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Addiction to Death

posted by macdonald Geography: Earth, Canada, USA

July 11, 2009

Addiction to Death


Addiction to Death
July 11, 2009

Apparently Grouse Mountain near Vancouver will now install a giant wind turbine to produce new energy. While this begins I am resisting nicotine valiantly, creating a convergence of thoughts.

Addictions do strange things to the mind. An addicted mind will come up with all sorts of rationalizations-- all merely designed to allow the space for the addiction to live itself out. The raw justifications are endless-- feeding the addiction as a means of rewarding ones self for taking a break from feeding the addiction, for example.

I should state these thoughts are an interesting bunch for me, even closer than usual as I fight off the nicotine monster. “Monster”is a very apt term for it as well; human beings caught in the throng of a major addiction tend to negotiate in their thoughts as if the addiction were at the other side of a negotiating table. Worse, in the case of cigarettes-- you are essentially negotiating with something that will kill you.

Thoughts abound-- “Maybe I can smoke only after meals,” one might say. “I only smoke at the end of the day” is another. “I don't know how else to relax,” “I don't have the time to deal with the stress of quitting,” ad infinitum. Or, perhaps better said-- ad nauseum.

The majority of these mental twists include the idea that one can hold on to the addiction, and somehow not reap the 'rewards'. So too, then, are notions of the current fad: “Green shift”. The Green Shift supposes (much like smoking 'light' cigarettes) that an entire society can continue to consume energy, with little more than a few bumps as we slowly, surely shift towards 'green' energy sources.

“Well, if I only eat properly, get the right level of exercise, take some vitamin supplements-- these little cancer sticks will not really effect me, or at the least, they won't take my life.” These thoughts are run through the minds of many of our close friends, family and lovers over and again. Then we lose them. But what's the first thing a smoker who actually gets cancer does? Quits smoking.

The same is happening to us all on a collective level. We are in negotiation mode-- as a society that will not face the addiction-- and despite what George W said, the addiction is not oil. It's energy itself, and that energy is also the lifeblood of the economy.

Getting a smoker to take supplements, do their exercises, eat properly, monitor their heart rate-- will not stop cancerous cells from forming. The society that is ever expanding, promoting the notion of “going green” by supplying alternative sources of energy to oil, gas & coal-- is actually doing nothing to reign in oil, gas and coal. How so? The concepts of 'rewards' come into play on the individual level. Let us try the individual equivalent of carbon trading for smokers. I don't want to get cancer-- but I already smoke 20 cigarettes a day-- fortunately, my friend down the street does not. I merely purchase ten smokes a day as an 'offset' and apply it to my over-all smoking account.

Does this seem absurd? Of course, because on the face of it we know that there is no way that your lungs are aware of this little scam. If the smoker believes this silliness, it is out of desire to believe it. It is to allow the continuation of the problem without addressing it-- but much more dangerous is the fact that this also makes one feel that they have done something about the problem, and that can lead to reluctance and complacency.

However, the atmosphere is much like a lung system as well, yet we seem to buy this craziness. And what of other ideas, such as building wind farms, solar panels on every home, privatizing and gutting the river systems and worst of all-- employing nuclear power?

Nuclear power seems like chemotherapy on a terminal patient. But never mind that particularly grand level of lunacy, let's talk about the others: Without a direct challenge to the very notion that energy itself can expand-- when it actually needs to contract-- supplying more than currently exists is yet another panacea. It's a lot like going to chewing tobacco as a way to reduce the stink of smoking-- it works, so far as that goes. But you are not solving the addiction, you are still killing yourself-- and you are headed for yet another mental gymnastic-- one where you think it is possible to consider the non-solution a partial address of the issue. This leaves you much further away from where you started.

When more power is added to a grid on a system that refuses to actually force out any of the other supplies demand also rises. As much as we are hearing otherwise, this is rather basic to capitalism. Demand may create supply, but supply also creates demand. Think of your own life before a car, credit card, cell phone... you did just fine, didn't you? But now, likely, you would be in a real spot to lose many of these.

Energy consumption is predicated on the notion that the planet is here to be subdued. To quote a friend:

"Brown or green is not about sources its about growth or contraction. Once we are on the path to contract the total supply only then does the environmental provenance of energy play a role. There is no green power on a dead planet."

So long as we live in a society and economic structure-- capitalism-- we are a bunch of addicts who refuse to get to the root of the addiction. We have no way out from where it is taking us, for simply we will only add more problems. We may find means to slow the advent of yet more problems, but still they pile up.

It is utterly immediate and urgent that we no longer live the lie of a “transition” from this deadly cycle. We have no possible means of getting to sanity from here while framing it as if the game is still about expansion.

There is a deadly urgent need to crush the notions of “PowerUP”. We need to power down, and do so in a hurry. But what of the negotiation angle to denial? Can we negotiate our way out of this giant mess?

Not by talking to the killers. When we start to attempt to sully our addictive desires while still smoking-- that leaves us accepting the presence of the killer. Why on earth negotiate with such forces? The same must be said of the industries-- and their faux-green appendages-- who want to talk with us about all of these problems in a way to achieve a “win-win”.

But leaving them at this table leaves an inevitable death, does it not? How addicted does one have to be to the false ideas inherent in this society to actually spend time listening to nonsense about how we can “wind down” murderous nonsense like the Alberta tar sands, Black Mesa coal mining, Saskatchewan uranium mining? Shall we wait until there is infrastructure available for “green equivalent” energy levels? Oh, wait-- one problem, all the time we spend waiting to shut down these industries the total energy needs of capitalist life go UP.

The idea of waiting until we shift enough “green” energy towards the grid before attacking, destroying and banishing those sources of energy that will kill us all is like smoking until the withdrawal stops. Withdrawal will NEVER decrease while you are smoking. Period.

The idea that we can make this system green without it even noticing, taking the path of compromise and the least resistance? What that will continue to do to the southern cone of Africa, to water systems dependent on glaciers, to communities that live in the path of the now-annual deadly hurricanes-- all of these stalling, foot dragging policies-- and worse, talking to the offenders as if they are part of the solution-- is the greatest act of violence ever perpetrated on the human race and the planet we dwell upon.

The sad part is that most of the advocates of this green shift likely see it as a non-confrontational means of addressing the problem. It is neither non-violent nor a solution at all. What happens-- as always-- is that people of colour and oppressed communities are the ones who have to confront the detritus of a dying, rancid social order. Dying, while we drink the Kool-aid of the destruction of their river systems for “run of the river” power, poison entire nations building “clean nuclear plants” and more. We keep living as we do, have private meetings with the industrial overlords who cause this death and misery in the first place. We say this is the civilized way.

And we walk off the cliff, puffing on our last cigarette.

Addicts to the end, we all collectively fall from grace.

Or, perhaps, we can tackle the pushers and the system itself. While we still can.

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