Although I am a gay atheist artist, please do not judge others by my standards. Most homosexuals are quite religious, hopeful, decent, patriotic, gasoline burning, Pollyanna, consumerists, that want nothing more than to be integrated and absorbed into the heterosexual American 'lifestyle'. And though I am a strong advocate for equal rights and in a thirty-three year long relationship, I am against gay marriage. Those defending traditional marriage rights, call the institution of marriage 'holy', 'sanctified', 'blessed' and to last until 'death', yet with almost 50% of marriages ending in divorce and more children raised in 'broken' families than ever before, this 'sacred' bond blessed by God, church and state is quickly losing its grip. Most artists too, are pious, hopeful, decent, patriotic, gasoline burning, Pollyanna consumerists, that want nothing more than to spread beauty and joy throughout the world, leaving everything and everyone unchallenged. And please do not judge atheists by my disdain for 'civilization', because atheists might just be the most optimistic, hopeful, decent, patriotic, gasoline burning, Pollyanna, consumerists that you may every encounter.
Too many people exhibit the ethical and moral weakness of Sigmund Freud. We may come to our own truth and uniqueness only to abandon it again for the need to be accepted and embraced by our families, peers and social expectations. Individuality creates separateness, so we rearrange our priorities, relinquish our truths, forfeit our distinctiveness and pigeon-hole ourselves to fit into the mainstream and its' current distractions, beliefs and behaviors. NOT being a part of this human herd must fill most people with such an inadmissible and unbearable feeling of isolation and divide, that the slightest departure from the cultural norm, must undergo instant and voluntary self amputation.
Most movies, television, advertising, commerce, media, entertainment, religions, schools, are more than mere idiotic distractions. They are full of conditioning, controlling and brain-washing elements geared towards making you look, behave, feel and think a certain way. There is little out there that sincerely encourages actual individuality or uniqueness. To the contrary, everything is geared towards homogeny, as if sameness creates equality.
We say we value life, love children, peace, democracy, nature and all living creatures great and small, yet the surface of this planet tells a different story. We humans have poisoned all waters, polluted every layer of atmosphere, contaminated all ground earth and have mutated the weather and ocean patterns. In 1970 there were 200 million cars world wide and now we have over 600 million passenger cars traveling this planet. One half of Earth's surface is now domesticated for direct human usage and 56 million acres of forests are cut down each year. California has some of the most polluted air of the entire nation. Every year San Francisco emits 9.7 millions tons of Co2, 23,800 tons of nitrogen oxides and 540 tons of sulfur dioxides. The Livermore Labs test-blast depleted uranium, sending thousands of pounds of radio active tritium into the Bay Area's atmosphere. Yet in a survey 8 out of 10 Americans regarded themselves as 'environmentalists'!?! What good are equal rights, gay marriage, beauty, hope, a stable economy, better schools, lower murder rates, art, God or universal health care, if in the end we all suffocate in our own chemical sludge?
A toothpaste company hired a top designer to help sell more product. He didn't change the taste, the box, the colors, the slogans or distributors-he enlarged the opening of the tube and indeed sales went up. And that's all we do too. We slacken emission controls, relax the reporting requirements of toxic chemicals for industry, build cars that burn more gas, starve alternative energy funding, believe false but hopeful reports, avoid dismal statistics, close down the EPA library and pat each other on the back for a job well done.
Al Gore in his movie blames industries for global warming, as he privately jets and is limousined around the world. His suggestions to change to florescent light bulbs and weather proof homes, seem trivial considering the branches of industry Mr. Gore supports so eagerly. He won't challenge the auto and airplane industries that way. We can't point our finger against corporations, making them solely responsible for the deteriorating environment, for we are those industries, because we feed them ferociously. Exxon could not attain the biggest profit ever, with oil wars, lobbyists, government subsidizes, bribery and high crimes alone, were it not for our relentless need for continuous transportation. When momentary conveniences, impulsive whims, raising families, and a 'healthy' economy are worth the pollution and toxicity that threatens the future, then this polluting, modern existence is a way of expressing our collective rage. Unfortunately, the current Bush administration is only doing what we are all doing: administering destructive deeds under the pretense that it's for some ultimate good.
Unfortunately, you are allowed to believe what you want; you can believe the earth is flat or only 6 thousand years old. You can believe in God or that the holocaust did not happen; you're free to believe that global warming is blather or at least not human induced or that giving up flying and driving will have no impact or consequence. Yet the days following 9/11, with the restriction of air travel, the skies actually started showing signs of clearing. This undeniably proves that we could hand this planet over to the next generation in better condition than it is in presently, without delegating responsibility, without casual and impotent hope that does absolutely nothing to protect a new born infant from inhaling fine particles, polychlorides, lead and benzene.
Many people have agreed that the world as we know it will be destroyed. However, most are still too optimistic in their thinking that there will be human survivors. Yet with almost six hundred nuclear reactors and the massive amounts of accumulated nuclear waste scattered all over the surface of the planet, the survival rate for any complex life form would be highly improbable. This is the environment we have created for ourselves.
Time is too critical to kick back and conduct 'business as usual' or simply 'cut a few corners' of your lifestyle. Some scientists believe we have already hit the ecological tipping point and that nothing can stop the inevitable collapse of the earths' living system. Some extreme ecologists believe the only way to save the planet is with zero population growth or voluntary human extinction.
'Green' solutions are popping up all over the place. To some critics this fad is regarded as 'greenwashing' opportunism. McDonalds, Wal-Mart, IBM, Home Depot, GM, GE, and Chevron, along with thousands of other companies, are now going 'green'. This is merely to distract Pollyanna from these companies' destructive and toxic practices. For example, I don't think produce traveling more than a hundred miles should be called 'organic'. Organic should be more than how something was grown, but also how far it was shipped. This 'green consciousness' going on currently is only there to give everyone a renewed confidence to shop, drive and fly. Nowhere in the world is consumerism equated with patriotism, like here in America.
Only by dropping optimism and spirituality is true understanding of the gravity of the situation possible. The negative may be the only thing that can actually provoke and inspire a sincere and significant change in our ecological footprint. It's about rearranging priorities, between what's easy and expected or what is essential and invaluable, to chose between power and convenience or fresh air and water, between omnicidal destruction or a diverse ecosystem in balance.
It's not our birthright to smother all life on this planet. The manner in which we treat the planet is the way we view ourselves. The destruction we create against this planet, is our own self loathing and feelings of suicide externalized, onto the surface of this globe. We defy our parents, by destroying (mother) nature and (father) time. We have allowed omnicidal behavior to go unquestioned and become both denied and integrated into our daily routine.
The general and typical reaction to my ideas are that they are too negative, dramatic, angry, morbid, cataclysmic and pessimistic. Though that might be true to a degree, that doesn't make what I say necessarily and automatically false. In the past I've worked with day care toddlers, autistic children, down syndrome adolescents, severely disturbed high school students and drug dependent juveniles. I know how to be inspiring and supportive in the right situation. I just don't think our devastations warrant encouragement. Most people are overly optimistic with the bigger picture, especially in terms of pollution and ecology. Many gravitate towards the brighter side because it makes them feel rosier, puts more bounce in their walk and permits less feelings of guilt.
Being half Japanese and half German, I saw a world of difference between my two grandmothers. My German grandmother, who survived both world wars was more demure and obviously traumatized than my Japanese grandmother. My Dad worked for the US Army so we'd go to the commissary and buy my German grandmother groceries, including a stack of paper plates. After dinner she would wash and dry the paper plates . They were warped and food stained , but she would reuse them. This was the opposite of my army brat life or that or my other grandmother in Hawaii. This practice of washing paper plates was an on-going joke in my family about how crazy one can become after surviving war. Now when I wash out my plastic bags and hang them up to dry, to reuse at the grocery store, I remind myself of her.
Of course voluntary simplicity is a hard sell to a culture that's been spoiled and pampered, where waste and pollution are a sign of progress and evolution or where convenience and affluence become a measure of entitlement and deservingness. It's not enough to love yourself, adore your family or have humility to God, because if you don't show reverence for this planet, then you really don't love yourself, your families or your Gods. Most people have somewhat of an ecological awareness, but seem to divorce that information from their emotions, gut, and especially their conscience. It's easier to point your finger at the government, the industries, China, volcanoes or the Bible. It's easier to muster up a little optimism, than to give up your car or significantly alter your lifestyle.
So, since turning on your engine is like waging a war against this planet, on so many levels, it's time for a quiet revolution, a motorless revolution. It's the best way to protest the war in Iraq and save the environment. Simplicity in action, each person alone, one at a time letting go of old crusty ways, giving up contaminating behaviors and creating space where something new can occur. Smell a city without cars. Listen to a city without cars or planes. See a busy intersection of children playing. Stop flying, toss you television, curb your consuming habits, go vegetarian, go vegan, go solar, boycott gasoline, use your legs, stop depending on debt, drop your spiritual superstitions and projections and experience life on its own terms!
But wait, stop, that's not my thesis! I believe humanity is omnicidal and has never come to terms with that fact. My conviction is that no one will stop driving of flying, toxins will increase, endeavors to reduce Co2 will fail, global warming will intensify, species extinction will be amplied, religious insanity will escalate and wars will heighten as the planet's life force subsides. So you'll probably find most of this information going in one ear and out the other or you'll at least try to prove to yourself that my views are unquestionably preposterous. You'll most likely find yourself unwilling to let go of old combusting habits due to a deep-seated omnicidal constellation hiding behind a facade of negligent optimism, allowing you to commit the most monstrous crimes against nature with perhaps only an occasional inkling of remorse that is easily ignored.
In so far, our demise does not stem from automobiles, nor does is the destructive force from carbon dioxide, methane or radiation, but from our blinding and unrealistic hope that pushes us to our annihilation. I write, not to make you give up your car, but to let you know why you won't.