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Chris Hedges
Truthdig / Truthdig Op-Ed
Published: Tuesday 15 January 2013
“If we fail in this great experiment, this experiment of apes becoming intelligent enough to take charge of their own destiny, nature will shrug and say it was fun for a while to let the apes run the laboratory, but in the end it was a bad idea.”

The Myth of Human Progress

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Clive Hamilton in his “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change” describes a dark relief that comes from accepting that “catastrophic climate change is virtually certain.” This obliteration of “false hopes,” he says, requires an intellectual knowledge and an emotional knowledge. The first is attainable. The second, because it means that those we love, including our children, are almost certainly doomed to insecurity, misery and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire. To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth—intellectually and emotionally—and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us.

The human species, led by white Europeans and Euro-Americans, has been on a 500-year-long planetwide rampage of conquering, plundering, looting, exploiting and polluting the Earth—as well as killing the indigenous communities that stood in the way. But the game is up. The technical and scientific forces that created a life of unparalleled luxury—as well as unrivaled military and economic power—for the industrial elites are the forces that now doom us. The mania for ceaseless economic expansion and exploitation has become a curse, a death sentence. But even as our economic and environmental systems unravel, after the hottest year in the contiguous 48 states since record keeping began 107 years ago, we lack the emotional and intellectual creativity to shut down the engine of global capitalism. We have bound ourselves to a doomsday machine that grinds forward, as the draft report of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee illustrates.

Complex civilizations have a bad habit of destroying themselves. Anthropologists including Joseph Tainter in “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” Charles L. Redman in “Human Impact on Ancient Environments” and Ronald Wright in “A Short History of Progress” have laid out the familiar patterns that lead to systems breakdown. The difference this time is that when we go down the whole planet will go with us. There will, with this final collapse, be no new lands left to exploit, no new civilizations to conquer, no new peoples to subjugate. The long struggle between the human species and the Earth will conclude with the remnants of the human species learning a painful lesson about unrestrained greed and self-worship.

“There is a pattern in the past of civilization after civilization wearing out its welcome from nature, overexploiting its environment, overexpanding, overpopulating,” Wright said when I reached him by phone at his home in British Columbia, Canada. “They tend to collapse quite soon after they reach their period of greatest magnificence and prosperity. That pattern holds good for a lot of societies, among them the Romans, the ancient Maya and the Sumerians of what is now southern Iraq. There are many other examples, including smaller-scale societies such as Easter Island. The very things that cause societies to prosper in the short run, especially new ways to exploit the environment such as the invention of irrigation, lead to disaster in the long run because of unforeseen complications. This is what I called in ‘A Short History of Progress’ the ‘progress trap.’ We have set in motion an industrial machine of such complexity and such dependence on expansion that we do not know how to make do with less or move to a steady state in terms of our demands on nature. We have failed to control human numbers. They have tripled in my lifetime. And the problem is made much worse by the widening gap between rich and poor, the upward concentration of wealth, which ensures there can never be enough to go around. The number of people in dire poverty today—about 2 billion—is greater than the world’s entire population in the early 1900s. That’s not progress.”

“If we continue to refuse to deal with things in an orderly and rational way, we will head into some sort of major catastrophe, sooner or later,” he said. “If we are lucky it will be big enough to wake us up worldwide but not big enough to wipe us out. That is the best we can hope for. We must transcend our evolutionary history. We’re Ice Age hunters with a shave and a suit. We are not good long-term thinkers. We would much rather gorge ourselves on dead mammoths by driving a herd over a cliff than figure out how to conserve the herd so it can feed us and our children forever. That is the transition our civilization has to make. And we’re not doing that.”

Wright, who in his dystopian novel “A Scientific Romance” paints a picture of a future world devastated by human stupidity, cites “entrenched political and economic interests” and a failure of the human imagination as the two biggest impediments to radical change. And all of us who use fossil fuels, who sustain ourselves through the formal economy, he says, are at fault.

Modern capitalist societies, Wright argues in his book “What Is America?: A Short History of the New World Order,” derive from European invaders’ plundering of the indigenous cultures in the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries, coupled with the use of African slaves as a workforce to replace the natives. The numbers of those natives fell by more than 90 percent because of smallpox and other plagues they hadn’t had before. The Spaniards did not conquer any of the major societies until smallpox had crippled them; in fact the Aztecs beat them the first time around. If Europe had not been able to seize the gold of the Aztec and Inca civilizations, if it had not been able to occupy the land and adopt highly productive New World crops for use on European farms, the growth of industrial society in Europe would have been much slower. Karl Marx and Adam Smith both pointed to the influx of wealth from the Americas as having made possible the Industrial Revolution and the start of modern capitalism. It was the rape of the Americas, Wright points out, that triggered the orgy of European expansion. The Industrial Revolution also equipped the Europeans with technologically advanced weapons systems, making further subjugation, plundering and expansion possible.

“The experience of a relatively easy 500 years of expansion and colonization, the constant taking over of new lands, led to the modern capitalist myth that you can expand forever,” Wright said. “It is an absurd myth. We live on this planet. We can’t leave it and go somewhere else. We have to bring our economies and demands on nature within natural limits, but we have had a 500-year run where Europeans, Euro-Americans and other colonists have overrun the world and taken it over. This 500-year run made it not only seem easy but normal. We believe things will always get bigger and better. We have to understand that this long period of expansion and prosperity was an anomaly. It has rarely happened in history and will never happen again. We have to readjust our entire civilization to live in a finite world. But we are not doing it, because we are carrying far too much baggage, too many mythical versions of deliberately distorted history and a deeply ingrained feeling that what being modern is all about is having more. This is what anthropologists call an ideological pathology, a self-destructive belief that causes societies to crash and burn. These societies go on doing things that are really stupid because they can’t change their way of thinking. And that is where we are.”

And as the collapse becomes palpable, if human history is any guide, we like past societies in distress will retreat into what anthropologists call “crisis cults.” The powerlessness we will feel in the face of ecological and economic chaos will unleash further collective delusions, such as fundamentalist belief in a god or gods who will come back to earth and save us.

“Societies in collapse often fall prey to the belief that if certain rituals are performed all the bad stuff will go away,” Wright said. “There are many examples of that throughout history. In the past these crisis cults took hold among people who had been colonized, attacked and slaughtered by outsiders, who had lost control of their lives. They see in these rituals the ability to bring back the past world, which they look at as a kind of paradise. They seek to return to the way things were. Crisis cults spread rapidly among Native American societies in the 19th century, when the buffalo and the Indians were being slaughtered by repeating rifles and finally machine guns. People came to believe, as happened in the Ghost Dance, that if they did the right things the modern world that was intolerable—the barbed wire, the railways, the white man, the machine gun—would disappear.”

“We all have the same, basic psychological hard wiring,” Wright said. “It makes us quite bad at long-range planning and leads us to cling to irrational delusions when faced with a serious threat. Look at the extreme right’s belief that if government got out of the way, the lost paradise of the 1950s would return. Look at the way we are letting oil and gas exploration rip when we know that expanding the carbon economy is suicidal for our children and grandchildren. The results can already be felt. When it gets to the point where large parts of the Earth experience crop failure at the same time then we will have mass starvation and a breakdown in order. That is what lies ahead if we do not deal with climate change.”

“If we fail in this great experiment, this experiment of apes becoming intelligent enough to take charge of their own destiny, nature will shrug and say it was fun for a while to let the apes run the laboratory, but in the end it was a bad idea,” Wright said.



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ABOUT Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

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Why do you camouflage your

Why do you camouflage your tedious and redundant Leftist politics with your bleating of world catastrophe? Any student of history, as you pointed out, knows that getting out balance with the environment is an easy thing to do- all species do it all the time. Life is precarious on planet Earth- get over it an grow up. You are not concerned so much with our children as you are with your obsessive hatred of capitalism and Western Civilization. What is all this BS about the plundering of the Americas have to do with anything? Cortez didn't conquer the Aztecs with only 300 men. He led a large scale revolt, his first allies being the Totonacs. Cortez's men were the shock troupes but they could never have done it alone without an army of indigenous peoples that despised the maniacal Aztecs.
Global warming is a fact- your tired socio-political interpretation is an exploitative appropriation of a real phenomenon to continue your rant against your own culture, a rant that you would be conducting with or without global warming.
You are the primary reason why more people don't take global warming as serious as they should. They instinctively smell the continuing death-throws of the Leftist idealogue desperately grabbing on to any passing phenomenon in another attempt to breath life back into his dying ideological corpse. No real change can occur as long as the Left keeps trying to lead it. Face it: you are a dead-end worse than global warming. We will survive global warming- I guarantee we will. Pack your Leftist bags and take the first ship off the planet- you are not a help and your tired rants against capitalism and Western Civilization offers no solution whatsoever.

nice rant gerry now where's

nice rant gerry now where's the solution? no? you have none. let's see who has been leading the way on this awakening to reality? the capitalists? hello, wake up.

You have to be kidding with

You have to be kidding with that rant you just laid out there. Issues anyone? With the left? OK, Gerard, you can sit there quite comfortably and free from the realities that others must face. Capitalism does not work for most people. And most of those people are disproportionately poor and not white. Are you a lib-con? Because neither of those sides of the same coin have provided any solution... except the rapacious consumerism which is destroying this planet and the lives of people you are privileged enough to not see. That much is apparent from your screed. Why don't you and all your Western lib-con parasites go off to another planet to bleed that one dry?

W. Gerard Poole your beating

W. Gerard Poole your beating on Chris reveals to me a very frightened person. This level of shreaking is a prevalent behavior in dire situations. Another possibility is that you are one of the establishments goons sent to attack Mr. Hedges. Either case, humanity is in a crisis with itself given the political and the ecological and the financial and the religious conundrum. Opps!; I almost failed to mention energy, food, GMO. The "Gobal 2000 report" was available since about 1980. I have never heard even one of our quasi leaders even breath the name of that document. Why not? Why was it not brought to the average persons awareness, by our quasi news media?
We are possibly caught in events that appear to be a sinking ship used to justify a totalitarian zionist world takeover. What ever the actual case, humanity needs some very cool minds on deck. It seems pretty obvious our political leaders do not have the skills. Our military can blow things up. Our corporations seem to only be interested in incresing their bottom line.
If you have such outstanding information confirming " Global warming is a fact..." please present your insight and educate us. Possibly at the same time that you educate us on what caused building number seven to collapse on September 11, 2001. Explain HAARP. Other insights about USS Liberty. etc.
Tom

The signs are everywhere -the

The signs are everywhere -the plundering of our planet by out-of-control corporate bullies that control the levers of power for the elite.

Will we survive? All signs point to the tipping point occurring as we continue or plundering that began during the first wave of genocide some 500 years ago. And yes the plundering has continued with the US engaged in wars of aggression and support of repressive dictatorships. And if you haven't read "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" I recommend it as a blueprint for American imperialism.

You state that leftists should pack their bags since they are not a help. Easy to throw stones but tell me what strategies you would offer to fix the economic and environmental issues threatening the survival of civilization as we know it.

If you have no solutions aside from critical remarks, please do not respond.
henry

I suspect we are standing

I suspect we are standing extremely close to the solution. It is that which terrifies us so much. Dr C. G. Jung in “The Undiscovered Self” and Dr Erich Fromm "Escape From Freedom" both suggest a central critical human condition that unless transcended would lead to a human disaster. Dr. David R. Hawkins suggests from his “map of consciousness” that the quality of { courage } is essential to transcend the limitations of the box {AGFLAP}.
Denial is a term that is used to language the conundrum an individual finds themselves suffering the effects of their own distorted thought system. From the affected one's point of perception their personal world seems like a vortex sucking themselves into a total state of unmanageable. Their personal universe is in its end though the general observable tendency is to fight for a moment more. The ACIM say's “...Now the ego cousels thus, substitute for this another relationship to which your former goal was quite appropriate. You can escape from your distress only by getting rid of your brother. You need not part entirely if you choose not to do so. But you must exclude major ares of fantasy from your brother, to save your sanity. Hear not this now! ...” T17 V 7. In T14 VII 4 “...Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they are brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. ...”. Consider this T14 VII 2 “... Yet you cannot know this , for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.” However it takes a confrontation with one's self of immense proportions for the ego shell to crumple. The ACIM T31 IV 3 “... There is no choice where every end is sure. Perhaps you would prefer to try them all before you really learn they are but one. The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time will come when come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another. Men have died on seeing this because they saw no way except the pathways of the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. ...”
Tom

There is only one theme I

There is only one theme I strongly disagree with in this piece, as stated in this quote of Wright's:

"We’re Ice Age hunters with a shave and a suit. We are not good long-term thinkers. We would much rather gorge ourselves on dead mammoths by driving a herd over a cliff than figure out how to conserve the herd so it can feed us and our children forever."

Nothing could be more untrue. The human species lived in balance with their environment for 200,000 years, and it is only in the Neolithic - or I should say, because of the Neolithic - that we find ourselves where we are today.

The whole piece is too long to put in here, but you can find it on my blog @ trihelic.net. It is the last post in the section titled "Daybook", called The Narrative: 1st Iteration.

Sections IV and V take up the question of the Neolithic Shift.

JSI

Human progress is war at

Human progress is war at least thats the way it has been for centuries.
It is really scary to think about the human genome being unravelled and the possibility of a race specific flu to wipe out all Chinese or black or middle eastern people but it is out there and very possible that it has already been discovered yipes!!! I still say we all need to make ice cubes large blocks of ice and throw them into the ocean. They say that the earths oceanhas risen 8 inches in the sf bay area but the water we use on land must do some offsetting by millions of gallons of water every season. The energy used is free to make ice as the frige is still running weather you make ice or not come on lets give it a try.
Prove this theory wrong making ice will help and give us time to use algae fuel and plant more trees as California #3 crop is ornamentals do what you can to offset it and maybe dont trust them flu shots mixed with chemtrails cocktails.

The following statement is an

The following statement is an absolute truth:
"Capitalism is now an ideology pure and simple, with a propaganda boilerplate and patter all its own. It is used to camouflage the real truth, which is that Congress has sold out to corporate interests; that members of Congress are bought and sold in a behind-the-scenes market where votes and money are constantly traded; that America's megabanks and corporations do not believe in competition but obsessively seek market-distorting tax favors, subsidies, federal rulings allowing "venture capitalists" to gobble up or destroy competitors and drive small businesses into extinction." The first step that is urgently needed to correct this shameful situation is to initiate a massive grass roots movement by getting enough signatures on the petition by clicking on or copying and pasting into your browser - http://signon.org/sign/take-money-out-of-politics

Let us all get our heads out of the sand and recognize finally that we no longer have a Democracy (government of the people by the people and for the people). What we do actually have is Plutocracy (government of the people by the lobbyists for the rich and powerful corporations, banks and individuals).

So, the remedy is obvious. Take the money out of politics so that members of Congress will be responsible only to the people that voted for them. To accomplish this it will require a massive grass roots movement by the majority of our citizens that can be started when they have all signed the petition at - http://signon.org/sign/take-money-out-of-politics

jackwenayscott's picture

Although I only skimmed this,

Although I only skimmed this, I can tell it's really true! But, I think there's much hope, especially as we may have the good luck that the North American Continent is first and worst affected by climate change. As of the drought last summer, this may be our LUCK! (and we're gonna need luck in this one) So, we have an Empire member who is saying the truth, if we can gather enough Empire Enforcers to put up pro-environment propaganda, we can brainwash the "sheeples" back over to action to prevent catastrophe, and maybe even implement social justice! Brainwash the public? Yup, seeing as they insist on watching their TV (whereas I DON'T), which TV convinces them of anti-environmentalism with Ph.D.-caliber propaganda tricks, we might as well "slip them a mickey" and paradoxically make them do the right thing!

Growth! Growth! GROWTH! Is

Growth! Growth! GROWTH! Is the philosophy of cancer.

Well, "WOETOPOE"... Our

Well, "WOETOPOE"...

Our daughter has two masters degrees, in environmental education, and in environmental sustainability management.

The unpublished science she had access to during her studies convinced her several years ago that complete climate collapse was inevitable (already accomplished, in process, with no chance of our stopping it)... that the only option left was provision of hospice care during the collapse.

America's stuck on stupid (R) & (D) voters have convinced me she was correct. We (by election results) evidently haven't got even 1% now living who care if anyone survives after their generation is gone.

We are all (our entire species and thousands of others too) now in the process of dying off, because corporate party dedication to the global market-state's desire to maintain fossil-fuel dependence and enormously expand the constant growth consumer economy has already caused the death of the human habitable climate.

I wish you the best death you can have.

“We have a supply of natural [shale] gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.”
— Barack Obama, campaigning for re-election to be all the "change" corporate persons wish to see

David, I'm inclined to be

David, I'm inclined to be in agreement with your daughter. It's not my own death that frightens me but the effect on my wife (32 years) and our two daughters (one in particular.) She's very attached to me and quite emotional.
I'm 56 and don't pretend to understand why things happen the way they do.
They just do. Thank you for the kind words. One would expect Obama would have "some" thoughts for his own two daughters and the world he's helping to finalize. At least my "last vote" is one I'm proud of. Good luck David. From one "David" to another.

On why things happen the way

On why things happen the way they do:

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
— Mark Twain

On fear of death:

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A [person] who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
— Mark Twain

On why Obama doesn't care about the world his daughters will inherit:

"It's transparently evident that all of the corporate party's Republicans and Democrats are sociopaths."
— David J. Cyr

Live what life is left fully, and have a good here after... if you can discover one.

I'm sorry to hear this news,

I'm sorry to hear this news, David. I've always enjoyed your thoughtful comments, and I will miss seeing your delightful "handle" in the comments sections. I hope you will be around for a while yet in any case, and I wish the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Thank you for the extremely

Thank you for the extremely kind words and thoughts. I'll be here until it's time to go...and then I will go. If it wasn't for my family and my beloved cats I'd almost be excited about the prospects of "possibly" encountering a new frontier and escape this increasingly desensitized and cruel world. Yet, "you" are here, my wife and daughters (and the cats) are here, and, as I am in the habit of now saying to them, and to you, "live." Why mankind is so hellbent on destroying his only planet truly is distressing. No matter what religious affiliation you adhere to (if any), we cannot deny the "gift" we were bestowed with our beautiful Earth. For some, "life" is akin to that gift.
As history teaches us, for others it has been hell. I sincerely hope for you and those you love, that each day brings at least one opportunity to unwrap the "gift." Thanks Rory.

There's the legend of the

There's the legend of the Gordian Knot. Nobody can unravel it, the legend said. Alexander the Great is supposed to have done it with a stroke of his sword. Today, in America, the Gordian Knot is the Gridlock: the economy, the politics, the media are controlled by the oligarchs. The latest manifestation of ecological destruction is fracking. Tens of thousands of wells have already been drilled. There's no doubt in my mind that America will be destroyed by fracking. It may take thirty years, perhaps more, but it will happen. The water, the air, will be poisoned. Global warming will become irreversible. The ultimate catastrophe will occur. Unless a miracle takes place: somehow the American people will wake up, realize that they have to stop it. And they can do it. And the rest of the world will follow. The planet, the world, human civilization will be saved. Hope against hope, yes. But what else is there?...

The human species, led by

The human species, led by swarthy Arabians and Turk-mongols, has been on a 1,400-year-long planetwide rampage of conquering, plundering, looting, exploiting and polluting the Earth—as well as killing the indigenous communities that stood in the way.

Primitive, savage Barbarisms have a bad habit of destroying themselves, but not until they've destroyed everyone else first, too.

The Spaniards (who, after 780 years of being violently invaded, enslaved and raped by islam, had long-since become genetically Arabs, and culturally moslems) hadn't intended to infect the Amerindians with smallpox.

In fact, the only thing stopping those Amerindians from invading Europe after it had decimated itself by one of its many plagues, was that they weren't smart enough to have become technologically advanced enough to travel there, despite really only being a displaced offshoot of one of the most intelligent and advanced races - the Asians - in the history of the world.
In other words: Shit happens.

Ronald Wright doesn't take such an infantile delinquent, RACIST view of the world as you do, so I'm surprised he didn't hang up on you when you phoned him.

Nevertheless, if he really said "Look at the extreme right’s belief that if government got out of the way, the lost paradise of the 1950s would return" then he was sadly mistaken, too, because the right wing doesn't believe in government control - that sort of group-might-made-right extortion delusion is only fomented by you criminals on the left.

Today's conservatives firmly believe in basic individual human rights and self-reliant responsibilities - what was known as 'Classical Liberalism' is what today's right is trying so hard to "Conserve!"

Ever since I watched Mr.

Ever since I watched Mr. Hedges on Bill Moyers and Co., I have been continuously impressed with his laser-vision analysis of historical/factual information. We live in the continuation of gangster-king model of the economy where warfare instead of fairness govern human affairs for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many, no matter how abundant the resources/product/services may become. If there was a cure for the disease of unbridled greed and lust for power, humanity would have been living on an earth that would be comparable to the imaginary heaven of many holy books. Power/money corrupts. Absolute power and being filthy rich corrupts absolutely. May Gaia save us from the self-inflected destruction of few over many....

To My Children: My generation

To My Children: My generation failed to reverse course, misled even by the Obamas of the present. The problem is our species. Life evolves in competition and turns predatory. I doubt our species will survive and evolve to something symbiotic or self-sustaining. In any case I owe you the horrible truth of what I know applies in your lifetime. A convergence of resource depletions (oil, fisheries, aquifers, arable land, species diversity, etc) intersects with excess population in the range of 2025 to 2050. Even if there is no catastrophic climate change, a purge of billions is inevitable by the end of the century. The oligarchs do not intend to see themselves or their own children or grandchildren suffer. What we are seeing today in the USA is the evolution to a corporatized and militarized police state in service of the globalized oligarchs and a phalanx of elites. When mass desperation and civil unrest intensifies in your lifetime, it will be countered by the unleashing of fascism on a Nazi-Germany scale, so as to exterminate domestic resistance while, as now, waging continuous war overseas for resources.

Please read Mark Twain's

Please read Mark Twain's autobiography. Pay careful attention to a segment entitled "The Character of Man." It fits very well with Hedges article.

"Look at the extreme right’s

"Look at the extreme right’s belief that if government got out of the way, the lost paradise of the 1950s would return."

I notice how Hedges is unwilling to point out the other side of the exact same coin: Look at the liberals' belief that if government just redistributed the wealth (without a fundamental analysis of the nature of that wealth, of course, which as he points out is entirely derived from labor and natural resource exploitation) the lost paradise of the 1960s would return...

Gwengazorn, Hedges has in

Gwengazorn, Hedges has in fact often pointed to the unsustainability of today's consumerism. Many more who you would label liberal or left-wing than you would label conservative or right-wing have admitted the planet will impose a dramatic reduction in the global average standard of living as measured by conventional consumerism. Redistribution of wealth will only temporarily cushion the blow. But it will also give the 6 Waltons who own most of Walmart, and who have more wealth than 150 MILLION Americans, a fair chance to compete with them for survival.

For some reason we let

For some reason we let psychopaths run and ruin everything. As in the work place, it is the bully who usually becomes the boss.

This is an excerpt from work

This is an excerpt from work in progress of my own, but I think it fits as an addendum to this piece.

Interregnum: Reverse Triage by Wealth.

All forms of triage are based on the assumption that the entirety of the resources available are insufficient to treat all the casualties. At its primary level triage takes two forms, Simple Triage and Reverse Triage.

Simple triage prioritizes treatment in a progression from most badly injured to least injured, and Reverse Triage prioritizes treatment in progression from least injured to most badly injured. Both methodologies identify those who are fatally injured as exempt from treatment of any sort.

Simple triage is commonly used in the occurrence of a mass casualty event such as an earthquake, factory explosion or fire, or a bus or train wreck. Those most severely injured are served first in terms of immediate treatment and transportation to a facility that can continue treatment at a more sophisticated level. At the other end, the walking wounded, those with cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns only may be given treatment at a first-aid level, and are regarded as not in need of more than cursory attention in the immediate situation.

Reverse triage on the other hand prioritizes treatment from least injured to most badly injured, and is used almost entirely in theaters of war, the logic being that giving a lightly injured soldier sufficient treatment to send him back to active duty best fulfills the purpose of war. The more severely injured, as they are no longer capable of active combat, form the lower tiers of priority for treatment.

What we are presently experiencing as a civilization is reverse triage by wealth. The exponential formation of wealth has reached its limit, and what the wealthy are entirely aware of is the that the downside of the wealth cycle will be equally exponential, as there are no longer any sources of fuel for the wildfires of the extractive economies which have left most of the Earth burned and barren. There are millions of economic casualties and the number of casualties and the severity of the economic injuries are increasing not arithmetically but geometrically by day, by minute, by second. They, the wealthy, are the least injured in these times, and have directed that they be the ones to receive the first and the best treatment and, as they see fit, a monopoly on all the resources available to reverse and heal any injury to their wealth.

Looked at this way - through the lens of reverse triage - the uncontrolled acceleration of wealth apartheid, the bank and corporate bailouts, preferential tax treatments, business subsidies, and the abandonment by governments of any substantial forms of support for the catastrophic economic injury to their citizens all come into clear focus. Using the terminology of war, they are all tactical movements to support the overall strategic goal. That one and overriding goal is the preservation and increase of wealth by the wealthy and for the wealthy, the human and planetary costs being immaterial. That the foot soldiers in this war, the profit-slaves, will be maimed and killed by the millions is not at issue; it is merely part of the cost of doing business to this tiny coterie of UHNW individuals who are directing the strategy, and, through their minions, governments and corporations, the tactical missions.

And so we hear nearly every day now the government proclamations that the latest bank they bailed out, or the latest set of tax set-asides they granted to the wealthy, had been put into place to “stimulate economic growth and create more jobs.” Yes. Bandage up that messy little hundred billion dollar gash in the capitalist’s arm and send him back into action. Give him the great cure-all, more wealth. We need to win the war on poverty, they say, but this time I am using the term in its real and strategic sense. Simply, that when all the “poor” people are defeated or dead, there will be no more poverty. A fait accompli in the theatre of political illusion. Long live the Big Lie.

This is the methodology of the reverse triage of wealth. Be assured that your chances of receiving treatment for, let alone recovering from your economic wounds are infinitesimal and, with the exception of how you may go about healing yourself, accidental.

Strictly speaking, interregnum is a political term, the period of empty time between the cessation of one ruler and the succession of the next. We have gone past the tipping points of both the planetary ecologies and global capitalism. There is no indication of how long Earth will take to form any new balanced set of ecologies, or if we will even be a part of them; our extinction as a species is a very likely possibility as a result of our activities. Nor, if we do survive for a time, is there any indication of the way in which people will provide for their needs out of the ashes and cinders of capitalism once it has entirely consumed itself in its present orgy of self-cannibalism.

We are living at the beginning of one of these empty times. I call it an interregnum not because I do or do not believe I know what the next succession will bring, but because I simply do not know any more than what I’ve just said above.

JSI

If history teaches us

If history teaches us anything it is that vanity trumps reality. Always. We never learn. That is our nature. When things go wrong we will first blame the most vulnerable among us as an appeasement to "God". Yet when things get worse regardless of our sacrificing those whom we blame it upon, then we will blame more and more "others" in assurance everytime that "God" will anoint us and spare us for doing so. What we will never do should we make life on this Earth intolerable is to blame those truly responsible, ourselves.
So unless climate change unleashes a cataclism that wipes out everyone but a few indigenious primal cultures living as an integral part of the environment, our nature, our vanity dictates that we'll destroy paradise again and again and again until the Earth falls into the Sun.

Re: "If history teaches us

Re: "If history teaches us anything it is that vanity trumps reality. Always. We never learn. That is our nature. When things go wrong we will first blame the most vulnerable among us as an appeasement to "God". Yet when things get worse regardless of our sacrificing those whom we blame it upon, then we will blame more and more "others" in assurance everytime that "God" will anoint us and spare us for doing so. What we will never do should we make life on this Earth intolerable is to blame those truly responsible, ourselves."

Wow - you just summed up the official tenets of islam! But then, what you just described IS our most "primal, indigenous (HUMAN) culture" anyway!

;-)

Read the March of Folly by

Read the March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman. Indeed, this is the way humans are.

Sounds like the modern

Sounds like the modern equivalent of a Cotton Mather sermon.

yes Cotton Mather

yes Cotton Mather sermon.
Site

Times up! The Millennial

Times up!

The Millennial Generation just jumped off the climate cliff, by supporting the reelection of the corporate party POTUS who campaign promised them a firm commitment to 100 years of shale gas fracking to further maintain fossil-fuel dependence... thereby ensuring that Yes We Can (and we will) have climate collapse.

www.chenangogreens.org

You're right. POTUS is a

You're right. POTUS is a member of the "corporate party." The other guy even more so. If you truly believe there's a difference in the "corporatism" that has engulfed BOTH parties apply a towel behind your ears. Virtually the entire mass media is controlled by these two parties. Myself, along with my wife and two daughters voted for Jill Stein. I would again, but the fact remains that as long as the fox holds the key to the hen house we will continue to dine on bad eggs.

The constant repetition of

The constant repetition of terms like "BOTH parties" and "BOTH sides" is how the corporate media has conditioned people to believe the BIG LIE upon which so many other big lies depend; to ignore the objective transparently observable reality that Republicans and Democrats are joined as one, working hand-in-glove in firm sociopathic solidarity together, within **ONE** corporate party, with coordinated differences in their factional tactics to accomplish common strategic corporate goals... the (R)s and (D)s all serving the corporate-state and the neoliberal interests of corporate persons, not natural persons.

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org

David, You're right, of

David, You're right, of course. I am personally in the process of dying. I meant no disrespect to you or your views...many of which I have the feeling we share. I won't be here for the next election. Keep pounding your message. If
mankind is to survive...the masses will have to start deciphering the "BIG LIE," as you stated, and begin to face the "truth"...which, if you'll forgive my
pessimism, I don't see happening. For you and all those who work and dream of a "better Earth," good luck.

And who could they have voted

And who could they have voted for? Even if the entire generation voted for Jill Stein it wouldn't have elected her. And very few others did.

Protest votes have always

Protest votes have always been the only votes that were **NOT** wasted.

The function of elections within a corporate-state is to measure what the actual level of disobedient dissent is, and reveal what portion of the public is obediently completely comfortable with embracing criminal complicity.

99% just (R) and (D) voted — again — to affirm their desire to be fully complicit in all the crimes of corporatism... hoping their depravity might be rewarded by (R)s or (D)s.

For elections to serve any good purpose, a significant sized minority firmly voting against the system is required. That is how to win something with elections worth winning.

The "progressives" are the liberals who keep voting for the corporate party's Democrats so they can keep "protesting" against what they keep voting for.

Google this:

The "Principles" of Liberal Voters

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