First of all, don’t panic–this is not, and is not helpful if it is interpreted as, some sort of cry for help.
Second, by any means anyone can use to evaluate it, I am running out of time; I will not have sufficient time left in my life, independent of how long it may last after writing this, and totally without regard to how my life is lost, to accomplish enough to feel I have made sufficient progress on “saving the world.”
But, when it’s over for me, it will be over.
So I’m running out of time.
Therefore I must speak with total abandon. Sometimes that will scare you, and sometimes outrage you, for I may show authority where only I am sure of its appropriateness. If I have anything I regret, it is that I had to run out of time for me to begin to express what I have to say with authority.
How odd that subtitle strikes me. How strange it feels to write to this topic. Is it real? I mean, will I actually wind up killing myself? And, if I do, will it truly qualify as a suicide?
After all, is it really a suicide if it’s an act taken for what you perceive as a cause greater than yourself?
When a man voluntarily risks his life in battle to further the objective of the fighting force–especially if the chance of survival is virtually nil–is he being suicidal?
Is it really right to call the terrorist who gives his/her own life in order to take lives of innocents a “suicide bomber?” (At the very least I’d think the word “murderer” should show up there somewhere.)
And how do I justify writing this “note” at a time when I don’t actually have suicide, as an action, in mind? I’ve no plans to “do the deed” on day x or y, and certainly not as soon as I set down the pen. I’ve other things more important to do right now. And they’re all considerably more comfortable.
Does it actually count that I’m ruminating, if even only vaguely, on self-immolation when my thoughts are far more deeply mired in other considerations? And, anyway, it’s probable I will either be struck down or incapacitated before I can lay the necessary groundwork to make the suicide an effective tool anyway.
Or I may not have the nerve to actually commit the act, even if I have laid enough groundwork.
Besides, how will I judge whether I’ve laid sufficient groundwork? Isn’t it true that “where there’s life, there’s hope?” Hope that I might find the right words to explain what I know to be true in such a way that more “get it” than would be brought to my cause by such a dramatic but controversial act.
For sure, there’s all the considerations about whether a suicide would be discounted in any case: I have M.S. and am watching my body lose its abilities in major ways. If I become so enfeebled that I can no longer get my thoughts onto paper in coherent ways, or if pain becomes a factor, depression will mount. I see that happening even now. As others see my mood darken, they think they understand the motivation for a suicide more clearly than I. Even should they realize that the means of exit, self-immolation, is incompatible with a simple choice to “end it all,” they will likely think I was just too depressed to stand it any longer.
No amount of talk about trying to draw their attention to Gaia’s peril is going to convince them otherwise, I fear.
If the timing is wrong, and I’ve failed to gather a critical mass of people who share my passion, the act of suicide would be wasted altogether. It would look like just another depressed guy giving up the struggle. And, in the final analysis, that’s exactly what it would amount to.
Contending with my own health issues could easily intrude, robbing me of the ability to work toward increasing the awareness of Gaia’s illness. The opportunity to profitably self-immolate may never come.
What a nightmare!
As it is, I’ve observed my ability to try to save the world eroding from under me as simple tasks like moving from point a to point b, or picking up a piece of dropped paper, or even just getting out of the easy chair, grow ever more difficult.
Would it be luck or tragedy if I were to be cut down before committing suicide by a stroke, or a wayward car, or any of the numerous ways you can totally lose control of the timing and conditions of your own death?
Luck because I’d never have to act on such a horrendous option–tragedy because it would deprive “the movement” of what might be just what it needs for it to take off.
But I’m entrapped by my own words. “Were I to be cut down?” How ridiculously naive. The word is “when.” “When” so long as I am postponing the suicide, for postponing it long enough guarantees the “were” eventually becomes the “when.”
Too deep. I’ve got to just go ahead and write this as if I’d already self-immolated. Or, at least, committed fully to the decision. Please forgive me the digression, as well as the maudlin tone. Angie says I say some awfully silly things sometimes. She’s probably right–I hope she’s right–but it all comes from my heart.
The problem I’m trying to address both with this note and with the self-immolation, which I’m currently pretending has already actually happened, is the one that seems most to defeat me.
I am not frustrated so much by not being able to convince others that I’m right about all this. It’s that I fail to even get people’s attention so that they will seriously look at the problem themselves.
JoAnn pointed out the other day that I needed to schedule talks so that I wasn’t just preaching to the choir. How I wish there were a choir.
Many, many, people think they are taking environmental issues seriously. They write reams on the topic of the destruction of the environment, speaking passionately to the dangers of what we are doing or how we do it, often warning that if we don’t do something drastic soon–within years even–there will be no way remaining to stop global warming–or the hole in the ozone–or whatever the problem is that they’re trying to address. But they always end up with a cry of “but there’s still time left!”
Time to adjust, refurbish levees, move endangered people, find new technologies to clean up our mess(es). Time to avoid the worst of it, whatever the “it” of the day may be.
They have cried wolf so many times they have almost no creditability with anyone in the general public. The ignorant Rush Limbaugh and his idiotic ilk have far more creditability than a panel of the world’s leading scientists. What’s that all about?
Well it’s all about the wishy, washy,-ness of “there’s still time left!”
And, worst of all, scientists are approaching the whole question with a self imposed handicap: until they engage, at the very least, the questions:
“What if we truly don’t save the planet?
“What if we don’t save it in the most extreme manner?
and “What if we kill it?”
they have not begun to take the issue seriously.
If you truly think the environment is in danger, then you need to talk about what happens when and if it does collapse, and why it matters. Not what happens to mankind, but what happens to Gaia. One can argue about whether the former matters or not. There is no moral argument about whether the latter matters.
The main reason we’ve gotten where we are is that we’ve come to think of God as one of us–as a big human in the sky. And, as such, the word “moral” applies only to an obligation to ourselves.
“Moral” is an obligation to God–but God is Gaia, not us.
And not giving any answer other than “there’s still time left!” is a cop-out anyone can see. A cop out to the assumption that we can’t kill Gaia at all. Until we start asking “Why not,” that’s all it will ever be.
By the way, asking is the opposite of wanting. It’s the opposite of giving up. It’s the opposite of accepting. It’s the opposite of bringing on an evil thing by having negative thoughts.
What it is is the first step toward responding.
So, that’s my primary goal: to get people to put these questions on the agenda–to get the discussion started, for there is no time to spare. I’ve already finished one book and had it self published. I’ve nearly completed another, and most of it is published on my blog at http://www.intheserviceofgaia.com (here), under the category “Gaia is Alive.”