Sunday, May 7 2006
How does fossil fuel addiction (or any aspect of a societal paradigm) compare to the sorts of addictions an individual can have? The chief difference is that an individual really can just say no and stop. It doesn't happen conclusively with any reliability even for an individual, but it does happen. But it never happens for a society. According to Jared Diamond, the Norse of Greenland died out because they couldn't get it into their heads that they could get by on fish. Similarly, Americans will never willingly give up their desire for manicured lawns and traveling about in multi-ton upholstered rooms. They'll never willingly accept gasoline costing $3/gallon either, but now that it costs that much they are left with no choice. So existential is the problem that it's actually causing George W. Bush's base to defect, something he's given them no reason to do up until now. It's also leading to such absurdities as group prayers asking the Lord Jesus God to lower gas prices. To those making such prayers, the price of gasoline is just another mystery, right there beside "Why are we here?" and "What happens after I die?" A finite resource within the mass of a finite planet will some day begin to run out as the demands placed on it increase exponentially. This is a basic point of logic, one that should occur to anyone who floats even the weakest of mental energy over the problem. And yet there are people willing to take time out of their busy days to assemble and pray for Jesus God to maybe, I don't know, reach down with a Holy Syringe and inject more crude oil into the Earth, preferably in a place controlled by God-fearing Christians. Given the latest scientific news on the effectiveness of prayer, though, it seems Jesus God might reach down with that syringe to take a massive "oil sample" for divine testing from a limp vein in Texas.
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