It is there, graven as a cipher on Prophecy Rock in the middle of Hopi in Arizona — two circles, each with a slash through it that represent the world shattering events of WWI and WWII. But there is a third circle that could be interpreted as the third world shattering event. But this would not be a weaponized or militarized struggle, but the separation of humanity and his achievements from nature, which has given us this life altering pandemic, climate upheaval and species extinction. We have come to the point in history where we must either continue on the path of destruction or choose the Path of Life.
We, America, formulated the American Empire as we thought it was ordained, by a very misplaced, misbegotten and ill-conceived concept of “God.” We thought the power we have now was given to us from a higher power. To go west and south and even north to Alaska and take everything we could for the American flag. That was Manifest Destiny as American civilization saw it. The uncivil Civil War was part of the expansion, and then the last Native American tribes holding on their homeland subjugated, and then the American Empire and the American way of strife, and until recently Americanism through trade or militancy, imposed everywhere as far as the eye can see throughout the 20th century. Today, we are reaping the punitive damages of a human species that is out of sorts with itself. America used to be envied. Now we are pitied. We won the world wars but lost the peace.
Different leaders, visionaries, industrialists each had their own prescription for the future. The future is here. But now, as we have observed, Manifest Destiny has reached a climax and it is unraveling. As it has for quite a few years now. The future has arrived, but it does not work. What hath man wrought? Social upheaval, inequality, gross distortion of what is sustainable. We’ve seen them before but this time the entire future is at stake. America needs a French revolution. And it may be happening. But it is about injustice across the board. Against blacks, against women, against other species. That is how "civilization" got here and American civilization is cracking because it does not work. It was built on a lie. And the rallies are about this lie.
One does not need a doctorate in economics or politics to see that the physical limits of growth have been reached. Social rifts along racial and economic lines are shredding the American dream and a new vision is necessary. What America has done to blacks and Native Americans is unforgivable. The treatment of “witches,” the women who were burned hundreds of years ago and who still cry out for rights, because they are in touch with a knowledge the patriarchy didn’t understand is a crime as well. What America and the world has done to the environment, the great buffalo herds, the passenger pigeon and countless other animals is equally reprehensible. We have exported and dumped poisons, pesticides, napalm, radioactive material, computer waste, plastic and heavy metals all over the planet. Through industrial know how and greed we have misled the world into believing the American way was the best way. We won WWII but we planted the seeds that made WWIII possible.
It is no coincidence that the MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, the Children's Climate March and the coronavirus are all happening within a year of each other. All are syndromes deep within of our subconscious battle with Earth. If they continue unresolved, history will hold us guilty of not just fratricide but total and complete ecocide. If history is still possible. Posterity, what we bequeath the children may be nothing but rubble if we do not turn history as we have known it upside down.
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The Green New Deal is a big part of the revamping, transforming and altering of what is possible. Posterity beckons. The rights of the unborn beckon. The seedlings of the forests yet to take hold beckon. But an even larger struggle has emerged and it is the geophysical antagonism between civilization and the Earth as we have known it. The poles are changing. The permafrost is melting. The heat and carbon index will make many parts of the world uninhabitable. The oceans are acidifying.
The opportunity the pandemic affords must be a time of redemption for everyone. A whole new economy beckons and it can make many tens of trillions of dollars more than what society currently makes. If we do not seize the opportunity, we lose a civilization-making moment. If we do not, it could break us. Humans will no longer be able to fight themselves, because what Nature dictates to us will be many times more significant than anything we can conjure or do to ourselves, barring all out nuclear disaster.
The coming economy, and there are reasons to believe it can work, will have to renew what was taken from the Earth. There will be a point where posterity will no longer be possible because the social contract between Earth and mankind will have been utterly broken. Coal will not come back. Oil cannot come back as it did. The massive heat wave in Arctic Russia and the concomitant oil spill are just glimmers of the imponderable, insufferable landscape the children of the future are inheriting.
Posterity must supersede an outmoded form of a senile Manifest Destiny that became the backbone of this country The American empire has shown itself to be a bloated behemoth, a superpower with diminishing power and much less vision than it had a generation ago. It has become a superannuated creature. The all absorbing roulette game of biology will supersede what physics discovers. We are looking for signals from outer space and looking for new mineral sources on the moon and the bottom of the sea, and we will see if we can draw carbon out of the atmosphere and maybe engineer umbrellas to keep sunlight from hitting the earth, but if we can’t grow crops on the thin film of earth capable of supporting life or hold onto the oceans, we're cooked. Moderation and a rethinking of our priorities will necessitate maturity.
After a few months in a pandemic, many states have lifted the lockdown and have started acting like a hyperactive fraternity. Restraint has to be a very big part of our game plan. Our conquest of nature and the frontier gave us the air-conditioned nightmare now upon us. We have to learn to sacrifice for future generations because what is happening now is much bigger than WWII and WW1 combined.
Computer hacking from the Chinese or Russians is a minor problem compared to what we have created and inherited. The question is what on Earth will be left for the kids of 2030, let alone 2040, besides frying temperatures? We Manifested Destiny, now we have to Manifest Posterity. It will be much, much harder than what we thought we have accomplished until now. WWIII must end by 2024 at the end of the next presidential term. We have to redirect America's economy and the world's by then. As Jane Goodall said recently, humanity is finished if we do not adapt, and transform our eating habits because we are acting like a cannibalistic species. We had better have made serious progress by 2024 in turning the ship of civilization around or else we may win the war against nature and then there will be very little left to save. The children will never forgive us.
Learn more about Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson's work at their website.