Flood Plain II
Early mornings the floodplains are shrouded in mist, drenched in dew.
Particularly later during the winter months. You can make out outlines of water buffalo and egrets on their backs in the vegetation and get a sense of the scene. The pure wild buffalo is a rare animal to see these days. Three are visible on enlargement. Two lapwings at the water’s edge where the buffalo come to drink. Our common ancestors with Homo erectus, the Heidelberg man, and our fellow subspecies Denisovans were seeing these scenes for unimaginably long times in this climate. Though the perspective may change the perception of ‘unimaginably long’. Our more immediate hunter-gatherer ancestors were drenching their feet in this dew in what may seem a while ago.
The North Indian farmers and pastoralist were waking up to the scene of this landscape.
I am breathing the air, standing in the last pockets of this wild landscape. Just as we start to understand more about nature and this planet, we see it vanishing. It now is about what’s going to be left before we wake up that worries. Because we will wake up at some point. And what is lost forever. As the currents and patterns change, the proverbial currents of our stereotypes begin to change their courses too. Some stones were moved by their force. Masses of blocks await standing solid in the way. It remains to be seen how great the lag is going to be, and how fatal it will prove.
So that the kids and the kid’s kids can go and roam with the wild water buffalo as I can. And meet the ancestors through the real land and experience. Or experience nature as they could. Is this too much of progress to ask?
People saw in the past definitions of progress changing. We have a feeling that we will see the current state as a wrong choice rather than progress in principle. The progress that our descendants would recognise. We are sure that despite yesterday’s fashion buzz, the future generations will want the real thing and will judge us on this.
The need is going to survive the trends and day-to-day fashion by which we are consumed. It is a different sort of demand and another sphere we are getting more information about. As our knowledge grows, this need will grow too.
28th September 2019
The state of the planet forces children to ask adults to keep their responsibilities. They are branded demoralising by one of the gods of society. Let that sink in for a second.
Disquisitions about children’s anxiety in relation to the environment also have this paradox about them. It seems to be omnipresent. What some young people do is that they are pointing out this paradox, a paradox of herd, in the better case. As there is a real substance to the paradox, the call comes back to young people as adults getting worried about the worries of their children who worry that the adults steer their world and their lives towards a very bad situation, if not worse. I may be wrong, but this senior anxiety could be one of those modern thinking processes generated by the crowd suspiciously interested in AI (irony). On a brighter side, unriddling these imbroglios shouldn’t be a serious problem for the young people in general, so many can remain focused and carry on calmly, or less calmly.
Today, in particular, I wouldn’t underestimate the children. I would instead look to them, if not for hope, then for vital participation. Underestimating young blood seldom proved farsighted. In no way am I saying refuse to give a helping hand when we can – and when needed. Hopefully, we can tell that without a special algorithm. Especially when they ask for it.
The anxiety is understandable as people feel the effects of our collective ignorance more locally. The question indeed is not whether it is justified, or harmful to the children, but whether it reflects the reality that we are facing. Because if it does not, the anxiety will likely grow, regardless of our worries, until it does. So maybe we should start to worry as well? And pick up on the important stuff as we go.
I think it is symbolic that the young people are prompting the step forward. Leaving the childhood behind and facing the challenges of maturity can be disturbing. So when immature or downright primitive takes hold, the fresh blood is invited to take on the role of the adults. Thank God some hear the call. Clear words of reason can then re-emerge from the wreckage of the hopeless civilisation, address the true Establishment and expose its inadequate, degenerating and dangerous mindset. There is a story for them.
Once upon a time, we used to have a Code, a set of principles that mattered. Few can "remember", and the rest can barely believe that today.
It wasn’t a written word, but that only made it more resilient. Power of collective understanding is involving, and twisting the meaning is less inviting. Everyone understood it, no matter what end they found themselves on. (*This certainly is not an idyllic description of our species as such. But there is a scope of nuances that still make a difference.)
Then we took it a bit too far with Reason. It exploded at some point in the past and brought many good things to us. Some dropped the Code and that got them ahead. The connections loosened. They gained more power over others. Soon everyone was outsmarting everyone. It seemed like a new order of things entirely. In fact, it only was an episode.
The Code was diminishing and the ego grew. A new hierarchy shaped. The old, more holistic views in the way were rejected. It turned us into children, cruel children as they can be. The way of this Reason was to uncover complexity and benefit from it. The rest, beyond the personal benefit, was simplified, and then sidelined. A single individual was the dominant entity. The system freed hands and more energy for the Race. And for more freedom. At the expense of everyone and everything else. A new Code was worshipped with passion and spectacular monuments.
Individuals and cultures differ. The system suited some more than others.
The world seemed like a paradise. More in some parts than in others. Nothing could stop the brave and the egoistic. It was taken for a new, modern Code. An elaborate system grew, a whole realm with endless means to overcome and seduce, to find a door, or a cranny emboldened the new man. The man that was used to a life of struggle.
Soon, apocalyptic wars ensued. The system had peaked, it reached its limits. As the humans were close to wiping themselves out, some decorations and romantic ideals were installed to the fringes of the society’s cultural life as a prof of humanity. It is hard to stop the stampede in a hardwired system. Any shade of improvement seemed an avant-garde.
In the world of Reason, the concept of evolution was simplified along with the other things. What outsmarted a fellow human didn’t’ impress the evolution, though. It tends to correct the incompatible.
The humans are to get into finer layers of the Reason, and to what comes out of it. Much finer layers. Being good cognitively may be their destiny. This episode doesn’t have to be an end. We have gone through a long chain of them before.
Eventually, the Intellect will open a way to, be compatible, and merge with the Principles again. Science will integrate and underpin them with the very tool that wrecked them. Understanding our world more will provide a backing to the unshakeable realisation that we will never grab more without being responsible more. That if we are responsible, this miraculous planet cooperates very well (an echo of Prince Harry message). That if we try to go around that responsibility, we will ultimately find ourselves parasitising on the life of our own genes. And that our children indeed have every reason to be anxious because they are those genes carrying both their future heritage and the destiny of the man as such.
A better understanding of the Code (its substance) and its meaning (its nature) will change the fundamentals of human knowledge. It will result in unknown stability where it was not in the past and reflect in crucial parts of our lives. It will lead to no paradise, but there will be more management (on levels we can hardly imagine) than there is ‘eco-anxiety’ today.
As you see, this tale is different. It also is a theory. But we always liked living the stories. Ever since the shared branch with our now extinct or more distant relatives. It looks a good sign to me.
and so on:
The Way Things Move
22nd July 2019
It’s difficult to explain physical (law) background to it in brief, but Convenience and Comfort brought into our lives come with a set of new Challenges. It always is the case. As our genes (in short) are heavily programmed towards overlooking a negative in what we see as a (new) chance of embracing a positive (as an advantage, gain), the positive is distinctly highlighted in our thought and overshadows the negatives of the new and less immediate challenges. It creates deficit of a sort somewhere in a particular relation. The deficit has its life or process, and it will run its course until the ‘internal clash‘ between the dark, heavy burden it unexpectedly injects into what should otherwise be a wholly positive gain is replaced with experience. The new challenges need a new experience to face them, a fact that we in our traditionally programmed circuit tend to overlook seemingly more and more often, in what is now a faster and faster world. As these aspects of accelerating interaction change, we do as well. That is why these constant and disturbing intrusions of new and unexpected into what we would expect to be a peaceful life enriched with a wealth of technology and prosperity.
In other words, things may seem simple, often convincingly so, but somehow they don’t obey our ideas. A chimp has now a better-adjusted stick, but that leads to new yet unseen complications. They will see them later (to be sure: they will always see them no matter how hard they try to ignore or go around them). And until they sort them out, the stick just isn’t working, or something else has lessened, spoiled the benefit it brings to the collective disappointment of often serious consequences to the individual lives. The evolution will wait until the gap is filled. The stick will then serve as anticipated. Something we cannot get right at the first goes.
An analogical process is known from the typical comparison of young vs aged (mature) person attitudes. We acquire experience and that makes us less naive and more deliberate, sober. This can technically even reach a tipping point where maturity turns into scepticism. And a new balance-finding process in a different position, of the same law, continues, if it can.
So things change and interact together with our faces and worlds we live in, but the law is absolute and won’t be moved one inch. A chimp that clever will never walk the Earth. Not like we would imagine, at least. It is the way things move.
7th July 2019
Sigma 100-400 OS C @145mm, f8; Nikon D750; just below the permanent snow line
A small scar left by a fast retreating glacier, filled with fragmented remnants of ice covered with silt and sediment.
The climate dynamic of the Earth’s ecosystem (that’s the nature of the climate on our planet) changed many times before. But there is a change in this change which may be raising conscious and subconscious questions and worries. For the first time, it happened that the Anthropocene enters the equation. - If its effects haven’t kick-started some elemental transfers within the equation in the first place, which is very likely from the data.
It means that in many ways we are and will be witnessing an experiment rather than anything that has in many variations occurred in the Earth’s history, because it never had.
It may well be that it is a change that means little in the end, that it will be contained within the complex, robust dynamic of the system without a significant effect (and more or less in line with the model predictions).
It may not be just as well, because the particular processes underway, that would also never be started at given settings, made the course of the events unique and so without precedent in the ecosystem's history (of the interactions).
There seems to be something new, and for the first time in our history, too. It’s that the people’s actions, motives and real wishes are now revealed without chances of coating the reality further, self-deceit and not facing them for what they are. This new view that we cannot dodge anymore may make us feel less comfortable, often ecstatic in our simple, ignorant bubble.
21st April 2019
The climate of the Earth is interlinked with the climate of our human world. This is why we find these global topics difficult. They are more and more about us.
Even those who otherwise rarely seek attention in public (David Attenborough) remind us that we only are little ants whose visit here can be cut short abruptly. The events concerning our planet accelerated perhaps even faster than we expected in recent years as the cumulative nature of their unfolding is confirmed over and over again. As we strengthened our influence on the current layer of life on the Earth’s surface, we begin to recognise the shape of our very face on it.
Is it going to be a human one, we can ask, and do we ask with fear or hope?
We are not sure. But let me say this. Considering the legacy of our ancestors, from the first stone tool to the plough and billions of life stories inside us, I think we have yet to move forward. I look with hope.
Human is a broad description, broader than we like to admit. It is because we are animal first and human after that. It’s how we came to be and the direction in which our psyche is developing. This evolutionary sequence has grades and is reflected in various ways in the world we currently live in, but the underlying order remains.
Although we are proud to distinguish ourselves from the animal, uncivilised stage of existence, pointing out differences we think are meaningful and unique to us, the meaningful distinction is realised in a way that is neither overwhelmingly convincing nor is it wide-spread and common.
Our views are also tinted with subjectivity as we tend to be more benevolent towards the human-defining standards than recognising self-aware features and qualities in other beings. And although we see these topics in a more realistic way than, say, 200 years ago, the fact remains our attitudes are still self-deluding and tendentious, to our loss.
Looking beyond the anatomy and the potential of a healthy man, we see human as intellect and as values that are not defined by the body but by the ability to actively determine and achieve a state of freedom, happiness and self-fulfillment in their mind. Despite the nuances, individual differences and diversity among us, it is this level of control that makes us humans.
As for Psyche, looking back at the times of the old Greeks, we are much more advanced society today. Still, the problems we are struggling with could give different impressions, and could even look bizarre in comparison.
Evolution occurs in jumps as the factors and sub-developments meet and align, or don’t. Another feature of evolution is that its course runs faster and faster, a bit like our universe unless interrupted by a reset.
Digital technologies changed our lives in many ways and almost overnight. Years fly by and our digital age children face their world. When we say in many ways we mean this. We come across new and undiscovered every day and grapple with things that seemed harmless a short time ago only to see how harmful they could become. Everything, new and old, gets another dimension; all aspects of social life, politics, marketing, economy, art, cultures or perception of time and the term change itself. Inflation and uses of the information caused word and meanings to lose the weight that they previously had.
Our mental background suggests that also in this world we will first try to get things for free and chose the immediate satisfaction before learning about the futility of the approach and going through the pain and work required to find a more lasting one. Similarly, we find that despite what seems a world full of changes, we cannot bend the realities as we’d have wished and that trusting fundamentals of our mind to drugs, antidepressants and computer day-time dreaming won’t work as that, eventually, but always, goes exactly against the initial intentions.
Regardless of how our world seems advanced, putting greed above seemingly simple values is a step back towards the animal in us. So we may want to look more carefully at the products of the civilised infantility, at the easy solutions and the marketing trickery targeting and corroding discipline of an individual in twisted, pushed-too-far efforts to gain control over your behaviour and ultimately your life. Today, it can be the whole industries and almost instantaneous campaigns that you are facing.
We need to slow that down a little bit, filter things out and stop rotting. We need to look after our mind, take back that responsibility to ourselves. And to direct the flow of our attention a way that makes us free, independent and feeling good about what we are and what we do, whatever that is. It is a pain. Lots of pain but it is worth it. To say the outcome is rewarding indeed is understatement.
The times are different from those of the old Greeks. The current conditions represent very specific settings for our cultures. Our renewed experiences that we make though point to the (same) real. This didn’t change, and it is again needed for achieving both the freedom and the well-being of man. It also is not easy and not for free, a promising trademark in whatever we do. Today, we are connected like we never thought possible, and these old basics have new meaning. Being a human has a new meaning. The ability to be a human is also the ability to survive and evolve on this planet. It now determines not only the nature of our human world but also the Earth’s climate.
10 September 2017
In global climate, making the direct links between particular factors and their particular resulting effects is not really possible to do correctly.
E.g. we can say with a very good probability what effects the human activity has on the current climate but it’s a lot harder to see exactly what results (climate) we would have without the impacts of the Anthropocene.
We are not just capable of it as this is an extremely dynamic and complex system, our data are being plugged into an ever-flowing river of highly complex events and we probably will never fully understand or know all the factors involved. What we can do is to curb the aggressive factors that come as a result of our activities to meaningfully limit the man-made part of contributions to this already volatile system.
It will have a number of positive and global life saving effects on many other fronts for the Earth’s Ecosystem and naturally on our lives, we can’t be blamed directly for what the Nature will throw at us, will stay out of the trouble because avoiding the damaging effects (relatively predictable, short time effects) inflicted on ourselves as well and will even grow as humans further towards more responsible and holistic approach to the matters of utmost importance – that in the end are crucial for our long term survival, our mind and well-being.
Who is opposing this?
18 October 2015
The planet's climate is warming, people have noticed. We think of ourselves as of contributors to the effect and we are right, of course.
The change is quite rapid and the melting at the poles accelerates. At the moment, and for some time already, the thermal disturbance caused by cool flows from the poles slows and weakens warm currents in the Atlantic. The media celebrate it as a welcome counterbalance to the climate warming in the North of the Atlantic region.
In the meantime, the albedo of the planet will keep decreasing and humidity in the atmosphere rising further so we can expect the weather continue to be more dynamic. The changes in the Atlantic circulation will also have other effects in other regions. That way the chain of the changes to the more usual pattern will continue.
Models people have will not tell us how and to what results, as there is too small a database for creating efficient models of this type and the number of factors playing the role is too great, even if we only think of those that people have discovered. One thing for certain, though, the cooling effect of the new thermal situation on the ocean surface will not last long and all sorts of effects, including those of a cumulative nature, are expected afterwards, such as major effects on driving force of thermohaline circulation and formation of high density (heavy) water.
But that is all right. Something is always happening. And so despite our tendencies, like the one mentioned, when we celebrate prematurely, we can also realise that our genes are in a constant stage of evolutional fix because they are not perfect, perhaps not even good enough. The term evolutional isn’t necessary and can be replaced by any other term of our choice. But whatever the name, the process hasn’t stopped and it uses scenarios that present the right opportunity for it to carry on. And although the road to the magic of learning and experience is never painless or pleasant, it brings something you later don’t give up for anything else. That, fortunately, is in our genes already.