with unforeseen consequences. 

And yet the climate change juggernaut keeps rolling on, and with each new ground covered those who are pushing it become more more insistent, less open, and more rabidly passionate.  Even if climate change is happening and is a result of human activity, no one is likely likely to stop it.  Most importantly, man, even more adaptable than ever and part of a dramatic, revolutionary biological alteration, will survive easily and well. 

Climate change prophets are like their wild, Old Testament forbears, burning with the word, howling to the heavens, and preaching conversion and true belief. Mankind will soon be extinguished, self-exterminated, not in a watery slushy mess but in a a fiery, Biblical Armageddon. 

What galls these prophets most is the denial.  Otherwise intelligent people whisking climate change from the table like a housefly on the food, a nuisance, pesky and hard to get rid of, buzzing around despite swipes and slaps, ruining the meal.  How could they be so stupid? 

Reform hysteria has always been part of the American psyche - nothing is ever good enough - and when coupled with religion, divine or secular, it is a sight to behold. Climate change activists who are convinced that the world is heading for an early Armageddon are everywhere, not a temperate, circumspective, philosophical one in the bunch. 

Fewer and fewer people are paying attention, for continued hysteria always becomes the new normal, and most Americans have more sense than to fall for the outer space, science fiction version of reality. Theirs is the philosophical perspective, the wisdom behind 'more beach time'.  Man is part of universal cycles, so if the climate is warming, enjoy it. 

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