The Fruits of Civilization – Conclusion


“We are in danger, and the enemy is none other than us.” ~ French sociologist Edgar Morin

The human world is wrong, has long been wrong, in so many ways. The manifest symptom is acceptance of exploitation. The wellspring of the symptom is materialism.


“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate contrived and dishonest – but the myth: persistent, persuasive. and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” ~ John Kennedy

Everyone agrees that our greatest strength lies in cooperation, and that the root of morality is fairness. Yet the economic system embraced and practiced worldwide depends upon a competition that benefits a few at the expense of most. This rigged system has invariably generated gross inequities, along with extensive environmental destruction.

Despite abundant evidence, the evils of capitalism remain idolized. Proponents praise “free enterprise” as the masses toil in its totalitarian grip: wage slaves in a world that decays around them.

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” ~ John Maynard Keynes


“Deviation from Nature is deviation from happiness.” ~ English writer Samuel Johnson

Nature was ever a bounty: a blessing that was instead treated as something to be “conquered.”

The great civilising influence of capital is that it rejects the deification of Nature, so that Nature becomes simply an object for mankind, purely a matter of utility. ~ Karl Marx

Life on Earth today is critically linked to flowering plants. ~ Mexican botanist Susana Magallón et al

Natural beauty inspires a sense of awe and well-being. Plants have always been our benefactors; yet we have treated them ill indeed. Throughout history, leaders gave no thought to the consequences of decimating forests or tearing apart ecosystems. The epitome of civilization came in laying asphalt ribbons of death and careening down them in machines powered by the fossils of plants that lived hundreds of millions of years prior. Mindless materialism ruined a beautiful planet.

“We live in a world shaped by capitalism.” ~ American historian Jerry Muller


“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” ~ Albert Einstein

Technologies are prized as statements of human acumen. They are instead artifacts of ignorance. Every machine made was a drop in the ocean of toxicity that humans concocted. Every acre taken from Nature was a rape celebrated as a triumph. The accreted evidence can lead to no other conclusion. Via technology, humans created, as fast they could, a mass extinction event as a culmination of their odious power.

“Science has been rather slow to recognize extinction’s significance.” ~ American paleontologist Norman Macleod

What lingers that does not illuminate itself as wisdom is folly. To convenience oneself to the ruination of life that might have been is not wisdom, however clever the convenience may appear.

“If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.” ~ American military commander Omar Bradley

There is no technological solution to the environmental destruction generated by mankind. The gyre of climate change is beyond reversal. The very idea that we can somehow “fix” what we have wrought is laughably imbecilic.

“I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.” ~ John Kennedy

Proper application of technologies perhaps still provides a possibility of surviving self-destruction. But to do so would require a political recognition and leadership that is nowhere in evidence.

It would secondly necessitate a sustained effort to build compact, self-sustaining communities that might withstand the environmental changes ahead. This is an endeavor that will take several decades at the least, and for which time is running short, if not already run out. Part of that effort involves coming to grips with massive depopulation, as sustainable human populations must number in the hundreds of millions at most, not billions.

“Preventing global warming from becoming a planetary catastrophe may take something even more drastic than renewable energy, superefficient urban design, and global carbon taxes.” ~ American technologist Jamais Cascio

If humans are to have any chance of survival, there must be a socioeconomic revolution, involving cooperation on a scale hitherto unconsidered; in other words, a political movement antithetical to the vector that human history has taken. It is easy to see that such a turn is not going to happen.

Human beings are largely driven by the same primitive, tribal impulses that governed us in 10,000 bce. We slaughter one another in appalling numbers. We’re petty and selfish and shortsighted. We routinely fall prey to gobsmacking stupidity. ~ American writer William Falk


“This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy.” ~ American author Alice Walker

If there is a human uniqueness, it has been in mastery of self-destruction. Why that has come to pass worldwide – that the ruling class did not avert gross inequity, the spoliation of Nature, and humanity’s demise – is the subject of Spokes 7.

“Civilization in its present form hasn’t got long.” ~ James Lovelock


Spokes of the Wheel exhausts exposing the world of men with Book 7: The Pathos of Politics.