Today is Earth Day. That we created such an occasion is the mark of human declivity. What will we think of next? Breathe In Day? Smile Day? It makes my insides curl into a fist which rams into my conscience. We are the only fools who burn our very homes in order to progress our lives. Amongst all specie of animals, we are the only blood thirsty one to plot murder and mass murder for thousands of reasons other than self defense (the alpha male’s act of combating for supremacy over a herd/pack/aggregation is not a form of mass murder). We continuously create divisive notions in an attempt to unite people. We rape this Earth and sweep our murderous knives over the fate of other inhabitants of this planet.
Crichton in a book of his mentioned about the baseless concern that plagues environmentalists. He said that as once oxygen was poisonous and the earth managed to survive the increasing levels of the same, this earth will survive all that happens to it. Yes, museumware will increase and perhaps the oxygen-breathing man will find his place beside the Neanderthal. Would they model it as a Brad Pitt or a billowing-skirt-Marilyn or perhaps a Mother Teresa so that mutants of the future can feel romantic about their ancestors? Do we need a conscience when we will live but once? As Kundera said, Einmal Ist Keinmal – an Earth that exist but once in my life need not concern me.
But why does this entire affair of living thus repulse me? Why does the watery eyes of a felled doe appear in my nightmares and then transform into the eyes of my daughter hurtling down a chasm while her cry for help only gets louder? Why do the rapids frolicking down the boulders of yore, make me cry while they pass me by, fishes a-jumping, wondering “Why does this frail human being grieve my joy!?” Why do the notes of music (be it those of Badrachala Ramadas, Brahm or Bhimsen Joshi) unadulterated by those of honking cars leave me feeling empty and suddenly scared that I might lose this beautiful solitude when the next remote incident in some distant country has foolish men burn vehicles on the road and break anything breakable, including a hope for sanity? Why does a child’s smile and awe leave me worried about whether she should have ever entered this world?
In the mad rush to become, to live better, to achieve, to acquire, we have cleverly disguised what we desire into what is essential for living. We make a six-figure salary something “I deserve“. We make winning the Booker more essential than writing something to touch people’s soul. Aaah! Soul! Such a wonderfully abused word. What is the soul of living? Can it be something objective without being selfish (Dear Ms. Rand, it was unfair that you died without waiting to engage in a debate with me)? Can we ensure that we will prepare the world for our children before we brew ourselves a comfortable life?
Yesterday, I saw a man accompany some military official to a site where they were testing a new missile. This was on Discovery. The missile had a very good range (several tens of thousands of metres) but what was noteworthy was its accuracy (in the range of feet, I recall). The missile would explode about 30 feet above the target, dispersing a volley of shrapnel aimed at maiming any human occupants of the target. Dispersing at 30 feet provides maximum damage of two kinds: shrapnel and pressure bursts (sinuses, ear drums, etc.). Then the missile lands on the target and blows it up. The scene before and after the explosion can only be associated by pictures for nothing remains the same. This gentleman (sic) explains the damage by pointing to parts of the mannequins where the shrapnel have pierced and is clear when proclaiming “This guy is a sure gonner!”. What he said next was the last thing I heard before switching off the television: “I love explosives but what has happened here in this bunker stands as the statement of the reality of intended damage.” (or something like that). Men have turned so ugly that they feel no shame in confessing to “loving” explosives.
I doubt whether we can change this world. I would love to see a world with no armies (only internal police for managing law and order), a forest maintained for every car produced, a dozen children fed and educated for every man dying for no fault of his, no man dying for no fault of his, waters regaining their purity (and they can do it well if we simply clean up our act and not touch them). I think the world and their wives need one big cardiac arrest. I think we need to slow down, for achieving hasn’t gotten us anywhere. It is fine to die of diseases; we are anyway going to die, so let’s not use medical advancement as excuses for a lot of what we are doing. Let us not build any more cars, any more industries, produce any more people… If we can’t get our act cleaned up, what is the use of adding more to this? None of this is going to happen, so let’s not argue about this.
What could happen is realising the gravity of the entire situation (or simply brush it off if you feel that melting glaciers won’t reach you in your life time, so why worry?). Can we change ourselves, just our individual beautiful self? Can we first realise the ugliness of what surrounds us? Can we see the ugliness that has taken root within us, in the form of our misunderstanding of the world, I and the relationship between the world and I? Can we realise that the world doesn’t need us, but we do? Can we stop giving excuses like: Why see only the ugly things? See the beauty of technology, science, commerce? ? Can we accept responsibility for making our lives beautiful in a way that no one else would find theirs ugly because of our actions? Can we decide to give up control over this world and let the natural order prevail? Can we realise that it is only in our hands to make this world beautiful for our children and that doesn’t merely stop with sending them to the best schools? Can we realise the need to live consciously, honestly, sincerely and simply?
If we can do this, do we, then, need an Earth Day?