Monday, May 30, 2011

Gone

Gone
by Scott Bradley


Yesterday, while digging in the garden, I turned up an arrowhead. If you have ever found such a thing, you know that it is a very special experience. To hold in your hand something fashioned by another hand hundreds of years ago...by a hand of a people now extinct...well, there is wonder and connectedness and sorrow.

I definitely have a nostalgic inclination. When as a kid I would hike into the hills overlooking a bit of the San Francisco Bay delta I would always try and imagine it three hundred years ago. Ducks and geese filled the sky. Salmon teemed in the rivers and creeks. Golden grizzly bears lorded across the hills. Tule elk skirted the marshes. And here and there smoke rose from a tiny native american camp. Gone. All gone.

Three hundred years ago there was no San Francisco, no Los Angeles, no Chicago, no Saint Louis, no Kansas City, no Dallas. The speed of the European invasion and conquest of this American Continent never ceases to amaze me. But it is only symbolic of the human epidemic sweeping the earth. Growth! Housing starts are rising again! The economic indicators seem to promise 5% growth world-wide for the coming year! Like that blue-green mold that covers and destroys the orange, humanity cannot stop.

Had I any confidence in the ability of humanity to truly stop and care, I would not say this, but I have none: Pray For Plague.

Forgive me. I love Earth more than humanity. [If this upsets you, consider it one of the satanic verses, or simply that I have issues. That I add this should demonstrate, I think, that I, too, have my doubts about this attitude. I may follow it up with a re-think.]

But not to worry! If humanity destroys every other living thing on earth...when the sun dies or supernovas and this solar system is no more...all will still be well.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

2 comments:

  1. I find it curious that it is mainly "liberal" westerners who have this "self-loathing" of humanity. I sensed none of this attitude in China, perhaps because 300 years is nothing to a people who routinely talk about their 5000 years of civilization, who perhaps because of the Taoist/Confucian/Buddhist tradition see themselves less apart from the world and nature than westerners do. People who have been to hell and back. Not that China is a utopian paradise; westernization is an insidious trend, development is rampant and tourist-Disneyfication is on the rise.

    But I never saw a Chinese person indifferent to their children and everyone seemed to be excited about being alive. This in the country with a one-child policy. And occasional plagues.

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  2. I don't think that most "liberal westerners" loathe humanity at all. What we loathe is the singling out OF humanity as if we stand apart from everything else.

    My guess is that this represents the difference in perspective that you have encountered in China. From what you've shared, most Chinese celebrate humanity as part of a bigger and grander picture.

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