Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New Age Lemons


Artwork © - Jonathon Earl Bowser


I spoke with a friend recently about Peak Oil. As I was bringing up the facts and figures in support of it, she cut me off and said, “Look, I’m okay with dying.” The statement effectively ended the conversation but I wondered how many others out there had similar feelings.

I’m not ok with dying. My friend was coming from the point of view that spirit is immortal and why not drop the body when it gets to be too much? It is a sentiment I understand because she and I came from the same New Age school of logic; reincarnation, white light, angels etc. It may all be true, although as I drift closer to Zen Buddhism with the passing years, I am less inclined to believe so. Regardless, there are appropriate times to ‘drop the body’; theists and atheists alike will shout, “Let me go!” after a few months of bone metastasis. Peak Oil, however, is not bone metastasis.

For me, this desire to live comes from seeing this event as a daunting yet interesting puzzle to be solved. Peak Oil is a threat, no (non-metastasized) bones about it. It is a threat to the way we have lived for at least a few generations, and because of this generational complacency, it is a threat to our very lives. That being true, we can still meet this challenge; certainly a few hundred million of the willing.

The evidence is compelling that four of the six billion people currently on the planet are here only through the magic of cheap energy. Time for an analogy. We have all looked into the depths of our refrigerator and spotted the forgotten lemon way in the back and said, “I have to use that soon,” and then days later, noticing the green cast on the rind said, “I have to get rid of that soon.” The mold penicillium digitatum, had wandered into a cheap and easily accessible energy source, a lemon rind. Its peak population quickly became billions or trillions of times the size of the original inoculation set, but its days were numbered. Soon the entire rind was spongy and the lemon began to dehydrate. Before too much longer, what remained of the lemon is a dry and dusty little ball. Did any of those active spores know that the end was near? Hell no, they were in full party mode when the rind supply ran out, and when it did, they died-off. ‘Die-off’ is a commonplace occurrence in the bacteriological, plant and animal kingdoms. It is what Thomas Malthus was hinting at 200 years ago. It is so common that many microscopic organisms (including mold) have evolved endosporulation, a process whereby they put themselves into hibernation, until the next big lemon rind comes along. We are in the same boat folks, our lemon rind is running out but we do not have the luxury of hibernation.

Rather than be spores that are ‘okay with dying,’ I am proposing that we figure a way to drift from lemon to lemon; that we survive. How, you ask? Well, that is going to be a discovery process with me a blogging, mold-spore guinea pig. My ideas have to do with primitivism, so if you were hoping for me to gradually reveal plans for a free energy device that would ensure that our way of life would go on and on, I'm sorry. There are quite a few free energy sites already out there.


3 Comments:

Anonymous smith said...

[from 'smith' - pre comment, via e-mail]
Is there anyway to interact with your blog without going through email?

I agree with your friend who isn't afraid to die! What is there to fight for? I think it comes down to the fighting spirit. You would say "We have to survive." I would ask "Why?", and I think that sums up the fighting spirit.
Regardless of how spectacularly or insideously we disappear. Who would want to be left to fight for the last crumb, and observe or participate in the degrading behavior during the strubble. I don't want the last crumb. Compromising civility for the sake of the squabble for survival is not the proper role of an evolved being, nor is crawling amongst the rubble like a post apocolyptic cockroach. When there's no objective reason to live than one should die, just turn off the switch. I find the will to live subjective, illogical, and not enough reason to take on the responsibility of repopulating the planet. I also believe that the term "will to live" is more correctly conveyed as the "fear of death" for some, and simply "contentment" for others. How can one claim to want to live when they've never experienced death? How many of us would kill ourselves this very moment if we were sure that the other side was more pure, less trivial, or made more sense? If only two flavors of icecream were available, who would go through life proclaiming their love of vanilla over chocolate when they've never tried chocolate. Those individuals couldn't dislike chocolate, but they could prefer every instance of icecream to be vanilla rather than risk the unknown.

Having said that, if some force came along and leveled everything in site, killing off the vast majority of humans but not animals, and without leaving behind a hostile environment like fallout or pathogen laiden carcases. I could dig that.

5/16/2005 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

[Mike - in response to Smith]

“Is there anyway to interact with your blog without going through email?”

I turned on the ‘comments’ - flame away!


“Compromising civility for the sake of the squabble for survival is not the proper role of an evolved being, nor is crawling amongst the rubble like a post apocalyptic cockroach.”

My research into this is just beginning, mind you, but it seems that the hunter-gatherers, for several hundred thousand years, have lived a rather idyllic life. Evidence shows that they only had to work two to three hours a day for food. We would not have all the toys that we have now, but maybe the life we were genetically designed to live might provide us with a simple and deep happiness.
That said, I am betting the transition back to that state will be every bit as ghastly as you portray.


“If only two flavors of icecream were available, who would go through life proclaiming their love of vanilla over chocolate when they've never tried chocolate. Those individuals couldn't dislike chocolate, but they could prefer every instance of icecream to be vanilla rather than risk the unknown.”

But, if we know that the chocolate is about to be served, and we have no choice but to eat it, maybe we would want to savour the vanilla to the last lick of the bowl.

5/16/2005 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

[From Tom, pre comment - in email]
Hello

I enjoy Your example of the lemon, it is a good point into the use of power and many other things.
I myself look at it in a way in which pertains to life.
for many centuries people have tried to make changes in the way of life and some have succeeded but then they died or were killed. Then time came and there truths rotted like your lemon because no one would follow or continue the idea they they brought in to this world. all through history events like these have come and gone. a excellent example is the constitution. when it was writtten it gave hope for all,but then it got old and now where is it? it sits in a box and is just a piece of paper to most. My point is that it is time we all put a new lemon in the fridge in which will last forever. Man has gotten comfortable with life and are afraid to stand and live up to life, because it is to hard. The number one concern in man is to make everything faster and easier for everyone, while forgetting the effects it can make on everything else. I think it is time to stand up and bring this world in to one being. Many people make a wish to bring world peace, which would be nice. But world unity will bring us all together and give everyone hope. Lets look at hope. What is it? and how can we get it. 99% of all people find hope in relegion and give it all to it. but they forget about life and living free. 99% of all religons spend there time worshiping a spirit, a being, or an object. which makes it life easier to believe in these things because these religions have been studdied for centuries and all the answers they need has been answered for them. But what would people do if there was no religion? What would they belive in? how will they live? The answer is they would believe in themselves, and could you imagine the potential of man kind if they all believed in them selves and spent there time in this world on everyone and themselves. The dedication to the way of life would be astounding. this is enough for now my friend. just in case, im am not affiliated with any religon in this world. my beliefs are of many. The most inspireing is buddism and the path for enlightenment as my journey, in other words i believe in my self and all of humanity and will die bringing man to believe in themselves.
here is something you can try ( a little history lesson,) go on the internet and try to find some part of history without jesus or god, or a god. you will find nothing else because history has been changed. They don't want you to know the truth. You ask yourself who would do such a thing? the answer is everywhere its just a matter of seeing it.

THANKS
TOM

5/16/2005 7:42 PM  

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