‘Myopia and childishness. And dumb smarts. That’s what’s wrong with these people. With us.’
Remember remember the days of November, and every November to date. What happens here, now, has repercussions. It’s recorded for posterity, to be revisited and examined by those who will succeed us.
Like some fool once said, ‘Make sure what you do is something you can be proud of, something the next generations will look back at and say, Good job!’
Sadly, not everything is, or can be, good and commendable. Life is not always fine. Life is ugly and convoluted, and so are many of its records and chronicles, pockmarked with shortfalls and failures, moments riddled with shame and myopia and recycled error; homicide and suicide; atavism and regression.
This, for example. The North Dakota pipeline and the confrontation at Standing Rock, so eloquently captured in this image. One day people will be looking back at this image, at us and the world we represent, asking themselves, What the hell was wrong with those people? What crawled up their backsides and made them go apeshit killer ant on each other?
They’ll be wondering about it just like we shake our heads and ask ourselves when checking out the paintings and etchings and historical records of the Middle Ages, wondering What the hell was wrong with people back then?
What the hell’s wrong with today’s world, is the question, and how did we let ourselves get into such a fine mess? What the hell is driving it?
is everything done for a few dollars more?
For a few more conveniences?
The answer is much simpler, and yet complex. It’s all systemic and integrated. Just like any system of operations, our way of life, our paradigm, if you will, contains a self-fulfilling element that prescribes actions like this. The catastrophe is inbuilt and derivative, and usually driven by smarts — the misguided kind of smarts. From the dumb-ass engineer whose sharp brain dictates that the pipeline has to pass through this land because it’s the easiest and most logical model to build, to the dumb-ass executive who greenlights the project despite his or her topnotch education, hirs or her clear understanding of how life is not just sterile numbers on a spreadsheet, yet the plan makes some kind of financial sense, so he or she greenlights it anyway.
And the dumb-ass politicians whose years of expertise and smarts don’t raise a bunch of red flags at the very sight of the pipeline’s pathway — their interests are vested, and extremely obscure — so they support the pipeline, and sign off on it with a sense of righteousness, as do many ‘smart’ people across the nation, and beyond.
It’s all part of a smart system doing dumb shit, dictating its course in terms of blind numbers.
If ever there was a case against market fundamentalism, this is it: the market getting it terribly wrong, causing tremendous damage as it plows its way through life. Yes, trial and error, agreed, dig up the earth to sow the seeds of tomorrow, we get it — we’re game — but sometimes you dig too deep, or in the wrong places. Some damage is too toxic to incur. The system known as the Ecology can only suffer so much abuse. It can’t afford to wait for the market to get it right. Sometimes you have to prevent the damage, take the smart-smart route, the spherical option.
You’d think the numbers-driven people would understand this argument. It’s a numbers-driven, calculated, pragmatic approach to life. They should be the first ones to embrace the logic and find alternative solutions with the long-term economy in mind.
But they don’t. They have short-term sensitivities, which narrows down their scope, their capacity for being truly pragmatic and intelligent.
Watch this space for Part 2
(Image by Standing Rock Rising)