Thursday, May 27, 2010

The BP Spill as an Ominous Message to the World (Polemic) by Edwin L. Young, PhD

The BP Spill as an Ominous Message to the World
Subtitled: Letter to an Animal Rights Activist in the Wake of the BP Spill
by Edwin L. Young, PhD

My dear sweet Linda, if care is the essence of being human then you are the prime example of care. I have let you claim a secure place in my heart. I feel we share an important common characteristic that is a sense of mission to care for our planet and its bounteous nature thriving with all sorts of wondrous creatures, all bound together in an amazing ecosystem. There are many of us around the globe who share this mission. Most people specialize in caring for a particular feature of nature or address one of the crucial issues from which human’s flawed civilization is now suffering, whether caused by civilizations’ political, economic, social, health systems.

Some people see only their feature or issue. Others see the multiple factors that interact with and impinge upon that feature or the way their feature affects or impinges on the other factors. Some focus in a more comprehensive way and try to understand how systems such as the political, economic, social, health systems interact with and perpetuate one another. You are one of those who focus primarily on a single feature but see the interaction of multiple factors.

I discovered long ago that I had a gift of synthesis of the broader structures and systems that are the ultimate cause of harm to particular features. I saw how these systems are the ultimate cause of individual human’s destructive behaviors. In late middle age, I crystallized my efforts toward synthesizing structures and systems into my logo below, the “Duplex Pyramids”. In my late twenties and early thirties, I was mentally bombarded with insights that were telling me that it was not that some people were bad but that bad structures and systems made them bad. I have been dedicated to trying to more deeply, thoroughly, and accurately understand this revelation all of the rest of my life. I could see the instantiation of the concept when I changed the structure and systems of a particular institution like a prison or mental hospital. These instances provided validation for my new philosophy.

I know in my writings and even speech sometimes, I am too abstract for just about everyone else. However, for the others for whom abstraction comes easy, they tend to be entrenched in their intellectual territory. Sadly, I found that territorially rules in the intellectual world just as in the environmental world. Combine the proprietary aspect of egoism with territoriality and the result is like a mental phalanx against differing ideas. Oddly, the more similar the ideas of two theorists, the more viciously they attack each other and attempt to ward off the possibility of making the slightest alteration in their theory. Academics, in their own way, are almost as guilty as corporations are with respect to guarding their inventions and patents, exclusive rights, copyrights, and such. Even the speech of ordinary people falls victim to this folly as when someone says “Hey, I said that first, you can’t claim credit for that idea or those words.”

Most civilizations, from the earliest on, have evolved with this petty characteristic of ‘status, ownership, and exclusivity’. If blame is involved, our language-adept/language-burdened species is quick to dodge accusations, to disavow ownership or exclusivity, and to project, disperse, or redirect away from themselves as being the cause of acts with negative consequences and associated guilt.

The media has slipped in an insinuation of praiseworthiness for BP by making much of their statements of accountability for their current oil spill. Ultimately, our kind of civilization with its grow or die economic system and philosophy forces such corporations to take actions that put at risk the possibility of the very thing we are witnessing now. They employ a cadre of experts in risk analysis and management. They know the possible ‘unintended consequences’. They know the evils they can perpetrate and they take the risk anyway. Their wealthy stockholders demand it. Our economic system and philosophy demands it. And now, BP must spend huge sums to spend their way out of ending with a permanently fallen heraldic crest with a tremendous loss to stockholders.

The stock market must take a values neutral stance toward all corporations and their brokered stocks. Consequently, if BP spins their way out, ends with minimal losses, and off shore drilling or other similar risky business is able to proceed, their stock value will recover and they will go merrily on their psychopathic corporate way.

Were not for many people like you who are there to publicize the horrendous damage to the wildlife and everything else which is cannibalized in the wake of spills and other such disasters, no one like you to hold them accountable, to hold their feet to the fire, there would be no hope for all of the tomorrows teaming with wondrous forms of life deserving to live. Without the likes of you, nature’s wonderful burgeoning organic life would be forever at the mercy of the BPs of the world with their powerful, domineering, rapacious corporate mentality.

Thank goodness for Linda and for all of the other Lindas of this world.

Author bio:

Edwin is a 76 year old, retired, psychotherapist/institution reformer. His greatest satisfaction came from reforming many juvenile correctional institutions, a maximum security prison, a West Texas mental hospital, and the huge Job Corps in San Marcos, Texas. All in all there were thirteen institutions that he successfully reformed. In the last year of his PhD program, Edwin was one of the two PhD graduate students to be awarded the annual University Research Institute grant. His dissertation committee said his was the longest, best, and most complex in the history of the department. Since retiring, Edwin spends his time writing. His site is: The Natural Systems Institute.

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