Friday, June 19, 2015

Anthropocene Hubris

Friday, June 19, 2015

I spent much of my Friday doing research. It can be easy to end a day feeling sad when much of what you read features some sort of content about the cruelty of people to other people...or to the other species we share this planet with. One article I read focused on the sixth extinction currently unfolding here in the Holocene. Unlike the past five major extinction events this sixth way is unfolding due to the actions of one of the planet's own species...namely Homo Sapiens. We humans are reaching a destructive zenith in our power. We have never had such powerful technology at our fingertips as we do now.

Today I finished a background research memo on the ocean energy technology industry. I was intrigued and impressed by the innovative capacities we humans can bring to bear on problems. I suspect we are going to have to be really innovative to emerge from the twenty-first century alive. The article on the Holocene correctly notes that we are imperiling our own future by causing the extinction of so many other species. We are all interconnected. This has always been true. But it is perhaps more true today than ever before.

No one individual can effect much change without the cooperation of others. Rather than give attention to the very real possibility that we might extinguish ourselves due to our own carelessness, shortsightedness and greed I would rather direct my energy towards moving our species in the direction of an evolutionary leap. I believe we are going to need an evolutionary leap in human consciousness to really attend to what we have been unleashing on the planet since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Something I did find encouraging today was the forcefulness of the new encyclical recently released by the Pope. I haven't actually read it myself but I hope to do so in the near future.  There are voices out there calling for kindness, generosity, equality and thoughtful reflection. There are some days when I strain to sift them from amidst the din of negativity that pervades so much of human discourse.

I would prefer to aim for the good rather than dwell in misery and fear of some future horror that may never come to pass. Those who have been deeply traumatized can find it difficult to focus on the good in the world. I know this has been my struggle in the past.

May we all come to a deep appreciation of our interconnectedness with all creation.

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