Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Monday, 26 September 2005


The problem with global overheating is that billions of people are addicted to it. America's love-affair with the car is endlessly talked about, but it would be better to call it an addiction to the wrong type of car--an addiction that the whole world has caught. But cars are not the problem. It is what they run on. Cars that burn petrol and diesel are the problem. Or, more accurately all the machines that burn hydrocarbons, from mowers to power-stations.

And it is an addiction. Neuroscience has in recent decades identified what we have always known intuitively--that the primary part of the brain in decision-making is the emotional centre--and thus that when the emotional centre is damaged our ability to make decisions in our own best interests or in the best interests of society is also damaged. The damage may be physical, such as from a tumour, but the most insidious is microscopic damage--bad wiring caused by bad conditioning and bad choices. That is why the abused abuse. Bad actions towards them, reinforced by their bad choices within, create, and worsen, the bad wiring. It is the classic feedback loop--the decisions that emerge from bad wiring constantly intensify addiction to the bad behaviour.

In short, we make decisions, first and foremost, with our emotions. If we attach them to something bad for us, the consequent addiction to that bad behaviour makes it worse. The bad behaviour, even though recognised in logic to be bad, is repeated and repeatedly reinforced. Cold logic is turned awry by damaged warm logic; the logic of external reality is turned awry by the distorted logic of internal reality; the artefacts of life are made to dominate the facts of life. The artefacts get further and further from the facts until the facts become irrelevant and the insane artefacts rule.

Thus, although people know they are trashing the planet with their hydrocarbon-burners they keep doing it because of their addiction to them and all that they mean to the gratification of their damaged emotions. They are hydrocarbon-junkies. Oil-brained. Literally, petrol-heads (how odd that we often speak more truly than we know!).

Like drug-addicts they cannot kick the habit. They keep acting in ways that are killing them and their society and the whole planet. They refuse to stop. They deny the damage that is happening right before their eyes, because their selfmade bad wiring diverts the images into denial. The bad wiring constantly impels them into decisions that are not in their best interests or the best interests of society, and their addiction is constantly reinforced by those bad decisions and by the fact that almost everyone else is doing the same insane things. There is such comfort in insane company.

They are so comfortable with killing themselves that they cannot bear to give it up. Not even a series of force-five hurricanes can impress on them their own insanity. They escape the storms in the vehicles whose emissions gave them their terrible power. They are trapped in a traffic-jam of their own habits, and all they can do is think of how soon they can get back to 'normal'--to the same insane addictions.