The climate convention: a democratic challenge?

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

The debate about climate change and global warming has been around almost forever without any tangible worldwide change in the political behaviour or mindset. Clearly it is the endless conflict of politics versus life and this is how dangerous greedy politics has become. So, is the climate “convention” a democratic challenge?

It is unfortunately obvious that a leader who seeks popularity can’t work for the climate. Fighting for environment is fighting against economy, freedom, industries, consumerism, politics and the list is long. Some questions are to be asked for all climate enthusiasts: shall we give up using cars, trains and planes? The thought of it after 2020 the quarantine year can be a splash of icy water. At this point, happy few are up for this challenge of giving up cars, planes and trains but this is no big help. Consequentially, what should be done?

Two main acts, if done seriously, can make a difference. The first one is to have a new industrial policy for producing long term products just like big industrial companies made names to themselves in the last century for producing items that lasted for decades. The second act is educate people again to be sensitive to nature, to be awed by nature’s aesthetics so they will become its defenders. To learn it again requires reconnection with natural elements.

These two acts, especially the first one, are a democratic challenge for the decade to come.

Should You Take The Path of Least Resistance?

Should you take the path of least resistance? The path of least resistance is the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion by a given object or entity among a set of alternative paths (Wikipedia definition). The concept is often used to describe why an object or entity takes a […]

Should You Take The Path of Least Resistance?

Are we on an uninhabitable planet?

In the novel, The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells sets out a frightening vision: The world we live in is on the verge of drastic and catastrophic change. We have essentially destroyed our world beyond repair. Complacency and ignorance have finally caught up with us; our once-prosperous lives will soon come to a halt and crash. […]

Are we on an uninhabitable planet?

The philosophy of the doormat

It is peculiar to put the words philosophy and doormat in one sentence. But the truth of a doormat goes deeper to what meets the eye.

A doormat is a mat placed in a doorway, on which people can wipe their shoes on entering a building. They wipe their shoes from dust, mud and bacteria or viruses brought back from the outside. A doormat is then a cleaning mat; that’s the superficial way to understand what it is. However, a doormat is way beyond its wiping function.

A doormat is the separation between the inside and the outside, the private and the public. At the start, the public meant nature where people used to work or spend their days. If we praise nature now, it was not the case longtime ago. Back then and still to this day, nature was synonymous to dirt, dust and dangerous creatures. Residents in houses with gardens know exactly that definition, a doormat in every doorway, daily swiping the floor from sand and dead leaves, tracking insects and spraying pesticides. The same goes for all the daily hygiene because the idea of nature is dirt. Deodorant smells better than natural body odor.

Humans built culture as opposed to nature. They built a world that stands between nature and them, a world that is a mirror to humans. A doormat separates culture from nature.

The fascination of bats

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painting by Albrecht Durer 

Bats are peculiar creatures, a strange hybrid between a mouse or a fox and a bird. The flying freak sleeps upside down during daytime and gets active during nighttime. There is no doubt this animal was, and stills the object of many fantasies. Therefore what are the main fantasies on bats?

In Biblical tradition, bats were believed to be messengers of Satan.  The Puritans believed that if a bat flew close to someone, somebody was trying to bewitch them. This is the reason why one might see bats sculptures on the outer walls of Gothic churches in Europe.

In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote his Gothic novel Dracula, introducing the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. Stoker was inspired by European myths about vampires and some types of bats that solely drink blood. Dracula inspired more fiction about bat behavior like vampires. The success perpetuated the fantasy and the fascination of bats.

Then in 1939, the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created Batman, a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books. Originally named the “Bat-Man,” the character is also referred to as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Unlike Dracula and the common idea of bats, Batman is a hero fighting criminals and bringing justice to the world.

Just to name these examples among many others, bats became a narrative symbol in our subconscious mind, explaining both fear and fascination of these creatures. It pushed more and more people around the globe to approach bats, studying them, domesticating them, killing them or even eating them. To Chinese, bats are a symbol of happiness!

A bat is an infected animal but due to its immune system it can live with viruses. SARS, MERS, COVID19 are said to have been transferred to humans from bats because of human interactions with them.

A bat, like any other creature, is crucial to the environment equilibrium. We should save bats by letting them be in the wild. Don’t hug a bat, don’t kill it, don’t eat it, and don’t get close to it.

Can we leave bats alone?

 

 

My life this week in 2020 the year of change

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photo by unsplash.com

The country is shut down due to the corona tsunami and people remain home. For me, it was a new experience as i am teaching online. I hate corona but i am loving this online job experience. However, being locked down, I couldn’t help but wonder about the year 2020.

For those who follow my blog, they know that starting october 2019, we have been on a long revolution against corruption and injustice. So on a shaky land we entered 2020 that hit us with more turmoils and with corona. Horrible as it is, we must look at the bigger picture. 2020 is the year of battles and change; which logically leads to the desire of change or to resistance because of fear. I feel it is a turning point: there is before and after 2020. The decade sounds revolutionary on all levels.

Corona, floods, earthquakes, protests, climate change and more demand responsibility and collective consciousness. It demands awareness and redifinition of oneself, of social structures, of relationships, of politics, of economics. Basically it demands form each one of us a choice and a role. Speaking of Corona: movies, tedtalks, conferences predicted the outbreak of a similar virus. We listened but we didn’t get ready for it. Now that the outbreak is here, what am I going to do? How to deal with others? Who am I and what are my deepest desires? The natural incidents I mentioned indicate the redifinition of the earth itself.

2020 is the year of big lessons in life. Incidents will force us to retrieve into ourselves and connect on a deeper level with our fears and desires. It is the year that must teach us to let go of the past and start fresh new, both on individual and collective levels.

So yes there is fear and loneliness. There is a resistance to change. But do we have a choice other than love and flexibility? I don’t think we do.

 

The correlation between epidemics and turmoils. A brief history review

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Manmade or nature made, viruses and epidemics have always existed in times of political turmoils. Is it a pure coincidence or is it planned by nature/God/universal forces? Here are some of the deadliest epidemics that shaped human history.

The Plague of Athens devastated Athens during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC), killing an estimated 75000 to 100000 people. Another plague was the Roman Plague or the Antonine plague (165-180 AD) which had severely affected Indo-Roman trade relations in the Indian Ocean and devestated the Roman Empire. The total deaths have been estimated at five million.

The Black Plague hit Europe and a part of Asia in the mid-14th century and was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, killing seventy five to two hundred million people. the plague created a number of religious, social and economic upheavals, with profound effects on the course of European history.

Fast forward many centuries later, the 20th century had its unfortunate epidemics such as the Spanish Flu (1918-1920). The death toll is estimated at around 100 million. The WWI played a big role in maintaining the disease for that long.

Then came Bird Flu, Sars, Mers, Ebola …. and now Corona.

Aren’t we responsible somehow for all this? If not created by men, isn’t it nature trying to get rid of us due to what we have been doing? This picture below taken by the NASA speaks better than I do:

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Collapsology

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Ancient religions predicted the end of the world. Astrologists talked about fatal stars alignment in 2020. Where are we heading to?

Etymologically, “collapsology” is composed of the words “collapse” and ‘logy” as in logos, meaning the study of the collapse. Collapsology is an emerging field of research that stems from the outside the academic world and concerns the study of the heralded imminent collapse of our civilization.

The question is: are we really collapsing? Do you believe in the end of the world?

Many objective factors tell so: fires, climate change, storms and floods, diseases, financial crisis, violence, wars, species in extinction etc.

Many other more subtle factors indicate that something is profoundly wrong such as: agony of values, dysfunction of politics and economics the way we know them, the anachronism of the educational system, the misuse of words and grammar etc. And not to forget more psychological issues like depression, burnout, stress and so on.

As a response to these overwhelming factors, there is a serious quest of (old) new spiritualties, of new ways of working, of nature and naturalism.

Therefore, is it the end of the world or the end of a long era? Are we collapsing and dying or are we collapsing to rise again?

Why global warming doesn’t matter

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Lebanon, October 2019

In 2019, the planet burned! From the Amazon Rainforest to Australia, fires devoured trees, plants, animals and lands. Facing this heartbreaking and scary scenery, only romantics like Greta and us yelled the danger of global warming.

So, global warming is the planetary issue, right?

Not so fast. The less romantic among us don’t care about global warming. To them the real underlying issues are elsewhere. They are respectively: energy and nutrition.

The world population was estimated to have reached 7.7 billion people in 2019. Authorities’ worries are more about producing energy (nuclear, alternative, fossil…) and finding ways to feed the immense number of mouths. It is an issue because food industry is one of the biggest energy consuming factors.

Does this all show us that the real problem is the shrinking of the vital space?

The vital space is the space needed for a specie to survive. With an increasing world population in terms of demographics, the concept of vital space is not openly discussed for ethical reasons obviously. The concept of vital space requires harsh questions: fewer babies? More birth control? If so, isn’t the current population at risk of aging?

Or, as awful as it sounds, wouldn’t wars do the job to lessen the number of people?

Whether global warming needs urgent and immediate actions, it is high time we let go of the past in order to face the future. What past are we talking about? Traditions and religions.

The rise of the animal in me

 

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In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche wrote: “Become who you are”. Defining the “who you are” implies the following concepts: conscious animal, thinking animal, rational animal, speaking animal, political animal (Aristotle) and the list goes on. Then how to become an animal?

The link between humans and animals has always been solid but gladiatorial. History of mankind would have been totally different had horses been extinct alongside dinosaurs. So, naturally and culturally, animals have always been present in humans lives.

Mythology tells us stories of deities, humans and animals. Most of the time, deities had human and animal traits. Only evolution of societies draws a separation line between what is considered as culture, (therefore human) and nature (the animal world). The more this line of segregation was thick, the more collateral damages were made on beings from both sides.

The animal in me brought animal rights back to life. Sympathy with animals and nature motivates all sorts of new ethical actions such as veganism, nature protection, and ethical treatment to animals and so on.

panthere noireThe animal in me also brought to life a new (or old new) workout: the animal flow. It consists of moving like some animals, mostly reptiles, to increase mobility, strength and flexibility. Now this makes me think differently: an ethical treatment to animals is one thing and becoming an animal for few times a week is something else.

Are we somehow escaping humanity?