|"Transfixed" by transport transformed to a Burden.|
In reading Victor Hugo's '93, I came across a character who's nature wrestled with an enigma that still haunts the soul of modern man. Cimourdain had been a priest: one whose mind could not accept the Catholic Church's dogma and the essence of scientific revelation with a quiet mind. So he renounced priesthood, and became a man, "but in an austere fashion; he had been deprived of a family, he adopted country; he had been refused a wife, he espoused humanity. Such vast repletion is at bottom emptiness."
Like him I hate lies, monarchy, theocracy, priestly robes and the present, and call aloud for the future. But, unlike him, I am unable to worship the catastrophe that will usher it in, even from afar. In 1793 Hugo was incapable of foreseeing the horrors of the Civil War, and then WW1, and then of WW2. He knew nothing of Auschwitz and the trenches, the atomic age and drones, even the complete annihilation of the entire continent of North America's native tribes had yet to take place. Sweeping away the rule of Kings, he believed, would usher in the rule of Law.
It was not to be.
So how are we to replace loved ones who have all embraced the present as though it presaged the future? How to turn away from a livelihood that encompasses all and destroys any who stand up in opposition to it without putting everyone we know and love in danger of annihilation and a truncated existence? What 's the use of building a Brave New World if, in the process, we lose everyone in it we love?
In the strangely successful TV series, "Charmed", three young women, sisters, are reunited in the family home when their Grams dies, and discover a Book of Shadows hidden in the attic and, unwittingly, read an incantation that turns them into witches. The Charmed Ones. However, it is not many episodes before we learn that the charm has hidden in its very nature its corollary: the Curse. Like us, it is their everyday duty, which they accept with a nonchalance bordering on stupidity, to put themselves in danger in order to save the world from the demons constantly trying to destroy it and tip the balance toward evil.
However whereas their powers save them over and over from succumbing to the attacks of the powerful forces arraigned against them, such is not so for those they hold dear, as one by one they watch the people they love killed by forces they don't understand and were never consulted as to their willingness to being exposed to such vicious malice.
How is it like us? Well, for those who believe that we can turn food into fuel by plowing under huge swaths of arable land that could grow food, or by changing our gas-driven vehicles for electric ones powered by coal or nuclear, or dead animals, for that matter, or by using natural gas, thereby destroying the water supply of the entire east coast and Midwest, following the exact same paradigm that brought us the dust bowls of the 30's, or who think growing local, riding a bike, or eliminating waste from their lives, will help our plight, it isn't.
But for those among us who truly understand the intractable nature of our dilemma and the inexorable forces that can't be turned aside, the analogy is apt. For them a life of bewilderment is upon them. They know everything and nothing. They know science, but not life; an error peculiar to minds that replace reason with logic. Such men have a voice within, and they listen to it. Such women seem absent-minded; they are all attention.
But can even charmed servants of the human race have any affection? Haven't they too much soul to have any heart? Can such a world-wide embrace, which takes in all and everything, have the capacity to love any one person? I would like to answer, Yes. But I can't without asking, How?
By pretending, like the hippies in the seventies, needing to make a livelihood in the eighties, that we can/will "work from the inside" where we'll be more effective? You know what nonsense that turned out to be, and still is. No. Every step you take to ameliorate, at least in your own mind, the dangers which are bearing down on us, put you, but more importantly, the ones you love, who your decisions will put in a state of heightened danger, impose harder living on, place what they perceive as unnecessary obstacles in front of, demanding more work with no commensurate reward, into a life full of increasing jeopardy and social isolation. Think of the tribes that were natives, living on the back of the Turtle, now called America, who lived by every one of the rules which those who wish to stop Climate Change espouse, and you can not but come to the conclusion that they will suffer the same fate: annihilation.
It's Gresham's law writ large: Just as Bad money chases out good, bad people chase out good, because they have no morality, just selfishness and its virtue: Greed. It is the real Constitution of the United States, because it is the rock on which it was founded. And that particular country now rules the world, so that particular mentality holds the world in its iron grip. As the military hero of WWII warned us, It is mankind on a cross of iron. And it's one we built ourselves, and now that we are nailed onto it, there's no one left to get us down.