You know, I haven’t yet reproduced. There’s been some opportunity and perhaps even motive, but my unique DNA remains proprietary. Cool people should breed and all that. Am I cool? Do I or any of you deserve to even survive, much less replicate?
I’m not down on myself, in fact I think I’m one of the finest cats I know. Really, tho – what do I have to offer? Let’s think big. Imagine humans are getting off the planet and colonizing distant solar systems. Will we do to other beings what our Euro ancestors did to the indigenous of the Americas? Will we rape and pillage, spreading the contagion of the un-free market across the universe? That assumes of course that we won’t run into beings more adept at raping and pillaging than ourselves.
If we can’t even get in accord with the automatic life support system of this planet, what havoc will we carry to others? Fortunately, we’re stuck here for now. The choices on this planet of finite resources are simple, either off ourselves through ignorance or become stewards.
If we choose life and stewardship, what the heck does that look like? Like the sustainable civilizations postulated in Around Lake Michigan, it’s probably not going to be some slight variant of consumer culture powered by solar panels and wind towers.
If I can figure out how to become a steward, then I deserve to live. Define an enlightened earth being. Little or no impact, sure. Composting, recycling, conservation, yada yada – got it. What underlies the nuts and bolts of personal responsibility? The folks who really deserve to live are those that can awaken others, who are the wilds.
I want to emphasize the darkness here. DESERVE TO LIVE. Let’s say there’s an apocalypse around the corner. An apocalypse for humans that is, there’s already an apocalypse for lots of other species, for ancient ice, for atmospheric integrity. Ok, so postulating an imminent human die back, say from 7 billion to 1 billion or 500 million. That implies sweeping catastrophes, disease, total wars… really bad shit. Chance might play a huge role in who survives. No matter how many silver bars, assault rifles or dried food one was able to cache – it probably wouldn’t make much difference.
Probably the most important factor of survival aside from luck would be a driving idea. I’d guess that most people wouldn’t care to survive loss on such a magnitude unless they were carrying a metameme. Religious zealotry probably couldn’t weather such a storm, faulty premises would be ripped up at the roots. Only those who rigorously attend to now could make it. What’s the big idea then?
When I ask myself if I would want to survive, I could only answer yes if I am a steward. I deserve to live if I am living in accord with earth, a human incarnation of the wilds. If I ain’t, then ciao baby.
So do I deserve to live? Can I grow up to be a being worthy of the food I eat, the energy I use, the garbage I leave behind? I’ve gotten into the habit of taking stock of my impact, of keeping an inventory, of recognizing the cost of existence… but that’s hardly even a start. The deserving to live thing seems to be about getting in accord with the mother as a human. We are wildcards, able to be almost anything. What we choose to cultivate is crucial. My practices are certainly building physical presence, both performance and body awareness. This shades into feeling connection with the universe, at one and joyful. So far so good.
Any asshole can be a grizzled cutthroat in a hovel, that’s not for me. The 500 million who make it through, what would they look like? They’d be idea rich, martial artists, pragmatic, capable and robust. They’d be walking wild and historians. I don’t rightly know but I feel a bigger dream here, perhaps unprecedented. In Almonds shorthand, badass vegetarians with open source encryption.