Pandering to the Populace

Guy McPherson

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“Everything, every thing, and every being must be monetized. From soil to oil, from water to air, from joy to toys, everything must be assigned value. What kind of value? The only kind this culture understands: the kind with dollar signs.”—Guy McPherson

Going Dark

By Guy McPherson

Flores, Homo sapiens, and Neanderthal women, and admission-paying visitors, Musee des Confluences.

Flores, Homo sapiens, and Neanderthal women, and admission-paying visitors, Musee des Confluences.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”George Orwell

This short essay, first published on Nature Bats Last on 17 August 2016, seems relevant to the recent presidential election in the United States.

Guy McPhersonSAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—December 2016—The masses are confused after they select a wealthy, overt misogynist and racist in a culture characterized by . . . overt misogyny, racism, and monetary disparity. They seek to blame others.

Sometimes, a society gets the politicians it deserves. Appealing to the lowest common denominator in a dumbed-down culture leads to the abyss.

Confusion reigns. It’s accompanied by abundant denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and also by very little acceptance or gallows humor.

Maybe it’s time to open your eyes to the culture you inhabit? To the culture many of you promote as virtuous? Civilization.

Note my preferred pronunciation for this set of living arrangements: siv-uh-LIE-zey-shuhn. The entire phenomenon—reminiscent of Nietzsche’s “thing as it is”—is a fraud. It is characterized by lies heaped upon deception. Individuals are rewarded for lying. Truth-tellers are punished. And, like the future depicted in some science-fiction films, there is no possibility of escape.

Examples are legion. I list below and describe briefly a few.

Throughout this short essay, “we” refers to the civilized version of our favorite species, Homo sapiens. We perceive ourselves as supreme in every way. What applies to other species, from this viewpoint, does not apply to humans. From the “Eastern” religions through the Abrahamic religions and all the way to humanism, humans are touted as superior.

We can and will experience infinite growth on a finite planet. There are no limits to growth in any form, from the industrial economy to the human population. Notwithstanding abundant science and simple logic, we can grow forever.

More is better. This single, simple phrase is a decent definition of contemporary human society. More of what? Everything. Just more. That is all we want. That is all we need.

Everything, every thing, and every being must be monetized. From soil to oil, from water to air, from joy to toys, everything must be assigned value. What kind of value? The only kind this culture understands: the kind with dollar signs.

Thinking positive is the first step toward a better future. Hope, otherwise known as  magical thinking, is unimpeachably good. To relinquish hope is to give up on humanity.

Racism is normal. Misogyny is normal. Poverty is normal. Identifying others as others is normal.

Monetary disparity is customary and expected. Poverty is customary and expected, even though it did not exist until money was created coincident with the first civilizations. Monetary disparity and poverty are the means by which we keep track of the winners and losers.

What could possibly go wrong? Probably nothing that hasn’t already.

Author’s Note: The title of this essay was inspired by James W. Loewen’s popular 1995 book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.

Photo Credits: Dr. McPherson’s Head Shot & Banner Photo are by Pauline Schneider, images used by permission of the photographer; Illustrative image:  http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2015/02/09/homo-sapiens-neanderthals-evolution; (Dr. McPherson’s Head Shot & Banner Photo are by Pauline Schneider, images used by permission of the photographer.)

To order Dr. McPherson’s books, click the cover images here below:

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Guy McPherson

About Guy McPherson

Guy McPherson is an internationally recognized speaker, award-winning scientist, and one of the world’s leading authorities on abrupt climate change leading to near-term human extinction. He is professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for 20 years. His published works include 14 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Dr. McPherson has been featured on television and radio and in several documentary films. He is a blogger and social critic who co-host his own radio show, “Nature Bats Last.” Dr. McPherson speaks to general audiences across the globe, and to scientists, students, educators, and not-for-profit and business leaders who seek their best available options when confronting Earth’s cataclysmic changes.
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6 Responses to Pandering to the Populace

  1. Avatar Dredd says:

    Great post Dr. McPherson

    skivvyLIEsatiation – the name of civilization before it petitioned for a name change.

  2. Avatar Bryan Atkins says:

    Yes. Thank you Dr. Mc.
    Appreciate thee and your reality slinging.
    Have watched your videos, read your monster climate change essay.

    Interviewed Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd in 1983.
    He said: “We’re in a war for survival and it’s everybody’s duty to get involved. If they don’t, they’ll be drafted into it anyway, by circumstance.”

    Here’s a couple distillations I’ve compiled recently.
    Memo to Status Quo Biz, Gov’t, Media & nearly all of Academia:
    You’ve been lethally wrong for decades.

    Looking at the multitude of human bodies to feast upon, the bacterium asked a friend, “What the hell happened here?”
    “They tried to do natural selection with monetary code.”

  3. Thank you, Dredd and Bryan. I appreciate your complimentary comments.

  4. Avatar dave maynard says:

    Thanks so much, Prof. Guy, for having the gutsiness and the eloquence to properly define the age we live in. After accepting the truths you have revealed, I have undergone a much needed realignment of my priorities, and my thinking. I’ve combined these truths with the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk, and find myself gaining strength for the days ahead.

  5. Thank you, dave. You are among the many aware people who are living with urgency. It’s not such a terrible pursuit!

  6. Avatar Tim says:

    I really believe the entire chemtrail (geoengineering) onslaught that you see everywhere now is a mad attempt at stopping this from happening. It is not working. In fact, it likely is shredding the ozone layer. Deep down, for as smart as we think we are, we really are stupid. Stupid wars over stupid religions over stupid egos over stupid stuff. If I were God and saw how we act, I would resign from being God and hand it over to Trump, someone who understands stupid.

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