Meditations (Politics): Mirroring the Universe
Mirroring the Universe
Back before video games, heck, even before there was much on TV, adolescent boys imbibed science fiction. I grew up reading such giants of the genre as Ray Bradbury, who gave a hopelessly optimistic view of humankind's place in the universe recently on National Public Radio.
Bradbury wrote "The Martian Chronicles," which portray humans inflicting on Martians the same fate that Cortez inflicted on native Mexicans‹wiping them out. In his nonetheless uplifting ending to the Chronicles, a son and father gaze into one of the Martian canals as the son asks: "where are the Martians?" The father points at their reflections, and says, "there."
I didn't buy that balderdash at 15 and I sure don't buy it at 50. At 83, exclaiming that he feels like a 12 year old watching the pictures from "Spirit" that NASA honorifically supplied him a direct feed for, Bradbury waxed that "a lot of people hate America these days, but a lot of people love it, and want to come here; the same is true of Mars."
Rubbing salt into the wounds that America is inflicting on the earth and its peoples in its leading role as the 'sole remaining superpower,' Bradbury added, "We leave behind a lot of problems on earth (in colonizing Mars), just as we left behind the problems in Europe when we came to America." There is great pathos in Bradbury's pathetic incantation that "humans are the universe's gift to itself."
Taking the mid-range predictions of global warming, at least one quarter of the earth's animal and plant species will be driven to extinction within 50 years. At the low end of scientists' predictions of global temperature increases, nearly 90% of the birds will be lost in Queensland Australia, while nearly 90% of plants will vanish from the Amazon.
This as the 'president of the free world' gives the Kyoto treaty the finger (driven by a policy that maintains that "natural variation plays as much a part in global warming as human-caused activities"), and unleashes the monstrous US military to make Americans safe to drive their SUV's in willful obliviousness to the fate of the earth.
Doing his best comedic imitation of "the vision thing," Bush now calls for permanent bases (military no doubt) on the moon, and exploration of Mars before this century is out.
The sixth great extinction in the history of life on earth has begun‹this time at the hands of a supposedly sentient species. The first one was the Ordovician, some 440 million years ago and caused by a supernova that burned away the ozone layer allowing the sun to cook 90% of life. The last one was the Cretaceous-Tertiary event, caused by a comet that destroyed the dinosaurs and half of all other species.
If it continues, in a 1000 years, and some pale vestige of humanity's potential survives, what will our descendents call this one-the Bush extinction event? Would that it only extinguished Bush types!
Globalization has been defined by the social scientist Roland Robertson as "the compression of the world and the intensification of the consciousness of the world as a whole." But the flame within human beings is not intensifying; it is being extinguished.
To enkindle it, and awaken an altogether different consciousness, the beastly human mind must be silent. And to be silent one has to learn how to observe the movement of content-consciousness within oneself.
Ray Bradbury is on the right track when he says, "the universe is a theatre, and there are no audiences to perceive that theatre. Our task is to be the audience."
By awakening an awareness that thought-enslaved humans cannot even imagine, the brain becomes the mirror of the universe, and sees further than the Hubble telescope.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: email@example.com. The author welcomes comments.