Friday, April 26, 2013

Why are we fascinated by possible mega-disasters?

A commenter on a LiveScience article about the Yellowstone Caldera ended with:  "Instead we busy our brains obsessively with disaster movie plots - how stupid."

Perhaps this is because we feel so powerless in the face of the looming man-made catastrophes that could end our species. 

The Hothouse Earth catastrophe that is being unleashed by carbon burning and methane releases has been thoroughly explored and explained and it is clear what "we" have to do to prevent or reverse it. But "we" apparently have no power over the decision-makers, who are driven by an insane institutional drive to profits and power that defies even the will of the more enlightened billionaires among them! The energy corporations were able to buy a few washed-up scientists and a whole lot of airtime and politicians, and convince half the population that global warming is a hoax!

Then there's the drive to nuclear war, which was supposed to go away after the Soviet Union collapsed, but has again gone critical, with nuclear bombs being reclassified as conventional weapons and preemptive nuclear strikes again being openly discussed. After the largest demonstration in history in 2002, when 10 million people around the globe took to the streets to try to stop the invasion of Iraq and were ignored, the peace movement has apparently collapsed into hopelessness. Yet it is well understood how a major nuclear war would destroy our entire civilization and possibly our species, and put to a vote it would surely be abolished.

So what are we to do when we can so clearly understand the ways human activities are leading to destruction, laid out in detail by tens of thousands of dedicated scientists, yet we are seemingly so helpless to do anything about it?

Perhaps the Yellowstone Caldera exploding would come as a relief!

Or perhaps it is we that need to break through the overlying crust that is containing our pressure, our energy, and erupt!
Post a Comment