"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Our Place

"Two hundred years ago, a typical distance across which finbacks could communicate was perhaps 10,000 kilometers. Today, the corresponding number is perhaps a few hundred kilometers...We have cut whales off from themselves. Creatures that communicated for tens of millions of years have now effectively been silenced."
--- Carl Sagan, in his immortal Cosmos

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the Navy could continue SONAR exercises around whales. Their reasoning was that the training of the fleet outweighed the researchers study and the good of the whales, because "[e]ven if plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable injury, such injury is outweighed by the public interest and the Navy's interest in effective, realistic training of its sailors."

This is completely within the expected worldview of such an entity. A centrist microcosm of human debate, it's a tool by which we settle disputes. Most people will not put whales above human needs, so nor should we be surprised when the Supreme Court does not as well.

However, those needs - our "needs" - are always at the expense of other animals. It seems to be hardwired into our genes to exist at the expense of our environment. We do not adapt. We adapt our environment to us. Once our brain realized our opposable thumbs, it was over. Because most other creatures do become a part of their environment, they suffer as we proper. And prosper we do.

To a point.

Our environment can only be adapted so much before it loses its foundation and ability to support us. We still need to breath, eat, and drink.

The virus analogy of humanity is now ubiquitous in our culture. The Matrix, the Star Trek character Borg, and the artificial intelligence in the Terminator saga are all expressions of human success run amok, degrading the host body, using up all resources for its own purposes, then moving on in search of new blood.

If our intellect is indeed capable of eventually taking us to the stars in search of new room to grow and multiply, while leaving behind a smoggy and sodden greenhouse overrun with whatever organisms are still able to breath its miasma, the virus analogy is pretty apt. As we left for other worlds, there are long-dead worlds, older than Earth, in our wake.

A morbid turn to Arthur C. Clarke's vision in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Yet, what if we don't make it off? If our genetics really were born and are confined here? Or maybe our intellectual potential is not enough to master interstellar travel, at least in time to save us from ourselves. Then what? Do we reach a new understanding after some sort of environmental or nuclear apocalypse? Do we take ourselves literally back to the stone age, and begin anew on a course of symbiosis?

Or do we ultimately kill ourselves?

We are the mirror image, the bizarro-version, a traitor to the life force that gave birth to us. Incommunicable - with no chance of escape. Alien. Horrifying in our maniacal, senseless, unending drive to reproduce at all costs.


Perhaps the Earth succeeds in ridding itself of us before it succumbs as well? Perhaps the earthquakes, the meltdown, the intensifying storms...are all part of its defense mechanism. Things might finally get back to normal. But if not, and we go, it all goes...

The Earth never smoked. Drank too much. Ate fatty foods.

Lord knows she gets enough exercise.

What a shame.

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