The Inconvenience of Imminent Mass Extinction
Well-meaning and highly intelligent people decry the inconvenience to personal daily routines and to commerce, transport, and other business-as-usual in general caused by Extinction Rebellion (XR). They weigh inconvenience against XR’s peaceful action to expose and overcome the root causes of onrushing Anthropocene Extinction (AX). This is the result, as if disruptive inconvenience were insufferable abuse and by far the weightier matter of the two:
Such is the subliminal entrenchment of fascist capitalism in the buffered individual identities adrift in the immanent frame bubbles inflicted on the 99% as the insidious 1%’s permanent lie that is the social imaginary by which we live and die.(1)
What the Extinction Rebellion presages and forestalls is global anarchy at war with an unbridled police state. Unless, of course, there is no imminent mass sixth Anthropocene Extinction (AX) at all and we’d all be doing just fine if XR would simply have their say and get out of the way. But the science is irrefutable: the Anthropocene sixth mass Extinction is already well under way and unfolding far more quickly than is openly admitted. How inconveniently disruptive will the global war be between nomadic terrorist anarchy and the barbaric brutality of an unfettered fascist police state? Will the distinction between enemy and victim have meaning at all?(2)
As the disruptive inconveniences of XR and other climate activism and civil disobedience intensify, perhaps discernment of the signs of the inevitable horrors of the decline and fall of human civilization in the wake of mass extinction will become widespread enough to make a difference that actually will make a difference in avoiding or at least mitigating those horrors.
In a long condescending social media rant on this matter, a cherished friend, brilliant poet, and USAmerican expatriate in the UK, remarked:
The recent London marches have achieved little, really, and in fact have served to alienate the very people XR hoped to attract. To make a point about fossil fuels and cars, protesters effectively shut down central London, but then also blocked the local trains and tubes, which in themselves as mass transport should logically be seen as the sensible alternative to individual transport.
Another keen intellect and dear friend on the thread, also a USAmerican expatriate, to Canada, perhaps interjecting to referee or arbitrate, commented:
… just reading that Parliament decreed a climate emergency today...however, it doesn’t set goals and is not legally binding. Have to admit that I never understood how super gluing oneself to a subway car or a govt building offers a solution to the issue. I do agree that disrupting public transportation can be counterproductive by causing major inconvenience to workers, citizens, patients, etc.
Normally, even reflexively, I would have leapt into the fray and spewed out rant responses of my own – I’m far less aristocratic, sophisticated, and politically correct than my friends, apparently. But I decided instead to simply react with the familiar ‘sad’ emoji … (⌣́_⌣̀)
It was obvious my IQ wouldn’t matter. My EQ as conveyed in that trite emoji will most likely be misunderstood and irritating. But the truth is I am profoundly saddened at the futility of telling hard truths, however urgently terrible, to hardened heads and hearts, especially those of these dearest of friends. But more than that personal sorrow, I mourn for the horrific legacy for their children and grandchildren, and the absurdity of their willingness to foment and facilitate that horror upon them, because they wouldn’t be inconvenienced to prevent it.(3)
We rebels in the XR cause and movement must summon the will and courage to disengage the futility of rational argument and emotional appeal. Tragically, that leaves nothing but our story, our resolve, and simply showing up and standing firm against history’s tides to make the difference. We cannot allow the delusional shortsightedness of others to distract or deter us, or to impede our cause.
(1) On buffered selves, immanent frames, and social imaginaries, see Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (2007); “Buffered and Porous Selves” (2008); and, Modern Social Imaginaries (2003). Generally, to correspond to individual identities as defined by the emotional and intellectual states of human being and presence, which are shaped by inter-relational sentient experience and ideological sapient connectedness. Put more simply but somewhat less profoundly, we are who we are (buffered selves) due to our thoughts and feelings (immanent frames) as determined by our experience and understanding of one another in the world of our society, culture, ethos, etc. (social imaginaries). Taylor’s concepts are invoked primarily to distinguish the thoroughly secular modern and contemporary identities, frames, and imaginaries in contrast to their precursors. Taylor generally sees Enlightenment modernity over the past four centuries as the momentum and inertia driving the changes.
(2) Relevant sources are cited in these prior posts: “What Was Is No More: Rearview Signs of Bygone Extinction (draft in progress but published as-is);” “Anthropocene Extinction (AX)—The Grim Prognosis;” “Carbonality: The Implosive Extinction of Humans as Carbon Cannibals;” ”XR: The One Event;” “Capitalist Fatuity: 21st Century Addiction to the Fix Being In;” “Where Have All the Humans Gone? Elitist Tyranny and the Mass Insanity of Modern Humanity.” New ones added here are, David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (Feb 2019); Jennifer Wider and Lucy Adams, Summary Of The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells: Life After Warming (Mar 2019); and, “’All this extreme weather pummeling the planet is our own doing’: Is climate change worse than we feared?” David Wallace-Wells interview by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke (19 Feb 2019), 23-minute video and brief synopsis.
(3) The social media post and thread have been deleted to conceal the identities of the two friends I’ve quoted here. They know who they are, as will some few who know the three of us. Should they choose to comment on this post or others on the blog, however, their anonymity won’t be further preserved on the blog.