CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Humanity’s history is replete with the conquest and conversion of every aspect of the earth. Resistance from the earth is the impetus for our continued destruction.
Miller-Gearhart 1979. The womanization of rhetoric. Women’s studies international quarterly, 2, 195-201. Our history is a combination of conquest and conversion. We conquered trees and converted them into a house, taking pride in having accomplished a difficult task. We conquered rivers and streams and converted them into lakes, marvelling in ourselves at the improvement we made on nature. We tramped with our conquering spaceboots on the fine ancient dust of the Moon and we sent our well-rehearsed statements of triumph back for a waiting world to hear. We'd like to think that much as the Moon resisted us, she really down deep, wanted us—her master—to tame her and to own her. We did not ask permission of trees, river, Moon. We did not in any way recognize the part of the victim in the process. They were the conquered. We were the conqueror. The more 'fight' they gave the more difficult the task, the more exhilarating was the contest and the more arrogant we became at winning over them. Many of us have heard it too often: 'I like a woman who gives me a little fight.' While there is satisfaction in conquering the real rush comes if she resists and then gives in, if you make her want you, if you convert her, if the trees are big, if you fail first few times to harness the river, if the Moon is hard to get to.
to refresh and resource ourselves at the lure Wells of. when we began to seek to change another entity. Was it our coming to consciousness? Or some leap from our subjective ego to the recognition of
another subjective ego? The drive to civilization or the drive to death through civilization? Perhaps the creative urge or the birth of language itself or the first time someone claimed private property? Did it occur when men discovered that they had some role in conception and got so carried away that they organized the patriarchy? Is the violence inherent in the nature of the human being. or if it is a metaphor it is one. a species that began ruthlessly to control and convert its environment. that we have no species consciousness. reproduce and consume in a constantly expanding pattern that is rapidly depleting our natural resources and driving us to the destruction of each other and of the planet which sustains us. We altered ourselves from a species in tune with the Earth. Women’s studies international quarterly. that we are a renegade civilization. a product of the natural urge to compete or of the hierarchical mindset? Did it occur from something so practical as the planning ahead for survival through the storing of surplus goods? Or from something so ontological as the realization of death and the planning ahead
The evidence is plain that somehow our energy has gone haywire. 195-201.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Humans are a renegade species – earth will not endure our rule much longer. We need to come to a halt
against its occurrence? and reawaken ourselves. 2. a dying civilization which may have passed up its opportunity for survival. with our home. we violated the integrity of that person or thing and our own integrity as well.
Miller-Gearhart 1979. Somewhere in a dark corner of human history we made a serious evolutionary blunder. so strong that it brings into sharp relief both the reality of the female male relationship in Western culture and the separation of ourselves as a species from the original source of our being. theological agitations about the beginning of evil. Already it may be too late. Political speculations about the origin of alienation. 'Rape of the Earth' is not simply a metaphor. that we produce. our own origin. At that point. The earth seems now to be giving us clear and unmistakeable signals that she will not endure our rule over her much longer. psychological ruminations about the birth of `the other' and philosophical explorations of the mind-body split-all have shown the futility of trying to determine the cause of our violence as a species.
. The womanization of rhetoric. that we are riding roughshod over the biosphere. into.
neither the time before we exist nor the time after we exist can be good or bad for us precisely because we cannot experience pleasure or pain at either time.
From this line of reasoning.. Just so. and death is to be deprived of sensation./ nothing at all will be able to affect us/ who will then not exist. So that most fearful of all bad things. buttresses with his materialist conception of persons and his 'mirror-image' argument concerning the temporal and
atomism provides much of the underlying rationale for the thesis that death is nothing to us. p. Epicurus concludes that it is irrational to fear death. death is not. shall be sundered. when body and soul. which can be attained only through the exercise of cool. death. Hence the period before we were born and the period after we die are equally value-neutral. dispassionate reason. Citing the event of the Carthaginians waging war on Rome. he reasons
when we shall not exist. what ultimately motivates the arguments that Epicurus and Lucretius advance in its defense is the goal of ataraxia..CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Cannot construe death as bad as it does not actually exist. then we are not. Monist 76:2.222
Perhaps the most frequently cited argument in philosophical discussions of death is the one embodied in the following passage from Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus:
Make yourself familiar with the belief that death is nothing to us. Epicureanism and death.. a conclusion that his disciple.
. is nothing to us. That is. since everything good and bad lies in sensation.
Glannon 1993./ of which we are fashioned into one. designed to show that prenatal nonexistence and posthumous nonexistence are on a value-neutral par. since when we are.
evaluative symmetry between prenatal and posthumous nonexistence. and when death is present. which occurred before Lucretius and his readers were born.
"we felt no pain. a judgment that underwrites the claim that we have no reason to be concerned about death. nor stir our sense. or peace of mind. While Lucretius reinforces the conclusion of the core argument at (3) with his own argument for the symmetry between past and future." This passage embodies the wall-known 'mirror-image' argument of Lucretius. Lucretius.
In the past.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Humanity’s impax are worse than previous extinctions. biodiversity recovered as species spread into new ecological niches. At that rate. www.
Walker 2003. But our impact is different from the mass extinctions of the past. accelerating climate change. carbon will be lost to the atmosphere faster than it can be replaced by new growth.
Humans destroy habitats and transfer species: two of the best ways to kill the planet.
As global climate change shifts temperatures across the planet. breaking up existing communities. though many undiscovered species are likely to be dying out before we even know of their existence. Much of the undisturbed land is merely rock. One in four mammal species and
the population of each species is expected to fall by at least a fifth in the next 10 years. Species that do up and leave will move at different rates.
.com THE best guess of biologists is that species are disappearing between 100 and 1000 times as fast as they were before Homo sapiens arrived. the whole of the US will fall to outside species within 750 years. Invasive plant
species already cover 400. entire forest types are expected to disappear. ice and blowing sand. species may not be able follow fast enough. The invertebrates are tipped to dominate the new world order. Biodiversity update. whereas humans are picking off individual species. Wildlife will have a tough time regenerating. now has almost as many introduced species as native ones. Darwin's laboratory. and are spreading at 12.000 square kilometres of the US.6 million
one in eight bird species face a high risk of extinction in the near future: known species are thought to be threatened.
The romantic notion of "wilderness" is fast becoming outmoded. the biggest threat to biodiversity is invasion by alien species. According to UNEP. Lee Hannah at Conservation International in Washington DC found that human
activity has displaced the natural habitat over two-thirds of the habitable surface of the planet. the Galapagos Islands. During this transition.newscientist. already shunned by wildlife. At high latitudes. they will have to migrate 10 times as fast as they did after the last ice age. Many won't make it. tourism and biocontrol. After habitat destruction.1 per cent of the 1. These have arrived mainly through trade. Only around 0. but humans are wiping out niches as well as organisms. They wiped out whole groups of animals.
The winners after the mass extinction that finished off the dinosaurs are about to become the losers. Almost all are endangered by human activity.000 square kilometres a year. to be replaced by new ones. notably the dinosaurs.
Walker 2003. Weil and James Kirchner from the University of California. carried out the first comprehensive analysis of mass extinctions and recoveries. nobody reading this will see wildlife restored to its former glory.newscientist. Biodiversity update.
. The dent already made in biodiversity will take 10 million years to repair itself.com Even if we stop killing species today. says Anne Weil of Duke University in North Carolina. Berkeley.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Too late to save biodiversity – our destruction will take 10 million years to fix as it is.
or 1. Massachusetts.disinformation. . There remain no more than half of the forests that once covered the earth. and stripping land for grazing cattle.8% of all species on earth. and South Carolina.78 acres a second. oil. We are choosing instead the short-term profits garnered by razing the rainforests and old growth forests around the world to the ground. Japan. chopped.
Somewhere between 93 and 1609 rainforest species are going extinct every day due to the destruction caused by lumber. ignoring all the warning signs.
Peet 2000. a group founded in 1988 to "bring awareness to the devastating effects which humanity is inflicting on the beautiful planet.com Humanity is busy killing off the most important eco-systems on the planet at breakneck speed. Virgin rainforests contain 61. Connecticut. www. bulldozed or burnt away. farming. That's 107 acres a minute. humanity’s extinction.
a 240 square mile chunk of virgin rainforest. mining. including many living Nobel Laureates. is destroyed every single day."
'World Scientist's Warning to Humanity' in which they stated."
In 1992 approximately 1700 scientists from around the world. . New Jersey. nature’s destruction. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage to the environment and on critical resources . The amount of rainforest destroyed in 1999 is equal to the total land area of Rhode Island. signed a document titled
"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. according to figures from
'LoveEarth'.and may so alter the world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. as recently as 8000 years ago! Each year almost sixteen million hectares of forest are cut. Vermont. Imagine dropping a bomb onto a city the size of Tokyo every day!
According to some figures. Delaware. New Hampshire.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Species/habitats are destroyed by the second at the hands of humanity. Hawaii. about the size of the city of Tokyo. all the evidence of imminent selfdestruction. Maryland.
or that causality operates
sociocultural constructions of life and death be studied within the same frame of observation.e. It is also inherent in the energies devoted to erecting symbolic and physical barriers between self and death. This acknowledgement has been made evident by explicit statements such as ‘For all flesh is as grass’. i. Usually it requires but one learning experience for young children to enhance their understanding of ‘ice cream cone’ with the realization that ‘it melts’. Kastenbaum. 1991) sought through suicide and martyrdom. Instead one might simply propose that
only in the opposite direction. A world without death? First and second thoughts. neither of which are fully comprehensible without the other.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Must evaluate plan’s plea for life in conjunction with social constructions of death. 1992. Throughout the broad spectrum of human experience there has developed the realization that all of life ‘melts’. 1989). It is more difficult to make an empirical determination of the interplay between constructions of
life and death in society at large because there is no definitive starting point (such as the birth of the individual) from which to track the process.g. 1992). such as the ‘noble death’ (Droge & Tabor. The multifaceted human response also includes the tendency to invest the mortal move with positive qualities. Mortality. both of which were observed during Operation Desert Storm (Umberson & Henderson. Jenkins & Cavanaugh. There is an intrinsic mutuality between the concepts of life and death. Wass. e. It would be arbitrary to claim either that constructions of death determine constructions of life. that mortality is a condition of existence. Research suggests that concepts of life and death are co-developed from early childhood onward (e. and that the challenge of understanding the relationship between being and nonbeing is one of the most significant facets of cognitive and emotional maturation. 1985–1986. what influences one is likely to influence the other.
and controversy over the definition of death—or deaths (Gervais. 1986. 1995). an ongoing series of legislative measures and court decisions have touched upon the definition of death. loss and death (Davies et al. In the United States. in so doing. Seifert.g. ‘enemy’ or ‘release from suffering’). In turn. uncertainty. and in a less favourable light if
the death systems of many nations are currently undergoing a period of challenge. The rise of the counselling movement suggests an increasing readiness to confront issues of
control. At this level. One possible framework
all societies attempt to mediate the individual’s relationship with mortality. For example. 1993). For
is provided by the concept of the death system (Kastenbaum. but with the ambiguities. 1994–1995). A world without death? First and second thoughts. Similarly. include: ‧ Warnings and predictions ‧ Prevention ‧ Caring for the dying ‧ Disposing of the dead ‧ Social consolidation after death ‧ Making sense of death ‧ Killing. Kauffman. According to this view. It would appear that terminal care and. the case for physician-assisted death would be seen in a more favourable light if interpreted as part of ‘caring for the dying’. and change. usually considered to be a characteristic of the individual. and options that are arising as life and death move with us into the ‘postmodern’ world (Walter.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Death anxiety now exists beyond the level of the individual – in legislation/corporation structures. Plan is a product of society’s creation of the reality of our deaths. depending. 1995.g. Considering the current socio-technological ferment with respect to interpretation of deathrelated phenomena. Mortality. The hospice care movement has provided an alternative form of
interpreted as ‘killing’. medical responsibility and patient empowerment in life-or-death decisions. on one’s conception of death (e. 18th century would have been startled by ‘Painting the dead: portraiture and necrophilia in Victorian art and poetry’ (Christ. for example. 1:1. McManners. The functions of a death system. Compiling examples of life/death constructions in various cultural contexts is interesting. this could be a useful time to study the ways in which individuals attempt to make sense of their lives and deaths against this background of ambiguity and change. now seems to have surfaced in legislative corridors and corporate board rooms. e. the mixed blessing of medical technology. Both periods were also marked by preachings and writings that used the fear of death as an inducement to religious faith. death imagery was vivid. but will remain of limited value until connected and guided by theory. so do its representations of life and death. probably because ‘raw death’ was a frequent intruder into everyday life (Arie`s. example. and related issues. in part. For example. frightening. the concern is not so much for one’s own confrontation with reality. 1995). a person may be perceived either as a candidate for prevention or for palliative care.
Kastenbaum 1996. 1994. the Victorians would find much that is curious in our current death system.
Cross-sections of social history reveal constructions of life and death that are distinctive or even unique to a particular time in the lives of a particular World without death 113 people. The increasing cost of end-phase care (more people living longer with terminal conditions and having access to more expensive if not necessarily beneficial services) is drawing 114 Robert Kastenbaum unprecedented attention to the dying process from those concerned with public policy and budget
Death-related anxiety. has led many people to re-examine their assumptions and values. Nevertheless. 1981. uncertainties. 1981). the nature of these two death-salient cultures also differed appreciably because their high mortality rates and the associated fears were
As the symbols and realities of a culture change. both the people of the 14th and of the
shaped respectively by late medieval and Enlightenment world views. at a particular phase in his/her illness. whether operating within a tribal or a mass society. In practice there are many interconnections and mutual influences among these functions..
. 1993). and pervasive in both 14th and 18th century Europe.
The inability to cope with life makes us fearful about death and at the same time our fear to death makes it difficult for us to live a relaxed and creative life.com There is nothing more certain than death and at the same time. as the mind worries about losing them when the unavoidable final moment comes.
. Possessions and attachments to identity cause images of painful death. They work very hard with the purpose of gathering a lot of material possessions far beyond the capacity to use them. nothing more uncertain than its moment. Most people live as if they were going to live in this world forever.
Muktidarmha 2003. These possessions become the very cause of trouble.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Fear of death precludes life.inputmagazine. www. Death – An invitation to life.
.inputmagazine. if we are not trained to experience it.
According to great saints and yogis.
Muktidarmha 2003. are the main cause for the experience of a painful death. as it is the case with most human beings. www.com death is not really a painful physical experience but rather it is a painful mental agony.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
The image of painful death is based on material possession and identification. Death – An invitation to life. Attachments to all different kind of possessions and identification with the little I.
inputmagazine. sometime in the past we lost a very valuable tradition and our culture became a sense-oriented one. They are often pushed under the carpet and not consciously faced. Physical immortality is a dream with no possibilities for fulfilment.com
Fear is the most disturbing type of emotional mental energy that affects us. Fear of death drives us to come up with master plans to avoid it – plan is perfect example. has been the loss of their deep spiritual values. We have enclosed life. Everything that has been born is bound to die. weakening our nervous system and all the other systems of our human structure. but fears
lurk in our unconscious and sub-conscious minds. This is why we have an externally developed world but in somehow internally we lack from substance. Death – An invitation to life. reducing it to the five senses and. creating many of our problems in daily life. It is such a strong fear. of course for such a materialistic mentality the experience of death becomes the biggest threat and the most unwanted experience. The scientists of the highly developed countries has been breaking their brains in order to find a way to considerably elongate the life span and to discover the magic for eternal physical youth.
It seems that
. that a significant amount of energy goes into trying to avoid death. Fears originate as impressions in our deeper mind due to negative experiences in the past and accompany us for the rest of our lives conditioning our behaviour. The secret of lasting cultures and traditions has been a strong and deep spiritual basis and the cause of destruction for the ones that have disappeared. www.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Humanity’s materialistic mentality is the driving force behind death as tragedy. In this way the most natural event for humanity becomes for us a tragedy that generates strong insecurity and fears. From all the fears the most determinant and strongest is the fear of death.
during the course of our life.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
We should embrace death as another experience of our existence – material accumulation has made death something to be feared. the person who knows how to live in the present while alive.com
A balanced confrontation with the unavoidable experience of death is only possible if we have been preparing ourselves for this matter
The quality of our death will be a direct result of the quality of life that we have experienced. www. Death – An invitation to life. For example. will be able to be present and embrace death just as another experience of his or her existence without mind projections.inputmagazine. an individual whose main interest during his or her lifetime has been only material accumulation.
Muktidarmha 2003. their moment of death will be characterized by a mental difficulty due to identification with the objects they have cherished during the lifetime. In the same way.
has tended to take life for granted. He seems determined to affirm his life in a vehement act of self-sabotage. man simply felt himself justified to "be. Scientific man now sees that death is the most natural thing in the world. The church of euthanasia. the after-message of the gods. the omega to life's alpha and a necessary precursor to further life." -Louis Wolfson Somewhere along the line. as man's season becomes more problematic. man seems obsessed with clinging to life at all costs. greedily devouring all resources within reach and pumping out as many clones of himself as possible.. dreary natural cycles. Death was the unnatural thing.. primitive man turned to his immediate experience and clung to it for dear life. though. the result of the Fall from the garden. and chronicles in rapt fascination his own. he rarely considers his own death as a viable alternative to an existence devoid of meaning or rescue. or. stalked from within and without by environmental decay and psychological breakdown. We refuse to embrace the obvious alternative due to bunk notions of our right to be..CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Humans cling to life at all costs – regardless of our creation of a poisonous earth. in the Christian world. even primitive man. Contrarily. Man. creating in the process a habitat of truly avernal proportions. the true catastrophe. Perhaps.
Purrbuckets 1996. Perhaps faced with the elemental void of death. is that humanity continues. were essentially positive manifestations of phenomena. in lieu of any abiding reason or causality. the result of malice or mistake. and his life. Curiously. "The tragedy.. He compulsively examines the inherent biological customs of innumerable flora and fauna. each subsequent generation was coddled or bludgeoned into adapting the affirmative stance of their ancestors. Man’s subliminal god. man got the notion that he." With the inevitable momentum of procreation.
. Here is an allegory to explain this phenomenon from:
Purrbuckets 1996. not even the moon is out to provide lighting. but you cannot. but man makes the very thought of it a crime. And it seems that those in favor of speeding up the bus are gaining the upper hand. insular and wholly insupportable life affirmations.  This allegory illuminates the predicament an enlightened creature encounters when waking one day to find himself woefully alive. It is night. They are also drinking.. The main lights of the bus are broken from near-brushes with the steadily deteriorating old guardrails that are the only thing between the bus and a 2500 foot plunge off a sheer face cliff. Man’s subliminal god. a suicide. To no one else has it occurred to stop the bus.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Death is ignored while neurotic life affirmations remain.  Indeed. substituting instead a barrage of neurotic. The bus is being driven by a drunk who is half blind. have seen the runaway essence of the whole damn thing: You are among the many passengers of a large bus careening wildly down a twisted mountain road. Some.
. He and those near the front are also suffering from some sort of intoxication from gaseous emissions. however. Its author. not only is death ignored as the way out. sees that the true remedy to this hapless traveler's woes is the one thing that is taboo: You want to stop the bus and get out. The church of euthanasia.
and only one cure: annihilation. To any problem." -Arthur Schopenhauer
Man is a disease.
"Human life must be some form of mistake. so he hides in hovels of shit and waits for the reaper to take him away after all.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Our existence is a mistake – we hide in hovels of shit to avoid death – knowing it will come anyway. mocked and despised is staunch proof of its character. how laughable the arrogance of the being who prays to the heavens that he is actually glad to be alive!
. He is a germ who thinks himself a king. The simple and pure answer to all man's ills is too great for the living coward to ponder. Man’s subliminal god. As Schopenhauer once declared. How pathetic the sight of a person clinging to life.
Purrbuckets 1996. That this truth is ignored. there is only one cause: man. The church of euthanasia. man's existence must be a mistake.
threatens biodiversity still more. The principal cause of both extinction and the slowing of evolution is the degrading and destruction of habitats by human action. individual species and their immediate descendants lived an average of about 1 million years. the rain forests are losing an area about half the size of Florida each year. but also the birthrate of new species has declined as the natural environment is destroyed. To use two of their favorite phrases. No longer. Damage to intact forests. which occurs when they are broken up into isolated patches or partly logged. They disappeared naturally at the rate of about one species per million per year. maintaining a rough equilibrium. about the same as the 48 contiguous United States. the extinction rate of species and races is everywhere rising. With other rich environments under similar assault. 155:17. Biologists who explore biodiversity see it vanishing before their eyes.000 times as great as it was before the coming of humanity. They generally agree that the rate of species extinction is now 100 to 1.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
Extinction rate soars as birthrate plummets – all at the hands of humans.
Wilson 2000. and newly evolved species replaced them at the same rate. Time.
. including coral reefs (two-thirds degraded) and salt marshes and mangrove swamps (half eliminated or radically altered). 29. Throughout most of geological time. Vanishing before our eyes. While covering only 6% of Earth's land surface. or when fires are set. Not only has the extinction rate soared. they live in a world of wounds and practice a scientific discipline with a deadline.
130. Imagine the poetry. and the world will begin anew. Who would not give everything to know the ineffable sadness and nobility of being among the last? Then. the music. imagine the moral exaltation of those last few souls. 349:8099.CHICO STATE FALL 2003
From the Economist 1998. That would be a finale worthy of a great race.
. Sui genocide. and the sand will cover our name. of those last few human generations. at last. the lights will go out. the pregnant richness of sound and light and colour and even of thought in the last months of humanity's twilight.