Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Fucked Human Race: BP Proves Twain (Polemic) by Alison Ross

I am often accused of nurturing a crassly cynical slant, one that is myopically misanthropic. While I can certainly appreciate the impetus of this accusation - I do tend to spew ruthless rants about how dastardly human egos encroach upon everything sacred and sane, rendering most of our earthly existence inane and insane - I believe the obverse is true. A genuine misanthrope just allows her loathing for humanity to fester into nihilistic gestures, while someone who fosters compassion beneath the invective alights to positive action, such as scribbling tirades that (presumably) provoke thought, and doing volunteer work.

But anyway. It's not about me and my own admittedly titanic ego. It's about how the BP oil spill and its consequent and cruel annihilation of precious hapless sea-creatures is but an evil emblem and sinister symbol of horrific human hubris.

After all, Mark Twain was right about The Damned Human Race: Animals are above us, spiritually speaking; rapacious greed is not part of their vernacular, whereas it is very much a part of our linguistic and psychic legacy. Because of this, animals should reign supreme. That humans do is yet another tired travesty perpetuated by us in our infinitely relentless anti-wisdom.

The titillating thesis of Twain's Essay is that because we humans actually have the "rational" capacity to distinguish between good and evil, our ability to do evil is enhanced. The common perception would be that because we can differentiate between right and wrong, our capacity to do wrong would be diminished. But Twain says it is, perversely, the knowledge itself of this disparity that gives rise to wrong action. We are tempted by sin, as it were, because we are CONSCIOUS of sin.

Whether you agree with Twain is immaterial, really, because cumulative evidence evinces his theory's terrible truth. History and present-day reality are rife and riddled with examples of the Tyrannical Things Humans Do - to themselves, to each other, to animals, to mother nature. Whereas animals simply exist according to instinct, humans exist COUNTER to instinct. Humans have boundless capacity for compassion, and yet corrode that capacity in favor of fear-based action. In other words, we allow our phobias to overwhelm our good sense. You could say, then, that our phobias are the genesis of antithetical action. Whatever the cause of our wayward ways, the fact is that humans provoke more suffering on the planet than do animals. Indeed, humans provoke ALL the suffering on the planet.

The BP oil spill could have been prevented. Not just through tighter regulation regarding off-shore drilling, but through fully funding alternatives to fuel.

The fact that we have not yet established sound alternatives to fuel manifests how deeply entrenched our avaricious lust has become.

We shouldn't be drilling in the sea to begin with. What a raping of resources! And now this oozing of oil throughout our cherished oceans, choking our beloved marine mammals with toxic sludge. The oceans are ruined, sea life is ruined, people's livelihoods are ruined... how much bleaker can this get?

And yet here is the Boorish BP, spinning the fuck out of it, attempting to control media response to it, buying up Google search terms (I mean, REALLY?), burning endangered sea turtles alive, still raking in wicked profits, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

There is no barrier to BP's bravado. But then, this is par for the course for Corporate America. It's what we signed up for when we allowed the corporate juggernaut to take such hardened hold on our economic structure.

Obama's modest, tepid, almost cowering response is at least on the right track: Force the corporation to pay $20 billion in restitution. $20 is pitiful pennies, mere under-the-couch-cushions change, for corporate demon-spawn like BP, but it's SOMETHING, at least. Of course, likely the victims will not see restitution for months, but HEY, BP has shareholders to appease, so quit yer whinin', you sniveling "small people."

The best thing that can evolve from this sick scenario is some sort of epiphany on behalf of one or more BP employees. Often in instances like this, at least a few corporate fucks actually start to see through the outlandish voracity and transform themselves into the righteous compassionate people they were meant to be.

And naturally more and more people will start to arouse from their soporific stupor and realize that BP's malevolent missteps are just the tip of the iceberg, or oil rig, as it were, when it comes to the vicious violence of human hubris.

But is that enough, really? Because such episodes of evil will continue to flourish. It's only when ALL humans are excruciatingly aware of their own corrosive influence that radical metamorphosis from pervasive wrong-doing to pervasive right-doing will take place.

And that just ain't gonna happen.

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