Tuesday, 24 March 2009


"Opposition to wind farms should become as socially unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt." Ed Miliband, Climate Change Secretary.

'The death of a species,' wrote Charles Darwin, whose view on natural
selection I have no wish to misrepresent, 'is a consequence of non-adaptation of
circumstances.' And whatever else may have been said since, as a statement of
fact, actual or potential, it seems remarkably in accordance with the need for
the species to fall in with the nuclear forces of evolution. And nobody
ever made this more clear than the admirable H.G.Wells when, in The Fate of Homo
, he issued a 'last' resounding warning to mankind: 'Adapt or perish,
that is and always has been the implacable law of life for all its children.
Either the human imagination and the will to live rises to the plain necessity
of our case, and a renascent homo sapiens struggles on to new, a harder and
happier world dominion, or he blunders down the slopes of failure through a
series of unhappy phases, in the wake of all the monster reptiles and beasts
that have flourished and lorded it on the earth before him, to his ultimate
extinction. Either life is just beginning for him, or it is drawing rapidly to
its close.'

These words, at any rate, proclaim the weakness of the ecological
. For if it hopes to salvage the Earth, it has no measures for saving
humanity. Indeed, the first thing to be noted is that 'wind and water power were
the main energy sources of post-medieval industry' (Hoyle, Energy or
), that they represent the least efficient form of energy production,
a form of power in its declension, no less. Perhaps the clearest indication,
therefore, of this declension is to be found in the fact that our "Friends of the Earth" are
actually willing to exchange the prospect of nuclear fusion for the subsistence
of a wind-and-water economy; that, I repeat, they have actually succeeded in
placing fidelity to the Earth before the ability of a highly technological
civilization to master its own central and salving destiny, its conquering
vision and cosmic ambition.

Public opinion, on the whole, has followed the retrogressive judgment
here, but I am not so sure it is right. For if the world's verdict endorsed that
judgment, it would represent a highly improvident depreciation of the skill and
ingenuity offered to it by a technological civilization. One thing, in any case,
is certain, we would be left in no doubt where its spirit resides. For the
pessimism conveyed in the demoralization of an age whose judgements no longer
embrace transcending or even confident standards, is not merely ecological. It
is evidence of deep changes in the orientation of the collective psyche. It is
fundamental to a world lost, in more recent times, in impossible ideas of a new
intellectual darkness. In an illusory nostalgia for a remote and rustic past. A
mellow eventide of butterfly and thistledown as the great concluding age of
peace, or what is held to be the last and most perfect phase of human existence.
Without regret and without ambition. Even though it can accomplish nothing
except the petrifaction of all that which lies at the basis of a healthy and
progressive civilization. And the triviality of much or it, rather than the
propensity for windmills and hydro-electric power, explains why the Great
Green Manifesto which seems to have become a kind of highly charge panacea for
the correction of all social ills, reads remarkably like a repeal of the
principal contents of Magna Carta or the Glorious, the Bill of Rights.

We should, with perhaps equal plausibility, also remember that the
meaning of Life - even in its most ill-conceived moments - is by no means
confined to the extreme monotony of our quotidian existence on Earth, nor
exclusive to the problems of an organic, environmental, or social kind which
have held the stage for so long. That would be utterly to misconceive its
nature. It is manifest with the same decisiveness in the concept of nuclear
energy as one of the most dynamic catalysts of a highly indeterminate stage in
human development and, we may add, of hope. Less dynamic perhaps but none the
less relevant since the whole of human civilization was based on its universal
and redemptive power. Indeed, it may be taken for granted that if we fail to
take the necessary steps to preserve either of these Promethean gifts and keep
alive for all time the two most powerful forces known to man, we might just as
well give up the quest for the stars and enter a period of universal
retrogression. For what it comes to, in the final analysis, is the exclusion of
any reasonable thought about preserving the balance between ecological
prescriptions for a brave new world and the total legislation of human life.

As for the rest, one soon wearies of such prattle. Indeed, the
banalities vary. But whether ecological, pacifist, irenic or activist, and
however irreconcilable in their ideological different ways, we are provided with
no central purpose upon which to extend our future hopes. The initial impetus
spent, clearly and unmistakably they all rest on a compulsory sacrifice of what
is perhaps the most dynamic heritage of human evolution: its transcendent
genius, the true bestower of all our noblest values.



Crushed said...

I agree.

I have always argued we should be more pro active with space colonisatyion.

Life is not static. We either move off this rock, or blow ourselves up.

Selena Dreamy said...

I may be wrong, but ecology is hardly an adequate replacement for the loss of history's surpassing objectives. The planet may be dead and damned, and humanity may be what Einstein called it, nothing but "puny demi-gods on stilts", or, indeed, politically correct little creeps and irate commissions of enquiry asking: "How is man preserved?" But to me the most haunting , prophetic outcry of the bygone centuries is Nietzsche's: 'How is man surpassed?"

For that, it seems to me, is the infinitely more important consideration.

Bob said...

I like windmills.

I suppose it has to do with my being from the Netherlands and all.

BTW, there is one good reason to be weary of windmills!

Jonathan said...

And yet, even if it weren't for the climate change issue, life would still be better, safer and cleaner if renewable energy could be harnessed effectively -without, of course, one trusts, filling up too much of our delightfully empty spaces with sunshining panels and revolving blades.

I note you place no hope in existing nuclear fission...T'would seem indeed we should fuse.

Getting 'beyond humanity' - which presumably, yes(?) is a purely psychological notion involving getting beyond our egoic 'ideas about ourselves' - may not only be about reaching into the beyond in terms of straining towards upward development and the future; it may also be about relaxing and yielding (in the right way)to what is beaneath and behind us -towards simplicity (non-ludditely rendered) and the past.

We are, after all, as much alienated from time as we are from space...

The point is to go both forwards and back, both up and down simultaneously - without being paralysed by a false perception of the impossibility of doing so.

Through the force of opposing energies, in their meeting, we need not be merely trapped in stultified immobility. Rather, alchemically, we may be transmuted.

Happy Easter btw...it doesnt exist in China (unlike Christmas - which does for obvious reasons)

Selena Dreamy said...

Thoughful and rounded. Thank you, Jonathan, for taking the time...

Happy Easter!