… or how we need to start developing a real sense of perspective, or perish.
What got me started on this one will probably seem rather silly, but it made me laugh and I think makes a valid point. It’s about a friend of a friend here, english though has lived in Spain for many years, and recently moved to Nerja, which is a popular spot for expats near Malaga. He is your typical brit flat-earther type, refuses to believe there is any other culture. On this occasion he was trying to order a take-out from a local eatery, and in order to facilitate this he used the usual form of communication when dealing with foreigners, enunciate each word slowly, at considerable volume, while reinforcing by gesticulation of the fingers. Hence the title, F-O-U-R R-O-A-S-T C-H-I-C-K-E-N-S. Oh yes, there really are (very many) people who actually believe english is an international language. What made this even funnier (for me) was the person it was addressed to turned out to be english. This may be Spain but in Malaga it is as rare as hens teeth to find a native living/ working there.
Perhaps you had to know him to get it. Nonetheless what he typifies is a very real issue. That no matter how many experiences we have, or the passage of time, we don’t change how we see the world. Two people can even witness exactly the same event and yet still see it in different ways. This is a big problem, especially in the wealthier parts of the world. With such a distorted perception, combined with an extremely inflated sense of self-worth (as a species), we are actually fooling ourselves that we are good for the planet, even when the plain facts say we are the most destructive force ever.
It hasn’t always been like this. If it were possible to turn the clock back just 10,000 years and look at a satellite photo of the world as it was then, the most striking difference would be the complete absence of any evidence of our existence. Yet we had been around by then for three million years. okay there were only about 5 million of us, but surely there would be something to see? Apparently not, because throughout that time we existed in totally harmony with all other forms of life.
Of course after that things started to change. Instead of being nomadic/ aboriginal we started to settle, permanently, and the effect of this was that forests, which had until then covered most of the surface of the planet, were clear-felled to provide the materials for this new form of culture. And by the time the Industrial Revolution came along, our numbers had increased dramatically, to 795 million. A mere two hundred and fifty years later (now), to 7.4 billion.
Looking at satellite photos now, all that diverse lushness has disappeared, replaced instead by millions of tiny brick and concrete cages, where we now live out our short impoverished lives, imprisoned by debt to provide golden eggs for our masters. Surrounded by a patchwork of non-organic fields growing our feed. There is no longer a single example of that primeval forest left (which incidentally was there to give this planet life). We have made 99% of all other species extinct. We have contaminated everything (soil/ air/ water) with chemicals and radiation (from nuclear testing/ nuclear power station emissions/ and nuclear accidents), which will remain deadly for at least 2000 years. And now the oceans are dying too.
The rate at which all this is happening (consuming/ reproducing/ destroying/ spending) is increasing by the second. Exponentially. This means it is so fast it is impossible to calculate when the remaining resources (those that provide us with life) will be used up, but given that this has all happened in less than 0.3% of our total time on the planet it can surely only be a matter of a few years.
Why can’t we see this? Why hasn’t our natural instinct for self-preservation kicked in? Why? Because we are no longer able to think for ourselves, trust our own innate senses. In fact none of what we know, believe in (our views/ values/ attitudes) is actually true. It has all been drilled into us by the state/ royalty/ big business, to suit their needs/ motives. The only way we can escape that conditioning is to disconnect from their channels of persuasion: internet/ tv/radio/ newspapers, believe nothing you are told and only half of what you see for yourself, and flee the social pressures from living among the un-dead.
Which is what we did. Found a place as free as possible from any kind of human pollution, tune out and reconnect with nature and our natural selves again. Which hasn’t been easy, it is not that simple to just cut off completely and rediscover senses that were cauterised at birth. But this week I had an incredible breakthrough. Eight years ago (to the day almost), when we first came to see El Pocito, I thought Maureen was mad to think this was the place for us. How? The entire six acres was totally devoid of vegetation, nothing whatsoever was growing, it was a desert. But she was adamant, so we set about doing what we could to improve it. All that land, and on a steep hillside, is a very big area (25,000m2) to do anything with, so to focus our limited resources we started with just one acre, and forgot about the rest. This bit got all our experience, of all the previous gardens and isms that had come and gone over the previous 25 years, plus lots of love. And gradually it has responded. Still a way to go, but it is noticeably greener now and trees when they are grown from seed then planted out don’t die so much anymore. Meanwhile in the other five acres, a miracle has been going on without us knowing. Left totally alone (including no annual brush-cutting, or “cleaning” as they like to call it here) a total regeneration has taken place. What was once like a desert is now lush and full of diversity. Seeds which had lain dormant for decades have now decided it is time to germinate and despite the predators have grown. There are even trees as high as 5m. It is like a miniature Eden. I, without any effort or money, have discovered what Science and Progress miss consistently, Nature knows best.
We are not custodians of this planet. We are not intelligent. What we are (have become) is no more than battery chickens. Pecking at each other on Facebook, developing unsocial behaviour with armaments, living in a totally unnatural environment, fed on the cheapest crap, to die pointlessly and early, just to provide an income for someone else.
250 years we’ve been caged like this. Duped into believing Science/ Progress know best. 60 years of the organic movement/ industry doing likewise. When in reality nothing has been done to improve our damage to the precious ecology, or replace the trillions of other species we have killed for no good reason. Unless we wake up soon and realise this, we will all be roast chickens.