I’ve been reading an excellent book on the history of Prague. One thing that struck me forcibly is the parallels between the actions of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/whatever (not forgetting the Taliban, Boko Harem and the rest of the Islamic nutters) – in terms of iconoclasm (in a general sense, including wanton destruction of buildings and monuments) and burning people alive etc. – and the past actions of, for example, the ‘Christian’ Catholic church against heretics, Protestants and Jews – and, of course, Protestants against Catholics and Jews. The Jews in Israel, at least those in charge and their backers, seem to have decided to get in on the act when it comes to the Palestinians. Actually, according to the Old Testament inter alia, the Jews themselves had their moments of mayhem in the past.
Lest I be accused of being selective in my castigation of religious groups, let’s not forget the worshippers of Mammon – when it comes to burning people alive, how many innocents did American napalm incinerate in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos…? And there was, famously, ‘shock and awe’ visited on the citizens of Baghdad and other places in Iraq. No let off for the followers of the state religion in Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia either. And every religious sect has pretty much always brought down the fires of righteousness on anyone, preferably female, who might be pointed out as a witch, probably for the sin of being slightly different, slightly crazy, slightly knowledgable about herbs and potions, slightly fond of a pet black cat – you know what I mean. As for homosexuals and other forms of ‘deviant’ – well… Of course, the members of the sect, the followers of the leader, the prophet, the messiah, the pope, were (and are?) pretty much exempt so long as they DID follow!
I’m still not totally convinced about anthropogenic global warming; I am, however, thoroughly convinced about global warming. And, to my mind, there’s really – effectively – sod all to be done about it. We KNOW it’s happened in the past, without the help of mankind, as has global cooling – and the dreaded positive feedback loop has meant, in the past as in the present (and future), that it’s pretty much unstoppable.
I can foresee a major extinction event over the horizon – or perhaps closer than that. Mother Earth finally giving up on her human cargo, probably with massive collateral damage to other species. An apocalyptic scenario with a fifth horseman – Drowning – joining War, Pestilence and Famine as eager manic servants of the Lord Death. See, I can use religious symbolism too!
Maybe human activity is what’s pushed the cycle over the edge this time, but there is no way, even if the nations, governed as their leaders (‘the great and the good’) are by the short term motive of profit and growth above all else, COULD get their proverbial bag together – there is no way of avoiding this particular destiny. The best that could be done is to work towards minimising the pain, and I don’t see a lot of evidence for that happening.
I shall quite likely have shuffled off this mortal coil before the shit really hits the fan, though that’s not necessarily certain. I wish, as is only natural (and anyone who denies that is an idiot), that I could do something to better the survival chances of my family and friends. As for the rest of humanity, I’m afraid it’s more or less pot luck; I really don’t wish ill of anyone who is a reasonably decent and humane human being (though I wish plenty of ill to those who aren’t – and there ARE a lot of them about!) but, basically, the human race has been breeding like rabbits, or bacteria – viruses even! – for much too long. T H White’s ‘The Sword in the Stone’ includes an excellent allegory about rival ants’ nests. Good book, that.