Day 191-194: MLwC and still partying like it’s 1959!

As Saturday was “Take a Conservative Friend to Lunch” day (not really, I just made that up), my partner and I took my friend Tom B. to lunch. First off, we love Tom.  He’s a good guy, and mostly we should just talk about movies and music, and mostly we do.  But not Saturday. Talk turned to the usual list of Talk Radio Hit Parade “issues” –Immigration, Global Climate Change Fraud, Taxes, and unexpectedly…Wildlife.

This last was too much for me. Tom was going on about how wrong it is that if he’s hiking in a National Park, he’s not allowed to carry a gun to protect himself in case he’s charged by a bear. I’m not aware of that law, but I like it.

Tom feels that humans should be able to carry guns in the wild in order to “even the playing field” with ferocious beasts. That was hilarious to me, and I thought, “Oh yeah, there’s that whole weird twist on the ‘dominion’ thing again.” I suggested that once upon a time, people didn’t go into the wilderness unless 1) They knew what they were doing and 2) They understood the risk. But now, you have so many people out there at any given time it’s almost not like hiking anymore.  And worse, people are building their 5,000 square foot houses in the middle of the wilderness and being outraged when a cougar attacks one of them when out jogging. This is not a ferocious beast, this is a response to lack of territory and resources.

We’re still living like it’s 1959

Here’s the deal: we are still living like it’s 1959 and there are only 3 billion people on the planet. 37 years later, world pop is well on its way to 7 billion. We are the only species on the planet that has the wildly extravagant idea that we can populate endlessly, use all resources available, without systemic change. How does this relate to Tom’s desire to go wherever he wants without incursion from wildlife (or any other natural barrier)?

We seem to think that the entire planetary system is without the very reactive wiring we take for granted in ourselves: loss of territory and defensive strategies, fear for resources and reactive measures, protection of offspring and dwellings. Just about every creature on this planet shows evidence of that behavior–from vegetation and invasive plants, to cougars and loss of territory/food resources, to humans and fear of invasion by all kinds of forces. We’re just organisms responding to stimuli. I know, I know, a lot of people are truly offended by that and I can understand the offense. I just find, for myself, that I am much more able to live in harmony with other creatures and systems when I remember I am just an organism like them…except with a whole arsenal of tools to make sure I win any argument we might have.

All creatures on this planet respond to threat and loss of “freedom” pretty much the same we do.

Anyway, back to Tom B. I may be deluding myself, but I do think he sort of understood that we have gone way too far in expecting the animal kingdom to be fine with inexperienced hikers and joggers just willy-nilly crashing into their environments. They react as they are wired to react. We’re the ones that are jimmying the game, we’re the ones that expect the laws of nature to change.

One last thing on this rant: I’m not really out to change Tom, just to make sure some little bit of the other side is represented in the conversation. I don’t want to change anyone–I just want more information to be included in the conversation. I want us to wake up our brains with just a little more new information.

Oh and, yeah, I do wish we’d realize it’s not 1959 anymore and we are close to 7 Billion People on this planet and things really, really do change in big ways with that kind of impact.

Daily Stats (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 0
Bus: 0
(been sick with a summer cold and ain’t doin much of anythin’ these days)

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4 responses to “Day 191-194: MLwC and still partying like it’s 1959!

  1. Nice post, Cass. Most of us humans, feel so superior to the rest of the kingdom, don’t we? I include myself. This delusion of ours is the result of us having ‘mastered’ so much. When I look for excuses, for why I have taken in that delusion, I think of school, and the media, and the man made physical surroundings, and the traditional political discourse, and the patriarchal model, all these forces that conspire to obscure the reality of nature.

    marguerite
    http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com

  2. I love Tom B. as well, but conversations with him like the one you had drive me crazy! I’m sure I have a similarly tight, integrated system, but trying to talk with someone where there is little to no overlap of systems feels futile sometimes. Where is that little thread sticking out that I can grab? I tire easily and retreat, but I know there is something to be gained (not necessarily won) by staying engaged.

  3. Neighbor Susan: sometimes I think people slip into these conversation patterns because they don’t know what else to talk about–really! They want the contact, maybe they feel a little vulnerable or shy or conversationally challenged, so they default to the easiest thing they have the most ready commentary at hand for.

    Marguerite! It’s good to hear from you! Agreed on all points–the brain is a very moldable, plastic entity and the messaging that’s around us day and night exists to make us forget that we’re part of a very large and interdependent system. Plus, we become so engaged in the message, we forget or neglect to turn it off sometimes and just observe. As a friend of mine says, “People can be funny.” The understatement of the century?

  4. Pingback: Days 360-365: MLwC hits the Year End Mark « What it’s like

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