Tuesday, September 16, 2014
God Was On A Roll 'Til He Created Man
I don't see how anyone who pays any attention to the world around them could not be a manic-depressive.
I just watched the most incredible National Geographic video - beautifully illustrating some of the myriad wonders of this earth. How could human beings not consider themselves unbelievably fortunate to live on this awesome planet? How could they not work tirelessly to protect it and its creatures from harm? When I see things like this, I'm amazed and joyful.
But then I move on to the news of the day and I see how taking care of the earth is really the least of mankind's concerns. We are more caught up in war and hatred and killing as we have been since our arrival on this planet, whenever that was. And this is so even though we've seen that past wars and hatred and killing have solved nothing.
We are obsessed with profit and cheap energy even at the risk of destroying our own environment. Climate change? Pretend it isn't so despite 97 percent of scientists declaring, ever more urgently, that it is. Giant pipelines of sludgy oil crossing under our lands and over our aquifers? Fine. Drilling in sensitive ecologies like the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic? Fine. Fracking despite earthquakes and despoiled water? Fine. Bulldozing down whole mountains to get at the resources they contain. Fine. Driving wolves and wild horses from their habitat because we want it? Fine.
It always seemed to me that our Creator, if there was a Creator, and the Earth and the solar system and all the solar systems argue with the perfection of their symbiosis that there must be intelligence behind them, was on a roll until he/she/it created man. That was one step too far.
Yes, there are the rescuers and the sacrificers and the caring but they are over-shadowed by their opposites. We who want to save the rain forests and the tigers and the whales and yes, the spotted owls and snail darters too (because who knows what purposes they serve in a Creator's eye?) are always fighting a rear guard action. We try to rescue a few dogs and cats out of the millions that are sent to shelters to be euthanized. The Rainbow Warrior is a feeble force defying entire governments owned by the rich who profit from killing whales. The Native Americans who are protesting the Keystone Pipeline coming through their lands don't stand a chance against the Koch Brothers and their ilk.
And meanwhile the wars go on unabated - Jew against Palestinian - Shia against Sunni - African tribes whose names I don't even know again other African tribes whose names I don't even know - bitter Russia against its former satellites. Conservatives against Liberals.
The world is filled with refugee camps, the human detritus of our loathing of one another. And speaking directly to America, the kindest and best country on earth, as we think of ourselves, what do WE do when faced with refugee children from gang and drug and war-torn countries? Many of us stand beside their buses with signs and screams saying, "go away, you're not welcome here!"
We humans cannot only not get along with our own kind, we cannot get along with our own families. (See: NFL for the most recent examples). Both governmentally and personally, as a country, our weapons are our most prized possessions, even above our children.
We think our religions, our morals, our ethics raise us above the animals and yet no other species comes close to being the monstrous plunderers, pillagers and predators that we are. Even many of us, who would never rape and maim and kill ourselves, stand silently by as others do it in our name. If our clothes are made by slave labor in China, well, hey, that shirt was a dollar cheaper at Walmart. If many of our farm products come from factory farms that keep livestock in horrendous conditions, as if they weren't living creatures of blood and bone and muscle that can feel pain, it's just the way it is, I can't do anything about it.
And that's the point. No, you can't but we can. United, we could stop it all if we cared enough. I'm 68 years old and I've always wanted to believe that man is on an ever evolving upward path. Progress might be slow but it exists. But looking around the world today, I think I might have been wrong.