The Implosive Extinction of Humans as Carbon Cannibals
The essential fact of human life for the 21st century is that we are carbon-based life forms. We did not have to turn that fact into the slippery slope of carbon profiteering, but here we are at the bottom of that slope. Continue on that course and we cross the event horizon of extinction far sooner than we dare realize, if we aren’t there already.(2)
We entered the Anthropocene Age at least three centuries ago, arguably much earlier. Since the onslaught of the industrial revolution juggernaut, however, now in its fourth iteration, our rapacious cannibalization of carbon and other resources on Earth has brought us into the sixth mass extinction in world history. It is a quintessentially unique event—never has any species on Earth risen to the heights of cognitive presence as we humans possess, yet paradoxically, never has any species on Earth so stupidly wrought its own self-destruction. Anthropocene extinction (AX) is 21st century reality already and our carbon cannibalization continues to rise.(3)
Unlike any of its precursors (as far as we know), the AX is an implosion event. Prevailing science says the last extinction (the fifth, the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago) apparently occurred due to the confluence of volcanic activity and asteroid impact. 76% of life on Earth was wiped out of existence. Similar acts of God or of the causal laws of the cosmos predating humankind likewise were explosive events. In the AX event, however, the human species created a faux ‘civilization’ that, at the end of the day, exploits Earth and all its resources, including humans, to death.(4) The curtain will fall on that tragically absurd charade as human systems fail in the AX unfolding around us. AX is best understood, therefore, as an implosion—the annihilation comes from within humanity ourselves, not from any beyond.
The Earth Day movement will reach its 50th anniversary in 2020. We “sleepwalk into catastrophe,” blindly bound by a nefarious oligarchic capitalist sociopathic contract enslaving us in a “global suicide pact.” It is a slavery we are born into, unless we happen to be in the ruling ultra-elite cabal of oligarchs. Extinction Rebellion (XR) and the Sunrise Movement are strident and rational voices aligned with Earth Day Network in common concern. One clarion voice above most, deservedly so, is that of 15-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. Pulitzer-winner Chris Hedges and XR co-founder Roger Hallam are truth-telling activists at the forefront.(5)
There are two sides to the AX conundrum: carbon consumption and carbon emission. Rather than use our genetically endowed gifts of sentience and sapience to optimize the harmonious resonance of the two, the two processes have been turned upon each other for profit. We are apparently willing and ready to suffocate and die horrible deaths en masse rather than repent and survive in a rational world founded on that harmony. Worse yet, Greta is tragically right: “no one seems to be talking about it and nothing has changed.”
We are caught in our own Hobbesian trap. The tyrannous insanity of oligarchic capitalism deconstructed Hobbes’ dilemma between state of nature and social contract to perversely resolve it through human extinction by preemption. Rest assured the oligarchs have exit strategies and escape plans from the trap they’ve set for the other 99.9999% of us that has already sprung. Its slow motion shifting baseline will tip suddenly into living hell on earth, like a thief in the night. We will eat and burn bodies for food and fuel and furiously rage against the dying of the light, before we will choose life in love over death for profit.(6)
(1) Clowncrack political cartoon by Mr. Fish (Dwayne Booth).
(2) In a decade, irreversible climate damage will be a reality, according to the UN General Assembly: https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/ga12131.doc.htm. I think irreversible damage has already been done to the eco- and biosphere, actually, as thousands of species have already been extinguished by climate change.
(3) For a thoroughly philosophical, theological, and scientific perspective and explication supporting these claims, see my dissertation, “The End Signs! Are We Getting the Message?” in the Digital Commons of George Fox University (https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/dmin/) or here, https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ceP4r7lFzT3K9-GebpRTuEDbOuOxE139.
(4) On the five prior extinction events identified by contemporary science, see “The big five mass extinctions” at COSMOS online, https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/big-five-extinctions.
(5) Links to related content: “sleepwalking into catastrophe” (); Earth Day 2020 (https://www.earthday.org/earthchallenge2020getinvolvedii/); Extinction Rebellion US (https://extinctionrebellion.us/); Sunrise Movement (https://www.sunrisemovement.org/); Greta Thunberg (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48017083 and https://www.facebook.com/bbcnews/videos/2419507664746516/UzpfSTExMzE3NDU0NjU6MTAyMTc0NDIwNzg1MDA1MTI/?notif_id=1556052537464173¬if_t=story_reshare); Chris Hedges and Roger Hallam (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=220tv9Jktmg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfXqq888HPY).
(6) Oligarchic capitalism deconstructs Hobbes’ Choice to replace mutual distrust with elitist conspiracy on a global scale to enslave humanity for profit. What Len Sweet calls “GRAIN” in his forthcoming book, Rings of Fire (), refers to the advances in genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence (and information technology), and nanotechnology the oligarchs will implement to secure their reign and control or dispose of remnant humanity beyond themselves, if any. See “Hobbesian Trap” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobbesian_trap), not to be confused with “Hobson’s Choice” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobson%27s_choice).