Sunday, June 8, 2014

The cancer of the Earth

Two Fridays ago I was chatting with an older fellow--a hard luck case--who had worked in the oil fields as a youth. He said some things to me that I found upsetting, not because I disagreed with them, but because I've been thinking along the same lines for some time. He said that the planet is dying and the only way out is to find another planet to kill. Oil is the blood of the planet and we a cancer upon it. The only way that we can create is by first destroying. Well, I'm not sure about oil being the blood of the Earth. Certainly it goes against much of the current scientific paradigm. One could see how it might be: the centre of the Earth is very hot and it has an iron core. Is the Earth a living thing that gains power from burning the iron in its core and oil serves as a primer? Keep in mind that Mars has a heavily oxidized surface. Is it a now "dead" planet? Shortly after he said this it occurred to me that scientists still don't have a very good understanding of fire and it is actually a very distinct phase of matter. As living things, we actually have more in common with flame than we do with more inert forms of matter. And a large part of what separates us from other animals is our ability to harness fire: particularly in the internal combustion engine. This, of course, is the legend of Prometheus. This fellow worked on the oil fields: perhaps he saw things that others are not privy to. I know very little about the chemistry and geology of the Earth's surface. I suspect am certain that the scientific community knows a lot less than they let on. There was a Doctor Who episode in which a group of humans on a space ship discovered that their ship was actually a giant "space whale" and to keep it moving, it was being constantly tortured. Is this the state of our modern industrial society? In the Doctor Who episode the elites were simply ignorant of the facts. Our elite, of course, would have no issue with simply lying through their teeth to cover up the facts. But I digress. Perhaps he is right about finding other planets. This might be the only way out of our current predicament. But not for the reasons you might imagine. Assuming that we don't simply send people in suspended animation or send out a spore, building a space ship to travel to another planet (and by implication another star system) would require creating, in miniature, a self-sustaining ecosystem. If we could do this inside a space ship, surely we could apply the lessons learned to make society down here on Earth more self-sustaining? I am reminded of the movie W.A.L.L.Y. The movie doesn't really work except as reductio ad absurdum. In the movie, humans have polluted the Earth to such an extent that they move out into space. The problem is, they continue in their wasteful ways while on their ship. Of course, had they continued to generate garbage at the same rate (as it shows in the movie) there would soon be nothing left of their ship. If our wasteful ways are destructive down here on Earth, the same goes out in space, only far more so.

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