Why ending the culture of petroleum and products should lead to a happier civilization.
Our species and our planet can have a glorious future - if ordinary people find the guts to take it. We are being told that fossil fuels and growth are necessary, and losing either or both will cause unprecedented suffering.
The exact opposite is the truth. Consumerism and petroleum is the source of our misery. We live in a culture and a system that lionizes money, stuff and animalistic competition - and devalues community and relations between humans. Our current values don’t even respect the Earth itself.
Our planet has been reduced to a bunch of resources to exploit. Our system is a system of ruthless worship of productivity and it almost ridicules every truly human quality - qualities like empathy, camaraderie and love - as impractical weaknesses.
Human life today isn’t even human. It’s merely transactional. You aren’t human. You are a human resource.
Joyful Meaningful Lives
We all know that joy comes from relationships with other human beings, with animals and with Nature. Unlike today’s shiny new product which, after the thrill of acquisition, is just a dull thing taking up space. The difference between what could be and what is resembles the difference between true love and a quickie.
Nobody ever said on his death bed, “if only I’d spent more time at the office.” Nobody says my life would have been better if I had that new mansion, or piece of technology, or whatever. When they regret, people regret not fully appreciating and enjoying the relationships they had.
We all know this. But we are addicted to the shallow buzz we get from consumerism, from praise we receive for our “accomplishments” and especially for our “success.” But most of what we spend our lives seeking is worthless. Indeed, seeking useless things is the path for a useless life.
We can do better. We can do this together while joyfully respecting and repairing our damaged planet. We can dismantle the ridiculous destructive values and systems we have embraced, and choose actual connection and true virtue. We can reject the nervous empty excitement of the current ways, and embrace the best parts of human nature.
Learn From Folly. Mourn the Losses
Of course, we’ve spent a long, long time heading down the wrong road. We’ve done serious damage to our planet, and we cannot escape the consequences. There will be difficulties and challenges. There will be some terrible losses. That loss will be the loss of some of the Earth’s richness and beauty. The loss of stuff and brutal competition for useless stuff is not a loss. That will be a GAIN.
We will need to work together to minimize the damage and comfort each other over our losses. But we can move ahead and do better. Much better.
We Must Do the Work
Here’s a bonus! What we must do to end the failed heartless foolish old world, and to begin the loving beautiful new one offers us a preview of the new better world. Because small communities of caring people are what will create Community Earth.
Humans are social creatures. Because the worst aspects of human nature have been championed, supported and promoted for a long time, we easily forget that we all have strong innate positive qualities. Most of us were protected and raised by loving adults - however imperfect - who sacrificed so that we could have decent lives. Most of these adults didn’t see their efforts as sacrifice, because they loved us.
When we think about it, because human infants are so helpless, love is THE ESSENTIAL aspect of human nature. Community is also an essential quality. Early humans worked together to survive. We will need to do the same today, to build small local communities that will support each other and remove all the systems and leaders and end all the activities that are destroying us and our habitats.
This isn’t just an essay. This is a real thing, and it’s just beginning now. If you care about the climate, the planet Earth and the future of your own children, I invite you to attend one of our Virtual Climate Parties. These are social and strategy sessions for ordinary people to change and save the world. This isn’t an exaggeration. If we start and promote these groups, they can multiply - and large numbers of heretofore invisible people can band together and make things better.
Won’t you try?