Friday, June 13, 2008

when the levee breaks

... by the Led Zep, from Four Symbols 1971

A friend from the Johannes Kepler custodians advised me today,

Don't criticize those who misuse levee funds on waging war; instead look for a home at least 10 ft above sea level. Don't warn of rising waters; instead buy yourself a house boat. Scold the Moron at the Helm from a school in the hills. Return to Bavaria and be 1,000 ft above sea level --

'cos when the levee breaks, it will be you they will crucify, just because you told them.

The advice is appreciated. But shouldn't I stay put as long as there's a chance to co-design climate evolution? Tucking tail, bolting from the Floridian epicenter of the American Disenlightenment, and running for the high ground of a Bavarian shelter would be lame.

Unexcused, only cowards run away.

This is not a jibe at dear friends who did bolt. Canadian friends were blessed with a son: giving birth makes it rational to head north. Sino-Canadian friends of ours left last week: the wife is sickly and needs where there's health care; that is, in China or Canada. All this makes sense.

But I wouldn't have such excuses.

I have this vision: that one day, when I'm old, kids will challenge me:

what did you do, Mad Hun, when it all went down, the data had solidified, and you lived as a philosopher? Where were you, in 2008, when the levees were breached and tipping points were reached?

I hope I can reply: I stood my ground and did my job.

Imagine yourself universalized: imagine everyone bolted and no one worked on the switchover to optimodal lifestyles, in the society that needed it most. Then everything would get worse. Florida's conduct would wreak even greater havoc on the prospects of the territories I love, in Taiwan and in Bavaria.

Taiwan, Kaohsiung county: just see the rice paddies and pepper fields in the river plain between the bamboo forests. Now add three degrees centigrade as annual mean temperature, thanks to Bush. How will rice and pepper grow? Will bamboo still bend? Or will it be splintered and broken in a wasteland?

Germany, free state of Bavaria: just see the Alps, feel their kick-ass mountaineering joy. Envision the likely color change. Thanks to homo gringus flatulens, the green, blue, & snowcapped Bayrischen Alpen will grow yellow, brown, and barren patches. How far will the patches spread over years and along flanks? What will happen to the tall dark stands of trees?

Now imagine the opposite.

Imagine everyone, each in her or his station of life, just did what needed to be done and rationally mirrored Nature's flow. Imagine everyone would do what it takes to evolve; that nobody bolted or wimped out. Imagine everyone would work toward a viable world -- the lawyers would sue the government; the politicians would impeach Bush; the engineers would build green transit; the teachers would teach deep ecology; the parents would look out for the long-term good of their children; the soldiers would quit fighting for oil; the journalists in the US would stop their self-censorship; and the TV-people and evangelicals would apologize for the damage they've done to the American mind.

Imagine philosophy professors who'd start reflecting about the outside instead of just their insides--imagine they'd start reasoning, finally, about the world, and stop thinking so much about mind and speech and books; and they'd write, teach, and question accordingly. Imagine the logicians would start wondering about the logos of the clouds. Imagine the ethicists would start working on rational design, the categorical algorithm of sustainability, and the re-evaluation of values as seen from the optics of life. Imagine the aestheticians would find the balls to tango with ontology and turn to metaphysics. Imagine the metaphysicians would start to learn to think like clouds and explore the matrix of the field. Imagine the social philosophers would map out the American Disenlightenment, and imagine they'd help us to show the fly the way out of the flybottle.

If everyone just did their job as the emerging reality demands it, we would get out of this crisis perfectly alright.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. For the first time in months I feel enlightened -- not because of what you've written or how you've written, but rather, how I've calmly reflected on it.

The inside/outside bit is excellent.