Friday, June 01, 2012

The Big Electron

Ed:

At the risk of channeling the famous Simpsons instructional film "A World without Zinc", it's difficult to imagine a world without plastic. Despite the ample evidence to the contrary, a part of me believes that it might be a better one in a strange, Luddite way.

George Carlin:

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn't know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, "Why are we here?" Plastic...asshole.

So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that's begun. Don't you think that's already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let's see... Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh...viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

Well, that's a poetic note. And it's a start. And I can dream, can't I? See, I don't worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron...whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.


For the most part, the scholar is reluctant to say whether he agrees or disagrees with Kaczynski's extreme conclusions. He is clear in condemning Kaczynski's bombing campaign, though. In his introduction to Technological Slavery, he says: "His tactics were deplorable, and I for one do not endorse such actions."

But he conducts his dialogue with Kaczynski with an open mind, as if he were willing to join the cause but has not quite been fully persuaded. "It's a very strong case that reform is not adequately able to respond to the challenges we face," he says, dryly. "And if that's true, then some kind of revolt becomes necessary." At one point he suggests that it makes sense that Kaczynski sent the bombs, since his manifesto would have been totally ignored otherwise, and the message needs to be heard. "It gave him the leverage to force the publication of the manifesto and to cause it to be read by large numbers of people in the public," Skrbina says.

"It may yet turn out to be true that he was a prophet and potentially a kind of savior, of humanity and the planet."


The Permian-Triassic extinction event, known informally as "The Great Dying," was the largest mass extinction on Earth. It killed off 96 percent of the world's marine species and 70 percent of the land-bound vertebrates and even a large portion of the world's insects.

Scientists aren't sure what caused the extinction. It seems there may have been three phases, though, so a combination of factors could have coincided to cause such immense damage to life on Earth. Some research suggests that global warming played a role, which may or may not have been set off by a great coal eruption or volcanoes.